Get shrunk

Time to get shrunk.

Yeah, Dr. T…doing fine. No more crying first thing in the morning. Concentrating on the production. My Dutch is for shit because all I’m doing is thinking about the play, which is in English. But having loads of fun. Taking my meds. Need a bit more exercise, but other than that…can’t complain.

Boom. Five minutes, mic drop, walk out. It’s really all I need.

The director managed to call a read thru without me nagging him. Looking like it’ll be Monday. We’ll be missing 2 people, but none of the dates can be made by everyone, so we’ll need to compromise. Again (get used to it, spotty!). Not thrilled that the 2 that will miss Monday are newbies; they’re the most important to get into the group right away. The rest of us have history with each other. I want the newbies involved, connecting, feeling comfortable with everyone.

Not. my. problem.

Ran the bruised look past the director. Don’t know if I fooled him for a second or two; he didn’t say. But I sent it out with the title ‘had a fall’, then followed up with a ‘Shit! Does it look bad?’ and the pic I took. Left the ‘reveal’ it was just make-up ’til the end. He did think it looked pretty realistic, so maybe I caught him out for a moment. 🙂 I hope so.

Fiddled with gaunt and exhausted looks yesterday. Counted; need 3 progressions in the act. Realized a couple of things. First, I can practice on myself but I won’t really know about the other actors until I work with them. We don’t all have the same skin tones, so making notes that I’m using this shade or that on my pale skin is just plain silly. I’ll have to customize the look to each actor. Second, due to the progressive nature of the make-up, the first look won’t be very noticeable. It’s just a bit of shading around the eyes. I can see it in my before and after pics, but I don’t notice it if I just look at the after pic. Figure that’s okay, and I’m probably on the right track. The first signs of exhaustion are subtle.

Decided the easiest thing will probably be to make a few ‘how-to’ vids and post them to the group. Here’s how to do this look, here’s how to do that one. We’ll need one or two practice sessions, too, but that won’t take much. Fifteen extra minutes before or after scene rehearsal should do it.

Thinking, too, on playbills. It’s not something the group has used in the past, and I think that’s a mistake. Give people something to take with them. Give them our names, give them our web links, give them the play info. Even if it ends up in the trash after the performance, it’s an hour or two of them looking at it – and they will look at it. Figuring on a half-sheet of paper. Small, easy to take with you. And cheap to create.

…Yeah, I know. Obsessed, aren’t I? Can’t help it. This is the way my mind works: it runs out in divergent lines, hundreds of them stemming from one bleeding idea. I don’t just get the idea of a story, I get the idea of a production, of special effects, of marketing, of the whole shebang. I think I’d be happy if I came up with a small idea that was limited to one flipping thing. It would be refreshing. Instead, I create an effect. Last time I did this I exhausted myself so much it took me years to recoup. My only limits are money and how much I can fit into one day. Creativity is never limited with me.

Managed to look at my Dutch homework and do the reading and simple Q&A’s. Read thru the needs for the letters, too, but I haven’t begun writing them. Finding it difficult to slow down enough to tackle the language. I’m irritated with it right now because I can’t move at lightening speed and that’s my tempo. BOOM! New idea. Flesh it out, start to finish, in five minutes. Watching tv: WHAM! That’s how I should do that. Think about it, and miss a portion of the program because I’m not paying attention. It’s too fast to slow down. Too much to mull over, decide, work out.

And I don’t want it to stop.

Doesn’t everyone *POP* run around with neurons *POP* firing off at this *POP* speed? Gods, you people are slow!

My computer says: Alert! Alert! Dr. T at 13:45. Yeah, I know (she says as she rolls her second J of the morning).

How do I even begin to communicate this to him?

… … … Sigh, ugh, and groan. An explosive outpouring of irritated confusion. Because I don’t know how to communicate this. I’m used to being cut off, told not to talk about this or that. I’m not used to someone sitting across from me and really being interested in exactly what I’m experiencing.

Trust him, Beeps. Maybe this is nothing. Maybe it’s just normal excitement; you don’t know. If you have to use English, use English. Tell him about the obsessive thoughts. Tell him about tossing and turning while your mind churns. Tell him you can’t concentrate on Dutch right now. This is what he needs to know. – And, bleeding hell, woman! Tell him you don’t want it to stop completely if you don’t want it to stop. We both know you need a bit of this to see the project thru. But we also both know you’re perfectly capable of killing yourself with work, and this is a prime example you’re setting up. You want Dr. T. to visit you in hospital in four months? No? Then talk to him, and take care of yourself.

*sigh* Okay. I’ll get shrunk.

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How crazy is that?

I am not a person with long experience in the mental health game. However, the experiences I have had have been…less than pleasant. Sometimes downright upsetting. Yesterday was the first time I left the office of someone in the mental health care profession feeling hopeful.

Did myself the favor of asking for our session in English. Just didn’t want to struggle so much. Talked about my mother, talked about depression, self esteem. Just light touches, explaining I’ve been reaching a deeper understanding over my mother. Dr T’s laptop went ratta-tat-tat the whole time.

What you’re describing isn’t uncommon. It wasn’t right, but it’s not uncommon.

Felt good to own the words: neglect. Abuse. Felt good to explain myself. I was most happy, though, with Dr T’s focus: now. He’s pleased I’m reaching this new level, but he doesn’t really want to get into the past. He wants me to stop feeling like shit about myself. He wants me to wake up with hope rather than despair in my heart.

My brother said shrinks only put you on the couch and begin to dissect your past when you deny stuff. When you say ‘oh, everything’s great’ or ‘my family was wonderful’. That sure isn’t me.

Apologized, too, for my behavior last session. He said he’d forgotten about it, and he had until I reminded him how angry I was. He assured me (again) it was his fault, and I had every right to voice my dissatisfaction. I agreed, but said it gave me no right to raise my voice or not look at him or get that ugly look on my face – all of which I did. We talked about those angry outbursts. He’s not sure yet if it’s all down to depression or if there’s something else going on. I’m okay with that. He’s watching me closely. That’s all I need to know. And he talked with me at length over the idea that when you get depressed, certain chemicals are released in your brain which then make you feel worse – in other words, it becomes damned difficult to know whether any depression is environmental or physical in nature.

lol. And boy! He’s not like the other guy I saw, who didn’t remember anything about me one session to the next. He was right on the whole playwright thing. There’s lots of positive things going on now in your life. Your play, for instance… Bless him. Bless him for doing his job well, for looking at his notes before talking to me. That felt good, like I mattered. It said my life and my problems were important enough to consider and remember. I was unique, an individual.

Continuing with my meds at the same level. Have another appointment in 5 weeks.

I am ready to get back to life. Will get out for at least a walk today. Maybe I’ll even go to the gym. Want to tidy up around the house. Look at those production notes on the script. Consult with my bro on my friend’s artwork and finally get back to her.

Even my headaches have been easing off…

Boy, it’s good to breathe normally again!

We’ve had rain. Washed all that pollen out of the air. I can smell the freshness. Get up, go! Everything is new again. Pristine. Yesteryear’s memories have dropped to the ground. They have become ash; their only purpose now is to fertilize for new growth. Dance, monkey, dance! Don’t you feel it out there? It’s all crayola colored life, fresh and new. Anything is possible.

Ah, I’m up too late to go dance with Venus. But the feeling is there: I’m joyful.

Still have not settled on any writing. There are several things floating around. Several things I keep coming back to. Once in a while I think I’ve got it, then it moves away from me. I’m letting it go. No real idea what I’m brewing up there, but I’ve a feeling my subconscious is making connections between some of my lesser story lines – intertwining them into a more complex idea. Two things keep coming up for me. One, use of flashbacks. How to portray that kind of shift in time on stage. Two, the perfect opening scene. Complex, not understandable – until you begin with the backstories. What the framework is, I’ve no idea. Murder? Disaster? A party? Beats the hell out of me. That’s why I’m letting it go.

And I’ve one more thing to note. One of those weird and strange things I don’t talk about much. There’s this grove of trees here in Rotterdam. It’s along a public road. It’s a short path; you can see the other side of it. But it’s not right. There’s something not of this world that lives down that grove. I’ve encountered it, and been glad it saw fit to let me pass. Mentioned it to my bro – it just happens to be near the center he goes to for his shrink – and he knew precisely where I was talking about. It’s a creepy little lane. Right. So a few months ago I had occasion to pass by it on a walk. I was startled, because it was cut down. Now, I’m always on the look out for creepy stories. I consider it my forte these days. Having noted the grove and the thing in the grove, I was startled. Figured I might not be the only person to get creeped out down there, so the city cut it down. Good so far, right? Right. Earlier this week, I was back in the area. The grove is back. In full. There is no evidence of anything being cut down to the ground like I saw a few months ago. And it’s not a replanting. Too much wild undergrowth going on. The trees were too big, too full. The moss on the stones was too heavy and thick. I’ve seen city replants, and this wasn’t that. This was the grove. Remade, in exact detail.

Now, how crazy is that?

High Noon

3:15. Some people feel noon is the day’s midpoint. I disagree. Midpoint sits at 3:15 (afternoon or early morning, doesn’t matter; it’s always midpoint of the day or night). I think it’s because of all those years of waking up precisely at 3:15 a.m. What was it? 10 years? More? As a kid, I was convinced it was because 3:15 a.m. would be my time of death. I still could be right.

Today’s 3:15 is p.m., which rarely gives me the kind of problem that its a.m. partner does. However, this 3:15 revolves around my appointment with Dr. T. I would prefer to see him in the morning. I prefer to do most everything in the mornings; my head is clearer and I’m far less tired. But I’ll deal. The day promises to be warm and pleasant, so I plan on taking my time and walking over there. I’d like to shower before I go, but alas! That decision lies on whether or not the building has hot water more than my mood.

Culled thru my own writing, made notes. Sleep issues, sweaty hands, upset tummy, performances, ups and downs. I’m clear, and won’t make the mistake of saying everything’s okay just because I slept decently last night or the majority of my immediate stressors are done with for now. I do that. How are you? I answer in the moment: Fine. Okay. Well. The better question would be: How have you been since I last saw you? That would prompt the correct response in me. But if I nitpick over such things, I’m told I’m being too literal. I’ve learned, through time, to just jump ahead and interpret what people say to me rather than listen to their actual words. But then that gets me into trouble, too. I didn’t mean that or You’re twisting my meaning is said, and once again I am wrong. Why am I the problem here? Aren’t I responding correctly, and it’s all you poor communicators who are lacking in this situation?

Geez Louise!

My bro had band practice last night, so I was left alone for the evening. Ran DVDs on the tv and watched YouTube vids at the same time. Had to; doing only one of those two things wasn’t enough to keep me settled. Both at the same time kept me occupied. Slowed myself down enough to go and read for an hour before sleep.

Mild headaches lately, but it’s Spring. Allergy season. I’m not shocked nor surprised. And my head’s been stuffed up.

I’ve given up on trying to control my food habits. I used to be very regimented: oatmeal every day, right after or with my coffee. Felt pretty self-righteous about that, knowing the health benefits. Now…I haven’t had oatmeal for months. Can’t stand the stuff. Even thinking about it makes my stomach clench. And I find I do not want breakfast food for breakfast. My body craves savory food first thing. I’ve taken to eating rice and Greek tomato sauce with feta and olives. It’s so much better on my stomach! Everything about it is better for me right now. It isn’t ’til around 8 p.m. that I crave breakfast cereal. Then I have a big bowl, watching tv, crunching away and drinking up the excess milk. Cannot get my dad out of my head, who noted this food behavior in me as a young woman (I did it throughout my 20s, flipping around breakfast and dinner meals). He, of course, complained about it. I’m just going with it, and the father in my head be damned. It is my control, my freedom, my body – and this is what it wants. My body knows what it needs; the first time I came down with shingles, I craved licorice – a natural healer.

…Not sure if the last few weeks have been a good test ground for this medication. I’ve had lots of excitement. Been wound up over the good things that have happened. On the other hand, it’s the good things that get me into trouble. I’m used to being dumped on. I’m used to hating myself. I’m used to all that negativity. I know how to handle it. Be nice to me, give me a compliment, and watch me fritz out. It’s my weakness, and it’s what I need to work on. So maybe, all in all, it’s not a bad thing. Here it is, and this is small! I’ll be in up mode all year long with the production. Yep. This is it, Dr. T. And I’m doing everything I can to keep a lid on it. Sleep problems. Sweaty hands. Headaches. Strung out feelings. Weird dreams. Anger. Circular, repetitive thoughts. Grandiose ideas. It’s all there, under wraps. I learned long ago to not talk about these things. I was cut to the carpet every time I did: you’re being overly dramatic, everyone feels like that, just stop thinking about it, you’re lying, you’re crazy, you have no idea what you’re talking about, you think you’re so special but you’re not! Now, that’s a list I should translate and give to Dr. T. Title it Things my Family Told Me.

*sigh* So much of what I’d like to say I can’t. My Dutch isn’t there, and I can only look up so much ahead of time.

I’m apprehensive about today. Nervous. Nervous about being misunderstood. Nervous about misunderstanding. Fuck. Not helping.

Fine. Walk in there with a page of translated material from Google. Hand it to him. Tell him my brain isn’t working well, and Dutch is difficult for me right now. Give him the physical notes. Make it as easy on myself to communicate what I feel I must.

For the world, it will just be ‘afternoon’.

For me: high noon.

No one can tell I’m crying when I walk in the rain

It’s 5 a.m. and no huge surprise that I can’t sleep.

In less than 5 hours I’m meeting someone who will probably be a part of my medical team for many years to come. The only way I’ve been able to look at it is that it’s like my RA. It’s incurable, I’ll never be able to stop treating it, never be able to stop seeing doctors about it, and I’ll just have to live with it and all the new complications it brings.

Keep thinking about people. The Dutch just don’t lose it like Americans, so it’s been a while since I’ve been treated to a public display that makes me think ‘wow, they let you loose from that straitjacket a little early’, but I see it all the time on tv. How do they let these people walk around? Why hasn’t it been universally recognized that they’ve got some real issues going and it would better to just deal with them? But, no. The absurd is commonplace now. This unhinged behavior has now come under the mantle of ‘free speech’ and allows everything from outright hate, bigotry and chauvinism to total narcissism. We feed the id, stuffing it with everything possible in order to avoid thinking about how fucking miserable we all are and how shitty life really is. I realize the only difference between them and me is that I recognize I’m miserable, but then, I’ve been asking for a lobotomy in one manner or another since I was 10.

Maybe that’s all mental un-health is. Recognizing how miserable you are. It sure doesn’t hang off of actual behavior unless you go on some killing spree. It sure doesn’t go off social ‘norms’ because they’re always changing and the people who don’t adhere to them aren’t just carted away. There’s no mentally healthy person on this planet to point to as an example. Even the doctor I’m going to see this morning has his issues and problems. He probably sees a shrink on his own; usually, that’s part of the job. Gods, please don’t let him be a closet chauvinist! I just can’t deal with that right now.

Right. So…imagine him in his underwear. Or sitting on the toilet. No one can be intimidating with their pants around their ankles. He’s just a person, with his own problems and issues. He’s been trained to communicate well, but he’s just a person, and people fuck up. Try to remember that. Today is no big deal. A meet ‘n greet. He’s got to get to know you, and you’ve got to get to know him. Don’t unload like a dump truck the moment the door closes. You acknowledge this is going to be long term, so act accordingly.

It’s okay to be cautious.

Another headache, or the same one that never really went away. Don’t know nor care. Just an observation. Same with my continued gut problem, tho that, I’m happy to say, is getting better.

Came to this morning, tossed and turned. Found my bed a mess: covers half off, pillows scrunched up or on the floor. I am aware my nights have been very hectic. Sleep is where I seem to confront my big stuff, and that’s the real problem. I’m not getting proper rest, I’m hurting myself, and I don’t seem to be working thru it. Didn’t help that as I lay there, tears came to my eyes and spilled down my cheeks. First. thing. in. the morning. That happens so often to me… I hate it. I know I must get up; continuing to lay there just makes things worse. But then I’m up in the middle of the night, which does nothing to help me feel rested.

…Felt bolstered to get a positive comment on a FB post about my upcoming performance. It came from the producer of a film I worked on, which doubles its weight in my mind. Wow. Yeah. I’ve done films. Plural. Keep that in mind. The comment was to my acting, which strokes my ego just so fine today. Yes, thank you. Thank you for the acknowledgement. I feel I don’t get enough of that in my life, so THANK YOU! for telling me you think I act well. Don’t feel quite comfortable saying ‘I’m a good actress’. Not this morning. But I’m comfortable enough acknowledging someone else’s opinion of my work. It’s a bit of yeah, not everybody thinks I’m shit feeling.

*sigh* I’m all over the place, aren’t I? I’m not even addressing the crying this morning other than noting it. What can I say? That it’s just become a fact of life for me? It’s not an every day occurrence, but it happens often enough that I’m not surprised by it. Maybe that’s what happens when you ignore it, tho. Your body ups the anti to get your attention.

Which is where I currently find myself.

Good Goddess, someone read this and learn from my mistakes because it sure as hell seems like I didn’t!

…Once in a while I ponder the idea that I’m leaving my own legacy behind. As an adherent to the idea of reincarnation, I like to imagine that someday I’ll stumble across my own words, my own work, and find myself again. I’ve run across things that make me hum. Totally, head to toe, vibrate with a deep…a deep what? Longing? Love? Something between the two? It resonates with me, and makes me feel like I’ve found a long-missed piece of a jigsaw puzzle I’m putting together. That’s the best way I can put it.

…I’m not real good at accepting help. I know that. People…tend to confuse me. I often do better if I’m just left alone to suss it out by myself. I do need to learn how to ask for help, tho. Especially when I need it. And I need it now. Not begrudging help, doled out with marks on a chalkboard adding up how much I owe in return. Not weak help, like a slimy fish handed to you that’s still alive and immediately slips out of your fingers. I need help like I’ve rarely received it before, and I need to let myself be helped.

….It’s raining. Well. There’s one good thing.

No one can tell I’m crying when I walk in the rain.

Figure it out

R-ring! Ring!

My phone doesn’t ring often. So I was more than surprised to hear it ring yesterday at 8:16 a.m. Ran down the hall to my room, pulled it off the charger, picked it up.

Wall of Dutch. Again. I’ll give myself credit; I’m starting to get used to so much Dutch when I answer the phone. I’ll give myself another pat on the back because I didn’t freak out. Just listened until I heard some words I recognized. Ah! You’re calling from my doctor’s office. Naturally. I’d just finished touting the fact I’d made that appointment. What’s that? You need to change the appointment? Of course you do; what was I thinking? Didn’t say all that, but it is what went through my mind. Managed to change the appointment to Monday morning without using English.

Tackled my language homework in the late morning. The printed exercises were fairly easy, and I got through them in about an hour. Then, I began writing. Our essay assignment this week is to describe where we live. …Can I just say ‘Wow’? For a couple of reasons. One, I could tell immediately my Dutch reading has had an effect. My sentences were stronger right from the start. Fuller. Longer, even. Second, I couldn’t stop writing. Didn’t want to. Just kept going and going until my brother came out to make dinner. Oh, it takes me forever. I still have to have two dictionaries and my sheets on prepositions and odd verbs all handy, open, and ready to refer to. But I’m doing it. Six pages of double spaced, hand-written material done and I still haven’t even begun to describe the living room. Next week I might not feel so confident and cocky, but right now I’m flying high. Feels like I’m getting a real grip on Dutch. I hope so.

Slept like the dead. Really whacked myself out; down for 10 hours. Or maybe I’m finally slowing down enough to feel how low I let my body get. Still tired, and I may end up napping today. Oh! Napping! The word makes me shiver with anticipation. To sweetly fall asleep, gently moving into that netherworld… Well, that idea now has me excited enough that I might not be able to do it.

Things I gotta do today: nothin’. Things I wanna do today: sit in my big chair, under my warm cozy blanket, and read my book until I fall asleep. I’ve been reliving my childhood. Mouth guard at night to remind me sharply of my retainer at 13. Little to no appetite for anything that’s not sugar based. I even – and Goddess, I shouldn’t have said anything! – broke out with a pimple. 52 and I have a bleeding pimple on my chin. You couldn’t trigger me more if you’d designed a box with everything that set me off and put me in it. This is such a body experience. My head knows what’s going on, but my body just keeps responding with that jerked knee. If I have to, I’ll take myself out of the game entirely until this blows over. Zero human contact, no leaving the house. Don’t feel I’m there (yet), but I’m keeping it in mind. It’s my safety blanket (and my safety blanket is a light, soft blue…warm cotton with one of those faux satin trimmings).

Teaching myself to think one step beyond. Not one thousand steps; not so high on the pinnacle it’s dizzying. Nope. One step beyond. Anxious about the appointment with my doc? Think about my next language lesson, just a few short hours beyond the appointment. Worried about the script read through? Think about the day after, and heading back to the gym. Trying to get my thoughts unstuck without sending myself into orbit. It’s a different manner of approaching this, and thus far, it’s helping. I feel a bit more balanced, a bit more continuous in time rather than so up and down or in and out.

Went to physio for my jaw. A nice woman. She asked what I hoped to get out of physio. Obvious to me she’s had some patients who think she can end the pain entirely. I’ve had too much physio to think one treatment will ever cure me of anything. Told her I’m looking for some exercises, something that might help the pain when it does strike or prevent me from doing it in the first place. She nodded, thinking. Who first thought you might have TMJ? she asked me. Me. I diagnosed myself, then went to my GP and dentist. Again, a nod. We chatted away, first in English and then a bit in Dutch. I’ve got some exercises. Pulling on my cheeks, manipulating my tongue, moving and exercising the smaller muscles in the jaw.

Sadly, all that manipulation led to more pain last night. And far more biting, so deep in sleep that I barely remember coming to when I gnashed my teeth or turned over or took off my pj top because I’d sweated through it (obviously, I remember some of it).

*sigh* 13 year old me was a real basket case.

Gonna ignore an awful lot today. Close the curtains because no, I don’t want to see the rest of the world go about their lives while I’m in hibernation. Rest. Feels like that item is always on the menu lately. But my brother keeps telling me I’m still too pale, still not back to my old self.

lol! Now that IS funny. Because I am back to my old self. My 13 year old self. I keep saying it.

And I keep exploring it. I say ‘Okay, have that soda, have that sugary treat. You feel 13, you’re getting triggered…where is this going?’ I wonder where my path will lead me. So eat sugar, if that’s what you want. Read. Nap in the afternoon. Find out what it is that’s driving all this gnashing. You’re here and going through this for a reason.

Figure it out.

I don’t wanna be an orc

Grind, bite, gnash. I feel a bit like an orc out of Tolkien’s LLR. They always talked about biting and gnashing, too. Thank Goddess for the mouth guard. Without it, I’d probably just have nubs this morning where my molars used to sit.

I was as brave as I could be. After posting yesterday, I did the dishes, made my bed, tidied up the house, and prepared to head out for some errands. Made myself stop by the gym first, to pay my monthly dues. Did not stay to exercise; an admonishment from my brother made me double think my wisdom. You still look too pale, he said. And you really haven’t stopped moving. The manager was on duty – a nice guy, who helped me sign up initially. We chatted in Dutch. Felt good to have a simple conversation without reverting to English. Then it was off to the store to pick up some hard to find items for the house.

Had to warm up when I got back home. We’ve got some cold days right now, and with me not eating before two in the afternoon I find myself often very, very cold. Wrapped up under a double blanket, hoodie up, toes tucked under my knees to try and get them a little less icy. As soon as I felt less shivery, I went straight to my computer, signed in online, and made that appointment with my doctor (which is, no doubt, why I’ve been grinding and biting my teeth so much). Friday morning. The completion of dreaded task number one left me trembling. Shaking, actually. Badly. Had to go and talk to my bro. He recognized immediately that I was beyond manic, dropped everything he was doing, and talked to me for forty minutes until I calmed down. He left with a suggestion I take a look at dinner. He’d bought one of those package make your own meal things that includes all the ingredients and the recipe. Spinach and aubergine lasagna. Took out the pack and read the directions (in Dutch). It was too much. I’d never even made regular lasagna, and the multi-stepped directions just intimidated the hell out of me. Back to my bro: sorry, but I don’t think I can do this and do it well. And then something happened that occurs less often than a Blue Moon or any other rare event you can name: my brother and I made dinner together.

To say we have a kitchen is incorrect. We have a kitchenette at best. A tiny slot in one corner of the room that serves as a cooking area. Total surface space to work: about one meter by half a meter (or three feet by a foot and a half). It’s a tight spot to work in alone. And my bro and I are notorious for trying to be in the same space at the same time; it’s just the way we work. Usually we aggravate each other too much to cook together. But not last night. Last night was a film version of ourselves: laughing, comfortable, helping each other in exactly the right manner at exactly the right time. The television was on, we began early because we didn’t know the recipe, and it was just fun. Loads of fun.

Later on, it struck me that my brother had done all that on purpose. To help me.

Just as, later on, our conversation turned to family members and my brother told me he’s still in contact with everyone I’ve cut off online. He told me I was right to cut them off, that what they’re currently posting and talking about is so foul and mean it’s best I just don’t know the full extent of it.

He’s still protecting me. And this is a good protection, a protection I didn’t even know was there. Like a magical barrier, keeping out the bad and never letting me know how many monsters are trying to storm the castle. I will do my best to remember that next time I grouse about him not helping with dishes or never doing the hoovering. Of course he can’t do all that! He’s out fighting demons and monsters so I don’t have to.

And he’s never held that over my head. Never taunted me with it or belittled me for it. He just quietly does his thing and never says boo about it.

It makes me want to be a better person.

…So. Friday morning. I have ten minutes to lay it all out. Best to write it down. Put down all the important points so I don’t forget or meander off-track. Don’t want therapy; no, no, no. If they want in my head they can read this blog. I trust one person: my brother. I trust him so much I’m willing to go in there and ask for drugs. Medicate it. I don’t need to be more aware of my thought patterns. I don’t need to be told to exercise regularly, or keep regular hours, or eat right. I don’t need someone to sit across a desk and say ‘hmm’ or ‘uh-huh’ as I voice my truths. Of all the people on this planet, my brother has observed my behavior the longest. And he thinks I need medication. Just something to help me with the extremes. I don’t like that thought. Not one bit. Feels like I’ve failed. But I’m there. Ready to accept that ugly truth about myself. Ready to accept help, because I can see what I’ve been doing isn’t working.

I’m hurting myself.

I’m ready to live life. To have friends. To let people in.

…I don’t wanna be an orc.

Scrape it off

So.

I’ve noticed a sick tendency in myself. I think about my new friends from the film, or the experiences I had, and the right side of my face hurts. It’s abundantly clear to me I’m clenching my jaw because I’m getting so much incoming wonderfulness. And that, people, sucks.

For now, I’m riding meds. Saw the doc. First thing out of her mouth: ‘You can open your eye again’. Did not know I was doing that, but a quick consultation with my bro confirmed it; the pain made me crunch my right eye closed. Three a day on the morphine pills. Do not even think about any less right now – and that’s with verbal confirmation from the doc, who assured me I’ve got an open ‘script on those pills at the moment. She didn’t say TMJ, but she did talk about a physical therapist who specializes in jaw manipulation, which is part of the treatment course for TMJ. She wants one more check from the dentist, to make sure all is as is should be with my teeth. She also warned me she’ll be on holiday by the time I see the dentist, so she’s preparing and leaving a letter of recommendation for the physical therapist. In other words, she believes me. Thank the Goddess.

Now I’ve just got to decide what to do. I’ll follow thru with the physical element: the dentist, the anticipated fittings for a mouth guard, the physical therapy. But…I’m pretty sure I know what set this off. What’s continuing to set it off. And therein, lies my decision.

I could ignore the reason and simply drug this away. Carry an open ‘script for morphine and take as desired. They’d let me. Once you hit a certain age, the docs stop fighting you so much on drugging away the pain.

But that would mean I’d repeat what I just went thru. The pain. Doesn’t matter if I can drug it away. That amount of pain makes time stop. A minute is a lifetime. Funny thing, that.

I have had lifetimes of pain.

Too many lifetimes.

So. Decision time. Don’t need to jump on anything or seek out a shrink right now. But if I want friends and love in my life, I need to accept it without hurting myself. Right now, it seems I can’t do that.

*sigh* My brother has also rightly pointed out that I was more manic than he’s ever seen me, and that’s saying something. I looked over my posts during and leading up to the film. Over the top. I knew it, did my best to stay on top of it, but it was riding me – not the other way around.

Fuck. Nothing like a lot of pain to make me finally seek out help I probably needed fucking decades ago.

…A road is traveled by putting one foot in front of the other. You don’t have to move fast, or take big steps. You just have to put one foot in front of the other. Remember that.

Hm. What do you know? Pain. Crops up lately every time I hit on something, and I’ve been hitting on a lot lately.

I could base my therapy on this shit.

Still squirrelly. Don’t want to admit it, but I am. I’m either knocked out from the pills or squirming in my chair. That ain’t relaxed. And this post ain’t helping.

Gonna go back to the big chair. Put my feet up and a movie on. Set an alarm to take my pills on time. Screw you, epiphanies. Screw you, self awareness. You’ve put me into overload. The animal can’t take it anymore. I’m calling a stop to it. You hear me? It stops. Now.

…Better.

My only focus is feeling better. Sleeping thru the night. Eating properly. Drinking enough water. Taking my pills on time, so I can do the aforementioned. Everything else gets scraped into the wastebasket. All the gunk and goo, the spilled blood and guts, the vomit…scrape it off. Down to the final molecule.

Goals ahead

Pain free. Not now; I’ve run out of paracetamol. Sounds inconsequential while I’m on morphine, but trust me – paracetamol is needed. But the low level ache that woke me up at 4 in the morning was the first I’d felt in 24 hours. My Sunday was pain free. First day in a week. Gives me hope that this will get under control. With drugs, at least.

Also had my first laugh yesterday. My face has been in too much pain to laugh. Hell. It’s been too painful to chew or talk. I’ve been talking with my jaw clamped shut, like a ventriloquist. Made me think back to when I was 8 – got a ventriloquist doll for Xmas. Worked on it, too. Never got good at it, but I learned how using an ‘n’ rather than an ‘m’ can work; people listening to you anticipate your words, and their ears fill in any discrepancies (only works if you KNOW a language). So I amused myself briefly with an old skill, trying out different words and phrases. Found if funnier than funny that the two words I could articulate best were ‘drugs and alcohol’ (you’d need to intimately know my history to understand the humor; trust me that it’s there). Guess it’s a good thing to know that I can still ask for what I need even when I’m in that much pain. Drugs and alcohol.

Sent out Taman. Dithered about it, mostly because of how doped up I felt. That, and I needed to write a 100 word bio as a playwright. Ye Gods! Finally just did it, ignoring my flinching ego as I typed away. It’s hard to write about how great I am as I writer. But, a bio is like a CV. You’re expected to pump yourself up. I used the words I heard given to me over my writing: Lovecraftian, intense, raw. Thank the Goddess I had some compliments to draw on. Made it much easier. Otherwise I’d just sit there and say ‘Yeah, I write. I wrote this, I wrote some other stuff. I think it’s good.’

My doctor’s appointment is at 9:10 this morning. I feel I know what she’s gonna say. She’ll ask about my pain, and have that worried look on her face when I tell her I had to take more morphine than anticipated. She’ll tell me she wants me to see a specialist. She’ll mention TMJ, or the Dutch equivalent. And she’ll tell me to keep taking the drugs, get a refill, and she’ll give me more if I need it because ain’t nothing stopping this except drugging it out (if I am reluctantly turned into the drug addict I’ve been accused of being I’ll…well, I don’t know what I’ll do, but it’ll be ironic).

Meh. Plenty of writers were/are drug addicts.

Finally ate. Managed during the last week to choke down stuff like half a cup of oatmeal or a scrambled egg, but never more than 400 calories a day. Had a real meal last night. Still soft food, but it had more calories than I’d eaten for days. Have to take it slow. Food now makes me feel a bit ill. Good at first, then a bit ill because my body isn’t used to it. Drinking more water. Discovered how hungry I was just for water once my bro got me some straws. Long, long drinks of water. Feeling good enough to wonder if I managed to shed a few pounds during this. Don’t want to check the scale. Goddess forbid I do that and find the number still hasn’t changed. Nope. Better to feel like I dropped weight. Sometimes you need the psychological edge more than the real thing.

Pretty sure at this point I won’t be going to language class. Even if I’m not hurting, I woke up before 4 a.m. I be tired, and on morphine. Yes, I can think again and yes, I think I can even do some Dutch if pushed (like when facing a doctor who doesn’t speak much English). I just don’t want to push. I’ve been pushing, or feeling like I have, all week just to stay sane and not claw my brains out of my cranium with my fingernails. And today of all days, I’m taking the advice of everyone who’s ever met me. I’m being easier on myself. So, no school. I be lolling around and napping. I will go to the lesson and deal with the teachers in person rather than via text. The class is very important to me, and I want them to know that. So I’ll write it out – my problem, how I shouldn’t talk, the pain, the meds, the regret at not being able to sit in class and pay attention during the afternoon. In Dutch. Or I’ll try.

Not so with Thursday’s teacher. She’ll get a text.

Finding myself writing again. In the evenings, as I watch tv. My eyes are open, I react when my brother does, but I’m not really seeing anything. Zero retention of anything I’ve watched. Nope. I’m deep in scripts and story lines. Plotting out scenes. Contemplating mysteries to write about. It’s a bit annoying, really. I get to see the opening of a show, then I’m gone during the bulk of it, only to come back to watch the end. The upshot of this is I feel I’ve seen too much of the show to watch it again, yet missed too much to know what really happened.

😉 Kind of like my life.

Still. I feel like a wide, clear path is opening for me. Always knew were I wanted to be, just didn’t know how to get there.

Goals ahead.

Moment to moment

Morphine. Mark the day. I’ve avoided it as long as possible because there’s nowhere to go from here, other than more morphine.

Saw my GP this morning. She took me seriously (thank the Goddess; I’m too scarred from docs ignoring me for years). Wanted to know the pressure points – I guided her hand to them with my eyes closed. Far too familiar at this point. Had blood tests to check on a nerve infection. Results were negative, for which I’m thankful. I don’t know what the treatment might have been, but the normally passive face of my doctor was very concerned when she spoke of this possibility. Now I’ve another appointment Monday morning, to discuss the situation.

Pretty sure I’ll hear TMJ. Damn. Should have been a diagnostician. Could have rocked that career. Not sure what it will entail. Maybe a mouth guard. From what I’ve read, they think it’s due to people clenching their jaw while they sleep. The nerve eventually seizes up and the pain is unbearable.

What’s blowing me away is that this occurred at a moment of high success and excitement, not horrible devastating loss.

Does this mean I can’t take success?

I said it was tough to take the compliments. Being acknowledged as a role model. Admired. Loved. All of it.

Am I so screwed up that I can take every rejection and pain without blinking, but love me and I seize up?

Oh, dear Goddess.

I don’t want to accept that. But I can’t deny the possibility of it.

…And the morphine pills have a refill.

Fuck.

I am thankful for the pain relief. Still a dull roar in the side of my head, but I don’t have to hold it or pace in a crazed manner.

I am also thankful for the dull, grey day outside. I don’t think I’d like it if the world looked happy and gleeful when I feel like this. It’s a visual reminder to curl up and take care of myself. My brother is cooking easy to eat, healthy food. Can’t eat much, but at least what I do eat is very healthy. Don’t want to sit too long. I know what can happen to my back. But I’m fairly buzzed. Hoorah. I like buzzed, especially after days of pain. So, walk? Mm. Not today. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have my morphine legs, and walking on the treadmill will be okay. Right now it seems too much.

Watching Downton Abbey. Beautiful fantasy.

Don’t know about school next week. We’ll see how I feel. Don’t know about later today; ditto on that.

This is moment to moment living.

Behind the door

Bah. Back to pain. Something else is wrong. I’ve had root canals and tooth problems; this ain’t that. This is an ice pick inserted at my temple and turned round and round for 2-3 hours at a time. This is my ear feeling full and sore, pain radiating down my neck, difficulty swallowing. And sleeping! Twelve to 16 hours a day has become my norm. It’s backing off slowly. If Sunday hit a 10 on my pain scale and Monday/Tuesday were 8, I’m around a 6 to 7. I can sit when it hits – most of the time. But I’m thankful for sleeping so much so I don’t have to be aware of it all the time.

Have an appointment with my GP tomorrow. Will take her thru it, including all the hot spots under my ear, in front of my ear, and at my temple. Don’t want to eat because that’s what seems to set it off. Even now – been eating mush. Really don’t have to chew, just move it around with my tongue and swallow. That’s still too much. Two hours later, I’m pacing and holding my head. Just willing myself thru it until it eases off. Then I’ve got to sleep.

Gods, there are moments when I’d like to just rip my entire face off. Yank all the teeth, cut off my ear and ear drum, rake out my throat. Anything. Even tho the level of pain has dropped, its persistence is driving me nuts.

Looked and found info on a condition termed TMJ, and that’s what I think is going on. My jaw doesn’t click, but other than that, I’ve got all the symptoms. I know docs hate patients who self-diagnose, but I also hate docs who don’t see the obvious, so I’ll mention it. I have to live in this pain box; I know where the limits are. You can think I’m being overdramatic, if it’s just a tooth. I know. I also know what it’s like from the inside, and let me tell you, your diagnosis is wrong. Don’t know what can be done. As usual, I’ll have waited too long. Had I seen my GP earlier, there’d probably be no question. But now some of it is backing off – mostly because I’m not moving my mouth at all, not talking, and barely eating or swallowing anything. I spend hours managing the pain that comes from what little mouth movement I do. And I sleep. I can’t go to my classes, I can’t go out, I can’t really do anything. Hell! I can only sit long enough to write this because (1) I already took a pain pill, (2) I haven’t eaten anything and (3) I lit up a J as soon as my eyes opened.

Too much.

No desire to sit on this thru the holidays. No desire to put up with it for one more day. Don’t want to eat anything today. Fuck.

Taking old ativan tabs. My brother had some left over. They’re 2 years out of date, but he’s kept them in the cool and dark, so they’ve still got a some potency left (and honestly, I didn’t care if I poisoned myself just so long as the damned pain eased off). They do seem to be helping, and if I’m correct about it being TMJ, they should help. Knock me on my ass, tho. Which is fine – I can sleep right now because I’m relaxed rather than being worn down by pain.

My appointment with the dentist isn’t ’til the 28th. Hoping for two things. One, that my GP backs up my suspicions on this TMJ thing, and two, that the seizing is long over before I have to crank my mouth open for an extended period of time. Right now, brushing my teeth is tough. Keeping my mouth open wide enough and long enough for work to be done…ugh. I don’t even want to think about it.

One thing has happened with all this sleep: the bags under my eyes are at their lowest level since I was 40. I knew I was tired most of the time. But several days of 12 hours plus sleep…that’s real tired. Maybe I need something to help keep me down on a regular basis.

Doing my best to stay positive. Telling myself that even if my GP does nothing, the pain is slowly getting better. I just don’t want to invest months in this. Barely talking, sleeping so much, dealing with it, dealing with it day after day even when you think ‘that’s it! that’s the last pain!’ but it never is… No wonder I’m so fucking exhausted.

Sent a text to my language teacher yesterday ditching class. Can’t talk or concentrate. All I’d do is rock back and forth in my chair holding my head. Why bother?

Planning to sleep to tv today. Have to take my pills, so I have to eat something. Ow. I’ll put that off as long as possible. Will take an ativan half an hour before eating. Maybe that’ll give it enough time to relax the area so it doesn’t seize up. Get thru the inevitable bout of pain post eating; I’m anticipating it now. Then sleep. Probably all day. Try to eat in late afternoon so the pain hits in the early evening. Shitty, right? Plan life around when you want the pain to hit. But that’s where I’m at. Get it done early enough that I can sleep by nine at the latest.

There’s very little left to life when you’re compartmentalizing agonizing pain.

I’ve got pretty good at it over the years, tho. Sad to list it as one of my special skills, but, there it is. I’m pleased enough to sit here without feeling the need to nurse my head. To breathe in and experience little pain.

The big pain sits behind a door marked PAIN. And that’s where I want to keep it.