Posted in anxiety, community, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, disability, dreams, gratitude, health, insomnia, job hunting, life, Personal, sleep, society

4/1: No April Fool Here

As I’ve said in the past, I have been sleeping on the floor since I moved in back in October. The reason I haven’t bought a new mattress was because I had one in storage and wanted to get it out.

Well, now that the chance of saving everything is gone, I need a new mattress. I’ve been checking all the “bed-in-a-box” options alongside IKEA and thought I couldn’t find something more affordable than them.

I was wrong. The Zinus mattress on my Amazon wishlist is a touch over $200. I have a second option as well (and they’re at the top of the list, so no one has to go hunting for them). So, I ask for help. My credit is fucked from a bankruptcy in 2013 (medical bills) and lack of steady employment. I know it’s a big ask, but this is sorely needed. If it’s ordered via my list, it comes straight to me. If folks donate so I can buy it, PP is ideal as I have a debit card from them linked to my Amazon account.

Some of you may wonder why I’m asking for help. I now have to start over, which I fucking hate more than anything. I’ve lost nearly everything that means something to me. Having a mattress that’s good for my back will help to some degree. If I can sleep better, I can do better during my waking hours.

I don’t want any frames right now either. Yes, that means it’ll be on the floor. But if you look at the IKEA registry (also now in the sidebar), you’ll see a MALM storage bed frame (it lifts up from the foot of the bed). It isn’t cheap, but it’s one of the things I want to maximize my space here. I’m living in less than 300 sq ft. So, it’s tight quarters.

Mattress first. Then work my way up through the stuff. Stuff on Amazon and IKEA, or donations or gift cards to either… Any of it works.

~A

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Posted in activism, bigotry, bugaboos, chronic pain, community, conformity, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, health, life, medical, observations, Personal, politics, society, storage, student life, urgent

3/25: Being Disabled

[Panicking because storage auction is on Thursday and I desperately need the full 1400 to cover it and save it from auction. Please share and spread the word.]

Today, when I arrived at Central City Concern’s EAC (Employment Access Center), my case manager asked for my opinion on something. See, they’ve adapted some access points of the center to accommodate disabled folks like me, but it’s an older building and they haven’t gotten everything. They do have a small single wheelchair elevator to go down to the basement workspace, and the front door has an automated button system, but to access the computer area off the lobby, there are two steps up. And then three steps up to get to another area. I have a walker (while I love my cane, when it comes to back injuries, walkers are better because you aren’t contorting your body to use it).

So he asked me what I would suggest. I told him that small ramps could replace the steps and that they might have to be a little longer than the steps take, but it would be more ADA compliant. He had me write this up on a suggestion form and he turned it in.

Why have I mentioned this? Because hearing the opinions and voices of those who aren’t part of the norm of society is something that doesn’t happen often. Since I first hurt my back at 17, I’ve seen and experienced a disconnect from society. We are either invisible, dismissed, second class citizens… you name it.

And it sucks.

For years, even up until about 6 or 7 years ago, I wouldn’t consider myself disabled. I had my back injury and countless other injuries and health issues, but I rarely classified myself as disabled. In part because of how I was treated at 18 at the first community college I attended. They were horrendous to disabled students. Being kicked out of music classes, dismissed for needing assistance, you name it. Their DSRC was a joke. A tiny office barely big enough to hold two desks. No testing areas, nothing. The frustration was palpable.

I now live in Portland, which has a sizable disable population. I now own the label. With my back getting reinjured (twice) and more and more injuries and such added to the list (along with mental health fuckery), I have come to accept the label as part of who and what I am. But just because I’m in a city with a large disabled population, doesn’t mean everything is wonderfully accessible.

There are many apartment buildings and houses I could never live in. Too many stairs and no accessibility. Granted, if I ever had the money to buy a house, I’d hopefully be able to remodel it for accessibility. I can climb occasional stairs as needed, but I couldn’t live somewhere with lots of them.

My case manager asked me today because I had my walker. Because I have to lift it up to get past those two or three steps. If it isn’t loaded down, which it usually isn’t, then that’s okay. Anything more than what I had today would be too much weight.

One other area, and I may expand on this another time, is how the equipment we use is not treated properly. Service Dogs are the main focus with this issue. SD’s are there to help their handlers function within society’s parameters. My PTSD is easily triggered by a person, usually male, sitting or standing too close to me. Having a trained dog with me would help assure that space around me would be maintained for my mental healthiness. Same for other working dogs. They are working, helping their handlers gain their independence from other people. Freedom to do things others find normal, easy tasks without the need for a person to always be there to help. That’s all anyone asks.

But there are far too many people claiming their untrained pet dogs are SD’s, when they are not. There are a number of reasons these are a bad idea. They can show aggression toward other dogs, even Service Dogs, attacking them or humans. This can potentially ruin an SD and this then restricts the freedom once again of the handler. Again, I may likely expand on this in it’s own post.

Our society has long dismissed those who are disabled (among other groups). We typically aren’t seen as equals who can contribute just as much to society as able-bodied/minded people can. Sure there have been some outliers such as Stephen Hawking, but he was known in his field before he was diagnosed with ALS. But for many of us, we are seen more as a burden on society.

All we want is to be treated as equals and be given the chance to contribute to society like everyone else.

~A

Posted in anxiety, artsy stuff, auction, cats, chronic pain, community, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, disability, dreams, emergency, faith, family, friends, gratitude, health, homelessness, life, medical, Personal, poverty line, semicolon, society, storage, tattoo

3/19: Catching Up and Needing Help #crowdfunding

I know, it’s getting old. But I need to come up with the whole 1400-ish needed for storage. No partial payments this time. Also, the whole sleeping on the floor thing is getting rather old. I do have a GFM, but PayPal is MUCH easier for me (and you don’t NEED a PP account to donate) to access. Auction is on the 28th. I’m running out of time.

I’ve been rather quiet of late. My apologies. It’s been a strange few weeks. I got hurt while assembling something a week and a half ago, and then got food poisoning (most likely) over this past weekend, ending up in the ER Sunday evening. I didn’t get home until 4:15am. I’m still recovering, but getting better. What I am making so far is all going to my phone (how I get tasks) and other small bills. Some will -admittedly- be going to a tattoo next week. I booked it a couple months in advance and really did expect things to be vastly improved by now, but I also don’t want to pass up the chance for a VERY affordable tattoo (My semicolon tat. I swore that I’d get it once I was no longer homeless).

Still looking for work. Still doing what I can. I have a couple of ideas for paintings, but need better quality paint for one and other supplies for the other technique.

Portia now has her own page on Facebook: Princess Portia of Portlandia is the place to go.

In other frustrating news, the agency helping with my rent didn’t communicate with me about this month, so they only sent a partial amount, assuming I’d pay the rest. Well, I didn’t know this until I got a notice about it from management. *sigh* … so if there’s a little extra, it would be appreciated.

I’m gonna get back on track here. I was dong better health-wise until my knee was hit by a side panel of a dresser. It’s also doing better now. My right side takes a massive beating on a regular basis (I’m a leftie, so my right side is a bit weaker).

If folks will see me through one more round of help with storage… there’s hope for me yet.

~A

Posted in anxiety, auction, C-PTSD, chronic pain, community, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, disability, dreams, emergency, faith, family, friends, grief, health, insomnia, job hunting, life, poetry, PTSD, society, storage, transitions, urgent

2/7: Melancholy (#crowdfunding & #poetry)

So, now February storage rent has been tacked on. $1014 owed. And my internet at home is off (86 needed). Phone will come due soon as well. The phone that is, once again, access to my only livelihood.

******************

Sabotage.
On edge.
Permanently damaged goods.
Just too much pain.

Breathe.
Why now?
Make it stop.
Please help me survive.

Tired.
Always on.
Brain wired wrong.
I need a break.

Broken.
No matter.
Need to heal.
Do I fit anywhere?

********
I’m all melancholy right now. Frustration with my own health and job hunt. Trying to get through school as well. Today I finally got a formal diagnosis of PTSD and GAD. These explain a lot. I feel like things aren’t coming together like I, and those around me, had thought they would by now. Like I’m falling apart all over again. This is partly why I’ve been so quiet lately. Poetry just isn’t forming so much of late.

Bear with me as I fight to reclaim the ground I lost climbing out of my own personal abyss.

~A

Posted in anxiety, auction, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, faith, friends, gratitude, health, life, poverty line, society, storage

1/30: Less than 24 hours #crowdfunding

$700 needed. Any help of any kind, sharing even, is immensely appreciated.

I know, we were just at this junction at the beginning of this month. The agreement I made was that I’d get it caught up before the end of January or it would be auctioned off at the next date.

I’ve been bringing it up, along with my other financial stuff that makes it impossible for me to have the money on my own.

I have to pay part of my rent for February and what little I have and am getting Friday is going to that. I have nothing else and I haven’t gotten any more tasks. I hope that picks back up soon.

The goal still stands of when I regain access:

  • Regain access
  • Remove furniture and things to be used in the apartment
  • Move the remainder of the items in storage to a smaller, more affordable unit.

Then this shouldn’t happen again as long as I keep getting work. Believe me, I’ve been kicking myself for not having my shit together more by now. My health and other crap has been stretching me thin. But if there is any more compassion out there, I could use a little more help.

It would be nice to sleep on my mattress again.

Thank you from the depths of my soul.

~A

Posted in anxiety, auction, bugaboos, C-PTSD, chronic pain, community, crowdfunding, depression, dreams, faith, friends, health, life, medical, society, storage

1/19: Whatever Comes

[Still need help to get storage finished and caught up. If I don’t get it caught up before the end of the month, it’ll go to auction and I get no more second chances. Help me get it caught up.]

Life is full of ups and downs and challenges and … you get the idea. I’ve been to Hell and back so many fucking times in my 46 years that it’s like a second home. I face the challenge, deal with it, move forward.

Today potentially presented a new challenge for me. I started to feel pain in my left armpit last night and it continued through today and is getting a bit worse. I’ve done nothing to the area so I checked it in the mirror for swelling. There is a bit of swelling, so off I went to Urgent Care.

*Disclaimer: I know absolutely nothing yet.

I left shortly after with a scrip for Amoxicillin. A swollen lymph node is the culprit. Why it’s inflamed, we don’t know. I see the plastic surgeon who messed up my reduction surgery in 2015 this coming Friday. If the swelling and pain has not begun to subside by then, I’ll request a biopsy.

I’ll also go up and get a boob squish session (ahh, mammograms) this week as well. It’s been a bit over 2 years now. They told me to go for 3 years, but this is a special situation.

There are a handful of things a swollen LN can be. The next level up on fighting some random infection, RA (no other signs, though), Cancer, etc.

Yes, I said the C word. What if it happens to be that? Then I’ll fight to the end of my damn days. The end of the world. It’s one more challenge for me to face.

It could also be nothing major. Which would be nice for once. I mean, shit, I’ve had cellulitis, a heart condition, C-PTSD, anxiety, broken bones and sprains that made the doctors wonder if I’d broken anything. I’ve been homeless. I’ve been raped repeatedly.

I’m still here. I’m still fighting. It would be nice to get a break health-wise. But if not, okay. Bring it on. Never tell me something is impossible. Or, better yet, DO tell me that so I can prove you wrong. I take perverse pleasure in proving someone wrong about me.

This is life. As sucky as it can be, this is life. If things in your life aren’t challenging, then you aren’t pushing yourself to truly live. Granted, no one wants cancer. But challenges are a part of life.

~A

Posted in auction, bigotry, community, conformity, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, faith, family, friends, health, individuality, life, music, observations, Personal, society, storage, urgent

1/2/19: Perceptions (and #crowdfunding #urgent)

In the past, I’ve mentioned the relationship my dad and I had before he passed away in 2014. One of the things that I found interesting while typing up the previous post with Disheveled is how I was and am seen compared to how I was back when I was heavily involved in my music.

I stopped playing piano in 2007 and singing in public in 1998. Piano because I had this fear instilled in me when I was little by my mother about playing where others could hear me. I was about 4 and figured out the melody to the Star Spangled Banner by myself. And I was damn proud of that. So, I played it every chance I got, which was a lot. My mother, who was trained herself, could have come over and taught me how to control my volume by how hard or soft I hit the keys. But she didn’t. I’d get about 4 or 5 notes in and from wherever she was in the house, she’d yell, “STOP PLAYING THAT SONG!!!”

Fear instilled. I had moments where I was specifically performing later on and I was fine, but over the years, I grew increasingly self-conscious about others hearing me play. In 1997, I stopped. A year later, I stepped away from choirs and what little solo singing I did because of a couple of factors: one was that same fear. The other was my health. I kept getting sick and couldn’t figure out why. Eventually, I did. We were dealing with an extensive roof leak at my parent’s house and black mold formed (although my dad and sister denied it was there. I’m hyper-sensitive to it) in the attic crawlspace. Living there while working on my BA down the street (quite literally, as we lived right behind CSUH/CSUEB) was wreaking havoc on my vocal chords. A few years ago, I was diagnosed with VCD (Vocal Chord Dysfunction). It took years and then visiting the house after dad died to get to that diagnosis.

Before he died, I got into a conversation with him about getting back into at least playing piano and wanting to save up for one. He was (quietly) over the moon. He was never one for showing much emotion. Somewhere in my blog posts, I tell the full story, but I ended up asking him why he was so excited that I wanted to get back to it. His words:

You were so positive and happy when you were involved in music. I want to see you that way again.

-My dad in 2014

And then I look at some of my really old poetry from while I was still singing and playing. I’ve always thought I wasn’t one for wearing a mask in society. That I always showed who I am, not what others wanted to see. But in a way, I did wear one. I re-read old poetry and stuff of mine and see some anger and depression, all during a time when I was seen as this happy, upbeat person.

Another recent thing involves a meme I posted recently on FB about the Greek words for different types of love. I was reminded of a nickname a friend of mine gave me when our church group was studying them in some setting. “Agape Amanda.” For Agape Love. Love of everyone.

And then I look at my poetry. Dude, what did people see that I didn’t? While Disheveled is a bit more recent than the early 90’s, I do have similar stuff where I was angry at the world for treating me differently for walking with a cane (and not in a good way). Depressed for similar reasons. I was dealing with a lot of different things back then. I still am. Some of them are different than the ones then, but the emotions are still the same. Maybe now I’m more true to who I am in what I show. I can’t hide behind the mask forever.

~A

Posted in anxiety, auction, cats, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, family, friends, health, life, observations, society, storage, urgent

12/30: Feline Lucidity, Being Disabled & #crowdfunding (28 hours)

So, the usual #crowdfunding plea… still need a lot of help to get there.

  • Total $1141, have a bit over $100. Roughly $125. PP is the only way.
  • Once it’s caught up this time, I can move some into my apartment and then the rest into a smaller, cheaper storage unit.
  • Yes, the cost of what can be replaced is a LOT more than what I owe. Many things, like my coffee table and fabric, I can’t replace with the exact same things. Fabric has print runs like clothing. It rarely returns the next year.
  • I’ll be able to handle the lower rent now that I have some steady income.

So, my cat is dealing with being her usual ditzy self. Right now, we have a small bird that’s torturing her. It sits on the balcony above ours and tosses the seed rejects down to hit our windows.

Portia has helped me through a lot the last two years. We lost her big sister a week after the eviction hearing in 2017. She has been my grounding force during all of this. If she isn’t being an absolute dork, running around as if her tail is on fire (it isn’t, I’m pretty sure), she’s being a snuggle bug loafing on my chest or tapping my shoulder or leg if she wants my attention.

I know there are more goofy stories, but my brain is having mid-afternoon blahs. I’m also in a conversation on FB about people who talk shit about disabled people…. yanno, like me.

I’ve been disabled since I was 17. Almost 30 years now. I’ve had good runs with little pain and then bad runs where every day hurts. Seven years ago, I fell down some stairs. Then a year ago, I fell on the same spot as 29 years ago and seven years ago. Same hip every damn time. So, pain is getting progressively worse. Not much the docs can do except manage the pain.

This is why I want to start going to a gym. Not just for weight loss but to strengthen my back and legs to minimize the amount of time I’m in excruciating pain. I’ve been like this long enough that I know the difference between good pain and bad pain. I’ve had enough bad pain for a long while now.

I need exercise and my mattress back out of storage. Sleeping on the floor is hell on my back.

~A

Posted in anxiety, auction, chronic pain, community, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, faith, health, life, medical, Personal, society, storage, urgent, weight loss

12/28: #crowdfunding & #weightloss backstory

Storage first: If you can’t donate, share. I got the exact amount owed today: $1141. If I can get that by 6pm PST on Monday the 31st, I’m okay. I have virtually nothing as my other bills are eating up what income I have. PP is the only (and fastest) way.

Once basics are out of there, I can move the rest of it down to a smaller unit, possibly even half the size (8×20 to a 9×10). Also, half the cost. MUCH more manageable.

Weight Loss: In my adult life, I’ve struggled with my weight. I was a skinny kid and after I stopped dancing at 22, and then shifted away from regular exercise by 24, the weight piled on. I’m at my heaviest: 185lbs.

Now, I *could* live with the weight if it weren’t for my family history. I physically take after my dad’s side to an almost bizarre degree. Same bone structure, personality characteristics, etc… all (almost completely) from my dad’s side. This includes health. Dad and both of his brothers are/were heart patients (one uncle still living). My paternal grandmother had diabetes. Not sure what Grandpa had, but I suspect heart issues as well. I’m already on Toprol for tachycardia (it works for me, but I have to pair Celexa for my anxiety with it). I imagine my tachycardia might calm down a bit with dropping some of my weight. Also, the longer I go at a heavier weight, the higher my risk of worse heart issues AND diabetes.

So, here I am at 46. 5’2″ and 185lbs. While the timing is RATHER cliche (New year’s resolution stuff and all, which I’ve never really bothered with), I want to start now. Somehow, I will find the funds to join the local gym. They keep changing their specials, but I’m going to wait until the activation fee is back to $0.

This isn’t just for weight loss. My back has been getting progressively worse since the fall 7 years ago. And then another one year ago. All the docs can do is give me pain meds (and most don’t really do much of anything) and tell me to exercise. “Free” exercise is usually what they suggest. This means walking. The problem for me is that, most days, walking more than two or three blocks results in excruciating pain.

The gym two blocks from me not only has weights and a basketball court (yeah, not touching that), and classes, but has a lap pool and a hot tub. This I’m totally down for. My swimming skills are rusty, but I can do the backstroke the best. I have a hard time torquing my body enough to do most others so I can get breath. Backstroke it is.

Then machines. Work my way back up to leg presses equaling my weight (yes, at 120, I could do leg presses above my weight). Goals are to strengthen my back, core, and legs. This will help with reinjuries and stabilizing my back. It will also help with my weight.

I’ll announce when I join the gym. I’ll post pics. I’ll make my journey public. My inspiration today was this guy. I’ve followed him on Twitter. While my goal is roughly 55lbs (185 to 130), seeing someone kick ass like he has makes me know I can totally do this.

~A

Posted in auction, C-PTSD, chronic pain, community, creativity, crowdfunding, depression, disability, emergency, empath life, faith, family, friends, health, life, medical, Personal, poverty line, PTSD, society, storage, urgent

12/9: The week and being disabled… #crowdfunding

Warning: this may end up rambly and bizarre. And, FTR, I am in dire straits again with storage. I’m still sleeping on the floor (much to my poor back’s dismay… ouch). It’s set for auction later this month. Even with the couple of tasks I’ve had so far and the weekly small paychecks from my internship, I won’t have nearly enough (I also have my phone bill, internet bill, food, cat stuff like pet-specific CBD oil, and other things). 

That last post, about standing desks, oddly sucked a sizable chunk of my energy. Not like I had that much to begin with today. I have been battling something along the lines of a sinus infection for about 3 weeks now. Starting my internship in the middle of that didn’t help. But I needed to get that going. So I’m working two days a week at a local non-profit which is a very cool place to work, at least in my opinion.

I also have about everything down for school. I’m going back to PCC next month for some accounting and business classes. As I took Intro to Business some years back at PSU, I won’t need to take that again, so I can take an additional class. I’m thinking payroll accounting, as that’s a HUGE part of accounting and bookkeeping. 

In the middle of all of this, I’m facing my chronic pain and chronic fatigue. I’ve spent much of this weekend, into today, resting and/or sleeping. I had hoped to get some creative stuff done, but my energy flat-lined Friday afternoon after I got home from a furniture assembly task.

In all honesty, I have no idea how the hell I’m going to ever work full time. I really don’t. I’m playing phone tag with my disability attorney, and I’m frustrated as all hell. I wanted to get some cleaning and painting done this weekend and I’ve barely gotten anything done. I managed to clear some of the kitchen, but knowing the meager size of my kitchen, that isn’t saying much.  I think the biggest chore I was able to tackle this weekend was cleaning the litter boxes. 

After I was denied this summer from my disability hearing (which, according to my attorney was a “sure thing” by the way the judge was talking), I read the report. Basically, I didn’t appear “disabled enough.” So, because I’ve lived with my back injury for 29 years and it’s getting worse and I’ve figured out ways to work WITH it or AROUND it, I’m not disabled enough….. fffffuuuuuuuu…. *ahem*

Honestly, right now, I’d love to have them see how I’m living right now. i’m sleeping on the floor because I can’t afford to get my storage caught up long enough to get my mattress and furniture out, I can’t stand in the kitchen and do anything longer than 5-10 minutes at a time. Yes, that was today. I managed to get up, rinse off some dishes and put them in the small dishwasher and then run that. It’s done, but not emptied. Bast only knows when that will get emptied. I don’t have a partner or roommate to help me with things. Honestly, I don’t really want one, either one. Especially after spending the past year and a half living with other people -either in the shelter or with friends. 

On that note, there was a woman at the shelter who couldn’t FATHOM why someone would not want to live with other people. Why someone would WANT to be alone. What bugged me is that she kept saying she’s also an introvert, but this was one of the most social women on our floor at the shelter. She wasn’t loud, but she was always out in the community room cooking or chatting or… yeah. For me, add being an Empath who can’t block to save my sanity on top of the whole being an Introvert. I can “people” in very small doses. The more people I’m around or interact with, such as on transit or at conventions, the shorter that amount of time ends up being. My PTSD doesn’t help either. I love hugging people, but have pulled away from being social in part because hugs make me a bit less comfortable now. And yet, if I’m greeting a friend or saying goodbye to them, I’m usually the one who holds my arms open to hug them. I’m a walking contradiction. I hate people but love hugging. Go figure.

Now, one may wonder why I did a post on standing desks. Well, a few reasons. I want one to help with my back. If I can go from sitting to standing and back when I need to for reducing the stiffness, and thus pain, in my back and legs, the better off I’ll be. Also, I started my little quest by looking at drafters chairs, you know… the ones that go up higher, for using possibly in the kitchen. This would possibly help my longevity in the kitchen. The way my apartment is, the desk would be right next to the kitchen, so a taller chair to go back and forth (which can be lowered down as needed) would be awesome. It also means I’d have a place to put said chair when it isn’t needed in the kitchen. This place is not that big. Seriously. Everything needs to serve more than one purpose or space. Chairs included. Hell, my bed will have storage (once I can afford to get the frame I want), my desk will be for both computers and the sewing and embroidery machines, and the shelving I want to use for my TV stand will also house my record collection, music and DVD’s and some books. The bench I want to put at the foot of the bed (if there’s room), will have books, shoes and be a place I can sit briefly to put said shoes ON. 

I’ve planned this apartment out to every damn detail. I just don’t have the money to execute my plans. First, I need to get storage settled and accessible. It’s three months behind. October sucked for work, so I couldn’t pay for storage… and then, as it does, it snowballed out of control. So…. halp?

~A