Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Poem: Holler, Dragon

I was wonderin’ what’s a holler
dragon like? Black scales like garter snakes
& piled tires hot in the sun when it finally rose up
enough to crest in fire bright over the hill.

Raisin’ hell & mad as a hornet, liftin’ wings of corrugated metal
feathers--stitched in like crazy quilts draped over rocking chairs--
of crows, fat from french fries ate when mamaw’s too
tired for biscuits. Dragon squawks like them, fussin’ loud
& un-self-conscious like my old neighbor.

Shiny like stolen copper & hungry from the good buds
we grow, illegal, this’s what a holler dragon lives on:

poisoned cricks,
meat grilled over lighter fluid & charcoal,
and end consonants.

I envied her screaming, that raging neighbor out
at midnight givin’ him down the road loud
as that practice whistle they blow in case MIC
bursts in plumes of lethal smoke
& writhes in the air so high

y’all could see it from up on in your
houses with the good view
from way up there, pitchin’ fits
on welfare queens
but sittin’ pretty
on fat stacks
of coal money,
kings of the stripped

© Heidi Richardson Evans 2018 all rights reserved

Friday, August 3, 2018

Stress and the Stabby Skull

CT scan of my cervical spine.
(And... I guess, upper dragon spikes?) 
Let's take a break from Bipolar Blogging and have some fun with the Migraine Memoirs, yeah?

I had the long-awaited consultation with Dr. H at the Cleveland Clinic, going in with the multiple diagnoses of occipital neuralgia, chronic tension headache, migraine, and atypical facial pain.

The last one, the facial pain, is a psychosomatic neuralgia. That combined with the tension headache makes it clear that the headaches aren't a separate thing from my mental health.

But the body doesn't operate as discrete systems closed off from one another.

It's become a dream of mine that medicine could look like a meeting of disciplines. My GP at a table with my psychiatrist, my therapist, my pain management specialist, my headache specialist, and my allergist. (In my dream I can afford an allergist, because I'm dreaming—why fucking not?)

Dr H is a specialist in headache, pain management, and psychosomatic pain, so I was stoked. He seemed like the dude to see. The consultation was the most thorough doctor visit I've ever had in my life. It was nearly an hour of just talking over symptoms, answering his questions, and going over my medical history in depth.

At the end, his diagnosis was migraine triggered by stress and anxiety.

He doesn't think the type of headache I'm having will respond to procedures I'd expected, like Botox or cryoablation. His plan was to tweak my preventative medicines, add an acute treatment for the onset of the headaches, and get me into cognitive behavioral therapy.

So I'm on a beta-blocker, which can prevent migraine, lower blood pressure, and treat anxiety. But I have quite low blood pressure because I'm taking the maximum dose of alprazolam an anxious human can take.

The happy news is that I can stop with that.

So we have a weaning plan for that, which will please my doctors and very much makes me happy. Being on a benzo for this long has never been particularly ideal but it's been the only way I could cope with otherwise crippling anxiety.

So, speaking of that lovely anxiety, I spoke with V about CBT and whether she knew a therapist who does that sort of therapy (because I thought we were doing something different, I suppose?) and she informed me that I'm already in cognitive behavioral therapy. So yeah, we'll mark that off my to-do list.

Oh wait I don't have a to-do list. LOL are there people who DO THAT? 

So that break from psych talk didn't work, did it? Because bodies aren't made of discreet systems.


And I could veer into a tangent about the merry godddamn havock stress plays on the body and the fact that Medicare doesn't cover any any A N Y (well I guess in theory there may be psychiatrists in the world who actually see patients for psychoanalysis but I assume they're all fictional, treat only the very rich, are cannibals, and have extremely questionable and shippable relationships with foresnsic investigators) kind of psychotherapy because any medical care has to be provided my a person with the magical letters MD or DO after their name.

But I will not go tangential.

I will add this little button here because help with my payments is always appreciated:

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Much love, 'boners.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Making a Bipolar Type II Instruction Manual: Part 3: Symptom Hyper-Awareness

This is one of the most familiar things I'm feeling, but I have this new framework to categorize it so it bothers me both more and less than before. (As if I could experience anything without some kind of paradox.)

I am so aware of my symptoms.

I've always been a meta-thinker; I think a lot about my thought patterns and psychology. (Oh, are you new here? Hi! Welcome to the utter batshit chaos. Pull up a teetering pile of books or something and get cozy with the crazy.)

I'm one of those who leaves a social event or a visit with a friend and then analyzes every awkward thing I said, every time my compulsive speech rammed over people or a simple statement meandered for twenty minutes.

Every time I blurted out a serious overshare and covered it up with THE MOST EXTRA BEHAVIOR EVER because of course I don't care I am gregarious AF get on my level I am a goddamn glittering galactic goddessssss!!!

{i am actually a tiny little snake chewing through its tail with anxiety waiting to crawl back into my hole and freaking at how oh my gods i'm making everyone so fucking uncomfortable why am i like this why'd i just say that wait i know why now but i'm still LIKE THIS oh my shit why why whyyyyyy???}

So yes: I've always done this. But now, I know the names of things (like this phrase that was a revelation: "pressured speech") and that yes, they are symptomatic of a hypomanic state. So there's that sense of relief I felt when S explained that's part of the disorder. The. "Oh, wow! I'm not a rude ass who just can't follow conversational etiquette."

But it frustrates me, too, that although I know it's symptomatic I still can't control it yet.

But with therapy and a lot of work I can learn to manage this, my most shameful symptom. (Also the shame & guilt show, but I won't take you into a spiral that could go on for 50,000 words.)

Speaking of therapy, I have found a counselor, V, who seems to be an absolute jewel. There is the tiny hitch that my Medicare won't cover anyone who isn't an MD or DO. Her practice has a lovely program for patients who have low income and are underinsured, so my sessions are a reduced fee. They are however, costing me.

Money's a little just... nope.

So if you'd like to buy me a coffee, you can do that here.

I'm still trying to get hold of my bill from the psych hospital. Can't make a fundraiser page if you don't have a goddamned goal. 

I'm also hoping to get a Patreon set up but i'm also um hypomanic and thinking I can do all the projects & conquer the universe but i can't i only have the GREAT HUGE IDEAS infinity stone not the physical energy and mental organization to follow through infinity stones so it may be a while to determine what rewards I can offer supporters and how to tier them and such.

So... story of my life: Everything is ridiculously overwhelming when it involves actual details.