I’m so sorry, internet, but my mind is a freaking mess, no matter how hard I try to fix it. I haven’t been able to social media at all this past week… just focusing on work (busier than usual) and a neat IRL side project with an old college buddy (tight deadline on that one). My moods are all over the place: irrational rage, sadness, hopelessness, intense feelings of isolation, and my anxiety levels have been way over 9,000.
It’s a definite pattern with me. I’m on top of the world for a while, then I crash hard, push everyone away because it feels like they are pushing me away, feel lonely, feel bad about everything, feel really happy again… cycle repeats.
Anyway, detailed personal whining about the whys of what’s bugging me incoming. Feel free to ignore this post. I’ve hinted a bit about some medical things I’ve had going on lately, and this is the full lowdown now that my brain has finally snapped (again). I guess I just need to vent on the internet with this post. The important thing is that I didn’t delete myself from the internet this time. A definite improvement!
Reader discretion is also strongly advised since this post contains coarse language and depressing themes.
Commencing Public Venting…
So it all started last May after I snapped and deleted my old blog (details here). Shortly after that, a concerning vision issue started that has been getting progressively worse since then. Right now, it’s making it hard for me to look at screens of any kind without having a freaking anxiety attack. All the enjoyable things in my life involve staring at screens (blogging, social media, video games, etc.) so… yeah. I also test cell phones for a living and that’s becoming quite challenging. My employment future is a huge concern if this keeps getting worse.
But yeah, the vision problem… it’s scary and strange. Kind of like a shimmering distortion thing just off the bottom left corner of my left eye’s visual field. It’s not as visible in dark lit areas, but as soon as I look at words against backgrounds on computer screens/cell phones (or go outside on a bright sunny day… or office florescent lighting… or my kitchen/bathroom), it’s quite freaking visible and fear-inducing. It has evolved to the point where it’s interfering with my ability to read words easily. It’s definitely getting worse, and it is much more visible than it was at the start. And did I mention it’s scaring the hell out of me? Because it is.
And for fuck’s sake, Canada’s awful healthcare system is failing me. I live in a poor province with abysmal wait times for everything and notoriously horrendous hospital ER conditions. I finally got to see an eye specialist a month after I went to my family doctor about this (I’m lucky to even have one of those here, by the way). He found nothing visibly wrong with my eyes so more testing. A visual field test proved that I am actually seeing this weird spot and it is affecting my visual field. That could be a relatively minor ailment, but my eye doctor wanted a brain MRI done to rule out worse things.
My province’s MRI machines are always booked solid so I had to wait until August 2018 to get the scan done (at night and the poor MRI technicians were visibly overworked). Then I had to wait a week for my eye doctor to get the results. The MRI revealed several lesions on my brain that flagged me for Multiple Sclerosis (yikes), so my eye doctor passed me off to a neurologist… Oh! I should mention his office forgot to send the damn referral and I had to call to get it moved through. Yeah.
The neurologist did a checkup and she also tested my cognitive abilities (like timing how long it takes me to put pegs in a board… it was a nice throwback to the elementary school days). My vision problem isn’t consistent with the classic symptoms of optic neuritis (usually the first noticeable symptom of MS). The lesions on my brain are mostly in areas where migraine suffers typically have them (I do get bad ones a few times a year), but there is a stray lesion in a weird area she can’t explain. She sent me for more testing since I wasn’t a “typical potential MS case” that she sees, including a lumbar puncture and a spinal cord MRI.
Those tests finally got done in November 2018 (I took the option of driving to a town 3 hours away for a shorter spinal cord MRI wait time)… I had to wait until the fucking beginning of February 2019 to get the results (they needed a lab on the other side of the country to do the lumbar puncture analysis since there’s none here in Nova Scotia). And I missed my first results appointment because the neurologist was sick and no one else at the damn clinic was authorized to give them to me.
But whatever. The results showed no conclusive evidence that I have MS (which is nice) but it’s still possible I could be “developing it”. I’ll get another brain scan in a year to see how my lesions are doing. I also have a list of MS symptoms to look out for and to contact the MS clinic if they show up. Yeah. Just waiting and wondering if those symptoms will show up (or if another lesion is going to happen in a worse place on my brain) is super fun and great for my sanity… And I’m still left with this progressively worsening and unexplained vision problem. The neurologist told me to contact my eye doctor if the vision issue gets worse.
Yep. It got worse… back to the eye doctor! Well, I’m trying. I made an appointment two weeks ago (he did apparently want to see me again without me calling, but they forgot about that until I called them). I finally get to see him again on April 8 (he was on vacation). I’ll have another visual field test done (to see if it is actually getting worse) and another test that looks at the back of my eye. I have to pay $80 out of pocket for the latter test in Canada’s so-called “free” healthcare system. The test is not covered in Nova Scotia or by my work insurance plan, apparently. I both can’t wait for and am dreading the results of that appointment.
Oh, and by the way, there are no second opinions in Nova Scotia. You’re lucky to get to see one freaking specialist with the critical doctor shortage we have going on here.
My brain has never been the best at processing sensory inputs (I’ve been reading a lot of psychology books lately… sorry). Ever since I can remember, I’ve had visual snow syndrome where I always see a constant thin layer of what I can best describe as TV static over everything. I also have permanent ringing in both of my ears, again, ever since I can remember. Also, constant tingling in my hands and feet… Luckily, these problems have been with me for my whole life so they don’t cause me too much distress. I was a teenager before I realized these are not normal things.
All this medical drama is on top of mental health issues that are bringing me to my knees currently. But wait… those brain lesions of mine might be affecting my mental health too, right? I’m barely keeping it together for work now, and I’m a train wreck once I clock out for the day.
Thankfully, I have an excellent therapist now who is working with me to figure out the root cause of my social dysfunction, depression, mood, and anxiety issues that I’ve been struggling with my whole life. Took almost a year to get her help (after I finally got brave enough to ask for help), but she’s awesome. That support is great, but not timely as the appointments are months apart. I can’t describe how much of a mess I am right now. I feel so alone. Very few friends IRL, just my aging parents (who I don’t want to worry so I can’t talk to them about this stuff) and cats for family, and no other half to lean on for support. It’s so, so hard dealing with everything alone in reality.
At least in the online world, this blogging community has been a wonderful place to connect with cool humans. I’ve made several awesome friends here so thank you all for everything. It’s really hard for me to look at screens right now without wanting to curl up into a ball and sob uncontrollably. Hopefully soon I will find out what’s wrong with my vision and can get my anxiety back under control. Everyone I’ve met online is so supportive and I really, really appreciate that. I just go into isolation mode when things start getting to me. In that state, I don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone except my two closest friends.
Loading angry rant to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil….
Both of you need to get your fucking shit together. Stop wasting millions of dollars on pretty photo ops and fixing up ferry terminals in Maine, USA (another rant) and start fixing this goddamn mess of a healthcare system. People are dying, hospitals are literally falling apart, and people are going through hell on stupidly long waiting lists. Do something. Anything!
The current “free” system in this country (read: regionally inconsistent mandatory health insurance plan) doesn’t fucking work, especially in poor provinces like Nova Scotia with higher percentages of retired older people who need more healthcare and aren’t paying into the system. Doctors and dollars don’t grow on damn trees.
If you don’t believe there’s a medical crisis happening in Nova Scotia right now, pull your heads out of your pointless political asses and pay the fuck attention to your people’s suffering:
And way too many more horrific examples. Including this personal one: My college professor died because of a brain tumor removal surgery that didn’t have proper sterilization processes. The surgery went fine. An infection afterward killed him. He was one of the kindest and most amazing humans to grace this messed up planet.
Mental Health Levels Stabilizing….
If anyone read all this, thank you. I feel a lot better after writing this public personal rant post. My drama has been weighing on my mind for a long time, and I’m really tired of bugging my two closest friends with my problems all the time (you know who you are if you’re reading this and thank you for helping me so much).
My life’s not all bad, either. I’ve been trying to force myself do more things out in the real world to take my mind off things. I’m physically in good shape minus the vision problem and fighting with fatigue (likely from depression). I walk at least 35 km a week, spend 30 minutes on my elliptical a day, and lift weights 3 times a week, which helps me with battling this incredible fear that I’m dying alone and/or going blind. Sigh.
Things could be better. Things could definitely be worse. Everything is what it is. We all have our own paths through this life. We can only navigate them as best we can. I’m definitely much better at dealing with my drama than I used to be. That’s something I can be proud of at least.
“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” – Carl Jung
“When thinking about life, remember this: No amount of guilt can solve the past, and no amount of anxiety can change the future.” – Unknown
⚡Thanks for reading!⚡
If for some odd reason you want to read more of my posts, you can find a somewhat organized (and usually up to date) archive of my ramblings… I mean, articles here!