Costumes and Cammie

Speaking of creativity… My mom hosted her 70th birthday party last month at the Hilton. It was a costume party with a Bollywood theme. She put it all together, the centerpieces, giveaways, and party gifts. She even did a Bollywood dance with her friends. The costumes were all very colorful. It was festive like all my mom’s parties. It seemed like everyone was having a good time dancing (ballroom and line dancing), taking goofy photos at the photo booth, and getting henna tattoos. I didn’t stay the whole night because of my back problems and arthritis, but I was there for awhile. It was a long day and I even got my hair done at the salon with my mom. The costume was all my mom’s idea, but I didn’t mind because the day was all about her. Anyway, here’s a picture of me, my parents, my sister-in-law Elsa, and my brother Eric.

 

Eric and Elsa also brought over their six-month-old puppy when they were in town for the party. Cammie is a Cavapoo, which is a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Poodle. She’s so cute and funny, and she knows a few tricks like sit, down, and shake hands. Shake hands was the best and made me laugh and feel happy. There she is walking all over my brother’s workstation in order to get his attention.

 

Things are somewhat back to normal with me and my parents. I am not angry anymore. I have been directing my thoughts toward writing, and am not going to worry about the disability review for now.

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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.

Harley

harley2Here’s a photo of my puppy Harley. She’s a smart girl, affectionate, and very lively. She likes to play A LOT. Taking care of her is not easy. I haven’t been getting a lot of sleep, I am tired a lot, and by the end of the day my back hurts. I stay in my room most of the time, so I am not used to being this active. I can’t wait until she’s older and big enough to take her out on walks. I let her out in the yard to potty and play some. She is so fast! And she knows how to use the training pad, but I worry I won’t be able to potty train her properly. I think when she knows that she has to potty outside, I will be really relieved. But she is still very small, about 3 lbs., and I haven’t had her for a week yet. I have to be patient and try to relax. I have to admit I am stressing out some, and definitely will need my massage tomorrow. It’s not good for my mental health if I can’t sleep. But taking care of her should get easier over time as she learns. I do hope I get this right. And I hope I can get more sleep! I took her to the vet on Friday and they told me she has a slight heart murmur, which they will monitor for sixteen weeks. If everything checks out by then, she should be fine. I don’t think it’s anything serious. She is so full of energy I have trouble keeping up with her. But after she’s done eating and playing, she sleeps for a couple hours. Then, I get a break. She is also very loud! She whines when I leave her or when she wants something, and she barks a little when she wants someone to play with her. My parents help me out and watch her from time to time. But it seems like they don’t know what to do with her either LOL. They like to play with her though. Anyway, I really need to take it easy and relax more. I think I will be very happy when she is completely potty trained. I am gonna take her to puppy class as well.

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.

This Christmas, Somebody to Love

oyster_wine-3This Christmas George Michael passed away. As if 2016 couldn’t get any worse. I was having dinner at Larsen’s Grill with my parents, brother and his wife, three aunties, and one uncle. We had just finished our appetizers. I had an oyster with a glass of Cabernet. Then, I hopped onto Facebook to see what was up. That’s how I found out. My brother couldn’t believe it either. He asked me if it was fake news. But it was all over Twitter, and I was able to find solid reporting on it. How tremendously sad. I grew up listening to George Michael.

What a crazy year this has been. There’s been good times with family and friends, positives in my life, which have balanced my depression. AND my parents are getting me a puppy, which I’ll get to take home in February. But even with all my blessings in life it hasn’t been enough lately. I’ve been having trouble sleeping and crying a lot since the election, so my psychiatrist started me on a new antidepressant, Abilify, which is actually classified as an anti-psychotic but is FDA-approved to treat bipolar depression. He thinks that I’m feeling more depressed now because I’m realizing that I need more in life. He said that I’m too smart to be as isolated as I am now. That what I have now is not enough for me anymore. I think he’s right. I am missing human connection. I feel like I deserve so much more and so much better. I want to be in love, to love and be loved.

I want somebody to love.

Celebrate George Michael with me.

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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