Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Update and a Good Decision

Getting back on the vitamin d supplement seems to have perked me up a bit, just enough to be frustrating as all get out when another late summer heat wave comes along and flattens me.

I'm still struggling, but it's gradually getting easier to reclaim my place in the world.

The heat though, ugh it's terrible. Here in the mountains of northern california the weather tends to be mild. Summer daytime temperatures hover between 75 and 90 on our side of the hill while winter daytime temperatures average between 60 and 75. That's not a huge difference, and the changing of the seasons is actually pretty easy on me; because it's slow and gentle my body usually has plenty of time to acclimate before the severe weather comes out. But there isn't enough acclimation in the world to save me on a 90+ degree day and when temperatures get over 100, I can't do a thing but distract myself and wait for sleep.

I am so looking forward to winter, and I can't stop wishing I lived more north, in a colder climate. I worry about dealing with more frequent and severe storms, but what if my daily life was more functional without a hot summer to steal at least 1/4 of every year from me? Dealing with more weather migraines might just be worth it then.

Let's do a symptom round up:

I've got daily nausea going on, but my doc gave me some awesome melt-away pills that really help, and in combination with ginger and that acupuncture point on the inside of the wrist, I'm fairly comfortable.

My head's been pretty good in the mornings, despite the persistent heat-hangover I'm waking with. I've mostly been able to keep up on walks with the pups, which always improves my mood by 99%.

Unfortunately, I'm not getting a whole lot more done than that lately. Bending has been a major trigger, making housework very difficult. I actually paid someone to come help me clean, for the first time in my life, and it was the best decision ever. I needed that money, but I needed my sanity more, so it was a worthy expenditure, even if it does cut into the already tight budget. Ugh, money is the worst.

My back and neck are persistently achy and stiff. My eyeballs are aching right now, but I've been having random stabbing all around my head, more so towards the end of the day. I've still got that twitch. I've been very snappy and that reminds me I need to apologize to my boyfriend.

I'm still very sensitive to loud or grating noise, flashing or bright lights, and strong or chemical smells. I can't stand to be touched on my bed days, which are too often lately.

I've only hit a 10 in pain probably once every three months, maybe less. I end most days at about a 7, though it flows and ebbs and if I'm very, very quiet I can sometimes keep it down to a 3.

Not bad, for summer. I'm so lucky I live in the quiet of the forest, I owe everything I'm able to do to the trees. Redwoods are magic.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Not Great, Bob

I'm struggling, hence my absence here.

I got a cold a few weeks ago, then it was horribly hot, then i got my period, and my head is not dealing well with any of this. Another heat wave is approaching, just as my period is dying down too, so i've got another week of potential misery ahead of me.

My mental health is not great. I'm anxious and depressed, still having dalliances with suicidal thoughts. I talked to my doc about mental health care and basically the system sucks for those of us in it. If I actually attempt suicide they'll 5150 me and then I'll get treatment. But, this is not an option. The idea of hospitalization makes me panicky to the point where I'd rather suffer.

Everything is a mess. Me, my house, my relationships. I feel hopeless.

See, this is why I haven't been updating. It's all awful and now I'm crying. :(


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Cardio as Therapy

This is the first time I've had any desire to write in weeks. I'm not thinking great today, but my motivation is sincere, so I going to cobble this post together from a few half-formed drafts and whatever run-on profundities my brain can be bothered to muster.

I've increased my exercise again and now I'm jogging! Jogging! It's a gentle jog, and it's mostly in place while my dogs sniff and poop, but I keep it up on the level bits of my hike and I'm already feeling results. My head now only rarely bothers me while I'm exercising, and the letdown I experience afterwards has decreased a little. My blood pressure at my last doctor's appointment was the lowest it's ever been: 100/60, I'm sleeping better, my back doesn't hurt hardly at all, and my mood is much more stable. In fact, when I feel myself getting fired up about something, I might just go for a quick, hard hike. Exercise really takes the edge off misplaced emotions and and the risk of migrainous consequences is much less than it is for the average outburst. Emotional stress remains a trigger I struggle to tame, but exercise helps.

I really can't believe I'm jogging. It's been what, two years? since I started hiking these hills, and I've had health issues that have set me back months in progress, but actually seeing slow and steady changes is so encouraging and makes me feel so proud of myself and so lucky that I've been able to live somewhere quiet enough to let me heal my body. My neurological system may still be screwy, but my heart, my skin, my bowels, and my joints are like the parts of another person, the change is tremendous.

Also, I've been feeling fatigued/depressed despite my iron levels having returned to normal, but when I was tested they found that my D levels were low again, so I've been prescribed a daily supplement to get back on track.

It seems like a contradiction that I have the energy to jog yet feel fatigued in daily activities, but it's not a physical kind of fatigued, I feel tired of life. Apathetic, bored, tired of trying. I think working out so hard, nearly every day, has kept me from going over the ledge into despair, though. I think this apathy is a low-level version of the intense depression I've been feeling at the end of my periods, and if that's the case, I'll take it. I still washed my hair, I fed myself well, and took care of the dogs. I didn't get any surveys done, nor make any real effort in any of my relationships, and was probably a little too salty with more than one person I care about, but I didn't feel like killing myself, so am I complaining? Nah.

I can't think of a snappy way to end this, so


Friday, June 26, 2015

Summerizing, Because It's Hot

Lately, in my world: I tried a snack delivery service, made a to-go salad worth bragging about, and I've started jogging, a little.

I tried Graze, the snack subscription service, and it was pretty cool. You can customize what kinds of snacks you prefer, or what ingredients you don't like, and they send you boxes weekly, monthly, whatever. I tried it for five weeks and if I had the disposable income, I would keep it, but alas. I do not. I do however have a code for a free box! If you use this code - YFD764WFE - when you sign up, you get your first box free (I also get a free box). You can cancel if you don't like it and there's no charge!

That awesome salad was a perfect storm of inspiration and opportunity. I grabbed a big canning jar out of the cabinet, and dumped a cup of leftover curried couscous in. Then I layered some dry-fried mushrooms, frozen vegetables and almonds, and then as much romaine lettuce as I could stuff in there. Then I smashed it down a bit more to get some lentil sprouts on top. When it was time to eat, I dumped it all out into a large bowl, topped it with a healthy wad of hummus, and had a serious salad party.

I'm been sprouting those lentils myself, and it is super easy! Just add a 1/4 cup of lentils to a jar (or more, but remember that they will grow), rinse and strain with water, then cover. Rinse them every day, and that's it! Sprouts in days! And to make rinsing even easier, I just add water to the jar, shake, then dump it out on the back of a screen strainer, so the lentils/sprouts all stay in the jar neatly. It seriously could not be easier.

And I've started jogging a bit on walks, just in place while the dogs do their thing, or gently on the level bits. Sometimes it hurts my head, but if I've gauged my situation correctly it usually doesn't, and that, my friends, is progress.

The heat of summer has fully arrived to our woods and I'm feeling it. My head hurts more and faster as the day warms up and if I don't get moving early, I may not move at all.

My friend had a dream in which I escaped my headaches by turning into a fish. Honestly, I've heard worse suggestions.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I've Been Cupped

I finally made my way back to the acupuncturists.

It took a while to get back in to see them, but I returned to Five Branches today to get poked for my head and other ailments.

We forgot to mention to the front desk that we were expecting the cheap appointment, and accidentally blew a good chunk of our budget on acupuncture. Oops. But I did get to experience more services, so I guess that's the bright side.

Last time, the guy put some migraine pins in and some menstrual pins. This time, the lady went all migraine.

So, she stabbed me in the top of the head, the ears, the back of my neck (I specified I'm having some nerve pain in my neck and shoulders), and one in each hand and foot. After 10-20 minutes of laying down quietly while stabbed, she gave me a vigorous and awesome neck massage, and then... she cupped me! She did four cups on my upper back, and I have those bizarre-looking marks to prove it. It didn't really hurt, it was more uncomfortable than anything, but one of the four did hurt just a little more than the others and that same spot continues to feel very bruised. Otherwise, it didn't and doesn't feel nearly as bad as it looks! Which is nice because it looks kind of terrible! Google at your own risk!

After my last appointment, I felt no significant changes, but my period was a little easier. Until this moment, I suspected it was because I've been extra-conscious of my diet lately, but now I'm wondering if it was the pins in the belly.

I'm just beat after this session; I took a nap when I got home, and feel like I suffered a thorough pummeling, which I supposed I kind of did. It was the best massage I think I've ever gotten. I'm going to bed soon, and hopefully I'll wake up feeling better, not worse, but y'all know how it is with migraines.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Grumping About

The nausea. The throbbing. The unrelenting irritation at every little nothing in my sight. It's migraine city over here, population 1, cause no one wants to hang out with a whiny asshole.

I'm exaggerating. My boyfriend's around and I have a few friends, but I do sometimes have to remind myself that if I want to keep them, I have to be nicer than my migraines would naturally incline me to be. Migraines make me impatient, short-tempered, pissy, sarcastic, and whiny. The last annoys even me, so I can't blame anyone else if they want to keep clear. I think it's the migraine in combination with hormones, because i also have my docile, grateful migraines, they just aren't what's happening right now, not at all. Oh yes, and i've also got the period of three women going on, so that's fun.

I got a form to fill out from ssdi, making sure I'm still disabled and all. Depending on how they receive my form they may decide to reopen my file, but I'm trying not to be too concerned because honestly, I'm still super disabled. I can barely leave the house, and when i do, it's non-functional pain and disorientation for days. If they do decide to look into my medical history and current state, no reasonable person would deem me able to job. The few hours I spend with the dogs once every week/month is the closest thing I got, and that is pretty damn taxing despite being the most convenient, flexible gig in existence.

I guess I still feel a little anxiety, despite all these reassurances I've got for myself. Who wouldn't?

And I think my depression is taking the form of apathy this month. The past two days I feel like I'm velcroed to my chair and I'm not interested in anything but zoning out on tv. And even that.

I'll get over it. Tomorrow is another day.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Layering Stink Upon Stink is Not The Answer

Whenever I see those febreeze commercials that feature blindfolded people in disgusting places remarking on the freshness of their environment, I imagine what would happen if I found myself somehow wrangled into one of those situations.

It would play out very differently than the commercials we see on tv. I'd be guided to the shipping crate full of feces that has been thoroughly drenched in febreeze, and unlike my companions, who will ooooh and aaaah over the fabric-softener scented wonderland they've found themselves in, I'll be coughing and holding my head for dear life while exclaiming things like, "Is this a febreeze commercial? JENKINS it stinks like perfume ass death in here!"

It's probably not the message they're looking for.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Invisible Woman

Content note: This post contains talk of depression, isolation, and suicidal urges.

I wrote a journal entry a few days ago that's hard to share, but is so relevant to my truth as a person who is chronically ill, I feel I have to. I'm having regular bouts of depression at the end of my periods again, and this last one was brief, less than a day, but intense.

Today, I'm considering suicide.

It's not the first time, and won't be the last. Because I'm not going to act on it. Not today. But I'm considering it.

I'm desperately lonely. I'm in pain all the time. I'm depressed and anxious, bored and frustrated. I miss having relationships, friends. I'm tired of this limiting, tortured life. I'm tired of wishing and wanting and hoping and dreaming, just to continue waking up to a nightmare.

I have this huge extended family, and I never hear from any of them. Their lives are going on as if I was never even there, and it's devastating every time I go on facebook. I used to have a crowd of friends, but they've all but disappeared too. I don't think anyone would miss me if I did kill myself, because no one seems to miss me now.

The uncertainty of tomorrow is no longer interesting to me because there is no uncertainty. I'll wake up, be in pain, will struggle, try and fail, and that's it. That's how it's been for the past 8 years. I don't want this life.

I wish so much that I had someone to reach out to. I wish so much I had someone to hug me and tell me it'll be ok.

But I don't.

This is what it's like being chronically ill. I've become invisible.

Since regaining my balance, I've taken steps to remedy some of the problems I mention. I've made a point of contacting friends I trust and I'm putting myself out there to make new ones online. I've asked for help getting mental health care and in seeing a naturopath, because I'm certain this problem is mostly hormonal and western medicine has failed me and my brutal periods completely.

So, I'm ok now. But I wasn't then, and in another month I won't be again, so I've got to get ahold of it before it gets ahold of me.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Struggle is Real

Every day for the past week, I've awakened with head pain. My neck and shoulders feel like I tried to lift an elephant, or perhaps a grand piano. I did neither, I have no idea why my muscles feel as if they've been wrenched and twisted like moorings in a hurricane. It's interfering with sleep, and the pain is going straight to my head, of course. Which isn't surprising, I swear toe pain goes straight to my head.

So, I'm plodding through my days right now. I go for my morning hike, but it's much slower than usual and it's the only thing I do some days. I'm nauseated all the time. I can't bend over, reach, or turn my head too quickly without feeling ill, faint, or confused. It's the usual low-level of symptoms, kicked up a notch or five. As a consequence, I'm not getting much done around the house. I might over-medicate later to get some dishes done. I'll likely pay for it, but I can't live in filth.

I got an Obamaphone. Despite being free, it is not awesome. I have no reception where I live, or anywhere within a several minute walk, so it's useless to my basically housebound self. My boyfriend is going to look into it, see if he can connect a phone of our choosing, or if they can send me something with decent reception. It's a hassle, but I'm hoping they are still working out the kinks because it's an awesome program for those of us who can't afford phones.

I'm considering school in the fall. I'm intimidated though because I don't have a great support system and really don't think I can handle it. This may be a self-confidence issue, because I certainly struggle with that, but it's also a reality of chronic migraines. I'm limited by my illness and there's only so much schools will accommodate. But, school's not going anywhere, and it's not like I'm not enriching myself in other ways, but my little brother and a friend of mine are both starting college in the fall and I am positively green with envy. I'm excited and happy for both of them, but still, so envious.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Fitness and Fiche

I started using My Fitness Pal again.

I've put on a few more pounds than I'd prefer over the last several months. I never really stopped exercising, save for the usual amount of days when I couldn't manage it, so the weight gain is almost entirely diet-related.

I needed a reality check. I eat very healthfully most of the time, but when there are certain junk foods in the house, I simply can't resist. And once I've started, I can't always stop, not until they're gone. Additionally, policing my food intake can be tricky for me; as a person who lived with disordered eating for years, I don't know if I'll ever really be free of it. I am better at recognizing problem behavior sooner, ideally before it spirals out of control. And that is exactly why I stopped using My Fitness Pal when I did; it was starting to feel obsessive to me, and I recognized that I was not having the healthiest thoughts and behaviors as a result of my using what is actually a very helpful tool. I feel I'm now in a better place mentally, and I see clearly that I need a reminder of what it looks like to eat moderately and healthfully. So, I reinstalled it last week and started entering info immediately.

I'm already making better choices, knowing that I'll have to face the undeniable results on my smartphone later. I still have sweets and snacks, I still want a veggie burger every now and again, but not every day. I'm working on the emotional issues that are leading me to crave food my body doesn't need, and My Fitness Pal keeps me accountable until I can get my brain calibrated again. Eating like a grown up is hard, you guys, but I can do it.

In other food news, I made a fiche (fake quiche! I'm hilarious, right?) with tomatoes and green olives and it came out divine. I enjoy symmetry, so I had to take a photo of the completed fiche to share.

I have one piece left.