Who has two thumbs and wasn’t even able to keep up with NaBloPoMo for a full week? This gal! The writing was already on the wall by day 3 when I first mentioned my exhaustion, and it only got worse after that. I’m not sure what precisely prevented me from publishing anything on day 6, but I’m sure it had something to do with being tired. Big surprise, I know! I looked back at my day planner to see if I could figure it out, but there were no entries for November 6th or 7th. That general means that I slept an excessive number of hours those two days. Unexplained fatigue is no joke, folks! I guarantee that blogging wasn’t the only thing that was neglected in that time period. When I started the month I was afraid that my health would jeopardize this blogging challenge, but I wanted to attempt it anyway. If nothing else, I got five posts out of my abbreviated NaBloPoMo that I probably wouldn’t have written otherwise. In spite of my medical issues I do still have things going on in my life that I want to document. Like my insane Thanksgiving yesterday. Stay tuned for that post, hopefully this weekend.
It’s only the 3rd day of November I’ve already hit my first hurdle of this blogging challenge. It’s only 5:30 PM so I theoretically have plenty of time to write and publish a post before I go to bed, but I’m completely exhausted. And I’m not just talking about a little sleepiness. I feel like I have a weight inside my head that’s pressing down on my brain. That’s the best way I can describe my fatigue. This weight makes my eyelids heavy and my thoughts sluggish. If not for my stupid restless legs I could very easily lie down and pass out at a moment’s notice. (Trust me, I tried to nap this afternoon since I had been awake since 5 AM, but my legs were not having it. I’m running on many, many ounces of Coke Zero right now.) None of this is exactly conducive to producing blog posts that I’m inclined to publish. In fact, it’s taken me multiple hours to finalize even this single paragraph. I’m just so weary. But for now I will attempt to soldier on. Maybe tomorrow will provide more suitable circumstances for writing something of substance!
“I know this is a temporary state and I that I am strong enough to get through it. Life isn’t always easy, but I’m hoping that it won’t be long before I see the light at the end of this particular tunnel.”
06/08/18 webpage post
I’m on medical leave from work now, which is both a blessing and a curse. For one thing, it has given me way too much time to argue with people on the internet, as you can tell by my previous post. Responding to jerks on Facebook was not the topic I intended to cover upon my return to blogging after a long hiatus! Instead, I wanted to start writing about the reason for said hiatus in more detail. It’s been a long road so far, and I still have quite a ways to go.
I started documenting my health issues in May 2018 after my first sleep study, but the first onset of symptoms was about two years before that. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been suffering in one form or another for over three years now. It’s exhausting in more ways than one. At first I thought I simply had mildly irritating Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) brought on by a sharp increase in the number of miles I ran every week, but it escalated from there. The “twinges” and “shivering” I felt in my legs when I went to bed at night became full-blown cyclic muscle spasms and involuntary leg movements that completely prevented me from falling asleep. It took me hours to get to sleep every night so I was either late to work the next day or severely sleep deprived. When I finally sought medical help the first GP I went to ran some blood work and told me I was anemic and needed to take iron supplements. Even after I told her that I am a carrier for a blood disorder that contradicted her diagnosis she offered no additional options. Fortunately the next GP I consulted was much more helpful. She initially gave me Xanax (which made me feel sick) and then Ambien as a sleep aid. The Ambien put me to sleep very quickly, but I still woke up exhausted the next morning. That’s when the first sleep study was conducted and my case of Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) was verified. What a relief that was. After ramping up on a medication for RLS/Parkinson’s Disease I got a much-needed reprieve from my limbs flailing about all night long.
However, my daytime fatigue persisted. As I wrote back in August 2018, “I can sleep all day, and it doesn’t feel like a choice I’m making. I just wake up in the afternoon/evening and feel depressed that I’ve lost yet another day to my poor health.” This wacky schedule was not at all conducive to being a functional member of society. I started seeing a neurologist shortly after establishing my PLMD to determine the right cocktail of medications to help me live a normal life again. Adding a couple of other nighttime anti-seizure drugs to my treatment (Gabapentin and Klonopin) didn’t seem to make much of a difference, but I faithfully took them anyway. Eventually I broke down and took a 3-month leave of absence from work in order to rest and hopefully recuperate. My third and current GP, who is seriously amazing, ordered more blood work during this timeframe to check for autoimmune markers, but none of the numbers were glaringly out of range. So I went back to the neurologist, but after another (Maybe my 3rd? I’ve lost count.) sleep study in January 2019 ruled out narcolepsy he was stumped. Not a good sign. His last ditch effort to restore my energy was to give me a prescription for a stimulant to help me stay awake during the day. And for a while I thought it worked! Every morning I would pop one of these “pep pills,” as I called them, and I felt like a normal human being again. I was elated! Just before the end of my leave of absence I was confident that although I didn’t have a definitive diagnosis, I was ready to go back to work full-time. I was wrong.
Even with daytime and nighttime medications that were supposed to alleviate my symptoms, adding 40-hour work weeks back to my routine practically put me back where I started. My body just couldn’t sustain 8 or 9 hours of work per day, plus regular exercise, and all of the other stressors of daily life. Even increasing the dosage of my stimulant by 50% wasn’t enough. I was struggling to do the things I absolutely had to do, and I was missing out on just about all enjoyable activities due to my extreme fatigue. Basically, I was miserable. It was hard to explain to my friends and co-workers without sounding seriously depressed, but I felt like a useless human being. I love my job, but I wasn’t pulling my weight there and it killed me. Then outside of work I wasn’t adequately taking care of myself or my home environment due to lack of energy. All I wanted to do was sleep for days, and even then I didn’t feel any better! It was so hard not to beat myself up for these failings, even though I knew it wasn’t my fault. If I had a choice I would certainly not choose to feel this way! Eventually I reached my breaking point again and took another leave of absence from work, and that brings us up to the present.
The bottom line is that something is wrong with me and I have to figure out what it is. I am suffering from some sort of difficult to diagnose chronic illness (or illnesses) and someone, somewhere will be able to help me treat it. I just need to find that particular doctor or facility. So far I’ve been out of work for two weeks. While it’s been such a relief to be able to sleep when I need to and as many hours as I need to, I am starting to feel disconnected with the world. I am lacking a purpose. I’ve been working on finding some comprehensive medical care while I’m on leave from work, but I don’t have anything definitive set up yet. It’s hard to get much done when fatigue is your constant companion. It’s a struggle, but I know I’ll find answers eventually. Being positive isn’t easy, especially on the days where I can barely drag myself out of bed, but imagining a future where I feel normal again and can be the engineer, runner, and friend that I used to be is what keeps me going.
Much to my dismay I’ve found someone in the running for my second least favorite person on the internet. It’s another author/blogger/social media presence whose publicly-shared beliefs are in direct opposition to my own. To minimize the length of this post I won’t go into too much detail on this person today, but instead I’ll outline an encounter I had with one of her followers. Unfortunately this author attracts men who don’t have much of an opinion of women. At least not ones who refuse to conform to their own personal standards of how our gender should behave. I think you’ll see what I mean shortly.
I’m going to share, word for word, a comment that one particular man made a few days ago. I can’t remember all of the context that lead up to it, but it had something to do with women having minds of their own. The horror! This guy objected to my questions and decided to go with a personal attack rather than attempting to use his brain and engage in an actual conversation. That’s when you know someone can’t back up their statements. I’ve been called all sorts of names in online discussions, but this dude found my blog, read it for a substantial amount of time, and then crafted a Facebook comment in an attempt to shame me for my views.
I’ll address each of his allegations individually:
- 40 something feminist (divorced) –> True! I happily embrace all of those labels.
- Typical post-wall ‘Strong independent woman’ –> Partially true. I had to look this one up, but “post-wall” means past my fertility window. Since I’m not actively trying to get pregnant I have no way to verify this one. As for “strong independent woman,” hell yes this is true! Putting this phrase in quotes is meant to make it demeaning, but I am the living embodiment of all three of those words.
- Free tax dollar funded college degree –> False! While I did go to college on someone else’s dime, I earned my tuition from the Bright Futures Scholarship, which is funded by the Florida Lottery. Not tax dollars. And how is paying nothing to earn an engineering degree from a highly respected state university in any way shameful?
- Attacks other women that don’t agree with her twisted views –> False! I simply write blog posts responding to online content that I object to. Isn’t that what everyone on the interwebz is doing in one way or another? My “twisted” views, as this dude calls them, aren’t any less valid because he doesn’t agree with them.
- Regularly see’s [sic] a neurologist for “brain” problems –> True! It’s no secret that I have I have health issues, and a neurologist does in fact treat brain conditions. Moving on.
- Pushes ‘equality’ –> True! But with another bizarre use of quotations (the third so far). As if equality is a bad thing. Someone once told me that if you’re used to privilege, equality feels like oppression. To any men who feel “oppressed” because women are being given equal rights and opportunities, get used to it. We aren’t going away.
- Gloats about her female privilege on her hate blog –> Maybe? I’m not sure what “female privilege” is, exactly, since women have so many well-documented disadvantages in this world, but there is a possibility that while writing about my life I have unwittingly described some benefit of being female. However, I do object to the “hate” descriptor being applied to my blog.
- Has self esteem issues / emotional train wreck –> Partially true. Everyone is a mess sometimes and I have written about some of my lowest instances openly and honestly. It helped me work through the trauma of those deep valleys, and hopefully it also helped someone who is going through a period like that of their own.
- Takes a cocktail of SSRI drugs –> False! One SSRI does not a “cocktail” make, but thanks for playing. I’m pretty sure Lexapro saved my life when I hit my emotional rock bottom a couple of years ago. I felt utterly helpless not knowing the extent of my health issues. I was crying on my couch while texting my best friend, and that’s when I knew I needed medical help. I would shout it from the rooftops that I take Lexapro if it would help normalize mental health issues.
- Does “retail therapy” for depression –> True! As long I spend responsibly I’m not ashamed of this coping mechanism.
- Can’t sleep –> Partially true. Sometimes I have trouble sleeping due to my Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD), and other times I sleep 20+ hours at a time due to unexplained fatigue. Again, how is this something I would ever be ashamed of?
- Totally loyal and obedient to her Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex masters, but can’t obey a man –> This one is really reaching and I don’t have the energy to unpack all of its baggage. As far as “can’t obey a man” goes, my former marriage obviously can’t be explained in a few sentences, but I’ll try. My ex-husband wanted me to do everything his way and never complain. I tried. I really did. I wanted my marriage to work so I poured every ounce of myself into making him happy. But it was never enough. He was always dissatisfied. Eventually I realized that I didn’t have to live that way and I divorced him. And out of all of the things in this insipid list, the one that I am least ashamed of is my divorce. Women don’t exist purely to satisfy the whims of men, and no one should be forced to stay with a person who believes that.
So if by some chance this dude manages to find his way back to my blog to do some more “research,” at least he’ll know exactly what I think of him. Nothing.
Life has been getting harder lately with my not yet fully explained medical problems. I sleep an unbelievable number of hours, which means that I miss a lot of work, and I hate it. My boss and my co-workers have been very understanding, but that doesn’t make me feel any better for not living up to my own professional expectations. It makes me feel lazy and helpless, but trying to force my body to do things it doesn’t want to do hasn’t been at all successful. It’s so frustrating. I feel like I should be able to snap out of it and make myself feel normal again, but of course that’s ridiculous. Something is physically wrong with me (maybe several somethings) and I have to find the solutions before there will be any improvement. In addition to missing work, I haven’t been able to take part in too many enjoyable things in my free time either. In a previous post I mentioned cancelling my recent Disney World trip, but that’s not the extent of the losses I’ve suffered. I also decided that I wasn’t anywhere near healthy enough to go to Las Vegas this weekend with my girlfriends for the Rock N Roll half marathon. On top of all that, I cancelled a business trip to Florida next week that I was really looking forward to. As I’ve said before, I know this situation is temporary, but that doesn’t make it any less miserable.
As far as my search for answers goes, there have been a few developments since I last wrote about my health. On Wednesday I decided I needed to see my GP about the possibility that my antidepressant is at least partially responsible for my overwhelming exhaustion. There is an outside chance since one of the potential side effects of Lexapro is drowsiness. I was fortunate to get an appointment to see a nurse practitioner that same day, but the outcome wasn’t at all what I expected. The nurse decided not to change my medication, at least not yet, but he ordered some additional blood work to test for autoimmune diseases instead. Even if progress is slow, I was very grateful to see a medical professional who was concerned enough about my well being to go down a completely different path of investigation and not just throw more drugs at my symptoms. I had to have four vials of blood drawn, though, and it was more of an ordeal than usual. The technician had to tap both of my arms to get enough blood for the tests. I very nearly passed out when he was done! That’s not all I did this week either. I also completed my second sleep study last night. Overall it was much more pleasant experience than the first one (better facility, better room, slightly better night’s sleep), but still not an activity I’d like to repeat. (Although I’m sure I’ll have to before this is all over.) Hopefully this one night’s discomfort will provide my neurologist with enough information to take the next step in my journey to a diagnosis. I have an appointment with him after Thanksgiving to go over the results. Maybe the blood work by my GP will provide some insight as well. I should find out this week. I’ll let you know the outcome of this waiting game when they are available.
“If rape becomes legal under my proposal, a girl will protect her body in the same manner that she protects her purse and smartphone. If rape becomes legal, a girl will not enter an impaired state of mind where she can’t resist being dragged off to a bedroom with a man who she is unsure of — she’ll scream, yell, or kick at his attempt while bystanders are still around. If rape becomes legal, she will never be unchaperoned with a man she doesn’t want to sleep with. After several months of advertising this law throughout the land, rape would be virtually eliminated on the first day it is applied.”
-Roosh V, “How to Stop Rape”
Back in 2015 the man who wrote this (who makes a living telling men how to pick up and have sex with women all over the world, by the way) proposed making rape legal in private property. So if a man takes advantage of a woman in his own house or in hers there would be no repercussions. (Or vice versa. I acknowledge that there are women who rape men as well.) First of all, have you ever read something so disgusting? I could devote an entire post to describing how much I despise this jerk for writing such a sexist, misogynistic, backwards “article” dripping with male privilege, but instead I want to make one particular point. The major fallacy in this dude’s hypothesis is that rape happens because women aren’t vigilant enough. Obviously he’s not female or he’d know that his underlying premise couldn’t be more wrong. Women already go to unbelievable lengths to safeguard our bodies and our property. Let me tell you a story about what happened to me this spring, which I briefly mentioned a couple of weeks ago.
On my way home from boot camp I stopped by the grocery store. It was about 9 PM so it was dark, and there were very few cars in the parking lot that late. Seal Beach is a sleepy little town at heart so things get quiet early around here. After I made my purchases I walked out of the store to head back to my car. I looked both ways as I went outside and I immediately noticed that there was a man standing to the right of the door. This fact by itself wasn’t cause for alarm, but then out of the corner of my eye I saw that he started following me. I recognized the possible danger right away because women have learned to observe our public surroundings in order to ensure our safety. That’s why I wasn’t oblivious of the risk I was facing simply walking 50 feet to my car. I increased my pace and got to my car as quickly as I could, climbed inside (unceremoniously tossing my bag of groceries onto the passenger seat), and locked the doors. My heart was racing. My potential assailant walked around the car to stand right next to my driver’s side window and wave at me. He was obviously targeting me or else he would have just kept walking. In all likelihood he was simply a homeless man wanting a handout, but after scaring the crap out of me I didn’t give him the chance to ask. I reversed my little SUV out of its parking space like I was in “The Fast and the Furious” and got the hell out of there. It was a terrifying situation, but luckily I didn’t experience any negative consequences. Other women in similar situations are not so lucky.
I don’t know how I could have possibly been any more vigilant. Not to mention how ridiculous it is to place all of the responsibility on my shoulders in this scenario. As I read in this article on Odyssey, “And, why is it the woman’s job to constantly be on high alert? Why can there be no push for rape to stop, so that she can live without fear?” Bingo. That’s the objective of the #metoo movement. To shift the blame from the victims to the perpetrators, where it rightly belongs, so that women feel safe to come forward and make reports when they are attacked. That’s the direction our society needs to go in order to achieve true gender equality. It’s sad, but we still haven’t achieved a culture where males are consistently held accountable for their despicable actions towards females. If a woman is sexually harassed or raped by a man he should be punished for the act, and the victim shouldn’t have her life ruined for coming forward and telling authorities. However, Roosh V is advocating taking our country in the wrong direction – back towards the end of the spectrum where a man can do no wrong. We cannot allow this to happen. Listen to women when they tell their personal stories, believe women when they say they have been victimized, and don’t let their claims get be swept under the rug!
“In order to want to get married and have children, young women must be willing to sacrifice their time, energy, and maybe even their gifts, and most young women don’t seem to want to do these things. They also must learn to be a help meet to their husband and serve him by learning to have a meek and quiet spirit if they marry. They must learn to sacrifice their body, time, and energy to raise godly offspring which is difficult. Yes, marrying and bearing children requires a lot of sacrifice that many young women have no desire to do these days, sadly. (It’s heartbreaking to me.) Instead, they would rather sacrifice their time, money, and energy for a career that may keep them from marrying and raising their children, if they do have children.”
-My least favorite blogger, 9/13/18
I’m sure no one is surprised that this was written by my least favorite blogger. Yep, I continue to read her posts periodically in order to find inspiration (more like irritation) for my own writing. An unlikely spot for a feminist to find writing prompts! Funny enough, in the post I grabbed this excerpt from she used an image of the space shuttle to represent “women’s trajectory towards worldly success.” It’s like my least favorite blogger wrote this with me in mind. Well, here’s my response. Are you out of your freakin’ mind, lady? Why must women sacrifice the gifts that God gave them just to get married and have families? Men don’t have to do this. They are allowed, or rather encouraged, to use the full extent of their talents out in the world to earn money and support their loved ones. But for some reason fundamentalist Christian women are taught to ignore their innate abilities to submit to a man and raise as many children as that man desires. This is an archaic way of thinking, not just in 2018, but for at least the last century. Why would God give females intelligence, skills, and passions if he wanted us to ignore them? Why aren’t we simply born with the bare minimum needed to be wives, housekeepers, and mothers? Because not all women are meant to walk the same narrow path! To prove this you don’t even need to look outside the Bible for all of the examples you could ever need. Of course, everyone has to make sacrifices during their lifetimes, but there is no reason that women need to set aside everything that makes them unique in order to have a man put a ring on her finger. Fortunately, even among the usual comments praising my least favorite blogger for her assertions, I found plenty of other women who objected to the restrictions laid out in her blog post. Here are a few of my favorites.
- 9/11/18: “Sometimes God’s plan doesn’t include marriage or it’s not in the time frame of early 20s. I’m certain that God wouldn’t advocate for simply marrying someone just to stay home and not be in the workforce, instead of waiting on God’s best. You can’t claim to speak for God and say that everyone who’s not married is simply seeking their own way…God designed us with different gifts and talents, hence there is no cookie cutter age for a life plan of marriage.”
- 9/13/18: “If your only message as an older women is to tell younger women their only calling is to serve a husband and bear children than you’re putting your own God in a box. What he calls a woman to do is between Him and her.”
- 10/1/18: “Only God can tell an individual what His will is for them, so nobody can possibly know what God has planned for someone else’s life. Not all women are called to the same thing. God does not call every woman to marriage and kids, and I can definitely see how it would be off-putting to many women for you to say that you know exactly what God wants them to do with their lives. You can’t know God’s will for anyone but yourself.”
Luckily I know that my least favorite blogger has no way to enforce her beliefs upon every woman of childbearing age. Ladies who disagree with her can rest assured that they won’t be locked inside their homes with only a mop and bucket to pass the time. Nothing can force them to use their brains only for keeping their houses clean and their husbands happy. In this day and age females have nearly limitless options so never let anyone tell you otherwise!
“In an effort to preserve my sanity I have been using Facebook mostly for photos lately, but today I have to say something. What kind of message are we sending to the females in this country by putting a man on the Supreme Court who has been accused of inappropriate sexual conduct (at the very least) by multiple women? How many young girls are watching this unfold and deciding that they will never report sexual assault because of how Kavanaugh’s accuser was treated? How many young boys are realizing that they can get away with bad behavior because a judge on the highest court in the land was given a free pass and a guaranteed job for life? This is a step backwards for our country. Maybe several steps. It makes me sick.”
My 10/6/18 Facebook post
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that on October 6th Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate to fill a vacant seat on the Supreme Court. This was in spite of the fact that he had been accused of sexual assault by three different women, one of whom was brave enough to publicly identify herself and testify in front of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing after the judge’s nomination. For hours Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was grilled by Senators and prosecutors about the details of a night back in 1982 when she says a drunk Kavanaugh trapped her on a bed with his body, groped her, tried to undress her, and covered her mouth with his hand so she couldn’t scream for help. They were both high schoolers at the time. The two boys in the room laughed while a helpless Christine was terrified that she was going to be raped or accidentally asphyxiated. Very fortunately luck was on her side and she was able to escape the assault without more severe physical consequences, but not before she suffered deep emotional scars that would affect her for life.
A lot of people (mostly Republicans who were eager to get Kavanaugh’s position on the Supreme Court secured) dispute this accusation, especially since the event happened so long ago, but Dr. Ford took a polygraph in August and she was determined to be telling the truth. As a woman who has been taken advantage of by men, and who knows a number of ladies who have been raped, I believe sexual assault reports. Or at least take them very seriously until there is evidence to the contrary. In our patriarchal society males have a majority of the power and can get away with all sorts of nefarious deeds with minimal consequences. And sexual crimes are rarely prosecuted even if they are reported to the police in a timely manner. Even with physical proof gathered by a rape kit, or even eyewitnesses, it usually becomes a “he said, she said” situation where a rapist can lie and go free. All the while, the victim who was injured, both in body and soul, has every aspect their behavior during the assault, as well as their life in general, raked across the coals in order to discredit them. The deck is stacked against them from the start. I came across this comment on a blog post that disputes this ridiculous practice.
“When somebody says their car got stolen, nobody says ‘Well, let’s wait until we have all the facts’ or ‘Well, you really shouldn’t have parked it in a bad part of town or ‘You’re not just saying that because you wrapped it around a telephone pole while you were drunk, are you?’ But when a woman comes forward and says she got raped, she gets hit with ‘Did you scream?’, ‘What were you wearing?’, ‘Did you come on to him?, ‘Oh, come on now, he’s a pillar of the community, he wouldn’t do that!’, or ‘You’re not just saying that to get him in trouble, are you?’ Or, more likely, most of the above.”
-Blog comment from A Guide to Sexual Assault Claims for Bible Belt Evangelicals
And we still wonder why women don’t report sexual assault! Because more often than not, nothing happens to our assailants even when we do! This needs to change. We need to believe women when they tell someone they were raped or attacked. We need to take all accusations seriously even if they seem unlikely. We need to make sure that there is no backlash against the victims (unless they make a false report, of course). We need to ensure that adequate consequences for sexually aggressive behavior are levied on the men that use women against their will for their own selfish pleasure. This should not be a partisan issue. Everyone, both Republican and Democrat, should find rape repulsive and want it stopped. Unfortunately the behavior of certain groups makes me think otherwise. They would rather protect their “chosen one” rather than force him to admit that he acted like less than a gentleman when he was younger. Heaven forbid he have to take responsibility for his actions. And since the Senate disregarded Dr. Ford’s testimony and (narrowly) voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court he doesn’t have to. Tragic.
P.S. In situations such as this you’ll hear the phrase “innocent until proven guilty” a lot, especially by the deniers However, that concept only applies in criminal trials. Brett Kavanaugh’s wasn’t applying for a job at a fast food restaurant – he was nominated to fill a lifetime position on the highest court in the land. His personal life was as free to be scrutinized as his professional life.
A while back an article was brought to my attention about Mollie Tibbetts, a 20-year-old University of Iowa student who was murdered while out jogging over the summer. This wasn’t a straightforward, fact-based news story detailing the tragic death of a promising young woman, but an opinion piece by a judgemental “Christian” woman calling herself The Thinking Housewife who suggested that Mollie was at least partially responsible for her own death. Yep, she pointed an accusatory finger at the girl who was abducted, killed, and dumped in a corn field. Please tell me I’m not the only one who thinks this is ludicrous. The author of this blog post speculated that Mollie was a target for a man to murder simply due to her clothing choices and their effect on her attacker’s impressionable male brain. Here it is in her own words.
“Feminism is also to blame for her death. A society that says female modesty and restraint are oppressive does not protect young women from potential predators. No amount of feminist social engineering can change the facts of nature. A woman who jogs in skimpy clothes on country roads — or even in the city — is a serious temptation to a small criminal element. Jogging in revealing clothes – or even just jogging alone – is dangerous. Safety depends on modesty and restraint.”
The Reckless Female Jogger
This is blatant victim blaming. Heaven forbid some “ladies man” has to control not only his lustful thoughts, but his violent sexual tendencies in the presence of an attractive woman. From the news reports I’ve read, Mollie’s alleged murder got angry when she rejected his advances, and his response was to attack and kill her. First of all, females running outside (or inside, even) are not doing so for the benefit of onlookers! Believe it or not, we exercise for our own health and well-being and not as a pretense to beguile the opposite sex. Additionally, society has convinced men that they are entitled to the attention of any woman they want just for having a penis. We ladies are supposed to be flattered, bat our eyelashes, and thank our lucky stars when a member of the male species deems us worthy of their consideration. These are lessons that we all need to unlearn.
As you can see in the above photo, the members of my running group don’t wear anything remotely provocative. Some of the ladies are in great shape, but the rest of us aren’t quite so fit (including myself!). Still, even though I don’t look like a fitness model, I wear tight shorts or pants when I run (because if I didn’t I would have serious problems with chafing), and I wear fairly close-fitting shirts too (because otherwise the fabric would move against my skin and cause rashes in terrible places). No, I don’t run in short-shorts or an exposed sports bra, but my outfit still wouldn’t be considered “modest” enough for The Thinking Housewife. According to her, if some man approached me with ill intent it would be at least partially my fault for enticing him with my provocative clothing choices. How dare I wear an outfit that’s appropriate for my current activity! I have been on the receiving end of unwanted attention while running, and I’ve responded in the most rational way possible – I flipped the bird at those jerks. But I’ve been one of the lucky ones who hasn’t been physically assaulted – not because of my outfit, but because I was extremely fortunate. What a woman is wearing rarely has any impact on a man’s bad behavior, and implying otherwise does a disservice to both sexes.
“Not only do I still have twitchy legs sometimes during the day, but I’m so tired all the time. And some days I just can’t get out of bed at all. I can sleep all day, and it doesn’t feel like a choice I’m making. I just wake up in the afternoon/evening and feel depressed that I’ve lost yet another day to my poor health.”
8/10/18 webpage post
On Thursday I went back to the neurologist as a follow-up to my first appointment a little over a month ago. I’ve been taking gabapentin every night, in addition to the Requip, and that combination of drugs seems to be keeping my legs remarkably calm before I fall asleep at night. I haven’t had trouble with muscle spasms plaguing me after I get in bed, at least. (Unmedicated I’m still a huge mess. I dozed off on my couch the other evening and my legs immediately started twitching. It’s super frustrating.) It’s a major improvement over the situation I was dealing not that long ago, before I started taking any medication specifically for Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Unfortunately, I’m still feeling tired all the time so, while there has been definite progress, I’m not completely back to normal. When I told the doctor about my constant exhaustion he had a couple of thoughts. First of all, he theorized that the prescriptions I’ve been taking are meant for RLS, but might not be giving me the best results if I have Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD). This is what one previous doctor and the technician at my sleep study thought might be the root of my leg spasm problem. With that in mind the neurologist gave me an additional prescription for Klonopin to see if that helps me get some actual restful sleep at night. (Yep, that means I am now taking three different anti-seizure/convulsant drugs every day. Fun!) But if after a few weeks of this new protocol that doesn’t work, he suggested that I might have narcolepsy.
Narcolepsy is a condition that I knew very little about before Thursday. With my limited knowledge I thought it meant that sufferers had a tendency to simply doze off at the drop of a hat, but obviously it’s more complicated than that. From what I read, in addition to excessive daytime sleepiness (which I certainly have trouble with), narcoleptics experience abnormal REM sleep. The neurologist told me that in order to get a diagnosis I would need to do another sleep study where I would be allowed to fall asleep for several short periods of time to determine whether my brain goes through the proper progression into REM sleep. Narcolepsy apparently causes people to go directly into REM sleep without the usual hour and a half or so of NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep beforehand. While it sounds a little far-fetched, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this is the cause of at least some of my medical problems. I hate to admit it, but I doze off at work sometimes. Only for very short periods of time, but it happens. Especially in meetings, and especially if I haven’t had enough caffeine. Fortunately I don’t seem to have any of the other, scarier narcolepsy symptoms – like cataplexy (periodic loss of muscle function), hallucinations, or sleep paralysis. That also means that narcolepsy might not be the right answer. We’ll see. I have another appointment with the neurologist in six weeks to discuss a path forward. I have some hope that we are zeroing in on something.
On the plus side, I’ve been able to start reading again! I’ve always loved reading, and I used to look forward to immersing myself in a good book when I crawled into bed every night. It was the way I wound down and calmed my brain after a busy day. It usually made me drowsy too. But before my days of taking any RLS drugs I started getting twitchy legs when I was stationary for more than a short period of time – either lying in bed or sitting on the couch. This really put a damper in my reading habit. Books by my favorite authors that I was dying to read piled up in my Kindle app while I was desperately trying to avoid the muscle spasms that made me want to crawl out of my skin. But now that I’m fully medicated at night I can read for a while before falling asleep without worrying about leg craziness. It’s a miracle! Even though I haven’t yet reached the end of my road to recovery (or remission), I’m still so grateful to modern medicine for improving my quality of life. Maybe one day I’ll even feel normal again!