disability, Disabled Living, eds, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Invisible Disablity

Imposter Syndrome (Not Disabled “Enough”)

*This started as a post on my Facebook page, but I decided to expand on it here.

Some days the imposter syndrome really kicks me in the butt, especially with the hyper-mobility. I mean, it often kicks me in the butt for other things (Neurodivergence, social anxiety, PTSD etc) but the thing that it really kicks me in the butt for recently is the pain.

Some days, I can’t walk across my living room without my hips threatening to slip on me. Some days I can’t even go into the kitchen to make coffee without my cane. I have “house canes” and “outside canes” at this point. Some days my shoulders and elbows are not in any shape to hold me upright with a cane, so I just sit and lay on the floor with the cats a lot. Those are sitting on the futon with the old hospital table my Godmother gave my Dad (and Dad gave me) and keeping a chair in the kitchen so I can make the cats their meals days.

But I still feel like an imposter. I have met so many other people in the EDS community who have it SO much worse than me. A very good friend of mine (we say we’re Twilight Zone twins because of the crazy number of similarities in our stories) also has EDS and they need a back and rib brace; they dislocate their ribs that often (for me, it’s more the clavicle that was broken when I was a teenager. That thing will twist if you look at it funny).

Regardless, I often find myself feeling like I shouldn’t be talking because my pain is not nearly that bad. Because I don’t have all the braces (though, honestly, I could use some of them). But while I’m in constant pain, every single day, it’s manageable. For me at least.

There’s that joke meme about a demon possessing your body and going, “OH HECK! What is that pain?! Why does it feel like this?!??” and the possessed going, “…Yeah it does that. Caveat Emptor buddy. Enjoy!”

That comes to mind a lot for me lately.

Right now my Doctors are banding together to help me get an electric chair, because I can’t even make it to the curb, with my cane, on the ice, to get in a Handi-Transit or a taxi, let alone to the end of the block to the bus stop. I mean, even Neurology – and it isn’t even his JOB to worry about connective tissue issues – is throwing his name in behind the bid for a chair, because he sees how badly things have deteriorated in the last year. So we’re trying to get me a chair, so I’m not completely homebound this winter. So I have some modicum of independence and self sufficiency and can just hold my head up.

But then I think about a fellow zebra I know who lives in a neck brace because they literally cannot hold their head up…… *shrug and frown* and I get hit with a right-hook of “you’re not disabled ENOUGH! How dare you complain how dare you ask for help how DARE YOU?!??”

My father said that to me once when I was in my very early twenties. I was trying to tell him about the things people made me do when I couldn’t safely live with him, and his response was, “How DARE YOU!”

I still hear that in my head a lot.
That it was under duress, didn’t matter.
That people did horrible things to me, didn’t matter.
That I had to do bad things to other people (to “earn” a roof over my head)?
HOW DARE YOU!

That response is still rattling around in the back of my head when I dare to think of myself in the same light as other disabled people. Other people’s pain is worse than mine. Other people are more immobilized. Other people need more help than I do. So how DARE I try to sneak myself into their sphere. *frowns*

I know that’s wrong.
Logically I know that’s wrong.

Honestly I can’t tell you the first time I dislocated a joint, because I wasn’t allowed to be hurt.
“Walk it off Sascha.”
“I CAN’T WALK!”
“Oh for the love of–” *grabs me by the scruff of my neck and pulls me to my feet. When I fall I get hit for being a drama queen. I get left behind with a shared eye roll between my parents, who go off with my sisters*

I remember that happening at about eight. I know it wasn’t the first time either. I can’t remember when the first time was though.

I remember dislocating fingers and shoulders and ankles and elbows. I remember that horrible pain that sucks the breath right out of you that I’ve only realized is how it feel to dislocate your ribs. I can’t remember the first time I dislocated a rib though; I’ve been doing it for so long. And I was always made to just suck it up and work through it. Work through the pain. Go to school, regardless. Go to church, regardless. And then when the pain would finally disappear, it was such a relief and I just thanked my lucky stars. Until the next time.

When I told my parents about the pain, or the clicking, or the inability to move my fingers or toes or arms or put weight on an ankle, I wasn’t ever taken to the Doctors for it. The family GP was an idiot though, so even if they had I doubt now I would have found any help. When I told them I was more likely to be questioned and doubted; poked in the injury until I screamed and then told I was being a drama queen and getting a cuffed ear for good measure.

So here I am at 8 months until 40, still doubting myself and my pain. Still doubting that I deserve the care and medical aids and help that I so obviously do. I’ve spent my whole life having my Autism, and my hyper-mobility, and my anxiety, and my trauma minimized and held against me that I honestly struggle to own it myself.

Every voice in my head tells me I’m a drama queen and an Imposter.
Sascha’s a liar. Sascha tells stories.
This is just another one of drama queen Sascha’s stories.

But it’s not.
And I have to learn to allow that to be the truth.

I can’t walk 10 steps, let along 10 metres outside right now on that ice without falling. Even with my cane it would be tricky at best. I can’t walk to the Giant Tiger two blocks away for milk on a nice spring day anymore. I struggle to cross the street without falling and risking getting hit by a car most days these days.

I need help.
I need that chair.
I hope Hope HOPE that Ottawa will okay it for me.
It’s a Hail Mary pass, but I hope they say yes because if they don’t I’m kind of trapped here.

On disability.

With no way off.

Yeah.
It’s not good right now, lovelies.

I’m trying to own that. Be okay with it. Be okay with saying it out loud and not holding my disability and my pain up against other people’s. Trying. It’s not easy. Those ugly minimizing voices in my head aren’t making it easier, but I’m trying not to listen to them.

I’m in constant paint. Ever day. I have been for so much of my life that actually having a moment of being Pain Free last year lead to a full block anxiety attack because I thought there was something WRONG.

Letting that sink in, internalizing that… that’s taking some work too right now.
But I’m trying.

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Disabled Living, self-acceptance, Self-Sufficiency

I Need to be Kinder to Myself

I need to be kinder to myself.

So often I look at my “One Thing A Day” journal and feel like I didn’t do anything despite the third of a page being full of things I did that day.

Today I walked down to the post office and returned a package for Amazon. Walking there I was mostly fine. I thought I’d be super smart and bypass the RBC offices and the escalators and the ramp by the Transit office and just walk up to the next entrance.

And then once I was inside I realize THAT was the one entrance that didn’t have an elevator.
There are few things more humbling than being under forty and having to take the stairs one at a time, dragging your trolley behind you *thud… thud… thud…* down the stairs like you’re eighty. People either stare like you’re drunk or avoid you with pity in their eyes.

Made it to the post office, and talked to one of the cashiers at Shoppers on the way out. That was my social interaction (not including the cats) for the day.

Walking home was harder. My legs felt like they were encased in cement. Like they were hard to move the same way they were when my B12 tanked last, only without the numbness and the pins and needles.

I had to stop three or four times and just lean against the Curry and the Argyle and a sign post. But I got home.

Sufficed to say, my legs are shot for the day.

And yet, I feel like I didn’t DO enough. And I really have to stop that.

Fact is…

Fact is I am an Autistic with severe anxiety and c-PTSD who was told this spring that I also have Multiple Sclerosis AND Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (though we won’t know what flavour until I get to the top of the list for the Geneticist… in about a year… if the Tories don’t cut health care anymore than they already have).

I don’t know that I’ve properly internalized that to be honest. But I need to.

Two years ago, I used to walk everywhere. Even with the ankle, I could top 15,000 steps in a day. In the summer heat. On my own. Now I struggle to make it to the post office at Winnipeg Square and back. Two years ago I had no issue walking to a Doctors appointment at AHWC. Now I struggle to make it to and from Giant Tiger two blocks away without either hurting myself or falling on my face into traffic.

And I’m on Disability, so there is zero chance for me to get proper treatment when MS treatment runs upwards of $17K a year. No, I’ll be left to my own devices and it will progress and it will get worse.

Also the EDS running roughshod over my joints isn’t helping either. From day to day I don’t know if I’m going to pop a hip or a knee or an ankle (and I really cannot afford to pop the left ankle after everything it’s already been through). From day to day I don’t know if I’m going to be in screaming pain with the right shoulder and scapula by the end of the night, or not.

And I’m on Disability, so there is zero chance for me to get proper treatment when the Province has cut prescribed Physiotherapy down to pretty much zero. You get Physio after hip surgery. Until you can walk again. No further. Everyone else is SOL.

So… yeah.

And still I look at my journal, the third of a page for the day so full of things done that I’ve had to double up on lines and write things in on the diagonal, and I still have that voice in my head telling me that I was a waste today.

I need to be kinder to myself.

I need to give myself credit for the things I actually do get done, and celebrate that. Yes, I’m slower than I used to be, and I was slower than most people to start with, but goddammit I have good reason for that! Multiple. ReasonS with an S at the end. Plural.

I am trying my best, with zero help, to keep my head above the surface in a BIG bowl of Alphabet Soup.

ASD. c-PTSD. MS. EDS.

And that’s not even counting the Anaemia, B12 deficiency, and Asthma.

Dammit.

I need to be kinder to myself. Because I am doing amazing for someone doing it all on their own. With zero resources. Zero help. Zero therapy.

And yes I remember Dr W, but we’re going another month between sessions and let’s be honest, it’s not actually “trauma therapy” with Dr W now is it?

I’m doing all of this, and managing to keep the apartment from falling apart, And fighting to keep myself from letting the PTSD have its way, AND I haven’t had a proper session since December of last year, and in the last 18 months I’ve gone from fine, to unable to walk 2 blocks each way without risking hurting myself.

I’m doing really well, considering, and I need to give myself credit for that!

I just… I need to be kinder to myself.

General Update, Personal

Haven’t Been Around For A While

I haven’t been around for a while. Sorry.

The last month or so I’ve been taking care of Dad, which is hard for a lot of reasons. The biggest being he’s in the far south of the city and I’m downtown and it’s 25 minutes from his place to mine by car. 90-120 by bus if I make all my connections just right.

It hasn’t been easy.

But also neither of my sister has popped their heads up or offered to help either. They both know he’s struggling. He’s mentioned it to them both. Neither has bothered to offer to help though. Because why would they? They took the free rent and free education and free access to a car and easy access to pocket money until they were nearly 30 (or over 30) and now they’re just waiting for him to die.

I actually had the guts to remind him of that a couple weeks ago. I was helping him with his back and helping him with his shopping, and we were in the van heading back to his and he said that he could always ask my sisters for help if I “wasn’t up to it”, and I actually reminded him that both my sisters, at multiple times over the years each, have told him and anyone else who would listen that the second he can’t take care of himself anymore they’re putting him in a home.

“Well, a home is expensive,” he retorted.
“Yeah. I know. But you’ve also put my share of the estate in Anne’s hands, so Anne just inherited 2/3. They’ll use my third to pay for the cheapest home they can find and keep their shares of the estate intact. So don’t tell them how you’re doing. For your own sake. Please.”

I actually said that. Out loud. That is something I’ve said to Dr P, Dr W, and my Godparents all, but I always follow it up with, “And that’s something you think and don’t say. Because it’s Dad.”

But I actually said it out loud.
Still kind of in shock about that to be honest

Not that I think he’ll do anything to fix that. Which means the first thing I’m going to have to do after he passes is take my sister to court to rest control away from her. Not looking forward to that.

But I said the words. *deep breath*

Anyways….

I’ve spent the last month (or really the last 3 1/2 months if we’re going to be perfectly honest) taking care of Dad. Seeing him a minimum of twice a week. Calling him twice a day (at his request). Making sure he eats. Making sure he’s exercising as best he can. Making sure he’s drinking his water. He’s even having me go with him to Doctor’s appointments now.

*long sigh*

It leaves very little space/time for me to take care of myself. I haven’t shot a number of videos I really need to and am very behind on. I have three or four blog posts half-written in my head that I haven’t had the mental time and space to sit down and write.

Sorry. I’m trying.
This week I don’t have anything really until Wednesday. Save calling Dad morning and night to check in on him. Which always take about an hour or so to come back from. Doesn’t leave a lot of mental time/space to get much else done. But I’m going to try. It’s April, which means Autism Awareness Acceptance month, and I am very behind on both posts here and videos over at the YouTube channel. So I’m going to try and spend the next couple days catching up on those.

And thanks for understanding (at least I hope you do).
*tired smile*


Growth & Healing, Personal

The Complicated Relationship with my Dad

Yeah yeah. I know. Daddy issues *eyeroll*. But also just let me write here, eh?

My relationship with my father has always been complicated. On one hand, he’s my Dad. I love him. On the other, he’s done a lot of physical, and psychological damage to me with abuse. On one hand he’s alone now and needs someone to just look after him. On the other hand, he’s one of the big reasons I go to session and trauma therapy multiple times a month. On one hand he’s the man who has thrown me away six times throughout my life and left me at the mercy of some really not good people. On the other hand, he’s always come back.

So things are complicated.

Lately I’ve been doing my best to look after him though. Back around Christmas he noticed a really itchy, dry spot on his ankle and it bothered him enough to complain about it but he just waved me off when I said, “Dad, go to the Doctor.”

And then it exploded all over his body.
Not good.

Doctors who don’t know my father suggested scabies. I understand that STI infection rates among seniors are stupid high, but my father doesn’t believe in anything past second base without a wedding ring, so… no. There was a concern that it might be shingles. In the end a biopsy showed it was not insect related, not cancer, not fungal, and the final diagnosis was just a really bad case of psoriasis.

So for the last six or seven weeks or so, I’ve been going over to Dad’s twice a week to rub petroleum jelly on his back to just try and keep the scale and the scabs from cracking (because secondary infections are not good), and monitoring his progress.

I’ve also kept telling him, “Dad, go to the Doctor”, which he finally did do and finally got two courses or prednisone that seem to have rebooted his immune system. When he went to his GP at first he tried to pass the buck to me… “Well my daughter said that…” and “My daughter thinks that…” and “My daughter suggested that…” and his GP apparently told him, “Listen to your daughter. She’s giving you good advice”.

*first pump of vindication*

Since his GP said that, he’s been listening to me a lot more, which is good. He’s drinking more water to be kind to his kidney (yes, singular), and eating small meals throughout the day to keep his blood sugar levels in the green. He’s not getting mad at me when I mention maybe doing a sleep study and getting a C-PAP (he’s had apnea for a long time, and doesn’t treat it). He’s not pushing himself and hurting himself as much. But he’s also starting to realise that he’s not 40 anymore (I keep pointing out to him that I am almost 40 at this point) and that his body isn’t bouncing back from things the way it used to.

But he’s doing better and taking better care of himself. The psoriasis is pretty much under control at this point. He doesn’t look like he has scales on his back anymore like he did eight weeks ago, and because of the petroleum jelly we’ve managed to keep scarring to a minimum.

My sisters must be mad at me right now. The last time I spoke to my middle sister she said, “Dad’s horrible to himself. Let him be. Let him kill himself, Sascha. We’ll get the money faster”.

Which is yet another reason why that was the last time I spoke to my sister. And I’m sure she’s not impressed with me at the moment.

And then he bought me a bed. It’s the first brand new bed I’ve had since they moved me out of the nursery in 1983. The new bed is amazing and I’ve been sleeping really well the last three nights, but it really hurt him to get it. At the furniture store we happened to get the newbie, and it took over ninety minutes for her to learn how to punch the sale into the system. It had to get punched in three times before it was right ($3400 for a clearance mattress? I don’t think so. Try again). In that time THREE senior reps, including the store manager, came to help and then had to leave again. Honestly at the 35-40 minute mark I was ready to go, “You know what? I’ll survive without it” but Dad made me stand down. Over an hour and a half later it was done. BUT, in that over an hour and a half absolutely NO ONE offered my elderly father a fucking chair. Not the sales rep. Not the two senior reps. Not the manager. Instead he was made to stand on the concrete floor. For over and hour and a half.

And now we’re eight days after the bed was purchased, and my Dad still can’t bend his knee enough that he can sit comfortably in a chair, or get in and out of his minivan. For most of the last week he has barely been able to walk.

*long sigh*

Yeah, I’m still mad. I think rightfully so, honestly. But being mad doesn’t help Dad right now.

Over the weekend I ordered groceries delivered to his place for him because he was running out of things and starting to freak out because he couldn’t get down the stairs to get in the van to go shopping. And I put it on my credit card, which I absolutely couldn’t afford to do, but he has food now.

And I’m calling him twice a day right now just to check in. Not because I need to check in, but because he keeps asking me to. He says he really appreciates just having someone check in on him and just having someone to talk to when he’s trapped in the house.

“I really appreciate you doing this”, “thank you”, and “I love you too” are not words that one easily gets from my father, but I’ve been hearing them at least once a day the last 8 days. And that is both sweet, and kind of scary.

So yeah. It’s complicated.
On the one hand there are so many things that have happened over the years that pretty much anyone who knows me tell me I absolutely have the right to hate the man for. But on the other hand, he doesn’t have anyone but me right now. He’s alone, and he’s unsettled, and I get that. Taking care of Dad comes from the same place as taking care of Dottie and Bennett with all their individual extra issues.

I’ve been thrown away, and I’ve been alone and had no one to turn to, and I never want anyone to feel like that if I can do something to help it.

Even if the person who threw me away is the one I’m helping now.

General Update, Personal

2018 Recap and What I Want in 2019

So at the beginning of this year, I wrote a blog post going over the things I wanted to try and do in 2018 (you can read it here). Honestly I am super surprised that a year has passed since then. Like, 2018 has been a dumpster fire that just wouldn’t end for the world as a whole, but honestly on a personal level it’s gone quite quickly. Continue reading “2018 Recap and What I Want in 2019”

Autistic Living, Disabled Living, independent living, Personal

It’s Okay

Today was rent day. And it’s also bitter cold out there. Like, in the -20C range, but with the windchill you can easily take that number down by another 10 degrees or more. I was going to do rent on the bus, but my father offered to pick me up and take me instead so I didn’t have to risk frostbite on my feet again like last month.

(Contextual Aside: Last month I went down on the route 18 bus, and then heading home one didn’t come… and then the one was supposed to come after that didn’t come either. For over an hour. And I had thought I had timed everything so well so I wouldn’t be outside for too long! And, as we’ve talked about before, I don’t have winter boots. And nothing came. So finally I sucked it up and went across the street to the Rexall to warm up an called a cab. That ate $25 of my grocery money. And that wasn’t fun. But then you know what? THREE buses showed up all together. Like, ALL my missing buses were apparently just waiting at the Zoo. And I got minor frost bite on my toes. And it was NOT fun.)

If Dad offers me a ride to keep me out of the bitter cold, I’m going to take it.

So we went and I paid rent, and then he dropped me right back off at home.
And I paid the phone and the internet bills online. I haven’t had TV in over a decade at this point, but I need access to the world, and I need to be able to call for help and talk to my Dad, my Godmother, and my 90 year old Grandmother in Toronto. So phone and internet are the two things I keep.

And I really only have about $150 left to pay for food, and bus fare, and laundry this month. And it’s going to be tight. Like it always is.

But you know what? We’re going to be okay.

Rent is paid. Phone and Internet are paid. There IS money for food (not a lot, but some!). I can do a couple loads of laundry throughout the month (one needs to be sheets and towels. I am very overdue on washing sheets and towels), and I can put enough money on the bus card to get me to and from sessions and a couple trips to and from the grocery store so I don’t have to eat out of the Giant Tiger. And if Dad offers to drive me in exchange for tech support one weekend, then that’s even better and saves me $6 in bus fare!

And it’s okay.

The cats are eating. They have kibble (they’re still both refusing to eat wet food). I know how to cook so I can make most anything into something edible (thank goodness). There’s a roof over our heads, and heat, and clean, hot, running water. I have a phone. I have entertainment. If I’m smart I will even be able to do two loads of laundry this month.

And it’s not a lot. It’s not fancy. It’s Disability Benefit for gods sake, so they kind of build it to be “not fancy”… but it’s enough. It’s more than enough if you think about it. It’s definitely not perfect…

But it’s okay.

Financial, Off-Brand

Boxing Day (Week?) Sales

* I know this is off brand for me, but there are things in my life that aren’t just about Trauma Recovery and late diagnosis Autism that also mean a lot to me. Deal scouting and trying to live my best life on very little are some of them. So I’m going to share this here. Please don’t hate me for it*

I’m getting BOMBARDED with emails full of Boxing Day Week (when did it become a whole week?!) sales, and even though I understand the psychology behind how you design an email to make someone want to BUY, I will admit I still fall for it.

But the thing is, I go to the website and, YEAH I’m going to get 40% off and an awesome gift set if I spent $40 or $50, or a gift AND free shipping if I spend $75 but…. I don’t need that much from any of them.

Like, I don’t NEED more eye shadow palettes. In fact, I have three I have either only used once or never used AT ALL already (and they were all gifts, which makes me feel even worse) so there is a moratorium on buying eye shadow palettes in my home right now. Do I need all the things that are on sale?

No.

I mean, I will need a new Micellar Water from one company… in a few weeks maybe? And I AM out of my favourite brow gel from another, but I really don’t NEED to try and find another $40 worth of product to get that gift that doubles something I already have.

And that’s how you have to look at things.

Yes, a 6 Quart Instant Pot for under $90 on Amazon this week IS a great deal… IF you actually want and need an Instant Pot. And I don’t. I mean it would be cool to have I guess? But I don’t NEED it. And honestly, I don’t even want it (I mean, where would I keep it even?) So it’s not really that much of a deal for me is it?

And the email bombardment is the same thing.
If I get a Micellar water and a brow gel at Shoppers Drug Mart, I will only spent, like, $20. And that also won’t require a ridiculous amount of other crap I don’t need or even want or all the CO2 emissions that come from shipping those packages to Winnipeg from, like, Mississauga or Vancouver or Montreal or wherever.

You just have to remember, that a deal is only a deal if:

1) you actually NEED the thing, and
2) you can afford it

And a lot of the time there’s a lot of WANT, and SHINY, and PRETTY!, and OOOOH! but not a lot of NEED.

And I also KNOW that I can’t afford to spent $50 at some cosmetics company or Amazon or whatever. I’m on Disability Benefit! I could totally do it… and use up 1/3 of my grocery bill for me AND the cats this month (which means half my grocery bill, because no matter if I starve, they will always eat dangit). I could ask my Godmother if we could put it on her credit card, but that’s DEBT and do I really want to be the a–hole who takes advantage of their recently widowed mother like that too? For stuff I don’t need, or even really want? No!

Watch the deals, absolutely. Watch for loss leads and things that you know you NEED. But don’t just jump and hit the “BUY NOW” button because SHINY and OOH! If you don’t have the room to store, the money to spend, or the mouths to eat $200 worth of groceries, it’s not a deal to spend that to get $50 worth of points back.

I know impulse control can be a problem for some of us. Both on and off the Spectrum. And marketing is designed and built to make us ignore the logic of the pre-frontal cortex and just go for that sweet, sweet dopamine hit.

But before you click the “COMPLETE ORDER” button, stop and think:

  • Do I NEED it?
  • Can I really AFFORD it?
  • Is this really a need or is it really just a WANT?
  • Can I get only what I NEED closer to home for LESS?

And then par down your cart accordingly. And if you don’t meet the requirements for the deal, maybe the deal isn’t such a deal for you. Maybe it’s not the deal for you. There is nothing wrong with walking away. And there is NOTHING WRONG with putting things on Wishlists for later. Seriously, I have, like, 9 different categorized private Wishlists on Amazon besides my public one.

I know the FOMO is real. I know that feeding the FOMO and tricking you into going for that quick dopamine hit is exactly why that ad or that email or that website page was designed the way it was (because I’ve been building and designing those things myself for almost 20 years). I fight it myself this time of year.

– The woman who has walked away from FOUR shopping carts today

autism, Autistic Living, cat mom life, Disabled Living, self care

Of ABMs, Tiredness, and Going Mute

So yesterday I was still banged up from the fall on Saturday. I’m still pretty banged up from it now. Bruises all over, and my hips and knees aren’t doing well.

But my father called yesterday. I guess he was lonely? So even though it wasn’t our weekend to get together, we did. Got a lot of things done. I have some extra groceries in the house thanks to Dad and his minivan making it possible for me to kill a week’s worth of errands in a couple of hours (people who have a car don’t realize how much extra time they have).

Of course after the grocery stores we stopped at a bank for me to deposit my Disability cheque, aaaaand the ABM ate my card.

I know. Like, really universe?!??

I deposited my cheque and then when I ended the transaction the machine errored out, told me the transaction had been cancelled, there had been an error, it wasn’t able to return my card, and I needed to call Customer Service.

o.O

Two days before Christmas.

So it took half an hour to get to someone on the Customer Service line, because, you know, two days before and the last Sunday before Christmas. When they finally picked up the customer service agent told me I was the fourth person they themselves had talked to whose card had been eaten by an ABM for not reason. So apparently it was just a thing that was happening across Canada yesterday? I guess?

The agent was lovely though and ordered me a new Client Card and assured me that the cheque was accepted and showing in my account, and would clear by Thursday.

So that’s good?

Sent my heart into my throat for that half hour though.

Today I am so tired. First thing, I got dressed and went to the branch at the end of the street and had a temporary card made for me. I can use it at the ABM, but can’t shop with it. Which is fine. Honestly I don’t want to see another human being until I have to on Friday to pay rent.

It’s just me and the cats now, and I find I’ve gone mute. Which happens when I get completely overwhelmed. The good news is the cats and I can communicate just fine without words, so even if it lasts a couple days it should be okay.

That’s one of the things I really appreciate about Dot and Benny. The two of them have conversations behind my back at a frequency we can’t hear, and that’s fine; but the three of us communicate just fine without words too. I’ve even taught them some hand gestures and signing, so I don’t have to say “Benny, eat your dinner”, I can just sign *Food* and if I feel like it make a lip smacking sound and he knows what I’m saying.

It’s a pidgin worth of signs. Food. Water. Come Here. Bed. Come Up. Sit down. Brush. But honestly between the three of us it’s enough.

You can’t really do that with people I find. If people know that you normally can speak, they expect you to and it can be really hard when you’re just not up to it.

Like today.

I’m covered in bruises still from the fall on Saturday, and yesterday was a lot of business in a short amount of time. Also seeing Dad right after my first session with not Dr P. Also the whole ABM ate my card and told me my Disability cheque deposit had failed. And I seem to be coming down with a cold as of this morning. And I’ve gone mute.

This isn’t a bad thing. It’s a canary in the coal mine that I’m heading towards a shutdown if I don’t watch myself. So this is a good time to just shut out the world, concentrate on the cats and myself, and try to relax. Eat real food. Stay hydrated. Get enough sleep. I do enough of that and my words will come back to me. I do enough of that and I should be able to avert a shutdown.

So that’s what I’m trying to do today.

Personal, ptsd

Don’t Panic

For the last few months I’ve been dealing with the cats going off their wet food. They did the same thing last fall. Basically, as soon as the weather changes they go off their food, and it freaks me out.

Their Vet and his staff have been really wonderful though. We’ve checked them both out. We’ve done full exams. Benny is the one I worry about the most since he went off the wet food first and he’s really only eating the crappy Meaty Selections at this point. Dot also has me worried. Both for going off her wet food and for gaining a huge amount of weight. Yesterday I took her in to get her nails clipped and I asked for her to get a weigh in at the end. She’s gained a pound in about six weeks. That’s like one of us gaining 30lbs. And, again, I’m scared.

But I realized last night that I was scaring myself and I was panicking.

See, my Honey needed medical care her whole life. My ex didn’t just hit me, he also had a bad habit of taking his anger out on Honey. He liked playing “Super Cat” with her where he was high. He’d toss her at the futon (and hopefully she’d stick the landing? Sometimes she didn’t) and tell me – despite the freaked out look on her face – that she loved it and I needed to stop being such a buzzkill. He also let the door break her tail when she was a kitten to “teach her” not to make a run for the door into our private hallway. He kicked and hit her, and more than once,  when I was pregnant, I had to tell him, ‘You want to hit someone, hit someone your own size!’. He ruptured her colon and a year and a half after we left him, she went septic. $7,000 and 2 open abdominal surgeries later, she was still alive but she had health issues for the rest of her life.

And now with Benny and Dot, I am still quick to panic. And I need to stop it.

Last night I had a serious talk with myself, and I realized I was panicking, and that was putting their welfare in danger. Sure, wet food is better than dry but they’re eating dry. Sure the grain free food is better for Benny than the cheap-o stuff from Giant Tiger or the Dollar Store, but he’s eating it. Maybe not all of it. Maybe not when I want him too. But he’s eating some of it.

Stop. Panicking. Saffron.

Hyper-vigilance is an issue a lot of people recovering from Trauma have to deal with. For me, sometimes it can be paranoia and sensory overload, sure, but sometimes it also comes as a lot of second guessing myself and panicking and then over compensating. And that’s no good either.

Dot needs to stop being given food whenever she cries for it. Because she’s Dot, and she will cry for food and treats all the time if she can. And I know that. And I know the history of why she does that. I know what the calorie count the Vet wants for her is, and I know how much food that is each day. I have to stick to that. Regardless of whether it’s kibble, or wet pate. Have faith in the Vet and in myself to know that so long as she gets that amount of food, she’s going to be okay.

And I need to stop freaking out about Benny too. On Monday I’m taking him in one more time to have blood and urine taken, and we’ll just dot the Is and cross the Ts for him and make sure he’s okay. But, if he’s eating dry food, so long as he’s eating, that’s okay. My friend Kacy works with animals, and she reminds me that, ‘Sometimes the best food for them, is the food they’ll eat’.

I may not like that Benny will only eat the crap kibble right now, and we’re going to give him a thorough once over on Monday to make sure there’s nothing truly wrong, but if he’s eating that’s what matters. And I have to remind myself of that.

But I’ve been panicking. That happens sometimes. A mix of the ASD and the PTSD and history. I spent 8 years with Honey doing regular trips to the Vet, and keeping her clean, and putting her ahead of everything. Their Vet has told me with any other person Honey probably wouldn’t have made it to 4, but she made it to almost 10 with me. I worked really hard to keep her alive and keep her quality of life as high as possible for almost a decade, so my gut reaction is to be a bit of a helicopter parent with Dot and Ben too. And I need to calm that shit down, cos it’s not doing anyone any favours.