Archive for March, 2007

I might be migrating from Blogger, I might not.  So for now…you can just ignore this…

Uh huh.

Disclaimer: This post is not meant to incite any hatred, mud-slinging, flaming or general bitchiness (except maybe for me to rant–but only about my own life and not anyone else’s.) There seems to be enough of that going around the flogosphere these days and I won’t add to it. So please try and not take anything I say out of context. Religion is always a touchy subject but I feel like utter hell at the moment so why not toss it out there. Perhaps I would have fit right in there with the self-flagellants if I did believe during that time in history.

I am an atheist. I don’t “preach” about it but if asked I don’t hide this fact. I have been an atheist for…well, quite a long time now. I guess I would have to say for at least 10 years if I had to hazard a guess. Prior to that I would have to say that I was agnostic. My sister is a Jehovah’s Witness, My father converted to Roman Catholicism in order to marry his third wife although be he and my mother were raised (loosely) in the Anglican Church. Oh, and my mother believes she is The Second Coming of Christ. No, I’m not joking. She’s believed this ever since I was a child. Not in literal form but she believes that she is here to re-create a New World Order and she is to lead it. She has been “Sent By God” to do this. It’s really fucking scary. And let’s not forget the little gem drilled in to me since Day One that “I was Chosen By God to live.” That’s just too much weight (and guilt) for a small child to bear.

Aside: if you hadn’t known about that there is some chance that my mother miscarried during her first trimester and lost a twin but I survived.

I have no problem with worship per se. Organized religion kind of gets my goat but I won’t ramble on too much about that as it can get a bit heated and I don’t want to go too off topic and start up. And I’m tired and sick. I do, however, respect everyone’s right to believe what they wish. I have studied many religions of the world going back to my teens. I may need a bit of a refresher on some but at the end of the day, if it makes you a better, stronger person and can help you sleep well at night, what’s the harm? I’ve seen my sister go through some frightful things in life and the members of her faith and Congregation were better to her than I could believe!

I’ve been envious at times of those with strong faiths. But I can’t reconcile my own beliefs with that of organized religion for starters and that of a “Higher Power.” I just haven’t found anything that fits in my brain. Something that I can understand and accept. Something that makes sense.

I know a lot of people that believe in God and have faith say that you just have to “let go” and believe in things and have the faith and that is part of the process but I just can’t. I can’t believe in something that I can’t have some sort of proof of…I can’t just sit around and wait and wonder and merely “accept” something “on a promise.” I do and have done enough of that already. I would simply rather adhere to what I can already intuit and see and derive. It makes me comfortable.

I don’t want to turn this into a huge forum about religion. In fact, I kind of don’t like arguing (errr… debating…) about it anyway and certainly not with zealots. As I stated above, I do not have a problem with anyone practising whatever religion they choose if it makes them a better person. I would respect the same treatment in return. I don’t like people trying to convert me. I’ve had enough of that before, even from within my own family (not immediate but extended–my uncle is a Minister and they even tried to “faith heal” me many years ago…yikes it was a little scary as I was younger and didn’t want them to do it but they kept pressuring me.)

I’m already kind of debating hitting the little orange “Publish” button as it is because I feel so low today. However, as they say, blogging is good for the “soul?

That’s one thing done…there’s so much more to do though…

I chose the “501” because I realized today that this is the 5th time that I have had to run around rather madly trying to search for an apartment. And the second time due to a break up.

My life has rather strange re-occurring patterns. Actually, way too many of them but I’ll try to limit it to simply apartment hunting for now.

Today was rather stressful and lengthy. I viewed several units and well, really only one of them is probably suitable. I realize that I will never find the *perfect* living space. Really, there is no *perfect* anything in life. However, I must try to still find something decent that will satisfy necessary criteria.

I also must contend with the anxiety (apart from all of the other anxiety I am dealing with) of the “competition” of finding a space (even though it really is a renter’s market at the moment.) However there is still a lot of shit out there as I saw today. And I really hate shopping. For anything, especially “big ticket” items. When I do shop, I like to go in, grab what I need and get out as soon as possible.

How many places must I see? And I have limited time. And I am racing back and forth between almost opposite ends of the city…


I think I shall just take the last place I saw today and be done with it. I am still waffling about looking further but I really don’t know if I will find anything better. It seems “good enough.” I am afraid that if I don’t take it and I wait, I may end up getting stuck with something far worse. There are some things I don’t really like about it but again, nothing is perfect. Part of me sort of thinks, do I really care that much where I live anyway?

It snowed last night on top of it all as well. I spent far too long out in the cold all day today and now my head is positively clogged, my throat is killing me, I’m shivering uncontrollably and can not get warm. I think I’m getting sick. That figures.

So I had to go for my annual physical with my GP this morning. As suspected I have indeed lost more weight. The total should be about 20lbs. now. I am eating. At least something. And supplementing with Ensure. Crap, I had a rather healthy portion of spaghetti last night for dinner! I skipped the salad but that’s mostly water anyway, right? I thought I’d just shovel in the carbs and the protein.

My GP was rather concerned. She asked if I am exercising. HA! Nope. For one thing, I’m too lazy and for another I’m too drained and exhausted–both mentally and physically these days. I do walk a little bit on work days for my commute? I don’t know how much that counts. I know people say that exercise is good for those of us who are psych/neuro disordered but even when I tried I never seemed to reap any benefit. Cycling mostly. As in riding a bike, not being Bipolar.

Sorry, bad joke.

We will need to follow up soon after the upper endoscopy and colonoscopy next month to find out what on earth is going on. My cluster of symptoms seem to “look” like four things. Two of them start with a “C” and two of them start with an “I.” I’m not jumping to any conclusions but I’m not ruling anything out.

But the weight loss is troubling and bizarre.

We also went over my psych evals and she was just about as peeved as I was about the last one. She couldn’t understand why psychiatrist #2 refused me ongoing treatment. I also brought up Asperger’s and she didn’t bat an eyelash. We’re going to get the two evals back, review them, I suppose and she is going to try and find yet another psychiatrist for a consult as she really wants me to see someone who will agree to monitor me on a regular basis. I mean, I know I have a complex brain but I’m beginning to feel like a neurological leper. And a social one too.

During my exam, I rambled on and on about how fucked up my life has been and is of late, I told her about my recent cutting…anything else?

She asked me to come back in a month and hopefully she will have the results of *everything* and hopefully a better psychiatrist to help me out. So as far as my head goes, no med changes as of yet. She booked me in for 30 minutes which are her types of “counselling” appointments. She wants to spend more time talking with me as I guess both my body and my life are rather chaotic.

I think I have been lucky to find a real gem. Even if I have to travel a bit of a distance to see her each time.

Yes. It’s true. I can’t really say too much about it right now. Maybe I’ll blog more about it one day. Things have been deteriorating for a long time and well? It has now reached an end point.

We are handling things okay and have agreed to remain friends. I hope that this can indeed happen. It’s actually one of the better break ups I’ve had I suppose? But ending relationships..well it is never an easy thing.

This will entail major change for me. Most immediately on a practical level and I have blogged previously about my serious aversion to change. I do not deal well with it.

I will soon need to find my own apartment. I will need to deal with moving. I positively loathe moving. I find it a logistical nightmare and I have problems planning, organizing and packing and am a general dope when it comes to this.

However, I have been down this road before. I shall persevere.

I came across a paper that conducted a study on IBS onset after Campylobacter infection. It goes into some cognitive/psychological aspects and I found it rather interesting as opposed to what has mostly been done in terms of simply that which looks for a medical perspective as to why else(?) something happens.

It has long been known that “stress” can be a trigger for IBS and can exacerbate its symptoms but I believe this is the first time, or so the paper claims, that anyone has actually tried to measure cognitive factors.

It was published in the Journal Gut in February 2007 but I couldn’t gain access. However, I did find a PDF copy of it online here.

Some of the more interesting points:

There is some evidence for the risk factors outlined in this
model. In support of biological infections, a number of studies
have shown that various forms of gastroenteritis are risk factors
for the development of IBS. Psychology also plays a role.
Sykes et al showed that people with premorbid psychiatric
diagnoses, particularly anxiety disorders, were at greater risk of
developing IBS after gastroenteritis. Similarly, depression,
neuroticism, somatisation and stress have all been linked to
the onset of IBS. Finally, Parry et al found that patients
with gastroenteritis who had more negative perceptions of their
infection were more likely to develop IBS.

Significance of the psychological variables: (sic. within study)

Six of the eight psychological variables were predictors of IBS
caseness, the exceptions being depression and perfectionism. In
accordance with the model, IBS cases reported significantly
higher levels of anxiety, somatisation, perceived stress, negative
illness beliefs and all-or-nothing behaviour at the time of
the acute infection. IBS cases were also significantly less likely
to have limited their activity levels in response to their

This study is the first to prospectively investigate a combination of emotional, cognitive and behavioural risk factors relevant for the development of IBS after Campylobacter gastroenteritis. The results generally supported the cognitive–behavioural model,
with higher levels of anxiety, somatisation, perceived stress and negative illness beliefs all found to be significant risk factors for the development of IBS 6 months after infection. IBS were also more likely to have reported a tendency to be overactive in the face of their symptoms until they could no longer carry on (all-or-nothing behaviour), and less likely to
initially rest or reduce activity in response to their acute illness (limiting behaviour). Depression and perfectionism were not significant risk factors in the development of IBS.

Relative importance of the psychological variables

When considering the relative importance of these variables, multivariate analysis of four factors identified using principal components analysis found that an anxious-achievement
cluster of variables (made up of anxiety, stress and perfectionism) and an all-or-nothing behaviour on its own were the most important predictors of IBS along with female gender. These results support the hypothesis that the predisposition to IBS may be mediated by unrealistic personal expectations in the context of high levels of perceived stress and anxiety. These predispositions lead patients to respond to illness by initially not allowing themselves time to recover, which ultimately leads to an all-or-nothing pattern of responses.

Stress has also been considered an important precipitant in the cognitive behavioural model of IBS; however, the empirical evidence from retrospective and cross-sectional studies has
been inconsistent.

One other prospective study of postinfectious IBS found that higher levels of life events in the 12 months prior to gastroenteritis were associated with the development of IBS. The current study has further clarified the role of stress with the finding that levels of perceived stress are also strongly associated with the development of IBS, indicating that the individual’s interpretation of stressful events may be as important as the nature of those events.

The cognitive behavioural model of irritable bowel syndrome: a prospective investigation of patients with gastroenteritis

Meagan J Spence, Rona Moss-Morris

Gut 2007;0:1–6. doi: 10.1136/gut.2006.108811

Alright, I’m tired so excuse me if this post may not be so orderly.

It is born out of a comment I made on someone else’s blog about drugs and mismatched socks.

But the drugs don’t really have anything to do with it.

I need a lot of order in my life–even to the point of minute things. Like matching socks. I mean, it’s an absolute imperative. However, I can also live in organized chaos. It can seem like a bit of a paradox but it’s really not. Because it’s my chaos. To anyone else, it would look like a F2 Tornado had just gone through the room but chances are, if you give me a minute, I’ll be able to get you what you need.

This was a lot easier when I lived alone.

My partner went through a bit of a cleaning sweep (pun intended) over the weekend and moved all of the DVDs from where they were “neatly scattered” by the DVD player in the bedroom. The DVD player had been moved by me to the bedroom from the living room well over a year ago when we had friends with a son who is on the Autistic Spectrum. We let him happily watch a movie later so we could carry on with dinner. I just never bothered to move the damn thing back so there it stayed.

So anyway, I stroll back into the bedroom and immediate panic sets in. WHERE ARE THE DVDS?!?! No, I’m serious. A wave of panic actually came over me–even though it was brief. Before I started asking, I decided to start looking. I did find them. Moved to a shelf. In another room. At least I didn’t have to go digging for them like a lot of my other stuff that sometimes gets moved. And sometimes gets lost and never found.

And don’t even get me started when my partner decides to rearrange the kitchen.

Well, I just returned from my second psych evaluation. I never blogged about the first, I don’t think? I can’t remember. Well if I did (or did not) here’s a brief review.

Of course with my “doctor anxiety” I was nervous as hell. Add to the fact that I hadn’t had a full consult in about seven or eight years. I had no idea what to expect. It went alright, however. The psychiatrist at this “institution” had a gentle demeanor and a soft voice and we actually ran over the allotted time. I felt okay with it and he allowed me to ask as many questions as I needed.

Alright, I thought, this whole evaluation thing isn’t so bad. Granted, it was difficult to pack your entire life’s woes and psychological/neurological history into such a brief time span. I didn’t cover everything in perhaps as much depth as I wanted with this man. The reason being, this consult was a “one off” and I did not expect any further appointments or follow ups with him. And again, I was nervous, unprepared and it was difficult. However, we went through Medication History, Family History/Trauma, Bipolar Disorder, Self Injurious Behaviour, Hospitalizations, ADD and a little bit about Asperger’s.

After it all, he said he would “try and put something cohesive together” for my GP. I had to laugh a bit at that one.

Today was a bit different, however. I was mistaken about a lot of things. First, my appointment duration. I was told an hour, I only received 30 minutes. Also, I was under the impression I would be seeing this psychiatrist on an ongoing basis. Nope. But more on that later. Also, this man was not as…well, he certainly had a different “demeanor” than the first psychiatrist I saw.

It was a good thing I was a bit more prepared for this appointment. 30 minutes! We very briefly touched on all of the above mentioned in the first appointment. He asked some fairly simple and straightforward questions and I answered them. I gave him my prepared “dossier” and he flipped through some of the pages. Basically some self-prepared notes about ADD and Asperger’s and some highlighted notes from referenced materials etc…

He asked if he could keep all of it. I told him the copies were his.

He basically told me about a counselling group (i.e group therapy) for women who are trauma survivors and how I could take advantage of that. He also told me that I would not benefit from ongoing psychiatric treatment from a psychiatrist due to my problems with functioning and other issues. I have no idea what this means. I don’t know if this is an allusion to the fact that I have Asperger’s or not. He said that seeing a psychiatrist would only exacerbate my problems. He said that I already have a therapist, see a neurologist and have a GP so that is good enough. Well, then why offer me group therapy? During all of this I simply stated that people with Asperger’s do not usually do well in therapy. He agreed.

I still remain confused.

I did manage to get out of him his med recommendations. He had five. Ooh, decisions, decisions! He also casually mentioned one of them, Risperdal, would be helpful with both Bipolar and Asperger’s. I told him that yes, I knew this. I also had to remind him of another med that would probably be helpful. He agreed and wrote it down. I so often wonder what doctors think of me when I stroll into their offices and spout such things.

So at that point, time was pretty much up. I felt unfulfilled. I asked him what he thought of the ADD and Asperger’s. He said it was hard to tell due to “other issues” and the trauma I had been through. Alright. I understand all about trauma and it does not preclude neurological disorders. I also argued high comorbidity rates (and even had that reference material with me.) I asked him if he planned on reading what I had brought him. He said that yes, he would. As I was putting on my coat, I asked again, “So it wasn’t all in vain, then?” He said that no, it wasn’t.

Yes, I can be terribly blunt.

Now I understand that clinicians can not provide diagnoses on the spot and I did give him a fair amount of documentation to review but a little more feedback would have been helpful.

Shoot, I can’t stream the song I wanted for my new MP3 so you’ll just have to go with my second choice. “One In Ten Words” by The Spoons. Canadian Band and the poppy little song is from my youth…it makes me laugh about communication.

Well, guess who decided to show up two days late? I got an email from my father. Very brief. He told me, Happy Birthday, he loves me and he misses me. Nothing else. WTF? Then contact me you bloody idiot?! Why must it always be up to me–again, why must I always parent my parents! I’ve done it since I was a child and can not do it any more!

And yes, attached was another PowerPoint presentation although this one was at least a bit less painful to view (well, visually) as it was all van Gogh artwork. However, it was set to the music of Don McLean’s “Starry Starry Night.”

Now if you haven’t heard this song, you can grab a listen or take a peek at the lyrics. Okay, I don’t know what the hell could be more triggering to someone who is psych disordered and has issues with their parents, who then receives this from one of them as a “birthday present!?”

And yes, I know it was written about van Gogh but still! It’s not exactly cheery!

What on earth!?

I responded rather tersely and with surprise at hearing from him after such a long pause in communication.

This is not how I wished to start my day.