Healing Hurts

Physio hurts.

Drove out to Coquitlam tonight for my physio appointment. Driving there was difficult; I was having high anxiety, as I have since last Sunday when I learned of the deaths of two people I cared about. Late last week I had to force myself to leave the house so I could get over that huge hump of anxiety; it’s lower than it was, but still difficult to deal with.

Physio itself hurts like hell. I have to do exercises to build up certain muscles that have sat dormant in my crippledness for years. The muscles scream in anger and rebellion at me. And the physiotherapist — who is awesome! — has to push and prod at me to get my spinal muscles to ease up, and to ease my spine back towards normalcy.

And it hurts like hell.

Don’t even get me started on the squats I need to do and what they do to my knees.

At the end, all that back and neck work triggers a small migraine, so I drive home drinking a coffee from McDonalds after taking an extra-strength Tylenol to banish the migraine to the depths of hell from whence it came.

Home, I still hurt all over, and I have more to do before I can go to bed tonight.

This healing thing isn’t for cowards. I am one, but I’m trying really hard not to be.

The Love You Give Is Enough

Yesterday I ran a lot into something that’s physically painful for me to see: clappy hand emojis between words. It’s an internet trend to make what are considered important points this way, instead of the old-fashioned placing of a period between each word. (What. was. wrong. with. that?)

You’re probably wondering why/how it makes me sick. The best explanation I can come up with is that my visual processor is over-developed and hyper-competent after a lifetime of having to make up for my auditory disabilities — my hearing is fine, my brain has problems processing and parsing sounds — and so when I read things, I experience them more vividly than people without that disability do.

My lack of ability to properly parse things I hear means my visual processor makes up for it by making me hear things mentally really well when I read them. This is why shitty punctuation in a book drives me insane. I can’t just skim over it when reading; it’s integrally a part of what I’m experiencing. It tells me how to “hear” things in my mind, and if it’s wrong, it will fuck up my entire experience.

(This is also why I loathe the practice of 2 spaces after a period. It makes my brain grind to a halt when I’m reading something, because one space is a normal pause between sentences for me. Two spaces is the emergency brake.)

My experience seeing the clappy hand emojis between words is to feel as if I’m being slapped or punched in the face after every word. Reading a sentence written that way gives me a headache and makes me nauseated.

And to be honest, even if it didn’t cause me physical pain, I would find it the most annoying fucking thing on the planet. So either way, I’d be stoked if people could fucking stop doing it.

Anyway. Yesterday I saw like, 3 or 4 tweets using this method so I spent most of the day feeling headachey and sick to my stomach. One of them, however, is what inspired this post.

This was from an account I used to enjoy following, and from someone I thought was pretty cool. Not only did they use the clappy hands emoji thing that makes me sick, but they used it to repeat a really damaging belief: “you can’t love somebody until you love yourself.” (I’m pretty sure that’s what the tweet said exactly; I just went and double-checked as fast as I could before getting too sick. Am super nauseated right now anyway.)

This is a bullshit idea and I am so sick of hearing it repeated.

An image of two people kissing is overlaid with text that says "You can't love someone unless you love yourself; You can't be happy with someone else if you aren't happy with yourself." Over top this text is a big red X, and the words FUCK OFF in bold black Impact font on a pink rectangle background.
I have strong feelings about this.

Working on self-love is, of course, important, and something I encourage EVERYONE to do. But the phrasing of this idea, the way it’s always put forth, makes it a zero-sum game: you cannot love someone until you love yourself. Unsaid in that sentence: your whole self. You cannot love someone until you love yourself 100%.

This idea leads to a horrible self-repeating spiral of self-hate. That sentence also says that if you DO love someone when you don’t love yourself, it’s not enough. It’s not GOOD enough. Your love for your spouse or sister or daughter or son or best friend — it’s not enough, because you don’t love yourself first.

And because your love isn’t enough — because you don’t love yourself — you are obviously not worthy of that person. And if you’re not worthy of that person, then you are, of course, not worthy of THEIR love and thus unlovable.

How the fuck are you supposed to work on self-love if you keep getting told that the love you give isn’t good enough?

I’m a broken person. I’m damaged goods. I always will be; doesn’t mean I want to be treated like I am. You can glue something back together, but those cracks will always be visible.

Most days I absolutely hate myself. But you know who I love? Mr. Katje, my husband. I love him so much I can sometimes forget what an awful person I am. I love him so much I can forget that I hate myself.

And Mr. Katje loves me, and because he loves me, he helps me work on these things. He reminds me to eat, because I can’t love myself enough to do that. He reminds me to take my pills, because sometimes I cannot take that care of myself. His reminders build up, and become my reminders: I eat because Mr. Katje loves me, so I am worth loving, so I need to love myself. I take my pills because Mr. Katje loves me, so I am not an unlovable monster, so I need to take care of myself.

Through his love of me, I am slowly, very slowly discovering self-love. It is self-love based in the love of another person.

I suppose people who believe that self-love must be entirely self-generated, a virgin birth in your heart, would see that as unhealthy.

I believe humans are pack animals and we cannot exist alone. I believe relying on oneself to the exclusion of all else is unhealthy. I believe we need each other in the same way we need food, water, shelter.

So I do not see my building up my self-love based on the love others give me as unhealthy. I see it as human.

I know Mr. Katje struggles with self-love, too. I know he has doubts; I know he has that voice inside that tells him he’s not good enough, not smart enough, not strong enough for me. I know he feels he’s not a good enough husband for me, because he can’t support me like he wants to, because he’s been damaged by a lifetime of society shoving it down his throat that if he’s not earning big bucks, he’s not good enough.

(Kyriarchy damages men too.)

He is enough. He will always be enough, regardless our money situation, regardless what lies society screams at him. And if the love he gives is enough for me, then the love I give has to be enough for him.

It’s not fair to ask damaged people to put everything on hold while they try to figure out how to love themselves, and then to tell them that if they can’t figure that out, they don’t deserve to love anyone else.

It’s not fair to ask that of anyone.

Spend time cultivating self-love, as much as you can. But if you cannot get that to 100% — that’s okay. If all you can manage is 5% on a good day — that’s okay. The love you give is still worthy. The love you give is enough. The love you give is not subtracted from by the hate you feel for yourself. This is not algebra.

We may be brokenhearted, but we are enough, and whatever love we can pump out of those damaged organs is enough. It has to be, or humanity doesn’t stand a chance.

Discouragement

It’s been a while since I’ve written.

We got a new tire for my car. Or rather, we got 5 new tires for my car and one of them turned out to work. The first time Mr Katje went to the scrap yard he got a deal on 4 tires for 200 bucks off a 2000 Dodge Caravan — ie, my exact car.

They didn’t fit.

I don’t fucking know WHY, they just didn’t fit. They should have. SAME CAR. That night included Mr Katje lying on the ground looking at this tire he couldn’t get onto my car and saying “Happy birthday, Dear, I got you the wrong tires.”

(Yes, tires were my bday gift. I turned 31 and I got a working car. #blessed)

So he went back and was able to return them (a VERY WELCOME SURPRISE) and got a different one which definitely DID fit. So my car got all fixed up in time for me to drive up to Sechelt.

So mom and I went to the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts, or FOTWA, or #SecheltWritersFest, or SCFWA, from August 17-20. We were in the tent selling books with other local indie authors.

We had a great time; I sold 2 books. Pretty good considering the overlap between SFF readers and people who go to festivals like that one is pretty slim.

Then we got back to our respective homes and Mr Katje and I went and watched the eclipse the next day, which was fucking underwhelming. I thought 86% totality was going to be pretty good but it was just disappointing. Didn’t help we couldn’t get any eclipse glasses so we had to look through pinhole boxes we’d made that morning.

When we’re 80 we’ll just look right at it because either medical technology will have progressed to the point where it doesn’t matter and we can just get new eyes, or we’ll be so close to the grave we won’t give a fuck.

Continue reading Discouragement

gaslit by my crazy pills (gifs in post)

i went to the doc’s on friday to get a new scrip for my zoloft and my dexilant, because the bottles in my medicine drawer (top drawer of my sewing-desk-that’s-being-used-as-a-computer-desk) were running really low. no problem, got my scrips for 100 pills each. i have to go in every time to get the scrips, and then i get enough pills for three months.

went to fill them today (july 31st; it’s august 1st as i’m writing this but i have not slept yet) as well as my husband’s scrip which i picked up for him while i was at the doc’s.

“you last filled this on june 27 so your insurance won’t cover it till september.”

An animated gif of Will Ferrell playing Ron Burgundy in Anchorman, saying "I don't believe you" and lighting up a cigarette.

what?????

not only do i have ZERO MEMORY of this, june 27 was the day i left for visiting my mom in powell river. as in, I WAS WAITING FOR THE FERRY DURING THIS TIME I SUPPOSEDLY FILLED MY SCRIPS.

but, ok, maybe i went in the day before and it didn’t process till the 27th, or maybe i went in after midnight (it is a 24 hr pharmacy) because hey, i did only get 3 hours sleep that night. so i say i’ll go home and search for the pills because fuck me, there is NO WAY i can afford my meds without the insurance covering them right now. it is a tight fucking month.

i have searched. i have looked all over the house. they are not here. what IS here are bottles and receipts for 100 worth of each of those meds dated april 18th…which would mean they run out about *now*.

so either i had incredible fucking foresight and got my pills A FULL MONTH BEFORE THEY WOULD EVEN RUN OUT (this is basically 99.9% unlikely; this is me we’re talking about) or someone fucked up and put my april paperwork into the insurance company at the end of june.

A gif of someone saying "What is going on?" (I do not know where this gif is from. The Office maybe? Idk.)

i’ve checked my bank records, too, as has my husband, in case it was something he picked up for me. there are no charges around that date that would correspond with the cost of the meds (and no, i didn’t pay cash, because i never pay cash for important shit; cash is for coffee or an extra gallon of milk in the middle of the week). i have checked every inch of my house where they could possibly be. my next step is to check my car, which i’m going to do after i sleep.

the thing is tho…i went to my doc on friday. this past friday. if i had already gotten a scrip from him a month ago, he would have said something because it would have been right on his screen when i asked for the new one. so this makes absolutely zero sense.

so if they’re not in the car, i’m phoning my doctor’s office and asking them if he actually gave me a scrip in june. because if he didn’t, there was absolutely no way i could have filled it in june.

and if that’s the case, the pharmacy is going to see what happens when someone fucks up the insurance filing and DOESN’T GIVE A CRAZY PERSON THEIR CRAZY PILLS.

An animated gif of Mugatu from Zoolander screaming "I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!"

anyway so it’s 6am, i’m drinking sleepytime tea, and trying not to rip my fucking hair out because i feel like i am taking crazy pills but not the kind that keep me from going crazier, the kind that make me go even fucking loopier than i really am, this is what you were talking about wasn’t it Mugatu.

in other news i got some words written in july but no where near as many as i wanted, so let’s cross our fingers i get a lot more done this month. (reminder, to be the first to hear when the book is finished, join Loony Nation, my email newsletter.)

happy fucking lammas/imbolc, by the way. or whatever you celebrate today.

-katje

Happy Canada Day from your grouchy neighbourhood cripple

I really do hope you’re having an excellent day, regardless if you celebrate Canada Day or not. It’s Saturday and that’s a nice day so have a wonderful one if you can.

As for myself, I’m grouchy and grumpy, because I’m broken. Again.

I’m up visiting my mom in Powell River and I was really hoping we could go to the special Canada Day farmers’ market today (an hour longer than usual!) and maybe hit up some celebrations elsewhere. Just, you know — go out, have fun, see people, enjoy the summer weather.

INSTEAD, I am basically kind of stuck at home. I could conceivably go out but it’d be a bad idea I think. I threw out my back this week, which when you have a spinal injury is a lot worse than just mechanical back problems. How did I throw it out? FUCK IF I KNOW.

Honestly, no idea, and it was probably nothing. I think I just moved wrong.

So now I’m in agony, though the number has gone down from a 10 on the first day to hovering at about a 5/6. (That is, according to my own scale of pain measuring, which…well, I have chronic pain, which means I basically live life at a 3 or 4 for other people. So when I say I’m at a 5/6 for me, that means an 8/9 for people who don’t have chronic pain. It’s really amazing what you can get used to when there’s no help for it.)

I have been grouchy and depressed since this happened and there has been much crying. There’s no really safe bed for me up here (mom’s mattresses are too soft, which didn’t used to bother me but now it does) so I slept in a chair last night. Sitting is painful, standing is painful, walking is painful, and I absolutely cannot lie down or I am fucked completely.

It sucks. Spinal injuries suck. There’s no two ways about it. And I’ll continue to have this life where I’m okay until suddenly, I’m not. FOR NO FUCKING REASON. Because there’s no logic to it. Backs just stop working, and especially when your discs are trying to flee the vertebrae.

We’ve been discussing options. I have somewhat of a plan; a lot of it is just nagging doctors until I get some help. First I really want to see if I can get a referral to a spinal decompression place so MSP will pay for it. They’ll be reluctant I’m sure but here’s the thing: the ~3500 for the non-invasive 8-week program of decompressing my spine that *might* give me back a good chunk of my function will actually cost them less than my other option, which is surgery.

I really don’t want surgery unless it’s absolutely necessary, but we are getting to the point of “I need to fix this or I’m looking at a short, agony-filled life”. So if that means going under and getting my fucking discs taken out and my vertebra fused together, well, that’s what that means.

But yeah, I’d like to do decompression first.

So right now it’s Canada Day and instead of going out and doing something fun I am sitting at my mom’s place and praying that I’m well enough to go home by the time I was planning on it so I can go see my doctor in Vancouver and ask about getting a referral to the spinal decomp place so MSP will cover it.

And if I can’t get that….I don’t know. I have this vague thought of trying to raise the money for it somehow, but I don’t know how to do that, to be honest.

Anyway. I’m going to try to write today, because it’s Camp Nanowrimo this month, and I’d really like to make my goals even if my back is being a complete jackass about it. At least I’m better than I was two days ago; that’s something.

Wish me luck!

Loonily yours,
Katje

Father’s Day is tough for me

I really wish it weren’t. I cut my biological sire out of my life when I turned 26. That’s 5 years this August and yet certain days haven’t gotten easier for me. His birthday. Today. Any day that reminds me: I have no mortal father.

(Immortal? Well, that’s better read about at my religious blog.)

The kind of insidious thing about abuse is the grooming for it can make it almost impossible to escape, even after you’ve escaped. My brain keeps bringing up the script that I’m a Bad Daughter for not calling him on his birthday, or today, for not welcoming him back into my life, because that’s what he groomed me with my whole life. It’s hard to turn off scripts that have been running in my brain since I was young. It’s bad code and I’m still a first year programming student.

Anyway. I don’t really want to write about him today. I wanted to say that Father’s Day is still hard for me, both because of him and now because I was hoping by this point I’d be wishing a happy Father’s Day to my husband. I really want to reclaim this day and make it positive. I keep trying, but so far no success.

So, I figured I’d post here, and offer a space for anyone else who is having a hard time with Father’s Day, for whatever reason. If Father’s Day is hard for you, pull up a chair and snuggle in in the comments section.

A picture of a cozy living room. Two love seats sit paralell, a coffee table between them; behind them is a fire place. Bookcases adorn the walls. The room is full but not cluttered.
Imagine the comments section is a cozy living room like this one.

Talk about whatever you want to — about the day, not about the day. I promise I’ll listen, and I will do my hardest to reply, even if it’s only with a <3 because I’m sending you love.

Today may be hard, but hard things are usually easier when they’re shared.

<3

Katje

My Friend from High School Died and it’s Fucking Me Up

This was originally posted on my Medium profile on February 21, 2017.


Last month my friend from high school died, and we don’t know why, he just did, he was in his late 20s and he died of natural causes, which is just fucking me up because what the fuck does that even mean?

Like my brain kind of thinks that if you make it through infancy then random natural causes should be off your list of possible deaths until you are in your late 80s. Unless you’re sick or you get hit by a car or whatever, you should be safe.

But his body just quit. It just quit and there’s no reason to it. He was healthy and in his 20s and it just quit. Natural causes means we don’t know what the fuck happened, he just died.

And I’m not healthy and I’m 30 and I don’t want to die. I say I do all the time and I’m suicidal but I don’t actually want to die, I just want the pain to end and so far the most efficient way for that to happen seems to be death. I learned the lesson of my desire to live when I accidentally poisoned myself with belladonna. (Yes, accidentally.) I don’t want to stop living. I’m terrified of dying too early.

And I’m terrified of my husband dying too early. He’s 35 and since Jesse died my anxiety about my husband randomly dying in his sleep has skyrocketed. (It was already there, because I’m an anxious, fucked-up mess of a human being.) He was sleeping in for a long time the other day and I suddenly had a panic attack over it, I had to rush in the bedroom and make sure he was still breathing.

Continue reading My Friend from High School Died and it’s Fucking Me Up

notes on gabapentin, day 6

ok, so 6 days of taking my new meds. here are some notes on it.

  • it works. i mean, it definitely stops my twitching when i’m awake. however i’ve noticed, now my twitching has stopped, that i also have nerve pain in my extremities. i just never noticed it before because i was always either jiggling my limbs or twitching.
  • i’m not worried about the nerve pain, as it can take 2 weeks for gabapentin to get rid of it. so if i still have it after 3 weeks, i’ll worry.
  • i sleep really well on it. first 2 nights i used it were on the recliner, because my neck was so stiff and sore. i never sleep well on the recliner, but those 2 nights were the best recliner sleeps i have ever had. and the third night, in bed, it put me into a mini-coma.
  • i’m still tired during the day, but i also haven’t been taking my iron daily and i have a massive sleep debt of like, 20 years. so i’m expecting to still be tired throughout the day for a while.
  • even though i’m still tired throughout the day i’m way more awake than usual.
  • side effects i’m experiencing: drowsiness (useful), slight dizziness and nausea, when i wake up in the morning it takes me longer to shake the sleep fog, and longer for my vision to come back to normal, and some extra bleeding and bruising (which i’m not actually 100% sure is from the gabapentin, as it could have other causes right now). all in all, nothing too severe and nothing i’m not willing to deal with in order to get a better night’s sleep. (regardless i’ll bring up the side effects with the doc when i see him next, which should be a week tomorrow.)

conclusion: it’s working, and so far i’m happy with it. will continue to monitor it for any severe or scary side effects, and am waiting to see how close to “normal” i’ll get with regards to feeling awake in the day, but for right now allowing myself to feel cautiously hopeful that this might be the answer to my sleep woes.

and now, i am a sleepykat so i am off to bed. yes, at 6am. don’t judge me.

~katje

ps: i think it also made my breasts bigger, which i consider a win. at least i do today; on a day when i don’t id as femme as i do today, it’ll probably cause some severe dysphoria. c’est la vie du genderqueer.

Not everything is for you: kids and Deadpool

This was originally posted on my Medium profile on February 17th, 2016.


I suppose it was inevitable. People have taken their kids to see Deadpool…and then complained it wasn’t appropriate for kids.

Look. I am the first person to say that the MPAA ratings are bullshit and usually far too puritanical. I believe parents know better than a bunch of film-rating execs what’s appropriate for their kids. What’s more, the MPAA ratings are hopelessly vague. An “R” rating doesn’t tell me if a movie is going to have an animal dying, which will have me more upset than a kid pranked with a fake trip to Disneyland. It doesn’t tell me if there’s going to be a rape or attempted rape scene, which will trigger the fuck out of me. I’ve learned that the best way for me to enjoy movies or TV shows is — if I think there’s a possibility there’s a chance for these things that will really upset me and basically ruin my entire fucking week — ask someone who’s already seen it, or have my husband pre-view it for me so he can warn me, and be on hand for cuddles afterwards if I do, indeed, decide to go through with viewing it.

I grew up watching things that were well “beyond my age”. When I was 10, mom took me to see the Kama Sutra movie in theatres — “Just act like you’re 18!” — because she knew that I could handle a positive portrayal of adult sexuality. And, in fact, probably needed to see a positive portrayal of adult sexuality, seeing as by the age of 10 I had already been assaulted. She was right. The Kama Sutra movie did not scar me (though the “sequel” which was “American tourists rekindle their marriage by exploiting Indian traditions” kind of did).

But that was one of very few positive experiences I had watching things beyond my age when I was very young. I was a really sensitive kid, you see. I’m still sensitive now, but I’ve had to grow an unnaturally thick skin just so I can survive daily life (which is full of people saying I’m too sensitive, a sissy, a coward, a pussy, etc). I was easily scared (still am, and horror is one of my fave film genres) and very empathetic towards suffering seen on screen — especially for animals.

When I was a little kid, my dad showed me Alien and Aliens. I still adore these films, but the truth is they scared the shit out of me when I first saw them. (I mean, duh, they’re scary films.) I was probably way too young to see them whenever I did the first time. I don’t remember how old I was; I just know that the Aliens franchise was part of growing up for me.

Continue reading Not everything is for you: kids and Deadpool

new meds

content warning: emetophobia

got my gabapentin today. trying it tonight.

also sleeping on the recliner tonight, because my neck won’t stop hurting. i don’t know what’s up with it. it hasn’t hurt this much since the last time i got whiplash. which was…on a bumper car i think. (yeah, bumper cars give whiplash. just in case you were out of things to worry about your kids doing.)

we had to go out when i was just waking up and before i had a chance to let my muscles adjust to actually being upright. that was less than fun. i’m doing better now, though, and we did pick up the package from the post office and our scrips — can i just publicly thank Asclepius for insurance? i don’t even know what it would have been without, but with our extended insurance from mr. katje’s workplace it was 17 bucks for three scrips. gone are the days of me taking my anti-depressant every other day to make it last! Io Asclepius! — and also got a little grocery shopping done as we were out of milk.

we’ve recently switched to 3.25% milk from 2% and i’m drinking a lot more of it. IT’S SO GOOD. however, we kind of regret going to IGA instead of Save-On today. milk was over 6 dollars for a 4L; at Save-On it’s around 4.5 bucks. that was a huge ouch. but i was too unwell to handle too grocery trips, so we just got it and sighed heavily.

i also asked at the pharmacy about switching from zoloft capsules to tabs because the capsules are incredibly hard for me to swallow and can cause me to throw up if i don’t do it exactly right. apparently the tabs are not available in Canada. because Canada has super draconian laws about medicine and food. (if you think the FDA is tough, haha have i got news for you.)

sometimes, i appreciate those laws. not today.

so continuing to use zoloft in capsule form until i can figure out a new med. maybe one that doesn’t make me sick and actually works better for my mental illnesses. hoping i get that appointment with a psychiatrist soon because i am running low on my meds.

but i’m excited about the gabapentin! i had a feeling i have Willis Ekbom Disease (aka ‘restless legs syndrome’ but the restless legs are a reaction to the uncontrollable spasms it causes) which i brought up with my doctor (short aside: i love my current doctor. he actually practices medicine instead of just telling me to lose weight. sent from the heavens. Io Asclepius again!) because i’m worried that it’s causing me to have a bad sleep. even after using the cpap for 6 months i am still exhausted all the time. much better with the cpap than without, but still. i shouldn’t be this tired.

so i asked if there was a test for willis ekbom and he said no, it’s one of those things where we give you treatment and see if it works and then that’s the test, basically. so i’m only supposed to take it before bed to see if it helps interrupt the processes that are causing me to spasm so i can actually get a full night’s rest instead of my body shaking itself ever so slightly awake all the time.

(i still spasm during the day and it’s uncomfortable, but if i can just get it to stop at night i can handle the daytime spasms. i’ve been dealing with them for a long time, after all.)

i’m really crossing my fingers the gabapentin works for me, because if i can fix my sleep i have a feeling i will feel 100x better, even with continued disability and chronic pain.

-katje

edited to add: between finishing writing this post but before publishing it i actually took a look at my pills. they’re capsules, because of course they are. i now have three prescription pills that are capsules. huzzah me. XD