Last of the Butt Stuff

Seriously. I hope to never talk about this again. Okay? Okay.

You know that horrible shit they make you drink? Colyte. It’s called Colyte, though apparently some people take different stuff. Anyway. It’s pure Devil Juice. It starts out so deceptive. I dumped lemonade in it, shook it up and got it super cold. The first glass tasted like, “What the fuck is everyone’s problem? This isn’t so bad!” It was salty lemonade. Granted, it wasn’t tasty, but it wasn’t as horrible as everyone made it out to be. The second glass tasted pretty much the same. The third glass?

The third glass tasted like, “Oh My Fuck, I will never get through this deceptive Devil Juice.”

By the last three glasses of the night, it was coming back up. And not from the right end. I couldn’t finish it when I got up to do so at 3:00 AM. I tried. I tried my best. But when it started coming back up, I said fuck it. (That’s what the last glass tasted like: “Fuck this shit.”) They can either do the procedure or they can’t. There’s little use in drinking it if I’m only gonna puke it up.

The rest of it? I’m not gonna go into details. Let’s just leave it at this: I wish there was a healthy option to never shit again in my life.

~

Fast forward to 5:00 AM. I got there on time, but that Colyte wasn’t finished with me yet. Oh no. I don’t understand why they make you drink it all the way up to procedure time (nearly so). I feel like I could have taken care of things a lot sooner and felt a lot better. Oh well.

Anyway.

Let’s skip the unsavory bits and get to the results: no visible signs of cancer, though he did take tissue samples to send to the lab. I’m supposed to see him in 2-4 weeks. (Which will be my first time meeting him. I’m assuming he’s met me by now…) I’m told there was severe inflammation and lots of ulcers. I’m also told that I’m not allowed to take NSAIDs anymore, which I have grossly abused because of chronic headache and migraine problems. Time to hold my GP’s feet to the fire on that.

So yes. Overall really good news. My only concern now, really, is finding a better way to manage my headaches. AND. Take better care of my nutritional health. Much better care.

No cancer, dudes. No. Fucking. Cancer. Not even any polyps.

Boogie.

And that’s the last of the butt stuff. I promise I’m at least as sick of talking about it as you are of seeing it in your feeds!

Butt Stuff

Well, it’s B-Day. As in Butt Day or Day of the Butt. Take your pick. I think I like Day of the Butt best.

I said butt

The countdown has begun. I start taking butt drugs in about twenty minutes. Seems weird to me to start prep in mid-afternoon, but I confirmed with doctor’s office yesterday and the surgical facility today. So I’ll go by the sheet of instructions I received.

Step 1: Take FOUR of these bad boys at 3:00 PM:

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FYI the dose is ONE tablet. I’ll be taking four. I asked the pharmacist if I could return the rest. (I’m serious. It was a joke, but I really did ask.) She refused. Hmph.

Step 2: Beginning at 4:00 PM, I have to drink 8 oz. of buttjuice every half hour until 1/4 of the jug remains.

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It’s full of salts, if you can read the label. Mmmmmmmm, 4 liters of saltwater.

They said I could add Crystal Light lemonade to it, so now it looks like a jug of urine.

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I’ve decided that instead of 8 oz. increments, I’m going to do 10 oz. That way my last dose will be at 8:30 PM instead of 10:00 PM. I figure very few people measure this to the exact ounce, so I should be okay with my plan. Then I have to drink the remaining THIRTY OUNCES ALL AT ONCE at 3 fucking AM.

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Step 3:

shitting my brains out

I hope I’m able to get some sleep tonight. I have to get up at 3:00 AM to drink the last of four liters of that vile liquid fire. Then I have to be at the hospital at 5:00 AM. I hope they don’t make me wait too long. I know he has four people scheduled, but I don’t know where I am in that list.

I’m not actually stressed or worried. Honestly, I’m eager to get some answers. But that doesn’t mean I’m looking forward to my immediate future. I’m just thankful that my perspective is positive – it’s keeping me from being crippled with fear and embarrassment. Somehow, I don’t feel those things at all. It’s an absolutely shocking state of mind to me, but I’m loving the absence of worry.

I have a whole lot of life left that I intend to live as fully as possible. Things like the PNW and other assorted adventures that await require me to look after my health (which I haven’t been doing at all). So this test will give me some answers as to how best to do so going forth.

Speaking of going forth…good day, Peopleaneous!

Shit Happens: Real Talk about Serious Health Issues

I told myself I wasn’t going to talk about this here. “It’s too private,” I thought, “and it’s entirely too embarrassing and uncomfortable. …no. Fucking. Way.”

But you know what? That’s selfish of me. What if someone out there is afraid like I’ve been? Too embarrassed to see a doctor and talk about what’s going on, too afraid of receiving terrible news. What if someone reads my words and, as a result, looks after his or her own health? It hasn’t been too terribly long since I would have been (genuinely) willing to die before seeing a doctor. Embarrassment and shame do voodoo on the psyche. But I’ve recently got some awesome people in my life (you know who you are, and you know how I feel) – and this community is priceless. Fucking priceless. And you have lifted me up, encouraged me and offered me a world of new perspectives. Shouldn’t I try to do the same?

Shit happens, and the sooner I learn how to roll with it better, the more chill my life will be. And I’m a chill dude, man. It’s one of the few things I like about myself: I’m chill as fuck. So yeah, why not spill my embarrassing health issue – that shouldn’t be embarrassing at all, because it’s the human body and sometimes it fucks up, or we fuck it up – and maybe, just maybe, being candid about it will help someone. The more willing we are to speak openly about the things that scare or embarrass us, the better prepared we will be to move forward and heal. Knowledge is power, but it takes communication to gain that knowledge. Let us communicate.

If you’re squeamish, back away now. Back away. And if you’re not, then you’re about to see another layer to the title I used.

~

I have a lot of health problems. I’d say each of them is not a big deal, but stacking them all together gives me really bad days sometimes. But I’ve learned to deal, push it out of my mind, compartmentalize the fuck out of things, and keep on keeping on. Granted, I’m not always very good at it, but for the most part I try not to dwell on things.

Lately I’ve been seriously kicking ass. For me. I’ve been on a really good track to improve my life, and I’m getting good feedback and results. Personally, professionally, whatever. I’ve been hesitantly optimistic.

Did I say I’ve been kicking ass? I have been. Fuck it, I’ll own it. I’m nowhere near where I need to be. I’m only just beginning. But we all have to start somewhere.

Only now, my ass is kicking me. Yeah. You read that right. Are you ready? I’ve given more than enough intro, and now I’m just stalling. Let’s go…

~

My latest health issue started about three weeks ago. Or at least, I think it did. (I’ll explain that part shortly.) I went to the bathroom. I had to, you know………………fuck, I’m so embarrassed. Fuck it. Fuck it. Let’s do this. I had to shit, right? Everyone has to shit. No big deal.

Except, there was blood.

It was only a tiny amount, though. And it was bright red. It’s not the first time that’s happened, so I’ve read about it. It’s a hemorrhoid. Simple, whatever. I pissed the fucker off, and it bled a little. Little bastard. Case dismissed.

Except, it got worse.

Over the course of a week, the tiny bit of blood grew into a small amount of blood, which then grew into a semi-scary amount of blood. Only semi-scary, though. At this point, I knew I should see a doctor. I was semi-scared, for fucks sake. But who the fuck wants to go to their doctor and say, “Yo doc, there’s blood coming out of my asshole! What’s good, homeslice?”

Yeah, not me. So I ignored it and told myself that it would go away. The thing is, you remember that bit I said earlier? That “I think it” started three weeks ago? Yeah. That bit right there. For much longer than that, I’ve been having…problems…going…to the bathroom. It’s either one or the other: I can’t go, and it hurts like a bitch…or it’s like a motherfucking faucet. Either way, I’ve been having severe abdominal cramps. Mhm. So it has occurred to me that whatever this is…could very well have started much longer than three weeks ago. Fuck, I hope not.

Anyway. I fucking ignored it. Because that’s what I do. I stick my head in the sand and pretend the bad shit isn’t happening. And I carry on smiling and laughing and cracking smartass remarks in very poor taste. Because that’s what I do. Deny, deny, deny. And carry on not taking care of myself, dumping shitty (haha that’s punny) food in my body, wallowing in bed and wasting my life away.

And now I’m paying for it. Even if it’s nothing, I’m suffering at the moment, and most likely because of my abuse of my body.

So the next week, you’ll never guess what happened! You’ll never guess! You guessed it, didn’t you? Yeah. Shit got worse. (Heh. I did it again. SHIT got worse. Get it?) It got to the point where I’d have an urge to shit. My body’s telling me I gotta go, and it makes my abdomen rumble and cramp, and it’s urgent. It feels urgent. I go to the bathroom, and what comes pouring out? Shit?

Blood.

Just. Blood. Copious amounts of blood. And it’s not as brightly colored anymore. It’s still relatively bright, but I tell myself…”just give it a bit more time. This is nothing. It will go away. You’ve just really really pissed Hank off.” (That’s the name of my friend’s asshole, but I’m stealing it.) I pissed Hank off, nothing more. No fucking way will I go to the doctor about this. I’ll fucking bleed to death first.

So the first week, I ignored it as best I could. The second week, I became terrified. The amount of blood filling up the bowl scared me. And it wasn’t bright anymore. I was barely shitting at all. For the most part, when I went to the toilet, it was Only Blood. The third week (this one), I had to start lining my underwear. Yeah. That fucking bad.

Yesterday, I went to the bathroom three times with that problem. Oh. And coupled with the blood loss, I’ve been experiencing significant dizziness, drastically increased fatigue, some disorientation, etc. Very woozy, all the time, and I have little to no appetite.

I called the doctor.

I had made a promise to call the doctor yesterday, and not only did I have to keep it, but I had finally gotten scared enough to seek treatment. The doctor got me in right away. The nurse said she’d call me back..she called me back within five minutes and asked if I could be there in fifteen. I texted my boss and left.

I told the doctor everything. He asked some questions pertaining to pain (location and severity), color of the blood, shitting schedule, etc. After I’d answered all of his questions, he said,

“You need a colonoscopy.”

I cried a little. Just a couple tears, and I practically whispered, “What about other tests first, like a stool sample?” (I’ve been researching…) And he calmly, quietly repeated,

“You need a colonoscopy.”

He sent me across the street to the hospital, to test for anemia. I bypassed admissions, no check in, no paperwork, and went straight to the lab where I was seen ahead of everyone and immediately. I don’t mind saying I cried all the way out of the hospital and all the way home. The urgency did more to scare me than anything else.

I got the results of the blood work today. In a bit of good news, I was told I haven’t gone anemic. Whew.

I have a colonoscopy Tuesday morning. I have to be there at 5 AM. And because of the prep that has to be done beforehand (drinking a tanker truck of vile liquid and subsequently shitting your brains out for hours on end), I’ll have to take both Monday and Tuesday off work.

I’m scared. Yesterday, I was really fucking scared. I shed a lot of tears. And then I got immense encouragement, which I am endlessly grateful for.

~

Here’s where I’m at now:

It could be lots of things. I could have a tear. I could have irritable bowel disease. I could have Crohn’s (don’t think so on that one). I could have angry polyps or some shit (ha). I could have colon cancer. (I watched one of the most important people in the world to me slowly die of colon cancer. He was diagnosed at 44 and passed away at 46. It wrecked me, and I’ve lived in terror of it ever since.)

Simple or complex, odds are very good that it’s something treatable. In which case, I get it treated, I heed the wake-up call and take better care of myself, and I go on about my life – more mindful than before.

And if it’s terminal, which my mind can’t help but wonder, then that will be alright, too. I’ll sell my house, quit my job, try to raise some funds, and I’ll travel and adventure until I drop dead with a smile on my face.

I can wallow in bed, feeling sorry for myself, or I can live. I choose life, regardless of the test results.

As for today, I’m going to my storage unit after work to pick up my camera. I said I’d do that today. It will be good for me. It will give me more reasons to get out of the house. Go find something beautiful and interesting, photograph it. Get back to what I used to do: finding something beautiful each and every day.

And hopefully some time next week, I’ll find out exactly what’s going on and what the next step is.

~

If there’s something you’re scared of, something you don’t want to face, especially if it’s something that presents a danger to your mind or body, it’s worth the risk to say something.

The doctor is not going to laugh at you.

Real friends will not laugh at you.

You will be encouraged. You will receive help. You will feel better. And you will know that shame and embarrassment are merely other forms of fear.

You’re worth it. There’s too much left to do. Your story doesn’t end here.

There are mountains to climb, oceans to swim, photographs to take, trains to ride, planes to jump out of, people to embrace, stories to hear, stories to tell, raucous belly laughs at vulgar jokes, souls to touch, music to dance to.

Confide in someone, be encouraged and seek help. Go to the ass doctor. Go to the gynecologist. Go to whatever doctor grabs your nuts and makes you cough. Get a finger stuck up your ass. Have satan’s claws shoved up your ladybits. Seek. Help. Now.

Your story doesn’t end here.

Now let’s dance.

What are you so afraid of?

Have you ever considered what bears and grocery stores have in common? I have. It’s fear. Bears and grocery stores have fear in common.

Some people are afraid of bears. I’m not. I have a healthy respect for them, and I know proper procedures to prevent bear encounters and protocol should I ever encounter one anyway (though I’m sure all of that knowledge would elude me at such a time). But I do not fear them. Not exactly. I mean, I was wary enough to avoid cooking when I stayed in Shoshone National Forest, or in GNP or Yellowstone, places like that. I was afraid to cook, but that was mostly because I was afraid of myself – of not being cautious enough or missing spots during cleaning. I was afraid I’d fuck it up. I didn’t actually go to sleep in fear. I happily climbed into my tent and into my sleeping bag, falling asleep nearly instantly after long days of hiking.

I’m not afraid of bears.

Some people are afraid of grocery stores. I’m gonna go ahead and assume you’ve figured out how I know. I am afraid of grocery stores. But I believe it’s less about being in public (which is a whole separate issue for me) and more about whom I may encounter there. I don’t live in a huge metropolitan area, which makes the chances rather high for running into people whom I’d rather not run into. Even so, it’s happened a disproportionate amount of times. Sometimes I’ve been so shaken up that I’ve left the store without making my purchases. I believe there was only once that I had a buggy full of groceries, and I left in a panic. But I’ve seen people I’d rather not with high frequency. My anxiety and fear ratcheted up to the point where I’d drive to the grocery (after allowing myself to run out of pretty much everything), then sit in the car in the parking lot for several minutes to an hour before finally driving away without ever getting out of the car.

I’m afraid of grocery stores.

This fear has caused me to spend more money than I can really afford (considering other shit I desperately need to take care of) and damage my health with fast food. There’s no risk I’ll run into anyone when I just go through a drive-thru and go home. But it’s not a healthy way to live, not for mind or body.

I went to the grocery store today. It sounds so simple, it’s nothing more than an inconvenience. Rightfully so. It’s pretty irrational to be petrified of grocery shopping. But I am. I have been. I went today, and I didn’t make a quick run, either. I started in produce and made my way around the store, selecting my purchases. I’ll need to go again tomorrow, as I didn’t take a list today (it was more about pushing through my fear and getting started with the basics). I got nearly everything I need. But I need a few more things. Perhaps I’ll make crawfish étouffée tomorrow.

I had a big day for me, really. I got up early (on a Saturday – what the fuck is the world coming to (I like to sleep until 3 PM or Sunday)), got dressed (that’s important to do before going out in public, or so I’ve been told), grabbed a bottle of water and hit the park. My foot still hasn’t healed (what the fuck, man), but I walked a trail anyway. Along a lake. It was so fucking humid, but it was lovely. It was lovely. The birds and the flowers and the water and the occasional breeze. Left there and went to a café (sort of), got a fruity iced tea thingy and a croissant. Then I went straight to the grocery store. I only sat in the car for about fifteen minutes (trust me, that’s good for me). When I got home, I didn’t stop. There has been zero bed or moping or bed moping today. Mowed the yard, fixed the new gravel that’s on the driveway, babied some suffering plants, and now I’m doing laundry. I need a shower so badly, but I wanna make sure most of the sweating is behind me before I do!

I kept a promise today. Promises are sacred to me. You don’t fuck with a promise unless you didn’t have a choice (and you pretty much always have a choice, so you better have a fucking good reason). I promised to work on myself today, push past the fear and do it. And I did. And I felt (feel) fantastic and optimistic afterward. I know optimism is a feeling like any other – it comes and goes with the days and moods. But for now, I’m enjoying it. And when it begins to fade again, I’ll have to push past the fear again. Today was one day. This is one weekend. I need to make it two. And keep going.

Because if I don’t – I’ll get to Oregon or Washington and nothing will have changed. I will go to work as I do here. I will drive straight home as I do here. And I will cry and mope and wish for adventure. And I will hold myself back. If I can’t push through it here, what makes me think I will there? I don’t want to move to the PNW just to continue the lifestyle I have now. What’s the fucking point of that? If I’m to live, I need to start living.

shawshank-redemption-movie-quote-dying-living-death-busy-quote

What else am I afraid of?

I’m not afraid of spiders – not majorly so. I have a massive fear of venomous ones. But little jumping spiders? They’re fucking adorable. The wolf spider I found in my garden made me scream like a little girl and literally run away. That was pretty funny. But I didn’t kill it. I let it be…and used gloves when I got back to it.

I was afraid of pubs. I pushed through it, and I’m okay there now. Not exactly comfortable, but okay.

I’m afraid of my nosebleeds. What do they mean? Dunno. But that’s the kind of thing I’m afraid of.

I’m afraid of my neighbors. Not in any dangerous sense, but in the sense that they’re there. Watching me. Judging me. Talking about me. Hell, I should just say I’m afraid of people and have done.

I’m afraid of attachment. I crave it, and yet I fear it. Because allowing yourself to be completely vulnerable exposes your soft underbelly. And some people like to stab those, repeatedly.

I’m afraid of the government, and all of its agents, because of the power we’ve given over to it.

I’m afraid of the threat of tornadoes. Always was, irrationally so. But now that one has hit my house, the fear is greater.

I’m afraid of heights, but not to a crippling extent. Not enough to hinder me from walking cliff trails in the mountains.

I’m afraid I’ll die alone. Nothing I can really do about it aside from keeping myself open to possibilities and otherwise keep on keepin’ on.

I’m afraid of missing out. Of never discovering meaning or purpose. Perhaps there isn’t one. And if there isn’t, then I’m afraid I’ll never be content with that answer. Again. Just gotta keep on keepin’ on, and keep myself open to new ideas and possibilities.

I’m afraid of suffering. I’m afraid of cancer and heart disease. Too much of it in my family, and it scares me. I need to live more healthfully and mindfully.

I’m afraid of my bad memory and what it may mean for my old age, should I make it there. Yet another thing I need to work on improving.

I’m afraid of touching crickets. When I’d go fishing, I could never bait my own hook. I could never get a fish off of a hook, either. I couldn’t touch the cricket. I’d try and try and try, then squeal and back away. Yes. I’m such a girl in some ways. In more ways than I let on here sometimes, I think. And you know what I mean. Soft. Emotional. Sensitive. Gentle. Nervous. Bashful. Afraid to touch bugs, but don’t want to see them dead. Those aren’t purely feminine traits, but fucks sake why am I trying to explain this. Anyway. Yeah. I’m more of a “girl” than I let on.

Hm. I think that’s enough for now. I’m actually in a calm, gentle, smiley mood. So don’t let all this fear talk fool you. I’m looking inward and taking inventory as I am wont to do. Today I don’t find it depressing. Today it’s like cleaning out the cobwebs and taking stock.

Now to see what tomorrow holds.

Much Ado About Everything (AKA Damned if You Do(n’t))

I…

…don’t know what to write.

I have yet to read a book this year. I keep trying, but nothing holds my focus or interest. I keep trying to read blogs. Articles. Even the rare thought-provoking Facebook post. I can’t. Fucking. Do it. Same with writing. I can’t think of anything to write about. Part of me wants to write. (The part of me that’s here writing this.) The other part of me couldn’t care less. (The part of me that cannot come up with anything to talk about right now.) It’s maddening. On slow days at work – I shit you not – so many times I’m just staring at the monitor or wall. Just fucking staring. I want to read. I want to write. It’s like I can’t.

Is it the medication?

Maybe.

Possibly.

Probably.

Speaking of (psychiatric) drugs, I’m only on Lexapro and Seroquel now. I’ve been through three anti-psychotics so far…Geodon and two others I’ve already forgotten. All three fucked me up in a major way. I’m not having major negative (discernible) side-effects from Seroquel, but…but I feel even more numb than I did before I was on it. I smile and laugh and crack the occasional snarky remark. But, for the most part, it doesn’t reach beyond the surface.

pills
At one point, I was on at least 12 scrips at once (that I can recall) and felt worse than I ever have. Against doctors’ orders, I’m down to five plus an OTC antacid. And I still think I can do without Seroquel.
I am still taking the sleepytime drug (Clonidine), but I’ve ceased the anti-anxiety drugs (Vistaril and Klonopin). First, I was just too fucking tired and sleepy all the time. I’m already tired all the time – I certainly didn’t need drugs that exacerbate that. Second, and most importantly, at least one of them was causing panic attacks. I’m the girl that has maybe three or four full-blown panic attacks a year. Maybe. The rest of them are milder anxiety attacks. Like can’t get out of the car to go into the grocery store. While I was taking the anti-anxiety drugs (at 50 mg Vistaril 3x daily and 1 mg Klonopin 3x daily), I began having them daily. Daily. Sometimes more than once per day. If I was at work, I had to scurry off to the bathroom to hide in a stall until it passed. If I was at home, I exercised less control but would eventually tuck myself in the closet. The closeness and darkness helped soothe and calm me down.

I knew something was fucked. And it had to be the drugs, because nothing else had changed. Granted, I’m going through some life changes right now – and they aren’t minor. But I’ve been easing my way into those for several months now. There was no brand new catalyst aside from the steady increase in anti-anxiety drugs and doses.

All that to say, I’ve ceased those – though the psychiatrist doesn’t know. When I tried to share my observations, she insisted I was better off with the meds than without – to the point where she brought up hospitalization again, as though holding that over my head if I didn’t take the pills. So I lie and tell her I’m still on everything except the ones where I have pictorial evidence of bad side-effects (like the big, burny rashes). I even asked her at one point if she wanted pics of vomit. (While I am a smartass, I don’t often use it with willfully mean intent. But she was basically accusing me of lying to her and being treatment resistant – hence my offer.) So now I really am lying to her, and I fucking hate it. It pains me so to admit it, because I hate lying. I hate liars. I used to say liars and thieves, but really they’re the same thing. A lie is theft of truth. So to tell a lie is to become both a liar and a thief. Next time I see her, I’m going to tell her. Just flat out tell her, and by then I will be able to tell her that I’ve been off of them long enough to know for damn sure they were doing more harm than good. Hell, they were doing no good and only harm.

But what about publife?

Once I took myself off of the anti-anxieties, I was strangely able to appreciate my anxiety. I’d gone weeks with severe daily panic attacks. So now that things had calmed back down to being too nervous to go into the grocery store, rather than pulling my hair and rage-screaming, I was less concerned.

So much so that I was finally able to push myself far outside my comfort zone and go to a pub – not once, but three times. And one of them was alone! I even took myself to the movies and to a concert – solo!

But here’s the thing…the Saturday and Sunday immediately subsequent to two of those pubnights?

In bed. Crying. Sleeping. Contemplating. Crying. Sleeping.

You get the idea.

It’s important to me that I share this here, because for anyone else going through what I’m going through, I don’t want to give the impression that this depressed introvert was “healed” after a few nights of bravery. I wasn’t. I’m not. Though I am proud of myself for pushing outside my comfort zone and even doing something I’d never done before, I also realize that wellness is an ongoing process. That goes for mental and physical health and wellness.

Last time, I only talked about the good shit. But it’s important to show the other side. What happened after the Happy Hour High.

The extreme highs of forced extroversion (that was honestly quite fun and liberating – errr aside from pubnight #3 which was an epic fucking disaster), followed by quiet solitude…well, let’s say that combination resulted in major emotional backlash for me. So. On this journey of mental wellness, I have to eventually discover a way to at least minimize the extroversion hangover caused by going from being ON to being alone and exhausted.

I haven’t been back out since the failed third Happy Hellish Hour, and I’ve had a negative urge to. Until Friday. I could have done Happy Hour after work. But..I kinda didn’t wanna. Because while I now know that I can do it, I also found it far more fun when I was with people than when I went alone. Frankly, it’s depressing. It was awesome in a lot of ways, and I was so fucking proud of myself. But. It’s also me. Sitting alone. At a bar. Alone. On a Friday night. Out. In public. Did I mention alone? Yeah. So while I kinda wanted to go, I didn’t. 

Then again, maybe that’s the drugs, too. Fucked if I know. What I do know is that my slowass pace doesn’t mean I’ve stopped progressing.

I’m trending upward. That’s right. Slowly but surely, I’m trending upward. Speaking of which…

Inching along the Oregonton Trail

OregonTrail

I continue to make progress (albeit slow) toward getting myself up to Oregon or Washington.

The yard is landscaped just along the front of the house. Azaleas, some fast growing lantanas, and some gorgeous annuals in window boxes. The house looks adorable. Fucking adorable. It went from ghetto to adorable in a flash. It’s amazing the effect flowers have on a house’s appeal.

As far as the house goes, there are still some hurdles before it can be put on the market. The driveway has to be re-graveled. The laundry room floor has to be painted (the previous owner painted it, and it looks ridiculous). The kitchen floor needs some tiles replaced. Other than that, it’s down to scrubbing and little things like window blinds and light bulbs here and there.

Strongly considering figuring out how to do it For Sale by Owner. It’s the legal shit that concerns me, not the showing. My boss is flexible, so I could show it on evenings, weekends and the occasional midday during the week. I’ve learned that hiring a realtor will take all of the little equity I’ve got in the house. I can’t afford to lose that, so I have to find another way. Enter FSBO.

I’ll do my research and give it a go. 

On the job front, I’ve stopped applying for now. I’ve had several interviews, but I have a solid lead thanks to a VIP at work. When he found out about my plans, he asked for my resume and sent it to another VIP in Vancouver, Washington. He tells me it’s solid and to bide my time while I sell my house. So I’m gonna let that simmer for a while and pour all my focus into the sale. 

~

This post took three days to write. That’s how bad my “block” is. I know this is an abrupt conclusion, but I don’t really know what else to say.

Until next time, y’all are the best. I’m not neglecting you on purpose.  This “block” is maddening! Hope everyone is well and happy!

MANGRY. That’s Mad + Angry. And Now I’m Mangry for having to Explain MANGRY.

I was going to write a post.

I was going to tell you all about the awesome four day weekend I had this weekend just past.

I was going to tell you about bookstores and masturdating and parks and recreation and old fucks and Buddha by the rhododendron and fishing and fiction.

But no.

No.

I can’t do that right now.

Because fuck me, that’s why.

I let the doc put me on geodon. It’s an antipsychotic. Hear me out. I had it on good authority that it could, in fact, help with the mixed episodes I’ve been experiencing a lot lately.

Problem is…turns out I’m allergic to the shit. Severely.

I’ve been throwing up for 2-3 days straight, no chaser. Seriously. I chased it with anti-vomityourgutsup juice, and I vomited the anti-vomityourgutsup juice out.

Big ass rash spreading across the back of my neck.

Bubbles on my arm (blister).

Dizziness and worsening headache.

Confusion. Randomly stopping myself mid-thought or even mid-sentence.

Itching.

Massive edema.

Fucking. (Yeah right. No such luck.)

Torn up guts.

Itching. Did I mention this COOKIEMONSTERFORSAKEN ITCHING?! MOTHERFUCK, I ITCH.I’d pay somebody to scratch my itch, but I think that’s called solicitation.

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Anyway. The one thing it geodon DIDN’T fuck with, clearly, is my ragingly filthy mind. So there’s that. And also my cookiediction. Me want cookies. Now. (Also. May I borrow someone’s kids so I can “not” teach them this lesson by what is obviously The Real Cookie Monster, please stand up?)

The one thing I DIDN’T get as a side effect was the heart-racing arrhythmia. It’s a damn good thing, because if that box had gotten ticked, he was going to have to admit me. My heart was not only NOT racing, it was lower than he’s ever recorded it. 42. I think? OH MY GOD, MY HEART IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?! I KNEW IT!

Anyturtles. My GP said I met every single other criterion for the Rare and Severe reactions. Yay me!

A man once told me I was rare. Now I know what he meant. RARE AND SEVERE AND FUCKED UP.

I kid.

Mostly.

Except I don’t kid. You kid. Keep the kids over there. Because I’m MANGRY.

Because.

Because.

On top of forvomigen, the nausea med he gave me that doesn’t work, he also gave steroids. Lots and lots of steroids that I have to take for six fucking days.

He asked if I had any issue taking short-term steroids to stop my allergic responses and wipe out the rash. I said no, except Hulk. He was mildly puzzled, then laughed when I said YOU know….then I made rage face and said Hulk Angry! Only some of that actually happened. I’ll let you work it out.

So I’m on steroids for a week. And I’m sweating and angry and itching and sore. AND NOT FOR ANY OF THE FUN REASONS.

And I can’t make my brainhole focus on the things I WANTED to write about.

Fucking fuckstick douchecanoe handledick. Oooo handledick. New one. That works a myriad of ways, that one.

Anyway. I’m gonna fuck off outta here.

Just wanted to say Hi.

Just wanted to say I’m Pissed Off.

Just wanted to say I Miss You.

Just wanted to say Bye Fuckers, Because ME MANGRY.

Oh. And for what it’s worth? Either I was on one of my upswings already, or geodon was actually helping me. Because starting the drug coincided with the start of a major uptick in my moods and mindset. So. Let’s hope it wasn’t the geodon. Because now I’m pissed that I can’t take it anymore. WAAAAAAH. Look at me. Crying like a bitch. MANGRY.

P.S. If that mangry music isn’t your thing, mute it and watch. Because Sully Erna is in Fine Fucking Form here. Shirtless. Shoeless. Perfect jeans. Yum. You know what? I’ll take my steroids with a side of Sully. (Unfortunately, that’s the only good part of the video. The rest of it is wrestling or boxing or nascar or some other lame shit where grownass boys beat each other up for money.) (Hey, don’t start in on me! I told you I’m mangry! It’s in the title! FUCKING STEROIDS. GRAWR.) (But now I’m sleepy and itchy and mangry and hungry and sweaty and ARRGGGHHHHHHH I SAID GOOD DAY!)

P.S. Numberonius Twovicus. How about a preview of last weekend, hm?

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Stephellany Update: The Good, the Bad, the Terrible, the Fucking Lame, and the Motherfucking Awesome (A Post of Random Catching-Up Pigshit)

Good Evening dearest Peopleaneous. Let me start with the most important point to be made in this post: Pigshit. Yes, that’s right. Pigshit. I’ve recently replaced “bullshit” with “pigshit.” I find it good and pleasing and shall henceforth deem bullshit pigshit. Until I replace it with doveshit (isn’t that like the ultimate dichotomy? OH MY GOSH THAT WOULD BE A PEACE OF SHIT! GET IT? GET IT?) or dungbeetleballs. Ooooo. DungBeetleBalls! New word! New word!

Okay dudes. This post is going to be the epitome of “stephellaneous,” a veritable smorgasbord (damn it’s been too long since I used that word) of random updates. I know I have been MIA for 14 years, 3 months, 2 days, 11 hours and 28 seconds. And I also know I have 18 billion comments to reply to. I haven’t forgotten y’all or this space. It’s just. Well. Let’s take this Stephanie Style, shall we? (No, that’s not a new sexual position. Although…aaaaand she’s off!)

TOP UNKNOWN NUMBER OF REASONS THAT I’VE BEEN MISSING IN ACTION. OR MISSING IN INACTION. OR SOMETHING. I’LL LEAVE THAT TO YOU,PEOPLEANEOUS. FUCKIN’ HELL, WHAT IS MY PROBLEM WITH HEADINGS. BETTER YET, WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM WITH HEADERS? LONG HEADINGS ARE MY JAM, MAN. OR MEN, WOMEN AND KAITLYN. SHUT UP, YOU KNOW I’M NOT PC. SO KISS IT. PEACE OUT, HEADER.

Where-the-fuck--Have-you-been-meme-13097

Number 1: Ha. You think I’m gonna use a normal numbering system. That’s cute. Anyway. As I mentioned in some weird, typo-laden pone-post, I can no longer post from work. They’ve done some security update that renders WP’s security certificate obsolete. Whatever hardcore security they have does not apply to my laptop. But I do my writing at work, when I’m slow (which is often). By the time I get home after work and tutoring, I don’t have much time to write after food, chores, packing, applications, conversing, etc. Wait, ohmygosh, those were spoiler alerts. Fuck me, man. (Seriously.) So. Number 1 could be condensed as such: Because my work computers suck dungbeetleballs.

Numéro deux: Doesn’t the Bible say something about there not being another flood of biblical magnitude? That book lied. I got lucky, not even gonna pretend I didn’t. Most of the houses in my neighborhood flooded. Well, at least half. The water came within roughly an inch of coming into the house. But it didn’t, since my house is far enough off of the ground. The car flooded up well over the seats. But mold and stinkies pale in comparison to the people who were stranded for days. It pales in comparison to the lives lost. It pales in comparison to the hundreds of people now displaced and homeless. So. Yeah that’s kinda put a damper on trying to blog.

Idadi ya Tatu: My health is being a fucking dick. (As an aside, why is it okay for us to use “dick” as a curseword, but we balk at using “pussy” as such? At least I do. Whatever.) Seriously. Y’all know I broke my left foot last summer, and the cause of the pain (the two breaks) weren’t discovered until the MRI in January. I was only supposed to wear the frankenboot for three weeks. But that bitch still hurt like a motherfucker, so I kept wearing it. And wearing it. And wearing it. And then my right foot started hurting. I mean, big time. I did some digging, and it turns out I wore it far too long. Apparently, it’s common to sustain injuries on the opposite side if one wears frankenboot for too long. (I also think the damn thing was too big for me to begin with.) I can’t prove my right foot is broken yet. But I seem my rheumatologist Friday. Something tells me he’s going to order another MRI as the right foot is now bruised and swollen and incredibly painful. This in addition to daily headaches returning in spite of following some awesome advice (thanks Ms. Fever!). And my tiny little finger/toe bones hurting. And the massive chest pain that started as soon as my Lamictal was updosed. I see that bitch on April 2. I’m going to request that I be incremented down and then off of EVERYTHING except the drug that helps me sleep. And then I’m going to start the long hunt for someone who knows what they’re doing. (Trust me, this is the right move. She most recently tried to prescribe an anti-psychotic that was only just approved in fucking October. Also. PSYCHOSIS. WHAT? And she also diagnosed me as in the throes of a full-blown panic attack………….because my leg was bouncing and I was restless. Yeah. Can we say Quack Attack?) Enough of that bullshit. Next!

A bit angry – posting it for one reason: the line, “What the fuck is wrong with me?!”

Nommer Vier:Uhm. What’s next? Ah. Job hunting for the Greater Seattle Area. I started out on my own, but I felt incredibly overwhelmed (anxiety for the win!). So I reached out to multiple recruiters up there. The first one was an utter quack. Fo’ real yo. So I moved on. The next one to contact me was super eager, so I’ve been working with her. She’s covering the southern part of the Greater Seattle Area and has now put me in touch with another recruiter to cover the northern part. We were going to have a team of three, but she thinks we’ll be good. So far, we have about a dozen applications outstanding. All are still open and haven’t hit their deadlines yet. So between the three of us, hopefully I’ll at least start landing interviews soon. Been tweaking my resume, cover letters and prepping for interview questions in the meantime. Also. That woman has me applying to stuff at twice the salary range I thought I could land. She told me I was way underselling myself. So yay. But that’s yet another reason I’ve been busy and MIA.

Номер пять:I’ve had to put off listing the house. First, I’m having trouble with some repairs that need to be done. The ex was supposed to do them (as his name is still on the deed, even though I pay all bills). But he’s stalling. Big time. But with all the flooding, even the most basic repairmen are price gouging. I’m doing what I can on my own, but there are things I’m just not able to do. Also. Speaking of the flood yet again, the houses in my neighborhood that did flood still have all of the detritus of their lives lining the roads: furniture, walls, carpet, did I mention walls?, keepsakes, etc. So it would not behoove me to shove a for-sale sign in the front yard until the city takes care of the debris. But once it does, at least I’ll have the advantage of saying this house didn’t flood.

Numero kuusi: (That one sounds so sexual. Is it just me? It’s just me. My bad.) Met an online friend that I’ve known for a decade. He says six years. Whatever. It was our first time meeting up in person, so that was pretty fucking awesome. I’ve never done anything like that, so I can’t say enough how superfuckingawesome it was. (I know you’re reading this. So. I’ll just say: Hi!) Also, he’s gonna do a guest post for me soon. Kickass writer, so y’all will dig it. Trust.

Rhif Saith: I’ve been playing around with fiction, which doesn’t really come easily to me. I’ve been told it’s because I haven’t freed myself to do it. My self-perception hinders my progress. Or clouds my view of what I’m capable of or what I’ve already done. But I’ve been playing around. Even wrote something for a friend the other day at his prompting. Perhaps I’ll throw it up here after some tweaking. We shall see.

Númer Átta: I have a trip in April that I’ve been planning, slowly but surely. Mid-April, I’m heading up to Seattle for a visit. No interviews yet, just gonna have a look around. And a lot of you know the main reason I’m going for a visit. So that’s been overwhelming for me and has taken my head out of the blogging game for a bit. I already have tickets and hotel room booked. Got a little carry-on travel bag – that’s gonna be a serious challenge for a woman. Fuck worrying about stereotypes; it’s fucking true. How am I gonna pack three pairs of shoes, more clothes than I’ll wear in six days, a book or four, my 18,000 meds, ahhhhhh. Yeah, that’s gonna be a huge challenge. But I want that bitch to be a carry-on. Fuck paying to check a bag. Plus wheels get broken and shit. Fuck that noise.

Nummer neun: Perhaps the most important of all, I’ve been trying to figure out who the fuck I am. What makes me tick. What I want. Where I’m headed. How I matter. What my purpose is. Why I’m here. What my future looks like. City life is NOT what I want. I hope to live as cheaply as possible and bank mad savings so I can live a peripatetic life in the forests, woods, beaches, cultures of the world, and a cozy little shack to return to now and then to recharge my batteries. But the shit I wanna do takes money. The experiences I wanna have takes money. Fucking money. I fucking hate money. I hate the constructs of this false existence. I don’t want to exist. I want to live. I want reality. The real reality. And the bitch of it is, the fact that I see things for what they are is a huge source of my anxiety and depression. Cool how that works, huh?

paripatetic
This applies to my soul, my dreams, my desires, my all. Give me a peripatetic lifestyle and a soul-lover to share it with, and I’ll be content.
Số Mười: I’ve been in another depressive phase, basically since I wrote that post about having a major panic attack and spiraling downward. So I have zero faith in the current med cocktail I’m on. I’m not saying I’m averse to trying something else. But this shit is not working. Not kidding. I’m damn near back to where I was before I started this mental health journey. I wish I had the blinders on that so many others seem to. In the meantime, I’ll just keep trudging along. Treading water is surely better than drowning in it, yes? Most days that’s what I tell myself.
Disclaimer: I don’t have time to edit this right now. Forgive egregious errors. Meds kicked in, and I’m out. Also, the douchenozzle that is WordPress is fucking with my spacing between words and lines. Looks fine in my editor. Fucked to hell and back on the actual site. Fuck it. I’m out! Night my friends!

For a Good Cause

A great blogger friend, Cameron over at World’s Biggest Fridge Magnet, is undertaking a massive charity walk to raise money and awareness for HENRY (Health Exercise Nutrition for the Really Young). This charity hits home for me, because I was raised on terrible food and knew nothing of proper nutrition – and this still impacts me, to this day. If we can teach parents and children about proper nutrition and physical education, then we do much to improve their emotional well-being. For life.

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Cameron has started a GoFundMe page to help alleviate the expenses of such an undertaking so that he can focus more on actually raising awareness.

Please consider contributing, playing your own part in raising money and awareness for HENRY. Even a buck or two will make a difference. You can donate here. Taking care of our children is one of the most important things in this life. And they’re all our children. They learn from all of us, and they deserve the best shot at this life that we can give them.

Check out the links I included. And if you can’t help out, that’s fine too! Duh! But perhaps you can help spread the word on your blog or on Facebook. It’s for an awesome cause. And Cameron is one of the best guys around. Think about it, homies.

Recipe for a Panic Attack: Recognizing the Signs and Admitting My Role in Sinking Down (A Very Long Post)

I had a full-blown panic attack yesterday. I had been in a slow downward spiral for days and didn’t recognize the signs and symptoms. Some of them are typical; some of them are my own that I’ve identified in myself. There was a progression of “events,”, which culminated in purging my thoughts in yesterday’s post (thoughts which are honest and real and truly how I feel), then being slammed with an acute panic attack shortly thereafter. And I did not see it coming. But I should have.

Yes, there’s a lot of shit going on in my life right now. Some good. Some bad. Some great. Some awful. But it’s not all circumstantial. I am somewhat culpable in what happened with me yesterday.

I am writing about this today for three specific reasons:

  1. I need to hold myself accountable, but also remember to treat myself gently and kindly. And it feels really fucking good to be able to identify and recognize what’s wrong and how I got to this point.
  2. I hope that sharing this helps someone, or someone you know, to recognize the signs, to take the steps necessary to care for your physical and mental health, and to be kind to yourself.
  3. I want to thank you all for your support and love – because let’s face it, it’s a form of familial love when you gather around someone and (virtually) wrap your arms around that someone, and I fucking felt it. And I love you for it. I’ve been more positive lately, and I want to explain what (I think) happened to me yesterday.

Here goes.

Circumstantial “Triggers” (i.e. Personal Shit)

I’m gonna tackle this part bullet point style, because some of it you already know and the rest I’m not prepared to talk (in depth) about yet.

  • I am being bullied at work. My character, my work ethic, everything. Full on assault. My supervisor is aware of it. And he knows that the problem is Queen Bitch. He refuses to do anything about it and, in fact, is about to move me to another area instead of addressing the problem with her. This means I will be away from the other coworkers whom I’ve grown quite close to. And they will still have to deal with her, because the super doesn’t want to set her off by moving her for what would be the fourth or fifth time.
  • I have problems that I can’t afford to deal with right now. Arthritis, connective tissue disease (unspecified), fibromyalgia, periodontitis, chronic headaches and migraines. And that’s not to mention the mental health issues I have, which you already know about. I do not spend frivolously (aside from a book here or there or a smoothie, but it’s not egregious). I am responsible and (mostly) frugal. I’ve worn the same clothes for years, and my car is sixteen years old and in need of repairs. I am not complaining about this. I am thankful that I have clothes. I am thankful that I have personal transportation. I am thankful that I am able to be employed and am. However, I make just enough to keep my bills paid (let’s not talk about student loans) and have just enough cushion to buy a book or smoothie now and then. If I were to lose my job today, I could make it two months. I have enough to do that. That’s both wonderful and terrible at the same time. I am 35 years old. I am educated. I am smart. I am competent and capable. And I am fed up with doing the same job that the two men in my department do, and they both make over ten grand more than I do. (Whew. My bad. I did not intend for this bullet to turn into a rant. Ahem.)
  • I am planning a big move this year, on a shoestring budget. I realize some of you don’t agree with this choice. And I get it. But, as previously mentioned, I am 35 years old. And you know what? I’m sick of living someone else’s life. I’m sick of riding in the backseat. I’m sick of following everyone’s rules, rules, rules. There is no tomorrow. There is today. And I need to finally fucking seize the day. I’ve wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest all my life. I do not want to die before I’ve lived the life I want to live. But it’s a costly choice. (Anything worth having is worth fighting for, yeah?) I will have to keep my stuff in storage indefinitely. But with the help of a good blogger friend, I’ve discovered that you can find tiny little apartments outside of Seattle proper, for just a little more than what I’m currently paying as a mortgage. So now it’s getting there that is a bit tricky on my budget.
  • I am trying to prepare my house to sell and then sell it. It’s in need of repairs, but I’m close. Closer than I was, at least.
  • I’m dealing with a personal issue that has been festering for going on five years now. And it’s all coming to a head. Finally. Finally. But it’s intensely stressful.
  • I’ve begun my job hunt in Seattle, and that’s always stressful. Part of the stress here is that I know what the most responsible and safest bet is, but it’s not what I want. I want to finally do something with writing or copy-editing. If I’m not going out to save the world, at least I can do something I actually enjoy doing. We live at least half our lives at work. And that can ruin half of your life if you fucking hate your job.
  • Emotional Upheaval. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. For now.

That’s enough personal bullshit. Most of it you already know. But now I’m spilling it again for the purpose of putting my current mindset into perspective and how that, coupled with other factors, resulted in a major panic attack.

Musical Indications

Over the last few weeks, my choices in music have gotten progressively darker and angrier. Now. Here’s the thing. I have an “angry” playlist, but I typically only listen to it when I’m already angry. But sometimes…sometimes it’s a major sign that I’m heading down into deep depression. A steady stream of angry music is dangerous for me. It always has been. It almost always starts out as anger with me. I didn’t recognize it. I wasn’t alert to it. I’ve been feeling so good lately that I simply didn’t see it coming.

It started out fairly tame. I listen to a lot of 90s music, and man was 90s rock depressing. But I listen to a lot of it and am usually okay. I get into it. I jam out. I get “in my feels” (I hate that phrase.). And I’m cool. I’m good.

It started out with some Pearl Jam. “Black.” (My favorite for deeply personal reasons which would be fairly obvious if you pay attention to lyrics.) “Daughter.” (Which makes me absolutely livid, again for obvious reasons.) “Alive.” (Which makes me angrily happy that I’ve made it through what I’ve been through. Because Fuck You for stomping me into the ground and trying to keep me there.)

It then progressed to Evanescence and Linkin Park. The angry ones. I listened to them for days and days. Repeatedly. At work. At home.

That progressed to Eminem. Oh I listened to Eminem even longer than the others. I was getting angrier and angrier. More and more Fuck. You. Fuck. You.

Which then led to days of things like Rob Zombie and Godsmack. Especially Godsmack. A Whole Fucking Bunch of Godsmack. Particularly:

Yeah. I listened to those four in particular Over and Over and Over again. Then I listened to them some more. Over and Over and Over. At work. At home. And Over again. (Also watched the vids because Sully Erna.) This obviously had a negative impact on me. As I’ve said, I listen to angry music now and then. But not for lengthy periods of time. I have fully immersed myself in anger and rage over the last few weeks. Bad. Fucking. News. I was fucking asking for it. And I was also seething beneath the surface and didn’t realize it. And this shit. This shit was gasoline on an ember. How did I not see what was happening?

As you know from yesterday, this anger (as it usually does with me) suddenly shifted to darkness. Depression. Hopelessness. Alice in Chains.

And the final nail in the coffin? My own doing of my own undoing?

I Broke the Cardinal Rule of Psychiatric Medicine

Yep. I’m prepared for this confession to tick some people off. I was read the riot act over this confession yesterday and rightfully so.

I know the rules about not stopping your meds. Never ever ever stop your meds and especially not “cold turkey” as it were. I’ve been through this with arthritis meds. There were some that were doing more harm than good and some that I simply couldn’t afford. So I very slowly and carefully weaned myself off of them. Like a smart, conscientious girl would do.

I also know it’s dangerous to stop meds cold turkey. Long-term physical or psychiatric meds that your body comes to rely upon on a chemical level. I’m wise to the fact that doing so could cause any number of physical withdrawal symptoms, suicidal ideation, self-harm, you name it.

And do you know what I did? I semi-stopped one of my meds. Straight up. No weaning. No consulting my doctor. Just stopped.

It wasn’t why you think. It wasn’t one of those situations where the person starts to feel better and then thinks, “I don’t need to take this shit anymore. I feel better.” As though you’ve taken an antibiotic and your infection is gone for good now. That’s not why I did it.

Why I Did ItEvery. Single. Day. Since I started taking this cocktail of psychiatric meds, I’ve been fucking tired. I mean wiped out. No. You don’t understand. That’s not good enough to explain it. When I’m at work, I feel as though at any moment my head is going to slam onto my desk and I’m going to pass right the fuck out. I’ve nodded off in traffic, y’all. That does not happen to me. That could kill me AND you. I’ll be in mid-conversation with the geek squad and totally zone out. I can’t focus on my work. I can’t focus on you. I can’t read. My vision blurs. And all I want to do is sleep. Only I can’t. And even when I do, the feeling never goes away.

So a few days ago, I was picking up a scrip and the pharmacist wanted to ask some questions of me. Since I’d been on the meds for a while, he asked if he could do a little assessment. He asked me how I’d been feeling, whether I thought they were working. I was at the drive-thru so I could barely hear him (yes, a drive-thru pharmacy). At first, I said, “Fine! Everything’s fine.” But I heard myself and shook my head.

I have sleep disturbances. I wake up in the night.

“Okay. You’re taking the Lexapro at night, aren’t you? Stop it. Take it in the morning.”

Done. The disturbances have mostly stopped.

“Anything else?”

I can’t go to the bathroom.

“Hmm. Nothing should be causing that. Anything else?”

Yeah. No resolution on that TMI issue.

I’m tired all the time.

“How tired?”

It’s difficult for me to be awake talking to you right now. I perpetually feel like I haven’t slept in days and will pass out at any given moment.

“That’s not right. That has to be one of the meds.”

So I start asking him: Clonidine? No, not if you’re taking it at night. Klonopin? Not to the extent you’re describing. And not at the dose you’re on. Lamictal? Not if you’re taking it at night. At this point I’m getting frustrated. He should be telling me instead of me asking one at a time. Vistaril? How are you taking it? Two capsules, three times daily. (His eyes bug out of his head at this.) THAT is the problem. THAT is why you’re feeling this way. Sweet! So I’ll just stop taking it. I’ve never thought that one was helping anyway, because I’m still quite anxious. Do. Not. Stop. Taking it! However, it would be safe to go to one pill in the morning, one at lunch, and two at night. Then talk with your doctor. Okay! Thank you!

I didn’t mention the sexual issues I’m having. Mostly because too shy. But also because I’m not in a physical relationship with anyone but myself at the moment, so it’s not an urgent matter.

So what do I do? Fuck Vistaril. Fuck it. I started skipping both the morning and lunchtime doses altogether, then taking my two at night. I didn’t consider it as being like the others – Lexapro and Lamictal. This went on for days, and I thought nothing of it. I just changed my dosage and thought nothing else of it.

All of these factors combined and merged into one viscous, throbbing mass of creeping doom.

The Result (Payback is a Bitch)

  • I started feeling a general sadness.
  • I started feeling lazier.
  • Anger became a more dominant emotion than usual.
  • I became frustrated.
  • I became restless.
  • My legs started bouncing again.
  • My speech got faster.
  • I started doing more nervous twitching and hand wringing again.
  • I started dwelling on emotional pain: what a bitch my mother is for abandoning me, what a sick fuck my father is for abusing me, what unloving assholes my siblings are for shunning me because I cannot forgive my abusive father, what a self-righteous prick Queen Bitch is, how emotionally cruel my ex could be, how hurtful it was when The Aussie threw me away, how sad I am that I’m not where I want to be right now. I hadn’t dwelt in several weeks. And still. Still I wasn’t alarmed. Still I didn’t see it.
  • And then the Big Bad Scary: Suicidal Ideation reared its ugly head for the first time in quite a while since I began medication therapy. Now. NOW I was scared. But I blamed it on the meds. They’ve suddenly stopped working for some reason, I told myself. It’s NOT the meds helping you afterall, if you feel this way. God, I really wish I would die in my sleep. Yeah. Now I was scared. But I didn’t understand it.

Yesterday I woke up in a strange mood. I felt simultaneously hyper and subdued. Weird, right? That’s totally contradictory, but it’s the only way I know how to describe it. I felt emotionally subdued and as though I really didn’t want to be around anyone or talk to anyone or leave the house or bother with anything at all. But I felt physically hyper. My legs would not stop bouncing. My speech alternated between rapid and sluggish. My heart was racing. I couldn’t sit still. All the while…subdued. I had zero appetite, and my appetite has been low for days. But now, even the thought of food kind of made me strangely mad. And I was listening to Layne Staley sing some of the most depressing music there is, but I was in no state to handle it or appreciate it for its haunting beauty. My mind, my thoughts, turned into severe emotional turmoil. And I needed to get it out. I needed to purge.

Afterward? The Panic Attack that I didn’t realize was already brewing hit me. Hard. Forcefully. Punishingly. Terrifyingly.

The Panic Attack

It had already begun, and I didn’t even know it. I had no awareness of what was happening except that I felt like shit and wanted to go home. This is hard. This has all been hard to get out. But I’m going to keep going, no matter how ashamed I feel – because I know that I Should NOT feel ashamed. And maybe this will help someone to identify their own signs and symptoms, or those of someone they love. And it’s good for me. It reinforces these things for me. So. Here’s what my panic attack looked like.

  1. Heightened frustration.
  2. Serious stomach distress.
  3. Heart racing.
  4. Restless.
  5. Bouncing my legs.
  6. Rocking back and forth in my chair.
  7. Eyes darting to and fro, nervously, anxiously.
  8. Breathing rapidly, suffocatingly.
  9. Hot. Had to shed layers hot, despite it being cold in here.
  10. A strange out of body feeling, as though I was watching this happen but was helpless to stop it. As though I was detached and other from myself.
  11. Mind racing, racing, racing, making less and less sense, getting more and more frantic, growing more and more irrational.
  12. Feeling crazy, insane, like I was seriously going out of my fucking mind.
  13. Feeling like this was never going to end. Ever. And this state would now be permanent.
  14. Gritting my teeth, rocking, rocking, leaning forward and holding my head in my hands.
  15. Squeezing my head.
  16. Shaking. Violently shaking.
  17. Pulling my hair.
  18. Wanting to hit myself. But I was in the room with others. They couldn’t see me, but it’s the only reason I wasn’t screaming in rage.
  19. And finally I had to run to the bathroom to throw up.

panic'

At some point in the midst of all of this, I thought about the Vistaril and had a brief question in my mind. Is that why this is happening?

And no, I don’t think that’s all that was wrong. I know it wasn’t. Because I’d already had that anger and rage building, building, building. But I do believe that I made a mistake in doing what I did with the medication. I do believe it was a factor in what happened to me yesterday. And I do regret not listening to the pharmacist.

When it was over, I felt exhausted and spent. I took my Vistaril (I had it with me). Talked with a WordPress friend about what was going on (actually during the panic attack, too) – and I’m more grateful than you know.

This morning I took my single Vistaril. And now I’m about to take my lunchtime one. And I’m tired. I’m tired as fuck. I could go to sleep on my desk. Right. Fucking. Now. But I’m going to take it. And when I meet Dr. Feelgood for my next appointment, I’m going to request we try something different for anxiety. Because this is not working for me.

Lessons Learned

  • Be more aware of your behaviors and reactions.
  • Pay attention to your patterns and routines. When you break them, reach out. If it’s fixable, fix it. If you haven’t changed anything, fucking reach out. For me, I could have told people here. People who may have recognized that I was spiraling out of emotional control.
  • Do. Not. DO NOT significantly alter your meds without consulting your doctor or pharmacist. And fucking LISTEN to what they tell you. HEED it.
  • Do not settle for meds that make you feel poorly. Be your own advocate and be ballsier. Ask for better meds. Do it. FUCKING DO IT. Your life may literally depend upon it.

In the aftermath, I still feel subdued. I’m still shaky and bouncy. My appetite is good. I just had a full lunch. I don’t think I ate at all yesterday, which isn’t normal for me. I’m tired as fuck. I’m still down.

But it is better than yesterday. By a long shot. Maybe I am sliding down into a depressive state. And if I am, that’s okay. It’s part of who I am. How I am. But I must take better care of myself and pay better attention to my mind, body and spirit.

And never ever forget to breathe.

And please, if you’re suffering, reach out. If you think you have no one to reach out to, reach out to me. We’re all in this thing called life together.

So I thank you. I thank you for being here for me. For encouraging me. For commiserating with me. For telling me to chin up. For telling me to stop fucking listening to that bullshit while I’m in the throes of a depressive cycle. For telling me you get it. For telling me you’ve been there. For simply being here. I thank you.

Stephanie Evades Ninjas and Converts to Buddhism within a Half Hour in a Time Travel Capsule

So I forgot to tell y’all about my MRI. (Y’all can thank my dear friend Magarisa for staying on me – not like that ya pervs – to post! Go have a visit. Poke around – still being pervs, I see – do it. Or I’ll cut you.) What on earth can I possibly say that’s even remotely interesting about an MRI? And did y’all even see that title? I mean seriously. What in the name of Cookie Monster does any of that have to do with an MRI? I know; I know. Thou shalt not take the name of thy Cookie Monster in vain, but damnit times are tough and I was desperate. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the years, it’s that one must occasionally utter cookiefanities in order to get one’s point across with the proper amount of vehemence. (Feel free to use that little truth nugget. Go on. Write it down. I’ll wait. Well fuck you, too, then!) (Don’t worry. I don’t know what the fuck I’m on about, either.)

Pope Cookius the Fourthus
Pope Cookius Monstericus the Fourthus. His first declaration was: C is for Cookie. His second was: Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.

Without further ado, let us commence with solving the title/content conundrum.

Commencing to Solve the Title/Content Conundrum

The Players: One Stephanie, complete with all body parts, at least according to last year’s inventory. One attractive middle-aged Rad-Tech, with a warm smile and an ice cold handshake. One MRI machine.

The Place: Are you paying afuckingtention at all, people? I mean, seriously. Why do I even bother? Let me reiterate: an MRI machine in a deep freeze frigid ass room. Seriously, I think they teleported me to Antarctica. In a lake. That was covered in ice. Without a jacket. Because everyone knows that jackets keep the chill out when one is submersed in frozen Antarctic lakes. Duh. Where the hell did y’all go to school? I learned that shit from my esteemed instructor, Señor Cracker Jack Box.

The Setup: Stephanie’s jacked up left foot has been hurting since Jufuckingly. And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Stephanie together again. So a lowly peasant woman (a lovely Nurse Practitioner) referred her for an MRI while one of the kings was out playing croquet or shagging his lawyer’s wife or having his pool boy give him a pleasure enema or some shit. Fucking sicko. (Apologies if you get off on enemas.) (Sicko.)

Having an MRI: A Duet That Always Goes South when Someone (ahem MRI) Exposes a Nipple at Halftime

Step 1: Get naked. Really? Y’all believe that? What the fuck is the matter with you? If you got naked at your last MRI, you totally got hospital herpes (aka hospes) and got knocked up by the dude who cleans up the vomit and diarrhea that splatters on the floors in the rooms of the less healthy patients. Yeah. Naked. You hodonkey cockgobbler. Will the real Step 1 please stand up?

Step 1: Get naked. Dudes, what is wrong with y’all tonight? The real step one involves a buttload of paperwork, a hospital wristband (seriously?) and meeting your entire fucking deductible and maxing out your HSA on the seventh damn day of the year.

Step 2: Wait for the rad-tech to show up. Rather impatiently, I might add. Gotta get to work, people! Time is money! Life is short! Why oh why the fuck can’t I be in the forest around Cape Flattery? Le sigh. Oh here he is now!

Step 3: A little more paperwork, and a slight bit of eyeing the forty-something cutie.

Step 4: Doff the hoodie, hang it in a locker. Shoes in the locker. Earrings in the locker. Wallet, phone, keys in the locker. He kindly informed me I wouldn’t need to don a gown and wouldn’t even have to remove my bra. Thanks, doc. Here I was hoping to lose my virginity at prom. Thanks for stringing a girl along. He also said my fillings wouldn’t be a problem. I assured him of my relief, seeing as I’d left my pliers at home. Silly me.

Step 5: Go into the doom MRI room, receive instructions, lie down and have the rad-tech position my legs (very funny, guys) and my pillow (oh yeah, this is getting good now).

Step 6: Squish the proffered earplugs in. (Wait, what? Earplugs? Kinky.)

Step 7: Rad-tech slides in (me, that is, into the machine). I go in all the way to the hip and that’s it. Then he leaves the room, and I get superduper still, as instructed. Stephanie’s totally at ease. “I’ve got this,” she thinks, mentally thrusting her fist in the air.

Step 8: Stephanie embarks upon a slow descent into madness. Let’s peek into her thoughts, shall we? Shhhh, we’ll simply be quiet observers. Leave nothing disturbed (it’s already quite disturbed, as we shall see). Listen and be edified.

I’m cold.
Seriously, I’m really fucking cold.
Stay still, dumbass. You don’t wanna be here all day.
OhmyFUCK how about a blanket, fuckwad? I read about MRIs online, and I’m supposed to get a motherfucking blanket! WHERE’S MY MOTHERFUCKING BLANKET.

Fuck.
Are my nipples hard?
My nipples are hard.
That’s about fucking right.
My bra covers that up, right?
He can totally see my nipples.
That’s it. I will never leave the house again.

What the hell was that?
Did that ceiling tile just move?
Oh my god, that ceiling tile just moved!
What if that’s a secret ninja hatch?
What if they’re here to kill me?
What if they’re here to recruit me?
Ohfuckyes, that’s it! I’ll be the world’s first Fat Ninja!

I’ll sneak up on people, kill them with my ninja stars….then eat them.
Hannibal Ninja! Ninjabal Lecter!
I bet they’re here to kill me.

SON. OF. A. BITCH.
My fucking leg just moved.
You traitorous motherfucker. Just wait’ll we get out of here.Just. You. Wait.
Oh my fuck, my foot just moved!
It’s the drugs. The psychiatrist conspired with the MRI people to make you pay more to take more images because YOU WON’T STOP FUCKING TWITCHING YOU STUPIDHEAD!

I’m really, really, really fucking cold.
I can’t feel my legs anymore.
I’m shivering and I’m gonna fuck up this test!
What would Buddha do?
I know. I’ve got it. (Stephanie begins chanting in her head.)
There is no cold. There is no cold. There is no cold. There is no cold.
You’re on a warm beach. Feel the warm sand and the cool breeze.
No! What the fuck is the matter with you? WARM breeze! WARM!
You’ve ruined everything.
There is no cold. There is no cold. There is no cold. There is no cold.
Fuck it. If this isn’t over soon, all that’s left will be a Stephsicle.

You know what would be really awesome?
If this were a time capsule!
Where would I go, though?
Back in time to kill George Lucas before he can fuck up Star Wars, like Patton Oswalt said?
Maybe just to find out the winning lottery numbers, like everyone else says!
No, I totally wanna have a drink with Winston Churchill. We’d be homies!
Or maybe! Maybe! Back to July and not step off that fucking ledge all recklessly like you did!
I just wanna go back 5 fucking minutes and ask for a motherfucking blanket.

You’re being crazy.
Seriously.
You’ve got to stop this nonsense, or you really will fuck the test up.
And stop thinking about fucking the test up!
Thinking about it will make you fuck it up!
Don’t you know anything?

Wait, I really can’t feel my legs.
Except when they twitch.Oh no. I know what’s happened.
This can only mean one thing.
I’m not in an MRI machine. No, it was never an MRI. It was all a ruse.
It’s…it’s….it’s!
A Sarlacc! And it’s eating me! Legs first!
And I’m strapped in and can’t get out!
Why hasn’t the rad-tech spoken lately?
Oh my fuck, I know what’s happened!
He owes a blood debt to the Sarlacc, and to save himself and his starving children….
He feeds the beast the blood of the innocent!

Sarlacc
omnomnom

Step 9: The rad-tech enters the room, helps Stephanie up and out of the machine and waits for Stephanie to remove her squishy earplugs.

Step 10: Rad-tech tells Stephanie she did such a wonderful job staying still. Rad-tech asks Stephanie how it was for her (snicker). Stephanie replies:

Oh that? I could hardly tell time was passing, I was so relaxed. I can’t believe it’s over already!

Stephanie thinks in her head:

You are fucking insane. Seriously. Certifiable. And if anyone ever tells you to have an MRI again, cut them. Into tiny little pieces and feed them to the Sarlacc. Because fuck this shit! P.S. He totally knows you’re lying. He saw your nipples, too. Whore.

 ~

And that, my darlings, is how not to take an MRI. Or do, because I have to admit…those crazy fantasies were kinda fun (when my heart wasn’t racing because I was alarming myself).

~

Oh yeah. P.S. The MRI showed that my foot is broken in two places. Since July and never healed. No joke, five doctors, eight visits, and two sets of x-rays…and no one could figure out why I’m still hurting. Frankly, none but one podiatrist and my rheumatologist’s Nurse Practitioner believed me. It’s thanks to her I got the MRI and am now be-booted. I thunk around like a bad TV version of Frankenstein’s monster. But at least I finally know what’s wrong and can start to heal…so I can go hiking again. Booyah!