Good old invisible illness

When you can’t see a person’s illness, it can be hard to accept that it’s real, or that it’s very serious.  I understand that.

When your loved one has a crushing cold or a sinus infection, it seems very important and obvious that she should have her rest.  If you have depression with sleep disturbance, even deprivation, it is just as important–perhaps more so, because your illness is life-threatening–but it is NOT obvious.  And you can become very ill very quickly, even spiral into a crash, if you do not fight to protect your needs.  This can be difficult and frustrating and even dangerous, when your illness is invisible.

How dangerous?  Well, for starters, the chest pains started a week ago.  The visual disturbance and the beginnings of hallucinations started yesterday.  Yes.  From depression.  From the sleep disturbance and deprivation associated with depression.

It’s not a mood.  It’s not something that can be set aside when someone else has a cold or flu.  “Yes, let’s just put that on hold for a while, until you get better.  Then I can indulge this illness again.”  I am so tired of being expected to do that for people, just because they can’t see or believe in my illness.

If I could choose to set this aside, I would.  Permanently.  I would never go through this again.  I am desperate right now to get my sleep under control so I can then focus on my stress response.  Later, when I have those pillars under me, I can work on the soundtrack in my head.

But as long as I am battling the physical symptoms of my invisible illness, I am vulnerable.

So I fight.  And hope that I do not become so tired of the fight that I give up and let this thing take me.

A place I’ve skated too close to over the last week.

Seventeen days old

In other news, the baby chick is still, to my amazement, alive.

No pictures yet, because I try to get as much done in one pass as I can so I don’t disturb them and she gets as much “under Mom” time as she can.  Amy tends to jump up and beg for treats when she sees me.

The baby is dirty white with bright orange legs, so we think she’s Azrael and Maalik’s offspring.

Also, we had a young eagle circling the enclosure, trying to find a way in.  The turkey hens huddled under the deck and Tweedle Dum, the tom, gobbled “FUCK OFF!” several times.  Finally, the eagle took the hint.  I’m not happy about this visit.  I think I’m going to string up several old CDs with the shiny side out.

We also have a coyote pack not far off. This is a tough time of year.  I’m dreading the bears coming out of their caves soon, as well.

Homework assignment: Sleep

Someone linked Robert Sapolsky’s marvelous lecture on depression at Stanford some time back, and I was completely floored by how well it matched….and explained! so many of my symptoms.  Yes, it’s a seven year old lecture.  I cried as I watched it, even though he’s funny, because finally someone articulated all those things I couldn’t explain to people about where I am right now.  (And have been, over and over in my life.)

When I was about 19, my boyfriend at the time expressed complete exasperation with my constant state of exhaustion.  He told me I needed to get checked out, because lots of people managed a lot more activity than I did without being so tired all the time. (Here’s my middle finger for that guy.) I wasn’t tired like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome tired, but constantly sleepy and often just unwilling to move.

It’s really been a long time since I’ve felt truly energetic.  I probably haven’t felt energized since junior high school.  Now, I’m not a slug.  I’ve run a half marathon and all three times I went to college, I worked more than one job, did some kind of collegiate activity and took a full load of classes.  But yawning is my default mode.

Actual sleep, however, never comes easily, and I rarely stay asleep for eight hours.  I usually wake up anywhere from four to eight times during the night.  Even if I “sleep in,” and stay in bed for ten hours, more than half that time, I feel like I’m in the shallow pool of unconsciousness, and the slightest movement will wash me up into wakefulness.  And I’m usually right.

So this week, my counselor asked me to work on sleep.  If I use a sleep aid, such as Tylenol PM, I’m to do it for a full ten days, to make sure I obtain the normal sleep cycles and habituate them. I haven’t done that yet, but I’m thinking about it.

(Nope, no Ambien, thanks.  I’d be one of those people sleep driving to work at 2 a.m. and ending up in the river.)

For now, I’m doing lavender oil and starting a bedtime ritual.  (Jammies, wash face, teeth brushed, lavender oil on feet and back of head, read, then out.)

No change yet and I’m still exhausted.  So I’ll probably begin the sleep aid thing tomorrow.

I hope it helps.  It would be nice to have something help for a change.

I Want to Know Why

….it’s okay to use taxpayer dollars to keep Melania and Barron in New York instead of the White House, to the tune of potentially hundreds of millions of dollars, but not okay to feed hungry children because food stamps are shameful? (Snopes doesn’t have a number yet, so I’m not listing the “double the NEA’s budget” number.  But the question is still valid.)

…it’s okay for Melania to have taken her clothes off for money before she became First Lady but not okay for Michelle Obama to have worn sleeveless dresses when she had the job? (Remember this bullshit?  I so wanted to backhand people.)

…after decades of Cold War, Republicans are not outraged and furious and doing something right now about Trump’s ties to Russia.  Why is this not a priority?  It’s freaking Russia and Republican’s second favorite insult (after “libtard”) is “socialist.”

…it’s okay to hold security briefings in public at dinner time in the Mar-A-Lago, but not to have your emails (which were not classified at the time) on your secure, private server?

…it’s okay to let people take pictures of the guy holding the nuclear football (information that would not be AT ALL useful for spies from ANY hostile nation), but call whistleblowing of misconduct “leaks”?

…no one is freaking out about Stephen Miller telling people that the President’s words are not to be questioned?

If you have an answer that makes sense, and does not just spew namecalling and word salad, I’d like to know.  Because none of that up there is right, or explainable by the fact that the people in power don’t want to do anything about it.

Down to one

All but one of the chicks has died.  I’ve done everything I can, but I pretty much expected this.

Now that I know how this will play out with my birds, I’m going to work on a plan to secure a brooder pen area so that if Amy goes broody again, or one of the cochins, I will have a place I can keep them contained, on the ground and separated from the rest of the flock until they can move around without getting stepped on by everyone else.

It makes me really sad, but I was not prepared for this.  Now I have an idea for how things should go.

We’re going to order our silkie chicks soon, and probably a couple other breeds as well.  They’ll have to be introduced to and integrated with the flock, but I have plenty of time to prepare for that.

I’m nonetheless really sad about the whole thing.  More so than I thought I would be.

Fine! A Chicken Story! Happy now?

Amenadiel, my Buff Orpington, decided that February was a great month to hatch some chicks.  20170212_093643

(Yes, I watch Lucifer, and the only reason I named a “blonde” chicken after a black character on the show was because when the chicks were small, there were three that were easily identified, and it was a roll of the dice who got what name.  And it was too early to tell if Amy, as we call her, was a boy or girl, so there we are.  For what it’s worth, Lucifer ended up a Luci as well, but that’s what they call him on the show, anyway.)

I could have stopped her.  You just take the eggs away and put a bit of ice under the hen. That stops the broody behavior quickly, but I honestly thought it was too cold for the eggs to even hatch.  Silly me.

When I got home yesterday, I found Amy huddled on the ground with four chicks under her.  And five dead chicks scattered throughout the enclosure.

I removed the little corpses so that decomposition didn’t poison the flock, and set Amy up with a well-lined box that she used exactly once and promptly ignored thereafter.

I don’t know what’s going to happen.  It’s way too early for this, but since the flock has completely accepted them, we’re going to let it go and see what happens.

It’s not worth it to bring them inside.  If I do, I will have to reintroduce them to the flock after keeping them inside for weeks, and that is a long, miserable process that might end up in death, anyway.

Right now, Azrael, the alpha rooster, is being a wonderful daddy, tuttutting at the chicks and tossing crumbs to them and Amy.  He also pecked hard at Einstein, the Grande Dame of the flock, when she almost stepped on a chick.

Castiel, the beta rooster, is completely useless, but pretty, so here’s a picture of him.  Yes, that Castiel.


I have to somehow clean the big coop (deep litter method!) with a pitchfork and new straw, without somehow stepping on a chick or causing a riot with the other chickens who go nuts over new straw.  (SEEDS OMG SEEDS!)

Cross your fingers.  They’ve lived about four days, from the looks of them, so with luck and a good mommy and daddy and a careful Treat and Cleaning Lady, they might make it.

Update:  1:38 p.m. We’re down to three chicks.  Looks like this one succumbed to pasty butt.  *sigh*  The other three look pretty perky, so continue to cross your fingers.