Quit that Pickin’!

This is my third full week at the women’s CILA (Community Integrated Living Arrangement). I work with 3 (soon to be 4) adult women of varying ages with developmental and intellectual disabilities. I fought for the position for months and finally got the main full-time position which has been the focal point of my life right now. This is after nearly a year working at the larger group home that houses 100 individuals with these disabilities at the workshop where we teach life skills.

If you follow the BBQ blog, you know how frustrated I was with the laziness and unjustness of the job, and Lord let me tell you how much better it is to be at the CILA. I’m good at my job, I care very much about the women, and I rock at paperwork. Most importantly I’ve lasered off the incompetence of the workshop staff, and finally feel like I have some control. I’ve been calling myself the “house-mother” because, well, I am! (We spent over an hour on our first big grocery shopping trip today and remembering I’m teaching people how to live and behave in the community from scratch can be pretty rough.)

If you were to ask me if I had kids I’d have to say yes my oldest is 58 and my youngest is going to be 3. Remember for 4 years I was a nanny before all this, and if I never have kids of my own I can say I’ve been able to put my motherly personality to work. I’m proud of that. I’ve always had a big heart and a lot of love to give. I’ve also for the longest time felt bad complimenting myself. It’s a tremendously rewarding job and equally as tremendously difficult. I’ve been keeping my spirits up through the rough spots, and the amount of love the girls give me makes me beam. Anyway, on the side I’m carving out my research for my last semester of my undergrad and trying to take care of the family and maintain some semblance of a social life. Take that 3 and a half years of severe agoraphobia that ruined my mid twenties! You can suck a ****. Look at me now! (No worries life, I’m still kinda miserable and that should be reason enough not to need to jinx me).

I’d have to say the hardest part of life right now is waking up. I feel all the little Lyme Disease critter bacteria I’ve been host to for 14+ years crawling under my skin and traveling to work to make me achy and tired and hypersensitive and itchy and all around miserable. Learning to live with chronic physical illness has been a long process but if I can learn to handle living with my chronic mental illnesses as eloquently, I’ll be in good shape to live out the many more decades I hope to be able to.

On that note, I’m at that point in my life where I need a new man…maybe a woman, I mean don’t judge me here…I’m desperate. I need someone kind and understanding who I can laugh with and most importantly who is a psychiatrist who can up my dosage of Luvox. My OCB’s (Obsessive Compulsive Behaviors) have been out of control and my intrusive thoughts have been throwing frat parties on the regular. My skin picking and fear of my house burning down in particular are REALLY bad right now. I’ve also been off of Ritalin way too long.

If I get one thing done tomorrow before my shift, I’m going to try to make it find a doctor who will take my insurance and my hours and get myself there ASAP. I can do this. I can do this…I can do this. Right?

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You go ahead and PUNCH that wall!

I’m livid with how bad my memory is this year. The more I realize it when something happens and makes it apparent the more I just want to punch a wall. I should dig in on the school library database and see if there’s any claim to my particular Bipolar or OCD meds screwing with people’s memories as a side effect when they’re on them long term. I’ll probably forget to do that too though, HA!

I’m trying to embrace the fact that I can’t sleep. Mainly it’s because I’m worried about tomorrow. Obsessive Compulsive people don’t like change in their routine. I can handle changes a lot better than I used to be able to now that I’m well medicated. However, it’s safe to say I have a habit of not being able to sleep the night before something out of the ordinary is going on.

I’ve been dogsitting since Wednesday at an apartment I’ve dogsat at twice before. I’ve been struggling with missing my well established sleep, cleaning, and swimming schedule which I keep up at home and keeps me feeling accomplished and well. I also feel cleaner at home regardless of showering here. On the other hand, it’s a bit of a vacation.  I haven’t had an opportunity to dogsit in months, and I’m grateful for the extra money most of all.

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The man whom the dogs belong to is very nice and I keep in contact with twice a day via a text to send him updates. Mostly they’re just a quick ‘things are fine’ sort of thing. I’ve gotten less anxious now that I’ve found a good sense of when I should take the dogs out and become re-aquainted with their querks. Tomorrow (today rather) is my sisters birthday. I told the dog’s papa before I said I could take the job, that on the 19th I wouldn’t be available mid-day and he was fine with that. He’s got a neighbor coming over to walk the dogs. What worries me, is that she won’t put the walking collar on tight enough on one of the dogs (he’s got no regular collar because it was giving him allergies) and he’ll get free, or that she’ll tinker with things in the house she shouldn’t causing me problems later.

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I wrote her a lengthy note ‘reminding’ her things I assume the owner told her. I also worry about what time she’s coming. I asked her to text me after she’s finished. That will make a huge difference in my schedule and how much time I’ll have to spend with my family celebrating. It’s not a big deal kind of celebration, just an immediate family dinner, cake and gifts really. Maybe rent a movie on Amazon or Redbox. Regardless, I want to be there and make my sister feel loved.

She’s a bit more open on holidays, which is to say she speaks a little more, has better hygene, and is in a little better mood (For those of you new to the blog, she’s 24 today with Asperger’s). This is my chance to interact a little more with her since she’ll be open to it. With my bit of extra cash I’m going to get her an extra gift before I head home in the morning. I got her a My Little Pony card game the both of us could enjoy together, and plan on getting her one of those Funko POP! vinyl My Little Pony figures. We may even watch the ‘new’ My Little Pony movie together tomorrow on Netflix. She was asking if there were any Barbie movies on Netflix a few nights ago, so we have a few things we could watch.

I suppose the last thing I need is to be devoid of sleep when I have a busy day, but perhaps it’ll throw my sleep schedule back into a ‘normal’ pattern. I take more naps than I normally would when I’m dogsitting, stay up much later than usual, and barely eat anything.

I hope to enjoy the day and the last of my dogsitting adventure without a hitch. Cross your fingers for me!

We are the X-Men

After the fiasco at the pharmacy I broke down at home. I was angry, I was depressed, and feeling hopeless. My health insurance dropped me because I couldn’t pay the premium, apparently there wasn’t enough money in the account it was supposed to debit from, and when I went to pick up my prescriptions the insurance had been removed from the system. I had no idea, never got a letter. So instead of a 200 dollar bill for 3 prescriptions, it was 700 out of pocket. I went home with my heart pumping wildly. The pharmacist gave me 2 nights worth of Luvox to hold me over until I figure something out. I’ve already missed two doses trying to figure out how I was going to be able to pay for it period.

My dad who was equally as frustrated at the situation as I was asked me why I was crying. I told him (not for the first time in my life) that everyone’s life would be a lot easier without me in it but I didn’t want to die, and I was just really sorry I’m nothing but problems. He indicated that this was bullshit (by saying, “that’s bullshit.”) and told me not to talk like that. We’d work through the problems, and they’d get better. No one in the house is currently employed, and it’s been hard financially particularly because of my monthly medical expenses. Even with the insurance I’d have to pop over a hundred dollars for a twenty minute visit with any doctor, which has had me begging in voice mails for prescription refills because I just can’t afford to come in, and thankfully my psychiatrist has been good to me. But now, without insurance, the prescription prices have skyrocketed. I can live without Seroquel, even though my quality of life is so much better ON it, but even after two days without my Luvox dose my mind and body were beginning to deteriorate. For starters, when I’m in Luvox withdrawal I can not breathe. It literally screws with my respiratory system particularly in periods of rest like when I’m trying to sleep. I’ll be up night after night gasping for air and crying. Without Lamictal I have zero stabilization. They are the two drugs I need in order to survive, and I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic.

I made a “GoFundMe” in hopes to get a little financial relief in the meantime: http://www.gofundme.com/mentalillnessiscostly If you know any mental health advocates who would be willing to share some of their hard earned cash with me so I can make sure I can get my medicine please share the link. There’s a large part of me that feels like it’s a cop out to ask for donations, but I’m scared right now. I’m riding 7k in debt from the Adult Day Hospital AFTER the hospital charity program. I’ve been applying for every kind of aid I can find, but it’s been a slow ride, and this is a race.

After dad calmed me down a little and I stopped crying, he came back into the room to tell me,

“Another thing to remember is, some people have no hair.” Dad’s semi-bald, and I just gave him a confused look.

“Some people have no hair, I don’t have any hair, grandpa had no hair and my grandpa had no hair. But somewhere down the evolutionary order, and I don’t know how, having no hair was an advantage. Just like that guy from the X-Men who could laser beam anything from his eyes, but learned how to manage it. I don’t know why you have your problems, but you’re smart and artistic and I know that if you can learn to manage them, you’ll have an advantage in some way too.”

So I offer seats at my table for my brethren X-Men who want to find our advantage in the world despite the trials bipolar and all other mental illnesses can and will put us through. If nothing else can come from sitting at the table with me, support is always available, as I know more than anyone that a support system, even from WordPress community strangers can make a change.

Luvox and deterioration

I am in need of letting the medication get back in my system. Everything is sad and makes me cry. I hope I can breathe while I sleep tonight.

I didn’t hear from Chris at all today. I feel really alone. Like Hannah in Girls just deteriorating but there’s not any Adam at the end of season two to come kick my door down and rescue me.

Still haven’t heard back about the job. I visualize myself working there though while I’m daydreaming on my drives places. I’d prefer to just live on disability when it comes down to it though.

It’s negative something outside. It dries out my eyes. School is closed tomorrow. I’m glad I can save gas. My campus is 50 minutes away. I’ve been using absurd amounts of tinted lip balm. I’m trying to take better care of myself.

You know, while I go crazy.

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Rage~Polar

I am immeasurably temperamental and spastic when I do not take my Luvox. I can’t find the bottle and won’t see the doctor until Friday so until then I need to realize everything is actually okay and there’s no need to rage at little things and remember how to breathe, I sometimes forget how without Luvox. I also get paranoid at things like someone is watching me through the vents or hiding under the bed. Obsessive thoughts are both embarrassing and terrifying. Makes you realize how important your medication is.

I’m dog sitting for 10 days and feeling lonely in the house. I looked at the brand of lipstick this lady is using nowadays and find out it’s fifty dollars a tube. I hope to make it so good one day financially that I can live with high end products in my bathrooms.

Speaking of makeup, I bought a Borghese foundation today which is literally the best foundation ever. It’s light with full coverage, and keeps my skin matte all day. I have real oily crappy skin that disagrees with all other foundations. I almost bought some other things but I’m trying to save my money, even though I paid all my bills for next month already thanks to this paycheck.

Monday I tutor, last week they were not monsters which was a treat. Tuesday is my night class. Wednesday I get my ADD testing results and Friday is the psych appointment. I’m hoping one of the drugs if not multiple I need to acquire this week will give me what I need to get over my fears and visit my advisor about the big project I need to accomplish before the end of the semester so I can graduate. Time is ticking.

I’m freezing by the way. All winters in Chicago blow, but temperature wise this is THE worst. I’d rather have that winter back with the huge snow storm. At least it didn’t screw with my car running.i
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#TheCarouselOfDrugs

I went to this place called ‘Relax Center’ today which is a kind of reflexology joint. I heard good things about it on yelp so I went out of my way and fought bravely through the english barrier to get a 30 minute medium pressure reflexology body massage. Now I came out of that thing feeling pretty good, I think the guy did a lot HARDER pressure than I wanted and there were times I was straight up in pain, but thanks to social anxiety I didn’t say anything. This is a perfect example of how f-ing stupid it is.

In fact it took me a little over a month to even get in the parking lot of this place to go in there. I passed it by a few times to see if I’d get the courage but no, then one day I figured I’d just do it. I’ll save all the gory details of it for yelp, but honestly I was only able to feel relaxed for about 10 minutes and that includes during and after. My back hurts from all the pressure now and I hate that I didn’t speak up during. Also, I gave way too big a tip, which is okay because the guy was really nice and he looked like he was about to leave when he got ‘assigned’ to me and all…but still that was extra money I could have in my pocket.

So now I’m aching, and have been taking care of my mom whose had the flu the past few days, and feeling like I’M getting the flu, but at this point I know I’m not, it’s the transitional period getting off Depakote and getting on Abilify, then raising my Lamictal and keeping my Luvox the same. That carousel of drugs is making me feel awful. I can’t concentrate, I’m super hazy like someone that’s high and even have that ‘glazed over’ look to me. I have a VERY IMPORTANT research paper draft due tomorrow, and I’m not finished.

So here I am, up, working on this paper in spurts, maybe 70% finished which is an accomplishment I suppose, and physically miserable. That’s one reason I went to the Relax Center in fact today. My body is on and off nauseated and with a headache and achey and overall just in bad shape.

I’m starting to really get super anxious too because I’m supposed to hang out with a friend I haven’t seen in maybe 2 years now on Wednesday night, I have a presentation for Social Psych on Wednesday afternoon, and Friday I’m seeing one of my best friends, then Saturday seeing another of my best friends, and because my body chemistry is so jacked I don’t feel like I’ll be comfortable seeing ANY of these people. Mind you I BARELY get out to see my friend Lucy once a week and even that is anxiety provoking sometimes depending on my anxiety level. That being said I suppose it’s a brave week.

I’m making friends with a very brand new person who kind of stumbled in my life too. A girl from one of my classes who is also Bipolar and super wonderful but I’m terrified I’ll act too normal and friendly around her and she won’t be interested in being friends anymore because she’ll not be as interested as I was…if that made sense?

I’ve also been so bold as to try to get ahold of old friends of mine who are married and see if they want to get together. I know both are incredibly busy and homebodies but it’s taking years off my life every time this year I’ve mentioned something like that, even offering to take them out to dinner, and had NO reply. Caring for people is a deadly virus.

So there you go, PHENOMENAL COSMIC ANXIETY, itty bitty living space.