Monday, January 30, 2017

A Nervous Wreck’s Disabled Guide to Stepping Up.

The last 48 hours have been awful.

The American Muslim ban, and then the shooting in Québec City.

This helped today:

A Nervous Wreck’s Disabled Guide to Stepping Up

Brutal times. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

More by @sosadtoday.

From her column on Vice:

Started from the Psych Meds, Now I’m Fucked

Well, the Effexor piece (the second one) is nice and depressing, since I know I have that to look forward to if ever I mess with my meds... I've experienced a day of 4-day withdrawals from a  high dose and I felt legit detached.

Her other piece is another good example of writing to describe depression.

If you like her pieces, read her book. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Zap zap weh weh.

Was looking for the word... My doctor said my "brain zapping" might be Tinnitus:
Tinnitus is the hearing of sound when no external sound is present.[1] While often described as a ringing, it may also sound like a clicking, hiss or roaring.[2] Rarely, unclear voices or music are heard.[3] The sound may be soft or loud, low pitched or high pitched and appear to be coming from one ear or both.[2] Most of the time, it comes on gradually.[3] In some people, the sound causes depression, anxiety or interferes with concentration.[2]
It could be. It could be a symptom of something. For me it really does sound like zapping, and it's in both ears, and it comes in 3-4 shots, like zap, zap, zap zap. It could be blood rushing through my ear canal or something wonky. It's usually coupled with brain fog and issues with movement and the feeling I "missed a step" when I did not - in fact - miss a step.

Yesterday morning I got up early as shit and went to the local CLSC to get blood drawn. They had to take seven vials and I also had to pee in a cup. I passed out. Which never happened before. About 4 vials in I started hearing ringing and then told her to keep going (I wasn't going to come back and wait in line / be late for work again) and then I crumpled and people yelled and I could hear them but not control my body or speak. Then they put me on a little bed and put cold compresses on me. Poor ladies, they must deal with that a lot. They were really nice.

It was pretty funny though. Especially since I could hear everything fine, just not react. So as she was asking me, "can you hear me?" I could but couldn't react. And then her male co-worker kept repeating her, and she sassed him "I'm already asking her FRANK!"

I giggled internally.

I also heard her talk shit about the little bed I was on. She was all, "Of course she's tall and we put her on the bed from the 60's, look her legs are dangling off." That made me laugh (internally) too.

Then when I was regaining my mouth and mind I said something along the lines of "it's okay I have winter boots on." Which was my way of saying that if it was a long bed my winter boots would be touching it and that that doesn't seem sanitary or polite.

The forecast called for a snow storm yesterday morning. Instead, we got ice rain. So when I left the clinic it was icy as all hell, I headed home because bus service was down and there were accidents reported on every highway.

If you don't know anything about Montreal, he's one thing that's part of our essence, we're always frustrated with the city because every time something happens, that is part of living here, and that is 100% not unusual, it's a big frigan deal. So we get tons of snow. We get a few ice-storms a year, and every time it's like reinventing the wheel and it doesn't occur to anyone to frigan salt the streets.

So weather and snow removal and icing the streets is a big thing here. As is construction/corruption and road works. Just two things we can't seem to get right. We also have the world's best bagels, a fantastic cultural scene, and a diverse, multi-cultural populace that generally speaks at least two languages.

Once I got home I had some breakfast and sat for a bit. I got a phone call from my sister in law regarding a job posting she thought I should apply on (which I did). Bus service was down until about 11:30 am, at which point I decided to just stay home. Then took a three-hour nap.

S called since I texted her about passing out at the clinic, and we talked about my doing further blood tests. We talked about how it might not actually do anything, and we kind of went back and forth about how an "official" diagnosis might help me. For me, it makes me feel validated. But she was arguing that it wouldn't actually change anything in my life. I was saying that it can, it can allow you to access things through an "official" capacity, or to be protected legally, and to her she felt an "official" diagnosis does not change your everyday living. For her, she said, "you're still in pain every day, that doesn't change."

I was trying to describe how I felt it validated me. How I often feel I need to validate my staying home or my feeling like shit. How I often feel crazy and lazy and broken. I get what S is saying, she's been sick longer than me. She's gone through the systems more so than I.

It ended up upsetting me, because I have to accept that this also means re-introducing myself into the medical system and starting over, in a certain sense. If Dr. Rishi refers me to a rheumatologist, it means starting a new dialogue, with someone who is - let's face it - most likely shitty.

S was quick to point out that "the first thing they always say is that we're fat, and everything is because we're fat." Which isn't wrong. I was just tired and overwhelmed and the addition of fat shaming just made me want to give up already.

As I said during my conversation with S, at this point, it's just a question of waiting. The blood tests are done. It's out. We'll see what the results are. I'm scheduled to see Dr. Rish on the 6th of February, and he said if he gets my results sooner, he can call me in.

At first I was excited because I felt validated. But now my cynicism has creeped in and I realize this might just be the beginning of another wild goose chase. I don't want to chase a goose. They're mean.

Monday, January 23, 2017

A proclamation of inflammation.

This morning I had a doctor's appointment. This past November I saw Dr. Rishi at his new clinic, and he said it was time for my yearly blood test, and I mentioned testing for inflammation, since my mother has been struggling with that recently.

We went over my blood test results, and we've finally stumbled across something that isn't right. I can understand that to someone who isn't sick, or who doesn't feel like shit, that might sound off. But if my bloodwork points to there actually being something wrong with my body, it validates me. I'm not entirely crazy, I do have symptoms and difficulties that stem from somewhere.

According to Dr. Rishi, my blood's sedimentation rate was alarmingly high.

According to Wikipedia:
The erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is the rate at which red blood cells sediment in a period of one hour. It is a common hematology test, and is a non-specific measure of inflammation. To perform the test, anticoagulated blood was traditionally placed in an upright tube, known as a Westergren tube, and the rate at which the red blood cells fall was measured and reported in mm/h.
Again, according to the same page on Wikipedia, normal rated vary between 20-30 mm/hr.
In 1967 it was confirmed that ESR values tend to rise with age and to be generally higher in women.[5] Values are increased in states of anemia,[6] and in black populations.[7]
Men—5% exceed121419
Women—5% exceed182123

According to my reading, I'm currently at a 75. That does seem very high. So, Dr. Rishi asked for an extended blood workup, and if I can get to bed early enough I'll go tomorrow morning. We then booked an appointment in 2 weeks to see what the results are. From there we can either do further tests or he can send me to a specialist of some kind.

I'm happy I'm getting some kind of answer, and that this might lead me to further discoveries that might help my health, but I'm also tired and discouraged at this new chapter of work, emotional labor and advocation that will come from new tests, new doctor's and just more time spent in the medical establishment.

My buddy JD said the anti-inflammation diet did wonders for her and her fibromyalgia. This is also a possibility for me, but it makes me nervous because of the cost, and the time and energy it takes to cook in such a precise, clean way. No wheat. No dairy. Whenever someone says the word "diet" to me I worry, I always feel I'm quite close to returning to ED territory.

I still think about it, and I still remember the high it gave me, I also know what it feels like to jump ship into the deep end, and remembering those sensations makes me uncomfortable.

AS usual, I'm getting ahead of myself. For now I'll start with a blood test. I'll try and go tomorrow morning. All I have to do is get up at the crack of ass.

Friday, January 20, 2017

I guess I feel like less of a piece of shit when I'm "doing" something.

It's happening again, I'm thinking about graduate school. This time, a Master's of Fine Arts in Print Media at Concordia.

Something along the lines of Creation as Coping: Compulsion, Creativity and Mental Illness. 

I need to look into what part-time study looks like in terms of time commitment and cost.

Maybe I should apply for 2018 just so I can stop fucking coming back to it.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Barely here.

I had problems with my meds at the top of the week. I think I must have forgotten Sunday, and then doubled my dose on Monday, and then had to call in sick on Tuesday because I couldn't wake up. I slept like 16 hours.

When the meds leave my system, I hear zapping, a noise similar to if you block your ear canal with your finger. The sound seems to originate between my ear canal and my brain. I also have trouble moving around, because it's like my vision lags and catches up. So I get this sensation like I just missed a step, but didn't. I can't focus. And if people talk to me it's like I can't focus on them. So when I got home Monday I took another dose of meds ASAP, because even at home I felt fucking awful.

I also feel like I'm losing my fucking mind.

But then I just slept and slept and slept. I wonder if sleeping resets my brain or something.

I feel like I have a sleep disorder and it's fucking getting to me.

So the beginning of the week was a mess.

I'm really just, feeling like an unemployable scumbag these days.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Women's March on Washington.

If the social media representation of the Women's March on Washington is at all an indication - I hope the march and the subsequent solidarity marches will be as big as they're hinting to be.

I'm really pleased to see the solidarity marches happening everywhere.
The Women’s March in Montreal will take place on Jan. 21 at 11 a.m. at Esplanade de la Place des Arts (175, rue Ste, Catherine Ouest) and will occur simultaneously with the one in Washington, D.C. in solidarity and in the spirit of diversity, equality, and inclusivity.

According to press, the Montreal march is the biggest in Canada so far. It's just really nice to see so many marches being planned in solidarity.

Montrealers plan 'sister demo' to support Women's March on Washington
Women's March on Washington set to be one of America's biggest protests

I just posted the following on my facebook, it lists some of what I'm feeling:
I plan on going to the march on Saturday for many reasons. First, as a show of solidarity with the marginalized groups of the U.S, whose fear and disillusionment I can only imagine, and feel a fraction of. These "groups" are the majority of the country: women, LGBTQ folks, Muslims, POC, those at risk of losing their health care, journalists and all manner of community activists. 
Second, because systems of power are linked and there is a dangerous lean towards fascism, neo-nazism and anti-socialist rhetoric that is dangerous and terrifying and I want to actively wear my politics, and be counted.
Within months, health care could be lost to over 20 million Americans, Planned Parenthood could be defunded, there's still talk of building a wall, of a Muslim registry and of reprimanding the media and journalism in all sorts of fucked up ways.
I understand that as non-Americans, this might feel far from you. I think what's been devastating and unreal to all of us watching these last months unfold. 2016 felt like a nightmare. Until recently, there even being the possibility of a President Trump was beyond absurd. It was insulting. And with every step closer, we became increasingly discouraged and anxious. 
I know I for one have had periods of shut down, because it's been too much and it's been tremendously sad.  
Canada is not perfect. We have our own issues and our own struggles.
By protesting on Saturday, I hope to show my solidarity with those marching on Washington, and I hope to show local government as well as federal powers that I am willing to take to the streets and protest. 
Let this American horror show galvanize all of us to become activists for what is right and what is fair. 
I understand that we all have lives, and we're all busy. It's about priorities.
I urge you to take a look at yours, and to make yourself seen and heard in a way that cannot be ignored.  
I've heard countless times over the last year, "I feel so helpless," and I think this is an opportunity to take everything we're feeling and to walk-it-out.
I plan on going with S - we might do coffee or a meal after. You're welcome to join us.
The ongoing non-sensical-level-of corrupt fuckery going on in the U.S is barely comprehensible. It's as if all of a sudden up is down and nothing matters, it's enough to make you feel like you're hallucinating.

I'm keeping an eye on all the reporting, and I look forward to taking to the streets of Montreal in solidarity with those marching on Washington.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Maria Bamford is indeed hilarious.

Maria Bamford on The Hilarious World of Depression is everything.

Her story matters to me. I can't explain it otherly. I adore her am grateful for her.

She speaks about psychiatric facilities as being a "holding facility" and not a place of healing, as well as her experiences with an eating disorder, OCD, and bi-polar 2.

Both she and Joe talk about how accessing good care is a life-long struggle. Something that is really difficult to accept, and is discouraging, and is just brutal sometimes.

I cannot recommend it enough. I rarely laugh out loud at stuff, but a few of her bits really got me.

Added little pleasure, when I said this on twitter, she hearted my comment.

∞ ♥ 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Emotional identify and emotional inheritance.

From The Book of Life, on emotional identity:
... Emotional Identity, the characteristic way in which our desires and fears manifest themselves and our personalities respond to the behaviour, negative and positive, of others. There are four main themes around which our Emotional Identities are structured and it is their particular dosage and arrangement within us that decisively shapes who we are. To get to know ourselves is – in large part – a question of coming to understanding the configuration of our Emotional Identity.
Those four main themes are listed as self-love, candour, communication and trust.

For me, reading the self-love section is prickly, since I know how it's a very difficult subject for me. The page includes a simple test - and I clearly have a very high score for "lack of" self-love.

The chapter also discusses what it calls Emotional Inheritance:
What creates Emotional Identity? Why do we have the emotional identity we do and not a different one?
 A big modern response looks to genetics. We’ve got a specific genetic inheritance and (via many complex processes) this inheritance shapes our adult personality. We’re not saying genetics are irrelevant. But we want to focus attention on another kind of inheritance: Emotional Inheritance.
Developed mainly in early childhood, it plays a major role in our most basic character traits:
Psychotherapists have developed a special term to capture what we inherit emotionally from the past: they call it our ‘transference’. In their view, each of us is constantly at risk of ‘transferring’ patterns of behaviour and feeling from the past to a present that doesn’t realistically call for it. We feel a need to punish people who aren’t to blame; we worry about a humiliation which isn’t anywhere on the cards; we’re compelled to betray as we were once, three decades before, betrayed.
So how do we navigate knowing what we're pre-disposed to?
Maturity involves accepting with good grace that we are, of course, involved in multiple transferences, along with a commitment to try rationally to disentangle them. The job of growing up means realising with due humility the exaggerated dynamics we may constantly be bringing to situations and to monitor ourselves more accurately and more critically so as to improve our capacity to judge and act in the here and now with greater fairness and neutrality. We need to see how the people and situations in our past that have given rise to habits of mind that lead us to see current events in particular ways. The idea is to grow a little wiser as to where our troubles are coming from and around what areas of our lives we will therefore need to be especially careful.
Lastly, three benefits are listed as being the result of this type of self-reflection:
Firstly, we become aware of ways in which we are a bit crazy (that is: puzzling to others and inappropriate in our responses). We can catch ourselves before we do too much damage. But we also grasp why we are like this. We don’t have to hate ourselves, we can become more sympathetic to the way we’ve had some awkward legacies – and have learnt a few somewhat counterproductive ways of coping.
Secondly, we can more calmly explain ourselves to others. Even if we can’t entirely change, we can flag up what might be challenging about living around us. If we understand ourselves better we can help others understand us more sympathetically too. 
Thirdly, we begin to see that we have a degree of freedom and opportunity to change (to a limited but useful degree) the difficult parts of who we are. We don’t have to keep on repeating exactly what we’ve been doing. There are other options.
A worthy read, a lot to unpack.

Links on writing.

Like most of my creative pursuits, I'm always scolding myself for not making more time to write. Over the course of the last few months, I've bookmarked various articles and links on writing, so I thought I'd share them here, for my future self, as well as anybody else who might be interested.

I think of all the reading I've done, memoirs have been the most transformational for me. It's let my mind wander into considering my own story. It's helped me open up to the possibility that my own stories are worth telling.

I don't consider myself a writer, but I would like to some day.

The Best Writing Advice of 2016

33 Authors Gave Us Their Best Advice On Writing
Ignore all lists of writing tips. Including this one. And including this tip. Or at least take them with a big pinch of salt. I have never met two writers who work exactly the same way: One of the hardest, but ultimately most rewarding, things about writing is that you have to work out for yourself who and what you are as a writer, and how you yourself work best. When you’re starting out, it’s very easy to see a piece of advice by [insert your favourite author here] and think, If s/he writes like this, I must do it that way too. That can be unhelpful, and instead I think that every time you hear a writing tip, you have to decide whether it means something to you, resonates with you, or whether it sounds like the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard. It’s your book, you need to learn to write it your way. Now please ignore this advice. 
– Marcus Sedgwick
I also have the following lists:

10 Outstanding Short Stories to Read in 2017 

The Most Moving Personal Essays You Needed To Read In 2016


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Hilarious World of Depression.

Currently listening to The Hilarious World of Depression, hosted by John Moe, I'm at the Andy Richter episode.

I listened to Richter's episode of You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes, and he mentioned his depression and his being medicated.

Richter talks about creativity, comedy and depression, as well as whether or not there's a higher representation of mental illness in creative fields.

Richter is also open about therapy, his neurosis, and his childhood. He refers to his depression as "a constant," and thinks of it as something you "manage."

He advocates therapy and for persistence in accessing care.

Great conversation. Highly recommended. I'll no doubt listen to more of the episodes when I can.

I love Andy Richter. I also love his wife Sarah Thyre. I listen to her podcast, Crybabies. I'm jealous that they're married to each other, but only barely. I'm mainly happy for them.

It's not what it isn't.

I get very philosophical at night. As I quiet down my mind wanders and I'm able to think cohesively. Being tired brings with it a type of slow-form lyricism and I think to myself that what I'm thinking is beautiful and I should write it down.

Alas, it's bed time, and I shouldn't be pulling out a computer, or getting out of bed because of a thought I'm barely hanging on to.

When I was a child I would write in my diary every night before bed. Maybe that's what I should return to. It's difficult now, since I don't have my own space, but maybe I could try it out, here and there, and see how it feels.

This past weekend was my birthday. I spent the day with my friend S. We ordered food and watched Swiss Army Man. It was the perfect film for me. Dark and flatulent.

It was probably the most successful of birthdays I've had in recent memory. I usually try and avoid any ceremony. I always end up disappointed. People are broke and tired in early January and I don't get much attention - and isn't that what you're supposed to get on your birthday - attention?

This year my two closest friends are the only two who got me anything. Solid gifts too. S got me tickets to see Amy Schumer and C gave me a 50$ amazon gift card, which was perfect since I had about 400$ of books in my cart when she sent it to me. All of the best of 2016 / what to read in 2017 book lists are out and they make me crazy with book lust.

C also took the time to film her dog in a birthday hat while singing happy birthday to me. That made me happy. I mean, that's all I want, really.

I always feel like a birthday is really a test of who knows you, and who doesn't. And who will take a minute to care, and who won't. Both C and S know me well, and it showed. And I appreciate it.

I'll most likely write them each a note about it. Maybe I'll do that next.

My mother will be heading to Cuba for about 10 days, so I'll have some quiet and some space for a little while. That might be good for me. I like being able to stretch out a little, and the quiet is good for me.

Here's an excerpt from my letter to C:

My birthday brings up a lot. First and foremost, it’s right after the holidays and people are broke, tired and generally annoyed. It’s always been impossible to plan anything and in general a lot of people forget.

I think it’s also that birthdays are generally meant to be a time for socializing and “going out” and stuff and I don’t really do those things. And although I have no desire to go out and do certain things, I do get lonely. And sometimes a part of me thinks that there’s a distinction between “not wanting” to go out, and not being able to, and that really I’m just not part of that world. It’s not that I want to go out. It’s that I want to be someone who is capable of fun.

My birthday being right after new years means it’s an extension of what new year's evokes, culturally speaking: a desire to look over the last year of your life, and to plan for the upcoming year.

2016 was rough for me. I’m tired. I have a lot of worries about my job and working, and my ability to work in general. So looking forward to 2017 means extending that tangle of fears, since I am looking for employment in order to ideally quel some of those anxieties. I try and let it go as much as I can, but sometimes that’s really hard.

I also think that now, for the first time ever, really, I think about what I’m missing by not having a partner. I’m able to live alone, and am nearly resolved to the idea of it, but there are times I miss the comfort of being cared for, and having that favourite person you’re intimate with.

In a lot of ways, as I become more resoundingly myself in a lot of ways, I also question what parts of my character are set in stone and what remains malleable. Over the last year I have worked on my compassion and kindness, and I’ve also taken a step in trying to more actively live my values.

And though the parts of me that always ask questions, and is curious and existential, is a fundamental part of who I am, it’s also alienating, and I grow tired of it.

In terms of how this relates back to my birthday, it leaves me asking myself about what I should and shouldn’t expect from the people around me. What do I expect from my friendships? From my family? I am not owed. I do not deserve. But there are ways people show care, and do these people care about me?

It’s just so ironic. I want things to be light and easy - but I am not light an easy, not really.

My frontal lobe is throbbing. Sometimes I feel like my desire to understand and organize information is infinitely larger than my ability to learn and understand, and so my brain just gets overwhelmed.

I think right now my hang-up is questioning what parts of me keep me lonely, and if I’m willing or able to do the work to live differently.

I’m just so tired these days.

It's 2017. This is the future. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

How I feel about people commenting on my body.


In general, don't talk to me about my body.

Creativity for dealing with existential dread.

Turns out creativity might be linked to the shedding of existential dread.
And a study published earlier this week in the Journal of Creative Behavior added another perk to the list: Creativity can be like an existential security blanket, helping those who possess it to get over their fears of their own mortality. The more creative you are, it seems, the less concerned you are about death.
I just think it's more about acceptance, really. If being creative is linked to self-reflection and exploration, then you're more likely to think about death and mortality, and as such, you're less shocked that it exists, and that it's coming for ya.

Some people are "level 1." This is a loose translation of something my friend S and I use a lot in conversation. "C'est premier niveau," means "it's on the first level." Contextually we'd use it to refer to someone who has a basic understanding of something. Like a movie, for example. A movie might be rich with symbolism and deep themes, but someone might watch it and think "it's just a movie about a guy buying an orange." Sometimes folks just see a guy buying an orange, and not a metaphor for life and death.

There's also the possible correlation that those who are more open to thinking about death, dying and fragility, are then drawn to art and creative mediums as a way to understand those notions, or in order to ease into the acceptance of the nature of existing.
The findings here are complicated but interesting: For people who prized creativity, having more creative accomplishments under their belts meant they were relatively chill about that whole death thing, even after they’d been forced to imagine themselves passing away.
Maybe that finding says more about the notion of "accomplishment." Those with creative pursuits might be more likely to feel as if they've expressed themselves, and left something behind. The researchers conclude something similar:
“The current findings support the notion that creative achievement may be an avenue for symbolic immortality, particularly among individuals who value creativity,” the researchers wrote.
I'd add that having an exploratory nature that asks questions and communicated through art means dealing with the big themes of sex, love, mortality and death. You can't navigate art without thinking about death. 

Well you can, if you're a level one type.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Chronic Depression Fatigue.

A friend sent me What It Feels Like to Have 'Chronic Depression Fatigue' by Olivia James.

I've really been struggling with exhaustion and hypersomnia this past year. I mean, it's been ongoing, it's not new, but this year I was trying to change my eating and sleeping and found that no matter what 8 hours of sleep was not enough, and that there were some days where I could easily nap twice on top of a full night of sleep. 

James mirrors my experiences:
This is what I like to call “chronic depression fatigue.” In my experience, it’s the longest lasting of all my depressive symptoms, and unfortunately it’s one that affects my ability to do the things I want and need to do in a pretty serious way. No matter how much distance I put between myself and the more obvious symptoms of depression (anhedonia, listlessness, negative self talk, black and white thinking, isolation), I find that my energy remains low, and my body just can’t keep up with other people.

I’m a relatively young, physically healthy person. There is no reason I should wake up every morning feeling miserably tired. There is no reason I should regularly find myself so tired at work that I’m fighting my eyelids closing. There is no reason I should have to down cups of coffee to stay aware enough to make it through the day.
For me, work has been an issue. Every afternoon I need a nap. I get slow. My eyes close. I feel as though I'm fighting the urge to sleep and thus feel blinky and impaired. I don't want to drink too much caffeine though because that aggravates my anxiety.
It’s frustrating to realize there may be no end to struggling with energy and sleep. I feel less intelligent than I used to be because I always feel as if I’m barely awake. Am I going to be stuck as a subpar version of myself forever? Especially as someone with a history of an eating disorder, exhaustion can really screw up my self-care routines, as it makes exercise and balanced food difficult. Exercise is a good preventative measure for me, and having to skip out on the gym to go take a nap feels awful, even when it’s necessary. 
I'm still navigating this reality. Eating disorder, exercise, exhaustion. Right now exercise is getting no time or space, I can't even fathom it. I walk when I can. I cook to try and eat in alignment with my values and budget, but it takes so much time and energy. On the Sunday's I volunteer I can't always batch-cook afterward. It becomes about choices. I completely understand that exercise will benefit my mood and my energy, but if I'm running on empty the thought of exercising is inconceivable.
I’ve heard from others that they have this long-lasting fatigue, even when the depression is in remission. And yet I’ve never heard a therapist or doctor mention it or potential solutions other than treating it like any other exhaustion. I feel bad even bringing it up because I know compared to being in the midst of depression, this is a cake walk. But even in recovery, I think we can advocate for improved quality of life, and helping those with mental illness manage energy is huge to keeping us on our feet and fighting our brain demons.
I think my depression is more of a constant. It's cyclical but on a monthly cycle - not over a period of years, now that I understand right now anyway. Exhaustion and managing my energy is a major part of trying to figure out how to live my life.

That's where I'm at now. Still trying to figure it out. How (increasingly) exhausting.

Back to work work work work work work work.

Back to work today.

It's actually nice to get out of the house. It wouldn't be so bad if it were my own space with my own workspace, but right now I'm trucking my gear up and down from the basement and it's a hassle.

Rihanna music video work rihanna work work work work work work work

It’s nice and quiet, so I was able to do a few little things I wanted to do, mail some stuff and prep for some packaging I need to do for some Etsy gear I want to post. All while waiting on other work. I like days like today, when it’s quiet but I still have some stuff to do.

The additional days off I took mean this week is only a two-day workweek. Saturday is my birthday, and I’ll be spending the day with S. I haven’t seen her since before the holidays so it’ll be nice to see her. Being with her is restful. She’s the only person I’d really want to spend my birthday with.

I’m feeling a little better today. I think getting out of the house helped. You know, putting pants on, some makeup, interacting with humans and such.

The last few days were hard, this time of year always gets to me.

At least at work I’m distracted, however temporarily. I know that isn’t actively engaging in my fucking life, but for today it’s enough.

It’ll be interesting to see how much help my fitbit will be now that I’m out in the world, walking around.

Yesterday it asked me, are you a hibernating bear?
It didn’t ask me that.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

"We Need A Review Site For Psychiatric Hospitals—So I Built One."

Check out We Need A Review Site For Psychiatric Hospitals—So I Built One by Kit Mead.

Then check out the actual review site, Psych Ward Reviews.

Fantastic initiative.

To a certain extent this blog has helped do something similar for me. Tracking all the services I'm attempting to access or with which I've had a shite experience helps me in tallying my difficulty in accessing care. It isn't forgotten. I don't always remember it all, so this helps.

Technically the concept could be extended. Various medical spaces, by location, by specialty, etc. It would allow people to share experiences not only with emergency mental health services but walk-in clinics, gynaecologists and other segments of ourselves. Maybe a family-doctor is known for being trans-inclusive and friendly. Maybe this crisis centre has great walk-in hours . . . . Anything helps really. Sharing information about services and care makes all the difference in the world.

Audre Lorde quote.

I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent.
Caring for myself is an act of survival. 
—Audre Lorde

Monday, January 2, 2017

Carrie Fisher.

Carrie Fisher's death was a brutal one. Followed by the passing of her mother, Debbie Reynolds, it was a somber few days. I'd written about Carrie before, she's always been open about mental illness, and she's a funny writer and a great example of an older woman not taking shit, and you know, living her fucking life past what people want or expect from her.

Huffington Post has some of her quotes up. I hope her daughter is well surrounded, because she lost a lot in 2 fucking days.

Back to broke.

Well, it's been a time.

I spent christmas sleeping and watching movies with my family at my brother's house. The gift exchange went well, I love giving presents, and they all seemed to be a hit. Even all the books I got my nephews, they seemed happy with them, which was a surprise. I got one of my nephews a large jar of pickles from Costco as a joke and it was a real hit. The holiday season cost me a fortune. I have to try and by little-to-nothing for a few months in order to get back to broke.

We then came back home, my mother and I, on the 27th. I updated my Etsy store and did a few things, but mostly I slept. My birthday/christmas gift this year was a Fitbit, I thought it might be helpful to track my heart rate and sleep patterns, try and get more walking in, try and have a way of following my (physical) health since it's been such a crap-show. It's kind of sobering to see how much I've been sleeping. Hypersomnia is real.

I have one day in which I slept for 11 hours over night, then took a 2 hour nap and a 1.5 hour nap. That seems excessive, doesn't it? But I couldn't wake up. I had that "impending sleep" feeling where you eyes are heavy and you just need to find a safe space to pass out.

On new years eve I babysit my nephews, went to bed early, and made a big breakfast for my family, they left around 11 in the morning, and again, I took a nap, then took another nap. I slept most of the day, and was still in bed by 10 pm. Today I got up around 9 and went for breakfast with my mother. I made a point of walking home from a nearby strip-mall to get some sunlight, some fresh air and some walking in.

Here I am now, it's 12:26 pm and I'm writing, seemingly alert and functional, but I'm worried I'm going to hit a down and have to nap again. How the fuck do I get through a workday?

I never like the beginning of January. It's the new year, and in a few days it's my birthday. Both bring with them a lot of reflection, and with reflection comes a lot of self-judgement and criticism. I try to limit this, I try to change the narrative, but it's there. Just in the last few days my day-naps have brought with them dreams of public nudity, exams I don't understand, living in a basement garage forever, being engaged in some type of turf war with a large violent group of teenagers and a string of other fucked-up dreams that scratch at my neurosis and lack of self esteem.

It's hard not to take stock of my life, and it's hard not to be hard on myself. My heart hurts.

I'm exhausted. I am feeling the weight of my body. I feel stuck and sad.