Decisions

There are always stumbling blocks.  I am edging ever closer to the job I’m really excited about, but now healthcare threatens it.  I’m in America now, the land of horrible coverage.  Because I am well below the poverty line at this time, I qualify for what amounts to free care.  If I get this job, however, I will only qualify for reduced care.

What does that mean?  Copays on meds and doctor  visits, and a monthly insurance premium out of pocket.  Work one job, barely afford necessities.  Work two jobs, lose health coverage.  I have two chronic conditions that require expensive medication.  Neither will spontaneously go away if I get the second job.

This has me in a tizzy.  My best friend reminded me that I haven’t got the job yet, but I’m just trying to be proactive.  Too bad finding out information about copays and premiums is bloody impossible outside of the ‘enrolment period.’  America must consider itself the land of the healthy, because it’s almost impossible to afford healthcare.

Dangerous Nostalgia

Lately, I’ve been looking back alot.  This is problematic, in that even looking at the good times brings my mind to the bad times.  Now, I’m just trying to refocus in the present.  It’s easier said that done.  I tread through fire finding and charging an old mobile phone that was mine in graduate school.  I remember the exact ring tone I had and the exact text tone I had during one of the most challenging experiences of my life.  For some reason, I just needed to hear them again.

Maybe it’s an identity thing.  Nine years ago, my life was good.  I had a flat, a job, school, friends, and promise for the future.  Now, I feel hopeless.  The friends I had are gone, school has ended, my job is nothing like it was before, I’m not currently capable of living alone, and I’m maudlin.  I need to realise the good things and wonderful people in my current life.  I need to pull myself out of this rut of self-pity and be grateful for everything.

But instead, I’m staring at a mobile hoping a certain ring of the phone will transport me back to a time when none of it had happened.

Frustrating Therapy

Ever leave therapy more frustrated than when you got there?  That was my session yesterday.  I’ve had a great deal of frustration lately, and the therapy session was more like a rant session for both the therapist and me.  Simply talking about frustration is never helpful to me.  I have to actually *work* in order to feel satisfied with the session.  Nothing got done, and thinking about frustrating events only brought back the anger I was feeling at the time.  Lovely.

So what’s the point of this post?  I’m glad you asked.  The point is to decipher the whole therapy process.  It is, after all, important work.  My concept is going in, stating a problem or maladaptive thought/behaviour, and deciding on a plan.  The next step is activating that plan.  I get very annoyed when life gets in the way of therapy, though.  I couldn’t work on the drawing  because my thoughts were all caught up in the minor annoyances.  My brain was almost manic.  I flitted from topic to topic so quickly that nothing got resolved.

My plan was to go in and keep working on the drawing.  The therapist did ask me about that, but she picked up immediately on the idea that I was completely avoiding the topic.  And that’s the problem– I wasn’t *intentionally* avoiding the topic.  I just couldn’t get my mind centred enough to discuss anything of value.  Rant sessions are fine from time to time, but I expect even those to serve a purpose.  I left therapy frustrated, annoyed, and attempting not to let any of that cross over in my demeanour.

Here’s to next session.  😐

Broken Things

It seems like everything in my life is broken these days.  The latest bit?  My bloody car.  She isn’t dead yet, but I think she’s slipping that way.  A bit ago, the radio stopped working.  Actually, it stopped and started spectacularly for most of a week before drifting in to a more soundless existence.  Radios are peripheral to the actual car.  Inconvenient, yes, but still perfectly drive-able.

Next came the windscreen.  This is the third my car has had in the past year and a half.  The first was, to use the term the glass people taught me, sandblasted.  Tiny little specks had penetrated the glass, making it very difficult to see in light.  Once the new windscreen was in place, I could see perfectly.  For a month or so.  I used wipers by the brand of Rain-X, and they left a film on the windscreen, making it almost impossible to see in rain.  The product is supposed to make glass repel rain.  I had no idea it was even *in* the bloody wipers and no idea that, once you stop using the product, it almost ruins the windscreen.

Enter windscreen three.

This one has been beautiful.  It’s been so clear that it appeared relatively invisible.  Then, *it* developed a film on the inside.  I’m told that this is due to a slight problem with a heater core.  Nothing to worry about yet, and a microfibre towel wipes down the film just fine.  Once the windscreen developed a film on the outside, though, I was ready to make my car accidentally go up in a glorious blaze.

A clay bar took the film off of the outside of the windscreen, and, again, it was crystal clear.  Except in the rain.  As long as you don’t actually *use* the wipers, it’s actually relatively clear.  However, rain does require wipers, and wipers leave a very cloudy shadow.  With car lights shining in, I quite literally have to pull over and wait for the rain to slow.  As it turns out, the wipers don’t need replacing– the wiper *arms* need replacing.  And they cost twice as much as the actual wiper blades.  And three out of four local shops cannot order them.  And I can barely afford to buy one, labour not included.  This leaves me relatively unable to drive in the rain at night.  Not that I’d ever need to.

Bloody cars.

The Visit that Suddenly Wasn’t

On the American television comedy Scrubs, a surly character points out that sometimes the word ‘hate’ isn’t strong enough.  In response, he creates the word ‘mega-loathe.’

I mega-loathe Greyhound bus lines.

A bit over three months ago, I bought my bus tickets for the 1000 mile journey to see my FOC.  This is an annual visit and has been for roughly a decade.  Being unable to find a ride to the nearest large Greyhound station (2.5 hours away), I had to leave from a tiny local station.  The fun ensued from there.

Greyhound is not known for punctuality.  In fact, one can almost count on buses being late.  I try to choose routes with that in mind and schedule transfers with at least a half hour’s lee-way.  The bus leaving the small station was roughly a half hour late, and the driver spent another fifteen minutes talking pointlessly with the ticket person.  By the time we reached the larger station, my bus had already left.  Mind you, if I *had* been able to find a ride to the larger station, I’d be spending time with the FOC at this moment.

Somewhat undeterred, I went to the ticket counter in the large station and asked what I should do now.  The nice lady behind the counter re-routed me, and I thought things were solved.  Upon reaching a seat in the station and reviewing the tickets, however, I noticed that the ticket up left me stranded half way on my journey.  How on Earth does one confuse ’round trip’ with ‘stop in the middle’?  Yes, the ticket lady reprinted tickets again.  After I signed a form saying I’d given her incorrect information.

Returning to my seat in the station even more tentatively hopeful and reviewing the tickets again, I noticed that my checked luggage was, in fact, scheduled for a different route than mine.  It was even making a stop in a city without me!  Being angry that the luggage was having more fun than me, I continued checking through the tickets and found an 11 hour layover scheduled in a city two hours from the next destination.  At that point, it was 2:00 AM, I’d been awake for 20+ hours, and I had had enough of the bloody bus line.  I marched back up to the ticket counter and demanded that the route be rescheduled.  Preferably so that my bag and I would travel together.

As it turns out, Greyhound wanted another $75 to place me on a schedule to my destination, but only $20 to send me back home.  This left me somewhat stranded, as I only had $30.  My trip to see the FOC ended very abruptly just then, and I found myself emailing my brother-of-choice from a bus travelling back to the small station so near my home.  We are all heartbroken about not having had the chance to see each other, and I am still furious with Greyhound.  The mistake was theirs, not mine, and three people ended up being hurt by it.  Unless Greyhound honours these tickets and actually works out the schedules, I will not be riding again.  And I don’t see them caring enough to even try.

On Robots, Knees and Empathy

I love my family-of-choice.  They have quite literally saved my life on more than one occasion.  Apparently, my body has developed a sort of empathy in that, hours after learning that one of my FOC suffered a leg injury, I promptly injured my knee.  The Universe has a sense of humour.  We’ll be together soon.  Hopefully, that will be enough to stop this chain. 🙂

Monday, I was helping a friend tidy up and slipped in some mop water.  My foot stayed stuck to the floor; my knee turned sideways and made a somewhat grisly pop.  For a minute there, I sat still on the floor and waited to see what might happen.  Soon enough, though, the pain made a decision for me.  My friend and her husband promptly pulled me up and got me to the hospital.

The hospital visit– which reminded me oddly of medieval torture descriptions– was quick and to the point.  I have a minor tear on the meniscus of my right knee.  It could have been quite bad, in that this is an injury that sometimes requires surgery to correct.  Mine tore in what the doctor referred to as the ‘good spot’ (I was not in agreement at that time) so it can be corrected non-surgically.  I left with a prescription for pain meds, a brace, and some lovely crutches.  On Monday, I have a follow up appointment and will get the further plan.

The brace is the aforementioned robot.  It provides nerve stimulation to help with circulation and pain.  It fits fine under trousers, but it seems a bit like something out of a science fiction novel.  Little electric pulses are given through four electrodes attached first to the brace and then to my knee.  The intensity is controlled by a button on the side of a re-chargeable ‘power pack.’  The buttons are accessible from outside the trouser leg, so I can discretely turn it off and on so the pulses are only delivered fifteen minutes out of every hour.  It actually does help with pain, if only because the pulses are bloody annoying.

All in all, I do feel quite fortunate.  Being blessed with all the grace of an elephant on roller skates, I could have done quite a bit more damage.  As it is, I’ll keep my bionic knee elevated and rested as it mends, truly happy that the injury is minor.

Reminders

I have the choice of being constantly active and happy or introspectively passive and sad.  Or I can go mad by ricocheting in between. ~ Sylvia Plath

 

Every now and then my wonky brain reminds me that, in spite of the myriad of other possibilities, I do have bipolar disorder.  This would be one of those times.  I feel like I’ve been sliding on a helter skelter since Saturday night.  Saturday was the top of the spiral.  My best friend and I had an *amazing* day.  Over the course of that day, I felt the somewhat manic pace of my brain bumbling about but decided it was probably just excitement.  By the end of the evening, however, my thoughts were coming so rapidly that I had to focus on small things like drawing just to be able to think at all.

Sunday started similarly.  About midday, however, the crash began.  It was one of those bumpy descents that threatened to even out, only to fall lower the next round.  By Sunday night, I was so depressed that texting my best friend seemed to take too much energy.  And I don’t miss a minute of texting him.  Not to be outdone, however, Monday brought back the helter skelter. In the bipolar vernacular, there is a debated pattern called ultradian cycling.  This is when a person cycles between euphoric highs and deep depressions over a 24-hour period.  Mental health professionals debate the existence of this pattern.  They would not debate it if they bloody felt it.

Mind you, things have settled back in to a lovely depression today.  The type that makes the sun seem darker somehow and any chance of happiness is destroyed by whatever thought it happens to bring.  Couple that with thoughts that still won’t stop racing and a variety of psychotic symptoms, and you get a semi-functional unfocused me who takes well over an hour to write a simple blog post.  I suppose that’s still loads better than not functioning at all.  Optimism at its finest (and most sarcastic).

Crash

The SRA stuff is relatively contained right now, so it seems the appropriate time to let everything else fall apart, no?  I’m developing psychological neck injuries with the rate of ups and downs regarding food issues.  Things have been going relatively well in that I’ve only slipped in to the b/p cycle a couple of times as opposed to daily.  As of yesterday, though, the calorie count is falling again.  I think I have this reaction to my psychiatrist.  I feel like he’s either not hearing me or not believing me, so I take on the attitude of being a ‘better’ bulimic.  In regards to food issues, I feel like he’s driving a division between my therapist and me.  She tells me he isn’t, but my mind can’t quite accept that for some reason.

Yesterday, I brought up this issue with the therapist.  I told her I’d likely hacked off the psychiatrist and wanted her input on how the interaction unfolded.  She keeps telling me his response to food issues reflects her inexperience in treating them.  Still, I keep seeing the doctor as this smug overlord who’s telling me I’m doing this bit wrong.  Truthfully, the responsibility is on me.  I need his help with this, and it’s up to me to tell him that.  Until then, he is just a passive participant.  Being me and being excellent at standing in my own way, however, my courage drops before I get the words out.

The important bit to figure out, then, is exactly *what* I need and where would be the most likely place to get those needs met.  Just like with trauma, I think the main thing I need is understanding.  I need someone to understand exactly how it feels to get caught up in that cycle and to see food controlling your life.  I need to express that sense of desperation that comes with wondering when or if I’ll be able to get back in control and when or if the control will break yet again.  Definitely something to take to the therapist (and hope she’ll listen).

Even though I’d never be able to tell him, I’d like the doctor to stop trying to box me in to his medical school textbook on bulimia.  Yes, cuts on the knuckles are tell-tale signs of bulimic purging.  They’re also very easy to avoid if you purge in a way that does not cause cuts.  I’m not a walking advert for the disorder.  Why would I *want* to create visual signs of the behaviour?  Between working in medicine and having a good sense of the balance in my body, I can recognise many symptoms of electrolyte imbalances, and I can work to correct them.  It doesn’t always fix issues, and I have had problems in that regard.  The symptoms are fairly easy to hide as well, though.  Dizziness, fatigue, body aches, et c can be attributed to many other problems.  (I won’t say here, lest someone use this post as a guide for hiding bulimia.)  I want the bloody doctor to understand that I might appear fine on the outside and feel miserable in a physical sense on the inside.  This seems a lost cause.

Always, always, always, I feel stuck in the trap of this stupid disorder.  It shifts about in my brain like a living creature.  I’m back to the idea of bulimia as an addiction, though.  As much as I want it out of my life, I’m still terrified at times to see it go.

Adventures with FedEx

Today, I feel quite sorry for the folks at FedEx.  They deliver packages all over America, some of which require direct signatures.  Because my phone has decided to work sometimes and completely ignore any sense of productivity at other times, I ordered a new one, which is set to be delivered today.  This is the almost-end of a long and winding road for my poor phone.

It started with the actual order.  I ordered it on the 24th, a Sunday.  The Monday morning, the company set 25th February as the shipping date.  On the 26th, that date had been removed, and no shipping date took its place.  The order was marked ‘in progress.’  A quick email to customer service got me absolutely nowhere, as I’m still waiting on a reply.

Later that day, I checked the status of the order.  It was marked as shipped!  Checking the tracking number, I saw the package had been signed for.  One week before it was ordered.  Over 1000 miles from where I live.  Being me and realising a package can’t be shipped before the item is ordered, I sent another email to the customer service department.  And I have yet to hear back.

This morning, the poor FedEx delivery man phoned to make sure someone would be available to sign for the package.  He estimated it would be delivered between 1:00pm-2:00pm.  I phoned the person who was set to sign for it and verified the time with her.  No issue.  *Then* the FedEx man phoned again to tell me he was early.  The package would be there about noon.

I hung up and phoned the person who would sign for it.  No answer.  On a second try, I got an answer.  The person who answered was decidedly not who I expected.  Instead of an older female, the person who answered was a younger male– it sounded like my best friend.  Since he was supposed to be at work and I panic when I think he’s sick, the conversation went like this:

Me: Emm…are you OK?

Him: Yeah, I’m fine.

Me: What happened?  I wasn’t expecting you to be home.

Him: Uhh…this is the FedEx guy.

That’s right, folks, I accidentally phoned the delivery man and asked, with much concern, whether he was alright.  Mind you, when I phoned the right person, it took ten tries before she woke up and answered the phone.

Now…finally…the website shows the phone has been delivered and signed for.  By the very person I was concerned with in the first place.  I’m now waiting to make sure he’s OK, but I won’t phone the FedEx guy.  I’ve already expressed my concern for him.

Irritability

I have been so irritable lately.  I think, perhaps, it is because people keep trying to find excuses for me.  The food issues are excused as part of stress, the paranoia is strictly chemical, and apparently multiplicity rules my life in general.  Here, then, is what I call my justified rant.

Stress definitely doesn’t help the food issues.  However, stress is not the cause of it.  It’s an effect as much as a cause, actually.  The food issues are caused by a very complicated mix of emotions, flashbacks, and general lack of knowledge.

Yes, paranoia does have a chemical component, and I do take medicine to help control that.  Still, sometimes the paranoia is justified.  Given my cult background, I do have cause to ‘watch by back’ from time to time.

As for multiplicity, *I* control my actions (gasp from the crowd).  My thoughts are my own.  Discrepancies or changes in patterns do not equal new personalities popping out.  I’ve been doing this a while now, and things are organised.

The moral of the story?  My problems are my own, my behaviour is my own, and the responsibility of dealing with issues my issues is my own.  No excuses are needed for me.

And that is my rant for the day.