Just a little random update

Some bits of randomness.

Stairs at a fishing spot in William B Pond Rec area
just taking one at a time. . . .
  • I contacted my doctor. 
    • If you are a vet and use the VA for medical care, MyHealtheVet is getting more sophisticated all the time. Once your account is verified (by bringing an id to your local VA), Secure Messaging allows you to contact your doctor(s) through email for non-urgent issues. Godsend, really. I’m MUCH more likely to contact people via electronic messaging than by calling. A few months ago, I could only contact my primary care doc, but FINALLY, my pdoc is on there – and he’s even more responsive than the primary care.
    • His response: Sorry to learn that you are not doing too well. Just a word of advice, while you have the right to appeal for increased benefits, it is important not to look like your recurrence of symptoms are not due to either job or financial stress, but only due to underlying mood disorder. I will explain in details when I see you.
    • Ok, so English is not his first language, but the way I read that is that he thinks my current issues are primarily because of my financial stress and if so, when that’s taken care of maybe the mood disorder would be more manageable. 
  • We’re getting closer and closer to C starting college. 
    • She went to an information session about work-study yesterday. 
    • I got something from the county Veterans Service Office for her fee waiver and she was supposed to take it to the school’s veterans office today. 
    • She is supposed to be writing her resume for work-study today.
    • She has a little over 7 weeks until she turns 18. She’s been talking about moving out. 
      • On the one hand, I think it might be good for her to stay home for the first semester, while she gets used to college and figures out how to handle her money a bit better. We’ve talked about her paying a little rent here to get used to it (and help out a bit). She’s also supposed to be taking over paying her own phone bill.
      • On the other hand. . . . if her stuff wasn’t here, the bedroom would be cleaner. I could get rid of the bunk beds and get my bed out of storage. Get at least one dresser out of storage. I’ve started kind of planning around this. Kind of feel a bit weird about that – like I want to kick my kid out – which of course is not the case.
  • Minor obsessions – I get obsessed about things. 
    • Right now, one of the obsessions is probably pretty good. One of my new duties for my contracting job has to do with social media, so I’m doing tons of research and trying to figure out what can help the company.
    • Another. . . *sigh* It’s an old obsession. I really do need to take a step back from it. It’s becoming another source of stress. I need to let it go. 
  • Business – I’ve made no move toward doing anything for the business in more than 2 weeks. But I’ve just sold another reading, so I really need to get to work.

Withdrawing, again

I did enjoy my friend’s visit, but I have been pretty withdrawn surrounding everything else. It started before she came.

I have four paid-for readings that I have not finished – they were due more than a week ago.

I have been avoiding Facebook because I don’t want to talk to anyone, especially the people I owe readings to.

I have been sleeping in late every morning (until today) and feeling like I haven’t accomplished anything.

I have been feeling emotionally paralyzed.

I’m not deeply depressed, but I’m not doing well, either.

Physically, I feel like a slug – getting fatter (again), losing fitness. My back is starting to hurt again when I stand for too long – never a good sign.

I’m trying to break through that. Yesterday I went swimming.

That showed me how out of shape I am.

The first time I jumped in, I could only do three laps before I was out of breath. I took a break and went in twice more for 4 laps each.

I usually do laps using a pretty gentle side stroke, so being out of breath at that freaks me out.

This morning I woke up early and went for a walk. Only 1.63 miles by MapMyRun, but at least it was something.

I’m hoping that a little physical activity will help turn around this dead mood. I don’t really care about fat as much as being able to do what I want to do without struggling.

I mentioned in another forum something that maybe I should talk about here.

Several years ago, my therapist thought that I should be fully disabled.

I fought against it – fought hard.

I was in a group of other bipolar people once or twice a month, all of whom were on disability except me.

At that time, I kept thinking that I wasn’t as bad off as they were. I was better than that.

Right now, I’m not so sure about that.

I’ve had 18 months to complete some paperwork, and I never work on it for more than 5 minutes at a time.

For 18 months.

Obviously, I’m resistant to finishing it.

Whether this is my fear of success or resistance to completion or something else, I don’t know.

At the moment, I don’t care.

I’m just wondering if maybe it wouldn’t be better to apply for disability.

It’s been suggested that this may be the depression talking, and that is so, but maybe my therapist was right.

That’s an idea that scares me. I don’t want that.

But when I try to look at things objectively. .  . the money and opportunities that I’ve missed out on because there are times when I can’t pick up the phone or deal with paperwork in a timely way, the time I waste doing NOTHING and feeling exhausted. . . .  Wouldn’t it be better to have a steady income from disability to make sure the basic necessities can be paid?

*Sometimes* I’m competent, efficient, on the ball, capable.

But it seems to me that those times are fewer and far between, and they last less and less time.

Several people are suggesting that I use my disability rating to get a federal job.

They don’t understand.

I’ve looked at that before.

I even had the VA Voc Rehab people pay a place to help me with a federal resume.

I never returned their calls or filled out the paperwork they sent me.

And right now, hearing people suggest that again is making me break out in tears.

It’s too complicated. I can’t handle it right now.

I can’t handle anything at all right now.

I think my shrink thinks I’m doing much, much better than I really am.

I’ve asked him to get me in with a new therapist (the old one transferred about 4-5 years ago). He wants me to attend “Wellness Classes” about nutrition and sleep and meditation and biofeedback and other things I could likely teach.

That’s not where I’m at. That’s not what I need.

So, I’m writing him a letter to try to get this across to him.

Sort-of Vacay

It’s hard to take a vacation when you don’t have a day job.

One might say, “What do you need a vacation from if you don’t work?”

Answer: my life.

Despite spending too much time sleeping and/or sitting around doing nothing, I’m still often stressed.

There’s the huge list of, “I really should do” stuff.

And the messy apartment.

And ten thousand stupid things my head won’t shut up about.

For a few years, my local BFF would come over and make sure I got out of the house every week. The last couplefew years that hasn’t happened for various reasons for both of us. And that’s fine.

But I feel guilty anytime I spend money on anything that isn’t an absolute priority.

My car is starting to have problems and sometimes I don’t have any money for gas, much less maintenance on the car.

I have a lot of friends all over the country, but few locally.

And I spend waaaayyy to much time online, which doesn’t actually help me relax.

Me and C outside the old part of Crocker Art Museum

I haven’t traveled for a vacation in a long time, although I have gone to the Bay Area a few times in the last year or so.

So, when my HS BFF wanted to come out to celebrate my daughter’s graduation and get away from her husband and kids for a few days, I said, “Hell, yes! Come on out!” We met in 5th grade and by the middle of 6th grade, we were besties, all through school. We visited each other in England and Italy when she was in college and I was in the Navy. When I lived near her and C was little, she would sometimes “rent” my kid for the weekend before she and her husband had kids.

She knows my situation, both the mental health issues and the financial ones.

We went out to eat a few times, went swimming, met with my local BFF, went to the movies, grocery shopping, drove up to Sutter Creek and looked at some antique places. But mostly, we talked and talked and talked. That was fantastic. I’ve missed that. Chatting on FB is just not the same, you know?

I needed this time with her something fierce.

We talked about everything, including some of my current issues: work, money, motivation, career direction, what’s next for me.

She gave me a lot to think about.

In the meantime, though, I’ve put off doing some stuff I need to do.

I’m really behind in doing readings that people have paid for. I feel really bad about that, and I’ve got some thinking to do about that.

I’m good at doing the readings. But I don’t know if it’s really a good direction for me to build a business around.

Obviously, I haven’t done well with the Blogging Challenge, either.

C Finds Her Mantra

I don’t write about my daughter here very often. I usually sort of casually mention her existence but don’t go into details.

There’s been something happening lately that’s been really amazing to watch, though.

She was a pretty confident little girl.

However, when she got to be about 13, doubt started creeping in, as it often does in our society when girls hit puberty.

For a few years, we dealt with I-don’t-know-how-many-nights of tears and anger and frustration. She would cry and rock back and forth and say, “I’m so stupid!” over relatively minor issues or social hiccups.

Her sophomore year in high school was probably the worst. She had been given a position of authority in an after-school activity, but had no back up from the adult in charge. In fact, rather than backing up C’s decisions, the adult in charge completely undermined them and supported a different student.

This was so frustrating to watch and try to help her deal with.

It affected her grades, it affected her relationships with friends. It affected her primary extra-curricular activity.

She questioned EVERYTHING about herself.

No amount of telling her that she was beautiful and smart and talented and good at something helped anything, because of course, it was her (biased) mother saying so.

But over the last year, things have changed, and it’s really been clear for the last couple of months.

It started with her grades. In 7th-10th grade, I had to constantly ride her about homework. In 11th grade, I just had to check in every now and then. But her senior year? I didn’t even have to pay attention. She was totally on everything. Now, maybe she could have gotten a couple more As, but she was balancing things really well socially and with her extra-curriculars, so a couple of Bs weren’t that big a deal, especially in Honors and/or AP classes. A few reminders here and there about college apps, but she was totally on about taking her placement exams and everything. I barely had to pay attention.

In taekwondo, when she first started teaching, she HATED it. She hated being grouped with the little kids to teach them, she hated being in front of people and talking even if it was a small class.

Over the last year, she’s come home talking about “her kids” and brimming with confidence over the classes that she teaches, as well as her own secretarial skills running the office.

And in the last couple of months, she come home practically screaming her new mantra:

I’m fucking AWESOME!

Negative comments from adults will now piss her off instead of making her internalize the comments and beat herself up. She knows she’s good at what she does and she knows she’s smart and learns quickly.

There is no particular single point where this happened; it happened slowly over the last year.

This is the thing I am most proud of with her. Somehow, she’s finally internalized what those of us who love her have been saying all along: She IS fucking awesome!

It’s not (really) the cards

The other day, Gwynne over at Transformational Intuition had this post about “The REAL Power in Tarot“. 

It really resonated with me because she voiced some of my feelings on the issue.
There have been hundreds of divination tools over the centuries, Different societies, different times have used different tools. 
Some are as simple as a candle flame or a bowl of water.
Some are as complex as the Tarot or as a crystal reading someone I know invented (very complex).
Which ones are best?
Which ones actually work?
All of them or none of them. 
Why?
Because it’s not the tool. It’s the reader, and if the reader is really in touch with their intuition, almost any tool will work. 
The tool is something for your conscious mind to focus on as your subconscious processes information.
That’s it.
The tool is a focal point.
The first time I read a palm, for example, I knew what the three major lines were, but my conscious mind went blank on what anything meant (despite having read several books). But as I looked as the person’s hand and allowed my mind to wander, I just talked. The person was pretty shocked at some things I said and pulled her hand away. She thought I was seeing too much.
Consciously, I didn’t really know what I was doing. My subconscious, however, had been processing stuff all along.
From Pixabay

I have used candle flames, bonfires, a bowl of water, a black mirror, Tarot, oracle cards, runes, smoke, palms, tea leaves, candle wax . . . 

While for some reason I don’t do as well with Runes as with other tools, I can use all of them/any of them, but only if I’m in the right frame of mind. 
If my conscious mind is too involved, it becomes more difficult. 
One thing that I’m finding interesting (and a bit difficult) about doing the written readings is that I have to be more consciously involved when doing the write ups. 
In person, I just tell my conscious mind to shut up and let the other parts of me take over, to the point where I often don’t even remember what I said.
But there is more of ME involved in doing the write ups. 
I’m not certain if this is a good thing or not, to be honest. 
That’s one reason why I’m going to start adding videos to my readings as an optional extra (I’ll get that on the sales pages sometime this week) – so you can get the benefit of both forms of the reading.
This evening, I asked on the FB Page if anyone would be interested in a course to develop your intuition. If it’s something that you’ve never thought about or tried before but you’re interested, perhaps I could come up with something.

That Gratitude Thing (Again)

This is only my 4th post on the 7th day of the blogging challenge.

It’s difficult to come up with something to write every day. 😛

I have been thinking about gratitude again this last week, as I spent almost a week crashing at other people’s homes while there was a heatwave going on and my a/c was broken (again? still? WTF?).

I have realized that I often talk about negative things. It seems that I want to write more when I’m trying to work through something negative than I do when I’m feeling good.

I guess when I’m feeling good or happy or content (or somewhat manic, even) I am DOING things rather than writing about them.

From Pixabay

But I know that expressing gratitude and good emotions is also important to keep on an even keel.

So, today, I am most grateful for my BFF and the fact that even though we haven’t hung out together as much in the last 3 years or so (and sometimes things have been strained), that she is still there for me, and she let me use her place while she was out of town for the last 4 nights.

I’m also grateful for another friend that put me up for a couple of nights last week.

From Pixabay

I’m grateful for internet service (especially since I may be losing it soon. . . .). Being able to connect on the internet is a really big deal for me. There have been points in the past where I was unable to speak to people in real life or to pick up a phone, but I was able to communicate online. Sometimes it was through using libraries/free services and sometimes from my home, but the ability to communicate instantly in writing has been critical to me at various points. There are so many internet communities and mini-communities that have become important, no VITAL, to me.

I am grateful that I have an apartment. The period from Sept 2006-March 2008 was not a comfortable one. I complain about this place a lot, but it is so much better than sleeping on a friend’s floor and/or renting a room in someone else’s house.

I am grateful that my daughter has grown up to be a fantastic person despite having me as a mom.

I am grateful for my resilience.

What are you grateful for right now?

Mental Health: Drama, Crisis & Friends

In this one forum I’m on regularly, there’s currently a discussion going on about mental illness.

One person feels s/he can no longer be friends with someone who has stopped taking medication.

I can actually understand that part.

The medication changes a person’s personality on some levels.

When I look at my life, I currently have very few friends in my life that knew me before I was medicated. That is my fault. I let most of those old friendships fall away.

During the discussion, other people have brought up moments of drama and crises that people in their lives have caused or lived through. One in particular mentioned that she had a family member with bipolar, and she will no longer deal with someone who admits they have the disease – whether or not they are medicated – because of all the drama.

People with problems create drama in their lives. I’m sure you’ve seen it. I’ve seen it, in others and in myself.

No one likes to be pulled into someone else’s drama.

Except. . . . what is life if not dramatic?

If your life doesn’t have a little drama in it, what are you doing? How do you spend your time to avoid all drama?

Pets cause drama, making changes to your life causes drama, being married or being a parent has it’s own drama, getting ahead is dramatic, LOVE is dramatic, EVERYTHING in life has drama.

So, when someone says, “I can’t deal with the X’s drama any more,” what they mean is, “X never learns from his/her mistakes,” or, “X’s stuff is too exhausting to deal with,” or, “X’s problems end up hurting me.”

All of these are legitimate reasons to minimize contact with someone – you have to protect your own mental health.

But I guess the term “drama” used in this way annoys me, much the same way people calling things “bipolar” or “schizophrenic” because they are mercurial. Or the latest one with every armchair shrink diagnosing people as having Asperger’s. *eyeroll* And yes, I know I’ve been guilty of that.

It’s true that I tend to create crises, over and over.

I know it, and I’m working on it.

But it seems as though I perform better in a crisis, at least I get much more done. I don’t know why, and I don’t like it. It is very stressful, I don’t like it and a large part of what I’ve been working on this year has been trying to stop doing this.

I haven’t been completely successful, but I think I’m making some progress.

It’s also true that being my friend can be exhausting.

I know it.

That’s one reason I withdraw during hard times. I don’t WANT to draw everyone else into the pit with me.

What’s my point today?

I don’t know.

I guess I’m beating a dead drum of wanting people to be precise when they speak. Or to be more understanding of mental illness. Or something.

I’m tired of my own drama, too, and want it to end. Maybe the friend that was referenced above feels the same way?