Monthly Archives: May 2014

Intrusion

I’m feeling frustrated with myself.  In particular, my difficulty setting boundaries is frustrating me.  Also the fact that everything is triggering me right now, even things that wouldn’t ordinarily trigger me.

I think the trigger for all of this was a visit from ICM today.  She sprung a surprise “health and safety” inspection on me.  It sounds innocuous when I write it, but for me it’s not.

Since I got away from my family, having my own space has been critical for my sanity.  When I was growing up, I was allowed privacy only when my parents decided I did.  My father would come into my bedroom any time he wanted to molest and rape me.  My mother was, in some ways, worse than him.  She never sexually abused me, but she regularly invaded my privacy under the banner of “for your own good.”  She searched my room, read my journals, monitored my emails.  If I asked for privacy, even as a teenager, she decided that meant I was hiding something and used it as an excuse to invade my privacy even more.  She would frequently take my bedroom and bathroom doors off the hinges, leaving me without any place to use the bathroom, shower, or change clothes without being on display.

So when I got away, having a space that was mine was a novelty.  It became the first outpost of safety for me.  No one could come into my space uninvited, so I was safe.  It was like I could finally breathe for the first time in my life.

Any time my space is invaded, it feels like abuse.  Technically I consented to ICM’s inspection, but it was because I felt like I couldn’t say no.  I have my parents’ compliance training to thank for that, I think.  I felt like I couldn’t say no to ICM, so I let her in, the same way I let my father into my room sometimes.  In both cases, it felt like there was someone in power who was going to do what they wanted regardless of how I felt about it, so it was better to be compliant so you wouldn’t get punished.

The inspection was really demeaning, too.  I mean, for starters, I’m almost 28 years old.  I’ve been living on my own in the world for most of the past 10 years, and no one’s ever suggested I was incapable of that (besides my family, and they don’t count).  But that felt like the entire implication of this inspection.  If my appliances didn’t work, I’d get my landlady or her partner to come fix it.  My kitchen may be cluttered since we have very little cabinet space, but it’s clean, so keep your bitchy comments about “define clean” to yourself.  Yes, my toilet is clean; I take responsibility for that since I spend so much quality time with it.  Yes, my door works just fine–don’t let it hit ya where the good lord split ya.  I had to tell her that no, she could not just walk into my roommates’ bedroom because they don’t know who she is or what she’s doing here, and one or both of them might not be wearing pants.

I did tell her that she couldn’t go in my bedroom, which I guess is something.  But what I wanted to tell her was that she couldn’t come in my house because it’s my house and it’s rude as fuck to just announce that you’re coming to inspect someone else’s house.  I mean, Christ, under state law, landlords are required to give advance notice of rental inspections, so why is it okay for her to just say that she’s doing an inspection today?  She never asked if it was okay.  If she had asked, I probably wouldn’t have been so triggered by it.

But she didn’t ask.  Neither did my mother or my father.  And that’s not okay.

And now I’m in PTSD-land.  It feels like everything’s a trigger, and I’m very on edge.  It frustrates me because I want my ability to identify and understand the trigger to make it stop being a trigger.  It frustrates me that it doesn’t always work like that.  It frustrates me that I can’t logic my way through this.

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On Fixing and Listening

Preface: this post is not about any particular person.  It’s a general statement, that’s all.

When I post here about things in my life that are screwed up, it’s not because I expect or want you to fix it.  Let’s be honest: you probably can’t fix it, but that’s okay.  It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.  It doesn’t mean you don’t care.  It just means that my problems are not the kind that other people can fix.

I know when I try to fix things for people, it’s motivated by genuine care for them.  If I don’t give half a shit about a person, I’m not going to bother investing thought, time, or energy in improving their situation.  I believe it’s human nature to want to ease the suffering of people we care about, and that’s a good part of human nature.  Perhaps the best part.

But easing someone’s suffering doesn’t always mean fixing (or attempting to fix) the situation that’s causing them pain.  Sometimes, fixing the situation removes the immediate pain but prolongs the long-term suffering.  Sometimes fixing the situation deprives the person of learning to fix the problem themselves.  Sometimes fixing the problem makes the person feel like they’ve lost control of their own life.  Sometimes fixing makes the person feel like they are the problem because people would rather fix them than listen to them.

A year and a half ago, I took an intro course in nonviolent communication.  I didn’t buy the premise at first–I remember explaining to someone, “Look, sometimes FUCK YOU is the only reasonable answer,” which is something I still believe.  (I have unresolved issues around being trained never to get angry and always forgive people who hurt you; i.e., allow them to keep hurting you.)  I went mostly because a friend of mine was one of the facilitators, and she was worried that nobody was going to show up.  I still think a lot of NVC is pop psychology meets pseudo-Buddhism, but I did find some of it useful.  One session early one, we were partnered up.  One partner was supposed to describe a recent event that provoked mild but difficult feelings–only they had to describe only the event, with no feelings.  The other person was supposed to listen, summarize their understanding of the event, and then guess at the other person’s feelings and the emotional needs related to that event.  Along the lines of, “So, when that happened, did you feel angry and need understanding?”  My partner described a situation where some neighborhood kids were throwing rocks at passing cars.  The first words out of my mouth were, “I hope you called the cops on them!”

My first instinct was to fix, to prescribe, but that wasn’t the point of the exercise.  The point was to listen and reflect, and then to guess at the need without assuming you knew what the need was or how the other person should fulfill that need.  But my natural inclination was to feel angry at the kids on behalf of my partner and tell him how I thought he should’ve solved the problem.  But when I did that, it cut off the meaningful dialogue in which my partner could’ve found understanding and empathy from me.  I imagine if I’d been him, I might’ve felt defensive then if I hadn’t called the police.  “Well, they were just kids.  They were making bad choices, but they didn’t deserve to be arrested.”  “But they could’ve seriously injured a driver or caused a wreck!”  “But they didn’t.”  In a conversation like that, there’s no real listening or understanding.  Now we’re both defensive and hurt, and that makes it nearly impossible to listen.

That’s not how the conversation played out with my partner during this exercise.  I quickly realized what I was doing and apologized.  My partner wasn’t hurt and didn’t get defensive.  I imagine that’s why the exercise specified using a scenario that evoked only mildly difficult feelings–when you’re dealing with strong difficult feelings, it’s much easier to get hurt and get defensive because your feelings are already so raw.

Another thing we talked about in this NVC class was how to tell people that their actions hurt you without blaming them.    The popular “I statement” formula is supposed to do that, but my experience is that it often fails.  It’s very easy to make an I statement blame-y: “When you slam the door all the time, it triggers my PTSD.”  It’s almost impossible not to feel blamed, at least for me.  (This may be my baggage; my emotionally abusive mother misused I statements against me frequently, intentionally making them blame-y and hurtful.  But other people in this class, who probably didn’t have that same experience, also said similar things.)  My tendency in conversations that might require I statements or similar formulae is to shift all the blame onto myself, but that’s not useful either.  The formula that NVC uses is “When X happens between us, I feel Y.  I need Z; can you do ZZ thing to meet that need?”  For instance, “When we’re in the house together and you close the door loudly, I feel scared.  I need safety, so could you try to remember to close the doors gently?”  And the other thing NVC teaches you is that you have to understand that the other person may say no, or you may have to negotiate more so that everybody involved gets their needs met as much as possible.

So here’s my statement.

When I come to my blog and write about how much I’m struggling, it’s because it’s an outlet for me, and writing is the way I process things best.  Most of the time, getting lots of suggestions or solutions makes me feel like I’m not trying hard enough, and I get worried people will think I’m too negative if I say I’ve already tried something and it didn’t work.  I need to listening, validation, and acceptance.  If I ask for advice, great–advise away!  If I don’t ask for advice, it helps to hear that people understand what I’m going through, to hear how they relate, to have people bounce thoughts and ideas around, to know that I’m not in need of rescue because I’m not going to be swept out to sea by any of the crap I’m dealing with, to hear that people are listening and caring and valuing my thoughts and feelings and experiences.

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Just a Little Easier

Another sleepless night.  All I can do is sleep when I want to be up and doing things, but at night…nope.

I’m scared and alone.  I can’t stop thinking about the future and how I’m ever going to manage like this for any length of time.  I’m barely scratching out my survival every month, and it’s just not sustainable.  Pretty soon (the end of June) I’ll lose C for good, and unless I magically find a therapist, I’ll have no one left to rely on except Idiot Case Manager.  (I think I’m just gonna call her ICM from now on.  It’s easier.)

I feel like there’s something seriously physically wrong with me.  I mean, besides just the UC.  My energy levels are non-existant.  No matter how much water I drink, I still nearly pass out every time I stand up.  Sunday, I couldn’t get through an hour and a half of canvassing before I thought I was literally going to collapse.  I barely made it back to the car.  I’m sure this is somehow related to the UC–before my diagnosis, I was walking and running around 5 miles a day and doing intense martial arts training for around 6 hours a week.  I wasn’t an olympian, but I was in good shape.  Now I can hardly stand up.  Seriously, I had to buy a cane, and I STILL couldn’t finish my canvass.  All the tests come back normal (or as normal as they can be for someone with UC): iron levels, B vitamins, Vitamin D, thyroid–all normal.  My doctors just shrug it off: “Fatigue is pretty common with autoimmune diseases.”  But I see all these other IBD patients who run marathons or do martial arts or, you know, can be on their feet without collapsing.  I’ve spent a lot of time since my diagnosis talking to other people with IBD, and I’ve never heard of anyone else with this level of fatigue and weakness.  I don’t know if it’s the disease or the meds.  I kind of suspect it’s the 6-MP–I don’t recall fatigue like this before I went on it, and it’s gotten worse since the doctor on call upped my dose a few weeks ago.

I feel like I need someone who can look at this integratively.  I love my gastroenterologist, but he seems uncomfortable with addressing anything that isn’t directly related to my intestines.  My GP is also good, but when my tests came back normal, that was pretty much the end of it for him.  I can’t afford to pay out of pocket for any kind of holistic doctor, so I’m basically just shit outta luck.

I just wonder how I’m ever going to be able to function like this.  I was working part-time on the campaign, and now I’m barely able to do even that.  Most days I don’t leave my bed, although I do manage to spend a few hours sitting up.  I’ve got a stack of canvass packets two inches thick that I haven’t entered because I’m too fatigued to concentrate enough.  It’s not even difficult, just detail-oriented, making sure I enter the right data for the right person.  I could do it in bed, but I’m struggling even with that.

Once I lose C, I don’t even know how I’ll grocery shop.  Right now, that’s what she and I do on our shifts.  To grocery shop on my own, I’d have to take two buses each way and wait at stops with no benches, which right now is basically impossible.  ICM has made it clear, when I asked about help getting to the grocery store, that they “don’t do that.”  I’ve yet to determine what she actually does, other than make sure I’m still alive once a week and make comments that make me want to punch her.

I feel like I’m being left all alone in a world too big for me to manage, and no one even notices, let alone cares.

It’s just like when I was a kid.  My mother used to disappear sporadically.  It was always after one of her rages, and a lot of the time she’d threaten suicide before she disappeared.  She was never gone more than two or three days, and sometimes it was just for several hours or overnight.  But it started when I was 8 years old, and I had two little sisters to take care of.  I was never sure if she was going to come back, but I did the best I could to take care of my sisters.  We ate a lot of cereal, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and macaroni and cheese from a box, since those were the only meals I could make.  I learned not to think ahead because then I’d panic about what would happen to us if my mother didn’t come back.

It was the same way when my father was abusing me: just deal with this moment, and don’t think about the future or you will fall apart.  It was always about mere survival.  I couldn’t imagine things being any different because I was so small and he was so big, and no one even noticed what he was doing to me.

And now it feels like that same situation is playing out again.  I need help and compassion and care, but what I get is neglect or abuse.  I can’t think about the future because the hopelessness is too overwhelming.  There’s nowhere to turn.  No one will save me.  There’s no rescuer coming.  I am alone.

Yes, there’s something to be said for not expecting someone to magically save you or fix you, but I don’t think that’s what I’m doing.  At least, I’m trying to convince myself that’s not what I’m doing.  I’m willing to work as hard as I can to get better.  I’ve tried so hard for so long.  I don’t expect some idealized savior to come make everything better.  There’s this scene from The West Wing where two White House staffers are talking to a guy in a hotel bar, and the guy’s talking about the struggle to afford college for his daughter:

It should be hard.  I like that it’s hard.  Putting your daughter through college, that’s–that’s a man’s job.  A man’s accomplishment.  But it should be a little easier.  Just a little easier.  ‘Cause that difference is…everything.

That’s how I feel.  I don’t want my life to be easy–I would get way too bored.  I’m one of those people who loves to fight, which is why I’m so good at politics.  I’m willing to keep fighting for my life–that’s a real accomplishment.  But it should be a little easier.  Just a little easier.  ‘Cause that difference is the difference between “I think I can manage this” and “My life is so impossible that I have no viable choices besides killing myself.”  ‘Cause that difference is everything.

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Exhaustion Takes Over

I tried to do stuff two days in a row this weekend, which was not my best plan ever.  Saturday was a strategy session with some of our convention delegates, and I thought that was no big deal since most of it was sitting around.  So I said I’d come out and canvass this afternoon.

I did okay for about the first hour and a half.  It was hot, and the meds I’m on make me very photosensitive.  (I think it’s the Entocort, but it might be the 6-MP.  Who can keep track?)  Then I started feeling really weak and a little lightheaded.  I’d been drinking plenty of water, so I don’t think it was dehydration.  I just felt like I was about to collapse, like my body was just going to give out on me.  I was only able to finish about half of my canvass packet.  I feel guilty because I’ve been so unable to do anything lately.

Now I’m home, and I’ve got this pounding headache that will not go away.  I’ve taken Tylenol, but it isn’t doing a thing.  I have a stack of canvass and phone bank packets two inches thick that I need to enter, preferably tonight.  I have no energy, and I nearly pass out every time I stand up.  I don’t understand why my body is doing this.  I’m drinking plenty, I’m eating enough…so what’s the deal.  When I was active with my eating disorder, it made sense for this to happen, but now?  I’m only going to the bathroom between 6 and 10 times a day, and in the grand scheme of things, that’s not bad.  And most of the time there’s no blood, not since they put me back on the Entocort.

I kind of suspect it’s the 6-MP that’s causing the fatigue and weakness, or at least part of this.  I didn’t have this particular problem before I started taking it.  But it’s the only thing that’s put me anywhere near remission, so I don’t want to stop taking it.  Then I’ll get sicker.  But what am I supposed to do?  My GI doc has run every test under the sun to see why I’m so fatigued.  Iron, B-complex vitamins, Vitamin D levels–all normal.  There’s no obvious cause.  Even my psychiatrist has run tests, expensive functional medicine tests that I couldn’t really afford but paid for in the hope of finding something that could be fixed.  But nothing there, either.

And now I can barely leave my bed.  I had to buy a cane so that I can walk around.  I can’t function like this!  I mean, in three weeks, I’m supposed to be a teller whip for my senate district at the state Democratic convention!  It’s going to be all day, and I’m going to have to be running around: collecting numbers, collating data, communicating with the Senate District Whip and Deputy Whip, communicating with my local whips, communicating with my delegates, persuading other delegates…and I’m not even sure I’ll be able to stand up.

I’m just so sick of this.  I’m 27 years old, for god’s sake, and I’m pretty sure my 84-year-old grandmother has more energy and functions better than me.  I did not sign up for this.

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Feeling Crappy

Feeling crappy tonight.

I saw C today, and she said she’d spoken again with A.  (If you recall, I was told that to keep C as my clinical mentor, I have to have a therapist, so I’d agreed to meet with C and A together on the 29th.)  Apparently A reconsidered, and now she doesn’t think she can work with me because she doesn’t understand DID well enough.  I don’t know why she decided that now instead of back when I first started seeing her.  I told her I had DID and wanted to work on those issues.

I don’t understand why it hurts so much.  I haven’t even seen her in 2 months or so, maybe even longer, but I’m sitting here fighting back tears.  I didn’t even want to go to the meeting with her!  I was dreading it.  So why does it hurt so much now?

So now I have to find a new therapist.  I don’t know how–I have literally been through every therapist within range of public transit.  I don’t even want to try anymore, but if I don’t have a therapist, then I lose C, too.  Then I’d be stuck with no one except Idiot Case Manager, who’s worse than useless.

I also found out my insurance won’t approve my progesterone because the prescription came from my psychiatrist.  WTF?  I’m using it for PMDD, and without it, I go crazy every month.  I don’t know why they’d suddenly deny it now; I’ve been on it for months, and they’ve never objected before.

S, the nurse who was on my team back when I had a team, said she knows an OB/GYN who’s trauma-sensitive and won’t insist on doing an exam, so they’re going to make me an appointment.  I’m still terrified.  I mean, how do I know they won’t suddenly insist on an exam once I’m there?  I don’t have anyone who could go with me anymore, and I don’t know that I’d be able to say no.  I have a tendency to shut down and let people do whatever they want with my body.  I’m debating whether I should omit certain medical information–like the fact that the first 2-3 days of my period are so painful I can’t function and the fact that one of the scans they did when I first got sick with UC accidentally found an ovarian cyst–to decrease the likelihood of them deciding to do an exam.  I know I shouldn’t leave out information, but…I’m scared.  I don’t know what to do.

I’m trying to tell myself that I can handle it and that I have the ability to say no.  And there are things that I probably should’ve talked to an OB/GYN about a long time ago, like the unmanageable cramps.  I’m also interested in discussing actual birth control (I’ve just been taking the progesterone for the two weeks before my period), potentially one of the ones where you get to skip periods most months.  First for the PMDD but also because my UC always gets much worse around the time of my period.  So maybe it’ll be productive to see this doctor?  That’s what I’m trying to convince myself of.

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New IBD Drug Approved!

Guys!  The FDA just approved a new biologic for IBD patients!

It’s gut-specific, meaning it has lower risks of infection from immunosuppression compared with the other anti-TNF drugs (Humira, Cimzia, Remicade).  It also has helped people go into remission without corticosteroids, which those of you who’ve been following me know has been a problem for me.

I don’t know how soon it’ll actually be available, or how soon insurance companies will add it to their formularies, but I’m going to ask about it at my next appointment.  What we’re doing now obviously isn’t working.  Things have gotten a bit better since I went back on the steroids, but I’m still bleeding, still having fairly high pain levels, still going 6-8 times a day, still leaking, still greatly lacking in energy.

I’m probably a huge nerd for getting all excited about a new drug, but…it makes me feel more hopeful that something will work for me.

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Poverty, Puritanism, Politics, and Predestination*

I don’t believe in fate, preordination, predestination, or anything along those lines.  Things just happen–because people do stupid things, or kind things, or cruel things, or brilliant things, whatever.  Or because that’s just the way the universe works.  To accept predestination, I’d have to believe in some higher power who’s at least somewhat malevolent, and I don’t.

However, I do believe in history as a powerful force in shaping the present, especially when we’re not aware of its influence.  There’s a cultural narrative in the US (and probably in other English-speaking countries) that dates back to the Puritans, particularly Calvin’s doctrine of the Elect.  The wiki on prosperity theology explains it clearly.  It started with Puritans, but more recently this theology has been adopted by conservative, evangelical Christians, who are a strong force in Republican politics in this country.  I won’t give you the incredibly long history lesson, but the shaming of the “welfare queen,” and in fact the entire concept of the welfare queen, became very popular thanks to Ronald Reagan.  FDR-era social safety-net programs were slashed, which was justified by portraying welfare recipients as lazy frauds.  This intersects perfectly with the idea that poor people are poor because they are sinful, and the whole package deal creates in Republicans a belief that it is morally right to slash welfare programs.  They feel holy about it.

More recently, with a media culture that makes the effects of poverty and failing safety net programs more visible, we’ve seen conservatives condescendingly pretending they care about the plight of the poor.  (Take, for example, Paul Ryan’s recent poverty tour.)  These rich white men who’ve never actually experienced poverty tell us that they know how to help us, which is always by gutting the few programs that help us scrape out a subsistence survival.  (I can’t even call it a subsistence living because this is not living.)  They tell us it’s for our own good, these men who’ve never had to struggle to survive.

I do not believe in predestination.  I do not deserve this, and I refuse to listen to anyone who says or implies that I do.  I do believe things happen for a reason, and the reason is either 1) stuff people do, or 2) science.

I do believe in creating change.  I know that sounds like a hokey inspirational poster, but I am anything but that.  I work in politics.  I know how hard it is to change the status quo, but I also know that it’s possible.  It takes a ton of energy, and it takes way longer than it should, and it sucks while you’re working on changing things.  You know that some of the things you change will never directly affect you, or they won’t help in your lifetime, or they’ll help other people, or they might not change at all yet.  But it’s still worth the effort.  It’s worth hours on the phone and the computer.  It’s worth knocking doors in snow and rain and sun and mosquito swarms and getting lost because your map blew away and coming home with a sore back and sore feet but a finished canvass packet and a petition full of signatures.  I’ve been working on campaigns for three years, and my lot in life has not improved yet.  But I keep working on campaigns because I believe if we keep putting the right people in positions of power, eventually policies will change.  Once policies change, attitudes will start to change.  Things will get better.  Life will become more livable for me and for other people struggling to survive.  It can happen–not because it’s preordained but because we worked our asses off for it.

(You see?  I may be on welfare, but I am not lazy.)

In closing, I’d just like to quote from the best TV show in history, Babylon 5: “You know, I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So, now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.”

*This and the previous rant were sparked by an online town hall in which the candidate talked about how we needed to end child hunger and help homeless families find homes.  I tweeted a question (the sanctioned format for asking questions): “You talk about ending child poverty and homelessness, but why not end ALL poverty and homelessness?”  His field director favorited my tweet, but I didn’t get my question answered.  I felt left out of the conversation, and this is not the first time.  I’m not a child, and I’m not part of a family, but my poverty matters too.  I’m made invisible in poverty conversations because I’m a single, childless adult and because I’m disabled.  I want politicians to talk about me, too, and all the other people in similar situations.

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When you talk about poverty, you’re talking about people.

Why is it that when politicians start talking about poverty, they stop talking about people?  Even the good guys, the progressives who want to end poverty, are prone to this. 

When you talk about poverty, you’re talking about people, even if you’re more comfortable hiding behind statistics oversimplified moral proclamations and judgments.  You’re talking about me, so let me tell you about me.

I’m 27 years old, and I’m disabled due to severe, chronic mental and physical illness.  I’m not stupid or lazy or morally lacking.  I would love to get a job.  I’d love to finish my undergraduate degree and go to law school.  Ever since I was a kid and realized I could get paid to fight with people, I’ve wanted to be a lawyer–but I’m not above working less professional jobs to get there.  I’ve worked in a fast food restaurant, a hotel, and a hands-on science museum.  I’ve worked as a nanny and tutor for kids with developmental disabilities.  I’ve volunteered coaching Special Olympics teams, doing home repairs for low-income seniors, working in an alternative juvenile justice program, and teaching creative writing to second-graders.  For the last two years, as I’ve been able, I’ve been working on a number of political campaigns and with issues advocacy groups.  I’m not opposed to hard work, and I’m not bumming off the welfare system.  I’m just too busy fighting my nervous system and my immune system to be able to work right now.

As a result, I’m completely dependent on SSI and SSDI to survive.  I am allotted $740 per month, which comes out to $8,880 per year.  For comparison purposes, the 2014 poverty line for a household of one is $11,670 per year.  I share a one-bedroom apartment with two other people, and that costs me $400 a month.  During the winter, our heating costs–we have a pellet stove and oil heat–often top $100 per month.  I can’t afford a car, but public transit where I live is severely underfunded.  I have to take at least two buses each way just to go grocery shopping, and it’s 3 buses and a half-mile walk to my doctor’s office.  My regional transit authority offers reduced fares only for people with mobility impairments, not other disabilities, so I have to pay full fare for these trips.  There’s a food bank in town, but it’s not on a bus line, so I can only go there when I can find somebody to give me a ride.  I get a little over $200 per month in food stamps, but my illness requires a very restrictive diet, and it’s more expensive than the average diet.  By the third week of the month, I’m usually down to eating rice and peanut butter because that’s all I can afford that doesn’t make me sick.  Sometimes, I even run out of that.  I have medical expenses that aren’t covered by my insurance, and many of those bills have gone to collections because there’s just no money.  I alternate paying my phone bill or my electric bill each month.

And now Social Security has decided that they over-paid me last year.  See, on disability, you’re not allowed to have more than $2000 saved, but that’s laughable because I’ve never been able to save anything since I became disabled.  But the SSA has decided I have $1500 in a secret bank account.  The bank tells me that the account number the case worker provided me with doesn’t exist, and I have given her documentation attesting to this.  But now they’re going to take $75 a month out of my checks each month until the alleged overpayment is repaid.  Yes, you heard that right: I’m being penalized for money I don’t own and my bank says doesn’t exist.

But when politicians talk about poverty, this isn’t what they talk about.  They don’t talk about the utter hopelessness of a system that traps you in poverty and penalizes you for imaginary errors.  They don’t talk about what it’s like to ration grains of rice so that maybe you won’t be quite so hungry at the end of the month.  They don’t talk about what it’s like for it to be 5 degrees outside, but you don’t have heat or hot water because you can’t afford to buy more oil until next month.

Occasionally somebody mentions child hunger or homeless families–everyone feels sorry for kids because they didn’t do anything to deserve to live in poverty (yet).  But the implication is that if you’re an adult who’s impoverished or hungry, it’s your own fault; you deserve it.  I mean, you should just go get a job.  It’s not that hard.  Pull yourself up by your bootstraps or starve to death quietly.

(This post brought to your by the letter P and a very frustrating online town hall by a candidate who calls himself a bold, progressive leader but only talks about CHILD poverty and hunger and has staffers who won’t give him questions about why we shouldn’t talk about ending poverty, hunger, and homelessness for EVERYBODY.)

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Triggered, Part 3

Still feeling very triggered and unsafe.  I’ve checked multiple times to make sure all the doors and windows in the apartment are locked.  But the front door to our apartment is flimsy–someone could easily kick it in if they wanted to.  There’s a main door to the house, but the landlady doesn’t even know where the keys to that door are because they never lock it.  This is one of those neighborhoods where people just don’t lock up.  It’s a dead-end street two miles from town, so people don’t really come here by accident.

But this guy was IN SOMEONE’S HOUSE a few doors down.  To be fair, knowing the neighborhood, he could’ve just walked right in through an unlocked door, but I don’t know that’s what happened.  He also could’ve broken in.  And on top of that, my landlady said her car was ransacked over the weekend.  So how often does this creeper wander around here, and WHY?

My sister offered, only half-joking, to give me a gun.  I would never have a gun in my house mostly because I worry about what I might do to myself with it when I’m not doing so well, but right now it sure would make me feel safer.  I’m seriously considering buying a bo staff and/or some other martial arts weapons just to make myself feel safer, but a long stick doesn’t strike fear into people’s hearts the way a pistol would.  Maybe a big knife.  There are enough outdoor stores around here that those should be easy to come by.

I only got a few hours of sleep, and not until it was light outside.  Even with my sleep meds, I mostly just tossed and turned.  I’m exhausted, but I don’t want to go to sleep.

My UC is flaring big-time too.  I had doubted that stress was much of a trigger for me until now because I handled all the campaign stressors without a flare (except the ones caused by going off steroids).  But apparently my body is just so used to that stuff that for it to be stressful enough to trigger a flare, it has to be a major PTSD trigger.  I’ve been to the bathroom 6 times already, and the pain is pretty bad.  Until last night, things had been improving since I’d been back on the steroids and an increased dose of 6-MP.  But apparently dealing with this was stressful enough to overcome the drugs and trigger a flare.  Fun times.  If that guy shows up again, I’m just going to fling shit at him.

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Triggered, Part 2

So now there are two cop cars sitting in front of my house.  Just sitting their with their headlights on, not moving.  Everyone upstairs (landlady and family) appears to be asleep.

Yeah, so I guess I’m not sleeping tonight.

ETA: Just talked to the cops. Apparently one of the neighbors called because the fucker was IN THEIR HOUSE.

I am DEFINITELY not sleeping tonight. And now, because I’m fucking scared, I can’t quit farting and shitting. Gotta love the PTSD/IBD combination.

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