Two steps away from reality…

I had a fairly busy morning yesterday. Colin and I hurried through a downpour, sans umbrellas, to catch our first bus. I spent that entire trip checking the bus app to see how long we had until the connecting bus and silently cursing whenever we stopped. By the time we got off our second bus the rain had stopped. We went to meet my Mom and walked to the restaurant for lunch… and it was closed even though their site said it was open. So onward to our favourite Indian restaurant where I had our worst food from there ever (and they’re usually amazing). I tried something new, which turned out to be tasteless, and our onion bhaji appeared to be onionless. From there we went to the grocery store, which was necessary but was one stop too many for me.

I went to pick up one last item then looked around in bewilderment. This is one of our regular grocery stores, we visit it about twice a month. I felt like I slipped though some sort of mirror. Everything was sort of recognizable but at the same time not. The only way I could describe it was by being two steps away from reality. I tightly gripped the shopping cart handle as if I’d fly away if I let go and slowly made my way to the front of the store, which was a zoo. Thankfully my Mom gave me her car keys so I could sit in quiet. There were police dogs by the exit, a promotion for their calendar, and I couldn’t even stop to pet them, that’s how badly I needed to leave. Thankfully I was okay soon after I got home. I looked it up and it’s called dissociation; just something else to tell my psychiatrist.

There’s been way too much happening. So far my occupancy date is set for January 1st but they have staggered move in dates. I can only hope I’m before January first and not after. Then there’s Colin and his move. He’s been having long meetings with one agency and has another meeting tomorrow that might be talking about a potential place. They’re even talking about a site in Toronto, which would make it hard for family to visit. But it’s urgent and any apartment is better than none. And, finally, there’s Blackie. She’s doing a lot better now with antibiotics and is absolutely ravenous, even with her sore, rotting teeth and mouth ulcers. We haven’t been able to see into her mouth so it was an unpleasant surprise to see her back teeth. I’m feeding her whenever she begs because she was starving and needs the calories. So far she’s had three dinners tonight. I need to drop some paperwork off at the vet clinic on Wednesday for a possible subsidy for her bloodwork and xrays. Then submit them again for dental surgery. But even there there’s a lot of uncertainty.  What if the bloodwork turns up something worse? I can’t picture my home without her.

And then there’s the whole move. I’ve bought beautiful things for my new place but it’s not going to be here. I’ll have a brief panic, like an elevator dropping a bit too fast for a few seconds and then the OMG moment hits. I’m not going to have my room there. Not with my teal and glitter walls. It’s going to be different. Everything’s going to be different. And I’m going to be alone in all that difference. Completely and utterly alone. Then I practice my breathing until I’m not going to pass out from hyperventilating and try to get on with my day.

And my world keeps spinning like a whirligig and I just keep hoping that my psychiatrist is right and this move will be a big help for me. Only 65 days to go.

 

Is this goodbye?

20191021_102325_hdrIt was 2007 and our cat Pumpkin had been put to sleep due to cancer two months earlier. The kids were begging for a new cat and, I must admit, there was a hole in our home that needed some extra purring and love.

I decided we’d adopt an older cat and told this to the lady at the shelter. Of course the kids had other ideas.

“Mom! Look at this one!,” Kait said and then she giggled. “She just licked my nose!”

“Those aren’t our older cats,” the lady informed me. “They’re… oh… you’re looking at one of our black cats!!! This one’s Blackie, she’s 11 months old. Would you like to hold her?”

Would we like to hold her? One of the silliest questions ever. I looked at the joy on Kait’s face and decided that was the one.

Blackie smoothly moved into our home, making friends with our oldest cat Angel, then befriending Oreo when he arrived. Colin and I moved with her to this apartment where she got adopted as Mommy Cat by Lara.

I can’t picture our home without her marching imperiously to the kitchen to be fed… her scurry to the front door to greet me… her happy nose licking… and her snuggling under the covers with me in the winter. Right now she’s sprawled in boneless bliss across the bottom of the bed, her sleep punctuated with slight snores. It doesn’t seem imaginable to picture her gone. My greeter of people and stander on keyboards.

I weighed her last week, first by weighing me holding her, then by weighing me alone, and finally subtracting the two numbers. She weighed 5lbs, which is worrisome. So I made sure she got the biggest portions of wet cat food, even at 2am. If Blackie’s hungry, she’s fed. Then I weighed her yesterday and was shocked to see her at 3lbs.

Blackie sees the vet this Wednesday, first thing in the morning. I’m hoping there’s a simple solution… but I don’t see one. And it feels so weird to mourn someone who’s still here and has no idea of the gravity of the situation.

I will update this post on Wednesday when I get more information.

Opinions cast in stone…

My parents and I wandered into a chocolatiers. Dad quickly checked out the chocolates while Mom and I looked around. It was a small shop, there wasn’t much else to look at, so I went over to the cash where my Dad was paying for his candy and joking with the cashier. There, in the box beside him, were two boxes of chocolates. Both were labeled “non dairy”.

“Are these vegan?” I asked. They pretty much had to be because no one puts eggs in chocolate bars but I figured I’d ask to be safe.

The cashier came around the counter and pointed out several bars, “These are vegan.”

“What about those?” I asked, pointing to foil wrapped bars directly under a “non dairy” sign.

“Those are salted caramel,” she explained. “You can’t make vegan salted caramel.”

“My favourite ice cream is vegan salted caramel,” I informed her.

“Salted caramel requires cream and eggs,” she replied. “Your ice cream isn’t vegan.”

“My ice cream is made by a vegan company and labeled vegan.”

She didn’t respond with words but the tone she made was dismissive and I left disappointed. I wasn’t looking for an argument, I just wanted her to hear me with an open mind.

Isn’t it funny how people cling to their opinions, even when proven wrong? I wonder if it’s a comfort thing. You get used to thinking a certain way and don’t want to have to shift your thoughts 90 degrees. And sometimes it’s okay to let someone go on with their beliefs. It’s not going to hurt anyone if Nana keeps a Bounce sheet in her pocket to keep away the mosquitos. On the other hand, it does hurt someone if the government allows an organization to use electroshock therapy, among other things, to try and change someone’s gender or sexual orientation through conversion therapy. Hint. It doesn’t work.

Canada has an election on Monday and the polls are so very close… nail biting close. A margin of 0.9 is all that separates the Liberals from the Conservatives. And the Conservatives are ahead.

We used to have a party called the Progressive Conservatives, an amalgamation of two right wing parties. It stayed like that for decades until an extreme right wing party from Alberta, called the Reform Party, combined with the PCs. They knocked the Progressive off the name. Probably because there’s nothing Progressive about them.

Scheer, the conservative leader, has made no secret of the fact he’s anti-LGBTQIA2S. He’s also anti-choice when it comes to abortion, referring to fetuses as “pre-born babies”. His followers are quick to remind me that Scheer promised not to touch equal marriage, as if that’s the only concern. They have no answer when I bring up trans rights. The right to affirming surgeries, hormones, blockers for teens, to have equal access to jobs and housing. And that scares me. Not just that those are still on the list but that his followers don’t seem to care. I had one woman today claim I couldn’t just worry about a “special interest group”. The special interest group was the LGBTQIA2S community. I’m talking about human rights, not a knitting club who might have to find a new hall.

All it takes is a few minutes, a handful of questions, and an open mind. The cashier I talked to could have said, “You found vegan salted caramel ice cream? I didn’t know they could make it, what’s it like?” And the people voting for Scheer need to listen to the LGBTQIA2S community and understand why we’re scared. And once you’ve listened, then go out and cast your vote.

I’ll be out there on Monday. Will you?

pride

A Hormonal Tilt a Whirl…

There are so many things that could be affecting my mood right now. The medication adjustments (albeit minor ones), the season’s change, “normal” hormonal fluctuations, and so on. What I do know is that my anxiety and depression are not playing together well. Or, more realistically, they’re playing together too well. Anxiety’s screaming, “OMG we’re all going to die!!!” and depression replies with, “Great idea. If we get some momentum going, we could jump the railing before cowardice steps in.”

I’m not going to jump. I’ve got too many friends and family who would miss me plus Blackie and Lara would never understand why I didn’t return. I couldn’t do that to them. People talk about cats being aloof, Blackie and Lara are anything but aloof. And they love me dearly.

I hate this feeling. Everything seems scary but I have no idea why and, at the same time, I don’t really care. Part of me is craving sleep while the rest is dreading it. Last night I drempt I was standing beside a river, watching body parts floating by. The only good thing my mind could come up with was at least they weren’t climbing out of the river after me. I don’t remember what else happened but I was up for an hour afterwards.

And I try to make bedtime comfortable. Calm pillow spray with chamomile, rose, and white tea. My big squishy stuffed carrot. Soothing bedtime music. And my heart still pounds.

It’s not much better when I’m awake. I struggle to get anywhere, breaking each trip into pieces and only focusing on one piece at a time. Sometimes that works, other times it doesn’t. Then I just make do without whatever I was going to get. Going with someone helps… except my someone is Colin which means a monologue on how the conservatives are better and how hard done by men are. I’m hoping this is a phase he’ll grow out of but am losing hope on that one.

And today is the 80th day until I move. It feels like it’s so far away but I have to give notice at the end of this month and then I’m into the final crunch. Another huge chunk of anxiety to deal with.

I’m struggling with posting this. Half of me says that no one wants to hear me whine while the other says there are people who need to know they’re not alone. I can deal with people thinking I’m boring. It’s the people who feel alone that matter to me.

For those of you who feel you’re alone and drowning in pain. There are people out there. They might be hard to find but they are there. You can do it! I believe in you!

keep fighting

National Coming Out Day…

Guess what day it is? No, sadly, it’s not Free Pizza for Everyone Day. You can put down the pizza cutter. Instead it’s National Coming Out Day! It’s a holiday, albeit one with no food, that was started by the Human Rights Campaign thirty-one years ago. I’ve been coming out every year for four years now but there’s always new readers and the possibility (not likely) that someone might have missed my posts.

Alright, so I’m a demiromantic, panromantic asexual. That hasn’t changed since I’ve come out back in 2015, no matter what someone who’s close to me seems to think. Demiromantic means I become romantically attached only to friends. Panromantic means I’m romantically attracted to all genders. Yes, even your gender. And asexual means I have no sexual attraction to anyone. While you’re thinking “look at those blue eyes… I wish we could bump uglies” I’m thinking “look at those blue eyes, I could stare at them for ages”.

I ran into a friend today. She said “hi” enthusiastically then gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. We did the usual “How are you?” then she looked uncomfortable.

“I saw Colin at the bus stop recently and he, umm, started talking about stuff. Gender stuff.”

“You mean he said he was a girl on the inside and a man on the outside?” I asked and she nodded with visible relief.

“I didn’t know what to say,” she concluded.

“I’m sure you did fine,” I replied then she started talking about a trans aunt of hers. At first she started using he/him pronouns but I keep using she/her and soon she flipped to the female pronouns.

All the while I kept thinking of Colin. I know this lady because we were in the mental health ward of the hospital together, which means lots of time for conversation there. And she lives barely a block away so we bump into each other every once in a while. However, I think Colin’s only seen her twice and for a couple of minutes at that. It makes me wonder how many strangers are wandering around wondering who “that guy” is and why Colin was talking about being a woman.

I’ve offered to help him get a free therapist and to join, not one, but two groups dealing with gender related issues but he refused. I guess he’ll keep coming out to strangers and hope someday he comes out again to himself and those he loves.

Jeremy and I

Colin and I at the Pride Parade June 2015

It’s that time of year again…

Four years ago, I wrote a plea on Facebook for my friends to please not vote for then Conservative leader Stephen Harper. He’d already been in office for four years and had muzzled scientists, hid finances, and shut down parliament for several months to avoid dealing with a tricky question.

He lost the election to Justin Trudeau, with his innocent looking face and down to earth attitude. Justin promised clean drinking water for Native Canadians among other promises. For a while he seemed to be as he proclaimed. His first step was to balance the cabinet, making half of the members female. He was spotted consoling a grade school student on the parliament steps, helping someone in a wheelchair down subway stairs, and his most popular picture ever… dancing in a pink shirt in the Toronto Pride Parade.

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Photo by mrdhball on Instagram

Now the varnish has worn off. Nothing’s been done to fix Native water, some of which is dirt brown. He was reported thanking an Indigenous person for their donation when the question about drinking water was asked. And he’s been photographed in blackface at least three times.

Then there’s Scheer, the Conservative leader. He’s been meeting with Ford, Ontario’s PC leader, and Kenney, Alberta’s PC leader. They’re different levels of government so meetings like this just don’t happen. Well until now at least. Scheer is anti-choice and anti-LGBTQIA2S, even to the point of comparing equal marriage to dog parts. He’s promised he’s not going to touch equal marriage now but that leaves a lot of wiggle room. What about equal access to washrooms for trans people, what about trans children wanting to play on their gender’s team, or adding hair removal to transgender medical care? What about adoption and surrogacy rights for gays and lesbians?

Scheer scares me and I don’t fully know why beyond what I’ve written. I think he would be worse for Canada than his predecessor Harper and way worse than Trudeau.

We have a third party in Canada, the New Democratic Party aka the NDP. It never gets voted in (other than occasionally by province) because they don’t have enough experience. I think it’s time to give them that experience. A friend of mine said that Jagmeet Singh was boring. Boring is great. We need a leader who’s not making an ass of himself. We need a leader who’s ready to settle down and work. And we need a leader who’s willing to tackle tough issues, like the aforementioned Native water crisis:

NDP Leader Rips Reporter for Questioning Cost of Fixing Indigenous Communities Undrinkable Water

I know where to vote and who to vote for. The 21st is coming quickly. Are you ready?

Definitely not what I expected…

I bought myself six packages of dark chocolate peanut butter cups, figuring I could space them out for a month. I also bought a carton of vegan Haagen Daz peanut butter and chocolate ice cream and a bag of dill pickle flavoured kettle chips. I’d hoped they’d last the full month. They lasted one day. This has been going on for a while and just keeps getting worse. I’ve gained weight and am worried about not fitting my regular clothes. I don’t have the wardrobe money to reclothe myself, even if it’s all from Value Village.

I talked to my psychiatrist about my worries about binging and he suggested a dietician. So I made an appointment with one. We sat down and talked about what I eat and the general proportions. This was tough because I don’t tend to think about what I’m eating and because I have a foggy memory.

She listened to me and immediately told me the problem. I’m not eating enough, which seemed odd because I’m routinely turning into a human garburator but she explained. I’m not eating enough during my meals so when my body discovers high carb, high fat foods it immediately jumps on them. And, I must admit, I’ve been missing a few meals too simply because I wasn’t hungry. That can’t help. So now to work on having healthy meals, even when I’m exhausted or not hungry. This will be so much easier when I move and have the freezer space to store prepared meals. I used to make stews, chilis, and spaghetti sauce to freeze but I can barely fit a Haagen Daz container in there now.

Then I went to my Wellness Group where we’re doing a 5 part series on intuitive eating. I was reading through the pamphlet and came across this paragraph. This is so me.

note-from-carea

Now that I know what’s going on with me. I need to figure out how to go about changing most of my diet and especially how to keep up with my healthy meals when I’m too depressed to cook. Hopefully, by the time I move, I’ll have positive steps in place to support my eating habits.

And I’m off to figure out what to have for lunch.