Ohio Coronavirus Lockdown – How I’m Coping

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Here in Ohio we are now in an official lockdown, where only essential business is allowed to be out and about. I don’t have any official business, so I’m stuck at home lol. Being home all the time does start to get to you after a little bit. You don’t realize how much even small things, like being able to go to a restaurant, sit down, and eat affect your mood until you can no longer do them.

On the positive side, I am trying to stay busy. Today I did some cleaning and organizing around the house and it felt REALLY good. I would definitely recommend it to others stuck at home. Doing stuff like that makes you feel like you are accomplishing something, and it feels great to look around afterwards and see the change your cleaning up has made.

I’ve also been reading some, doing a lot of social media gazing, watching tik tok dances (a guilty pleasure of mine), doing puzzle books, and I took a few paid product review jobs through Upwork, just for something to do and to make a few extra dollars. So far I’ve signed on to review several supplements/vitamins (I loved the hemp gummies!), books, wrinkle reducing masks, a nail decorating kit, and a kebob maker. Hey, I get lots of free stuff that way too!

So how are you all doing? Are you under quarantine? If so, what are you doing to stay busy? Are you having any trouble with depression or anxiety? I know I have at times.

Are You Worried About Coronavirus?

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I was just curious how many of my blog readers are concerned at all about the Coronavirus (or Covid 19 as the WHO named it). I am moderately concerned. It certainly spreads rapidly (54 countries last I heard), has a very high rate of transmission from person to person compared to many other viruses, definitely seems to be airborne, and is more serious than the flu, no matter what Trump says (the flu has a fatality rate of about .1%, where Covid 19 has at least a 2-3% fatality rate and about a 15% pneumonia/serious complication rate according to present data available).

I think what concerns me most is that America is barely testing for it, so it is hard to know how widespread it actually is. Until recently, only 3 states had test kits that actually worked, and the requirements to be tested were strict. With all the business and student travel we have back and forth from China, you have to think there were likely many missed cases. It is made worse by the fact that the illness has a long incubation period and can cause no symptoms in some people who are still contagious.

So far, all the countries who have decided to test rigorously have had rapidly rising rates of infection, usually doubling or even tripling every 2-3 days. To make matter worse, the economy is definitely being affected, with supply chain issues abounding in many industries due to reliance on Chinese production. Here in the US, we get almost all of our prescription medicines from China, which explains why CVS has already sent me “low supply” warnings on several of my meds. Luckily, I can survive without my meds for a time, but I worry for those who need certain meds to survive.

I certainly hope this concern is overblown and nothing bad really happens, but I don’t think it is a bad idea to be a bit prepared in case there are some disruptions to daily life due to this emerging pandemic. Make sure you have plenty of food and other necessities on hand in case of shortages or quarantines. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones!

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.

Art Show Anxiety – Past Wins, Future Failures? Am I Good Enough?

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Ok, so this past year I placed and won an award in a pretty prestigious art competition. One of those fancy ones where you have to pay hundreds of dollars to even go to the art show and sale, and the auction bids can get pretty crazy. It was for charity though, so I didn’t mind the high price stuff related to it. This was definitely the most “high-brow” art show I have been a part of.

Now they have announced that the first year’s show was such a success that they are doing the competition for 2020 too. I plan to enter and am excited about it, but also really nervous and filled with self doubt. I keep feeling like if I don’t place at all next year or at least place as high as I did this year that I will somehow be failing.

I tell myself this is ridiculous. There are so many talented artists out there and if I don’t place again it won’t mean that I am less talented, it will only mean that they preferred someone else’s take on the contest subject matter. Also, I want other artists to feel the happiness I felt when I found out I had been selected as a winner. I don’t want to be selfish.

I know deep down this is probably about my perfectionistic streak and low self-esteem. Part of me feels like it was just a lucky fluke to be recognized by the “elite” art world at all. I wish I could not put this unnecessary pressure on myself. I know it isn’t healthy or helpful. Any suggestions for how to let go of the fear of failure?

That Shaking? Oh, It’s Just My Essential Tremor…Yet Another Diagnosis

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Yesterday I had my regular neurologist visit to follow up about my migraines and while there I was also diagnosed with Essential Tremor, a genetic condition that is often confused with Parkinson’s from the symptoms. It most commonly affects the hands, head, and voice, but can affect any body part. It can also affect balance, mood, and possibly memory.

My balance, hands and voice are already affected pretty bad at times which scares me since it can be a degenerative condition and it can eventually become hard to speak, eat, write, or in my case, make art, since I am an artist.

My tremors started out in both hands a few years ago and have definitely worsened. At first, I only noticed that I could never take a good picture because I couldn’t keep the camera steady enough to take one. It has worsened since then and affects more daily activities, such as writing, typing, pouring/drinking liquids, dropping almost everything, etc. I noticed the voice tremors starting probably a year or two after the hands.

My balance has noticeably worsened to the point that I often start to fall over while just walking around the house or even standing still. It isn’t unusual for my husband to push me back up as I start to fall over like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

For a long time I tried to dismiss it because I didn’t want to think something might really be wrong. I tried to blame it on anxiety or weird medicine side effects. I am glad that I don’t have MS or Parkinson’s which I feared sometimes. What finally made me bring it up with the neurologist is that the geneticist I saw for my Ehlers Danlos testing a few months ago seemed concerned by how much my hands shook.

The last thing I want to do is take yet more prescription medicines, but I am considering it in hopes that it might slow down the progression and alleviate the symptoms a bit. The only bad thing is that all the meds they use to treat this condition can worsen my depression, so the neurologist wants me to get the ok from my psychiatrist before we decide on a med to try.

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.)

Mixed State or Hell?

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The past few days have not been the greatest. I’ve been both super anxious and fairly depressed. I guess it is probably what most people would call a mixed state in the bipolar community. I feel on edge all the time. My brain is constantly telling me something is wrong and that I need to fix it, but I don’t know what it is. The depression is telling me that I am worthless, no one really likes me anyway, and everything I do is pointless.

The depression is making me feel never good enough. It is times like these that no matter what I achieved, I would probably still feel a failure. If I suddenly won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry or had my art showcased at the Louvre, I would still find fault with it and myself in this particular mood. It is a hellish feeling.

This depression is interlaced with anxiety that pushes me to want to achieve, achieve, achieve right now, but in this state I am so all over the place that it is hard to concentrate on anything for long. Not to mention that the depression makes me feel like it is all futile anyhow, even as my whirling mind is telling me that I’m not trying hard enough.

All of this is heightening my chronic pain. I hurt so bad deep in my muscles, I feel like I have been tortured on the medieval rack.