Career Choices

Thank you so much for the kind comments I got regarding my post yesterday.

I finally went swimming again today, for about 15 min., and I feel so much better. Exercise is essential to my life! I also went on a 15 min. walk with my dog. I can’t believe I am up to 15 min. now with walking. JSometimes I can even do a little more than that.

I am just committing to swim more. Since I feel too anxious riding the bus there and going by myself, I am getting up early to either go with my husband to the gym or to have him drop me off there on his way to work. Then I just ride the bus home in that case. I am getting more used to getting up early.

I am using lots of my DBT skills again. I am in a group right now for group therapy and I shared an introductory article about DBT with my group and encouraged them to buy this workbook that I am working through. I have read it before and it’s great. I would really recommend it. I am such a big proponent of DBT. My therapist keeps telling me that I should be a therapist, but that’s not really something I’m interested in, unless I could lead DBT classes. It’s something I’m really passionate about.

Skills that I’m using right now:

  • Opposite-Action: this involves forcing you to do the opposite of your natural inclination driven by a certain emotion. For instance, when we are sad, we have a tendency to want to rest and curl up in bed, but sometimes just making yourself get up and do something such as cleaning or going for a walk will improve your mood. You can also smile! Studies have shown that the simple act of smiling actually influences your brain to be happier. This is kind of the premise of DBT. Instead of traditional cognitive behavioral therapy which tells us that changing your thoughts will change your mood and actions, DBT focuses on changing your actions first and letting your thoughts and mood improve as a result. I have been using this skill a lot. Just forcing myself to get out of bed and clean, cook, or get outside and go on a walk helps me get through the day.
  • Mindfulness: trying to stay in the present moment and take it one day at a time
  • Prayer

Upcoming things to look forward to:

  • My dad and my sister are coming to San Diego this weekend!
  • Valentine’s Day! Apparently my husband has something special planned for us
  • In March, hopefully, my youngest brother-in-law will be coming to visit
  • In early April my aunt and her family will be in San Diego. She’s my favorite aunt and she lives in Montana so I don’t get to see her very often.
  • In late April we are going to Northern California for my husband’s family’s reunion. I am very, very excited because we are going to drive up the coast and stopping in either Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo for a night!
  • In May, my other brother-in-law and some of my husband’s high school friends are coming to visit
  • In July, we will go to my in-laws annual Fourth of July party
  • In July also, my cousin is getting married in Montana so I will have my family’s reunion there

Lots of fun travels coming up! I am supposed to be taking this microbiology class online starting in March as well. The bill for it is due February 15. I’m still a little unsure about it because of the money aspect and not knowing my final career path. I might apply for a public health Master’s program this spring that would start in August. I just have this huge fear that I will enter a program and spend all this money and then still not be able to work. Because that has happened to me before, when I was pursuing a master’s degree in education. I had to drop out of school. And I still have the student loans to pay. But I guess I just have to go for it? The thought of never having a career of my own makes me very sad. I just know I want to work in healthcare again. I really want to be a nurse practitioner, but I get extremely frustrated about the competitiveness and picky prerequisites of the programs. It just seems so much easier to enter a Master’s program because they’re so much easier to get into. Like the application process is so much easier! I am just nervous about my ability to use the computer. I wish I had a diagnosis so that people would take it more seriously and view it as a disability and give me accommodations. That is the most frustrating part. I just can’t decide what to do! How many years have I been talking about these things, even on this blog?!?!

I just have to take it one day at a time, try to get well, and then just jump into something I think. Some days, like today I feel I could do it. Some days I feel terrible physically and doubt it. Doctors just throw so many things around: MS, fibromyalgia, some idiopathic nerve disorder, solely a mental health issue, etc. I am glad to have this hour-long appointment coming up with an MD. – just going to ask all my questions, and then I’m going to do what might psychiatrist said: just pursue alternative and lifestyle therapies, like nutrition and exercise, and do my best.

There are so many careers I’m interested in: high school teaching, clinical laboratory work again, nurse practitioner, public health (focused on mental health), even recently social work. I wonder what would work best for me: I think I should talk about this in therapy tomorrow and just pick something.

I’m supposed to start volunteering at the animal shelter, but the orientation is this weekend and I’m going to be out of town. I didn’t realize it was this weekend. Hopefully there will be another one in March. I am definitely feeling busier with all of these doctor appointments. I just want to sit down with someone and have them help me go through these career choices. How could I do that?

I sure do love my puppy!

You know what my new find is lately? Sunbutter! It’s delicious! Also, Swiss chard. I’m making that tonight. Only three weeks until this dietitian appointment.

sun

Hopefully you’re all well. How did you decide on your career?

Hola

Finally got my dictation program working again! I had to buy a new microphone and reinstall it. I can’t believe it’s already February!

Updates:

  • I’m still really struggling with the reactive hypoglycemia. I think it’s having the most effect on my life right now than anything else. I know it is. I’m getting really depressed about it but trying to keep fighting on. I have the opportunity to see a more specialized doctor for it and a dietitian in a couple of weeks so I’m going to make it until then. The caveat with that is that I have to give up my current psychiatrist that I really like to be able to switch over to the other department. L But I have to do it and hopefully I will be able to switch back in a couple of months. I have to get all of that set up today.

To be honest, not much else is going on. My health problems are taking over my entire life. This is one of the very hardest times I’ve ever been through.

I’m reading “Shogun” by James Clavell. It’s really good.

shogun

That is all I feel like talking about for now but I will be back soon.

Invisible Illness Awareness Week September 10-16, 2012

I have an invisible illness – mononeuritis multiplex and a host of other symptoms (all with no known cause, which, in my opinion, makes it even MORE invisible). If you have neuropathy of any kind, let me know. I would love to talk to you.

I ask people just to keep in their minds when they are quick to judge that you can’t tell everything about someone’s health just by looking at them. I have had people make rude comments about me taking the elevator (“kids these days are so lazy” – I am also not a kid, I am 27 and was 25 at the time they said this), about sitting on the ground in a long line (one man tried to run me over with his cart at the supermarket), and many other things. I have had people just not understand. I get annoyed by people saying all the time, “How did you hurt your ankle?” –  to which I reply that I always walk like this, thanks so much. I hate the bus driver on the bus glaring at me when I flash my disabled bus pass, like I am conning the system or something. Yes, I can walk on and off the bus just fine. However, I cannot drive, and if I had to walk more than two blocks down the street, you would see me limping and grimacing in pain. I used to be guilty of making these judgments too. Once in a while I still do, even about things like elevators. Then I catch myself and think that I don’t know why someone is taking the elevator. I just ask everyone to be aware, and to know that most people with chronic illness are NOT lazy and are actually very, very brave. This goes for doctors too, have compassion! I will pray for all who have chronic illness this week, that they have peace in their hearts and know they are brave.

Just Feeling It

The older I get, the more certain things are becoming important to me: the particular things I’m working on right now are taking care of my skin and getting better nutrition.

One of my main goals right now, especially in lieu of all my health problems, is to start taking a daily multivitamin. My biggest obstacle to this is the constipation the vitamins cause. This is mostly due to the calcium carbonate in them. If you are looking to take a calcium supplement by itself, look for a calcium citrate supplement, not calcium carbonate, as calcium carbonate causes constipation in many people. Calcium cirate is a little more expensive, but really only three or four dollars a bottle and it’s worth it. However, I have yet to find a multivitamin that uses calcium citrate so that frustrates me. But I’m going to research.and in the meantime continue taking them anyways. Last time I bought a new bottle of multivitamins, I accidentally bought the senior kind, which doesn’t contain any iron since older man and post menopausal women don’t require as much iron and from my research could be in danger from taking it in a supplement. However, women my age need at least 18 mg of iron a day, and I’m not sure I get that. I have this constant foggy brained feeling and fatigue. I’ve been tested for anemia many times and it’s always negative, impacts all of my electrolytes and vitamin/mineral levels are always fine, but I think some people need more than the threshold they sat in the could still affect you. I don’t know, just my theory. Anyways, I want to cover all my bases. So this Friday I’m going to buy a normal multivitamin that contains iron and commit to taking it every day. I also want to take an omega-3 supplement everyday.

As far as skin care, I started wearing face makeup for the first time recently, just before my wedding. Before that I was really only into eye makeup, which I really love still. I have been using Almay’s new line of makeup products and I LOVE them! The think this is the first time that advertising has directly affected me. They also have great makeup tutorials on their website. I want to do a review soon of all of their products that I bought. I need to invest in some anti-wrinkle creams/anti-aging products though. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

I haven’t heard back from anyone on babysitting jobs but I’m hoping I get one soon. The big thing I’ve been working on is about our health insurance. Since we got married we are able to make changes to our benefit, and I have been considering this. But yesterday I came to the conclusion that although I HATE HATE HATE Kaiser Permanente, they are still the best option for us right now, as the HRA and HSA plans that B’s work offered are so much more expensive. I feel like I would get better care but wouldn’t be a will to go very often since they won’t pay anything until your deductible is reached, as opposed to the co-pay system Kaiser has. I just have to really commit to keep fighting for myself against the big beurocratic machine that is Kaiser.

I decided a possible option, since Kaiser’s physical health department is okay but their mental health department is terrible, is for me to seek out a therapist outside of Kaiser. This would be expensive, but even if I could go just once a month it would be better than nothing. I’m going to make some calls about that later today. I really need some help. I just feel more comfortable with that option, with getting to choose my own therapist. I still need to make appointments for the ophthalmologist, neurologists, etc. But I have my arm surgery consult on July 26.

I don’t feel well today. I’m just trying to rest.

Read this if you need a review on some mental health coping skills.

Me?! Complaining about the Heat?!

To-do Monday and Tuesday:

  • make appointments for ophthalmologist, arm surgery, and psychiatrist
  • call UHC credit to give them information
  • call federal loans to make sure they got deferment and to change address
  • decide if you’re going to sign up for pharmacy tech test (and do it) or if you’re going to apply to TESOL (in do it)

I am not typically a person who complains about the heat. I love warm weather and have been known to sit outside and read in the shade of when it’s in the upper 90s. But these last couple days I have finally broken down to whine about the heat! It’s been in the triple digits here where we live in Southern California, yesterday the high was 103 degrees and today it’s 100. We don’t have any air-conditioning (it’s broken). My landlord won’t come over here till Friday. I don’t even really like to use air-conditioning. Last summer I used it a total of two days even though it was in the upper 90s multiple times. I hate spending money on and I hate having to keep the windows closed. But this week is really getting to me. I think it’s because our townhouse doesn’t really get any cross breeze (because it’s not an end unit so it’s kind of boxed in), so it’s stifling in here at night, especially upstairs were the bedrooms are. Last night I just felt really ill, I was getting heat cramps in my legs. My two main worries are not being able to sleep at night, and my dog – he’s a pug so he’s not supposed to be in hot temperatures like this because they’re prone to heat stroke due to their flat faces. I can’t sleep because I’m hot and I can’t sleep because I’m worried about him as he pants in front of the fan. I was getting into a good routine but this has really thrown me off. It’s so hot that I feel sick and I have no appetite and then I just get really we can start worrying about myself. Last night we bought a small evaporative cooler from Amazon.com and it’s supposed to arrive tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll have just one more night of no sleep. If it works well, I would really just used that for the rest of the summer instead of turning on the air conditioning, just so the bedroom stays cool so I can have a place to escape and sleep comfortably! I can’t wait to we own our own home. Our landlord is okay, but he’s just really hard to communicate with because he doesn’t speak English well at all! He also really annoyed me the other day because he basically won’t speak to me about anything maintenance related. Very chauvinistic if you ask me. My husband and I both knew exactly the same amount about the air conditioner. Also I grew up with a carpenter for a dad (now he owns a hardware store) so I’m pretty handy!

I am trying to accept that my life will probably always be a struggle and just take it one day at a time. I’m trying not to get so scared about my health.

I am taking my husband’s last name, but I still having gotten around to changing everything. I feel sad about giving up my maiden name, but I’m slowly getting used to it. I would never not take my husband’s last name, it’s really special to me and that’s what makes me really feel like we’re married. I’m thinking about changing my middle name to my maiden name so that I can keep both names without hyphenating. I really want to create two middle names so I don’t have to lose my current middle name, but I’ve heard that gets really complicated and doesn’t really work out that well.

I’m kind of slow doing all this because I still mainly use my parents address as my permanent address. We move so much that I get sick of changing everything all the time. The next time B gets promoted, there is a high possibility that we will have to move again, probably to another state, so it’s like were both just kind of waiting to see about that before we permanently change our addresses. At the same time, now that we are married it’s really time that we do it! The other thing is that I don’t want to get a California state drivers license. I renewed my Colorado state drivers license in December. California makes you take the whole driving test over again (the written part)! That’s ridiculous. Plus it costs a lot of money and then if we move again to a different state I’ll just have to change again. Maybe I will wait on everything for a little while. Technically I’m supposed to have a California state drivers was and by now, but with my nerve disorder I really don’t drive very much so it’s not something I want to spend the money on.

Today I’m honestly planning to just take the day off from doing anything. I’m really exhausted from not sleeping the last two nights due to the heat. Yesterday my brain just got the best of me and I’m disappointed in myself and scare that will happen again. I just want to escape into my book. Maybe I’ll do some writing today. I get overwhelmed with my story, with what the point of it should be. Actually it’s the other way around. I know the whole big picture but I don’t know how to get there in a way that not too much or too little detail.

Unfortunately I haven’t heard back from the part-time babysitting job, which is weird since the lady contacted me first. I have promised myself I will do the job of the get it, it would be perfect for me right now. I’m just praying for something like that to work out, and soon!

B was asking me the other day what my fears are and I said one of them is God. Yes, I’m afraid of God. I believe in God, but I almost wish that I didn’t. My belief has mostly given me a lifetime of fear and guilt, not comfort like I wish it did. Yet I can’t help but believe in God. I just feel in my core that He exists. This is something I think about all the time, it really gets to me. I want to have a purpose on this earth, but I feel trapped in a terrible cycle where I don’t take care of myself because I’m so restless and frustrated about my disability, but not taking care of myself makes my disability worse so that I can’t do anything. I feel helpless. Sorry for any typos that don’t make sense. I am dictating.

I’m working on all of our wedding thank you notes and am almost done. My arm starts hurting for running, hopefully they’ll be alleviated by the surgery! I am so appreciative of everyone who came all the way to Colorado for our wedding. We had people spend a lot of money and time to come from Washington, Northern California, Southern California, Idaho, Montana, Texas, Tennessee, Washington DC, Arkansas, New Jersey, and New York, plus all of my Colorado contingent! So blessed to have such great family and friends.

Hi

Wonderful smell of the Spring flowers wafting in my window right now. 🙂 I DESPERATELY want and need and will start enjoying this Spring and living my life again.

I was doing so good when we first moved here not binging but then I got in a bad pattern again. Why is it so hard to get out of? I just want to be strong like I used to be fall 2009 when I was in my DBT class and actually used my skills and felt present again, despite the hard things. I just want to give that a chance and make it the most important thing and give myself someone slack.

I just want to start over tomorrow but I feel so gross. I keep getting off track with my swimming which I know is the most important thing for me.

Last weekend we went to San Diego to see my parents who were there on vacation for the weekend. I was so fun and it was also a little stressful but I did so well and ate so healthy and felt good when we came home, only to let the restlessness descend on me again. I wish I could show pictures! Something is wrong with my camera where it won’t upload the photos onto any of our THREE laptops.

This isn’t my picture, but I saw this!

Anyway though, I went on lots of little walks and spent time outside. The weather was beautiful! We went to Balboa Park on Friday and then on Saturday morning we went whale watching and I actually saw a gray whale! Well, we actually saw THREE whales! Also a ton of dolphins (both bottlenose and the common dolphin), and sea lions (my favorite).

Any tips for getting out of a funk/hole like this? I’m so frustrated. 😦 I just want to do better. Right now I’m challenging myself to no binging +behaviors for the next 5 days. Just five days. Then I know I will have momentum again and feel well again to keep going. Tomorrow, Wednesday, will be the hardest day. Maybe Thursday too. I just want to put this challenge out there. Any encouragement to start out fresh tomorrow morning and keep my chin up would help me. I don’t ask for help much but I need somebody, anybody, to encourage me.

Have you ever seen a whale? What is the coolest animal you’ve ever seen in the wild? I think for me it would be a mother moose and her calf in Rocky Mountain National Park when I was a 12 or so. It was so amazing.

Bridesmaids Dresses and More

Happy Sunday!

Sundays are the first day of the “work week” for me because B works Sunday to Wednesday. I have decided that Sundays are my “day off” where I’m not allowed to do anything all day and I have to put aside all worries for the day and just relax and watch my TV shows without guilt and read a lot. It’s really helpful to just totally set aside that one day that you don’t have to do anything. I end up actually doing some things most of the time just because there’s no pressure! Like today I’m doing wedding stuff while watching a Downton Abbey marathon and I’ll probably do some cleaning later (JUST BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE TO).

I you like I have been eating SO much lately and not doing good on my goal of eating more protein. I feel pretty disgusting but I also just kind of feel frozen right now and directionless. L

My sister picked out the bridesmaids dresses. This is the one she picked from David’s Bridal if you want to see it. Click on the color swatch on the side labeled “Marine” to see the color I picked. I really wanted them to wear long dresses but I also just wanted my sister to pick what she felt best in. T was so surprised that she picked a long dress anyway! So that worked out well. She is only 20 years old so I figured she wouldn’t go with the long style. 😉

Today I e-mailed my cousin, who lives in Montana, to see if she is okay with ordering that same dress online so they match. This is the girl I love so much but who suggested that we get them at Target! I offered to pay for 50% of her dress because I think it’s a money issue for her. I personally think the concept that the bridesmaids have to pay for their own dresses is ridiculous and a lot to ask! My mom agrees and she’s paying for my sister’s dress .They’re supposed to pay for their own hair, makeup, manicures too!

There is the continued awkwardness about my second sister. We are estranged, I would sort of even use that word now. I told my mom I was going to e-mail her and ask her to be a bridesmaid even though she might say no. But I have avoided doing that because I’m torn about it. She’s the one who doesn’t want to talk to me, but I don’t know what I want to do. I really want her to be a bridesmaid because I don’t want to look back later at the pictures and not have my own sister in them. I also don’t want to deal with how awkward that would be when everyone is surprised that she’s not up there. But on the other hand, I feel like having her around me all the time on that day, getting ready together, etc., will really bring me down and make me more nervous and make me unhappy on the day that is supposed to be really special. It’s definitely a dilemma.

I’m not sure what I even want to pursue career-wise right now. I have become so very discouraged by that horrible neurologist not being supportive of me. It sucks all of my confidence away that anyone will even authorize me to have disability accommodations at a job. And that is so depressing to me. And don’t even feel like trying. Because I couldn’t work without that. I still want to get the pharmacy technician certification as an option so I can apply for jobs because that’s something that really interests me. And there’s some other venues that I could go, writing and even babysitting, or trying to do some work at home type of thing. I’m just afraid now and that really messed with my confidence. I don’t know how to start anything. But I have to do something so need to get on track and work on that this week. I have actually applied for six or seven jobs in the last couple days so that’s good.

Thought y’all might like this picture of my pug and his new friend Frankie that he met at the dog park and has played with several times. They are hilarious together. We went to the dog park every day this weekend. BEST PLACE ON EARTH.

I feel SO much better when I swim. I can’t get over the fact that I can’t drive myself there and then I have to wait till one o’clock to go with B and by that time I don’t have the same energy left because I don’t like to eat right before I swim. My ideal time to go is to eat breakfast and then go a little while later. And this way just seems to make my eating schedule weird because I eat lunch so late. I just have to push through that new block that out of my mind and accept it AND MOVE ON so I actually go and stay on track with my mental health!

We’re moving into a townhouse in two weeks and I’m kind of tortured by the thought that we could have lived in this townhouse literally two blocks from the pool and I could’ve gone whenever I wanted. It was between that and the one we chose, which I chose because it’s SIGNIFICANTLY nicer and in a much better neighborhood. Since B works nights I just wanted to feel safe at night. But now of course I’m regretting not choice. Actually when I was deciding about it I knew that if I lived by myself and it wasn’t a question of two people’s lives involves, if it was just me, I know the healthier option for me would to have chosen the house that was by the pool, even to live in a more run down place. But I didn’t do that and I’m going have to live with it. I’m so indecisive. If I had chosen the other one I would’ve worried about bugs and mold and probably would have regretted it too. Hopefully I can swim in the complex, even though it’s a small pool, sometimes in the summer and I can stay strong and remember that this is a six month lease and if we have to move again there is NO WAY IN HELL I am not living within a mile of a pool! The pros to this place is that it is definitely nice and feels like a real home for us that I will be proud to have guests over. And I can walk my dog in the neighborhood at night.

Have you ever had to make a hard choice about where to move?

Any other Downton Abbey fans?