Oh hey, RA

Story time, some info I’ve learned, and a glimpsed into the annoying gray blob that is my brain

It was the start of June 2020. The summer’s refreshing, radiating warmth had already started to govern how my days went, prompting me to spend more time reading on the porch stoop, getting that Vitamin D from the glorious sunshine, swimming in my parents’ pool, and going on walks through my neighborhood while I facetimed my cousin (7 states away) while she walked around her neighborhood.

Things were good. Sort of. Well, I mean…some things were good.

By then, everyone knew that the year was going to be a shitshow in its entirety, and we all knew that we were barely halfway through the damn thing, but I personally found it hard to not enjoy the longer days and sunny skies. Not to mention my newly-acquired sanity.

Yeah, so I’d been hospitalized in a psychiatric facility in February (literally right before the pandemic swept across the entire planet). I was finally put on lithium (and a cocktail of other brightly colors pills) and thus the bipolar disorder that had ravaged my life since I was like fourteen years old was finally able to get under control.

It was huge. I mean, there are no words big enough to capture that tremendousness of NOT LOSING YOUR MIND four times a year for fourteen years in a row.

In my opinion, I was (and am) appropriately grateful. And as I typed those words just now, I’m realizing the flaws in my logic โ€”the ones that are telling me if only I’d been more grateful for that one particular good thing in my life, I wouldn’t have been fucked with another bad thing. Now, there’s a lot to unpack there, but for some context, I have a gratitude journal app, and I journal about good things constantly, I’ve even posted lengthy lists of things I’m grateful for on this blog. [I am literally still rationalizing this, my god, I am so messed up in the head lol]

Anyway, my point is that around my birthday mid-June, it became clear to me that something was wrong with my body. I couldn’t move normally. It was exhausting to cross my legs and bend down. It was weird, and it came out of nowhere.

I also finally cut the eating disordered bullshit (for the billionth time) on my birthday by enjoying a wonderfully delicious piece of chocolate cake.

That all being said, moving was even more difficult in July and utterly terribly painful by August.

I found a doctor with difficulty (due to the pandemic, my shitty insurance, my reluctance to talk to people on the phone, and other reasons you’ll discover if you keep reading my nonsense here). And the long and arduous process of figuring out what in the hell was wrong with me began.

Lots of bloodwork. Lots of tests. Scans. Then finally I went to a rhematologist (more bloodwork more tests). And by NOVEMBER (ugh) I was told I have rheuamtoid arthritis.

It’s an autoimmune disorder, meaning my immune system sees healthy cells and is just like “WOW oh BOY let’s just fuck that shit up for no reason and ruin Laura’s joints, cause inflammation and swelling, and just overall ruin normal things like hooking her own bra and getting out of bed.”

Sarcasm aside, there’s actually so much for me to learn about that process and what chaos is going on in my body. Like, I know when they initially figured out that I have RA, they tested for Rheumatoid Factor (proteins produced by the immune system). I got the bloodwork and read through it before I talked to the doctor, but it said <100 RF for me (which is no good, no good at all lol) and that explains why I was sore, stiff, exhausted, achy, all of the above. RF attack healthy cells as opposed to viruses or bacteria.

RA is a progressive disease, and you can’t cure it. So I basically have to stay on top of dealing with it in order to make sure my joints don’t get damaged, ’cause once they do, there’s no reversing it.

It’s not like osteoarthritis that’s gradual after the mechanical wear and tear on the cushions in your joints. Apparently RA attacks the lining in the joints, not cartilage. Osteoarthritis is more common, too.

Another fun fact is that rhematoid arthritis affects my skin. I have a scabs on my knuckles and knees that I don’t foresee going away. The doctor said she can give me a steroid cream for it, but tbh why bother?

โ€”Okay it’s time now to explain that after prompting from my therapist, and my staring at her confused, I realized that I’m slow to seek out help for my ailments because I’m terrified that there’s simply no help available and no solutions to be found…and worse, as she correctly guessed, I’m afraid I don’t deserve help.

Because like, I definitely did fuck my body by not eating. I lose a lot of weight super quick and in retrospect, after learning that RA can be triggered by your body going through traumatic shit (surgery, labor, satrving yourself into oblivion for a few months)…it’s obviously my fault.

To play devil’s advocate with myself, I was all anorexic-y because I was disgustingly depressed, and that was becauase my bipolar wasn’t properly controlled, which again, technically wasn’t my fault.

But either way, I have lots of work to do in terms of processing THAT mess of thoughts. hkjhggffdyds help

Anyway. I’m taking a drug called hydroxychloroquine (which is SUCH a bitch to say lol). It’s a DMARD, and yes, you are correct, that does stand for “disease modifying antirheumatic drug.” They don’t really know why it works on inflammation, but they think it might interfere with communication of cells in the immune system. I’ve been on that for about three months. Which, I’m told, is about how long it takes to start working.

And it was working.

And then I washed my kitchen floor and I’ve been limping around since then. Like????? No????? I should be able to move like a normal human???

I did my research (I did not think to look shit up of my own accord, guess who urged me to do so). There ae other drugs that might work. A chemo drug that’s given to RA patients at a tiny dose, or this type of drug call a biologic, or something? They’re like genetically modified drugs or something. [I’m not an expert obv, I’m just googling and making sense in my own head and smashing my keyboard to get all the info here, so, FYI]

I called my doctor and was told to take Motrin for now, and (shocking) that is helping.

But that’s enough word vomit for today, thanks for looking at my wordssssss โค

It’s the end of the month so I’m doing a sort of “mood roundup”

Looking at my apps and reading through journals from the last month and looking at pictures I took. Trying to get a full idea of what my moods were like, what symptoms of what mental illnesses I had, how I dealt with it all. Reviewing goals and plans. Thinking about February.

First: I use an app called Daylio to track how my mood changes throughout the day and how it looks graphed overall over time. I pay for it because my bipolar ass relies on this thing haha, but there’s a free version that’s just as cool. It’s an awesome app because of all the different ways it shows the data you input. And the fact that you can change the colors and icons and personalize it is cool. But now it has a feature now that lets you add a photo to your mood log, and its really fueling my addiction to selfies haha. I’m all about the confidence that comes with taking a picture of your own beautiful face, and I think it’ll be super fun to look back on all the pictures whenever I’m going through my moods in the future.

I also use eMoods, which is specifically for bipolar. I track my meds and sleep on there, along with the specific bipolar symptoms (depressed mood, elevated mood, irritability, and anxiety) and I pay for that one too which allows me to also track other things like my focus.

My journals obviously tell me how my moods were over the course of the month, too. So putting all this together aaaandddd I can see that January wasn’t great but it didn’t totally suck, either. I think the major reason for this is my lack of distractions or things to do in general. But that doesn’t seem like it’s changing any time soon.

I figured out that it’s not that I’m not motivated –because for a long time I was just like “well I’m a piece of shit who can’t succeed in life and can’t make anything happen so I should just sit here hating myself.” Not the best attitude. But I am motivated, I’ve just got nowhere to PUT the motivation. There’s nothing specific to focus on in terms of motivation and success. There’s nothing important to be done.

I can’t continue talking about all that shit without explaining my ongoing existential crisis, though. I am continually bombarded with thoughts like WHY ARE WE HERE and WHAT IS THE PURPOSE FOR ALL THIS and DOES ANYTHING MATTER ANYWAY.

I’m obviously not the first person to think of shit like that. Philosophy is a thing, and has been for a while (and furthermore, it’s something I really enjoy reading about and thinking about).

It’s just…the thoughts are plaguing me.

My therapist was like “it’s the little things that matter” and in her infinite wisdom, she’s absolutely correct. But scroll back on this page, you’ll see I have plenty of lists of the little things in life that matter to me. I think I’m thinking of it all wrong.

I did make a list after she said that, though…because I listen to her so well ๐Ÿ™‚ โค

I collect quotes, too (again, scroll back a few posts and you’ll probably find some of the ones I found recently). And I try to sit there and find meaning in those words that seemed so profound to me. But it’s hard, man.

Like, seriously. What makes me happy? I know things make me happy. I AM happy.

Which is huge, by the way, because this time last year I was heading to crazyville on a speeding train and it landed me in a psych hospital and it was super intense. It was absolutely necessary. And I’m incredibly thankful that happened. I’m just trying to say that I know depression rather intimately and I’m NOT depressed. I’m just a little mushy.

It’s fine. I think this lukewarm kind of emotion is just different because even having been relatively sane for a year…I’m still used to huge and reactive emotions that can’t be contained in my little body.

Even with all the meds, I’m still bipolar. It’s just me, and I’m cool with it (now that I’m not straight-up suffering every day lol), and if this is what I have to deal with, I’m fine with it.

That all being said, it’s probably the boredom and lack of direction making things feel extra anxious and yucky. I’m sure I’ll feel better when I start finding more to do.

Was this even a mood roundup? I’m not sure I actually accomplished the summary I wanted to accomplish, but it was actually kinda cathartic, so yay for that?

Some THOUGHTS for today 1.21.21

โœจ I thought I bought the no sugar added yogurt but I didnโ€™t. And itโ€™s not a big deal because Iโ€™ve had it three mornings in a row and Iโ€™m still alive & all. But it annoys me. Hashtag eating disorder problems.

โœจ my mom asked me to help her take my grandpa to his Covid vaccine tonight and I had a meeting schedule so I messaged the person Iโ€™m supposed to meet with but sheโ€™s three hours behind my time and Iโ€™m anxious waiting for her and I mean itโ€™ll be fine either way but ugh

โœจ I wanna do something fun today I wanna do something meaningful today I wanna find my purpose today I wanna do something worthwhile today

โœจ boredom is killer, but I should be thankful for itโ€” there are worse things than nothing to do

โœจ I need to move my body today. To โ€œget my wiggles outโ€ as my therapist says. But thereโ€™s nowhere to goooooo.

โœจ itโ€™s partly cloudy. I hope the sun comes out

quote collecting + reflecting

i went through the drivethrough at starbucks this morning and got something more expensive than i thought. and it turned out the person in front of me paid for my order. the person behind me got something cheap, so i paid for the person behind them as well, to make it even. it was an oddly weird situation, but i guess it’s a good thing. paying it forward, ya know.

also, i’ve been making collages on canva, taking pics from pinterest and grouping them together in ways i think are pretty. i try to make them *aesthetic* if you wanna call it that haha. and then i upload them to notion, where i’ve been journaling.

i words and quotes and writing them down and having them there and keeping them safe. i think the bio of my instagram includes a self-descriptor of “quote-collector.” what a title, i know. lol but i think where i’m going with this is i’m gonna write down some wordssss i’ve collected recently:

  • every color is influenced by the colors around him; in paintings + in the real world
  • be the reason someone feels welcome, seen, and loved
  • we are all literally made of starsโœงโœง
  • make your heart the most beautiful thing about you –but remember it’s okay to set boundaries
  • there’s nothing more powerful than proving to yourself just how strong you are
  • how fucking cool is it that everyone is just…who they are. unique + proud of ourselves, it’s wonderful
  • everything is more beautiful because nothing is permanent
  • words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality (edgar allan poe)

and now, unrelated, some reflections:

  • boredom is a killer. that’s nothing new, of course, but i have to get more creative to combat it, and i have to have more oomph when it comes to just startinggg.
  • candles make me happy. it’s the little things.
  • my brain was weirldy quiet today, and it’s almost distracting, but i guess it’s not a bad thing to have some peaceful moments of just…stillness

I journal obsessively, whenever I can, wherever I can

I basically like, HAVE to. I have to get the words out, the thoughts out, the feelings out in a way that makes some semblance of sense. And the thing is that it’s usually always all confusing and messy, so I have to MAKE it make sense. Straight-up forging meaning out of nothing. Well, not nothing. But like, out of chaos.

Anyway. I have physical notebooks (tons of them). I always have. But I also journal digitally. I guess it started when I got my first iPad. I have journals upon journals in goodnotes (that are now all uploaded to my phone). I went through a microsoft onenote phase, so I have all those journals too. And then I just have years worth of entries from the notes app on my phone. I love having every thought I’ve ever had with me at all times on my fuckin phone, it’s the coolest thing to me. Oh, and then there’s google docs for like essays and bigger entries.

I’m currently using notion. I feel like every youtuber I watch is big into notion these days. I don’t know if I was using it before it exploded in the realm of influencers, but either way, it’s cool seeing videos on it specifically, because I like seeing people customizing it.

But like…that’s not the point of this blogpost, actually. It’s related, I guess. Because I think using different mediums to journal promotes creativity. And this notion site is allowing me to really lean into the creativity thing.

My point, though, is that I’ve had a lot of thoughtssssss lately, and it’s overwhelming. Maybe it’s just that LIFE is overwhelming (it objectively is, like, you can’t argue with that fact, tbh). But it’s more than that. I keep facing philosophical dilemmas and being plagued by existential crises. It is nonnnnnstop.

Like why are we here. What is the purpose of all this? Is my life meaningful? I’d say all life is meaningful by default, but that’s not what I mean when I ask that question, really.

I keep track of these random tremendous thoughts and questions and predicaments somewhere on one of my journaling apps (or in a paper notebook, obv). But now even that’s not enough. What good does it do for me to explore these deep fucking ideas if the ideas just rot in a journal app on my phone.

I don’t know where I’m going with this lol. I also don’t know where I’m going in life, but I’m actually less concerned with the latter because it’s just too big an issue to focus on. Like I said earlier. Overwhelming.

Probably not healthy to ignore that looming question of WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE. But maybe if I find the meaning of existence, life will give me a free pass in the career department. Who knows.


๐™–๐™ฃ๐™œ๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™ฎ ๐™–๐™จ๐™›, ๐™—๐™ช๐™ฉ ๐™จ๐™š๐™ก๐™›๐™ž๐™š๐™จ ๐™›๐™ค๐™ง๐™š๐™ซ๐™š๐™ง ๐™—๐™ค๐™ค๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™ข๐™ฎ ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™›๐™ž๐™™๐™š๐™ฃ๐™˜๐™š โœจ๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿฅ€

I donโ€™t know if Iโ€™m in a bad mood or not. I feel shitty. Mopey. But not depressed. The super fucking confusing to me. And upsetting. But itโ€™s manageable. But itโ€™s annoying and I donโ€™t like it. But it isnโ€™t paralyzing me. Why is existing still something I have to feel guilty about? Iโ€™m confused. This period of my life is just uncertainty. Now that the other chaos has subsided, the uncertainty Iโ€™ve always been plagued with can be front and fucking center. Itโ€™s fine. Iโ€™m just off and blah and yucky. I canโ€™t focus, either. Which doesnโ€™t fucking help. But anyway.

*… ๐™„ ๐™™๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™ฉ ๐™™๐™ค ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ฎ๐™ฉ๐™๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ฉ๐™๐™–๐™ฉ ๐™ข๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ง๐™จ + ๐™„ ๐™™๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™ฉ ๐™š๐™ซ๐™š๐™ฃ ๐™ ๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ฌ ๐™ž๐™› ๐™„ ๐™ฌ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ฉ ๐™ฉ๐™ค …*

hit the brain jackpot, that’s for sure

I was thinking, and Iโ€™ve decided thatย morning routines arenโ€™t easily attainable for people with adhdย (like me) who struggle with jumping from one task to another.ย BUT. theyโ€™re super necessary for people with bipolar disorder (like me again!) who have a messed up circadian rhythm and could benefit from structure and routine to counteract the chaos they live with internally. but like


My morning routine consists of doing different tasks in succession, as routines do, and Iโ€™ve been toying with it since I was in the hospital in February, right before quarantine started.

Maybe Iโ€™m just lacking other structures in my life, but it is frustrating, I think.

A bad experience? Or a fun story to tell?

I went to the beach to take a picture with my orb because I’m turly enjoying being artsy with this thing.

I had been itching to get out of the house, as always, and I didn’t know where to go, as always, and I was uncertain that I’d actually wind up at the beach until I actually got there. And even then, I wasn’t sure I’d get out of my car to take a picture.

[I’ve been in a funk. I don’t want to call it depression because I’m so fucking medicated how could it possibly be depression…but like, then what it is? Just me being a piece of shit?]

Uncertainty. It’s an ever-present force in my life, and it has been for a while.

But anyway, I got to the beach, got out of the car, walked down to the long stretch of sand, and took some pictures. It made me happy out of habit. It was a dulled sort of happiness. A happiness that shrugged and was just like “eh, this place makes me feel good so I guess I feel good.”

Then I walked a bit further to the water. I put my photography crystal ball thing down. Snapped one pic. Two pics.

Then I noticed the water getting closer to me. I grabbed the ball, and…couldn’t get up. Fuck fuck fuck.

I was soaked with ocean water before I had the time to curse myself for forgetting I have arthritis and can’t move normally but fuck, I still couldn’t get UP. I scooted up towards dry sand, and after (I shit you not) FIVE or so MINUTES, I was able to stand up like a normal human being, trek back to my car…

and start laughing hysterically as I snapchatted a friend to tell him what happened.

I drove back home listening to Disney music feeling as anxious as I’ve been feeling lately, but happier than the dull-happy I’d felt before getting overtaken by the ocean on this luckily-oddly-warm winter morning.

the friend I messaged about the hilarious events of the beach said my pics looked like they could be hanging as inspirational quotes in a therapist’s office, and he kindly showed me what he meant^ lmao I love it

Life is weird and I’m grappling with it on a super-deep and weirdly existential level, I guess (why are we here, what is the point, what am I doing, why bother doing it)…but at least I got th play in the ocean today.

medicated, still bipolar, what now

Iโ€™m having a hard time focusing. Iโ€™m anxious and stressed out over it. Feeling yucky. Off. Like somethings wrong but I canโ€™t figure out what. The result is irritability and frustration. Itโ€™s overall just a dull version of what Iโ€™ve been feeling for the better half of my life (bipolar depression).

But I have to remember that for the better half of my life, Iโ€™ve suffered from bipolar symptoms/depression. That explains what this bullshit is. Itโ€™s just way less intense because I take 193741 pills every morning and night.

I can either see that as an unfortunate reality, that nothing can ever fully cure this bullshit. Or I can see it as an improvement, an important step forward, a bridge to being able to do better things.

I know Iโ€™d benefit from proper adhd treatment. But my heart definitely leapt when I had that a-ha moment of โ€œthhaaatโ€™s whatโ€™s going on here.โ€ It feels better when things make sense, at least.