Oh No! (Almost)

This morning I awoke even more fuzzy in the brain than usual.  I think it’s because I actually slept all night last night, since the wind was not causing the loose piece of aluminum roofing to bang into the side of the building at unpredictable intervals, or to howl through the trees like a broomstick witches’ convention.

So when I remembered to take my morning meds (which is an unpredictable thing in itself), I picked up my med box which looks like this:

Imagewhich, as you can see, is clearly marked “morning” and “evening.”  OK, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but I use the top part for morning and the bottom part for evening, and that way I can have a two weeks’ supply of meds already prepared, and all I have to do is remember to take them.

So this morning I was quite proud of myself, as I headed for my med box, that I was remembering to take the morning ones, which always seems to be a challenge for me; perhaps it is because my brain is always still fuzzy from the evening sucker-punch dose that makes it possible for me to sleep.

Quite fortunately, I caught myself at the very last moment, about to take a dose of the evening cocktail!  What a disaster that would have been!  I would have slept all day, for certain, since the evening concoction contains a regular mickey of antipsychotics and benzodiazepines, with ten milligrams of zolpidem for good measure.  I usually augment that with a little bit of alcohol (don’t try this at home), which brings on a state of oblivion quite nicely.

The problem with this cocktail, even without the alcohol, is that it makes me ataxic (can’t walk).  If I have to get up to use the bathroom (in my present rustic hideaway, that means the pee jar), I have to hold onto things to keep from falling.  I have been known to have to crawl if nothing is available to hold onto.

So if I had accidentally gone ahead and taken my evening meds in the daytime, my day would have been for shit, and I would have had to cancel on taking care of my dad, which was the main plan for today.  And not only would I have missed out on my cherished visit with Dad, but it would have pissed off Mom, which is always a shrek.

But perhaps there is really a G-d.  I have been worrying about that lately, whether there is or is not; and it does bother me that here I have been trying my best to live a religious life, and more or less suddenly I am getting this attack of what seems to be atheism.

At the very moment that I realized my potentially disastrous mistake and drew back my hand as if the pill case had been red-hot, I considered once again whether there could be an element of divine intervention at work.  After considering this for about three milliseconds, I downed the morning dose of pills and went on preparing the stainless steel travel vessel of tea to take to drink at Dad’s, since they don’t have any decent tea there and I like my own.

Stabbed In The Gut Again

“You wanna see a video?” she simpered.  “I don’t know, you might not want to see it.  Prietza.  She’s a prietza,” she repeated, for emphasis, directing this last to my father, who ignored it.  (“Prietza” is Yiddish for “whore,” although my mother thinks it means “princess” because that’s what her mother told her it meant, when her mother called her that.)

“I don’t know, what kind of video might I not want to see?” I was cautious, on edge.  “Some kind of porno flick?” I joked, trying to take the edge off of whatever was in the air.  I felt like a cleaver was about to come down from somewhere.  What kind of video might I not want to see?

She got her Kindle and fiddled with it, momentarily panicked as she couldn’t find what she sought.  Then she found it, and placed it under my nose triumphant.  I waited as the slow wireless cued up, and the video came to life.

It was a documentary on the success of a contemporary of mine, a daughter of one of the elite artist crowd my parents were part of when I was growing up, before I left, and everyone went their ways.  She was the one that everyone shook their heads about, muttered about her dubious I.Q. and her preoccupation with clothes and sewing.  Now she has followed in her father’s footsteps and is a fabulously successful artist.  I’m very glad for her.  Her parents would have been very proud to see her success, had they lived.

I knew why my mother made such a big deal about my possibly not wanting to see the video, although she was wrong:  I am very happy to see my old friend’s success, her happiness, her beautiful art.  She is someone to be spoken of with pride, a fifth generation artist, carrying on the tradition.

And I? I am nothing.  I am a failure.  I am grouped with the ones that ended up doing nothing, on the dole; and that is why I might not want to see a documentary film on my old friend, the one whom everyone clucked about, who didn’t show any creative promise, while I was busy racking up degree after degree, finally a doctor in the family.

This is why I might not want to see this documentary.

In truth, had the introduction been different:  “Oh, look what so-and-so sent me today!  Isn’t this fabulous?”  I would not be feeling suicidal right now.  In fact my present state of suicidality has absolutely nothing to do with my friend’s success.  I don’t compare myself with others.  I have been given what I have been given.  I had fantastic successes in my time, and now that time has passed; my successes must be different now: it’s just that I haven’t found them yet.

What stabs me in the gut is my mother’s blatant devaluation of my life, whatever it has been; and her assumption that I would not want to see the success of one of my contemporaries.  That is what triggers this intense desire to carry out my ultimate success.

During the darkest times, when I have had to put myself in the hospital to keep my hand from carrying it out, the ones in charge have always asked me if I have ever attempted suicide.  My response: I have not, and will never, attempt suicide.  If I decide to do it, it will not be an attempt.  I would not take the risk of failure of my exit strategy.  There will be no attempt.

Yuletide Fright

Christmas Eve, when I am in the States, means one thing: my friend G_’s party.  Now, I hate parties, and you won’t catch me at one, except for G_’s Christmas party, which I always attend.  I do it because she’s my friend and I love her a lot, and I know it makes her happy that I show up.

I generally find some out-of-the-way yet still polite place to stand with the Single Malt that G_ has pulled out of the cupboard especially for me, the other Scotch drinkers in the crowd being relegated to Dewar’s.  I make polite conversation with whomever approaches me; generally, I do not know them because, as the Social Security Administration judge’s summary of my disability disposition notes, I am a recluse.

This time I got stuck in an hour-and-a-half one-sided conversation with a World War II veteran submariner.  He is quite a spry fellow, and I suspect he thought he was chatting me up; but I felt my fight-or-flight mechanism rising, and panic setting in, as he was standing between me and the only exit. Then a woman broke in, introduced by another guest whom I did not know, and said she knew who I was and absolutely had to meet me.  Black spots appeared before my eyes.  The submariner was still going on about diesel smoke at 10,000 feet below the ocean’s surface, but his voice sounded like it was coming out of a long metal tube.

Then the woman told me why she wanted to meet me, and my most feared monster surfaced:

dinosaur fright

 

“My grandson, who has some “problems,” lives with me.  Your blog helps me so much!”

Dive, dive, shouted my inner submarine.  A local person reads my blog!  She knows who I am! She also knows my mother!  I am found out, exposed, and all hell will break loose, maybe even tonight, and if not tonight, tomorrow, because she just came from the same party my parents were attending!

My mind capsized.  All I could hear through the roaring in my ears was, “Oh, (insert my mother’s name here), your daughter’s blog has helped me so much,”  says my paranoid self, impersonating this well-meaning lady, which this time could very well be right.  (And if you are reading this, dear lady, please forgive my reaction to your well-intentioned thanks; I think you know what I’m talking about, and I really am grateful that you told me.)

And then (prates my paranoia) my mother, who is computer savvy, looks up my blog and sees all the honest, yet horrible, things I have written about her.  My ass is grass.  I will be slowly flayed with red-hot forks and pincers.  Perhaps she will throw me out again, as she has done so many times before, and I will be homeless yet again.  Monsters, nameless monsters, are attacking me, and I have no weapons to defend myself.

You see, although I am very glad that my blog has helped someone, it does not mitigate the mind-numbing, cold-sweat fear of my mother that persists even to this day, fifty-nine years later.

Some wounds never heal.

Oh dear…Clay has hit another nerve, I’m afraid. My depression has this nasty habit of causing me to think that if I accidentally died somehow, it would be a great relief.

I have met truckers and train engineers who have hit people who walked out in front of them on purpose, and those innocent drivers were gashed open forever with PTSD from it. So I wouldn’t do it, because it would be an evil thing to do to ruin someone else’s life in order to get out of my own. But don’t think I don’t think about it, every time. Another “right on” for Clay.

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Psychiatric Service Dogs

Everyone knows about guide dogs for the blind.  Most people know about “Hearing Ear” dogs for the hearing-impaired.  A few people know about assistance dogs for the physically disabled.  Even fewer know about service dogs that assist diabetics by detecting high or low blood sugar, or Seizure Detection Dogs that can sense changes in brainwaves before a seizure occurs and alert the person so that s/he can get to a safe place and/or take preventive medicine.

Almost nobody knows about Psychiatric Service Dogs.  There has been a bit of a flurry in the press about PTSD dogs for returning veterans,  While the Veteran’s Administration has been vocal about acknowledging the benefit of PTSD Dogs in mitigating the disabling and sometimes disastrous sequelae of combat-induced PTSD, they have nevertheless refused to pay for the dogs, preferring instead to underwrite expensive medicines that often do nothing but sedate the sufferer, without providing any definitive remedy.

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), which is an arm of the U.S. Department of Justice, has recently clarified its position on the legitimacy of Psychiatric Service Dogs: 

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

I have been using a PSD since 2002.  When I first acquired Ivan, I didn’t know if he was going to work out or not.  Psychiatric Service Dogs are not like Guide Dogs for the Blind, in that their training is not so much task related as it is intuitive perception of its human partner’s mood.  Not every Guide Dog makes the grade, for one reason or another; and many fewer PSDs have the focus and the attentiveness to tune in to its partner’s state of being and respond appropriately when needed.

My PSD partner, 2002-2007

My PSD partner, 2002-2007

Ivan almost didn’t make the grade.  He was a wild and cantankerous puppy, but he had an intensity of focus that made me stick with him.  We got involved in some dog sports that gave him an outlet for his energy, and by the time he was a year old he was cuing in on my moods and literally dragging me back from episodes of dissociation resulting from severe PTSD.  When I retreated to my bed overwhelmed by depression, he climbed up and stood over me, licking my face and looking into my eyes with such a concerned expression that I couldn’t help but laugh.  He somehow knew when it was time for me to take my meds, and if I was zoned out he would tug at my sleeve.

The ADA is very specific about the requirement that a PSD must be trained to do some specific task.  I take issue with this, in that mental illness is not something nuts and bolts like physical disabilities are.  You can train a dog to open the fridge and take the laundry out of the dryer (which, by the way, Ivan loved to do for fun, and he could put it in the basket too), but how do you train a dog to respond to an incipient attack of mania by signaling the partner to take a pill?  Training a dog for a specific response requires exposing the dog to the situation over and over.  You can teach a dog to pull a wheelchair, but the wheelchair has to be present at all training sessions.  Guide dogs for the blind go through extensive training in many situations, over and over.  So how can one respond to the ADA’s insistance that the dog be trained for a specific task?

To further muddy the waters, the ADA position statement distinguishes between Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals by the same requirement that Service Animals must be specifically and specially trained to perform a task, whereas Emotional Support Animals are there to comfort and support:  “Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.”  I think that is a very fine line, when it comes to distinguishing an ESA from a PSD.

Bottom line, though, PSDs share the same access rights as any other service animal: exactly the same as a Guide Dog for the Blind.  It is a federal offense for any business establishment, public or private, to deny access to a PSD.

I never had one single bit of access trouble with my Ivan.  He was a German Shepherd, a breed universally associated with service animals.  We flew all over the country.  He took up a lot of room at my feet on airplanes, which sometimes inconvenienced other travelers, but for the most part everyone was good natured about it.  We stayed in hotels, and he came with me to restaurants, where he lay down under the table and none of the other patrons even knew he was there.  He went to movies and the theatre and museums.  He accompanied me to a ship museum in Baltimore and amazed the sailors by running up and down the ladders between decks!  He loved playgrounds and would run up the ladders and slide down the slides.  He loved everyone, and everyone loved him.  He died at age 5 from kidney cancer, in 2007.  I will miss him forever.

I couldn’t bear the thought of trying to replace Ivan, so I did without a dog until two years ago, when I bought a Lhasa Apso, Noga, for a pet.  I never expected anything from her except being cute and fuzzy and comforting.  But to my great surprise, she started tuning into my moods, and doing specific behaviors related to how I was feeling.  For instance, I often start into a hypomanic attack in the late evening, when I should be taking my meds and going to bed.  If I don’t, she jumps at my legs and bops me with her feet, over and over, and if that doesn’t work she jumps into my lap and flings herself on top of my computer (which is what I am always doing if I am in that state at that time).  If I am depressed she comes and licks me till I laugh.

Noga the Wonder DogNow, as you can see, Noga does not look like what people generally think of as a “service dog.”  She is cute and fuzzy.  She weighs twelve pounds.  I don’t have a picture of her with all her Service Dog gear on, but even with her vest that has PTSD DOG, FULL ACCESS on it in big letters, people still give me the “oh yeah, right” look.  I have been denied access to hotels in the middle of the night when my flight was cancelled.  Oh, and I forgot to tell you, she is registered with a national Service Dog Registry and has the appropriate documentation for that.

The ADA provides specific instructions for businesses that have any doubt that the animal is a service animal.  They are permitted to ask if the owner has a disability, and what specific task(s) the animal performs to mitigate that disability.  They MAY NOT ask anything about the nature of the disability.  All they may do is inquire IF the owner has a disability.

Unfortunately, I have been repeatedly hassled by business owners about Noga, and one hotel desk clerk demanded to know exactly what my disability is, in front of several other customers waiting to check in!  I made a huge scene and threatened to call the police, which I would have done because I was hypomanic as hell after having been turned away by two other hotels.

When I had Ivan I actually carried a prescription from my psychiatrist, which I had stashed among the other papers in his vest (rabies certificate and such).  The very few PSD organizations found around the Internet discourage that, though, because they feel it might cause a precedent for businesses to hassle PSD handlers, since the ADA is very specific that no special documentation is necessary.

If a prospective PSD handler were to ask my advice on what kind of dog to look for as a potential partner, my advice would be something like this:

1.  Steer clear of organizations that purport to sell trained PSDs.  They ask a pile of money and there is no guarantee that any particular dog will partner with you.  The best PSD is an owner-trained one.  Go for a breed that is usually identified with Service Dogs: German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever.  But be VERY careful about breeders:  do your research and ONLY purchase a puppy from a reputable breeder of WORKING DOGS, not show dogs, and definitely NO “hobby breeders.”  The money you spend on a quality puppy will save you thousands in vet bills and heartache.

2. Go to obedience school.  Both of you.  If you get a puppy, make sure you go to Puppy Kindergarten Training (PKT).  I advise people to train their dogs all the way through CGC, Canine Good Citizen, which is a program administered by the AKC.  CGC training assures that your dog will be safe in any public situation, including with other dogs, children, elderly people, wheelchairs, everything.  Not only will you come out of it with a “safe dog,” but the bonding experience of training with your dog is invaluable.

3.  Do fun stuff.  Find out what your dog thinks is fun. Ivan would retrieve a ball or a stick until he died (luckily I got tired first)!  Some dogs love to swim.  Noga is a hike-o-maniac, despite her fluffy exterior.  Not only will you bond with your dog this way, but you’ll have fun too, and maybe get outside more.

4. Give your dog time off.  Nobody can stand being on duty 24/7.  Many dogs get upset about “standing down” from duty, but they need it.  Use a crate if need be, to give your canine partner an hour here and there, when you’re feeling steady.  Mine just knows when I don’t need her and goes off and lies down somewhere else.  But she’s always got an ear pricked for me.  She knows my brain waves better than I do.

5.  Join an online PSD community.  Unfortunately, the main one fell apart some time ago, and there seems to be only one left here.  It is not PSD specific, but does have a PSD message board/forum where you can meet other PSD partners and ask your questions.

In summary, Psychiatric Service Dogs are a valuable resource that can help us cope with our disability more effectively, helping us to lead happier and more productive lives.  Mine have saved my life many times, and I suspect that if more people had them, the morbidity and mortality from psychiatric illness would decrease dramatically.  Anyone who is interested in more information about any aspect of PSD partnering is welcome to contact me.

Brother Clay nails it again . I just wanna know where he gets himself a hot babe who seems to love him enough to stick it out.

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Book progress and Pandora

My last posts have been heavy.  Good grief, how can anybody keep reading this heavy shit?  It freaks me out, and I’m the one that’s writing it.  So I’m gonna try to write a lighten-up post.  Let’s see if I can do it.

OK, right off the top, I am very proud to say that after I got the 50,000 word NaNoWriMo goal accomplished, I kept right on writing the novelized memoir I’ve been trying to write for 40 years.  I just decided, hell’s bells, I’m totally disabled, I’m stuck in the middle of East Bumfuck, North Carolina, with shitloads of time on my hands, and what better opportunity to finally go ahead and write the damn thing?  Not to mention the constant triggers. Why not turn that to good use, and novel my ample ass off?  I’m just shy of 69,000 words/227 pages right now, and gaining.  I’m writing two to three hours a night.

But I want to talk about Pandora, the internet radio that you customize yourself.  That link might just lead you to my radio station, “Joni Mitchell Radio.”  It has all the stuff I was listening to in 1970, the year I’m writing about.  So you know, the oldest sense in your “reptilian brain” is the sense of smell, and after that, sound. I’m sure you’ve all experienced the phenomenon of hearing a song, and BAM you’re right back where you were when you first heard it, or that time you heard it during some significant event.  Like for me, The Eagles’ Best of My Love takes me BAM back to the first moment I heard it in 1976 when I was a cutter in a small factory that made very high end leather clothing.  I was cutting a fine piece of suede and I had to run to the bathroom to cry, because if I got a teardrop on the suede it would ruin the piece and I would get a whole lot of shit from the owner, justifiably really, because the paper-thin hides were incredibly expensive.  I had just broken up with my boyfriend and musical partner of four years, and the song precisely described the entire situation.  So even now, many many years later, the minute I hear the intro, I burst into tears.

The point is, this ability to design a radio station that plays exactly the music that formed the soundtrack for my life as a teenage runaway in 1970 helps immensely in my efforts to evoke the pictures in my mind that I hope will come out my fingers on the keyboard, and might even help somebody else feel those crazy mixed up things that happened to a very naive sixteen year old at the mercy of a hard, hard world.  So far I haven’t incorporated too many lyrics into the text, but I think that will happen in the rewrite.  This writing is strictly to get the damn thing down and out of my head.  It’s incredible how much shit is pouring out in the writing, stuff I have repressed all these years: so many sexual assaults of many varieties and levels of violence.  Oops, sorry, I said I was going to keep this light.  Well, this is reality, so I can’t really censor it, can I?  But I can listen to the radio.

PTSD and Depression: Strange Bedfellows

For the past few days I have been feeling progressively more jumpy, irritable, and triggered by “minor” things like slight changes in my mother’s tone of voice, or “minor” putdowns, expressions of devaluation, etc.  Concurrently, I have been sinking into an episode of major depression complete with suicidal thoughts and plans (don’t worry, I won’t do it: I have promised myself to stick it out, as long as I can).  The whole thing has been complicated by my mother’s birthday, which was yesterday, and the plethora of expectations that go along with that.

Last year was her 85th birthday.  I made her a surprise party, complete with a band and 200 people.  She was very satisfied with that.  Then, come to find out (I don’t know how), her birth date turns out to be wrong and she’s really 85 this year.  I told her, if you think I’m going to do that again for you, you’d better have another think, because I’m still tired from last year.

Last night we were supposed to go out to dinner, which is always stressful for me because I only eat kosher food and my parents always get upset if I don’t eat, even though it’s been that way for eight years already (there are no kosher restaurants in Western North Carolina).  Lucky for me, there was a pea-soup fog and no chance of driving anywhere, so I got off the hook and had a rain-check until tonight.

Meanwhile, my anxiety, depression, hypervigilance, and out-of-control anger was building.  I took my meds at 8:30 last night and was asleep by 9.  I took an extra 25 mg. of Seraquel, at my doctor’s suggestion, and it knocked me out.  I slept until 11:30 this morning, and woke up feeling as if I hadn’t slept at all.

I usually call my mother at 11 am to check in with her and see how my father’s night had gone (he often falls at night), but today I couldn’t muster the strength to do it until around 2.  She said she’d wondered what had happened to me (although it would never occur to her to call), and said something sarcastic, a cheap shot which I blotted out immediately, but it still put me into a blind rage that only subsided when I told her I wasn’t feeling well and she said, well in that case you should stay home tonight.

I really question my sanity (hah!) at coming back here from my beloved Israel to help my parents.  My therapist tells me over and over that it’s life-threateningly detrimental to my health to be here.  I’m sure she’s right, and yet I can’t bring myself to leave my dear old father, who gets more demented day by day.  The only way I keep myself even marginally right-side-up is by reminding myself that I have an unbreakable agreement with myself that as soon as he leaves this life I am back home in Israel, period, new paragraph.  My mother has a huge and very supportive social network that will gladly take care of her.

In the meantime I don’t quite know what to do with this awful perfect storm of PTSD and depression triggers.  I’m taking more meds.  I’m gaining weight because of the meds.  I feel shitty about that. I do need to exercise more: maybe that is the key.  I just have to find ways of staying alive, is all.

Rebecca Mott’s courageous voice screams in agony against the routinised torture that is prostitution.

Rebecca Mott

It has been too hard to write, for finally I am coming into life.

I will be 50 on Monday, and this landmark is bringing out my grief and a rage that is blocking my words.

I feel I cannot understand what age is, for I do believe I came into life without rape, torture and wanting death until I was 30.

In many ways, I was born when I was 30, and that is a terrible truth to know.

Before being 30, I live to be what other people wanted and demanded that I be.

I was on automatic, breathing was proof of life, nothing else.

To survive the hell of prostitution, a hell that most women who been raped cannot imagine, a hell most women inside domestic violence cannot imagine.

To imagine, think into extreme torture – think concentration camps, think impacted wars, think constant gang-rapes, think so…

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Crashing

Things have been copasetic for the last week or two, notwithstanding a few ugly nights, mostly taken care of now by a bedtime dose of clonazepam.  I hate the stuff, but what can you do.

Then last night I stopped by my parents’ house to deliver something or other, and my mother was in one of her bad moods.  It had something to do with something I had or had not done; I don’t have the time or patience to keep track anymore.  Besides, it isn’t my business.

She was watching one of her interminable movies.  She keeps the movie channel going as soon as “Wheel of Fortune” goes off, and often stays on the couch watching movie after movie until midnight.

The movie she had on last night caught my eye, because someone was having a baby and screaming bloody murder.  Of course, being a doctor, that would be an eye- and ear-catcher for me; so I stayed on to watch a bit.  Turned out to be a baby girl: mazal tov.  But the mother said: “I’ve hated this baby since she was in my womb.”  Blood-chiller.  I watched the rest of the movie.  It was all about how this baby girl was unwelcome, and the next one, a boy, was the apple of the mother’s eye.  The girl was shut out of everything.  Understandably, she grew up bitter and depressed, but she made herself a success in her profession and at least derived comfort from that.

The discomfort in the parental living room was thick as molasses in the winter.  My mother stayed in her movie-induced trance, but I could feel her frozen to the couch, her breathing shallow.  Through the darkened room I perceived the pallor of her face.

I myself was sweating, heart racing, in the throes of a full-throttle panic attack.  But I couldn’t stop watching the movie: it was my life laid out before me, except that I had no brother.  The brother in my life was my older boy cousin, who could do no wrong.  Like the girl in the movie, I love him dearly and do not fault him for his place of honor, and he himself has no idea that he is king in my mother’s eyes.

I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and headed out to my own digs down the hill.  I took my pills and went to bed.

This morning for some reason it occurred to me that I probably should read the judge’s disposition on my recent social security disability hearing.  In the eight page document, I learned that I have had PTSD since I was a child, that I have struggled unsuccessfully with major depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, dysthymic disorder, OCD, and a few other items that I have forgotten since this morning.  All of these were backed up by citations from the records of my various doctors.  G-d in heaven, what a soup.

The disposition goes on to describe how I managed to struggle through until April 4, 2000, when I fell off the balance beam and decompensated, and have remained in a more or less permanent state of mental disability ever since.  There is no hope for my ever returning to any kind of work because of the unpredictable nature of my disease.  In addition, my reclusive lifestyle precludes my forming any meaningful social bonds, so it is improbable that I would be able to integrate into any work environment.

Of course I knew all this; how could I not.  But seeing it laid out that way by a federal judge is a dash of cold water in the face.

I worked really really hard to overcome my demons during my life.  Now it seems I have another round of demons to take on: the ones that whisper in my head, “You’re no good.  You’re useless.  You’re no good to anybody.  You’re a burden to your family, and society.  You take up money that could be used for better causes,” etc. etc.

I’m making dinner, and I’m going to force myself to fucking eat it.  Then I’m taking my drug cocktail, with an extra Seroquel (at the suggestion of my doctor) and I am going to bed.  If I need to, I will sleep all day tomorrow too.  Then I will get up and go on with life, because that is all that remains to me of health and dignity.