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  1. I've been on various doses of remeron and effexor since 2002. The vivid technicolor dreams/nightmares have not yet abated and it's been 18 years. I mean, sometimes the dreams will be boring-weird or totally banal but quite vivid. And a lot of the time it's me abusing people, people abusing me, long torture sequences, apocalyptic storylines (that's probably the most frequent recurring theme), being killed, killing others, etc. etc. Usually pretty gory. I have woken myself up a few times trying to scream but it's been awhile since that happened. Usually I'll have multiple dream plots in one night and some will be "uncomfortable" and some will be banal. So there can be a mix. I confess I recently got around to watching Tiger King on netflix over the course of a few nights. (The topic has always been a fascination of mine.) But anyways, boy did that lead to some "fun" dreams being torn apart by tigers and lions roaming around my house and seeing my loved ones ripped apart too. It was all part of a bigger storyline. I forget most of the details as usual. Weird thing is, my dreams and nightmares never seem to bother me much in my waking life. I guess I'm fortunate that way? I mean, even when I wake up from these dreams in the middle of the night, usually I just roll over and go back to sleep, knowing that I'm probably just going to get thrown back into another bad dream. If it's the morning/afternoon and I'm sleeping in and the dreams are extra special bad, I'll occasionally get up earlier than planned rather than face going back to sleep and undergoing more but that's pretty rare. So for me, the vivid dreams have never gone away.
  2. Just wanted to say, as to your example, I'm female, several visible (obviously self-inflicted) scars scattered over my body, and it has not been an issue that has come up in a significant way during "sexy good times". It may come up, but usually not "in the moment". Maybe because most of mine are on my arms so they're already usually seen long before the question of clothes coming off? I have seen scars on a guy once that I can recall, on the inside of a guy's arm who I chatted with. I think I asked him about them. So long ago and my memory is crap. IIRC, I haven't seen any scars on guys during "sexy good times" other than from surgery/accidental injury, stretch marks, etc. Then again, I was/am fairly dysfunctional when it comes to men/drinking at certain times in my life so there are blackouts and crazy shit that went down and lord only knows what I may have missed picking up on being so absorbed in my own self-destructive habits. I have been with men who've dealt with their own various issues/demons. I mean, people are human (or at least most are). So I've found most people can kind of relate, some more than others. It's people that seem totally "normal" that tend to freak me out. I always think they must be hiding something because who gets through life that unscathed? So I don't trust the "normalcy". I'm also afraid I might rub off on the "normal" people and ruin them somehow. I would say the "normal" people I speak of that freak me out are a very tiny minority. And sometimes if you scratch the surface a little bit and get to know them better, they turn out to be not-so-normal after all and that's reassuring to me in a weird way. But anyways, back to sexy times...I was just trying to say that at least for me (back before I became a recluse), it's not been a mood killer or deal breaker or anything. Strangers who see my scars (like doctors and nurses and people who draw blood) don't even bother commenting on them for the most part or asking probing questions anymore. They used to back in the late 90s/early 2000s. Maybe because I was younger? Or maybe medical professionals have seen it all now and it's more common or normalized or something? Kind of weird in a way now that I think about it...how the scars no longer seem to raise any more eyebrows or prompt any more questions than having a cute butterfly tattoo would. Or maybe my scars look so old they figure it's ancient history so why bother commenting? Sorry, turned into "all about me". Not sure this was helpful at all in fact.
  3. You don't necessarily have to meet a blue book listing in order to be approved for SSDI and/or SSI or even have a disorder that is listed in the blue book. Another link that explains the determination process and paths to approval/denial: https://www.ssa.gov/oidap/Documents/Social Security Administration. SSAs Sequential Evaluation.pdf
  4. Not sure if this qualifies as a meme: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8218703/Artist-digitally-creates-books-shelf-reveal-hidden-coronavirus-message.html
  5. I still have hope. It's the only thing that's gotten me through this presidency--looking forward to the next presidential election. That and the knowledge that the majority of American voters did not vote for Trump, plus the knowledge that the ones that held their noses and did vote for him (for the sake of judicial appointments, anti-choice stance, etc.)* have had to suffer along with the rest of us through this presidency. My older sister (age 40) is actually going to vote for "whoever's not Trump" in the next election and her politics over the years have either been "don't care about voting at all" for long stretches of time or leaning libertarian and fiscally (but not socially) conservative and randomly making voting a priority. I'm not sure if she even voted in the last presidential election or who she would have voted for if she did. All I know is at this point, she's pissed about Trump's impact on the economy/stock market/financial markets/whatever (among other things) and wants "any functioning adult" in the whitehouse asap. And she's being vocal about it when she normally doesn't really vent about presidential politics. This gives me hope too. *There seems to be a segment of the population that likes Trump and will vote for him no matter what (I believe Hillary Clinton called them the "basket of deplorables"). Now, I don't condone what she said necessarily and even she said she was making a gross generalization at the time she used that phrase**. But anyways, those people may be happy as clams right now I suppose, but I hope the ones that held their noses and voted for Trump are suffering *just a little bit* inside these days and are really thinking deep down about if that vote was worth it in the end. Maybe it was for them, maybe not. ** https://time.com/4486502/hillary-clinton-basket-of-deplorables-transcript/
  6. My mom forwarded me a coronavirus humor email and it led me to these bumper stickers (among other things): (The first one really captures my mood/outlook these days)
  7. https://laughingsquid.com/wheres-waldo-social-distancing-edition/
  8. My uncle told me this one a few weeks ago and I just did not get it at all. The way he said it, first I was thinking blood Type O and couldn't figure out what blood type had to do with anything. Then something finally clicked in my head and I figured out it was "typo" and not "Type O". But even once I realized it was probably "typo", I thought it was some kind of depressing metaphorical existential thing. Like the rabbit was saying, I feel like I'm a typo in this world. But then I thought, rabbits are pretty "normal" animals in the grand scheme of things. I could see maybe a porcupine or skunk maybe thinking he or she was a "typo" of god/nature/evolution whatever. But a rabbit? Finally I had to ask my uncle to tell me what the joke was and then of course it was obvious. So I asked him to tell the joke to my mom and she got it right away. I think maybe my mind is weird?
  9. I get 90-day prescriptions via my drug plan's mail order pharmacy. It's very convenient as I don't have to go the pharmacy and it's easier for me to track stuff online (how many refills left, when I'm due for my next refill, etc.). Recently though my Part D plan has been getting slightly more strict with how soon you can refill, even for regular stuff like generic effexor (regular stuff meaning non-benzos, non-stimulants, non-opiates and so forth). And about a year or two ago my Part D plan changed to only allowing 30-day supplies of benzos. Don't know if it's a Medicare Part D thing, just a Humana Part D thing, a statewide thing, or what. I got a couple of mailings about it before it went into effect but I admit I didn't read the notices all that carefully. Still can get my valium via mail order, but whether via mail order or in-person pharmacy, only a 30-day supply allowed.
  10. My mom can't use a mask (claustrophobic and other issues) so she uses the nasal pillow things instead. Also, she sleeps on her side, not her back. Do you have an approximate self-imposed timeline/deadline on losing the 20-30 lbs, i.e. if I don't lose 20-30 lbs in the next year or in x number of months, I will have a sleep study done? Otherwise, you could theoretically rationalize putting off the sleep study indefinitely if the weight loss thing doesn't happen or goes slowly. And I think (obstructive) sleep apnea is bad for your heart and other stuff, so might be important to eventually treat in the meantime until you meet your weight loss goal? I think I remember someone recently on CB talking about at-home sleep studies being possible? I had a sleep study done 5+ years ago. No apnea or other issues except once and for all confirming I move a lot in my sleep (but it doesn't apparently affect the quality of my sleep so not a disorder). I've gained more weight since then and remain almost as tired and still sleep more than most but (thankfully) no one has pushed for a 2nd sleep study. The worst part of the sleep study for me was having to have my perfectly good sleep/dreams interrupted and have to get up so early because they wake you up at an ungodly hour and send you home. I know it sounds silly but I've lived my entire life going to bed somewhat late and getting up somewhat late. Even when I've worked jobs (or had classes) that required me to conform to a different (more traditional) sleep/wake cycle or a super early morning schedule, it never became or felt natural to me and was always like wearing an ill-fitting shoe. Also, at this point if a doctor told me I had obstructive sleep apnea, I'd probably resist treatment and want to wait to lose weight first to see if that solved the issue, even though I do realize that just a few sentences ago I said, "And I think (obstructive) sleep apnea is bad for your heart and other stuff, so might be important to eventually treat if the weight loss goes slower than expected?" (I apparently like to ignore the same advice I freely dispense to others.) Mainly I wanted to speak up and let you know nasal pillows are an option vs. a mask and sleeping on your side is okay (I think). I slept on my side during my sleep study and my mom sleeps on her side with her nasal pillows thing strapped to her head/face and she gets excellent "scores" from her cpap device.
  11. The only thing that dramatically improved some of my symptoms was supplementing with Vit D and over-the-counter iron per my doctor's instructions. Years later, I no longer supplement with iron and my iron levels remain ok. (I'm a vegetarian btw and have been so for 20+ years.) Also, stopping work and going on short and then long term disability and finally SSDI has of course reduced the stress in my life and that has helped. Also, my dad was in the year-long process of dying (pancreatic cancer) in front of my eyes (and we did home hospice for the last month or two) around the time when all this started so that life stressor moving further into the past has helped. Maybe therapy has helped? Hard to tell on that front. Oh, and buspar. I tried nuvigil and ritalin but neither helped with energy/sleeping too much. So then my pdoc had me on a small dose of adderall IR. It was helpful but I would get noticeable energy crashes mid-day and I couldn't take it more frequently or at higher doses because it would make it impossible to sleep at night and intensify any already existing anxiety. Well, I must have been on adderall at least a year or more when my pdoc added buspar to my cocktail since apparently it helps some people with anxiety (kind of hit or miss she thinks). Well, the buspar did zero for my panic/anxiety but seems to give me more energy (with no crashes) and I may sleep a little less (though not sure about the sleeping part). So I finally could stop the adderall. I've never heard of anyone else having this effect from buspar though. Also we recently increased my mirtazapine dose from 30mg to 45mg and that's one of those drugs that I believe gets less sedating the higher the dose? So I may have had a tiny improvement in average number of hours of sleep per night since that med adjustment. Hard to say. Part of the problem now could due to all the weight I've gained and I eat kind of crappy (especially considering I'm vegetarian). Plus, exercise is supposed to help improve energy levels and I don't do much of that anymore. But, on the other hand, my problem started and was most severe when I was still fairly normal weight and just starting to become overweight. And I ate a lot of the same stuff I eat now back then too. So, it's all still a mystery to me. But yeah, now that my dad's dying/death is a distant memory and I no longer have to work, things are better. Plus, the vitamins were life-changing. And, looking back, I've never really had to work consistently full-time at a stressful job in my life so it is possible that I'm just not cut out for a full-time job. I'm still somewhat "young" so maybe work in some capacity will be possible in the future, so I'm not closing off all avenues/possibilities. It was a great job by the way and my employer bent over backwards for me for the most part, but full-time work where you're expected to complete a certain number of tasks, perform at a certain level and show up every Mon-Fri is inherently stressful (for me at least).
  12. Speaking of hoof beats and horses, that's what has brought me peace of mind with my current situation. "It's all in my head" as I joke with my pdoc. Because we've ruled out pretty much everything I can think of and I don't think I have CFS/ME based on what I've read about it. But depression, anxiety, and panic disorder are real too, even if they are "only in my head". @Blahblah Unfortunately I know little about these tests and don’t really have time to delve into what the results pages look like. But here are the test names at least. The first time my current (good) PCP tested my thyroid she ordered: TPO ANTIBODY T3 FREE T4 FREE TSH (Please keep in mind this was after my pdoc ordered labwork including just a TSH test which showed a slightly elevated TSH level, but my PCP wanted to confirm before doing/prescribing anything. And when my PCP ran the above 4 tests, everything came back within normal range so the slightly out of range TSH level from the labs my pdoc ordered must have been a one-off thing. My pdoc seemed pleased with the thyroid labs PCP ordered.) The next year my PCP ordered: T3 FREE T4 FREE TSH The next year (last year) PCP ordered: T4 FREE TSH (I guess now she’s just monitoring to see if I ever do turn hypothyroid in the future?) Ok, from the rheumatologist: ANA PANEL* ANA INTERP UA REFLEX URINE MICROSCOPIC UA W/REFLEXIVE CULTURE, UR REUMATOID FACTOR, QUANT MONOGAM SERUM INITIAL, BL C-REACTIVE PROTEIN (CRP) COMPLEMENT, ANTIGEN (C4) COMPLEMENT, ANTIGEN (C3) ANTINUCLEAR ANTIBODIES From the endocrinologist: IMMUNOASSAY, RIA ASSAY FERRITIN (my value was 8 on a standard range of 11-307) IRON BINDING TEST ASSAY IRON VITAMIN B12 MICROSOMAL ANTIBODY ASSAY THYROID STIM HORMONE VITAMIN D-25 HYDROXY, BL (my value was 7 on a standard range of 32-100) ACTH TOTAL CORTISOL CORTISOL, FREE (This was the 24-hour pee collection jug one.) *This one was the one ordered by a random PCP I saw once or twice because I’m generally very healthy so I had no PCP from about age 18-ish when my pediatrician gave me the boot to approx age 30 when sh*t hit the fan. I’ve learned my lesson because had I been seeing a PCP all this time, I’d know what my baseline was and also PCP would have likely noticed (like my pdoc did) when I started going downhill because she would have known how I present normally, etc.
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