Was gonna make chicken coconut curry tonight, since I had a pound of chicken breasts thawing in the fridge since... I'm not actually sure when - less than a week, but longer than ideal. I actually bought a second pound of chicken breast at the grocery shore, since I've discovered that one can of coconut milk is really too much for only a pound of chicken breast, but then I re-discovered that I had a jar of Trader Joe's curry simmer sauce that my mom gave me a while ago, which needed only one pound of chicken, so I put that second pound in the freezer. I'm actually kind of glad I used the Indian-style curry sauce, because it was a nice break from my usual coconut curry.
Hmm... What else... I want to write more, but I really can't think of anything else to write about right now. Oh, I suppose I'll quickly mention that I finally jumped back on the diet bandwagon: weighed myself for the first time in a while this morning, and have tracked everything I ate. My calories will be way over maintenance by the end of the day, but at least I had lots of protein, and keeping track of what I'm eating again is an important first step.
Oh yeah, one last thing - finished re-watching season 1 of Game of Thrones. Seasons 2-5 aren't on HBO at the moment (except for the last episode of season 5), and I have no idea if they'll eventually be putting up those seasons, but I believe I have through season 4 downloaded onto my computer, and can certainly download season 5. For now, though, I'll just focus on finishing reading book 2.
Been re-watching season 1 of Game of Thrones. Started watching it on my desktop because it wasn't available on demand, but then it finally showed up on demand, except three episodes are missing, so I've had to bounce back and forth between watching it on TV and on my computer. It's definitely way easier to follow after having listened to the book, and I think I'm also paying a bit more attention than I did the first time, possibly because having listened to the book has made me more interested. I just wish I didn't have such a crush on Petyr Baelish... Then again, I'm not squeamish about my crush on The Master or Sherlock's Moriarty, so why am I squeamish about my crush on Baelish?
Had a meeting yesterday with the woman, Lindsey, who I'll be working with for supported employment services at Udac. I admitted that I have significant concerns about whether my attendance when working through SES would improve over how my attendance has been at Essentia Fitness Center, especially since SES jobs are at regular companies such as Walgreens, and expectations will be similar to if not the same as a regular job. However, I expressed my hope that perhaps (embarrassingly) I've had such poor attendance at EFC because I know the consequences aren't severe, and maybe the heightened consequences of attendance issues in a more traditional employment situation will provide extra motivation to just get my fucking ass to work. Lindsey seemed to have a good grasp of my situation in this respect, and seems to have the same hesitant optimism I have. And in any case, it will likely be at least four months before I actually start any jobs through SES, which will give me time to work on taking my attendance at EFC more seriously and get into better habits.
Honestly, assuming I can get the attendance issues under control, I am extremely optimistic about what Udac's supported employment services program can do for me. With exceedingly few exceptions, I have felt extremely incompetent at every job I've had since I started working after graduating from high school in 2004. I worked hard and had a good work ethic, but I would frequently make mistakes, and I would consistently work at a significantly slower pace than my peers, and than my managers expected me to. For the most part I felt like I had good job security, but that was mainly because employers don't want to open themselves to having to pay unemployment, and I was a good enough worker that my employers generally didn't have cause to fire me. (The only exception was Best Buy, where my till was off too many times, and since they didn't suspect any bad intentions on my part, they gave me the option to either quit, or wait for the dismissal process to go through HR. I chose to quit for various reasons.) Regardless, even if I managed to keep my jobs, I knew my raises would be few and far between, and I would never get a promotion.
In any case, the reason I'm so hopeful about supported employment services is that the first two months are spent entirely on in-depth analysis of my interests, talents, weaknesses, habits, etc., so that when we actually start the process of looking and applying for jobs, there will be a much higher probability that the experience will be a positive one. Additionally, I can have a job coach working with me for as long as I feel I need it, hypothetically forever, and if I start working without a job coach and then feel I need one again, they can start working with me again. My job coach can also provide a ride to and from work for me, and there are many clients for whom that's all the job coach does, which would be especially awesome if I want to work somewhere that busses don't really serve, or at a time that they don't run. (I have a feeling there are some limits to this - they probably don't provide rides at extremely early or late hours, but I haven't actually asked.)
Okay, I'm very much past 750 words, it's getting hard to keep my eyes open, and I have other stuff to do before I go to bed if I don't want to die in Habtica tonight, so I'll wrap this entry up. G'night!
It's been tough, but I've been standing up for myself more with Dan (one of the full-time staff here, and the one that I probably butt heads with the most), which has been really stressful. I've finally talked to him about residents having first dibs on the TV at all times, regardless of whether I could watch the same thing downstairs; I've talked to him about the situation with the dishes, and how it seemed like he was taking just my dirty dishes out of the sink and putting them in my corner, while leaving others' dirty dishes in the sink, setting a double-standard; and I've talked to him about how when I'm having a low spoon/high anxiety day where I'm fighting to keep putting one foot in front of the other, his tendency to constantly make comments along the lines of "So, you're not going to work today?" are demotivating. It turns out some of these situations involved misunderstandings (or perhaps him making shit up that makes him look better...), but after at least two of these conversations he followed up with me later, and we managed to get on more or less the same page with them. He's a really frustrating, bullheaded, and defensive guy who has a very different approach to life than I do, but in the end I'm very grateful that when push comes to shove, he really does try to see things from my perspective.
Made it to both individual therapy and ADT today. It sucks that being in ADT 9 hours a week means I only get to see my therapist for a half hour a week, which on weeks that are tough for me means we barely get to scratch the surface. At least I can meet some of those needs with my ARMHS worker? Afterwards I met up with a guy I met on OkC and saw Deadpool with - I had made homemade lasagna on Sunday night, and he loves lasagna and said it looked good, so I wrapped some up in tin foil to give to him, and he gave me a ride home from Nystrom (well, technically from Starbucks).
Evening wasn't as productive as I'd have liked it to be, but I did get a lot of my Habitica tasks done (aiming for a perfect day!) and renewed/picked up some daily meds that I would have run out of during or slightly after my Twin Cities trip. Also spent some time tidying my room, which God knows it needed.
Oh, on a completely unrelated note, I've decided not to buy any more Kindle books (or really any books at all) unless I already know I really want to read it, or it's a non-fiction book that would be particularly beneficial for me or my interests. I know that ebooks don't take up any physical space, but I have a long enough book backlog as it is without adding to it faster than I can read through it. If I finish my current fiction collection I'll consider browsing for stuff I haven't heard of before.
Alright, I'm getting pretty pooped and this was a decent summary of my day, so I'm gonna turn off the computer. Night, y'all!
So... What's been going on lately... Our washing machine was broken last week (it got fixed on Monday, a day earlier than was estimated), so on Sunday (2/28) one of the staff and I went to Endion to do laundry. Man, Endion 2 is special... Granted no-one lives there right now, but I can tell you now that if I had the opportunity to move there, I would say no without a thought. (Endion 2 is the only house in the company where there's no staff actually present in the house, though residents can go over to Endion 1 if they need help with something.) The worst part was that the dryer at Endion 2 is probably 40 years old, and covered in crud that made me not even want to touch it. I should have known from how old it was that it would need to run a lot longer than a machine from this decade would, but when staff was done doing laundry at Endion 1 (I only had one load to do), I went to get my laundry out of the Endion 2 dryer and it was still somewhat damp. It wasn't that big of a deal since it's not like it was fresh out of the washer, and the dryer at Heights was working just fine, but I still felt stupid for not bothering to check it in the time I was waiting for staff to finish the laundry he was doing.
Finally we headed out to the van, and my hands were full with my laundry hampers, my vision impeded, and... I twisted my left ankle (I believe it's the same one I sprained really badly almost exactly two years ago when I was living at CHBL). Thankfully the sprain was relatively mild, and I was walking normally on it by Wednesday, but not having an ACE bandage anywhere in the house sucked. (I swear I used to own at least two - what happened to them?) At least I was able to get rides any time I would have had to walk more than a block, and Ineke was perfectly willing to let me stay downstairs and stick to loading/unloading the machines and folding. Unfortunately my ankle is still tender to the touch, and hurts a bit when I stretch it. I also seem to be getting referred (or some kind of) pain in my knee, which is annoying. I sent a message to my GP asking if the tenderness is normal (didn't mention the knee), or if I should have my foot looked at in case it's more than a sprain and needs some sort of intervention, but she probably won't get back to me until Monday afternoon.
Made it to all my appointments this week, and with the exception of two cases where it was out of my control, was on time to all the appointments as well. Yay, me! Hopefully I'll be able to keep that going next week.
Been spending a lot of time reading Automate the Boring Stuff with Python. (Typing that reminded me that I needed to update some information on that book on Goodreads, which I literally just did.) Finally got past the groundwork chapters, which were 95% review for me, and now I've gotten to some of the actual projects. Really looking forward to learning how to manipulate PDFs, since that's something I've been doing more often as I've had to scan in paper paystubs, and the online tools are a little unwieldy IMO.
Okay, I think that was a decent enough entry, and nothing else in popping into my head to write about, so I'm gonna post this, maybe clean my room for 15 minutes and irrigate my nose, and then hit the sack.
Went to India Spice House with Allie yesterday. It was really nice to finally spend some one-on-one time with her outside of her giving me rides places. I really wanted to pay for her lunch (it was a buffet), since I haven't been able to be a big sister to her since walking her home from elementary school and occasionally babysitting, but she refused to let me, which actually really bothered me... I mean, to be fair her finances are probably way better than mine now that she has a full-time office job at the U, and I'm sure that was her reasoning, but it was also really important to me to do something for her.
Anyway, moving on from my griping about that, lunch itself was delicious, and being a buffet I could try tons of new food I'd never even heard of before. Buffets are definitely my preference when it comes to authentic food that I'm unfamiliar with, or really any food I'm unfamiliar with. That way I can freely experiment with my taste buds without worrying about wasting any food that it'll turn out I don't like. I just try a little bit of everything. Afterwards we went to a little bakery called Nothing Bundt Cakes, which literally sold nothing but bundt cakes in different sizes and flavors. They were giving samples of their turtle bundt cake, which was wonderfully moist, had just the perfect amount of caramel, and a delicious frosting (probably cream cheese), but I couldn't justify buying any of what they were selling. Of course as I'm writing this I'm rather hungry, and the topic is making me even more hungry...
R has me working on a programming project apart from any MOOCs I'm taking - working on a Klondike solitaire implementation using classes. So far I've managed to make a card class and a deck class. The card class has value, suit, visibility (face up or face down), and location attributes (i.e., it starts with its location being in the draw pile). It also have a flip method, for making a face-up card face-down or vice-versa. As for the deck class, it creates a deck of 52 cards of the appropriate value/suit combinations, all initially face-down, and I've implemented a shuffle method. (I also have __str__ methods for both classes.) I obviously have a long way to go, but I think my next step will be to set this project up on GitHub (or GitLab, since that's what R uses).
ADT (Adult Day Treatment) from 1 to 4 tomorrow, and I'll probably go grocery shopping some time after that, since I couldn't go today due to being in commute from the Twin Cities. I need to spend some time figuring out my priorities this week, since I manage to not complete Principles of Computing I again. I also desperately need to clean my room in hopes of finding my driver's permit which has been missing for a while, in addition to doing some work in Mint and submitting my paystub info to St. Louis (Anoka?) county so they can calculate how much rent I need to pay for January. Plus I stil have to do three years worth of taxes and find out my options for getting federal student loans before my 12 month rehabilitation plan is complete. That last part can wait until I catch up on my taxes, though, since I can't get any student aid without completing my FAFSA anyway.
I think I've babbled on enough for this particular entry. I hope to be back with another entry very soon, but I make no promises.
Deleted my Facebook and Twitter, whig brings me back home. Long story short, I have to leave CHBL by April 23rd. Made a last-ditch appeal for leniency, which brought me from in unbearable pain to antisocial but tolerant. My brain is allowing itself denial until I receive a reply from Becca tomorrow. I just wish Chris weren't so... interactive? I just want to sulk, but he insists on communicating with me. Somehow that's one of the worst parts of the situation - imagining what he might think of me. I wanted to leave him a note when I left asking him to e-mail me in two years if we still remembered each other and he wanted to be friends, but every time something like this comes up and I'm bawling in my room like my first-born child suddenly died, I can only imagine him not wanting to touch that friendship with a ten-foot pole.
I'm so exhausted... And hungry, but eating would require leaving my room. I'll just have to have some peanut butter when everyone's asleep.
- replace check card (2/6)
- replace MN permit (SRTL*)
- buy new wallet (SRTL)
- work out finances/update check register (SRTL)
- contact a financial/tax professional about wtf is gong on with my rent/taxes/401k/assets for 2013 and 2014 tax purposes, as well as specifically the months of December '13, January '14, and February '14 (ASAP)
- write appeals letter (ASAP - needs to wait until after I talk with a professional)
- repair pajamas
- repair black pants
- repair purse
- fix laptop (SRTL)
- repair comforter cover
- make JLPT study plan (SRTL)
- sort and scan papers
- buy new hanging folders
- catch up on MAS shows (2/13)
- figure out Bridgeview schedule (SRTL)
- order new social security card
- order new US passport
- do laundry (figure out where to do it) (SRTL)
- pick up remaining items from aikachi's (bell jars, coconut oil spray, clothes)
- go through ALL the clothes (donate/repair/throw/keep/store)
- dust hair
- buy toiletries (conditioner, toothpaste) (SRTL)
- return extra meds
- buy winter hat and socks (SRTL)
- return book to akaneko/try on clothes/hang out (Speaking of Laura, she's an amazing friend. I mean, many of my friends are amazing, but she reminded me again of her amazingness yesterday. いつもありがとう、茜ちゃん。)
- practice bonryaku temae (2/10)
- give external HD to Kendra (SRTL)
- buy paper (SRTL)
- CaringBridge entry (okay, there's no REAL priority on this one, but you've waited way the fuck too long on it)
- make fudge (2/6, before leaving for MAS so Chris can have some)
- CHBL chores
- clean/vacuum side stairwell (SRTL - guys, that stairwell is kinda disgusting. The director's been putting it off for forever too, apparently, but I'd like to show some extra initiative and do it myself, and before anyone else gets to it obviously.)
* SRTL: sooner rather than later
Okay, so I know this is nothing compared to ellie_desu or Jessica Nicholas' to-do lists, but it feels pretty damn overwhelming, especially with the SSDI application, appeal letter, and all the work to be sure the laptop is clean.
Also, I have a pimple developing on my nostril. Fun times.
'kay, time to turn in my electronics. Here's me hoping I sleep like a baby tonight.
Well, that was a close call... I was sitting while they unloaded the luggage from the bus, and when the crowd cleared mine wasn't there. I asked the employee if there were any more bags on the bus and he said no. Thankfully one of the women standing near me pointed me in the direction of a man she thought might have had my bag, so I walked in that direction and found a man with my bag at the city bus stop. As soon as I told him that was my bag he gave it to me. When I walked back the employee asked me what happened and I told him, and he asked me to point the person out to him, so we walked back, and he asked the man if he knew that wasn't his bag, but the man said that he had a Nike bag like that too. Really? If you're missing your Nike bag, why aren't you more concerned that you now don't know where yours is? UGH.
Well, now I know the "sit back and wait until the crowd disperses so I don't have to stand in line" method isn't the smartest. At least I didn't have any expensive electronics in it. Just, you know, all of my clothes, make-up, and toiletries, plus my Bluetooth speaker.
With that, though, I decided to leave a bit later than my rescheduled day of Monday, leaving Wednesday instead. (Mike's pretty busy with school and I definitely need to make it to my psychiatry appointment Thursday afternoon, so the latest I'll leave is Wednesday morning.) So... Still not enough time to relax before the wedding, but at least now I'm gaining rather than losing 33% of my stay (which makes me slightly less bitter about having had to pay $57 more for the bus).
Unrelatedly, my psychiatrist tried to call me 45 minutes ago and I just missed her call, and then when I tried to call back I was on hold with the behavioral health department for 25 minutes. Sent her an e-mail telling her that my phone's no longer on silent mode and to call me back.
Blerk. I have a headache and I'm really not motivated to go to MAS, especially since I'm still not caught up on any of the shows, but if I don't I won't be able to pick up the pillow I accidentally left at Bryan's this morning and I might not have time to deposit my check tomorrow... I might just leave the pillow with him for a bit, and technically I still have a PNC account (I get a daily e-mail informing me that my balance is below $10 - it's at $0) so if I really want to I could cash my check Saturday morning.
Oh, and since I haven't mentioned it on LJ, my appetite's fallen through the floor recently, and I lost 8 pounds (from 140 lbs. to 132 lbs.) between my doctor's appointment on October 28th and today (which is 10 days). I don't know if it's a result of my depression or a side-effect of the bupropion (I'm on 150 mg a day) or what. Actually, it's probably the bupropion. So it sounds like it eventually wears of for some people? I dunno, if my weight stabilizes I won't mind terribly since I was at 120 in March 2004, and I don't know if I can do this from "starvation mode" but I'm kinda hoping I can use this opportunity to become fat-adapted. Anyway, as I said earlier, I'm seeing my psychiatrist next Thursday so I'll talk with her about it then.
ETA: Apparently Strattera, of which I'm taking 80 mg a day, also causes a decreased appetite.
299.90 Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified
314.01 Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder, Combined Type
300.02 Generalized Anxiety Disorder
296.33 Major Depressive Disorder, Recurrent, Severe, Without Psychotic Features
301.60 Dependent Personality Disorder
Borderline Personality Features
(I also believe I have Avoidant Personality Disorder.)
Verbal Comprehension: 141/99.7
Perceptual Reasoning: 125/95
Working Memory: 133/99
Processing Speed: 100/50
Full Scale: 132/98
Note that although my processing speed is "perfectly" average, the difference between my general IQ and my processing speed index could be a cause of a number of difficulties in my life, including my inability to figure out what's "not important".
Fast forward through lots of bureaucratic tape, unknown unknowns, a few known unknowns, and perhaps more stress than what put me into the hospital in the first place, and we're at this week. (I might fill in those blanks in later entries.) This week was full of appointments: a consultation with an otolaryngological surgeon on Monday, 3 hours of DBT on Tuesday (including my first skills group), first meeting with my ARMHS worker on Wednesday, and an appointment with my social worker on Thursday to have her help me fill out my SMRT application. Add to that a number of events that I wanted to go to...
So, I'm seriously considering getting a septo-/rhinoplasty (to correct my deviated septum and malformed nose) in the near future. I had the option to get the rhinoplasty when I got my orthognathic surgery when I was 18, but I decided against it back then partly because I felt that it was a bit vain and I believed my nose formed a good "jerk deterrent", but also because I wanted to have something left of the birth defect that probably influenced my childhood and personality quite heavily. However, when I discovered I had a significant septal deviation that was causing some noticeable negative side-effects, I decided that although I probably wouldn't get the septoplasty on it's own, and I probably wouldn't get the rhinoplasty on its own, it might be a good idea to get them both done at once, especially since I believed I was in a sweet spot with regards to my insurance that would only last until the end of December. (It turns out I was a far distance from that sweet spot, but now that I'm on medical assistance, as long as I have that I should have next to no co-pay/co-insurance for the surgery.)
Anyway, my dad is VERY concerned that getting this surgery will cause significant stress and anxiety in my life, and that now would be the WORST time to undergo major surgery, especially if it's not urgent. However, I decided that I still wanted to consult with the surgeon and get a better idea of what he could do and what the recovery would be like. Apparently he would have to take some cartilage from my rib (with the incision/scar being in the crease below my breast, so extremely well hidden) and some from my ear. The most painful part of the recovery would be my rib, since it would feel like I had fractured it and I would feel it with every breath, and I think he said the recovery for that would last roughly two weeks. After I give the surgeon the green light, he figures it'll take 6 weeks for MA to process the authorization, and I should be able to schedule the surgery for about 4 weeks after that. After talking it through with my mom and a number of my care professionals, I decided I'm going to give him the green light once I know that I'll have stable housing at the time of the surgery. (My mom did say that I could stay with her during the recovery.)
Tuesday I had DBT, which my mom also came to (at least for the individual session). I can't really remember anything in particular about how that went, so whatever. However, after that I had my first group session. I don't entirely know why, since it was a small group, but going into the session I was definitely anxious, and had forgotten to bring my lorazepam with me. This of course wasn't ideal, but then one of the clients started getting angry with another client and that escalated into enough of a conflict that I had a panic attack and had to leave the room. I sat right to the left of the door, and soon after saw one of the two facilitators leave the room, I assumed to go get another staff member to help de-escalate the situation; soon after the agitated client left the room.
The co-facilitator came back with Mark (my therapist) - it turned out she was looking for me. She helped me with a "mindfulness" exercise (just breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth while looking at her) while Mark brought me some water. After passing through a bit of hyperventilation I finally calmed down enough to re-enter the room, and it turned out the agitated client had threatened another client and the facilitator who was still in the room had asked him to leave. We then had a discussion about what happened, and what we all drew from the experience, as well as how to incorporate that into our handling of future sessions. What a perfect segue into going over rules for group and coming up with our own rules! Seriously, though, it kind of amused me that my first skills group involved me having a panic attack less than half-way through! However, if I'm going to have a panic attack, the best place to have it is surrounded by mental health professionals. It's kind of like when my grandpa had a heart attack (or was it a stroke) right in a hospital.
The rest of the group went relatively well, and it's hard to have any anxiety after the adrenaline wears off. :-P I can't say I learned much in the very first session, but I still found it enlightening and beneficial. If nothing else, it helped us to understand each-other better.
My ARMHS (Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services) worker came over for the first time on Wednesday. Her name's Mary, she's very nice, and she loves cats. :) We talked about all sorts of stuff, a lot of which I can't remember any more (it's late Saturday night as I write this). One of the things we talked about is my potential living situation if I can't go back to work (which is looking more and more likely at this point), and she told me about the adult foster care model, which is basically approximately 4 adults living in a county-owned home, enjoying relative independence with staff coming in as frequently as is warranted by the needs of the clients living in the home. It sounds like the staff of the adult foster home would serve much the same role as an ARMHS-worker - that is, an on-site professional who can help me with whatever practical or emotional issues I need the most help with at the time. I was actually just Googling "adult foster home" to find a good link to send someone I was IMing, and came across assisted living apartments for mentally ill adults, and I wonder if that might be a good option to look into as well.
Mary also was saying that what I really need is to get on SSI (social security income), which I've been told will take a year or even two to be accepted, but she thinks that if/when my SMRT (state medical review team) application is accepted, that should fast-track my SSI application. We also spent a fair amount of time talking about my view of the future, my misgivings about the way my treatment path seems to be heading (I'm imagining myself as one of those people who works for $2/hour doing menial tasks, with my value being measured by volunteer work I do rather than any sort of actual life success, and maybe being a foster parent instead of eventually BEING a parent). As much as it's been out of sight and mind due to the current financial impossibility of it, my ultimate goal is still to finish a college degree, get a real job, find a life partner, and have children as soon as fucking possible. There's just so much I need to take care of between now and eventually returning to school, but I'm currently nowhere near accepting any other life path seriously (other than perhaps being a stay-at-home mom). Anyway, my next appointment with her is on Monday (11/03, or tomorrow if I'm able to finally upload this tonight).
Thursday I had my appointment with my social worker to fill out my SMRT application. So, I'm finally going to get around to explaining what that is. So, many of the programs I'm in/trying to get in, including ARMHS services, require me to be on MA (medical assistance), which is Minnesota's Medicaid program. Currently I'm on Medicaid based on my income (i.e., I have none), and if I start making more than $719/month I would lose it, and thus access to various services that various professionals have deemed necessary for my mental health recovery. In addition, I can't turn down hours in order to stay under that income amount (unless a medical provider has deemed it necessary, which currently my psychiatrist has). IN ANY CASE, the SMRT application is submitted to the state medical review team, and they decide whether I qualify as "disabled" by the state of Minnesota. If my application is approved, I will be switched to Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD), which will allow me to receive the benefits of MA with a sliding scale premium based on my income (which would end up being at least $35 but very likely no more than $50). As I mentioned earlier, Mary also believes this will expedite the process of getting me on SSI, which would make me able to actually afford rent! Anyway, I had pretty much filled out all the objective answers, and I was shocked and how quickly she blew through the subjective responses with me. Like, her answers were almost all as little as one short sentence, whereas the few subjective replies I had made out were maybe 6 sentences long in tiny handwriting... Regardless, I'm glad I asked her to help with that, since I figure she knows best the kind of language that the SMRT will be looking for.
So, that pretty much covers all my appointments this week. Socially... Things have been a mess. Spent Halloween pent up in bed rather than going to MAS-o-Ween. Fought tooth and nail to bring myself to go to a LAN party at the U with my friend Bryan and his brother, David, and once I got there I spent as much as two hours fighting anxiety and taking a whole 3 mg of Ativan (the maximum recommended dose is 1 mg) before I managed to just relax and enjoy myself. Of course, by the time the LAN was actually working Bryan had to leave, but I did get David to play some Ticket to Ride with me (which I may or may not have bought both Bryan and David despite having no income ><;). Saturday I managed to get to Japanese Speaking Group RELATIVELY easily, except for the part where I forgot my bike on the bus... ><; Once I got there I was in a horribly unsocial mood and just sat there listening to and playing with my iPod, hoping that my mood would change and I could participate.
Eventually I was able to break out of my shell when a beginning student (he's in JPN 1011 right now) needed help with the difference between ありません（私はテレビがありません。）／いません and ではありません（私は学生ではありません。）, and why you can't say 「ではいません」 - after quizzing him and having him explain it back to me, I'm fairly confident he understood it, but I'm a little concerned that he'll forget what I explained to him. ANYWAY, after that I was my normal, participative self, and went to an acquaintance's goodbye party nearby afterwards which was rather enjoyable.
However, after being there for about an hour I started to get really tired so I napped on the host's bed for maybe an hour. I also managed to spill red wine all over my blue jeans ><; (they're soaking in the washer now), and not too long before I had to leave I started getting really anxious. I'm not at all sure what was causing it, but I think somehow the music they were listening to (which was music I would normally quite enjoy) contributed to it. I took two Ativan and asked one of the female guests if I could hold her hands for a bit (the closest I felt comfortable to asking instead of hugs/cuddles), and when that didn't work I decided to leave early. She kept asking if she should turn off the music, and I kept saying no, I was going to leave anyway, and I felt bad for telling them to turn their music off. However, when I went into the coat room one of the host's cats was lying on the bed just asking to be cuddled, and apparently she turned the music off after all, and almost immediately the anxiety went away. Yay, being able to cuddle with cats. And when I left... I left my wallet on the 18. So now I have TWO things to cross my fingers that they'll be returned and I can pick them up on Monday...
So yeah, that's pretty much my tl;dr of my last week, mental health-wise. Today I'm feeling relatively good, and I have a lot of chores (including catching up on my DBT diary card) that desperately need to be done, so I'm hoping to make a SERIOUS dent in that. (Because there's no better place to put this, I'll mention here that I got a good DBT app on the iTunes store for $5, and am in the process of customizing the diary card to match my group's card and my personal needs - should make it easier to keep up.) Monday I have an ARMHS and dental appointment, and possibly tea ceremony in the afternoon and the Saloon at night (I've made a few friends there and go occasionally), the ARMHS nurse assessment (not sure what that's about) and DBT on Tuesday, and I'll be hanging out with Bryan and crashing at his place Wednesday night before leaving for Champaign at 6:30 am for ellie_desu's wedding (I'll arrive back in Minneapolis at 6:20 PM.) Not looking forward to the 7 hour layover in Chicago on the way out, but I'm used to chilling in the Union Station food court with my laptop and some Jamba Juice, so it should be fine.
Honestly, I'm more concerned that I'll end up somehow getting freaked out and not go to Illinois at all, the way I didn't make it to Katie's wedding five years ago, my uncle's wedding three weeks ago, or my grandpa's funeral two weeks ago... I figure my best measure against that will be to pack well in advance, and Bryan's coming over in the evening to meet Boo and play games or whatever before we head back to his apartment, so I'm hoping that'll protect me from bailing out too. *chews my lip nervously*
Anyway, I think that's all. Now that I'm caught up, I'll try my best to update on a regular basis so you guys don't have to deal with these massive wall-o-texts.
Synthroid 88 mcg 1x 4 days a week, 75 mcg 1x 3 days a week
Wellbutrin XL 150 mg 1x daily
Mononessa 0.25-35 mg-mcg 1x daily
Strattera 80 mg 1x daily (2 pills)
Celexa 40 mg 1x daily
Mucinex 1200 mg 2x daily
vitamin D3 4000 I 1x daily (4 pills)
multi-vitamin 1x daily
cranberry supplement 1x daily (2 pills)
psyllium husk 0.52 g 1x daily
So, 7 pills in the morning and 9 in the evening.
Benadryl 50 mg as needed for sleep (2 pills)
melatonin 5 mg as needed for sleep
Ativan 0.5 mg as needed for anxiety
Oh, and let's not forget my regular use of either 1,000 mg Tylenol and 440 mg Aleve (4 pills total), or two Excedrin, depending on if I want the caffeine.
It's really not that much when you strip away the supplements/as-neededs, but it still makes me feel like one of those examples of a culture that hands out pills rather than encourages lifestyle changes. And speaking of lifestyle changes, I've gotten totally off the D session boat lately and need to get back on it before it's too late in the year.
I have an appointment to meet with Dr. Hamlar on October 28th to consult about getting a septo-/rhinoplasty done before January, since my insurance is maxed out for the year and it should be free if I can get it before then. I probably wouldn't get the septoplasty on its own, and I probably wouldn't get the rhinoplasty on its own, but the possibility of killing two birds with one free stone seemed like it wasn't something to shake a stick at. I know I skipped the rhinoplasty back when I got my jaw surgery (not sure if I ever discussed deciding not to get the rhinoplasty), but some friends on Facebook helped me find clearness and realize that I probably won't regret getting the rhinoplasty, but if I don't I'll just continue to be ambivalent about whether I should (have) or not.
Eh, there's kind of more that I want to talk about, but it's starting to escape me, and I've been procrastinating on cleaning the living room for an absurd amount of time (as in days), so I'mma go do that now.
OH! I should also mention that Grandpa Roy passed away on Sunday morning. I have more I want to write about that too, but for now I'll just say that there's a visitation on Thursday, and burial followed by service (how strange) on Friday. I'll be staying at Roger's Thursday night to make it easier to be ready in the morning.
Just got off the phone with my psychiatrist's nurse - she thinks my recent increase in anxiety may be due to the bupropion (Wellbutrin) finally kicking in, but that it should resolve itself and I should stay on both the bupropion and Strattera and try to ride this out, using more lorazepam if I need to. I'm kind if relieved that she didn't pull me off the bupropion, since I had kind of high hopes for it.
I'll write more later tonight when I'm not lying in bed trying to recuperate from a "long day".
Fuck... This is the second time today I've had to rack my brain for this same word, and the first time was while leaving a voice mail... Appeal!
Anyway, I asked if I could maybe pre-emptively appeal to pre-date the cash benefit application, and also explained that Dad paid my landlord my July and August rent expecting me to pay him back but wondered if they could count that as an emergency for my August rent. I don't expect her to approve either of those, but I figured it was worth asking. It's weird how I feel better about relying on state welfare rather than relying entirely on my friends and family. I think it's partly that with welfare the help I'm getting is distributed progressively among the entire state, and to some degree national, population, and it's also more impersonal so I don't feel like I'm nagging individuals that I have personal relationships with to help me. I already felt like I fell to a new low when I basically panhandled Japanese Speaking Group on Saturday to get me enough money to buy a sandwich (which I ended up getting for half-off because it was a day old, and then spent most of the next 24 hours in cramps that made me want to cry).
Anyway, I don't know. I have an Anoka county case manager visiting me Thursday morning (thank God, since her office is in Anoka which would require me riding a triple-digit to get to and would generally be much harder than visiting a Hennepin county worker), so I need to think of some things I want to look into before then so we have a productive meeting. I'm thinking at this point that it'll probably be far too late for me to bother with short-term disability, the same way it was too late to deal with cash benefits, but I should at least be able to ask about Minnesota Care or other stuff. Maybe some sort of options to figure out how to improve my ability to work. Saa...
* (cheap) clothing store gift certificates
* DSW gift certificate
* Rainbow or Eastside Food Co-op gift certificate (Cub is also okay - it's out of my way but my roommate works there and I sometimes have her pick up stuff for me)
* money for the express purpose of paying bills (medical, rent, or groceries)
* driving lessons (with you or, if you want, a driving school)
- Wuollet princess torte for my birthday cake (or a gift certificate to buy my own)
* the limited edition of volume three of Puella Magi Madoka Magica (new or like-new)
- volume three of Nozomi's release of Revolutionary Girl Utena (new or like-new)
* USB rechargeable front and rear bike light (mine keep getting stolen when I'm at work - from now on I'll be bringing them inside with me)
- pannier set
* winter jacket (I lost the outer shell of my women's XL Columbia jacket - a replacement shell would work too; preferably in a cool color)
- cooking scale (with both metric and U.S. and the ability to accurately measure small amounts; not using button batteries)
- a PS4 pre-order (Let's just call that a "stretch goal" :-P)
I should be back at work (finally) some time between Tuesday evening and Friday, and should get my first paycheck on July 26th. Thankfully I believe I have enough groceries to sustain me util then, and my rent is taken care of through the end of August, so my financial situation is manageable.
I plan to finally get around to a wrap-up journal entry on my time at Nancy Page (and, more importantly, reflections on what I learned there) some time tonight. I'm just glad I took plenty of notes to help me remember, since it was over a week ago that I left.
What I really need to do is bite the bullet figure out how to jump through Fare for All's absurd hoops.
I'll start with the day... Umm... Apparently I didn't hear the 7 am announcement and woke up at 7:20-ish, hurriedly went to the nurse's office to get my levothyroxine, went back to bed for a half hour (during which time I really didn't get any sleep), got up when my alarm went off 30 minutes later to take my Adderall and go get breakfast. The first group session was about the definition of empowerment. We really didn't get terribly far with that, but they did give us a handout which should be pretty interesting to read through when I have a chance. There are two parts from the first quarter of the article (which is about as far as I got) that I found interesting, the first from a social policy perspective, and the second from a linguistic/language learner's perspective:
the word has become common political rhetoric, with a flexibility of meaning so broad that it seems to be in danger of losing any inherent meaning at all. Some conservative U.S. politicians have promoted welfare "reform," for example, by claiming that cutting off benefits will "empower" recipients (who would thus, presumably, become self-sufficient)!
When I have spoken abroad, I find that the word is usually not translated; the translator merely repeats "empowerment," in English, perhaps hoping that the listeners will be able to draw some meaning from the context.
Soon after that we had our second group, which was pretty much a re-hash of "Catch it, Check it, Change it" from yesterday and trying to think of more examples from our lives where we could implement this strategy. Like, one of the examples I brought up is how when someone talks to me in a harsh tone of voice, I think that it must mean that they're angry at or annoyed by me and dislike me, I feel ashamed and hurt, and I immediately retreat/withdraw and don't listen or stand up for myself. In checking it I could consider things like what my Dad pointed out that they're probably too involved in their own lives to have that much emotional energy to spend on me (though this is depressing in its own right to some extent). I could then change it by substituting possibilities like that they just mis-regulated their voice, or that they've had a bad day and are feeling particularly grumpy (I know when I've had a particularly bad day at work inside I want to punch people just for breathing funny). Of course, one of the tricks in this (other than the obvious element of fighting my own self-esteem and bias) is finding an alternative, more positive possibility that is actually more probable than my negative assumptions. It's much more likely that I somehow angered or annoyed them than that it was a voice mis-regulation. At the same time, it's possible that it really doesn't matter if my negative assumptions are more probable - perhaps if nothing else reframing (?) my thoughts will serve as some sort of coping placebo and/or generally contribute towards improving my mental health.
In a brief bit of whiny intellectual elitism, one of the kind of frustrating things during this group, though, was some of the situations put forth by the other residents were just... Totally missing the point. Like, one person offered a negative thought of "It's hot outside." Umm... How at all can one apply CCC to that? And how is that a maladaptive thought? And in another group we were talking about dual diagnosis (the condition of suffering from a mental illness and a comorbid substance abuse problem) and many of the other residents' comments just struck me as... absurdly simplistic or sometimes nonsensical, both from the "drugs are bad" and "drugs are just fine" sides, and they often had a definite lack of nuance. It almost made me wish that they had a facility like this that specialized in patients and staff with greater intellectual capabilities so that group discussions could be more productive.
Lunch was... some kind of spicy meat, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, mashed potatoes, and... I think that was it? I had an apple too. At the end of lunch there were two women I was talking to, one (A) on the skinny side and one (B) on the heavy side. We were talking about cravings which lead to pregnancy, and at one point B seemed to mention something like that she was pregnant, but I really didn't catch what she said. Now, at this point B is on hold with T-Mobile customer service, and soon A asks B "So, what's it like being pregnant?" (although she said she said "How far along are you?" - doesn't really matter), and I said something like "Oh wow, I didn't know you were pregnant!" B suddenly stood up and said "Fuck you guys! I'm just fat!" and stormed off. I tried to chase after her to apologize, but she was distracted by her phone call and probably too mad to deal with me. This left me feeling really shitty, thinking that she would think I would be so horribly insensitive, and found a corner to sit down and just hold my head in. Soon one of the residents (C) who's sort of a "mother with an attitude" type (she left this morning, which was sad - she's definitely been supportive of me, even if I didn't always agree with her, such as on the "can't" issue) came over and asked if I was okay. I started explaining to her what had happened, and as she tried to comfort me we heard crying nearby, and it turned out it was A one flight up. I finished explaining to C what had happened, and then A also pointed out that she was vegan and hadn't had enough food to eat (the vegan options are pretty much limited to veggies and fruit) and that was making her miserable, and that at one point she had been 300 pounds and now she can't have kids, so she knew what it was like. At that point I left C to comfort A and went to tell a staff member what was going on. So yeah, stressful. Honestly, there was another event that came up earlier in the day with my roommate (long story short, she didn't feel she was ready to leave and had only started communicating that to the staff, but one of the staff members allegedly rudely scolded her for not having her stuff ready for when she was going to be picked up soon), and it kind of gave me the sense that life in a crisis residence is filled with residents having mini-crises or having to nurse others through their mini-crises. Never a dull moment. :-P
During my first 1-on-1 session where we started tackling the issues of my acute anxiety episodes such as being unable to read e-mails/IMs or listen to voice mails, being unable to face my managers if I'm extremely late to work, or the relatively rare times when I get extreme social anxiety (such as on the first night of the Kansas trip), and after elaborating on my thought processes and the... pathway?... of the anxiety episodes, she ended up feeling that in some ways my anxiety episodes are like PTSD episodes, comparing it to trauma (I think she meant my body feels like it's facing a trauma, in the same way someone having a PTSD episode feels like they're facing a trauma). Anyway, in addition to reaffirming that DBT would be extremely helpful with my anxiety issues (further evidence that DBT needs to be an extremely high priority), she suggested grounding techniques, which are commonly used to help patients with PTSD. I'll write about it more in my notes write-up, but the basic idea is to distract myself from the anxiety. There was also some discussion that reaffirmed my PDD-NOS diagnosis, and actually gave me a much better understanding of possible presentations of autism-spectrum disorders and how many of my "idiosyncracies" fit into the autism spectrum much better than I had previously thought.
After that I went up to my room to try to nap, but really I just kept making voice memos and being distracted by alerts on my phone. Eventually I got a page to come downstairs and my dad had arrived, so we ate the Popeye's food (with extra biscuits!) he brought on the front lawn and discussed everything that had been going on and what I'd been discussing with the staff here. I also asked if he'd be willing to take me to Autism Shop which is located in Minnetonka (30 minute away from my house by car) to buy a chewie and try out a pressure vest to see if that's worth buying too. (Now that I look at the website it looks like they only sell weighted blankets and not pressure vests, so I might want to look elsewhere for that.) He also brought the Pepsi and conditioner that I asked him to bring, as well as my copy of volume 1 of the Math Girls manga that I backed on Kickstarter and finally arrived. I had hoped he'd have an opportunity to have a brief meeting with my therapist but by the time we finished eating all the staff were in 1-on-1s and there was an interesting-sounding group going on, so he headed off.
The last group was really fascinating - someone who seemed really knowledgeable was explaining the basic mechanisms behind various mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression (including panic attacks), schizophrenia, and PTSD. I'm pretty sad that I missed the first part of it (though it was worth the time spent with Dad), but I did ask him to explain panic attacks again after it was over.
<INTERRUPTION> Just got a reply to an e-mail I sent to people who have lived with me from Roger, and I'm too anxious to open it. I haven't really tried the grounding techniques, but honestly I'd rather just finish this up and go to bed and try to face it in the morning. Now back to your regularly-scheduled brain dump.</INTERRUPTION>
I then had one last 1-on-1 session where we started to look at my problems with follow-through, including lethargy and difficulty getting up in the morning. That... Was a long conversation. Our meeting actually went over time and we were still working on unraveling the threads of what's going on with that, weren't really able to look at root causes, and didn't even touch looking at potential coping mechanisms. I sent out an e-mail to almost all of the people I've lived with soliciting their observations regarding the patterns and factors they've recognized in me with regards to this issue, and already got replies from aikachi, akaneko, ellie_desu, and Roger (whose e-mail I haven't read - see above). I tried asking Mike, but I think he was completely misinterpreting what I was asking, as he was just giving examples, both general and concrete, of my fishiness.
The rest of my night was pretty much winding down. "Met" my new roommate (she's been here since I arrived but they changed her room), and have been working on this entry (and other things on the computer) since 10:30 pm - over 4 hours ago. ><; I really wanted to spend some time reflecting on the messages from my individual and group therapy sessions, but once again I prioritize the log of all the things I did (since I'm more likely to forget about that, especially since I take notes during all of my therapy sessions), and once again I really leave myself with no time to do so.
However, I did ask my therapist from my second 1-on-1 to copy her notes from our session since I forgot to bring a notebook to that one, and instead she typed a more summarized one for me, which I'm going to copy (with a few bits of paraphrase) here:
- writing down questions for the meeting with [the psychiatric nurse] on Friday
- Resources for psychiatry/walk-in-clinics
- Dealing with waiting lists/insurance
NOTES FROM DISCUSSION FOR FOLLOWING THROUGH
Multi-variable discussion (looking at possible undercurrents)
- physical: hypothyroidism + change in medication [missed doses? better meds?]
- emotional: anxiety (freezing up - the third stress response along with fight and flight)
- cognitive: all-or-nothing thinking
- "go with the flow" [While my ability to "go with the flow" can be beneficial, it also makes me more accepting of my mistakes and their consequences.]
- definition of responsibility: fulfilling obligation and/or accepting responsibility?
- energy drain of negativity towards the self versus energy uplift of positivity towards the self
- discomfort from sleep deprivation [Am I somehow "spoiled" by consistently getting enough sleep in comparison to those who only get 7 hours a night and thus less tolerant of it that discomfort than others?]
- perception of how much energy something will take (versus actual experience?) [Yes.]
- common thought: Do I want to stress myself with the exertion of trying to make it on time?
One interesting possibility that akaneko suggested as one of the root causes of difficulty in my sleep patterns is delayed sleep-phase disorder (DSPD), which seems to fit me. Also, I think Mike may have irregular sleep–wake rhythm.
You know, it strikes me that I should have separated my "daily log" entries from the "ruminations specific to my mental health", perhaps each with its own tag. It's kind of late now, but I think for any future entries I make while here I'm going to do that. I also was thinking that apart from any ruminations that come up in therapy or daily life, I should also keep a text file or something of any major realizations I come to so I can frequently refer to it and remind myself of them rather than forget about them and have to realize them all over again. In any case, it's now 3 am and I have to be up by 8:30 at the very latest, so I'm gonna call this entry quits and haul my exhausted ass to bed. But before that: Eminem - stop trying to sing, especially the high notes...
- The easiest way to affect our actions is to catch your [maladaptive] thoughts.
- Even if I'm paying attention while starting a second task (such as checking e-mail) I can quickly get sucked in and lose attention to the original thing.
- Give yourself time to assess the situation before acting upon it.
- Get bumped into: "If you wanted a hug all you had to do was ask." - that made me lol
I wanted to make a better write-up of tonight, but now that I'm ready to do the free-writing (as opposed to just typing up notes from my notebook, as seen above) I'm really too tired to put that much mental effort into constructing a proper entry. However, I will say that I played Apples to Apples for a bit with some of the residents, which was enjoyable. Frustrated that I wasn't allowed to watch Rachel Maddow at 11, since that's when lights out is. Ah well.
Actually, I do have the energy for one brief discussion regarding the mental health element: During one of the group sessions today, I was talking about how certain things are impossible for me. I believe I was only talking about receiving financial aid basically ever again being impossible, which it pretty much is, since there's a strict policy against it in my situation. Once you've "attempted" - i.e., passed, failed, or withdrew from - at least 150% of the credits that are required for your major, you're no longer able to receive any federal student aid, including loans run by Firstmark or whatever. I'm in undergrad which requires 120 credits, 150% of which is 180 credits, and although I don't seem to have access to my total number of attempted credits right now, it's past 180, and by the time I graduate from undergrad any boost I would get from an additional number of required credits for grad school wouldn't make up for the credits I'd have used finishing my degree. Anyway, going back to the point, one of the residents at group challenged me by saying "'can't' shouldn't be in your vocabulary" or something along those lines, to which I basically replied "well, I can't walk on the surface of the sun". We kind of had a bit of back-and-forth on the topic (with another resident saying "you can walk on the grass" or something like that - I don't get where he was going with it or if he understood what I was saying) and she had to leave the room. Later when we weren't doing anything I asked her if I had made her mad, and her basic deal was that "can't" is a word that promotes hopelessness and is basically self-destructive, and she didn't want to hear me going on about what I "can't" do while she was trying to recover from her own crisis. I definitely see what she means regarding "can't" having great power to make us feel depressed, etc., but I think rather than banning the word from our vocabulary we should be focusing on asking ourselves "Is it really something we 'can't' do? And if it is, what other means are there to achieve the same goal?"
Actually, I was just thinking now of and episode from Get-It-Done Guy that kind of ties in with this: if there's a goal that for some reason we CAN'T achieve - actually can't achieve - we can ask ourselves what ultimate goal that first goal was a means to. Can we set a new goal for ourselves that will help us achieve our ultimate goal? But even that exercise might be something to be cautious of, again because "can't" is a word that shouldn't be thrown around lightly in a mental health context.
Alright, I need to be up in around 7 hours, so I'm going to wrap this up now. (And probably try to find out where my roommate is - she hasn't been in the room since we stopped playing Apples to Apples downstairs earlier, and I'll have trouble sleeping if I keep wondering when she'll come back.) Good night, y'all.
P.S. Forgot to mention that I called jamestdr today, and during the conversation he told me that he contacted aikachi on Facebook and he's covering my July and August rent for me, which is an incredible blessing since I have about $1 in the bank and I won't get *any* pay until at July 12th. (Hopefully it'll be a full paycheck, but who knows if they'll be able to give me full-time hours as soon as I get back, so it may not.) My plan was to ask grandpa or possibly dad to loan me some money to pay just my June rent, but honestly I could have seen it ending up with me being too scared to ask them and curling up into a depressed ball of anxiety in my room unable to face Sandy. (That or leave a letter for the landlord explaining the situation and hoping that she'd give me a grace period until I start getting paid again.)
Okay, bed for REAL now.
Perhaps because I haven't taken my Adderall in over a month (I generally only take it when I'm going to work) I started to get an anxiety spike not long after taking it, but I'm sure the fact that I was typing up some texts that had catalyzed my stay here also had something to do with it. Anyway, had breakfast (frosted shredded wheat with skim milk), went to a group meeting with a "peer counselor", filled out some county benefits paperwork to see if I could get some cash assistance from the state to help cover my stay here (apparently the cost of staying at group homes get special consideration), went to group therapy, then a group meeting with the nurses, met 1-on-1 with someone to go over why I'm staying here to help them develop my treatment plan and talk about some basic resources, went to meet with the nurses 2-on-1 to give them my medical history (more specifically as it pertains to meds), at which point I discovered that it was pretty much open time until dinner, and here I am.
My roommate seems pretty nice so far. :) Although there was the weirdest thing - for some reason having only seen her belongings on the bed and having no idea who she was, I realized that I somehow had this assumption that she was black. Nothing among her belongings really lent any creedence to assuming that she was of *any* particular race, so I have no idea where that came from. She's told me about her issues and we've had a few conversations regarding our respective issues, but I'm obviously not going to talk about what's going on with her here.
Anyway, moving past a record of events, I kind of want to use these entries to track what I've been talking about in sessions so far, mostly in chronological order:
- If we don't own decisions about our own well-being, it isn't going to work.
- Another client here recommended I look into The Three Principles by Sydney Banks
- It may help to focus on being in the moment to let both positive and negative thoughts flow out of my mind. (This was also recommended by a client, though it was vague enough that I'm not sure how much I agree with her.
- Does my challenging of friendship make my friends more likely to retract? Maybe I'm wearing them out. (I should elaborate later on what I mean by "challenging" - it was a staff member's term. For now, it's basically when I bring up my concerns about the status of our relationship with a friend, such as asking if they *actually* want to hang out or are just saying it, to being convinced that they're not being honest about how they feel about me and demanding the truth.
- If a friend doesn't offer certain courtesies for me or ask what's wrong if I'm having some kind of moment of distress, is that friend being inconsiderate or uncaring? Is that a sign that the friendship isn't a good one to hold on to?
- Distract self from the anxiety of the challenge that lies ahead by focusing more on how far I've come.
- Contact Karen about setting myself up with an ARMHS (Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services) worker - they can help with daily living, anxiety over expectations breaking, skill building
Kaposia might be able to help me find employment training and opporunities that fit my weaknesses and strengths - I'm looking for "community support"
- Regarding disability, perhaps I can get letters from previous managers (esp. at Walgreens) attesting to my difficulty meeting work expectations despite the fact that I've held the same job for over 3.5 years.
- Contact Fraser for PDD-NOS help - (612)767-7222
Anyway, it's dinner time so I'm gonna leave this entry here for now - depending on when I get back I may update it or just start a new entry.
Oh, also, I wouldn't mind a donation to put some money on my bus card. ^^;
(To those who don't know, I haven't been to work since I went to APS on May 27th, since I need to get professional clearance before I'm allowed to go back and I haven't been able to follow through on that clearance thus far - I'm hoping I can get it before I leave Nancy Page.)
Also, WE'RE WATCHING HAIBANE RENMEI, BITCHES! Seriously, I'm really looking forward to Bryan seeing this show - it's a classic, and VERY good.
P.S. J.c. kindly me his first Twelve Kingdoms DVD set - might try to rope aikachi into watching it with me.
P.P.S. I also succeeding in making Rynn do a spit-take, not once, not twice, but THREE times, including spitting her bubble tea all over her sketch book. "You're a horrible person, and I love you. *hugs*"
( Description of my one prior experience with liver under the cut (TMI):Collapse )
So anyway, nearly a year ago I bought a container of frozen pork liver as a challenge to myself to make it in a way that wouldn't gross me out, and the other day I finally put it in the fridge to thaw, and today I poked around the Internet to find a recipe that would work. Now, I actually quite like leberwurst, but didn't really have the right balance of ingredients to make that, but I did find a recipe for chicken with chicken liver sauce, and decided to play off that. So, here's what I did.
- 1 24 oz. jar Barilla Tuscan Herb pasta sauce (holy shit, that was the best jarred pasta sauce I've ever tasted!!)
- 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 4 oz. can mushroom stems and pieces (I would've used more but we only had one can)
- .9 oz. frozen pork liver (thawed)
- 1.3 oz. frozen ground pork (thawed)
- 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
So, I put the pork liver and mushrooms in the blender and pureed them (since my biggest issue with both is their texture), then added it and the garlic to the ground pork and cooked it until the ground pork was done. I then added the pasta sauce and diced tomatoes and brought everything to a boil (didn't want to be too careful about cooking the pork). At this point I put the sauce on simmer and cooked some spaghetti, then topped the spaghetti with the sauce and whatever I could grate from my rock-hard parmesan. (What did people do before the Internet? My cheese is rehydrating in the fridge as we speak.) So yeah, it's definitely not my favorite pasta sauce in the world, but hey, if it gets some wonderful liver and mushroom nutrients into me, it was totally worth it. (Now to figure out a way to get liver into me that *doesn't* involve massive amounts of delicious, delicious gluten...)
Also, I still don't understand how something that exists to filter out all the poisons in our body can be so nutritious. You'd think it'd be full of said poisons...
And while I'm here, I was having a conversation with a friend, and although the details of respective perspectives are not exactly as I describe them here, I still wanted people's general opinion: If someone wasn't making any progress to speak of in life (working a dead-end job with no real prospects for financial improvement) and, perhaps because of that, decided they wanted to be a stay-at-home parent rather than financially supporting their family, is that "giving up"? Would that make you particularly hesitant to marry that and have kids with that person? And what if they *were* in a position to make a respectable income? How would you view these situations differently if the person wanting to be a SAHP was a woman vs. a man? Also, assuming that this is a heterosexual couple, if both the mom and dad have strong desires to be a SAHP, how "should" (I'm aware of the somewhat dangerous implications of this word, but I suppose I'm asking you to stick to your initial reactions, even if it's not terribly PC) the couple mediate these desires? Does it make a difference if the couple is planning to breast-feed vs. use formula?
I keep being all "I'm so exhausted and want to be asleep NAO, but it's too early to go to bed" to "fuck it, it's not like I'm awake enough to be productive anyway, and I'll probably end up sleeping until a decent hour given how sleep-deprived I am", to getting a second wind that'll probably keep me up too late again. My body is stupid. I just hope that having three shifts that start at 8 am or earlier over the course of 5 days will turn me into a more diurnal person again, assuming these next two days off don't fuck that up.
So, for the longest time I didn't wash my hands in many situations, partly out of laziness, and partly because I felt that exposing myself to germs would "give my immune system a workout" or "vaccinate myself against these germs", making me healthier in the long run. Obviously washing one's hand in a given month will greatly reduce one's chances of getting sick during that month, but what about a lifetime of exposing oneself to germs. Now, to be clear, there were many times where I *would* wash my hands with soap and water, such as when I was handling raw meat, if I had gotten any fecal matter on my hands, if I had just pet a dog or been working with lots of change (mainly because I couldn't stand the smell), before handling any books that I didn't want to get oily, when cooking for people other than myself, etc. There were also many times that I would just rinse my hands, such as if I may have gotten urine or a bit of dirt on them. Also, I would wash them fastidiously if I was around immunocompromised people, such as when at a hospital or nursing home. Finally, I avoid hand sanitizer (I'd rather get germs in my body than traces of deadly chemicals, not that I think the chemicals would kill me, it just squicks me out more), and also avoid antibacterial soaps like the plague (antibacterial resistance, anyone?). Again, antibacterial products belong in situations involving the immunocompromised, not the general public, which exceptions for certain extreme-ish cases.
Anyway, I had wondered for a long time if my theory held any merit, but every time I tried to Google the topic I came back with a bunch of generic "wash your hands to keep healthy!" that I couldn't separate from just general accepted theory about how OMG NOT WASHING YOUR HANDS WILL MAKE YOU SICK!!!, but today I finally had luck with the search term "not washing your hands" immune system, and came across two particularly good articles on the topic:
How does not washing your hands make you a healthier person?
Microbiologists and biologists of Askscience: Is it true that not washing hands will "train" one's immune system?
In summary, exposing oneself to bacteria through not washing hands is nothing like vaccinating oneself, since vaccines are *dead* viruses, and there are so many bacteria and viruses in the world and they're all constantly mutating, so even if each time your body reacts to a pathogen it learns to recognize said pathogen, that's a drop in the bucket compared to all the other pathogens that will come along in your life. (And yes, avoiding antibacterial handsoap is still a good thing, since regular soap and friction works just as well, and again, resistance.)
I still find myself wondering if there have been any studies comparing the sickness frequency and intensity between fastidious handwashers and fastidious handwashing avoiders, but for now this is enough evidence to convince me that I need to develop a habit out of washing my hands (and not just rinse them off with water) on a much more regular basis. I also have to wonder how this all relates to the hygiene hypothesis. The second discussion I linked indicated that it might be the difference between pathogens we are exposed to in "natural" vs. "urban" environments, although scientists later in the discussion didn't feel it made sense to differentiate the two. Then again, the hygiene hypothesis is only a hypothesis, not a theory, so it may be a moot point anyway.
On a completely different subject, Tiberius escaped from the house between 9 pm and 2 am last night, and thankfully came back on his own a half-hour ago. I'm of course very happy for Tiberius and Sandy, but I'm also relieved for myself, both because I would've felt awful if something had happened to Sandy's cat and because I would've felt like I'd be a jackass for sleeping today before work rather than helping her find Tiberius or otherwise being there for her. So now I can sleep guiltlessly. ^^;
A request from my cousin, to his family and friends but that I'd like to pass on to my own friends:
As some of you have heard either through the grapevine or from myself personally, my son, Dominic passed away on Sunday, April 28th, 2013 from complications from Tuberous Sclerosis.
This is the first free time that I have had since his passing. I have been trying to keep myself busy and occupied and focusing on the others in my home. Bear in mind that I am not oblivious to the pain that is in my heart and will always be in my heart. This shit sucks.
I do not want to focus on the pain, but instead focus on the good that Dom brought in to the world while he was here. Some of you never got to meet the little turkey, but I assure you, he was definitely one of the most charming little guys you could ever meet. He had the ability to make people smile and be happy simply by saying Hi.
He had a way of lighting up a room even when he wasnt in it because people were thinking about him.
Thats what I am going to focus on. I can think about how even when he pissed me off, that he still made me giggle and smile because secretly, I knew he was just like me and his mom. Being naughty. Not listening. Being stubborn. I cant imagine whom he got those qualities from, but I love that he had them.
While Dom passing away is the most devastating thing to have ever happen in mine and Cuc's life, his life will not be in vain. With that being said, I would ask that you guys do something nice for a complete stranger. Dom was able to bring smiles to so many people when I would push him in his stroller. He would just randomly say "Hi!" to people in his little flirty voice.(For chrissakes, the kid even waved hello to birds when he was rolling in his electric Batman 4 Wheeler!) So, for the betterment of the world, I am asking pretty much everyone I come in contact with to do something nice for a stranger. Being altruistic feels good for both parties involved. So theoretically, you could be altruistic for a selfish reason and I would never know... Just saying!
Dom is gone and I will forever miss him. But by asking people to do something nice for a stranger he gets to hang out for a little while and make people smile.
Have a great weekend all,
- verify that I've been taking my meds
- take an Ativan
- figure out some short errand that I can run - enough to get me out but not so much that it'll stress me out
- visit Geoff & Kendra and the kids
- find a friend to cuddle with
- lose myself in music with the lights off
- tidy my room
- eat some (real) food, preferably including protein (sometimes I confuse calorie deprivation and anxiety)
- take a long shower or, if possible, bath
How do I say the following in formal (Mexican) Spanish?
- Did you find everything you were looking for today?
- Do you have a Balance Rewards card you would like to use?
- Would you like a bag?
- Thank you and be well.
I realize that "be well" comes off as a bit unusual in any language, but at the store I work at we're supposed to use "well" (with a deliberate connotation of healthy) in nearly all our transactions with customers, so unless it's simply impossible in Spanish, I need as accurate a translation of that particular phrase as possible.
And now back to drinking water, lying on the couch, and being annoyed at the fact that I can't be productive until this damn headache goes away. Thank god I don't have work tonight (although I did have to move my dinner plans with my dad to Monday :-/).
ETA: Just got a call from Natalis and they tried to send me my psych eval. on the 3rd, but they sent it to Rick's address and it was marked Return To Sender. Gave them my new address and they said I should get it Saturday or Monday, so yay! Now I just need to get my glasses from them... And pay them... Paying them might help... ><;
- Sun, 12:36: I broke Bryan's house and I can't fix it... #Minecraft #fail #TerribleFriend
- Sun, 21:37: Does anyone know any fast ways to lower adrenaline levels?
- Mon, 10:54: <strike>Pro</strike> Newb tip: don't put new, sharp knives in a sink full of water, and if you do, be terribly careful when taking it out.
- Sat, 01:48: It's like 10,000 chickens when all you need is a sheep! What have you gotten me into, Bryan? #Minecraft
- Sat, 08:02: The problem with boy bands intentionally catering to every "type" is there's always one who's TOTALLY not mine.
- Sat, 08:04: Also, I'm always amused by love songs sung by multiple people (i.e., bands) - they're all in a relationship with the same person?!
- Sat, 08:05: All that being said, I hate to say it, but there's a One Direction song that I like...: One Direction - Little Things: http://t.co/SBMvo3nX
- Sat, 08:08: Am I the only one that finds Taylor Swift in her "Red" get-up to be not very appealing at all? Maybe her lipstick is too dark for her?
- Sat, 08:11: RT @HipsterDarcy: I was into @L7sville before it was hip to be square. Now I'm into triangles. And lines. Dots, really. Polka dots. Also ...
- Sat, 08:58: Success! I haz a bed in my <strike>house</strike>hovel! I can sleep through the night now!! #Minecraft #procrastination #addicted
- Sat, 09:23: Success! I have a bed in my house! #Minecraft
- Thu, 12:13: I hate it when people talk about committing "hairy-kerry". WTF is that? #headdesk
- Thu, 12:35: Does anyone have any favorite E/E dictionary apps for iOS?
- Thu, 13:05: "Take a deep breath / Open your eyes / Sweet slumber's over / It's time to rise" http://t.co/YMlkOogh
- Thu, 13:07: "You can fight lika krogan, run lika leopard but you'll never get discount like Commander Shepard" *sporfle*
- Thu, 13:33: @miracleofsound Have you ever considered releasing karaoke tracks of your stuff? Or a bootleg of your performance at the Escapist Expo?
- Thu, 16:18: Critical bathroom supplies at the Christiansen-Riemermann residence. http://t.co/UQdUzy3u
- Fri, 07:24: "She says pot is unsafe and ineffective. Not a medicine, but an addictive, dangerous drug. [...] FDA will never...
- Fri, 07:26: ...approve a smoked vehicle for any product to be deemed a medicine." So much absurd bias here it's not even funny.
- Fri, 09:02: "it’s unfortunate that “virgin” is a social punch line in a country where Plan B isn't available over the counter" Amen.
- Fri, 09:05: It's amazing how just a photo can punch you so very hard in your gut. I feel sick...
- Wed, 14:31: "Bats are nocturnal!" #BatmanBegins
- Wed, 15:37: Someone needs to explain to me how that microwave didn't just boil everyone's bodies. #BatmanBegins
- Wed, 15:57: Don't you love it when your mind insists on replaying shamefully embarrassing memories?
- Wed, 16:30: Apparently I used 62 MB of mobile data just today - wtf? I'm wondering if I wasn't connected to my WiFi at home today...
- Wed, 18:53: At Flight with my dad and sister at the Riverview. Hoping I'm not too tired to stay awake...
- Thu, 06:18: Have any parents considered not doing Santa/the Tooth Fairy/Easter Bunny/etc.?
- Thu, 07:16: I can't hear the Tetris theme without thinking of the Complete History Of The Soviet Union: http://t.co/D68g2Rwo
- Thu, 08:02: Every time I hear "Ducard" my brain interprets it as "Dukat". #BatmanBegins #DeepSpaceNine #nerd
- Thu, 11:26: Wow, the Mana Bar IS tiny... Mana Bar Melbourne - Exclusive Pre-Launch Walk through: http://t.co/ISFGVCoX
- Tue, 13:40: Our washing machine's shaking just knocked one of the ornaments off of our Christmas tree. #TrailerLifeProblem #WTF
- Tue, 21:48: Bike's broken (my bike and pants broke each-other), and the bus to work passed me by before stopping for me half a block away. O.o
- Tue, 23:34: My failed vanilla-less fudge has been surprisingly popular with my co-workers and one customer I shared it with.
- Wed, 00:55: To all my retail friends, happy The Christmas Music Is Over Day!
- Wed, 07:21: Free for the next six nights!!! #TGIFuckingF
- Sun, 17:10: That'll probably be the last time I make fudge... #ReasonsIShouldntCook #HeartAttack http://t.co/TKwFFqJV
- Sun, 17:13: I know it sounds stupid to say about myself, but I'm so glad I'm not hurt - imagine if I weren't wearing pants at the time.
- Sun, 17:22: Oh, fuck, I know what happened - I forgot I wasn't supposed to have the water at a rolling boil. ><;
- Sun, 17:37: Alright, I'm calm enough now to go back out, clean up, and see if I can't salvage my fudge.
- Sun, 18:41: Glass is cleaned up, fudge is in the fridge, dishes are more-or-less taken care of. Eating this green pepper and then back to bed.
- Sun, 18:42: RT @wilw: Not sure what baffles me more: the existence of vending machine caviar, or the existence of people who buy vending machine caviar.
- Mon, 01:27: I just realized I forgot to put the vanilla extract in my fudge today. ><;
- Mon, 09:32: Any idea of good seeds for my "2000s Radio" Pandora station? Also for the '90s...
- Mon, 09:39: Just to be contrary to the holiday: Springtime for Hitler - The Producers (1968): http://t.co/gdvBJQqk
- Thu, 12:31: Porkchops cooked in beer and sauerkraut, and a mug of gl�hwein, both courtesy of the roomie. I feel so German.
- Thu, 16:58: "And she may cry, but her tears will dry / When I hand the keys to a shiny new Australia"
- Fri, 02:18: Let me tell you how much I love the headaches I get when they wax the floors at work... And I can't get any work done to boot!
- Fri, 05:28: Warning: Nice! egg nog is no good. Get the real stuff.
- Fri, 11:35: NEED. http://t.co/eCRLaify </ul
- Wed, 13:16: Saut�ed some old diced onions in EVOO, threw in the green beans and peas from last night, added spices & an egg. http://t.co/mTm4IzNC
- Wed, 13:29: Forgot to mention that I spiced it with fresh-ground pepper and Mrs. Dash - finished it and it was nummy. :)
- Wed, 14:07: Wow... I don't know if I feel worse for Lizzie or Lydia...: Dear Lizzie: http://t.co/80rDQQHy via @youtube
- Wed, 15:11: *sporfles* Gotta love dark humor. http://t.co/5T8Zns5m
- Wed, 15:49: That might've been easier: http://t.co/4ASD0zaC
- Wed, 15:51: Seeing as I actually love these movies, I'm actually thinking I'll buy them if I have money left after the holidays: http://t.co/qsNaHMZR
- Wed, 15:54: Oh wow, let's see how much we can mangle the atmosphere of the movies in this trailer? http://t.co/z7G5hlGI
- Wed, 15:55: So, parents of the world, is this accurate? http://t.co/QRjC9YE5
- Wed, 16:01: "I'd go just because of the actors. And because you want to go. And because it's at the Riverview." <3 my dad. And the Riverview.
- Thu, 08:57: For My Little Pony fans among you (perfect slogan): Friendship is Money Wallet http://t.co/EVuYqnD7
- Tue, 13:16: Argh, how much is 2 oz. of avocado? I wish I had a kitchen scale...
- Tue, 15:04: Both the salsa for tonight's tuna steaks and the chocolate avocado fudge are in the fridge. Now time to clean. ><;
- Tue, 15:07: I have to say, though, I think I would've preferred the salsa without the 1/2 tsp. salt the recipe called for.
- Tue, 16:14: Best Christmas cookie-making experience ever? How to make Christmas cookies!: http://t.co/s7Hdbd5B via @youtube
- Wed, 10:16: Animation morning with Sandy! The He-Man and She-Ra Christmas special, The Thief and the Cobbler, and Sita Sings the Blues. #RoommateWin
- Wed, 11:01: I've liked most of the recipes in The Healthy College Cookbook, but after making its pancakes, I'm rejecting that particular recipe.
- Mon, 15:15: Note to self: when missing money, check your recent iTunes purchases first. That's usually where it is.
- Mon, 15:23: In the interest of publicly shaming myself into better spending habits, I spent $216.37 since pay-day.
- Mon, 17:01: Sometimes it takes a while to find the right songs, but never underestimate the power of music to calm depressive spells. Mumford & Sons <3
- Tue, 05:59: Great - Windows is only starting in safe mode for me...
- Tue, 06:02: Trying system restore now.
- Tue, 06:19: w007, the restore worked!!! #ラッキー
- Tue, 06:34: To my friends with iOS (6) devices, would you recommend using an anti-virus app? If so, which one?
- Tue, 06:40: Tee hee. The Dark Knight Rises Trailer 3: IN LEGO: http://t.co/evcNE5H1 via @youtube
- Mon, 09:24: I'm tired of people expecting me to do things I'm incapable of.