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 😉

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 🙂

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

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Muh Summer

It’s right around the corner. The humidity is spiking in grand Florida fashion as I prepare myself to go see Iron Maiden in June. That along with turning thirty-five are the main points of interest so far. 

On the home front I’m bracing myself for two lonely months without my Lover Man. He got a lead in a Play in Alaska. I would have liked to join him but  I simply couldn’t scrape together the funds. Also, I feel like it’ll be best for our animals having one of us here.

Rheumatologically the battle continues unabated. In spite of a year of various meds my Vectra DA score (Disease Activity) more than doubled since last year when  I was first diagnosed with RA. I’m trying to remind myself that this number doesn’t reflect the increase in my methotrexate which I’m sure is helping. 

Sometimes I’ll have a few days straight of my joints being relatively calm and painless. It’s easy to underestimate how capricious and erratic my body can be. I’ll start feeling strong and cocky but the swelling always returns and slaps me back into my place. Still, overall I think I’m showing some recent improvement and am optimistic that incorporating a gluten and sugar free diet will give me even more edge. My first diet attempt crashed and burned but  I plan to give it another go while my Man is in AK.

So yeah, the summer is pretty wide open. I am sure as shit not just being a house ape the whole damn time. I’m gonna miss the living fuck out of Him 😦

That’s about all for now. I find this is a useful protip to give oneself from time to time 😉

Be well-

Thom

Recomposing Myself

I’m trying to take better care of myself these days. After my most recent wicked rheumatoid flareup  I determined that if it at all helped with the pain and swelling it was time for a major lifestyle change in the form of an anti-inflammatory diet. I had an inkling that I was screwing myself with what  I was eating, so  I finally got my shit together and read the books my Sister gave me on the subject.

I’ve cut out red meat, dairy, gluten, sugar and nightshade veggies. I still take a small amount of milk in my coffee (which is the one thing I have cut back on but refuse to give up)but will probably switch to coconut milk. I have noticed a decline in symptoms since starting the diet six days ago. This, I’m very certain is also from the Enbrel kicking in. 

I was pretty stiff this morning and have some pain and synovitis but the diet seems to have taken some of the punch out of the swelling. I realize that pain is never really going to disappear but it has been diminished lately. Except over the weekend when  I cheated on my diet at my friend’s wedding. I felt that the next day for sure. 

So, been cooking lots of fish and chicken and various beans, lentils and brown rice as well as loads of veggies. Fruits and nuts (you are what  you eat) as well. I’ve been managing to keep my cuisine pretty interesting so far, naturally I’m happy about that. I’m currently enjoying a lazy day of giving my joints a break for once.

Chilling with my kitty and pondering what to prepare for dinner. We shall see. This diet is rough but  I want to give myself whatever edge I can on my disease process. At least  I still have coffee. If I can just get back to using the elliptical every other day I’ll be in good shape 🙂

I continue to be immensely excited about Iron Maiden live in June. As well as a few other upcoming shows. I might just try to get another jacket project going soon now that my hands are relatively calm.

That’s about all  I have for now. 

Blessed Be-

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 🙂

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 😉

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

Spring is in the air

Yup, Florida’s ever so brief flirting with cool temperatures is nearly behind us giving way to spring. This will be my second spring break working on Clearwater Beach and I am EXCITED this year. I plan to make some money. The fact that my employer just gave me a killer raise plays into this aspiration well. 

Health wise I’m doing pretty well. My foot is all healed up and my RA meds seem to be doing the job. I’m not having intense pain when I do flare and it’s certainly less frequent with my taking the Methotrexate and Humira. I don’t use steroids much these days and I rarely use my heavy duty ibuprofen.

Anyhow, things are pretty good right now. Work goes well, I’ve managed to catch up with a couple friends recently and I’m just trying to enjoy the time I do get to myself. Playing into that, my listening agenda lately has consisted of The Devil’s Blood, Beherit, Funeral Mist. Samael, Jex Thoth, Jess and the Ancient Ones, Fallen Christ and Sadistic Intent. I’ve also been occasionally working in some moody stuff like a bit of The Golden Palominos and how could I forget that lovely band called Purson? Magnificent band, sultry, trippy and deeply insightful. Just the way I like my Psychedelica.

I don’t do nearly as much reading these days as I would like and this is something that I’m trying to improve my record on. I’m ADHD as all get out. I live to read if it interests me but I have a hard time staying on task and my attention wanders horribly. Currently I’m reading a book about Goddess worship throughout human history as well as the occasional Crowley book. Even if all I read is a chapter now and then I try to keep going.

As ever, with all things. This spring break should be a bit better. A lot of the construction on the beach is donezo. I know what’s wrong with my joints unlike last spring break. The meds seem to be working well and I’m feeling alright about it. As long as I can manage the fatigue I’ll be alright. I just finished eight days straight the day before yesterday. Can’t wait to get that check. 

In the meantime, based on a few suggestions from friends I’m going to give CBD oil a try for my arthritis pain. It got some rave reviews from people I know that had some pretty serious pain to manage. I’m pretty sure Florida will give me a medical marijuana card but God knows how long that’ll take. CBD is already legal in this state and I think it’s worth a shot.

So yes, today finds me facing the near future with optimism and hope. I just have to be careful and listen to my body. I can only do what I can do. 

That goes for you as well. 

93

-Thom

Much awake, Very coffee, wow, Such Morning

It’s not quite seven AM in glorious Florida and I’m the first one up as usual. Got ‘Blood Moon Rise’ by Jex Thoth gently wailing from the speakers and a pot of cafe naviera. Good times. Jessica from Jex Thoth is an incredibly compelling singer and songwriter and her various works are among my favorite places to retreat to when I escape the trappings of my existence.  Highly recommend you check them out, along with the first Sabbath Assembly album. 

So, that aside I must declare that its been a pretty good week. I said screw the Superbowl and went and saw Rogue One in IMAX with Shannon and his Mom instead. I must admit, however that I am happy the Patriots won. The butthurt among Patriots haters is deliciously awesome. I’m not a football fan, just a snarky Jerk, really 😉 Anyhow, Rogue One was the major highlight of the week, but read on- there’s more.

I had my appointment at the wound care center yesterday and… My Doctor said that I can go back to work !!! I’ve been going absolutely stir crazy with nothing to do so this is freaking great news. Plus I need money, you know? I’m just massively relieved that all this nonsense is finally almost behind me. I’m back on my methotrexate and Humira which appears to have headed off the icky flare I was certain was beginning. Off the prednisone and even my wrists have been relatively calm the last couple days.

So yeah, just a few more days to kill and I can start making money again. My French press beckons so I believe this is a good stopping point for this post. Hope you all have a lovely and fruitful day 🙂

-Thom