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‰

Advertisements

My Caregiver?

This poor cat has to spend all of her time alone with me. πŸ™„πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜Β I guess she could hide if she wanted to.

But sometimes I really think that when I’m feeling shitty for an extended period of time, it actually makes her feel shitty too. 😟 I honestly feel like she worries about me, which turns her into my shadow for the duration of my “bleh” spell.Β So I just do what I can, to spoil her and keep her purring. 😺 So far, so good… 😌

(Heh… this cat just trusts me way, way too much. She’s such a weirdo now… but a happy one.)

Almost As Good As Medicine

When I’m having a bad day, and my energy levels just aren’t there, often I’ll feel bad for Maven. 😿 She’ll wanna play or follow me around or whatever… but since I’m not really doing anything – sometimes she’ll just sit and stare at me, sometimes she’ll flop down next to me, and sometimes she’ll just piss off to the basement to do who-knows-what for a couple of hours. 😏 But it’s weird that a cat, with just a certain look, can make you feel like you’re letting her down in some way.

But this weekend I’ve kept busy (off and on) and was doing enough “stuff” that she was actually getting a little bit twitchy. 😾 She doesn’t like change either, especially when it probably doesn’t have any reason to her, so whenever I would sit down and take a break she would join me. Almost as if she was relieved that I “stopped doing stuff” so she didn’t have to wonder what the heck I was up to and when I was going to stop. 🀨

You probably have to be a “cat person” to really get this… but this cat, when I first got her, she didn’t like to have her belly touched – let alone petted, rubbed, or scratched. 😯 But over the years, with just me and her here, it’s molded her into a critter who shares a lot of personality traits with me. Plus she absolutely trusts me now, and has turned into a kitty that (most of the time… heh) loves belly rubs. πŸ˜„

So, shortly after I finished folding, hanging, and putting away my laundry… using up the last bit of oomph that I had for that moment, I sat down on the floor for a short break and ended up with this in my lap… 😏😊

Sorry about the large blurred edges, but the only way I could record this properly was in portrait mode… and if I uploaded it “as-is” the video would be taller than the height of the actual page. But anyway, knowing how she used to be, seeing how she is now… this is one of the very few things that can take my mind off of all the bad things swirling around inside my brain, to where all I’m thinking about is how lucky she is to have me, and how lucky I am to have her… and that sometimes I don’t make too bad of a critter daddy, I guess. 😊

Me? You Sure About That?

Another big part of my yesterday and the day before was spent trying to help a friend who’s going through some serious shit. 😒 Granted, if you’ve read many of my posts here, you’ll already know that I’ve got plenty of acquaintances, friends, and family that are going through their own personalized flavor of shit at the moment. πŸ˜• Some worse than others, some where I can help, and some where all I can do is just listen, try to understand, and hope and pray for the best. 😟 But man, this person’s state of mind over the past two days… let’s just say that it was very concerning. 😳

(I know this person doesn’t read my blog, nor does anyone that really know this person, so even though I’m sorta putting their business out here… it’s not something that will affect them, and even if they knew, I think they’d actually be okay with me posting about it anonymously like this. They know how I am… how a lot of times, processing my thoughts on the site here is just how I have to do things if I want to attempt to clear my brain of all the clutter…)

I am glad that I have people in my life who feel like I’m the right person to open up to, even when the topic is something as serious as it was… 😬 but I am so not the right person to be able to handle something like that right now. I mean, I did… because I had to… but not without getting completely emotionally drainedΒ (and actually physically ill from the stress of the conversation) and realizing how little I could do about any of their problems. πŸ₯ΊπŸ€’ But despite that, of course I’m glad that they turned to me… even if I was essentially helpless and basically only able to listen and talk things through with them.

The hardest thing about the drawn out text conversation was that as they’d mention this thing, the next thing, the thing after that… I could absolutely understand how the weight of all of those things piling up on them, seemingly all at once, could push them (or anybody, for that matter…) to the point where they’d just be ready to give up. 😒 It’s scary because it’s hard to know if you’re making a difference with what you say, when in the back of your mind, it’s like “Wow, yeah… I get it.”

But at least for now, I feel like our conversations helped. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Enough so that I might be able to sleep sometime tonight, and I’m finally able to eat something and keep it down. And I’m not saying that to give anyone any crap. If someone feels like their last resort is reaching out to someone, they do so knowing that it’s not going to be an easy conversation for either side, and that the person they are talking to cares enough about them that they’re going to get pretty messed up by the whole thing as well. πŸ˜• But as stressful as it is to be on the receiving end of that sort of conversation, I just know that I can only pray that someone would be willing to be that person for me if I ever felt like I’d run out of reasons to keep going.

I dunno, I just had to post this. πŸ€” Often times I still feel like people, in general, who know me… they’ve got this mental image of what I’m like, what my days are like, and that it usually falls somewhere between lazy” / “boring” / “uneventful” / “a little stressful” / “what’s he complaining about nowheh 😏 Sometimes I wish that they could spend a couple days in my head… to know how things reallyΒ can be. And as I typed that…Β just now realizing it, that’s probably what all of us want – even the people who feel like everything is crashing down around them… we just want someone to know, to try to understand, to realize that there’s so, so much more going on behind our “game faces” and other people’s assumptions. πŸ™πŸ»

How It’s Supposed To Be

Okay, gotta change the mood to something lighter… just hopped onto Facebook to see a thread over 100 comments long, everyone arguing about how the police treated the man who was firing a gun in the city as the cops looked on. Wanna see a thread where every damn person thinks that they are absolutely, 100% correct and everyone else is an idiot or moron? 😏 Go find that thread in one of the local Lancaster groups. πŸ™„

But like I said… changing the mood. As I’m sitting here on the floor with my knee in front of the space heater, Maven just jumped up on the couch behind me and started staring and purring at me. 😏😸 See, I started the process of grooming (shaving) her a couple of days ago… and she’s gotten to the point now where she actually likes it. At least to a point. πŸ˜„ So I think she’s trying to give me a hint that she’s ready for a few more swipes here in a bit. Oops… no… she actually just curled up on my mail and fell asleep.

It still amazes me, how far she’s come from when I first got her. You couldn’t even pet her belly when she first got here… and now I can lay her on her back between my legs and shave her belly with a loud trimmer and she’ll mostly just take it. πŸ˜… Although the twitchy tail does reveal that that’s probably her least favorite part to be worked on. But I’m lucky… I’ve got a couple of throw carpets in the bathroom, and when I go in there she’ll usually follow me for a few minutes of grooming, and then when she’s had enough she’ll take a few steps out into the hallway where she knows she’ll get the good hair brush treatment which she loves. 😻

I think it’s partly that, in general, I’m pretty boring when I’m just hanging around the house with her, so she really eats up all of the attention that I’m then giving her as we go through the process. She only gets twitchy about it when it comes to her belly and her butt. I think that’s just because it’s probably a weird feeling… and a very vulnerable position for her to put herself into willingly. But yeah, so far so good, because I’ve taken more fur off of her in the first two days of this process than I’ve usually been able to do over the course of an entire week before. πŸ˜ƒ I think between it getting warmer, and her getting tired of licking and cleaning all the time, she’s actually as anxious to get this done as I am.Β 

(Day One, Session One: Already waiting patiently by the door for some more swipes and brushing… 😊 )

I think the good trick this time is that for the times when she doesn’t just follow me into the bathroom, I snatch her up either right when she’s falling asleep or right when she’s waking up… when she just doesn’t have the oomph to give me too much shit right away. 😁 I’m probably gonna give her a break from it today though, to also continue giving my knee a break. I’ve got two loads of laundry to (hopefully) bring upstairs and fold, and I wanna do that while I’m still feeling decent and before I let more hair loose into the house.

I’m so glad that Genesee decided that I needed her when I moved in here. 😏 Whenever you’ve got a critter, and then lose that critter (😒) part of you says that you don’t wanna do it again. The inevitable heartbreak of getting and loving a critter that you know will eventually end as it always does, as much as you don’t want to feel like you’re just getting a “replacement” for a critter that you just lost. πŸ˜• If it would have been up to me to decide, I probably wouldn’t have gotten another cat after Kitty B. But just as any true “critter person” will tell you – I can’t imagine what life would have been like without all of the years that I’ve had with ol’ girl here. 😊