This week was difficult. I wasn’t sure I was going to get out of the funk I was in. Living with bipolar disorder isn’t easy. Although I’ve been living with it my whole life, you would think I’d be used to it by now – the ups and downs. I’m on medications for it – three of them. One is an antipsychotic to decrease mania, one is an antidepressant to decrease depression, and one is a mood stabilizer to stabilize my mood to not go into the ups and downs. But there are things that can disturb this very delicate cycle, and one is sleep.
Sleep is so important to a person with bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, I’ve not been getting enough sleep for months now. I’ve told my doctors this. I’ve told them why I wake up multiple times a night – it’s because my arm and ankle hurt and the pain wakes me up. I average maybe four hours of sleep per night, but again that’s with multiple wake ups. They have done nothing for my pain. I haven’t wanted to switch my primary care physician because my mental health team is hooked with this health department, and they’re really great. But…
Exam Gone Wrong
… after last Friday’s appointment, I had had it. This health department wants their clients to arrive fifteen minutes ahead of their appointment time to be screened and have vitals taken, so that the doctor can see you at your appointed time. Makes sense to me. I needed to get bloodwork done and was fasting and drinking water so the phlebotomist would be able to find my vein easily. I was shocked to find out that we wouldn’t be examined inside, but rather outside in 10×10 tents. (The doctor wanted to do a pap smear on me too.) There was no way I was going to have a gynecology exam done on me in a tent with the “door” flapping open in the breeze. Talk about absolutely no privacy!
I waited for over an hour – 1 1/2 hours to be precise. Nobody came. I couldn’t find anybody either. It was now 11:15. I was hungry, and I had to use the little girl’s room. I was already told that we couldn’t use their restrooms. I walked around to the front of the building and spoke with the receptionist. I was livid. I was hungry, and my bladder was about to pop. The receptionist was aghast that I hadn’t been seen yet. She wanted me to wait so she could call someone. But I told her that I couldn’t wait any longer, and I told her why. She understood. I wasn’t angry with her.
This is when I knew that I needed to switch primaries. I would have to get a new mental health team. But if I don’t get answers for what’s going on with my arm and ankle, if I don’t start sleeping, everything is just going to get worse. I don’t have patience any more. I’m tired. I ache.
Sunday, August 2, 2020 – Bullied
Someone close to me thought it would be funny to offer me a dirty comforter at the end of the street. We had already had this same exact conversation last week when the person had asked me if I was warm enough sleeping in my truck. I assured them I was. But they insisted that they knew where I could pick up a really nice comforter. When I told the person I already had two comforters and a blanket; they told me that there was a really nice comforter at the end of the street… granted it was filthy. I guess this person thinks it’s funny that I’m living in my truck? So, again when they brought the dirty comforter up in the conversation, I became a bit ticked off. I told them that it sounded like they really wanted the comforter and if they didn’t stop bringing it up, I would go get it and put it in their room as I was sick of hearing about this darn thing. Then they told me I was rude, and that they were going to put it in my truck.
This same person likes to kill flies and then likes to offer them to me to eat. As if I would ever eat a fly! It doesn’t matter how many times I tell this person to stop, they just continue to badger me. Now, I’m sure you’re probably wondering why I even bother with this person. Well, the person isn’t always like this. But because this person cannot respect my boundaries and stop when I tell them to stop, I’ve decided that I shall not seek them out to talk with them.
If you’ve never been depressed – you’re lucky. Being depressed is not just being sad, it affects so much more. It’s difficult to do anything. It’s affects daily tasks like grooming, eating, interests, paying bills, life. Crying constantly and then thoughts of suicide creep in when you least expect them. You wonder why you were ever born. Every negative thing just increases 100 fold. You wonder why or how it started. You wonder when it’ll stop. Will it just go on and on? You cry for no reason. You’ll be trying to think happy thoughts and then the tears come, streaking down your face. You try to do something else, anything, but the depression zaps your energy. You feel like a zombie. You don’t want to do anything. And your appetite is literally zilch. You avoid your family and friends. The things you found interest in once are now gone.
During my depressed state, I did feed my dogs and cats. I walked my dogs. My pets are my lifeline. Without them, I know I wouldn’t still be alive today. I know I would have ended my life years ago. They are who I live for. Without me, who would take in my cats? Where would Halo go? I know Roscoe would find a home right away. But Halo has major separation anxiety away from me. I know she would eventually adjust at the right home, but I’d hate for her to suffer in the wrong home. Blur would probably be euthanized, and I’m not sure what would happen to Aby. So, I continue to live for them.
Thursday August 6th – Halo 😇
My sweet Pomeranian, Halo, has not been feeling well for the last week. She has been pacing, wasn’t eating dry, but did start to eat canned food. There was a terrible smell in my truck and I couldn’t quite place it. I started searching for the odor. When I was at the dog park with my dogs, I smelled that awful odor again. I tried to open Halo’s mouth and she screamed. She has severe periodontal disease, but her veterinarian told me that he didn’t want her under anesthesia unless it was a life threatening emergency. Well, I guess that time has come. I made her an appointment, and it was for 11:20 this day.
Something Beautiful Happened
I always drive to my local 7-eleven for coffee in the morning. I drove there the morning of Halo’s appointment too. There was an older Hispanic lady sitting on her walker outside 7-eleven. She kept putting her fingers to her masked mouth. I walked into 7-eleven, got my coffee, and then while getting back into my truck, I saw the woman repeat the gesture. Oh my gosh, she’s hungry. I looked into my truck. I hadn’t gone to the store the night before because I was too depressed. I didn’t have any food to offer her. I opened up my coin purse. I had a $5 bill, and a $10 bill. I don’t have a lot of money to be handing out to people, as I am homeless too. But I couldn’t turn away from her either. I grabbed my $10 bill and walked over to her and handed it to her. She looked me in the eye, and said,
God bless you, sweetheart.
Right then and there, I knew. I knew why I was where I am. I’m doing God’s work. It’s not about me. It’s about God. Thy will be done. I made the sign of the cross and thanked God. I thanked Him for not forgetting about me.
So Halo saw the doctor. He couldn’t really get a good look in her mouth either. But he agreed that bloodwork should be done. I asked for a full comprehensive panel (chemistries + CBC + differential.) The doctor sent her home on antibiotics.
Halo is on the mend. She’ll still need a dental, but her mouth is healing. She has a bounce in her step. 🙂
A Good Citizen
Later on Thursday, my friend and I were hanging out at the dog park. We do this every day, she and I. We actually met at the park a year ago. She has a Maltese and I have an Italian Greyhound mix. Our dogs are friends too. We hang out, just outside the dog park fence – we are regulars. We know everyone and everyone knows us.
This lady with her dog came into the park. We’ve never seen her before. My friend was sad, and we were talking. As we are a “pod,” we don’t wear masks around each other. This lady approached us and said,
You need to wear a mask. It’s the law. If you get caught, it’s a $100 fine. I’m just being a good citizen. God bless.
We were both taken aback. First, we were discussing things that have nothing to do with this lady. My friend is emotionally distressed. Second, we were in an open public space and it was just us and this lady; the lady clearly doesn’t know the mask mandate law. My friend looked at me and then asked me if I knew that carrying a gun out in the open was illegal. I laughed and said, “What? I had no idea!” The lady walked back into our space and told us that if we had something to say to her, we should say it to her face. Excuse me? Now this lady is just being nasty. My friend said that she wasn’t talking to the lady, but in fact was talking to me. She told the lady that she should just walk her dog.
The lady mumbled some stuff and then eventually walked into the big dog side. She said something to someone else, and they put their mask on for her. My friend and I talked for a little while longer and then forgot about the lady and began to eat our lunches. Then the lady came back.
We were still eating our lunches when the lady mumbled something. I caught the word, neglected, but wasn’t sure what it was in reference to. Then the lady said something about animal shelter. Huh? What was the lady talking about? I was still eating my salad, watching the lady and my dog. The lady then said something very loudly,
I think these poor neglected dogs have been abandoned. I’m calling the animal shelter. Unless… do they belong to you?
Oh my gawd! She didn’t! I got out of my truck. I looked at her. I think I actually glared at her. My friend started videotaping the lady right then and there. I told the lady that the brown dog was mine, and the white dog was my friend’s.
The lady asked my friend if she was videotaping her. My friend said no, that she was actually doing an interview. But the lady knew. The lady became angry. Telling us again that she was being a good citizen.
In this craziness of sheltering in place, wearing masks, social distancing, along with the protests and rioting going on, presidential election coming up… now more than ever, we as the human race have to have more compassion, more empathy. We need to not tell people, especially strangers that they need to wear a mask. That they need to keep six feet apart. That they need to not go out unless it’s essential. We’ve been doing this since mid-March. It gets old.
As humans, we are a social bunch. We need hugs on occasion and if we’re not getting it from our family, we need to get a hug every once in awhile from our closest friends. It’s that emotional bond that keeps us sane.
In five months less this last week, I’ve received three hugs. In this last week, I received four hugs. Four hugs from the same person – those hugs are something to live for. Those hugs are a connection. I used to be able to hug my Dad every time I saw him, but once Covid started – no more hugs. 😭
A hug is so powerful. It’s comforting. It’s someone telling you they got you, they’re not going to let go. It’s a life preserver. And I’m so glad I know that I have a hug coming to me every day now. 🥰