Tag Archives: money

identity crisis

It’s come back to me again recently that I have lost my identity with this disability determination.  I used to be a youth worker, a domestic violence counselor, a substance abuse counselor, an educator… now I’m just… nothing.  I know De and L and J would all argue against that, but much like L struggled with work being a huge part of her identity last year, I’m struggling with it now.  I’m not even a good mom to my “kids”, I fail them regularly. It’s underscored with this impending move and all it means.  I have to try to hold a job again when I move back up north.  I have to be productive and live up to all those expectations, but I also have to do it within the bounds of disability.  I can’t afford to screw up.  I can’t afford to lose this determination and then screw up life again.  Finances scare the crap out of me.  Screwing up scares the crap out of me.  I know I have a lot to prove during this time that L and I are apart.  She has her fears about the pressures, and I have mine.  I know I have been doing really well (comparatively) these last few months, but that nagging fear of screwing up is always in the back of my mind (and L’s, and everyone’s…).  When you lose trust from those closest to you, it’s very difficult to build it back.  When you lose trust in yourself, it’s just as hard.  I know I tell L that everything will be fine (and for the most part I believe it), but there’s that little voice in my head that says I will never be a real human being.  I will never get through struggles in life without major meltdowns. I will never be “safe” from myself… I know these are only doubts, but I need to give voice to them.  I can’t carry them all alone right now.  I saw De today, but I was too busy trying to avoid tears and fear to acknowledge any of this.  Now that things have slowed (I’m just sitting watching TV with L), my head is filling with all the things I’ve been frantically pushing away (and then some).

I don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t know what I’m good at.  I have no way to make money or to help alleviate the pressure on L.  I have no useful skills.  De was trying to get me to come up with some way to structure my days, but even that instills trepidation.  I don’t want to commit to volunteering because I don’t think I can keep up with the gas commitment even if I can manage to keep my emotions in check to allow me to go in every day.  Everything is far here, everything requires driving, which requires money, which I don’t have.  Hobbies require money. Hanging with friends requires money (and friends)…  All of this I don’t have.  So whatever.  I have to suck it up and just deal with crap.  I have to ignore it, or breathe through it, or something.  Back to running through the fog trying to avoid all the road blocks.



well that was a first…

for the first time in my entire history, I spaced on a therapy appointment today.  I never miss appointments without extenuating circumstances, and never simply because I forgot, except for today.  I was sitting there bopping to my music and making jewelry when my phone rings (rudely interrupting my very bad singing).  I recognize the number as the one De calls in from, so I answer, still thinking nothing of it.  We get through our greeting, and then she tells me I had an appointment with her today.  She said she was wondering what happened because I call even if I’m only going to be 5 minutes late.  In my defense, we have had our weekly meetings on Fridays since the holidays.  I apologized to her and promised nothing was wrong, but I just forgot that we had switched to Thursday this week.  Luckily, she has time tomorrow.  This would have been the last appointment before a 3 week break.  I’m still kicking myself.  Either I’ve got nothing urgent to talk about, or I’m in massive denial about the stress next week’s changes mean (or some combination of both).  Mostly, I think it’s denial.  Next week, L and I head up north.  I will be going for 6 days, but she will be staying up there to try to get us re-established.  We have not packed much beyond 2 boxes.  there’s still laundry to do, and plans to be made for how to get myself and the “kids” back there… and there’s no plan for how my days will be spent once I no longer have L around to pass the time.  We are refusing to look at all this stuff, because it’s hugely scary (but also exciting).  We don’t have the best track record for cross-country moves that actually accomplish what we set out to do.  So now what?  Panic has yet to set in.  Even a sense of urgency might be helpful (less than a week…). I also have yet to “realize” that today’s session with J was our final one.  It was the same as all the others.  I didn’t make much of an effort to say goodbye, though I know I should have.  The only thing different this time was that we hugged before leaving, and we did not make any further appointments or plans to meet up.  I’m sure it will all hit at some point either this week, or when I get back on the 20th to find that “normal” no longer is.

Too many goodbyes recently.  I don’t like it.  Too much loss coming up and resurfacing.  I’m trying not to realize that we effectively re-homed one of our cats (the one who is miserable here and much prefers living with the older couple down the street).  The loss of Twiggy hit again today when a box of her specialized food arrived from the vet today.  I guess they automatically send out “samples” of the specialized food when the test results warrant it.  Too bad it’s 2 weeks too late… I miss Twig.  I know she was hurting a lot before she was put to sleep, but I still miss her presence in the house.  It’s ok to miss the ones you love, even if their passing is for the better. And now I will miss Danny too, though he is still alive.

So I’ve spent my days obsessing with jewelry-making, art, and spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need because it’s easier than dealing with crap that is about to slam us.  I’m playing games on the computer and on my phone that I have not touched in weeks.  I make every effort to leave the house when I can get away with it.  I throw myself in to everything but the things that need addressing.  Heck, I’m even working on random therapy stuff to avoid dealing with other, more looming, more frightening things.  J has a quote she has told us many times in the last 2 months: “if you are just scared, you don’t want it enough. if you are just excited, you already have it, if you are both scared and excited, it’s worth it” (or that’s the gist of it).  I think I’ve draped a thick blanket over everything because I’m neither consciously scared or excited about this, I’m simply going with it because that is what we have decided to do, and there is no real other option.  If I look into myself hard enough, I see the fear and the excitement I’m trying so hard to ignore.  I catch glimpses of it in the tears of loss, and the avoidance.  I notice it in my drive to push every thought of it out of my head (because, really, who wants to realize that within the week they will be separated from their significant other for several months, or think of having to uproot everything they cultivated in the last 18 months).  I throw myself into anything and everything that enables me to push the thoughts away.  It will catch up real soon, but for now, I rival the skill-set of those most versed in denial and avoidance.

frustrations with the system…

It was suggested that I call the state to see if they could help a bit more with my insurance through them.  As it stands, I need to run up monthly medical bills of more than $1068 before my insurance kicks in.  This makes it nearly impossible to go to the doctor for anything unless I head to the emergency room.  Aside of being a huge inconvenience, it ends up costing the state more.  If they simply covered my doctor’s appointments at a PCP, they would not be paying over a grand when I need medical attention.  As it is, I will be heading to the ER after therapy today so I can get this vertigo figured out.  It’s interfering with my ability to drive or concentrate, which is a huge inconvenience. I can’t be upright for more than 15-20 minutes without starting to feel buzzed and dizzy.  It also happens when there’s too much activity around (heavy traffic, a lot of people moving around)  It brings about dissociation by virtue of being so disorienting.  Everything starts to spin and wobble.  I’m relying on others to drive me because I had 2 scary close-calls over the last 2 weeks.  One day I ran a red light and nearly plowed into a bunch of crossing traffic (no idea where my head was, but the light looked green to me).  The other time I backed into bushes without realizing it, as if I had been driving while drunk.  I can’t risk losing my license or worse: hurting someone… I wish I could just go to a doctor’s office, but they would charge too much for me to afford, but not enough to meet my “share of cost”…

I looked into the healthcare marketplace, but everything is prohibitively expensive per month, with outrageous co-pays and deductibles higher than I make in a year.  How is any of this helpful to someone?  I heard there was potentially “free” insurance, but it’s all via tax credit which translates to having to pay up-front, then being given a credit on my taxes.  That would be fine and dandy if I 1) had the money up front to pay all that, and 2) didn’t already have a tax exemption due to being on disability… It was a great theory, but only for the insurance companies who are now guaranteed customers because we get fined if we don’t buy it.   Thanks for looking out for the big guy.

ugh! forgot to put an f-ing title

I don’t know… I’m cranky.  I got cranky all of a sudden, and for no reason.

Yesterday, I wanted to cry, but had no idea why.  Today I am cranky on top of wanting to cry over the stupidest things. Again, no insight as to why.  I could guess at a whole host of reasons, but I won’t.   I just feel like drinking.  Only problem is, if I drink, I have to drink one fo the big beers we bought to review for the blog.  That means that I then have to write out a thoughtful synopsis of my opinion.  I have no desire to do that right now (damn my “d” key keeps not registering that I strike it as I write. GRRR!).

I don’t know.  I have all this stuff built up inside, and I managed to ignore it for a few short weeks.  Now I see De again tomorrow and it’s all tumbling back at me.  I have financial obligations I just cannot meet (my account is already in the negatives 4 days after I got paid… and the next pay check is not until Feb…  I am trying to sell off some unused reptile tanks in hopes of gaining some money for our trip at the end of this month, but everyone seems to change their mind at the last-minute.  So now I went through all that work of emptying the tanks only to have them consume valuable garage space (at least in the reptile room, they had their space and it wasn’t so awkward).  The body memories are coming back for no discernible reason.  They make me want to demolish myself to get rid of them.  It’s all just way too uncomfortable.  L made dinner tonight, but there was no meat-less sauce left, and I just wanted to cry.  Then I got all excited about a dessert my mom made only to find out she made it differently than she normally does.  I wanted to cry even more.  WTF?!  I’m not supposed to be so moody right now.

This just all sucks.  I have no access to that happier state right now where I can rationalize everything and make myself feel better… maybe I should try some art.

Monday already?!

I’m not quite sure where that weekend went… well, ok.  That’s a lie; I know exactly where the weekend went, and it was pretty good.  And yet, I feel like bawling my eyes out today.  I feel trapped and rushed and smothered by commitments.  G is down, and it’s also adding to the stress.  We don’t necessarily have much out of the ordinary going on this week, but having no space at home makes everything that much more overwhelming.

I’m an introvert.  I need my space to be able to re-charge.  Since G arrived, I have had none.  He has no personal space boundaries.  He follows me around worse than the dogs do.  It would be flattering and loving if I didn’t see it as such a bother.   When I was 3, petting my head and wanting to touch my shoulder or rub my back was ok (though not all the time), but in my mid-30’s, it’s just intrusive and skeevey.  I don’t much like to be touched in the first place, but add to it that it’s my dad and I really have not yet chosen to let him back into my life, it amplifies my discomfort yet again.  He doesn’t get it.  He thinks I’m just busy, but I really don’t want to see him or spend much time with him.  If I were living on my own, he would not be here (he is not welcome in my & L’s home).  I would not be spending time with him, or visiting with him.  The only reason he is here is because it’s (mostly) my mom’s house.  If it were up to me, we would still have little to no contact.  He rubs me the wrong way.  He triggers anger just by being in the vicinity… and he does not respect my animals (whom I tend to see as my kids).  He yells at them for no reason, and is harsh.  I tell him over and over again not to be like that with them, but he refuses to respect that.  He’s still pissed I choose them over him in a heartbeat any day of the week… They have not traumatized me, but he certainly has.  They win.

Part of me is glad to be volunteering tomorrow.  It means I get to be out of the house.  But another part of me is still really tired.  I don’t want to have to be social yet again.  I made a commitment however, so I need to stick with it.  Tomorrow is also the first day of this year’s school program.  They will be piloting a bunch of new curricula for the different grades.  It should be more in line with what is covered in the students’ standardized testing… None of us have done it live yet, so tomorrow will be a learning experience for all.  I also have to remember to get there on time, as I have to do the animal husbandry before the class starts (usually takes me about an hour and a half, but it will need to be completed in an hour).  No pressure there… ugh!

So anyway, I will be out and forced to be social yet again tomorrow.  And I’m sure G will be ever-so-clingy again when I get home… There’s no rest for the wicked I tell you!

On a sidebar, I may have to put my sleeve on hold for a bit longer, one of the cats has a super-swollen paw.  It doesn’t seem sore (she puts her full weight on it, and she lets me squish at it without complaint), but I would rather be safe than sorry.  If it’s simply a matter of infection that can be taken care of with an antibiotic, I would prefer that to her getting septic from it down the line and either dying or losing the leg.  I know we don’t really have the money to take the cat to the vet, this is something that needs attention, especially because she is mostly an outdoor cat.  It’s hard enough to monitor her. I happened to be lucky enough to snag her inside before a storm, and she hasn’t wanted to leave again these last 2 days (unusual in and of itself, so she must be feeling off).  Anyway, I’m hoping I can get away with it being a simple fix, and her being ok relatively soon.  I definitely cannot afford any major illnesses with any of the critters.  It was bad enough that last night one of the dogs decided to try to eat a cane toad out back.  Luckily, she only got high.  I managed to wash her mouth out fast enough and well enough to keep her from going toxic.  I am pretty sure she was hallucinating at one point though, as she refused to step on the grass (lava or broken glass or blades or something I’m guessing).  She never developed symptoms beyond the excessive drooling (this toxin acts pretty quickly, she would have had a full-blown reaction within 10-15 minutes if it was to happen – according to the vet.  L had not realized that some people licked toads to get high.  She said as much when I mentioned that the dog was likely tripping from the toxins.  Drugs/toxins can cause hallucinations and/or euphoria when ingested in smaller doses.  I don;t recommend licking toads though.  You never know where they’ve been, what you’re ingesting, and how toxic it will actually be… and they must taste awful too!  I’m all for responsible, natural substance use, but licking frogs doesn’t fall under that category for me… eeewww! ok, getting grossed-out by that thought.

On to bigger and better things: I must set my alarm so I can wake in time not only to shower before “work” but also get the dogs all situated for the day. Oh, and I need the car, so I will be taking L to work way before even the ass crack of dawn…

Here’s to hoping Monday (and the week) will go smoothly! Remember: no licking toads!

feeling defeated

I know I should be talking about this with the appropriate people, but it is difficult, so I will write it here.

It’s not fair.  It’s not fair that you invite him here and then get mad when I choose to leave for the duration of his visit (I shut him out of my life for a reason, and I really have no desire to let him back in).  You can choose to have him come around, but don’t try to guilt me into sticking around for it.  I don’t want to spend time with him.  That kind of interaction is just not good for me.  I know this last time wasn’t so bad, but I refuse to push my luck.  I have enough trouble with all the crap in my head as it is, I don’t need help going over the edge.

I chose to stay away most of the time last visit because I wanted to limit the chances of me being really triggered.  I want to be completely gone this next time, because I don’t want to deal with all that he brings up in me (and quite frankly, I don’t want to deal with your anger either.  You refuse to tell me what’s bothering you.  You may hint at it, but you leave me pretty much guessing. I don’t want to have to keep guessing).  It’s better for all concerned if we just took off while he was slated to visit.

I get it, we are annoying and frustrating, and you want us gone asap.  We are working on that.  But in the mean time, I refuse to forego everything that helps keep me sane.  I will choose to spend my money how I see fit.  I am saving what I can, and we will be out of your hair asap because that seems like what you desperately want.  Hell, if I could afford to move us out today, I would because you are clearly bothered by our presence.  But that’s just not realistic unless we suddenly win the lottery.

We try to help out around the house, but nothing is ever good enough for you.  It’s always too messy, or too noisy, or too chaotic, or too quiet.  Sorry.  I don’t know how to win with that.  Like I said, we are working on getting out of here so that you can go back to your quiet and solitary existence.  My bad for assuming I could move back to my own house and be welcome.

I know the dogs are bothersome.  I try to work on it, but I can’t do that alone.  I had asked for help with it, but it seems to be too much to ask.  Coming here has thrown everyone off.  It will take extra work to get them settled again (it’s also really hard to do anything with them outside of the house down here.  The state and municipalities make it impossible to go anywhere with them).

I’m also sorry that trying to include you in what we do outside of the house makes you so uncomfortable.  I’m sorry us leaving the house bothers you (but then again, staying home seems to do the same thing).  I know I can’t handle being cooped up all the time, and I’m pretty sure it drives L nuts also.  If we could take the dogs, we would, but again, too hot and too restrictive around here,

I feel like everything we do is wrong.  I feel like everything we do is too little.  If we don’t to the dishes, that’s a problem.  If we do the dishes but don’t do them correctly, that’s a problem.  If we clean up, we never do it to your standards.  If we don’t, you just make passive-aggressive comments about the mess, but don’t attempt to help take care of it.  I feel like we can’t win… and I feel like we can’t ever talk about it because, at this point, you are too angry and we are too defensive.


I don’t want to do this anymore.  I don’t want to keep running from things and trying to dodge bullets flying at me from the dark…  I want to fix my shit and move on with my life.  I miss my “friends” and my safe spaces.  I miss being away from all this chaos and triggers.  I miss having some idea of where to turn for support…  I hate feeling so lost and hopeless and broken.  I want to figure shit out, get off disability, and get back to working again… I want my freedom back…

making things meaningful

So, in an attempt to find a way to make money fast, and relieve some of the financial pressures on us, I stumbled upon a blog that is all about doing what you love, and making what you do meaningful (the guy makes money off of this, which is how it connected to making money fast), but his original idea is founded in doing what you love…

That got me thinking… I have this blog that, while mainly started for myself, I would really like it to also help others. I began thinking about my struggles to find treatment that works. What are the barriers to finding other helpful and effectual treatments for trauma? What are the instinctual defenses and coping strategies we turn to when we don’t know what we are supposed to turn to?

It reminded me of the way EMDR came about. The woman who developed it noticed that she would go for a walk thinking about her problem, noticed that she unconsciously looked from side to side during her walk, and noticed that she felt better when she returned from her walk. So I began thinking about what my instincts are when I’m stressed. I thought about what others do. People around me are constantly talking and talking about the things that bother them. I do the same thing, I need to get it out and tell someone (or more than one person) what happened or what is bothering me. I think it is not only the telling, but also the audience. So I have 2 ideas that I need to flesh out.

The first is to actually tell the details of the trauma. This poses some dilemmas. One is that it triggers the hell out of me to think about or tell my trauma, so I will need to have support after the telling (that, or I am rendered speechless by the pure force of the emotion and the events in my head, which makes the telling piece difficult). The other is that it has the potential to overwhelm the other person… Clinicians and treaters are just people. They are people with their own troubles, fears, and vulnerabilities. To come up with a viable treatment model that utilizes this spilling of trauma, I’d have to develop (or utilize) a really good support system for the treaters as well as the clients. I would want someone to be able to talk to whenever I needed them, either in person or over the phone. I would want to provide this, or something similar, for the treaters also. I would want to ensure that talk about suicidal thoughts or self-injury would prompt support, and not automatic hospitalization. This somewhat builds on the DBT concepts of riding the wave of emotions, but this time with support and someone “holding your hand” through it all.  While I see the value in learning to handle your triggers and urges on your own, there is also something very powerful about having someone there with you to witness it.  I have always felt this want for someone to be there through the experience; to help keep me safe when I can’t do it anymore.  I turned that desire into action one day while I was working with a particularly difficult adolescent.  She was bent on destroying the house, and pushing the limits of all the staff present (and her house-mates),  At one point, she managed to turn on the stove and was about to put her hands on it to burn herself.  None of what we were saying was getting through to her, so I stepped in front of the stove and took her hands.  I held them as she tried to push past me (she was about a foot taller and a good 80lbs heavier than me, and I’m not small).  I told her again and again that I would keep her safe and I would keep the house safe.  In that moment that I held her wrists, she looked at me and something clicked.  She moved away from the stove after several minutes (and a few half-assed attempts to pull her hands free of mine) and stopped pushing my buttons for the rest of the day.  It only lasted like that for the rest of the shift, but it made a difference for that time.  I think it’s a very powerful thing to have someone there with you in a non-threatening way to help keep you safe when you cannot do it yourself…

The other idea is a spin-off of having witnesses to the journey.  It also builds on a theory I saw on a PBS special.  That theory advocated the telling and re-telling of the trauma until it lost its impact.  They did not flesh out all the points of the treatment plan, but from what they showed, I think it has some merits.  Anyway, and please tell me if this is a horrible idea, I think it might be helpful to do this in an intensive group setting.  Wait! you may say, this will cause a huge domino effect of triggering… Well, that’s kind of the point.  I noticed in groups, the most benefit I got from many of them was when someone’s experiences triggered something in me and I got a chance to deal with it.  This would be tricky as a group where the point is to tell triggering things, and not just walk on eggshells around topics.  But I think with the proper support available (MANY treaters on hand, at least 1.5+ per person in group, because some people need more than one person to bring them back), this could be a viable path to dealing with all the crap we don’t always think of accessing during treatment.  The groups could start with a topic and go from there.  Forget necessarily censoring the details of the event… While I understand that ambiguity of the event to another may help them access their own demons, I find it tends to limit me in the telling of the event.

There are definitely details to flesh out, and many, many conversations with other professionals to figure out the viability of these theories… But I’m determined to figure out a treatment option that works for me… and hopefully I can come up with something that may help others too…

Bring on the firestorm of criticism for this horrible idea! (It goes against all convention and current thinking and insurance company standards…)