The Neverending Story

It had to happen sometime…just wish it wasn’t now. I’m talking about getting sick. Yeah, the Humira is doing its job–or else this is a convenient coincidence. Right now, I’m expectorating an inordinate amount of mucus at an alarming rate. My nose is raw, I can barely breathe, and I’m coughing almost nonstop. Honestly, I don’t know how my husband can sleep through all of it.

This is a terrible time of year to be sick. I have the Yule garments to finish (all of them are at least started, with one finished, one nearly finished, one halfway finished, and one mostly cut out), Oleanders to stitch, work to do, and more. I. Can’t. Be. Sick. But I am. I’ve got a nasty head cold, and it’s damn frustrating. If I push every afternoon leading up to Yule I can get the sewing done, though, provided I don’t have to wear a freakin’ fracture boot for weeks on end again.

Yeah, the foot’s still hurting. It’s especially worse this morning since I didn’t wear the fracture boot at all yesterday. No, my fool self felt I was good enough to work a half day without the boot and then continue into the evening without it because I had sewing to do. I see the doctor this afternoon, though, thanks to my wonderful boss who is going to cover for me in the surgery department so I can go to my appointment. Otherwise, I would’ve had to wait another week and change to get in.

I’m not gonna lie–even if I am told to wear the boot, I’m going to get the sewing done, one way or the other. Okay, I might lie….to the doctor. Let him think I’m going to have someone else man the sewing machine while I sit and elevate the ol’ footsie. As a wise old woman once said:

aintnobodygottimeforthatgif

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Help! Help! I’m being suppressed!

*insert Monty Python gif here*

Well, good ol’ Arthur has gotten me again. Arthur-itis, that is. Yep, my rheumatologist started me on a biologic immunosuppressant today. I get to give myself a shot every two weeks. Yay. Not.

It’s not that I mind getting shots, or even giving them to myself. Whatever. A second of burning, a couple minutes of discomfort, and it’s done for the next two weeks. What annoys me is that it’s yet another medicine in a long list of meds. An expensive one. Sheesh. Couldn’t she at least take away one of the other ones while she was at it?

Can’t deny that it’s more than a little depressing. I’m not even 40 for crying out loud! There are 90-something-year-old patients at work who take fewer meds than I do.

Here’s hoping it helps at least.

Survival mode…deactivated?

I made it through the week! It was touch-and-go there for a while (mentally speaking), but I made it. I even learned a new thing at work. My stress hasn’t completely evaporated–there’s still a slight chance that I might end up with some of the same stress piled back on me next week–but I’m not on Red Alert all the time now. It’s more like Yellow Alert…maybe a bit less.

There are still garments to make for Yule, a whole slew of events to schedule on social media, holiday presents to make for friends and family, and Gods only know what else I’m forgetting at the moment. So yeah, work-stress is lessened, life-stress keeps on trucking.

Overall, though, I think I’m feeling better. I don’t have the panic attack hangover I had yesterday, and I feel pretty calm. Is it a calm-before-the-storm kind of calm? I hope not. But I’ll take the calm feeling while I can.

Beatdown

I’m done. Done. Totally, completely, 1000% done.

Except I’m not. I have more to do, farther to go, deeper to dig. In other words, I’m shit out of luck.

Ok, let me back up a bit.

I’ve been covering for a co-worker who had surgery a week ago, and even though I learned how to do that position a little over a year ago, my training was quick and dirty. Basically, the only backup person for that position quit and I had to step up and dive in. Speed training.

Incomplete speed training.

Yeah. There are huge chunks of aspects of the position that are missing from my knowledge/experience base. Some of the things never came up during that speed training, and despite me pointing this out multiple times it has never been rectified. I literally am the only other person “trained” in this position, and as the past week has demonstrated I am not truly prepared.

I didn’t realize how much stress I was under this past week until this morning. My worsening insomnia, which I had been attributing to just me being me, has most likely been due to this sudden change in work duties. This afternoon, the buildup of stress and strain and pressure came to a head in the form of a massive anxiety attack. During the work day. Full-blown crying-my-eyes-out find-a-place-to-hide-from-reality anxiety attack.

It has been a long, long time since I’ve had an attack that bad while at work. I have to admit, I’m more than a bit ashamed of it. I thought I was past this kind of thing.

Guess not.

Now, work life isn’t my only stressor right now. I have other things going on that are probably not helping matters. Could I cut back on one or more of the non-work activities? Sure. I could. Will I? Probably not too much. Some of my private life things demand a certain degree of responsibility, and some of them involve dear friends who I do not want to disappoint or let down. So I’m going to plow through my off hours just like I’m plowing through the work stress. Will that mean more breakdowns? Probably… but hopefully I can keep any impending meltdowns to times when I can get away and hide my shame.
I’m not sure what I’ll do to destress aside from the date night that my wonderful husband has planned for tomorrow. Work will calm down eventually. I’ll get my personal life sorted to the point where I can function.

I just wish I could fast forward to this stress leveling off.

Soon, though, right? Please?

Copycat attack

I’ve been on Pinterest a little too much lately, I think. After spending a few days cranking out baby shower gifts on the sewing machine, I now have the crazy notion in my head that I can look at a thing and determine how it was constructed and make it on my own. And who knows? Maybe I can…for some simpler things, I mean. It might take some brainstorming and visualizing, but I’ve already got a few things in mind to make for myself, and I’m thinking of making gifts for some of my friends and family this year.

On one hand, it’s a good thing; I can utilize fabric scraps (that I don’t quite know what to do with) in a useful way. On the other hand, this could potentially be the early stages of a manic episode, so I had better be aware of my emotions and keep my impulses in check.

Sometimes I wonder if I can harness this manic energy that comes to me and use it to be productive…but then I remember how out of control I can get if I’m not careful, and it’s very, very hard to be careful when you’re in a manic state. Part of that mania involves a lack of…how can I put this? A lack of concern over consequences. I know that impulsive action A can potentially cause bad consequence B, but I really don’t give a rat’s ass whether B happens or not.

Then again, I might not be manic. Not every burst of creative energy is caused by an episode. It could just be that I’m in the mood to make stuff. But going off of past experiences and probability factors and all that science-y stuff, the scales are tipping heavily in the manic direction.

It’s frustrating as hell, that’s for sure. Not knowing if you’re slowly losing control or just in an unusually good mood. It sucks.

I’m probably still going to make the stuff though, if I can find the time. Whether it’s an episode or not, I’ve gotten it in my head that I can do this thing, and now I have to take on my own challenge.

Let Sleeping Demons Lie

It’s World Mental Health Day, and I thought I’d take a little bit of time to discuss mental health–largely because it is most definitely directly relevant to my life. Sometimes I joke about it, because the humor helps relieve the pressure. Other times, though, like right now, I want to be more serious about the subject of mental health. It’s a very serious thing, and one that needs more awareness.

It has been a while since I’ve mentioned this here (because, well, it shouldn’t be something worth mentioning): I’m bipolar. I don’t have it as bad as some people, and the medications keep my emotional state mostly under control, but it’s there all the same. I don’t get to take a vacation from it. I don’t get to say, “Y’know, I think I’m not going to be bipolar today.” It’s there. It’s a daily thing, regardless of whether or not it’s at the forefront of my mind.

The fates have been kind to me lately in that I have been able to almost forget that I’m bipolar–almost. My moods have been running fairly stable, and aside from the daily pill regimen to keep those moods in check I really don’t have any constant reminders these days of the horror that I used to endure. I can’t really describe it adequately in prose; poetry sometimes better conveys the roller coaster of bipolar life. I’m going to add a poem here that the narcissist in me is quite proud of: “Hostage in My Head,” a poem written during a more difficult mental state.

 

“Hostage in My Head” (from Kamikaze Butterflies by AJ Mullican)

Trapped alone

Awash in a sea of terror

No escape from my own deranged thoughts

Impossible futures scroll through my mind

Over and over on a continuous loop

My mental movie screen glows

As the macabre fantasy plays unbidden

Death and disaster overtake reality

Can’t focus on the here and now

When the “might be” looms on the horizon

Against my will my death plays out again

For the hundredth time this hour

I watch my lifeless form slide to the ground

Shot in the convenience store

Pulled from the mangled wreck

Coded mysteriously at work

At the sight of my imagined death

My heart rate soars and pounds

There’s nothing beautiful and delicate

About the kamikaze butterflies in my chest

Every single nerve

Teeters on the edge of a precipitous drop

With a nightmare at the bottom

Just one nudge

One little push

And everything will come crashing down

I tiptoe on the inside

Walking the fine line between sanity and oblivion

Pacing the padded room within my skull

Inside I scream for a reprieve, for escape

Even for sweet, sweet nothingness

But my calls go unheeded

The nightmare begins anew

I am my own personal terrorist

And I am the hostage

 

So yeah. Sometimes it’s like that. Sometimes it’s easy going. Sometimes it scares the fuck out of me. You can never tell what the next day–or minute, or second–will bring. And you know what else you sometimes can’t tell? If someone even has mental illness. That’s right, it’s sneaky shit. The stereotype is always the scruffy guy standing in the corner at the bus station, muttering to himself. That. Is. NOT. Typical of mental illness. Yes, it happens, but mental illness could be as innocuous as a slight slump to the shoulders, an unusual amount of energy, a sigh. There are infinite signs, and they can be infinitesimal.

To anyone reading this who suffers from mental illness, no matter what that illness is, I’m here. I may not be able to fully understand your personal illness, or even your own form of bipolar disorder, but I can talk. I can listen. To anyone reading this who is fortunate enough to be fairly mentally “sound,” if you know someone who is mentally ill, be that person who talks. Who listens. Sometimes just a little show of support and understanding is enough to keep the demons at bay.

For now the demons are quiet, and I think I’ll let them sleep a little longer.

Must be nice to live that life

I wonder what it’s like to have such a comfortable living situation that working is apparently optional.

almost called out today. My knees and wrist were in so much pain that I almost stayed home, took some tramadol, and curled up into a ball. Did I, though? No. I fucking went in to work. I did my job. 

So what prompted this? I’ll tell you: some of my coworkers seem to be conveniently “sick” quite often– either themselves or their kid(s). Many times on Mondays or Fridays. Or days where the schedule is pretty busy. I don’t know whether to take pity on them for their misfortune or ask them how they get away with it. Because damn. That’s either some rotten luck or some kind of badass mojo that makes you “sick” on tough work days.

I was legitimately in pain today. I should probably have stayed home because to be honest, just picking up a chart or putting on a glove hurt. Standing up and sitting down hurt. Steering the car hurt. But no. I need to work, so I worked.

Maybe one day. One day this series I’m writing will be published, and I’ll be free to “quit working” and just write. Then I can be “sick” whenever the fuck I want.

Not that I’m bitter or anything.

But fuck all, why can’t I get a day off whenever the fuck I please?