Workout Wednesday

I really don’t want everything on this blog to end up being overly negative and depressing. That’s never been my intent with anything I’ve tried to accomplish online. One of my goals for this blog, other than having a place to vent and share my story, is also to share things that have helped me in dealing with anxiety and depression. This past month has been pretty rough in both respects. I’ve really struggled the entire month of January to bounce back, finding myself much lower than I’ve been in quite a long time. All of my usual techniques of distraction barely kept my nose above water, so to speak. 

I found myself lying in bed this afternoon not wanting to get up after 10 hours of sleep. The depressing thoughts flooded my mind as soon as my eyes opened, the anxiety ridden “what ifs” cycling like a whirlwind of despair and hopelessness. I finally said to myself, “Enough, already. Get up!” I made the bed; and rather than jumping in the shower first thing as I normally do, I decided to make coffee. After making coffee, my day was derailed when I saw that my oldest cat had puked all over my desk. Luckily, he missed all of the electronics. I love my cats dearly; but Lord have mercy, they are little puke machines. I must remember to brush them more often! 

This is actually a good place to interject a technique for dealing depression and anxiety that hadn’t crossed my mind until just this moment. I heard this on one of Ajahn Brahm’s videos. I’m afraid I can’t remember exactly which one, but it was so funny to listen to him explain it. If you’ve never listened to Ajahn Brahm speak, I encourage you to do so. He’s a Buddhist monk in Western Australia with the silliest sense of humor. His talks never fail to brighten my day. Consider this one a bonus tip: 50 Strokes of the Cat. No, not a cat o’ nine tails (I’m not encouraging self-harm here). Provided you have a pet who would be tolerant of this, brush or stroke the pet for 50 strokes. This works as a pretty good grounding technique, as well. By stroke 50, you’d be surprised at how much more relaxed you are. Like I said, this completely depends on your pet’s personality. Don’t try this if your pet is not tolerant of a lot of attention because you may end up with more anxiety than you bargained for! In the case of a less than tolerant pet, play with your pet. Not only will it lift your spirits, but your pet will appreciate the attention, too.

After I finally got the mess cleaned up and a load of laundry started as a result (it really was a mess!), I realized the extra activity first thing upon waking left me feeling restless and, for obvious reasons, irritable. Long story short, I decided to exercise for 30 minutes, no particular routine. I just got up and moved, starting with a few stretches, jogging in place, and finally just silly dancing! 

Technique #1: Exercise 

I’ll be the first to admit that, especially during winter, I don’t get enough exercise. I definitely feel it, too. Our bodies depend on movement to keep them functioning well. If you don’t believe me, check out what the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) has to say about the benefits of getting enough exercise: 

Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects. [Source: Physical Activity Reduces Stress]

And it is for this reason (sheer importance) that I chose exercise as the first technique I wanted to mention for combating depression and anxiety. That 30 minutes of exercise this afternoon was enough to lift my spirits so that I could write my first of, hopefully, many mental health posts, rather than another mental illness post. This is also a reminder to myself to take my own advice. I know how much better I feel when I get exercise, but why is it so hard to do the things we know help? If you’re not physically capable of aerobic exercise (please, consult a physician before beginning something new that you’re not used to), even low impact yoga can be helpful. And if all else fails, like Ellen says, “Just DANCE!”

My Exercise Play-list: Dance Like Nobody’s Watchin’

My Story – Part 6 (Trying to Survive)

Continued from My Story – Part 5 (The Aftermath)

In glancing back over my old journals, I realized I may have my timeline a little confused in my mind. I rely on my journals to keep my memory in check because I wrote honestly and directly about the things that were going on at the time of each entry. Time has a funny way of distorting memories even for the most sane among us. When a person’s mind fragments in the way that mine always seems to during difficult times (this is very hard for me to explain, as I don’t even understand it), it makes life feel a lot more chaotic, leaving me to question reality and struggling to understand what feels like misplaced emotions. My emotions are very detached from my story because I simply compartmentalize emotions differently than memories. In my journals, however, the memories and the emotions are written together, in black and white, often times very raw with brutal intensity.

The particular journal I’m reviewing for this time period (the end of 2002 through 2004) is strange because the entries seem to lack any consistent order; and the entries are sporadic, at best. However, by November 2002, I had moved in with my boyfriend at the time, P.I., while struggling to attend classes at APSU. I dropped a couple of those classes early on in that semester. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I began missing classes and getting further and further behind in my school work. By the middle of November, I quit going to classes altogether which resulted in receiving an “F” in each one. Ten or so classes away from my Bachelor’s Degree in graphic design, I dropped out completely. I fear the debt that I incurred as a result of my mistake in going back to college will follow me to the grave. When I left college, I was a little over $20,000 in debt just on student loans. Even after making payments on these loans for much of the last 11 years, I still owe right at $23,000. I still struggle to understand how this is possible.

Sometime in September, I quit working at the beer bar where I had been working since May, following several instances of sexual harassment from bar patrons. One of these instances, I wrote about in my journal on August 11, 2002 (again, the day before my birthday):

I am getting so tired of working at the bar. Tonight Corona Bob pinned me up against the sink while I was washing dishes. He kept touching me and feeling me up. I got away from him and called [the owner of the bar] to close up early. Later, he did it again and I lost my temper after telling him to stop several times.

Unfortunately, this was a common occurrence while I worked there. Several different men who frequented the bar made similar advances. My guess is that this is fairly “typical” behavior in environments like these and even considered part of the job description. However, that does not make it okay (men, for God’s sake, look but don’t touch!!!). At the time, I really didn’t connect these experiences to triggers of PTSD, having very little knowledge of the condition (re-reading my journals, now, makes me realize that I was experiencing many of the symptoms of PTSD). In 2002, I was still in denial about having been raped in 1998. I blamed myself not only for the rapes, but also for these unwanted advances. I thought I deserved to be treated badly, confirmation that I was nothing more than an object. Looking back now, I can see why I was struggling so much to maintain my sanity and concentrate on college classes.

After dropping out of college that second time in 2002, the depression and anxiety continued to worsen. I became mostly nonfunctional through the remainder of the year. My therapist added either Schizoaffective Disorder or Schizotypal Personality Disorder. I just know I heard of both at different points in therapy with one of the two being added around this time. By this point, I wasn’t really keeping track of labels anymore because they changed so frequently. My psychiatrist continued to up the dosages of my medications and add more. At this point, I was taking a cocktail of Abilify, Effexor, Seroquel, and Lexapro. I found myself constantly exhausted with living, my mind in a hazy fog. I didn’t have the motivation to do anything, let alone find another job. I was also feeling extremely suicidal at the time, as expressed in a poem I wrote in my journal on November 12, 2002:

I pray that when I close my eyes,
Sleep will come and break the ties
To all earthly things that hold me here
And all the people I find so dear.
Never let me wake again.
Let my soul find freedom then.
Take me away from all the pain.
Give me peace, and break the chain.

By January 2003, my boyfriend, P.I. placed so much pressure on me to find a job that I ended up going back to work at the beer bar because I could find nothing else. This job was even worse the second time around. The sexual harassment from bar patrons escalated into my becoming very promiscuous again. As I completely lost the will to live due to the extreme situations I often found myself in, I gave-in to the pressures that surrounded me at this bar. Much of this time is lost with no memory, while other parts come back in frightening flashes. No journal entries exist, either. I completely stopped writing in my journal from June 2003 through December 2004. Because of the things I was doing to myself (self-harming through drugs and alcohol, starving myself, and promiscuity – even though I was in a relationship with P.I.), I knew that my lifestyle prevented me from having a relationship with my son. I had given up hope. I struggled through life the best way I could, the only way I knew how. Marijuana was my drug of choice, and I never had to pay for it because the patrons of the bar so often left it as a tip. I’m ashamed to admit that I also tried cocaine, crack, ecstasy, and snorting prescription drugs – each briefly, for the experience, hoping one would kill me. I self-medicated right alongside my alcoholic boyfriend almost the entire time we were together. (To be clear, I have absolutely nothing against marijuana. Honestly, I feel that it is far safer than prescription drugs and alcohol, and far more useful. The abuse of drugs and alcohol is in the mindset of the person using these substances in order to escape reality. And during this time period of my life, I was using anything I could get my hands on to escape reality.)

Then, on April 14th, 2004, my dad died from complications with diabetes. He had been on dialysis for many years, and his body finally gave out. P.I. and I were there at the hospital with him when he died. Everyone else had gone home for the night. I, honestly, did not realize how much my father’s death affected me until years later. His death truly devastated me. My dad always seemed to be the only person in my family who really understood me. We never really needed words because it only took a look to understand what the other was thinking or feeling. Daddy’s funeral was one of the few times that I actually got to see my son. In the years leading up to my father’s death, things between my sister and I became particularly strained. She blamed me for not helping her deal with Mom and Dad and their health issues. I had so much going on in my life (much of which I was too ashamed to even acknowledge); and I lived 5 hours away. Much of that time, I didn’t even own a reliable car, let alone being able to take time off from school and work. I know she became overwhelmed with caring for our parents, but I also couldn’t drop everything to go home every time she called. I did go home whenever I could manage it and when things became serious with Daddy, but I couldn’t go every time.

In May 2004, I quit working at the beer bar after a night of drunken brawls and an out of control crowd tested the strength of my courage. Life working at that beer bar became way too intense. I hated that job, more than any other I’ve ever had. It left me with far more emotional scars than I care to admit. The owner of the bar was furious with me for quitting (as was P.I.), threatening to report my under-the-table status to the district attorney who was handling my ex-husband’s child support case. I didn’t care anymore. I just knew I had to get away from the drugs and alcohol and sexual abuse that I was enduring while employed there.

The relationship with P.I. became increasingly unpredictable over the next few months, especially after his parents moved in with us. As he drank more and more, his words cut like knives. Our household became extremely chaotic. I began the disability process for the first time at some point in 2004 with his mother’s encouragement. I was denied later that same year. P.I. grew impatient with me, continuing to pressure me about finding a job. I felt I had no choice but to find work again; no one else would take care of me, despite my instability. The first job lasted no more than 3 days. The second attempt was not much better. I went back to work at Wal-Mart, only lasting two weeks. The stress of working with the public was too much. That evening when he found out I quit, P.I. was furious with me, scolding me like a small child. This scolding was reiterated the next night in a second round of beratements, pushing me over the edge when he basically told me to “get out.”

In an act of complete desperation (as is common in those of us diagnosed with BPD when faced with abandonment), I attempted suicide again (Suicide attempt #4 – overdose – and Hospitalization #6). The suicidal thoughts had been constant for the majority of 2002 through 2004. That’s a long time to feel suicidal. It’s difficult to explain the depth of despair and hopelessness that one feels at the moment of a suicide attempt, but this is the best description I have ever written of what I was feeling at the time:

Cold darkness fills my soul as death creeps closer to my inner being. Scratching, tearing, ripping away at the small amount of esteem that exists at my core. Swallowed by darkness, I feel ever so close to death’s grips, falling deeper, deeper into a hole of nothingness called Hell. The farther I fall, the less connection I have to this reality known as life. Life falls away as easily as leaves fall away from dying trees in autumn. Only, there is no hope of rebirth during spring. Mythical creatures loom in the darkness away from my sight, waiting patiently for the call of death’s screams. No light can be seen in this ominous abode, this destructive cavern of Hell’s inferno. Agony awaits my soul’s defeat. Perdition, the abyss of darkness, looms over me ready to devour my spirit. What affliction possesses me and won’t dismiss my pitiful essence to be free? Suicide is its name. Depression is the affliction. Death, the outcome of years of struggling to free myself from that spiraling hole that swallows me like quick sand. No hope left, I give in….

I think I’ll stop at this point today and continue my story in another post as this one has already reached over to 2000 words. I almost hope that no one reads this part of my story because it is very depressing, and I’m sorry for that. Unfortunately, suicidal ideation is part of my battle; and my story would not be complete without addressing it in this way.

To be continued….

Wait It Out, Wait It Out

I almost gave up on trying to write a post for today. I woke up frustrated today. I’m not really sure why, but frustrated I am. Trying to no avail to change my mood, to change my thoughts, made no difference. Negativity is not so easily persuaded away as most would have you think. Finally, I gave in, listening to the chatter that so endlessly runs through my mind. I can’t remember what it was all about. Just another blank, so often is the case.

Around 2:00 pm I decided to distract myself with reading blogs. I’m trying to make my way through the Blog For Mental Health 2014 Blogroll, 10 at a time. At this rate it will take me weeks to get through all the blogs, but I’m impressed by the number of people participating. I’m enjoying reading the posts. Hmm, “enjoying” isn’t the right word. Some of the stories shared are sad and full of life’s struggles. I can relate, nonetheless. I wish I was more social to make myself comment on each and every one. Some days, the words just are not there. Communication with others is proving to be a real challenge.

Around 3:30 pm I realized I needed to run out for cigarettes. Don’t judge. Yes, I know it’s a terribly expensive, bad habit. Yes, I know they’ll end up killing me. Call it a passive suicide because that’s how I justify it in my mind. Remember, I never said I was a rational person because I’m not. Anyway, I had to thaw out my car before I could go. It took longer to get the ice off and warm the car up than it did to run to the smoke shop that’s closest to home.

When I got home, as I walked through the front door, I almost got nailed in the head by the rotting door frame that, at that moment, finally decided to fall down! I ended up pulling the top piece off completely because the wood was simply too far gone to be saved. The screen door won’t stay latched anymore which is the main reason for the rotting door frame to crack to smithereens in the first place. It’s flapped in the wind for more than a week, now, slamming into the side of the house. Each time, I jump, startled by the loud bang. For some reason, now, the placement of the latch looked to be about an inch too high, not to mention the rotting wood simply wouldn’t hold it in place. The screws kept falling out. I tried to repair the latch by moving it down slightly, but that proved to be more than I could handle because I’m not strong enough to make the new holes and get the screws in! I got so frustrated that I slammed the door shut in a rage and gave up.

My rage turned inward.

Rather than cursing this decrepit, old trailer, I cursed myself for being so weak, so easily defeated by life. Worthlessness, despair, hopelessness washed over me in waves of contempt. (The voice of compassion whispered, “Wait it out, wait it out.“) Endless questions filled my mind – how can things get any better? (The voice of rage screamed, “Kill yourself!“) Frightened, I opened the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s website. (Voices quickly protested, “NO!” Another, “They’ll lock you up!” “They can’t help you.” “No one can help you.” Still, compassion whispered, “Wait it out, wait it out.“) I stared at the webpage, at the phone number, tears falling. (Rage losing steam. Despair coaxing. Compassion waiting patiently whispered, “You’re okay.” Everything goes quiet. Numbness takes over.) I write to record. (This took me over 2 hours to write out.)

Sometimes, I really feel like I’m losing my mind….

And I’m still avoiding the questions asked of my therapist.

Why am I struggling so much to answer these? They’re pretty straight forward, to the point questions; but I find myself ruminating on the dilemma of life and death. The question of whether or not I have the “will to live” is still bothering me, let alone the questions my therapist actually asked.

Rollin’ With Life’s Punches

I’m short on words tonight (and presence of mind). I feel drained of all my energy. I’ve spent the majority of my evening contemplating the questions my therapist gave me at the end of our session today. And by the way, his reasons for not answering my email made a lot of sense. He reassured me that he has no problem with receiving emails from me, but part of his job is pushing me out of my comfort zone by actually getting me to “talk” about what I’ve written. The entire session was spent discussing the email and “stuff” relating to why I feel the way I do. The questions he left me with today are:

“How do I ‘feed’ my will to live? Or the desire to be happy? Or the good in my relationship?”

I still haven’t come up with answers for these questions yet, even after thinking about them for several hours and basically, arguing with myself for much of that time. I’ve realized that I keep getting hung-up on the word “feed.” Maybe, I should change the word to nurture, instead. “Feed” makes me think of “food” which makes me extremely anxious and completely unable to consider the question of living. Rather, the wording sends in me into that all-to-familiar death spiral, reacting not only to my thoughts and fears about food but also my thoughts and fears about living. I know, irrational. On second thought, it could be the perfect word to use for the exact same reason. Following that train of thought makes me recognize that my stomach is growling profusely and leads me to question why these fears exist in the first place that prevent me from nurturing myself in the most basic survival instinct – to eat food (I almost typed “extinct,” Freudian slip?).

Now, I find myself questioning, what is the “will to live“? According to Wikipedia, which, oddly enough, has an entry titled Will to live, it is “a psychological force to fight for survival seen as an important and active process of conscious and unconscious reasoning.” What if I don’t have the will to live? That small part that I feel does have the will to live can easily be reasoned out of wanting to put forth the effort. Maybe, that just makes me lazy (or crazy). Ugh, before this turns into a mind dump of pure negativity, I think I will halt right there and find something more positive to do, like play the piano or listen to music. Lenka has some really fun, upbeat music that totally gets stuck in my head; so I’ll leave you with one of my favorite songs by her, Roll with the Punches. Enjoy!

Gunshots, Sirens, and Panic

It’s been a very disturbing morning. After only 3 and a half hours of sleep, I awoke to sound of a very loud gunshot blast at 5:30 am this morning. It sounded as close as our driveway, right outside our bedroom. Immediately startled and panicked, I sat up in bed, hearing my boyfriend (KR) in the other room on the phone with 911 reporting the sound of gunfire. After he got off the phone, he told me not to turn on any lights because he had heard arguing right outside our house. Frightened when I also heard voices through the walls of our bedroom, I jumped out of bed, running to be with KR. Seriously, our walls are so thin, that had a shot come through, I feared getting hit (look at that, still a little self-preservation left, after all). Somehow, I worked up the nerve to make my way through the darkened house to my normal hiding spot where I can peek out a window without being seen. Right outside, not 10 – 15 feet from our back porch, two men were standing, until they heard the police sirens, not even a few seconds later. They bolted at that point, running to the east of us. I didn’t have my glasses on, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to ID them. And it was very dark and just a brief glimpse. I know one was white, but the other was in the shadows.

After I told KR they had taken off running, he insisted on going outside to search our property to see if they discarded the gun. I told him he was nuts and should wait on the police to come down here; but of course, he wouldn’t listen. He took a flashlight and headed out. After waiting an hour for him to return, I had worked myself up into a panic, pacing the hallway. Full-blown panic attack!

He finally returned an hour and a half later and told me the story that led up to the shooting as it was told to him by the victims of the assault. No one was shot, thankfully. The family had gone out for the night to a local pub where a group of men had harassed them and tried to steal one of their cell phones. The family decided to leave the pub at that point and come back home. They were followed by this group of men! That group of men, then, broke out windows of a lot of the cars parked in the townhouse parking area (not just theirs, but other tenants, as well), busted windows of the townhouse, broke down their door, proceeded to rob them at gunpoint, and finally, fired a few shots as they were fleeing the scene! The victims said it was an assault rifle of some sort. KR said he heard 5 shots; the neighbors said 3 shots; I heard only the one that woke me up. I swear, it sounded like that shot came from our drive-way, though, because it sounded so close. It’s unclear to me how the police apprehended 3 of these men or if there were only 3 men total or if the 3 men arrested included the 2 that I saw in our yard; but as far as I know, that weapon was not found. Neither were the shell casings. Also, it’s unclear if this assault was racially motivated due to the family being from Saudi Arabia and Muslim. It is the south and, unfortunately, things like that still have to be taken into consideration here.

I can only imagine the intense terror that this family felt – is still feeling, more than likely. Nothing warrants an assault like that, absolutely nothing!

It took me the better part of 3 hours (from the time I awoke) to calm down my own panicking mind and get the panic attack under control; and I didn’t even witness any of this. This is rural-fucking-TN, not downtown Detroit! Please, forgive the language because no other word could possibly express the anger, disgust, and sheer frustration I feel right now. If I wanted to hear gunshots at 5:30 am, I would have stayed in Nashville, TN, rather than moving out of the city to a very rural community.

Sometimes, I really hate this world….

Like KR said, “Whatever happened to the days when if you had a dispute with someone, you took it out to the parking lot and fought it out like men?”

Needless to say, I’m not going to get anymore sleep today. I really don’t think 45 minutes is going to be long enough to tell my therapist everything that has happened over the last 4 weeks since my last visit. Respite care is looking a lot more inviting at this point!

A Day In My Life

The appointment yesterday with the disability consultant went well despite my anxieties. She managed to accomplish in less than an hour what took me a full 3 days to work out the first time around. This time around it was basically a matter explaining how my symptoms have worsened since the first denial. In another 3 – 6 months, I should hear something, whether it’s another denial (which in the state of TN is almost guaranteed) or it’s approved. For anyone who has never filled out a Function Report for Social Security, let me just say, it brings up all these doubts and insecurities that make me question pretty much everything about my life. Do I really deserve to receive SSD? Why can’t I just make myself work a job like everyone else? Am I simply being lazy, stubborn, or otherwise unjustified in filing my claim? So many people have much worse disabilities – lost limbs, lost eyesight or hearing, developmental problems, etc.; yet many of these people work. Why do I feel incapable of working? These questions always leave me feeling worthless and less than human – like I don’t even deserve to live, much less receive money for simply existing. These feelings, questions, doubts, and insecurities began during the review process in January 2012 after I had already received SSD for 5 years. Dealing with them for the last 2 years has worn me out, stolen my hope.

In order to cope yesterday, I cleaned my house, not just any cleaning, but a thorough cleaning, like the beginnings of spring cleaning. I’m obsessive about having a clean house. I hate clutter. I despise filth. But I also hate cleaning, and it’s been a couple of months since the house had a decent sterilization. I cleaned myself into sheer exhaustion. The pet hair was insane! I had to empty the vacuum cleaner twice. I laundered all the blankets, pet bedding, and separation curtains (we don’t have doors on any of the rooms in this house other than the computer room and bathroom). Unfortunately, it’s rather difficult to mop the floors in this trailer because all of the tiles are breaking up. The kitchen floor is horrendous! Daily sweeping takes forever, and I’ve ruined more pairs of socks than I can count due to the broken tiles slicing holes in them. It’s even worse without socks. I’ve actually cut my feet on this floor. Maybe, it’s the fact that this house is falling apart that I feel I can’t get it clean enough or the ants crawling all over everything that we can’t get under control. It’s depressing to live in something comparable to a shack. Enough about that, though. We should have moved when we had the money; and now that we don’t, I don’t see a move anytime soon. No sense in complaining about it.

Today, my case manager visited. Apparently, my therapist did receive my email that I spoke about in The Coin Toss; and he let my case manager read it. I was embarrassed. I told her that I wished I hadn’t sent it, really wished I had not sent it, that I felt stupid for the things I wrote. She tried to assure me that it was a good thing that I sent it because I needed to be honest about how I am feeling with them. Honesty is hard when I’m struggling to trust others and struggling to find purpose to hold onto. They’re concerned. Great, so am I. Now that we’ve gotten the concerned part out-of-the-way, what do I do about it? How do I cope with these feelings that wash over me in waves, causing me to feel like I’m drowning? She asked if I had given any more thought to the respite care thing. I said I would consider it, but that I was worried that they would force medication on me.

There has to be a better solution than medicating problems away. To me, psychiatric drugs are no better than street drugs or alcohol. Maybe, they help some people; but they never helped me, not in the entire 13 years I was on them. I don’t like the impulsiveness that they create in me. I don’t like the way they deaden my emotions. I want to feel my emotions, even if those emotions cause my life to feel threatened. I don’t like how they steal my creativity. I don’t like the way life feels foggy, like I’m seeing everything through a thick dense fog. Medication is not the answer; and my greatest fear, which was the fear that kept me out of therapy for so many years, is that I have to choose between having a creative life or a sane life. I really can’t stress my fear of medication and doctors, in general, enough. A small part of me knows that this is irrational; but I have to consider the possibility that even an irrational fear may have some truth to it.

I have an appointment with my therapist on Monday. At least, we’ll have the email I sent to talk about. I’m kind of dreading this appointment because I just remembered that I haven’t seen my therapist since before New Year’s Eve. He’ll probably want to discuss New Year’s Eve, too.

Go To Bed, Already!

So many things are weighing heavy on my mind….

I finally got out of the house today – the first time I’ve been out since January 1st. I had to get groceries. We were out of everything. I stopped by Wal-Mart first to get the non-food items. I went around 11:00 am; yet it was so crowded in there! Maybe, it was a lunch rush or something. Or maybe, it’s because the weather is predicting snow tonight. Who knows? I waited longer in line than it took me to find all the items I went in for. Usually, I avoid Wal-Mart like the plague.

After that, I made the spontaneous decision to go for a walk at my favorite local park because the weather was simply beautiful. I wasn’t expecting it to be so warm today with a forecast of snow. I walked just over a mile and a half. The sunshine felt wonderful. The fresh air and exercise raised my spirits, as it always does. Nature is a powerful healer. During warmer weather in spring, summer, and fall, I try to get out for a walk at least once per week. This doesn’t always happen; but it’s a goal to work towards, nonetheless. In winter it’s a lot harder for me. I get cold so easily, and the cold is physically painful. Even today, the tops of my ears went numb by about the half-way point.

Then, I went to the grocery store and finished my shopping. By the time I got back home, I was exhausted; and I still had to carry all the groceries in and put them away. I haven’t slept yet today. I’ve been up since 9:30 pm last night, so a little over 21 hours, now. My sleeping schedule is completely screwed up at this point. I don’t know why I do this to myself.

After getting the groceries put away, I sat down to relax for a few minutes. Shortly thereafter, our landlord called, saying he found us another stove for the kitchen. Our oven hasn’t worked since Thanksgiving. Only one of the 4 stove eyes worked with some consistency, while the others seemed to have only one setting – high. He said he was on his way over with it. As he’s bringing in this “new” stove, he tells me that the large stove eye doesn’t work. Really?! He said he would switch it out with the old one to see if that solved the problem. After he did this, plugged it in, and turned that eye one, blue sparks shot out of the back of the stove! He told me not to use that stove eye (ya think?). He said he would try to bring a replacement eye over tomorrow to see if he could fix it.

Now, I have all these worries going through my mind of an electrical fire. Great! We don’t even have smoke detectors in here!

After he left, I realized I needed to do a load of laundry because, seriously, I only have two pairs of pants that fit me properly (that I will wear out in public); and both are in the laundry. The jeans I wore today were so uncomfortable that I would rather be tarred and feathered than wear them again. I have an appointment early tomorrow morning with my disability consultant to fill out some paperwork, so I need one of those pairs of pants clean. They’re in the washing machine, now, which is why I am sitting here venting rather than curled up in my bed, under my warm comforter sleeping.

And this paperwork is stressing me out. I’ve been such an emotional basket case lately that I couldn’t concentrate to fill it out; so I had to call the disability consultant to ask for assistance. Thankfully, I have someone to help because I just can’t think straight anymore. My mind is a cluttered mess.

Of course, it really doesn’t help anything that I haven’t even eaten anything since last night, either. I really do need to get my eating back under control because food issues certainly contribute to the lack of concentration, anxiety, and mood swings. I know this. Again, why do I do this to myself? I’m my own worst enemy.

And I really need to get this house cleaned before my appointment with my case manager on Thursday. It’s a mess. Hopefully, I can get that done tomorrow after my appointment because I’m simply too tired to do anything else tonight. I need to go to bed.

Maybe, I should unplug the stove.