Working Wednesday, December 13, 2023

This week I’m making hats and scarves for Christmas presents, but really just crocheting for my mental health. Lotta stuff going on here, so sitting quietly doing rhythmic stuff with yarn is very soothing.

What did you work on this week?

164 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, December 13, 2023

  1. Gardening. All the lettuce and salad greens I dropped into Louise are germinating. I have to harvest a batch of red sails lettuce from Lupe because it’s spreading to block the poblano pepper plants in Seble from the light.

    I’ve harvested a few tomatoes, three yellow and one red. They’re going into the salsa.

  2. Happy Lucia! (St. Lucy’s Day!). Here, this years TV-broadcasted procession from Swedish television. I’m watching it now as I type.
    I wish I had some lussekatter (saffron buns with raisins that are called “Lusse-cats”, “lussa” being the common word for celebrating Lucia). Nom. But, alas. It’s not a thing in The Netherlands.
    MIL and I went to IKEA last Friday in the hopes of scoring some Christmas-treats and my favourite christmas soft drink, but they didn’t have any! They didn’t even have a plausible reason why they didn’t have the stuff their website says they have. They had gingerbread biscuits, that was about it. Argh.
    Internist called yesterday about the CT-scan and the bloodwork and . . . nothing. Everything came back perfect and tiptop and splendedly normal. Their conclusion is therefore that I am healthy as a horse and that it’s a psychological issue. They want me to see the GP’s welfare officer/shrink lite to “learn to live with my symptoms” or “figure out what’s wrong”. Even though I had expected it, it was quite the blow, and I spent most of yesterday crying because scared. Scared depression will eat me again after all the hard work I’ve done to get away from it, since I’m apparently a worthless piece of too weird with a body that cries wolf for nothing (Or does it? How will I know?!). I’d managed to wrestle it down and throw it over the edge, but now they’ve punched me closed to the same edge and I’m scared of falling. Scared people will say I’m “doing it on purpose” or “putting up an act” because I want attention. I don’t want attention dammit, I want to be able to eat without feeling full after 3 bites and be in pain and feel nauseous! I don’t get it since this started when I’d finally started to turn things around mentally, SO IF THIS IS PSYCHOLOGICAL, what…why…how?
    I don’t want to go back down there in the scary suffocating pointless all-consuming painful terrifying ever-present dark where nothing is worth it, everything is pointless, everything hurts, and you’re so, so, so alone. I don’t want to! But how can I prevent it? It feels like they broke something, maybe the confidence I had in…something. My body? My mental strength? I don’t know.
    And now I am crying Again. Argh. 🙁

    1. Can you get a second opinion?
      This time of year is especially tough for depression. I thought I could tough it out but I went back on my meds when I realized I was driving Bob insane with my meltdowns. And depression combined with real physical problems is just a horrible cycle. Depression kills your immune system, and then the illness makes you more depressed. It’s awful. I’m so sorry, Shass. Fingers crossed you find a doctor who isn’t an asshole. (Learn to live with your symptoms? Fuck him.)

      1. Thanks for sharing. There are no anti-depressants they can give me for I’ve had them all (except the ones they don’t recommend for people with glaucoma, which is my eye-condition), and the side-effects I got from them only made it worse. So there’s literally nothing they can give me, they say. Self-medicating with lemon balm tea now. At least that works for the worst anxiety. But not vs depression, I think. I’m sorry to hear you’re having boxing matches with it too. Know that we all love and support you every day. <3

        I don't know if I can get a second opinion. I guess that if all tests come back normal, including X-rays, CT-scans and gastroscopy where they can see that everything looks normal…would another doctor say anything different? I don't know. Also I think people around me think this all sounds plausible and I don't know if I have the strength right now to push for more of this medical experimenting.

        1. I can’t tolerate depression meds either. Can you take St. John’s Wort? (It helps some people with depression, although you have to watch sun exposure.)

          Believe it or not, I have found acupuncture helps with mine. And you should always be able to get a second opinion. There is no way any one doctor has all the answers.

          1. Will look up St. John’s. I know the anti-contraceptives I used back in Sweden couldn’t handle it, it would disable them, but I can’t remember hearing or seeing anything about the Dutch ones. Will look it up, thanks for the tip!

    2. Shass – I have a very loose connection with someone who’s grown daughter was experiencing this. Two or three bites was all she could eat before physical symptoms started.
      It’s too long ago and I’ve lost touch with people concerned and can’t ask them for details.
      I tell you this because what I remember for sure is, all kinds of doctors kept trying to push her into those it’s-all-psychological boxes and in the end it wasn’t. Eventually a doctor figured out what was wrong and it was a physical ailment.
      Stand your ground.
      Are you able to get some nutrition through protein shakes and the like?
      Take care and keep venting here where you’re heard and loved.

      1. Thanks Judy for sharing this! I wonder what kind of physical thing that could be that they needed to dig around that much for. Sven (my fiancé) asked me yesterday if I was crying because I was scared there’s something in there really that they can’t find and I… I don’t know. Right now my feeling is that I won’t go back to the docs for anything because they will only say it’s “only in my head” anyway. No that is very much not constructive, I know. I’m not sure how to proceed from here though.
        I have nutri-drinks from the dietitian and am supposed to drink 3 per day + what food I can eat. Right now that feels pointless too. If it’s all “only in my head”, I should just pull myself together and eat. But… it doesn’t work!
        And now I am crying again. Thank you so much for the encouragment and kind words. <3

    3. Bear hugs, Shass!!!

      What Jenny and Judy said: just because one set of tests say everything is okay doesn’t mean your symptoms are imagined. My mom experienced a similar marathon of doctors visits for something physical that was clearly not okay (skin of tongue in rebellion): the generalist didn’t know what it could be, the specialists neither because they all only have special knowledge in their respective fields (like if you’re a handiman working with a hammer you only use the hammer). So what do medical people say if they don’t hava an answer: you must imagine your symptoms.


      With my mom’s problems, in the end it was a lucky coincidence that I talked to someone from a totally different field of expertise (my physiotherapist who back then was studying for a holistic health certification) who pointed out that the cause might very likely be somewhere else (in my mom’s case the liver who was stressed out to its limit after all the medication my mom had to take before).

      As Jenny said, this time of year with little sunshine and therefore little endorphins is especially difficult.

      But: keep your head and hopes up!
      You know your body better than the doctors.

      But often it takes time to get to the root of anything that’s wrong but not obviously so.
      So please be patient with yourself but brave – it takes perseverance.

      1. Thanks, Dodo! It’s awful to hear how many people actually get the “only in your head”-card shoved in their faces when they doctors can’t, or don’t care to, figure it out. I’m happy they found the solution for your mother! My dad had an experience like that 10 years or so ago where he was clearly suffering from something, but all doctors said his tests were stellar, too. Luck served him with a retired GP doing some extra summer-work at our healthcare centre, whom said: “Oh, I know what this is!”, sent him to the right specialist, got him diagnosed and fixed.
        Thing is, I’ve been in therapy on and off for many years, and finished the last one just last October. So both a psychiatrist AND a psychologist have been around me for the larger part of this issue, and none of them seemed to think it’s psychological. They were as mystified as the docs. They even saw and agreed with me when we decided to not go for medication again because I felt so much better mentally and there’s not much they can offer me anyway. So what pshychological issue would cause this then? And how is a welfare officer at the GP’s gonna fix it? I don’t know.
        Thank you for the support. <3 I really appreciate it!

    4. Shass, hang in there and find a different doctor. I spent about six years in my late 20’s so ill I could barely function–exhausted, in pain, and a bunch of other things. Nothing showed up on blood work or scans. I saw all sorts of specialists, who told me it was all in my head, or that I needed to get a hobby (really? with what energy?), or my favorite, that I had “hidden” depression. There was nothing hidden about it. I finally found a doctor who believed me, which probably saved my life. The answer? Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Neither of which show up on tests, and basically have to be diagnosed through elimination of other options and through symptoms. This was back in the 80’s, when those were even less understood or accepted than they are now. Mind you, they didn’t then or now have any effective treatments, and I ended up turning to alternative medicine to improve my condition, but it was amazing to have a couple of doctors in the end who believed me instead of the tests.

      Depression and chronic illness are a vicious circle. Depression can certainly cause physical issues, but chronic illness can also cause depression (both for brain chemistry reasons and just the difficulties of living with it). Now I have long Covid too, which also doesn’t show up on most tests, and doesn’t really have any treatments. So I feel your pain. Don’t give up. If you want to talk to me off-site, let me know. Hugs.

      1. Shass, Hugs to you! And I second everything everyone else has said. My daughter was told forever and by many neurologists that she was imagining her pain. Finally, she was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.

        A neighbor who is 19 years old recently had symptoms like yours. For months doctors suspected her of trying to get attention. It turned out that she hadn’t known she had a stomach infection at some point. The leftover of that infection was that she would go through bouts of being unable to eat because of nausia and pain. Once the doctors figured that much out, they put her on a heavy dose of omepramazole (I probably misspelled that, the OTC name in the US is Prilosec). That killed the thingy that was making her sick. Which is terrific! But I suspect that she’ll be prone to this sort of attack in the future.

        Finally, another thing that others know more about than I do, is auto-immune disorders. The point about them is that they can be related, so if you have one you might be apt to get another. I’m not saying this right.

        Sorry to tell you these sad tales. My point is like everyone else’s on Argh: Doctors tend to blame the patient when they can’t figure out what’s wrong. Keep bugging them.

        1. My niece got two food borne infections simultaneously, which left her digestion in a horrible mess. After years of multiple symptoms, she finally found some relief by working with a functional nutritionist. They eliminated many different foods and limited the amounts of others.This provided some relief, but it made eating complicated and eating out almost impossible. She lost a lot of weight and was miserable. A year ago she tried a product that is sold over the internet and through infomercials. I was horrified because those damn infomercials are all sales pitch and no real facts, but the damn stuff worked. She is now at least 50 percent better and leading a much less restricted life. There may be relief out there, but my guess is that you’ll have to go outside your HMO to find it.

          As for the depression, I am sending another batch of timed release hugs and the reminder that we at ARGH love you very much

          Let me know if you want my niece’s email so you can contact her directly. She lives in Minnesota, so she may be able to recommend stuff to read, but sadly, no doctors.

          1. You have the best timed pocket-hugs, Aunt Snack, so I gladly take some more of them. Thank you so much! I will see if I can do some research on this side first, but I’ll get back to you if I need the niece’s email. Always good to have options.
            I love the arghers very much too, this is my favourite place to hang out. <3

        2. I appreciate you chipping in, so no apologies needed! They’ve given me omeprazol already in double doze, but it hasn’t solved it. I had a lot of issues with gastritis in my teens, so I’ve definitely had stomach-issues before, but that felt very different from how this feels.
          I’m trying to not let this have so big an impact on my mental state but it’s very hard. I told Sven today that it really feels like the Inernist broke me with this where I felt pretty okay before. I’m trying to be confident people around me don’t think I’m crazy or seeking attention, but it’s difficult. Sigh.
          At least I have the Argh-army behind me and that is one marvellous miracle. <3

      2. Thank you so much, Deborah! It sounds like you’ve been through a real tough time before your things were figured out. I don’t really know where to turn from here. It feels like all roads are blocked. I don’t even know if they do second opinion-stuff for this. I know there are hospitals that do it for cancer, since my MIL did it 10 years ago, but for things like this… not sure.
        I have tried to get checked for CFS because I am pretty sure I have that too, but they say there is no way to confirm that and “what difference would it make anyway since you can’t cure it?”, is what they say. I do score on pretty much all the symptoms of that, though. But, that is a side-thing and not related to this.
        I am and have been interested in alternative medicine and herbology for many, many years, but I am not sure where I would go with something like this? Is there any kind of non-doc specialist you would recommend? I have a friend who does Reiki, but…he lives in England, so unless I go there…

        1. Reiki can be amazing. (I do a form of energy healing myself, and it has occasionally worked miracles. I don’t know why I didn’t think to recommend that, except, you know, brain fog.) LOTS of people do Reiki, so you should be able to find someone near you.

          And your f*cking doctor can go sit on a stick. Of course it makes a difference to get a diagnosis, even if there is nothing they can do. Just knowing I wasn’t crazy helped, even if there was nothing in the current medical bag that could help me. Interestingly, many of the side effects of long Covid are the same as CFS, so they may finally throw some money and attention at it.

          You should be able to get second opinions for anything, not just cancer. One gastroenterologist may know something the first doesn’t. Or someone who deals with inflammatory issues. If there is one thing I learned after all the years I spent dealing with the medical system, it is that you can’t rely on anyone to advocate for you. You have to fight for yourself. And sometimes it is a long, brutal, and somewhat ridiculous fight. But you know your body better than anyone else. If you think you’re sick, you’re probably sick.

    5. Please, please, please, look into myalgic encephalitis, MCAS, and mold. There are great pages on Facebook to get a start. I suffered for over 30 years with doctors telling me the same thing. It’s not in your head and you aren’t looking for sympathy. Most regular doctors don’t know what these are. You can email me if you want more info. After suffering for so long I finally found a doctor that ran the right tests and I’m feeling better. Good luck. These are terrible illnesses and no one understands.

      1. I am not familiar with them either, so I will look them up. Thank you! I will get back to you if I have any questions. Thank you so, so much for reacting to my post. Every little bit helps. <3

    6. So sorry this is going on. There is nothing more frustrating than having an unidentified medical issue. Have the doctors investigated gastroparesis, whose symptoms are identical to yours? I hope that you find relief soon.

      1. Not that they have informed me of in any case. I am not familiar with the name either, so I will look it up. I think mostly they have been looking for infections, obstructions or damaged organs as well as gluten allergy and adrenal gland function.
        Thank you so much for chipping in. Hurray for teamwork!

      1. They do, don’t they? It’s good to not be alone though. Being alone wrestling with yourself is the absolute worst and most scary thing there is. Hope they find a solution for your issues soon. <3

    7. I was ready to make a post about all the stories I’ve heard about symptoms that were allegedly psychological but that turned out not to be. Sadly, many people here have already cited personal experience. I begin to wonder how many actual cases of psychosomatic symptoms are out there. The seem to be huge numbers of counterexamples.

      1. Nightmare-material, isn’t it? The question is: Where to start? How? Where? With whom? Who will believe me? It looks like the solutions for most people that have got stuck with “psychosomatical issues” only got help through chance-encounters with the right person. That is… a worrying thought.

      2. Patrick M., I know of one psychosomatic case. A friend of my mother’s was in medical school in the 1940s. He was Jewish. A case came in of a man whose arm was paralyzed for no cause the hospital could find. The patient was also Jewish. He had been raised in a very devout Orthodox home, and had since become mostly secular. It was Woody who made the intuitive leap to “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither.” After considerable psychiatric treatment the patient regained the use of his arm.

        This is the ONLY psychosomatic case I have heard of, to balance the dozens of people in my circle who had doctors wanting their symptoms to be “all in their heads.”

    8. Have you considered talking with a naturopath? They tend to look at the whole body, rather than just symptoms. I had a very good experience with one a number of years ago – significantly improved my health by resolving long-standing respiratory/ear issues. Some naturopaths are woo-woo so worth doing some research to find a good one. I know it’s crappy to feel unwell all the time which can definitely increase depression.

      1. I have not looked into it, but from where I’m standing now, I’d try anything. Thank you for the suggestion! I’ll do some research, ask around a bit and see if I can find a good one. I know this hypnotist I went to a couple of years ago, perhaps she knows someone who knows someone that’s trustworthy. Thank you lots for the suggestion and for sharing your experience!

    9. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through, and just wanted to add that there is a long history (that stretches into the present) of doctors not believing women’s pain and experiences (all the more so for women of color). Just wanted to reiterate that if you know something’s wrong, *something IS wrong*!!! Don’t let the doctors gaslight you into not trusting your own instincts.

      I don’t know if you’re open to it, but if you find the right practitioner, I’ve found non-western medicine to be less gaslighty when I haven’t found answers in western medicine. They might not be able to give you a diagnosis, but they usually work on treating the symptoms directly and reestablishing balance in your system overall. Most of my non-western experience has been with acupuncture, but there are many different types of treatments out there. If you’re in the states, what state are you in? If you’re in or near NY I might be able to recommend someone for you, though no pressure.

      1. I second this. Just as with doctors, you have to find the practitioners who are a good fit for you, but I got much help from cranial sacral therapy (although it may have been the woman who did it, since I didn’t get that much benefit from later folks), hypnotherapy (you’d be amazed at how much of our physical crap comes from stuff pushed so deep down in our psyche that there is no other way to reach it), and acupuncture. I’ve also had great reflexology folks, and found massage and chiropractic useful too.

      2. Thank you, Zoe! I have previously been considering reiki, long before this started. Just gotta find the right person, I guess. I also know that my physical therapist’s SIL is some kind of specialist on energies and such, so I could always ask her if I can get in contact. Worth a try, perhaps?
        I am in The Netherlands unfortunately, but I really appreciate the offer. <3 Thank you so much for chipping in.

    10. I am going to echo what everybody else is saying. Eighteen years ago, I was told by a consultant and my own GP that there was nothing wrong with me and it was all in my head. I knew that wasn’t true. I made an appointment with a different GP and demanded to be sent to a different doctor at the hospital. She ended up writing a letter to the original consultant telling him what he had missed. Thankfully it was not life threatening. If you know it is not your imagination, don’t allow the doctors to dismiss what you are going through. Take care of your self Shass.

      1. I’ve been told so, so many times in my life (including by one of my best friends) that my feelings and emotions and fears and things were “only in my head” or that I “should just pull myself together”, so that always strikes me very hard. When specialists say it? Even more so. Experience tells me that my intuition is more or less always right and most of the time when people told me it was only in my head, it wasn’t. And still it completely sort of disables me and I start doubting myself and what I think and feel. Gaslighting indeed.
        Thank you for reminding me. I will try not to lie down right here and give up. I promised myself earlier this year to not let fear hold me back anymore. I’m scared now. It must mean it’s time to fight back.

    11. One of the worst things about depression, in my opinion, is that your brain gets used to it. At least mine does. I forget what it feels like to not carry it around. And I don’t really notice it ebbing and flowing, getting worse, and then I burst into tears in a parking lot. Just as an example.

      I really think that Everything Everywhere All At Once did a really good job discussing the different flavors of depression. I felt seen to the point where it was almost a punch in the gut, but something that I needed to hear.

      And for me I first need to notice that I am depressed, so that I can deal with it and then remind myself over and over that the tide that comes in also goes back out and the way I feel in the moment is not forever.

      Take care. We are rooting for you.

      1. I’m just very scared depression will come back and eat me now because of this. Because people tell me I imagine things, make them up, that it’s only in my head, which means I can’t trust my body or my mind or . . .
        Luckily, Arghers tell me I shouldn’t listen to all that. Arghers are the best army in the universe. I’m so grateful I found you all.

        1. I consider inside my head to be a very real place. It’s actually where I spend a lot of my time for good or ill. I wish people would stop putting that down. But education about mental health is evolving.

    12. I am going to echo what everybody else is saying. Eighteen years ago, I was told by a consultant and my own GP that there was nothing wrong with me and it was all in my head. I knew that wasn’t true. I made an appointment with a different GP and demanded to be sent to a different doctor at the hospital. She ended up writing a letter to the original consultant telling him what he had missed. Thankfully it was not life threatening. If you know it is not your imagination, don’t allow the doctors to dismiss what you are going through. Take care of your self Shass.

      1. Shass, you might try brainstorming what else changed in your life when you started to have these symptoms, and also whether it’s some foods more than others. That might give clues. One weird one is alpha-gal syndrome which is an acquired allergy to mammalian red meat. It happens after tick bites …I’m thinking about your Canada trip—but maybe this started before that. It may be more common in North America (and it’s not common here!) which might explain why your doc hasn’t checked for it, if they haven’t.

        And I hope your doctor sent you to a gastroenterologist but if not, can you request a referral to one?

        Hang in there — it sure doesn’t sound psychological to me.

        1. It started about a month before Canada, so I don’t think they were the villains. I have also tried to figure out what happened around that time, but the only thing I know is that I started feeling better mentally, more motivated and got more energy because I’d finally got a sleeping-aid that didn’t give me any side-effects during the day. Those can’t be the villain either, because I only take one once every so often if I really, really need to sleep. So I’d finally crawled out of the worst darkness of the last few years and started undertaking things and planning projects and I… I just don’t get it. It doesn’t seem to matter what I eat, I feel the same regardless. No allergies have been found either, including gluten intolerance.
          I’ve been to what they here call the stomach-intestines-liver-specialist, but only to have the gastroscopy done. I am not sure if those are the same as a gastroenterologist. Except that, it’s all been going through the internist, which is supposedly specialist in everything inside the body?
          I really appreciate you throwing in your thoughts about it too. I have a lot of researching to do, it seems. And questions to ask.

          1. Well an internist is a generalist really, they know a little about many things but they don’t know deeply about everything. When we were trying to figure out what to do about my hyperparathyriodism, my internist was very clear that it was the endocrinologist who was the expert. I think you need an expert.

            I’m so sorry you are going through this ! Many many pocket hugs,
            Timed for after meals.

          2. Did you have Covid before these symptoms developed? Because it can effect any part of the body in all sorts of weird ways, including the digestive system.

    13. Shass, that’s just terrible! At this point, I would accept depression meds, even if I knew there was something physically wrong I was lucky enough to be diagnosed with breast, cancer and immediately ask my doctor for Prozac as a temporary solution. I’m so glad I did because five days later came 911.
      My son told me that one very good use of ChatGPT is symptoms because it’s read all of the books and there have been people diagnosed by ChatGPT when the doctors failed to do it. Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself mentally. Because that will help with the physical blessings.

      1. Wait really? ChatGPT is doing a better job of diagnosing people than doctors? If that isn’t stuff for nightmares, I don’t know what is.
        I’m trying to figure out how to not crash. It’s hard. But I’m trying. The cats help. And all you help. Arghers are a true miracle.

        1. doctors start at the obvious because that’s what most people have. If your concern is obscure… Well.
          I’ve had lists of things wrong for years. I’d get so discouraged with unhelpful doctors I’d give up. And then try again, because I was still not ok
          I have food chemical sensitivities, which I found on the web -Sue Dengate and the failsafe diet. I react badly to fructose and polyols, which I found on the web -Monash University
          More recently I learned, on the web, that nasal polyps can cause a lack of a sense of smell which I have had for 15 years. No doctor I have mentioned this to ever even tried to help. Now that have I found this possibility I said “I want to be checked for nasal polyps” and I am finally being offered the set of hoops I must jump through to get referred to a specialist.
          Don’t let a doctor’s lack of knowledge or willingness to stretch make you give up. You deserve help.
          Sending you mental wishes of tiny seeds of persistence to grow, the ones that thrive when other people are being difficult
          Good luck!

          1. Thank you, Clancy. I hope the seeds will find a good place to grow so they can provide some kickassiness soon. I’m taking a break from fighting over the weekend, regrouping. This stuff is exhausting.
            I’m happy to hear your persistance has brought you places. Well done you! Hope this means you will get the help you deserve!

      2. My husband was just telling me about this! You still need a person to apply the data, but AI can crunch a lot more data. It’s nice to see a positive application of new, somewhat scary tech.

    14. There’s a rare bone disease similar to what I have, but it’s caused by a non-cancerous tumor (mine is genetic) that overproduces a hormone that my genetic variant also causes. I believe the average time to a diagnosis is something like seven years, and in the meantime, the patients lose bone mass and teeth, and have excruciating whole-body pain (worse than what my genetic version has, which is bad enough) and may become bedridden. Seven years!

      And all the while, doctors are convinced it’s psychological.

      There’s even an extremely easy and inexpensive blood test that holds the key to the diagnosis (plus a more expensive one to confirm it), but no one ever thinks to run the test UNTIL they’ve already figured out what the likely problem was. Terrible catch-22. But something like that could be happening in your case. The correct test to figure out the issue just hasn’t been ordered yet.

      I’m sorry you’re going through this, and hope you get some answers a lot more quickly than seven years!

      1. 7 years sounds absolutely terrifying! There will be nothing left of me after 7 years.
        The Argh-army says I mustn’t give up so I will try not to and see if I can find another way to find answers. I just… have to figure out the how. Thank you so much for the encouragment!

        1. Shass, just today there is an article in the New York Times titled “Scientists pinpoint the cause of severe morning sickness”. While it focuses on pregnancy it also talks about causes and treatments for nausea, also in cancer patients. I am not sure that there would be useful information in here but it might provide you with some talking points for accessing medication. Some cancer patients take marijuana or extracts from it to heip deal with nausea. This has been a known treatment for some time (Jenny’s book Charlie All Night touches on this).Your physician should have some knowledge of whether this might help.

      1. Then I will send many tiny hugs. Picture them scuttling around you like little blinking holiday lights.

        1. Those might very well be the cutest little hugs I have ever encountered! Thank you! I will try to keep the cats from chasing them <3

    15. Shass, can you try TMS (Transmagnetic Stimulation) for your depression? I participated in a study on it some years ago and the side effects are much milder than drugs and it works very well for some people. I was very excited to try it because finally there was something different to try and it might be less problematic for you than other treatments.

      1. I had never heard of this before, but I will look it up. Always an option to bring to the GP or the GP’s half-shrink when they decide to invite me. Options options. Thanks!
        (The main reason why I am so sceptical towards the GP’s half-shrink is that last time I went to such a person, that time with an actual psychological problem, they also ended up telling me they couldn’t help me because too complicated, so my trust in that system is very….limited.)

    16. Hi Shass, I am so sorry you are going through this awful time just when things were looking more positive for you. I have mentioned in other posts regarding a family member that had significant medical issues post Covid including cardiac & respiratory issues but also weight loss, gut issues and spiralling depression. We happened upon some research that mentioned the impact of viral illness including Covid on gut health. The treatment involved taking very high quality (equivalent of what is given in neonatal nurseries) probiotics & selenium supplements. He made really good progress with the regime and as his gut health improved the nausea & weight loss turned around & his depression lifted considerably in quite a short period of time. It hasn’t cured all his respiratory & cardiac issues due to tissue damage but he is now living & enjoying his life rather than existing & expecting more health issues. His cardiologist & respiratory physicians thought it was bunkum but said ‘it probably wouldn’t hurt him’ if he wanted to try it. They were both amazed at the impact it had on his health & recovery. I have long standing depression which is worse in winter & I found it responded well to the heavy duty probiotics regime last winter & an evening dose of Vit D every second day as well as a daily dose in the AM. Not sure if this is any assistance but just putting it out there in case it might be useful. I will stress it does require the highest quality probiotics & these are quite expensive. I also echo what others have said – if your body is telling you something is wrong, then there is something that needs attention so hold tight, remember that you know your body best & you deserve to get the answers you need to be well again. Best wishes.

      1. Hi Elly, thank you so much for your message. first: Everything helps. It’s enough to know/hear/feel that people see you, hear you, and don’t think you’re nuts. That’s one of the biggest struggles for me right now, so you all chipping in with good advice, stories, peptalks, ideas, encouragement and pocket- and cyber-hugs helps a lot more than I can express in words.
        It’s amazing to hear how alternative routes can bring you places sometimes, despite the sceptisism of the specialists. I’m so happy to hear a positive story about this again and glad your family member is improving. I really hope I can find a good solution like that. I have combined pre- and pro-biotics here, but not sure if it’s the super-high end sort, but they probably won’t hurt to take either. You never know.
        Thank you!

  3. Working at the day job and having too much on my plate which blocks my brain…

    Rushing to the city to a bookstore where I ordered Heartstopper 5 for dd and they gave me the German translation instead of the original I had ordered. Hmpf. One trip I wish I did not need to make today but will have to anyway. At least I can pick up the two totes with cat motive that are waiting for me at the same bookshop.
    I hate xmas shopping when I have absolutely no time to think what to get.

    Still not finished moving, so I’ll head to the old flat in order to pack more boxes with the stuff from my office. Hopte to have enough ready by tomorrow so that I can move at least two desks and xxx number of boxes with the help of my father.

    I’m in awe at people manage who have to do cross-country moves…

    1. Well. The way you do a cross country move is you just move or throw out everything and then you find out you threw out important papers and packed the stuff you meant to give away…

    2. Cross country moves are easier before you amass a lot of stuff. I did mine when I didn’t have much furniture, which made it much easier. But doing it in the winter, when you have to deal with bad weather and slippery roads is the pits.

  4. Happy St Lucy’s day! It’s my birthday and I have a day off work (have been taking leave on my birthday since 1995, and it’s great!).
    So far I have been reading and drinking coffee. Off to the beach with the dogs soon. Sunny, blue sky, cold… perfect.

    I splashed out and bought Rachel Reid’s Time to Shine. It’s more than €14 on kindle so I’ve been eyeing it a while. Looking forward to more reading later. Maybe I will hang some Christmas lights but have a feeling I’ll be too lazy.

    No Lucia buns though. I never got round to making them.

    1. Happy birthday! I hope your day is full of warmth and love and hugs and nice treats and even more love.
      I miss the saffron buns we use to have for Lucia in Sweden. I haven’t got around to bake either…

    2. Happy birthday, FrotenPond!!
      It’s my dd’s “name’s day” which is celebrated in my family.
      Your b’day ritual sounds fun!
      May I ask in which European country you are – since TtS is so expensive.
      Have fun reading!!

  5. I’ve been working with my amazing accountability partner (Tammy) to establish my slightly different rules of accountability in the wake of NANOWRIMO.
    In so doing I opened something up inside myself which I think will be helpful longterm. I wrote a brief blogpost describing my discovery which can be read by tapping my name here.
    An appliance repair person is coming later today to determine if my dishwasher can be fixed. If not I’ll have to buy a new one. Those wheels are in motion. YAY.
    Someone is coming later to fix the steps we use to go in and out of the house. They have become a fall hazard. Yikes.
    I have done some serious decluttering of my house.
    And it’s one of those slots of time where Liz has a ton of drs appointments which I drive her, too.
    Sounds like a dismal life but as long as I have my sense of humor it doesn’t feel dismal.
    I am content.
    And going back to work on my novel! (Thanks Tammy. You’re the greatest!)

  6. I’ve finally finished all but one of the gifts (waiting on one order that should show up today then get packed up and sent back out) and have done all the cards I’m going to do. I’ve also decided that this is the last year I’m doing either. Too stressful, too much work, too expensive, and almost all of my friends have reached the “I really don’t want more stuff” point, as have I. So we all agree it’s time to give it up.

    Now I’m cleaning the house for our yearly Yule dinner party this Saturday, which we’ve had to cancel for three years in a row (Covid, Covid, flu). The weather report looks good, so I’m just praying no one gets sick.

    I’m also finally getting back to the writing. My agent and I are hoping to send out my magical realism novel in early January, which means I have to write a 4-5 page synopsis. Oy. I don’t know any authors who enjoy doing those…

  7. I’m delivering online training – 2.5 hours of Leading Employees Through Change – in back to back sessions all this week. It’s gruelling, is all I can say. Half of the people in the training were mandated to be there so I have Prisoners of Training which is never any fun.

    1. Huh – prisoners of training – lol. Last week I did 4 days of training from Execs to grassroots workers on how to play nicely in the workplace …. it was shattering because the people who are respectful, inclusive etc didn’t know why they were there & the majority of those that don’t play nicely just don’t give a damn anyway & don’t recognise their own behaviours as being toxic. So glad I don’t work in that organisation.

  8. I was rummaging in my craft room when I found some interesting yarn. I found a pattern for it online and have been crocheting ever since. So far, I’m about half way through.

    I’m debating about whether this should be my white elephant gift for the company party or not.

    1. Delicious colors. And why have I not made a similar pattern in more than twenty years?

  9. I’m literally not working right now. Because I forgot things at work I’ve known for years yesterday, got caught BIG TIME, my teammate tattled on me when I asked her to not contact my boss once I figured out what I was doing wrong (bitch) and I had another meltdown. Ten days back at work and in one day I gave them enough ammunition to fire me, right there, because I literally cannot. stop. fucking. up. Cannot. Stop. They asked me why I did this and I couldn’t say.

    You know how stupid I feel having a psychiatric meltdown? It’s not like anything is even wrong with me physically other than insomnia (which at this point I’m sleeping 5-6 hours rather than not at all for days, so…better? However, I’m no longer allowed to use pot gummies AND THAT’S THE ONLY SLEEPING THING THAT WORKED, OTC drugs do not put me back to sleep in the middle of the night or keep me from waking up at 3-4 a.m.), and it’s totally voluntary to have to pursue medical care for something where all people can do is say, “Well, try these drugs, who the hell knows if it works or not?” I hate that I’m going to have to be riding the psychiatric roller coaster of “who the hell knows?” for the rest of my life. I hate having to be a “drug seeker” when the last thing I want is drugs and the last prescription made me worse. This job has literally Made Me Crazy, but how the hell else am I supposed to get another job when I’m literally too incompetent to work now, but not so incompetent I quality for disability?

    Coincidentally, I had a pre-screening appointment I had to get through while trying to get a psychiatrist RIGHT after this, and I had a big sobbing meltdown through the whole thing. The guy was very sympathetic, said it was ridiculous it had taken 3+ weeks to get me anywhere and that the other office I tried was refusing to help, and that my previous treatment last month literally made me worse. He offered me an online psychiatric outpatient program for two weeks (which I guess they can work on doing for me even during the holidays?) and immediately got someone to write me a letter getting me out of work for the rest of the week while this program thing is set up. It should get me a psychiatrist real damn fast (I have a pre-screening with one tomorrow), which is good because I have to get one to sign off on work paperwork by the end of the month Or Else. My union guy gave me a deadline of January 15 to come up with medical paperwork for the grievance. At any rate, I will hopefully be out of work for the rest of the month on sick leave, which I have 1100+ hours of and might as well use it now. Saves me the dilemma of whether or not to cancel my vacation this December so they have to pay me for vacation days. I needed the pay but also every day I’m at work I give them more ammunition to fire me because I can’t stop fucking up out of nowhere.

    I’m glad I don’t have to work for awhile, at least, but god, I hate being a psychiatric nutcase fighting for a job I hate that doesn’t want me so I can still have all the good health insurance (and also seriously I can’t get another job because I can’t stop failing), and the prospect of January and going back to work to get fired is already making me wish for death. I truly do not think I can survive 2024. Or January.

    1. Jennifer – I have been in this place and it’s awful. Please, please let the psychiatrist’s office know how you’re feeling. There are likely emergency crisis lines in your area – the doctor’s office, your union guy, etc. can get them for you. It’s a short term fix – clearly the medical system has let you down (as the psychiatrist recognized) – but hoping you can find a longer term path forward.

    2. Oh man, I’m so sorry you’re going through all that Jennifer. That sounds really really tough and demoralizing, and navigating healthcare is always a total nightmare. I hope you get the help you’re seeking quickly and I hope you can rest a bit in this time away from your awful job!

      1. Jennifer, I think Susan’s suggestion to use the psychiatrist’s office actively is a good one. Phone them now. Don’t worry about calling them too often. The feelings you are suffering right now are more than sufficient for an emergency call.

        I think of you often. You are incredibly clear in your writing. It’s obvious that something is happening to you.

        1. I don’t have a psychiatrist at the moment. I called one outside of my HMO and had an appointment and then she quit, so I was forced to keep going with the HMO. This program I am going into “gets me access to a psychiatrist” for two weeks but I don’t get to keep that one, and it was very unclear as to whether or not I get one AFTER the program is over.

    3. Your work environment is killing you, so it’s a very good thing that you have this time off.
      And it’s the end of the year, so it’s a very good time to think about the future you want, the work you want to do, the place you want to be.
      You’re in a horrible place right now, and you’re turning it inward. Stop doing that. This is like a person on crutches trying to run a marathon; the fact that it can’t be done does not reflect on the person, it’s a factor of a problem the runner needs to solve. Which is what you’re doing getting help.

      I think sometimes we struggle with mental health without realizing for a long time that we have a diagnosable problem, we just think it’s all our fault. I couldn’t finish a book for over ten years, and I called myself lazy, crazy, unfocused, stupid, everything that had gone before was a fluke, I was getting old and losing it . . .and then my therapist, after three years finally got me to see that I was in the grip of a massive depression. Still working to get myself out, but talk about working with a problem that was kneecapping my work: “Hi, I’m Jenny and I write romantic comedy and I’m depressed. No idea why I can finish a book, though.”

      Once you get somebody who knows how to help, things will get better. The big thing is to repeat, “This is not my fault” every day until you believe it. And leave that toxic workplace, too. Being in a place that keeps feeding the “It’s all my fault” guilt torture is exactly the worst place for you to be. Because it’s not your fault.

      1. These are excellent points. Like, I used to be a good employee, but they don’t see me that way and never will and they truly make it sound like it’s all my fault and write it like it is in all of my writeups. If you saw that someone was very obviously having a mental breakdown, is this how you treat them?! (Apparently.) They admitted they don’t think I’m being deliberately bad on Tuesday, but that’s not how they act officially. I get that I’m not what they wanted in a service worker and they were forced to have me–twice–but not letting me do literally anything else or transfer to another unit (note: I did get a transfer, got bullied there, got forced to go back to public service, will never get another transfer after *I* “fucked up.”) is also ridiculous of them. Like, no wonder I’m burned out and having a breakdown from all of this treatment. They literally told me I have to be genuinely happy at work in 2020, it’s not like you can go to anyone who says that for assistance.

        I haven’t been able to write anything for storytelling since 2020. That’s not as bad as your writer’s block, but I relate. I definitely feel blocked somehow by all of the shit that’s happened to me IRL and all of it’s too awful to tell professionally anyway.

        As for finding someone who knows how to help, we’ll see how this program goes. Fingers crossed.

    4. Jennifer, I so agree with Jenny. I was looking for a quote I heard years ago that was something like, “Naming your chaos is the first step to conquering it.” Then I found Yoda’s wisdom: “Named must be your fear be before banish it you can.”

      I can feel the despair and loss of personhood, and the absolute desperation in your writing. There has to be a better solution than staying in a demoralizing job just to keep the insurance it provides.

      I will close with another quote from Jean Kerr: “Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn’t permanent.” Hold that thought.

      1. Honestly, I don’t know. I am too messed up to work right now, unfortunately, so how the hell I am going to get another job when I’m getting fired for cause, should not be hired for anything, and don’t quite qualify for disability/SSI level of “I can’t work,” I do not know. I have stuck with this because there have not been any other options and nowhere else willing to take me. I have no faith that anyone else will now that I’m a complete mess.

        I want to try applying with my state–I hear that’s easier if you have a disability–but I’m still waiting around on official diagnosis for that one so I know which way to apply, and probably can’t get that decision until the end of the month.

    5. Sending you lots of sympathy and hugs back. Tell the psychiatrists office all about what’s going through your head, including giving-up/suicidal thought if those are part of it. It’s important for them to know what’s going on.
      I understand you don’t feel it right now but I believe in the power of you. Hang in there. <3

  10. My kimchi is working. I am not convinced that it is going to be right, but it may be edible. I don’t think that I washed off enough salt.

    My other current project is finding silver shoes for a wedding that I am going to be in in February. The bride already vetoed the two pairs I already own. I may wear the flats anyway as the bridesmaid dress is full length and who cares? But if I can use this occasion to buy a pair of shoes that I am excited about… Well, it’s shoes.

    I have already enlisted Tammy in the search and my budget weeps, but more suggestions are welcome. I either want something over the top fabulous and ridiculous or something practical that I can wear socks with because… February.

    Otherwise things are slowing down for me. I am halfheartedly still adding things to my etsy shops and in person booth. I am trying to plan themes and collections for next year but still feel a little indecisive and burnt out. More rest and percolating is needed.

      1. The one who is now asking all her friends to buy an expensive, ugly dress that is chiffon short sleeves for a February wedding right before Christmas? Yes. That one. I like her, I really do, but I am starting to seriously question her taste and sanity.

        1. I think she is lucky to have you whatever shoes you choose to wear and she won’t notice your sandals if you choose to wear them.

    1. Sofft shoes has a silver metallic sling back with a minimal heel. Pretty snazzy.
      I always err on the side of comfort. I think I became a nurse so I could wear sneakers at work.

  11. I raked and swept all the leaves off my two large patios. Some went into barrels, and some I spread on the bare spots in my yards. The exertion kept me from sleeping most of that night, but it was worth it. Wet leaves are slippery, and it’s also really hard to shovel snow when leaves are mixed in with it.

    I finished my holiday shopping and am just waiting for two gifts to arrive in the mail. I’m going to lay low from now on, because I just read that nationally, only 16% of adults and 7% of children have received the COVID vaccine. In the words of a health care professional, “There is little, to no, interest in it” in this area. That is scary. I am usually the only one wearing a mask in the stores I have been in. Be careful, all my immune compromised friends!!! Cases in the hospitals went up dramatically last week, here. It isn’t gone, and it is coming back in force. Sigh.

    1. I am one of the 16%. I think some people gave up when there was so little vaccine available (in my area anyway) early on, and didn’t keep trying. When I got mine in mid-October it was the first week the health department had any.

  12. I’ve been sick in bed since the weekend. Testing says it’s not Covid. I had a small burst of energy and put my outdoor urns together so our porch looks festive. DH put up my darling silver tree. Our kitchen reno is almost done which is very exciting.

    1. If it’s the same crud I had earlier, it eased off at about the point where I wondered if I should see the doctor, although full recovery took a while after that. In any case, pushing yourself to do things is not a good idea. Since medicine can do nothing much for ordinary viruses, it’s always tricky deciding at what point to seek medical attention.

  13. Goodness, I’m sorry so many people are going through so many difficult times! I hope things lighten up for everyone soon! I’m working on preparing for my first Philadelphia job interview tomorrow, which I’m pretty nervous about. I attempted making palak paneer last night, and it wasn’t awful, so I considered that a win haha. I haven’t been doing much else lately but enjoying my unemployment as much as possible by being cozy in blankets and curling up to read stuff and chatting with friends when they find the time and trying recipes, which honestly is such a joy.

  14. The last three weeks have been full on commitments and meetings and people. That’s lightened up. I find I still have in my head that there’s a moment when things change to “The Holidays,” some magical time involving hot chocolate and reading a book listening to music. But I’m the one making any holiday happen, at least at home. I know, this is the story of many women. I think I just need to take a shower, after I go to the dump, but before I go to the grocery store. Or, I’ll just go dirty. Ho ho ho it.

  15. I’ve done bits of yardkeeping, bits of housekeeping, chunks of writer business, and lots of cogitating about Writing Year 2024.

    Also wrote a holiday letter and send out 15 cards. A measure of the contraction of our social and family circles is that I had to actually hunt for a 15th person to send to, not to mention contact three people to ask what their mailing addresses were. Did it this year because we had New Cat to announce, plus Upcoming Move, plus just proof of life.

    Hugs to all who are struggling. <3

    1. I am all admiration to you for sending out cards. I absolutely will do that. I don’t even like addressing envelopes.

  16. I just finished decorating for Christmas. The Christmas cards are stuffed, addressed, and just waiting to be stamped. Most of the shopping is done. Just need to wrap and buy candy and lottery tickets for the stockings. Monday is cookie-baking day with my 82-year-old mother, 25-year-old son, and 23-year-old daughter. It’s a tradition, and I love spending this time with them!!

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Fawcett house… 🙂

  17. I’ve been working on hanging a thing on the wall that isn’t too heavy for me to pick up, but is awkward and gets to feeling heavy after a while. And I’m supposed to line up two holes on the back (that I can’t see, of course, from the front) with two rectangular clips anchored in the wall, and I just can’t do it. The thing is advertised as easy to install, and in theory it is, just two drywall anchors with these little clips on the screws that go into the anchor, and I did all that just fine. But lining it up perfectly and getting it to settle in place so the safety sensor is activated? Yeah, no.

    I’m particularly annoyed with the little sticky note attached to the front of the thing that says if the red light doesn’t go on, make sure the hidden sensor is activated by touching the clip that holds up the thing. Okay, but how? It’s hidden inside the thing even if the thing is off the wall (I managed to get it lined up once), and once it’s on the wall, it’s even more hidden, so I had to take it off and try again. And then they don’t say what to change if it’s not activated.

    So now I have to ask for help, and I really hate asking for help. Yeah, I need to get over that.

    In better productivity, some stuff I’ve been helping a friend to focus on is finally coming together, and for myself, I’m almost done with the book that’s technically due on January 1 but that I want to submit this week to have some time for secret projects and playing. Hoping to submit the book today (just saying that for accountability purposes and hoping not to jinx myself).

    1. Hanging this thing sounds like it will take at least three people —1 to hang it, one to maneuver it onto the hooks, and 1 to make a changing the lightbulb joke out of it.
      Truly it sounds impossible.

  18. I’m turning 50 today, and just thinking about what a huge turning point this year has ended up being. My eldest son has just finished secondary school. We built a house, after ten years of planning it – it’s all gone up terrifyingly fast and I’m still feeling like it’s a bit unreal. And I got a paying job, so I’m brushing fourteen years of rust off my bookselling gears and dealing with retail Christmas again. It’s been a big year.

    1. Wow congrats on the job and the house, and happy 50th birthday! Sounds like you’re taking amazing steps forward!

    2. Wow! Happy birthday, and congrats with the job and the house-building! Makes me happy to read about someone having a great year like this. Hope your day has been filled with good food and love and hugs and treats and more hugs and love!

  19. I’m working on saving mom from her delusions that she isn’t old and frail….

    So the next installment in the SDS saga (that’s sketchy dog sitter to those of you who are not following this with bated breath) is that mom asked me if she should offer to go to court with the SDS for what mom first said was potentially the first step in a criminal charge for assault on a senior with harm (that would be to mom’s longer term friend/dog walker and sitter who was at this point in the hospital with two black eyes, a separated shoulder, cracked ribs, and a damaged knee, saying that SDS did this, but mom chooses to believe that he is making it up because SDS wanted to end their relationship—note change in story from prior explanation that he has dementia) and later said it was just a hearing for an order of protection.
    Then mom offered to go with SDS before getting my advice. But apparently SDS told mom she didn’t care about the order of protection and she wasn’t going near him anyway, so she, SDS, wasn’t going to court either.

    However my sister found the court where the hearing was and the hearing ended up with a felony charge filed against SDS. With an arrest warrant next if she didn’t turn herself in. We haven’t told mom that yet because I’m hoping to first have SDS tell mom a clear lie and use that to get mom to stop seeing SDS. I am now monitoring the court website.

    Fortunately SDS has now told mom she won’t dog sit while mom is at my sister’s. I’m not clear whether she is still walking the dog. She is still sending her cat food to mom’s address. The police told me they can’t tell me if SDS has been involved in other cases (after they sort of implied yes) but told me not to let SDS near her. If only I had that control.

    MEANWHILE some of you may recall that we got the police to suspend mom’s license back in March when she drove her car into the house creating a 9 inch hole into the basement. Yesterday we learned (from a friend) that she has somehow gotten permission to take driving lessons and has a driving test Jan 2. Which seems to mean some doctor said she is safe to drive despite her nerve problem with her right foot, back pain that makes sitting in the car hard, and loss of vision in half of her better eye.
    She is trying to find a car to rent or borrow that has the emergency brake in the center console as required for the test. I don’t think rental companies let you drive their cars if you don’t have a valid license.
    Next step is calling the Dept of Motor Vehicles to flag this issue and share, again, our concerns about her driving.

    Who knows what tomorrow will bring ?

    Oh yeah. Also doing a lot of rewarding day job work and (failing) to get ready for the holidays.

    1. That is just insane! Power to you, and any interventions you can think of. Can you find that doctor? Several people are being very irresponsible where your mom is concerned. You need a squad of watchers and helpers to keep track of all this nonsense. Thank goodness they are trying to keep you informed. This story would make a hilarious book someday. I’m sure you are not laughing now, though.

      1. I don’t know but if she somehow passes the driving test I will reach out to her primary care doc asking them to notify the motor vehicle people that she is not safe to drive,
        With documentation about what exactly the law requires that she can’t do.
        It’s a new doc so I’m hoping it’s not the one who wrote the letter.
        She cannot get in and out of the car without help.
        My brother thinks if she passes she may go once to CVS realize she can’t get out , go jome, and never drive again. We should be so lucky.

        1. Debbie, Very scary situation especially the SDS. MIL was blind in one eye and couldn’t see well out of the other, once the driver’s license was taken away she still tried to get it back. Very small town. Drove in the middle of the road. Parked on the sidewalk a few times. Thankfully she was told no, every time. She may have pulled the “don’t you know who I am” card.

        2. To give you a sense of her level of denial, at some point I said she shouldn’t go to court with SDS because it would just convince the prosecutor that SDS has latched on to another frail elderly person .
          Mom wrote “an elderly frail person? That’s how you see me? Yikes!”
          I thought: you walk with a cane and it’s really a shuffle. You grunt in pain every time you lift the cane and have to bear your full weight. You have to sit in a chair with arms so you can get out of it. You use hearing aids. You can’t get in or out of a car without help. You can’t get up if you fall down and have to text your neighbors for help. If you are not a frail elderly person who is?”
          With what I consider great restraint I said to her “that’s how they will see you. “

    2. I’m sure the reality is much less humorous than your description reads. I found the hardest part of seeking with my mother’s declining health (dementia and congestive heart failure) was the roll reversal. After 55+years, my strong, independent mother needed me to take care of her. I didn’t have to deal with a SDW and my mom’s dementia diagnosis resolved the issue of her driving (she was v angry about it). Good luck.

      1. Thank you. Yeah, mom is angry too. I don’t think she has dementia but she has occasional weird moments that may mean it’s coming. I’m watching.

        For example:

        Mom: “Can you see if driving on my property is legal without a license? I think it is and I think that police officer had no right to suspend my license. Maybe I should sue him.”

        Me: “He didn’t suspend you for driving without a license —you had one. He suspended you for having a medical impairment that made you a dangerous driver.”

        Mom: “It was agist.”

        Dealing with extreme age is no fun but I am envious of friends whose parents faced it with grace, dignity, and realism. As did my dad.

        1. Even those of my elder relatives who did not face old age with realism (my parents did) were not saddled with any skeezy hangers on.

    3. My head spins just from reading all of this. Can’t imagine how turbulent it must feel to sit smack in the middle of it. Sending you bunches of timed pocket-hugs and strength to get through all of this madness!

        1. Debbie, I’m caught between laughing and shaking my head at your forebearance. Please keep all these notes and everything else you have (people’s reactions, etc). Yes, they will make a terrific story one day. And you might really need to use them. My mom had alienated so many people by the time she died that I had to work hard when writing her obit to remind folks of the woman they had known and loved. Fortunately, many folks came to her funeral because the obit rekindled old times. Sharing stories kept her alive for us in all the good ways. And sharing stories helped us acknowledge how hard we had worked to help her. She is blessed to have you.

        2. Update: She found someone to lend her a car. And SDS was arrested and mom agreed to pay her bail (not significant money for mom, but more than SDS could pay, which makes me think the judge didn’t want her out) and to do this has to go to the jail. She plans to then bring SDS back to town but as far as I know not to moms house. She has to find someone to drive her there and her and SDS back.
          It’s all happening fast …

  20. Trying to get ready for quick trip north, cleaning, preparations for Christmas and teaching on Saturday morning and flying out Saturday afternoon at 4:30. Many, many interruptions taking time bites out of my day. DH may have or may not have been moving things around outside at midnight last night? Because… something was in his way. What! And this after I finished a book about a character with Alzheimer’s. 🤦🏻‍♀️

  21. I’ve done my Christmas shopping and made my first batch of cards & tree decorations as presents. I’m really pleased with the decorations: they’re little double-sided squares featuring a close-up of a colourful daisy (aster, dahlia, echinacea, zinnia – there are a dozen of them). The best bit was finishing the edges with black marker pen (the photographs are stuck on to mount board). It was great to make something I’m really pleased with.

  22. Navigating day job fun with moderate success (revolving around one of those fancy projects that I’m not really allowed to talk about but also find incredibly frustrating, but who really wants to hear me complain about spreadsheets anyway?)

    Over in Life, I actually finished my Christmas shopping on Monday (gasp!) and am now prepping for the holiday at my parents’ house. They live pretty close by, which helps, but my mom is mid-chemo and that complicates both her ability to cook without getting exhausted and her ability to remember any of the details we’ve discussed regarding said holiday. Chemo brain stinks.

    It’ll work out — I’ve gotten pretty good at casually taking over meal prep without making her think I’m taking over meal prep — but I’m hugely relieved that we’re keeping it fairly small this year.

  23. Worked on: moving back into my uncarpeted, refloored, trimmed, caulked and cured office, hooorrraaayyyy! There’s still organizing to do in there, but WOW. (This project took forever not because it was DIY but because there was so much other stuff going on and it wasn’t critical to life continuing) After all the box and furniture moving I sat in my office on the chaise by my author copy bookcase and sniffled a little.

  24. Tonight I finally realized that my husband was grumbling and fussy because he wanted me to make Christmas spritz cookies (the kind you squeeze out of a cookie press, then decorate with red and green sugar sprinkles). Okay. I made the dough and then, like every other year, was frustrated with the cookie press. The cookie press stopped working after I’d filled two cookie sheets with trees. I complained to husband, who (for the first time ever) took over. He had a terrible time trying to make the trees come out. So he added grand marnier. I took a glass of grand marnier into the living room, leaving him to his cookies. He tried chilling the dough while I had a second glass, and he’d made some trees with his fingers by the time I finished my third glass. I baked them while he went to watch Jeopardy. They, umm, hardly resemble trees. But the dough is used up (you know the rule: dough must be used up). I’m in a relaxed mood, the kitchen is cleaned up, and we have enough cookies to call it a day. I’m going to reread Jenny’s Christmas story. And be glad we didn’t try to make gingerbread.

  25. This has been a really interesting seven days. Amazon Freevee informed us that the Jury duty cast would be going to the Emmys and we would get to set in the mezzanine because when something is best, comedy or best show it is the producers and directors who sit on the floor and go to the red carpet. But then I think on Friday we won the best ensemble in the independent spirit awards. I know we won. Because we were the only nominees as best ensemble. Then AFI announced we were one of their top programs. On Sunday I went with some of our cast to Santasie, a sketch show. And the next morning I woke up to a group text, which informed us that we had been nominated for best picture for the golden globes.
    that is my favorite award show. I always wanted to go to it, because in the olden days the foreign press who gave the golden globes were the waiters, because no foreign country kept somebody in Hollywood just to cover the movies. And they gave a great dinner so everybody treated the awards very seriously because the dinner was so good.
    Because of that, I always said that’s the one I wanted to go to and now maybe I’m going because I think they like to see the cast at the awards on a comedy nomination.
    Yesterday I got an invitation to the thing they call a golden globes gifting party and I think they give you whole Lotta loot.
    Then I looked at the schedule Friday, January 5 and 6th is the gifting party. Saturday afternoon is the independent spirit awards Luncheon. Sunday evening, January 7, is the Golden Globes. Sunday evening, January 14 is the Emmys.
    I asked the Aja the Costumer help me find a dress. As for shoes well, I love the picture of the silver shoes. I have quadruple wide feet, very arthritic ankle, and a brand new knee so I will be wearing crocs. I purchased jewels to glitz them up.
    Also, it’s the season to go to kids shows with the grandkids, and it’s always the season to babysit. I Gave two gingerbread parties I have done no Christmas shopping. Maybe this time has now been published and the print book is available. I have not put it also on smash Word but for December 23-30 it’ll be on special on Kindle and I haven’t done one thing to publicize it and I’m looking to figure out how I’m gonna find any time to do any of it. My other son is arriving on the 23rd with his girlfriend now his fiancé and they’re two kids so I need to do it before then but I have no idea how. I’m very happy and very tired and a little concerned about how to get everything accomplished. I guess the best thing I can do is stay in the now. But it’s really hard.

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