Variability

The holidays notwithstanding things are ever shifting. Time distorts, and it seems like nothing is happening yet everything is somehow different or altered. Some for the better, others not so much.

I’m feeling sad lately and I don’t always have the ability to put it into even the most basic of words or terms. Not all the time, mind you. I actually almost have an idea of where I’m going with this line of thought.

Often I say that I’m X (Sad, Depressed, Morose, or whatever) and ‘I don’t know why’. I’m choosing to point it out because it’s nearly always a misrepresentation of the truth which eventually emerges. Granted there are times when words utterly fail me, but it really doesn’t happen much. Point being that I am almost always blowing smoke when I say things like that.

I’m also feeling quite happy in some respects. I have a lot to be grateful for and I’m fully conscious of this. I mean, there are the usual stressors but my romantic life is unbelievably fulfilling despite my Darling and I being on opposing schedules. I’m excited about Christmas, and seeing my Sister as well as the rest of the family.

I’ve just been shifty lately. It’s the nature of my illness, even when it’s well controlled. I’ve been having occasional flashes of intense sadness, sometimes in the middle of talking to someone. Or anxiety. Either way I feel icky as hell almost instantly. It seems to worry people who see me like that. I try to explain that it happens and I just sort of have to let it run its course. Doesn’t usually last that long.

That, of course is the easiest way I can sum up bipolar disorder. It’s not the highs or lows that get you. It’s the back and forth shit that really drives a person berserk.

Any time I’m sick or my joints start flaring up I tend to get weepy and blubbery. Today is one of those days and I’m on the couch with my Pikachu trying to take it easy. I’m hoping the dreaded work bug I seem to have goes easy on me. I don’t want to have to go off my RA meds when I just got things under control.

So yes, I am a bit frustrated and feeling icky at present. But instead of staring at the walls and wandering around in my head I decided to write about it. Did I achieve anything? I suppose that’s purely a matter of perspective. Whatever. It made me feel a bit better, that’s all I really care about right now.

That’s all I have at the moment. Be well and enjoy yet another obnoxious selfie.

-Tommy Boy

Feeling sufficient

Sometimes I seriously feel like I’m playing with a stacked deck. I’m not sure where this developed but I rarely feel that great about myself. I know I’m not a bad guy but most of the people in my family have at least some kind of meaningful achievement whereas I’m constantly getting down on myself because I’ve done so little. I’m not as bad about this as I used to be. In a lot of ways being with Shannon makes me less apprehensive and does a great deal to build up my spirit. 

Sometimes I believe in myself. It’s a difficult frame of mind for me to get into, but it does happen. Sometimes I’m just so bent on not being arrogant or whatever that I go to the opposite extreme and either sell myself short or tear myself down somehow.  I’m working on this for real because I like to entertain the idea of having some artistic and creative potential yet to be realized. This is one way in which my Man is extremely encouraging with me. I mean, honestly I tried to put a Battle Vest together for years and never got anywhere with it. It’s amazing how much of a lift it gives your spirits when the person you’re with doesn’t think everything you’re into is stupid.

To put it bluntly, my Darling inspires me. He lights a creative fire under my ass and fills me with laughter. He and I are far from perfect but we’re perfect for each other and I can’t wait to marry him. He’s fiercely intelligent, nurturing and so compassionate. I hadn’t intended to turn this post into me gushing about my Man but here we are. I’ve never felt as loved or as safe in anyone’s arms. Now if we could just find him a day job I would be so happy.

Sometimes I feel insufficient, or perhaps insignificant. Shannon’s mental health background helps quite a bit, he’s pretty good about knowing when to let me be. I mean, I kick myself hard enough in the ass every day to appear normal, but I’m always going to be bipolar. I know I’m not either of those I words to Shannon, or my family. 

Let me be real for a moment. I don’t know what to do with my life. I had two severe mental breakdowns in my twenties and I’ve been pretty much adrift ever since. I don’t have a great deal of confidence in myself, but I’m trying to change that. At least giving myself credit for not being a jerk, for still working my ass off with mental illness and RA. I mean, I suppose there’s dignity in not being a deadbeat at least. 

This summer being home alone really wrecked me. I was hysterical most of that time. Didn’t do much outside of go to work and come home and be miserable. I was so happy when Shannon came home and it’s been such a blast. Only problem is my emotions got kind of weird over the summer and I can’t seem to shake it. It takes very little to upset me and make me cry these days. I don’t know how I became all fragile like this and it’s kind of disconcerting to me. 

Aside from that I’m basically alright. I just don’t have much of a social life these days and I miss my friends. It’s hard with opposing schedules and me not having a car. That is a major reason my job prospects are narrow , public transportation here is a joke.  

I’m sure I’ll figure something out here, just kind of bummed out lately. That’s about all I have at the moment. Sorry for being such a downer. 
-Thom

On being enough

Yep, this is gonna be one of those heavy deeply introspective Planet Berserk posts. Since I began this blog I have made no secret of the fact that I am mentally ill. It’s been a recurring theme of my writing, as it’s something I have a bit of experience and knowledge of. I do this blog because it helps me better understand and grasp what’s going on in my head. I’ve done it for a minute or two now and have some readers, which to me is great if you get something out of it. 

Anyhow, I hate to be a guy who constantly pisses and moans about everything under the sun. I do my best to avoid shit like that because it doesn’t help anyone really. With this said, if I write about the stuff I’m dealing with, I can at least get some outside inside perspective. A crude way of phrasing it but whatever. The ability to pick apart my own words from a distance is both crucial and precious to me. It helps me dial down my ego and be somewhat more… clinical I guess you could call it. Plus putting it on a blog that’s public enables without a mandate the possibility of genuine outside aka another person perspective. Perhaps I’m overthinking it but that IS what I do. 

Some days it feels like the deck is stacked against me. I do my best. I hurt a lot physically and mentally and I try my damnedest to be whatever ‘enough’ is. Strong enough, smart enough, hard working enough, I don’t know….. I just always feel like I’m not doing enough or far along enough or…I have no idea honestly. I know it’s my brain being all bipolarish but being self aware doesn’t just make everything better. It just makes your analysis better in my view. 

I’ve made a living with my body my whole life and now it’s revolting against me in the form of moderately active Rheumatoid Arthritis. The methotrexate and Enbrel are certainly helping but I guess my point of mentioning it is that it’s one more thing to deal with on top of being mentally interesting. There’s side effects from the meds, plus having a physically intense job, plus the creeping depression that is always harder to control than mania. I never go full manic on my meds. I get depressed a lot though. 

Everyone in my family has achieved something, all I’ve done is survive badly. At least this is the kind of stuff that creeps into my thoughts when I’m feeling sad. I chronically suffer from being down on myself. I know it’s stupid but it’s a hard habit to break myself of. RA also has a tendency to amplify depression, or so I’ve read. Of course flaring joints don’t have much of a mood improvement effect. 

I do the best I can. I get up and go to work. I try my hardest to keep up with everything life throws at me. Some days at my job I feel weak as all hell and I hurt all over and my wrists and knuckles are swollen and I go in the beer cooler and fucking sob for a minute. Only a minute though. Not getting paid to lose my shit here πŸ˜‰

It’s been hard on me this summer. All the while I’ve basically been the walking undead. I’ve been fine at work throughout the last two months, but privately I’ve been a fucking hot mess. Hysterical at times. I’m maxed out on my antidepressant that I had cut in half six months previous. I’ve been gradually getting better about giving myself a break and relaxing, but the first six weeks were pure hell.

In spite of all this, I actually feel like I’m enough today. I put in a solid day of work, made some money and had a pretty good time doing it. My baby comes home in less than two days. I’ve never been with anyone so supportive and encouraging and it’s pretty awesome. He helps me believe in myself and I believe in him. We’re just a couple of hard working guys with serious health issues that do our best to hold one another up. That’s what love should be, at least that’s what I think. I know I’m enough for him πŸ™‚

Again, I try not to bitch about my job or my health issues or whatever. I know lots of folks have it worse. I just have to get it out of my head to where I can see it. As I mentioned, this blog being public doesn’t serve any other purpose than giving outsiders a portal into my war. 

Anything else? I had a wonderful birthday party a few days ago. I’m thirty-five now. Got two Iron Maiden shirts and a pair of Iron Maiden socks too! I also switched to methotrexate injections this week which has helped significantly with side effects. 

Hope you enjoyed this disjointed head spew. Time to recuperate and prepare for Sunday breakfast shift.

Regards-

Thom

General (A)musingsΒ 

I’ve just been trying to find a little peace the last few weeks. Here are some of the recent issues/happenings here @ the Planet:

1. Methotrexate. This medication is a freaking punch in the gut. I’ve come to refer to it as my weekly flu. If I take it around 2 pm as I’m wrapping up work I have time to finish work and get home before it really kicks in. But by Six or Seven PM I’m starting to feel considerably less right. Not exactly throwing up sick, more like unbelievably weak and horrible brain fog. I thought I had a pretty good handle on this med but I had a rough time with last week’s dose. I felt relatively alright and decided to go to Publix for something to cook for dinner. I got a bad episode of the brain fog and fatigue as I was walking through the store. The person checking me out asked me if I was okay. After I spent way too long walking in circles confused and looking lost and sick. I was so embarrassed by this. The people at the downtown Publix are really nice and were just looking out but I just felt like such a fucking brainless twit which I hate. I’ve noticed a significant decline in symptoms since starting the higher dose of methotrexate but the stuff is so damn rough. Sometimes I get really sad because I want to do something fun but I have to sit at home by myself and feel like freaking death on what’s supposed to be my damn day off.  Apologies for being so dramatic but I’m really frustrated by this and not sure if it’s worth it or not.  The hilarious thing is that right after I wrote the last few paragraphs this week’s methotrexate dose was relatively mild. How about that? Life will go to any length to prove me wrong.

2. Shannon no home. This (still) makes me feel lost and adrift. I mean, I didn’t get to see a lot of him when he was here with him working overnight, but I could still crack the bedroom door and watch him sleep like a freaking Angel. Things are beginning to look up. Only two and a half weeks until he gets home. I’ve been doing my best to be strong. The nights stretch on for ages and drive me absolutely mad with desperate longing. However, there is plenty of hope in there as well. He calls or texts me every day and it always lifts up my weathered Spirit. The time seems to be passing more quickly than the first six weeks did. As the days creep away my twisted little heart swells with anticipation of my lover’s return. I always somehow knew when I was with women that it just felt awkward and uncomfortable. The sex was great but emotionally it just wasn’t what I was after. I never married a woman because I had to know what it was like to love another man. Having found my Darling makes me feel like I’m the luckiest dumb fuck on the face of the earth. He completes me in a way no-one else ever has. He’s kind, nurturing and more than just a bit weird. He brings out facets of my personality I had led myself to believe were no more. I like to think of it as my inner light or something. A kind, gentle and deeply affectionate and passionate energy I seem to radiate around him. This probably sounds like ridiculous disgusting couple shit but I’m merely trying to articulate what he makes me feel like. If I wanted to sum it up to a single statement it would be: Shannon brings out the best in me. 

3. My gnawing doubt about myself as an artist and performer. This is a sticky one. I’ve been outside the loop long enough that I feel like my modest skills are not really enough to stand on or market myself with. My boyfriend would disagree of course, and perhaps he’s right. It’s just that my confidence is a little screwed up. I know that I need to get back to my theatre life which I terribly miss. Maybe I’ll sing again some day. I just don’t know.

4.As far as work, I’m preparing myself for the unknown. I was talking to my boss while I was unloading a bus tub full of dishes. He says to me ‘So Thom, are you excited about next week?’. I pause for a moment and reply ‘What happens next week?’. Him: ‘Oh, maybe I should let Dan tell you.’. Me: ‘Am I in trouble?’ Him ‘No, quite the opposite. You begin Server training next week.’ I was surprised but said ‘Okay, cool.’. I’m excited about the earning potential and am going to do my best with it. We shall see. 

That’s about it for now. Counting down the days and trying to not go completely mad πŸ˜‰

Adios-

Thom

Through dark waters

I suppose that isn’t the most uplifting title, but such are the times and trials of late.  I’m on my feet and still fighting. I’m trying to not just bitch incessantly about things as all that really achieves is getting me MORE worked up. So that said I haven’t had the best of times lately. 
My RA is about as well controlled as I can hope for right now. The methotrexate is rough but pretty good at controlling my symptoms. Since I started this higher dose I’ve almost completely removed prednisone from my daily meds. I’ve done two three day bursts in the last month and a half which is not very much at all so naturally I’m happy about that.  I’m fairly certain that my bussing and barbacking days are nearly over. It’s just too damn much physical strain. I can’t keep up with it like I used to and I’m killing myself trying. Going to give serving a try as well as explore a few other things. 

So yeah, RA is currently alright. Bipolar disorder issues, not so much. I’m not having any mania or anything like that. I just frequently get really sad. Lately my phone just doesn’t ring, no-one comes over and I can’t find anyone to talk to or hang out with me and it’s kind of eating at me. I’m doing my best to be my own best friend here. Having the animals here helps, but I’m still getting pretty stir crazy being by myself all day everyday. 

Not badly depressed. Just frequently sad and lonely and morose. Agitated because I don’t know what to do with myself. I have to figure something out, I’m home alone for another four weeks. 

I got so bored I even set up an Instagram account. That one shocked even me. I don’t have many good pictures but perhaps I can start taking some. It’s just more internet crap to amuse myself with. Whatevers.

I don’t mean to make it sound like things are terrible. I’m just starved for the little things. Someone to hold me together when I fall apart, that sort of thing. I’ve been laying on our sofa a lot because if you lay against the back it kind of feels like someone spooning with you. 

I’m just doing my best to be there for myself and trying to properly maintain. I shouldn’t be counting the days but I totally am, of course. Here’s hoping for a better tomorrow.
Delicately yours,

Thom

Of malaise and persistence…

Things have been rougher than usual the last month. As  I compose this post  I find myself back in a state of relative peace. I’ve only regained my footing in the last five days. The Iron Maiden show gave me a much needed boost as the three weeks leading up to it were pure depressive hell.

I was fine at , say my job. That kept me plenty busy. It’s just the down time that’s been eating at me. I never know what in the hell to do with myself. I mean, I haven’t become a total house ape. I go for a good long bicycle ride fairly regularly and try to get out and do stuff with friends. It is difficult though with so many conflicting schedules and whatnot.

RA-wise  I’m continuing a trend for the better. I’ve been off the steroids for over two weeks and  I’m trying to keep it up. Since the methotrexate was raised I’ve noticed a reduction in  symptoms overall. Which is damn good because taking the stuff is harsh enough that I’d really feel cheated if it weren’t freaking effective. It plus the Enbrel seems like a pretty potent combination.  Last injection was a real Bear though. I think  I went too deep and muscled it. Most painful shot I’ve ever given myself. I started growl-screaming halfway through. My leg was sore at work all day 😦

Between RA and being Bipolar it kind of feels like  I never really get to relax. I mean, I shouldn’t make it sound like  I have it that bad. I’m still strong enough to work and  I’m going to try to make something of myself. If only  I could figure out what. I really have no idea what I’d be good at. Anyhow, the meds are doing me pretty well at present. The steroids were really throwing me off kilter for a while and  I’m happy to be off of them. 

Two days from today will make a month my Lover has been gone. Also, another month until he returns so yay for halfway there.I was hysterically depressed for the first three weeks but Iron Maiden plus time with my friends helped get my ass back among the living. It was an incredible experience. Obviously lots of tracks from The Book of Souls as it’s TBOS tour but also a ton of classics including:

Wrathchild, Children of the Damned, The Trooper, Powerslave, Fear of the Dark, Iron Maiden,  The Number of The Beast, Blood Brothers and Wasted Years.

Lots of fascinating people watching and my Buddy Justin came with me. His ticket was my birthday gift to him and we had an absolute blast. Went to a Killer Pizza place and had a little pre show meal then it was off to The Amalie Arena to see Metal’s Finest. They were top notch and sounded positively amazing. Pure professionals.

So yeah, I’m hanging in there. Got myself some great memories and my Holy Pilgrimage to see my backpatch band is complete. To anyone who may be reading, all I want for my birthday is an Iron Maiden T-shirt or two (available on the official Iron Maiden website)with North American tour dates on the back as  I was too strapped to buy one at the show πŸ˜‰

Hey, don’t hate me for trying. I’m just a happy crazy person who just achieved a major Bucket List goal πŸ™‚

That’s about all  I have for now except a photo from the Iron Maiden facebook page. My Buddy Justin and  I are in the upper midsection below the right spotlight. 

Until we meet again,

Thom

Of distance and longing

To say  I’m having a rough time of late would be quite fair. The usual physical and mental troubles plus the fact of my Darling Man being in Alaska for two months. I’m almost two weeks in and my public face is still pretty good, though it has been wearing on me something fierce. I’m going to work, taking care of our Dog and two Cats and just going through the day to day motions. At some point every day when  I’m alone (usually when I get home from work)  I curl up in our bed and start sobbing. It passes quickly enough, but every day without fail since he left.

I’ve been flirting with escapism, wanting to delete this blog, my facebook, my myrateam.com account and I haven’t done so. Why? Because I know it’ll not really accomplish anything outside of worrying people. I realize that a lot of people care about me but when  I get in a depressed state  I just want to shut out everything under and including the Sun. I know that that’s when  I need to reach out and  I’m slowly getting better about this.

Apparently RA can cause or exacerbate depression. I read this and  I’m like ‘Oh joy.’. I have to at this point stress that I am mostly alright, just having a rough go of things. My joint issues have if anything gotten more pronounced in the last year but they haven’t stopped me yet. I am especially fortunate to have discovered myrateam.com , it’s a really good resource for people with RA. It’s nice to have a place where  I can vent among people in the same situation who  can relate and offer insights and or encouragement. 

So yeah, I’m not going anywhere, as this blog is a major stabilizing factor in my life. I’m hanging in there. I’m in the weeds, and  I hurt. Sometimes terribly. I try not to be that flaky person always bitching and moaning about something be it physical or mental. But if this blog was intended for anything it’s precisely this. More than anything it’s for me to help with sorting myself out. I tend to be a person who suffers privately but  I’m trying to get more open with other people about what  I think and feel. Because sometimes people want to help me. What’s more, sometimes I want to let them πŸ˜‰

I promise to keep doing my best. 93

-Thom

Of Thommunism and Recent Happenings

Things are a bit erratic at present. I’ll have a stretch of days where my RA seems to calm down but then I’ll be in agony from a relatively easy day. I’m overall not awful but neither am  I spectacular. I’m two injections in with Enbrel and my joints have been a bit calmer in the last week. Some of that is still riding the wave from that steroid shot, of this I’m sure. 

So what else?.I finally got caught up with my Psychiatrist and had a pretty good meeting with him. I’ve cut back on the wellbutrin which has seemed to bring down the blood pressure a bit, so that’s a plus. The low dose of Risperdal seems to still be doing the trick without zonking me out, which  I’m grateful for.

I’m hoping to do a Thrash Metal themed Vest specifically to sell on eBay or Etsy or something. Relatively safe bands, nothing too outlandish. Something that tastefully screams Glory Days Thrasher. I can do this. Lesser work than mine is selling, why the hell not?

Aside from that, just working and navigating the sea of madness we call the modern world. Doing so reasonably well and maintaining a state of relative contentment. 

May it be so for you. 

-Thom

PS:

My Iron Maiden tickets arrived and  I got muh hair done πŸ™‚

Plugging away

I had a rough couple weeks there but  I seem to be relatively back to normal. Well, normal for me at least. I did my usual ice, short bursts of prednisone and ibuprofen routine but this flare just didn’t pass. I messaged my Rheumatologist and he was able to squeeze me in the following day(Friday). 

When  I saw the Doctor he examined my joints and said that the Humira had suddenly pooped out on me. The methotrexate was supposed to prevent developing a resistance to the biologic but  I guess the dose wasn’t high enough for that. We talked for a bit and we decided to give Enbrel a try. He had his nurse walk me through my first injection of it as well as give me a steroid injection. I’m glad he threw that in because my wrists loosened up immediately. Two days later  I’m off the prednisone and just taking a bit of Advil. Feeling alright. Much better, actually. 

Sometimes I get concerned about my ability to do my job. It can be pretty physical, but as long as my joint swelling is under control I can totally handle it. That said, I have a really great job with cool people and  I’m hesitant to mess with it. I know this will sound ridiculous but- I’ve worked at lots of places that are like a big family. Crabby’s is the first place I’ve worked where  I actually felt like part of said family.

What else can  I tell  you about, whoever you may be? Shannon is going to Alaska for a lead role in a Shakespeare production. Very happy for him. I badly wanted to go but it makes sense for me to hold down the fort, care for the animals and work the summer. One huge development- GOING TO SEE IRON MAIDEN! Taking my buddy Justin to see Iron Maiden in Tampa for his Birthday. I am excited beyond words. My tickets should arrive in the next few days. 

I’ve also become a bit more active on myrateam.com – It’s like Facebook, but for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I try to curtail how much  I gripe about health issues on facebook and keep it entertaining. This blog and the aforementioned social network are where  I prefer to spill my guts. 

I usually keep myself together, but sometimes I get bad bouts of depression along with painsomnia. I’m happy to say this has not been a problem since getting my wellbutrin adjusted. Both with my RA and my Mental Issues, I sometimes feel like  I’m too functional to be taken seriously. I mean, I’m pretty physically strong, but  the difficult thing for me is accepting the fact that  I have limits and boundaries. For most of my twenties  I was pretty much unstoppable. Not so much anymore. People are surprised when  I tell them about my health issues. I dunno. I guess all  I’m saying is I’m reasonably strong but  I’m more frail than  I appear. I guess it comes with getting older. 

 On a side note- I got bored and live streamed my last Humira injection. It seemed to amuse a few people so I’m happy with it. The last two days since seeing the doctor have been great. Fruitful days of work, been catching up with dear friends and just plain enjoying myself. Had a lovely lunch Friday at the local Irish Pub with a couple of my Readers and Shannon πŸ˜‰

That’s about all  I have for now. Alive, content and pressing on. 

Can’t ask for much else, eh?

PS- I saw this photo while  I was browsing google images. I really like it. You never really have any idea what another person is going through. 


Regards-

Thom

Precarious Existence

There’s something to be said for humans and their ability to withstand a constant barrage of soul crushing bullshit. Some folks are like well trained dogs, or perhaps horses. So stubbornly proud of how much they can endure the feeling of the cruel bit in their quivering mouths. I try to not be such a person when possible. 

Granted, I’ve calmed down quite a bit since I was a rage junkie teenager /young adult. But I still have a really hard time with impulse and mood control. Sometimes my brain feels like a car with the gas pedal and the brake being slammed at the same time. The laws of physical science dictate that one or both will eventually give out. That said, I’m a lot better than I used to be. I have SOME degree of control over my emotions and moods. There was a long time where I had zero.and it was not pretty. 

I realize that I have a responsibility to keep my head together and stay out of hospitals or legal trouble. I’m getting better about articulating the things that are ripping through my mind day to day. I don’t go manic. Risperdal prevents that pretty well. But in the last year or two depression and anxiety have been much bigger problems for me than they have been in the past.

I take Wellbutrin for this purpose and it helps. I’ve come to accept the fact that I’m going to have to deal with some breakthrough craziness in the name of not being completely dead inside from being zonked the fuck out on psych drugs. 

I get upset a lot, almost completely at random. I’ve gotten better at identifying my bad states and taking my vistaril (antihistamine used to treat anxiety and panic) when I start freaking out. Still, it’s been rough the last month or so. Being temporarily unemployed didn’t help my mental state any.  On a positive note, its been great to be back at my job. I missed my people πŸ™‚

I don’t know, sometimes it feels like all it takes is a single word or a random breeze to put me in a state of profound sadness. I don’t know if anyone realizes the herculean effort it takes for me to maintain the veneer of relative composure. Some days I just go to pieces regardless. It all depends on a plethora of factors and variables.

I don’t get to see my friends much lately and it’s really been eating at me. Spending entirely too much time in my own head. I don’t have a car and our schedules never line up anymore. I just worry that they think I don’t care. It’s not that at all. I just feel like I’m spread out too thin trying to do too much. 

Still, I’m grateful for the life I have, batshit as I may be. I have a job. I have relative freedom and a Lover who makes all the bullshit worth it. Its so easy to lose sight of the things that really matter. Mental illness has a way of giving one a bit of the old tunnel vision.

This has been one of my less focused posts on this blog. But whatever. I’m thinking this is a decent enough place to wrap it up with a quick run down.

I’m happy to be working again.

I love my Fiancee and my Dog and two Cats.

I’m doing my best.

May it be enough….

-Thom