Tag mental health

13 posts

COVID Log 4

One day soon I will have the bandwidth to sit down and write out the things that are stirring me lately, but in the meantime here’s the cliffnotes of the last since April, I guess.

The neighborhood group I’ve been organizing with since Shelter in Place started, Alice Street Mutual Aid, had a really successful food drive a couple weeks ago! 

I spent about two weeks organizing it with my neighbors. Everyone who participated was really touched and grateful both to have something concrete to do and also to have an immediate need met. I got to meet some of the folks I’ve been working with on slack and seeing on my screen for weeks in person (safely, masked, 6′ away), and it was so lovely.

If this is something you have the capacity or desire to do and want to talk about how to make happen I’m always down to talk shop, just leave a comment/send a message/DM me on twitter.


I stepped down from CRHE (and wrote about it, of course) to give myself room to grow. I’ve been focusing lately on my work on the ground, working with my Tenant’s Union, ASMA, East Bay for Everyone, and doing mutual aid work wherever I can.


My partner and I made history (on 6/9) by becoming one of the first nonbinary trans couples to get a Registered Domestic Partnership in CA. Up until Jan 1 of this year, in order to get a Domestic Partnership in CA you had to be same-sex. Sen. Scott Wiener (the same senator who authored the law that allowed me to change my gender marker to X on my license in Jan 2019) authored the bill to change the law so it’s not a question even asked anymore, which meeeeeeeeeans

We have all the rights of a married couple recognized by the State of California in areas such as: healthcare (and taxes and etc). A Registered Domestic Partnership is different than a marriage (legally) in that it is easier to undo and not federally recognized, so we’ll cross that tax bridge with an accountant when we get there.

On my ever growing list of topics to write about is how an RDP is different from being married for me, and how it’s healing and also an example of how our social structure is fucked up but the meaningful part of this is:

Neither of us have to worry about our families of origin having any say over our healthcare if bad things happen, AND more importantly that also means *drumroll*

I have access to Kaiser’s trans clinic. 

These last several months have been legit nightmare mode for HRT + my general health. I feel terrible and am so tired, but I found a doctor at Kaiser who seems like a good fit and Kaiser just blanket covers the kinds of HRT I have been fighting so hard to get for the last 2+ years. I’m overwhelmed and relieved.


As Shelter In Place continues I feel so listless. I miss going places, I miss making plans and then doing the plans. I miss being around people. I miss hugging my friends. I’m grieving because given how poorly “reopening” has gone I don’t know if I’ll be able to see friends outside of my immediate vicinity or even leave my city before next March.

Along with the existential dread, my depression is making a comeback which I think is related to the fact that I stopped taking bupropion to start Straterra in February. Straterra has been super helpful in enabling me to actually get anything done during these plague times, but trazodone is not strong enough for the depression and CPTSD flares that come with being a responsible human bean in the middle of a pandemic.

A lot in my life is looking up right now, despite the plague, but it feels so distant. All the things I usually do to help feel pointless and hollow; which is a sign to me that I’ve kept depression at bay on my own for as long as I can and it’s time to get help for it. Thankfully tomorrow is my first appt with the new Kaiser doctor so hopefully we can figure something out.

COVID Log 2

I’ve been managing okay focusing on creating resources and organizing my building and my block…until today.

Today I feel sideways and depression is loud and all encompassing and I am tired despite not doing much. I lost my balance while doing a grocery run today which was the first time I’ve left my apartment since Friday night at 9:30pm, which kinda just added to the chronic pain flare I’ve already been managing.

In therapy I keep coming back to discovering trauma I didn’t realize I had around Y2K and how my parents’ lack of survival preparation due to desperately hoping the rapture would happen wound up affecting me. I wasn’t allowed to feel all those fears and the angst and even the anger about not-so-subtly being told that life isn’t really worth living at the age of 9. If the rapture will probably happen tomorrow, then there’s no reason to think about the future.

Turns out, that’s a whole lot of bullshit to not be allowed to process when you’re 9. So, cut to literally 20 years later and uh I’m finding myself fighting the urge to kinda curl up and do nothing and also this endless anxiety driven desire to run myself into the ground fighting. Somewhere, there’s a middle ground but today has been a complete physical and emotional crash from that realization.

I’m grieving a lot for the 9 year old me who was handed all the worst ideas and shut down because the dissonance was too great. I’m angry that she had to carry the weight of feeling guilty about wanting to live. I don’t really have the energy to work through it all right now, it’s just so much.

Instead, here’s what I have been doing for the last 3 weeks:

Making art

Drawing my (partial) D&D Party

I also downloaded a coloring app called Pigment and have been coloring on my phone whenever I need something else to do besides look at news and twitter.

I (dramatically) read the Tell-Tale Heart

Setting up CRHE’s COVID-19 Response page(s):

https://responsiblehomeschooling.org/covid/
Landing hub of all our resources, advice, etc.

https://responsiblehomeschooling.org/covid/studentresources/
Specifically for students who are experiencing emergency homeschooling.

https://responsiblehomeschooling.org/covid/resources/
A compilation of resources for parents and students homeschooling through COVID19.

Please share these widely, and if they were useful to you – consider setting up a (tax deductible) monthly donation so we can continue to offer support and create resources like this.

Mutual Aid

Together with my fellow tenants and neighbors I’ve been working on organizing mutual aid infrastructure for my building and block. We have weekly zoom meetings and everything. It’s been super helpful to work with neighbors (some of whom I haven’t met in person yet!) to build something that y’know, we feel like we can count on given that the federal government’s response is lacking and bureaucracy is slow.

I definitely recommend joining your building’s tenants union and your neighborhood group (or starting one!) if you have the spoons but haven’t yet. There are so many ways we can help eachother even without getting our molecules close together.

Here’s what we’ve been doing to organize my block:

  • Started a public facebook group for our neighborhood
    • Facebook is the resource sharing/info hub
  • Posted flyers on the block to raise awareness and get members
  • Started a slack for folks who wanted to help create infrastructure for a proper support network
    • Weekly zoom meeting
    • Currently working on: setting up values/code of conduct, communications (email, google voice number), website, paypal, neighborhood census (google form for facebook), building organizing letter/census templates (google forms & printable doc)

Here’s what we’ve been doing in my building:

  • Building a tenant’s email list through writing letters and slipping under doors
  • Using the listserv to share news, resources, check if anyone needs groceries
  • Regular zoom meetings to discuss rights and recourse as tenants and how to help each-other with the bonus of cat interruptions

And, like everyone else on the planet with a Switch, I’ve been vanishing to my not-at-all-deserted island called Interriver and building ALL THE THINGS.

Image

And the most exciting bit of news: I finally. started. Androderm (patches).

This is Your Brain; This is Your Brain on ADHD Meds.

After 2 years of fighting to get tested and treated for the sheer inability to focus when I need to on the things I need to, I finally found a psychiatrist who listened to me and prescribed me the babiest dose of Strattera. I’ve been documenting it, as I do:

This is day 2, and my brain IS SO QUIET. It feels like a relief.

Yesterday I caught up on projects that I have been putting off for months, and today…I have nothing? on my to-do list? And the constant nagging anxiety about forgetting something has been muted. Such that I feel like I can actually enjoy the fact that today is a quiet day, without guilt?!

It has been such a long and devastating fight to get here, and I’m so relieved that I could cry. Instead I think I’m going to actually relax this afternoon? for possibly the first time in my life?

Daily Selfcare list

WP_20150713_002
1) get dressed in day clothes that make you feel good, even if it’s just for a little while.
2) work out for 5 minutes to get your blood moving and to notice your body and feel it.
3) brush your hair if you don’t like how it feels or looks. put the dragonfly clips in, or wear the squid hat for a few minutes. 
4) breathe before bed (1..2..3…1..2..3)
5) drink water.
Because sometimes I forget basic things and I feel awful.

Adventures in Minimalism

We’re sort of slowly getting ready to move across the country in the spring, and so I’ve been trying to get rid of things – extra clothes, furniture, etc, that I’m not using/don’t need…nothing weird (except for maybe having been planning this move all year). I’ve been thinking about how nice it feels to have less random stuff, and so I may try to experiment with minimalism leading up to, and following The Great Moving Adventure. I did some reading (a few hours last night, nothing extensive by any means) and while everyone I read gave lipservice to minimalism looking differently for everyone, they all seemed to make a point to…..degrade keeping things for entertainment.
KieryGeek aside, this bothers me and isn’t something that would benefit me in my own minimalist excursion (depress, on the other hand…). While I’d like to live with less, and the idea of being minimalist appeals to me in a fight-the-machine-kind-of-way, I’m not going to give up my gaming consoles, my tv, or netflix because some random dudes on the internet say “it’s better” and that tv/gaming/entertainment-that-isn’t-reading-or-music is a waste of time (which, I thoroughly disagree with, for lots of reasons).
So, I’m gonna experiment with something I’m dubbing “keep-only-the-shit-that-you-like-ism!”. Which is still living with less, keeping only the things you need and enjoy, but basically, not eschewing the value of entertainment. I think any time anyone says “Stop gaming, it’s a waste of your time/life” I get angry and triggered. 😛
Anyway, aside from the STFU-gaming-is-good tangent, I think for me it will largely look like pack up whatever I can fit in my minicooper, getting rid of the rest, and hitting ikea for desks and a couch. 😉
As a personal quest, I’m going to only keep like 6 place (for the rare time the two of us have breakfast) settings so I have less dishes to wash on the chance that we get an apartment sans a dishwasher like our current place. I’ll probably do another run-through of my wardrobe, decide how badly I want to keep the ornaments that have pictures of baby kiery (which won’t ever make it on a tree, because no), and figure out how to travel-ize my jewelry collection (probably will throw it all in my makeup box. shhhh).
Anyway, the glorious part of keep-only-the-shit-that-you-like-ism, is that it’s about not having stuff you don’t like, but also not making a huge (anti-entertainment…) religion out of it either.
Okay, maybe those articles triggered me more than I thought they did.


In other news, I’m taking a mental health break. Right now that looks like muting a lot of twitter and playing a lot of minecraft and throwing personal comic schedules and completion to the wind while I try to catch my breath and chill. I feel like my brain needs a hard reset involving not noticing the world is going to shit and falling to pieces every 10 minutes. I may or may not update here with more thoughts or progress on minimalism, or anything deep, or anything at all. I don’t really know. Right now I’m just trying to give myself a break and figure out that I’m okay for existing and my validity isn’t dependent on anything else and it’s okay to not work myself ragged. Taking it one day at a time.
Today, I stayed in bed until I got hungry and needed coffee and then I basically only played minecraft. So, yeah. Don’t talk to me about wasting time on video games. Mental health is important too. 😛

Reason

I’ve been triggering myself a little lately, getting introspective about life and the meaning. Nothing weird I guess, but in my dreams I found myself missing things I don’t actually miss, missing rituals and set answers – things I consciously don’t actually value.
I’m not particularly sentimental, and I don’t really care about tradition for tradition’s sake – in fact, I’ve found more freedom and healing in abandoning tradition as much as possible lately.
So, anyway, when I’ve been finding myself in these introspective loops – at least after outing myself as an agnostic, none of the pat answers that I used to have are there anymore (for good reason), but it’s like I’ve taken another step into the unknown and I don’t know why I exist again, or why I make things, or why I feel the way I do, I just know that I do, and the bit of fundamentalism that’s still clacking around in my brain jumps on it.
They were right all along, it says. You need religion to matter, it tells me. All these things I know are false – at least, for me – because religion (christianity specifically) is an unsafe place for me, and is the place I can trace back to when I want to find out why I feel worthless to start with.
I know it’s wrong, because I never found the answers I needed in religion – the pat answers and just don’t think about it too much cliches aren’t useful to me. So it’s weird when I suddenly find myself feeling depressed and reaching for those non-existent platitudes.
And it’s taken me all of this week to figure out what I’ve known all along.
I don’t need to have a reason for everything all the time. Unknowns are perfectly okay and legitimate. I don’t live in an environment anymore where I need to have an answer for everything.
And that’s gloriously freeing.

New Meds Muse: Zoloft

I’ve been taking the full-dose of Zoloft (currently 50mg a day) for about a week now. I was going strong until I got stressed out on Friday, and then everything just kinda has been a haze of anxiety. I was super focused and creative and fucking fantastic for a week…excusing the bouts of nausea/dizziness and general there’s-a-new-chemical-in-my-body-side-effects that lasted a few days (and then went away, and then came back randomly but only for an afternoon or so off and on, I’m only in week like, 2.5 of new meds, so). Sometime over the weekend it’s like I forgot how to focus and I’ve been really tense.
A couple circumstantial things don’t help: our shower drain has been clogged since the weekend and the plumber was supposed to come today but didn’t, and the subsequent sink drains have decided to join in on the clogging fun, so I have a bunch of unwashed/gross/dirty dishes from a failed attempt to wash them just sitting on the counter, I haven’t showered since the weekend (because pooling just feels bad when you can’t clean the tub, and feeling grosser after showering than before is sorta pointless), and the bathroom sink is all slow now, so doing anything for longer than 30 seconds is basically out.
On the upside, I’ll be at a wedding this weekend and the hotel will have a working shower, and my pit hairs are kinda cute right now.
I’ve spent a lot of this week trying to still work on things – I ended up managing to get a lot done – this week’s comic, for instance, I finished already and I think it’s awesome, but KieryGeek is gonna wait because I just couldn’t, at that point, the anxiety had pretty much taken over. I’ve been working on my Ruby site pretty regularly, though I feel like the going is pretty slow. Some of that though, is just how learning a new language is and has less to do with my meds.
It’s so weird though, because I can tell that the meds are doing something, I know there’s an edge of anxiety that’s missing, because there’s a tiny tiny calm space even though I feel like, today, I’m on the verge of a meltdown.
My current plan is to ask to up the dose when I go back in July. I know they’re doing things but I feel like I did before I needed to up the dose on my anti-depressants – work great as long as there’s no stressors or anything, but as soon as something is there, it’s like, just doesn’t have enough umph. And some of that might just be because I’m only 2.5 weeks into the new medication, but if one lunch & some plumbing issues can throw me for a loop, I’m thinking…yeah with the upping being a good idea.
And if that doesn’t work, I guess we’ll try something else.
It was so nice to be creative and focused again though, even if it was only for a few days. I want that back.

Kiery's Stages of Getting Help

1) Meh, this is probably not anything. I can deal with it, everyone else is probably the same way.
2) I deserve this, I shouldn’t fix it, it’s just part of me and most likely my fault (thanks bad theology for roping yourself into the worst places)
3) That’s bullshit, no one deserves to live like this, I can’t do anything I like anymore and it’s driving me crazy
4) Freak out because I’m going to the doctors office to talk about meds

4a) Stay up all night running through the conversation with the doctor in my head, 12 hours before I go to the appointment

4b) Anxiety because of having to explain something that is felt so deeply but doesn’t really lend way to words that accurately convey the amount of depression or anxiety I’m dealing with. Also anxiety about talking about it, and forgetting key details.

5) Leave the doctors office with new prescription and hope I did okay. Reason that I must have because I have a new prescription and hopefully it’ll work.
6) Feel validated because I fixed point 3 and realized 1 and 2 are lies
7) Go back to bed to catch up on sleep from being stressed out all night, and then pick up prescription
tl;dr:  I got help. Finally.

Brain Stuffs

I crashed for two hours and I feel a little better about things.
I’ve been dealing with a lot of self loathing and emotional exhaustion and anxiety and just feeling like I’m the most horrible person ever to walk the earth (which is ridiculous if I think about it, because I don’t actively TRY to hurt people, but the fact that I do, or may inadvertently, tends to kill me sometimes, especially because I often don’t know if that’s actually happened because I’m just overthinking every single thing I think and say).
So, I feel a little less like I should just be eradicated from the earth, which is a plus.
A lot is happening and has happened, and I don’t know really how to deal with everything and I don’t know how to give myself what I need.
I don’t know how to extend to myself the humanity that I try as hard as I possibly, humanly, can to everyone else. And the fact that I often times, fail fucking miserably at it doesn’t help either, because then I feel like I really don’t deserve and shouldn’t be patient with myself at all.
I don’t actually know what brought this on, and I’m guessing this looks fucking ridiculous to everyone reading, but it’s not a healthy headspace for me (add the completely valid discussion of privilege, but used to call one specific set of people out and/or shut people down, and it’s sort of a recipe for disaster in my psyche. I KNOW that’s not how it’s supposed to work or be interpreted, but for some reason it’s a fucking loaded term and just triggers a complete shutdown and self-hate autocycle in my brain), and I don’t really know how to fix it, so I’m doing the only thing I know how to do that does actually help, which is put it here.
Feel free to ignore – this isn’t meant to make sense to anyone outside my head, I just need to like, get it OUT of my head so I can sleep and not deal with insomnia or try to build a house out of rocks so I can live under it.