Say Hello…

To my little friend Wodos the Pikachu. Isn’t he just the most adorable thing ever?

As you can see he is a Thelemite type of guy, with a fondness for spikes,  ripping Death Metal/Grind core and denim. At least that’s how I’ve styled him ๐Ÿ™‚

In all seriousness, I was having a great deal of trouble with anxiety and whatnot leading up to and after the hurricane. Having this little guy has done a lot to keep me grounded and calm. I don’t really give a shit if it’s ridiculous because it helps me. 

As you can see, I made a little Metal vest for him. Also a collar because I wanted him to have the unicursal hexagram pendant ๐Ÿ˜‰ I had a lot of fun with this project. 

Why Wodos? It’s a reference to a meme in my battle jacket group. Someone selling a patch on eBay inverted the logo of the German Thrash band Sodom and sold it as a Wodos patch. Metalheads went berserk. 

Anyway, hope you enjoyed meeting my service Stuffie ๐Ÿ™‚

-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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

Adventures in Lunacy

What else would you expect from me? Seriously, my Summer started off bland and miserable but things are steadily getting more interesting and less morose. As the day of my Man’s return flight creeps closer my heart gets a bit lighter and more pleasant. I’m still a bit weepy day to day but it’s getting better. What can I say? I’m more than a bit emotionally and sexually frustrated. That pent up horny will drive a bitch crazy, trust me. Anyhow, all my weak attempts at repartee aside I’ll throw out a few recent highlights:

Work is going pretty well. I’ve been doing my best with my Server training. Still got a ways to go but it’s going well. It’s a chance to make better money and less physical labor so I decided for the sake of my joints I HAD to give it a shot. My boss told me he would like to have me bus and barback two days and serve three. I think it’s a good development and I’m going to keep at it. 

My health issues are… my health issues as usual, nothing terribly earth shattering. I’m strained and I have been since my lover left town. I’ve frequently thought to myself that if the Bipolar stuff doesn’t get me the RA stuff probably will. That said the RA is currently responding well to the combination of weekly methotrexate pills and Enbrel injections. I’m actually going to do my injection after I finish this post. Perhaps I’ll turn it into a hilarious live stream. Think of it: FLORIDA MAN PUNCTURES SELF WITH BIOTECH ๐Ÿ˜‰ All joking aside I’m having some mild aches today but I think it’s because I’m due for both of the meds. Work is still going to mess with my joints as a Server  but not to the same degree as Barbacking. Mentally I’m hanging in there. My brain has kind of made peace with being out of sorts. I’m doing a lot better than I was the first six weeks. I still cry every day for at least a few minutes because I miss him terribly or I’m just stressed out at the time. Hard to stay on point with so many elements and variables. 

My Birthday is in a week. Going to the local Irish Pub with a group of friends. I hope against hope that I get a Iron Maiden T-shirt with tour dates but if not I’ll just have to freaking buy one ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll be alright. Sometimes it feels like I’m playing with a stacked deck but I just keep trying to make the best of it all. I’m in a diminished state and have been for quite a while. But I only have fifteen more days to go until my heart returns. I can freaking do this. 

That’s all for now.

-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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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

The same old troubled watersย 

As much of a handle I’ve gotten on things,  I find a lot of the same issues plaguing me. I’m worried about losing affordable insurance now that the ACA is on the chopping block. I’m not saying I’m a huge fan of obamacare,  but I got the best possible deal out of it personally.  I have a tax credit that allows me to get a silver plan with zero deductible and killer drug coverage. 

It has been the recurring struggle of my life,  staying insured as a person with less than perfect health both physically and mentally.  I have been really nervous lately about what’s going to happen to myself and the ten million or so others who bought coverage through the marketplace. Nothing right away, but Florida is really tight with Medicaid so I’m not sure what I’ll do. 

I’m really scared because joint damage can occur in the early years of RA if left unmedicated.  Aside from squirreling away DMARDS for the gaps there’s not a whole lot I can do. There are patient assistance programs available but all that stuff takes time.

There are other issues recurring but the prospect of losing my insurance is the paramount concern right now.  I need to have some kind of plan to make sure I at least have my psych drugs so I can focus on getting the other meds without losing my head. Fortunately I have at least a few months of backup of my psych drugs because I’m used to shit going bad and I stay vigilant with my crazy. 

That’s all for now. I’m nervous and in pain. C’est la vie. 

On solitudeย 

I spend a great deal of time in my own company in my own head. I’m usually pretty good at amusing myself and I’m not an intensely social person.  That’s not to say that I dislike or avoid other people,  merely that I’m socially selective.  Perhaps eugenic is a superior term here. I try to devote my time to the relationships that I consider worth cultivating and frequently don’t hang on to casual friends.  However,  the friendships I’ve maintained are deeply meaningful. 

As a person who struggles with depression,  I have very mixed feelings about my ‘me time’, personal space or whatever the hell one chooses to call it.  I require a certain amount of solitude to have time to reflect and ponder my existence.  But my alone time can also be highly seductive,  like a warm bath that I drown myself in. I find that there certainly is such a thing as too much personal space.  It’s like the deeper I retreat into my head the more it becomes a living tomb insulating me from the utter rot of the modern world.

I must admit that I’m being a bit slanted here. I’m in a wonderful committed relationship with the most dashing and handsome gent on Earth. He’s so good to me it absolutely floors me and I’m grateful to whatever Gods may be for him. He makes me laugh and glow like no other.

Still, it’s hard for us with our schedules being what they are. He works overnight so he’s usually asleep when I’m up doing stuff.  We make as much time as we can,  but the situation still wears on me. It’s frustrating to have to spend so much time by myself.  More so lately as I’ve been under some intense financial pressure. 

I love my friends.  I miss them too. Lately life has just been getting in the way. It seems like nothing ever lines up any more time wise. I guess that’s part of growing up,  a certain amount of drifting that is to say. Still, if it’s important you make the time and I’m grateful for the time we have. 

That aside, I’m in kind of bad shape of late.  I’m highly stressed and broke all the time but that’s nothing new. I frequently ask myself how I ever let my life become such a mess. My lack of success frequently finds me entertaining highly morbid self-destructive thoughts. I don’t do that kind of stuff but sometimes I just feel like my life has no value and I want to disappear. It’s something that I’m trying my best to deal with constructively.  I try to keep myself together mostly out of being sick of being a burden on my family.  

I don’t want to hurt anyone,  I just don’t want to hurt the way I so frequently do.  It fucking sucks and I don’t want to do it. This is what a few hours at home by myself does to my mental state. Nothing to do but sit around and withstand the cyclone of dysphoria.

I’m relatively calm, but things seem beyond impossible. Sleep is my only escape from this. I’m not making enough money fast enough.  My head is under so much pressure I want to scream with feral rage.

What was the point I was making?  I’m not sure.  I’m holding but carrying a deep sadness within me every day.  Such is life. It hasn’t killed me yet, though I take little pride in survival.  

Meh.

Finding joy in small victoriesย 

It’s sort of my ethos of late. I try to keep a  certain amount of perspective when life tries to get the better of me. I have love and food and shelter.  There are many things that I could choose to gripe about,  but all of that in itself is huge. Physical and mental health issues are less daunting knowing that you don’t have to do it by yourself.  

I suppose the title of this post may be a bit misleading as the aforementioned things are rather large victories but perhaps this brings us back to the whole perspective thing and how truly crucial it is. The mind (particularly in the bipolar ) has a tendency to lose sight of the bigger picture while magnifying the bullshit.  

I AM struggling right now. I still have to deal with some complex emotional issues day to day as well as occasionally vicious pain in my joints.  I’m at a new job now but it’s going to take a while to get my money back up to par and naturally I’m stressed out. However, this week has been pretty good pain-wise. I flared up a bit after the first Humira injection for about the first day. That said,  I’ve been relatively pain-free since. Could be the Humira,  could be the Arava.  I’m not sure but I’ll take it. 

I’m hoping the insurance approval process goes smoothly and I don’t get mired in some step therapy nonsense.  Allow me to clarify,  it’s when insurance companies won’t let you try Z med until you try and fail W,X and Y first.  Part of it , well most of it is to save the insurer money. I’m hoping to have an answer to my PA request this week.  If Humira is denied I may have to try something more old-school first,  we shall see I guess.  

I used to measure success in how well I was doing financially or what I had “accomplished ” or whatever.  These days I settle for the little things.  I haven’t given up on myself,  just tried to change my attitude about things. 

I have chronic health issues and there will be bad days, to be sure. I’ve just learned to laugh more and treasure the good days. I’m trying to take myself less seriously and give myself a little credit for making it this far. 

Lately I haven’t been waking up with my hands being too stiff to hold my coffee pot. If that does not qualify I’m not sure what does. I’m not losing my grip on reality or going through soul-crushing depression.  Today I got upset and even teary eyed thinking about how futile everything tends to feel. But my Man and I had a deep talk and I felt a lot better for it. I don’t hate myself for not being good enough today. For the moment,  I’m holding.  

When all else fails,  I think of where I’ve been.  I will not go back. 

Who’s afraid of Big Pharma?ย 

Not this guy. I tell you h’what. This is a minor rant I’ve had brewing for some time now but haven’t been able to properly articulate. I’m still not certain if can, but I will try. Here goes:

I’m tired of people lately acting like all health care is a scam or a conspiracy to deliberately murder people. Is there price gouging?  Profiteering?  Absofuckinlutely. There are bad doctors out there, incompetent technicians and lots of suffocating bureaucracy. There are kickbacks and paid ‘experts’ and opportunistic hacks lining the pockets of corrupt CEOs. 

I’m tired of folks blaming capitalism,  since we haven’t really had it in ages. It’s crony capitalism if anything . If newer companies were able to compete on a level field,  Mylan wouldn’t be pulling this epi-pen bullshit. Alas, the major players are firmly entrenched at this time.  The problem with big pharma is the utter lack of a free market in which competition can truly be the engine of innovation and give patients better anf cheaper options. Essentially, all the existing regulations regarding patenting heavily favor the well established behemoths.

What people don’t mention are how lots of drug companies have patient assistance programs which help people get certain meds for dramatically cheaper prices. I’m getting started on Humira for RA and am going through the process of finding out how much it will cost me with my insurance.  If I get approved for Humira Complete I’ll get this 3000$ a month biologic for five dollars a month.  Not bad,  I must say.  They also have a nurse ambassador come to your house who brings you a sharps box, trains you to do your shot if needed and walks you through the process of getting the med through specialty pharmacies. 

I must admit,  I’m a bit biased.  I take meds for hypertension,  bipolar disorder and rheumatoid arthritis. These meds allow me to live a relatively normal and pain free life. I’m grateful for the fact that I have this stuff available to me. 

Very often, the conspiracy theorists are outright deniers of medical science.  People who believe all drugs are poison  (without realizing many are derived from naturally occurring compounds) or believe that doctors are just money-hungry sadists. I’m tired of people attacking medicine as a whole. It’s a terrible disservice to all the hardworking and committed people who toil to care for others.

As I mentioned in my last post, proper diet is important as well as exercise.  But I find it extremely intellectually irresponsible when people try to convince people with chronic illnesses to stop taking their meds or just ‘Live as I do and all will be well’. I’m a freaking Thelemic Libertarian and as such I absolutely despise folks telling other people how to live. It’s obnoxious and insulting.  

I do have one major gripe with the drug companies.  WHY IS POT STILL ILLEGAL?  Because it would hurt the profits from all those nice opiates. No other reason.But I’m not going to just stop using health care soley to protest or prove a point.  I’m just going to continue to vote in favor of medicinal cannabis.  It’s the right thing to do.  

I really don’t know why big pharma is so fanatically anti-weed. They could make a hell of a lot of money off it if they played their cards right. It would significantly improve the quality of life for so many people. I really find the prohibition to be morally repulsive and absurd. 

I’m not saying that a lot of shit isn’t wrong. What I am saying is that I still have some faith in medical science. I reckon it’s done alright by me.