Another Beginning…

…this one less pleasant.

It’s the start of a new semester. This time I’m taking Abnormal Psychology so it’s something I’ll definitely be interested in. I was interested in ASL too, but the work of it made it less interesting to me if that makes sense. Abnormal psych though is a part of my life so learning more about it shouldn’t be too much of a hardship.

I went online and looked at the ratings of my professor. I’m not so sure it was a good idea. It’s got me super nervous. You know it said all the worst things, lots of work, tests every week, professor doesn’t answer emails (and being an online school that’s definitely a big issue), etc. It’s just got me concerned and I’m trying not to think about it. But it’s hard.

How have you coped with a difficult professor? (If she’s anything like her reviews, I’ll definitely be giving a detailed end of semester survey!)

Coronavirus!

So schools were just announced to be shut down in Alabama recently. I thought maybe I should say a little something about it. I’m not all that concerned at the moment about it. Because I will be washing my hands all the time and thanks to my agoraphobia, I won’t be exposed to it too often. I’ve got lots of groceries so I don’t need to go out for a while. I could probably stay here for two weeks if I needed to. But don’t worry, I wasn’t one of those people who stockpiled toilet paper and fought to buy the last of everything. I did not go overboard about it. Partly because I’m younger and healthier than the older people who are more at risk of having serious problems if they get it (like dying). I left groceries for other people.

Why?

BECAUSE EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE ABLE TO STAY CLEAN AND HEALTHY SO THE VIRUS DOESN’T SPREAD!!!!

People seem to have forgotten that little nugget of truth. It’s not all just so you won’t get sick, it’s also so that others don’t spread it. Remember that. Clean everything you touch. Avoid touching your face as much as possible. Wash your hands ALL the time with soap and water because soap is actually more effective than the Clorox hand wipes and hand sanitizer.

(That’s a link to where I learned that information.)

So y’all stay safe! Stay clean! Remember others out there and take care of each other!!

Podcasts

Podcasts aren’t really my thing, but this one is different. This podcast gripped me from the very beginning and held on tight. If you haven’t heard of it, you should really give it a shot. Make sure to choose a full episode, not the mini-sode.

A full episode is when each host brings a story and tells it. A mini-sode is when fans and listeners send in letters with their stories.

My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

They don’t just discuss true crime. They also talk about mental health and how to stay safe. And they’re just hilarious people. They manage to take true crimes — scary, horrible stories — and lighten them up making it very entertaining without being so morbid. I don’t think I’m doing it justice, but if you’re at all interested in true crime you’ve got to try them out! They’ve got a website, fan cult, and a book.

They’ve got cats, hilarious stories of their lives, and a great sign-off…

Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered! SSDGM!

APA Paper – Veterans and PTSD

I’m in an Orientation class and they’re teaching us how to write an APA style paper. Coming from an English major to Psychology major means switching from my well-known MLA style to the foreign APA style. Anyway, so I’m learning that. We get to choose our own topic. I chose veterans’ suicide rates and PTSD.

I’ve done lots of research and reading statistics and government produced documents. The point is… the state of the government and public’s relationship with veterans is pretty bad. The suicide rates and extremely high and getting higher. The ages of those committing suicide are getting younger and younger. And it seems like there’s a lot of talk and everyone agrees that something should be done and veterans should be taken care of, and yet nothing is actually being done. Not enough anyway.

It’s time for the public to stand up and demand better treatment for our vets, better facilities for them, and better education and training of the people working in these facilities. They need a bigger budget to accommodate this.

I’m ranting, but something should be done. Vets should be a much higher priority than they are now. They shouldn’t be homeless. They shouldn’t have trouble finding jobs. They should be able to get help from educated people dedicated towards their mental health. There should also be some kind of education, training, preparation for families of vets coming home with PTSD or any other mental illness.

Okay, I’m done now. But come on… America, the greatest country in the world but if you look at the state of veterans, we’re pretty low. Not enough people are speaking out about it. Certainly, not enough people are doing anything about it.

Done now. For real. But seriously… like if you agree.

It’s Mardi Gras Y’all!

Today is Fat Tuesday, in case you didn’t know. Talk to anyone from Mobile and they’ll tell you that Mardi Gras started in Mobile, Alabama. Most people hear Mardi Gras and think New Orleans, Louisiana. Let me clear this up for anyone who’s confused. Mardi Gras started in Mobile, Alabama. The “father” of Mardi Gras, is Joe Cain.

Joe Cain came to Mobile and dressed up and partied through the streets on Fat Tuesday. In Mobile, we have a celebration before Fat Tuesday. There’s Lundi Gras, which is the Monday before Fat Tuesday. Then there’s Joe Cain Day, which is that Sunday (this previous one). Joe Cain Day in Mobile is celebrated with the Merry Widows, all Joe Cain’s wives. They fight over who he loved more. It’s very family friendly, but it’s also just a lot of fun.

My anxiety allowed me to go out one year, a while ago. But I remember it very clearly. It really was fun. There weren’t any elbows being thrown, no fights for beads or moon pies, none of that.

This guy is dressed as Joe Cain, dressed as Slacabamorinico. (the center guy)

It’s a lot of fun. And remember, Mardi Gras started in Mobile, not New Orleans. Tell your friends!

Doctor’s Appointment Pt. 2

I posted about this earlier, but here’s the continuation. Here’s how the appointment actually went…

First off, I wasn’t alone. My mother came with me. In a previous appointment (at a different doctor’s office) I had a panic attack while on the table with the doctor in the middle of doing her work and jumped off the table and sent things flying. Needless to say, I never went back there again. To keep that from happening again, my mother (so kind and supportive) comes with me.

Secondly, I still cried. Silently, but there were still tear marks on my face even though I tried to catch them before they fell. Embarrassing.

Third, the doctor did tell me everything that she was doing and that really helped. I was prepared for it, or at least as prepared for it as I could be. And she was very, very fast about everything.

All I kept thinking about was that if I were normal and nothing had ever happened to me, this wouldn’t be such a big deal. I wouldn’t be a grown adult who still needs her mother to hold her hand. If I were normal… And that’s what really hurts the most, I think. All the things that might’ve been if what happened to me hadn’t happened, if I’d been in a different place at a different time… all the potential I had wasted because I was afraid of my own shadow for a while. Which made going to school impossible. So I’m in online university which is great and I know what I want to do and that’s nice. That might’ve not been the case if what happened to me hadn’t happened. That’s what I have to tell myself. The silver lining…even if it is a little tarnished. Anyway…

I’ve just gotten home. I stopped at Starbucks on the way home and got myself a little treat. My therapist, when I went to equine therapy, told me that when I go out and do something I don’t want to or that causes stress and anxiety that I should reward myself. So that’s what I did. Starbucks is my reward.

I’m glad the whole thing is over. Don’t have to go back for another year. So glad it’s a once a year thing and not a 6 month deal. Anyway… That’s how it went.

Woman’s Best Friend

Cammie now, aged 6

There’s no way to describe the bond between a dog and its owner. This little pup just always wants to be by your side, barks a little when there’s someone in front of the house, and will only eat her food if you’re eating. Now, that may sound like a needy dog, but for a person who was suicidal it’s perfect.

She warns me if someone’s coming to the house so the doorbell or knocking doesn’t send me into a panic attack. She reminds me to eat a meal every now and then because I’m making sure she’s eating. She never lets me feel alone because she’s always with me or if I’m in my room, she’s across the hall watching out the window to the front of the house.

She’s a smart dog. I know all owner’s say that, but it’s true. It doesn’t take long to train her to do something (like not jumping on you when you come in the door, shaking your hand, sitting and laying down with hand signals only).

She’s really the perfect dog for me. With all my mental health issues, she balances them out. When I’m down, she comes and lays with me. When I’m getting into a manic phase, she’s there to help me let out the energy in a safe manner. She seems to know when I want to self-harm and she puts her head in my lap.

If you’ve got problems, if you’re lonely, I highly recommend looking into getting a dog. Make sure you can handle the responsibilities and everything that goes with it – money for vet visits. Get it neutered/spayed. And look from a shelter. Those dogs may feel exactly like you do and just need a home and some love. So if you’ve got love to spare and money and are willing to try, adopt a dog. Cammie is a rescue and I couldn’t be happier.

Doctor’s Appointment Pt. 1

This may be too personal.

As a victim of sexual assault, going to the OBGYN once a year is very difficult. It’s one of the most dreaded days of my life. I don’t know how to explain it really. I just feel like enough people have seen the most intimate part of me, and I don’t want anyone else to see it. If that makes sense…

I have a great doctor though. She believes me when I say I’m not sexually active. She tells me everything that she’s doing before she does it, just to prepare me. But there’s just something about it that every single time makes me cry. And I hate crying. Especially in front of people. Especially if those people are virtual strangers.

But it’s something I have to do whether I want to or not. Like going to the dentist. I hate going to the dentist but still have to go.

I’m posting this now to compare my feelings about going before I go and then I’ll make a post about going after and what the appointment was actually like. My appointment isn’t until later in the week, but it’s already giving me borderline panic attacks.

As I’m typing this, the doctor’s office literally just called to confirm my appointment and my heart rate just went through the roof – just talking on the phone with the doctor’s office. I feel so pathetic.

Expect another post soon…

Another Diagnosis

My psychiatrist doesn’t live in my state. She used to, but then she moved and now we have our appointments online. I don’t need to leave the house which is something that I love, but it’s also a problem. Part of the problem is that I stopped going to therapy. I just felt like I wasn’t getting anything from it and I sat in an uncomfortable chair, in a too warm office for an hour and complained. I don’t know if I’m doing it wrong or what, but them’s the facts.

My new diagnosis, I’m sure you’re wondering what it is. Well, it’s dum, dum dum! … I’m now diagnosed with agoraphobia! What’s agoraphobia, you ask? It’s a type of anxiety disorder where you avoid things that make you uncomfortable, that could bring on a panic attack or other things that you don’t like.

Having PTSD, it makes leaving my house a little difficult and very exhausting. Being on constant alert, not trusting anyone even if they’re just shopping the same aisle in the grocery store as I am, I’m wondering if they’re going to try to steal from me or hurt me, what do they want? The answer: nothing. They don’t care two figs about me. I know this, but my brain doesn’t when I’m in the moment.

So basically, my agoraphobia means that I don’t leave the house. And when I say that I don’t leave the house, I mean literally I don’t leave the house. I’ve gone into the garage a handful of times. I’ve been in the front yard three times and the back four times. That’s all been since mid-July 2019? I have left the house I think twice to go to my sister’s, but that’s in straight into the car and then straight into her house for the remainder of the trip. Other than my sister’s, I went to my brother’s once late at night to pick up his dog (his baby was in the hospital-whole other story I might tell you later).

Being agoraphobic in this day and age isn’t all that bad. I mean, all the streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, YouTube TV) and I can watch literally anything I want. I can have a meal delivered to me from almost any restaurant. And I’ve just recently learned that grocery stores will do the shopping for me. I pick out what I want from online, someone goes around and picks it all up, I pay for it online and then it miraculously shows up at my front door!

So while it isn’t all that bad for me, it actually is that bad for me. Because it doesn’t force me to go out and do things, leave the house. It’s much easier to sink back further into my hole. But since I’ve decided that I’ll be posting something on here once a week, I’ll have to get out and do something. Something that I can talk about. So don’t worry! I’ll try to keep this the least boring blog as possible.

Busy Busy Busy Bee

For the past few weeks, my life has been crazy busy. I’ve been gone from home more than being at home. I stayed with my sister and her baby and fell in love with him completely. (not posting pictures for privacy) I may be biased but I think he’s the cutest newborn baby I’ve ever seen. He was absolutely perfect.

While I was there, my school term started! In a matter of days I went from not being a student to applying, being accepted, registering for a class and then it started! I mean, it was less than a week – the whole process. I was amazed. Promo note: If you’re ever looking for an online university that’s a legit university – Troy University is the best. They work with a lot of military so they’ve been doing online for years as well as having an actual brick and mortar university and different campuses. I’m just starting week 3 of my course and I can say that so far the professor an advisors have made my transitioning so easy. They answer questions quickly and thoroughly. It’s just a great university.

Anyway. I’m doing my class, I’m waiting for a specific job opening that would be perfect for me, and currently I’m cleaning out all my stuff, going through everything. So it’s been a busy time, hence the absence on here!

But I love being able to say, “Yes, I’m a student.”

I want to prove my high school teachers who all told me I’d never graduate college wrong, and I want to get my degree. I want to prove that little voice in my head wrong, the one that says I’m worthless and can’t do anything right. I want to show that even people with mental illnesses and PTSD can be successful!

I’m doing it and you can too!