Is this Bizzarro World?

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Woke up this morning feeling like nothing was ever wrong with me…???

Sure there was still the physical limitations, stiffness and minor aches. Did I just say minor?

I have been going thru a Flare Up with my Sjogrën’s Syndrome. It made me wackier than usual and in some serious pain.

So I had that going on and the therapist dump all at the same time. Maximum Overload.

Today, I wake up at 6:30 am. Lately, I have only been sleeping 3 hours and not being able to take naps.

Decided to leave the clinic and transfer to another one. I am the consumer and I am not satisfied with the services they offer. My insurance covers it, so I am ok. I wish it was that way for everyone.

I can’t imagine being stuck in a crapy situation for your mental health needs and having no choice. Either you do what is available or you have nothing. It’s a shame that this is the usual situation across the country.

We have been promised a change in the offering and availability of mental health care here in the US. I just hope its for the better. That there is an INCREASE in availability and that meds are easier to get for those of us who choose to take that road.

Today I am feeling good. I’m gonna live in the moment. Tomorrow will take care of tomorrow. Mindfulness today, moment by moment.

Is this the future of Therapy for the Mentally Ill?

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Its tough enough meandering thru life with a mental illness; you’ve got STIGMA, the inability to find and KEEP the therapy or meds you may need, due to money or changes in the mental health care system.

I knew my therapist was leaving. I thought I would be transferred to another one, seeing as I have a chronic illness, the BiPolar.

But no; they just closed my case on the day of my appointment without prior warning. They no longer handle ‘long term‘ therapy.

And it was so convenient, right in town. I love the nurse practitioner, but part of me wants to go, because

I NEED THAT ONE SELFISH DAY, ONCE A MONTH; WHERE I CAN FOCUS ON ONLY ME AND NOT ANYONE ELSE; ITS CALLED INDIVIDUAL THERAPY!

I thought of going without and just opening a case when things were really tough and after I get through the one hurdle. I would be without a therapist again. Until the next hurdle, which eventually would come alone, hey it’s called life.

So I would just be opening up all these cases and it would get ridiculous. Dropping Mentally Ill patients without warning and basically saying “YOU’VE HAD ENOUGH THERAPY. GOODBYE“. Now that’s ridiculous.

I’ve now got to find another therapist or clinic. Now is not a good time. But then again, when is it a good time to say goodbye to someone who has seen you thru over 10 years of the darkest days of your life?

Not easy…

I have two options now, but I’m not gonna rush this, it’s my life I’m dealing with and I want to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

They say the future of Mental Health Care are ‘short term’  and ‘goal oriented’ sessions with the therapist typing in your responses as you say them, like a stenographer. They are basically taking dictation and offering coping skills and you have no idea what they are putting into the computer, that’s not therapy. That’s dictation.

At the end they ask you, “SO, do you think you’ve made progress in the 30 mins I’ve been typing down what you’re saying and giving very little response or reassurement?”

I find this cold, impersonal and RUDE. If I’m gonna share with you things I can’t even tell my own mother, at least look at me and PRETEND to pay attention or be concerned.

I am angry and disgusted with the whole process.

They also mention, that it’s an insurance thing. But it doesn’t matter that this THING doesn’t apply to my case.

So where does that leave me? Hunting and hoping; that’s where it leaves me.

Tough few days – Thank God for Alanis Morissette and OUT IS THROUGH

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Struggling with the new dosage of my thyroid med. My doctor says my symptoms are backwards. I should have felt this way when I first started the med, not 4 months later. So he just thinks its the BiPolar…

NOT!

But I didn’t argue, there was enough of that going on in my head. Confusion, depression, rapid mood changes, crying, anxiety and just plain mental pain.

Its like starting this crap all over again. But I’ve decided to fight thru another week and see if this goes away.

Thus this song and post.

“Out Is Through”

Every time you raise your voice
I see the greener grass
Every time you run for cover
I see this pasture
Every time we’re in a funk
I picture a different choice
Every time we’re in a rut
This distant grandeur

My tendency to want to do away feels natural and
My urgency to dream of softer places feels understandable

The only way out is through
The faster we’re in the better
The only way out is through ultimately
The only way out is through
The only way we’ll feel better
The only way out is through ultimately

Every time I’m confused
I think there must be easier ways
Every time our horns are locked I’m towel throwing
Every time we’re at a loss, we’ve bolted from difficulty
Anytime we’re in stalemate of final bowing

My tendency to want to hide away feels easier and
The immediacy is picturing another place comforting to go

The only way out is through
The faster we’re in the better
The only way out is through ultimately
The only way out is through
The only way we’ll feel better
The only way out is through ultimately

We could just walk away and hide our heads in the sand
We could just call it quits, only to start all over again
With somebody else

Every time we’re stuck in struggle, I’m down for the count that day
Every time I dream of quick fix I’m assuaged
Now I know it’s hard when it’s through
And I’m damned if I don’t know quick fix way
But formerly mistreat me silence now outdated

My tendency to want to run feels unnatural now
The urgency to want to give to you I don’t want most feels good

The only way out is through
The faster we’re in the better
The only way out is through ultimately
The only way out is through
The only way we’ll feel better
The only way out is through ultimately

The only way out is through
The faster we’re in the better
The only way out is through ultimately
The only way out is through
The only way we’ll get better
The only way out is through ultimately

=============================

I’ve just got to know that this too shall pass.

Have I ever been healthy?

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Don’t get me wrong, I know the importance of medication and keeping things ‘level’. But when you have more than one condition, lets say physical pain and a mental illness. Sometimes they bump heads.

I don’t have a thyroid, had it removed in March. So since then I have been slowly titrating up my thyroid medication 80mcg to the present 137mcg. It hasn’t been fun. For the first few days, I am hazy, depressed, confused and tired. I am reclusive and self hating and almost suicidal. I said almost, because all these feelings and emotions are feeding upon each other and at the SAME time, my psych meds are in the background WORKING.

So I know it’s the meds and not me, or rather the adjustment to the new TSH crap and not the BiPolar rearing its ugly head.

Add in the pain killers for the arthritis from my Sjogren’s Syndrome. Your average person/doctor is baffled by this illness. Some Rheumatoid doctors don’t even treat it, why? I have no idea, I wish I knew.

So, I’m on a low dosage pain killer; which I need to boost with Tylenol when it doesn’t quite do it. I can’t take another type because of the psych meds I’m on, but I can take Oxycodone, (generic). Which I do when the flare up hits the hardest and I can barely walk.

Levothyroxine, Tramadol/acetametaphine, and the BiPolar cocktail and vitamins necessary to survival (a malabsorption issue). And I rattle when I walk. Like a bottle of pills. I didn’t want this and there are those who rant that, I can live without all these ‘poisons’ in my body.

I’ve tried this approach. For me, it doesn’t work. But that’s me.

I sometimes wonder where all of this started. I wasn’t the healthiest youth, always sick. Several cases of tonsillitis and very thin and weak.

I can remember them packing my nose with gauze when my fever hit above 103 when I had the measles and had to be rushed to the hospital with a gushing nose bleed that wouldn’t stop. So many ice baths, I don’t remember why, always had a fever, always sick.

Then things leveled out as I got close to my teens. Except I couldn’t go out to play during sunny days. Allergic to the sun, I would get nose bleeds. I grew out of that part, but now I just get small blisters on my chest. Even when I use sunblock and cover myself.

I was ok during college, although high school, my arthritis really acted up. Gym was a problem.

Looking back, I shouldn’t be surprised that at 25 BiPolar would strike and at 47, the thyroid would rear its ugly head (dodging cancer) and the Sjogrens would reach its detectable level.

So when I’m wary of taking anymore meds. Of any new treatments. I’m facing a possible Boniva treatment for my bones (preventative). I have to supplement calcium and vitamin D3.

It makes me wonder about the next 10 years of my life. My mother battled breast cancer twice and won. So I just don’t know what else to expect, if anything.

Anxiety and living with it daily

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To put it simply, it’s hard. That’s the only word that people who don’t know what its like can understand, when you break it down.

So, lets try to break it down. Waking up, is hard. Because you fear what the day will bring, or what you may have to do during the day. It could be something as simple as taking a shower, will I fall? That goes thru my head a lot.

Then you have to go outside. THAT IS A BIG ONE. If you have social anxiety, it’s a major step, just to step out of the door. You wonder what others are thinking about it you, so you look at the ground when you walk. I try to do mindful walking, so I’m not thinking about what could happen and rather on where I am going.

You feel uncomfortable because someone may speak to you, then what do you say? What if they don’t speak to you, then you think, what is wrong with me. Or my favorite, ‘what do they want from me?”

As a communications major I learned that the purpose of communications is to get something back from the other person. It could be an answer, directions or a simple ‘hello’. But YOU basically want acknowledgement. And sometimes, I can’t give that too you, I’m barely making it myself. I can’t feed your ego and function at the same time, sorry Bub, move on.

Then there are the ‘what if’s’. Worrying constantly about the future and always coming up with the worse case scenario. Making lists in your head of things that will have to fall into place in order for something to occur. Even if it’s months ahead.

Crowds make me anxious. I have to keep telling myself that everyone else there, in the crowd, are so caught up in their own lives, they don’t even see me or even give me a second thought. Which basically is true. Unless they want something, which brings us full circle in the social anxiety thing.

My therapist would say, go out and try something small. NOTHING is small when you live with anxiety. So, I ignored that little pearl of wisdom.

I find that pharmaceuticals are my life savior. I couldn’t do without them. I have tried and it was hell. I have tried and succeed with self talk. But I would need to be calmed down first to even listen to myself talking.

I have a daily dosage and a PRN ‘just in case’ things are too much for me. Hell, life is too much for me.

I’ve been described as a boat on the ocean and a tiny wave can teeter me one way, or the next. It’s those waves, which are constant, that I deal with everyday. I know they are coming, so I expect them and I take my meds, go to therapy, use my coping skills and do what I can, when I can.

I find if I have a specific purpose to go ‘outside’, it makes it easier. A doctor’s appointment or shopping for the week or month; I shop for the month. Less trips out into the WORLD.

There are days I feel calm enough to go for short walks, as my health allows it. They are enjoyable. And I am thankful for them. And when people walk past and say, ‘hi’ I can say ‘hi’ back.

What’s going thru my mind at that moment is, just say hi and keep moving. Which is what I do. I try not to read anything into it and I forget the incident and just keep moving.

Trying not to delve into the reasons or the triggers of feeling like I’m being used to make their day great. Like I could make their day great. Huh, maybe I could. Just by acknowledging them and saying, ‘hi’; I make them feel appreciated and like ‘hey, I’m a great person. Friendly and kind to strangers I meet.

The whole ego thing I talked about.

Anxiety stems from other issues that are going on inside of your head. Some have panic attacks from anxiety. ME! But I’m not going into that, too long.

Everyone has felt anxious at some point in their lives, it’s just to what degree you feel it and how long it lasts.

Either the speaker knob is on 1 or 13. There are numbers in between, but I usually dwell around a 11 or 12 without meds.

So, yeah, living with anxiety is HARD. If you met me, you wouldn’t have any idea I have social anxiety. My mask fits well enough to pass. At least it does sometimes.

It’s too darn hot for meds… Or anything

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Heat is not my friend. I can’t go out into the sun, because of meds. And even when I’m indoors, even with the AC, the humidity etc. makes me woozy and disoriented and just plain tired. I end up sleeping all day or rather passing out and waking up like, wah!???

I’ve never been a fan of summer. But it’s been pretty hard this year. Psychotropic medication and the meds for Sjogren’s Syndrome and the fact that I am allergic to the sun. YUP! Allergic, I found that out when I was a child. I thought I was the only one on earth like that, but I ran into a few others on Facebook.

Summer is hell. I can’t go to the beach, I have to cover up like a mummy, the sun stings my skin, even with sunblock, which makes me sweat and feels like a layer of paint on my body.

This has to be the worst summer yet. Indoors, outdoors, I lose. And it’s not even August yet.

Whine, whine, whine. Yeah I know. If it wasn’t for the ice in Winter, I would like winter the best. But I love fall. Cool, sunny, beautiful sunsets and sunrises and the leaves change color. Beautiful. I’ve always loved the fall.

So, I’m taking it slow for the next few months. It’s taken me this long just to get my head together enough to make a coherent post. I hope.

@POTUS – Please do something about all those suffering from mental illness and can not afford assistance, medication or therapy.

My tweet to the cause.

I apologize for not being able to post regularly. I’m sure there are days you don’t want to be bothered as well as there are days, that I can’t put the thoughts together. Its par for the course. It goes with the territory. It is what it is. It’s BiPolar.

So, I stay in the shade. Try to make sense of things and the day passes in between medication.

One of my friends is so affected by the heat, they forget or are so dizzy, they forget to take their meds. Side Effects will do that too you.

Now to watch episodes of #MrRobot that I missed. #fsociety

Should we bring back institutions for the mentally ill? I say YES, it can be done right now.

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“Over the last 30 years, we’ve shut down the old asylums and what we’ve seen is increase in incarceration, suicide, homelessness, emergency room visits, unemployment, substance abuse and substance abuse deaths. We have failed on all these metrics. Anyone — anyone — who thinks we are being successful in helping those with severe mental illness is delusional.” – Republican Congressman, Tim Murphy – June, 2015

Read this story please…

http://www.buzzfeed.com/sandraeallen/the-trials-of-teresa-sheehan-how-america-is-killing-its-ment#.weqd07P7d

This is where the above quote was written. There are days when I wish that living was simpler. Where I felt safer and that I was surrounded by others who understood my condition instead of judging it or condemning it.

The psychiatric community believes that we are better off communing with society, rather than being isolated from it, there are times I disagree with this and days I agree.

I like my freedom. But, when I read stories like the one above, I wonder if properly run and checked institutions could benefit some of the mentally ill better than a pill and an occasional visit to a therapist.

In the past, institutions were self sufficient. They grew their own food and made their own bread etc. They lived on large natural settings, protected and shut away from society.

In the past, these patients were experimented on and treated badly by staff and doctors. This is one of the reasons these places were shut down.

Now, there are so many mentally ill who are homeless and in our prison systems forever, because they didn’t receive the help they so needed after these places were closed.

prison

Everyday there’s a new story about a mentally ill individual committing some horrendous crime. Which makes it hard for those of us who are able to maintain our illness and function or live in society, some of us even work, but are afraid to tell others of their illness, for fear of the STIGMA attached to mental illness.

It is nearly impossible to get the help to and for these people. Getting into a state institution is not easy. So many fall thru the cracks and end up in the headlines.

And the outpatient ‘help’ is terribly lacking. With more and more patients and fewer therapists out there to provide assistance. They are cutting down on the time you can spend with your therapist and getting to some of these outpatient clinics is a chore for some, because they are so far away from where they live.

Medication is expensive and the side effects turn off so many people.

I feel, that for the few that can’t cope or adjust to living and maintaining their lives thru meds etc. The option of an institution, run reputably and responsibly, would be better than more lives lost.

The only problem would be coverage by insurance. Insurance companies are one of the main reasons people aren’t able too afford therapy and medication. They reduce the amount of sessions and how long you can spend on psychiatric wards.

In other words, you have to leave even when you’re not mentally stable to cope with life ‘out there’.

Roger Rees 

Roger Rees was an incredible actor. I first saw him in the TV production of Nicholas Nickelby. For which he won an Emmy. He won a Tony for it also. 

  
The character had such passion, I fell in love and blushed. I was a teenager. 

His performance inspired one of my best poems. Which I lost some years ago. But I remember one  stanza, the last one. 

I love him in a passion

A flush of blood in cheek

A scream, A rage, A kiss

Goodbye Roger, not many people’s performances are brilliant enough to turn into a MUSE. 

Fourth of July

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Some days have been better than I expected. I actually did something social. For someone with Social Anxiety, it was a major accomplishment. I didn’t set out to do this, it just came to mind.

I went to the Fourth of July parade, alone. I walked slowly up the hill, watching each step and being mindful of my feelings. I told myself if I felt too overwhelmed, I had the option of turning back around at any time. No responsibility to show up and pretend to enjoy myself.

But I did enjoy myself, the bands, the children and the people. Everyone was so kind to each other and the kids. They enjoyed the candy being thrown and the music and groups dancing.

I even filmed a few things, here’s a few.

I really liked these guys, image doing this dance in the rain for over 1 mile.

Groups were throwing candy and I was collecting it for me and the children. I also got a shirt for a little girl who was ever so grateful.

It felt good.

Sometimes, I felt like this guy,

There, but not really there. Either way, I was exhausted when I got home, but I really don’t think I fully appreciate what I’ve accomplished in one day.

A crowd of people didn’t scare me. Loud noise and laughter didn’t make me paranoid. I didn’t feel like I was being watched or judge, I was just there and nothing mattered but the moment.

I even talked to people and clapped and just ‘let me be me’ without fear.

Of course, I took an Oxy for the pain and a clonopin for the anxiety before I left. And they worked without making me a zombie.

One day gave me hope. Hope that one day I could do something else social, without falling apart.

Social anxiety has kept me indoors for years. Building a world where I don’t have to go out and ‘mingle’. It still scares me, but I try not to think about it too much.

Something to ponder.

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