Kiss5Tigers

The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.


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Franklin

I don’t know Franklin, I only know about him.

A friend of mine passed him on the street regularly. He was unhoused. She didn’t get to know him, but he was part of her community. For several days she didn’t see him, then she noticed his belongings scattered about the area where he camped. She knew something had happened but she didn’t know who to ask. Then she found the little shrine in his honor. His friends had bundled up his sleeping bag and set out flowers and candles, a small sign that said “Franklin”, the usual thing you see on the side of the road.

I want Franklin to be remembered so I painted a picture in his honor:

Parts of it I am very pleased with. Considering that I can’t draw.

I am slightly off my meds, and I am weepy. I ran out of the mood stabilizer. I have been crying over sentimental things, like a character dying in a movie. I generally feel pretty stable in my moods but I thought that was just me. I learned in my 20s that big emotion was bad for me so I worked at being understated in my expressions. I thought I was a calm person. I’m not really. I’m quite emotional without my meds.

I wonder, is that a problem? I made art because I felt sentimental about a homeless man. And it’s not bad art, all things considered. I want to make more art. Is taking the meds interfering with creativity? Is making art worth being emotionally raw? Maybe if I lived alone, but surely it would be a problem for my roommates, if I was all over the place.

In a few days I will be stabilized. The meds will have built up in my system and my mood will settle down. I’ll be back on my usual weekly schedule and things will be back to normal.

Funny phrase that, “back to normal”. Normal is a double-edged word in my life. Normal, like neurotypical, which I’m not. Also normal like typical, as in typical for me. Do the drugs make me normal? Is it worth it? I’m not 100% on that, but is that just my mood because I’m off my meds?

Does being on my meds cloud my thinking? Or is it that depression so often feels like truth to me? It seems like seeing things clearly but maybe I am just used to that particular bias. If you always look through tinted lenses, that appears normal. If you take them off, that might be reality, but putting them back on feels familiar and comfortable. Is it really better? I can’t tell.

I feel like I’m talking in circles which is surely a sign that I need the meds. Do I really need them, or do I just think I need them? I mean, joining a gym, looking for a full time job, those are normal things. Making art, not so normal. Yet making art makes my soul happy. Going to the gym is good for my body though. And I need to do it more often. I wonder if I would go, if I was off my meds. I mean, I’ve been off them for about a week and I haven’t gone. Coincidence? Maybe.

In other news, Momo just nosed the dog. He laid down next to me, which was also next to Jack. Charli getting in the middle of everything has driven Momo off. Such a shame, I was honored that he was dozing against my leg.

I have some add-and-pass pages to send out. I’m going to send them to each other. I mean, they have names and addresses on them so I’m going to send the item from envelope one to someone listed on item 2. Ah, yes, add-and-pass. A picture, or in this case a chapbook, where you put your name and address and maybe alter it in some way. Then you send it along to someone else to do the same. A mail art staple.

I haven’t left the house today, except to get the canvas out of the car and put the empty cat litter container in the trash. Today was lovely out. Hopefully tonight will be temperate. Last night was too cold, but today was warmer than yesterday, so maybe. I usually get out of the house to go to a group or a store. I’m thinking tomorrow would be a good day to work out and do some laundry. I want to make more mail art but that isn’t exactly something I can do in public, like at a coffee shop.

Trying not to think in circles. It’s only 9:30 so I’m not ready for bed yet, but I think soon it will be time. Charli the kitty has decided to nap balanced between the back of the sofa and my shoulder. She will be bothered when I get up. Right now she’s purring. And snoring. It’s almost like a sleeping child, that level of trust and relaxation.

Well, I’m off to look at mail art calls and see if there’s anything I can do tomorrow. Wish me luck.


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Metrocare

I went to Metrocare today. It was an interesting experience.

On February 8th, I got an email that as of January 18, I had 15 days of health insurance left. That was February 2nd. My insurance ended 6 days before I was notified.

In the meantime, I ran out of Metformin and Abilify. I can’t afford to pick up either one of them because full price is too much for me right now.

I’m not too upset about the Metformin. I was put on it because my A1c was elevated to 6.1. Now if you watch TV, you’ve seen the commercial where the man is happy his A1c is below 7. Last time I checked, 6.1 is below 7. So maybe 6.1 isn’t so bad. On top of that, I’ve been taking it for 9 months and my A1c hasn’t budged. Apparently it’s not working for me, and I was going to talk to the doctor about stopping it. I think I can live without it.

The Abilify, now, is a mood stabilizer and the past few days I’ve been out of it, I’ve been emotional. An online friend posted about a homeless person in her neighborhood who apparently passed away, and it made me cry. Then I responded a little heartlessly to her, because that is how I am with myself. I”m just all over the place. I continued to be weepy about the man for several hours. Now I am fine. I think the fancy word is labile. I feel like I need the Abilify for stability.

I tried to go to the pharmacy. Prices are a little high. To be honest, even with the insurance copay, I wouldn’t have been able to afford both of them. I needed to figure out an alternative. The only option I know is public health so I went to Metrocare.

I am not so bad off, all things considered. I am not so impaired. I am not suicidal or psychotic. I am, at the moment, pretty well controlled with my meds. Many of the people at Metrocare are not doing as well as I am. It’s said, but hopeful.

I waited to apply for assistance. The process was pretty quick. I don’t know how I’m going to prove income, but they saw me the first time without that information. I guess I’ll bring my W-2’s to prove my annual income. Except that I’m not making that money at the moment. Anyway, the application process was rapid.

Then I waited for hours to be seen. I’m sure that’s because I was a walk-in. I saw a nurse practitioner named Charles who I think was from Africa. I didn’t ask. He had an accent that wasn’t Australian or Caribbean so I think it was African. I could be wrong. He criticized my drugs a little. He seemed to think my does of Prozac was too high, and that if it was lower, I probably wouldn’t need the Abilify. I told him, the meds were working, I didn’t see a reason to change them. He wrote me the same prescrptions and said to come back in 6 weeks.

I went back out front, and talked to the pharmacy. They were able to verify that I was accepted into the program, and they filled the prescriptions for me for $16, which is about 1/3 of what I was paying with insurance. I had a moment of uncertainty when I went to pay it though. I wasn’t sure I had $16 in my bank account. I still don’t know how much I have, and I’m afraid to look.

Whole process only took 3 1/2 hours. All afternoon. I suppose it could have been worse.

Oh, my friend’s issue with the homeless man. His name is Franklin. She is quite distraught, even though she didn’t speak to him ever. I asked, what is she inspired to do? Other people are also in dire straits. My friend got quite upset with me. But for me, that is how I handle grief. I do something about it. My way isn’t better, and I do allow myself time to feel it, but I feel better if there’s a plan. So I wept for Franklin, and for my friend, and I will make some art about it later. I think, the fence where his community set up a memorial altar for him, with some flowers and candles. I have the image in my mind, I just need to put it together.

I filed my taxes this year. I still get a refund, but it’s only about 1/3 the amount I got last year. This administration is not good for me. Not just the tax money, but supposedly there was a tax cut. All I can say is, my refund was sure cut.


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Background Check and Meds Issues



It’s been an interesting week so far.

I loaned my book Coping Skills by Faith G. Harper to one of the ladies at group. I just hope I get it back at some point. I need some of the information in it for the “book” I’m writing.

I put book in quotes like that because it doesn’t feel like it’ll be 100 pages, and most books are 200 pages or more. Some of those Harry Potter books were almost 2 inches thick, that a lot of words! I don’t have that many words in me any more. I used to, before meds, but now it’s just impossible. I have become a good listener and not much of a talker.

Anyway, I seldom loan out anything, so it was a rare moment of generosity for me. Especially since there is the possibility it won’t come home to me. Slight, but still.

Sunday was the storm in the picture I posted the other day. It was apparently a thing called a rain bomb, where a very small area has a terrible downpour and high winds. Of course it moves as the storm front moves. It took down trees and took out power for 3 days in some parts of town. What I have learned from this is, Dallas is not prepared for a disaster, if it took 3 days to restore power after a storm. What if something significant happened?

Monday I went to deal with my passport at the post office. It went pretty fast, but boy it was hard to part with $125. The passport itself isn’t that expensive, but I’m less than a month from travel so I had to expedite it which is another $60. Photos were $20 and there was a cost for cashier’s check, which the government needs since they don’t take bank cards. So this is a good thing, but I’m missing the money.

There was no group on Monday because power was still out at the facility.

Tuesday I had a work meeting so I didn’t go to Recovery International. I was told the meeting was at 10:00, so I signed on at 9:55. Well, sure it was at 10:00 — EASTERN time! I’m in central so it started at 9:00 for me and I only went to like half of it. At least I’ll get paid like $10.00 for it. I feel a little dumb about this, I mean, I know the meeting is webcast from DC, I just spaced on the whole time zone thing.

Then I had to drive up to the office for a background check. I’ve been working for the government for 2 years now, and they’re just getting around to the background check. What if I don’t pass for some reason? I mean, I’ve proven I can do the job, would they really let me go? But I was honest with them about what they asked. They asked about my work history and I told them about getting fired from the bank job. I mean, why hide it? The job became a call center, I am not cut out to work in a call center, and I was glad to be fired. They also quizzed me on my credit report. There were of course medical bills, which I may never pay. And my student loans. But they had something with TD Bank, and I’ve never done business with them to my knowledge, so I’ll have to call on that one. I don’t mind paying for what I owe, but I don’t want to pay for the other Allison.

You might remember the other Allison. I mentioned her in a previous post. She has my same first and last name, but she has a middle name which I do not, and she was born in the same town I was but 3 years before me. That means when I request my birth certificate, I usually get hers. Pain in the tushie. Plus I have had her stuff show up on my credit report. I know it’s hers by the location. And I have had her information show up in those verify your identity quizzes. They pull the information from public records online, and we are too similar to avoid computer confusion. I wonder if I should have mentioned her in the background check? Probably not, it would be too confusing.

I stopped at Buc-ee’s on the way home and got a peach ice tea. It was so good. I also got chicken salad but it was a bit too mayonnaise for me.

Today I went to group, the first one this week, and it was so good to be there. It’s truly my safe place. I will miss it when I’m deployed again, but so it goes. Someone in group payed me a great compliment today. She said I am her accountability partner, because she texts me and I always text back, and I don’t take sides or have an opinion about things. I know she is used to people just piping up with their take on situations in her life, and I don’t do that. I just mirror. She feels heard and understood. I bet I turned red when she said that.

Then I took my daughter to get her meds and dropped her off in town. She has a friend visiting who is catching a bus home at 3 a.m. tonight. I’ve taken buses, it’s a hard way to go. But the friend bought my daughter’s meds and some cat food, so that was nice. I got home and remembered that I hadn’t picked up my meds so I had to go back out.

I take 3 things for my bipolar disorder: Prozac (anti-depressant), Abilify (atypical anti psychotic) and Lamictal (mood stabilizer). I see the doctor about every 3 months, unless I’m deployed. He usually writes the prescriptions in 90 day lots. Well, I got 90 days of Prozac and 90 days of Abilify, but only 30 days of Lamictal. I called for the refill, because the bottle said I have 2 refills, and the pharmacy said I didn’t have any. I asked them to contact the doctor, and I called the doctor myself. Of course that was Friday, the doctor sent the refill on Monday, and it has taken until Wednesday for them to be ready to pick up. I’ve been out of my mood stabilizer for several days now. However, I have felt pretty good even without it. I might ask the doctor about that, since I’d prefer to take less medicine if I can get away with it.

Right now I am sitting in the living room, enjoying the air conditioning. Momo kitty has been affectionate and Charli cat is napping nearby. I have some reading material to get through and then, if I feel like it, some letters to write. I made 2 more sales on my Etsy shop, so that feels good. Those need to get mailed tomorrow. I also found I had $20.00 more than I thought I did. I celebrated by getting a frozen cranberry limeade at Sonic. I also stopped at QT and got a huge cup of ice water and an ice cream cone. Didn’t even come to $1.00 so that was a nice treat. Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. Ice cream and a cold drink, and I feel like my day is complete.

Time to get working on my reading material.