Week #7 (09/19-09/25)
FINALLY, A FULL DIAGNOSIS. I met with my doctor yesterday to get the results of the full Creyos test; she sent me PDFs of my results and I forwarded them to my therapist (whom I meet with later today) and together the three of us are going to come up with a plan. I hesitate to call it a “recovery” plan because some of these things are mental, but some are chemical… so short term, some we can best work on with medication and some we can best work on with therapy… but long term? I have no idea. (As I’m compiling this to post on October 4th, I’d like to add an addendum: some are chemical, and fixable with medication. Some are mental/emotional, from not having ever learned coping techniques or relaxation techniques that work for me – not just what other people say will work, but what actually does fit my personality and lifestyle. I think long term this is actually going to work out pretty well, and change my life for the better.)
In order of severity, worst first, I have General Anxiety Disorder, PTSD, Depression, and ADHD. But! There’s a catch! I just barely scored on the ADHD chart again; like, just high enough to qualify for Mild. I did score about average in the visual tests, but scored higher (worse? How do you phrase it?) on the self-reporting. So both my doctor and my therapist wonder if rather than full blown ADHD, if I am presenting as having ADHD because of the severity of the Anxiety and PTSD. So they’re both in agreement (with me) to hold off on the official ADHD diagnosis, but to retake that part of the test AGAIN in about two months, and see how I score then. (I only have to pay for taking the test the first time; I can retake it or parts of it for free for a full year after that first test.)
Let’s take another look at that chart I made, only this one for just the four things (taking out the other things but adding in Depression).
They have a lot in common, and I can see where adding up the first three might lead to many of the ADHD symptoms. It’s hard to focus, listen, prioritize, and remain organized if you’re already having trouble concentrating, trouble sleeping, are prone to forgetfulness and are suffering from indecision/decision fatigue.
In other things this week…. My friend Denise asked if I could take her to the ER, she broke her ankle. I mean the answer was “yes” without a second thought – even if Denise and Tarrant hadn’t done so much for me while Tim was sick, they’re about the kindest, most generous people I know and I would absolutely bend over backwards to help good people. So… how did it feel to take someone so close to my heart, someone so instrumental in me getting through those months of Tim’s sickness and death, to the same hospital I originally took Tim to when he had his first stroke? The same hospital I drove myself to when I broke my hand breaking up that dog fight? Oddly, it didn’t feel overwhelming.
Is that the new meds? Or the new breathing techniques? Or the new mind focusing techniques? Maybe a little from every column. But rather than some sort of blind panic and fear/hatred of that particular hospital, I was more… glad to be able to help a friend. That isn’t just the hospital I went to for two emergencies. It’s the hospital where I found out that I only have one kidney. And the hospital where my nephrologist had an office for a while. Tarrant took me there to get my first Covid shot, when I wasn’t sure if I would have a reaction to the vaccine or not, with my weird egg allergies. It’s the hospital that has two waiting rooms, one for the ER and one for non-emergencies, and a few years ago, in the non-emergency one there was a beautiful quilt display. I don’t quilt, but my mother does, and my friend Sharon does, so being able to see those quilts and appreciate close-up the work that I knew went into them because I’ve heard my mother and Sharon talk about it….? Anyway, what I’m saying is that it was actually very easy to think of more times that hospital hasn’t been overwhelmingly stressful than times that it has.
Week #8 (09/26-10/02)
I meant to write a little every day here, but got away from it. Suffice to say that this week was actually… pretty good. I was able to focus a lot, not getting too sidetracked when doing something. I was able to make a plan for the day and mostly stick to it. I got a lot of backlog computer work done, mostly in regards to advertising for HaldeCraft (I’d been meaning to look into a few new places to advertise, and the idea has been sitting in my brain, mocking me for not getting around to it, for over a year). I also finished a chapter and got it up on Patreon… cutting it close to the end of the month, but it is what it is.
Overall this week my head was in a good space. I started getting back into yoga – just every other day because god DAMN am I out of shape… you know you’re out of shape when it hurts to stretch! I relied on my Calm app for daily meditations and for sleep sounds (or sleep stories; Cillian Murphy can talk me to sleep any day of the week!). I got some cleaning in – not just “oh it’s time to clean the house” but going through a couple of Doom Boxes and Doom Piles. I started in on cleaning out the shed of Tim and Barbara’s stuff but that was a little more than I was expecting/hoping, so I’ve got to find a bit of a different strategy for that. However, I feel like I CAN find a different, better strategy – the task only appears overwhelming, it’s not literally overwhelming. I just have to find some ways to break it down into smaller chunks and I’ll get through it OK.
Overall I don’t really have too much to say about this week. It was easy, I felt good, nothing bad happened to send me into a spiral…. I’d like more weeks like this, please and thank you!
Week #9 (really just a day, 10/03)
I’ve got to be honest, yesterday sucked a bag of dicks. I found out early in the day that someone close to me had a TIA, which is like a … transient stroke. The symptoms can pass in anywhere from minutes to hours, so it might seem like it’s not a big deal, but it can be a precursor to a larger stroke, so it’s best to get to the hospital as fast as possible. Which they did, but then spent about the next 12 hours waiting for a room. Well, for all I know, they might STILL be waiting for a room, as I’m writing this at 7:30 in the morning so I haven’t heard any of today’s news yet.
Selfishly, it really sucked for my brain, which went all kinds of places. Probably because I know so many people who have had strokes. Did my grandmother have a TIA before she had her big stroke? Did she or my grandfather, who was a doctor, notice? Was it a TIA (or a series of them) that was making Tim so weird a few days before his stroke? I lost my grandmother, after watching her trapped in her own body for a number of years first. I lost Tim, comparatively in a short time compared to my grandmother, although those three months were packed with a lot more in-my-face medical drama than with her. Am I going to lose this person? If I do, is it going to be fast and bad? Or slow and bad?
The part of my brain that doesn’t immediately go into panic mode (my god, Anxiety can suck a brick) knows that (a) either everything will be OK or (b) everything won’t be great but it’ll be survivable (for me, anyway) but the part of my brain that perpetually lives in panic mode? I spent a lot of time yesterday doing breathing exercises and trying to focus my calm. It worked, mostly. Ish.
We still had dinner with friends last night, and they had questions but thankfully didn’t really get into talking about how I felt about it, and I managed to only cry in front of Jeff once (and I don’t think he even noticed). So overall I guess I’m calling the day “survived.” I do have a massive headache this morning… anxiety hangover? Today I am going to spend it either helping others, if I can, and/or being kind to myself and not laying a lot of heavy duties onto my plate. Think, things like laundry and sitting with the dogs, not working on my quarterly sales tax and writing a novel.
MY POINT IN ALL THIS, if I have one, is that yesterday’s event, if it happened nine weeks ago, probably would have sent me into a spiral that it would take days to come out of as far as worry and my brain going to the worst places. But now, with nine weeks of new brain meds, and six or seven weeks of good therapy where I’ve learned a lot of really helpful calming and focusing techniques, I feel like… this is heavy, but I can carry it. I don’t want it, but I can carry it.
We’ll see what the rest of the week brings.
Part 7 of …. 7? Is this the last “so this has been happening” post? I think so. The rest will be blogged in somewhat “real” time…. Thanks, everyone, for sticking with me during this, for reading, for relating, for commenting, for talking about your own struggles. This has been a RIDE and I’m glad to have all y’all with me.