Mar. 31st, 2017

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I used to have a body clock set in stone. For my entire life, I was awake at 5 AM, usually damn near on the dot. 5 AM. No alarms needed. No one woke me up at that time. My body just liked waking up at 5 AM. Nothing could change that wakeup time, even as I occasionally tried to shift it. Even on Abilify, which fucked my sleep SO HARD, I could not stay asleep past 5 AM.

So, 5 AM it was. 5 AM since I was 14 years old. It used to give my foster parents a hell of a scare, as they'd walk into the kitchen about six in the morning to find me already wide awake, cup of coffee in hand, scrawling in my journal. It was often the only time I was alone and could write with abandon. Even as a teenager, I recognized how important that was.

Like, seriously, I used to skip classes to go somewhere alone and write in some goddamn peace and quiet. I didn't skip to go party (even if I was already drunk). I skipped just to get a calm, midday writing break.

If I'd smoked that young, there would have probably also been a cigarette hanging out of my mouth. Still, the early wakeup times were always a little jarring for my various foster parents. It also annoyed the hell out of my Mom, who is also an early riser and disliked her alone time being interrupted. As an adult myself, I finally understand that irritation. No fault on you for that one, Mom.

Speaking of my mother )

But the whole slow typing thing is what gave my intake counselor and I a break long enough to get super excited about seeing a cat outside the window. It turns out that he is also a fan of cats, usually owning about three to four cats at anytime. It gave us something to connect over, which always makes the intake process easier.

I mean, the dude was so excited at seeing a cat at work that he left his desk and peered out the window with me for, like, a solid five minutes. It's rare enough to meet an older man who likes cats. It's even rarer to find one that will, with the same glee that I have, talk about their cats. It gave us conversation material between awkward silences.

He did peer at me, a little surprised, when I noted he had a copy of the Fifth Edition of the DSM and asked him if they'd finally moved Bi-Polar under the Schizoaffective umbrella. It turns out they did, which was a private relief, as I'd written a 12 page paper promoting that exact thing in college.

They always look at me a little strangely when I say things like that. But hey, I've been in some form of therapy (either talk, medicinal, or group) for over 20 years now. You pick up some of the lingo along the way. And once the internet became a viable search tool, I was off like a rocket to read everything I could about my mental health conditions.

I try to do that with lupus, but lupus is scary as shit. Sometimes I just don't feel brave enough. Or physically well enough, as a computer screen can cause lethal (or, again, what FEELS like lethal) headaches and nausea.

Alex, I'll take Sunglasses In An Otherwise Completely Darkened Room for $200.

But you don't conquer learning the coping skills of MENTAL health in 8 months, so I imagine you also don't conquer the coping skills of MEDICAL health in 8 months, either.

So the therapy intake went well. Exceptionally well. I have both a psychologist (the talky type) appointment set up for next week AND a psychiatric appointment set up in three months. (I've endless refills on my psych meds right now. It's no rush to get at them.) It took about three hours, to which the staff was exceedingly apologetic about. But I never expect a psych walk in to be ANY LESS THAN three hours, so I told them no worries about that.

See? Psych shit I know. Easy breezy. The hard part these days is making sure I can physically get to the appointments. The process of reaching out and making professional contact, however, is like riding a bike. You don't ever really forget how to do it. It takes a while to initally learn it, but once you do, all you experience is a wobble or two when you climb back onto the seat.

My bicycle is not in great shape these days. It's rusted, the tires need refilled and I've got several spokes that are broken and jutting out, just waiting for someone who hasn't had a tetanus shot to wander by and get jabbed in the knee with. But at least I AM getting back on the wheels.

I'll die if I don't. I know that now. And as uncool as my beat up bike makes me look, I'll look a hell of a lot worse if I'm fucking dead. So let's not die, Teressa.

Let's just not die.

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