I have a particularly difficult time reaching out to people when I’m not feeling well in the head…I can talk about the physical stuff with greater ease because pretty much everyone can identify with that and it’s not so scary to listen to…it’s just human. The emotional/mental health stuff seems to take on a sort of threat to people….or maybe it’s just my perception of things…those are often slanted through PTSD goggles so I’m never 100 percent sure I can trust them. I am a dweller by nature which becomes obvious quickly to those who come to care about me, so I understand their aversion; they don’t want to watch me drown myself in misery when they know I can work with it on a much better and healthier level. Still though, I don’t feel much like I can change that. I can stop talking about it, certainly, and can just put on a different face and go about my day, but that does not change how I feel, just how I appear. Is that better? I suppose it is to the person who is desperately back peddling out of my line of sight to avoid the conversation I’m trying to have with them. Generally, I just don’t start the conversation in the first place. I feel like I’m treating a friend as my therapist when I do that and I don’t think that’s fair, so I just keep the thoughts inside me. Mike used to say thoughtless things about how he was providing me with free therapy when I went to him feeling troubled. It made me never want to share anything with him again, but, I think that was his point. Anyway….I’m sure you understand what I’m saying, it’s hard when there’s no one to talk to and you want to talk. Although I don’t suppose there is anything to talk about. I feel crappy and that’s about it. If you know me and happen to care about me, you probably already know why so what’s the point of rehashing it all outside of my head again? It will just end up making you feel worse and me feel the same in the end.
My rheumatology appointment went much better than anticipated yesterday. I think my family doc must have said something about how must my last visit upset me because the formerly rude and dismissive rheumatologist was very kind and supportive. She showed renewed interest in my case and talked about future planning to get things under control. She thinks the exhaustion and fatigue has to do with whatever underlying issues I have going on.
“Your spine is terrible and your headaches, neck and shoulder pain are clearly coming from that issue,” she said. “but if we take your spine and head out of the mix, you are still left with a lot of complicated and ongoing issues to deal with. I want to figure out what is causing those things.”
The spinal stuff can’t be helped, I know that. Surgically there is no option so it’s a matter of pain control and trying not to lose too much range and mobility between now and when I’m finished with this body. It will only get worse, not better, so my coping skills are going to have to continue to increase as I go. I think I can do that for a while yet, so no worries there for the immediate future. “The rest” as far as my doctor saw it includes the joint pain, the weird discolouration of my arms and legs when I get cold, the constant overheating and hot flashes (which, although related to hormonal changes in my body, are not necessarily related to peri-menopause like my GP thinks, says my rheumatologist), the depression to a degree and the excessive sleep/fatigue/exhaustion issues. “But I’m not *fatigued*,” I told her. “I’m shutting down; dropping off to sleep on my feet. I’m losing consciousness while I fight to stay awake in the middle of talking to someone at noon with a coffee in my hand and 20mg of Dexedrine in me.”
“Yes, but if you’re not sleeping at night, and by that I mean restful sleep, not this pain or dream interrupted, waking every 20 minutes sleep you describe, what else do you think is going to happen? Your body shuts down because it needs rest.”
She made sense there. I imagined just staying awake for weeks on end without all the other complications and can imagine my body would shut down much like it wants to do right now.
“Do you feel rested when you wake up? Even after a 20 hour sleep?” She asked.
“Maybe for a few hours. I’m not sure though….I’m not sure ‘rested’ is the right word, but I’m not actively fighting sleep immediately upon waking.”
She just stared at me with her head cocked to one side, waiting for me to catch up to her. I saw her point. She went on to tell me that fatigue is important when it comes to the body’s ability to fight pain.
So, in the end, she was pleased to hear about the sleep consult next week. She also happily pulled up all my blood work from last appointment and said she was going to repeat all the tests to see if anything has even slightly changed. She’ll see me back in six weeks and we will go from there, she says. They took vials of blood from me and I left the clinic feeling spacey and exhausted then I went home after work and slept from 5 pm until the alarm went off at 6 am the next day feeling like I’d just gone to bed.
I’m feeling pretty lost in all of this right now. Work is nothing but stress and a pounding sense of failure, home is fear and stress and guilt that we haven’t managed to provide Colt with more stability than one single family of people who we can no longer count on like we have all these years. Things with Dayne are fine but he is one to roll with the punches in life. We could pretty much not speak to each other for a year and nothing would really change between us. He’s as solid as a rock, that man, and I know he will always, always, always have my back.
I’m a little depressed, a lot in pain and everything else feels suspended in the air.
Thank you guys, for all the comforting words and great advice about my appointment yesterday. It went really well, all things considered. One of my oldest blog friends sent me a wonderful email to make me feel better that arrived just before I was seen and the rest of your supportive comments helped more than you might realize. So…thank you. xx
I had to wait over an hour to be seen but once in there the entire procedure was very quick. There was a female ultrasound tech in the room the entire time so I didn’t even have to ask for a nurse to be there and the doc was efficient and obviously well practiced at the task. He was very young which was a bit unnerving but he was so quick it almost didn’t register before it was all done and he was *whoosh* gone and onto the next case. He did answer some of my questions and was polite…and honestly, had he used a blow dart he couldn’t have got that IUD in faster. It was crampy but I do pain well so, aside from a few knee-weakening cramps through the day afterwards, everything was fine. :)
As for the rest of life…we’re still kind of up in the air regarding Colt’s Wednesday’s and finding new sitters/arrangements. Only one week left of the current sitter so we’re running low on time. That’s a stress I don’t really want to think about at the moment – I already have a full bowl of work stress today so I don’t want to short my system out. I remember, once, my therapist giving me a little diagram to explain how stress and ptsd work together…or against each other, really. It was a cup that was 3/4 full of ‘stress’ and she said that was pretty much how I walked around all the time, with a stress load that was taking up more than half of my capacity to tolerate. When something else went wrong and caused stress, which happens to everyone of course, rather than my cup being half full, it went from 3/4 full to overflowing. Then, if another stressful situation occurred on top of that there was just nowhere to put it and that shit would spill out everywhere and flow into everything. It was pretty accurate for me and I’ve learned to selectively panic about things when they all go off at once. Sort of. lol. So. I’m not thinking about that today.
I had really intense dreams last night about living on the street and having someone with me who I was absolutely attached to and felt like I couldn’t live without. He and I were living in a little enclosure made from garbage bins that were zip-tied together. We had nothing and I didn’t care, as long as he was by my side. The location of our little plastic dwelling was next to a very rowdy bar and, one night, a bunch of drunk patrons decided to destroy our shelter and began to beat us, chasing us away from their neighbourhood. I lost track of my friend and couldn’t find him so I panicked and went to check the local hospitals to see if he had been checked in, gravely injured. When I got to the hospital they took me in against my will and evaluated me, saying that my questions about my friend were not making sense and were causing them alarm. I was put under observation and after many whispered conversations around me, I was told that I was very ill with a mental illness and that the friend I kept speaking of had never existed….he was not with me in the shelter and even though I had been talking to him constantly, passersby had reported that I was seen constantly talking away to myself, all alone in the street. I had been frightening people, acting crazy and threatening and they wanted me away from them.
I was kept in the hospital, sort of…moved from room to room really, and not checked in. There were people keeping an eye on me and I knew they were going to take me away but I didn’t try to escape, just sat there and waited. Occasionally, medical staff would come in and try to help me understand that my friend was only in my mind; that he was another part of me who existed inside me, as part of my psyche. I was confused and devastated by the loss of him and couldn’t see how it could be possible that he and I were really the same person. I had so many memories of him and I doing things together and being there for each other. I swore I’d seen him talking to other people many times but, when pressed, I couldn’t come up with a single, solid example.
Silly dream with not much point to it but I woke up feeling trapped, bereft and utterly alone in the world. I’ve managed to shake most of it off at this point in the day but every now and then a strong wave of emotion I don’t understand will overtake me and I’ll be thrown back into that environment, feeling as if I’d just lost someone I loved deeply, but who was also some part of me….so almost like a part of me has died. (That just gave me shivers. I’m going to stop thinking about this for now too).
I’m running out of non-stressful topics. Work….(nope), dreams….(nope), Colt….(leads to other thoughts that lead to nope), health? ha. No.
OOOH shoot! I never posted the good story I have drafted about my mom’s grave and the bird in my tattoo! I’ll go pick at that today and see if it doesn’t elevate my mood some and refocus to get through this day. :) I will be able to attach pics too now, since the tattoo is nearly healed.
Hope everyone is having a decent Friday. Hopefully, more to come shortly…
Just to be sure you all know that I experience something called “misophonia” which is a sensitivity to certain sounds. Upon hearing these particular sounds, sufferers can experience anything from mild annoyance to flat out rage. It’s a rather difficult thing to deal with at times in public but I usually do okay. When the PTSD symptoms are flares, however, it gets much more intense. That’s what’s going on now as I sit and wait for a doc I’ve never met to shove an IUD inside my uterus. (Yikes).
Omg it’s dead quiet in this waiting room even though there are a dozen people here. No one is even breathing loud enough to hear, which is odd because I usually hear absolutely everything around me. Then. This old guy next to me (what the heck is he doing here anyway? This is a gynocologist/fertility clinic and he is well past 70….
Sorry lost track. I was trying not to kill him.
He is EATING some kind of mint that is crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside and I can hear him CHEWING on the fuckimg things inside my own head. It’s making me so tense I feel like I could suddenly crack, scream and grab the damn plastic bag out of his hands and throw them in the garbage. They’re in a plastic bag too. A thick, extra crinkly one.
*crinkle crinkle crinkle*
*clink of hard candy shell om dentures*
*clickity click as he moves it around his mouth*
*fucking disgusting sucking, slurping, saliva sounds*
*CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH MOOSH MOOSH SLURP SUCK SWALLOW*
How many can he possibly have in there?!!!
This is torture. Now he’s picking at his fingernails. That happens to be the second worst noise. Oooh God now it’s both at once! Is this a tolerance test? Is there some paychiatric evaluation component to getting an IUD? Fuuck I am struggling here.
Having daydreams now. Grabbing the bag and shoving the entire contents into his mouth so it’s over and I don’t have to sit here and freak out anymore. How self focused is that? Lol. Seriously though. The saliva noises are almost worse than the chewing.
I was told I’m looking at a 45 min wait, at least. I just hope he is next. Whatever he’s here for.
OH THANK GOD HES LEAVING.
I can breathe again. Alright. Back to being nervous.
You know how sometimes you bust your ass trying to get things done and you’re doing the best you can regardless of the frustrations and interruptions that are constantly getting in your way, and you still get shit on? My one boss is writing me passive aggressive email about a stupid order that was made last year and was for less than 150$. The damn thing wasn’t completed until the new fiscal year anyway and, when it finally DID get done, it was someone else who did it, not me. I think it was the gal who used to have this job…the one they think walks on water even though they know full well she worked for free every single day. Huh. I supposed that’s a part of why they liked her so much isn’t it? The thing that really riles me up is that it affects me SO much. It shouldn’t, I know. I shouldn’t let the slightest hint of disappointment bring the entire shaky structure that is my self-esteem come crashing down but I can’t seem to help it. Particularly when I’m in pain (which I am so very much at this moment) and I’m exhausted (also experiencing huge quantities of). I’m worried about Colt and stressed about the Christmas break where we have no babysitter (Uhhh what am I going to do with him? Shove him under my desk and ruin his entire Christmas break?!) and I keep getting job after job piled on top of me here….I’m drowning.
You know what? I’ve worked SO hard for that woman in the last month. I just finished a very in depth financial review of salaries for her so she would be able to sound like she knew that the hell is going on with her budget and she didn’t even say thank you. Just a snot-dripping email about an effing order that is an entire year old. “I’m rather disappointed with this…” is how she starts her email. GOD it makes me want to just give up and go home. I’ve been here, staring at my computer for the entire day…only left for one pee break and one trip up to the lobby for a cup of tea, I’ve done nothing but design her department website, revise her policy documents, audit her salary lines and predicted budgets, back track through supplies and equipment to ensure we’ve received everything we paid for, arranged interviews, entered compensation and audited statistics for her staff and she doesn’t even bother to start her email with “Hi Grainne,” ??? Nice. I can just see the look on her face right now…smirking away at my incompetence. And the other one is just as bad. She came by today, while I was quite obviously in the middle of auditing, and demands to know why I haven’t created a list of staff meeting dates for her staff yet. I’m not joking. Staff meeting dates …. on a printed LIST for their fucking WALL so they don’t have to open their email. Now, don’t get me wrong, if they want a secretary or a girl Friday to run around and type letters for them, I’d be more than happy to….particularly at my salary level….but for the love of god can you not just please ask your staff to just use their calendars? Please? It took me a long time to get them all network access and set them up so we could stop with the stupid paper lists. Things change and paper lists don’t sync up with the computer…and I am constantly in trouble because there is a list out there somewhere that contradicted a meeting that was set somewhere else and even though I have *nothing* to do with the damn list OR the meeting, I somehow end up being to blame anyway.
I’ve had it with today. I keep making the same decision to work harder, to get it done, to work it out. I’m coming up with ideas and plans to make this all work a little better around here and they are bitching about lists and ancient orders. It’s November and I’m up to my tits in paperwork that I’m trying not to drown in and here I am still, not giving up. Look at me….I’m the idiot who sits in the glass office and never, ever, ever leaves her desk. Ever. I don’t eat, I barely pee and I work work work work work until the absolute last moment I can before I have to leave to pick up Colt because Dayne can’t pick up most days. (Oh hell that just made me remember the babysitter issues again…..sigh).
Oh and in other news, I have a gyn appointment tomorrow. I’ve never met the guy but I’ll be dropping my panties and strapping into those cold metal leg braces that make you feel like your lady bits are spread wide for the entire office to see. I’m not so thrilled at the prospect of having a man, particularly one I’ve never met, poke around down there but I’m determined to get this IUD inserted and he was the only one who had openings for this kind of appointment. You’d think they would be snapping up these referrals….how long can it possibly take to insert one? 5 minutes? *(Please let it not take longer than five minutes…) Add the uncomfortable chit chat that’s a 15 minute appointment max and, because it’s a specialty service here the fee schedule is probably pretty generous.
Yeah. I’m kind of freaked out by this whole deal. It will be all over with by lunchtime tomorrow so…I’ll hang onto that. Of course, both bosses are here at this site tomorrow so they can glower at me in person through my window. Maybe I’ll get lucky and faint or something after the IUD and will get to go home early. (Siri? Remind me to practice fainting when I get home tonight….)
Rant complete. For now. Grrrrrrrr
We are not struggling quite as much as expected with this change. Dayne was amazing this time … How much one can change and grow honestly astounds me when i look at him. Not long ago a change like this would have sent him into a rage of anger and fear and he would spin in circles, sucking me into his energy until I was sobbing and panicking and feeling like the world was crashing down on me. He worst-case-scenarios bad things at a master level…or used to, anyway. This time he freaked but only for a few minutes. He recognized that panicking wouldn’t help and would only end up hurting my reasoning and coping so calmed… immediately. It was remarkable, really. I have actually never seen him take control of his emotions the way he did on Friday night. He knows that my PTSD reactions can spend me into another universe entirely, because making me feel like I’m about to lose something I need is generally the best way to make me lose my mind. But seriously, he took a deep breath, refocused, and took my every cue attrying to redirect the anger he felt and the panic I felt, and we ended up in a good place. We thought back to when our ex landlord told us we had to move and how it felt like our world was about to end. The reality there couldn’t have been farther from the truth because we ended up moving from a very bad place into a wonderful one that we are proud to share with people and to call our home. Maybe this change will be what Colt needs to start the next phase of his life and growth. Now he will have his friends over more often because he won’t see them every day of the week and he is growing up, so maybe it is time to give him a little more independence and a little more change. The kids at the sitters offered to help him to and from school at least until Christmas to help with the transition so it’s not all bad. I suspect that after they have been paid for a couple of weeks they will want to continue. The oldest goes to high school next year so we’ll have to see how that works, but there’s plenty of time before that happens.
Wednesdays and Christmas holidays are the next hurdle but I’m not thinking about that until Monday.
It’s been a pretty good weekend after all. :)
Oh goodness…things just took a turn in my life. I still have that nice story to write out (well, finish editing) and I want to post that today but I’ll toss in this little tidbit of misery to get it out of the way.
I went to pick Colt up last night at the sitter and she asked me to come in and sit down. This has *never* happened in the entire six years she’s been taking care of Colt before and after school, every Wednesday and all summer through the work week, has decided that she no longer wants to run a home day care. In the middle of the school year, she decided she is pulling the plug. She gave us two weeks’ notice.
So I was up all night between the pain which seems to start at my knees and end at my eyebrows, and the soul quaking fear of Colt’s world changing in ways he can’t cope with. I cannot stand to see that child suffer even more than he already has to. I feel like it’s my fault, somehow, that we have no one around us to help. I feel like I should have worked harder to maintain some sort of relationship with my foster family (the siblings, if not the parents) but it was so toxic for me to be around them.
In Mexico, during the great unraveling of Grainne’s psyche, (aka where I totally lost my shit and nearly ended up drowning myself in the ocean, nearly left Dan and Colt, nearly put my foster father in a Mexican jail, cried until I was dehydrated and started the long, downward spiral that resulted in years of hiding in my back room with video games and even more toxic company online (no, Mike, I’m not talking about you. You didn’t qualify as toxic until long after you left). I was having a meltdown in the our room one day and something happened with Dayne…he and I were arguing about me wanting to drown in the ocean (seriously, I had well thought-out justifications to fire back at his logic for hours and hours). My family preferred to ignore my sadness/issues because they have a knack for dismissing any reality they don’t like experiencing, and chose to assume that Dayne was the issue. I mean, of COURSE it was the guy who was sticking with me through all that crap and nothing to do with years of beatings, rape, emotional torture and loss. Naaah, that stuff makes most people turn out freaking awesome. *Sigh* So yeah. My foster brother and sister (the parents’ natural children) came into our suite during an argument and stood up for me, kind of. My sister came into the bathroom to ask me what was wrong. (double sigh) I had a scratch on my leg from something on the beach and she pointed at it and asked if I was cutting myself. Cutting myself? Fuck girl, I’m damn near drowning myself. I don’t self-harm and told her so. Then she said something I’ll never forget:
“Oh Grainne, you don’t have anyone you trust enough to talk to, do you? I’m so sorry I haven’t been there for you. I’ll be there now…in the future. You can always turn to me okay?”
I cried harder and was so thankful for that love and kindness. Of course, she never brought it up again. What she really meant was “Oh Grainne, I will listen to you complain about Dayne any time you like and help fuel your hatred so you eventually leave him.” Not that she actually wanted to listen or help with what was wrong with my head and heart. Her husband is a pushover and she thinks I should be with someone like that too. Once, she cheated on him with a pilot who was picking her up and flying her around the world while her boyfriend worked. He caught her…read very steamy email planning their next trip and was understandably furious. She was livid that he was trying to ‘tell her what to do’ and was ‘poking his head into her business’ and she kicked HIM out. She refused to talk to him until he came crawling back with dozens of flowers (bunches for her and bunches for my mother….kiss ass city there!) and she eventually forgave him. FORGAVE HIM for finding out she was fucking another guy and being upset about it. Thanks but no thanks….I’d much rather a real man like Dayne in my world than some spineless wimp begging for my time and attention.
Anyway…whew…that turned into a bit of a rant. Can you tell I feel lost and alone at the moment? I’m scared for Colt. Tired. In so much pain. I think I’ll load up again on meds and see how the rest of the day goes.
Good story coming up. Just need to run a final audit on payroll and I’ll get refocused into that one.
I had an amazing day yesterday. Once a year, on November 11th, I make the trip up to see the friend of mine who saved me from my miserable life on the streets when I was 19. I’ve told this story before here, somewhere, but for those of you who are new to this blog, I’ll give a brief recap.
When I was 15 I was sent away from my foster family, dropped off downtown in a huge city, and left to fend for myself. I lived day by day that way until I was 19 when a friend I had met, Tiffany, became my living angel and gave me the chance I needed to get my life back together. I met her as she was apprenticing at a tattoo shop that was close to the place I took shelter in the colder months (abandoned warehouse in a rather bleak neighbourhood). Tiffany started buying me coffee when she got hers each morning on the way in and we would sit on the front step of the shop and share a smoke (also provided by her) and drink our coffee. We became friends quickly…she was the same age as me and had so many of the same interests….plus, she never judged me for the state of my life and the way I had to live. One particularly cold winter Tiff grew worried about me, knowing I had no warm place to stay, and she came to find me with blankets, an old winter coat and a thermos of hot coffee, but, after delivering these gifts she changed her mind and offered me a place on her couch until the weather cleared. I happily took her up on the offer and after having the absolute best shower I’ve ever had in my entire life the moment I arrived, she gave me some clean, comfy clothes and fed me until I looked like I was pregnant, my stomach stuck out so far. I can’t remember a better sleep than I had that night, warm on her incredibly comfortable futon couch, blankets piled all around me. After that day, she asked me if I wanted to stay. She bought me a few outfits for job interviews and I quickly got several part time jobs in retail and started paying my share of the apartment. We were roommates from that point forward until several years later, we even moved from the big city together when she completed her apprenticeship.
So, Tiff really did change my entire world. When I got my first place on my own she drew me a beautiful piece of dragon artwork (she is a stunningly good artist) and gave it to me as a housewarming gift, telling me to never forget how strong I was and how the world was mine to take. I loved that dragon so much. My a-hole ex-husband destroyed it in a rage when I left him and I was devastated, however, shortly after that mess was behind me, Tiffany tattooed it on my back from shoulder to hip so I could carry it with me always. All of the work I’ve had since are hers, of course, and she designs them all as she pleases. I have never had to ask her to change a thing about any of her designs and she works hard to make them perfect for me. Dayne, who had no ink when I met him, now has five pieces from her and they are all incredible. He’s got a series of Celtic knots and shields, this last one a warrior knot for strength and it is just stunning. He said I could post a photo of in when it heals so I’m going to do another ink post to show off our new work.
My ink, this time, was very special to me. I think it deserves a post of its own so I’ll get this one posted and will follow up with the story of my newest tattoo later today.
I feel so refreshed and peaceful today, after spending the day with my friend. I love her so much. When we said good bye she squeezed me so hard and told me she loved me. Dayne, Colt and Tiff are the best family I could have ever imagined. I feel whole again….I didn’t realize how much I needed that.
More to come…stay tuned.