azurelunatic: panic button.  (panic)
My readers who don't have access have seen precious little of me lately (and I've been scarce locked as well). Two big reasons.

First, and most delightfully, I am in some sort of relationship; the details are still being worked out, but the important part is that we have each other now. So that's been taking a fair chunk of my social time.

Second, when they took out my uterus and its baggage, it wasn't good news, but it could have been worse. )


I lost my long-term job in February. (I've had some gigs, but nothing long-term or offering coverage.) When the host company switched contractor management providers in 2015, I lost the crappy insurance I'd had through the first contractor management joint. (It would have paid up to $10,000 of something -- which burns through pretty fast if something major happens. I was terrified that something major would happen, and avoided doing anything that would get me diagnosed with a pre-existing condition.) The new contract management joint didn't give health benefits to anyone in their first year. (People with good tech jobs whose workplaces use contract labor: apply pressure to make sure your contractors are taken care of, either individually or by their management companies.)

Since 2015, I've had health coverage through the Affordable Care Act. I was able to sign up after losing the crappy insurance. I picked a plan with good coverage and good reviews, as I was aware that I probably had lurking health issues, and it would finally be safe to treat them. A decade and a half of little to no health care and untreated depression will do a number on you. A decade and a half of consciously avoiding health care to avoid getting a "pre-existing condition" sentence on my record made me avoidant even when I did have coverage, so I wound up avoiding check-ups, avoiding things that would give me poison diagnoses in service of a future when it became a crisis and I would need to be covered. But in 2015, I finally got a diagnosis for my depression. (I should have been diagnosed in 1993. I should have been treated in 1993. I wasn't.) I got some other things diagnosed and treated.

Since my sweetie and I are polyamorous, we're being intentionally careful about our sexual health. On my end, we figured it would be a good idea for me to get some sort of long-acting contraceptive. (My opinions on body-birth for me were well-established; reversible was not a deep concern.) I'd heard that "vaginal bleeding" postcoitally was a sign of cancer, but figured that wasn't me; I had a PCOS diagnosis, and the blood was quite definitely coming from inside the uterus, even if it happened after sex.

PRO TIP: WHEN THE BLOOD IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE UTERUS, THIS COUNTS AS VAGINAL BLEEDING.

So I'm a cancer survivor now.

I'm still paying quite a lot for my insurance. But.
Under the Affordable Care Act, I still get insurance.
Under the Affordable Care Act, if I switch insurers, my pre-existing conditions (cancer, depression, and other things) are still covered.
I don't have to worry about contraception anymore. My cancer ensured that I will never experience pregnancy or body-birth. But the Affordable Care Act would make sure that I could get access to contraception without worrying about the cost.

It's a fluke that I planned on becoming sexually active again this year. It was endometrial cancer gone rogue, so the surface cells of the cervix tested fine. I wasn't due another pap smear for years.

"How do you feel about having saved your partner's life?" a mutual friend asked my sweetie.
My sweetie looked uncomfortable: they didn't feel they'd done that much. Surely it would have been caught and treated, sooner or later.
Without them, it would have been later. Without them, it likely would have been post-ACA. I've seen friends struggle and beg to get live-saving operations that their insurance wouldn't cover. I thought we, as a country, were past that.


I still have conditions that can and will kill me if left untreated. The cancer may also spring up again. My best hope for a long and happy life is if I jump on a symptom immediately, even if I think it may not be a big deal. I'm scheduled for four pelvic exams a year for the next few, and it'll only drop off to yearly at the five year cancer free mark.

If the Affordable Care Act goes away without something better and more protective in place to catch the people who fall through the cracks of work insurance, private insurance, and insurance through a family member, I am likely to become uninsured. I tend to land jobs that put me above the poverty line, so programs intended to help out people in truly dire financial straits don't apply to me. The job that I worked four years and loved gave me utter crap insurance, because they were allowed to. The insurance disappeared after three years, because they were allowed to do that, too. The insurance I'm paying for now, under the Affordable Care Act, is still about 25% of the value of my rent. (Welcome to the San Francisco Bay Area.)


In a future without the ACA, I'm looking at a few possible outcomes:

  • Hope my state continues to think it's a good idea to strongarm insurance companies into covering people like me.

  • Hope my insurance company thinks it's a good idea to keep covering people like me without government intervention. (Ha ha ha. Ha.)

  • Hope that I land a job that thinks it's worth paying to keep its employees healthy, and does not treat them as disposable once they get sick.

  • Hope that I can marry or otherwise become legally partnered with someone whose job thinks it's worth paying to keep its employees and their spouses healthy, and does not treat them as disposable once they get sick.

  • Hope that if there's someone willing to marry me and share their health care (among other reasons, hopefully), that it remains legal for us to marry.

  • Hope that I get a job that offers health care, at all, period. (The place that only offered health benefits after one year, and stopped employing people at the one year mark, that one was hilarious.)

  • Hope that I can continue to access all of my current medications.

  • Hope that I can continue to access the medications that keep me from dying painfully within the next 2-5 years, and the medications that keep my depression a temporary and treated problem rather than a likely permanent and lethal one. (Again, this is the first year since age 13 or so that I have felt that I'm no worse a suicide risk than any other member of the population without chronic depression.)

  • Hope I don't get sick. Hope the depression doesn't flare up. Hope the ADD lets me focus well enough to hold down a job. Hope I find a job that works with my sleep schedule, rather than against it. Hope the sleep schedule lets me hold down any job, period. Hope that any minor illnesses I get don't jeopardize my job. (Fun fact for those who have never worked a service-industry type job: you find yourself going to work contagious and miserable because you've got to save the sick leave for when you genuinely cannot function or need a doctor's appointment during your normal hours of work. A doctor's note for a multiple-day illness has you spending a day's pay on a doctor visit co-pay or urgent care fee, and the first day of absence may hit your attendance record anyway. Or, if you're a disposable temp, they'll just drop you, because they only care about you not being contagious in their office and they need someone to do the work.)

  • Hope my family doesn't bankrupt themselves trying to keep me alive if I get badly sick.

  • Die, maybe. Probably painfully, with the added indignity of trying to navigate a bureaucratic hell while doing so.


Every one of those options fills me with terror. Bad psychological stuff, and news of the sudden death of a member of my extended circles. )


I'm not okay right now. I've been crying off and on yesterday and today. I am afraid, and I don't know how much the protective bureaucracies that surround the executive branch will be able to shield health care access and workers' rights from the predation of cheap-labor conservatives and the gig economy.

I know I have it much, much better than many. I have a protective and loving family who will try to do what they can to keep me covered and alive. I live in a state that generally wants to take care of its people even when they do it bassackward. I am destined for a state that's of similar opinions.

I am lucky. And I'm terrified.
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
Read more... )
azurelunatic: Polished piece of rainbow fluorite (purple)
So last night the box of one dozen starving, angry brainweasels immediately latched onto my face and started bitin' me all overlocked.

This morning I woke up, and on my way past the hall mirror, I went "... wait, how many zits is my nose hosting? GODDAMMIT." And just now, Clue is asking me if there's anything that I want to tell it today.

I hate it when this happens. The fucking hormones fuck up my mood, and then any little thing can just set it the fuck off, and I implode for a miserable few hours until the bupropion helps me reset.


Because I have learned that even when the reason I'm so upset about something is all out of proportion with the actual problem, and if it seems at all like it might be a legitimate beef when I'm not actually having An Episode, things go better when I address it -- this way there is less opportunity for resentment and misunderstanding and noncommunication to creep in.

Therefore this evening I asked Purple whether it would be possible to schedule a meetup before he leaves, if by some mean twist of fate he didn't make it out this way for the party. (And that I trusted his intent, but that bad fortune had a habit of striking his trips out this way.)

Purple reassured my paranoid brain that, barring some kind of incident involving bouncing off the repellent forcefield surrounding certain nasty public figures or coming down with something contagious, he would be there, and in fact he had rearranged his schedule quite substantially in order to make that happen. He's had the brainweasels before, and he doesn't like 'em. He conveyed sympathy.

Also there's beer bash tomorrow, even though it's also 2600 night.
azurelunatic: A glowing blue planet with the outline of a fist with thumb extended to hitchhike. H2G2 logo. (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)
Further to last night's inquiry about mood tracking services, I'm putting together a Google Docs form. Basically it's going to dump things in a spreadsheet and then I can worry about what to do *with* the data later. So far I've got 0-10 scales going on, with some rather more suited to me factors of measurement.

I am also taking the opportunity to, like Hyperbole and a Half, set the definitions of the extreme ends more appropriately.

Anger: None - Thermonuclear
Happiness: None - Best. Ever.
Apprehensiveness: None- DOOM!
Irrationality: None - Jesus Christ is a Lion Get in the CAR
Irritability: None - *explodes*
Focus: None - Holy Timewarp, Scully!
Pain (physical): None - Motherfucking *ow*
Pain (emotional): None - Bring on the Strikethrough*
Gloom: None - Fucking lousy.
Calm: None - Cucumbers are less cool than Dave Strider.
Numbness: None - I have lost the capacity to feel any more of the things.
Paranoia: None - Everyone and everything is out to get me.


I know I'm missing some; any suggestions? (I of course reserve the right to not actually include them, since this is supposed to be useful for me, but I know I've got to be missing things that would be useful.) I may need more good (or at least good-in-moderation) items. (Focus is one of those tricky ones: "None" is bad; missing-time levels is also perhaps not the best thing for actual functionality.)


* Okay, so that one may require a bit of context. Strikethrough was one of the objectively worst times to both be an LJ volunteer and a member of fandom. During that general time, I had events in my personal life blow up such that the DDoS following Strikethrough, and all the attendant woes, were actually a pleasant distraction from my inner state. Given the contempt in which the CEO steering the ship through Strikethrough is still held, this is not a small amount of pain. There are two times in the past ~5 years I haven't been safe to be alone, and that night was one of them.
azurelunatic: Vuvuzela emitting sound waves in a black and yellow road sign style icon (vuvuzela)
The current project of getting me diurnal again is going vaguely reasonably. We shall see.

Day, cookingish. )


Menstrual cups: how to get me from zero to hating everyone. Includes mention of suicidal ideation. )

Fortunately for me and everyone who cares about me, the combination of meds, training, and just plain old tired means that I know this mental state, and I stare it in the face and remember that fear is the mind-killer, et cetera. (Fear, the Ectogenesis universe, K, and Rose, remind me, is the little death that's going to lead to the big death if you slip and fall.) I'm cranky, but functional; I probably wouldn't even be mentioning it if I weren't trying to set the habit of actually talking about what's going on inside my head on a daily basis in the new year. I've taken basically two years off from daily self-analysis, and that's been driving me crazy. Crazier.


... yeaaahh, how's that for the department of things-looking-ok-until-you-actually-think-about-them, huh?


Spoilers for Connie Willis's 'Passage' )
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
Tuesday 2/1
Having a warm fuzzy bathrobe really does not get old. I did have some trouble locating my red interview sweater for the interview, and eventually went with something else. I did break a shoelace.

I showed up early and nervous. The interview went well. [staff profile] denise was a reference (also Kat and Management from the Call Center Hell) and D was a totally excellent badass reference.

Wednesday 2/2
Twitter was talking about the stigma associated with mental illness. Some things, like my presumed-depression (wreaked hell on my life, never formally diagnosed, kept under control by St. John's Wort, assumption not challenged by my AZ general practitioner) are chronic and I can't assume that when they stop bothering me they're OMG CURED and I can stop treating it; if the St. John's Wort is not in my system, my ability to bounce back from routine mood-dips is impaired.

I got the call confirming the temp job, ending my way-too-long time out of work. So relieved. Then Tif and I went to a Silicon Valley Google Technology Users Group meetup for Google Refine. We've got a fairly large spam dataset...


Thursday 2/3
First day of the temp job. I had a hell of a time actually locating the building, as the buildings in question are part of an office complex where all the buildings are on the same large chunk of property, all of the buildings are sequentially numbered with street numbers that the property has a right to, but they are arranged in a ring that means that the street numbers have little to do with their actual orientation to the street.

The office was interesting, painted in bold colors (lots of lime green and white) and decorated with various Delightful Swag.

I came in just a bit early, and the receptionist had me wait. The guy overseeing my position ran past (literally ran), was hailed by the secretary, she explained that I was here, I think he jogged back to shake my hand, and then ran off again. She accepted this with a very this-is-all-part-of-a-normal-day sort of demeanor, so I got the idea that he did this a lot.

My cube was right by the small kitchen, making it very easy for me to get tea and coffee. Tea and coffee are good. They had a nice array of tea choices, which I found delightful compared to Arizona office tea, which is basically the cheap black tea. (There's a place in my cup for cheap black tea, and this is made 2:1 with strongly flavored orange tea, brewed too strong and too sweet, for use while writing.)

The commute was, of course, hell both ways. 101 is a pit during the 8-10 & 4-6 commute windows. Lucky me.


Friday 2/4
After work, I went to see my aunt. There was hilarity and also shortbread. She took frozen butter and used her handy-dandy crank-driven rotary shredder to cut it into tidy little bits, making the shortbread process amazingly fast. Tasty shortbread, too.

I speculated on Twitter about a vaporware-y technique in mental health care, which assumes enough resources (monetary and available people) to carry it out: Read more... )
azurelunatic: A baji-naji symbol.  (baji-naji)
Everything is, in fact, better in the morning.

[re: previous entry. (Locked: basically, anatomy of a serious mood crash.) Though the lawmakers in question, if violence did solve anything, I would cheerfully take the most embarrassingly longest and most virulently pink toy out of my collection and thwack each one of them over the head with it. On public television. Streaming live on the internet. However, violence does not solve anything, and tickets to Washington, DC are not cheap.]
azurelunatic: "Sanity" St. John's Wort flower.  (St. John's Wort)
Read more... )

11:53 PM 4/5/2010
Via my cousin, omg what is this:
http://gay.fleshbot.com/5505952/this-is-the-gayest-thing-weve-ever-seen?skyline=true&s=i

12:21 AM 4/7/2010
Things you should probably know about [livejournal.com profile] sithjawa and me: we will occasionally shout "BANTAM HENS BANTAM HENS BANTAM HENS" at each other, completely without warning or provocation.

2:35 PM 4/7/2010
I have been having bad problems with ear-noise for the past day or so. I hope it settles down. (All the little background sounds are really loud, and when MissKat called, I got distortion when she talked. I could hear her just fine, but there was speakerphone-like ringing *around* it.) Am thinking part of it may be related to sleep-dep.

Also, reading Peter Morwood's The Dragon Lord, and unexpected Anne McCaffrey is unexpected!

1:20 AM 4/8/2010
Maybe I'm just having too much white noise around me. Too much, too loud.

4:38 AM 4/9/2010
Delays on BART "due to a civil disturbance" does sound ominous. I wonder if I'll hear what happened.

Also, desktop just unbooted itself. D:

9:39 AM 4/10/2010
Last night's fun: dinner with my aunt, crocheting, carrot cake, Mythbusters, my cousin showing off his Rugged Alaskan Man Beard and the midriff-baring steampunk shirt he's to be wearing to [livejournal.com profile] kestrelct's wedding today.

11:38 AM 4/10/2010
My ear-noise seems to be doing better. So far today: 2 cups of coffee. There was a whole little container of it that I made; I'll see if I want some later on. Didn't get enough sleep to want to drive in traffic or face up to crowds. Aunt may be Up for Stuff later. (So, I, like, went to bed at 3, turned off the light at 4, and then at 6:30, pop pop, there I was awake; listening to my cravings, apparently coffee (not soda, but coffee, which I don't have that often) was on the list. So here I am awake.) Meanwhile, I just discovered that my cellphone's Driving Mode is supposed to recite any calling number aloud to me, which is apparently just what I wanted for when I am In Bed, Dammit, with my headset, but my phone is on the other side of the room.

I earwormed Ursie: http://earwormhole.dreamwidth.org/18782.html

2:14 PM 4/10/2010
I was going to say something but I forgot what it was.
Oh! I remembered. When I eventually get published (and it is on the List, remember!) I may be one of those Crazy Cranky Authors who Has Weird Thoughts on Fanfiction.
My particular Crazy Position on Fanfiction is likely to be "Sure, write all you want, but IT'S ALL AU. ALL OF IT."

8:13 PM 4/10/2010
I might be awake. Then again, I might not. I hate my sleep schedule.

9:42 AM 4/11/2010
I seem to be awake yet again. It's also possible (she says after having read half the internet) that the head-buzzing of a few days ago, which did resemble high-blood-pressure side effects, was in fact due to a drug interaction between St. John's Wort and a too-ripe avocado.
azurelunatic: A red and yellow fruit. Caption: Omnishippers have fever fruit goggles (omnishipper)
The struggle for diurnal programming continues! Yesterday's blow from the body: waking up at 3am bright and rested after 6 solid hours of restful sleep! Gee, thanks! Today's: 2am! THE SAGA CONTINUES!

In the department of recognizing what things hook to what other things, I am realizing that I have a genuine problem witnessing paranoia, even paranoia that has been made necessary by environmental circumstances. I will see something, and a little bell in my head will go "This is crazy behavior", and I will edge away from it nervously. So I'm wondering why that is. That bell turns into a giant shrieking alarm when I run into serious hardcore stuff like conspiracy theorists. I cannot be around that stuff, or the little person inside my brain that governs mental health and safety starts seriously having a riot in order to get me away from it. (Things like timecube, that's different. It's way too out-there and surreal for that part of my brain to recognize it as legitimately crazy.) But when crazy people are proselytizing their crazy, I need to be away from it, and I need to be away from it fast.

I have discovered that I am all about consistent user interface for page furniture, rather than having too many heavily contextual things changing and disappearing and becoming unavailable if the moon is full or something.

The guy upstairs has dog or dogs.

Fandom definitions: if you're using "slash" to mean something besides "same-sex pairings in fanfiction" (unless you're talking about sharp objects, a guitarist, or the loo), do not be surprised if the rest of your fandom does not understand you, and/or mocks you. Case in point: the guy who says that any pairing at all is "slash" -- ahahahahahaha.
azurelunatic: "Sanity" St. John's Wort flower.  (St. John's Wort)
Something somewhere said reminded me of the meds battle.

So you're depressed, right, and you wind up on meds (for me it's St. John's Wort, for others it can be something else) and you take them and take them and one day you're just living your life and out of the blue you notice hey! you're happy! where did this come from? your life almost feels ... normal!

And you realize, looking back on it, how very much of your personal mental clutter you have worked your way through, that all of those things that bothered you back when you were unmedicated and unhappy, you know how to deal with those now, and things are really not as bad as they were.

So you drop the damn meds (or you taper them, if you're on the hard stuff; I hear brainbuzzes are not funtimes, and if it's the thing where your head zaps like you're turning on an oldschool monitor, then no not at all; I had those in high school) and maybe you convince yourself that you know, you were just going through a hard patch. You don't really need drugs to cope with real life. You were weak, but you can handle it just fine now that you have got all these shiny new skills.

And you sail along without the meds and you're doing just fine. And then either BAM! life hits you out of the fucking blue, and one of those situations comes up and you're down for the count! -- or maybe you're sailing along with each day not much different from the last, and you're living your life and out of the blue you realize that god damn you are MISERABLE -- or even that it's not quite that you're miserable, but you ... just can't seem to remember the last time it was that you were happy.

Maybe this isn't the first time.

And you pick up that bottle again, and you hate yourself a little, but you take them. Day in, day out. And gradually, life starts to sail on again, and the black cloud, or the gray fog, starts to lift. Or there's a way to climb out of the hole. And life is good again, until you realize that hey, perhaps you don't need those meds, since you're doing so well...
azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)
In un-fun/happy/cool news, my sleep schedule flaked out on me. When that goes, my agoraphobia spikes. The combination means that even if I'm awake, I don't leave the apartment until sunset or after. That meant that work on Saturday? Ha. By the time I was coherent and ready to venture out, there would have been no one left there.

Tonight is not looking like a good night either, given that I'm still up. Fortunately Sunday is an all-day shift, and while I had planned to come in early crack of dawn and that's my base schedule, since I am not being depended on for immediate time-sensitive stuff, I can come in somewhat later. Which means I can stay asleep until I'm actually OK to be woken up.

Was it the coffee I had at work on Friday? I don't know. I do know that if it's still happening from time to time, then it's not under control. And Bitchy Witchy Week is probably due any time in the next two to three weeks.

It's excuses all the way down until you hit the rock-bottom layer of crying hysterical "I don't wanna I don't wanna". And then there's stuff. There's plenty of stuff. It's ordinarily something that adult!self can deal with, can rationalize around, can soothe inner brat into accepting temporarily. But not when irrationality is so close to the surface, it doesn't work like that anymore...
azurelunatic: Cartoon woman with wild blue hair, glasses, black lipstick, and fanged grin.  (Azure: Lunatic)
Congratulations! You are enjoying the company of one Lunatic. Your model should be blue in color. Some fluctuations in energy level, giggliness, personality, handwriting, and sanity are normal, and are no cause for alarm. Individual variation is part of the charm of the Lunatic. However, like most things, the Lunatic has several error modes. For maximum uptime for a Lunatic, consider these troubleshooting solutions if your Lunatic begins to function in an erratic manner or ceases to function:

  • Water. Lunatics carry around a gallon sport-top bottle of water as a matter of course. If this is missing or empty, apply water to Lunatic. This bottle is refilled at least twice daily. If your Lunatic attempts to go somewhere with the bottle less than half-full, make sure the Lunatic fills the water bottle and takes the opportunity to drain.

  • Blood sugar. Lunatics are the daughter of someone with issues that border on hypoglycemia, and Lunatic does need to make sure that she eats right things regularly. If Lunatic's right arm are bandaged at elbow, Lunatic has probably given plasma recently, and should be seated and refueled. Do not attempt to refuel the Lunatic with milk products, bananas, or walnuts, as malfunction may result, but if the Lunatic chooses these items to refuel with, it is her Own Damn Fault, and interference is not necessary.

  • Temperature. Lunatics are nonfunctional at low or high temperatures. If Lunatics have been sitting without coverings in temperatures lower than 70°F or been sitting in temperatures higher than 75°F for more than an hour or two, malfunction results. Apply motion and heat if chilled; apply motion, fresh air, internal and external water, and a cooler environment if overheated. Temperatures are approximate and may be subject to change, but Lunatics are sub-arctic creatures and can tolerate low temperatures with covering far better than even moderately warm temperatures. Low temperature often results in moodiness, depression, sulking (or curl-up-under-blanket-and-go-to-sleep); high temperature often results in incoherence, sleeplessness, and panic.

  • Shock. Lunatics have a disturbing ability to go into a state of shock with sufficient emotional provocation. Standard treatment for shock applies. Additionally, apply bondmate or big brother.

  • Sleep. If Lunatics have been in an active state for more than 16 hours, giddiness and/or crankiness may occur. If Lunatics have been in an active state for 24 hours or more, they should be promptly made horizontal and calm. Note that sleep may not be possible if temperature is outside of operational ranges or water settings are low. Lunatics should have at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep in order to resume full operation. If Lunatics sleep before midnight, lo, they will be Up All Night.

  • Bonds. Lunatics are unstable without the constant invisible presence of their bondmate. To reset bonds to baseline, make sure that Lunatic's silver star is applied and Lunatic has been recently grounded/centered. Bond may require /renew from time to time, and may not /renew automatically in absence of silver star prompt. Bond is security-enabled and will not connect properly if both ends are not secured; check all firewalls and ground/center before attempting a reconnect. Bond uses address filtering and will not admit additional users who are not whitelisted.

  • Read more... )

azurelunatic: Green thing crying with spotted towel.  (greensad)
So far as be being stable was concerned, February well and truly bit. I managed to get out of it reasonably sane and definitely alive, though, so I'm feeling pretty good about being me. Skipping back just under three years, to June 2003 -- definite difference in the sanity. (I did find the 36" strap-on entry, which is what I was looking for.)

If anyone ever suggests that I co-parent with marxdarx again, I will look around for something appropriate to use as a blunt object. Of all the influences for the worse on my general sanity, my high school friendship with Shawn has to have been the worst, co-parenting with Marx the second worst, and any number of things including my previous encounter with the current workplace and my relationship with BJ tying for third place. (That's for steady grind-down. The three worst shocks are probably Terrible Tuesday in 1996, the Awful Realization of early 2005, and leaving CTY in 1995 without proper closure.)

St. John's Wort seems to be doing the trick of stabilizing me at something approaching human. I'm lucky in that it works as well as it does. I'm on 900mg/day at the moment, and I've been there for about a week; I'm going to try 600mg starting at the end of this next week, probably stay there for about a month, and then get back to 300mg/day where I've been doing well except when I go off it entirely.

I know it's been working, because I did this past Saturday at work on less than two hours of sleep. I'm lucky that I can walk to work. I was acting entirely too giddy and punchy at the end of the shift, and Comic Pirate Super was wondering if the contents of my water bottle would catch on fire if offered flame, but I was there and I was functional. Homie G Super didn't see any cracks in my professionalism at the beginning of the shift, even though I told him how much sleep I'd gotten and that I was exhausted. I evidently exude professionalism there.

*sigh*

2/3/06 04:11
azurelunatic: Animated woman's gloved hand dripping with her own blood.  (bleeding)
Everything's fiiiiiiiiiiiine when your body chemistry is adjusted decently. And then you forget to take your St. John's Wort (along with the multivitamin and the allergy medicine) and everything's fine even though you've gotten out of the habit of swallowing those things every morning -- until something whacks your decent mood.

And then it's all "I've fallen and I can't get up!" mode.

And you can't figure out why.


... Next time I go all wacked, somebody pull out the Clue Hammer and ask me if I'm taking the St. John's Wort, 'k? 300mg/day seems to keep me fine once I've re-stabilized, stepping up to 900mg/day if I'm not stable.
azurelunatic: Rock in the sea, captioned "stationed forever on a far-distant rock" (Housewife's Lament)
Several different unrelated people seem to think that the appropriate phrase for the days when I lock up and have this inexplicable terror at the thought of going outside or doing anything (specifically, usually going to work or going about my normal routine) is "panic attack".

They've been traditionally linked with my menstrual cycle. Except when that goes haywire (as it is doing now -- it is the Great Drought, and no, I haven't been around any unchaperoned sperm for Quite Some Time, thanks) it seems to happen anyway. It's bad enough when I am getting enough sleep. It's worse when the insomnia thing is in full force. Usually it's only one day every month or so, and often enough that falls on one of my weekends.

Two weeks ago -- the 9th and 10th -- I was out of commission with this. This week -- the 23rd, 24th, and 25th -- I was out of commission. That's just counting the work days. I barely made it out for the writing group this past week.

That's far too much time out of my life right there, and this needs to stop. I did some poking about online and called a local organization to see what their recommendations were for places to start on getting this -- whatever the fuck is causing it -- fixed.

Step one is to get a general physical and see if there's anything overtly physically wrong. Irregular cycles is something physical. Insomnia can have physical roots. Well, actually, step one is to see what medical care programs I qualify for, because I have absolutely no insurance and a variable (and low) income -- I go from full-time to part-time based on the hours work has available. Then some physical-issues investigation. And after that, into the scary realm of psych stuff.

It isn't a constant problem, but it's a chronic one. I'd be just as relieved as the next person if there's a treatable physical cause, or, failing that, some "Comfortably Numb" remedy I can use to put the absolute nonfunctionality at bay until my logical weekend.


Annnnnd ... that's what I've been up to. When I can think.

PSA

25/2/06 04:49
azurelunatic: Animated woman's gloved hand dripping with her own blood.  (bleeding)
Some bad places going on right now. Am taking careful care.
azurelunatic: Cordless phone showing a heart.  (phone)
Today feels like a day, not like a disaster area. Yesterday I had to wear the "ARGH!" stickynote on my head. There are some days when it's just not worth pretending to be cheerful, and for those days, I have inscribed the sentiment "ARGH!" on a brilliant pink stickynote. I wear it on my forehead when I'm having a particularly bad moment. Yesterday I was wearing it a lot. It really does help. If I'm showing off my generalized ARGH in stickynote format, I can avoid showing it in my voice or aura. I was being very happy through the ARGH, and then Snarky Lady Super harshed my coping strategy by pointing out that it looked so incredibly unprofessional. ("Harshed?" Someone's been reading too much Arcata Eye. Which, actually, we need to go read, because we haven't been reading enough lately. And that's work-safe.)

It looks like the Collective might be subdividing again in some funky form, because of all of the parenthetical notes we've been having lately. It feels entirely natural, which is scary. The new bits aren't entirely new, and feel somewhat cross between Naomi and Dagger. ...Oh. Her name, surprisingly enough, is Joan. Which is odd, because we haven't had a legal-name personality in a long, long time. But this is what happens when I answer to a name in a specific environment: a personality develops to cover the contingencies.

I'm Azz. I've answered to Azz approximately since the big merger back in '01. The quirky side of the merger was what came out on top. The quirky side was the name that got registered as the new identity on assorted message boards and on LJ, so that was what the new side of me started answering to. I often feel like I live on the internet. I can be me here, and my face-to-face interactions with most people are the masked and forced bits. The current baseline self of the Collective, though, is the self we can be around Darkside. hat's who we rebuilt to after the BJ disaster and the subsequent merger in '01. (Relative addressing on the date. (You are such a geek.) Yes.) (Parenthetical comments to parenthetical comments? Whatever floats your boat.) Baseline self is generally called Joanie, or Lunatic, that being how I get addressed in private. But most of the time, I'm Azz. Name comes from what I answer to. I'm Azz.

But my work-self is Joan, and is no less valid than the rest of us. It's very weird to feel a different flavor creeping into the thoughts, to have the normal train of thought intruded upon with a whisper more like a mental nudge in the ribs and closed-captioning than an actual audible voice.

For almost half my life, "I" have been "us".
azurelunatic: Seated baby in incubator shell with electrodes.  (Cyteen)
There was just a locked post about something that hit me two months ago, but is now hitting me again as the real-world implications of it catch up to me. And that's stressing me the fuck out, but it's an old stress, now. I can deal with it.

Darkside was there for me five minutes after it hit me, and dealt with me gibbering and trying to cry but failing, dealt with me starting to slip into shock, dealt with me laughing in very disturbing ways as my universe flipped upside down and started raining bits of mental foundation down upon me. Figment was there for the aftermaths, and was the first person I allowed to touch me after the first shock started to slip away.

Incidentally, I should never be given bad news when there isn't someone trusted around who can physically hold me, because I can and will start slipping into shock. I've learned to recognize the symptoms, and will dutifully get something to drink and wrap myself up in a warm blanket, but if my mental processes have been derailed, my safety features may have been affected too.

I'm a social creature, but no company is preferable to bad company in a time of stress. I need someone I can safely fall apart around. I trust myself to do that around very few people. There are far more people who would offer hugs and shoulders and their company -- and say the wrong thing when I was vulnerable, and run the risk of planting something in my psychsets that would grow there and trigger off things that would have been better left untouched, or touched only by someone who could successfully read from the Black Book and banish the fishy tentacled thing into rich black fertile soil instead of a slimy, writhing mass of venomous self-doubt. When I'm vulnerable, I shrink back from physical contact except with people who are known to be safe.

I become Disturbing when the foundations of my sanity shake. I keep telling myself that I've been to the rock-bottom, and there isn't any less sane I can ever get, and then someone tosses me a shovel, and I just keep on digging... Paradoxically, the further down I dig things, the more stable I get, because I know where so many of the faults lie now, and I know how to brace them and compensate for them. And people who haven't explored their own sanity in such depth get very scared when someone talks conversationally about where all the holes in their head are...

Freud didn't get it all right. Childhood builds the base structure for the personality, so if there are any down-deep flaws, the mistaken ideas kids get about the funkiest things, it's going to be in the childhood. But some of the deepest damage can happen when an adult earthquake shakes the foundation, or worse, pulls chunks out of the foundation and sets them on fire. If you're lucky, at least, the foundation gets removed before it's set on fire. And the teenage years are just as crucial to the adult personality as the childhood years are to the base personality. Some forms of adulthood are the mask we wear when we pretend we don't want to have fun anymore; those are the bad ones. Some forms of adulthood are figuring out that we don't have to do stupid and dangerous stuff to have fun. I like that kind.
azurelunatic: Animated woman's gloved hand dripping with her own blood.  (bleeding)
The night of the 12th/early morning the 13th, I had nasty PMS, which complicated an otherwise straightforward instance of sleep dep, allergies, and dehydration.

Note that allergies make it difficult for me to breathe. Note that difficulty breathing and dehydration both cause me to have panic attacks. Sleep deprivation makes any bad mood that I have that much worse. PMS puts me on a hair-trigger and makes me that much more likely to snap at people.

In the middle of all this, I experienced computer difficulties.

Figment only noticed me snapping at him once.

Figment probably deserves a medal or something. (Either that, or I've gotten a lot better at leaving my internal state internal, and not betraying bad internal states by being unpleasant externally. Or both.)

It had better be PMS, at least. If I was that irritable and it wasn't PMS, there's a problem that needs fixing.

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Azure Jane Lunatic (Azz) 🌺

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