What Do You Do About Stress When You Have A Stress Anxiety Disorder?

So it’s been an exciting couple of weeks.  And frankly, that’s not a good thing.  Last weekend, I had either a stomach flu or food poisoning or a massive allergic reaction to MSG (or an MSG-like chemical, which I have been avoiding like the plague and would probably be hypersensitive to it now), so without going into TMI, I was purged cleaner than…well, clean from the top to the bottom of my gastrointestinal system.  It was a rough couple of days but at least Beloved managed to get by with just a touch of it and we were not both of us running for the toilet, the one and only single toilet that we have, at the same time.  Could have gotten ugly.

I’m feeling much better now, thank you.  The house continues to look like shit and the dish fairies refuse to stop at my house and do my dishes, so they are also still piled up.  And let’s not even talk about the laundry fairies.  Sigh.  It’s starting to be overwhelming and I am just going to have to nail my courage to the post and get on with it.  Tomorrow.

Got to spend a couple of days with my Froggy and his mom.  Made French toast for him that he seemed to like–he ate it up!  And bacon, of course.  That was the good part.  The bad part was when they got back to his other grandmother’s house, everyone got sick with stomach flu.  Their house was like the plague house and even Grandmom Nut-nut (that’s what he calls her, don’t ask me) says she was ready to paint a white cross on the door and be done with it.  Apparently the flu is widespread throughout the country and we’ve all been a part of the statistics.  Hopefully we’re not going to have to do that again soon.

We’ve had mixed news on the income front: Beloved’s 401(k) has been cashed out, to finance our luxurious lifestyle for a while…but the Long Term Disability has been denied because they think he can return to work.  HA!  Not on your tin type.  We will of course appeal it and have a good chance of turning it over if we can show SSDI paperwork that assigns us permanent disability status.  I got to be evaluated by the Social Security’s own doctor as part of the SSDI process.  I can only hope that I was pathetic enough…he never checked for the fibro pressure points, but did give me neurological tests.  He did tell us that we can expect some answer within about 4-5 weeks, so at least we won’t have to wait long.  I hope.  Need to call the lawyer and let her know how that went and that time frame.

I am also in the process of appealing my LTD–it just confuses me how they can say I don’t have a disability any more when it lasted more than the 6 months of Short Term Disability AND I am applying for SSDI.  It’s a cough cough LONG term disability, you assholes.  My doctor shouldn’t have to re-diagnose it every time he sees me, so if the last notes read that he gave me a new prescription for GERD, that doesn’t mean that my fibromyalgia is miraculously gone.  In fact, GERD is part of the problems WITH fibro, you dinks.  But I will have to go see the free clinic doctor next week because I am running out of my medications, so hopefully I can get some new, pretty and shiny records that show I still fucking have fibro and please pay me my long term disability again.  Idiots.

It’s a relief to have Beloved’s retirement money to live on, even if we’re not retired–and it’s not going to last forever.  It’s better than the ZERO money we had coming in.  Of course we’re both stressed out–in dis-stress, which is bad–the not knowing about a secure and steady income, as well as in eu-stress, which is good, but has all the same physical reactions–of having money to deal with bills for now.  It makes for a certain irony, since Beloved has a stress anxiety disorder and this makes him seesaw through emotions.  Thank goodness for chemicals and being able to sleep whenever we need to–because taking a nap resets the brain’s chemistry and helps a lot with that roller coaster ride of feelings.

At least he has something to look forward to–a friend of ours wants to run a game, which is geek speak for playing Dungeons & Dragons (well, not actually, but something similar) where we will each choose a character and role play through his story line.  His wife is making a model landscape, so we’ll have a terrain with buildings and so on to actually look at while we are playing and use as reference for the action.  It’s like make believe for adults…and table games, as this is also called, is something that Beloved has been doing for over 20 years.  It’s his major form of entertainment and he hasn’t been playing lately.  In fact, he was playing when I first met him but the death (literally, heart attack dead) of their Game Master sort of put an end to that.

We won’t actually play for another couple of months, but in the meantime, he is reading the books (Pathfinders, for those geeks out there who were wondering) and interrogating the Game Master (GM) on what will be allowed and what won’t…thinking about what kind of a character he’ll play and what skills he’ll have.  I intend to play as well, so he’s overloading my circuits with all kinds of verbal information, even though I don’t learn that way and will end up reading the books for myself.  Eventually, when he shares the PDF files of them which he downloaded.  If nothing else, it will be an excuse to get out of the house as often as the GM is running the game–once a week, every other week, once a month.  Whatever the interval is…we’ll go to his house, eat snacks, role play and have a good time.

And having a good time is a very important thing, because as Beloved points out, we are marking time right now and the house?  Frequently feels like a cell and we are fellow prisoners.  I think it’s the sheer uncertainty of the situation.  Until we get some definite answers about disability benefits and have a secure, assured income, we are just marking time.  We are waiting.  We can’t do things without money and we have no money right now.  Going to Wegman’s (with our blessed and wonderful food stamps) is the highlight of our week.  We take our time in the store, riding up and down the aisles just to be out of the house and doing something different.  Sort of sad, isn’t it?

We’d socialize more but going anywhere takes gas and that’s not free.  We live out in the boonies, so we don’t get a lot of visitors–and most of our friends have…what are they called?  Oh yes, jobs.  The old nine to five that means they aren’t driving 25, 30 or 40 miles (in one direction) to spend several hours at our house and then have to drive back–and still have time to sleep for work the next day.  I don’t blame them and I don’t expect them to–but that does put a crimp in our desire to see different faces.  I love my Beloved, but when you’ve spent the entire day together, what do you talk about over dinner?  I saw you today, I know what you did all day!  So how about them Cubbies?

Thank goodness for Netflix.  We can always watch a movie together.  We do spend a lot of time on the computers…to the point where I have essentially killed my desktop.  I kept getting a “CPU overheated!!!” error and the BSOD (Blue Screen Of Death).  It kept shutting off.  So I have removed it and in its place, doing a fabulous job for what it is, is my OLD laptop–a 5 year old Toshiba that can’t manage to run web pages AND flash games all at the same time.  So I have to pick and choose carefully or it will just shut off.  I think that was also a heat problem, and I’ve put it on the cooling pad; so far, so good.  I mean, we’re still having this conversation, aren’t we?

So what else is going on…we’re still talking about furniture moving.  Did I mention that the bed is in the living room?  We’ve realized that if we put it down by the patio door, the 3 foot wide path around it will overlap with the same 3 foot wide path needed to get from the front door into the living room or out to the patio–and if we put the bed down there, we regain that square footage at the other end of the room.  Guess what?  We’re moving the bed down by the patio door.  We’ll turn my desk 180 degrees and push it up against the bed–mostly so we can keep our pillows on the mattress.  Then we’ll arrange Beloved’s desks and book shelf in a neat and orderly fashion at the other end of the room, behind me.  And we’ll put everything else where it will fit and be useful.  We’re also talking about renting a small storage locker (when the $$ comes in, as with everything else we’re trying to plan) and emptying the house of the shituff, which we can go through at the locker and at our leisure and not have to live with it surrounding us, drowning us in its…shituffness.

Simplify, reduce, keep only what is necessary and needed.  Keep only that which is truly valuable to you in terms of usefulness and fulfilling a need.  How many shirts can you wear at once?  So how many do you really need?  I have already weeded out one large box of clothes to go–well, what’s left of them will go to the thrift store and the rest…my daughter-in-love has some new clothes.  How many bowls can you eat out of?  What is the minimum of belongings that is necessary for a good life?  We’re trying to find out and both of us are ready to let go of things we’ve been dragging around for years because we’ve reached a point in life where simplicity and “less is more” has become our credo.  With the e-readers, we can get rid of a lot of books because we’ll have them in digital form.  Oh, there are some we will certainly keep on dead tree…but they will be kept because they are special like his game book collection, or my 1938 copy of “Gone With the Wind”.

I look forward to getting the house into the order that we want, arranged the way we want.  If we do this right, it will be clean and simple–and simple to clean.  Living with the reality of our disabilities, which we are not now.  I hope that we can make the changes we talk about, because if we really do get things simplified, that reality will be easy to live with.  I want to invite people over and not be ashamed of my house.  I want to invite people over and be able to cook dinner without having to wash pans to cook in and plates to eat off of first.  I would really like to be able to cook dinner for my husband without having to wash pans first.  A new dishwasher would help immeasurably…that’s something I need to check on with the apartment manager, who was going to try to squeeze one out of the new budget.  I have to check with her tomorrow–and remind her that we’re supposed to have gotten a second post box key as well.

So life is what it always is–moments of high anxiety, low instances of depression and meals in between, same as for everyone else.  I may ask the doctor at the free clinic what s/he thinks of my medication regimen and if there are changes I can make that will get me off this plateau I seem to be stuck on.  I feel better than I did a year ago, fer sure–but I still lack the actual physical ability to do much more than dress myself and type blogs.  I try to push and keep doing because I am very aware of how easily muscle tone goes (and when you have almost none to begin with…).  But pushing just wears me out and makes me hurt more so it’s not really positive reinforcement when I do something and then have to rest for 2 or 3 days to recuperate.  I admit to becoming a bit nervous at the thought of my Vicodin running out because the free clinic will not, does not, prescribe narcotics.  And I don’t know if my (former) PCP will renew the script if I ask the pharmacy to refill it and call him for authorization.

There you have it…the limbo that is my life, the eternal waiting room with outdated magazines as my only choice for reading.  The weather has matched my mood, gray and almost rainy.  I need some sunshine…and I am counting on the doctor’s words that I will have some answer about SSDI in about a month–and since we think that they are processing our applications together, as a family thing, hopefully Beloved’s will also be answered–and in the positive, so we don’t have to drag through an appeals process.  Fingers crossed and looking for all the 4 leaf clovers I can find.  It’s been nice talking with you, will let you know when things change.  Or when it’s time to bitch about no change again.



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