Depression Again

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Been really fighting off a depression slump again, and I’m losing. Today I slept in until after noon – that is often one of the first signs that the depression is getting real. The longer and later I sleep in often correlates directly to a diminishing mood.

You may ask if there is something triggering this slump. The holidays often seem to be related to the issue. Last night I had a dream about revisiting the house my dad died in when I was 12, I’m sure that might have something to do with it – approaching the holidays and thinking of all the family losses again.

My cat, Spyder, really has me down too. He has been sick for over a month now. We’ve spent a ridiculous amount of money on 3 vet visits, 3 rounds of antibiotics, special diet foods, and medical tests – all to be no closer to a real answer about what is wrong and with him not getting any better, at least not for long. He’ll get a little better on the antibiotics, but once they stop, he quickly gets sick again. Yesterday and today he hasn’t even been eating and just sleeps all day.

Feeling pretty low and hopeless at the moment.

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.

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!

Worries about My SSDI Hearing Tomorrow

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Tomorrow morning is my SSDI hearing. I’m super anxious about it. I feel a little nauseated just thinking about it. I’m afraid I’ll do or say the wrong thing. I’m afraid I’ll burst into tears and feel embarrassed. I’m afraid I’ll somehow misrepresent my reality. I’m afraid the judge will say no and ruin my foreseeable future.

I know the judge probably won’t even give a straight “yes” or “no” answer tomorrow, but that makes it even worse because then I have to wait who-knows-how-long in suspense and worry. I hope I’ll feel better when it is over, but knowing me, I’ll probably spend the next few months picking apart the experience and everything I think I did wrong until I get an answer.

 

I Hate Disappointing People

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You ever go to a doctor’s appointment and feel like you somehow disappointed them? That’s how I’m feeling today. I went to see my psychiatrist and while he didn’t say anything overly negative or mean, I just left with the feeling that somehow he was a little disappointed in me.

Perhaps I am projecting here, but I kind of feel like he isn’t quite as supportive as my other doctors about my going on SSDI. Not because he doesn’t think I have real problems and medical conditions, but because he seems to think I have a lot of potential and maybe he thinks if I get disability I’m just going to sit around and do nothing the rest of my life.

This may be partly my fault if he has that impression. After all, I don’t normally talk about all the stuff I do enjoy doing while there. I only see him every couple months for a short visit, so I tend to focus on what is going wrong, not what is going right. I don’t talk about all the art I make and sell or the books I write and sell. I don’t talk about my blogging. I don’t talk about all the people I correspond with on social media. I didn’t mention that I was recently made a board member on the International Board of Sensory Accessibility. I didn’t tell him about the art contest I submitted three artworks to this month. I don’t tell him about the online communities for chronic illness, chronic pain, autism, and other conditions that have given me a chance to support others and receive support myself.

I kind of wish I had mentioned some of those things now. Maybe next time.

Poetry: Waiting for the Doctor

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Waiting for the Doctor
By: Maranda Russell

Perch on the edge
kick the drawers down below
lay back
wish I had a pillow
turn to the side
curl up in a ball
poke a hole
through the thick
tissue paper cover
read the poster
about acid reflux
for the 15th time
flip onto back again
count the ceiling tiles
12 in all
play with the blood pressure
thingy on the wall
stand up
run the water in the sink
look through the cabinets
hear doorknob start to turn
hop back onto examination table
try to look innocent.

Spiral of Anxiety and Fear

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I am feeling so incredibly stressed about my upcoming SSDI hearing and everything related to it. It has become an obsessive thought pattern that I can’t get out of. This always happens when something I am super nervous or scared about is looming on the horizon. My mind is a circular track of “what ifs”, incessant thoughts about things I need to do, fears that I will make a mistake and blow my last chance for SSDI benefits, and fear that if I fail and am denied again, it will once again send me into a suicidal spiral of feeling worthless, disbelieved, and like I will forever be a burden to society and those I love.

Tomorrow I have to ask my psychologist to fill out a RFC (Residual Functional Capacity) form for the hearing. I think she will be open to it and want to help, but I am still anxious about asking and scared of rejection. I have to ask my primary care physician to fill out a similar form when I see her next week, and am even more nervous about that because I know she is often rushed and I don’t want to be an inconvenience or annoy anyone by making demands.

As you can see, I struggle greatly with asking anyone to do anything for me. I’m not sure if it is just my lousy self-esteem or what, but I always feel like anything I need is an imposition on someone else. Maybe the result of being raised by a narcissistic parent? Growing up, I often was made to feel like anything I needed (emotionally or physically) was selfish and inconvenient to those around me. To this day, I struggle with feeling like I am actually entitled to anything – even basic human respect.

I think my fear of being disbelieved about my disabilities also stems from the fact that when I first started getting really sick, even my own husband and family didn’t believe me. My husband came around first, when he saw how much I truly was suffering every day and how even the things I loved most were being ripped away from me. He has even apologized for his initial doubts. Some of my family (including in-laws) still make me feel invalidated, but I’ve come to the conclusion I can’t do much about that.

Denied Access to Mental Health Records

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I found out recently that my Social Security Disability (SSDI) hearing has been set for February 2019. When I found this out, I contacted my attorney’s office to ask for a copy of my medical records since I honestly don’t even know what all is in them other than what my doctors have told me and what little is available on the online portals. I was rather shocked when they told me that they could give me the physical health records, but it is a HIPAA violation to allow me to see my complete mental health records.

To be honest, this bothered me. I’m not allowed to see some of my own mental health records? This doesn’t seem right to me. Maybe I could understand if I were violent or a real danger to others and they feared me getting pissed at what the doctors wrote and trying to harm them or something, but the closest I’ve ever come to violence is just having a meltdown and yelling at someone because I was overwhelmed (normally this has only happened at work places when I was put under a lot of pressure). Even yelling is pretty rare for me though. I am much more likely to just burst into tears, lock myself in the bathroom, or try to get away from the situation by finding another “safe” area where I can be alone.

Am I alone in being frustrated by the seemingly patronizing system hiding my own truth from me? Who else deserves to know my doctors’ real, honest perception of me more than myself? I’m not a child. I can handle knowing what my doctors really think of me and maybe knowing those things would help me in my own personal growth.