Covid Masks – What’s Your Experience?

The whole covid mask thing has been a struggle for me. Probably for several reasons:

#1 – I have bad asthma, especially in hot weather and wearing a mask makes it much worse. Sometimes to the point that I have to escape a store or building immediately so I can breathe again before I have a full-out asthma attack (masks are required in buildings in our county).

#2 – I’m autistic. I have sensory issues galore and masks drive me crazy. I don’t like the feel of them and for me, I never really adjust. Of all the kinds of masks I’ve tried, the only ones I can even kind of stand are the surgeon ones, but even those bug me, and I can only bear them for a short time.

#3 – I have a little piggy nose, so I can’t keep a mask up, it is always slipping below my nose. It has gotten to the point that sometimes I quit pulling it up because it will just slip down again in 2 seconds, and it is easier to breathe with my nose uncovered anyway.

#4 – Anxiety. I think this plays into the asthma and the sensory issues thing. The more my asthma and sensory issues worsen, the more my anxiety kicks in, till the point where I’m not even sure if I’m having trouble breathing because of the mask and asthma, or because of the anxiety.

At this point, I pretty much just try to do outdoor activities or if I do have to go to a store or something, I get in and out as quickly as possible. Thank God I don’t have to work at a business. I don’t know how I would survive.

So what has your experience with masks been? Do they bother you? Did you adjust and get used to them? Are they required where you live? Do you have any of the same issues I have with them?

Holidays, Routine Changes, and Anxiety

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Been feeling stressed. I don’t know if it is because I am autistic or just part of my personality, but even the smallest changes to my routine tend to throw me off and cause a lot of anxiety…and the holidays seem to be filled with those kinds of routine manglers.

For instance, tonight I have a friend’s Yule party to go to and tomorrow I am supposed to meet my mom for an early Christmas dinner/present exchange. Part of me is looking forward to these events and even wants to go, but part of me is stressed out and just wants to go back to bed and hide under the covers until the weekend is over.

All the anxiety takes a physical toll too. It turns my tummy into a wreck and brings on headaches that can easily slip into migraines if I’m not careful. The anxiety last night about the events this weekend was so bad that it did give me a migraine, so I had to take my migraine prescription. Hoping that won’t happen again.

I often tend to think depression is worse than anxiety because its symptoms are more obvious and immediate, but I think I underestimate the compounding ability of high anxiety.

Stressful Week So Far

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This week has been stressful. I’m not sure if I’m just overreacting to things because I’m autistic and hypersensitive to everything (especially changes in routine), or if this would even throw many normal people off their game, but since Monday:

  • I had to wait hours at the BMV to renew my driver’s license and then sweat it out when they weren’t sure if my two forms of address verification were acceptable. (Thank God they ended up accepting them in the end so I didn’t have to do the whole process over again.)
  • Our electricity went out Monday night (along with 3,000 other homes and businesses in the area, eventually they did get it restored.)
  • My husband’s birthday was on Monday and I ended up going to 4 different stores looking for a birthday balloon for him because everyone was out 😦
  • My psychiatrist appointment got moved up today from 3pm to 2pm which meant I had to alert my husband who drives me. He then had to check to see if the school could get a substitute teacher in earlier to relieve him so he could take me.
  • I almost got kicked off Instagram again (I got warnings again but luckily they haven’t kicked me off yet. I think I may have discovered the issue. I have used an app to track unfollowers and I think that might be what they were picking up on as a “3rd party”. So, I’m just not going to use that app right now.)

Obsessive Dark Fantasizing

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The last few days have been rough. I’ve been dealing with dark, obsessive thoughts that I know aren’t healthy for me to dwell on. Dark thoughts of restlessness, dark thoughts of jealousy and resentment, dark thoughts about relationships and craving attention, and dark thoughts about life and death. Craving attention might not sound like such a bad thing, but the negative part is some of the twisted ways my brain comes up with to get it. Luckily, I don’t act on these dark thoughts, so I must have a good amount of self-control, but the obsessiveness of the thought patterns bother me.

I feel a little bit like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde at times (which I actually reread recently for the first time since childhood). There is a really good side to me, but there is definitely a dark side as well, and when that dark side becomes obsessive and stuck in a groove, the intensity of my thoughts and emotions can become a bit frightening to myself.

I’m not entirely sure what causes these bouts of dark fantasizing. The ocd? The C-PTSD? Mood disorder? The anxious/avoidant attachment style I developed from a dysfunctional family system?

Today I’ve been trying to stay busy in an attempt to distract myself and it has helped some, but my brain is like a boomerang that just keeps circling back around to the same place again and again. It is exhausting to be honest.

Jobs I Wish Existed

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I have a lot of amazing talents (thank you, autism)…now, if only more of those remarkable abilities were marketable! Here is a list of things I am awesome at that I wish I could get paid to do:

  • Sudoku Master
  • Snake Spotter
  • Hidden Pictures or Spot the Difference Finder
  • LEGO put-together-er
  • Build a Bear Expert (no, I do not want to work in the busy store, I just want to be paid for collecting/playing with Build a Bears and knowing a lot about the brand lol)
  • Video Game Babysitter (I am awesome at babysitting on video games, I’ve gotten a promotion twice in the past week on my new Nintendo DS game)
  • Online Medical Information Gatherer and Hypochondriac
  • Dance Moms super-fan  (I’m way too obsessed with that show)
  • The ability to quote The Lion King (the original of course) from beginning to end – every spoken word, every song lyric.
  • Cartoon character/toy identifier
  • Unicorn admirer

Dark Obsessions and MRI’s

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Yesterday I saw my psychiatrist. We spent a lot of time talking about the dark, morbid interests I have and whether those might be contributing to my depression and anxiety. I’ve always been drawn to studying the dark side of things, whether it be the occult, serial killers, suicide, the dark side of history, horror movies and books, or psychopaths. I know these interests may not be the best things for my mental state, but they are all things that fascinate me and it is hard for me to resist things that fascinate me.

At one point in the conversation, my psychiatrist asked if there were any happy interests I have. I told him I love cartoons, but then I told him one of my favorite cartoon movies is Anastasia, which he pointed out is about the mass murder of the royal family lol, so maybe not so happy after all.

Today I have an MRI scheduled on my head and neck to try to figure out what might be causing my recent migraines. I’m really not looking forward to it. I hate MRI’s, especially on the head and neck because I feel really claustrophobic and hate not being able to move for so long.

Mental Health Labels – Gotta Catch’em All!!!

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Sometimes I feel like mental health disorders are like Pokemon: Gotta catch’em all!!!

Is there a point where collecting mental health labels gets ridiculous and almost humorous? Sometimes I wonder if all the stuff that has been ascribed to me is really wrong with me, and if it is – is it actually just one thing with many different facets?

Here are the mental health diagnoses I have collected to this day (that I know of and can remember):

PDD-NOS (high-functioning autism)
Asperger’s Syndrome (a slightly different form of high-functioning autism lol)
Bipolar Type 2
Major Depressive Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder
Avoidant Personality Disorder
Complex PTSD
OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
Phobias
Cyclothymia
Adjustment Disorder
SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
Dysthymia
Somatic Disorder
Attachment Disorder

I may be leaving some out or have ones I don’t even know I have in my medical record, but am I getting close to winning this odd, mentally ill game of Pokemon Go yet? I CHOOSE YOU!…

EEG Update & Going Gluten-Free

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Had my EEG yesterday morning. It wasn’t too bad. The flashing strobe light part was almost kind of like what I imagine doing psychedelic drugs would be like – all the swirling lights and patterns…it was kind of crazy. I was supposed to nap for like 15 minutes or so, but just couldn’t fall asleep. I’m hoping I won’t have to do the home sleep study, but I guess we’ll see what the doctor thinks. The gel they put on my hair to keep the electrodes connected drove me crazy, so I had to come right home and wash it out.

Other than that, not much exciting is going on. I am attempting to embrace a mostly gluten-free diet in hopes that it helps my digestive and chronic inflammatory issues, but it is hard because many of my favorite foods (pasta, pizza, bread, cereal, cookies, etc.) have to be eliminated or replaced with gluten-free substitutes which don’t always taste as good or have the same texture. As an autistic gal, food texture matters A LOT to me and it takes a good long while for me to get used to changes. Thank goodness a few mainstream cereals are already gluten free (like Cheerios, Lucky Charms, most Chex varieties, Fruity/Cocoa Pebbles, and a few more).

My mood today is rather blah. Just not feeling much of anything, except tired.

I Won My SSDI Case!!!

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Here is what I wrote on my Facebook page today, I think it pretty much sums it all up:

Six long years, and I finally won my SSDI case! Fully favorable! Feel like crying and screaming. Been sick and in pain so long, sometimes I wanted to give up hope and die, but glad I hung in there.

All those people who doubted me or thought I was just being “lazy” or “dramatic” can kiss my ass. To all those who have showed love, empathy, and encouragement, thank you so much for helping to keep me alive and fighting.

My fellow bloggers here on WordPress definitely fall into the second category of supportive, encouraging people, so thank you all so much!!!

By the way, the decision was just made yesterday and my lawyer was the one who called and told me, so it will still be a little while before I get the back pay or monthly payments started, but I’m on my way!