Dearly beloved We are gathered here today To get through this thing called life -Prince
It’s no wonder I’ve been burned out… It seems to be something I’ve experienced around August for the past three years. See these posts:
The above gif and prince song are a metaphor for my life this month. The arrows are emotional.
I’m covered in arrows, in pain, from multiple sources.
My brother has had a severe back injury that he can’t get treated for due to legal complications. A double trigger due to dad dying almost 20 years ago in a car accident… Which resulted in a lawsuit against our family. This wasn’t my brother’s fault, thankfully. It’s tough to see him suffering. On top of that, he caught covid. He recovered, but it was a tough couple of weeks there.
My mother is recovering from an accident at work which resulted in her going to the ER to get stitches. She’s doing better now but still healing from bruises. That was tough to see her hurt. Especially since she’s getting older, she’s still a go-getter.
Naturally I’ve been worried about both of them.
The quest for inner peace, to heal
I have been exhausted this month. Between my family being injured, the heat, being isolated, and grief. I think I’m finally in the last stages of healing from my past major breakups.
I’m not sure if I still have long covid, or all this mental and physical fatigue is from recent events or depression.
It’s a great thing that I’m in therapy again. It will be better going forward because I’m on viibryd, an antidepressant again.
I’ve had trouble writing so I’m going to do something different here and express myself in pictures since my head hurts trying to think.
Various mental health pictures that describe me lately…
I hope that soon I will not feel awful and be able to write longer posts. Sometimes your health comes first, and when you have a chronic illness such as Long covid, and unpredictable migraines, the only thing you can do is take care of yourself.
Here is a post that doesn’t have many views, but is one I treasure. It’s about my late cat Flip, who was a dear kitty that was part of my life for 18 years.
Tell me how you feel about this post in the comments. Can you relate to these images? Have you experienced these feelings below? Let me know!
I have a post scheduled for tomorrow that I’m really proud of and excited to share. Please be sure to subscribe below to not miss it!
I’m starting to feel fantastic positive feelings as a result of writing that essay. I achieved a goal I wanted. This victory shows that I am capable of so much more. This shows that all the inner work I’ve done has paid off.
This blog post is part 3 of a series of posts about this experience
I have an article in a newspaper! I told my story and hopefully will help change the world for the better. Holy shit. That’s a big deal!
This is evidence of how great a writer I could be. I had a lot of help from the Seattle Times journalist. This situation shows me that I can grow as a writer. I stood up and spoke out about problems in the mental health system. I’ll be helping someone else struggling. It feels good to help others by speaking up.
What a big deal! …
Follow up details
I need to add details to the last post and the article. I didn’t mean to overlook these details. Ever have that feeling after a conversation where you remember something after the fact? That’s been me since Monday.
I did have successes in therapy. I feel I discounted how much of an impact therapy has had when it does work. I was able to work through so much with my therapist and everyone at Sound.
They had great groups and any support you needed. I can’t say enough how grateful I am to Sound Mental Health in this therapy journey. Life from April 2020 to June 2021 was good. That’s because I was in therapy. That’s because the zoom groups were so great. Those kept me going despite the lockdown social distance phase of the pandemic. I attempted to return for treatment there; however, they only take Medicaid. Disappointing that I couldn’t continue… But I get it. Those on Medicaid who need therapy need great providers the most. Just as I did during my time there.
Groups were helpful and supportive at Valley Cities while I was there. I really enjoyed the activities and the people. The employee turnover and changing therapists was too much for me. I wish I could have found that therapist match there. Oh well. I got some helpful skills out of this disappointment.
Back in 2009, I had a favorable year-long therapy treatment that helped. We worked through PTSD I was experiencing then. A year later, I recovered from PTSD through exposure therapy. It’s what I needed at the time.
Ah… I should have accepted the suggestion by the reporter to say something positive about therapy. I hope I didn’t mislead anyone about my experience. Therapy can help. It is maddening to get that help you need.
My problem has been how hard it was to get started, get comfortable, and progress in therapy. It’s been a long roller coaster ride I didn’t want. I was frustrated because now I know how it feels to be healed. What it feels like to have your work pay off. I have become better. I’ve become a better man. I never thought life could feel so fulfilling. I forgot how success feels to achieve something difficult with persistence and hard work. Therapy became my higher power. The dream is to heal all the trauma, fix the suffering as a side effect of mental illness, and break the line of generational trauma.
I’m choosing to take this as proof that I have grown as a person. I’m enough of an adult to take care of myself by finding a therapist. I know that I can follow through and win. I know there is more to dream about. I know that I want more from life.
I wouldn’t be here without therapy, psychology, the internet, and not giving up despite the heartbreak. All the therapists and social workers all the way. I didn’t give up at my lowest. I somehow held on. I wouldn’t be here without all the excellent support from my aunts and uncles on my mom’s side of the family. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have my cousins. I wouldn’t be here without blogging. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have my cats. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have my mom or brother. I wouldn’t be here with my friends. I am here because I had so much support along the way. The pandemic has shown how many good people I have in my life.
This is a victory for my values. A concept I learned with my previous therapist. This is a life-changing victory on all levels for me. I am more capable than I ever thought possible. I stood up for better mental health. I stood up for better healthcare. I stood up for civil rights. I stood up for personal accountability. I did it because it felt like the right thing to do.
I’m back in the arena, ready for the next mountain to climb.
I’ve become a published writer in a big publisher!
I’m the first family member to be published in the Northwest section of the Seattle Times! My mother, the poet, hasn’t done this. She’s been writing for 40-plus years. My cousins won state championships in high school basketball but they never did this. Nobody on either side of my family has achieved this.
I have made it, and the 15 minutes of fame are over. It was nice while it lasted. I’m grateful to have wrote that. I’m grateful for the experience.
I’m back to square zero. I gotta figure out the next goal. What do I desire?
Songs of the post: All My Life, My Hero By the Foo Fighters.
A couple months ago in April, I wrote to my local newspaper for an article pitch.
The Seattle Times has a series of articles about mental health called The Mental Health project where they ask the local community about their experiences…
“The Mental Health Project is a Seattle Times initiative focused on covering mental and behavioral health. The project illuminates a growing mental health crisis in the Seattle region, Washington state and beyond. It explores the many types of mental illness people experience, spotlights promising treatments and research, and examines actions by government agencies, nonprofits and health providers to address the problem.
Evidence points to worrying signs of a mental health crisis in the Northwest, across the country and around the world, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, economic fallout and the nation’s racial reckoning. The rise in anxiety is straining schools, legal systems and social services, and disproportionately hitting vulnerable people, including people of color. In the Puget Sound region, Seattle Children’s has seen a concerning increase in visits for psychiatric emergencies, and schools are grappling with the effects of trauma and stress on students’ ability to learn. Adding to the challenge: a shortage of therapists and other options for treatment.
The Mental Health Project explores these issues and more. The project is funded by Ballmer Group, a national organization focused on economic mobility for children and families. Seattle Times editors and reporters operate independently of our funders and maintain full editorial control over all coverage.
Our team — editor Diana Samuels, reporters Hannah Furfaro and Esmy Jimenez, and engagement editor Michelle Baruchman — welcomes the community’s help in guiding and informing our coverage. Please email any thoughts, tips or story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org, share them on Twitter at @stmentalhealth, or leave a voicemail at 206-464-2090.
Back in April, on 4/20/22 (Omg, both the classic stoner holidayandAutism Awareness month! I find this funny because I am both Autistic and a Stoner. I never noticed until today… Haha), I wrote to their project email account, pitching an article idea. I had read an article in the Seattle times newspaper about feeling anxious about returning to the office. I decided to take a chance and write to them about my experience in the mental health system. An Autism-centered story proposal- The lack of formal diagnosis tools for adults. I honestly didn’t expect my story pitch to be accepted… let alone published.
That week was so stressful, A classic Murphy’s Law week where what could go wrong, did. I was home after getting awful side effects from the Moderna booster shot. I felt called to write this article because of my past experience and it felt like the right thing to do. I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t take the chance to make it happen and possibly make the world a better place.
The Article after this awesome quote by Terrance McKenna, and drawn into a comic by Gavin Aung Than.
I was diagnosed with autism at 34. We need more research for adults.
I’m 36, and it wasn’t until two years ago that I was diagnosed with autism. I was lucky to even find out.
The years before involved multiple therapists that didn’t work, medication that gave me bad side effects, and misdiagnoses. Navigating insurance was a constant struggle.
The first psychiatrist I saw prescribed amphetamine medication for ADHD. That medication resulted in three heart attacks at age 22. Another psychiatrist prescribed two dozen different medications. Only one worked for ADHD, but my insurance didn’t cover it so I couldn’t afford it. I can only take it now because there is a generic form available.
It was hard for me to connect with therapists because I didn’t know how therapy worked, what kinds of treatment are available and that it’s based on developing comfortable, trusting relationships.
I later sought help from the mental health organization Valley Cities. I went through several therapists there with no success. One left for another job, one finished her internship for college, and a couple just weren’t a good fit for my needs.
It was also around this time that I started to believe I may be on the autism spectrum. No other diagnosis was fitting completely; depression, anxiety and ADHD only partially explained the behaviors and symptoms I had in social situations. Information I found online showed me that I did have some traits and could be on the spectrum.
I asked my Valley Cities therapist at the time what I had to do to be tested. She said the only testing available was designed for children and teens, and I would have to go to Children’s hospital in Seattle or search online for a test. This is like asking a person with a broken leg to go buy new bandages and medical supplies on their own, without help.
I gave up in frustration and despair. Medication somewhat worked, but the side effects were awful. And although therapy groups were helpful, I needed an individual therapist I could trust. I had been spinning my wheels and not feeling or seeing improvement in my life. My faith in the system was shattered.
Meanwhile, I needed to work full time to pay bills, so I took a job as a cook, which meant I had to give up my Washington state Medicaid coverage. Suddenly, everything that had been covered through Apple Health, including therapy, medication, doctor visits and sleep studies, was in peril. The cheapest, lowest-coverage insurance was all I could afford on minimum-wage work.
The early days of the pandemic, and the months leading up to it, were excruciating with few moments of joy.
My 18-year-old cat died, I lost my job, and the pandemic ended the board game night I attended at a friend’s house. I was smoking too much marijuana, and drinking too often. I was close to attempting suicide. I was toxic in a breakup with a friend who didn’t deserve it, which was the last straw.
I asked my mother to bring me to the hospital. The therapist at Swedish referred me to Sound Mental Health. I’m grateful that I chose to try therapy one more time, despite years of mixed results, because finally, luck went my way. I was assigned a therapist after a consultation who could treat me. As we continued working together, I began trusting her and we clicked.
On my third appointment, I asked about getting screened for autism. My therapist at Sound found a test for children and teens and asked me a series of questions, although some weren’t relevant for my age. I found out I am autistic the week of my 34th birthday in April, which also happens to be Autism Awareness Month.
Finding out was a relief because I now have something to work off of, and I know why I behave a certain way or struggle in social situations.
With a guide and stable professional support, I spent the pandemic working on myself full time. Therapy over Zoom worked for me. I met my Sound therapist in person at a park last summer for our final visit.
These days, I’m doing better. I’m in the process of self discovery and self awareness with autism. I am seeing a new therapist through Kaiser to work on the skills I began developing and practicing in 2021, and I smoke less weed and drink less alcohol than I did two years ago.
I do sometimes wonder if I’m having brief setbacks because I felt more comfortable during the lockdown than I do in the regular world.
But I’m also thinking about how long this process took.
It’s hard enough to find a therapist who accepts your insurance, accepts new clients, and has availability during the day that fits around work schedules. How am I supposed to grow as a person on the spectrum when autism in adults doesn’t have a formal guide of how it presents, and how to fit in?
There needs to be more research on autism in adults. It’s odd that I had to find out myself by looking online. Autism presents itself differently at every age group. By not having this knowledge for adults, we are causing unnecessary harm by misdiagnosing medical conditions.
Reilly Anderson lives in Seattle and works in the cannabis industry.
Thank you for reading this post, and this article! If you enjoyed this, please subscribe and comment below!
For my entire adult life until like April of this year, I was ashamed of my sparse dating experience. I felt my shame was evident to everyone else, despite my never telling anyone in person. I felt safe in the anonymous false comfort of Reddit and other message boards. Now, I think: Fuck it. It is what it is. I’ve come to terms with it. I can’t change the past, and I’m not starting from zero. I do have experience and knowledge about relationships and dating. The few times I have been in the dating pool, I’ve learned each time. In the past year, I’ve grown so much; it’s like I got a college degree in that stuff.
But ultimately, a degree is an ending and a starting point. The whole point of learning anything is to use that information in the world. Though I’ve changed for the better, I’m still afraid. Afraid of rejection. I’m worried I’m not enough. Last month, I paid for a month of Tinder and Bumble and did not have much luck. I’ve gotten a handful of matches, but only one conversation went somewhere with a natural person. Fucking catfish.
Which, was when I told her that I had met someone (the catfish before I figured it out) and wished her luck. I got a fantastic response back, which was heartwarming. I’m not sure I want to reconnect yet… My heart needs to rest.
I feel my dating profile might need improvement. Therefore, I have room to improve as a person and man. Thanks to stuff easing up, I can go out and do activities in person with vaccinated people. Online dating is ruthless with men because we outnumber women by a ratio of 2-3 to 1… So you need to stand out to get noticed. Finally, I can have fun and get pictures by living life for the sake of it.
I have a day left on Tinder premium and it feels like all the women are blending into the same person… Highly active who lives outdoors outside of work, drinks, doesn’t want a hookup while having multiple pictures with cleavage or lingerie , has a blank profile, lists their instagram, their dog is their baby (To be clear, I like dogs. but the obsession and pictures they choose with their dogs is unsettling.). The worst is when they match after I like them then never respond.
Technically I’m in the middle of my dating journey, and that’s enough. I assumed I would have this stuff figured out by now at 35…
Everyone starts somewhere. I’m in the process of figuring it out.
I feel I’ve entered a transition period in my life. As of last week, I’m fully vaccinated, have been at my job for a month, and thriving, and things are starting to open up again. While the CDC lifted the mask mandate for vaccinated people, I will continue to wear a mask until 80% of the US population is vaccinated. This year has taught me that you can’t trust people to do the right thing in America. The pandemic isn’t over, folks. Be safe for the children waiting to be vaccinated and those who are medically vulnerable. Please,Get the covid 19 vaccine, folks.
It feels strange emerging into the post-pandemic world as a privileged vaccinated person. I do want to see friends again, but still paranoid about getting covid-19 from other people. Even if we’re both vaccinated. While I’m treated for the virus, I haven’t recovered from the side effects of PTSD from the pandemic. I can thank my past recovery from PTSD for this. Without that, I’m not in the dark and can work through each stage of grief.
I’ve had trouble writing posts for the blog as I’ve adjusted to my job. Thankfully, it has a consistent schedule, I am good at the work, I know what to expect every day, and I like my coworkers, but it takes time to adjust to new routines. Sorry for the missed posts and random post times. Things should get back on track soon. It’s been a big adjustment from being unemployed and having time to write to working full-time again.
I’ve been thinking of trying something different with the blog. On the about me page, I said that I wanted to write fiction, publish a novel and a screenplay, and recipes. So far, posts have been heavy on my life, and I need to write about something different. Those things were put aside in 2020 because I needed to work through the difficult things in my life. In this new stable period of life, it feels like the right time to work on those again, which seems to be a theme in life right now.
I had my final therapy appointment this week, meeting my therapist for the first time, for the last time, in person. All therapy appointments for the past year plus have been over zoom. On my desktop screen for a good part of the pandemic 2020, then on zoom through my cellphone screen. Fourteen months have been working together during the pandemic over the internet.
We met at a park after work. It was warm and sunny, and many people were on the lake side Green Lake path. It was the first time I’d walked along that park, and it was lovely. Most people were still wearing masks, and it felt like I was baring cleavage by not wearing a mask, despite being vaccinated. Having an outside therapy appointment was a little weird, but okay for a final meeting. It reviewed our time together, how far I’ve come, and where we are going. It was nice to hug her as we met and left to go our ways. I said “Thank You” one last time. I’ll forever be grateful to her. Thanks to her, I was able to trust therapists. I was able to experience for myself that therapy does work. I was not terrified that she would leave out of the blue. Unlike doctors or any other specialists, you can’t change them often. You need to trust that your therapist will be with you working on your issues for an extended period—usually, several months for each thing after you’ve built trust.
I slowly realize that our time working together is over. All this happened at a good time. It felt like a natural transition. We were in a spot where I was figuring out what to work on next in therapy.
I am in a great place in life because I chose to continue. And I gave therapy one more try… Despite being let down or heartbroken in my quest to get it. I’m not used to feeling proud of myself. I still feel weird expressing myself and who I am. I have things to work on and will work on for the rest of my life, as everyone does.
I may have been unemployed and looking for employment, but my actual job last year was as a person in therapy, showing up and doing the work. I didn’t waste the precious time I had last year.
It was a bittersweet end. Once again, I’m without a therapist. I’m so grateful that I had her help during this time. I hit rock bottom last year, and the pandemic worsened my recovery. I’m here today, better than I’ve been in years because of therapy. That said, I have quite a bit to work on myself.
This sucks because I feel isolated again. As an introvert, I am comfortable being by myself and doing things. But I do need a connection with others. I don’t feel like there is anyone I can talk to staff about emotionally. Because of the pandemic, it feels like all my friends are online. I’m limited in what I can share with my family. Not everyone is safe to share emotional or personal things with. Or it’s a spectrum, and maybe the things that bother them are things they don’t have the professional training to help with. I kind of trust myself and working on this. It takes me a long time to trust people. By default, I don’t trust people.
It comes to me that writing this is ironic because I’m being vulnerable as I write this.
I’m in insurance limbo again. While I’ll have health insurance with my job, I don’t know what the plan covers. I’ll likely have to pay for meds and appointments with the plan, because it’s a private plan. Worse than WA Applecare. Then I have to find a therapist who offers appointments after or before work, then, a therapist I click with. 🙄 Man I hate American healthcare.
Maybe not the final therapy appointment with my (previous 🙁) therapist, but this is an ending.
Betty the chicken died in the night on May 9th. She was 6 years old.
I wrote on Facebook:
Looks like Betty the chicken doesn’t have much longer. I had to pick her up from the run outside the coop, and place her inside for the night. The younger chickens were perched inside ready to sleep. Poor old girl couldn’t make it. I think she knows, too, from the look in her eyes.
I said goodbye that night. I told her she was a good chicken and I liked living with her.
Betty would hang out with us outside whenever my mother or I sat outside on the deck. Or the chickens would follow me inside as I took out the trash and recycling. Chickens are excellent companions. Rest in peace, Betty.
Mom buried her in the dirt in the coop area. She asked if I wanted to be there, but I declined. I had my time with her the previous night.
I’m looking forward to getting a haircut and makeover. My hair and beard are out of control 😅. It’ll feel good to get a professional cut.
I wonder if I over share with these posts… Or the right amount to find people to connect with?
My healing journey from now moves from the mental space to the physical space.
This past week was very busy, with some major struggles with depression. I had a wonderful surprise conversation with My aunt on Tuesday that lifted my spirits. It felt good to laugh at silliness. At it’s worst, I reached out to the crisis text line and the person who chatted with me helped me out on Wednesday. It was the first time I’ve ever used that service, and I recommend it. It’s been about a month on my new dose of antidepressants and I feel my body getting used to it.
I had a job interview over zoom –my first one like that– and I felt confident, and at ease during it. I prepared before it by doing a mixture of three different meditations, and it was just what I needed. I hope I get hired! In addition to that, I had a call for a job interview on Monday with a different company!
I struggled to write this post this week, and decided 10 minutes ago at 7:28pm to just do the best I can. I haven’t been sleeping well this week, and woke up much earlier than usual because I had a nightmare. I’ve been tired the whole day. Not able to focus on anything, or do stuff I usually enjoy. I tried to nap, but couldn’t. So, I embraced the exhaustion and let myself be tired. Let myself do nothing. It doesn’t feel like growth, but part of growth is allowing your tired muscles or brain to heal from use. Self care, and therapy is exercise for your brain. And it’s telling me today to rest. So I will.
I went through my old writing in my google docs searching for something to fill the blog post with, and discovered the cover letter for my old job. I worked there for 14 months until the company closed in January. I feel this cover letter is one of the best things I’ve ever written, and it’s a shame that so few people in the world have seen it.
Dear Hiring Manager,
I am writing in regards to your open Cannabis Production position. I would be a good fit for this position based on my previous experience working in restaurant kitchens, and as a delivery driver. All of my previous experience required fine attention to detail — Such as slicing 10 pounds of cabbage into eighth inch slices for coleslaw, or carefully backing into a narrow downtown Seattle alley in a box truck commercial vehicle (when you have literal inches on each side to maneuver with). I also have gardening experience from assisting my mother every spring with her gardening hobby.
My resume is attached to this email. I am 32, a US citizen, with an Associates degree in Culinary Arts, and have an inactive Commercial License. I’m used to the working conditions described in the Craigslist post.
Thank you for reading this, if you enjoyed it, please give it a like, tell me what you think in the comments, and share on Facebook. Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list for updates!
Please wear a mask outside that covers your mouth and nose, wash your hands, clean your cell phone, and keep your physical distance from others to fight Covid-19!
It’s been 6 months since I started this blog in March! The anniversary was last Sunday, but my dear Grandfather passed last week. It felt wrong not to honor him in a post. It’s still hard to believe that he’s gone…
Grief is a difficult thing to deal with, and it comes in waves. I’m sad. I’m grateful and happy to have known such a wonderful human. That I had an example of what a good man, a great human. I strive to be as good a man as he was. The hardest part about this loss is that its dangerous to visit family due to the threat of covid-19. Visiting online through Facebook and zoom helps… But it’s not the same. I really wish I could visit family, and give hugs. 2020 has been a long year.
It’s important to celebrate the little things… To acknowledge the steps forward I’ve worked hard for. Despite this unusual year, there have been good things that have happened. More after the pictures.
I feel like I have grown alongside this blog. This next section is about life this past month, and goals for the future. Healthy self esteem is giving credit to your growth.
Personal growth this year:
Restarted therapy despite years of struggling to find the help I’ve wanted, and finally got it! I’m growing every day.
Finally found an antidepressant that works!
Made a bunch of new friends from coworkers from my last job. I haven’t been able to visit much in person with them this year. I want to in the future. All of us were laid off when the company closed on Jan 31st out of the blue.
Reconnected with family.
Learned about self love, and self care. How to take care of myself. How to assert myself, continue practising communicating my needs. Continue practicing boundaries.
Started a meditation practice.
Started exercising on a regular basis again.
Started a blog.
Practicing gratitude and appreciation for the good things in life.
Restarted therapy, and being fully committed and engaged in the process.
Practicing Forgiving myself when I feel depressed or anxious.
Continued practicing being assertive and speaking up for myself.
Committing to being the best possible version of myself.
Fighting with depression when it lies to me.
Being independent for myself.
Learning mindfulness and practicing it.
Learning to listen to others, and not interrupt when they are talking.
Sorting through old unhealthy thoughts and patterns and deciding whether they serve me now, and the future.
Saying thank you.
Learning how to apologize.
Hanging out with friends before the pandemic happened.
Respecting other peoples needs and boundaries.
Admitting when I have made a mistake.
Being accountable for myself.
Quit drinking for good! I don’t miss consuming it. 7 months since I stopped!
Reduced my cannabis consumption from 4 bowls/2 dabs to one bowl maybe once or twice a week!
Started reading books again.
Being comfortable expressing my feelings.
Rebuilding validation from within instead of from others.
Goals for the next 6 months:
Note: all of these things will depend on how the Covid-19 pandemic lasts.
Get a car. Hopefully something from the past 10 years. The last two cars I’ve owned/shared have been over 15 years old and were constantly in the auto shop for repairs. The cars were a 2000 Volvo s40, and a 2005 Dodge avenger. I spent several times more than what I paid for them in repair costs, and both had awful MPG. I have some savings, so once I get a job I can buy a car. I’ll do what I have to, to get to work… Be it Uber or public transportation for a little while more.
Get a job. I had an interview this week, so that is a good sign!
Move out. I’ve lived in the same house my entire life, and I’ve wanted to move out for years. I haven’t been able to until now because my mental health. I finally have it managed after 12 long years.
Keep blogging. I don’t know my long term goal for the blog. For now I want to keep growing and have each post get more traffic and comments than the last. Right now, I love talking to other bloggers in the comments, and reading their blogs.
I want to go back to college and pursue a new career and degree.
I do not want to continue working minimum wage jobs the rest of my life. What worked for the past doesn’t line up with my future.
Hang out with friends, and make new friends. Hang out in person.
I didn’t think it was possible, but I am over my friends-breakup from earlier this year! I am ready to date again! I learned so much from this failure that I am a better person today.
I want to date, and have a girlfriend.
I want to visit with family.
I want to love, and be loved.
I want a healthy relationship where I can be support my partner and take care of myself. To have healthy boundaries and clear communication.
Continue working through my issues in therapy.
Once the pandemic is over, parties for friends and family.
I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything. But I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do, interfere with what I can do.” -Edward Everett Hale.
I can’t write much today because I’m hungover from therapy yesterday. It’s been a busy week. Forgive me if this seems scattered. Well, busy for quarantine. So maybe 20 hours total of work between therapy zoom groups and self care stuff. … I’ve been unemployed too long. The world is a strange place to live in right now.
All this solitary time has shown me who is important in my life. It’s given me time to work through problems, and space to finally be comfortable with myself. I’m glad to be alive. It’s been such a long time since I was so happy being myself. Comfortable being inter-dependent with the world. I’m at peace with my flaws. The light and dark within. I want to be the best possible human I can be.
Here’s a poem I created from a word cloud of all the words in my personal journal. I made this from the top 100 words I said. A nonsense poem.
I haven’t done the best job editing this piece. It’s a second draft at best. It’s the best I can do right now with the capacity I have.
I’m worn out on all fronts. My muscles and body aches far more than usual because I’m spending all my time during quarantine on my desktop PC. My spine and neck are out of whack. My usual routine stretching and massaging sore or stiff muscles with my rolling foam cylinder isn’t working. I’m due for a chiropractor appointment, but I’m helpless because of the quarantine. I’m waiting for an email back from my doctor to see what I can do at home to help.
My brain is exhausted because I had a therapy appointment yesterday. I usually have a “therapy hangover” for days after depending on how intense therapy was. My therapist and I are on appointment 11. Things are going well. Yesterday was productive despite me having a muscle tension headache. I pushed myself too hard. This is a really bad habit I have, that I need to stop. My therapist was kind to suggest rescheduling our session for today. I chose not to, to work through my physical pain, because… I’m afraid that I’ll be abandoned by a therapist again. It’s already happened for good and bad reasons 6 times the past 12 years. I’ve been trying so hard to reach the peak of the therapist mountain seeking help. Each fall more devastating as I have to recover from worsening wounds by myself.
Now that I’m here, I’ve been working my ass off building the bridge to the next mountain within my soul, because I’ve wanted to be healed my entire adult life. This looks like: watching videos on YouTube about therapy, relationships, mental health, and self improvement like a job for 35+ hours a week during quarantine. I’m in spiritual pain from multiple grief events the past 6 months. I had to have my 18 year old cat euthanized in December. He was my best friend. (Sorry human readers, my Facebook circle. I do appreciate you, but my cat Flip was my best friend for 18 years.) My coworkers and I were laid off in January because the company went out of business. I poorly wrote a confession love letter to a woman I’d known for 26 years and was rejected. I made things worse by posting online about it.
This emotional wound hasn’t healed all the way yet. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. I’m sure a country or blues song could be written about it. It was catastrophic heartbreak for both of us. My word count production has been focused on soothing my emotional wounds instead of soothing my creative need.
The rejection-breakup event destroyed me. It’s so traumatic that it’s changed my belief system about love, myself, relationships, and dating. An ego death.
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren both lost the Democratic primary. They were my first and second choice for candidates for 2020 POTUS. Andrew Yang would have been awesome too. I’d be okay with Pete Buttigieg. Biden as a choice is an exasperated sigh. I suppose this better than the diarrhea fart that is POTUS 45. So, I lost this year with politics too.
Covid-19 quarantine happened in March here in Washington state. It was the correct step to take for the sake of the world, the country, and the state. For my life, it’s a disaster on the scale of Mount Rainier erupting. Quarantine times grief to the 3rd power is a star going supernova into a black hole. A black hole which will only expire on its own time. In a way, time in solitude is exactly what I need right now. It been hell, but I believe that I am finally seeing life clearly now. I see who is there for me. What I value, and what I want to be in the future. One step forward is progress.
So all of these words are me giving permission to myself to rest. I’m listening to the feedback my body and mind are giving me. This year’s theme so far is: starting on a new path. I feel that the previous era of my life has ended. I will not repeat the same mistakes again.
Songs of the week:
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I’ve struggled since 2008 to find the right therapist, medications, and treatment combination. As soon as I recognized there was something wrong with me, in this case a mental health problem, I asked for help. Despite all my efforts, my Mother’s efforts, and doing the right thing by giving a combination of 10 different psychiatrists/therapists time and faith in the system, nothing worked. If I did make any progress, it was so small and subtle that I couldn’t tell if it was from therapy. This is incredibly frustrating compared to my experience with other medical treatments, such as physical therapy, which helped me after a car accident and a job injury. Both injuries weren’t that bad. When I went in, I knew a realistic schedule for treatment, could see and feel progress, and would have answers for problems. This wasn’t the case with therapy.
My first therapist nearly kills me by prescribing a medication that gives me three heart attacks at 23. To be fair, this is a risk for any amphetamine ADD medication. The disconnect was that he didn’t bother to visit me in the hospital, or seem to care when my Mother called and said what happened to me. The few visits we had weren’t helping, so I ended treatment immediately. I’m lucky that I was young and didn’t have any serious damage to my heart. It took me another year or so to try therapy again.
In the 12 years when I started in 2008, only one therapist was somewhat effective for treating me. In 2009, I had PTSD as a result of a robbery-home invasion. I did exposure therapy with that therapist, which kinda worked. At home, I sped up treatment by binging true crime shows such as FBI files, Forensic Files, and various crime documentaries. Oh, and watching the news. I knew I had recovered after I stopped watching all of those. I feel that using the true crime shows as a treatment helped far more than therapy sessions. This wasn’t a suggestion by the therapist at the time. Fortunately I had Dr google to help. (You know searching stuff in a search engine to treat yourself because the actual world isn’t helping.)
In my experience with prescription medication, you might get told the top common side effects, then given paperwork with small text including a hundred other possible scenarios. At that point, you don’t care because you (have) to assume the medicine will help you with your problem. Despite all the testing and research each person’s body is different. If everything goes well and the side effects of medicine are helpful, great! If not, it takes months to years to try and get off of medications. It’s still possible to try dozens of medicines for multiple medical issues and not find the 1 right prescription for you. This is for one health problem. If you have multiple conditions, this becomes more complex as you and your provider have to balance the benefits and side effects.
Past experiences with health insurance and therapy:
In October 2019, I tried again to get help to find a therapist under my work’s Kaiser plan. Nothing was covered including medication (Which Kaiser lied about in the plan we got. Says 80% of medicine costs, but if you do a price comparison online, every medicine I got except one was the same price as prescriptions under zero coverage.) You also have had to find a therapist from a third party website (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us) by searching through profiles one by one like browsing the grocery aisle. After a while, all the therapists feel the same. I don’t get why finding a doctor or dentist is as easy as finding somewhere to eat, but finding a therapist is like online dating?
You couldn’t search for therapists on Kaiser’s website. (According to the last time I had Kaiser, February 2020) You could only get a referral from a psych coordinator at one of their facilities.
When they did have therapists, there were only a handful of them all booked for months, not accepting new patients. That’s bullshit. This is way too hard for someone suffering from health problems. So, I got medications I could afford on the minimum wage. Except my anti depressant which was $220 for a month of medicine. I couldn’t afford paying $150-200+ a month for therapy on a minimum wage job in Seattle. A major reason I chose this job, and accepting the $1600 a month wage was because Health Insurance was offered. I admit that I didn’t have much negotiating power before I got this job. My employment history isn’t that great. In large part because I’ve been in industries unsuitable for me, and my combined mental health over my adult life has been poor. Honestly, that Kaiser plan I had wasn’t much better from the health plan I had when I had a high demand, high paying job, as a local CDL truck driver a few years ago delivering soda. But that work drove me crazy. Maybe some are suited for that, but it’s another lifestyle career. Where you live to work as your life. That isn’t me. I work to live. I also wasn’t available much during business hours between working in the restaurant industry, which meant I was either sleeping during the day or working at night. Sigh.
Shopping around for plans isn’t an option when you are broke and don’t make much. All the plans are awful, and leave you saddled with debt. I actually have better insurance now, unemployed, with Washington AppleCare than any bullshit private plan over my entire life. My biggest obstacle after the quarantine is over is having to give this up again for a lesser plan. I know I’m lucky to have that, but this time period will be the only vacation I’ll likely have in years. Maybe in a few years after I figure out long term career goals I won’t be making minimum wage anymore, and might have better health insurance plan options. That feels like an eternity right now.
The good news is that I am making progress in therapy. I have to remember to give myself credit, and not be so hard on myself. You made mistakes. Life hasn’t gone as I’d liked, but that’s how it was. It doesn’t have to continue sucking.
I don’t want to do anymore blue collar work because I’ve done that a few times already. College is extremely expensive, and it’s not smart to go without a concrete plan. I need to know the degree and career path I want to achieve. I have some ideas of things I don’t want to do. Either way I have to pay the bills. I’m not going to make the mistake of choosing a path too fast, or because of fear again. It doesn’t help that I don’t like working. I don’t know how I’m going to tolerate dating now that I know it’s work too. Guess that’s just the way it is. Well, you have no idea bro. Don’t make assumptions before you’ve really got into it.
Thank you for reading my blog! I had a lot of trouble writing this post. I wrote a draft of something on Tuesday, but realized it wasn’t publishable. I lost Wednesday to a migraine, and Thursday recuperating from it. So, I salvaged this from scraps from other posts. (I keep a separate file when writing to put content that doesn’t fit with the current post. This is the first time I’ve found something useful from it!) I guess my writing style is to be completely consumed by one thing at a time. This is progress. It’s one step closer to finding my niche, my purpose in life.
All nature photos from the car taken by me.
Song of the week:
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Don’t forget to wash your hands, clean your cell phone, and keep your physical distance from others to fight Covid-19!