I didn't want to post till I could do it without crying. Something shifted in my brain last night and I'm like... I'm not okay. I am so very not okay. But I've managed to put most of it over to one side where it's not going to keep making me cry. At least today.

I am going to ask you not to try and be nice to me in the comments, but I'd be grateful for ...ordinary conversationy type remarks, if you can find any.
cut for drivel, navelgazing and suicidal ideation )
I want you to imagine a TV show happening with a split screen, like they did on 24 and... that other TV show, I can't remember what it was called. Both screens are showing the story of the same protagonist.

Screen A shows her going about her life. It's not perfect, but it's okay. She has some trouble with her health, but she has friends and family that support her. She lives in a country where the government is still, more or less, committed to providing a safety net for those whose health compromises their ability to work. There's still enough left of the National Health Service that she doesn't have to deal with medical bills. She's very lucky and she knows it.

Screen B shows a similar story. The bones of the plot are the same. Only on this side of the screen, her friends and family either don't believe in her health problems - oh, she's just lazy. It's just psychosomatic. She's always had an overactive imagination - or else they resent her. My health problems are worse than hers and I hold down a fulltime job. She's just playing the system. I'm a better person than she is because I wouldn't claim welfare even if my country offered it. They make sympathetic noises out of courtesy or pacifism, but they're sick of her whining. They wish she'd just disappear. Her doctor believes she's invented her symptoms out of whole cloth to swindle the government; anything she isn't outright inventing can easily be ascribed to her weight or the fact that she's a hysterical female who reads up her health problems on the Internet. He's convinced there's nothing wrong with her a strict diet and exercise regime wouldn't cure.

On Screen A, she went through some hassle with her welfare a while ago, but it was just routine. It was hard for her, but it wasn't personal. It's hard for everyone and they can't afford to be paying for anyone that could manage without it; and she succeeded in proving she couldn't, so that was all right.

On Screen B, there's a man in a local government office who's made it his personal mission to wipe this woman off the face of the earth. He supposes he could ambush her out walking and stab her, or pay someone else to do it, but he's afraid of the consequence of breaking the law, and besides, that would let her off too easily. He wants her to really suffer, and he knows just how to do it. He's going to use every legal means in his power to strip her of all support and dignity - after all, who does she think she is that his taxes should support her? She's just scrounging scum, she doesn't deserve it. So first he insists she isn't sick at all, and she has to spend half a year on one-third of her (already low) income while she waits her turn to prove to an independent tribunal that she really is. His first attempt was foiled at the tribunal stage; but that's all right. He has all the time in the world and all the resources at his disposal. He can require her to prove herself again and again and again until either he gets the result he wants or she can't face fighting another battle. When he finally succeeds in forcing her into homelessness, he'll laugh and perhaps buy all his mates drinks in the pub to celebrate.

On Screen B, the woman's neighbours hate her; she thinks she's better than they are because she has a posh accent. She reads books and she looked horrified when they bred their fifth litter of Staffie puppies and offered to sell her one. They take delight in filling her recycle bin with rotting garbage. Every time a dog barks in the neighbourhood they telephone the council and complain about her dogs, even though they're pretty sure that was some other dog they heard. They'll be delighted if she gets evicted or someone comes and takes her dogs away; who does she think she is anyway, taking up a nice flat that could have gone to someone deserving. She'll get what's coming to her.

...See, the thing is, I'm not stupid. I'm not completely delusional. I know that Screen A is telling something much closer to the truth. It's just that all my emotions, all my gut reactions, are coming straight from Screen B. And I don't know how to make it stop. I'm terrified every time I walk out of my front door, these days. I'm terrified to speak to people even though I know, really, that they don't actually hate me. This is half the reason I haven't been posting. The other half is that, after an initial first flush of feeling better, the levothyroxine is having almost no effect again; it's a rare good day when I can do as much as walk to the damn corner shop and I'm a drooling brainfogged idiot approximately four days out of seven.

I am also in the middle of switching antidepressants; this required me to wean myself completely off the Zoloft before I can start taking the Seroxat again. Which might, now I think of it, have something to do with the present state of red-alert panic paranoia. It's not usually quite this bad. I just wanted to get it down while I could. I'm now going to hit the post button before I change my mind.
I want you to imagine a TV show happening with a split screen, like they did on 24 and... that other TV show, I can't remember what it was called. Both screens are showing the story of the same protagonist.

Screen A shows her going about her life. It's not perfect, but it's okay. She has some trouble with her health, but she has friends and family that support her. She lives in a country where the government is still, more or less, committed to providing a safety net for those whose health compromises their ability to work. There's still enough left of the National Health Service that she doesn't have to deal with medical bills. She's very lucky and she knows it.

Screen B shows a similar story. The bones of the plot are the same. Only on this side of the screen, her friends and family either don't believe in her health problems - oh, she's just lazy. It's just psychosomatic. She's always had an overactive imagination - or else they resent her. My health problems are worse than hers and I hold down a fulltime job. She's just playing the system. I'm a better person than she is because I wouldn't claim welfare even if my country offered it. They make sympathetic noises out of courtesy or pacifism, but they're sick of her whining. They wish she'd just disappear. Her doctor believes she's invented her symptoms out of whole cloth to swindle the government; anything she isn't outright inventing can easily be ascribed to her weight or the fact that she's a hysterical female who reads up her health problems on the Internet. He's convinced there's nothing wrong with her a strict diet and exercise regime wouldn't cure.

On Screen A, she went through some hassle with her welfare a while ago, but it was just routine. It was hard for her, but it wasn't personal. It's hard for everyone and they can't afford to be paying for anyone that could manage without it; and she succeeded in proving she couldn't, so that was all right.

On Screen B, there's a man in a local government office who's made it his personal mission to wipe this woman off the face of the earth. He supposes he could ambush her out walking and stab her, or pay someone else to do it, but he's afraid of the consequence of breaking the law, and besides, that would let her off too easily. He wants her to really suffer, and he knows just how to do it. He's going to use every legal means in his power to strip her of all support and dignity - after all, who does she think she is that his taxes should support her? She's just scrounging scum, she doesn't deserve it. So first he insists she isn't sick at all, and she has to spend half a year on one-third of her (already low) income while she waits her turn to prove to an independent tribunal that she really is. His first attempt was foiled at the tribunal stage; but that's all right. He has all the time in the world and all the resources at his disposal. He can require her to prove herself again and again and again until either he gets the result he wants or she can't face fighting another battle. When he finally succeeds in forcing her into homelessness, he'll laugh and perhaps buy all his mates drinks in the pub to celebrate.

On Screen B, the woman's neighbours hate her; she thinks she's better than they are because she has a posh accent. She reads books and she looked horrified when they bred their fifth litter of Staffie puppies and offered to sell her one. They take delight in filling her recycle bin with rotting garbage. Every time a dog barks in the neighbourhood they telephone the council and complain about her dogs, even though they're pretty sure that was some other dog they heard. They'll be delighted if she gets evicted or someone comes and takes her dogs away; who does she think she is anyway, taking up a nice flat that could have gone to someone deserving. She'll get what's coming to her.

...See, the thing is, I'm not stupid. I'm not completely delusional. I know that Screen A is telling something much closer to the truth. It's just that all my emotions, all my gut reactions, are coming straight from Screen B. And I don't know how to make it stop. I'm terrified every time I walk out of my front door, these days. I'm terrified to speak to people even though I know, really, that they don't actually hate me. This is half the reason I haven't been posting. The other half is that, after an initial first flush of feeling better, the levothyroxine is having almost no effect again; it's a rare good day when I can do as much as walk to the damn corner shop and I'm a drooling brainfogged idiot approximately four days out of seven.

I am also in the middle of switching antidepressants; this required me to wean myself completely off the Zoloft before I can start taking the Seroxat again. Which might, now I think of it, have something to do with the present state of red-alert panic paranoia. It's not usually quite this bad. I just wanted to get it down while I could. I'm now going to hit the post button before I change my mind.
I dreamed I was living in an old block of flats, very like the place in Lansdowne where I first lived alone with John except that the flats were bigger on the inside like puzzle boxes. Mine contained room after room full of heavy, dark Victorian furniture, lit by candles; but I couldn't seem to keep the door locked. I woke up in the morning and there was a strange dog, a Great Dane, playing biteyface with Spike. I went out onto the landing to take the Dane back to where he belonged, and one of my neighbours asked me when John would be coming back.

I clutched the ruff of long hair on Spike's neck. "It's complicated," I said. I knew he wouldn't be back. I went back into the room with the long dining table and tried to burn myself with the candles, but all I could do was put each one out, one by one. The hot wax wouldn't even sting on my skin and in any case it was useless, useless. I thought of the cold anger on his face and knew no amount of pain would persuade him to pity or forgive.

Make it stop, oh, make it stop.
I dreamed I was living in an old block of flats, very like the place in Lansdowne where I first lived alone with John except that the flats were bigger on the inside like puzzle boxes. Mine contained room after room full of heavy, dark Victorian furniture, lit by candles; but I couldn't seem to keep the door locked. I woke up in the morning and there was a strange dog, a Great Dane, playing biteyface with Spike. I went out onto the landing to take the Dane back to where he belonged, and one of my neighbours asked me when John would be coming back.

I clutched the ruff of long hair on Spike's neck. "It's complicated," I said. I knew he wouldn't be back. I went back into the room with the long dining table and tried to burn myself with the candles, but all I could do was put each one out, one by one. The hot wax wouldn't even sting on my skin and in any case it was useless, useless. I thought of the cold anger on his face and knew no amount of pain would persuade him to pity or forgive.

Make it stop, oh, make it stop.
You know that feeling you get just before you realise that you've left the gas on, or an oven glove on a hot stovetop, or your keys/child/dog in the car, or something? That urgent sense of imminent disaster that you can prevent as soon as you remember just what it is?

I haven't stopped feeling like that almost constantly since the beginning of the DWP/mental illness medical drama. And that was back in September last year. It doesn't leave me with a lot of energy. I crave people and socialising and interaction as much as I ever did but every second of contact with anyone uses up energy. I used to have enough and to spare but this constant shoe-drop vigilance soaks up so much that I've all but shut down. It's killed my attention span and my capacity for concentration, neither of which were all that great to start with. Then I feel guilty about not answering comments and not finishing projects and etc etc etc. It's become a downward spiral that I don't have the energy to lift myself out of unaided.

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow afternoon. I need this to change before I break irretrievably. I probably won't answer comments on this entry either because I need to go and lie down till my heart stops hammering, but know that I am reading them and that I'm committed to resuming normal service as soon as possible. thank you.
You know that feeling you get just before you realise that you've left the gas on, or an oven glove on a hot stovetop, or your keys/child/dog in the car, or something? That urgent sense of imminent disaster that you can prevent as soon as you remember just what it is?

I haven't stopped feeling like that almost constantly since the beginning of the DWP/mental illness medical drama. And that was back in September last year. It doesn't leave me with a lot of energy. I crave people and socialising and interaction as much as I ever did but every second of contact with anyone uses up energy. I used to have enough and to spare but this constant shoe-drop vigilance soaks up so much that I've all but shut down. It's killed my attention span and my capacity for concentration, neither of which were all that great to start with. Then I feel guilty about not answering comments and not finishing projects and etc etc etc. It's become a downward spiral that I don't have the energy to lift myself out of unaided.

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow afternoon. I need this to change before I break irretrievably. I probably won't answer comments on this entry either because I need to go and lie down till my heart stops hammering, but know that I am reading them and that I'm committed to resuming normal service as soon as possible. thank you.
Spike is doing awesome well. I had this great long mental list of Things I Was Worried he Might Not Be Able To Do After His Surgery and he has now cleared the list completely. He can eat whole raw chicken quarters, albeit more slowly than before, and he does require them to be handed to him because he has trouble picking them up without his front canines, but once I do that he's good to go. He can gnaw on recreational beef bones, though he has voluntarily ceased his annoying habit of running round the room carrying one when he's very excited or wants to piss Squish off. He can play tug, although he needs to go carefully getting his initial grip right and his back teeth are far more destructive on the tug object than his front teeth were. He can catch tennis balls in midair. He can pick up and carry a football (soccer ball to you Colonials) although it does need to be a bit flabby for him to get a grip - I doubt he could do a fully inflated one any more. He can play the I'M A BIG HARD PROTECTION DOG BITING YOU game with me and he still drops my sleeve the moment I tell him.

My heart thumps every time I look at him. You didn't die, I say to myself in wonder. I got to keep you.

I have not forgotten gratitude or the list of people I am making art for. I love all of you.

I've been having a bad brain week, or more accurately few weeks, hence the lack of updateage. I sort of wanted to write a great long post about panic attacks, drugs, fear and mental illness but ...I don't think I can get any of that out right now. It's too loud and tangled and I doubt my ability to make sense about it. It'll go away and maybe I'll try and write it then. I don't know.


meanwhile, it is my niece Maya's fourth birthday today. FOUR. Holy crap.

oh yes - you know that TV meme that's been going the rounds? I'm too weltschmerzy and low energy to do it myself but my thanks to whoever it was that recommended Fringe. TOTALLY IN LOVE. Am also, as a direct result of said meme, in love with Justified, but I remember who recommended that and she isn't on my list. ANYWAY THANK YOU.
Spike is doing awesome well. I had this great long mental list of Things I Was Worried he Might Not Be Able To Do After His Surgery and he has now cleared the list completely. He can eat whole raw chicken quarters, albeit more slowly than before, and he does require them to be handed to him because he has trouble picking them up without his front canines, but once I do that he's good to go. He can gnaw on recreational beef bones, though he has voluntarily ceased his annoying habit of running round the room carrying one when he's very excited or wants to piss Squish off. He can play tug, although he needs to go carefully getting his initial grip right and his back teeth are far more destructive on the tug object than his front teeth were. He can catch tennis balls in midair. He can pick up and carry a football (soccer ball to you Colonials) although it does need to be a bit flabby for him to get a grip - I doubt he could do a fully inflated one any more. He can play the I'M A BIG HARD PROTECTION DOG BITING YOU game with me and he still drops my sleeve the moment I tell him.

My heart thumps every time I look at him. You didn't die, I say to myself in wonder. I got to keep you.

I have not forgotten gratitude or the list of people I am making art for. I love all of you.

I've been having a bad brain week, or more accurately few weeks, hence the lack of updateage. I sort of wanted to write a great long post about panic attacks, drugs, fear and mental illness but ...I don't think I can get any of that out right now. It's too loud and tangled and I doubt my ability to make sense about it. It'll go away and maybe I'll try and write it then. I don't know.


meanwhile, it is my niece Maya's fourth birthday today. FOUR. Holy crap.

oh yes - you know that TV meme that's been going the rounds? I'm too weltschmerzy and low energy to do it myself but my thanks to whoever it was that recommended Fringe. TOTALLY IN LOVE. Am also, as a direct result of said meme, in love with Justified, but I remember who recommended that and she isn't on my list. ANYWAY THANK YOU.
So we've just come back from the vet. Spike has a thing in his mouth that we hope is only an infection and/or typical self-inflicted Spike injury. We hope very much that the antibiotics will make it go away and we won't need to do a biopsy.

He was very unwilling to have his temperature taken. Not that he growled or anything; I don't know what it would take to make Spike growl at a human but in seven years it's never happened. He just raised all four of his legs off the ground and eeled quickly, forcefully and gracefully out of my grip, ending up on his back on the floor behind me. The vet was pretty impressed with him.
So we've just come back from the vet. Spike has a thing in his mouth that we hope is only an infection and/or typical self-inflicted Spike injury. We hope very much that the antibiotics will make it go away and we won't need to do a biopsy.

He was very unwilling to have his temperature taken. Not that he growled or anything; I don't know what it would take to make Spike growl at a human but in seven years it's never happened. He just raised all four of his legs off the ground and eeled quickly, forcefully and gracefully out of my grip, ending up on his back on the floor behind me. The vet was pretty impressed with him.
Went out with Mum today, for the first time in a long time. I've been avoiding her for weeks. I couldn't deal with worrying about her as well while I was driving myself up the wall with the DWP shit. But we need each other, so we're picking up where we left off.

I've got over being angry at her. I only touched on the drinking thing once; I told her that she'd known perfectly well what she was risking when she started to drink again, and I asked her what she was thinking when she made that decision.

Actually, I already know what she was thinking. I've been there and done that. I don't need her to answer that question for me; but she needs to ask it of herself and look hard at her answer.

Then I changed the subject and we were back to normal for the rest of the afternoon. We didn't do a lot, only went to the pet shop for dogfood and cat litter and a grooming glove for her cat, and then to the Turkish grocery over the road from the pet shop.

I love the Turkish grocery. It's full of tasty stuff with strange brand names you can't get anywhere else. I came home with taramosalata and German assorted butter biscuits and vanilla-scented toilet paper (I KNOW RIGHT. But it was the cheapest toilet paper they had, and it actually smells really, really nice.) I resisted sage tea and waffles and canned fried aubergine in tomato sauce and unreasonable quantities of cake. The two adorable good-looking Turkish cashiers flirted with both of us, and one made me burst out laughing by eyeing Mum while she was paying - "You two are sisters, aren't you?" he said.

Oh yeah, she's still got it.


I ought to be feeling better, but I'm not. I feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop - fiddling vainly on volcano day while the ash clouds gather on the horizon. But I suppose it'll pass.
Went out with Mum today, for the first time in a long time. I've been avoiding her for weeks. I couldn't deal with worrying about her as well while I was driving myself up the wall with the DWP shit. But we need each other, so we're picking up where we left off.

I've got over being angry at her. I only touched on the drinking thing once; I told her that she'd known perfectly well what she was risking when she started to drink again, and I asked her what she was thinking when she made that decision.

Actually, I already know what she was thinking. I've been there and done that. I don't need her to answer that question for me; but she needs to ask it of herself and look hard at her answer.

Then I changed the subject and we were back to normal for the rest of the afternoon. We didn't do a lot, only went to the pet shop for dogfood and cat litter and a grooming glove for her cat, and then to the Turkish grocery over the road from the pet shop.

I love the Turkish grocery. It's full of tasty stuff with strange brand names you can't get anywhere else. I came home with taramosalata and German assorted butter biscuits and vanilla-scented toilet paper (I KNOW RIGHT. But it was the cheapest toilet paper they had, and it actually smells really, really nice.) I resisted sage tea and waffles and canned fried aubergine in tomato sauce and unreasonable quantities of cake. The two adorable good-looking Turkish cashiers flirted with both of us, and one made me burst out laughing by eyeing Mum while she was paying - "You two are sisters, aren't you?" he said.

Oh yeah, she's still got it.


I ought to be feeling better, but I'm not. I feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop - fiddling vainly on volcano day while the ash clouds gather on the horizon. But I suppose it'll pass.
I sort of assumed that once the DWP shit was over with, things would be back to what passes for normal round here. It shouldn't surprise me that this is not in fact the case. Over the last few months the spoon (and cash) deficit had become so critical that everything in my life not absolutely necessary for keeping myself breathing and my dogs and cats healthy ground to a complete halt. My whole life's currently looking a bit like 1945 - I'm shaky and exhausted and have nearly no energy or resources, but there's so much I need to get done, and so much I badly want to throw away and rebuild from the ground up.

I've also come out in a horrid itchy rash all over my chest and neck. I've no idea if this is stress, a side effect of the new meds (my doctor's switched me from Seroxat to Zoloft) or something else entirely. Ibuprofen gel seems to be helping, or at least soothing it.

So bear with me please if I don't quite seem like myself for a little while yet.

Spontaneous things to do list )
I sort of assumed that once the DWP shit was over with, things would be back to what passes for normal round here. It shouldn't surprise me that this is not in fact the case. Over the last few months the spoon (and cash) deficit had become so critical that everything in my life not absolutely necessary for keeping myself breathing and my dogs and cats healthy ground to a complete halt. My whole life's currently looking a bit like 1945 - I'm shaky and exhausted and have nearly no energy or resources, but there's so much I need to get done, and so much I badly want to throw away and rebuild from the ground up.

I've also come out in a horrid itchy rash all over my chest and neck. I've no idea if this is stress, a side effect of the new meds (my doctor's switched me from Seroxat to Zoloft) or something else entirely. Ibuprofen gel seems to be helping, or at least soothing it.

So bear with me please if I don't quite seem like myself for a little while yet.

Spontaneous things to do list )
* bullet pointed for my convenience

* found my yellow rubber ring that Squish lost a week ago when something distracted him. The park is ankle-deep in leaves right now (note to self, charge batteries and take vids) and it's desperately easy to lose dog toys, which is stressy because I can't currently afford to replace any. I think one of the neighbour kids found it, because it was placed conspicuously by the dog-poo bin for me to find this afternoon. YAY NEIGHBOUR KIDS.

* Right here, right now, is my perfect climate. I am still stressed almost to the point of spoon event horizon but the weather's given me just enough edge on it to peek over the ramparts. Trust me to get my SAD ass-backwards.

* the DWP and the tortuous process of the tribunal continues to grind onwards, vaster than empires and more slow. See above re: stressed, spoon event horizon. My head hurts every time I think about it and I mean that perfectly literally. This week I have set myself the task of contacting my doctor and the Citizen's Advice Bureau, and I'll worry over getting myself to the appointment later.

* don't think I've stopped caring about you just because I don't have the energy to pull words together into a coherent comment on an LJ entry. I haven't.

* my sister has a dog, and I have adorable niece snuggled with said dog pics that I shall post later.
.

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