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Out of the Suicide Spiral

As you read earlier this week, my weekend was… NOT GOOD to say the lease. That’s the worst I’ve been in a while and I would rather not get anywhere near that again. My shrink is changing my meds up some and she gave me a list of 10 Forms of Twisted Thinking so that I can identify the shitty thoughts and recognize them for what they are.

Of course, that assumes that I don’t already know the thoughts are fucked up when I have them – I do. It’s just that I can’t control how fast they come and spiral.

BUT, as I was crawling out of the spiral on Sunday night, I had an excellent conversation with a very good friend about depression and why I struggle with it so much. She said what a lot of people say, that depression is a liar. A light went off in my head. I thought of something else everyone calls a liar, or rather The Great Deceiver – Satan.

Which led me to one of my derailed trains of thought. I won’t get into that in its entirety because 1. I can’t remember it i full and 2. It doesn’t really matter. The conclusion I ultimately reached is that the depression is trying to get me to stop shining my light in this world and stop me from fulfilling my role in the larger universe.

The reason this is important to me is that most often I’m not willing to do something for my SELF. Typically I just don’t care enough. Bad things happen to me. Boohoo. Okay. I deserved it. It’s karma. Whatever. But, when something affects OTHER PEOPLE, I have a problem with it.

People have told me that I’ve helped them through things. That something I shared with them mattered. That I affect more people than I know. I have a problem with depression trying to take that away. THAT is not okay.

So now, I have a reason to fight. To not just let go when the spiral forms beneath me. I will see that black hole and tell it to go fuck itself. I have people to help.

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Well, so much for that

On Friday I gleefully posted about how the Blargh had hit me, but that I was doing really well emotionally and pretty well physically.

I never should have posted that.

You know why? The Universe was listening.

And do you know what the Universe gave me? An anxiety attack that led into a suicide spiral. That’s usually how these things go for me. I’ll break it down.

I get into a situation where I stop seeing possibility. I stop seeing opportunity for things to change. It can be for any number of factors, but generally involves: 1. My physical inabilities currently to work in a full-time environment; 2. That I live in the desert in the Middle East; and 3. Bills. Damn bills.

Money is usually the trigger that sends me straight into the darkest places I can go. See, I know what plans Mr. Lyndsy and I have. We want to buy a house in the US (we were going to do that this summer, but it’s been tabled for reasons that have nothing to do with me). We also want to save as much money as possible before going back because it’s highly unlikely that Mr. Lyndsy will make what he does here. We also have no idea what kind of condition I’ll be in.

So on Friday, the trifecta hit and my anxiety shot through the roof. I have a student loan I cannot get rid of no matter what I do. It’s $500 month. Most months, I barely make that. Which means that the other various bills I have – hospital bills from the little trip I took to the ER in February, credit card bills from business expenses (sadly, direct sales haven’t gone super well lately), and personal credit cards (which are my fault, some, and stupid shit), don’t have much money to fund them.

Then I have to ask. I hate asking, because it puts me into the expense column.

My brain starts scrambling to figure out what I might be able to do. Then I get caught up in the fact that my body is not so good to me all the time. I have constant fatigue from fibromyalgia. I have insomnia which I only overcome when I take one of my antidepressants. The problem with that antidepressant is that it knocks me WAY out. Even if I fall asleep around midnight, it’s not unheard of for me to sleep until noon. That would make getting to work on a bit challenging. If I try to get up before my body is ready, it won’t move and I end up falling back asleep. I’ve learned it’s better not to fight it.

The thing is that here I couldn’t have any of the accommodations that I would have in the US. They don’t have an ADA. If you can’t do exactly what they’re asking (and most jobs work 6 days/week) they have no reason to hire you because there are people lined up behind you to take the job.

“So Lyndsy, just move back to the US!” Ah, but you see, the US is a problem now – healthcare. It’s too up in the air to risk it. Mr. Lyndsy’s anticipated job doesn’t have healthcare. *I* would have to find a job with insurance (the exchange plans where we’d be aren’t the best) and be able to work and make enough money to cover it. Right now, I don’t see how that’s physically possible. Knowing that any protections I would (no lifetime caps, pre-existing care coverage) would either go away or become unaffordable freaks me out. I see a rheumatologist, endocrinologist, nephrologist, and a shrink (and you know how Republicans hate treating healthcare!). I take 7 medications per day, well, 8 right now, plus one more weekly. I don’t even want to think about what those would cost if I had to come up with the out of pocket funds.

Herein lies my problem. Whether I’m here or there, I’m kind of screwed. The only saving grace would be a successful SSDI claim, which is unlikely the first go through. They often take 2 years to fully litigate. What would I do in the meantime?

This is how I end up feeling trapped in a dark place I cannot get out of. Where I hear from a voice in the back of my head, “The best thing to do would be for you to kill yourself.” And it starts to sound downright LOGICAL.

YES! Kill myself! Then all of this doesn’t matter. I stop being a expense! I no longer have to worry!

Friday night was the closest I’d been in a long while. I mentally wrote my goodbye note to Mr. Lyndsy and my obituary. I thought about messages I’d like to send people. I don’t want anyone to feel bad. This is just my life and how it rolls.

After a while, it’s too much. Knowing now, after almost 3.5 years of constant pain, with other worsening attributes, that any kind of traditional work environment would be too much, is demoralizing. I feel guilty about spending money on fun things. Because if I spend money out of my accounts on anything fun, I’m going to have to ask for money from Mr. Lyndsy. But, if I try to not spend, I grow resentful. I hate losing my independence.

So here I am. I made it through Friday night. It’s just a one episode at at time kind of thing.

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My new word for 2017: Me

My word for the year was “determined.” Really, it was, “I am a determined unicorn.” A good friend of mine says that we shouldn’t pick words in an attempt to outsmart the Universe, but I feel like my choice of determined is sort of kicking my ass. It seems like what I did was invite challenging situations to show just how determined I am. Like my regular life wasn’t enough for that. Ahem.

When I picked “determined” I was thinking about my commitment to my growing direct sales empire and making sure that I’m doing the most I can to succeed. I have been making strides toward that though the first 4 or so months not so much. I got caught up in being overwhelmed and having situations sort of fall apart that made it harder to do. I didn’t have focus. Some of that was because I had no idea how to keep all the ideas that were flying around in my head coordinated. Y’all, I don’t know what the hell happens up there, but it’s like a party with a loud DJ and no chaperone to tell it to stop.

I also wasn’t on the right meds at the beginning of the year. My emotional state was a bit of a mess, though I felt a bit better physically. Now I’m on the right meds, but my body is sort of taking a crap on me. To really have things move along sort of smoothly, even a little smoothly, is that my body and mind need to work in conjunction a bit better. They both need to be sort of okay. I still have some anxiety issues and dips into the dark places in my mind, but it’s happened less often. My body though? Ugh. I seem to be out of a fibro flare that lasted a good long while, so that’s positive. I just wish my lady garden would get with the program.

That all brings me to the point that I still need to be focusing on ME. I need to focus on getting my body together. I need to be more functional. Less tired. More able to wake up and get going. I need to take advantage of the fact that my mental health is more stable so I can be creative. Creativity is how I know that I’m okay. If I’m not creating, something is wrong. I read a lot more when things aren’t great. It doesn’t require any effort on my part.

I have found ways to keep the craziness in my head somewhat controlled. I am working on systems to make sure I complete things I want to complete and still get to create. I need to get a bit better about it though to fully explore everything I’m interested in. But, I really need my body to get more with me before I can do that. I hope that happens somewhat soon!

Anyway, thanks for continuing to read along! I do hope to add some more sound to this at some point so you can hear me rather than just read me. Maybe even a video from time to time! And as always, I appreciate the kind and positive vibes you send me. I do think they make a difference!

Waiting is the pits

IN my never-ending saga of medical drama, I had a D&C yesterday so that the doctors can try to figure out why my uterus hates me. This isn’t the first time I’ve had one. I had polyps in 2008 that they took out by D&C. I assumed it was polyps this time too. I was wrong.

Turns out, it was an abnormally thickened endometrial lining with cystic lesions and increased vascularity. That doesn’t sound good, and Dr. Google confirms that’s likely the case. They’re calling it endometrial hyperplasia and the goal now is to determine if that’s true, the type (with or without atypica), or whether it’s cancer.

So now I wait.

I’ve already researched the hell out of all of it. Apparently 30-33% of cancer cases started as endometrial hyperplasia with atypia. If it’s atypia or cancer, the uterus comes out. If it’s cancer, the ovaries go too. I’d like to keep the ovaries to avoid an early menopause, but I’m not fucking around with cancer. Most of the time if there’s cancer in the uterus, it’s also in the ovaries. Thanks, but no thanks.

So I’m left with two weeks before my appointment, knowing the results will likely be available after a week. That’s the type of waiting that kills me. SOMEONE knows what’s going on, but it’s NOT ME. I want it to be ME. Even if I couldn’t see the doctor, I could get the report and obsessively research whatever it is. I like to be informed so I can ask good questions while I’m with the doctor, rather than getting the information and not knowing what to ask while I’m there.

At the end of the day, it is what it is. I’m trying to fill my time with creative and productive activity so I don’t worry. I ordered a puzzle that should be here before too long, which will hopefully take me some time to complete. I’m going to try to spend more time designing cross-stitch patterns, t-shirt and sticker designs, and some things for the direct sales companies I work with.

It’s still going to be a tough two weeks. I doubt I’ll make it that long. I think they have my appointment with the wrong doctor anyway, so I may try to do a walk-in appointment. I also need to go to the dentist for a cavity and also get a pap smear (since the doc saw something she thinks needs to be checked out to make sure it’s not cervical cancer – joy), so maybe I’ll sneak in then.

Before anyone tells me that it’ll all be okay, I won’t need a hysterectomy, please understand that whatever is needed, I’m fine with. I’ve had problems for so long that the idea of hysterectomy is actually a relief. I just need to get things better, so I’m less stressed and have less pain. I can’t deal with that on top of everything else.

I’m trying to keep it simple, stupid 😉

Wiped out

This week has been long and draining. I have had less energy than the last few months. It’s made being productive an incredible challenge. Because I hate losing, I’ve been doing things I want to (since it’s on an app that asks me whether I’ve done things and I won’t lie to the app), but it hasn’t been as exciting for me to do.

I’ve accepted that pain and discomfort are a regular part of my life now. I didn’t know that in 2014, and for a long while I expected that everything would turn around and I could go back to my old life. Accepting it hasn’t really made life easier. I guess I don’t get disappointed as often. I don’t wake up and then get sad when I realize that my right leg still doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to.

I think the real problem is that acceptance only covers what exists at the time you accepted your life. New problems don’t get factored in, particularly for things that never would have occurred to you. Perhaps that is why this week has been worse. I’m dealing with something new and mostly unexpected. Well, blah on that.

My life feels a little like Frogger. I’m darting around the highway trying to get to the other side while avoiding a collision with a car. (Side note, I’ve seen a frog get hit by a car and it is NOT pretty. Strangest thing was that the frog seemed to purposely jump under the tire.) Jumping around while the highway is packed is exhausting. You move forward only to have to move back. Then you jump sideways and realize you didn’t get anywhere, so you panic and jump without really looking first.

Argh. I’m tired. I hope this finds you better than I feel now.

Spoonie Life Complication #2: How much is too much research?

Spoonies spend a lot of time at the doctor. I have to go every three months for blood work and follow-up to make sure everything is under control. That’s for non-acute issues. If I get sick in the meantime, I have to go back.

One of the problems I’ve had, and I know other Spoonies have faced the same issue, is that we have to advocate for ourselves. It can take a while to get a diagnosis with something like fibromyalgia or Hashimoto’s. It’s frustrating because we know something is wrong, but we can’t get treated for it. So we stay sick. And we get pissed off. So we go to the internet.

Now, I know that Dr. Google is no substitute for a real medical opinion. However, the internet is a wealth of information, and we can get access to medical research and studies somewhat easily. For a frustrated person, this can be amazing. We’re able to arm ourselves so we can ask our doctors better questions. Let them know that we are invested in our care.

At some point though, the question is how much is too much research? I’ve recently been to have a new issue checked out. I got weird vibes from the radiologist when she went from being chatty and friendly to saying “Your doctor will tell you what it means.” Well, okay.

After meeting with the doctor, who indicated things were mostly fine except for one issue, I went home a touch confused. So I hit the internet. Mostly what I’ve done is make things harder for myself when really all I can do is wait and see what happens further down the road.

I want to be well-informed, but at the same time, I don’t want to worry needlessly. It’s just a rough position to be in.

But, it’s a pretty common part of being a Spoonie.

Validation Status: Pending

I have trouble getting help when I need it. Whether it’s physical health or mental health, I tend to put things off.

When I was 20, my senior year of college, I started having trouble with my periods. They went from being normal periods to unbelievable torrents of blood. The kind of blood loss that you would think could kill you. But, I knew from friends that sometimes it’s like that. I didn’t think much of it.

But, it continued for two years and I couldn’t deal with it anymore. It was insanely overwhelming to deal with the heavy bleeding. So frustrating every month to have the same thing. I went to the doctor, but all my hormone levels were normal. They put me on birth control and I got some relief, but ended up with terrible cramps.

The next year I read about the amount of estrogen in the birth control was using so I stopped. I went back to heavy blood flow, but the blood flow became constant. It wasn’t always heavy, but it was there at least 3 weeks per month. I kept on, but it started to interfere with my work. It was 2008 and by then I’d moved to the other side of the country so I sought out another doctor. This time they decided to do an ultrasound.  This is when they discovered polyps in my uterus.

After they took care of them, things were okay for a while, but now it’s 2017 and I’m back to where I was in 2008. Things have been off for a while, but I resisted the doctor.

The first time I remember having suicidal thoughts was in 2008. My life had hit a point where nothing seemed to be going right. It felt like I had no control over anything that was going on and that there were no good outlets. I even had a plan, to minimize the damage it would have on the lives of people I cared about. Somehow, this didn’t seem out there to me. It didn’t seem like I should talk to someone. I thought because I could rationalize it in my head and talk myself out of it, that I was okay.

I was in an abusive relationship, living with the man, for months. After we broke up, I didn’t get help. I figured that because I worked my way out of the relationship, that I was okay. Even though the smell of his cologne on someone else took me back for years, I didn’t do anything.

When I was 22, I was raped. It was a friend, and I was in a compromising position with him, so I thought that I was the one who created the situation and that it was what I wanted. It was my first time, and what he said was, “Well, I guess you’re not a virgin anymore.” And that was that. Even when he said later, “Are you ok with what happened? You know, since I didn’t ask you first?” I didn’t think anything of it. Even though he used the textbook definition of RAPE. I never talked to anyone about it for years.

My problem is that I need validation from other people to know that what I’m feeling is legitimately a concern. It wasn’t until coworkers convinced me I needed to go to the ER because I could barely stand and couldn’t walk upright that I did something aggressive about my back problem. I ended up having surgery THAT DAY because the problem was so bad.

After I broke up with my abusive boyfriend, someone asked me, “How could you let that happen?” I internalized that to mean that it was my fault that I’d been in the relationship. Therefore anything I felt after was also my fault and not something I should get any help for.

It was only a couple years ago that a few people suggested I might want to get psychological help for the rape and consistent low feelings I was having. Even then, I thought I was fine.

I recently had stomach pains so bad that I couldn’t stretch my abdomen. It wasn’t until Mr. Lyndsy said I should go to the ER that I even truly considered going. It’s like the things that happen to me aren’t anything. I had a spinal fusion and tried to go to work 2 weeks later because the doctor told me I could go back when I felt like it. I took that to mean I shouldn’t be out of work at all.

Now, if this were a friend coming to me, I would have told them they were nuts to go back to work two weeks after a spinal fusion. That rape is traumatic. The list goes on. But when it comes to me, what I feel or experience isn’t enough. It doesn’t have meaning on its own. It’s hard to put into words. But it’s sort of like feeling like I don’t matter. But even that’s not the right description. I guess it’s more that I always feel like I’m exaggerating.

I don’t know when this started. It could be from when I was growing up. I sprained an ankle when I was in high school. I missed a stair and came down on my foot sideways. My dad din’t take me to the doctor, just gave me gel to put on it. My mom told me if I thought it was that bad, to call the doctor myself. To me, neither took it seriously, so it wasn’t an issue. Never mind that it swelled up to twice its size after every basketball practice. I never went to the doctor.

When I was 7, I threw up. I went to the bathroom for the toilet, but I didn’t make it in time. After my mom got everything cleaned up, she told me that if I missed the toilet again, I would have to clean it up. When I told my mom about the constant bleeding, she told me that it couldn’t be real or I would have told her about it. After my abusive relationship ended, I asked her to fly out to help me. She said she was busy at work, so she didn’t come.

Most of the time I kept things to myself. I never wanted to be a bother to anyone. I still really don’t. I apologize to Mr. Lyndsy all the time because I am so sick all the time. He tells me to stop being ridiculous, but the feeling that I’m a dead weight is always there. I guess I feel like I need to justify any expenses that I cause because of my health.

I guess, the long and the short of it is that I need to have a chat with my shrink.

Congratudolences

Congratudolences? What is that? Well, in the spoonie community, it’s what we say when we discover something about our illnesses. Congratulations for figuring something out! But, condolences for having to figure it out in the first place.

I got many congratudolences when I got the lupus diagnosis. Yes, lupus sucks. But! It’s great to know why I feel like shit all the time!

Today my congratudolences came when I finally realized how to tell when I’m having a fibromyalgia flare! I woke up today and my upper back wasn’t screaming in pain! That is a victory! Yesterday I was damn near completely miserable because my upper back hurt so much. I have no idea why it stopped (or started), but I am glad to have a signal when I’m flaring. This lets me know that I need to take it easy and let my body relax so it can stop freaking out.

Now the task is to figure out which drugs I can take or what I may be able to do to take the pain down a few notches. That pain is absolutely unreal. I can’t focus because the pain is so bad. It’s truly miserable.

I’m trying to really pay attention to the signals my body sends so I can better take care of myself. I should really be keeping a journal so I can track what I eat, any exercise I do, and how my body feels to see if there are any correlations. If I’d been smart I would have done this ages ago. Argh.

Anyway, congratudolences to me! Figuring things out one small step at a time!

Spoonie Life Complications #1

*If you don’t know what I mean by “spoonie” read this.**

I labeled this post #1 since I am quite certain that there will be many more in the future. The one currently affecting my life is this: Spoonies do not have the luxury of not planning things.

I know there are many people out there who like to plan. But, for spoonies, planning isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity.

Mr. Lyndsy and I are planning to move back to the United States as he’s decided to take a friend up on a longstanding job offer. For some, it’s just a simple matter of picking a place to live and going from there.

Unfortunately, I need to know whether the job comes with insurance. Given how crappy healthcare is in the US, I have to make a somewhat concrete plan. I cannot afford to live with crappy or no insurance. ONE of the medications I take for diabetes costs $350 without insurance. (Where I am now it’s covered by insurance, but even if it weren’t, it’s about $9 per month.) Even with insurance, I have doctor visits every three months, at a minimum. I see a rheumatologist, nephrologist, endocrinologist. I see a psychiatrist either every month or every three months. At $45 each, the cost adds up quickly.

After the spinal fusion I took off work for about two weeks before going back. I believe I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t take off enough time. I worked for two weeks before asking for leave on short-term disability so I could get better. Rather than let me take off the time, they terminated me. Since then I have worked part-time, from home. Given how poorly I feel just doing household activities, I am decidedly unsure whether I can even work a full-time job, which would be a requirement if I have to have the job that comes with health insurance.

Of course, a job with health insurance isn’t enough if my medications aren’t covered or if my co-pays are high. I can’t not go to the doctor. I have serious chronic illnesses. So now, I’m looking at picking a job that not only offers health insurance, but also pays well enough to cover those things. I’ve heard that Starbucks offers insurance coverage to most of its employees, but I’m not sure a barista’s pay is enough to cover my health life.

Okay, great. But that’s not enough. This job I’ll need to have, what do they expect me to be able to do? What’s the sick time like? When can I use it? Is there a minimum amount of time I have to be there to be able to use it? I’ll have the same questions about vacation, in case I burn through my sick time. There are days where I just can’t get out of bed. Is there a probationary period that would be affected by my need for sick time?

These questions don’t go through the minds of people who are generally healthy. They think about vacations they want to take, not wondering if they’ll even get to take any time off for something fun.

I know there are people who look at spoonies like me and think, “It must be nice to be home all day.” To them I say, no, no it is not. Because we have to deal with the feelings of inadequacy that come with not being able to be out, working, earning an income. We feel awful – unable to justify taking money from others and our partners, who have gone to work to earn that money. We don’t feel like we can spend it for us, for fun things.

I was once a person who worked 26 days straight – including weekends, more than a regular 8-hour shift each day. I left for work at 5am and didn’t finish with either work or class until 9pm. I did that for months because I believed in what I was doing and it was necessary. Now I’m a person who has trouble waking up in the morning. Who can’t stand and do dishes for more than 5 or 7 minutes at a time. Whose back hurts while dealing with a single load of laundry. I have trouble remembering what I’m doing AS I’M DOING IT. I forget basic words (yes, the other day I said “machine that washes the dishes” because I couldn’t remember “dishwasher.” It happens to everyone, but it doesn’t happen to everyone all the time, every day). Sitting and working at a computer hurts my back and arms. Breaks don’t always help. Good luck being a lawyer full-time! That’s ALL they do.

I hate that my life has been reduced to trying to figure out how long each day I can work, what I can do if I am to work, and whether I can do it long enough during the year to not exhaust my sick and vacation time. But, this is my life now. The only thing left to do is live it. What people need to do, however, is step outside themselves for a minute to consider what someone else may be going through.

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Day 30 is finally here!

THE END IS HERE! Not like the apocalypse, but the end of my self-imposed water only month. Not going to lie, I’m glad to be over it.

To be fair, drinking only water hasn’t been *that* bad. I saved a ton of money. I don’t think I ever really paid attention to how much I spend getting soda at fast food places. The soda is one of the reasons I go, but I just sort of slide into the pre-set value meals, even if that’s not really what I want to eat. (On a side note, I think I’m over most of the fast food chains. Blech. That food tastes so greasy and nasty.)

My skin is clear, but my skin is usually pretty clear. It had been giving me some issues, but I have no idea whether that was hormonal or related to my beverage consumption. Apparently it’s not food related.

I think I compensated for not having soda with other sweet foods. That may explain why my weight hasn’t gone down. (Actually, it’s gone up…)

I did finally settle into a sort of “water, blah” about it. I am still really excited about having a Wild Cherry Pepsi tomorrow, but I do think this has cured me of my lust for juices. I do want to limit my soda consumption going forward since it is loaded with empty calories. I may even give up my beloved Coca-Cola except in limited circumstances (movies, delicious fountain Coke from places I know to have the perfect mixture) since I don’t really crave it anymore. I do also miss strawberry lemonade.

While I’m not sure this little experiment was worth it, I’m not sad about having done it. This was never about quitting side and all other beverages altogether, but rather a way to see the impact it could have.