The Drug Effect

Any teenager who tells you that they have never tried smoking marijuana would be lying straight to your face – especially with this generation. I know in my school, everybody smoked marijuana or had at least tried it. The real “hard core” druggies were out at the “smokers pit” lighting joints on breaks, it was pathetic.

I would be lying too if I told you I had never tried smoking marijuana. Or drank underage. I have tried those things, and to be honest – I didn’t really like those things. Truthfully, I am what’s considered a social drinker, I will have a glass of something to socialize if everyone else is drinking. I won’t get drunk though, and I won’t force myself to drink something that I don’t like. I have never been that way.

I don’t smoke marijuana though, and when I tried it in grade 11, I didn’t like it. I was curious about it because of the term “medical marijuana” – the drug they gave people suffering from extreme pain. I wanted to see what marijuana would do to a person like me who has chronic pain.

However, marijuana and I didn’t take too kindly to each other. If anything, it had the opposite effect of what I thought it would have. I thought it would make my pains more bearable, but it only increased the pain I had been feeling before. Strange eh? I think so. That’s why I don’t smoke marijuana – because I dislike the effect it has on me. I also dislike taking any kinds of drugs that “numb” the pain. 

I suppose this is yet another reason that confirms the fact that I am indeed a medical mystery. The opposite thing from what they think will happen always happens to me. I guess that would mean my mystery is easily solved – expect the opposite – but it’s still curious to wonder about these things.

I bring this up today because I am curious to hear the responses from my reader’s who have chronic pain and who have tried smoking marijuana. Did it take away the daily pains? Or did it have the opposite effect and make your pain much worse then it was? Answer honestly!


Losing Control?

I find it extremely interesting that I can actually literally feel the limp in my walk increase with each passing day. I try my hardest to walk “normally”, as those unwanted questions are always awkward to face and answer, but it’s so difficult to! I feel as if I am slowly losing control of the use of my legs – which doesn’t make sense really, as I can walk completely fine (the limp and pain excluded that is). On a normal day, I am able to avoid walking with a limp – as it’s something I will always have and can only sometimes minimize so it’s unnoticeable.

But lately, normal for me has been more intensive. I am finding it harder to walk to each class. I’m finding it harder to stand for “long” periods of time. I’m finding everything I used to do without a lot of problems harder to do and I have more problems doing it.

To all my readers out their with MHE: do you ever feel this way? As if you are slowly losing the “control” of your legs or wrists (or wherever may be causing you problems)?

I would have to say that if there was a percentage I had of full “control” of my legs, it would be only about 50%. What I mean – in this sense anyway – by “control” is telling your legs to move in a certain way. It’s generally an involuntary reflex – something your body does on it’s own. However, my body has been having trouble and therefore I am noticing it. Therefore, I have to concrete more.

I am worried that my bones may be fusing. This condition doesn’t generally happen to a person with MHE until they are older – or so I’ve heard. Fusing will even further limit my mobility. Unfortunately, one of my good friend’s with MHE, Mandy, is experiencing this young and her bones have already started to fuse. There is really no way to indefinitely fix this; there are temporary surgeries but they don’t prevent or stop the bones from fusing.

*Sigh* I wish for once I was able to only worry about school troubles and studying for tests, instead of also worrying about my bones fusing. Or my nerves deteriorating. On the plus side, I don’t think my nerves could be deteriorating because there are no really huge problem bone growths – unless the smaller ones cause more damage then I am aware. For now though, I suppose I will have to suck it up as I can’t afford to take time off school – even for a one day visit to my doctor in the big city.

Little Miss Self Destruct

Today is Thursday, September 27th. Today I have challenged myself to take part of the “Blog Against Abuse” campaign. My cousin, Karen Rani, touched the very subject I have been arguing with myself about for quite some time; self loathing. In today’s post, I am going to try not to be modest. I’m going to state the facts straight up. All I can do is hope that this won’t detour anybody from reading my blog, or their opinions of me.

Stop the Abuse

The fact of the matter is that I am my own worst enemy. There is always a tiny voice inside my head screaming insults and putting me down – and that tiny voice is myself. My own fears and doubts coming to surface in the form of negative, insulting thoughts. I find myself constantly making comments or “jokes” about my own stupidity, and putting myself down in anyway possible. I’ve been called on this many times by family, friends, and even my boyfriend – but my attempts at changing how I treat myself are weak. I still make those comments. I still put down myself.

So far, I haven’t done anything too destructive. Instead, this voice pushes me forward to prove it wrong. I know this isn’t entirely healthy, but it is a start. It is as if there are two conflicting voices in my head; one that is putting me down and one that pushes me forward.

The sad, confusing thing is that I don’t even know why I am like this. All things considered, I have had an easy life. Sure, I have the added “bonus” of a chronic pain disorder and I have been there too many surgeries to count, but I had a wonderful childhood and an amazing family. I have never been physically or sexually abused, so I really don’t understand why I am such a self destructing person.

I want more then anything to be able to be confident and not hear that destructive voice, but I have a lot of trouble blocking it. I can manage to block it somewhat if I am in a really good mood and things are going my way, but the second something somewhat unpleasant happens, I suddenly become unable to block out that voice.

My generation is one that feeds off of problems. The more you have, the more popular you become. I have never used any “problems” I may have to gain more attention, in fact I hide them from everyone I know because I fear that by finding out, they will think I am crazy. Although I do have that self-loathing voice inside my head, I don’t fit the bill of every “self-loathing teenager” (for the record, I don’t agree with this “article” as it is a generalization) as I don’t listen to “emo” music, nor do I dress in that popular “fashion”.

I’m still young, so I know this could just be a phase, but I would like for it to stop. I’m worried that I may be suffering from depression, although I don’t know how one decides that. Maybe I’m just bad at dealing with bad things. I do have bad days, but I also have good days.

And I will keep moving forward, I’m just concerned that this negative voice will impact me in the future more then it is now. I believe that, although this voice is destructive, it has helped me grow and gives me more understanding of people who actually suffer from depression or any other mental illness. I know how damaging one little voice can be – one that I hear very rarely unless I am going through a difficult period.

A Shout Out

Just yesterday, I stumbled across an amazing blog; A Work Of Art: Raising Our Exceptional Son. In this blog, the father of a very exceptional boy named Ben blogs about their daily life and raising a son with exceptional needs. If you have never heard of this blog, I suggest heading over there right now! It’s a heart warming, touching blog that became one of my immediate favourites. There is something about that little boy, Ben, that makes me smile. Even from just watching the video of him painting, you can tell he is one of a kind. He practically shines with light and love! So go on over and pay a visit!

After reading A Work of Art: Raising Our Exceptional Son, I was re-inspired and wanted to explain my reasons for choosing to be a Social Worker and work with developmentally challenged youth and adults. I know I have briefly mentioned my work at SYG: a recreational group for developmentally challenged youth and adults, but I think it’s time to get a little more into it. I started volunteering at SYG just before my 16th birthday. It changed me for the better. The members at SYG are each amazing and special in their own, individual ways. I became close friends with several of them – nearly all of them. They prove to me again and again that you don’t have to fit society’s opinion of “normal” to be happy.

I spent all of the summer working as a summer student at SYG, and although I saw a bit of the political, ugly side of this non-profit organization, I still love SYG. I loved the summer student job; planning and organizing events for the members, getting enough volunteers to have it run smoothly, and then watching everyone enjoy all of the hard work that was put into each event was truly an amazing feeling. Some of the members only have SYG for their social interactions, so it’s key to make every event matter. Watching them enjoy themselves so much made everything worth while. Planning events and camping weekends isn’t an easy job, but it was more then worth the stress at the last day of the week long camp as I saw everyone dancing and letting loose. Camp was fun, although stressful, because the members make it worth while. Their pure joy and excitement never ceases to amaze me.

That is why I applied for a job at a local group home for developmentally challenged youth and am seriously hoping I get it. My days are made worth while if I surround myself with people who have sparkling, amazing personalities. I am too far away from SYG to attend any of the dances or club nights, but I plan on going to a couple of camping weekends.

I know there are some people in my life who find me amazing because I enjoy working with special needs people, but I really don’t think I am the amazing one. I’m just seeing people for who they are, not the label that was placed on them. People are people, personality shines through anything. I like people with good personalities, I dislike people with bad personalities – regardless of the labels. I fully believe that everyone should get a fair chance and opportunity to be themselves. Nobody is better then anybody else, so nobody should have more chances and opportunities then anybody else. Simply put, we are all equal.

Fresh to Order; my fast food experiences

I encountered all types of people when I was working at local fast food restaurants. Impatient people, desperate for their double bacon cheeseburger and unable to offer a smile or thanks when being served. All they do is complain about the line up, about how slow you are working, and about how it’s all your fault the prices of greasy, fattening food went up.

Every single day that I worked in fast food, I happened to have one customer who was completely rude, tactless, and idiotic. These people seriously did not help the fact that those 4 hour shifts killed my body. I cannot stand for long periods of time, but I pushed myself to when I worked in the fast food industries. My managers were not as understanding as they appeared to be when I was first hired, and it seemed like every time I requested a quick break to sit down for a few minutes, they got mad. They were annoyed with me. Customers were annoyed with me because I wasn’t able to work as quickly as they would have liked.

Needless to say, I have always had difficulty finding a job that I could physically and emotionally do. Not a whole heck of a lot of places hire teenagers, so fast food was my only options – especially considering I lived out in the middle of nowhere with no license and the nearest options where only fast food. My parent’s didn’t have the time to drive us further and provide more choices.

In the fast food places I have worked at, it seemed like nobody had the patience to deal with a teen and her medical disability. My co-workers thought I was just being lazy and wanting attention, and sadly enough several of my managers thought this too. I had little respect there, and was a slight mockery. I remember one instance when I fell down the really greasy stairs that lead up to the staff lunch room, several of my co-workers witnessed it and all they could do was laugh. My younger sister had to help regain footing as I had twisted my ankle. I ended up going home because my ankle hurt so badly. All the managers were concerned about was whether or not they had to write an incident report.

My immune system is weaker then most (probably due to the fact that I don’t get nearly as much exercise as I should), so I caught literally everything that floated around that place. If costumers came in with a cold, the next week I would come in with a cold. I also managed to get mono (don’t ask me how, I’m not sure; all I know is my boyfriend was free of it and I don’t kiss anybody else!). Every single time I became sick, it took a while to recover. Sometimes, I had to call in because you shouldn’t work with a contagious virus – you contaminate everything you touch. That’s one of the first things you see in the training videos when they hire you. But this seriously irritated my managers.

My inability to stand for the solid 4 hours and eventually, my inability to complete shifts was noted by everyone. I was removed from the schedule and the manager who hired me asked me if I was even able to continue. She was a little nicer than everyone else about it, and offered to get me a orthopedic mat to stand on during my shifts. By this point, I was sick of the attitudes I was getting from my co-workers and other managers. I was sick of my legs hurting unbearably after every shift. I would go straight home after working 4 hours and sleep for 7. Clearly, this job wasn’t agreeing with me…so I was “quired”. I say “quired” instead of “fired” or “quitting” because it was a mutual agreement; and they had already taken me off of the schedule.

My word of advice to every teen out their with a medical disability looking for work; try fast food. If it works for you, that’s awesome. It didn’t work for me. I had to wait to find a less physically demanding job with a more understanding supervisor and slightly more understanding co-workers. If you find fast food doesn’t work for you (as it didn’t with me), than start looking for other options; such as an office position somewhere. Put those computer skills to good use!

Exhaustion vs Money

It is only week 4 of the first semester college term and already, I feel over my head. Assignments and papers are being tossed out weekly, due not even a week later. I have a total of three tests this week; and my head is spinning. I am having difficulty prioritizing important pressing things with the not so important things. I have always been the Queen of Procrastination; only this year, I was looking to curb that nickname and actually get things done in advance.

So far, all of my assignments are completed. It’s just the studying for the tests that is getting me. I suppose it doesn’t help that I am literally exhausted from walking around the school all day and all I want to do is sleep. My college is HUGE, and my classes are wide spread. I was shown short cuts to each class before I started school; however I can’t for the life of me remember those short cuts. I should also be using the elevator; but I dislike anything that would make me feel less independent. I know, an elevator would seriously help out my situation, however…I have a little secret; I’m afraid of elevators. Not all elevators, just the really old ones. Unfortunately, our college has really old elevators. And they are tiny. They make me feel claustrophobic.

I am slightly concerned about this year, considering the amount of physical and emotional exhaustion I already feel. In a week or so, I hope to add at least one job to my list of things to do. Working – although even more physically draining – seems to help me emotionally. Today, I had an interview for a job at the front desk of the student counsel office. I believe it went very well, and I’m eagerly anticipating my interview’s outcome. This job will schedule me to work in between classes, as the office is only open from 8am until 4pm.

Tomorrow, I am going uptown for yet another interview. This interview will be for a local group home that I heard about through a woman in my program. The clients are developmentally challenged, and the environment seems a lot like the one of the recreational group I volunteer at. I plan on working with the developmentally challenged when I graduate with my Social Service Work degree, so clearly this job would look amazing on my resume and be a wonderful learning experience.

A very intelligent part of my brain tells me that I shouldn’t accept offers for both jobs (should I get them) as I have never worked two jobs before plus attended school full time. Having one part time job was stressful enough on me – but to counteract that point, the job I worked at was in fast food and it was very demanding on my body. I wasn’t able to stand for the 8 hour shifts. The office position offers a chair – so I would get to sit while I worked, and the group home position offers night shifts – which are when you get paid to sleep at night. Not to mention, I need the money. I want to be able to afford to eat, not to mention save a bit for next year so I will be better off – financially anyway. I can see how it goes for a little while…if I get both jobs that is. If it proves to me too much, I can always quit one or reduce shifts.

Plus I am hoping to train my body to be able to handle more physical stress. I’m not too sure how that’s going to work out, but I hope it will work out for the best. I want to lead a successful, fulfilling life in my chosen career of social work. In order to do that, my body needs to handle the high demands of full time work.

In other, completely random news; Connie from My Chronic Life has got me hooked on blogger love. I’m rather ashamed that it doesn’t take a lot to get me hooked on new things, this is why I never picked up smoking!

The Bumpy Bone Book

The MHE and Me support group is putting together a book full of art work, essays, stories, and poems by people affected by MHE (whether they have it or have someone in their family with it). I plan on writing a few of my own pieces for the book. In case you haven’t noticed, I have a lot to say.

I am attempting to work on my contributions to The Bumpy Bone Book – since I have a lot of time on my hands – which I should really be using to catch up on my text book readings and study for my Human Growth and Development test, but a chance like this only happens every once and a while!

I think I will write both an essay and a story, and attempt to draw something. A couple of years ago, I used to attend drawing classes. I loved drawing – and still do – but I disliked my drawing style. Still though, drawing gives me something else to think about. I’m really excited about this book!!

Another plan of mine is to become a writer. I have a million story ideas and all I need is the time to sit down and get them all out of my head. I have a very important question for all of you writers out there; what does it take to be successful? There are so many authors and several really good ones go unnoticed. How do you get noticed?

On a completely different note, this weekend was a much deserved distraction from the woes of college life. I was able to go to a benefit dance thrown by a couple of my dad’s friends. It was for one of the guy’s aunts, who recently loss the use of her legs as a result of a surgery. They wanted to raise some money for her so that she would live comfortably. It was really touching, how the Falcons all got together for this sad situation, but its comforting knowing that the Falcons would do anything for each other and their families. I hope they were able to raise enough money for the guy’s aunt! I sort of met her last night, and she was a very classy, spunky looking lady. She looked very happy and strong.

Moments like that – when an entire group of friends come together for support – make me realize that not all kindness and empathy is lost. There is still hope, even if it is sometimes difficult to see.