[Journal] Bringing you up to speed and 100 unicorns project

So, some of you may have noticed that all my journals since January have been rather short and there hasn’t been an abundance of activity on my blog. I’m here to explain why.

Back towards Christmas, we knew my grandmother wasn’t doing so well. She was very old, had seen a lot of shit in her time and her whole body was shutting down on her after years of medication abuse, two open heart surgeries and enough other health issues that make me look like a Spring chicken. When she passed away around the 17th of January, it was sad but no real surprise. I’m fairly certain the only thing that kept her holding on so long was her sheer stubbornness, both a blessing and a curse that all European women seem to have.

We got past the funeral, barely. With family issues (because there is always family issues at a funeral) seen to with as much grace as I could muster, we got to the paperwork and the Will. Everything’s set in motion and I found out where we stood on a few matters regarding the house, inheritance and, again, family. This is after spending roughly a fortnight pulling my hair out, swearing in every language I know and wanting to set people’s pubes on fire.

So, with that being one of the shortest run-downs of an overly bullshit and dramatic time that I think I’ve ever written, we’re back up to date and the situation stands thus:

The manthing and I are moving. Yes, again.

We had been in this present rental roughly a year and the universe caught wind of how nice and peaceful things had been and decided to let off a metric tonne of napalm under our arses. What it boils down to is that my mother dearest can’t live alone. Now that’s not to say that she’s physically incapable of it, but moreso her mental health suffers greatly from being isolated to the point where she barely leaves the house. She needs human company. While manthing and I will enjoy not having to pay rent for a while, at this point it’s a secondary consideration.

Once we move back home, we’ll handle the rest of the Will and estate bullshit, eventually sell the place, end up moving to another rental closer to where we want to live in 9 months or so, and then finally buying somewhere permanent where my mother will remain with us.

In between all of this, I’ve had two major flares, have been working on packing an entire house into boxes and all sorts of mundane bullshit at the same time, which is why the posts have been short and sporadic at best. Manthing and I are presently at the point where we’re at the apex of the move. Roughly half the house is packed and in boxes (and I’m taking a well-deserved break from it all to write this), so in theory that means I should have a little more time for blogging and comic writing in the next few weeks, but I’m not holding my breath.

Now for the fun part. I’ve started something I’ve decided to call the 100 unicorns project. I know. The name is just so full of imagination.

What this boils down to is that, over the next… well, whenever, to combat my depression and anxiety, I will be drawing unicorns. 100 of them, to be exact. Now, I had planned to do 365 days of unicorns, and paled at the thought of having to hold the pencil with my foot while in the shower trying to bathe the pain away, so I figured 100 was much more reasonable. I could space them out every few days, or do three in a day, so long as I stuck to the plan and kept drawing. They could be sketches, paintings or even some kind of jewellery item, so long as they fit the theme.

It’s nothing too crazy, but I adore unicorns and I also like not feeling like shit. And you all seem to like drawings, so it’s the perfect motivation. So, you all have 100 unicorns to look forward to over the next (hopefully) 9 months or so. That’s two a week and then a few on the side, right? Anyway, back to packing!

[Journal] Depression is like mold…

So, tonight I decided that having depression is a bit like fighting brown mold from the Pathfinder universe.

Brown mold is an interesting thing. It’s a pretty standard looking thing that you find plastered to walls and floors in dungeons, and when left alone it’s more or less harmless. However, when you encounter the brown mold, that’s where things get interesting. When it finds a source of heat (see: endothermic creatures, adventurers, pets, etc.), it feeds off that heat and draws it from any surrounding sources until they are ice cold. Anything within range of it’s draw begins to take cold damage as it eats away at the heat source magically. If you blast it with fire to try and destroy it, it simply doubles in size and continues on it’s merry existence.

Depression is an interesting thing. It’s pretty standard and most people have experienced it. You find little seeds of it stuck inside people, and when everything is going well, it’s more or less harmless. However, when you encounter depression head on because it’s been set off, that’s where things get interesting. When it finds a source of happiness (friends, family, favourite things, etc.), it feeds of that joy until it’s source has been extinguished – replaced by the same apathy and misery depression makes. People within range of someone affected by depression begin to take friendship damage as the condition causes the sufferer to push people away and find isolation, something that’s not always visible. If you drag the sufferer out into a social event or force them into ‘fun’, the depression doubles in size and leads to further feelings of isolation and sadness.

My life is undergoing some pretty big changes right now. Like. Literally life changing changes. And I’d doing my best to take it in my stride, but I’m no saint and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m actually afraid of change. I’ll run at it with a warrior’s face when I have to, but by the same token, I’m happy to just sit here and mind my own business and just do my own thing. This change has unsettled me. It’s changed the way I interact with people, it’s changed what I’ve been doing with my time and it changes how much patience I’ve had over the last few weeks -both with other people and myself.

It’s honestly starting to show. Because on one hand, I’m handling things damn well. I got through a funeral, helped with the prep, organised 50% of everything, have held things together and not slapped heads when relatives made truly horrid comments on the day, and then called my mum after to repeat them. I’m helping with the legal matters. I’m sorting the house. I’m slowly adjusting to the life changes I’m facing. I’m doing a damn fine job. On the other hand, my depression is out of hand, my anxiety is a dickweed, I feel I can count on one hand the friends that are actual friends and my body is an asshole. I feel like I’m fraying at the edges while simultaneously being the atlas of my world right now. And it’s incredibly confusing because I feel like I can’t be both of them at the same time.

I’m going to leave the blog here for tonight because I’m just too damn exhausted to analyze the situation much further. But I do plan on having at least one comic this week if everything goes to plan. Anyway, it’s almost 2am. I’ll pick up more on this another night.

[Journal] Tonight is a bad night

There’s simply nothing to make one feel more alone in the world than knowing that if you publicly ask for help, all the wrong people are going to answer.

Tonight isn’t a good night for me. It’s now almost 3am and that means I’ve been sitting on the very cusp of a full-blown anxiety attack for almost 9 hours. Despite taking all my medication and two beta-blockers (which are supposed to help with the fight/flight response), I’ve not been able to calm down. I’m on the edge of tears over nothing at all. I literally cried because I watched an episode of My Little Pony. I don’t know, really.

I’m in both physical and emotional pain, the latter being the worse of the two tonight. I’ve tried everything that normally helps. Everything. Hell, I’ve tried to go out and do a thing, have a social life and expand my brain a bit. Just shrug off the fear that some kind of horrible doom is impending or that life as I know it will crumble before me. I had a thumping heart and adrenaline rush the whole way there, the whole time I was there and the whole way home. I’m somewhere between proud of myself for achieving what I have so far, and filled with crippling doubt and emotional exhaustion.

Tonight is one of those nights where I wanted desperately to reach out to a friend, but because of the time and the day, nobody I want to talk to about something like this was around. I don’t hold it against any of them. I spoke to manthing, but sometimes you just want to talk to someone who hasn’t heard it all before, and I feel like the ones that were available would hear me, but wouldn’t actually listen.

I’m hesitant to write about personal issues and things involving friends on my blog these days, namely because I know that a few follow it through one way or another. A major fear of mine is that, in revealing how I really feel about things, I’ll face repercussions for it in person. It’s one of the reasons that I’ve deliberately kept this blog entirely anonymous. On that note, I will expect any individual that knows me in person to show me the respect I deserve here and not confront me over my views and feelings. If you respect me as a person and, indeed, as a friend, you will understand that sometimes one simply can’t be upfront and honest in the way we intent. We don’t want to hurt feelings or upset people, but to deny our own reactions and emotions is exactly what put me in this shitty place tonight to begin with.

I have some bad people in my life right now, and it really comes to the fore on a night like tonight when there’s a stark realisation that all my mental health support network no longer exists. Once upon a time, I had a ‘family’, I had close friends, I had people I called brother and sister and I felt safe. I felt like, even though I might come across monsters in the dark, I would always have those people behind me. In the last year, everything changed. People I trusted abused my emotions in the worst possible ways. In unforgivable, selfish, twisted ways when I begged for help and respite. My needs were shunted aside when I needed people most, while they marched up and dumped their life on my doorstep and looked at me expectantly. People I trusted beyond what I probably should have. People that I respected and gave a little bit of myself to. “Keep it safe, please”. Instead, they used it as a front door to my emotions and time. They played on my emotions and my intrinsic need to have people in my life when it was obvious to everyone but me that this was doing more harm than good.

So tonight, when I need someone to turn to, someone to tell me that “you know what, it’s going to be okay. I know you’re afraid now, you’re allowed to be afraid, but it’ll get better and you won’t need the fear tomorrow, so leave it here”, I have a crushing sense of loneliness. Even when manthing is one room over. I need these people in my life again. The friends, the lovers, the family, and I have only empty spaces where my impression of people once stood; their figures having wandered somewhere far from here, leaving only disappointment and child-like pain in their shadows. I find myself on a night like tonight struggling with demons that often feel lager than myself, and instead of people that listen, I have people who hear what they want and talk about themselves. I have people that tell me they understand and, on nights like tonight, I find that more of an insult than a comfort, because they don’t. They can’t feel my heart beating into a cavity the child in me has carved out with scratching nails and wild eyes. They can’t see the way it’s filled with terror from everything – named and nameless – and they don’t understand that the one thing I need tonight is someone who will truly listen and simply say “I am here for you. Please talk to me. Let me listen”.

Instead, I have people that ignore my outright plea for help to substitute it for something else that they find more fitting. Instead of understanding that, ultimately, I need to walk through this on my own, but want someone to wait for me at the other side, they walk next to me and tell me about all the woes and troubles they’re facing and do nothing but load the wagon I’m dragging down an already rocky road. I know if the wheels fall off, they won’t stop to help. They will take my stopping as a queue to simply heap more baggage on. I say this with experience.
Any other night I take that on willingly. Any other night, I grit my teeth as a simple greeting becomes a segue for them spewing their grief on me and expecting me to be a therapist. I’m not, and I likely never will be, by choice. I find my friendships abused time and time again by people mistaking my concern for their welfare for an open invitation to dump their life story on me and then demand I fix it for them. But not tonight.

Tonight I have been afraid of making it known that I need help, because the people that will answer are the ones with an agenda – they’re the ones time and time again that will see my unhappiness and take that as an excuse to ride the misery wagon in what they seem to think is tandem. The problem is that they don’t help me pull, they sit and expect me to do the work, and I’m finding that time and time again, that hurts more than all the fear and heartache in the world – knowing that this person holds their own issues in higher regard than yours but wraps them up in paper and presents them to you as a gift, and expects you to say thank you.

I have some beautiful, wonderful people in my life. I have the people that tell me that I’ve always got someone on my side, I have the ones that DO understand because I know they’ve walked that road before. I have people that respect my boundaries and, while we can commiserate together, they know that everyone has limits, including themselves. Right now, however, is one of those rare times when I feel that none of these people are around. They very well might be, but in one of those silly moments where I want to show them the same consideration they’ve shown me as a friend, I find myself very hesitant to message someone at 3am just to talk. I suppose this is somewhat of a self-dug hole where I find myself placing the needs of others before my own, but friendships are about give and take, not clinging to a drowning man and expecting him to take you back to shore.

Tonight, I am unwell. I have a sickness, a malaise of the mind and heart that is just as real as any other kind of injury or disease. Tonight I am going to crawl into bed, curl up close to manthing and do the same thing I would do for any cold or flu – sleep it off and hope I feel a little better tomorrow.

[Journal] A catch up

Once again, I managed to fall behind in my blogging schedule.

The last few weeks have been pretty full on. It was roughly a week after my toe procedure before I could walk again. It’s been almost three weeks now? Honestly, I have no real concept of time. But I’m finally able to wear socks and loose shoes. Thankfully, this means no more cold feet when we have our chilly weather snaps. I’m down to weekly visits to the doc so he can look at the mess that is my big toe, though I no longer require a dressing, and I can confirm that it still hurts like all sodomy. I was clever enough to drop my cane on my toe during the doctor’s visit today. I’m nearly in tears over it, Manthing is trying not to laugh at my misfortune and the poor GP doesn’t know what the dickens is going on.

My new GP decided that we needed to go over a complete and thorough patient history. I’m in two minds about this. On one hand I really appreciate his dedication to the task at hand and to giving me the best care he can. On the other hand, I seriously hate the fact that I had to go through all the other shit about my history, stuff I either was or wasn’t told growing up and the whole mental health side of things. He’s suggesting I see both a psychologist (which I’m undertaking in my own time) and a psychiatrist regarding the antidepressants and stuff that I’m on.

I had to get my dose of Endep lifted due to ongoing anxiety issues, panic attacks, negative thoughts, etc. The sort of shit that seeps into your brain like a leaky pipe. I can deal with everything in due time, but when I’m busy fighting my own brain, not sleeping because I’m afraid of the dark and having major panic attacks over nothing, then no progress gets made.

Speaking of panic attacks, I had an interesting experience this week. Albeit regrettable, it was worth noting that I have a new and identifiable trigger for my panic attacks. To simplify the situation, there was a great disagreement with a group of friends due to one being a selfish prig. The whole situation got out of hand, this person in question couldn’t see past their own nose, they threw around a lot of hurtful names (I may be many things, but I am NOT a bully, especially not to someone that I treated as a sister) and the whole thing boiled down to them acting like a spoiled, selfish little child. We were expected to be mind-readers, fortune tellers and have superhuman empathy because we should simply KNOW when this person was upset, rather than them using their adult skills and… well, you know, telling someone. They refused to accept responsibility for damaging property out of carelessness, I was called names for disbanding the gaming group (because it was THEIR group and how DARE I, despite the fact that I was GM) and any attempts to talk rationally to them ended up in them putting on the water works and involving a friend’s parents. I don’t deal well with conflict situations at the best of times, so when this all blew up on Sunday before our Pathfinder game, you can imagine just how pleased I was.

This week has been pretty shocking for pain levels and I’ve spent far more time out of bed than I should have, so when some ungrateful tit turns around and starts carrying on like a child, and tries to tell me what I can and can’t do, you get the idea. To sub up this person’s attitude over the weekend in regard to other people, “HER panic attacks? Her anxiety? What about MY anxiety? I get anxiety too and none of you care!” Suffice to say if I see this individual again, it’ll be too soon.

On the plus side, I’m feeling a little artsy tonight so hopefully I’ll have some new comics for you all. I’ve got a few old ones to put up still (one in regards to a ‘request’ journal I did a while back) and, as always, still taking inspiration from readers if they want to suggest something in particular, or challenge me.

[Journal] A catch up (and other things)

As I’m starting this post, it’s 2:11am and I’m lying in bed, typing this on my phone with manthing halfway draped across my back. Have you ever been so tired you couldn’t sleep? I honestly have no idea what my body is doing. I apologise for any incoherence in the following post. I seem to have spent most of today running on two and a half brain cells and I’m struggling to make sense of autocorrect on my phone.

Thank god Christmas and New Year is gone for another few hundred days. I managed to survive it all by the seat of my pants and a lot of coffee. Christmas day was spent visiting family (manthing’s and then mine) though we still need to see my family up north. Time seems to work strangely around celebrations. Boxing day was spent hiding at home. NYE was at my adoptive dad’s place and was very interesting. I don’t have the brain to elaborate right now, but suffice to say it was food for a lot of thought.

The last few weeks have been a bit of a blur between thr seasonal madness and my bi – weekly Chiro appointments. This means that I’ve been in a fair bit of pain and spent the last few days in a nasty pain flare. I’ve tried to do my usual socialising,  but I won’t lie – it’s left me terribly worn out. I’m back to feeling like that blanket that’s been worn so much it’s fraying at the edges.

Right now I’m having trouble focusing on my writing thanks to stabbing back pain. I’m going to take a wild guess and assume I’ve managed to aggravate it today. Today was helping with fixing a shed, by the way. The problem is that all my pain seems to be linked. I’m getting the headaches and pelvic pain and then costo pain in the chest and aches in my legs. All because my back is being a twat.

I feel a little like a tangled puppet. With all of this going on, I’ve also found it hard to be motivated. I really do want to try a 365 drawing challenge. Or at least a creative challenge where I make something each day. Yesterday I helped make a shed a little tidier. Today (technically) I wrote this blog and will be helping with a Pathfinder game later in the day. The day before I made a squid beanie. The day before that… does making carbon dioxide count? If not, I made the house a little messier. In all seriousness,  I really do want to do this. If you have a suggestion for a drawing, or another creative challenge leave it in the comments. I think it would be awesome to document the process so, at the end of a long week, I can look back and say “I’m not quite so useless after all”. Without the implied self – depreciation,  of course. It’s just a little sense of achievement I can look forward to.

My problem tonight is that I’m exhausted but my body won’t stop and my anxiety is playing up because of the physical stress. I guess this journal had really been more of a journal than a lot of my other entries in that it’s a genuine stream of thought. On that note, I have a few articles I’d like to write up and share.

For now, I really need to pee so I’m going to wrap this blog entry up (first one for the year. How about that?), do my thing and then maybe play some Pokemon until I get comfy.

Be good ❤

On letters and being a Guinea Pig

This has been quite an exhausting week. I’ve been keeping tabs on and helping out my sister/best friend who is about to have her baby (can anyone say excited auntie, much?), been dealing with what is now a 3-week-long pain flare, working on business stuff and then having to spend an entire day dealing with the doctors. On the upside, I have some achievements to show and something rather interesting to share.

I finally got that letter from the specialist I saw back in April. When I was there, I was told I was supposed to start a new medication ASAP so by the time I go to my appointment at the end of next month, I’d have a few months on the tablets and we should be able to see a definite answer either way as to whether it is actually helping to manage the pain. Unfortunately it’s now the beginning of October (I actually had to check that) and I need to have at least a 3 week transition period from one medication to another so the chances of be getting a solid answer is pretty damn poor. Once again, it’s another one of those prescriptions where it ‘might’ help, but we really just have to wait and see while I play Guinea Pig.

On the upside, I thought I’d share some of the letter I got from the specialist, just in case some of you find it interesting or can relate, or even just want to know the nonsense I have to deal with while fighting for a diagnosis. Obviously, some bits have been changed for privacy reasons.

To start, I have a wonderful list of shit wrong with me:

  • Arthralgia/myalgia under investigation
  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Polycycstic Ovary Syndrome
  • Endometriosis
  • Benign Hyper-mobility Syndrome

I had the pleasure of reviewing Miss Abigail in Rheumatology Clinic today.
In our last Clinic review, we commenced Miss Abigail on a trial of Prednisone therapy to see whether this could help with her joint symptoms.
Abigail unfortunately reports that there has been no appreciable symptom relief with Prednisone and in fact reports that the Prednisone may in fact have made her symptoms worse.

I’d like to take a moment here to stamp my feet up and down and have a bit of a tantrum. “Worse” doesn’t quite cover the fun of Prednisone. For those of you that have been on it, you know what I’m talking about. This ‘delightful’ little bastard of a tablet has the ability to kill you. While most medication does have this side-effect if you take too much or whatnot, this smarmy little bastard outright tries to kill you. It actually stops the production of a certain chemical in your body that YOU NEED TO LIVE.

English: *Drug Name: Prednisone 20 MG Oral Tab...

English: *Drug Name: Prednisone 20 MG Oral Tablet Ingredient(s): Prednisone Drug Label Imprint: 5092;V Color(s): Orange Shape: Round Size (mm): 10.00 Score: 2 Inactive Ingredient(s): ShowHide fd&c yellow #6 / lactose monohydrate / magnesium s… fd&c yellow #6 / lactose monohydrate / magnesium stearate / microcrystalline cellulose / sodium starch glycolate Drug Label Author: Qualitest Pharmaceuticals DEA Schedule: Non-scheduled (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The longer you’re on it, the less of that chemical you have in your body until POOF! you are now entirely reliant on the dreaded Pred to synthesize this chemical in your body. Side effects of being on Prednisone while in MY body include generally feeling like the Devil’s fiery butt hole, being constantly exhausted, feeling like you have the flu 24/7, being too tired to sleep, memory loss and decline of cognitive function and not being able to remember simple things like what day of the week it is, whether you’ve turned the stove off or not and what your name is. The one god damn symptom I DIDN’T get was some kind of euphoria you’re supposed to get on the first week of this kick-in-the-balls. Go figure. Oh, and if you stop taking it suddenly, you experience severe deadness. Have fun!

Anyway, back to the letter.

Since our last clinic review, Abigail reports ongoing generalised myalgias and arthralgias  that are migratory in nature affecting muscles of the shoulder girdle, limbs and back.

Look out, arse hats. This flock of fuckery is lose and migrating through my body like the bitches think it’s Winter!

She reports being invariably functionally impaired with them. On some days she is able to push through the pain and work at home and at her business and on other days being very much limited by her pain. Abigail reports the pain being present at rest, be worsened with movement and on occasion being unable to stand with it.

You’ll notice that I’m deliberately biting my tongue on the terrible grammar and punctuation of this specialist. Everything he’s thus far described, though, falls in my category of “not being a bitch and just having to get on with life if you want to eat”. They don’t reference the days when I need assistance using the bathroom on my own, or the days when I’m so exhausted from the pain that I almost fall asleep in my dinner.

[Skipping forward through the bits about palpitation and general manhandling of the patient that made me want to bite the specialist]
A review of Miss Abigail’s recent bloods demonstrates a continued mild elevation of inflammatory markers with an ESR of 13mm/hr and a CRP of 18.5mg/L despite current Prednisone Therapy.

Links to abbreviations for science! What this means is that my body is going batshit for one reason or another. It SHOULD have buggered off the inflammatory markers the moment I started the Pred. That’s what the medication is designed to do. But no. I’m special.

The letter goes on to say that they suggest that I MIGHT have Fibro because they’re clutching at straws here and have no real idea what my body is doing, but they don’t want to give me a diagnosis and would much rather switch me over to another fun Antidepressant because it’s been shown to kind of help people with Fibro. Now, I’m all for trying things that help at this point. I’m willing to do almost anything, but it would be nice if they could make up their minds as to what medication they’re going to pump me full of first.

What this giant circus boils down to is that, I’m likely to be having bigger mood swings than a menopausal woman at a Justin Beiber concert in the next few weeks. In order for me to get ON to these new meds, I have to reduce the dose of the present antidepressant I’m on and get it all out of my system. This means I’ll have a week of not having any kind of chemical in my system (aside from the usual painkillers) before I start this new stuff. I’ve been told that it’s the equivalent of the bigger, angrier brother to the stuff I’m already on. Already sounds like fun, doesn’t it? I’m also likely to be having massive pain spikes as my body gets used to not being able to depend on an external source for controlling the level of chemicals in my brain and will go through everything from being completely exhausted, bawling my eyes out for no reason, getting the munchies and massive anxiety attacks to feeling like I’m getting electric shocks from inside my own body. This can only mean one thing.

The next few weeks of blog posts are going to be incredibly entertaining 😛