World Mental Health Day

(Just got done writing this one. Heh… sorry, it turned out way longer than I anticipated, but here we go…)

Any time you get on Twitter and scroll through your feed, you see any number of people posting something because it’s a “National (whatever) Day” of some sort. Usually it’s not… but it gives folks a good excuse to post cute pictures of their cat, dog, kid, or whatever – but after seeing several posts and doing a quick google, it turns out today really is World Mental Health Day.

It’s meant to raise awareness, show support for folks getting or needing mental health care, and to also reduce the stigma that’s sometimes involved. Often involved, actually. πŸ˜’ For example, a while back at one of my primary care doctor appointments I was discussing some of the things in my life that were causing me anxiety. My disability, pain, the (then) newly discovered cancer, Mom being sick and now having passed, other close friends dying from cancer, dealing with workers comp, etc… 😟 like I told her – stuff that would probably cause anyone to feel stressed. I was just telling her so she’d have the full story, but she said she could refer me to a counselor if I wanted to talk to someone about it. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Seemed like a good idea to me. Sometimes just being able to let out your stress or anxiety to someone that’s not involved in your life in any way… it can just take a little bit of the weight off. I saw her like once a month for a few months, and she said she could refer me to their in-house doctor to see if there was any medication that might be able to help. I wasn’t really interested, since I was feeling an appropriate amount of “bleh” in regards to the stuff that was causing it… but I went ahead and took her suggestion.

I now see that doctor about once every six or eight weeks, and I’ve actually got an appointment with him tomorrow where I’ll need to make a decision. πŸ€” Because, despite this feeling like a normal series of doctor visits – just as if I was dealing with a physical health condition – the fact that this doctor gives me medication to help with my anxiety is now being used against me. 😠 And being used against me by the last person that I would expect to further the stigma surrounding mental health care… another doctor. ☹️

And when I say “mental health care” … I don’t even take any type of super serious medication, and I haven’t been diagnosed with any extreme disorders. Until this hiccup happened, I looked at this doctor and my treatment there as “Yeah, I guess it makes me feel a little better maybe… or at least I know it’s not making me feel worse… so I guess I’ll continue going.” Like, in my mind, it was barely a thing, but I continued going since it was now part of my current medical routine.

But when I had to go to the independent medical evaluation for the workers comp system (a week or so before getting that second radioactive iodine dose and scan for my cancer followup) one of the things discussed with that doctor was what medical treatment I was currently getting, and from who. (Regardless if it was related to my WC injury or not, to get a complete picture…) So of course I talked about the cancer doctor and treatment, my WC doctor and treatment, and then my PCP doctor and referral regarding the mental health care.

Now, these exams, they’re initiated by my former employer’s insurer, so of course they’re rarely going to be helpful to my cause. So I expected him to say certain things, but I never expected that being treated by a doctor for occasional anxiety would essentially be “weaponized” and used against me the way that it is. 😟😞 Because this doctor took the names of the two meds I’m prescribed, and picked some of the absolute worst possible reasons that I may be taking them. You know how almost every medication has one “thing” it is known for treating, but then it can also be used for treating a half dozen or more other things?

You could even do this test on yourself. Just grab whatever meds you take, get on WebMD, pick out the most extreme, “worst case scenario” possible uses for each medication, and see how close that sounds – compared to what you’re actually taking them for. 🧐 That’s what this doctor did to me. Taking what is run-of-the-mill, minor anxiety treatment to me, and twisting it into all sorts of implied, speculative, “concerning” mental conditions that could be so severe that they even affect how I interpret / talk about my pain and disability. πŸ˜§πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜  Reading those things in his report was honestly shocking. πŸ₯Ί

The funny thing is, for most people… just the pain that I deal with each day, and the sheer amount of things that I can no longer do due to the disability in my left shoulder and arm… just those things alone are enough reason that a person might want to include anxiety treatment in their normal medical routine. And I was doing it mostly because another doctor suggested it, and it sounded like a “might as well” thing, rather than me desperately needingΒ it or seeking it out. And now it has bitten me in the ass. πŸ™„πŸ˜’

Well, maybe it has bitten me in the ass. (Maybe the commission will see right through it, as they should.) I won’t know how his report will affect my worker comp case until the hearing is scheduled and all of the doctors’ information (from both sides) is reviewed. But now I’m stuck, wondering if tomorrow I should let this doctor know that I no longer need his services. πŸ˜ŸπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ He probably helps me a little bit, but it’s certainly something that I could do away with if it’s going to damage the treatment that I get for my work injury. It’s obviously more important (and logical) for me to want to keep the treatment that keeps my pain to a minimum, which also helps keep my stress and anxiety to a minimum.

Yeah, so anyway, it’s a bit of a clusterfuck… and, unfortunately, anyone that reads my story here… anyone that may have been considering seeing a counselor or psychiatrist for the first time… they’ve now got something to add to their mental “nope” list when it comes to the pros and cons of seeking any type of mental health treatment. πŸ˜’ I don’t take it personally, what the “independent” doctor wrote. I understand that his job is to come up with all of the “worst case scenario” stuff that he can, since my doctors will obviously be talking positively about all of the ways that my current treatment is as effective as the WC situation will allow.

I guess I look at those types of doctors the same way that you might look at public attorneys who are appointed to defend obvious criminals in court. They still have to give that defense their maximum effort, even if it goes against what many people would consider to be “right.” That doctor has chosen that job for reasons only he would know… so I can only hope that sometimes he stops to think about the effect that his actions have on us folks who rely on our WC treatment to keep our pain and lives at least tolerable. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜Ÿ

Happy World Mental Health Day 2019. πŸ˜’πŸŽ‰

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Bedtime Ramble

Not sure what was trying to get me, but those two days of cool and rainy weather that I was looking forward to… I ended up feeling like crapΒ on those days. 🀒 I did dump that bag of dirt and grass seed the prior day and did up all my dishes that same night, and it did take a little more “oomph” out of me than I expected – but I think it’s because I was already getting sick,Β and not because of the little bit of work that I did. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Regardless, it kinda sucked… but at least the rain was taking care of watering the grass seed, ‘cuz I ain’t gonna. 🀨 Once it’s out there after its initial watering… you’re on your own, blue grass seed… if you’re counting on me to coddle you with things like water, think again. 😏

But, as you may or may not be able to tell, I feltΒ pretty close to back to my normal today. Felt good enough to go have a nice visit with Dad, and when I got back home I found that the lawn guys had come and gone and also didn’t mess with the new dirt and seed. 😌 (Even though they’re probably chuckling that I think the seed will actually grow into grass in the middle of October.) I’m glad I wasn’t here though. I still feel a little weird when someone else is doing the manual labor that I can’t do anymore, while I’m sitting inside like a potato.

But yeah, I’m just glad that I woke up today feeling decent since I had plans today that I didn’t wanna cancel, plans for tomorrow that are somewhat unavoidable, and then doctor appointments on Friday. πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I guess I shouldn’t count on my tomorrow and Friday though until they get here… probably gonna jinx myself. 😯

This is county fair week too, and right now I’m only half-convinced that I even wanna go. By Saturday I’ll have had “three days of stuff” in a row, and sometimes after that much “stuff” my energy / neck / shoulder aren’t as cooperative as I’d like. πŸ˜’ So it’s hard to definitely plan on a Saturday fair visit, especially considering that I’d like to avoid the sea of “weekend” humans that would also be turning up.

I actually haven’t checked to see if Jim is coming to town, but if I’m going by myself it would probably be to either take some pictures or to use the 360 video camera to get some footage to upload and share. πŸ€“πŸ“· Both of those things are just better, in my opinion, when there’s less people around. Even among a fair crowd, walking around with a tiny 360 camera on a fully extended selfie-stick still isn’t veryΒ inconspicuous. And people staring slack-jawed and confused at the camera doesn’t make for great video.

And while it’s incredibly unlikely, there’s still a tiny corner of my brain that would love to shoot an early evening time-lapse / light trail type video of the entire fairgrounds from Mt Pleasant. 😌 Ugh… I really wanna do that. 😟 Anybody wanna piggy-back me up the hill? But then I wouldn’t get to walk around and see all the critters, play a few games, and eat something good-yet-disgusting that will have even odds of making me sick. πŸ˜… I think I’ll just see how the rest of the week goes, andΒ figure it out then.

It reminds me the of the irony of my favorite game there though. For as long as I’ve been going, the game where you try to ring the little canes has always been my favorite. Not for the shitty, weird colored cheap canes though… but for the “upper level” canes, which are actually “real” canes where you hook the curved part to win one. 🀨 Nearly every year that I’ve gone, I’ve been able to come home with one of those canes. The irony part… back in the day, the cane would either go into my closet (to be forgotten) or I’d give it to Grandma B, Aunt Carol, or someone else who could actually make use of it. πŸ™‚ But now that I’m older and more broken, if / when I win a cane, it’s more like “Ahh, good, I can leave this one in the car for emergencies.” or “Kewl, now I can have one under the bed in case I wake up and my sciatic nerve is acting up.” 😏

And, you know… (I absolutely don’t feel this way, but I can see where some politically correct folks might) the idea of handing out mobility aids, traditionally meant for temporarily or permanently disabled people, might actually offend one or two people in the state if they thought too hard about it. 😐 It’s like “Throw three darts and break three yellow balloons and you win a skateboard… but if you throw three darts and break three of the tiny red balloons and you win an actual wheelchair!” πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ¦½πŸ˜•πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Again, I don’t feel that way… but I’m tempted to google now to see if anyone’s ever complained about this anywhere.

Okay, time for bed… early day tomorrow, and I wanna make sure I stay good with my sleep. I need all the encouragement that I can get, to make sure I’ll get through all of this stuff over the next several days. 🀞🏻

MS Flight Simulator 2020

When I was in my late teens, one of the first things that got me interested in PC gaming (after “growing up Commodore” with a VIC-20, C64, and various Amiga computers) were the advertisements I’d see in the PC magazines for various flight simulators. Because on those pages, the screenshots from some of those flight sims made them look potentially amazing. But of course in the early 1990s, no matter how good of a computer you had, there weren’t really any flight sims that looked or performed as you’d really want.

I’m not gonna ramble much… yet… so I’ll just let this guy’s video speak for itself. Almost 30 years later, and it looks like there’s finally a flight simulator coming out that will not only amaze folks like me – but which also even impresses the actual airline pilots who do this shit for a living. This is just one of many videos posted by the select few that were invited to Microsoft’s preview event a couple of weeks ago.

If there ends up being an XBOX One version, even though it would likely be watered-down, it might actually give me a reason to turn it on and start playing games again. It’s crazy how long it’s been since I’ve really cared about console gaming, even with some decent titles sitting here waiting for me. With all the other stuff going on over the past couple of years, it’s just kinda slipped away from me… but this thing looks gorgeous.

What Was Their Secret?

Other than being a little frustrated while trying to fix the dirt spots in my yard today, it’s honestly been a decent day. I’m getting a little bit better at having those moments of “grr” and then letting them go… for the most part, anyway. But I can’t help but think about my grandparents – Grandpa S and Grandpa B in particular – and remember how even when they probably had plenty of things they could have been grumpy about, and maybe even were, they still never seemed to carry their frustration or aggravation with them for long.

With Grandpa B, it was more when he was working in his workshop, or tending to the grass, bushes, and flowers outside… 😏 which is kind of ironic, considering the latter of those things is what causes my frustration. But those were “his things” and when he was doing them, you’d have no idea if anything was bothering him. 😌 He’d just let himself get lost in whatever project he happened to be working on.

And Grandpa S, much like Grandpa B, was a man of few words… so even if he was in a bad mood or had something negative on his mind, you’d never know it. I can still “see” those memories in my head, when we’d have family reunions out at their house when I was much younger… and Grandpa S would quietly sit there enjoying the company, making an occasional joke or comment here and there, with a slight smile or ornery grin on his face. πŸ™‚ And even when we would see him on just a “normal” visit, it was like he had an invisible shield that was keeping all the “bleh” away from him.

I’m not completely naive… I know that there was plenty of stuff that both of those grandparents could and did get irritated, annoyed, or bothered by… but that’s why I look at how they were and envy it. Maybe it’s a generational thing, where being a grump ass or expressing your “bleh” out loud just wasn’t a thing that you did. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But however it was that they did it… I want that.

I’ve got plenty of things to be frustrated by, annoyed with, pissed off about… and like I said, I’m actually getting better at letting it go… but I wanna keep working on allowing myself to have those feelings, because there are legit reasons behind it all and it’s not good to keep things bottled up, but then letting them go once the initial feelings are over and no good can come from continuing to dwell on them.

And I’ve mentioned it a couple of times recently, but I do think that the “always connected” nature of the world today makes it harder to escape any “bleh” feelings – because when you’re already bothered by whatever your own “thing” is, it’s so easy to get online and unintentionally drown in all sorts of unrelated negative news. Where just “keeping up to date with things / people” can end up feeding whatever crappy feeling you’ve already got if you’re not careful. πŸ˜• But yeah, I’m feeling better from earlier, the race is almost over, so it’s time to get off here and get on those couple of chores.

Meanwhile, I’m gonna treat this “project” as a very early New Year’s resolution. πŸ™‚Β Somethin’s gotta give, eh?

Why Am I Still Surprised? (@Me)

It looks like it is supposed to rain tomorrow and the next day, so even though I’m pretty sure this isn’t “grass planting season,” I went ahead and dumped that bag of soil around my light post out front, spread it out a bit, and covered / mixed it with new “drought resistant” blue-colored grass seed. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸŒΎ The light pole area took the whole bag of dirt, but I did have half a bag of seed left over to spread around the other areas that got weed-whacked down to solid dirt. πŸ€”πŸ˜’Β (And yes, the mailbox gravel is still in my trunk… heh… maybe tomorrow. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ )

It’s partially my fault, because I’ve always told the guys to do whatever they needed to do to clear the yard out and make the mowing easier for them, since there used to be a whole bunch of stuff planted in random places that still tries to pop up. But when a few trees, bushes, and poles end up with big dirt rings / divots around their base… I think it’s safe to say “Okay, I’m pretty sure you got the weeds, buddy.” πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈΒ But I know they’re just trying to earn their money, staying busy while the other guy mows, and the only spot that really bugs me is the light post – because I can’t avoid seeing it when I leave the house.

So even though the dirt is almost as hard as rock around those other areas, I went ahead and threw down the remaining seed and got everything good and soaked with water, with a handful of back-and-forth trips to the spigot with an old watering can I found in the garage. πŸ’¦πŸŒ±πŸŒ±Β Unfortunately that’s about the extent of the oomph I’ve got for right now. πŸ˜₯ (And why I’m taking a break to sit here and blog… heh) I hate it, but between my neck, shoulder, and now lack of a thyroid… I have to accept that there’s an even newer limit to what I can do, even when it comes to this minimal amount of shit. πŸ™„ It was supposed to be old age that slowly took away those abilities, not being broken and having pieces of meat removed. 😠 Meh…

But anyway, it’s done now… πŸ™‚ I’m optimistic about the light pole, and if the other areas can sprout up a little bit of green (whether it’s new grass or “other”) that’ll just be a bonus. Of course I’ll have to let them know to take it easy around those areas for a while, and hopefully they’ll just be like “Kewl. Less work.” and not feel like I’m bitching. (Even though I’m kinda bitching… heh) Laundry and dishes are still on the agenda for today, but only after I chill for a bit, let the Aleve kick in, and maybe catch some of the Xfinity race.

Wait, There’s A Purpose

Yeah, I know I said I likely wouldn’t be doing any more time-lapse videos of the clouds, considering they’re probably only interesting to me… but it was finally cool enough today that I thought I could put the fully charged iPad out back, capturing at one frame every three seconds, to see how long the battery would last. How long of a video I could make on one charge. πŸ€”

I rendered it out at 4K, 60fps… but then adding music to it in iMovie, I’m not sure if it saved it at those same settings or what YouTube will do to the video if it did. But it sat out back for a long time – until the sun started to come into view, causing it to overheat and stop taking shots. πŸ˜’ Once it cooled off, it showed the battery level still at 60% – so there’s a chance that I could shoot a dawn to dusk video once the days are much cooler. It might need my little power bank connected to it, but yeah… there’s a chance.

That’s not really a big deal with the view that’s currently featured, but if I happened to find a space that’s much more scenic – perhaps a place where I could actually stash my iPad and just leave it for the day… πŸ˜―πŸ˜„

I know I’ll probably never actually do that. Just let me do my tests and act like I might some day though.Β πŸ˜…

(Hey, I had to do something nerdy during my “nothing” day today. πŸ€“Β )

Thursday Mission

Woke up stupid early yesterday so I could help out a friend. She’s been in an ongoing custody “disagreement” with her former SO for quite a while now, where they’ve each been representing themselves in court due to how expensive an attorney can be. 😟 And without having a lawyer on her side, while things have been going in her favor, it’s just happening so slowly. With another hearing coming up in about a month and a half, she knew she had to start doing something differently, so I looked up a few places that claim to offer pro bono representation for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it.

She’s got an aversion to talking on the phone, just like me, but on Wednesday I encouraged her to start making some calls… and by that afternoon she had spoken with someone at SEOLSΒ who seemed open to the idea of taking her case, or at least hearing her out and looking at all of the information to figure out the best way for her to proceed. πŸ™‚ So that evening I printed out all of her case information to date, a ton of things meant to show that she’s the “more ideal” parent, and got it all sorted and organized in a way that would make it easy for an attorney to look through. πŸ€“πŸ“’

So then yesterday morning I picked her up to take her to the closest SEOLS office serving Fairfield County, which is unfortunately way down in Chillicothe. πŸ˜’ I left the house around 9:30a, and by time I got back home it was after 3p. That’s a long friggin’ time (for me) to be out and about, working on a stressful project… even though, obviously, she’s the one bearing the most amount of that stress. I just really want things to go well for her, and being familiar with the frustration of facing hearings with unknown outcomes, the empath in me kicked in and I couldn’t help but feel many of the things she was feeling. πŸ˜•

I didn’t go in with her when she actually met with the attorney, but she said things seemed to go well and that it felt more positive than negative. He made copies of all of the information that he needed and said that he wanted to talk to some folks who specialize more in custody cases on Monday… so while things sounds good, she’s still gotta wait a few more days before she’ll know for sure if they will provide someone to represent her. It was worth the trip regardless, because at the very least they’ll be able to hold her hand through what she should do next, even if they end up not being able to actually be with her on the day of her hearing. I’m gonna stay hopeful though, because having an attorney could make all the difference.

But I was wiped out by time I got home. πŸ˜₯ I’ve done very little “out of the house all day” stuff lately, and especially for something that’s as “high stakes” as this. And of course helping her with her legal stuff kept my legal stuff in the back of my mind… the upcoming WC stuff, that is… and starting off the day so early, with my shoulder already bugging me, all of the time in the car didn’t help. 😣 But it was a small sacrifice to help her with something that could end up being a game-changer in the long run, and I knew that I’d have all day today to recover if I needed to.

Well, my body didn’t wanna wait until today. 😏 Shortly after getting home I knew I wanted to take a short nap, but also not screw up my sleep schedule. But my nap lasted until the evening, and when I did wake up I went ahead and took my evening meds and thankfully ended up falling back to sleep – not waking again until a little after 6a today. πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒ So I’m just now starting to catch up from messages from all day yesterday, but I’m gonna wait a while to reply so I’m not waking people up as early as it is.

I’ve still got a friend or two that gets concerned if I don’t reply in an undefined amount of time. That’s thoughtful of them, but boy I wish that folks in general would consider that even the most nerdy of humans don’t necessarily get online every day, or multiple times a day… and that sometimes whatever is going on during a particular day might cause messages to be ignored until the next. πŸ˜•πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Yesterday’s situation was based on necessity, but I still do wanna try to take “days off” from the digital world every now and then… a luxury that younger people these days probably don’t really have. Imagine taking a teenager from today and transplanting them to 1985, during summer break from school, living out in the country, with only a landline telephone as means of keeping in touch with friends. πŸ˜…

Heh… another “old fart” thing to add to the growing library of “old fart things” in my head. πŸ™„πŸ‘΄πŸ»