This April

Well, the news is that we returned Harley to the breeder. I was just stressing out too much and the pain from arthritis was not improving, especially in my hip area. I think I really tried with Harley, even took her to puppy class. My parents were helping me out as well, but it was all just too much for us. I felt that Harley needed more time and attention, but I was constantly in pain. After we returned Harley, I saw my doctor again, and she referred me to physical therapy. I really want to get better, especially because my mom’s 70th birthday party is coming up in June. I am improving a little and feeling less pain, but I am still spending a lot of time in bed resting. My mental health is a bit more stable though. I haven’t been doing any of the things I used to do before I was diagnosed with arthritis. Haven’t been playing WoW, haven’t been writing, haven’t been reading that much, though I have been listening to more audiobooks and I continue to update my romance book blog. As a consequence of my current quality of life, I have been watching a lot more TV. LOL. I watched Supergirl Season 1 on Netflix and used my 7-day free trial of Showtime on Amazon to watch Homeland Season 6. I also wake up every morning wondering if Trump got us into war while I was asleep. So, 2017 is way more awful than 2016, and the Trump administration is truly scary. I’m just glad I have my family and few friends on/by my side.

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.

Because there’s no shame in being mentally ill

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, #2016 yet again snuffed out another bright star in the galaxy, but for many fans Carrie Fisher will live on in their own light. I will remember Carrie Fisher not only as the fierce, heroic Princess Leia in Star Wars, but also as a mental health advocate who spoke about her battle with Bipolar Disorder. I can tell you many of my mentally ill friends looked up to her and admired her, because she was one of us.

Fisher has been unusually outspoken for years about her mental health battles, something many fans mourned when Fisher died at age 60 on Tuesday after suffering a heart attack several days earlier on an airplane. The actress talked candidly about bipolar disorder and her treatments and how they affected her life. She acknowledged there was still a stigma when talking about mental health, but she wanted to help fight it.

“I am mentally ill. I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on,” Fisher told ABC News.

Source: Carrie Fisher, the inspiring mental health advocate: ‘I am mentally ill. . . . I am not ashamed of that’

My story is a little different. Though I am no longer ashamed about being diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder and having been hospitalized multiple times, I have felt shame and embarrassment about being so ill and disabled. I dislike feeling vulnerable and weak, and I also felt guilty and unworthy of sympathy. I was living in the Bay Area when I was first hospitalized, I was no longer able to work, and I soon ran out of money to pay for my health insurance and treatment. I didn’t want to go home so I borrowed money from my parents.
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Volunteering

After the election, I decided to do something to make me feel better and more empowered. I felt that I had failed because the wrong person won the election and as a result a lot of people will suffer. I felt that I had to do more, to take action in my own way that will make America better. Hillary said not to give up the fight and get involved in the community, that America is good because we are stronger together.

So, I joined a women’s club that does volunteer work in the community. I heard about it from my friend, who is the president of the club and involved in many community organizations in town. So far, I’ve only attended two meetings and done one service event. It’s truly been a learning experience. I hope to become more involved and do a service event once a week. On Thursday I spent a couple hours wrapping gifts that are going to homeless families.

gnowithcharHere’s a selfie with my friend who has been encouraging me to go out more and get involved. She’s a wonderful, positive, super social, compassionate, self-reliant, and strong woman, and I’m grateful to have her in my life. A couple Saturdays ago, I was supposed to help out with a tree building made out of canned food for a FoodShare, but by the time I got there they had already built the tree (because I was late!). So my friend decided to take me along with her plans that day. She was on a mission to keep me out of the house for as long as she could. At the end of the night, she bought me a glass of wine at a bar in downtown. I have developed a liking for Cabernet. It was one of the best days in my life this year.
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Disabled Dreams

I’ve been having trouble writing for a couple years now. I started up this blog in hopes that blogging will start up my writing. I need to write a book, whether it’s a novel or a memoir. I just need to feel like I’m doing something with my life. It’s depressing that I’m not doing anything meaningful, that I’m not creating, that I’m not achieving my longtime dream of being a writer and getting published. I used to want to make a living as a writer. Instead, I have been disabled by mental illness, and I don’t know if I’ll ever make my dreams come true. If I were manic, I would probably be writing a lot. But sometimes I don’t even know if it’s worth it anymore, if it really matters.