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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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.

Cook Once, Eat Many

Didn’t really wanna make the mess from cooking it, but I’ve had a bag of chicken breast bits in the freezer for a while now – so I went ahead and threw them into a skillet with a few chopped up green peppers, and then boiled a box of rotini noodles to mix all together with some garlic sauce. I guess it wasn’t that much mess, and now I’ve got four extra bowls of the stuff in my fridge, so I won’t have to fuss around with cooking anything for a couple days. I already eat enough crap food, just because it’s easier to make (and clean up after), so it’s nice just to have something ready to go with a bunch of veggies and meat in it for a change.

Rinsed everything out, but the cooking itself took most of my shoulder oomph for the afternoon – so I’m gonna wait until tomorrow to actually do the dishes and put them away. Heh… this is another “pat myself on the back” post. And you know, I realize now where semantics is trying to screw me in my WC case. As I told a friend a little while ago, it makes me feel good to get something done throughout the day, rather than just sitting around. Of course what I’m saying is that it mentally makes me feel good, getting that small sense of accomplishing something despite the difficulty, not that it physically makes me feel better to cook and do dishes… heh… cuz lemme tell ya, it doesn’t.

I think I’ve still got some energy to do a few more things this evening… probably just taking all of the office and craft supplies out of the hallway closet and getting it all put away in Grandpa’s desk in a way that makes sense. I’ll probably end up using that stuff more as well, since it’ll be slightly more handy. Also debating putting up the new scanner antenna sometime before I go to sleep tonight. I hope I don’t jinx myself by saying this too early, but today hasn’t been bad. No unexpected calls or visitors, staying just busy enough without killin’ myself, and somehow maintaining a half-way decent mood. Okay… that’s it… carry on…

Cautious, Grumpy Progress

Yesterday and today haven’t been great, but I’m trying to not let it slow me down too much. Woke up yesterday with my neck being more crapped up than usual, which then evolved into a headache that lasted all day. πŸ€• Same deal with my neck again this morning, but thankfully no headache to go along with it so far. I was supposed to go see Bri sometime today, but I went ahead and pushed that off until tomorrow… just wanna give myself one more night of sleep with the chance of waking up feeling better.

I’m not even sure what’s causing it, but the only thing I can think to blame is that I switched ends on my bed. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I had it cornered against two of my bedroom walls in one direction for a few months, and a couple of days ago I scooted it so it was in the same corner but more against the other wall. 😐 It’s hard to explain, but basically what used to be the foot of my bed is now where my pillows and head are, so maybe that little change is just something that my neck needs to get used to. πŸ˜’ That part might be less compressed from time or whatever. Meh… I’ll probably sleep in the recliner tonight just to be safe. πŸ‘΄πŸ»πŸ’ΊπŸ˜

So, rather than visiting a friend while I’m in a frustrated, semi-grumpy mood, I figured I’d take the day here at the house to accomplish whatever light-duty type things that I get the motivation to tackle. So far today I’ve gotten the carpet vacuumed, the kitchen counters cleaned off, and finally 409’d the stove top. πŸ˜₯Β (That’s why I’m taking a break now… heh) I have to space things out and not push my luck, but lemme tell ya – with the rest of the kitchen relatively clean, that handful of dirty dishes in the sink will be smirking at me until I get them done up as well. Let’s put them on the “maybe” list for much later tonight. 😏

The NASCAR race is actually tonight instead of tomorrow, so that’s something to look forward to… oh, and for shits and giggles I put the 360 camera into time-lapse mode (2s intervals) and stuck it on the lamp post out front to see how long a full charge will last on that setting. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ€“ But tonight, I think during the commercials I’ll work on tidying up the bathroom. That’s one way I make myself do things when I don’t really want to… make the commercials mandatory “do something” time. πŸ˜’ The drawers and closet in there have needed attention for a while, so I’ll probably drag the trash can in there and at least get started on it.

At the end of the day, even though nobody would probably notice that I did anything… except, perhaps, the cleaning of my kitchen counters… I’ll still know that I accomplished (what counts as, to me) quite a bit. πŸ™‚ That’s about the only way I can handle this big ol’ house… little bits at a time, slowly getting room by room in better shape, and hopefully not cluttering it back up before I’ve finished whatever the next room is. πŸ™„πŸ˜ Meh… okay… I should quit rambling and get back to it. (Sorry, sometimes I have to stop and pat myself on the back like this to keep myself motivated… ‘cuz some of this shit isn’t easy for me.)

It Shouldn’t Be This Challenging

Today’s been kind of a flop. I didn’t have anything on the schedule really, but even after not getting much sleep – I still woke up with some motivation to work on one or two of my extra projects around the house. Also, between the lack of sleep and the shitty weather, I knew today wasn’t a car or glasses day either… so I’ve spent most of the day waiting for my upset stomach to go away so I could do a little of the work that I wanted to do without feeling like I was gonna yack. 🀒

It did make for a nice lazy day though, something that I sometimes struggle with allowing. Texted with Dad quite a bit, along with a few other friends, and then finally decided to go in the kitchen to chop up some green peppers to make some tuna salad for sammiches – to hopefully settle my belly, which it did. πŸ™‚ And to be honest, I was glad to just wake up today without my back being screwed up… something that it was showing signs of before I ended up falling asleep early this morning. 😯😬

So it wasn’t really that today was a flop… it was just unremarkable for the most part, so I wasn’t looking at it in the right way. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜ And now that I’m feeling better since this afternoon, I know it’ll help my mood to get some more of my “unessential” stuff done before whenever I fall asleep tonight. Normally my lack of productivity would have made me a little twitchy, but I think I’m still riding along on the thyroid med train – still seeming to get back a little more energy with each day that passes. πŸ€’πŸ€žπŸ» I wish I could explain how bad the bad days really were just a few weeks ago, to emphasize how these little improvements are still a big deal.

I think I might go ahead and pull out the 360 cam and charge it up, in case I feel up to shooting any video at the SCF here in a few days. If not that, I plan on taking a lot more regular pictures this year. It’s been a few years since I’ve bothered, especially since last year’s trip was kind of a shit show from the start. πŸ˜’ And with my mood being decent lately (for the most part anyway…) I’m hoping that it’ll also nudge me towards getting interested in my hobbies like video and photography again. 😟

Every now and then Jim will post one of goofy our old videos on Twitter and I’ll come across it, where we were just goofing off and having fun for random Squirtman themed videos, and it makes me realize how long it’s been since I could truly say that I was having fun at anything, or that I was in a good mood for more than a couple hours out of one day. 😞 I’ve gotta start trying to figure out how to get a little more of that back, despite all of the other non-fun stuff I’ll obviously have to be working on (or facing) as well. 🀨 It wasn’t that many years ago that I was a totally different person, and it’d be nice if I could find my way back toward that at least a little bit. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ If my body will just stay physically un-fucked for a while, I might have a shot at it.

Meh… just thinking out loud again I guess…

I Know It’s Weird, But…

I wish my day was ending on a better note. 😞 As you can tell from my couple of previous posts, I was trying to get (or keep) myself in the right frame of mind where I could accomplish various things, hopefully have my plans for the weekend go down without any issues… basically just trying to hang on to the “normal” while I was feeling it. (And believe me… just that in itself is a bigger challenge for me right now than you’d probably think.)

Now, as many of you may already know, one of the “weird” things about me is my near inability to talk on the phone. There’s a logical root reason to how I ended up this way, even if there isn’t as much logic to it now, but it’s something that everyone who knows me is aware of. Unfortunately, I have one family member who is apparently as averse to textingΒ through the phone as I am to speaking on the phone, so there’s obviously gonna be some problems when we need to communicate. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

So even when people do absolutely need to talk to me on the phone, they know to text me first to make sure it’s okay to call. Essentially it’s just giving me a warning that they’re gonna call, which helps my twitchy brain prepare for it, and usually making it something I can do. But over the past two days it’s been cold call after cold call, but at least this last time she left a voice mail saying that she had some good news and that she wanted me to call her.

So even though she knows I’m like this (we talked about it the last time she cold called me… heh), she’s got good news that she wants to share, so it makes me feel bad that this weird part of me won’t let me answer or call back immediately. πŸ™‚πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I have to “save up the oomph” to make a phone call. And yeah, I know that’s a really weird thing… there’s no debating that. I just hate when I’m doing my best to hang on to “normal” for a while, and something like this reminds me that I’ve still got a long way to go…

Of course I’m interested in her news, and I wish that I could just pick up the phone and call back right away, because I don’t want her to think that I don’t care… but now I’ve spent the evening being frustrated by myself, rather than continuing my forward progress. 😟 Dumb. But how many times do you have to tell someone that you don’t talk on the phone, or that if you have to talk to me on the phone – just text me and give me an idea that a call is coming? (Of course this doesn’t apply to anyone who doesn’t have the ability to text me.) I’m not asking people to understand why I’m this way, just that they understand that I am – and that they respect that unfortunate fact and don’t get hurt feelings if it takes me a while to call back.

Gah… okay, I gotta stop dwelling on this. It’s just how I am right now, I’ll talk to her tomorrow, she’ll share her news, everything will be fine… I can’t let my defects erase any of the positives that I’ve been actively working on lately. And I’m gonna keep reminding myself… as hard as it is for me to take or make phone calls, it could be just as hard for her to text – and it could be just a difficult for her to explain as it is for me.

It’s all good… it’ll be fine… I think I just needed to vent.

Staying In First Gear

I think I’m starting to feel good enough that I wanna start pushing it a little bit to see how things go. Not all the time, but when I feel like I’ve got a little reserve of energy, I’m not gonna try to “save it” because I’m worried that it’s all the energy that I’ll have for that day.

Not really gonna start that today necessarily, but today is what gave me the idea that maybe I should at least try it. Started doing my laundry earlier in the day, something that I didn’t get to when I planned a few days ago, but while I was down there I also went ahead and changed the filter on the furnace along with the filter for the plumbing in the house. The second one is the one that’s more of a pain in the ass, requiring both arms, up higher than is comfortable for me to be trying to use my left one… but I got it done.

Again, I know that’s a relatively small thing, but it wasn’t that long ago that relatively small things were still kicking my ass. But my shoulder isn’t too pissed, my energy still seems okay, so yeah… it’s just a nice surprise to be able to “do things” again and not instantly pay the price for it. Granted, I’ve been sitting on my ass watching NASCAR for the past hour and a half, and I still have to go back down and keep working on the laundry, but it’s just nice to be able to be a little productive- so far without any noticeable consequences.

(Knocking on wood… crossing fingers… all that shit…)