Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Friday, April 30, 2010


I finally, finally, finally had a good day. Yesterday I had a few better hours. Today several good things happened and while I had a long, stressful day with enough anxiety to give me an aching face from toothgrinding, I also finally don't want to curl up in a ball and not move ever again, if only the anxiety would allow me to hold still.

Good thing number one: I have a new placement. I'm excited because it's home health. I did home health years ago, and back then didn't really like it, mainly because I didn't feel I had any right to tell people how to live in their own homes. Now that I'm not 25 and just out of school I have confidence in my ability to help people in that environment, and I'm kind of anxious to get to see the "what happens next?" chapter. In nursing homes we get people when they are really ill and get them well enough to make it at home. In home health they get to go back to their real lives. That's extremely meaningful to me for obvious reasons, so I'm happy to try this. Plus, I've been doing the same specialty although with some variation during the psych years, for almost a decade now. A patient recently asked me how long I'd worked where she is. I told her about 9 months. She asked if I'd learned a lot. I explained that I'd been doing this for over 9 years, so mostly it was pretty routine. She couldn't believe I was old enough, and has told me now twice that I look 18. yeah, well, double that and subtract 18 months......But it's true. I have an absolute routine that I go through doing evals, and I write variations of the same goals depending on the one of about 5 options that are possible at the time of discharge, and I can guess pretty accurately what a person is going to be like very early on. In a new setting things are going to be new, yet I'll still mainly work with the elderly.

There are distinct downsides. I'll be driving a LOT. They cover a pretty big area, and they are far away (the town I worked in last year). I'll be staying there at least one night per week and will miss my kitties terribly as well as my house and my sewing and peacefulness. But I do get paid mileage during the day, and I get paid to stay down there, and my understanding is that there will be a distinct financial benefit to this. And as I keep saying, it's only 13 weeks. Even if I hate home health (I won't) and even if the drive is intense, it's only 13 weeks. Plus the contract includes my getting done at noon on the day I see Dr. Mind, so I'll actually have plenty of time to get up to see him and not have it be horrid.

I don't have my contract yet, which I was hoping for, so I know few details beyond that. Mainly though the knowledge that this particular burden is lifted is huge. I think that the anxiety started when I first admitted to myself I'd had it with my current contract and I think a nice sized chunk was related to "what next?" before I even had spoken the words "had enough". I also think I was being honest with myself a long time before I was ready to talk about it to others.

I also had a podiatrist appointment and got mainly good news. The orthotic/brace combination is working very well for my bad ankle and he finally said he thinks I will avoid surgery at least for the time being. Years from now, or if I sprain it again, that may change, but apparently tolerating the correct position from the orthotic and having pain when the orthotic isn't used is what they want to see. I told him that I'd seen a picture of myself where I saw for the first time how badly I was turning that ankle even when just standing and that it horrified me. He smiled and agreed. No wonder the day I came in with right foot pain he was so focused on my left ankle, particuarly after watching me walk. I was practically walking on the inside of my leg. The bad news we're hoping for now isn't too bad. I'm still having pain in my right foot. I already had a diagnosis of plantar fascitis in it, which is basically tendonitis or in my case he believes a small tear. However, further testing today indicates that I have basically carpal (it's tarsal 'cause it's the foot) tunnel syndrome, a nerve that has gotten trapped by my bad position of my foot and from bearing so much extra weight while I was healing. The plantar fascitis will heal, although somehow slower because at this point normally I'd be getting cortisone shots or possibly taking oral anti-infammatories and I can't have those with the MAOI and/or lithium. One reason I like Dr. Ankle so much is that he is totally aware and comfortable with my restrictions without my saying anything or arguing or insisting he look anything up. He really knows this stuff, and that's rare. MAOIs are so rarely used that I'm generally my doctors' only patient on one and there are so many rules that I've not memorized them all. If the problem is the nerve there's little to do. So for now he prescribed this high dosage cortisone cream mixed with lidocaine and it had to be specially made for me and mailed to me, so next week I'll start using it. They tried it today and it did help.

So the podiatrist was kind of a mixed bag, but the worst problem is under control and that's the main thing. I really suspect that more time without strain on that foot from the other one being so messed up will do a lot of good.

There's probably more, but I'm insanely sleepy. I worked late because I had to take a long break for my phone interview, and I had to make up time lost earlier in the week to lack of patients, and then I had to go to the pharmacy and gas station and figured I might as well run through the grocery since that's fast now that I only eat a few things. So I did that too.

So, good night.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mixed Bag

I had a weird day. I actually felt a bit better for a couple hours, even visibly relaxing for a few minutes with Dr. Mind. But then I got home and started stressing about anything and everything. Soon though it's meds and then hopefully sleep.

I have a phone interview tomorrow for a position that is basically mine, the interview is just a formality. It's a long drive, but things are worked out so that I have a short day on Dr. Mind days and I've driven that far before. And it's work.

I'm feeling very grouchy right now because this morning I had mentioned something joking to my sister about being sure to have her baby on a day when it wouldn't be 6 weeks old when I met it. I got back a little note about how they will tell me when they are ready for visitors, smiley face. Because I clearly meant I was going to barge in? I sometimes think my sister believes I have no concept of appropriate behavior. And it REALLY hurts my feelings. This led to some really painful interactions with her other bridesmaids at her wedding. I wasn't even in the wedding until the last minute because one of the bridesmaids dropped out with a week to go. So suddenly it was all this desperate thing that I be part of it. I did it, even though I didn't want to, and spent the entire day getting hurt. Sometimes it was inadvertent, sometimes it was just mean. That was my sister. Her friends treated me like I was a child, telling me constantly what to do and how to do it. Back then my hands were very shaky and I splashed some pop. That was part of my life then and I was very good at cleaning up tiny spills. The one beside me actually took my can out of my hands and poured for me. They spent the whole time being bossy and rude. I wound up with huge med changes as a direct result, and very little relationship with my sister for a long time. My sister used to act like that a lot, but mostly she doesn't now. But she still does it and it hurts badly every single time and inevitably makes me want to scream at her. There's a whole thing that goes with this, and I need to stop because it's making me cry and I don't want to do that right now.

What else? I know I meant to say more, but I'm very tired and my mind is blanking out. So I guess that's it for now.

I needed this

If I weren't stressed enough, and if money weren't already making me want to panic because I don't have a job in a couple weeks, this would do nicely.

I ordered some bras from an online place, because my size isn't sold in Kohls or Target. I followed their measuring directions and measured about 4 times because the size was so much smaller. I knew it would be smaller but that seemed a lot. But each time it was the same, so I ordered that size. Of course they didn't fit, I should have used common sense.

So I returned them. And have waited and waited for the refund. Finally I contacted them about what is the hold up and they said they have no record of getting that package. Which was almost $200 worth of bras that I was rushing to mail and never thought about getting delivery confirmation or insurance. stupid, stupid, stupid.......stressful, stressful, stressful.......

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

One Big step back. Kinda.

Last week I realized that the denials I was getting from my insurance might have something to do with my increase to 2 visits/week with Dr. Mind when the most recent treatment plan submitted said that I was doing fabulous. In fact he was a bit nervous about whether they'd continue visits at all because I was functioning so normally that he couldn't make anything even sound like a big problem. So the whole basis of continuing at that point was to allow me to continue to maintain function and provide support and further coping skills.

Well, things are different now. So we decided he should send in a new one. Today he told me about it. Maybe more than I wanted to know. I just am admitting to myself that there is a lot of depression here; he has known this. I was in the moderate to moderate/severe range for everything, and most telling is that my goals have returned to what they were when I came home from the hospital in November.

There is a scale they use to show how someone is doing called the GAF (Global Assessment of Functioning) Score. Generally the highest score someone has had in the last year is given along with the current score. Just before I went into the hospital he did a score that was so low that he had to pull out the book because he uses scores that low so rarely he couldn't easily remember the criteria. At that time I was at a 32. In the hospital I went more like 20. But a few months ago I was at 82 or somewhere around there. We had a big celebration of that, because that score is NORMAL, further emphasizing my diagnosis at that time of remission, something we'd been waiting to say for years. Well, my score now is 52 and he wrote in the report "and falling".

I knew that I was not well. This tells me nothing I didn't know. I like the quantifiers because it lets me know that I'm not exaggerating in what I think,which is why he tells me. (Remember that I'm currently trying to learn to believe my own assessment of pain and other negative emotions).

But I'm halfway to the worst place ever. And there is a HUGE difference between those 2 things and I'm not going to get that bad and safety nets are in place to help. But I hate so much to know that this is real, that I'm NOT making it up. (There is a certain advantage to being able to deny pain to the extent I learned as a child).

I've been so much worse than this. But I've also been better, and watching my brain try to cope with the messed up chemistry is not pleasant. I have to tell Dr. Mind this still and will Thursday, but over the last couple of days the "this is not worth living this way" thinking has started. While not suicidal if we don't talk about it it will be. (Plus the best way to make him mad is to not admit those thoughts immediately; I really haven't only because they were not all that clear until today).

I feel like a grab bag of stress. Anything that comes out of me seems to be yet another thing I'm stressed about. And the full moon and a lot of time with patients with dementia who were all reacting to this did NOT help that at all. (I had 3 in a row who were teary, angry, sarcastic, impossible to calm, etc). It was weird.

Time to sleep now. It wasn't the easiest day. That's why I hate seeing him on lunch break; more to carry around the rest of the day. On the other hand I need to just be grateful because in a couple more weeks if I see him twice a week it will include a late at night appt. Which is hard too.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Powerful (Lost notes from the hospital recovery period)

I found a notebook today that I'd forgotten about. According to the angry first paragraph, apparently when I got home from the hospital and was so anxious (and it's no wonder I've been feeling scared that the anxiety now is the same; it is similar) Dr. Mind made me starting writing. I had to do it by hand, and in just a few days I filled most of a notebook. I kind of remember that now, mainly I remember writing about 15 pages in 2 days and then giving it to him to read saying "you asked for this". At first it was an outlet for the anger of my hospitalization and various things that happened. Eventually it became just another place to "talk". (If you weren't around and haven't read about my hospitalization check late October through December; late Oct. through Nov. is written from the hospital or pieced together by the wonderful Julia from hospital emails, and the next weeks are analyzing what happened there.)

One of the things in there is a list titled "I expected". I imagine this was written per Dr. Mind's instructions, because one of the things I had to deal with was that very few of my expectations were met. Here is some of what that list includes (and lest some of this seems unrealistic, please note that there were never more than 6 patients and there were usually 2 nurses, a tech, various support staff, a social worker, art therapists, and random other people running around. They were NOT overburdened):

-To see a doctor on the day of admission
-To have a med change before day 3
-To be called by the name I use (I use Jen. They insisted on Jennifer. Even my primary nurses day after day after day, despite corrections, insisted on Jennifer. It did not make me feel at home)
-To sleep if given a hefty sedative, or at least to be asked if I wanted the sedative knowing I had to stay awake
-For people to read my chart enough to know I did not stop my meds
-To not have my diet drastically changed without my knowledge
-To receive explanations of said changes
-To be told why tests were done and what tests were being done
-To be told test results
-To have some med to help calm me readily available in an emergency
-To have treatment individualized to my needs, beyond med management
-To have staff educate me on how to apply the patch, what to do to care for my skin, the dietary restrictions, and the other restrictions that go with an MAOI
-To have someone to talk to for more than my quick MD visits about how I was feeling
-For groups to be more interactive than 4th grade
-For groups to vary, especially if they were labeled something like activities, from the same old read to us/lecture us/semi-discuss maybe format. There was not one time anyone addressed simple leisure skills, something I really needed by the time I got home.
-For more groups to be applicable, to have at least 3 groups in 9 days that were not things I had extensively covered in therapy before
-To not be treated as another depression patient when I am NOT a depression patient
-I had written elsewhere about how frustrating it was that "the only time I heard that word [bipolar] it was from me, and it didn't make things more applicable. Being told "don't focus on how you feel" for a depressed patient is very different than "Monitor your moods" which I need to do as a bipolar patient. I was actually told NOT to do what is most important for my staying well, because I wasn't recognized as having a different disease.
-For paraprofessional staff to be trained to get help instead of offering to tell a very suicidal, sobbing, shaking, unable to move because they are crying so hard patient a joke. Not only did he not respond, he did not even check on me for another hour. Finally I wandered around until I found a nurse and sobbed "I...can't....stop....crying!!!!!!!!!", and then later was (gently, this was a good nurse) told to seek help sooner next time. I had and couldn't find anyone, and that was after I'd assumed the tech was going to mention to someone that I was having a total meltdown.
-That when I left the hospital without a doctor a contingency plan should have been in place. Thank God my doctor was able to handle what came up until the day before Dr. Brain was back, but if I had gotten sick and developed a rash a week sooner I could have wound up back in the hospital because he was not comfortable re-starting the patch under those circumstances.
-Rather than reading aloud 101 stress reduction strategies to us, trying some. (One was "build a paper airplane." So have us do that.)
-From the unit brochure "we work together with each patient to develop an individualized plan that serves a motivator and advocate in this journey"
-My apparent plan, which I did not participate in: "Change meds. Offer sedation. Go to groups, relevant or not. Take away the only foods I could eat without explanation. Force participation after giving PM meds 2 hours early. Ignore patient when she says she feels you punished her for doing what she was taught to do by her treatment team."
-Stupid sentimental poems and sayings are just more depressing.
-Huge handouts that are read to you and "discussed" (ie lectured on) for 60+ minutes at bedtime are a form of torture.

Seen from a distance I really was making sense......

MAOIs and everything

When you go on an MAOI you have to learn a lot of restrictions. There are foods you can't have (there's a big list; for me the only real losses are cheese and soy, but if you eat differently than I do (did) then that can be hard. There are meds you can't have. Anesthesia becomes a nightmare. In fact it is so difficult that when I have my cystoscopy procedure done, assuming my psychiatrist is listened to, I will probably have a large dose of IV valium rather than traditional meds simply because it is safe and we know I'm sensitive enough that a good sized dose will put me out nicely. But it means you have to be ready to sit in the ER in terrible pain and refuse morphine until it is cleared because you can't remember if it is safe, and it also means that you have to be prepared to fight. (When I sprained my ankle badly I also skinned my knee. The doctor asked how long it had been since I had a tetanus shot and since it's been a very long time he wanted to give me one. I refused, but had to have quite a battle over it. Tetanus shots themselves aren't the issue, but I am highly allergic to them and can only be given them with a crash cart ready. Because the meds used to save you from that kind of allergic reaction are ones that can kill you if you are on an MAOI I would also need to be hooked up to an IV with meds to lower my BP at the ready. Therefore I am NOT getting a tetanus shot unless it is vital to my survival, I certainly am not getting one at urgent care, and a skinned knee won't be the cause. But it was a fight).

Today I had a filling done. I had called in to the dentist to inform them that I'm on the MAOI and can't have epinephrine in my numbing shots. He did research and I can have a tiny amount, so I got one shot with and one shot without. And everyone watched carefully to be sure I didn't die or anything.

It is so weird to have psych meds affect the dentist so much. But in reality they affect dental stuff about as much as anything else since my meds/dry mouth are really hard on my teeth.

Now if only the numbing would go away. I have a great Elvis sneer going. Thankfully I don't eat things that require chewing so I have been able to eat normally for me, but I do not like the sensation, especially since right now some of my nose is numb.

I left the windows open today. Bad move. My house is frigid. I have got to start checking the weather daily. I think that is the only thing I miss about TV. That and just the feeling of fitting in; it's strange when everyone at work talks about American Idol or Dancing with the Stars and I have never seen a single episode of either.

Anyway, time for more soup to try to warm up. I want to do things NOT under the covers.........

So Odd

I have been having a clothing crisis of late. For one thing if I don't rotate shoes pretty regularly my orthotic on one foot hurts. For another it's a lot warmer now so I need to dress accordingly. I've been wanting to wear scrubs but have only 2 pairs of pants, both of which are really too big. I started making some but got frustrated (anxiety again) so I'm making do. I have plenty of dress clothes from last fall, but I'm having a hard time wearing them. I finally realized why; the last time I wore those clothes was right before the hospital when I was miserable. I fear bad memories if I try them on. Which is silly, especially since I have no real memories of that time.

It is bizarre what our minds focus on......

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The freaking out? It must end

I've written at least 2 posts and 2 emails this weekend about my panic over my bite guard. I have torn my room apart, gone through old trash bags (ewwwww....), dumped all the laundry bins and shaken every item, folded every item that was clean after shaking it, and crawled all over the place with a flashlight.

Keep in mind that because I do throw this thing it is not always where it should be. However, it has never been anywhere other than wrapped up in the sheets or under my bed. Therefore I checked both of those places many times. (Funnily enough, the only time it has ever been where it was supposed to be consistently was in the hospital. Apparently fear of that filthy floor kept it in my mouth. Of course I had to specifically ask for it, as they wrote down "retainer" on my admission list and then didn't give it to me. Because a "retainer" (without wires) is first good to not use for a week to 10 days, and 2nd because it could hurt me? I swear, next time I am going with a list in the suitcase of "I need this because ____".

Funnily enough, on my "I give up" last look under the bed, there it was. Right where I'd ignored it at least 10 other times. (No exaggeration). So now it is clean and waiting to go into my mouth, then tomorrow it has to go to the dentist with me so that if my filling changes anything it can be re-adjusted.

I have got to CALM DOWN. I am going to make myself absolutely crazy if I don't.

I give

So I have obsessively (and do mean obsessively, reminding me again why OCD is a diagnosis I sort of have) searched for my stupid bite guard. I have even gone through the trash. Only bedroom trash, as if it were in with the kitchen or bathroom stuff I'd have a hard time believing it was ever clean enough to put in my mouth. I have even climbed around under the couch, just in case the cat thought it was a toy. I can't find it.

In the more literal sense, I've done something fun. Thanks to a discussion with Dr. Mind about peaceful places I can go to in my mind, I have done a lot of remembering about the gorgeous Tuscora Mountains and the Juaniata River in Pennsylvania. In looking for more pictures because I have few pictures not of people I wound up on the website of the camp that gave me the best months of my life, along with driving my career choice. They had a list of things they need for the season, and I remember only too well what it was like to operate with no budget and not enough donated items. So I figured out an amount of $ from some unexpected money I received recently and I went shopping. It's incredible how much you can get very cheaply if you are looking for it in the right places. I also had some things at home that were perfect to send off. I just finished packing a huge box full of stuff I know will be enjoyed (and I hope I can remember that when I pay the shipping cost-it's not going to be pretty). That made me feel happier than anything I've done in a very long time.

(Or as Dr. Mind would insist, what FEELS like a very long time.) Whatever.

(And for the added record of I have the best caregivers ever, after hearing me say that I had realized I was going to need new tires soon, guess whose therapist insisted on checking the tires for me?)

A small sample

I think this describes my recent anxiety as well as anything possibly could.

I am supposed to wear a bite guard because I grind my teeth in my sleep and have cracked a number of them, one clear to the bone. Lately I haven't been wearing it as much, partly because I haven't seemed to be grinding as much and partly because I haven't been falling asleep in a very controlled way so it just hasn't been put in (I have to wait until I'm pretty sleepy because otherwise it gags me).

Friday I realized my teeth were hurting, so I was going to be sure to put it in when I went to bed. However, I couldn't find it. Now, this happens. Sometimes when I wear it I remove it in my sleep and throw it or stuff it somewhere. Or it falls off things and is hard to see since it's clear. Normally I would just figure I'd find it in the morning. But I could not let it go, and so I spent nearly 2 hours searching for this thing that wasn't totally necessary instead of sleeping.

I still haven't found it and it is now becoming an obsession. Practically this makes sense as the thing is expensive and is an out-of-pocket expense, and I already have a ton of medical bills between my hospital bill and my orthotics, and will have more with this upcoming test I'm supposed to have. So spending $400 on another bite guard is a lot. However, chances are pretty good it is going to turn up.

Yet I cannot stop obsessing..........

Friday, April 23, 2010


I'm now taking anxiety meds every 2 hours during the day. I am alternating partial doses of Klonopin with Vistaril. It kind of helps. However, I am repeatedly nearly losing it on a daily basis.

Yesterday I got all upset because I got a thing in the mail about my hospital bill being sent to a collection agency. I've made consistent payments on it and am actully about 20% done. So I was really upset. I guess they do that but it doesn't really mean it is late or go on a credit report or anything. But that took hours to settle down from.

I have no idea right now if this is an episode or just anxiety. I know it is bad enough to worry Dr. Mind. He made me do guided relaxation last night and that's usually saved for something really big.

Today is going to be interesting. For once I'm UNDER my hours. So I may have to come up with extra work. We'll see. I then have to do some shopping.

I'm stalling getting ready. Must stop that.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Sewing Blog (Corrected Link)

I've started my sewing blog. It's going to take a while to catch up, so please read the post that will be remaining at the top until I've caught up to now to understand how I'm doing this. New posts will be appearing below that post until I get to this point in time. It's confusing a little but it's the best way I could find to organize this.

The link is Sickness to Sewing


This sounds pitiful. I find it fascinating.

Back in 2003 I had just completed a clinical trial, was adjusting to Dr. Brain, badly needed a different job for numerous reasons, and wanted to be closer to my mother as I learned I needed help sometimes to function.

It also was a very good time to buy a house. Besides that I had learned that apartment living made me paranoid and afraid and annoyed by other people a great deal of the time. This was enhanced by having 2 experiences where maintenance walked in while I was drying my hair and scared me and then another time the new person thought my apartment was the model (next door) and caught me in bed and terrified.

When I first lived here it was with a lot of fear. I didn't feel safe. I was so nervous that I kept the door between my garage and kitchen deadbolted, even though the garage was locked tightly. I would be frightened by any noise or seeming change. It took a long time relax and feel like home was safe and truly mine.

I worked really hard at it and now home is a safe place that I love.

In trying to help me relax Dr. Mind asked the other day if I had a safe place. He meant mentally and we talked about it some. The plan is to make a relaxation tape today, so I decided to bring a few pictures in so he'd know what I was describing better. What I learned was that there is no wonder safety is so hard. I had so many pictures of places that once were safe and now only bring sad memories.

Thankfully that's not true of everything, but that IS sad. And comforting as I know now that I have a reason to feel unsafe so much of the time.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Final thought of the morning

I don't want to work. I want to stay home and be quiet. I don't have a hard day ahead that I know of, but I really just want to rest and not think or talk. I do not feel like participating in life today.

I wish that there were scheduled days like this. "I don't want to" days off.

I also want to see Dr. Mind. Talking to him helps let some of the stress go. Nothing else helps as much. I have to wait until tomorrow for that one.

I hate when I feel like this. I'm frustrated because I'm having trouble even with sewing little things. More complex things are beyond me. And that's my fun thing.

I just want to hide. No more people for a few days...

Oh the Cuteness

This is a blanket I made for my cousin's new baby. I love it and can't wait to make another for my niece/nephew.

I'm starting another little blog to keep pictures of my sewing projects. I need this because I need to see accomplishments sometimes, (well, especially now), and to keep a journal of what I've made.

The ultimate frustration (and what happened to my kitchen)

I wound up emailing Dr.Brain last night and will again this morning, because I'm nearing panic-attack level anxiety and the depression symptoms seem worse. I'm having trouble focusing and am quite distracted.

I realized this morning that I'm even having trouble sewing. I'm not able to follow new directions,which is in turn upsetting me more. I'd made this decision that I was not to make anything else until I had made scrubs for myself because I need them. Unfortunately they are just upsetting me, so it's back to bibs. Although I screwed one of those up too.......

As for the kitchen, see if you can find the mistake:

Monday, April 19, 2010

This is not good

The answer to my explosion will come when I have patience to deal with uploading photos. Right now I need to type and sleep.

I'm scared about work. I got an excited call this morning that they had a placement near where I want to be. Then a few hours later that fell through as it was temporary. But they have another placement an hour from here. Great. Except that it is 1 hour 45 minutes from Dr. Mind. I at first though I could just negotiate out a day that I am done on time or work later the next or whatever, but the thing is that seeing Dr. Mind would mean 4 hours of driving on that day. That's not realistic. Especially not while I'm needing him twice a week, something I'm not bringing up to work.

So I have an email to send in the morning saying that I can't see how this, the best and kind of only option I have thus far, can possibly work without my losing my remaining marbles.

And I'm also reached the point that I want to cry, a lot, and I can't. Too much going on, too much medication, too much forcing myself to hold it together. I tricked Dr. Mind into thinking I was better today, although I really did feel more hopeful as that was in the 3 hours I thought things were ok.

And now I have to force sleep upon myself.

At least nobody was overtly mean to me today. Unfriendly, but not mean.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Distracted anyone?

This week, cooking my weekly soup that meets my taste aversion requirements, I had a little problem:

Care to guess why? (answer to be revealed next time I have a few minutes)

Dear Spammers

It's annoying enough to have to delete your comments, especially when you go through comment verification to post them. But it is REALLY annoying when I'm writing about how hard life is right now and your comment tells me "Great!". So are you happy I'm struggling to exist? Do you enjoy other people's pain? Would you like to try to go through what I am right now?

Go away. You are the last thing I need.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

This isn't so easy.......

Yesterday included a call from my boss telling me that after having received nothing but positive reports about me for 9 months this week the report listed various problems that we had to discuss. There wasn't really anything that was new; it's just that they took all the things I've been telling them for weeks (ie, I'm not bieng scheduled so I can be productive, I'm behind on paperwork and don't have time to make it up) and suddenly they are upset about it. It's not like I've not tried to tell them, I have. I can even show with numbers that I'm not making it up nor am I wasting time, I'm doing the schedule they give me which is an impossible schedule.

At one place, for example, I was scheduled for 4.2 hours. Keep in mind that I have many, many charts that need to be done and that I worked on those for a while during dinner. The only way to get extra time to do things like that out of my schedule and still be on time and productive is to do more than one treatment together. I have asked for a schedule that allows this. Instead I had:

1 50 minute treatment on someone in bed, therefore 1:1
1 15 minute treatment spent trying to convince someone to try treatment that she positively refused (therefore losing the ability to overlap the only 2 people I could) (1:1)
1 30 minute treatment 1:1 because I had no choice
1 eval that was complicated because the patient was delirious and kept taking her clothes off and thought I was "the drunk" and so didn't want to do things; It 's true that stripping does afford a great OT eval, but it took a lot of extra time to calm her and then to calm her freaked out husband. Therefore the eval was 15 minutes longer than usual, possibly 30 minutes more than scheduled since they schedule eval minutes differently and I never really know. (Evals are obviously 1:1)
At least 15 minutes following up on someone who had sudden onset serious issues that I'd been waiting to assess until she saw her neurologist because I suspected (accurately) that she had disease progression I couldn't help. Nonbillable, nonavoidable.
10 minutes of order writing.
2 40 minute individual treatments
5-10 minutes of travel between buildings
30 minutes of travel to get to that building that they count against me unless I fight.
And I did about 45-60 minutes worth of old charts which were laying out as ones I should specifically try to address that day. So I did. Oh, and I did some filing and I think that was on my own time too.

4.2 billable hours, at least 25 minutes of stuff I'm responsible for that I can't bill for, 45 minutes of travel, and time to do non-billables. And it was complained that I was scheduled for 3 hours of treatment and was there 5. Now, what part would they like me not to do? And I ate some of that time; i took a lunch break for a bit to reduce my time.

In contrast, when given patients I could overlap and the like, yesterday I was 90% (my requirement) with about 7.5 hours of treatment in 7.75 hours because I could overlap and group and gain time that way. Then I stayed afterwards and all charts in that building are done.

I have to admit a certain gleefulness though that is bad. (True confession #1. True confession #2 is coming). The OTR before me was fired for general laziness and not doing well, anything. There is a drawer I've always known contained a bunch of OT charts but never looked into any of them because I had no need. I"ve also always wondered where on earth his notes were as they were never in the hard charts. So yesterday someone calls about charts on someone we finished with not long ago. I started digging in there and discovered that there are about maybe 80 charts in there from 2008 and who knows when else that the originals have never been filed. He must have just shoved them there and nobody ever looked. So someone did something WAY worse than I ever have......

And confession #2......Every year for OT month I give my assistants some OT promotional items--a coffee cup, pens, plus candy, etc and a note thanking them. This year I ordered the stuff. And I realized that I do not feel like thanking them. One has always been slightly rude and distant with me. She has no reason to dislike me that I know of; she acted like this when I first met her. Another is great but isn't really working my building anymore. And the 3rd is the one who kept missing work and started this whole mess I'm in. So I'm keeping my things. I don't care how petty it is, or how much of a waste of money or whatever, I am not thanking people who are making me feel bad.

So anyway, I'm just really stressed and feeling like I suck, and knowing that's not true because having 9 months of positive reports and then a negative one when I quit isn't very realistic. But I still know that with my work history anything that looks bad is bad. And it's hard to be treated rudely and be talked about when I'm in the room, etc. Or to have people tell me one thing and my boss another. We know that happened because I heard complaining about something, was upset and left my boss a message. She didn't take the call because she was on the phone hearing that complaint. When I talked to the person who was complaining about it later she lied to me.

I also still have no idea where I'm going. I keep focusing on the fact that I'm fine financially even if I don't work for a couple weeks (thanks to complex financial maneuvering that lets me hang onto the money I spent on windows today for a while interest free), but still, it's really rough to not know and I also just never thought leaving would be like this. Things have gone well, I thought I could leave and it would go well.

So anyway, work kinda sucks. But, on the positive side, I have lots of OT mugs now.....:)And I am getting new windows that are gonna look so pretty......

Thursday, April 15, 2010


My talk with Dr. Mind today was full of concern. He's not sure I can handle this next month. I think I can, but it is just so much. I feel like I was doing fine, but there was stuff hanging from when I had the med change. The time wasn't right to deal with that because something else came up. So we started sexual abuse. Well, that then proceeded to go well for a few weeks before more trauma (the whole I broke my ankle, wasn't allowed to feel pain and therefore caused myself to probably have at least 4 surgeries on that leg through my life, 2 already done and 2 or more to come). That news was harder to hear than I can explain. Part of me says big deal, and part of my is just horrified.

Then came the scary window man. That also triggered traumatic reactions.

And since then has been constant, painful anxiety. Partly this was because I've known for a

while that I was probably leaving this job and felt unsure about the decision. But mainly it was everything else, the PTSD leading the charge. Dr.Mind and I had a serious conversation about this and he did not mince words: this is a lot to handle. And he's right. I'm on a LOT of klonopin, plus the highest dose allowed of the form of seroquel I take and I'm still anxious.

So Dr. Brain has now been notified that things are on the edge and I am just hoping that tomorrow is magically better. If someone would just acknowledge to me what is happening it would help so much, but I think they believe I don't yet know, even though I knew with 99% certainty 2 weeks ago.

So I need to deal with PTSD. I have sexual abuse issues hanging that I can't address until I'm coping better. I have stuff from the fall. And now I have THIS.

I have been warned I may not make it through this without being pulled from work. Realistically I know and said all by myself that if the anxiety worsens much more I may wind up back on the psych unit until something stabilizes it because it is horrible.

I'm going to be trying to follow some rules about relaxation times and not thinking about it times. So if I'm a bit quiet that's why, I'm just not able to write some of the times by the new "rule".

What's happening now

My life has gotten very stressful in the last few days. As I'd mentioned I had reached the point that the stress of work had gotten to be excessive, because I was being scheduled in a way that made it hard to not have overtime, yet also made it hard to reach my productivity requirement. I even tracked this to make sure it wasn't something I was doing. It was not. On top of that I've taken on whatever they have asked, whether it was working a billion hours or changing the structure of my contract to changing how they wanted me to work after 5 months to going to a place I'm not even contracted to cover. I have known that the stress was too much and talked to my boss about it. We agreed that she'd start looking for another placement, and I would talk to where I was to see if it could be resolved.

Last week there was an "incident" where I made a small mistake and a very dramatic patient turned it into a huge thing. Nobody cared; they all knew the context. I was not to even tell my boss because they weren't, I was "an excellent therapist", and was I interested in staying permanently. Then they said they were surprised the stress hadn't hit previously after so much stress for so long.

Ultimately this led to conference call where I tried to explain the stress connection and what the stress is. The person I was speaking to kept insisting it was my fault that I didn't have things under control, despite the fact I can mathematically prove otherwise. I was told to bring suggestions and they'd figure things out Monday. So the "figuring things out" was done before I gave them suggestions and came down to "it's Jen's fault".

I called and requested a contract change. They are trying very hard to find a new place for me that meets my needs. This is turning out to be not as easy as they hoped. I have been promised that I WILL have work by the end of this contract, but it is frightening.

In the meantime the company I've been contracted to informed my company they wanted to end the contract. No reasons given that my company acceptable, and their reaction was the same as mine: You've gone from "excellent, want to stay permanently" to "go away" in a matter of 4 days??????????? There has been no response to that question.

So that means they are talking about me all the time and I know what they are talking about, mainly because it was happening anyway since I had already initiated it. People are also acting very awkward around me. And they seem to be trying to do things on the list of maybe 5 things I had asked not to be done, like making it so I can see one patient at a time, all day long and today I have to go to this extra building for the 7th time in the last 2 weeks. I'm not even contracted there, and nobody asks, they just tell. That is not how they treat their real employees, and as my boss and I have discussed there is a difference between being a contracted employee and slave. (For example, the corporate person I talked to saw no reason that I should be unhappy about them not having vacation coverage for me).

There is more to the story, I'll tell it someday. For now, just know it's going to be very hard for me for the next few weeks. Hopefully today I'll get the call that says "you've got work!", but there's no promise.

Why is work so complicated? It's not changing contracts I mind. For one thing that's part of my job. For another, I initiated it 2 weeks ago, just wasn't sure until Monday. But leaving with the feeling they are angry is another.

I'm so glad I got my meds adjusted when I did....

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Weird feeling

The extra sedation makes me sort of sleepy and laid back feeling. The anxiety and the aftermath of it are making me tired. Yet stress about what happens in a month makes me agitated.

The short story is that as some know and some don't, I work on 13 week contracts. The time to move on seems to have come. They are working very hard to find me something and not having a lot of luck in my immediate area. I'm stressed beyond belief not knowing what happens next. Which is the thing with contract work.

More later.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Do something for me. Please.

The first year I was in grad school there was a bone marrow drive on campus. It was easy enough, just a blood sample (now that's not even needed), and I was on the registry. Over the years they occasionally send paperwork to make sure you haven't moved. I've faithfully sent this in. I got my update last week and when I did the confirmation there was a page to fill in if you have potential health issues that might preclude donation.

Today I got an email that I am no longer eligible to donate. I don't know if it is the meds, an assumption that I can't pass a psychological exam, or the potential effects of the meds on my kidneys and liver, but I can't donate.

I always hoped I could. There are so many ways I cannot give back to the world and this was one way I thought I could. I am very sad about this.

So, please, next time you see a sponsored drive, please sign up. It's free if you go during a drive usually, and all that is taken is a swab of your cheek. If you sign up then at least you might replace me on the list. I hate the idea that someone might have matched me and my stuff isn't good enough anymore.

Thank you.

Monday, April 12, 2010


The extra Klonopin is helping immensely. I only was really anxious for a little bit today and it was a very stressful day. I'm also getting much better sleep, although I didn't want to get out of bed today. However that had more to do with being cold and dreading parts of today than anything else. Again, I can't go into all of this for another month, but let's just say the part of my job where I only work in 13 week contracts is going to pay off. It's time to move on. I'll explain the rest in another month when it is over. I am just so happy though because decision essentially made itself. I knew I needed to move on probably, but was holding out hope that one thing would work out. It did not.

In the meantime I am expecting to have a rather rough month. Rough enough I'm just going to sign up for extra time with Dr. Mind for the next 4 weeks.

I am getting sleepy and boring. More later. Sorry for being obtuse.

Thank God for Dr. Brain and the crazy thing I think I'm going to do

I finally saw her today. It's not that she's been ignoring me. I think I even know why she's not been answering, although she did not really say.

As soon as I got there she asked immediately "so is this cycling?". Which is logical, and explains why she'd hold off on giving me anxiety meds because without assessing me for that first it would just make the situation worse. And I understand why she wouldn't have wanted to get into that discussion via email because she has to see me to know. She knows me well enough to know in 30 seconds in person, but especially since I first called this cycling then changed my mind (Dr. Mind never thought I was cycling), I can see why she would be hesitant to just accept my word for it. Plus I haven't experienced cycling on the new med cocktail and so it might be totally different, I suppose.

Regardless, she listened to some of the difficulties of late and how we are addressing things in counseling, and agreed with my self-diagnosis of PTSD I don't know how to handle because there was also something worse than PTSD, and even if PTSD was a main culprit at some times it often was still easily called and treated as cycling. Although really I don't think PTSD has entered the picture in the way it has now with the recent things I was trying to talk about since long before I was diagnosed.

So, not only did I get the more Klonopin I asked for (and total approval for my taking a whole extra one yesterday, something I had no idea if it was ok to do but which just became obviously the only thing that was going to help), I got an extra dose mid-day of more than I'd been willing to ask for because I was afraid she'd think I was getting dependent, which is when I'm really struggling, and also an increase at night. Which means I'm on a LOT of Klonopin, but as she said there is every reason to think this is temporary and that's ok. I think also that for someone in my situation that it's inevitable I'm going to be on a benzo. I'm maxed out of Seroquel, I can't take most alternative anxiety meds because they interact with the MAOI (just like all meds), I failed a trial of adding the other form of seroquel in a low dose, and I need to stay fairly calm to prevent the bipolar from taking over everything. Plus the MAOI has the effect of agitating me.

I remember back when I met Jean Grey and we first talked about some of the similarities in our experiences and she explained her strategy of using antipsychotics at (I think, sorry if I'm remembering wrong Jean) at a higher dose to allow her to take the amount of antidepressant she needs as strange. I have a lot of tentativeness about antidepressants and bipolar because my experiences with high dose ADs in the years before diagnosis did a lot of harm to my brain that caused some of the things that made me so hard to treat. (I also felt the same way when the med that is a blend of Prozac and Zyprexa came out. My experience on prozac was such scary mania that everyone thought I was going to be hospitalized, right up until I realized what was going on and that my doctor was clueless and stopped it cold turkey. Prozac takes a long time to get out of your system and during that wait I came within inches of being involuntarily committed, stopped only by my throwing terminology around that showed I knew enough and how to fight, but this was after the pink slip was out and partially filled out and I was being told that if I didn't agree to sign myself in she would call the police to take me. I cannot imagine prozac and bipolar even though I know plenty of people are fine on it. For me, Prozac ended all attempts at antidepressants for years, until I failed 2 antipsychotics with frightening reactions and I've been on them since, with different levels of response and lots of changing around.) So purposefully taking lots of antidepressant and then fighting those issues seemed odd to me. And now I find myself in the same position.

I'm really tired. This is not easy to read. Sorry.

My other decision today is one that is limited to "I'll ask", and if Dr. Mind agrees then we'll proceed.

Thursday was a weird session. Partly it is weird because my anxiety reaction and events in my life have left me totally hanging on what we had been discussing, sexual abuse. I was just getting comfortable talking and asking questions that were helping me understand things a little more (turns out that some of what I am fearful of and remember as bizarre things can actually make quite a bit more sense if someone with an understanding of sex that is more than the biological how-to I possess can give information in the form of "do you know that _________ can happen and would seem very much like what you are describing to a child" makes gaps fill in. Sure there is no way to know if the explanation is right or my memory is right, but at least it makes sense if you add in things I just don't know. But it was also weird because we wound up talking about a memory I have of a discussion after I was released from the hospital that appears never to have happened.

I have so much leftover anxiety from the hospital, and I think I may ask if we can try something, namely comparing my writings about it to the hospital notes that Dr. Mind has. I need to find out how much is grounded in reality and what is just my confusion. I have no idea what he'll say, but I need this to become just something that happened and if I know more facts than just what my journals/blog say I might handle it better.

We shall see.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Lost it

There is stuff going on at work that I'm not at liberty to discuss, nor am I willing to talk about it if I were. It's just the kind of thing that happens I guess, but it's really upsetting me, making me question why on earth I do this and whether I truly suck, and then it's all mixed into this thing of trying to make my schedule easier, and it is too much. I wound up crying so hard I went home early and will stop in on my way to see Dr. Brain tomorrow to finish. I've had way more anxiety meds than I should have and they don't help.

Overall, not my best week. Dr. Mind was hard too, because of how a conversation turned he wound up rather inadvertently demonstrating that some of the memories I have from the hospital time aren't even true. Which isn't shocking, psychosis can do that, but it's more confusing. He also was trying to help me see that this is not "forever", it's just feeling that way. Which I needed to hear, but I didn't really leave feeling less stressed either. And he's very busy, so he gave me a time he doesn't usually do appts. to call in for on Monday if I want it. I already claimed it.

I just want to feel peaceful again. Right now, so not happening.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

I do fun things

I am pretty sure that title is straight from a Dick and Jane primer. Oh well. I have a hobby. One that I care about enough to pursue and share.

These are my latest creations. I am so proud. (And won't admit to the ones that didn't make it past the scrap drawer......:)

Monday, April 05, 2010

Symbolism: 6 weeks time

From This:
(the view from my front porch 2/17/10)

And This:
(The giant snow pile the village had to pay to have hauled away; it was blocking much of the only "major" intersection in town)

To This:

(The view from the side of my porch Friday morning)

It's about what the last 5 months of my life have been like, current weeds aside.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Bad Dream

Last night was disturbing. It wasn't my frequent wake-up-screaming-and/or -crying dream. But it was a dream I don't need.

I dreamed I signed myself back into the psych unit. It went back through what it took to go to admissions and say "I'm here for a direct admit to 6N", then to give my name and have them bring out the special bundle of papers that awaits you when you commit yourself. I signed that green-edged paper again, the one that I remember in detail despite how horribly ill I was because it was so terrifying, the paper that says I understand I am admitting myself to a locked unit, that I agreed that if I wanted to sign myself out they have a right to keep me for 3 days more (in order to get court certification to keep me), etc. And then the wait for someone to come to take me to the 6th floor. There is no urge to run away like the urge you feel sitting there waiting for someone to take you to where the door is going to close and you'll be staying.

I was sent back to the same room, which I know was just a head game because I know that for any admission I want that room or the one beside it, as they are private and I cannot imagine enduring a roommate when it is so hard for me to handle noise as is. I'm fairly sure I got that room because of Dr. Brain and I know that she'd request it for me again, but there are only 2 private rooms.

When I was really admitted the nurse went through a huge pile of admission paperwork with me. This time they gave it to me to fill in, and I read the blurb about how I'd been a recent patient, had done well, been pleasant, etc. That is a joke. I did do well, more or less, but I was NOT pleasant. Nobody is in that position, but I went into it having decided that I put on a good face all the time and that the prior month of doing so had about killed me and I was going to act like I felt, for once. And I did. I was rude and angry and demanding and shy and impatient and needy, and I did what I felt like doing. I complained and got mad and argued and cried and cried and cried. I may have called Cynthia, the nurse who traumatized me more than anything or anyone else, names under my breath. In fact, the first actual conversation I remember having included me mumbling under my breath how much I hated her and being so glad that the other patient agreed since he was much less sick than I and in much better shape to make clear judgments.

When I was really admitted it was an absolutely beautiful day. In fact, although it was fall and the leaves were changing, it was a day of the kind of blue sky and clearness that reminds me and most people of 9/11. During teh admission process they got me a lunch tray which I picked at and was eventually left with, although i just moved it out of my way. I remember standing at the window, which was so difficult to see out of because it had very heavy mesh, then a blind inside that was partially open/partially closed with no way to control it, the window and a regular screen, looking out and realizing that if only I could see clearly I had a gorgeous view of Lake Erie to the right, a hallway on the other side of the hospital straight ahead (I was then very careful where I stood to change clothes, once I was well enough to even care about that), and to the left a lovely little church with a cross on top that combined with the lovely leaves was absolutely beautiful. And that was when I gave in, realized that I had finally made it to safety, and started crying. Which I proceeded to do for most of that day, stopping at intervals for art therapy and pretending to eat dinner. I'd try to read and people would ask me how my book was and I'd tell them that knowing the author i was sure it was funny but I had no clue. I need to re-read those books, but I still don't read much. I listen to tons of books on CD, but I just don't do full books yet.

In the dream I reached the same point, except this time with more clarity about "this is where I belong". the thing that is bothersome is that I was there for this anxiety. Which is NOT that bad. Maybe I needed a reminder of that. Maybe I needed to think about how anxiety is one of the things easiest to treat without messing with the MAOI restrictions. Maybe I needed to think about how terrified I am of any part of my life crumbling in a way that would indicate this could happen again. (Saying that, I'm well aware that I'll be back there someday. There just are so many interactions and I'm at higher risk because I'm always at higher risk for interactions, that many to most changes in my meds are going to mean a trip to psych. And getting off this if needed and onto something else would mean a long stay, possibly 3 weeks or more. Dr. Brain has confirmed this, but told me that people tend to do well long-term on this stuff, more than is true for most antidepressants, which people burn-out on eventually.

I think the biggest point of the dream was that I am scared because I am so anxious and it is much like it was after I was released, except that then I was also severely depressed still and now at least that isn't true.

Regardless I've had more enjoyable nights and better things to think of. It's so odd that when a time period because that blurry that the memories can still be so specific. Because even though what I described was specific, I remember so little of that time.

Tomorrow I might get to see Dr. Mind. I have no clue how I will manage it if they come up with an appointment, only that I will do my very best to get there.

I hope, I hope, I hope........

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Promises Promises

So today I have kept the promise made to Dr. Mind 10 days ago. I have done NOTHING. I have worked on a bib. That is it. Oh, and I peeled the foam off of my cat's window perch so I can replace it with cleaner foam. Otherwise I have rested.

I feel a bit better, I guess. I haven't had to take anything for anxiety, although I need some now (but it's pill time so my body is also used to starting to get sleepy now.) That's in contrast to last night when a trip to Walmart for food had me so anxious I had to swallow a Klonopin while in line, without water. I still feel like my mind is on overload. I need to get away from stress somehow. I need to figure out my day off remaining this contract to have something to look forward to. I can do that after Tuesday, which is when I should find out if my doctor succeeded in getting me into urologist #2.

I don't feel as relaxed as I should after a day of nothing but tomorrow is also a day of nothing. I have to run my mother's very early Mother's Day gift (it needs to be planted ASAP) down to her house, but she won't even be there so I will be doing a drop and run. That 2nd day off should help.

One thing I will say from the week, adjusting to orthotics in the shoes is harder than I thought, but they do help. I've adjusted extremely well, wearing them full-time on day two, when that could have taken a week or more. They aren't entirely comfortable for that long, but the discomfort is no worse or better than it is without them. It's generally one foot that gets sore, and then the other is angry is I take the orthotics out. It has been odd learning to walk with my ankle back somewhat is line with normal, and with resistance to turning in. I had no clue how much I did that naturally. My other foot has been angry all day today. I'm not sure if that is because the slippers I wear in the house have no arch support (so I'm going barefoot, which I hate, but whatever) or because they are tired from the week. Regardless, one week down, 3-4 weeks until they are 80% effective. I never knew they were so slow to work well. I never really considered that they could hurt, in fact. I just hope they do their job. So far they seem to, but only time will tell.

I also promised Dr. Mind to do a lot of writing about what is on my mind. I haven't done that quite as much on here especially as I probably could have, but some of it I'm not ready to talk about, some of it would need more context than I want to give here, at least right now when I'm not sure about what I'm already thinking, and some of it just better was talked about with a friend. That's sort of the problem with what is on my mind being incredibly personal; I will talk about things here, but I really need to have thought it out first or I say things in a way I'm not comfortable with. I think, that I have met my promised amount of writing. Now I have just another 5 days to survive until I can talk. Or 2, if there happens to be a last minute opening on Monday that I can fit into my schedule. Sooooooooo not likely.

I also have to get up my strength and courage for a difficult talk with work. I actually have to stand up for myself and not let them make me so stressed. This is not my idea of fun.

Getting sleepy. Haven't even had meds. Won't sleep for several hours but not much fun to read when all I want to do is close my eyes......

Thursday, April 01, 2010

It's all about Denial

(Michal, I owe you an email. Over the weekend).

I think that there is more to the whole "this is PTSD which I don't really know how to handle" thing. But this is so complicated.

I've had the diagnosis for a very long time. As I said, it just doesn't come up as an issue much, compared to the other things. Also it's not something I talk about much because it tells too much. If you have PTSD, and especially if you have PTSD and talk about your father being out of your life because he wasn't "very nice", then there's one thing for people to assume. And there are other assumptions about PTSD that just feel too private. I don't talk to anyone, ever, about being sexually abused, aside from the few people who know for specific reasons (ie they treat me for something). So about the only time I give the diagnosis is when I'm facing something like a gynecological exam, where I will write PTSD in big letters all over the place with asterisks referring to the place where I explain what helps me cope.

It's not that I don't admit I have it, or that I look negatively on people who do. I think though I have always been reluctant to think about having it, because I have felt that if I have PTSD then I haven't won the battle against my past.

Tonight was more troubling symptoms as I was in a store and a child was crying and a father being very mean. Another thing I hate about PTSD is the terminology, like "flashbacks", I guess because that's never been particularly meaningful to me. I guess it seems too peppy and fast for the moments when I relive some horrid part of my past. But there I was in that store listening to that man be so mean to his little girl, and not succeeding in getting away from them, and I kept remembering how whenever we cried in public my father would threaten to "give us something to cry about" and then hold us up so everyone could see who the misbehaving child was. And sure enough he did that to me. It probably had happened before, but this time I was old enough to be completely humiliated and my innate shyness made it even worse. The worst of it was that I don't think I was even really misbehaving, just being impatient about being in a glass outlet store where I couldn't touch anything or move freely. And sometimes with my father we weren't allowed to talk either and that probably was one of those times because that's a pretty good recipe for meltdown with any child.

I realized, and I do think this is a good realization, that partly I am so extremely stressed because I've never really just dealt with PTSD all by itself before and I don't know how. I know some things, but not how to deal with so many things reminding me of my old life all at once, much less the whole re-experiencing the feelings part.

I think when you have lived with illness like mine for so long it's pretty natural to not trust feeling good. I do now, I genuinely expect to feel good tomorrow and next week and next month. At the same time I get scared when things don't "feel right". Which seems like a pretty natural reaction. I think that when you are dealing with a recurrent mental illness it is very hard not to watch all the time for the other shoe to drop. And so now, even though this is not the 2nd shoe, it scares me that is could be. It reminds me that shoe can drop again. And that frightens me. I think I'd almost begun to think that it couldn't until I had to go off my antidepressant last fall. And that re-aquainted me quickly with my illness and the horrible things that go with it. Even with being cautious and aware of anything signifying change, and even with the general idea I have of what really bad illness is for me, my mind erases so much and blurs what is left that finding myself there again, and in ways worse than ever before, made me very aware that things can fall totally apart in a matter of days or hours, reason or no. Which means that every symptom is scary because what if this is it?

So I guess that the job for the next week is to start to believe that this is NOT bipolar, this is NOT the beginning of falling apart (something I have special reason to fear as I know that from here on out severe episodes will hospitalize me because of how limited we are with meds outside the safety zone, and probably because I've proven myself to be more suicidal than we knew before. I know I will take suicidal thinking more seriously and Dr. Mind certainly will and he was already quite serious about it.)

For now the job is sleep. And after tomorrow I have to work in only 2 places again! Yay.