Category Archives: brain fun

Anger

It turns out I have a lot of repressed anger.  I generally have a very long fuse on my temper.  And I’ve always stuff my anger down inside me because I fear it.  I realized this last night, talking to my sweetheart.  It’s not that I fear I’ll get violent.  When I get angry all I can think about is the people who’ve abused me when they were angry, and it triggers me, so then I’m having flashbacks while being angry and it makes everything worse.  I get afraid I’ll become like them if I let myself feel rage.

My sweetheart has said for months that I’m afraid of my shadow self.  True.  I fear that I’m secretly a monster, and if I don’t repress my negative feelings I’ll become nothing but those feelings.  In many ways I fear losing control, scared that I’ll never be able to come back to myself afterwards.  Doesn’t matter if it’s letting go enough to orgasm (which still happens often), letting myself experience anger, just having a good cry…  If I start I won’t be able to stop.  That’s the fear.

I need to talk this out with my therapist next time I see her…

Random stuff

Good news, all!  For months I was dealing with vomiting (well, dry heaving) every time my blood sugar got low.  With the reduction of my Geodon, it’s stopped.  I’m only getting nauseous if I start chain-smoking, which I’m trying not to do.

Quitting smoking was working great until the hallucinations started.  My psychiatrist told me it was a dumb idea to quit while in the middle of a medication change.  (I’m paraphrasing.  She’s much more polite than that.)  So I’m smoking until the switch to Abilify is complete.

I’m down to one Geodon a day, at night.  The first few days after the dose reduction on Friday were awful.  Like, I couldn’t drive after 2pm (my normal afternoon dose time, which was when I started feeling awful), and I felt suicidal one afternoon.  (Note: I knew I was feeling that way and told my sweetheart I shouldn’t be alone, rather than going home and hurting myself.  I’m quite proud of myself for that.)  But every day it’s been better, and yesterday I barely had any withdrawal symptoms.  So next week I’m going to tell my doctor I’m ready to get rid of the last dose and get off the med completely.  It’ll be another few days of hell, I’m sure, but it’s worth it.

I’m in the process of selling off about two-thirds of my fountain pen collection.  I just don’t use them.  I’m keeping several, but selling 19 of them.  Like, I love the idea of Pilot Vanishing Points, which are retractable at the click of a button.  But in practice they dry out way too quickly.  I own three.  I’m keeping one that was a gift, but selling the other two.  And I used to collect all the colors of Lamy Al-Stars, and some I’d never even inked.  I’m keeping a couple of favorites, but most of them have been posted for sale.

If I sell all the pens I’ll have a few hundred dollars to put towards my bills.  Yay!

Because of my brain weirdness, I’m not done with my commissioned art yet.  I’m hoping to wrap it up today.  I’ve been working on it a little, here and there, but my concentration was shot for a few days.

I had an idea for a tapestry.  Sweetheart has these earrings that are teardrop-shaped and have a design laced into them with thread.  I want to try doing an itty bitty tapestry on a weird metal shape like that.  Just for the experience.  I can’t see myself wanting to work on something that tiny very often, but it would be a fun experiment.

Knitting-wise, I’m almost finished with the second of a pair of dish towels for my sweetheart’s mother.  After that I’m going to whip up a couple more washcloths for my sweetie, then get to work on a sweater for myself.  I bought enough yarn to make myself a sweater a couple of years ago, and never got comfortable with the idea of knitting a whole cardigan in sport weight yarn for myself.  That’s a lot of knitting, and I never found a pattern I liked.  I realized something a couple of nights ago: I can knit it in the round and just steek it.  (Steeking, for those of you who don’t knit, is cutting a pullover sweater up the front to make it a cardigan.  Yes, it’s scary.  Yes, I’ve done it before, but only once.)  I own a sewing machine now.  I can sew two parallel rows of overlock stitching and then just cut between them.  Last time I steeked a sweater, I did it by hand and it was terrible.  I mean, it came out well, but the process was terrible.

Okay, done for the moment.  Later, y’all!

I’m lump, I’m lump, I might be dead

My evil ex used to say that the Presidents of the USA song “Lump” was written about me. I hate that band so much as a result. And then my ex-wife used to make me listen to them, because she was a fan and said I needed to get over it. Ugh. 

But anyway. 

I have a confession to make. I have done pretty much nothing today. Sleeping lots, mostly. I just attempted to go Out and realized that if I did I’d stop for cigarettes. Because I can’t go to the coffee shop alone and not smoke. So I turned my car back around. At least I took out the trash while I was leaving the house. So I can say I accomplished something today. 

I do have plans in a bit — my psychiatrist, and then a knitting group I’ve been trying to talk myself into going to for like a year now. Even though it’s people I used to knit with all the time. I’m making myself go today, though. Even if I can only stay 20 minutes at least I’ll have tried. 

(I feel bad for my sweetheart, who is very social and can’t take me anywhere because groups of people make me so uncomfortable. The only friend of hers I’ve gotten to spend quiet time talking with, just the three of us, is awesome.  I warmed up to him pretty quickly and now count him as a friend. But if I’d met him at a party I would have never struck up a conversation. Social anxiety sucks donkey balls.)

Did I mention I’m depressed today, too? Not the kind where I want to hurt myself. Just the kind where I wanna disappear into Fantasyland or else sleep for the next year. Much healthier. It occurs to me that my psychiatrist might be pissed at me for quitting smoking during a med change. If she tells me not to quit for another few weeks, I’m going to do as she says. Even though I cringe at the thought of spending more money on smokes. 

Ugh. Going back to bed until it’s time to leave for the doctor. Can’t function…

Bad blogger. No cookie.

I keep swearing I’ll do a better job of updating, but I never do…  Mostly I’m keeping a private journal these days, but some people actually read this blog, so here’s an update.

I’m still with my sweetheart, the woman I mentioned in this post.  It’s been 2.5 months now.  I’m in love with her, and have been for a while.  Weird, huh?  Here I was planning to never get involved with anyone for the rest of my life, and suddenly — love.  She makes me very happy.  I’m lucky she cares for me as much as I do her.

I still haven’t had the money to go back to school, so I’ve enrolled in a couple of Coursera classes.  Python Fundamentals (or something like that) and Mathematical Thinking.  I’m really just auditing the classes, because that’s free, but I’m committing to myself to do the work.  I’ve also started using online language software through the public library to work on my Spanish. My love is taking Spanish II this fall, but needs to brush up on Spanish I first.  So we’re doing it together.  Which is really nice.  She and I do all sorts of fun things together — art, hiking, traveling — and I’m excited to add “learning” to that list.

I’ve been iffy on my volunteer work lately.  I love it, and I want to be there every single week.  But.  I’ve been dealing with medication changes, and those never bode well for my mental stability.

It started with my Geodon addiction.  It’s not supposed to be addictive, but I was taking it three times a day and getting withdrawal symptoms from hell if I was even an hour late.  So I told my doctor I wanted off it.  I went into her office one day while in withdrawal.  It was unplanned, but she was horrified to see me like that and agreed to help me get off it.  So we started Abilify.  I’m going up on it every two weeks until I’m off the Geodon and am stable.  It’s… not easy.  Currently I’m at 5mg of Abilify in the mornings, and no longer take a morning Geodon.  Thursday we’ll go up a little more on Abilify and lose the second Geodon dose.  Which will make me weird for a couple of days.  It’s not an easy transition.  I’ve had stray hallucinations (minor ones, thankfully) and other little symptoms here and there.

And I quit smoking yesterday, so my poor brain is confused about that too.  Smoking is helpful for the schizophrenic brain, although it can cause the same lung damage as it would on a neurotypical.  The current theory is that it helps regulate dopamine in such a way as to help with focus.  Almost all schizophrenics smoke, for that reason.  (Although most people don’t know why it helps them feel better.  They just know it works.)  I wouldn’t quit, except I can’t afford to spend a couple hundred dollars a month on cigarettes…

I haven’t been exercising.  Or playing my cello.  Or drawing.  There’s only so many things I can do at once!  I am, however, knitting a lot.  I made my love a short-sleeved summer sweater, which she likes enough that she wore it to work the other day.  That made me feel really good, that I made something that wasn’t embarrassing to wear.  I mean, yes, I know I’m a good knitter, but it’s rare I make sweaters and it’s nice that they turn out that well.

I’ve also been weaving a lot.  I learned to do overshot on on my rigid heddle and started making weird wall hangings — overshot mixed with rows of leno lace, brooks bouquets, random designs… A friend has actually commissioned me to do one.  I started on it yesterday.  I should be finished within a couple of days.  Later today I need to go buy a few more dowels.  I’m painting them and using them to weigh down the hangings, because they’re made of fingering weight wool.  I’m thinking that for future ones I’m going to move up to DK weight.  10dpi instead of the 12 I’m doing now.  Then I can use my handspun, which is almost all sport/DK.  I have some cool ideas for future hangings.  They’re faster than tapestry, and I can grid out the overshot designs instead of having to freehand tapestry cartoons.  I’d like to sell some more.

I can’t believe I’m getting paid for my art.  And the hangings are art — I’m designing images for them.  It’s not like spinning that’s all about hand movements.  Yes, I’m a good fiber artist, but the textile art I’m doing feels like legit art.  It’s very satisfying.  I do want to get back to tapestry some, too.  I have one in progress that I haven’t touched in like a month.  I’m going to pick it back up when I get my commission done, while I wait until I can buy the DK warp yarns I need.

Speaking of money — I wish I could work.  Or magically win $3,000.  I need it.  Medical bills, mostly.  Still paying off my fucking root canals.  I hate being broke and not really being able to do anything about it…

The Snake and the Butterfly

Has it really been five months since I last updated this blog?  Wow.  So much has changed, for the better.  I’ll do a longer update later today, but I’ve been composing this entry in my head for the last 45 minutes and I want to get it down before I lose it.  Sorry if this is a little disjointed.  My head’s all over the place at the moment.

In 2005 I went on Lamictal.  I’ve mentioned it here before.  It’s a mood stabilizer and anti-seizure drug.  I was on the maximum dosage from early 2006 until October 2016, as I wrote in my last post.  I’m now down to about half the dose I was taking.  And as I was driving home today, I got a sneaking suspicion that two things were correlated.  When I got back to my computer, I looked in my old journals to check same dates.  And my suspicion was proven correct.

I used to be very, very active on LiveJournal.  My old journal is still there.  I posted in 2005 about starting Lamictal, then the dose going up over the next few months.  A few weeks after I hit the maximum dosage I posted to LJ that I was quitting magick.

I used to be really, really into the occult.  A chaos mage, using Thelema as my primary framework, but with a handful of other techniques and theories thrown in.  I got interested around puberty.  By the time I hit legal drinking age, I was doing something magickal at least daily, even just 10 minute meditation-type rituals.  I kept it up until I was 30.  Which was 2006.

A couple of months ago, after I reached a lower dosage of the drug, I found myself dusting off my old collection of magick books.  Charging sigils.  Reading new books on the subject.  Talking to old friends who told me privately that yes, they still believe.  Not really practicing myself, but the intent was there.  Then last week I met a Thelemite, and my budding friendship with her seems like the exact right thing at the exact right time.  So yeah, magick.

There are two ways to look at the Lamictal correlation.  From a skeptic’s point of view, the medication gave me clarity and it’s dimming with my dosage decrease.  From a mage’s perspective, the drug dimmed the clarity I already had.  At the moment I feel like reality is overlapping layers, like transparencies on a projector: the objective and the subjective.  They line up almost perfectly, but it’s still uncomfortable to look at.  (Not literally look at.  I’m not seeing things.  It’s just a simile.)

There’s a maxim in chaos magick that says it doesn’t matter why something works, so long as it does work.  For example: if I do a working to get myself a job, and I get a job quickly, it worked.  It doesn’t matter whether it worked for esoteric reasons or because doing the working gave me the confidence to apply for something I normally wouldn’t have tried for.  It still worked.  So I think I’m going to take that approach.  Augmenting reality, not replacing it.

What started this train of thought was something strange that happened on a bike ride this morning.  My friend K and I were riding through the woods on a paved trail.  She asked me if I’d ever seen any snakes out there.  I never had.  Suddenly there was one right next to my front tire.  I didn’t hit it.  It was long, thin, green and silver lengthwise stripes.  K checked to make sure it was alive.  It was.  It was just sunning itself on the asphalt, totally chill.

We started riding again.  She joked that she’d summoned it by talking about snakes.  I said if we were going to summon animals, we should try for butterflies or–

My sentence was cut off by a butterfly swooping down to fly right between us.  Two more landed on the trail before us.

It was a really weird moment for both of us.  We laughed, said we were magic, joking around.  But there seemed to be something in that strange second when the butterfly flitted between our handlebars.  Magick.  Even if it’s all in my head, it still feels beautiful.

Life update, Halloween edition

Lots of stuff has been going on, mostly good things!

Social: I’ve been leaving the house and hanging out with people!  Which means I need to give a few people some nicknames. (Pause…)  Done.  I even made a page for my cast of characters.  Yesterday I hung out with Zelda for like 6 hours.  Her friend Domino joined us for lunch, and we hit it off too, and then the three of us spent like an hour in Joanns gleefully shopping for 70% off Halloween decorations.  Last Sunday I had coffee in the morning with Rose for two hours, and then spend the afternoon with Zelda.  I am such a social butterfly.

Hellooooooo nurse: I’ve been contemplating having a sex life again.  I don’t want love, but friendship with benefits would be awesome.  I’ve even been flirting with people.  Shocking.

Brain Fun: doing fairly well on most days. There was a four-day depressive streak last week during which I only left the house once.  And the week before that I struggled with occasional bursts of impulsive recklessness.  Like, “if I ride my bike down this 65mph highway, it’s not like I’m actually attempting suicide, right?  I mean, it has a bike lane…”  But mostly I’m okay.

Thursday I started decreasing my Lamictal dosage.  I’ve been on 200mg twice a day for years, and I’m fed up with the severe memory loss it causes.  I’ve forgotten almost everything I learned in college.  I don’t remember most of my childhood.  The memories are still there, I just can’t access them.  (Thanks to my psych degree and a stint volunteering in a neuropsych lab, I know a bit about memory testing and have done some.  I store memories just fine; it’s retrieval that’s the problem.)  I consider this to be the best way to lose memories, as it means I have a chance of regaining access.  If I wasn’t storing them when they happened, I’d be completely SOL.

Lamictal is what prevents my mania.  If I start getting manic I’ll just sedate myself and then resume my former dose.  Easy.  I hope this works.

Therapy: haven’t had an appointment since my last update.  I’ll have one tomorrow, though.

Cycling: still doing it, although not as much as I’d like.  That whole reckless thing has made me a little scared to ride much.  I’ll talk to my therapist about it.

I’ve resumed my daily walks, though.  Because outdoor exercise of any kind helps my mental health.

Crafting: two inches left of Nephew’s pillow.  I’ve been spinning a lot.  Nothing else, though.  I’ve been too busy reading.

Reading: alllll the books.  So many books.  Mostly paper ones.  All non-fiction.  Which reminds me, I should update my Goodreads account.

Cello: I’ve stopped lessons until January, so that I can afford school and Christmas presents.  I’m sad, but I’ll be back to it in the new year.

Follow-up from last update: I had to reschedule the dentist, because I’ve been having some trouble with nausea.  The craft fair this last Saturday was fun, although it was just me and Mom.  I got a new journal.  Now I just need to keep up with it.

Upcoming plans: Hiking November 11th!  So excite!

Mid-month update

I seem to be stuck updating biweekly…

Therapy: not as intense as last time, but stressful nonetheless.  Talked about how I dissociate so much, both deliberately and involuntarily.  How it makes me feel safer.  How when I cried happy tears the other day, I had no idea why my eyes were watery and it confused me, and how once I realized I was happy-crying I was even more confused because how could I not know that’s what I was doing?  I have serious mind/body disconnect issues, and I want to fix it.

Reading: Saturday I started reading a book that wasn’t fanfic.  Since then I’ve read four more books and am almost done with a fifth.  The last one I finished was a novel, which delighted me.  I want to read more fiction.  I hope this lasts for a while.  Oh, yeah, and three were paper books.  Maybe I need to switch back to physical books.  Yay for good libraries!

Biking: still at it.  I’m having to take shorter rides now, though, because long ones hurt my bad knee.  I have dual rear baskets now so I can run more nearby errands on my bike.  In a little bit I’ll be riding to my sister’s to babysit…

Crafting: My ex-MIL loved the washcloths I made for her birthday.  I finished the pillow for my nephew, only for him to tell me one of the colors was wrong.  (Never mind that he had picked it out.)  So I’m waiting on new yarn to come in.  I warped for my tunic but haven’t started weaving yet.  I haven’t finished the dishcloth I started a few days ago, because I’ve been reading so much.  I got the yarn for Mom’s birthday present (washcloths that match her bathroom decor) but haven’t started those.  (Gotta finish the dishcloth first, as it uses the same needles I need for the washcloths.)  Oh, and Friday I cut out all the pieces for the change purses I’m making.  Now I just need to figure out how to sew on the zippers.  Haven’t done any spinning in a couple of months.

Mental stuff: much less depressed.  Not napping often.  Not eating junk food.  Still dissociating but not as much.  So, better overall.  I’ve been having more good days than bad.  Never did hear back from Hillary’s campaign.  I should call again.

Also… this is going to sound weird and sad.  For the last couple of years I’ve only had a libido when really depressed.  Like, I only get myself off when I’m miserable, because when I feel better I’m not interested.  What does it say about me, that arousal is a sign of depression for me?  I get anhedonic except for lust, and even then I frequently feel desire without being able to do anything about it.  But today I got turned on while in a good mood.  It felt weird, but I’m happy about it.

Also, watching cisgender porn as a trans person is hard.  Because my private fantasies are always with me in a male body, and so sometimes gay porn is awesome, but then like today I wanted to see my own physiology reflected so I was watching straight porn.  Neither feels quite right, but there’s a lack of good trans BDSM porn featuring submissives whom I can identify with even a little.  Stupid transgender problem #873987984789375…

Upcoming plans: Thursday I finally see the dentist.  (My appointment was rescheduled because of the last hurricane.)  Pride festival is Saturday, and I’m going to go for at least a little while.  Next weekend I’m going to a craft fair with Mom and ex-MIL.  In November there will be hiking in Georgia.  And cello lessons!  I resume those on Nov. 3rd.

Cycling, therapy, cello, etc.

Cello: I have cancelled my lessons for the month of October.  I need to go to the dentist instead.  Joy.

Therapy: Today’s lesson dealt with some unpleasant shit from when I was a teenager.  It was kind of awful.  Afterwards I went to the Harn Museum of Art to make myself feel better.  Except, parking was $4 and I had no cash.  Sigh.

Depression: The Sunday before last I decided to try to get a part-time job, just stocking shelves at the grocery or something.  The stress of putting together my resume made me suicidally depressed for the next three days.  So that’s not really an option.  I’m trying to volunteer for Hillary’s campaign, but haven’t gotten a call back yet about when to come in.

Crafting: I’m knitting a pillow for my youngest nephew, and knitting three washcloths for my ex-MIL as a birthday gift.  Both projects are by request.  Today I set up a spreadsheet for planning weaving projects, and I really need to warp for my black and green tunic.  And do some sewing.  Can’t focus on anything that requires brain cells at the moment.

Reading: I’ve been so scattered I haven’t been able to read anything, even slash.  Annoying.

Cycling: padded bike underwear are awesome.  They feel like wearing a overnight-strength maxi pad, but because of them I’ve been able to ride two days in a row.  Nine miles yesterday, at the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail, and seven miles today, around my part of town.  It helps that it’s been in the low 70s in the mornings!  More about biking under the cut.

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Fan fiction through the lens of schizoaffective disorder

Until my breakdown at age 23, I read a shitload of fiction.  I’ve always been a big reader, but back then it was mostly novels.  After I started recovering enough to read again, I found I could only read non-fiction.  And I’ve figured out over the years why I can read some things but not others.

I don’t trust my brain.  I can’t.  For too many years it lied to me about what was and was not reality.  Novels require too much imagination.  I get lost.  It makes me deeply uncomfortable.  So instead I took up weird history books, because history is (more or less) true stories.  I still get to enjoy a good tale, but it’s a tale based in reality.

But about a year ago, I discovered I can read fan fiction.  It was a huge breakthrough for me.  It doesn’t require as much imagination, you see.  I already know what the characters look and sound like, because I’ve seen them in comics or films or television shows.  I know how the rules of their universe work.  I know they are played by real people.  So I can lose myself in fanfic, because I don’t completely lose myself.  Fanfic leaves me an anchor to the real world.  And I adore it for that.

I can also read comics for the same reason — I can see the characters and their world, so I don’t get lost.  I don’t have to trust my brain to fill in the imagery, because it’s right there on the page.  I read a fair amount of comics these days, but most of them are short reads.  For long reads I like novel-length fanfic works, if they’re written well.  And many are.  Ao3 has been a lifesaver, in terms of new reading material.

Sometimes I try to read regular novels.  I do.  But it’s incredibly difficult for me.  I’m so lucky I have other options.  Because stories are wonderful things, and I’d hate to not be able to read any at all.