Irrational Fear

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I don’t know whether it’s listening to all the news stories or terrorism, hate, and violence, but I’m becoming more and fearful of even normal things. I’m not sure it’s at the “I need a psychiatrist STAT” mode, but it’s enough that I check in with my kids a lot, I look around nervously when we’re in a crowd, and I lie in bed at need creating terrible scenarios in my head.

I guess I’m wondering how many people are dealing with similar issues. I don’t think I’m alone. These are scary times. I don’t want to get into a political debate but the current turmoil in our country is not helping.

If you take one look at Facebook you’ll scroll past people bashing President Trump followed by people saying horrendous things about “Libtards.” I’m wondering where we want wrong that the two sides are so far apart that we don’t even listen anymore.

I’m of the believe that 15% of the people on each side are extreme and the other 70% of us fall somewhere in the middle. While we may not agree or like Trump, we’re not pretending he isn’t president. Or while we may have strong beliefs about abortion, that doesn’t mean we can’t find common ground on other issues.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not seeing any of that at all. There’s not much in between, even at a local level. I have previously discussed the nightmare of politics in my small town. I won’t rehash it all as it’s been two years but when I attended a meeting this past week and realized things haven’t changed all that much.If thing scan’t change in a small town with so many people working for the betterment of schools and the community, how can we do it on a larger scale in the country?

But it’s not just politics that are causing my fear. I’ll be driving down the road and fear one of my cats got out and eaten by a bobcat. Or I get a strong feeling on our boat that it’s going to crash.

At the moment, I’m not stopping myself from doing things, but I’m also pretty okay staying home if I don’t need to go anywhere. I guess one could say these are irrational fears, but then I start to think, are they? There are people murdered every day. There is human trafficking, kidnapping, and so many other horrifying things going on and I’m here in my bubble.

I know enough psychology to know that my fears stem from losing people I love early in life and then again when I was a grown up. I’m afraid that something will happen to my kids and I won’t be there to protect them. How do you balance letting them grow up and holding on for dear life.

My kids are my everything. They are three very different little (not so little) human beings. My son is starting high school and I keep thinking I only have 4 more years with him at home. I’m NOT ready!

I’m not going to be a good empty-nester. I’ll be one of those women with 30 cats an a few dogs. I need to mother something! In the meantime, I need to find a way to push back the irrational (or even rational) fears standing in my way. I’m not afraid to say I’m scared. I just need to figure out some sort of plan of action (other than Xanax) when I’m a mess.

I’ll work on that. If you have better ideas, I’m happy to hear them!

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Politics: Tearing Relationships Apart

 

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It’s no secret that this country is the most divided it’s been in my lifetime. Frankly, I’m not sure how we’re going to fix that and I’m the first to admit, I have no ideas.

I’m a middle of the road kind of person. My social views are liberal so if the fact that I’m pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro- some kind of stronger background checks for guns, then I will understand if you want to stop reading. The difference I’m finding is, I have a deep respect for pro-life people. I see their side and do see where they are coming from. I don’t think a woman ever enters that decision easily.

I have two daughters and perhaps that has crafted out my view on the subject. If my daughter was raped and didn’t  Is want to have that baby, I would respect her decision and stand by her. If she chose to have the baby, I’d stand by her and help her in any way. Why? Because I love my daughter and I want her to make the best decision for her.

But I don’t think we’re really arguing about abortion and gun control at this point. I mean, those issues are on the table, but they aren’t the great divide. I think the great divide comes from not being able to listen to each other’s opinions.

I just had a rather large argument with my husband over the president’s decision to exclude some media outlets from his press conference. To me, that goes against everything America stands for. When we take away Freedom of the Press and the right to criticize the government, we start to move toward a scary path of dictatorship where we are told what news we can watch.

I don’t like that. My husband’s point was that Trump kicked them out because they aren’t reporting the truth. Is there media bias? Of course there is. But did Fox have anti-Obama stuff going on a loop over and over all day…yep! And that is their right to do. I wish we were back in a time where a reporter’s job was to report the news and not put their spin on it, but we’re not there.

In some ways it’s good that people have become passionate about what is going on in their country and some have learned how to contact senators, etc. But how do we get to a point where there is a compromise and we can work together?

I don’t think this current president will get us there. Whether he intended to or not, he incited a feeling that it was okay to want people of different race and religion out of the country. It gave white supremacists that had probably otherwise held their meetings in secret, a platform that it was not okay to speak.

In the next town over from where we live a Swastika was painted on a family’s house. While we  are Catholic (yeah, I’m a pro-choice Catholic, that’s between God and I), this incident bothered me a great deal. A friend of mine told me a story of when she was a little girl and the morning of Halloween she woke up to a Swastika painted on her door. She said it was the first time in her life she was afraid because of who she was and even embarrassed.

The newspaper did not release the name of the family but many in our community wanted to surround them with kindness and know that it’s a very few that that kind of hate. I do believe there is far more kindness than hate in the world.

Another issue I tried to bring up with my husband was President Trump’s decision to repeal something Obama put in place where people who were not able to take care of their own finances (another person had their financial guardianship because they were not capable of doing it) could now purchase guns again.

I think I mentioned before that we live minutes from Sandy Hook. My friend lost her daughter that day and my niece lost 11 friends. I don’t want to take guns away from responsible gun owners, but if a person isn’t capable of taking care of themselves how is it okay for them to own a firearm?

This is one issue my husband and I agree on. We actually both feel HIPAA should be thrown out the window if a person owning a firearm is admitting to a psychiatric facility, we think there should be a red flag if they are a gun owner. You can agree or not agree, but we have one side blaming guns and one side blaming mental health. We need to address both.

So what now… other than I’m sleeping in my daughter’s room while she’s at a sleepover and I’m too mad at my husband to talk to him. Do you think we can get back together as a country or are the conservatives and liberals so far apart at this point that it’s not going to happen?

One thing I really hate is seeing posts that start with “You stupid liberals…” as if all people with liberal views feel exactly the same on every issue. Have you ever met anyone that you agreed with on every single issue? I haven’t, but maybe that’s because I’m crabby and don’t like many people 😉

The hate between the two sides needs to subside before a real change can be made. If I had a clue how to make that happen I’d suggest it, but I don’t. I will say Trump supporters posting Anti-Muslim videos and Democrats posting anti-Trump everything isn’t helping. Kellyanne Conway…also not helping. Hello?? We’re concerned abut fake news and yet you have that woman go on the news shows and make shit up? Not helping.

The American people want the truth. They wanted an Education Secretary that has a clue about education. As someone who works as an advocate for children with special needs, Betsy DeVos frightens me. She has the potential to do a lot of damage. I think, in my eyes, if Trump had some cabinet choices that appealed to a wider range of people maybe it would be easier to come together. But hey, she donated a hell of a lot of money to the Republican party so who gives a shit that she knows nothing about public education?

I’d feel better about the president if he chose someone qualified.

I don’t know where we go from here, but it’s not getting better any time soon. Oh sure, my husband and I will talk at some point tomorrow when he stops being an ass and realizes that other people can have different opinions…but when is the rest of country going to catch n to that?

 

 

 

 

Go Away Raynaud’s

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Yes, I understand that medically it’s mostly just an annoyance, but dammit, my hands are a translucent white. They are freezing cold, and they hurt so bad they sting. I have pins and needles that feel like someone is jabbing little pins into the tips of my fingers when I run them under warm water to try and bring them back to a normal color and temperature. It’s more than an annoyance, it hurts.

It’s April 17th, I have my electric blanket on, my heating pad on my lower back and I keep alternating placing my hands onto the heating pad for extra warmth. It’s frustrating.

Today was a really busy day, and I probably did too much, yet I’m still wide awake. I started the morning teaching my class, but it wasn’t my best one. I didn’t have my best energy level, and my body started off pretty stiff and sore to begin with, so it was difficult to get going. I brought the kids to a trampoline park for an hours after my class, but this time I didn’t play along because none of my friends were jumping. I have to admit being a tiny bit disappointed, but it’s probably for the best because I’m not feeling that well.

We came home and I needed to catch a quick nap, which was all of thirty minutes, but I could hardly keep my eyes open. The fatigue has been pretty bad, and I also upped my Topamax to 100mg, and I remember that the fog and sleepiness from that usually takes a few days to get used to. The good news is that I haven’t been as hungry, which is kind of nice. I was down 4 pounds, but let’s be honest…I’m down for pounds from my highest weight ever so that’s hardly a celebration quite yet. I have just noticed overall, I’m not hungry between meals like I was before, so I’m not doing as much snacking….BONUS!

The highlight of my day was my daughter second voice lesson. Yes…I am that mom that cries at everything. I cried today as she sang Do You Want to Build a Snowman from Frozen. It’s not like I haven’t heard her sing it a million times around the house, but with some coaching on hold the notes and breathing, I couldn’t believe how she sounded. Just hearing my baby sing was so awesome.

I already know I’m not going to be able to sit through every lesson because I’m going to be that mom who cries, but if that’s the worst she can say about me at the moment, that’s not so bad.

Tonight I also met with our town’s Board of Finance Chairman. It was different than I expected. While I didn’t agree with everything he had to say, I rather liked him. I have learned that it’s always best to get your information straight from the source rather than from other people in the town. While I’m antisocial, I have sat down with the First Selectman, and had conversations with the superintendent, and the Chairman and other members of the Board of Education. Instead of running with the angry crowd, I’m getting my own information.

Do I agree with the angry crowd on some things, yes! Do I agree with the Board of Finance on other things, yes. Does this make me confuse…it sure as hell does. I am a middle of the road kind of voter. I am socially liberal, but when it comes to money I go back and forth depending on the issue. There are a lot of government programs that I think do amazing things. BUT…there are also some government funded programs that are a waste of money. There are many senators and congress people who don’t earn their salaries.

Anyway, I feel pretty good that I at least have listened to all the sides. I’m not sure who to believe on some things, as they are both citing very different facts. I’m sure the truth is in the middle, but I do feel that the man I met with this evening gave me a lot more to think about than I have heard in the past. I’m just trying to stay involved. I am one of those people that never really got involved in this stuff, and I’m trying educate myself.

Have a good night everyone!

Stupid Polar Vortex Is Killing Me

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Ok, before I get to how much pain I’m in and my autoimmune issues, for those that have been following my small town political saga, I met with the First Selectman today. I wasn’t impressed with him. While he did listen to me, he shrugged off everything I said and kept referring me to a graph he made on enrollment.

Needless to say, he’s not going to change his mind on the education budget and we’re still in deep crap for the coming year, but I feel good that I stepped up and actually got involved. There are so many people who sit around bitching about circumstances and don’t do anything about it. At least I can say I took some sort of action to make a change.

It’s possible that I was so driven because this is something I can make a difference with and possibly change in the future — unlike my autoimmune issues. My rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia are not going away no matter how much want them to. I have to accept that so I’m not keen on accepting it elsewhere in my life.

With the extremely low temperatures today, I woke up with my hand completely stuck again. I just stood there in the hot shower this morning, letting the heat soak in. It was back to that painful numbness that I had a difficult time describing in another blog. While it is numb, the pain and tingling is horrendous. The only good news was that I woke up migraine-free. Last night was terrible.

Then after going to that meeting I stood outside for a few minutes talking to a neighbor, and the cold got right to the bone. My right hip and leg are in serious pain tonight. I’m considering calling my rheumatologist for a trigger point injection, but of course I’m saying that while I’m sitting here practically in tears over it. Tomorrow may be another story.

I’m guessing it’s going to be a while until I fall asleep again tonight. I don’t like taking an Ambien when I have to teach a class in the morning. I always feel sluggish and yuck. So it’s likely another trash tv night for me.

Anyone watching anything good?

Today the Couch, Tomorrow Public Service

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As I mentioned last night, we are welcoming back the Polar Vortex here in the northeast, and with is came a lot of pain and stiffness. I’m finding that if I sit too long, I almost can’t get up when I want to. I’m hunched over and walking slow.

I spent most of the afternoon working from my couch with my heated blanket. I’m stressing out because my letter to our First Selectman has prompted him to want to meet with me in person tomorrow. For the most part, I’m level-headed. The only time I really get crazed is if I feel someone has hurt my kids…or sometimes with my in-laws.

I don’t plan on going in with an adversarial tone because I don’t think it will accomplish anything. To be honest, I don’t feel for one second that my meeting with this man will change his view on his proposed budget, but instead of complaining on Facebook about the situation, I’m actually stepping forward and meeting with the man.

My hope for tomorrow is that I’m not having a high pain day. I teach my Pilates class first thing in the morning, and usually I feel pretty good after that. If my pain can just hold off until the afternoon, that would be great.

It’s funny (not really) how I plan things these days. I used to make a lot of plans, but I just can’t with my autoimmune issues. Between the pain and stiffness from the rheumatoid arthritis and the exhaustion and overall body aches from fibromyalgia, those autoimmune diseases are in control over what I can and can’t do.

Coming to that realization was difficult. I’m not in control of things anymore. While I was never a control freak, it’s definitely still upsetting that I always need to give a disclaimer when I make plans. Me…the active person that can take on anything. I don’t know how I’m going to feel tomorrow or the next day, and that is hard for people to understand, and even more difficult for me to accept.

Hopefully I’ll come to terms with it at some point, but I doubt it…I’m stubborn. I’d love to hear how other people handle making plans and not knowing whether you’re going to have a bad flare, etc. It’s definitely something I struggle with.

Feel free to comment here or come join our Facebook Group and start the topic there. I look forward to getting know my readers on that page and becoming a support system of people who get it. We all could use that.

Tomorrow evening you’ll probably be reading that I threw up right before my meeting. I psych myself out way too much. Here’s to hoping there is no puke involved in my day tomorrow.

I Saw the Sun Today

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It was like I hadn’t seen the sun in years. Just walking outside and feeling the warmth of the sun made my afternoon. I wish I could have gone for a walk, but with two birthday parties and food shopping to do, that didn’t quite happen.

I felt pretty good for most of the day, but two straight hours of standing at the second birthday party did me in. I knew it wasn’t going to be good for me, but for some reason I feel stupid being the one that needs to sit down and can’t make it through. It’s something that I just personally need to get over.

At this point my back is thoroughly stiff and my hips and legs are very sore. It’s not like I don’t try and exercise on a regular basis. Standing should be that difficult, but for whatever reason, it starts in my back and then moves down my legs if I’ve been on my feet too long.

The flip side of it is that if I’m sitting too long, my legs also get stiff. It’s kind of another crappy catch 22. I need to get up and move, but standing in one spot just kills me…especially for a two hour clip. My kids had fun with their cousins, and that’s what really mattered.

My other big news of the day is that I’m being bashed in our local newspaper. As I mentioned in a previous post, we’re having a lot of political issues in our town and education budget was reduced a ridiculous amount. I wrote a letter to our First Selectman, but he’s a baffoon and neglected to answer me. So I copied the local newspaper and shocker…he responded with an hour or so.

The newspaper requested to print my piece, and it didn’t matter at the time, but now I have all the crazies commenting that I’m an abortion lover, etc. It amazes me how people make such assumptions because I said I think the reduction in the education budget was too small and that we were lied to by our First Selectman.

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What I learned today is…don’t read the comments! I put myself out there because I believe our kids deserve more. I have three kids with different special needs and I don’t want the special education staff to be reduced. The needs of my children are nothing compared to the non-verbal autistic kids in our community and guess what? They have every right to an education, too.

It pissed me off a little this morning, but it’s done and I won’t go back and read any more nastiness.

The exciting news of the day, in case you didn’t see the post was I started an Autoimmune Mama Group page on Facebook. Please take a moment and send a request to join. I would love for us to connect on Facebook and have a place to ask each other questions and garner support from people who understand our fight against our autoimmune diseases. It’s really something that alters your life, and I’d found that most people simply don’t get it.

So please join the group and post away!

Don’t Engage with the Nut Jobs

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I need to just set a reminder to tell myself not to engage with the nut jobs on Facebook every other week. There is a lot going on in our small town and without boring you with the details we had two people running for First Selectman; one of them was caught the morning of the election stealing the other guy’s campaign signs, and then word got out a few days after the other one won the election that he declared bankruptcy and screwed town sports teams out of money with his former business. Kind of shady for someone who wants to control our town’s finances.

Anyway, if you’re not bored out of your mind already, our education budget was slashed from the proposed 4.4% increase to .75%, an increase that doesn’t even allow us to keep the current programming. So I watched people banter back and forth for the past few days without saying a word, but then some guy today said that it’s not the school’s responsibility to educate our kids, it’s the parents’ responsibility. While I’ll agree the parents are always responsible for staying on top of what their child is learning and teaching them at home, isn’t the school’s sole purpose to educate the students? Not according to this guy!

His wife is learning two different language so she can teach her kids. I’m sorry that I don’t have time to learn Mandarin. Perhaps I will take that up in all my spare time (the kind of time that doesn’t exist when you have three kids).

Perhaps I got all fired up because overall I felt very much like myself today. The pain and brain fog were nowhere near the level they were at last week — that’s a good thing! It’s been a while since I’ve felt good.

I know the cold weather in general is tougher for people with rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune issues including fibromyalgia and Raynaud’s. I was wondering if anyone changes their doses or meds in the warmer weather if you aren’t in as much pain. I’d love for you to share your experience or thoughts on that.

For me, it’s scary to think about being on the same med or combination of meds forever. I tend to feel better in the summer, and I hate to take something if I don’t need it as much, but is that doing more damage by not protecting my joints from the RA?

I have so many questions, but that’s my big one for the night. I hope some of my autoimmune friends can let me know what they do.