Running makes me cry

So, post-workout, trying-your-suggestions-brain-mushy-but-happy question:

Once I've hit an accelerated heart rate for a few steady minutes, and about 25 minutes on the treadmill, I begin to feel...emotional. Really emotional. Like, if I weren't in public, I might break down sobbing kind of emotional.

It's not because I'm in pain or sore or anything. At that point, physically, I feel GREAT. It's a completely emotional response to high physical activity.

So, like, what's up with that?

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Totally open to advice now

So I used Jesse's phone and got the insurance thing worked out. I have a 1,200 deductible. I've paid out 100 of it so far, but it turns out I have an HSA card to help with that. I had to call and have it reissued. That will take a couple of weeks to get here and then I can set up an appointment.

I tried guessing what the doctor's visit would go like, the things he or she would recommend.

DOCTOR: Quitting smoking will help.

ME: Ahahaha, yeah right, no way. What's next?

DOCTOR: Your diet could use some work.

ME: Good point. I am a sugar fiend. I can cut down on sugar.

DOCTOR: Do you exercise?

ME: The only exercise I get is walking to and fro on my cigarette breaks at work.

DOCTOR: You need to exercise more. What do you do for stress relief?

ME: Uhhhh, I smoke cigarettes? And that's pretty much it?

DOCTOR: Erm, yeah, so you should totally work on finding other ways to relieve stress.

So on and so forth went the imaginary conversation in my head. Because regardless if this is a medical issue or a mental health issue (and it's probably both), the ONLY THING I currently am in control of is what I do to my body or mind. And that means identifying and learning stress-control techniques.

So, I'm totally open to diet and exercise advice now.

I told Jesse last night that while I loathe exercise, it sucks a hell of a lot less than losing my hair. I climbed onto the treadmill last night, at a walk of about 2.5 miles. I pulled out my old Pilates video. I have a workable workout schedule - treadmill 3 times a week, Pilates alternating three other days. Something manageable but that also does something.

No matter what the medical issue is, I realized that my stress is seriously exacerbating the condition. I've never been good at stress relief. I don't even notice I'm bottling it, at least not until my lovers and friends point-blank tell me I've been acting like a raging bitch.

A lot of people work out to relieve stress. If it's something a lot of people do, then I can damn sure try to do it, too. I don't need to go balls-the-wall about it. Even a few times a week should help.

The reigning advice for stress relief seems to be that a person should quit their stressful job, buy a ton of self-help books, and take up painting as a hobby.

For those of us who do not have the financial freedom to quit our jobs and renovate entire rooms with wall-sized canvases, we must find other ways.

Jesse also suggested meditation. This is good advice. It's easy enough to tailor most meditation exercises to be godless, so my atheism shouldn't be a problem. A belief in the Divine is not nesscary to quiet the mind. I need to find an ideal time to meditate. Evenings, I am exhausted and just want to sleep. Mornings are filled with cleaning and writing.

But surely I can find ten minutes a day to soften the noise in my head.

I've always been a ridiculously psychosomatic person. The smallest bit of stress always seems to manifest physically. And if my body usually signals stress with cold sores, lack of good sleep, then my body discarding its hair in droves is DEFINITELY A SIGN OF STRESS.

Regardless of the condition, I can do this in the meantime. So....

What do you guys do for stress? For diet? For exercise?

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As much as I'd like to, I can't pull off the Ripley/Aliens 3 look

* I'm losing my hair. A lot of it. I have to put my hair up now or else the bald patch (about six inches long and three inches wide) on the back of my head show. Putting UP my hair will become problematic soon enough, as I'm losing hair along the earlines, too. Pulling the hair up will soon reveal THOSE patches, too.

* GO TO THE DOCTOR! Okay, I can go to the doctor. But I don't have the money for the deductible. Just going to a minute clinic a few months ago, even WITH insurance, cost me 100 dollars. (Out of a 200 dollar bill.)

* Okay, so just CALL a doctor's office and see if they can give you an estimate. I can call them, but I've got 20 minutes on my phone and being on the phone with the insurance company/doctor's office will likely while away much more than 20 minutes.

* So, okay, wait till Friday (payday) and then buy another phone card and then call the doctor and THEN schedule the appointment and THEN save the money for a few weeks to GO TO the doctor. Okay, I can do that. And in the meantime, go to work and really hope that the thin hair I have left stays in the ponytail so I don't flash the inches long, inches wide streak of baldness.

* I asked one of the managers if I could wear a bandana in the meantime. I can only do so with a doctor's note. I don't think she believed just how badly I am going bald, as I've been too embarrassed to show her.

* I'll show her Thursday when I get to work. Maybe they will acquiesce to it if it's visible enough. Which as of yesterday, is fully visible.

* Why am I losing my hair? Could be stress. Could be an immune disorder. My nails have also become so weak and brittle that I've just sheared them at the quick. The "stress" rash I've had is flaring up. Could be lupus. Could be cancer.

* Hell, could be the bubonic plague for all I know. I have googled the world of information and absolutely every piece of advice ranges from DUH to WHAT LIMB DO I HAVE TO SELL TO TEST FOR THAT DISEASE.

* It's just too broad of symptoms for any diet or exercise or holistic advise to be useful. Please don't give me diet and exercise advice. I'm working on revamping the diet and am taking my old phone and putting music on it so I can go workout.

* With most things in my life, the whole "just ignore it long enough and the uncomfortable symptoms go away" thing worked. And maybe it never really "worked", but without insurance, it was all I had.

* Now I'm paying 100$ a month for medical insurance and I have neither the phone minutes to set an appointment nor the money to pay for the visit.

* And if I can't afford a doctors visit, I sure as hell can't afford a good wig.

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Your job

* This is why the "I don't see the mess!" argument doesn't work.

Think of the working world – we would never nod understandingly at an employee who constantly refuses to keep up with their workload, or who wanders off to play with their phone while others are working if they said “Well, I wasn’t raised to do [tasks] because my mom always did that for me, so I don’t notice when it needs to be done.” We expect grown adults to be responsible, to learn how to do things, and to find some way to manage reminders and obligations. - Capt Awkward commenter

Cleaning is part of your job as an adult. If you do not ever notice the fact that you have no counterspace in which to cook on, or can't seem to plant your foot on the floor near the bed without hearing trash crunching, or just plain don't mind that when you stick your ass on the toilet seat it comes away with black, moldy smears on your butt - then it is still your job to find a way to remind yourself to clean these things.

I'll accept, on a very thin level, that there might be people out there who truly do not notice it when they are eating off plates that haven't been washed in two weeks.

I do not accept, on ANY level, that this excuses those two week old dirty dishes.

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Daily problems

* You never get your bills...until you get the one with the late fee attached to it. Somehow that statement always seem to reach you and your indignant mailboxes.

* In the time you waste arguing with me about how you don't understand policy and no one has been kind enough to explain it to you, I could have explained the policy in three different ways.

* How can you claim you never signed up for a card/don't remember signing up for a card? The application has, like, twenty fields that must be filled out. Are you simply that click-happy?

* The answer to the above question is YES, because you also never, ever remember that you clicked YES to: card security programs, credit protection, "free trials" and any number of added fees to your monthly bills.

* You also never read the two or three lines (always provided with a link explaining exactly what you clicked "YES" to) accompanying those clicks.

* You always expect telling me that you didn't read it will lead to a grand apology and an immediate refund, as if your refusal to learn what it is you signed up for is somehow a courageous stand for the common man.


I took a call from an 85 year old woman the other day. The transferring rep said she was having difficulty with her online account. I groaned, as an elderly person having trouble with our website is usually a 30 minute call, bare minimum.

All this lady needed was her user ID. After that, she plowed on through the rest of the site, all without my help. She knew what she was doing. She was tech and net savvy.

I made sure to compliment her on it.

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Capt Awkward - Prescription Edition

* He’s treating you like a medication, so let’s try it: think of yourself like a medication. For a person who reads the instructions and uses as advised, you can do a ton of good. Your partner has slipped into substance abuse of you, and is suffering inevitable ill effects, and now he’s just bashing the bottle to see if he can get any more out of it.

The answer to this problem is not to give him more doses of you."

I don't think David was ever afraid of admitting that he was using me the same way an addict uses a drug. I think he was afraid he'd have to do some work if he admitted he was using me.

Back in my day, it was very easy for me to admit I was an addict. Denying that while having a needle hanging out of my arm would have been ridiculous. So I openly said I was an addict. Often. Without prompting, even.

My problem was that I thought admitting it was enough. I'd watched too many movies and thought that the mere utterance, if done in some dramatic, sweeping fashion would show others just how much I wanted to change. After all, the first step is admitting it, right?

And I did that first step. Over and over and over again. All that first step ever did was land me with another needle in my arm. It wasn't until I took the second step, and then the third, and the fourth, that I realized honesty isn't about saying things.

It's about doing things. It was about going to two meetings a day for the first two years of my sobriety. It was about sitting on my hands when I wanted to cut myself, or about unplugging the phone when I wanted to call my dealer. It was about accepting that no one was going to lend me money for a really long time because everyone was sick of me spending money on drugs.

Eventually I did so many things that I actually did get clean. I did so many things that I stayed clean. And I still do things to stay clean.

David was very good at admitting he was an addict. But all he ever did was take that first step, jump back, take that first step again, leap back, step forward, skitter back...on and on until I decided I couldn't dance with a partner who had only one move.

It's easy to say you're addicted to what's in the bottle.

It is a HELL of a lot harder to put down the bottle before you end up shattering it.

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Burning buildings

You would not be obligated to stay in there with them and die in the fire as well. Firefighters (aka therapists) are specially trained to save people from fires. And if for whatever reason the firefighters can’t save them, it isn’t your fault. You tried. You just can’t save them all on your own without them trying. And you don’t have to get stuck in the fire with them.

Emotional hurt isn’t as obvious or clear, and depression is awful and unfair, but you do not have to let your own lives go up in flames. If you give your partners concrete things to try (like starting to crawl towards the door of the burning house) and they still do nothing, you need to think about leaving. And that will suck, because you will not have saved them and they will still be in that burning house, but you will be saving YOU. And that doesn’t make you a terrible person.

That's from a capt awkward thread, though which one I'm not sure. I read that and immediately thought of David. And then I thought of Cassie. And then I thought of my mother. Even of my stepfather.

I thought of a few friends in recovery, the ones I had to let go of because they were standing in the windows, smoke and flames snaking around their wrists, refusing to take the leap out of the burning wreckage that threatened to collapse all around them.

I've stood in front of a lot of burning buildings.

And I've watched a lot of them go up in smoke, the bodies and souls of my loved ones reduced to ash. Those who haven't died yet are still screaming. I can hear them when I sleep, when I close my eyes, in the quiet moments where I tilt my head, wondering if what I'm smelling is something behind me burning.

Wondering if what I'm smelling is someone behind me burning.

I know I'm supposed to be grateful that I'm the one who got out. The one who found my goddamn oxygen mask, even if I had to crawl on the charred ground, muscles and tendons sizzling, to breath. To not suffocate to death. To find that I am strong enough to leap out of a burning 27 story building, because bones that break can be healed, while burning to death is a bit harder to bounce back from.

In that no one returns from death, at least.

The flames aren't pretty anymore. I don't need the ceiling to collapse onto me to feel warm. I have found other ways to see what's in front of me that doesn't involve torching an entire goddamn city block.

I've stood in front of a lot of burning buildings.

And I will learn to stay out of burning buildings. It hurts. I remember how it felt to be burned. But the only way you stop getting burned is by getting the hell out of the burning house. I've gotten out.

I just stand outside of them now.

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Two hours in the waiting room of the mental health clinic and I walked away, clutched bottles of medicinal sanity in hand. I've got too much riding on sanity these days. Can't go too crazy. Can't spin off, can't fall down. Have to sleep every night so I don't oversleep alarms. Have to take the drugs that slow the cogs down to a murmured whir so I can talk.

Jesse agreed, Paula.

It's usually just a two day deal to get meds redone. But I'd been giving them the wrong phone number. Mixed up a couple of numbers, so of course they weren't able to get them refilled. I'd called the pharmacy asking if they'd heard anything, and they read me the note about the wrong phone number.

So I called into work and hauled ass into the waiting room. If I'm spacing bad enough to keep giving the wrong phone number, then dealing with 16 digit credit card account numbers is probably at risk, too.

I'm really good at getting help. I'm even pretty good at staying helped. Staying on top of what I need. Scanning the horizons and sounding the alarm when a storm bows the masts. I just get sick of there being so many storms. It's just the price of being me, a thing that I claw desperately for when things are too quiet, a thing that I sink to and rise above.

None are so painfully aware of the pitch and tone of their mind as mentally ill people in treatment. It's hard to know if we are just creating needless drama or if we are actually paying attention. And then there's me, prone to breakthrough episodes even all tucked in tight with the right medication.

Well, nothing got too bad. Some misfiring sparks. It's been worse.

And you guys are right about closure, mother, moving on. Choices. Those who can't give us closure. I could wait 40 years, too. Some part of me will wait a 100 years. I can't end the suffering like we do with our loved animals, but I can grow beyond the suffering. I will grow bigger than it.

I will grow bigger than it all. Pills and diagnosises and everything else that surrounds me, I will either grow bigger than it or else I will wrap it around me and still tilt to the sun. I'll be the sapling that grows with a stone in its trunk. People will gaze and wonder how a tree grew with such a thing lodged so deep in its fibers.

I am the tree. The last week, struggling with words because of a break in medication, that is the stone. Even if I have to take it with me, I will keep growing.

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Appropo for the holiday

On the process of seeking "closure" about my mother - and the eventual realization that no number of answers would explain away the abuse (or what needed to be done about it.)

From this thread:

"When my 16 year old kitty became very ill, the vet mentioned three or four tests we could run. And what would they tell us? Whether she had X, or Y, or Z. And if she has X or Y or Z, what can we do? Nothing that we weren’t doing already.

For me, seeking “closure” would be like ordering all those tests to find out exactly why my kitty was dying, in a vain attempt to “do” something so I could delay the inevitable: sooner or later I was going to have to accept that my kitty was leaving me, and knowing exactly what was happening in her body would not delay her death nor lessen my grief.
" - BigdogLittlecat

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Or half med-less. And I can feel it.

As I'm almost out of my meds and still waiting on the doctor's office to authorize another prescription, I've had to skip days on my Lamictal, trying to spread out what's left. That's a drug I don't want to go three days without, or else I'll spend the next two months titrating up to my 200 mgs.

And if I'm feeling crazy just taking it every OTHER night, I can only imagine two straight months at a lower dosage altogether. Normally I wind up waiting till the day I'm out to call. This time I'd begun the calls a week early.
So for about a week now, I've been taking it only every other night.

If Monday rolls around without a return call, I'll need to go in for a walk-in appointment.

I didn't think much of it until yesterday at work, where I started to get frustrated because it seemed no one was being clear on the phones. As the hours rolled by, it slowly dawned on me that it wasn't my customers who were difficult to understand.

It was ME. I was the one having a difficult time effectively communicating. I the one fighting to ferret out relevant information from rambling calls. I was struggling to fit words together that accurately conveyed the necessary information to my callers.

Sometimes I forget that I have a flawed brain. That the very physical makeup of what sits under my skull is flawed and requires chemical crutches in order to limp along. When the moods don't fluctuate, it's easy for me to think that what ails me is simply a matter of emotional (if not also medicinal) regulation.

But there's other parts of this disorder, too. The parts that misfire, the pin hitting the hammer without release a bullet, the wires that I can feel fraying and spitting sparks but not flipping a switch. The very real problems when the chemical bridge in between the thought and speech centers of the brain begins to burn.

So lesson learned. Instead of waiting till a week before my meds run out, I'll try to get them refilled two weeks before. Or a week and a half.

At least when I've got to have my doctor talk to his nurse who can then talk to the pharmacy then who has to call me to authorize med refills. I forgot how long the chain of command is.

If I don't scurry across that chain soon, I'm gonna be a mess.

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