Friday, July 20, 2018

"Besides what you see I [don't] have confidence in me."

People have told me that what I'm courageous or brave for writing the things I do on this blog. Even if that is the case, even if I'm doing more than screaming into the void, I am far from having confidence. And, maybe those things are not the same thing.

My major depression, treatment-resistant depression, bipolar depression, whichever-diagnosis-is-on-the-table depression and my anxiety have stolen things from me. The greatest theft has been my confidence.

There is very little I have confidence in about myself. It's a terrible thing to believe yourself to be incapable of doing most anything. I have lost confidence in the idea that I could get a job, a full time, little to no anxiety, contribute to our household job. I cannot envision such a thing.

So, I sit with my anxiety and lack of confidence. I sleep until my anxiety and lack of confidence messes with it. I do not adult. I cannot adult.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Dream big, but a little less specific, perhaps

I've been thinking about ending this blog. I can't remember the exact thing I heard, but it was something like blogger are just "throwing up into the abyss", or maybe it was "vomiting into void". Either way, it had be feeling like blogging is a waist of time and kind of a self-important act. There's also the fact that my dream for my blogging was to become something that would amass readers from all over, which I guess fill the self-important part. Anyway, for now, I'm still here.

And on to other matters.

About a year and a half ago, I wrote a post that started out with a girl on "Sister Wives" coming out as gay. I made brief mention about how her mom was struggling with it. One of the things her mom was struggling with was her dream for her daughter. Things like her getting married and picking out dresses for that. Also having grandchildren from her. All of these things can still happen, but in a different way.

Recently, I heard that someone I know, let's call her Susie, has a daughter who now identifies as male. Susie is a progressive liberal who is also a mom. She is struggling with how this is so difficult when she is so liberal. But, she's struggling with what she envisioned for her child and for the difficulties life has in store for her child. She knew what she wanted for her child and this wasn't it.

Then, another person I know was talking about her baby girl. It was about the future and the wedding she will have. And the groom and all the traditional things. She was dreaming big. She dreams big about all the things her baby can and/or will become.

All of this got me thinking. I think it is so easy to fall in love with the life you imagine for your child. I know, I don't have biological kids that I've raised since birth, but I still can observe things. Maybe parents should dial back their dreams for their children. Maybe the dreams should be for hope, love, peace, happiness, strength, and so much more. Happiness doesn't have to be boxed up in a trip to the bridal store to try on dresses for a cis wedding. When you wish that box on your child and your child simply cannot open it for you, happiness, for maybe only a brief moment, doesn't happen. 

One of the greatest moments with my dad was when I apologized for being his greatest disappointment and he told me that I wasn't and that all he ever wants for me, all he ever wants for my siblings, is to be happy.

So, dream happiness, dream love, dream strength, dream peace and allow them to figure out how to manifest those things.






Thursday, June 28, 2018

So much mattering is happening

Presidential elections matter. Primary elections matter. Midterm elections matter. State elections matter. County elections matter. City elections matter. All elections matter.

If you don't think they do, think about the road you are driving on; the paramedic who saved your grandma's life; the police response time when you really needed them. Those are things that come from government; come from elections on tax increases; come from something that comes from a ballot.

Here's something I discovered for myself during this primary cycle in CO. There were a number of county level offices, mostly uncontested. I typically would just fill in the bubble like the guesses I made on the SAT. I just figured that they were from my party affiliation so just go with it. I decided to look around more for all the candidates.

The county coroner's office on ballot actually had two candidates. I thought about it and was like, "Who cares who cuts me open. Does it matter if they are red or blue?" Since I was already all about the Google for my voting needs, I decided to look at the coroner candidates. I figured I'd just see some medical credentials, maybe coroner positions held previously, yadda, yadda. As I was starting my Google search for the one candidate, high on the list of results was something about his focus on transgender and non-binary people when it comes to death. He is a supporter of LGBTQ rights and with that comes his stance that coroners need to respect gender identity in death as much as it should be, needs to be, in life. He wants death certificates to reflect the person's identity as they had lived.

This really blew my mind. Not the LGBTQ, trans, non-binary stuff. The part where a coroner actually has a political platform, for lack of a better description; that coroners have more on their mind than human dissection; that red or blue choices in coroner might really MATTER.
So, again, for all the bullshit that goes along with it, politics, voting, and making your voice heard all really do matter....especially in the age of the motherfucker in chief.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

What have we done to ourselves - oh, wait, I didn't vote for him.

I never thought I would come close to eating these words. The state of the U.S. and its place in the world is becoming quite scary to me. The things that 45 is getting away with are stomach churning. He's got the whole ripping kids from their parents thing going on. Yeah, Obama had shit going down, but his wasn't the separation (with spellcheck, how did 45's people spell that wrong?). He deported a crap ton of people, so STFU about him already. Oh, right, 45 went with an executive order to end seperation [sic]. That was a lot of bullshit with little actually being done. And then, he gets his fucking racist Muslim ban a thumbs up from SCOTUS. He also removes us from the the U.N.'s Human Rights' Council. Pardon me while I go from some Pepto, Tums, and all the other stuff to try to turn my stomach right. He also pulled out (if only that were a successful form of birth control and that his dad would have practiced it) of the Paris climate agreement. Then there's his grand standing, dick measuring contest he had with Kim Jong-Un. His Twitter feed is another example of how vile this guy is. These are becoming horrifying times...I mean, I can't believe I'm saying this, but they are.

Then, there's SCOTUS. Holy crap is it also becoming a bit disturbing. Believe me, I am not Colorado proud when it comes to Neil Gorsuch having a spot on the bench. We need RBG to hang on for a long time - science, make this happen!!!

And now, I need to find some shitty T.V. to cleanse the palate and calm the stomach.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Celebricide

Not too long ago, I was living in the darkness, not saddness. There was crying, sobbing, wailing, and blurting about being done. I didn't know what done meant, exactly, but I wanted it. I had gotten into bed in an attempt to bury myself in the dark.

Shawn was having none of it. He talked of committing me (so far in this life, that has not happened). He raised his voice and cried. He told me if I chose to kill myself he would hate me forever and never forgive me. And then, somehow, he talked me down.

This is Shawn's life. His life is not #AnthonyBourdain, #KateSpade, #ChrisCornell, #PhillipSeymourHoffman, #RobinWilliams, and #AnyOtherCelebrityWhoBringsSuicideToTheNewsCycle. The celebrities bring about people sharing suicide hotline numbers and offers of being that ear that will pull you out of the darkness. People call these suicides a wake-up call...which, after a brief time of social media posts, sleep returns. Shawn lives the wake-up call without the chance to go back to sleep. Many people live wide awake everyday.

The things people want to do in the light that shines upon suicide prevention and mental healthcare when a tragedy like celebrity suicide happens are great. Lobby for better mental healthcare coverage. Post phone numbers to hotlines. Check in on friends and family who seem off. Commit someone if that seems appropriate. Come up with a code word for your person to text you when things are getting bad. Do all of the things. And, continue to do them, even when the news cycle moves onto something else.

BUT. A really big BUT. The BUT-that-is-probably-going-to-piss-off-many-people kind of BUT.

Prepare yourself. You need to know that all of those things may not work. Why won't they? Because it takes two and only one of the two is rational. I HAVE to answer my phone. I HAVE to text the code word. I HAVE to let you in.

I'm not saying don't try. Always try. I'm saying that if, despite your trying, it happens anyway, you have no guilt to carry. The guilt belongs to the irrationality that is the mental illnesses some of us have to carry.



Wednesday, May 30, 2018

"I can handle things! I'm smart! Not like everybody says... like dumb... I'm smart and I want respect!"

I'm smart.

I'm not Doogie-Howser-MD-at-14 smart.

I'm not summa-cum-laude-from-Harvard-followed-by-an-Oxford-Fellowship smart.

I am smart. I have a piece of paper, a very expensive piece of paper, from a respected Ohio institution saying I have a Bachelor of Arts (given my actual academic skills, a BS* {ba dum tss} probably would have been more accurate). An institution founded in 1871 that was the first women's college in Ohio and among the first in the country. Despite my best worst study habits, I had  grades that meant, when I crossed the stage for the expensive piece of paper, I got a little gold addition to the diploma saying that I was smart. I was finishing up magna cum laude.

*I am smart enough to know that I was making a joke about BS meaning Bullshit instead of Bachelor of Science.

So, why does it matter that I'm smart? Social media. Social media is why it matters. I took a break from Facebook because I felt like I was being made to feel stupid. I'm sorry, Madame First Lady Roosevelt, I guess I'm giving all kinds of consent to many on Facebook to make me feel inferior.

I used to think rhetorical questions were a kind of literary device that could be used to provoke thought. I thought I was being clever and smart. But, when I've used them on social media, I end up being schooled in all different ways about the topic of the rhetorical question. Comment after comment of articles to educate me. If I wasn't being rhetorical, I would share articles and shit. I KNOW HOW TO GOOGLE. I'm smart.

When I decide to share something, I try to make sure it's not bullshit. Sometimes I'm not as thorough as I should be, but I really do try. I KNOW HOW TO GOOGLE. I KNOW HOW TO USE SNOPES.COM. I'm smart.

Sometimes a meme is just a meme. I shared a funny meme. It didn't say anything about any political party, and any particular presidential administration. It was not challenging any data...or at least, I didn't think it was. Perhaps the meme could have applied to a few years ago, that didn't make it any less valid today. It was funny. I found it to be clever. I'm smart.

I made a post venting about a situation. I was venting that the situation wasn't trending. It just seemed like something that some of the people I know on Facebook would typically talk about. I merely said what the situation was. I made no comment regarding either political party, or the current vs. previous administration. I'm horrified by the current administration, don't get me wrong, but I also don't have rose colored glasses when it comes to my guy from the last administration. The post was strictly bringing up an issue that was in the news, but not my trending list. Again, it wasn't a post needing to have articles posted, such as the one that pointed out that it wasn't something that started with 45. I wasn't asking what the story was, I was pointing out that the story wasn't trending. I KNOW HOW TO GOOGLE. I'm smart.

I made another post. It was a very specific point involving Constitutional rights. Again, a very specific situation. A comment was made that seemed like an attempt to school me and friends who were reading the post. It felt like it was being made to point something out to me that was nothing I ever made any kind of comment on. Like, I'm known to be liberal and couldn't possible see the parallels. I mean, obviously I'd be a hypocrite and therefore ignorant as to how the cases were the same issue. I understand things. I'm smart.

I'm smart.

I'm not degrees-from-all-the-Ivy-League-schools-at-10-years-old smart.

But, I am smart.
 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Drugs and treatments and doctors, oh my!

Things have been rough. Things have been rough for a few months. More than the usual roughness that has been my life for too many years. 

Earlier this year, my primary care physician did my annual thyroid check. He keeps tabs on my hypothyroidism and prescribes the Synthroid as he sees fit. He has always been my thyroid guy. 

My PCP knows my PsychNP. He recommended her to me when my previous psychiatrist was retiring. His reason for liking her is that she doesn't over-prescribe. She focuses on using the least amount of meds to get the job done. I honestly can't remember how long it has been since I started seeing her. But, when I did, she changed my diagnosis to Bipolar Depression. I'm not sure if she kept the anxiety in there, but since I'm still taking Ativan, I'm thinking she did. 

So, a pretty significant med cocktail rehaul took place. Then, Electroconvulsive Therapy was added to the list of shit-to-try-to-fix-me. That was 9 months of being put under and having electrical stimulation of the brain. The hope was a reboot of my brain to make me more responsive to medications. Uh, not so much. The average course of treatment with ECT is 6-12 sessions. I was going 3 times a week in the beginning, so those average numbers were blown away and I still went 2 days a week, eventually working down to about 1 a week, and, I think it may have been an every other week thing in the end. Given I don't remember pretty much the entire year of 2016 (ECT can wipe your memory from periods before treatment, during treatment, and kind of fuck up after, too) I'm not sure how the tapering worked. Shawn was pretty much the one to put the stop to the treatment. He didn't see that I was benefiting, so my last treatment, against the Psychiatrist's recommendations, was December 23rd, 2016. 

The ECT Psychiatrist also knew my PsychNP. He would be in regular contact with her throughout my treatment. I didn't entirely agree with her about my diagnosis and some of the meds I was one. Um, okay, what should I do? He doesn't do psych work other than ECT. So, it wasn't like I could start seeing him. 

I've stayed with my PsychNP. It's been a few years at this point. She doesn't take our insurance anymore, so I see her less often. She is quite frustrating, but finding another mental health provider is a very stressful process. There's the "FUCK! I have to start at the very beginning!" then there is the "Are you kidding me? I've been being treated for something and you don't agree?" and the starting over on a different course of meds. The meds part is the worst. Breaking in a new medication means trial and error; may it doesn't work; maybe it works but needs a higher dose; and, of course, new side effects.

As often as he can, I have Shawn come to my appointments. He can provide insight as to my special kind of crazy. This last appointment, he came. It was probably be good because I was extremely frustrated. There's her excessive lateness, for one thing. The last few months she has screwed up my Ativan prescriptions with the pharmacy. She is SUPER married to my drug cocktail even when I tell her things are off. This time, she looks at my thyroid report and the dose of Synthroid and decides she's taking it over. She explained that the thyroid issues and the bipolar issues can sometimes cause problems when trying to dose the Synthroid. She said my PCP is very good, but not experienced enough with treating both things. WTF???? I've been on thyroid meds since you started seeing me. Why wouldn't you just take them over from the beginning. Then she brings up that the problem with two of my meds could be the generic versions I'm taking. She said it could be that we need to specify that I get them from the generic company I had gotten from before the switch a few months ago. I know generics are hard to deal with, especially when coming off the name brand, so I agree that this could be the reason for my issues these last few months. So, we're changing from one generic to another for a couple of drugs. We are changing the Synthroid dose, which is so frustrating because I have months worth of dose I was put on earlier this year. But, then there is the one med that she hates that I'm on the generic version. She brings it and mentions Canada. We've been through this, Canada wasn't any cheaper. I'm not paying hundreds of dollars a month for a name brand med. She doesn't like that I make money an issue. She says she's not concerned about money, she's concerned about my health. I tell her my anxiety isn't going to be addressed by excessive amounts of money being spent that we can't afford. She then looks at Shawn and asks if money's really that much of an issue. Now that was some bullshit there. We do not have hundreds of dollars a month to spend on name brand because she swears by it....must have a deal with the company.  I was pissed during and after.

Here I am. A few months of major mood issues. I've been breaking down in the same conversation I had just been goofing around during. I simply cry. Just cry. I drive and cry. I work and cry. I sit in an office working on files at work and cry while Abby, my office mate cat, just chills out with no empathy whatsoever (Did I mention she's a cat? Who would expect empathy?). There's also some rage mixed in followed by exhaustion. The exhaustion also comes from putting on a show, doing some of my best acting in social situations without bawling my eyes out. Hopefully all of the drug changes will change things. Hopefully I'll figure out a new shrink. Hopefully I simply will.  

Then there is Shawn, through all of this...

...and I'm not sure I will ever understand why.