Sunday, March 27, 2016

Trying to figure things out

I don't like days when you are supposed to feel a certain way. Well, i somewhat like Christmas, because i made my own celebration, which i happen to like.

But Easter, i mean, how could you not be happy remembering that Jesus rose from the dead.

Well, that's easy; there are other things going on. Sorting out all sorts of thoughts, some happy some sad. And the weather; sometimes it's cloudy and dark here, then other times the sun shines.

Tomorrow, i see a new psychiatrist. The last nurse practitioner, the latest med change is helping a lot. But the way she runs her practice, i can't just see her for med management; i have to see her for counseling, too. But i already have a counselor. So I'm trying this new (to me) psychiatrist. But then i try to figure out ahead of time how to condense all my mental illness experience and previous treatment into one hour; less than an hour once you take into account what he might say.

Actually, i should relax a bit; psychiatrists seem to have their own set of questions to get the part of the story they need.

I was thinking yesterday, what if i have to see psychiatrists and counselors for the rest of my life? Am i okay with that? Somehow, it's easier to accept being on medicating the rest of my life than needing to see specialists. My medication is pretty invisible. People i work with don't have to know about it. But scheduling around doctors visits and counseling appointments gets more difficult. Right now, i work early, so i have lots of time in the afternoon to schedule appointments. But what if i was teaching elementary school full time? Or worked a nine to five job? I would have to inconvenience my boss and/or co-workers. We could probably still make it work, but i hate asking for time off. And if the appointments are too frequent, i might need to explain (or risk them thinking I'm lying about so many appointments).

It's tough trying to figure out how to keep everything going; work, rent, possibly back to college, family, friends, doctor and counseling appointments, food, cleaning... Always wondering if i just changed my life in this way or that, would both the depression and anxiety finally leave? Emphasis on the "both."

I have a dream job. I usually just consider it a non-option and try to forget it. But every now and then, i remember it. And i wonder, if i really tried for my dream job, if i actually got it, would i feel better? Is part of my depression from squashing my dream? But the dream job is not exactly within reach. To get to it, I'd probably have to open multiple cans of worms. There would for certain be lots of stress getting to it, and probably even more stress keeping with it. It would involve relocating, many months of planning and preparation... And there might be pretty much no accommodations available for my mental illness. But my mental illness has yet to leave me for even two years at a time since i was a kid. What makes me think it would leave me now? That incorrigible hope that humans often have that isn't bound by reason? Hope is great and all, but even thinking of going for my dream stresses me out enough to make me lose ground in my recovery. That seems to me to be a dangerous dream.

So back to the present, i guess I'd better get a few things done before tomorrow, like finding my long list of attempted antidepressants. And I'd better stop trying to resolve all my questions in one night. It never works, although it has caused me to lose some quality sleep time.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Welfare, laziness, and making it personal

I want to write a Facebook rant, but i think that probably wouldn't be wise. I am "friends" with too many people who might disagree with me, and I'm afraid one or two of them might make a hurtful comment, and I'm really not up for any of those. The blog seems a bit safer, because I'm pretty sure those people won't find my blog. And if someone i don't know has a hurtful comment? Well, it doesn't hurt so bad coming from a stranger.

I want to talk about these "free government handouts" that are supposed to perpetuate "laziness." I really wonder if most of these criticizers are picturing actual humans with individual stories and complicating factors, or if they just picture a faceless blob of annoying people taking money out of their pockets.

I want to put some faces into that blob. Which means mine, because it isn't very nice to sick up other people's faces onto a spot receiving so much stigma.

I remember when i got food stamps. I remember feeling a sense of relief that at least part of society wanted me alive enough to help me pay for food. And this part of society had the grace to help me pay for food in a way that let me maintain more of my dignity. I could use the food stamps debit card to pay for food that i could choose myself. And the debit card wasn't too obvious from afar.

Of course, i also took on fear of people's judgements. I worried that the check-out people were silently judging me for buying donuts. Maybe they went home and complained about how people on food stamps were using them on non-necessities like donuts. How, if i needed money so badly, i shouldn't buy any treats. Even random comments on Facebook about people wasting or misusing charity/aid from the government made me feel guilty.

And this guilt was really helpful, because part of the whole reason i was getting food stamps was because i was working less than full time because of depression. And any extra guilt really help depression. Not.

While I'm on the topic of depression, working less than full time, welfare, and the apparent fear of creating more laziness, I'd like to share a quote from a conversation held at a table i happened to be at, in a church!

This man said if he were a psychiatrist, he would tell people to work full time. I sat there knowing that i was working full time but also wishing i was dead. Mental illness is not so simple as to just require working full time. If that was all there was to it, a bunch of us would be feeling much better, and might not have gotten ill to start with.

I had a friend on disability who would have loved to be able to work. But instead, this person got to fight their mental illness full time. This is another face in that blob. This person ended up committing suicide. My anti-welfare friends, was this person's death a good thing? After all, it got them off welfare!

Some suggest that instead of government assistance, this financial assistance should come voluntarily from churches and such. I'd be happy to see the church assisting more, but quite simply, the church is not sufficiently meeting this need such that the government no longer needs to.

I had a friend ask churches for help with medical bills. This was a person who i head prayed would become a Christian. The churches would help with many bills, but not the medical bills. Someone else explained how there is more help available for medical bills, so their church concentrated their efforts elsewhere. I suppose prioritizing has to be done, but don't send people away from the church to the government for help and then complain about the government helping.

Judgement of government assistance, especially coupled with the forgone "conclusion" that the majority of people on welfare are lazy and that welfare makes them lazier... I'm afraid i take it personally. Very personally. Because there are people out there who wish they were dead who are demonstrating great but unrecognized strength by choosing to keep breathing who are being told that they don't deserve health care, even if that is what helps them hold on day after day. They are being told they are lazy and don't deserve help with food and bills. I have been one of these people. I know more of these people. I know one of these people who ended up dying from complications of depression (suicide).

So please stop and listen to the stories and see the faces in the blob of people getting help from the government. And please, if you don't want the government to help, find another way to respectfully take care of people's needs. If churches and charities were actually meeting these needs, the government wouldn't need to.