Posted in anxiety, bugaboos, chronic pain, cluster headaches, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, friends, health, homeless, homelessness, life, medical, music, Personal, poverty line, storage, urgent

4/21/18: Clusterfuckery & Shelter Life

Random cluster(fuck) headache ranting/grumbling… ignore if you don’t want to read my grouchiness.

CLUSTERFUCKERY:

I’ve had a low-grade cluster headache going about a week now. For those unfamiliar with them, no drugs can really touch them, the medical field has no clue what exactly causes them, and they’re a bitch to get rid of. Where caffeine helps tension and migraine headaches, it does nothing for clusters.

What may be the reason doctors can’t pinpoint the cause is that it may be different for each patient. I know I get them after (usually) every other monthly cycle. But I’m on Depo-Provera (birth control, if you didn’t know) to keep my hormones balanced. So the main times they show up now is when I’m about due for my next shot, which will be in a couple weeks. The only thing that knocks them down to OTC med care level is oxygen therapy. Medicaid won’t cover a small tank for me, so I have to call the clinic and give them a heads up that I need the therapy. They put me in an exam room, wheel in a tank, hook me up, turn off the lights and return 15-20 minutes later. This brings the pain level down to about a 2 on the scale of 1-10, so then I can take an Aleve and that gets the rest of it. I’ve been between a 5 and a 7 on the scale for days now and just dealing with it. Mostly ignoring it.

I can’t anymore.

But I may wait until Monday as the clinic has short hours on Saturdays and is closed Sundays. I’d kill for a proper eye patch right now. It hits my right side and my right eye is rather unhappy. But a good eye patch isn’t easy to find. So, I just avoid bright light as much as possible for now.

SHELTER LIFE:

This is mostly me whining about shit. I have always been hyersensitive to strong scents. Can’t handle the smell of bleach (makes me sick), as well as most perfumes/colognes/body washes or sprays.

So… this morning…

Someone is singing in the shower… badly. Also using Ivory soap or something with a similar strong scent. Blargh. It’s a lot like with perfumes, strong scents from anything man-made freaking fuck with my allergies.

I also can’t use Tide as we discovered an allergy to it when I was in high school. Mom used Tide almost religiously. At one point, she washed a new pair of my nylons for choir and when I put them on, my legs broke out in a rash/contact dermatitis. From that point on, until I moved out, she had to buy unscented, no-dyes detergent. I’ve stuck to that myself as well. And of course, what do they hand out to the ladies here for detergent? Tide Pods. I use my own stuff.
Okay, it’s been 30 minutes since I closed my door and I can still smell her soap. I need a door thingy that is mostly for keeping drafts out, but i need one for my door for scents. I also wanna fix the seal stuff around the rest of my door. I can see light from the hall coming through when I have the lights out.

One thing with being in a homeless shelter: watch your shit. On our less-populated floor we’ve had money, clothes, a tablet, and other things get stolen. Only one of those things was returned and the thief booted and banned.

I keep my door locked all the time. But someone used some of my lactose free milk from the fridge (there are two resident fridges and we have to label our stuff. Also one house fridge in the laundry room).

My food stamps are done for the month and have nothing to get more milk, bottled water (the tap water tastes and smells musty/moldy. the pipes need replacing), veggies, etc. Also no cash.

I’m down to about $1 on my PP card/account (I have a debit card from PayPal) and I’m pretty sure my checking account is back in the red from an auto payment for a debt collector. I have one task set up for the 30th. That’s my only income right now. I may get more, but no way of knowing. I can’t plan them. It all depends on clients hiring me via the TR site/app.

I am going to one job fair on Tuesday and an informational interview on Monday. New VR job coach, new ideas.

It’s been a rough week. Transportation miscommunication and snafus along with a severe pain flare up from my back and the cluster headache… and general lack of sleep and the hell it causes. Doc has ordered a referral and sleep study. Had one years ago while on different insurance. They wouldn’t cover anA-PAP machine. I might be able to get one now, but need to do a new study.

I may put a few non-perishable things I mentioned above on my Amazon wishlist. I need to link Portia’s wishlist on here as well. Yes, my cat has her own wishlist. Shush.

More to come later…

And yes, still want to cover the rest of what I need to catch up on storage. Just under $600 left before the end of the month.

~A

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Posted in activism, anxiety, chronic pain, community, cosplay, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, faith, family, friends, genealogy, homeless, homelessness, insomnia, life, research, society, storage, urgent

4/11/18: Mornings, Genealogy, and #crowdfunding

SHARE ME!!! Still asking for help, of course. I will keep updating when funds do come in.

Mornings are difficult for me. Life here at the residence shelter has been, well, an adjustment, to say the least. For the past year, I stayed with a retired couple of friends. Early? Nope!

Before that, my depression was so fierce, getting up before 9am was difficult. Between it and pain, mornings aren’t easy. But here I am getting up around 7am. I know what some of you may be thinking.

“Good! Then you won’t be so lazy.”

And those of you who will think that have likely never dealt with chronic pain, fatigue, and lifelong insomnia. Which certainly isn’t helped by the late night bed checks and me being a light sleeper.

I may go to bed at a reasonable time, but my brain just won’t shut up for at least an hour (if I’m lucky) after that. Last night, I still hadn’t gotten close to sleep by the time bed checks happened. I finally zonked out around 2am. Only to be woken by Portia around 5am. Then a bit more rest, but not full sleep, and the wake up yell at 7am by staff.

One thing I wish I’d inherited from my dad: he was out cold shortly after his head hit the pillow. How his kid (me) ended up being a lifelong insomniac is bewildering. I got so many other traits from him and his side…

Speaking of family/family history, I’ve put the idea out there about doing a genealogy group here. Teaching whomever is interested in how to search for their bloodlines and see where they end up.

I am also finally going to a group today on public speaking. We’re supposed to do three a week, or other regular activities can take the place of them (X number of work or volunteering hours count toward 1 group hour). This group is, I think, focused on developing public speaking skills to help use your voice in soeaking up for homeless advocacy.

More to come. Do remember to share posts and help me save my storage unit before tomorrow’s auction.

~A

Posted in activism, anxiety, bugaboos, C-PTSD, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, dogs, emergency, homeless, homelessness, housing, life, observations, politics, poverty line, PTSD, society, storage, urgent

4/10/18: Stun Gun vs Taser (& #crowdfunding)

Post 3 of ? today.

SHARE THIS!! PLEASE?
PayPal is the easiest and fastest way.
Auction is at noon on April 12th.
I need a bit under $1400, but would prefer a bit of a cushion at $1500.


So, I don’t hide much of anything in my life. While I’m not big on guns themselves, I felt I needed something while out and about on transit due to my PTSD and my close calls with bad reactions to men being assholes.

I bought a stun gun.

Then, of course, I moved into the shelter where I can’t have any weapons in my room. It gets checked in when I come in and checked out when I go out. If I stop at the desk and ask for it.

Then I hear “she wants her taser” which isn’t quite accurate. A stun gun and a taser are very different. Yes, they both emit an electrical charge, but in a different way. Tasers are what you find police carrying. Those can be placed against the person’s body OR shoot the prongs on wires and transmit the charge that way, from a distance.

A stun gun can’t shoot the prongs. It is only a close-body weapon. If some jackass decides to harass me and gets up close, even after me telling him to leave me alone, he has to be close enough for me to reach out with it and press the button.

Mine has a safety measure. I don’t know if they all have this. Mine is also a flashlight and the toggle switch has three settings: off, flashlight, stun. So, to stun someone, I have to push that toggle all the way forward and then press the small button on the opposite side of the handle from the toggle. Only then does it stun someone.

Does it hurt? I would imagine so, but I’m not gonna try it on myself.

I know, saying ‘taser’ is so much easier, but it isn’t accurate.

This is all I can afford before I can get a service dog. I’d prefer the dog, honestly, but for now, the stun gun will have to do. And maybe an extendable baton at some point…. and… yeah, I think those are all that will be legal for me to carry.

 

Posted in activism, anxiety, bugaboos, C-PTSD, cats, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, domestic abuse, emergency, eviction, family, friends, homeless, homelessness, housing, life, observations, Personal, poverty line, PTSD, society, storage, urgent

4/10/18: Stigma of Homelessness & #crowdfunding

2 of ? blogs for today.

SHARE THIS!! PLEASE?
PayPal is the easiest and fastest way.
Auction is at noon on April 12th.
I need a bit under $1400, but would prefer a bit of a cushion at $1500.


If you were to look at me on the street or train or bus, you would never grasp that I’m one of thousands of homeless people here in the United States. Many are working poor, many have mental illnesses of varying types and degrees, some are certainly addicts.

And there are those like me who hit a very bad run of luck and haven’t been able to bounce back easily.

I was evicted from my apartment a bit over a year ago. Since then, I’ve stayed with friends, but needed to get into a different setting that was more helpful. So here I am in a women’s transitional housing shelter with my cat.

Okay, so I do kind of fall under the mental illness category too, with my PTSD and depression. But those inhibit my ability to function like everyone else, not take it away completely like some other illnesses.

But I’m clean cut, take regular showers and do my laundry, take care of myself and my cat, and otherwise function, so I’m not as obvious as others might be.

Anyone reading this could become homeless like me. It takes losing a job or hours cut back and no savings or 401k to help float you for a while. It takes losing key members of your support system. One misstep in this society and you can very easily become one of us.

It reminds me of a homeless woman I knew back in Chicago. She was awesome. Well educated, wildly intelligent. I think she had been a professor or something. We could stand outside the mini-mart and chat about politics, philosophy, religion, world views and culture for hours.

And yet, she was homeless.

I never asked about what happened, but I suspect it was similar to my own. Things going okay and then one day, BOOM! everything is turned upside down. Maybe escaping an abusive situation. Maybe a messy divorce. Maybe lost a job.

There are thousands of us out there. In this situation. We don’t appear stereotypically homeless. But we are.

And if our economy keeps going the way it is under a certain “president,” there will be more.

But here’s the thing: we aren’t all freaks and addicts and thieves. Many of us are clean, friendly people who just need a little help getting back up on our feet. I don’t panhandle, at least out on the street. I just ask for help online. I’ve gotten to the point over the years where I’m not comfortable talking to people in person. I certainly can’t beg face to face.

Since I don’t look homeless, I’m able to overhear conversations on the train between people who look down on the homeless person who is asking for help, or is on the train and sleeping because they couldn’t get sleep the night before. Maybe they smell because they were one who fell between the cracks of even the homeless society and can’t get help. Maybe he’s a vet the VA has long forgotten about.

Do you take the time to learn their stories? There were two women here in my building who are homeless vets themselves. Has the VA helped much? A little here and there, but not enough.

What about the family living in a tent under that overpass? Where is the help for them? There are few places here that help whole families. The shelters we do have here in Portland are for men or women, sometimes with pets, few places for families with kids. And usually those are for mothers with their kids, not whole families.

And some, like me, have belongings they’re trying to save. It kills me that I may lose my dad’s coffin flag and the “parting gift” of the piano I was able to get with estate money because he so badly wanted to see me get back into my music. My costumes, music, books. Things I’ve made or have been made for me.

Housing prices are out of control. We have to try finding work where we are, as we can’t afford to move. And even if we do find work, it isn’t always enough to afford a place to live.

While far too many are dismissive of us, look down on us, I ask that you remember one thing: We are human, and you aren’t too far removed from where we are in life.

~A

Posted in anxiety, bugaboos, C-PTSD, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, friends, homeless, homelessness, life, PTSD, sexual assault, storage, urgent

4/5/18: Storage #crowdfunding #urgent also #ICantReadMinds

Auction: 4/12/18.

Amount Owed: $1370.

If anyone knows of people with a large reach who can help, please ping them.

Honestly, I thought it would be more (closer to 1500-1600), but that’s how much. I have a bit under $100 as funds from previous months have gone to supplies and food. Long story. My income has been nominal. I’m reconnecting and getting back on track with Voc Rehab and my disability hearing is in June, but that isn’t soon enough to save storage.

Any help, sharing, broadcasting, anything.


Yesterday’s incident on the MAX is on my mind. One thing most any of us sexual assault survivors will tell you is that we do not know your intentions. My PTSD puts me on very high alert around men. My history puts me on high alert.

Yesterday, I was on the train in the center-facing priority seating. An old man pushing his wheelchair boarded after me. I moved to a read-facing seat and put the seats where I had been up so he could sit on his wheelchair there. He sat next to me, squishing me against the wall, and parked his chair blocking me in.

Heart rate goes up. Panic sets in.

I say I have claustrophobia and need to change seats.

“Well, claustrophobia ain’t ever killed anyone.”

Now I’m pissed and need to move. He finally, slowly, moved his wheelchair over so I could get out. I eventually got to the other side of rear-facing seats. A woman in an electric wheelchair was over there but there was enough room for me to sit.

Amidst a constant rambling from him came this:

“In all my 7? years, I’ve never hurt a woman and never will.”

And he continued on about other things.

Here’s the issue: I don’t know him or most other men on this planet. I don’t know if you’re a serial rapist or a truly good person, or anything in between.

I. Do. Not. Know.

I cannot read your mind or anyone elses’. Nor can any other woman or person in general. You can say you don’t hurt women until the cows come home and back out to pasture the next damn morning. We do not know your intentions. We can’t tell.

For us survivors, we have been lied to, abused, raped, manipulated and a whole host of other things by men or whomever our attackers were. Why should we take some stranger at his/her word that they would not hurt us? We can’t.

That is why I am in hypervigilant mode when out and about. While fear is present, my anger and hypervigilance is predominant. I’m on alert whenever men get too close. Boxing me in sets me off. I had to get out of where this man yesterday put me. I was on high alert because I cannot know the intentions of the man.

~A

Posted in anxiety, bugaboos, C-PTSD, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, dreams, emergency, empath life, eviction, faith, family, friends, grief, health, homeless, homelessness, job hunting, life, Personal, PTSD, society, storage, urgent

4/3/18: Rambling Doubts

(Yes, still urgently #crowdfunding to save storage by the 12th. I have until 4/12 to come up with the money. It’ll be more than the $1200 that was my total last month. Add another 305 or so to that and we get to $1500. Pimp my blog out to whomever you can think of who might be willing to share. I don’t have the guts to ping famous people.)

I question my role in society. I have no interest in “fitting in” yet I want and need work that can sustain my life. I don’t need lots of fancy things. Books, music, reasonably decent tech. I don’t need cable.  Just decent wifi. I do like a few fancy things. A new pair of Docs or that antiquarian book I’ve been lusting after for over a decade… but for the most part, I like the little things that make me smile.

I still feel incomplete. This is not the “I need someone to complete me” type of incomplete. I feel like part of me has been ripped away and I don’t know where it went. I don’t fear my past, but I am hypervigilant about people in the present. Because of my PTSD, because I can’t stand touch from men. I make male friends and acquaintances ask permission before hugging me. Men on transit sitting next to me or standing too close make me tense up and my anxiety and heart rate both rise.

Right now, I want to run. I want to get my passport and run. Save all my stuff in storage and then pack my bags and run with my cat in tow. Live in a space in Germany or France or stay in a small house in my great-grandfather’s home village in Switzerland for a while. Get away from things that I feel are holding me back. Reconnect with my family history and experience life away from so much of our U.S. mentality.

But money is needed for any of that, and I can’t even get storage caught up or pay for my passport. Let alone running away.

I am stuck. Maybe it doesn’t seem like it to others, but this is where I am. I have tried getting work in fields where others around me say “you could easily get work in this field.” Yet, no interviews, not even email rejections. I am adrift in a society that doesn’t value the weirdos like me. The ones who have multiple abilities.

I wonder at times if there is anywhere in any society on this planet that appreciates weirdos like me.

I’ve never felt as if I belonged in our society. I’m out of place. But do I fit anywhere? I wish I knew. I’m currently limited by my physical disabilities and my PTSD and its side effects. How do I land a job where I’ll have time on transit around people who will likely make my anxiety skyrocket? Then there’s the thought of a remote job… and then we have my ADD and… SQUIRREL!!!

You get the idea.

I also feel like I’m trying to explain who I am and what I need to the world and no one is listening to each word. Like back when my dad would tell my sister something about me and she’d only here “Amanda…. Wants this….” and then I’d get an email berating me for trying to get dad to buy it for me, which I wasn’t. As if my own words don’t count. My experiences don’t count. That my life, somehow, doesn’t count. I know it does. But that feeling of invisibility returns hardcore.

~A

 

Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, chronic pain, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, eviction, health, life, medical, PTSD, storage, urgent

3/29/18: Broken Record, Part Deux (and #crowdfunding)

#crowdfunding: Time is running out on saving storage before April rent gets tacked on. Any and all help will do. I’ve had a bad run of little to no income. My income isn’t steady by any means, but it’s been well below a level where I could support paying storage. So, here I am, begging again before I lose everything.

On to the other broken record.

When I wrote that yesterday, I had something in mind to say but never really got around to saying it.

I’ve essentially been disabled, due to my back, over half my life. Trust me, it sucks. What I find both frustrating and intriguing at the same time is that, despite me using a cane 95% of the time, many people don’t consider me disabled. As if the only way a person could be considered physically disabled is if they’re permanently in a wheelchair. Or some such inanity. Between chronic pain and fatigue and my PTSD, and other things that just come and go as they please (cluster[fuck] headaches being one of the more annoying ones), I am technically disabled. Now, my hearing for disability is in June, so whether I’m “legally” disabled will be determined then. Most everyone I know says I should have gone on SSDI years ago, but for too many years, I felt I could handle it. I could push it down and go on with my life while it occasionally acts up.

But my body has determined otherwise. I do know that losing weight and getting back in shape will help to some degree, but I can’t afford a gym membership to anywhere within reason. If it were to take me longer to get there just in one direction on public transit than it would take for me to work out, it isn’t worth it to me.

So one may ask why would someone who is disabled -especially physically- bother with working out?

After walking with my cane for the past year on a very regular basis, I can tell you that strengthening arms, legs, back, and other muscles will go a long way toward battling muscle fatigue when doing daily tasks. It won’t make the chronic pain go away. My nerve damage is for life. I know that and have long come to terms with it. But the muscles around those nerves need to support me in my daily living. If I can’t stand longer than 10 minutes to do dishes, I need to strengthen the muscles that begin to hurt at the 10 minute mark. It isn’t my muscles that are damaged. It’s the nerves, and the discs that have damaged those nerves in years past. Strengthening the muscles in my back will go a long way toward keeping the discs in place if I fall more.

And knowing me, I WILL fall more. Yeesh! I’m a klutz.

If I can keep the muscles strong, the damage in future falls and other incidents won’t be as brutal as the damage from the last two falls. Or even the one at 17. Through dance and weightlifting, I was able to get the slipped discs back in place within five years. It isn’t easy.

But I shouldn’t have to PROVE I’m disabled to the general population. I have my cane. I don’t get why people question it. Just because my cane isn’t some utilitarian piece? Whatever. Yes, I have a “fancy” cane. And? I paid good money for that fucker, I’m gonna use it!

Anyway… gonna go meander off to do… something. My wifi sucks here at the shelter, so I’m limited.

~A

Posted in anxiety, C-PTSD, chronic pain, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, friends, history, homeless, life, medical, poverty line, PTSD, storage, urgent

3/28/18: Broken Record?

[still #crowdfunding until I’m blue in the face. So, there’s that bit out of the way.]

I think I’ve blogged in the past the timeline of main injuries and such. First injured my back at 17, etc… I’ve had minor concussions, knee injuries (including a patella fracture), feet/toes/ankles, etc… and my back.

28 years ago when I first injured it, I hated that it slowed me down. That it made dancing difficult and many other aspects of my skinny-ass dancer’s life also difficult. I simultaneously acknowledged my disability and also refused to acknowledge it was going to be a lifetime thing. Sciatica doesn’t heal. It can lessen over time, but never fully goes away.

Then I messed it up again about five years ago. And then again last December. It has kept me from jobs I always enjoyed doing. Helping others. About a year and a half ago (almost), I realized I had PTSD. Suddenly all the anxiety and stuff made sense.

I have spent the last few years coming to terms with the concept of truly being disabled. I feel I can still contribute to society, but HOW is the hard part. I accept being disabled, but it isn’t the only thing that defines me.

I still feel very stuck in place. In that fog. But I do everything I can to move forward, out of that fog. Away from it so I can see what’s around me.

~A

Posted in anxiety, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, life, poverty line, storage, urgent

3/28: Running Out Of Time #crowdfunding #urgent

#Crowdfunding: I owe roughly 1200 right now. When the calendar turns to April, another $305 adds to that, and likely some more fees. I’ve had few jobs this month (same with January and February) and am desperate now to save my belongings in storage. I need a miracle or several people helping. I know some have helped and those funds have been sucked up by creditors and such.

Use the PP link in the sidebar (except on mobile, it may be at the bottom).

I hate asking. I hate begging. I hate being helpless. Or at least it feels like I’m helpless. I want to be back on my feet, finish my degree, have a decent job, my own place, etc.

I was going to make this a multi-subject post, but have decided to post each thing separately…

~A

Posted in animal welfare, C-PTSD, cats, chronic pain, crowdfunding, depression, disability, dogs, emergency, homeless, housing, life, medical, Personal, PTSD, society, storage, urgent

3/21/18: #crowdfunding, cats, and …

#crowdfunding is still desperately needed. Any help possible, even if only sharing and encouraging others to help/share.


Had a long day today. Without much of a warning, I have now learned that they get everyone to wake up at 7am. Mind you, I’ve been living with retirees for a year. Get up early? NAAAAHHHH!!!

We also have inspection tomorrow morning. And my heater is fixed, so now I have heat in here. I may rearrange the room in some way as to keep the bed away from the window (heater is forced air and right under the window; 12″ clearance for fire code), but still figure out a way to give Portia a mid point step to get up to the window. It isn’t that high, but the ledge is shallow… and for a 14 pound cat? Yeah… need steps of some sort. I may just put the chair near it, even though it’s not much shorter than the windowsill.

We went up to PAWS today and got registered and qualified. They have supplies such as food and litter and toys and such that are donated each week. Then I headed to my first Physical Therapy session for my back. The assessment.

Portia is adjusting to the space and the noise. Some of the dogs are cool and some not so much. There’s one 2 year old pup who is the sweetest thing. Well mannered and sweet. And Portia seems to be okay observing her from behind her gate. When she get to where she approaches the gate with the dog there, I know she’s acclimating to being around dogs. Not yet.

Another short and rambly post… tired and need to figure out my internet situation. The wi-fi here is pretty shitty and I’m blocked on the computer from one site, if not more. My hotspot I got last fall is suspended because I haven’t had the money to pay it either. I need a few small-ish miracles here. Anyone know of some, send them my way. Portia and I could use ’em.

~A