Feb. 1st, 2016 03:27 pm
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I decided over Christmas break that I needed something to occupy my mind that didn't require a lot of effort or forethought.

Bipolar people cannot achieve resting state neural connectivity. Research has proven this. What this is means is that we can't just sit around and do nothing and relax or be comfortable. We can't binge watch on Netflix or sit around watching TV, I even have trouble meditating without a guided audio to listen to -- the audio helps me focus my mind on something. I've talked to other bipolar people who experience the same thing -- an innate feeling of restlessness with doing nothing. You sit around doing nothing and your mind starts spinning and you start worrying.

To combat this, I have taken up crafting. More specifically, latch hooking. I may move on to sewing, knitting, and embroidery once I've mastered latch hooking. I usually have a mug of warm milk and calm myself down with some latch hooking at night before bed, or on a boring weekend afternoon. I find a good feeling fills me after I've done the crafting. So not only is it relaxing, it fills my brain with feel-good chemicals.

There's another problem going on concerning my bipolar disorder. I have a generalized, vague anxiety that follows me pretty much everywhere I go. My psychiatrist and I agreed meds aren't the answer, and the cognitive behavioral therapy techniques I've learned can only do so much.

Multiple people have talked about the option of an emotional support animal. I like the idea, I just don't know if I have the time and money to take care of an animal. If the animal were an officially trained service animal for psychiatric disorders, then it might be different -- I could take the animal with me to public places, etc -- but those apparently don't exist.

So I'm just going to have to go through my options and decide what I want to do here.

But for the most part, I've been feeling great lately. I've fallen into regular sleep and eat schedules, and aside from the occasional cold or bad experience I've been feeling calm and at peace. Christmas break was good to me and helped me gain some perspective.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
Tonight for New Year's Eve, we'll have shepherd's pie for dinner, then red wine and a tray of cheese and salami with crackers. We'll watch the Dick Clark show, hosted by Ryan Seacrest, and see the ball drop in Times Square at midnight from the safety and comfort of the TV in our living room. The countdown is always so exciting!

No wild celebrations, just a quiet evening at home curled up with a glass of wine and my family, and that's the way I prefer it.

Here are 5 things I learned in 2015:

- You can't save people who don't want to be saved. I had a friend who got caught up in over drinking and partying. Over and over again, she continued to gravitate toward people who treated her like shit. She eventually dropped out of school and I never heard from her again. I think she was ashamed. I tried over and over again to help her associate with kinder people, and do fun activities that didn't involve getting drunk, but she wouldn't have any of it. Some people you just can't save.

- You can seem really close to someone, but the two of you can go down completely different paths in life and you may never see them again. That happens a lot at college age. But it shouldn’t keep you from making new friends.

- It’s never too late to change your life around and make it healthier. Health often leads to happiness.

- Not every date leads to instant romance -- even if it seems like the first date went really well.

- It is absolutely possible for a guy to be reasonable and treat you well, and you should expect that, and even demand it. EVEN and ESPECIALLY when it comes to sex.

(For more on my relationship goals and what I've learned to expect from a relationship this year, I refer you to this magnificent article:§ion=women&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000046


And now here is my New Years resolution: to find my strong inner voice and to use it without guilt. I was inspired by this article. So much of it resonated with me:

I remember the first time I was ever called bossy. I was in elementary school and it was cooking day, so me and my friends were making pancakes. Kids kept crowding around the cooking table and impeding our work, so I began shooing them back and getting them all in a straight line. I will never forget the way my friends treated me with complete disgust. "We're done," they said, emphasizing the 'done', and I remember this crippling feeling of shame sweeping through me. The way they looked at me was very cold. The sad thing is, it was other girls who made me feel that way.

I always see that as a kind of beginning, because ever since I have always felt guilt, hesitancy, and uncertainty whenever I get too opinionated, or say something that might upset someone -- even if it's the way I really think. All too often in my life, I have stayed silent, not wanting to create waves. In high school, I was so careful about ordering people around that in the photography class I took, a girl accused me of having "no vision" because I was terrified of ordering my models to do what I wanted them to do.

Well I'm done with all that! This year, I will try the perhaps long process of finding my inner voice and using it to voice my opinions and instructions without guilt. Now, keep in mind, speaking your mind doesn't necessarily mean you have to be rude. I'm not talking about deliberately hurting anyone's feelings. I'm simply saying that I'm tired of staying silent -- tired of being embarrassed -- and tired of caring what other people think about me!

I'm finished!

So this year that is my goal. And while I'm at it, here is a toast -- a toast to a strong new year, and a new beginning!

With Love,

Grimrose Eilwynn

PS: Enter this door, but be warned: you will not come out in the same condition as you were when you entered it.

grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I signed this petition and thought I'd give you the chance to as well. Please sign if you agree. Here's the description:

Since birth, my sister has been both mentally and physically handicapped. Becky was born with Down syndrome. At the age of 15, she had two massive strokes, was diagnosed with a terminal illness called Moyamoya, and was placed in hospice. She needs to be fed, dressed, bathed, and taken to the bathroom. In short, she depends on us for everything.

However, under the current U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) guidelines, my husband, an active duty member of the Armed Forces, and I are unable to claim Becky as a secondary dependent, even though we are her legal guardians. To me, this is unfair and puts undue strain on a military family who should be concentrating on supporting their loved one off defending our nation.

Currently, service members may add parents, step-parents, legal guardians, incapacitated children over the age of 21 (whom you had custody/guardianship of when they became incapacitated, or prior to your enlistment), children and step-children. I am calling on the DOD to include incapacitated siblings in the list of those we can care for legally.

Our mother, who dedicated her life to caring for Becky, passed away from pancreatic cancer, and our adoptive father is not willing to care for her any longer. If we had not taken her, she would be in a nursing home. When we became Becky’s caregivers, I had to quit my job to be here for her, which reduced our income by a lot. As a family of 7 living off of one income and what little Becky draws from Social Security, we are struggling just to pay our bills.

Since we are unable to add her as a dependent, we cannot add her to our family insurance plan, forcing her to rely solely on Medicaid for her medical needs. It's not enough. She requires expensive specialists who are equipped to care for someone like her, and most of these specialist don't accept Medicaid.
Another issue we are running into is being able to enroll in the military's Exceptional Family Member Program. This program is designed to assist military families like mine with priority for housing, specific consideration regarding duty stations, 40 hours of respite care per month, and many other supportive services. Unfortunately, because we are unable to add Becky as a dependent, we cannot enroll in this program that was designed to help military families just like mine.

Our family is suffering because of an arbitrary clause that won’t allow us to to claim my sister as a dependent, even though she is clearly incapable of taking care of herself. We need your help to help the DOD realize that this is wrong, so they change their policy and finally provide some peace of mind for families like mine. Please sign my petition.

grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I signed this petition and thought I'd give you the chance to as well:

This Iranian woman was a women's rights defender and activist. She was arrested and imprisoned for fighting for women's rights in Iran. She has served six years in prison.

She should have been released this summer according to Iranian law, but officials have elected to keep her imprisoned for at least another two years.

The woman -- Bahareh Hedayat -- has failing health (in the area of the kidney and reproductive organs) and is suffering major depression. She may not survive another two years in prison. This is completely ignoring the fact that she was unjustly imprisoned in the first place.

In recent weeks, Iran has been releasing many political prisoners, and Bahareh's husband is hopeful that with this petition his wife will be one of them. Please sign and support justice and women's rights in Iran.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I talked in a previous post about having weird sleep time disturbances? Well, they're still going on, and have been leaving me exhausted now that school has started.

My psychiatrist tried switching me over to a new antipsychotic, but the first medicine he recommended was too expensive -- 500 dollars with a 125-off coupon and health insurance! -- and the second he recommended was a medication my grandmother was on for senile dementia that caused her to tremor and be insensate to the world around her. Needless to say, bad associations, no way in a million fucking years.

So I went and got a second opinion, and she recommended keeping my old antipsychotic -- which has worked perfectly otherwise -- and adding a dosage of an anti anxiety medication used to sedate people for sleep. And guess what? It's been working perfectly! I've been deeply asleep every night for the past couple of nights!

So there you go. Happy ending.

The only thing is that the pills are habit forming, so after a while I may not be able to sleep without them.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
This was an interesting writing exercise in my American Lit class and I thought I'd relay what I put down:

To My Children:

I will start by warning you of something. Childhood and adulthood can and should be wonderful, but the part in between is often rather painful. In other words, it gets better.

I would next say that one of the most important survival skills in life is to be a keen observer of people. If we see people as they really are -- both the good and the bad -- then we won't be disappointed by them, or try to make them into something they are not.

And that's another thing. Never walk into a relationship thinking you'll change the other person. People can only change if they themselves truly want to.

On a related note, I have found in my experience that you cannot be any happier or healthier than the people you surround yourself with. You cannot be happy and healthy enough for two people. That's not how it works.

Surround yourself with people who make you feel good. People who accept and like you just the way you are, and don't judge you or try to change you or force false standards on you.

Avoid the elitists -- the people who say, "You have to be this, or you're not really this." Also avoid the people who bash what you like, who hurt you with words even if they don't mean to, or who don't value you and your time.

Above all, be happy. You don't like your job? Quit and live with your parents until you find a new one. Don't want to go to college? Try a technical school. Want to travel? Find a way to do that. Not happy in your relationship? Talk to the other person about that. If they won't listen, walk.

Health is part of happiness. If something's going wrong, seek out a health specialist. Not just anyone, but someone who finds your concerns valid and who won't try to trivialize your experiences.

Be happy, healthy & free.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
So far, college this year has not been going well.

It's everything, I think. I'm taking five upper-division classes. FIVE. I also have to cook for myself, clean for myself, etc. So I have basically no free time. I don't live on campus anymore, which means long waits at the bus stop and in between classes on campus, and this sounds really wimpy but I have a terrible phobia of bugs and there are bees EVERYWHERE.

I know it's just my adjustment period, and I'll get over it and winter will come and I'll adjust to taking the classes and living on my own and everything. But right now it just majorly, majorly sucks. I stayed home from school because I was sick to my stomach from stress yesterday, and today I couldn't go to poetry class because I was on the verge of having a panic attack.

Poetry is a whole story in and of itself. The teacher wants two poems within a week's time, and then he's going to have you sit there while the whole class critiques your poetry directly to your face. (You're not allowed to say anything till the end.) My first thought was to write about what I knew well, so I wrote a poem about depression and mental illness and turned it in but then today I had the sudden, horrible thought, OH GOD THEY'RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT THAT TO MY FACE.

I think that's what caused the panic attack of sorts.

I emailed the teacher and told him I couldn't come, citing mental health reasons. He was very understanding. He says next week we're just going to skip straight to my much more people-friendly poem on the hard work of being a ballerina. I turned in both poems to him, so I should still get full credit.

In fact, I don't think I've lost any points for being absent yet. I've emailed all my teachers and have still managed to finish all my assignments and get them turned in. So there's always that little ray of hope.

Thank God a three-day weekend is coming, because I really need it.

The feminist club meeting was a little ray of sunshine. I'm doing some more extracurricular fun stuff with my sister later, so that should be nice too. More on that after it happens.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
Thought this was an interesting article:

It claims that most doctors, when they die, they don't die in a hospital undergoing aggressive treatment. Instead, they die peacefully at home.

This is definitely something I'd want for myself. Say I got cancer. Sure, I'd try to treat it at first. But if things seemed pretty terminal, and I wasn't going to make it, I'd stop undergoing treatment options. I would just let myself die, peaceful and feeling good, at home. I wouldn't want lots of pain that might prolong my life, and I wouldn't want to be kept alive by machines. And if I found out I was dying, I'd like to do some cool things before I went -- maybe go skydiving or take a trip to Europe. I'd like to see the world before I was gone.

I am not terribly afraid of death. Obviously, the idea makes me nervous, but it's the kind of nervous I felt before going onstage at my first choir concert. It's just a process. It's dying that's painful, death is inherently not. Death is peaceful.

And when I do die, I'd like my organs to stay in my body and I'd like to be cremated. Don't cut me open, don't let me rot in the ground. Just let me go quietly in a hail of fire. I'd like my ashes transferred to a little urn and I'd like to go on cool and interesting trips with beloved family members.

As for funerals, I don't have much use for them, to be honest. They make me uncomfortable. If I die, I'd like people to throw me a death party. With lots of music and dancing. Maybe a standup comedian. I'd like people to be happy and celebrate -- not be all gloomy and try to put out a bunch of false words about how great I was.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
Very interesting article on quantum mechanics:

This ties in very strongly with what I believe. It's not that physics isn't true, it's just that there's a deeper layer to the universe. We have both individual energies and a collective energy. This is the moment when science finally catches up with religion.

I've always believed the two are very closely intertwined.

As I've said before, I don't really believe in organized religion. But that doesn't mean I don't believe in God, souls, or morals. I read an article once that a Russian photographer photographed heat signatures of dying people -- he saw a collective energy leave them upon death. I saw another article that claimed the energy of the Earth changes around a certain area whenever hundreds of thousands of people experience a horrific natural disaster.

We are all interconnected.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I just had my first "women's doctors appointment" today. They recommend you start at 21, so that was the age I came in at. I was dead nervous -- scared shitless -- that kind of thing.

Here's how it works:

You have to fill out a form. I filled it out, and the most important thing I told the doctor is that I'm not sexually active -- the most I've ever done with a boy is kiss him. Simple, right? So after you hand in the form, they call you back into a standard medical room.

First, they do the usual things like weigh you, run your temperature and your blood pressure, etc. After that, the assistant pulls the screen around the bed and leaves the room. You change into an open-backed hospital gown, sit down on the table, and drape a sheet over your legs.

The doctor came in, a Chinese man who was also my general practitioner. He remained calm and kept his sense of humor throughout, telling me interesting little tidbits of information and anecdotes here and there to distract me, so he was pretty good.

First, he removed one shoulder of my gown at a time and felt my boobs and armpits to see if there were any lumps. (There weren't.) Then he sat down at my feet, and had me bend my knees and slide all the way down to the end of the table. He used a press instrument to widen my vaginal opening.

This hurt. A LOT.

He seemed surprised by how much pain I was in. I kept saying, "Ow! Ow!" Finally, when he wouldn't stop, I flinched and moved away. He stopped in surprise.

"We almost had it," he said. "Do you want me to do it again?"

"No!" I barked. He laughed, which did not help matters, by the way.

At last, I bravely asked him to try it one more time. He did, and I said, "Hurry! Hurry!" because I could only remain still in pain for so long. He quickly brushed against my vaginal opening, removing some tissue so it can be studied in the lab, and removed the instrument. The hardest part was over.

Later, he put some gel on his finger, stuck it up under my ovaries to push the ovaries against my stomach, and felt my stomach. And he realized what was wrong. He removed the finger and let me get re-dressed before he explained it to me.

It turns out, my uterus is tilted too far forward. That's why my OBGYN appointment hurt so much. I got it from my grandmother, who I also inherited my small, petite stature and bipolar disorder from. I talked to the doctor about it and then later talked to my Mom about it and called my grandmother's widower, my Papa. Here's what I've found out concerning my uterus being too tilted:

- OBGYN appointments (one is required every two years) are always going to hurt until the uterus is fixed. It's possible going into the appointment with a full bladder could tilt the uterus back to normal again, and lessen the pain.

- Sex could be painful until the uterus is fixed, but it isn't always. Part of it depends on the man's dick, which should preferably be on the small side.

- Pregnancy could be hard until the uterus is fixed. My grandmother had trouble conceiving and then had a miscarriage.

- With all that said, all problems will be solved if the uterus is tilted back to normal, which was possible even sixty years ago when my grandmother was young. Now, the theory holds, it should be fairly easy. Once the uterus was fixed, she conceived two months later and had three healthy kids.

I'm not going to run and have it all fixed tomorrow. It all depends on what comes up first: my next appointment, painful sex, or a desire to get pregnant. Basically, I'll burn that bridge when I get to it.

One last tidbit: you always have to pee after going through an OBGYN appointment. Always. My pelvic area was still sore, so I was afraid peeing would hurt, but it didn't. (My bladder wasn't affected, after all.) One thing that can help with soreness is pressing a cold wet piece of tissue to the vaginal area.

I got a Starbucks coffee as a treat afterward for my bravery during a traumatic experience. Vanilla bean frappuccino with toffee nut and caramel.

At last, after all the worrying about what it was going to be like, it's over and I don't have to go in again for another two years.

UPDATE: I found out my doctor billed me for an active diagnosis, instead of a preventative checkup. Active diagnoses are only possible when there's a previous gynecological history for the patient, which was not the case in this circumstance, but active diagnoses also cost money while preventative checkups don't. I certainly won't be going back to this particular doctor.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
My heat rash is gone. I put hydrocortisone on it and kept it covered for a couple of days.

The dorms waived my 35 dollar fee. They replied to our formal complaint with an apology and a wish for the best for my next year of college. It's amazing how far formal complaints can get you in official institutions -- they literally are required to respond to you.

So far, life is going well. :)
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
What I thought was a sunburn has developed into a heat rash. My chest is blotchy, itchy, and warm to the touch.

So I looked up the psychiatric medications I'm on and found out one of them can make a person sensitive to the sun. I just doubled that particular medication recently, because I was having some stray delusional thoughts. I guess I shouldn't have done that and then gone out exercising and swimming in the heat of the day.

So now I can only go out exercising before 10 AM and after 5 PM. I'm hoping that will do it and the rash will go away. Rashes when on medications can be dangerous when they're not caused by something like sunlight or poison ivy, so I'm a little nervous.

On Aging

Jul. 15th, 2015 12:33 pm
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I read this article and loved it. It's about a 101-year-old woman who scales down tall towers with only a harness in tow:

I aspire to be like that when I'm older. For one thing, I'm too energetic to be able to enjoy an easy retirement. Sitting around and doing nothing all the time has never suited me. For another, I think age is a mindset.

Let me explain what I mean. I have one set of grandparents, my Nana and Papa, who after their retirement, did nothing but sit around and watch TV all day. They didn't want to work, go to clubs, have hobbies, or go traveling. They didn't take good care of their health. They didn't keep up with modern technology. They had the mentality that they'd already seen and done it all, and at 70 they could do anything they damn well pleased.

One of them is dead, and the other seems old and has some very serious health problems.

But then there's my other grandmother. She keeps up with all the latest books and movies, has lots of Apple technology and social media accounts, and goes traveling all the time. She's aged well, has significantly less health problems, and seems much healthier.

There are other role models I've had on aging well. I remember this little old lady who lived across the street from me growing up. She lived by herself, did everything for herself, and took walks all the time. She was thin, spry, and energetic, even into her very old age.

One person I really admire for aging well is Yoko Ono. That lady doesn't let anything stop her. She's still energetic, politically active, technologically aware, and she keeps up with modern music. She's doing new work and traveling all the time, and she speaks out against ageism. Yoko Ono has aged well, in part because she doesn't see herself as "old" -- her age doesn't hold her back.

And that's what I'm talking about. I think the great secret to aging well is not paying close attention to your age. I want to be the kind of person, when I'm older, who travels, keeps up with politics and modern music, keeps up with the latest innovations, and adapts to the social times. I want to keep creating, even well into old age, and I hope to take good care of my health. The goal is not to live forever, but to enjoy life for as long as possible.

I never want to be the kind of old person who just sits around in slippers in front of the TV and waits for death.
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I am here to complain about dorm living. Oddly enough, I'm not going to be complaining about roommate problems at all. I've already covered those, as can be seen in this post:

But wait, there's more!

I lived for a year in the dorms at my current college. It was pretty awful.

Let's start with the cafeteria. The minute you walked in, an awful smell wafted through your nostrils, coming from the dirty dishes piled up near the door. The food ranged from okay to subpar to downright dreadful. A lot of it was cold, or soggy, or lumpy, or had almost no flavor whatsoever. Some of it actually made me gag.

As a classmate of mine once put it, "Well, the food there will keep you alive."

Then there were all the things that didn't work. The shower head didn't wash all the soap off of you, and the spray came down so hard it irritated your eyes. The bathroom door slide didn't work. Neither did the light switch. I got head lice while staying there.

Roommates could be sprung on you with little notice. Once, I got an email at five o'clock on a Friday afternoon. "You will be getting a new roommate," it said. Everyone in the housing office had by that point already gone home for the afternoon, so there was no one I could talk to. At nine o'clock at night on that same Friday, a new roommate showed up to move in with me.

I signed up for dorm living for the next year, before deciding partway through the year that I was going to look for an apartment instead. I told housing, four months ahead of time, that I'd changed my mind and would not be moving in next year. They still kept ninety dollars worth of the deposit money.

So I get to the end of the year, and find out I have a final on Friday of finals week. I then find out the dorm requires me to be moved out by noon on Saturday. I ask if I can get a one day time extension -- they refuse.

So in less than twenty-four hours, I have to:

- Pack up all my things

- Get some of it to a storage warehouse

- Get the rest into a suitcase

- Catch a bus to the airport

- Take a plane back home

I get back home and find out I forgot to return my mail key. Which, by the way, my RA never reminded me about. I offer to give the key back to the school; they refuse and fine me thirty-five more dollars.

I am just so fucking done with dorm living. My parents and I sent in a formal letter of complaint and I am very, very ready to have my own apartment next year. It'll be my first time living completely on my own -- I'm nervous, but excited!


Jul. 12th, 2015 07:31 pm
grimrose_eilwynn: (Default)
I walked about three miles today, just for the exercise, not including the walk I took to get lunch at Wendy's. You couldn't keep me inside. I was out, exercising vigorously and enjoying the sunshine. I walked so fast my shoelaces kept coming untied.

Unfortunately, I forgot I was wearing an open-necked shirt today. So now I have a sunburn on my chest. Oops?

On the plus side, I took some great pictures of the beautiful blooming rosebushes and pomegranate tree in front of my house! And that more than makes up for any itching or pain. :)

Exercise is a great tonic for any depression or anxiety. Getting out and moving around is good for the Brainstuff Chemicals. Additionally, I use lavender body wash and perfume, which is also very relaxing. So a good idea would be to take a walk and then a lavender bath.


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Hopeless Dreamer

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