August 15th, 2020

Today was a really good day.

I drove most of the day. I woke up late at Snowy’s house after having a hard time getting to sleep last night. I got a shower, and went out for a few hour’s worth of driving.

My car, a VW Alltrack, in its native habitat in the Pacific Northwest.

It was really nice to get a bunch of hours behind the wheel again. I went all around Castle Rock, and then up about 2000′ high on Mt. St. Hellens. The photo above is my car at a place where there’s a restroom and a nice view. I like to stop there just to stretch a bit before the long trip back to Castle Rock.

The drive was was (and this is hard to believe) totally routine! It was just like any other drive I’ve done. I didn’t get freaked out once. I was relaxed the whole time. Traffic got heavy in places, but it wasn’t a big deal.

A month ago I put myself and Snowy’s lives in danger on that drive (which is what prompted me to get professional help in the first place). This time was not a big deal. We waited to leave until after the worst of the traffic would be over, which I think helped a lot, but … maybe these meds are helping? I sure hope so.

Bzzzzzt!

Snowy said she’s hearing my normal self start to slowly come back. We’ll see if that hold true, I guess. I haven’t felt “normal” in forever.

Here’s hoping tomorrow is a good day, too.

August 14th, 2020

Today was a good day!

I’m having a harder and harder time waking up in the morning. I blame the meds the doctor has me on. It’s really weird for me because I’m a morning person, and normally I can get up without even really trying. Now it’s a struggle.

A few years ago I tried an experiment. I moved all electronics from my bedroom, except my phone, which sits on a charging stand at night. There isn’t a TV in there, no computers, there’s not even a clock. (I did recently re-add a HomePod, but it doesn’t have a screen.) I do this because my room is the sleeping room, and I didn’t wanna be distracted by anything else in there. I watch a lot of TV, but I do it in the living room.

That experiment might have to end soon, if this keeps up. I’m having a harder and harder time getting up without the use of an alarm clock, but we’ll see where it goes. I’ve been told that sometimes your body gets used to new brain meds and things eventually go back to normal.

I realized today that it’s been about a week since I had the kind of episode where I freak out and throw things. I’ve still had episodes, yeah, but they haven’t resulted in me throwing things and getting that kind of mad. Maybe the meds are helping?

I’m still having bad thoughts. Yesterday I was fighting my brain telling me how much better the world would be if I wasn’t in it. I almost got to the point of calling someone just to ask them to talk to me about anything (literally anything) just to get my brain to jump off that subject, but it finally let go. It was pretty scary. šŸ˜°

I’m at Snowy’s house right now. We come here every other weekend so she can see her peoples. We tried another experiment that worked! We left Seattle around 7:30pm, so we missed most of the traffic. Since traffic was easy, I had no problem at all getting here.

A month ago really bad things happened on this drive, so I’m really glad today’s drive was easy. We avoided the gas station where everything went wrong last time, however, just to not tempt fate.

The lights in my hallway!

In unrelated news, the project I did last weekend to hang lights in my hallway turned out great! (And my fan is really dusty.) I just had to share. šŸ’œ

August 11th, 2020

Today was all over the place. I had some pretty high highs, and some pretty low lows.

I had trouble getting up this morning again. I didn’t get out of bed when I wanted to. This is a really new thing for me, and I blame the meds I’m on. I rest really well when I’m on them (I wake up feeling really good after sleeping), but it takes me foreeeeeeeeeeeever to wake up fully.

I love the house I’ve rented, but I can’t stand the potty. It’s one of those pressurized kinds, and when it works, it works great, but when it doesn’t, ick, it’s a disaster. It shoots pressurized water down the bowl and down the drain, which normally is great. But when it’s clogged, oooooooooh wow. It turns my potty into a very effective poo fountain. šŸ’©ā›²ļø Poo goes EVERYWHERE.

That happened this morning. šŸ¤®

This is the third time that’s happened since I’ve been here, and the first when Snowy is here. I know that Snowy has problems with germs and stuff, so I really freaked out. I got all yell-y and yelled words I’d most likely get in trouble for saying anywhere else.

It was both the fact that my potty was plugged up, and the fact that I didn’t want Snowy to have to be in an environment that she wouldn’t like that made it so hard. I eventually got the potty cleared up, and then sanitized everything in the area, but it was a good solid hour of freaking out.

After that, the rest of the afternoon was pretty easy. Work was fine. I had a session with my therapist, and that went fine, and I finally got an appointment set up with a psychiatrist for September 17th. That’s still a long ways off, but at least I have it on the calendar.

Then came the freakout after work. One of my worse in a long time.

I’m a Coke Zero addict, and I ran out this afternoon. Normally on Sunday I buy a whole bunch and have it at the house, but the Safeway near my house ran out, and I could only get enough to last until today. (This is what happened on Sunday.)

After work, Snowy and I went back to our normal Safeway to see if they have Coke Zero back in stock. They did not. Since we were there we decided to get a few things (I got some apples and she got a few non-forbidden fruit cups), but there was a line at check-out. A long line.

While trying to figure out which line to get into an older couple got in my way, and I felt like I was trapped with no way to stand that wasn’t in their way and and safe distance away. (My brain was telling me to not get too close, or else I’d kill them.) I panicked. I pushed the cart against an aisle, and took off walking very quickly down another aisle, just to get away.

Snowy eventually found me, and brought the cart with her.

We got back in line, and it took 20 minutes just to get the things we didn’t even go there for, but I got past it. It was really hard. I had a smaller freakout while waiting in line (someone wasn’t socially distancing from us), but Snowy was able to keep our place in line. I went and stood 50′ away in a safe spot and kept an eye on her, waiting for her to get to the register.

Sooooo we got that sorted, but I still had the very real problem of not having the Coke Zero I needed. We got back to the car, and decided to try a new (to us) place a few miles away. It was a giant Fred Myer store.

The Fred Meyer in Shoreline. This was the first time I’d been there.

They did have Coke Zero, and a bunch of it, so I got what I needed for the rest of the week. I thought about cleaning them out (I buy 2-Liters), but decided to be nice and save some for someone else that might want them.

I was breathing hard the whole time, still kinda amped up from Safeway, but got through it. My glasses got extremely fogged up along the way.

We got home and I collapsed on the sofa, and haven’t moved. I’m still sitting there as I write this.

I wish I knew how I got here. Things are so bad right now. šŸ˜¢

August 10th, 2020

Today was blaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. I started out on the wrong side of the bed and had to struggle to get back to a normal state.

Now that I’ve been on brain meds for a few weeks I’m really starting to feel their effects. One of those is making is sleep longer than I normally would. I’m a morning person, and this is a really weird thing for me. I’m not use to having to fight to get out of bed. Normally I wake up when the sun does, even if I don’t wanna.

I had the hardest time getting up this morning. I meant to get up around 7:00am, but didn’t actually get up until 7:40am. Woops. I still don’t use an alarm clock, and I hope I don’t get to that point, but it might happen.

After lunch I had to take Snowy’s husband back to the train station. It’s downtown. (The King Street Station if you know Seattle.) I got down there mostly okay. I-5 is a lot more stressful than it used to be, but I didn’t seem to have much of an issue.

The way back was a different story. I live North of downtown, and on I-5N around Northgate had a big truck pull up behind me. It was a big scary red truck, and it wouldn’t get off my bumper. Here’s a drawing to demonstrate:

A drawing of my car on I-5.
May not be to scale, but is how it was in my head.

It just wouldn’t get off my bumper, and I started to freak out. I started slowing down, and finally it got away from me, but I was pretty shaken up after that. After it got away from me I got into the right lane and went really slow. (Like 50MPH and everyone else was doing 70MPH.) I kept re-assuring myself that it was gone, but it was rough.

Once the big red truck got out of sight I did my best to chill out. I still had a hard time talking (and Snowy did her best to talk to me, but I just wasn’t willing / able to talk back), but I made it home. I didn’t even get upset when I got home. Last time this happened I laid down on the bed and cried, but I was able to keep focused.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. Snowy and I talked a bit about how we’re gonna get to Castle Rock this weekend, and I don’t know if we’ve worked it out. She wants to take the train like we did last time. I kinda want to drive, so I have my car once we get there, but if I’m having problems just making it to downtown and back… I dunno. šŸ˜°

August 9th, 2020

Today was very mixed. Mostly bad.

Most of the day was okay. I did the usual Sunday things, like get my car washed and vacuumed out, got a bagel and the really nice Jewish Bakery down the street for breakfast, and got a big Diet Coke to wash my bagel down with. (It’s the one time a week I give up Coke Zero for Diet Coke!)

That all went fine. Really good, even.

Today’s also a special day, because it’s Snowy’s anniversary, and her husband came into town for the day. (Yay, I like to see him, too.) We went together to pick him up from the train station. I was in the middle of a project at the time (I hung some extra lights in the hallway since it’s really dark), and had to leave quickly because his train came in early, but I did okay. I got really amped up on the ride into Seattle to the train station, but it worked out okay.

One of my worse things is “oh no, someone is waiting on me,” and it’s especially true when I don’t control all of the pieces. (Like, say, traffic on I-5.) It’s a variant on the “I’m worried about hurting someone” theme that has been the dominate force in my life for the last few years. Traffic was okay on the way to the train station, but it could have gone bad very quickly. But didn’t. Phew.

On the way back we stopped for lunch at Chipotle, and I had a bit of a nervous breakdown.

Snowy had to go to the restroom, which is totally fine, of course, but it left me without a place to stand that wasn’t known-safe. I was in the line at Chipotle, and there wasn’t a dot to stand on for “waiting on someone to pee.” That set me off. I like the dots on the ground, they make things easier, but they also make things hard when you can’t follow the lines.

We ended up waiting next to the window, which wasn’t 6′ away from the dots, but I reminded myself “uh, we’re the only ones in here. There’s no one to hurt,” and it mostly worked to calm myself down, but I still had a rough time there.

After lunch we went back to the house and went our separate ways. Snowy and husband went off to do grownup things, and I hung around the house and finished up my project.

A normal Sunday afternoon thing is to go grocery shopping. The last two months or so Snowy and I have been in a pretty good routine, but this time, I was on my own. I didn’t complete my whole trip.

As I tweeted about, because I wear glasses all of the time (I don’t have contacts), I fight with it getting fogged up due to a mask. When I get nervous I start to breathe harder, which makes my glasses fog up more, which makes it harder to see, which makes me more worried I’m gonna hurt someone, which makes me breathe harder, which makes the circle complete, and it doesn’t take long until I have a meltdown.

The store was out of some of the things that I needed, so I knew I’d have to go to a second store to get everything. I got so worked up that I never made it to the second store. It took all of my effort to get home, but I did.

I’m both sad that I couldn’t handle the whole trip, but kinda glad, too, because I was alone. That was the first time grocery shopping alone in months. I didn’t get all of the things that I needed, and I freaked out, but I was able to handle it, and that’s important to me.

I came back home and got paralyzed for a few hours. I basically did nothing. Siri helped me out by playing some forest sounds (which I find relaxing), but… yeah. šŸ˜¢

Snow eventually texted me and said they were on the way home. I told her I was not okay, but was home and safe. She offered to meet me at a different grocery store (that’s a bit larger) to get the things that I needed. I agreed.

The Safeway where we met, as seen from my car.

While in this grocery store I had another freak-out. This one was larger than the first. I had to cross the path of the door, and a constant stream of people came in. It was really hard to keep 6′ away because they just kept coming in. I froze and just stood still for several minutes while waiting for the path to get clear. Snowy and husband had to come get me to get me out of it.

We got home, I said “that’s it, no more going out today,” and put on my PJs and we watched a movie. (Iron Man) That part was pretty good. I’ve seen that movie a bunch of times, and it’s really familiar. Re-watching movies I’ve already seen is really comforting right now since I know how it goes. Familiar is good.

The current view of my living room, as seen from my normal spot on my sofa.

On the plus side, today’s project, which was hanging lights in the hallway, turned out great. It really made that dark and drab hallway a lot more magical. šŸ’œ

August 8th, 2020

Today was a good day.

My whole family (all four of us) came in town today, and we did a tourist thing. We went to the Space Needle. It’s something that’s neat to do when there’s family or friends in town, but not something I’d do just for fun on my own.

The Space Needle in Seattle, WA. Taken August 8th, 2020.

I had a rough scare getting there. An aggressive driver cut me off on the highway, but I was able to recover. It was pretty scary because all four of us were in the car at the time. I’ve learned in situations like that that it’s not during the event, but the few minutes that follow when I have an issue, but I was able to keep it together.

The Space Needle itself was just fine. They had us do this weird UV Light thing to get in, which I’m not sure what good it did, but I handled it fine. The elevators were okay, too.

I had a small freakout period actually up on the top, by the glass, when a bunch of people came by, but it was okay. Since I had Snowy and the rest of the family there, I ran to them, and kept it together. Phew.

A short time-lapse video of the monorail as seen from the Space Needle

We got home and watched a movie (Frozen II). There’s a scene in it where Elsa realizes she’s all alone and the plans she’s made have changed that hit me really hard. I started bawling. Snowy came over and sat with me and hugged me, and I made it past it.

Today was a good day. I need more days like today.

August 7th, 2020

Yesterday wasn’t a good day. I don’t even know why.

Work was fine. A little slow in the afternoon, but just fine. After work was … eh.

Thursday was the first good day I’d had in a long time, and I was feeling pretty good following work, so Snowy and I decided to do something different for dinner. We went to a PF Changs (same place we went with the rest of the family a few weeks ago) for dinner. We had a 6pm reservation.

We left with lots of time to get there, which turned out to be a good thing. Traffic getting onto I-5 was a mess. I kept an eye on the ETA on the Maps app in my car, and it kept showing a comfortable margin, so I never really panicked on the way there.

When we got to the restaurant things started to go bad. When I went to get out of the car I managed to twist in such a way that my butt hurt, and I started freaking out about blood getting on my white pants. (The horrors of having hemorrhoids in the past!)

Dinner was mostly uneventful. We sat closer to an aisle that I would have liked, but it didn’t phase me. The problems started after dinner.

We stopped by the bathroom, and I had to use one of the really low toilets. The wasn’t anything to hold on to to get up, so I just had to struggle a bit. I did get up (and reassured myself that I wasn’t bleeding), but it was a bit of a challenge. The toilet with the bars was in use, so I didn’t get to use it.

Struggling to get off the toilet set a bad series of things in motion.

After dinner we stopped by a Whole Foods nearby so Snowy could get a few things. I didn’t wanna press my luck, so I decided to wait in the car. (Grocery stores can be overwhelming if the aisles are long enough.)

The view from the driver’s seat in my car as I waited for Snowy to return.

Backing out from the parking spot was a struggle. People kept getting in my way, and it triggered my “oh no, I’m gonna hurt or kill them” reflex. I managed to get past that, and we went to a gas station. I didn’t have enough gas to get home.

Fill the car up with gas up was fine, too, other than I forgot my mask.

As I was walking back to the driver’s side of the car after filling up I saw a hand sanitizer thing and thought “oh, that’s a good idea, let’s do that,” and tried to use it. It wasn’t working quite right, and rather than squirt foam onto my paws, it squired a lot of the liquid that I guess the foam is made of? I’m not sure, but it was really sticky.

I tried to get my paws dry by rubbing them (there was a LOT of stuff on them), and eventually gave up and grabbed a paper towel. That left my paws all sticky, and … that’s a problem. It set me on edge.

I got home just fine. Traffic wasn’t an issue. I was feeling pretty good at this point. I pulled the trash cans back up to the house (which is good! Lately I’ve been waiting 3-4 days to do that), and then scrubbed the goo from the gas station off my paws in the kitchen sink.

I’m not sure what happened after that, because it all went wrong.

My brain started beating me up over eating dinner. The combo of struggling to get off the potty and my knees bothering me and… yeah, I don’t know, but my brain was like “you shouldn’t have eaten dinner,” and things spiraled out of control.

I started thinking about “do I need to eat tomorrow,” which isn’t healthy. I kept trying to convince myself that it was okay that I’d had dinner, but my brain just wanted nothing of it.

I flopped on the sofa and tried to keep it together.

I can see into Snowy’s room from the sofa, and my brain went to “that room will be empty eventually,” and I just lost it. I cried really hard.

It’s a hard mental struggle right now. I need to prove to myself that I’m able to live alone, but at the same time, I don’t really want to. I need to be able to prove to myself that I can, so that a decision to not live alone is my own choice… but at the same time, I’ve really enjoyed having someone here and the idea of an empty house again is really scary.

Snowy came over and hugged me, and we talked for a bit. The crying eventually stopped. I stopped feeling guilty over eating dinner. Snowy went to bed, and I did about 30 minutes later.

What a day. I wish I knew why it was a bad day. It just … was.