Itchy

As I lay here itching and oozing (thank you so fucking much, fucking fire ants) while my sister snoozes quietly next to me I cannot say much except that I love and adore my sister more than words can explain; but holy hell are we different.
She is the thin to my chunky, short to my tall, shy to my outgoing, no dog communication skills at all (although Herbert LOVES her) as compared to my almost eerie understanding of canine behavior, and she can irritate the hell out of me in 3 seconds flat; don’t worry, I do the same to her.
We are sisters, and I’m damned lucky to have her.
If the universe doesn’t stop kicking her in the face, it and I are going to have words.
It’s almost as if there is something in our shared DNA that clearly states, “we are fucking trying to do good things here” yet we so rarely succeed.
Ah well, time for a nap before I get up for class.
Nitenite

Training

So, one day at work I was trapped in an office with a farting Herbert attempting to complete am online training course and the smell combined with the horrid cartoon character named Bob attempting to teach me electrical code standards. FML it was a stinky hell.
But thankfully that prerequisite is completed and here I am in Jacksonville, FL taking the live face to face version. Yesterday I was totally hosed and someone else mistakenly completed my assigned project, I then basically threw crap together during his presentation to cover the gap. Not to toot my own horn but I did pretty darn good.
Something that happened earlier in the day sticks in my brain though; I was eating lunch with the instructor and some other classmates and the instructor said something which floored me, he said, “just wait until you get to your thirties, it gets worse.” 
Huh?
My articulate reply, “huh? Dude, I’m 35.”
Too which he looked shocked.
To be fair, a sentence beginning with “huh” and “dude” did not reflect upon my supposed aged wisdom, but damn. I am now dying to ask people how old I look…Le sigh, vanity, not good.

Holy Balls! someone likes me. ;)

I can’t lie, I have never given a crap about how many people (if any) read what I write. I rarely look at my “stats” because I usually write for me. But this morning as I attempted to get dressed in the hotel bathroom so as not to wake my sister who, after going though hell the past month, was finally getting some rest; I read an email. That email made me stop, smile, sit, and really read.  Well, hey there, nice sweet email that caused me to giggle and filled me with a solid level of happy, thank you.
Have a great Wednesday everyone. 🙂
squishedtogether@gmail.com
*kiss*

yikes

Very few statements my boyfriend has ever said have filled me with as much dread, but last night he told me “I’m so glad you are back; I have my girlfriend back again”. All I could think was, “wait, where’d I go?” Then I realized he was talking about my depression and that I’m slowly crawling my way back from the hole of doom. I am not out yet and some days I slide back a few crawls rather than make it forward. Because I am lucky enough to have a very supportive and communicative boyfriend I spoke to him about this and he said that he meant that I had been making progress and it made him so happy to see me functioning again. He went on to tell me that I had dealt with an inhuman amount of stress (he is not wrong) and is just thrilled that I am moving onward.

So why am I fearful? Because admitting to myself that I am moving forward makes me scared I will lose ground. I know that is silly, but it is a real feeling and I am trying like hell to deal with it. Some days I feel like a wounded banged-up pile of ground beef, and then some days I feel human and myself – sometimes those feelings change by the hour.  I used to think depression was something I was going to just get over; I know now that it is an evil bastard lying shitface living in my brain telling me that “the end is motherfucking nigh, bitch” and that the more I shrink the shitface the happier I can be.  And chances are I will have to live with the shitface forever; and I will continue to manage the symptoms.  One minute, one hour, one day, one week, and one year at a time.

Again, why am I fearful? Why did his words fill me with dread? Because I know that every single day I am going to have to fight the evil lying bastard shitface known as depression living in my brain and some days shitface might win.  What if this person, this love of mine, can’t survive another round of my depression? What if I can’t?

Service Animal

So. I lie. Usually by omission, but to be perfectly honest with myself I lie like a cheap rug (why is the rug always cheap in that analogy? does that make a difference in how it flops on the floor?) I have a service animal in training named Herbert. You may remember Herbert from various posts. Herbert pretty much ended up keeping me alive during the worst of my depression and when I went off the rails he kept me up and moving by performing various tasks such as nibbling my fingers to bring me out of my head and into the physical.  But then he did something else pretty darn cool, he began alerting to my blood sugars. If they are too high he sits on me.  Too low (or heading that way) he gets antsy as heck and basically annoying.  One of the lies I tell is that he “scratches my leg” when I am going low; I tell that lie because how to do you describe to someone that “he acts weird and I know what that means?”

The largest lie that I tell is that his primary purpose is that of a diabetic alert dog. Why? because it is so much easier than trying to explain to someone that you are a wee bit batshit insane and you need him to keep you from giving up on life completely athankyouverymuch. He works darn hard at being a diabetic alert dog and is at about 90% accuracy based on my training records; but I need him as a psychiatric service dog first and foremost (yes, it is a real thing that helps thousands of people. here is a site I joined that gives great information: http://www.psychdog.org/).   The reason I need him as a psychiatric service animal first and foremost is that I have a meter that tells me what my blood glucose level is…but there is no batshit insan’o’meter of which I am aware.

The other lie that keeps happening is the lie of omission; people see his “in training” patches and assume I am training him for other people’s needs.  I have helped train a few dogs in my time; it’s a decent gift I have (by gift I mean shit I studied and learned and practiced) and I often just let them assume they know what they think they know.
Sometimes, I even feel guilty because this little (50lb) brindled monster would be the perfect dog for a juvenile diabetic. He loves children like I love cake and is incredibly gentle with them and at the whopping age of 6 months old he has better manners than 90% of the trained adult dogs I have ever seen or worked with. He spends the day in the office with me without complaint or misbehavior, he has been on 4 airplanes and an extended hotel stay with no problems, and has made it through entire days of training where half of the class was trying to distract him and he ignored them.  He is, quite frankly, amazing. So I feel like a guilty lying whiny jackass when someone assumes he will be going to a juvenile diabetic.  The tiny juvenile inside me screams, “NO, MINE!!!” when I think of giving him up to someone who probably needs him more.  I am going to be selfish on this; I am not giving him away.  I really do need him.  He improves my life so much in the following ways:

  • When I am traveling for work my anxiety is vastly reduced by having him with me in the hotel room. I feel safer, less alone, and calmer.
  • You know when you are out of town you end up eating crap, then sleeping more in your hotel room?  With a dog you just cannot do that.  Well, you can eat crap but you need to give the dog some exercise because you just made him sit in a training room for 9 hours with you.  So, instead of laying there watching crappy tv you get up, you go for a long walk, you interact with the world. These things are critical to make me physically AND mentally healthier.

So, here’s what I am struggling with in regards to these lies:

  • Dogs are people attractors. People who like dogs always want to know anything and everything about a service dog because dogs are amazing. It doesn’t help that Herbert is a puppy, freakin’ adorable, friendly, and has an expressive face. The “in training” patches usually get me out of a lot of questions regarding what he is doing but sometimes people ask cringe-worthy questions like:
    • Is he for you? You don’t look sick?
    • What is wrong with you?
    • I understand that having a service animal is akin to being an advocate and trainer for people to learn about service animals, but holy crap, during a bad day when I am trying like hell to remember to breathe and that the world is not actually crumbling in around me; it just feels that way, the last thing you want to do is spend 25 minutes explaining a service animal to someone or defending my need to “look sick”.  (this was just a mild rant of mine; it is a real problem that I have to deal with–but for the most part I do okay)
  • My largest dilemma in regards to my lies is this: the stigma of major depressive disorder or any psychiatric disorder is an almost palpable thing. If you tell a stranger, co-worker, employer, or acquaintance (friends understand) that you are struggling with major depressive disorder and this dog is training to make sure you get up and out of bed in the morning as well as making sure you take your medications on time but he also has a convenient blood sugar alert going on. Well, I wouldn’t be “shunned” but I would be treated differently. My personal fears about how *I* will be treated just perpetuates the stigma and that causes me to be disappointed in myself.  That said, do I need to inform strangers of my mental/physical issues? The answer is no one should have to disclose to strangers, et al their medical or psychological problems.  But then it comes back around to dogs being an attractor for other dog lovers, and stewardship of a training program, and. and. and.

It’s a nasty circle, isn’t it?  I know, I have been stuck in it for a while.  Do I think lying is a good thing?  No, and you cannot convince me that it is a good thing. Do I think it is MY personal best option at the moment?  Yes, yes I do.

Obviously I could default to a “I’m sorry, I don’t discuss my medical issues with strangers” policy. And sometimes I do. But in most cases I have had that be taken as a defensive slap to the wrist and then the other party is hurt or offended. I know that their hurt is not my responsibility; but if they are coming to me from a positive place of really wanting information; I share. And during that time I try to gently remind them of the golden rules of service dog etiquette (and general good human behavior):

  • it is not nice to ask a stranger about their health issues
    • I’m happy you don’t think I look sick; it is still not a nice statement.
  • ALWAYS ask if you can approach/interact with a service dog BEFORE  approaching/interacting with them.
    • Herbert has a release command to make friends; it does not hinder his service to me in any way. Some service dogs are trained to body block to keep people away from their handler (specific example: this is common training for PTSD sufferers service animals). To interact with that dog would detract from its duties to his handler.

There are a bajillion more things I could share on this topic; but I’m wiped the crap out.

Love y’all,

-H.

(aka–liar)

sad

Okay, I know I have been through a really rough time of late.  My whole world has been flipped on its butt, kicked in the kidneys, and roughed up but I survived it (thus far).  So why do I sit here crippled with anxiety?  So many many reasons and absolutely none of them good (although owing the IRS with no way to pay them is a pretty good reason).  Why am I avoiding taking the medicine I need to function? no good reasons…just avoidance.  Why am I so poor that I want to cry every single day? because I am really bad at money and no matter how hard I try to make it better it seemingly just gets worse. 

This is not a post that is going to have a happy ending.  This is just a post that contains a stream of consciousness about what I am feeling right now.  I just want to get over all the anxiety, the grief, the depression, the poverty, and most of all…the godsdamned fear.

**Deep Breath**

Keep fighting folks; I keep trying….my soul is exhausted, I feel haunted, alone, scared and broke and I keep trying. Most days I just keep fucking trying.  I just want to stop crying now please.  

Divorce

Hey y’all, I’ve been quiet for a bit now; mainly because I have been through hell and now that the active hell is over; well, now I’m dealing with it. I have been continually bracing myself for the next heart wrenching gut twisting disaster to occur. All of the bracing is exhausting. Everything is exhausting. Sometimes, just breathing is so damn hard.

So, *wipes away an over-dramatic tear* in my vast sweeping effort to actually heal these wounds to my psyche (as opposed to the not-smart approach of avoid, ignore, avoid, seal up the top of the wound and let the infection FESTER-which was my original plan) I’m dumping a lot of this crap on y’all, ready? 

My divorce became final on the day before my 35th birthday (July 1st) and even though I had been waiting for that day to come I completely and utterly lost my ever loving shit after that happened. I don’t know why I had never dealt with the death of my marriage; I tried.  But there was so much going on I just shoved it in with the other horrors (job change, unemployment, death of 2 pets, abandonment by someone I cared about, money problems, tax problems, divorce).  As you can see with that quick round up the last year or so has been a bitch.  

*wipes away face full of snot and tears*

Anywhoodle, I seriously didn’t know what to do anymore and wanted the pain to go away and didn’t know why I felt the way I felt and a dear friend asked me if I had dealt with my divorce and that is when it all clicked together and I realized how poisonous these infected psyche wounds were to me.  

When I think of my ex-husband I can think of all the bad stuff easily.  His varied addictions, depressions, lack of affection, and other assorted crap that made living with him eventually impossible.  Do you know what hurts so much that if my brain flashes on a memory I feel like I have been stabbed? The good stuff.  In so many ways that man was a perfect partner for me.  He was smart *STAB*, funny *STAB*, and occasionally very sweet *STAB*.  There were times we laughed together and had more fun than should be legally allowed *STAB*.  

The bad stuff is easy and now almost pain-free to think about. The good stuff hurts. How or who am I supposed to forgive to make the horrible pain and grief stop whenever I remember any of the good things about my decade of marriage? 

Alright, that’s enough thinking for one day.

*one last wipe of the snot and the tears*

Love all y’all. Have a non-painful, appropriately medicated, full of breathing and smiles-kind of day. 

-H. 

Some days…

‘aight…some days I wake up and say, “Why, Good Morning World! Today I am going to be productive as hell so all y’all bitches get out of my way”.

This was not today. Please allow me to detail my morning for ya:

5:30 AM – alarm slowly lights up and INSANE BIRDS begin attempting to gently ease me into my morning.

6:00 AM – alarm reaches full level of brightness and THE DAMN INSANE BIRDS noise is a peak pitch no longer attempting to ease me into my day but instead attempting to lever me straight out of bed.

6:01 AM – phone call from D to WAKE ME UP (very kind considering he is in the Pacific Time Zone which puts that at 3AM his time).

6:05 AM – turn alarm off and switch Alarm #2 on which is pre-set for my convenience at 7:15 AM.

6:15 AM – take morning medications…stretch out for a bit of a snooze.

6:45 AM – alarm slowly begins to light up and INSANE BIRDS begin slowly easing me into my morning, part deaux.

6:47 AM – I think, “mmmmm, pasta breakfast” and go and heat up leftover noodles for breakfast after grimacing at the bright and shiny day that has dawned so beautifully here and stating, “well, isn’t the world all bright and damn chipper today-GAH!” as real live INSANE LOUD BIRDS were attempting to inform the world that “THEY ARE BIRDS AND DAMN HAPPY ABOUT IT”.

6:55 AM – Return to my bed and (THIS IS WHERE WE WENT WRONG…and by we I mean me) turn on my television to eat just “for a few minutes while I eat breakfast”.

8:17 AM – Panic begins. Throw on clothes…grab bag. Throw into truck. Realize I don’t have phone. Run back into house…grab phone, realize my medications aren’t in my bag—giggle in relief of realizing that before I get to the office. Look for headphones. Get into truck; drive to work. Get into door around 08:29 and sit down with relief. Continue slogging through online training from hell.

10:15 AM – Look around; realizing it has been pretty quiet. After a moment I conclude the following: I don’t have my phone, don’t have my meds, don’t have my headphones, and I do not win at life. However, I would like to state for the record that I am, in fact, wearing pants…so yay me. :\