Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Maybe you don’t understand as much as you think you do.

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Starving, cancer, heart failure, depression.   And people thinking they understand when they have no idea and coming off like douchebags.

Happy Mental Health Awareness Week, everybody.

Super Happy Fun Time Flu Extreme

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

This is very good.  A tad slow leading up to after the two minute mark, but well worth it.  Once he gets into the details of his experience, I think he’s done an excellent job of bringing across some of what it’s like those first months.  I can see so much of my own journey in what he’s said.

I always hesitate a little before any kind of updates on illness-related things, because in addition to seeming potentially…um…less than enthralling…I feel like it always comes with the risk of having people assume that I’m somehow attention-seeking.  And I don’t want that.  But at the same time, 1. there really isn’t a whole lot of excitement to choose from around here these days, and 2. I have a strong drive to share at least pieces of my story and in some tiny way help to spread awareness and understanding about an illness that is so very often misunderstood.  In reality, I probably shouldn’t worry about it since those people are already too distracted by the fact that I’ve just started two sentences with conjunctions.

Apologies for the giant gaps in posting.  There hasn’t been a whole lot of extra energy to spare, and generally when I do pull the laptop over to try to compose a post, my brain offers up something to the effect of “uuuuuuuuuuuunh,”  or occasionally “bees?”  Not a particular fountain of creativity over here.  It’s been a bit of a rough few months here physically, including a lot of testing, car travel to appointments, the aftermath of each of those, and a business trip that my husband couldn’t get out of.  How much does it suck having your husband leave for a two week trip and realizing that you are not at all capable of taking care of yourself for that time, you ask?  A lot.  On the plus side, the experience allowed me to discover a new sliver of pride that I did not know I had left at this point.  On the down side, I ate it.  Nom nom pride.

In more recent news, I have just started Equilibrant, which the ME folks reading will know means that I’m probably feeling like crap right now with start-up effects.  And they’d be right.  But I need to do something more, and immune modulators and antivirals seem like the best shot for me right now given my most prominent symptoms and blood work results, and this one is often prescribed by some of the specialists in the field whose judgement I trust.  Plus, there’s a slim chance that Equilibrant in particular may also do something for the ravening puffer demons that have taken up residence in my gut.  I’m not sure what a puffer demon is exactly, but I suspect it is something like a puffer fish, except larger.  And more ornery.  And made of burning.  Anyway, I am cautiously hopeful about it.

So right now I’m living through the Ultra Flu Extreme (as opposed to the regular Flu Extreme that I normally carry around these days).  The Ultra version doesn’t come with leather seats, but it does have a promising “chills and shaking” package, so that’s something.  My body is known to be pretty sensitive to medications/supplements/foods/existing, so I’ve been started off with just a quarter of a pill, which was most definitely the right call for me since that tiny piece has floored me like a ton of bricks.  I’ve discovered that extreme illness is much like pain in that we tend to forget later just how bad it can get (Bad.  It can get quite bad).  I’m sure those of you who caught the regular flu this year can sympathize with that.  The manufacturer mentions that dosing can begin with one pill and sometimes go up to a maximum of six pills per day.  My quarter pill and I laughed and laughed and laughed together reading that, and then lay back down in a whimpering heap of painful exhaustion from all that laughing.  But the pill still seemed in fairly good spirits about it, particularly when you consider that he was about to be eaten.  I’m currently aiming for a dose of one or maybe two pills in some distant eventual time.

Until then, I’m back to struggling to get up the single step from my living room, sometimes needing to take the wheelchair to get down my hall to the bathroom, and getting that horrible creeping burning agony along my spine and up into my head when I try to read or type things.  Things like final paragraphs on posts one has been slowly plugging away at, made of sentences very much like these.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Does any of this sound familiar?  Because some of it totally rings a bell for me…

Why do I end up still wandering aimlessly sometimes when there is nothing more out there that I want to read? I get a lot of good out of the computer, and I am dearly grateful for it now that I’m couch-bound most of the time. It provides a valuable link to the outside world. And most of the time, I am happy using it. …But there are those other times, when I know that there are other things I could be putting my energy towards that are more valuable, and I have already looked at everything I wanted to look at anyway, and it begins to leave me feeling a little lonely and a little irritable (not sure why, but I’ve noted the pattern). …And yet, sometimes when I’m in that state, it’s really difficult to put it away. Why is that? If I’m bored with it, and it’s making me uncharacteristically cranky, why would I not want to close it up? Rationally I should (and do). But there’s something more lurking under there. Something that does not want to let go. Something that either creates reasons to use it further, or resists putting it away even when I’m clearly done. That’s the part that makes me realize something more insidious is probably going on there.  And regardless of the fact that I don’t spend nearly as much time online as some people do (and not much time at all, these days), I don’t like it.  Anything more than what I actually want to be spending is too much.

I know this isn’t a novel concept. I’ve read similar sentiments from tons of you out there before (as we all take turns swearing to cut back :) ). Was just thinking about it again, and figured rather than sit here re-checking things I have already checked, that I would write this instead. And then try to put it aside. I’ve taken steps before to cut back when I thought I was spending too much time with these sorts of things, but it really comes into focus now that my energy is so limited. Now a little extra here and there becomes WAY too much to waste.

The funny thing is, it doesn’t seem to be an addiction to anything in particular, like one would suspect it would be (a la internet gambling, or gaming, or chatting, or what have you). I have an extra draw to sources of social interaction, but overall it’s almost as if part of me just wants to keep using the machine itself. For whatever. Weird.

Maybe someday they’ll discover that the light patterns stimulate some not-yet-understood part of our brains, and we’re helpless putty in it’s electronic hands.

It could happen.

And when they do, I bet I’ll hear about it online.


Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

I just started to share something hilarious my husband said today, but then looking at it from an outside perspective, I realized how horribly, horribly wrong it could be taken if one didn’t realize the context or some of the inside jokes involved. I imagine that probably applies to much of our life.

So instead, I will tell you that the other day, he suggested that the shirt I was wearing would actually make a really good goth shirt. When I looked at him in confusion, dressed in bright sunshine yellow with a bit of a light blue floral motif, he said that it was because it looked SO cheerful it was almost sarcastic.

That probably applies to much of my life as well. :)

Submit a Tree, Get a Personal Analysis!

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

I’m excited about this!  After some interest in the comments from my previous post (which you should still comment on, by the way.  I’m having fun deciding what I might mail to somebody), the lovely pinkbrain has agreed to put her art therapy to work for us (which is a serious and powerful discipline…but also a really fun way to get a personality assessment!). Here’s how you can get in on the action:

1) Draw a tree. A simple tree is fine (it doesn’t have to be a picture worthy of the Louvre or anything – it just has to be one you created). If possible, hand drawn trees that are scanned into the computer are preferable, but if that’s not an option, one drawn on the computer is fine too (though it is asked that you avoid cutting and pasting any pieces or anything – just drawing works best).

2) E-mail it to me.  You can send it to emotionalumbrella at gmail dot com (…Does writing out e-mail addresses like that even do anything anymore? I don’t know.). I will arbitrarily decide to accept submissions until midnight on Wednesday April 6th, 2011 because I know I’m not always great at posting super regularly and don’t want anyone to miss out because they didn’t read this right away.

3) I will shuffle them up so that pinkbrain won’t know who owns each tree, and she can analyze each one and interpret what it says about the artist and their personality. If there are enough, maybe we can all have fun guessing who owns them too.

4) I will forward each person’s analysis to them and ask permission before posting any of it online. If you’re willing to share, that would be great, but I don’t want to leave anybody feeling too exposed if their trees reveal more than they bargained for. Ideally, I would like to share the analysis here with the identities of the tree-owners, and the creators of each tree can comment on how closely their personality has been pegged.

This seems like it would be more fun the more trees there are (within reason – but my active readership isn’t actually that large, unless you also include people looking for cats hugging trees or stick people trying to have sex with them, so we’re probably safe), so I encourage you to draw a tree and get analyzed! Anyone who is interested is welcome to submit one, new and old readers alike.  I would happily receive a tree from you.

Many, many thanks to pinkbrain for her generous offer to analyze us!  I’m really interested to see what my drawing says about me.

Strategies for Dealing With Depression

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

For those of you who might find it relevant, I’ve written a post on Tips for Coping With Depression. I’ve buried it with an early posting date, though, to keep it grouped with the other information-type depression blog posts.  I am hoping that someday I will be motivated to expand on it, because I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of the things I do now that have helped, but for now, at least it’s a start. Was not really expecting to finish that today, but I’ve had a weird and very unusual influx of requests for suggestions lately, so I figured maybe I’d might as well.

Also, I wrote a post about how the diet stuff is going yesterday at a coffee shop.  Will try to post that shortly as well.

A Tail of Two Kitties

Monday, November 1st, 2010

I just realized it was a new month, so tried to write down September. Apparently I am living backwards now. Apparently I can look forward to a long and sort of tedious life in which I meet a really old Brad Pitt at the end.

We recently invested in a laser pointer for the cats (look how I say “invested” like it cost more than a couple bucks). Lord knows they have a giant toy collection already, and I have naturally shied away from them due to potential situations in which we could accidentally shine it in their eyes (because my brain is like that), but our girl is beginning to get…how to say this politely…slightly more than big boned, and she’s crazy for the light circles my watch makes in the sunlight, so it was a pretty reliable bet she’d like the laser.

Here she is playing with my watch reflection when she was “little.” She’s only one year old here, I swear.

…And yes, that is a broken bed frame and mattress she is playing on. And yes, kid you not, we actually broke it that way.

She is not a small girl. She will never be a small girl, and that is as it should be for her breed. But she is beginning to get a little bit of extra around the middle and she’s sedentary enough that that’s probably a poor road to go down for her.

And yes. She likes the laser. Oh BOY does she like the laser.

Unfortunately, the laser did not like me. The first time, it turned on perfect. The next time I had to fiddle with it for a minute and then it went on. The third time took a lot of finagling. And it just got worse from there. Until I had two pairs of giant baleful eyes looking up at me, wondering why I would get their hopes up and then not make the laser go.

I bought a replacement laser pointer.

So our new routine has resumed again. Amaya makes her laps every morning, back and forth, up and down the hallway. …Which is entirely more hilarious if you have any idea how little she runs on a regular basis. This is a cat who on more than one occasion would be curled up somewhere when I left for work in the morning, and in the exact same place when I got home at the end of the day. And not like she had been roaming in the meantime. You could put chalk marks on this cat’s tires with no problems. You could set a hair on her and I guarantee you it wouldn’t have been disturbed. She is nothing if not consistent. When we’re home, she follows us from place to place, but only to find a new place to sleep that’s nearby.

And she doesn’t play often these days. When she does it generally involves either lying on her back and batting at a toy for a couple of seconds, or making ungodly yowling noises while the rest of us are trying to sleep (you have NO IDEA). I think she’s got performance anxiety. So when the rest of us are safely in the bedroom, she really cuts loose. I don’t have the heart to give her the embarrassment of letting her know we can all hear her anyway. But even then, there is no running involved.

Anyway, she runs after that thing with a heart-warming amount of reckless abandon and innocent enthusiasm. Buh-WUMP, buh-WUMP, buh-WUMP, buh-WUMP, buh-WUMP. Cute. The jointly more sad and more amusing statement is that she is not the only one who now comes running frantically when they hear the tell-tale tinkle of the key chain on the laser pointer. He comes tearing over as well. Not because he gives a crap about the little red laser (he couldn’t care less), but because he is SO innocently excited about an upcoming game of Make Amaya Run. It’s like playing fetch except we’ve got a real live kitty just for him. Poor little guy was very disappointed when we started taking him to the other room during our exercise sessions. He thought we were the most generous owners ever for a while.

And he wonders why he thinks they’re super friends and she gets irritated when we take him to the vet and have the gall to bring him back again.

In which I discover that maneuvering a laser pointer in an enticing manner while simultaneously holding a video camera is a talent that I apparently do not possess

Living from five feet removed

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

I had promised myself that I would try to write today, but I woke up holy tired from a truly bizarre set of dreams involving death and show tunes (no kidding), and have been feeling a little numb all day.  I had wondered if perhaps I would notice more of a withdrawal effect in the final weeks of Luvox, when I graduated from Luvox nugget to Luvox flake.  It’s damned difficult to differentiate one tiny sliver of medication from another and accurately judge which one is probably larger.  Additionally, my pill cutter has some kind of crazy problem trying to cleanly cut something that’s not all that much larger than the width of the blade.  Go figure.  At any rate, I’m thinking that may be what today is.

I’ve been trying to push myself to spend my time in a wider range of activities lately.  Perhaps to ensure that I’m getting as much fulfillment and motivation as possible.  Perhaps due to that part of my brain that thinks it’s perfectly reasonable to expect that I might learn a language, or write a novel, or start a giraffe farm while I’m off on medical leave.

…Okay, I will admit that last statement isn’t entirely accurate.  I should specify that in the vision I should easily do all of those things.  At once.  While making lattes.

At any rate, the goal has been to branch out and see if I’m missing out on anything randomly fulfilling and/or ensure that I’m making the best and most beneficial use of my time.  Today is not a branching day, though.  Today is some kind of mutant tree with a very, very long and branchless trunk leading up to a canopy of blankets and tv.  It is a day for letting the world be sort of surreal, and watching it go by with distant curiosity.  But I’m okay with it.

Filling in the Gaps

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

In reading another site, it occurred to me that an overview of events thus far might be helpful to have here.  In case people started reading.  And wanted to know what’s gone on.  But don’t want to read all of my archives.  Because they really don’t care what I had for lunch in July.

I’m still boggling over the fact that anybody’s reading this at all, but if you’re interested, there is now a brief overview of the history of all this over at the sidebar. Of course, once I got started writing I got characteristically overzealous, so by “brief” I mean “somewhat less elaborate than writing out a full minute-by-minute transcription of the events in question.” But if you know me at all by now, that shouldn’t come as a shock.

And if you don’t, well there’s this handy overview in the sidebar…

Spin Cycle

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

I wonder if police officers get frustrated that it takes them so long to drive anywhere because everywhere they go everybody is driving just under the speed limit.

Just sayin’…

Have been feeling off and on much more like my usual self for the past few days.  Unfortunately the “off” periods are still filled with crazy sulking tearstained not-me-ness, but I’ll take what I can get.  Not sure if it’s related to a sign that my withdrawal symptoms will be starting to improve now, or the Wellbutrin, or the beautiful spring weather, but I won’t complain either way.

I love spring.  I get all crazy enthusiastic in those first spring days.  I get strange new reserves of energy during daylight hours.  I feel much more like I could tackle anything I set my mind to (Except maybe bears.  At least angry ones.  Peaceful bears I could totally take down today.).  I can’t really yet, but feeling that way is a step in the right direction.  I normally get quite frisky in the spring as well.  We’ll see how the medications deal with that one.

I get a lot of memory flashbacks in the first days of warmer weather too.  I don’t know what it is, but I am instantly bombarded with warm days from many different years of my life.  This doesn’t happen with other seasons (no memories of the first snowfall), but it happens every single year in the spring.  Currently, I am purchasing our house, starting to meditate, planning my wedding, finishing exams, starting part time jobs, and hanging out with my friends from high school.  At least, in my head I am.  In reality I’m going with sit outside and read a self-help book.

At any rate, the last few days have had good points, and that’s news in and of itself.  A week ago I was struggling to push myself to feed my cat.  Today I am clean, and dressed (in real clothes!), and made myself a nice lunch, and received delivery of our new washing machine, and plan still to get outside, and do some reading, and who knows what else.  Maybe it saddens me a little that these are such huge accomplishments, but they are, and I am overall pleased.   I have made a commitment that I will at least be showered, and brushed, and reasonably well-dressed, and reasonably fed every day for the foreseeable future.  No negotiations.  No exceptions.

Incidentally, the washing machine that came with our house was a Maytag Neptune.  Do you know what happens when you google Maytag Neptune?  You get a whole slew of pages telling you why you should not ever ever ever buy a Maytag Neptune.  Which I will echo.  I really wish the previous owners had been a little more internet savvy.   I also wish I hadn’t spent so much time and money trying to clean and repair the thing before doing that search myself.

I know.  Who ever would have thought you’d see something bad about a Maytag on the internet?