Continue Disability

My disability review was completed in October and concluded that my disability is continuing. I felt very much relieved when I received the notice. Though I am no longer stressing about the review, I am still distressed that I cannot seem to make progress on or complete any of my writing projects. It is very depressing. Though I don’t think I am very depressed or depressed enough to take an antidressant though my psychiatrist might think otherwise. He wanted me to give Cymbalta another try, but I experienced nausea, a fast heartbeat that lasted for at least four hours, and I kept drifting in and out of sleep for a day and a half after I took the first dose. Since I still felt nauseous and sleepy the next day, I stopped taking it. Idk what my psychiatrist will say when I see him next. I am okay but unhappy. I have chronic pain which is mostly okay and when it is not okay I take some meds. My anxiety is also continuing. I just wish I could write. I want to get lost in my writing.

Instead, I get lost in other worlds by other writers. For the past couple months I have been reading mostly teen/ya fantasy/dystopia. I discovered the Selection series by Keira Cass, the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, and the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard. Now, I am reading “A Torch in the Night” by Sabaa Tahir, and will be reading Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha series next. I also escape to WoW, raiding twice a week since my guild has the current tier on farm now and leveling my alts when I feel like playing on off days. I have now gotten the class mounts for 4 alts, my feral druid, enhancement shaman, havoc demon hunter, and windwalker monk. I have started to play my frost death knight again. She was at leavel 106 when I last played her, and since she has so much rested xp I will get to her to 110 pretty fast. Then I can work on getting her class mount, which won’t take very long either. I have not been watching much TV, though I never miss an episode of Grey’s Anatomy and The Voice. I also watch All In With Chris Hayes and The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC 2-3 times a week.

Most of the time, I don’t feel like talking to people. It seems to take too much effort. I hardly go out, and idk if I should care about whether or not it’s healthy. Well, I know it is not healthy, but I don’t seem to care. I mostly just want to read or listen to an audiobook in bed. I have been eating a lot of sweets lately and have gained some weight, but I am resolved to cut back on the sweets, which shouldn’t be too hard, eating is such a chore sometimes too. All I really want is to start and finish my writing projects. I just want to be writing again, a good story, and see the story to THE END. That’s all I ever really wanted. To write a book. A good book. Something that matters.

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Creativity

Creativity comes and goes. I’m not sure if it’s related to my mood or my medications. Probably a little of both. Many people with bipolar disorder think that their bipolar meds–mood stabilizers like Lamictal or Lithium–stunts their creativity. I have been taking Lamictal for ten years, and for a few years also had been taking Lithium, which made me fat. Anyway, I was rather unstable at the time, and also taking an antidepressant. My moods were all up and down, but I managed to do some writing. It wasn’t very good writing, but I was writing anyway and almost finish a book. I gave up on it because I just couldn’t figure out the ending, and though I believed in my characters I didn’t believe in the plot.

So, now, my disability is up for review, and I am anxious and worried that I might lose my benefits–disability income and Medicare. When I had first applied for disability in 2009, I had been having trouble working. I had quit my lost job in 2008 on the spot, after frequently calling in sick and showing up late, and going on temporary disability twice in 2007. I had been hospitalized in 2007 for ten days for a mixed manic episode and had difficulty returning to work. After I quit my job, I received either unemployment compensation or State disability benefits for about year. It was awhile ago, and I can’t remember. But it must have been State disability, because I was immediately approved for SSDI in 2009 and and received a retroactive lump sum going back to the date SSA determined I was first disabled.

I don’t think I am ready to go back to work, and I don’t know when I will be. I think I have a serious mental illness, and now I have arthritis which limits my activities. Now, I am feeling depressed and angry with my parents because they think I should just get up and get a job and go to work. Just because I look fine on the outside doesn’t mean I am okay. My parents really don’t get it. When I was a kid, I used to wish I hadn’t been born. Like if I had a choice, if anyone had asked me if I wanted be a sentient human being, I would have preferred not to exist. I realize I must sound very negative, but I feel like there is nothing special about me, nothing special about my life, and no special love. I have many interests but not much passion for anything in particular. I really wanted to write a book, but I haven’t been writing anything. When I was growing up, my primary ambition–my quest–was to write a book and get published. That was it. I didn’t think about getting married and having kids. But I have noticed over the years that I am usually happier with my life when I am in a good, stable relationship.

Anyway, I am thinking maybe I need to go back on Abilify, because I seemed more active and motivated then, when I was taking it. And I want to talk to my therapist again, because I stopped seeing her when I was doing physical therapy for the arthritis, and I am feeling angry and depressed and anxious again and as I mentioned above thinking that I shouldn’t have been born because lately I haven’t been feeling motivated to do anything except the most basic things in life. Of course, I still enjoy my TV shows and audiobooks, and I started playing WoW again, just an hour a day or so because of the arthritis and my neck and shoulder pains. Of the TV shows I have binge-watched these past few months: Supergirl, Shadowhunters, The Crown, Poldark, and Harlots. I watched Poldark twice in fact. I can’t wait for season 3, and I hope Harlots will get a season 2, because I really want to know what is gonna happen next. Other than that, most of the time I just wanna stay in bed. Oh and watch prime-time MSNBC, especially The Rachel Maddow Show.

That’s it for now. I probably won’t blog again until I receive news about my disability review. I hope my creativity will come back. I just wish that I could have had a normal and happy life when I was growing up. Maybe I would have been stronger and well-adjusted. Maybe I would have written half a dozen books by now. Maybe I would have a passion for life and feel like a have a reason for living and maybe I would want to go out and be around people and do purposeful things. But whatever. I haven’t talked to my mom since yesterday. I am still feeling resentful and angry about what she and my dad said. Oh, I’m sure they mean well, but they just have no clue what it means to have a disabling mental illness.

Back Pain Update

I’m still having trouble sleeping. I think a lot of it has to do with my back pain, because I feel so uncomfortable and have trouble relaxing when I’m trying to sleep. All of which causes anxiety and is not very helpful for my mood. So, I went on a mission to find out why my back has been hurting so much recently and how I can relieve the pain. I saw a chiropractor a couple weeks ago who told me that my back pain was caused by hip degeneration from sitting too much. My primary care physician then ordered X-rays to confirm that I have arthritis. The treatment is 600mg ibuprofen every six hours as needed and a muscle relaxant up to three times a day as needed. My doctor advised me to call her if I needed stronger pain medication.

Aside from medication, I should moderate my time at the computer, take more walks, and keep my weight down. I also should avoid foods that cause inflammation like milk products and wheat. The arthritis generally hurts less in the morning and gets worse as the day goes by. This does not make me happy because who wants to be in pain for the rest of their life? But arthritis is a common ailment some people get as they age. Some days will be better than others, some days I will have flareups. It’s unfortunate and a little depressing that I have so many health problems that prevent me from doing what I want in life. Because of my back pain, I only went raiding once last week in WoW. I haven’t been playing WoW much at all or socializing irl. But the upside is that I’ve been doing a lot more writing. I guess I don’t have any choice but to try to be strong. I’m not the only person in the world who struggles with chronic pain and mental illness. My problem is that I don’t have very good coping skills. I hope I can manage and cope with my back pain well.

The good news is I’m getting my puppy on Thursday! I’ve bought all kinds of doggy stuff for her 🙂 I can’t wait to bring her home and post pictures on my blog to share with my dear readers.

A quick update on sleep, writing, and volunteering

So, I’m not getting much sleep again. Anywhere from 3-5 hours. A lot of mentally ill people have trouble sleeping. But this not sleeping streak has been going on for over a month now, and I’m pretty sure it’s not healthy. For people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, not sleeping isn’t good and could trigger a manic episode. Idk if I’m manic or just being super creative. I don’t feel manic. I’m not exhibiting rapid, pressured speech, and an exceptionally high mood. But I’ve been more active than usual, thinking too much, and being real project-oriented. It could be because Election 2016 has fired me up. Or it could be because I started taking an antidepressant, Abilify, which has an activating effect. Or it could just be that I needed some changes in my life. Whatever the case, I’m writing, playing WoW, being less irritated with my parents, socializing irl, updating my book blog, and blogging here. I even started to revise my MFA thesis into something publishable. I haven’t worked on it in about ten years! I hope with this attempt I finally finish revising it.

One of my activities this month include the women’s volunteer group meeting I attended. My friend had asked me to do the Inspiration, which could be a quote, a prayer, an inspiring anecdote, anything that inspired you to volunteer. So, I read a couple paragraphs from Kay Redfield Jamison’s memoir of “moods and madness,” An Unquiet Mind. I talked about how Jamison realized when writing her book that love, not only Lithium, saved her, and how volunteering is a way I can save myself. Because volunteering, giving, is a form of love. And it also shows that I’m capable of self-love, which is pretty much essential if you want to survive your mental illness. By wanting to save myself it shows that I like and value myself enough to believe that my life is worth living. For my volunteer service this month I did a couple hours repainting a room at a transitional housing center for the homeless.

Because I Am Not Relaxed

I went to my doctor because my shoulder and back pain was getting worse. She prescribed me prescription strength ibuprofen and a muscle relaxant, which makes me very groggy and helps with sleep. Now, I feel rather over-medicated and the pain hasn’t exactly gone away. Not fun.

My doctor also said that I could do physical therapy or see a chiropractor but since I’ve done PT three times already in the past four years I decided to try out a chiropractor this time. He told me I could have hip degeneration. That sounded bad, so I didn’t ask him what it meant. Instead, I googled it and found out that it could mean osteoarthritis in my hips. Awesome. The verdict is: too much sitting, not enough exercise, and I need to watch my weight. I am gonna have to talk to this chiropractor to make sure what he meant, and should I get an x-ray?

For my mental health all this means that I am not relaxed. I am worrying again, and I dislike being in pain. I think I might have made it a little worse because I did some painting on Saturday for my volunteer service and my arms were sore.

Not to mention I did a few marathon mythic + dungeons in WoW, which is definitely not helping my back pain. I will have to moderate my gaming time, and only play a couple of my toons. I will play my hunter for sure, and probably play my alt horde druid in my women’s guild, whose guild chat is more social than my raiding guild’s. It has more members, since it was organized on Facebook and probably also because women tend to be better organizers and community builders.

Take the U.S. Congress for example. Predominantly men kicking 20 million people off health insurance without even having a plan to replace the ACA. Before the ACA, health insurers could deny coverage to anyone who had a pre-existing condition and charge women higher premiums as if their gender itself is a pre-existing condition.

It’s like this whole election was about keeping men in power. If the Russian conspiracy is valid and it’s true that Putin had a vendetta against Hillary Clinton, and since Americans voted for Trump despite his history of sexual assault, at the very least harassment, against women, then it all seems to point to this election outcome resulting from outright misogyny. Let’s not forget GOP wants to take down Planned Parenthood as well. 2016 was just the beginning.

I am not planning to watch Trump’s inaguration. There are a bunch of groups organizing women’s marches across the country in solidarity and non-violent resistance on Saturday. I would be marching too if it weren’t for my back.

Claws of Ursoc

I’m still having trouble sleeping (most likely due to my illness(es), mental health and chronic shoulder pain). I have been feeling restless, can’t relax, and was up late last night playing a new toon in WoW. I’m in a Facebook group called Women of Warcraft. Some of the ladies from the group decided to start up a Horde guild for women only. So, I rolled a troll druid, because I always wanted a troll druid LOL. Here’s the screenshot of my troll druid bear artifact weapon, Claws of Ursoc. It basically just changes her shifted form into an even more shaggier, fiercer, (and colorful!) hulking bear. My troll has light blue skin and a fiery red-yellow mohawk.

troll-claws

Girls Like Me

kb-icelandThe other day, my parents were talking in the kitchen. My dad said that maybe they were too critical of me when I was growing up. He said that maybe kids ought to be praised more. My mom said that they might have been critical but I turned out okay, that I’m a good person anyway. I just felt like crying. Because there were many times when things didn’t turn out okay.

Things didn’t turn out okay when I used to abuse alcohol in high school and college with guys who it turns out were not my friends, and to this day I still have self-destructive urges to get so fucking faded I start telling everyone my writing is meaningless crap. I guess it’s okay that I have good values. I believe that love should win. I believe in equal rights and social justice. And I believe all this because I don’t want any girl to grow up the way I did. Feeling like I didn’t matter. Because it wasn’t okay that I used to wish I hadn’t been born. And that I hadn’t been born a girl.

Because in my family, when I was growing up, girls needed to be controlled and protected so they wouldn’t be bad or make mistakes or have feelings. Because there would be consequences. Like mothers who blamed you for being such a bad girl you almost caused them a heart attack, or slapped you across the face for talking back with SARCASM, or called you a bitch in heat, or threw you out of the house because you wouldn’t break up with your fabulously eventual ex-boyfriend. When I was growing up, girls who wrote in their diaries that they dreamed about kissing a boy were told they were malicious and ought to be ashamed of themselves. Have you no shame? their mothers screamed.

Girls like me, do you remember those times? If you’ve been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, I’m here to tell you there’s nothing wrong with you. You have an illness, and it’s not your fault. You deserve the best. You deserve to shine. And you will always deserve better.

Because, girl, you matter.