Life

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Today we’re going to talk about the…Oh look, Squirrel!

Published January 4, 2019 by ia84

My suspicions started a while ago. One of my friends is a special ed. teacher, and she regularly shares on Facebook different articles she’s found that relates to her work. One day she posted an article about an adult getting diagnosed with ADHD. I was intrigued, and hopped over to read it. As I finished the article, it struck me that it could easily have been written by me, but I didn’t have ADHD.

Did I?

Curious, I began to do a little research, and while I didn’t fit every single symptom of ADHD , I realized I had most of them. It took me a few months to work up the courage, but I finally got myself to the doctor and into therapy.

Last August, I was officially diagnosed with ADHD, and I started taking an antidepressant that is supposed to help with both my depression and my ADHD. I can track the ADHD symptoms and anxiety back to childhood, and the depression has been fairly constant companion since I was sixteen.

Do you have any idea how relieved and angry this diagnosis made me?

The relief comes from finally knowing that I’m not stupid, lazy, or just plain losing my marbles. It comes because I finally am getting a treatment that actually is doing something.

So, if I’m feeling all this relief, why am I feeling anger?

When I was growing up, I was taught that ADHD (and autism, and schizophrenia, and a whole raft of other mental issues) wasn’t real. I was told that ADHD-and pretty much any other mental condition-was one of two things. Either it was bad parenting, or it was demonic.

Now, I do believe in angels and demons, God and Satan, Heaven and Hell. However, I also believe in science and the fact that the brain sometimes doesn’t quite do its job right. To me, the brain not being able to produce enough neurochemicals is no different than the pancreas not producing enough insulin, or the heart having a valve that doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to.

What else was I raised to believe? Antidepressants are evil. They will turn the taker into a zombie. People don’t really need antidepressants, they just need to try harder.

I’ve spent years trying hard. And I’ve failed hard. Over and over and over again.

I’m angry because the symptoms were present for so long. I’m angry that those who saw the struggle never brought up the possibility that I might have ADHD. I’m angry because when I’d say, “I don’t get this.” for the twentieth time to my teachers I was told it really wasn’t that hard; I just needed to apply myself more and study harder. I’m angry because when I’d say I was having trouble focusing, or I couldn’t function because of my depression, I was advised to just power through it. I’m angry because when I’d say I was really having trouble with my memory I was advised to just spend less time on my phone (to be fair, I probably should spend less time on my phone, but the memory problems started years before I ever had a smart phone). I’m angry because this last August was the first time since I was a little kid that I genuinely didn’t feel exhausted the second I woke up. While I’m thrilled that I awoke feeling good, I’m angry because I should not have gone 26-ish years without a decent rest.

I could keep listing things, but I think you get the general idea.

This has been a huge adjustment period. I’m still wrapping my head around the diagnosis. Even though I had been suspecting it for months, it’s a whole different thing when it becomes your reality and not just a suspicion.

A few weeks into starting treatment, I told my husband that I had realized just how bad I truly had been doing. It scares me that I was in that terrible of shape for so long. I also told him he’s an amazing man for loving me and hanging in there with me.

Since I was a teenager, I’ve been living in a brain fog. Going through the motions of life. Making decisions, most of which I regret. The only thing I don’t regret? Marrying my husband.

I’ve spent so long wandering. Most of the time my goal has been to survive the day.

In the last few months the fog has started to lift. Really, truly, lift and clear. It’s like when I put my contacts in every morning. The fuzzy world around me is suddenly clear.

I feel like me, the real me, is crawling out into the sunlight. I’m meeting this girl that I haven’t seen since childhood. I’m trying to figure out how to balance the childhood me with the adult me.

I looked in the mirror a few months ago, and the woman staring back at me was different. There was happiness, joy, optimism radiating from me. My face didn’t just look like a fat blob with eyes, nose, and a mouth. I looked human. Genuinely human. I feel human. I feel present. I’m suddenly here, on planet Earth.  I’m not just sitting on the sidelines watching my body go through its day. I spent decades being detached, so it’s very strange to suddenly find myself connected to my body. I didn’t realize until the last few months just how long it’s been since I’ve been present and involved.

I’m learning to take ownership of my life.  I’m actually thinking for myself, not just relying on others to tell me how to think.  I’m realizing that it’s okay for me to admit that I love coffee, and make-up, and that I’m a dog person.  These may not seem like big things, but up until December, I never would’ve been able to say these things.  I’ve even started being able to make “simple” decisions (the first time I was able to decide within 15 minutes that I wanted Taco Bell for supper, I wanted to cry due to joy.)  I feel like I’m finding my personality.

This healing process is just that.  It’s a process.  Some weeks it’s really rough, some weeks I’m actually getting normal things done (like laundry and dishes), and it’s not feeling like quite as much of a herculean effort.

I’m feeling better than I’ve felt in decades.

Back to the fields, you peasant!

Published January 3, 2019 by ia84

This Christmas, I received one of those 23 & Me DNA testing kits.  I hadn’t ever planned to get one, because I know that I’m not guaranteed super accurate results.  However, since it was a gift, I figured it didn’t hurt to give it a try.

Now, as far as ancestry testing goes, I’m expecting to see results that place me as being mostly European.  I’m definitely built like someone you’d expect to see working the fields hundreds of years ago.  From doing genealogy research, I know that there’s German, Czech, English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish in my background.  I’m curious to see what results I get regarding Jewish, Mediterranean, and African ancestry.  I have my suspicions, but so far haven’t turned up anything concrete in my own personal research.

I have absolutely no idea what to expect from the health report.

I sent in the kit last week.  I don’t think I’ve ever intentionally spit that much in my entire life.  As of yesterday, according to the app, my specimen is currently in the genotyping stage.  Sometime between January 14th and the end of the month, I should have my results.

If you’ve done this type of testing, I’d be curious to hear what your experience was.  Did you find out anything surprising?  Meet any new family members?

I’ll fill y’all in once I get my report back.

It’s the end of the year, as we know it.

Published December 31, 2018 by ia84
photo of fireworks

Photo by Anna-Louise on Pexels.com

Here it is.

New Year’s Eve 2018.

Oh, 2018, what can I say about you?  You’ve not been a particularly good year, but you definitely haven’t been the worst year.  I’ve learned a lot this year, and as cheesy as it sounds, I’ve definitely grown as a person.  I’ve learned so much about myself.  I’ve stepped up and taken ownership of my life.  It’s been a scary, exhausting experience, but something that needed to happen.

I’m looking forward to 2019.  I have plans for this blog.  I have plans for my life.  I have plans to drink a ton of coffee.

You may notice a few changes to this site.  I’ll be documenting my jigsaw puzzles, and I’ll be keeping a daily log as I try my hand at making a temperature blanket.  I know that every year I make the pronouncement that I’m going to keep this blog more up to date, but this time I actually have a plan.  Crazy, right?

Finally, we’ve been talking about it for years, and have finally tried it. We have a podcast! Tom & Malia Have A Podcast. That’s right, the Boy has a name, and it’s only taken me almost five years to reveal it.  There’s only one episode, so far, and I know it’s a bit rough.  It’s fifteen minutes of us talking about the new Aquaman movie, and because I’m easily distracted, Spiderverse comes up as well.  This will be a learning experience, but should be a fun journey.

And that’s about it for now.  It’s almost time for the annual New Year’s Eve Diablo 3 gaming session.

See y’all in 2019!

You may be weird, but are you ‘make a fake baby announcement to celebrate your new instrument’ weird?

Published July 17, 2018 by ia84

I’m so exhausted right now, but the house is making weird noises, and the dog is restless, and it’s all very unsettling. It was really unnerving when she sat on the bed and stared at the door and refused to budge. Thanks, dog, I need more anxiety…

Here’s a fun fact about my youth that quite a lot of people don’t know. I mean, the people that were around in my youth know, but anyone who met me after summer of ’03 is unaware of this. Actually, I just realized I have to start this story back before I was born.

I was born into a musical family. My mom plays piano, drums, and autoharp, and she has one of the most beautiful voices in the world. My dad played the tuba in the Navy band, but he was also in a country western band that the Navy sent out to play gigs. He and my mom had their own band as well. This all was years before I was around.

Growing up my folks played and sang together a lot. Once I got old enough, their duo turned into a trio. Mom played autoharp, dad played guitar, banjo, and mandolin. We’d sing together at all kinds of things. Churches, town festivals, nursing homes, etc… After I moved out to go to college, we didn’t really play and sing together anymore. Every great once in a while we’d do a number, but it was a rarity.

Recently, the instruments have come out, and we’ve been practicing again (with a few new additions to the group. We’re now a quintet).

Dad rocking the banjo

Mom makes it look so easy (it’s not)

A little over a week ago, I got to rehearsal early, and I was watching my dad play the banjo. A thought suddenly struck me, in my nearly 34 years of life, I’d never asked to try the banjo. I’d tried every other instrument in the house, but the banjo always seemed almost sacred to me. I think it had something to do with it being such a part of my dad, I didn’t want to accidentally damage it. Besides which, I’ve had years of epic fails trying to play stringed instruments (I have fat, small, stubby hands which doesn’t help at all). The closest I get to even minor success is the piano. I’m a brass and woodwind girl. Give me any of those instruments and I’m golden. I’m not tooting my own horn (pun definitely intended), I really do have a gift when it comes to brass and woodwind instruments. They just make sense to me.

Anyway, back to my story…I’m sitting there, and I asked my dad if I can try the banjo. He handed it over to me, equiped me with picks and gave me a very brief lesson on how to pick. And y’know what? My fingers understood. My parents were thrilled.

I didn’t think much more about it, until last Saturday. Last Saturday, I was given a precious gift. My own banjo. I was given it, with the explanation that “You need to get the music back in your heart.” Which was much more true than I wanted to acknowledge. I’m realising that I’ve tried to purge almost everything to do with music from my life, which would probably shock those who knew me years ago. I don’t handle emotional pain well, I box it up and hide it deep inside myself.

I’ve been practicing everyday. There’s something very soothing about practicing the picking pattern dad taught me. Trying to play the assbutt C chord is less soothing. D isn’t much better. A7 is awesome, but open G is my current favorite. Yesterday, in an attempt to be funny, I posted the following image to Instagram:

Kermit, of course, is in honor of Kermit the Frog; and Martin is because of Steve Martin. Two very important banjo players (apart from my dad).

So, now I play banjo. 2018 has definitely had it’s fair share of surprises.

Drumroll Please…

Published March 24, 2018 by ia84

To quote Professor Hubert Farnsworth, “Good news, everyone!”

I had my fasting blood drawn this morning and after several stabs…

(That’s four, four painful sticks of a needle. I’m a nightmare draw.)

…my blood was drawn. And this afternoon I got the result of my A1C (and of my chem 14, but I wasn’t nearly as anxious about that result).

At the end of December, my A1C was 10.2. That was the A1C that got my surgery cancelled. The A1C that legit scared me.

I’m pleased to report that as of this morning, my A1C is down.

It’s not 9.5.

It’s not 8.5.

Wait for it…

….

It’s 7.8!

You have no idea how excited I was to see that number. Especially since I know I didn’t apply myself nearly as much to the getting healthy process as I should’ve. But, as much as I blame the flu for me falling off the wagon of eating right and logging of food & blood sugar numbers, I’m thinking the flu actually deserves my thanks. See, I spent almost all of February sleeping, and when I ate, it wasn’t tons.

Now, I just have to try even harder to be good.

The only bad news? I’ve lost no weight. Zero. So, I’m sure that’s not going to thrill my doctor, but she should be happy about that 2.4 point (really hoping my mental math is right) drop of my A1C, right? Hopefully, this’ll keep me from having to go on insulin. Plus, since I’m below 8.0 my ob-gyn is going to be willing to consider doing my surgery again!!!!

At least this usually only happens once a month.

Published March 1, 2018 by ia84

If I ever don’t work in the world of healthcare, the one thing I will never EVER miss is working on the days immediately before, on, and directly following a full moon.

Full moons suck.

The boy honestly believes I’m just superstitious. I think he wouldn’t think that if he’d seen the weirdness that I’ve seen.

When I worked in the vet clinic, a full moon guaranteed that the worst, most bat-crap crazy pet owners and their even more insane pets would descend like a cloud of locusts. (Cloud? Herd? Flock? I can’t remember the right of term right now.) On top of that, downright weird stuff would happen. Awful phone calls, and things that were mind-blowing bizarre. It didn’t just happen once. I could depend on it happening Every. Single. Month. I would intentionally use vacation time, just so I didn’t have to work on full moon days. Looking back, my coworkers might have wondered if I was a werewolf.

Today, it was just reinforced to me how truly awful full moons can be. I can’t actually write about it A. Because I wasn’t directly involved, and more importantly B. I’m not willing to violate HIPAA just for a blog post. Let’s just leave it that it was sad and I was reminded, yet again, that I work with some amazingly strong, smart, wonderful humans.

And now, a random update post that really goes nowhere. Fun times.

Published February 28, 2018 by ia84

“Eagles may soar, but weasles don’t get sucked into jet engines.” Hands down, my all time favorite joke.

I completely lost the month of February. The flu was brutal; and then when I thought it was finally all over, I came down with post-infection bronchitis. I didn’t have the energy to do anything. I just stayed in bed, and slept through things on Netflix and Hulu.

I’m a week out now from the bronchitis diagnosis. I’m still not at 100%, but I’m starting to feel like maybe, just maybe, the worst is over.

March begins in a few hours, and I’m tentatively looking forward to it. There are changes headed towards me. I hope the changes are going to improve the boy and I’s life. Guess we won’t know until we’re actually into it. But at least I should have plenty to write about.

And now, I’m going to try to sleep, because tomorrow is my early shift, and I’ve found I’m more successful at my job when I’m not completely sleep deprived.

Good-bye flu. Hello anxiety attack.

Published February 19, 2018 by ia84

(I’ve been having a really bad anxiety attack tonight. The following are all things I’m thinking and feeling.)

The anxiety is bad tonight.

I’m wide awake, but I’m so exhausted.

My heart is pounding.

My chest is tight.

Breathing is taking concentration.

My head is tight and painful.

Why won’t my thoughts stop racing?

I can’t even tell you what’s racing through my mimd, it’s just a jumbled mess.

I feel like I’m shaking, but I’m not.

I’m so nauseous.

I feel like the air is closing in around me.

It’s too hot.

It’s too cold.

My clothes are heavy and it hurts.

I’m very aware of my fingernails.

I’m super thirsty.

There’s too much noise, but the house is quiet.

I can hear the blood rushing past my ears.

Why is it so loud?

Sound hurts.

Light hurts.

I’m scared to turn off the lights.

The anxiety is really bad tonight.

Important Flu Safety Tip

Published February 14, 2018 by ia84

(Fair warning, I’m on flu meds and even though I’ve proof-read this post, I can’t guarantee that it’s free of glaring spelling or grammar errors. I also can’t guarantee that it makes much sense. Right now I think it makes sense, but in a few days when I’m less medicated, I may discover that it’s not.)

I’ve been sleeping. A lot. In between bouts of sleeping comes rounds of nightmare coughing and knitting. I’m trying to stay as still and quiet as possible. When I’m awake I’ve been watching old tv shows that I know well enough it doesn’t matter if I fall asleep watching them. Solid plan, right?

I’ve discovered a flaw in my plan. I made the mistake of deciding to put on Gravity Falls. I love Gravity Falls, and it’s a pretty entertaining show to be watching while hopped up on flu meds. The problem? Gravity Falls’ theme song is also my phone’s ringtone. So, when I fall asleep mid-episode, (and if I’m not deeply asleep yet) I’m jolted awake when the next episode starts. I start blindly grasping for my phone, and then am super confused when my phone shows that I have no call coming in. It then takes my brain a few seconds to put two and two together.

So, if you get the flu (and I really recommend that you don’t), make sure you either don’t fall asleep with the tv on, or at least pick something that doesn’t play your ringtone every 23 minutes.