Hypersensitive

I’ve gotten to that bend in the roller coaster again. I’d been fairly flat and level lately, but I suspect that the tracks are on a downslope as I get more and more sensitive to little things that shouldn’t bug me.

My biggest frustration stems from new knowledge that’s coming in that is slowing me down when it comes to utilization of said knowledge. I know, in theory, how to do these new things, but in practice I’m failing–big time. My mind is trying to apply the things I’ve learned and in the process I’m tripping all over myself…sometimes literally. I know that it’s a learning curve and I just have to be patient and keep practicing, but try telling that to me. I’m sure as hell not listening to it.

I’m also getting more sensitive, or maybe more paranoid, about what people think of me. Every time I hear derisive laughter and I don’t know what the people are talking about, I assume it must be about me. They’re making fun of someone and I’m weird, so they must be making fun of me. It’s not anything or anyone specific and it’s not logical in any way, but the thoughts come just the same.

These insecurities are really hitting me harder than they should, so I know it’s just my mind getting out of control again. Knowing that and pushing the insecurities aside are two different animals though; I can tell myself all day long that I’m worrying over nothing–it won’t make a difference. I’ll still find myself on the verge of tears for no good reason.

It’ll pass eventually–it always does–but it’s frustrating as hell when this part of my brain cycle hits.

Social malfunction

No post yesterday (weird how I posted for the Ides of March but not St. Paddy’s Day!), but that was because I spent most of the day either at work or celebrating with some friends and their friends.

Now, I’m admittedly a quite socially awkward individual. I don’t “get” a lot of social situations. Like, for instance, the barbecue last night. I spent a lot of time sitting/standing around and staring because I ended up in a room with people talking about subjects I either didn’t understand or had nothing to contribute to. And I didn’t know how to go to the other room where the other half of the group was chatting because, like, wouldn’t it be rude to be sitting there and then just get up and walk away for no reason? Or how do you cut into a conversation to say “Hey, no offense, but I want to see what’s going on over in the other room.” Like, I’m pretty sure that would be rude, too. Wouldn’t it?

The true irony? I was mainly among geeks, some of whom I’ve known for a while, some of whom I’d just met, but geeks = family, in a way. I don’t know if non-geeks can understand it, but geeks tend to get me better than the average human. Many of them understand social anxiety and such. So none of the people who knew me would probably have minded if I’d just randomly gotten up without a word and wandered off. And I certainly hope they didn’t mind me not participating in the conversation much. Or kind of awkwardly playing with my phone. Or trying to subtly cover my ears when the overload of sensory input from several people talking at once at a rather high volume got to be too much. I really didn’t want to cover my ears–I’m 99% sure that is rude–but sometimes I just can’t deal. It’s hard to explain.

Another irony: I had a major panic attack on another St Patrick’s Day several years ago due to that same kind of sensory overload. I was at a game shop playing Pathfinder, and there were several different tables of people playing different Pathfinder scenarios (as well as a couple other games going on). The volume levels of the voices were high and the overlapping conversations, and I freaked the fuck out. Too many people talking at once too loudly. I had to close my eyes to focus on the voices of the people at my table so I could keep playing, but it finally got so bad that I had to leave the game and go out to the car and cry for a bit because I was just freaking out too much. It was kind of embarrassing, but my husband was super cool about it and didn’t give me a hard time.  He understood because he knows me so well, so he let me have my moment of bawling and covered for me.

Last night I wasn’t quite at that point, but it was a close one. I really really really wanted out. Like a fight-or-flight response kind of thing.

Why are social situations so goddamn hard? There should be, like, a manual or something. Come to think of it, there probably is a manual. There are self-help books for damn near everything these days.

But I fucking hate self-help books. So I’ll just suck it up, buttercup, and get over myself.

Territorial

You ever have that “spot” that’s yours? Whether it be on the bed, the couch, your favorite diner, there’s a spot that’s just for you.

I really wish I wasn’t so possessive of my “spot.”

Here’s the thing: every Saturday, my husband and I go to my parents’ house to do laundry and visit with my family. Mom has a couch in her study where we sit and watch TV, usually while doing other things on our phones or tablets, or, in my case, my laptop. I prefer the right side of the couch because the mouse can rest on the arm of the couch and I’m not straining my wrist by having it on the couch cushion.

Here’s the other thing: my husband also prefers the right side of the couch. And he’s a take-it-if-you-want-it kinda guy.

Which wouldn’t be a big deal, except I am very, very territorial. And it gets my hackles raised when someone’s in my “spot.” I also take it personally. Like, my-feelings-get-hurt kind of personal.

Yeah, I admit it. I get upset when my husband claims the right side of the couch. I feel like he’s doing it specifically to upset me, to get on my nerves. I know that he has his own reason for preferring that side of the couch, but it doesn’t matter to the territorial me. That me thinks he’s just being mean..

It’s not just here. At home I’m the same way. I feel like he’s being disrespectful when he sets his tablet on my side of the bed, or when he throws his blanket on my side of the bed, or when he takes something that’s “mine” to use. It’s all “ours,” not “mine” or “his,” but I can’t get the animal side of me to stop thinking of it that way.

Even when it’s not something that’s “mine,” if I’m using it I get possessive. I was using my mom’s throw blanket; I left the room to go put a load in the dryer, and when I returned he had it on. It wasn’t even something that belongs to me–I just flipped out inside. I almost started crying at one point because my feelings were so hurt. What the fuck, brain? What kind of way is that to act?

I tell myself its the Leo in me, that I’m territorial because of that…but who am I kidding. I’m no astrologist. I don’t even know if I believe in psychological profiling based on date of birth. Do I have a fondness for fire? Yeah, but that doesn’t mean it’s because I’m a sun sign. It could just be that I’ve got a little pyromania deep down inside. So my territorial nature might have nothing to do with being born under the sign of a lion. Most likely has nothing to do with it, in fact.

I guess it’s just something I’ll have to get over eventually. Maybe not today…but eventually. I’ll have to accept that it’s not a personal affront if my husband sets the remote on my side of the bed. It’s not him being mean if he takes “my” side of the couch. It’s me being overly territorial and overly sensitive.

I need to man up and get over myself.

Health of a different sort

It’s that time again! Yep, I have my 3-month psychiatrist checkup today.

How fast those three months fly by. Wasn’t it just yesterday I was there? Okay, maybe it hasn’t flown by quite that fast…but it doesn’t seem like three months.

I’d like to think I’ve been doing okay. Aside from not having the motivation to work on cosplay, which I don’t think is related to the bipolar disorder, I think I’ve been doing okay. I haven’t had any severe manic or depressive states that I can recall since my last visit. Been pretty stable.

There is one thing I want to discuss with my doctor, though: a new weight loss prescription I saw a commercial for not too long ago. It’s a combination of two psychiatric drugs, and I’ve been on one of these drugs before. I really think it could help me cut my cravings and stop just stuffing my face all the time.

I don’t trust most (okay, all) over-the-counter weight loss supplements/drugs. A lot of it isn’t FDA regulated like prescription meds are, and there’s no telling how they’d react with my prescription medicines. I’d rather, if my doctor would allow, take the new prescription and try that. So fingers crossed!

I saw my rheumatologist the other day and learned that she thinks I need a chest x-ray. Yep, the cough is still here, though it’s getting better every day, and she is I think concerned that it could be related to one of my RA meds. Fun. Except x-rays can be expensive. And it’s the beginning of the year, so of course I haven’t even come close to meeting my deductible. Yuck.

We’ll see how the cough does in the next week. If it’s still there, I might get that x-pensive ray. Maybe. We’ll see.

Socially awkward experiment

I’ll be the first to admit that my social skills are more than “somewhat” lacking…so how do I improve them?

Well, little ol’ me is taking to the Internet–to “social” media–to find out.

That’s right, I’m going to try to hone my nonexistent social skills by talking to people who can’t see me. It’s a step in the right direction, right?

So here’s how it goes: I’m going to try to initiate more conversations (something I rarely ever do). I’m going to try to remind myself to ask about the people I’m talking to and how they themselves are doing (something I tend to forget to do). I’m going to try to restrain myself from making the conversation about me (something I inevitably do). And…I’m going to try to figure out what the heck a “normal” human being would do in whatever type of conversation I’m having.

This experiment (of sorts) should prove interesting. Can I un-train 37 years of social bumbling and make myself into someone worth conversing with? And will I learn a valuable lesson about friendship and all that jazz in the process?

We shall see.

Why I Post Selfies: from the Viewpoint of an Insecure Narcissist

Yep, that’s me: the insecure narcissist. Oxymoronic, right? I hate myself. Hate the way I look. Can’t stand the way I look.

But I post selfies almost as much as a teenaged girl.

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Why, do you ask? Well, it could be the narcissist in me. I love the attention when one of my selfies gets a ton of likes (okay, so maybe I don’t get likes as much as a teenaged girl), and I love how it makes me feel. Look at me. I am gorgeous. I said look at me!

Or…it could be that I sometimes need that self-esteem boost. Because there’s that nagging, overpowering voice inside that says I’m still the ugly little girl I was growing up. That little booming voice that tells me to just put down the camera and never take another selfie. I selfie to silence that voice.

Fuck you, voice. Fuck you nine ways to Sunday. I may not be a supermodel; I may not be glamorous or even a little pretty. But I’m me. I’ve grown to like myself a little more with each selfie. Each narcissistic display is my way of telling you off, of telling you that I’m enough the way I am. Sure, there are zits evident in the above photo. There’s no makeup, my eyebrow tattoos are beyond faded, and I look exhausted. But damnit, voice, I think it makes me look good.

So to all the girls (or boys–whatever) who think they’re not cute enough or handsome enough or just plain not enough, who have that same voice nagging them: selfie away. Take a photo of yourself and post it. Don’t like the first photo? Change the angle or the lighting and try again. And again and again and again until that face looking back at you is something that doesn’t make you cringe.

Selfie like you mean it, and silence the voice.

The Great Weight Debate

I’ve been morbidly obese for probably close to two years now, and while exercise is fleeting at best (going out walking in the winter sucks), hunger and cravings are exponential. Especially the cravings.

There’s a new drug on the market that I’ve seen commercials for…well, not new-new, but a new combination of two older drugs that have previously been used to treat addiction and mental illness. Hell, I’m already crazy and I’m addicted to food and caffeine, so why not give it a shot?

Next time I’m at the doctor’s (which is sometime this month), I plan on asking about this prescription to see if it’s something I can try. I mean, can’t hurt, right? I’ve even been one of the two meds before (for OCD behaviors like cutting and picking at my skin). So it’s likely safe to take with my other meds, and if the other part of the combination drug might interact with my other meds the doctor would be able to tell me.

Here’s where the PSA comes in: do not take diet pills or any such medications without consulting with a doctor. Seriously. Don’t do it. It’s dangerous as shit and most of the over-the-counter stuff isn’t really FDA regulated as strongly as prescriptions are. Some OTC stuff isn’t even FDA regulated at all, meaning there’s no QC as far as how much of what is in it or the quality of the ingredients. Even prescriptions can be dangerous, so talking with a doctor is a must. Talk with your pharmacist, too. Licensed medical professionals. People with medical and pharmaceutical degrees. Not your second cousin twice removed’s best friend who you kind of know on Facebook. Not even me. Half the time I’m talking out of my ass, but here I’m serious. Talk. With. Your. Doctor.

If you’re overweight (or even think you are), you need to see a doctor on a regular basis anyway. Get your annual physical, get weighed (as much as it sucks to do), get tested for diabetes and heart disease and any other things that can be affected by weight gain.

A lot of people try to recommend over-the-counter stuff to me for weight loss, and I flat-out turn them down. I mean, I take enough meds as it is between the bipolar disorder and the rheumatoid arthritis…do I really want to take some random OTC drug that may or may not severely interact with one of my other meds? Uh, no. I do not. I want to stay sane and safe.

I risk enough drinking as much caffeine as I do. I take a prescription stimulant to stay awake during the day because I have a tendency to nod off at random times if I don’t. No lie–they even tested my blood for narcolepsy years ago because of this. No narcolepsy associated antigen was found, but lemme tell you, if I don’t get my prescription and/or don’t have any caffeine, I’m zonked. I fell asleep a few times watching Rogue One recently. A freaking Star Wars movie! How can I do that? Well, I didn’t drink any caffeine before going to the movie. Zzzzz. Oops. But that lends to addiction, and to risk of heart problems because my pulse rate is usually sky high even at rest. So another PSA: don’t be a dumbass like me and OD on caffeine.

Anywho, to make a long story even longer, be smart about medications. Even if you think you have no other choice besides OTC “miracle” meds or miscellaneous herbal stuff, talk with your doctor. I want y’all to be safe. I want me to be safe. So I’m taking the plunge and asking about this new medication. It may be costly (most new meds are, sadly), but if I want to get serious about losing this weight I’ve got to cut my cravings, and I just do not have the self control for it. Who knows, maybe losing the weight will help me sleep better…maybe it will amp up my energy enough to where I don’t need the caffeine as much. Maybe I’ll fit into that corset for Phoenix Comicon a little better.

Lotsa maybes, but nothing’s certain until you try.

Just try responsibly.