Monthly Archives: February 2018

Penny Positive #65

From An Optimist’s Calendar



Sweating the Small Stuff (and the Big Stuff Too)

Well, the time I’ve been dreading for months is here: my Social Security Disability claim is undergoing review to assess whether or not I’m still disabled according to their standards.

To say that I am anxious about this is a major understatement. I’m better than I was both physically and mentally when I first applied and was awarded benefits; of course that’s due in no small part to living a relatively low-stress lifestyle. Not having to throw myself against a wall every day allows me to remain stable. What would happen if Social Security says I’m fit to go back to work? It was an impossible task four years ago, and I was younger then…I’m almost 60 and there isn’t a big market for people in my age group, to say the least. I couldn’t go back to nursing practice even if I wanted to since I’ve been out so long. And I’m way overqualified for most non-nursing jobs, many of which I can’t do because of my physical limitations. What’s a gal to do?

Hospitalization helped me get SSDI last time. It’s never happened again, so how impaired will they think I am? Then again, I’ve been re-diagnosed with bipolar 1 three more times by three different providers, and I’m sure that diagnosis helped my cause along when I applied. I still take a slew of meds and see Dr. Goodenough on a regular, if infrequent, basis. If I were to go off my meds I would almost certainly lose my shit and be completely useless as a human being; maybe they’ll take that into consideration.

I’ve asked some of my fellow SSDI recipients how these reviews go, and they’ve told me I should be fine. I may have to see their doctors and/or get validation from Dr. G that I’m still disabled; I had to go to their medical doctor last time in order to evaluate my physical capabilities, which have NOT gotten better even with the weight loss. I still can’t stand and walk for very long, and my knees are even worse than they were three years ago. I can’t kneel or squat either, and my balance has become precarious (hence, six falls in the past year and a half). Then there’s the memory loss issue. How can I keep a job if I can’t remember the basic stuff? I can just imagine contending with multi-line phones in an office—I’d be so confused I wouldn’t know whether to scratch my watch or wind my butt.

I’m even having trouble learning the volunteer position with the Crisis Text Line. I had to drop out part way through the training because I just wasn’t getting it and I was embarrassed and ashamed; though I signed up for a new session beginning in early April, I have the feeling I won’t go through with it. It’s a lot harder than you’d think, and I floundered even though I had plenty of support from my coach. It reminded me of how I lost my last job, and how dysfunctional I still am despite being on an even keel and reasonably happy.

Now, I know I shouldn’t stress over this because I can’t do anything until they get back to me. I wrote a letter outlining my main difficulties and sent it with the form I filled out; I hope it will be enough. I also know that there are allowances made for age, which I qualify for because I’m over 55. But I can all too easily imagine the horror if my SSDI were to be taken away…whatever would I do with NO income and NO health insurance? Those are the only things holding me together, at least financially and medically. I wouldn’t be able to pay my rent or bills, which would be awful since I’ve worked hard the past two years to get my credit score out of the toilet, and I like where I live.

OK, I’m catastrophizing now. Like my friends said, I’ll probably be fine…the worst thing that can happen at this point is having to produce documentation of my ongoing disabilities from either my doctor or theirs. And if the review does go my way, there’s every chance that it’ll be FIVE years till my next one, at which time SSDI will have rolled over into regular SS since I’ll be past age 62.

Hopefully I’ll soon get a letter saying it’s all good, I’m still eligible for SSDI. I never thought I’d say this, but in my situation it’s a blessing. I may be as poor as Job’s turkey, but at least it’s left me with some dignity. It’s hard not being able to work in this society; people look down on you and accuse you of taking food out of their kids’ mouths because you’re too lazy to get a job. SSDI isn’t welfare, it’s money I earned through many years of hard work. I don’t feel a bit guilty about that. I just need to stay on it. So wish me luck, y’all. I need all the good thoughts I can get.

Even Better

So I talked to Tillie today and feel a lot better.  We traced most of my problem to boredom, and that includes being bored in class.  Not that I need something new to do, I just need to find a way to keep busy that is also fulfilling. I’m thinking about trying to generate new work using the prompts in one of our text books and try to write myself out of the rut I am in with awful endings to stories.  We will see.

Met Bob for lunch today.  That went well.  I told him I’d talked to Tillie about being bleh and we had worked out some solutions.  So I think that may have reassured him a bit.  We will see.

Still sending out everyday now for the second month in a row.  I’m trying to stay positive and hoping that if I send what I have to enough places that it will stick.  I certainly hope it turns out to be true.  I’ve sent to some opportunities I am truly excited about and think the pieces I’ve sent are a good fit.  I will just have to see.

(You’d think those were my favorite words as often I say them: “we will see”.  But it’s all out of my hands once the words are launched into the ether.  So it’s all I can say about the future.)

I’m also going to try reading more.  Reading books I already have that have inspired me in the past and reading books I have piled up unread.  Maybe that will spark a little creativity as well.

Hope everyone has a good rest of the week. I am hoping i can too.


Ever Feel Like Mental Disorders Put Your Life On Hold?

Don’t stop, don’t go. Been stuck here a week now due to the living situation and it’s taking a toll. I’m running on 70 minutes of sleep and tired as hell but the anxiety is at fever pitch. I called the potential landlord at 8:15 this morning I(apparently it’s best to catch Alzheimer’s patients early in the day) and…he barely remembered me. He sounded confused. He even forgot the whole point in this having to move and being desperate is cos I have a small child who requires a home. He said the house needs the bathroom redone and it can’t be done if people are living there. I said, you told us Monday, we can wait 5 days so you can get the work done. He said he had to get his head sorted out and he’d call me sometime today.

I don’t hold out much hope. My mind is just spinning but I am on hold.

Until the lease is signed and we have the key I don’t want to move another thing. Fat chance dad and stepmonster will agree but we’ve already stuffed the shed over there and have way more to go…if this guy isn’t going to get his shit together and rent to us, what’s the point in hauling more stuff? Truth is, I am tired from lack of sleep, my body aches, my knees are puffy, even my gums are sore from teeth gnashing. Anxiety is a condition you can’t fathom until you’ve lived it. Seems so innocuous, silly even, to have your life put on hold not just by the pace of others necessary to your plan, but to have your own body on red alert as if your life is in danger…this is no way to live but it’s all i know.

I know we need to get shit moved. But there’s not much room left in that shed (even though stepmonster would stack it to the ceiling, which, for electronics and glassware is, um no.) And while I am sitting here waiting for the guy to call me back, for all i know he’s renting this place out from under us like the other place. And half our stuff is there so where the fuck would that leave us? Dad just keeps moving our stuff with no concrete plan in place, just ‘talk to the man, Niki.” I have, multiple times, and he doesn’t remember talking to me!!!! I am terrified and while mom and sis sort of get how strung out i am…dad and his clan are clueless. Of course, it’s not their asses facing homelessness.

Part of my precarious state is the fact I’ve taken down most of the curtains to be washed so there’s a surplus of light and people can see in and it’s unsettling. Throw in the incessantly barking dogs, the traffic, waiting for the phone to ring…I’m on overload. And as tired as some may be of hearing/reading one is sicker of this state of mind than i am. I wish i could just click the lil X and close the tab to avoid hearing yet another endless rant about how bad my anxiety is.

At the same time, for every idget who seems to think I am redundant and use my disorders as a crutch (which I don’t get at all, cos crutches are useful, my disorders are not)…getting a comment from someone my post resonated with makes it worth seeming redundant and possibly self pitying. It’s important people know if they’re feeling like this…they’re not alone.

I feel pretty damned alone. I am sick of being strong. I want to shatter and break and get a few days to rest and recharge. Not a vacation. Just a reboot. A solid roof over head would help immensely and i don’t mean a psych ward.

So life is on hold due to waiting on the necessary action of others to get my plan in motion. And then my life is on hold because it’s one of those sensory overload days where leaving my chair seems like something bad is going to happen.

Day time is my high stress time. Last night at least the anxious energy became hella productive. Today…all I can do is hope the phone rings, yet fear the phone ringing…I don’t want to move anything today but i know I’m not gonna get cut any slack. I’m hyper aware of the former scumlord’s snarky comment about being out the last day of the month but we’re gonna be here til Friday at least. I fear leaving lest he lock my shit up. Is it really irrational, as if it’s never happened to someone, whether they were in the wrong or not? Some people are just dicks and scumlord is their king penis.

So I am on hold in everyway, my skeleton feels like it’s trying to escape from my skin (thank god I keep a (Xanax stash cos it’s been three days and the doctor’s office still hasn’t called in my refill, ffs), and all i want is to collapse into some semblance of peace so I can stop gnashing my gums to sore moosh. Something’s gotta give.

Until it does…everything is on hold and that helpless feeling is as hobbling as a sledgehammer to the legs.

Pink Shirt Day – Stop the Bullying

Originally posted on Being Lydia!:
Wednesday, February 22, 2017, is Pink Shirt Day in Canada. It is the day that we wear pink and promise that we will all do our part to stop bullying. Like with Bell Let’s Talk Day in January, Pink Shirt Day is sponsored by the media (Shaw) who are donating…

Zero Hour and Still…nerve racking anxiety

Earlier today I was so overwhelmed knowing I had to strip apart two different beds with mattresses and box springs and move them around fucked up mobile home trailer corners…I didn’t think I would get it done, I just kept…zoning out, fretting, yet…until zero hour I hauled ass. Stepmonster and brother came and we hauled two vehicle loads over to the shed in Armpit. I was astounded by the progress the senile dude;s son had done since Sunday. I thought the place needed demolished it was so bad. The stench is gone, the junk is out, the floors are clean…only true flaws i can find with it is the bathroom floor has caved in spots (which we’ve lived with here for years), no shower, and oddly, not one single closet in the entire place. $400 a month and no shower or closets???? It’s frivolous but still…i’d rather be trailer trash if i get more space for less money than I in a house that costs more.

Spook loves the place. i even let her have dibs on the bedroom of her choice. I need a bed and a desk for my computer set up, otherwise…I don’t much care.

Problem now is…I have to contact landlord dude, and hope his Alzheimer’s isn’t causing him to be irate or incompetent long enough to get the damn lease signed and hand over at least half the money i owe him. And frankly, I don’t feel sorry for him after he stabbed us in the back with the Elm st place then refused to even fill out one single sided sheet of paper to get $100 rent voucher from Salvation Army. Can’t want money too bad if you’re too damn lazy or stubborn to fill out a sheet of paper.

I know, I am a hypocrite, the man is elderly, his mind is failing and all I ever do is ask people to cut me some slack since my brain is wonky…But under current circumstances…I NEED this man to be lucid long enough to let us sign the lease so he doesn’t go renting it to someone else due to his forgetfulness. It’s got me so nervous, here I am, still awake at 4:43 a.m.

I was ready to drop by 7 p.m. after all the running around and moving (Stepmonster took us to mcDonald’s for supper and while not crowded, it was so loud, tv on, music playing, cash registers beeping, orders being called out…omg, those poor employees deserve a medal of valor for being able to cope with that shit.)

Spook and i tore into the biohazard mess under her bed (6 trash bags of toys trapped under there, but it’s a 400 pound solid wood bunk bed so it’s not like I could move it, I had to disassemble it and partially at that cos, well, i don’t own a chainsaw. But she kept her word, I kept mine, we got bathed, then we sat down to watch the Disney movie Zombies. The corn syrupy singsong stuff made me throw up a little in my mouth but she liked it. i just prefer…Z Nation or izombie. Less teenage cheerleading football playing angst and more…brain eating or z whacking.

I have spent 7 hours working in the back room where i need to disassemble my slave computer and get the desk out of there so they can be hauled off tonight. Dad;s already on a warpath about how i have too much stuff, and the irony is…half of it is junk he got at auction then got all butt hurt when I said I didn’t need the junk so I kept it…ha ha ha. idget.

My money came in so hopefully by 9 a.m. I can reach Sir Forgetful and see about getting this thing underway. Limbo is not woring for me. Neither is this even more disrupted sleep pattern. I am running on sheer nerves and zero hour desperation, all the while living in paranoia former scumlord-prperty manager is gonna padlock the door while we’re moving shit cos it’s the last day of the month and us being out now suits him best. Well, hey, asshole, how about you give us more than a week to find a place to live if you want proper notice and a smooth moving experience?

Hating these vile landlord peoole. How hard is it to take your damn rent every month and shut up?

Grrr. Well, that’s my rant. Maybe if the sacred pegacorn smiles on me I might get a cat nap later. Or the anxiety may kick in again and send me into psychotic packing mode.

Though my money is on either this landlord dude screwing us over again or me ripping off my dad’s head and spitting down the gaping hole cos I have ‘too much stuff’. Yeah, well, a lot of what I have are keepsake gifts and pictures and artwork that I treasure so…fuck him.

I won’t ask anyone for bail money should I crack my lids. Though I have to wonder if maybe people would be more generous with bail money since they sure can’t spare a reblog or fiver when my kid and I need it the most for the basic human need of shelter.

Trying hard and being decent get you nowhere.

Which is why I’ll never be president. That and I have a conscience and a soul.

Ya know, come to think of it…having a conscience and soul leave me out of a lot of successful professions where that sort of thing is a hindrance. Still…I think I will remain unsuccessful and maintain my humanity and empathy.

Unless it’s ten days of pmdd, in which case..I go on vacation from the whole decent human thing and turn into raging crying in pain psycho hose beast. Maybe for those ten days I could be a lawyer or the president cos I’m pretty mean, hate everyone, think everything is a personal affront, and I kinda want to have a ‘my nuke button is bigger than yours’ contest with some random leader of another country.

So glad it ends after ten days. Last thing this country needs is another sociopath. Our government has met the quota and then some.

Feeling Better

Not nearly as grumpy as I was yesterday. But not quite where I want to be, either. The weather is helping–it’s nice and sunny out today, although the ground is really, really wet.  I go see Tillie tomorrow and will see if I can clear up the last of this mood.

I’m reading Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle. It’s a really famous book and one I was told I needed to read if I was going to try a memoir.  I don’t think mine will be quite like this one–her parents were completely off the wall and raised four kids somehow to adulthood.  But it’s been very interesting to read from a craft perspective and has given me a lot to think about.

Turned in my exercise for my class yesterday–a week early, but I wanted to go ahead and send it in anyway.  I think it turned out well but we will see what Mary says about it.

I have my reading this weekend.  I hope it goes well. Im not sure how it will go.  But we will see.

The Cute Cat Pictures Moving Fundraiser

Since we are being forced to move thus costing money we simply do not have…We are having a fundraiser Even $5 helps buy a gallon and a half of gas for this out of town move, so don’t think it’s too small an amount to bother. It means the world to me, my daughter, and our cats.

So even if you don’t donate to people…do it for our sweet kitties. Their pictures will take you to the page where you need to be. Even a share on social media matters so do us a solid, please.

Hex says ‘please help us move.’

Godsmack says, “Life is too awful to look at right now, mommy can’t even buy us canned food!”

“Mommy calls us the terror twins but only because we’re so cute she can’t be too mad when we chew up her shoelaces.”-say the cuddling siblings Vex and Hex.

Vex likes laying on Spook’s dollhouse bed. He is going to be crushed when he keeps growing and the doll bed doesn’t!

Godsmack is perplexed as she used to fit into the doll pool perfectly. Now…if she sits, she fits, but not for much longer.

There was no room in the pool so Hex settled for poolside with Godsmackers.


As for me…my mental health is in hellish limbo, don’t stop, don’t go, and when we can go, well, I am at the mercy of others so even when we cang go it’s just a few inches which feels like accomplishing nothing. Meanwhile the clock on needing to be out of here before the backstabbing slumlord-mgmt company overlord decides to swoop om, lock the doors, and prevent us from getting all our stuff out.

My appetite is up a bit, maybe because I’m barely sleeping more than 3 or 4 hours a night and that’s interrupted with nightmares and waking in a panic, unable to slow down my mind and get back to sleep. Guess the lack of rest has to be supplemented by eating to fuel my body. I am just ready to curl up in a ball. And having my kid ask me ten times a day if we’re going to be okay is grueling… Worse is when she has one of her mood swings cos I’ve said no to something she wants so she starts screaming how I never have any money and I am going to make her be homeless.

It’s very hard to run on empty and with that weighing on me…

I fear if we ever get this move pulled off and the carousel does stop turning…I may be in a room with padded walls. The human psych can take whatever the world dishes…until it can’t. And that’s the terrifying part. People ten times tougher than me have flailed and collapsed under the weight of life’s bullshit and mental health torment. There’s nothing that makes me different or special and if sheer will and desire to fight and perservere were enough…well, there’d be no need for psychiatrists, therapies, mental hospitals, or medications.

Wing and a prayer. That’s where I am right now. And since I’m not very religious…I’m more hoping this one wing will help keep me from crashing into the ground.

Penny Positive #64

From An Optimist’s Calendar



People with mental illness need heros

I spent Saturday afternoon at the movie theater watching Black Panther. I came home and watched Wonder Woman. Wow! I absolutely love the superheroes. I enjoy the plot line of good conquering evil.

The truth is everybody needs a hero, but people with mental illness really need superheroes. We need to hear from the people who are living well with their illness. We need to learn from those who have conquered, those who know how to deal with their struggles.

Here are a few people who I’ve found inspiring:

Jennifer Marshall is the co-founder of This is My Brave. She wanted to find a way to help fight stigma so Jennifer created a platform where people who live with mental illness can share their stories. Jennifer lives with bipolar disorder.

Gabe Howard has so many mental health advocacy titles I don’t think I know all of them. I do know Gabe is a writer and speaker, has won many mental health advocacy awards, and was a past board member of NAMI Ohio. He often does many creative podcasts. Gabe lives with bipolar disorder.

Ellyn Saks is a professor of law at the University of Southern California. She has written a book called, “The Center Cannot Hold,” and has a great Ted Talk. I admire her strength and courage for speaking openly about her journey with schizophrenia.

Michael Phelps the most decorated athlete in Olympic history has joined the ranks of mental health advocacy. He is using his Olympic platform to raise awareness for mental illness. Michael lives with depression.

Brandon Marshall is a wide receiver in the NFL whose struggle has been borderline personality disorder. Brandon has partnered with “Bring Change to Mind” and has worked hard at promoting men’s mental health.

So these are a few of the people who I have found inspirational. It’s not that they haven’t struggled or have been cured. What they have done is shine a light so people know more about mental illness.

We can have a picture that says a person with mental illness looks lots of different ways. And we can be inspired by their willingness to share part of their journey with us.

Like many of the evil doers in the superhero stories Mental illness doesn’t play fair. Mental health advocacy is not straight forward like other illnesses with advocacy efforts (think pink). We aren’t fighting for research dollars for one illness, but many. We are fighting stigma hard, only to have our progress nearly wiped out when the loud voices with access to national media platforms make an overly generalized link between mental illness and violence.

We need lots of heroes out there to help fight the battles, because I’m afraid a few inspiring superheroes are not quite powerful enough to take on the world.

But they sure do shine a bright light for the rest of us. It’s up to us to follow the path.