I’m still feeling shitty from Serotonin Syndrome –see the previous post about it here—. At least, I assume it’s still Serotonin Syndrome based on my symptoms. I haven’t been able to sleep consistently, have frequent headaches, and am extremely sensitive to light and sound; I have random aches and pains in my back and neck, and barely able to take care of myself before I park in my office chair and scroll mindlessly or watch comfort tv/movies because mental effort makes my head hurt.
It concerns me enough that I’ll be calling the nurse line at my doctor’s office to get medical advice. I should be doing better by now. My doctor said that this condition should resolve in two weeks. Yet I don’t feel much better and can’t leave the house. I tried so last Thursday because I was craving ice cream from a trendy fusion spot, and I paid the price for days because it was bright and sunny. This was even though it was a 20-minute round trip. That was a mistake.
I guess that was the eye of the storm where I briefly felt better. I’ve been doing the right thing, yet I still feel shitty.
And my original paid leave expires Monday. I have no reason to think that work wouldn’t be okay with me taking more time off to feel better… (Well, I have some apologies to make due to mistakes I made before medical leave). Maybe this awful feeling that something is wrong is anxiety.
Well, that’s probably a side effect of stopping the antidepressant that caused this. …Or just because.
I’m so tired of struggling with my health. I’m sick of experiencing horrible side effects with medicines.
On top of this, I’m going through an existential crisis and a breakthrough in a way. The little time I have not been in pain I’m thinking about my future. Is this the best I can do? Is this the life I want? Being alone with your thoughts with few distractions does that. I’m ready to change my life whenever I’m healthy. I’m ready.
I’m not going to make a promise when I am blogging again regularly because I don’t know when. It currently hurts me to exert myself, which causes pain when I write mentally. I must take care of myself and get my life back on track. See you all soon!
P.S. I guess being able to write this post is proof that I have recovered somewhat. I’ll take that win.
I’m back, but out of work on Paid Family Medical Leave
Thank my state for being civilized with paid medical leave. An outlier in the US.
Since the second week of February, I’ve been experiencing new strange symptoms. Some went away, such as increased dry mouth, thirst, and excessive sweating while sleeping. Some symptoms did not. The concerning ones stayed.
My brief history of prescription medications
As a man long familiar with prescription medication, I am all too familiar with the risks from side effects. Prescription drugs and specialized support in preschool saved me from a seizure disorder I had as a toddler. I haven’t had a seizure since. Thankfully.
The only other time I needed medical attention was began seeing a psychiatrist for help and was prescribed Vivance, an amphetamine medication used to treat ADD. It caused me to have a heart attack in my early twenties. Worse yet, when my mother called him to tell him what happened, he coldly said: “What do you want me to do.”
After recovering with no damage to my heart and healthy results from tests on my heart, I tried again with a different psychiatrist. I discovered that I had severe chest pain or other similar heart attack-like symptoms with every other amphetamine-type medicine for ADD. In 2010, there were two nonamphetamines ADD medicine options (the exact same as the day, to my knowledge), Strattera and Guanfacine. The former didn’t help. While the latter did help, it wasn’t generic. It wasn’t covered by insurance (Typical because insurance companies play these games to make a profit over helping people. AND add insult to injury and tell you to try medications you’ve already tried before.)… Which meant it was $150 a month in 2010 dollars. I couldn’t afford it until two years later at Washington Apple Health.
After changing jobs and careers a couple times I learned first hand how screwed up insurance companies are with coverage regarding medicines. Whatever they say the cost of prescriptions is on your plan (with the exception of Washington Apple Health which is state Medicaid and covers stuff 100%) is a lie. Often they say they cover non generic, but try to fill it and they decide they don’t want to because it’s “too expensive” aka not profitable. (This is the case Even if you are paying for private insurance). Even if it’s the only medicine that works for you. The only place to get the actual price is to ask a pharmacist outside of your insurance what the out of pocket price is. No matter the insurance company or coverage, the bullshit was the same. It is confusing, deliberately made to be hard to understand your coverage, and if you have a serious accident, you go into debt. Lots of jobs tie insurance to it. Lose your job in most states and you lose coverage. If you are poor in America, you’re fucked.
Back to the future
2023. All these years later on my personal mental health journey for sanity and I’m still struggling with the same stuff as 13 years ago. That is to say, to find a medicine to treat depression that won’t kill me, or makes my life worse than before taking it. I’m glad to say that Guanfacine works to treat the ADD I have and became generic a couple of years ago, so it is affordable. My struggle with antidepressants continues.
What is Seratonin Syndrome?
“Serotonin is a chemical that the body produces naturally. It’s needed for the nerve cells and brain to function. But too much serotonin causes signs and symptoms that can range from mild (shivering and diarrhea) to severe (muscle rigidity, fever and seizures). Severe serotonin syndrome can cause death if not treated.”
Usually, when googling symptoms online, it’s common to get a worst-case scenario for whatever health-thing you are going through.
In this case, it was true.
I started having these symptoms two weeks after my doctor suggested that increasing the dose of my antidepressant could help with depression. Since I’ve been taking this medication for months without side effects, upping the dose didn’t seem to be a risk.
We were both wrong. While I eventually returned to work on February 22nd, and worked the next day, I had to take Friday off due to a migraine. And despite work helping me out with reasonable accommodations by adding a new policy, and buying me sound-reducing earplugs, and me buying brand new sound-dampening headphones, I had another migraine sick day last week.
So, while these symptoms are diagnosed as serotonin syndrome by my doctor, the noisy environment likely didn’t help. Being autistic and having long covid each make me sensory sensitive.
Therefore, starting today I will be off work under paid medical leave until the 27th to recover. And I didn’t know until today, that I have wait 15 to 20 days to receive this pay. Which is bullshit. The process is annoying when you’re healthy—figuring it out while sick is cruel. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was due to lobbying by the insurance industry. 15 to 20 days for an online application is unacceptable.
Well, I did it and now I have to wait to complete my application. The insurance company won’t (I asked the people at the doctors office). Can’t do anything else.
At least I am able to write again. I physically couldn’t due to headaches.
Even before this happened, I wondered if continuing was worth it. I loathe the SEO process, and having to advertise to get readers and feel that I’ve lost my purpose of blogging. I do not want to do SEO for a living or social media marketing. It feels like this is the only way to get noticed. Reading about how to articles or forums feels like I’m surrounded by snake oil salesman who only care about making money over the content. I lost the few friends I made doing this for different reasons, and its going on three years of blogging. I don’t want to blog for a living.
The past two weeks have been tough health-wise, and will be taking a break from blogging. I went to urgent care on Sunday because I’ve been experiencing increasingly in intensity, weird new symptoms that are listed on the “Severe side effects, seek medical help immediately” section of the antidepressant I take.
I’m back home and recovering. But this is why I’ve missed posts. I haven’t physically been able to write due to this combination of shit. I’ve been emotionally, physically, and mentally wiped out.
It’s going to take a bit to recover, so I’ll be back in a week or two when I feel better.
03/06/23 Update: Extending the hiatus one more week. I am doing better. However, I need more time to rest.
I’m age 36 and live with my mother. It’s far past time that I move out, and I need help. I can’t stand living in the same house I grew up in and need my own place to live by myself.
I will miss our family cat Lucy dearly. She snuggles next to me in bed almost every night. It will be heartbreaking, and I’m sure Lucy will never forgive me. Im sure that Coco will also miss my mother, along with Lucy.
Living with my mom drives me crazy. I need my own physical space. While our relationship is okay, I feel it would be much better for me to have space. We’re different people at different times in life.
A big reason I have struggled with dating is that I feel embarrassed that I live with my mother as an adult man. She sees me as her child first and an adult second. Living at home, ill never feel like an adult man.
I have gotten much better at asserting myself, communicating my needs, and setting boundaries. My mother has gotten better at accepting these and improving herself too.
There are other reasons too, but I only feel comfortable discussing them with my therapist.
However, this is not my house. I don’t feel comfortable living here. I feel trapped in a psychological prison, constantly reminded of the past.
I need a fresh start living on my own, without roommates, with my cat Coco.
Taking this step is something I have to do to continue healing. It scares me simultaneously because I’ll have to rely solely on myself. But, I won’t feel ashamed to bring a woman home. I’ll feel the freedom to bring friends over in my space without having to worry that my mom will embarrass me or nitpick me about how I’m doing something wrong, like what happened the last time I invited friends over in early 2020.
This will be difficult to find a place to rent on my budget since Seattle is an expensive place to live. Not impossible.
Lately, it feels like I’m entering a new period of my life
First, I have to acknowledge the gap between posts. It’s been a week, and I could not write a post for Monday. I have no excuses. The reason why is that I have felt ill. I think I’ve caught whatever is going around, and possibly am having a flare-up from long covid.
No doubt I’m feeling like this because of the events of the previous post last week. Romantic rejection is hard enough. It’s harder when you feel you have a close connection with that person and get each other. Alas, while the friendship remains in a more limited version, heartbreak sucks, and I miss the connection we had. I’m getting better day by day, and eventually, I’ll be able to read her posts; for now, I need time. It’s okay if a woman doesn’t want romance with me. There are women who will. I’d prefer this journey to find love to be over and to find that woman who wants to be my girlfriend, but for now, it’s working through the steps of grief. It will pass, though not knowing when the end is annoying.
I’d prefer grief over trying than the regret of not trying.
In positive news, I’m coming to a point in therapy where I’m ready to end this period with my therapist. Since June of last year, I’ve been going to sessions online through the Ginger app via video sessions. Every few weeks, I have a survey about my symptoms, which have been improving steadily. At the same time, work will offer health insurance sometime in the spring, so it’s a good time to start thinking about what comes next. My therapist suggested taking a break, which I agree would be helpful. I also want to find a different therapist, possibly one local with a different approach.
Work is going great. It’s so nice to do well and have a workplace I can count on. While my job is repetitive and recently feels like the walls are closing in because of all the new storage shelves in our tiny space, there is nowhere else I want to be. (Other than sleeping a bit more and being home to write during peak hours.)
When I’ve tried to write recently, I’ve had headaches from the mental strain. It hasn’t helped that I couldn’t get up at 5am, despite getting plenty of sleep or extra sleep, and my body feels physically awful. I feel like I have been going crazy not being able to write. This isn’t because of anxiety as has happened in the past; its new symptoms are directly related to long covid. Increased mental strain hurts my brain, my physical exhaustion rises when I try, or it feels like my brain is empty, foggy, or like swiss cheese. When I am clear-headed or feel normal during the day, I’m at work and can’t write. In that case, I’m limited to nine A.M. to two or three P.M.
I should be grateful that I can finally write on Thursday morning at my regular time.
The creative demons are back in full force today. Shame for not producing. Guilt for feeling like a hack writer who doesn’t make anything of worth, regret for stories I never finished in the past, frustration for now being disabled, and having physical and mental limitations when I can write. Imposter syndrome creeping in.
I know none of these are helpful. I know it’s part of the creative process to learn to handle each of these emotions so I can get to the parts I enjoy. I understand that the only way to be creative about anything is to sit down and do it. I must get through the mountain of shit to discover and process the gold into a usable product.
Hello, demons. Nice to see you again. I know you are me and my insecurities speaking.
I’m tired of feeling frustrated because I can’t complete something I actually want to do. I want to be a storyteller. I want to write stories that matter. That feels meaningful to me. Fiction. I need to do something different.
I’ve done enough reading on the how-to. Watched hundreds of hours of how-to and writing tips on youtube. I need to go and do it. Maybe I need to change the location where I do this writing as my current methods and writing at home isn’t getting the results I want. I feel too distracted at work and too pressed for time on breaks to be able to focus on writing.
I feel that many things in my life that have either been on hold or stuck will change when winter is over. This covid winter feels like it will be the last year where it is a threat to catch.
No post today. Well, just this short explanation. I was rejected by a friend I asked to be in a relationship. I wanted a romantic relationship with her but, she isn’t in the place in life to do so. Sometimes that happens.
She’s still a blogger friend. We remain friends with boundaries and a clear platonic blog friendship. For now, I need a break from her site…
So, this is all I can do. Write.
I feel like I’ve been cursed in the month of February with dating.
At least this time, I handled it maturely. So I have that going for me, at least.
Maybe I’m just not suited to do so. I feel like quitting it entirely. I’m 36 going on 37, and the whole dating experience is just painful rejection with tiny glimpses of success that are squashed.
This hasn’t happened to me before! I’m so grateful and I don’t know who to thank!
This happened yesterday, and the reason I didn’t know or post about it was because I was getting my phone repaired. I badly needed a new battery and charging port.
My phone is about two and a half years old with heavy use, so I’d have to recharge it multiple times a day with a fast charging cord. So both the USB port and the battery needed to be replaced.
I ordered the parts myself and was going to do the repairs myself, I’m handy with computers, and most repairs are straightforward with a guide and cheap tools you can buy online. I’ve built my past three PCs for gaming, so replacing parts on the phone is easy.
While I can and have blogged on my Personal desktop computer, I don’t like to. I get too distracted. It’s the thing I use to relax after work and on weekends. I’ve noticed that my best production comes away from there in other locations in the morning.
It was as simple as finding my phone model in the settings, looking up: “battery replacement for model” on YouTube, and acquiring what I needed on Amazon, which was about $30. I have much better compared to purchasing a brand-new phone for like $400-600. Plus, that would be wasteful and unnecessary since my phone, as I type on it today, February 1st, is working like it was before the battery started to wear out.
I had a problem with the repair. I got the back case off with the tool kit and a borrowed hair drier, BUT some of the tiny custom screws were stripped, and none of the eight miniature custom screwdrivers worked to remove the screws. So, I brought it to a local cellphone repair shop in my neighborhood on Monday. I picked it up Tuesday night after work. The total cost of replacing the parts with an expert: is $75—a fair price. Maybe I can get another two years out of this phone. Or more? I don’t need a fancy or overpriced expensive model.
That brings us today on Wednesday morning.
Sorry, Im late with a post. I lost Thursday through Sunday because of my health. I had a Long-Covid flare-up out of the blue. While I was feeling better on the weekend, I still had brain fog and could not do anything requiring a strenuous mental effort like blogging. Which is a bummer when that falls on the days I plan to write new posts.
Thankfully I had a doctor’s appointment on Wednesday last week. My bloodwork was in a healthy range, and the results from the EKG were good. I’m already feeling better from her advice on changes to make. Which, among other things are to add a dose of vitamin B12 and CoQ10 to my regimen. I’m also increasing my antidepressant which will help with that part of long covid symptoms.
This is the third round of medical tests done in the past year. While all have been in the healthy range, which is good, it’s frustrating that I’m still dealing with long covid. Since science is catching up on research, and understanding thus disease, I’m doing all I can. It’s out of my control when or if I recover. So all I can do now is to practice Radical acceptance.
All things considered, Life’s good. I’m still terrified of catching covid and waiting until the peak season of winter is over to socialize in person, Still, I’m slowly improving with this and my therapy-centered issues.
I’m not sure how to end this post; Thanks for reading! If the mysterious gift giver would like to identify themselves in the comments, please do! I would like to personally thank you!
Yesterday, Thursday, I missed work because of a flare-up.
I wasn’t able to write because of my health.
It’s been a year and about two weeks since I caught covid, which became long covid. I have been fortunate that I have been slowly recovering. Recovery is being able to do physical tasks at work, grinding weed, and making joints on the knock machine, for hours or in a shift. Both of these require you to be on your feet and move around. While primarily small movements in a small space, the exercise adds up. I would compare it to cooking professionally.
Before covid, I could do this work a whole shift, and while I would be tired, I could go home and do other stuff without being completely wiped out. These days, my body feels like a cell phone with an old battery. I’m alright with average tasks, but I do something straining and need to rest (recharge). The past few times I have pushed myself, I had to take days off work to recover and sleep. The exhaustion and fatigue don’t match the activities I did to cause it. I have discovered that too many mental activities can cause the same exhaustion.
Even though I am recovering and can do more, I must stay home and rest some days.
When I wake up, my body feels heavy, and it’s hard to move; I can’t think clearly, and I feel exhausted despite getting 8-9 hours of solid sleep… I know I have to stay home. It’s like being high and drunk without any benefits, and you’ve just come home after a 16-hour shift and went to the gym for a hard workout. But right as you woke up.
I have reached a point where I can go to work some days despite not feeling the greatest. I’m debating that now, Friday, as I write this post.
I’m struggling to put words together because of brain fog. Concentrating is difficult, and the harder I do, the more my head hurts, and I become spacey. I don’t have as much full-body inflammation as yesterday, and my joints aren’t painful, but it’s enough to feel like I’m dragging an anchor around just doing my regular routine.
I am like an older cellphone with an old battery, like my current phone. Some tasks, such as watching videos, will drain the battery quickly, and some things cause it to slow down or freeze. While I’ll be able to install a new battery on my phone and change the charging port, I can’t do this with my body and this chronic illness.
So, I’ll continue managing my energy, eating better, getting extra rest, and making adjustments with the help of my doctor and specialists.
Maybe I’ll recover by next year at this rate? I hope so.
Once upon a time, Baked Alaska was known for a Baked-Frozen dessert from the oven. Twice upon a time in 2023, an hour later, the eater is baked again.
This is the story of a failed dessert that became something else. Sometimes failure leads to success because you don’t give up. This failure became a success due to experience and practice.
This is the first time in my life that I’ve made Baked Alaska, and this second dessert.
It is Sunday evening on January 15th, 2023, as I write this post’s first draft of this recipe. On Friday after work, I am bringing a cannabis-infused Baked Alaska as a dessert to a company potluck. The potluck is at the pot company I work at. Which is a potluck party I am spearheading. To make this a little easier on myself, I’ll be covering a recipe of Baked Alaska in the style of a Let’s Play video, but for cooking.
Baked Alaska, also known as Bombe Alaska, omelette norvégienne, omelette surprise, or omelette sibérienne depending on the country, is a dessert consisting of ice cream and cake topped with browned meringue. The dish is made of ice cream placed in a pie dish, lined with slices of sponge cake or Christmas pudding, and topped with meringue. The entire dessert is then placed in an extremely hot oven for a brief time, long enough to firm and caramelize the meringue but not long enough to begin melting the ice cream.
“A Let’s Play (LP) is a video (or screenshots accompanied by text) documenting the playthrough of a video game, often including commentary and/or a camera view of the gamer‘s face. A Let’s Play differs from a video game walkthrough or strategy guide by focusing on an individual’s subjective experience with the game, often with humorous, irreverent, or critical commentary from the gamer, rather than being an objective source of information on how to progress through the game. While Let’s Plays and live streaming of game playthroughs are related, Let’s Plays tend to be curated experiences that include editing and narration, and can be scripted, while streaming is an unedited experience performed on the fly.“
This is a Let’s cook, the story of making Baked Alaska for a work potluck.
I’m adding a twist to this classic dessert by making the cake infused with cannabutter, which will bake the eater a second time. Thus the name, Twice Baked Alaska.
The cannabutter will be from this recipe I wrote back in December of 2022 and can be read here:
Twice Baked Alaska cake
For this classic recipe, ill be using a spiced version of a basic vanilla cake, homemade banana gelato, and Italian meringue for the topping. Usually, this dessert is baked in an oven with the ice cream mounded over the cake like a mountain, which is then covered in a layer of whipped meringue. Since I cannot cook this at work, I changed the meringue to a cooked, Italian-style version. Then, I can toast the outside layer of the meringue with a cooking torch right before serving.
I’ll be switching things up a bit by leaving the frozen gelato in a large pyrex pan, the same size as the cake.
This is the first time I have made Baked Alaska before, that I can remember. I have made cakes, ice creams, and meringues rarely.
This is a multi-day project, and I’ve been cooking it in parts. Wednesday morning, I made the spiced-edible cake. Wednesday night before the party, as I write this, I’m cooking the gelato. The key to ice cream is to slowly cool it after cooking, then churn it. It takes about a day and a half to gain the smooth texture and desired frozen state.
(my recipe for ice cream needs a dairy-free, sugar-free update
On a taste test of the batter, I thought that the weed flavor from the cannabutter (or Ganjagarine)
I failed in the making of the banana Gelato.
The ice cream or gelato was frozen solid like a sheet of ice. The banana gelato was more a frozen sorbet or flushed than ice cream. Which is a major problem for Baked Alaska. One needs a pliable ice cream that can be cut with a knife.
I figured that with the little time I had before the party, it was time to adjust to what I had, and I proceeded into the future with that. It wasn’t too late to change this into something else. I had the training and confidence in myself to make this happen. So, I had to abandon my idea of Baked Alaska. There was no way this sheet of banana custard ice would work for Baked Alaska.
The only blade that could cut this sheet of ice?
Okay, so it is possible to eat after thawing the edges of the frozen piece, but I had to chisel off pieces like icebergs to eat the (essentially) Banana popsicle.
Sometimes, you make mistakes and have to adjust on the fly.
For years, whenever I made a mistake, I would guilt trip and shame myself by ruminating on it for far longer than the event that led to it. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned that making mistakes is an indicator of growth and not a thing to be ashamed of. Making mistakes isn’t something I am, but a step in growth. To fail is natural. There is no growth without mistakes.
In my case, in this situation, this means that I have to change the recipe to achieve the results that I want: To bring a tasty dessert worthy of my talents to the potluck party.
As a recovering people pleaser, as a man struggling to break imperfection-type habits, I struggle with being okay with a “Good enough” lifestyle. Perfection is impossible. Good enough is enough to move towards the life you want. Nobody is perfect, and everyone is a work in progress. I’ll take making a mistake over doing nothing and living in regret.
I looked in my cupboards to see what I could make into another dessert with the finished spiced cake. I decided on Tres Leches because I had almond milk and, maybe, a can of coconut milk.
Presenting Dos-Dose Leches cake. Or Two doses (weed and bourbon) of “milk” cake. This is a vegan two-milk cake, double-infused “Tres Leches” cake. I happened to have a can of coconut cream on hand, and with Almond milk, this became a vegetarian version. This uses sugar instead of the monkfruit sweetener because I didn’t have enough for this recipe.
1T ground cinnamon & 1 T ground nutmeg to dust the whipped cream for garnish.
Combine spices, salt, and monkfruit sweetener in a 2qt measuring cup. Stir to distribute dry goods.
Pour the “wet goods” on the dry goods, and whisk them together, so everything is combined.
Wait 5 minutes for the sugars to emulsify with the dry. Stir with a whisk to ensure the dry spices and sweeteners are evenly distributed through the almond milk and coconut cream. (aka the fats/liquids)
Once the sauce is mixed, poke holes in the top of the cake with a fork, then slowly pour half of the liquid over the top surface of the cake. Wait an hour or two until the cake has absorbed the liquid, and pour the rest over it. Wait another two hours, and the cake is ready to eat. It takes several hours for the liquid to be absorbed, ideally overnight.
I didn’t have time to pick up the non-dairy whipped product from the store. The party began before I ever had time to clock out or set up the party in the room I wanted to, so this is the result:
Somehow it all worked out. The cake tasted amazing, without any weed flavor.
The cannabis edible portion was substantial, and in the future (if) I make this again, I’ll cut the amount in half. I don’t like being high for 8 hours. I had to wait out the high until 3 am to drive home safely. While I stayed at the potluck until about 8 or 9, I waited out the rest by napping in my car.
While I’ll do that every time to never drive under the influence, I’d rather not put myself in those situations.
I have some things to think about this week.
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Tomorrow after work, we’re having a Potluck Party.
A Potluck at a pot company. Couldn’t pass up this pun. Lol.
This is a a party that I’ve been leading as I proposed the event. It started as a holiday potluck, but changed to a general potluck after rescheduling to mid January so everyone could attend, and to limit the risk of spreading or catching covid after the holidays.
I’m bringing two dishes to it, which will be recipe posts next week. One: Twice-baked Alaska and braised greens. I also wanted a 30-day advent calendar with weed as the prize each day, but… I’ve been too tired after work and spread myself too thin organizing the party. My duties at work have changed in the past month and turned to much more physical tasks of knocking joints and, much more often, grinding weed.
Being able to knock joints or grind weed is a massive step in progress. For long stretches last year, I would not have been able to do these for half or more of a shift. I would compare it to the physical and mental focus that working as a cook in a restaurant requires. One needs physical energy, being able to stand on your feet for hours of the day, attention to detail, checking for quality and speed, and focusing on repetitive tasks for hours.
Despite the tight time before and after work to cook this week, despite my worry about catching covid in a small space –though it will be required that everyone take a covid test and have a negative result–, despite the stress and exhaustion I’m feeling… It will be all worth it once it’s party time. Then I can relax and enjoy myself like I did at the company Halloween party.
I’ll be doing my part to see that not too many people are in the trim room getting food to mitigate exposure risk.
Well, this short post is all I have time for this week.