Physical Therapy and CFS

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Having CFS/ME really sucks sometimes. On Tuesday I went to my traction physical therapy appointment for my bulging disc in my neck and they asked me to do a few minutes of really easy, simple exercises that should have been a breeze. Instead, here I am, 35 years old, looking fairly healthy and fit, and yet, I had to constantly take breaks from even these few little stretching and postural exercises. It makes me feel like I’m really living in an 80-year-old body.

It is embarrassing as well, because I fear the judgment of those who see how little I am actually able to do. I worry they will just judge me as lazy or think I am just being difficult, which is entirely the opposite of my personality. I’m the kind of person who goes out of their way NOT to cause trouble or slow things down. I often wish other people really understood how crippling chronic fatigue syndrome can be. For instance, all my adult life I ALWAYS took a shower every single day and washed my hair. Now, I’m lucky if I can find the energy to wash my hair every other day, even though my OCD traits are going crazy at the change in my lifelong routine. Even typing these blog posts requires frequent breaks.

Sorry if this post seems a bit whiny, it just sometimes hits home over little simple things, how much my life is affected by my new physical limitations, and it is hard to accept.

* Art by Maranda Russell

I Got My First ArtSnacks Subscription Box!

So recently I decided that I really wanted to do an artist subscription box, both to inspire me to try new art mediums and tools and just for the sheer fun of getting a surprise in the mail each month! I received my first ArtSnacks box yesterday and here is what I got and a couple little ACEO artworks I made with the materials!

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What was included this month:

A Uni-Posca Brush Tip Paint Marker
2 Marabu Graphix Aqua Watercolor Pens
A Tombow Fudenosuke Soft Tip Brush Pen
A Sakura SumoGrip Mechanical Pencil
A Cherry Lifesaver (I do love the candy!)

My favorites are the watercolor pens, the soft tip brush pen, and the SumoGrip pencil! The Uni-Posca marker is the most expensive item in the box, but I don’t find it works as well as I had hoped.

Here are a couple little ACEO art trading cards I made with the materials from the box:

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Psychiatrist Visit Update

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First off, I want to thank all of you for your comments on yesterday’s post! I really appreciate all the support from you guys! It definitely makes me feel less alone and even a little bit loved! It can be easy to feel all alone going through all this mental health stuff, and although I do have some support in real life, knowing other people care about what happens to me matters a lot.

So the visit went ok yesterday. I was kind of anxious about it because I was worried the doctor would be upset I quit taking the Abilify because of the side effects, but he didn’t seem to be upset. Surprised maybe, but not upset. He didn’t make any huge changes to my medication regimen, but did prescribe me a daily anxiety med (Buspirone) and upped my antidepressant (Prozac) a little bit. He kept the Seroquel the same for now. I must admit I was hoping for more sweeping changes than that, but maybe it is a good thing that not everything change at once. The Seroquel does help me sleep and although I fear becoming dependent on it, being able to sleep regularly has made a huge difference.

One thing that bugs me though is that this psychiatrist says some of the exact same things the two psychologists I have seen have had to say, things I’m not sure I agree with. Every mental health professional I talk to talks about what a “survivor” I am and how they have no real fear I would ever be a danger to myself, even if my husband did die and I was left all alone. They always talk about how intelligent and strong I am, but I don’t feel that about myself. I feel like a big wimp most of the time and scared of my own shadow. How the heck are they seeing this kick-ass survivor when they look at me, when all I see is a scared little girl? The psychiatrist yesterday went so far to say if they dropped me off alone in the middle of a frozen tundra, I would find a way to survive. A huge exaggeration obviously, and so opposite my own opinion. In that case, I think I would just lay down and give up. And if my husband died, I DO think I would pose a serious threat to my own well-being, but why do they find that so hard to believe?

*Art by Maranda Russell

Doctor Anxiety

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Today I finally see my psychiatrist for the first time in several months. I’ve been looking forward to this, but also dreading it. I feel like something is definitely off with my meds. I’ve been extremely depressed the last few months and lethargic as well. I feel disconnected from pretty much everyone and everything. So I feel anxiety partly because I fear the doctor WON’T change my meds, and things will stay like they have been, but I also feel a lot of anxiety that the doctor WILL change my meds, because then who knows what will happen? Maybe I’ll get better, but what if the new meds make me worse? All this really makes you realize how fragile the brain really is, and how easy it is to upset its delicate balance.

Anyhow, if any of you out there believe in prayer or sending good thoughts or any of that kind of stuff, please send me good vibes today and wish me the best!

*Art by Maranda Russell

Playing with Knives

Honestly, I haven’t been feeling the whole holiday spirit thing at all this year. I’ve watched a few holiday movies and listened to some Christmas songs, but none of it really inspired me this year for some reason. Maybe I’m just too depressed. However, one thing I have been doing is playing with knives! (Palette knives that is!)

Normally I paint only with brushes, but I decided to buy a good quality palette knife and just experiment with it, so here are a couple of the abstract acrylic pictures I’m made while playing around with it:

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Wordless Wednesday – Falling into Depression

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Autism and Flirting

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Flirting makes me seriously uncomfortable. Why? Probably because I am autistic and can’t actually tell when most people are flirting, unless they say something blunt like “I want to do you” (which has happened to me, I guess I didn’t catch their subtler hints or something so they decided to just go for it…sadly, it didn’t work for them).

Anyhow, back to the subject of flirting, whenever a male stares at me for uncomfortable amounts of time or keeps flashing me smiles, I do wonder if they are flirting or if they are just being outgoing and friendly. I really don’t know the difference. It puts me in a rough spot, because as a happily married woman, if they are genuinely flirting, I don’t want to encourage their attention or make them think I’m interested in return, but I also don’t want to be rude or mean if they are just being friendly. I also don’t want to seem presumptuous by assuming someone is flirting with me if that is not their intention.

For me, this issue of being oblivious to what the opposite sex wants has been lifelong. Even before I was married, I never really thought anyone was interested in me unless someone told me they were. Even then, I often thought they were joking. Sometimes not taking it seriously or not recognizing flirting got me into some awkward situations, or made people think I was interested back simply because I was kind to them, which then meant I had to hurt their feelings and let them down, which I hated. I know this all may seem weird to non-autistic folks, but I wonder how many Aspies can relate to my experiences?

*Art by Maranda Russell

Unintentional Horse ACEO Acrylic Painting

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Often when I start an abstract piece of art, I have no idea how it is going to turn out or even what I am making. This ACEO art trading card is a good example. I feel like the finished piece resembles a horse, but that wasn’t at all the intention while I was creating it. I really like it when things like this happen and from just experimenting and having fun, I create something that I like.

Time Flies

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“Time flies” is an expression we often hear, and there may be some truth to it, especially when it comes to “time flies when you’re having fun”. I’ve noticed time doesn’t fly nearly as much if you are depressed or in pain, which is unfortunate, since that is the time it would be best for time to pass swiftly. Just another little unfair quirk of reality. However, I am thankful for the times that do run as swift as a flooded river, because the memories of those good times help get me through the days when time crawls by like a wounded caterpillar. In appreciation of those good times, I created the above little mixed media collage ACEO artwork and thought I would share it with all of you.