•February 26, 2015 • 2 Comments

I just sent my FMLA paperwork to my HR person.  I kept forgetting to ask how to get it to him, so it’s been sitting in my car.  I included my boss on the email out of courtesy and because he knew I was getting this paperwork filled out.  It floored me however when the HR person asked my boss to scan it and send it to him in an email.  My boss is not supposed to see that paperwork since it has sensitive information he doesn’t need to know.  Technically, I don’t have to share *any* of this with him.

I think I am just being too sensitive about the situation, but I could definitely be wrong.

Couple that with the fact that I have been out for the last three days due to illness (we think it was a generic bug), and I’m not feeling good on multiple levels.  I’m going to miss my group due to a work event tonight, too.  It should be a nice event, though.  I’m sad not to make my group, but I don’t want to look churlish at work.  I probably won’t stay long, but I will go spend a little time there.

Money. It’s what’s needed for lunch.

•February 20, 2015 • 1 Comment

Today has been frustrating, to say the least.  I’m lucky in one respect.  There is a credit union that works with my company, and they have been really good with my problems.  I transferred money between my bank and the credit union on Monday.  The money came out on Wednesday, but I still don’t have it in the Credit Union accounts.  Not only that, but they have no record of the funds.

So my bank account is down to zero and my credit union account is in the negatives.  The credit union manager is going to take off all the fees and permitted me to make a withdrawal on the overdrawn account to get me through the weekend.  So I was able to eat lunch and have money for gas (the gas light came on when I was driving in).

Money is one of the biggest stressors for people.  Whether you have a little or a lot, it often causes problems.

My plans for this weekend were to go to religious services tonight, then do a chili cook-off on Saturday.  I’m definitely not doing the services, but I am contemplating not doing the cook-off, either.  I was going to make chili, but I’m not sure where my finances are going to be.  *sighs*  I do know that I need to take care of myself more than I need to go to the cook-off with a bunch of other people around.  I’m already worn out.


•February 18, 2015 • 1 Comment

I am finding myself living a version of Murphy’s Law today at work.

I am trying to talk to someone with an office less than 100 feet away from me.  The first time I tried, he shut the door in my face. [He had no way of knowing I was there since he was at the completely wrong angle to see me.]  The second time, his door was shut.  Same with the third.  This last time, his door was open, but he was on the phone.  *sighs*

Of course, one of my coworkers and I talked about the other version of Murphy’s Law upon which you aren’t going to get the return phone call you have been waiting for until you are on the phone.

Now, another thing about timing.  My work is participating in something called HealthyWage.  It’s an interesting concept based on people forming teams to be accountable and have a chance to win money.  It costs money, but currently you can win your entrance fees back if you keep 10% of your weight off for 6-9 months.  I would love to do this, but the teams have to be 5 members.  So far we’ve got 2…and a maybe.

I know that my clothes all fit or are too large right now, but I don’t feel quite right health-wise.  Additionally, there’s help with recipes and exercise commitment when you do this.  So I’m trying to figure out what to do if we can’t get a team together in time.  You can do a different version as an individual.

I do have friends that have used various systems, so I’ll definitely ask them.  As well, I have my paperwork to belong to a community center here at a discount.  So maybe the timing for that part’s not too bad.


•February 17, 2015 • 1 Comment

Well, the past several days have seen me accomplishing more than ever, but not with the rapid speech, inability to focus, or scattered feeling.  Is this “normal” for me?  If it is…I’m almost never there.

Since I left work Friday, I made an appointment and got my hair cut and colored.  I also made appointments/verified appointments with my therapist (individual and group), a new psychiatrist, dentist, and neurologist.  This weekend, I also washed dishes (almost all of them) and baked a chicken.  I was able to do some dishes, take a break, do some more dishes, etc.  Normally, it’s an all or nothing proposal.  As soon as I take a break, I’m done.  This time it felt more comfortable.  I’m wondering if the class I’m taking has something to do with it all.

Work is also going well.  I am accomplishing what I need to as well as feeling like my thought processes are clearer and more logical.  I’m not saying that I am the most focused person or finishing every project I have.  I am able to work, take a break, work, lather, rinse, repeat.  Again, different than I normally feel.

I’m trying to bank on this productivity so I can accomplish a lot of things that have just been hanging around.  I know I cannot count on this feeling, but I can always hope.

And if this is “normal” for me…there’s definitely a problem with my treatment protocol.

I’m going to try to do some writing or painting tonight.  We’ll see how that goes.

Huh. Isn’t that just the way?

•February 13, 2015 • 2 Comments

I had something to write about.  Of course I cannot remember what it was.  *sighs*  The brain part of this blog is a little sketchy sometimes.  [Okay.  I sooooo did not mean for that pun to be there.  I didn’t even notice it until I re-read this! Of course, I’m going to leave it.]

I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately. [As usual, I know.]  One thing that feels important is my level of functionality.  Previously, I have been told that I am high functioning, lucky, blah blah blah.  The fact that I can make it to work and do my job is a basis for the decision of how well I do or don’t function.  But maybe that’s the wrong factor to look at.

I am almost completely non-functional at home.  It takes an enormous amount of effort for me to accomplish minor tasks like washing dishes or doing laundry.  I fully admit to being lazy and not liking to do these things, but logic tells me that I should be able to accomplish them when needed.  Not wanting to do them is different than not being able to.  In my mind, at least.  I will look at the dishes in the kitchen and plan what I need to get done over the weekend, including cooking.  I cannot tell you how much food I have wasted because I couldn’t get up and do dishes so I could cook.

That might sound like whining.  That might be whining.  But…

Maybe it’s not.  Maybe I’m not just being lazy.  When I was younger, I didn’t want to do things.  I waited until the last minute.  I made a mess of my priorities.  But I did accomplish those things necessary.  I might not have done a good job, but I got things done.  Now, the only time I do laundry is when I have no clothes left.  And I cannot explain how many clothes I have, even having left 1/2 or more of my wardrobe behind when I moved.  The sheer volume of socks is a bit disconcerting.  Now, all my dishes are dirty and I cannot get to the sink.

I don’t think this is lazy.  I think this is a symptom I have been ignoring/excusing.  So now what?  Even thinking about this situation right now has my hands shaking.  Why am I anxious just talking about this?

Maybe I’m scared because this would mean admitting that I’m really not okay.

Group therapy…Makes me think

•February 6, 2015 • 1 Comment

I had group therapy last night.  It’s a women’s group and very interesting.  We have members that cover the entire spectrum, so we get lots of different viewpoints.  The exercise last night was interesting.  We rated our satisfaction with a long list of concepts/feelings/activities in our lives.  Not unusual I know.  After that, though, we had to make a note whether we think our mental health plays a roll in our satisfaction/dissatisfaction with that item.

While I was doing this, I realized how much my mental health both does and does not influence the things I do.  I want to start exercising more, so I am dissatisfied with my current level of exercise.  That’s easy, right?  So…is it influenced by my mental health.  I sit there and think, “Why don’t I just go out and exercise?”

1. Physical difficulties/pain.

2. Where to go?

3. Lack of desire/ability to leave the house.

4. Cost.

Which of those reasons is/are affected by my mental health?  For number 1, I’ll say it’s negligible.  I know mental health can influence your physical health, but I have actual diagnoses (arthritis, spinal stenosis, etc.).  So we’ll say no there.  Numbers 2 & 4 actually go together.  If I want to exercise through the pain, I generally need to start out swimming.  Most places with an indoor pool are not cheap to go to.  Yes, I can walk.  My new location and the weather conditions do not help.  Number 3 is definitely where my mental health would come in.  I am an introvert, though.  So how much of not wanting to go out is natural and how much would be considered a factor of my mental health?  I think part of the issue is my social anxiety (doing fairly well, actually) combines with my introversion and I don’t want to leave the house.  I was doing better about at least getting out of the apartment when I first arrived, but I spend money when I am out of the apartment, so that ended pretty quickly.  So mental health is a factor here, but not the only factor.  It’s probably not even the main factor.

So there’s a whole list of things I went through.  Some things I want to change are completely influenced by my mental health (PTSD and my history of trauma) and some (of course I cannot think of any specific item right now) are almost completely not influenced.   [Apologies for the awkward phrasing.]  I like the idea of a list like this because it makes me think about exactly what is being influenced by my mental health.  Working around and through these things will be easier with that knowledge.  Additionally, discussing this with my psych and my therapist is important.  Not only to help myself get better in these areas but to make sure issues I have at work are covered by my FMLA paperwork.

There’s also the idea that has been in my head for a few years now.  I think an emotional support animal would be ideal for me.  It would need to be a dog for a couple reasons.  First of all, I hate cat boxes.  Secondly, dogs need to go outside, whereas cats stay indoors.  As one of the things I need to improve is getting exercise and getting out of the apartment, a cat would be counterproductive in my mind.  My current complex doesn’t allow dogs, although they would have to by law as long as I had certification from a doctor.  The only thing I worry about would be a restriction on size due to the apartment size.  All but one of the small dogs I have ever spent a lot of time around tend to bark.  I prefer medium to large dogs, anyway.  I would actually love a Great Dane cross if I could find one.  Purebreds have so many genetic issues that they scare me a bit.

So now I have two goals.

1.  Determine where my mental health is currently affecting my life in a negative manner.

A.  Is it my history (PTSD/social anxiety)?

B.  Is it my bipolar/anxiety?

C.  Is the impact great enough to look at my medication for assistance?

2.  Make a decision about the ESA.

A.  Discuss it with my psych and my therapist.

B.  Decide whether staying in my current complex will work or if I will need to move when my lease is up in October.

C.  Begin preparing to have a pet by making cleaning a part of my regular routine (not that I have much of one).

FYI:  The picture is of Alcatraz.  Because sometimes, I feel imprisoned by my mental health issues.  It’s time to break out.

Target audience

•February 5, 2015 • 1 Comment

I’ve had multiple conversations lately about a very difficult subject.  So many of us feel like we are being judged as worthless/useless/ugly/invisible/etc.  Every day, we walk down the street and feel like everyone around us is judging our clothes, our speech, our selves.  And that’s a really harsh view of the world.  Of course, it is periodically reinforced by some asshole who comments on X,Y, or Z.

So how do you handle it?

What do you do/say/think when the person waiting on you at JCPenny/Old Navy/Macy’s rolls their eyes when you try on clothes?  When they huff their breath when you ask if it’s available in a different size?  When someone almost runs you over on the sidewalk?  When your child is screaming in the grocery store and everyone is staring at you?  How do you make it not matter anymore?  Thinking everyone is judging me always made me feel as though I were lacking in some way.  It’s a pretty vicious circle of thoughts.

It’s taken me a long time to figure this out.  And I still fall back into that pattern of thought.  But now I have something to tell myself when I start thinking that way.

“Is this my target audience?”

Is the person in front of me someone I trust?  Is the person in front of me essential to my life in some way?  (Like a boss.)  If not, the answer is no.

Why does this matter?

When I start to feel judged (either internally or externally), I ask myself this question.  It doesn’t fix the issue.  I am not sure that my self-esteem and past experiences will ever allow me not to feel judged, even if I am the one doing the judging/comparing.

Thinking about who my audience is makes a difference to my thoughts.  If the person is someone I trust, then I will listen to them…to a point.  If the same person is saying the same negative things while other people I love don’t, I’m going to start wondering about that person.  If several people I trust tell me I’m doing something irritating (talking loud, twitching, etc.) or dressing in a less than flattering way, then I will listen.  I may not change anything, but I will listen.  If I am walking around in work clothes (upper end of business casual) and feel there are people around me judging me based on these clothes (stuck-up, show off, etc.), then I think about my target audience for these clothes.  Unless I am at work, the people around me are not my target audience.  Personally, my clothes and posture are a big trigger for me.

For others, it might be your children.  I have seen more parents than I can remember turning red in the face and throwing out apologies when their child is misbehaving.  I won’t lie.  I’ve been one of those judgmental people thinking the worst of someone’s parenting skills.  Until my best friend and his wife had their baby girl (about to be 4).  She’s a great kid, as is her younger brother, but they are still kids.  They misbehave, generally at the most inopportune time.  Knowing there are parents who have kids with higher energy levels and more stubbornness makes me feel so much worse about my judgemental thoughts.

If you are out with your children/parent/special needs family member and you start to feel judged by those around you, think about your target audience.  Your partner/spouse, any other siblings or family members, and possibly nurses involved in his or her care.  If those people have not told you there’s a problem, no one’s getting hurt, and you know you are doing your best…then you have your target audience covered and the peanut gallery can be ignored.

So remember.  No matter where you are or what you are doing there are 2 questions to ask when you feel judged:

1.  Is anyone being hurt?  (ALWAYS the first question.)

2.  Are these people my target audience?

If the answer to both questions is no, then do your best to ignore the judgmental looks/feelings.