Boston Marathon Bombing

My husband is a runner. He wasn’t at the Boston Marathon, but he is training for a marathon. He would like to run the Boston Marathon someday, as all marathon runners would. He is still determined to run the marathon, but he is concerned about me, as a spectator standing on those side lines in watching for him to cross the finish line.

I admit, I’m a little scared too. The thought that a bomb could go off right next to me, while I’m standing there unobservant, camera in hand, tracking DH’s progress on my cell phone. If we were in Boston, it could have been me.

I’ve been watching the news coverage all day, crying. As of this writing, there are two confirmed deaths, one an 8 year old boy, and well over a hundred injured. It’s horrible.

And the big question is WHY? Runners are generally a friendly group, they help each other out by encouraging one another, helping with injuries, and offering a banana to help recoup. Boston is a high profile race, but the bombs didn’t go off when the first winners passed, they went off at the four hour mark, when your average runner would be passing the finish line.

DH and I are talking about contingency plans. For every major race he runs, we should have a rendezvous point. He should always carry some cash and ID. Near the end of the run, when they started blocking off the street, those runners are running low on calories and water. After his 20 mile run last weekend, had trouble recovering in order to come home because he was weak from energy loss and became slightly disoriented (I imagine it’s like having low blood sugar). After a few snacks at the car and some water, he was recovering and when he made it home, I handed him glass after glass of water, while he munched on anything with carbohydrates. At least with some cash you might be able to find a restaurant to purchase a little food and water to keep your body from going into shock. Imagine how all those runners, so close to the finish line where food and water was waiting for them, were coping with being cut off and no news save the two booms they heard? Knowing there were loved ones waiting for them – somewhere beyond the gate – their bodies giving in to fatigue… this was a hard day for them all.

And likewise, I have to make sure I carry ID and cash. In case something happens, EM personnel need to know that I have medication allergies and a long list of medications I take. I’m lazy about this and I shouldn’t be. I could have a heart attack someday, and be given aspirin just to have my throat close up. I don’t have a med-alert bracelet either because I find them ugly and expensive. (I know, this isn’t an excuse.) I don’t always remember to carry my Epipen either. Really, someone needs to get on my ass about these things.

I’ve digressed from the original topic – the horrible incidents of the day. I don’t live in Boston, I don’t have friends in Boston, but my husband is part of the runner’s world and all I can think of is what if this happens at one of his marathons? It feels like it’s not safe to leave the house anymore.

If this turns out to be another individual with mental illness – real or imagined – I don’t even want to think about what this means to the mental health community.

To leave you on an optimistic note: some of the runners that had already crossed the finish line continued to run to the nearest hospital to donate blood.


© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Bored & Eaten

I’ll address the eaten part first. WordPress ate this post. Probably because I didn’t finish writing it yesterday when I started it. I think WP gets the munchies if it has to stare at a half-written post for too long. (Maybe that’s why it eats them upon the Save Draft command.) In any case, I have defeated the WP blog monster this time by copying and pasting the draft into a text program. While this has preserved said post, it has not added anything to it in terms of quality. Regardless, let me rewind to yesterday…

I’ve been bored and down lately. We were supposed to go visit a friend of mine for Christmas, but they got ice and snow down there so it wasn’t safe to drive. This left us at home with no Christmas dinner only what we could scrounge around the house. And cookies. I was giving them cookies for Christmas so we got to eat those. (I know, bad for the diabetes.) DH was also sick the day after Christmas so it’s been quiet here. I haven’t felt like leaving the house although I have mustered up the energy to do a couple of quick errands. But grocery shopping? That takes way too much energy – more than I have. We’ve just been playing video games for the past three days.

Bah Humbug! I’ve felt no holiday spirit this year. 😦 Last year was great because my niece visited, even though my arm was still healing and DH and I were separated for the holiday. (He went home to visit his family.) It would have been a wonderful Christmas if he had stayed, but it was good even without him. I’ll never be able to afford to have my niece visit again, but she has a family now so wouldn’t happen anyway.

I hate New Year’s Eve. It will be 25 years ago this year that I survived a near fatal car crash but when I hear sirens it feels like yesterday. I wrote about it last year in New Year’s Eve and some of the medical I went through in my gallbladder post.

Back to today… I know that last thought was sort of left hanging there, but I didn’t want to go back to that frame of mind again. Yes, I’m still bored and slightly down, but my car accident is not something I want to revisit again. I just don’t. I’ve gone down that road so many times… and it’s still not paved. Probably each time it’s traveled I level it a little bit more, but I really need a break from it. Let’s just not turn down the path this time. (I may change my mind by Monday, but that’s how I feel right now.)

Going out with friends last night really helped me, even if it was a long battle to get ready. I spent all day yesterday procrastinating on taking a shower until the last minute. Then I just threw some clothes on and we went. Saw Les Miserables, the movie. It’s quite good. Very sad, but then the story is very sad. I recommend the book (find the abbreviated version if you aren’t a European history fan) and the musical. I keep wondering if I will find myself out on the street in a few months time as well… more depressing thoughts I don’t wish to indulge. Sigh.

We had dinner, saw friends and went to a movie. If we leave it at that, then this post ends on a happy note. Remember friends, the difference between comedy and tragedy is where the scene ends.

 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Cost of Mental Health

I’ve written a post on the costs of mental health on A Canvas of the Minds WordPress blog, which is a multi-author blog about mental illness. I can’t figure out how to reblog the post here, so you’ll just have to go over there to read it. Sorry about that, but there are lots of other really cool posts for you to check out while you are there. 🙂

The Cost of Mental Health.

Enjoy!

-MM

Finally caught a break…

COBRA is finally in place! After a third phone call, I spoke to someone who gave me more new information, but helped me straighten it all out. Turns out, you can’t make a payment if you are set up for direct deposit. So the nice fellow who helped me yesterday removed the direct deposit, allowed me to pay for one month with a credit card, then processed a rush with the insurance companies so that I am now covered and back covered. Additionally, my check was processed as well, which catches me up through the end of June. The same nice fellow who helped me yesterday also called me back today to tell me that everything was set up. I picked up my Paxil today and only had to spend $1.25 instead of $33 for it. *whew!* Finally!!

This week has been a little crazy, but hopefully things are settling down now. I wrote about the incident with my niece in Runaway and Runaway Part II.  She seems to be herself now, but I will track her facebook statuses more carefully from now on.  They seem to be a good indication of how things are going with her.  She doesn’t seem inclined to talk to me, and I think it’s because she is afraid that I will tell her what she doesn’t want to hear: partying is bad for her. I know how she feels.  But you have to make choices in life and some of those are related to your health.  Others are related to your career and if she keeps this drinking and partying up she won’t have the career she wants.  It’s hard to get through school with a science degree.  It’s harder to get through school with a science degree and good grades, even if you are smart.  It takes a lot of work.  She’ll tell me that she knows and is prepared, but her behavior speaks to the opposite.  There’s a big difference between a beer or two on a Friday night and being too drunk to walk without falling down.  Maybe I sound like a stick in the mud, but I’ve been where she is and I know it doesn’t work.

On to other news… I got called a BFF this week! 🙂  I’ve never been called a BFF before.  I was out shopping with a friend of mine on Wednesday, and we were looking at pillows for her new couch.  I picked up a cute one that had BFF embroidered on it and that’s when she said I was her BFF.  It took a few moments before it sunk in, and I said it back.  (It’s sorta like the L-bomb, isn’t it?)  I think a million things went through my head in those few moments.  First, I’ve always thought of myself as a loner inside.  My friendships aren’t fake, but they are limited.  For example, this friend doesn’t know I am bipolar.  She probably never will.  Which is another part of the reason why I hesitated.  Can I call someone a best friend if I can’t tell them I am bipolar?  I probably could, but I don’t want to.  You see, she is a police officer.  And I don’t want her thinking that someday she might have to be the one sitting next to me while I’m handcuffed to a chair awaiting a psych eval.  If the situation ever warrants it, I would tell her, but there’s no need to blurt it out just because we’ve determined we are BFFs.  Oh, and lastly?  I never thought I was cool enough to be called a BFF.  😉

That rounds out most of this week.  I am so happy to have insurance coverage!  And I am so excited to be called a BFF!  (I feel cool now.)  Next up – I need a job!  In the meantime, I hope everyone has a great weekend!

 

Neurology Now

(Note: This blog post is also posted on A Canvas of the Minds.)

I want to share with you information on a free magazine called Neurology Now.  While its main focus is on neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, epilepsy, stroke, brain trauma and Multiple Sclerosis, it also has featured articles on migraines, pain disorders and depression. Other topics include ADHD, Autism/Asperger’s, and Restless Legs Syndrome. This is a magazine that is free to patients and caregivers/friends/family members of patients.

I always find the articles interesting, even if they don’t directly apply to me.  My mother had Alzheimer’s disease, and I found the articles both supportive and helpful. It’s interesting to read the struggles and successes of others who are in different situations.  Their coping mechanisms for dealing with chronic diseases can become our coping mechanism for dealing with a chronic disease, even though theirs may be physical and ours may be mental. The magazine is designed for patients, so it is written with down-to-earth terms and explanations, and many of the articles involve real-life stories as inspiration.  There are even little cognitive puzzles in each magazine.

I urge you to check out their website and decide for yourself if this is something you would like to subscribe to.  I have been subscribing for years and always find something of interest in every publication.  It is released every other month, so it doesn’t fill up your mailbox.

I thought I would share this interesting resource with all of you.

COBRA

Grrr….Argh!

COBRA – Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act – very useful option for those of us finding ourselves suddenly out of benefits, but…. the details!  OK, so my (former) employer sends me at least 5 different packets on my COBRA options, only one of which contains the amount and due dates for signing up and sending in payment.  Several sheets in each packet appear to be duplicates.  Not the entire packet, mind you, as if accidentally sent twice, but each packet a separate piece of the COBRA puzzle, with some redundant pieces thrown in for confusion.  I confess I skimmed through all the pages, looking for relevant, non-repeated information.  However, they give you a great big 1-800-call for information about your benefits hotline, so really, do the details on those pieces of paper matter?  Apparently so, although I still haven’t found the detail that has caused me the most immediate grief.

I called several weeks ago about my benefits and find out that I need to have a pin number sent to me that I can use to access my account.  Great.  Wait for that.  After I have all the information, DH & I debate over dental insurance.  Well, it’s $75/mo by COBRA and if we haven’t done anything about our teeth in the past two years at $12/mo why should we spend $75/mo on insurance we probably won’t use?  So we get that settled and I sign up online for health only.  Done.  I wait 10 days… no money has been taken out of my account.  Well, I need prescriptions.  So I call and verify that I have coverage.  Yes, but it takes 14 business days to notify the insurance company. OK, fine, I can wait another week for my scripts.

Fast forward to this week.  I need my scripts now.  The pharmacy says I don’t have insurance.  I say, fill them anyway.  I’m out of choices.  I call the glorious 1-800 # back and ask them what is going on.  They say, oh, well, we don’t notify the insurance company until you send in a payment.  WTF?  That isn’t what you told me last time.  What you told me last time was that I only had to sign up for it.  So now what do I do?

I had signed up for direct deposit to make my life easier, and that won’t start until June 1, which is still in my 45 day time frame for payment.  That’s all good and well, except that until then, I have to pay for all of my own medical and then try to get reimbursed from the insurance company after the back-dated insurance kicks in.  No, I’m sending a check in on Monday.  Well, you don’t have to, the benefits support specialist says, your account will be direct debited on June 1.  While true, that’s an extra two-three weeks worth of doctor appointments and medication juggling I have to do before payment all becomes automatic and life goes back to simple co-pays.  What land do they live in that I can spare all this up-front cash and trust the insurance company to reimburse me?

Meanwhile, I only picked up two of my three medications.  The third, generic Lipitor, was going to cost me $111 out of pocket.  With my high deductible health plan, this normally costs me $0.  I said no.  My PC is going to kill me if my cholesterol numbers are too high when I get tested on Monday, but she will understand once I explain at my next visit.  A lot of doctors today are sympathetic when it comes to insurance companies.  It’s not that I don’t have insurance, it’s that it’s currently inactive. It will be back-dated once it’s activated.  However, I can’t afford to be filling my psych meds without active insurance.  I need this ASAP.  I’m half tempted to send the check overnight.  It seems to take them two weeks to do anything.  Two weeks to send out the paperwork, two weeks to process, two weeks to notify the insurance carrier.  I don’t even know if I will get new insurance cards.  I should have asked, but it might have taken me two weeks and three tries to get the correct answer.

Well, that’s enough crabbing for today.  I am going to try to get back on the creativity wagon now.  It helps to keep me sane during this unemployment period.  Finding a job is a lot of work, and very depressing, so I have to find ways of balancing that out.  Photography seems to help.  I need to go out on a shoot somewhere soon.  The simple act of taking a photo is an art in and of itself.  And I need a little art in my life.

Quiet Composure

One of things that has been bothering me lately is that I am taking this unemployment situation with graceful composure.  With the exception of a couple of down days, I’ve been working through this unemployment problem with no actual outward sign of mental illness.  Although I am still laden with some depression and my Moodscope chart puts me in the teens in terms of emotional state, I am by all appearances, calm.  Even behind closed doors.  DH & I talked about this the other day.  He was surprised that I am not more upset.  He came home from work and told me how he was feeling stressed out over our situation.  We hugged and talked… even with his admission, I remained oddly calm.

Is this me?  Is it the real me?  Am I hiding something from myself?  Am I in denial?  Or is the medication numbing me?

I talked with my new therapist about this yesterday.  We didn’t come up with an answer, other than maybe my mind recognizes and accepts that this situation is not as bad as previously similar situations.  This time I have savings (which will be eaten up quickly by my mortgage and COBRA), and I do not have a $450 a month car payment.  But we do have a $300/mo student loan payment for my husband’s education that we didn’t have before.  Our mortgage is $500 a month more, and my husband had a job with health insurance last time so we didn’t need to COBRA.  Our medical and phone bills are certainly higher. Maybe we aren’t so much better off this time after all.  Damn, why did I have to follow that train of thought?

This morning I began to feel a crack forming in my calm facade.  A thin stream of mental instability shot through the opening.  Maybe I am not as composed as I think I am.  I’ve not been taking Klonopin because I am trying to avoid it whenever possible.  Stubborn me, I’ll suffer before I ask for help.  At least this time I have people to help me.  My therapist might be young, but she is enthusiastic and genuine, whereas last time my therapist was only interested in dragging out my therapy and not focusing on things that would impact me immediately.  The pdoc I had last time was nice, but he didn’t have the same amount of insight or time invested with me as my current pdoc.  I have a better support network of friends now, even if none of them know I am bipolar.  Last time, my friends abandoned me when I lost my job or perhaps just before because I scared them all away with my wild mania.  Odd, isn’t it, how quickly people will turn tail and run rather than try to help?

I’m walking on paper-thin ice here.  I fear the day it cracks and I fall into the dark cold of depression.

 
© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.