Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nuvigil Adventures Again

On Monday I went back to my neurologist, which I had been putting off. I wanted a break from having my medications tweaked this way and that, added and subtracted, and the resulting side effects. So I scheduled my appointment for as late as I could while still making it before my next move across the country, this time to be with my girlfriend. My doctor didn't particularly appreciate that, which I really can't blame him for. I come in doing the worst I have in the last year and a half, to announce that I'm leaving and no, can't come back in two weeks for him to mess with my medications some more. He's a good guy and it's obviously frustrating when he can't help me as much as he wants to.

I talked to him about my growing anxiety problem, and he said we could try a different antidepressant instead of Remeron, which isn't really designed to control anxiety, but that would come later. After the appointment I felt really dumb- or rather, really amused with myself, because the anxiety went away as soon as I walked out of there. Apparently I was anxious about the appointment, and thinking of it as an OMG Anxiety Problem!! just made it worse. This happens to me just infrequently enough that I forget to watch for it, lol. I'm going to keep an eye on it, but I suspect I'll have less issues once the move is complete and my quality of life is improved just by being with my girlfriend.

I also talked to my doctor about how exhausted I've been and the fact that I haven't been sleeping very well. I mean, my standards are pretty low, but dreaming for half the night with all this disturbing crap is really a bit much. We talked about Nuvigil again, and I decided to try a different sample pack instead of the one that gave me a gluten reaction. So I got that. He said we could try Adderal if I react to Nuvigil again, but he can't prescribe it across state lines so it would have to wait until the summer. And you know, that's fine with me.

So I started the Nuvigil again yesterday. So far the results are mixed. I had more energy yesterday and I didn't have a gluten reaction. I had a bad headache for awhile- not surprising as that's the main side effect people tend to have. It made me a little bit wonky. Like, I was kind of spaced out in a drugged sort of way. This is also something I tend to do when starting a new medication, so it's not a big deal. It might go away if I give it a chance. I was hopeful by the time I went to sleep.

Last night I was nauseated every time I took Xyrem, but it didn't keep me up. I slept very deeply for most of the night and only dreamed (comparatively) a little in the last third of the night.

I had moved into this dorm/office- complete with both desks and bunkbeds- and I was unsure as to how I'd ended up there in the first place. I had gone to visit someone there, maybe, and had somehow ended up working there and getting my own bunk. I didn't mind so much; it was an interesting place and the other people there were also students at the art institute. Our group's job was to work on this magazine. Everyone was really nice and it seemed fun, but it took me awhile to figure out what I was supposed to be doing. There were clues everywhere, right in front of my face, but I can be pretty slow sometimes. The magazine was called Freism, complete with this fancy logo, and I have no idea what it was about exactly. There were seven people assigned to work on it each year, and I had been hired because the seventh person had stopped showing up. There was a heirarchy, which I eventually figured out because it was posted on the wall, with the rankings as chess pieces. My job was to draw anything they needed for the magazine. I don't think any of us were getting paid, or else it just wasn't important. It seemed to be a volunteer position. The office was pretty cool. The bunkbeds were brightly colored like they were for kids, and there was art everywhere, hanging on walls and piled on the desks, which were arranged near each other so we could socialize while working. It was all very laid back and I didn't do much of anything other than chat with people and make up a new story. The story was about an angel and one of my characters that usually represents me falling in love with him. I don't really remember it now, except that I had wings too. I was telling the people in the office about it while we sat next to the giant wall of windows on one side that looked out on this huge and awesome oak tree. And after that, the second in command guy wanted me to draw something to show what I could do. All I had was this gigantic black marker and he wanted me to draw a machine that would convert moon rocks into gold coins, so I did. It wasn't too bad even though I kept messing up, lol.

I woke up really nauseated. It was after ten before I braved breakfast, which turned out okay because I needed to take my dog to the vet to get a health certificate for our flight and his appointment was at lunchtime. I took Nuvigil again after breakfast. The nausea went away but now my stomach is unhappy. I'm also still feeling really spaced out. I'm a little bit suspicious because it could be brain fog, which is a symptom of a gluten reaction, but I can't be sure yet. Luckily everything is pretty much arranged for our flight, so the ability to think isn't too important for a few days. So basically I'm still on the fence on this one. I need to see what happens tomorrow. If there is a tiny amount of gluten I'll start to react more and more if I keep taking it, so I'll know about it pretty soon. If not I'll have to see if the spaciness goes away, and decide about the headaches. We'll see.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Who the Heck Knows

So tomorrow will be interesting. I'm going back to my neurologist after a couple of months of lack of communication. I'm not sure that he'll be happy to hear about how I'm doing at this point. Mainly I have even less energy than the last time I talked to him, but over the past month I've also been getting steadily more anxious and even a little depressed again. This makes me annoyed (and will probably also annoy my doctor) because I haven't changed anything. Okay, so I tried raising the Xyrem by the smallest possible increment briefly about a month ago when I was desperate for a couple of nights of sleep, but it didn't work- the side effects came back and I lowered it right back down to where it's been for probably the last six months. My Remeron is the same. I never experimented with Ritalin again (like he wanted me to) because it made me depressed that one day I tried it and I don't mess around with depression. My life has improved drastically since the last time I saw him now that I'm not stressed out trying to take four hour classes all the time, plus of course no longer being single and lonely helps. But I'm still more exhausted than ever, dreaming more than I had since I started Xyrem and on top of that have mood issues coming back for no apparent reason. Story of my life.

I'm not sure what he'll want my to do this time, if anything, because I've tried most things at this point. I suppose I could try harder at the stimulants. We'll see. It's just frustrating to be the bearer of bad news.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Art College Dorm Friends

More dreams. This time apparently more convincing. o.O

I was just moving in to this house to live with a group of other students from my art college, only they were all people I didn't know. We were exploring the small house, unpacking our things and joking around. Everyone seemed pretty nice. There were at least six of us, pretty much evenly divided between male and female though the numbers changed a little throughout the dream. A couple of people cooked dinner and made it gluten-free for me, which went fine. It was spaghetti and meatballs. We ate it while we watched this really dumb movie and people were making plans to go to another movie after dinner. It was getting late and I wasn't sure I should go, since I was exhausted and getting sleepy. I finished my dinner and looked around at everyone else, seated at two tables in our living room, which had no other furniture. I spotted one of the people who had cooked it. She looked a lot like one of my high school friends, even though she was supposedly a different person. She had seemed really nice so I thought I should get her attention (she was sitting at the other table) so maybe we could talk instead of going to the movie. As I watched, she started falling asleep sitting there, and I was interested to know if she had Narcolepsy too. I finally managed to signal her and so after dinner when everyone left, we ended up sitting in one of the bedrooms, talking. I kept trying to start my explanation of Narcolepsy because I really wanted to know if she had it, but she kept taking the conversation in some other direction every time I had an opportunity. Like, she asked me if I drank and I told her no, I can't because of my medication. But then she completely changed the subject to her stories and characters, which was really cool because we had that in common, so I gave up and figured I'd just end up explaining it all later. We were sitting on the floor, leaning over this sheet of notebook paper on which she had written the names of places in a world she had invented, and I was trying to pronounce them. I was happy because I had a new friend. And then I suddenly found myself in my bed, awake. I was really confused because I had been so positive I had actually been talking to this new friend. It took me a moment to figure out it was a dream.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Department Store Dog Whisperer

I had an interesting dream last night. I was with my mom at some department store in the changing rooms and I had my dog with me, only he was about half the size he actually is (therefore, tiny). I kept losing him in all the stalls. Luckily no one else was in there so I could go wherever I needed to to find him. When I did find him, we got in the car and drove over to my grandparents' house. My grandmother was there with this half-some-kind-of-terrier, half-dachshund that she had just gotten. He was way over-excited and pulling her down the street and when I tried to make suggestions she would brush them off. She needed to go somewhere, so my mom and I agreed to dogsit.

Then somehow we were in this fancy RV with nice furniture and everything, and we had my dog inside and my grandma's outside because he was going kind of crazy. I started to complain to my mom about owners who don't get their dogs enough exercise, and eventually decided to go see if I could tire out the crazy dog and calm him down.

It was so totally right out of Dog Whisperer, lol. I came outside all calmly and slowly claimed the entire yard while the dog went from barking at me and freaking out to calming down. Eventually I got him to sit, which was hard because he hadn't learned the command yet. And then I brought him outside. My tiny dog was sound asleep on the couch, and I was grateful because he's usually terrified of dogs. He didn't even twitch as I put the terrier mix on the couch, where he fell asleep right away. I watched them awhile and wondered if I was going to be able to control him in front of my grandmother since she belonged to him, and was contemplating how he did look a bit like a dachshund when he was asleep, when I woke up. Man it would be cool to have those mad skills in real life, hahaha.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

More Creepy Nonsense

Last night was kind of nuts. Then again, I've been getting more or less the same amount of nonsense every night this week.

I'll start out with my first of three doses of Xyrem. I'll fall asleep, not dream a damn thing and then wake up to my alarm for dose number two. Then I'll fall asleep again, only this time I'll dream something I don't recall much of later so that it seems like I did still get some actual sleep during this chunk of time, even if I dreamed a little. Then I usually wake up pretty confused to find that my alarm went off half an hour ago and I didn't hear a thing. Then it's down with dose number three, and that's when the nonsense happens. Every night this week it's been crazy, visual, complicated dreams that I'm positive at the time are real. They're part cool, part interesting, and usually part disturbing or creepy. Last night was no exception.

I only remember the very end now, but I know there was a lot more before it. I was sitting at a table with my high school history teacher, coloring something with crayons while we watched DVDs on this old television. The room was very plain and kind of dark. We watched something I liked first, but then it turned into this educational thing about dead bodies. It got stuck on the menu with all these pictures of corpses, and the music was really creepy. Everything kept repeating and I was trying to not look at it, but I couldn't tell my history teacher about my rotting things phobia because I was embarrassed. Eventually she took it out and then we were watching a documentary about the history of Middle Earth (This isn't too surprising as I'm a huge Lord of the Rings fan, and have read everything Tolkien wrote multiple times). Most of it was from The Silmarillion, and then my dreams began to twist the stories into new stories, and insert my original characters into them. It was pretty epic and detailed and visually intense. It reached the end of a tale in which everyone died, and suddenly I woke up and realized it had been a dream. That's cool, I thought, as I sat up in my old bedroom- the one in the house we moved out of almost two years ago. I was on my bed, trying to shake off the remains of the dream, and I realized my girlfriend was sitting on the edge of the bed, talking to my mom who was sitting on the floor. My dog came over and licked my hand and I was startled to see that he had shrunk. He was suddenly small enough that I could pick him up with one hand. I think I asked my girlfriend about it, and she acted like it was normal for dogs to shrink randomly, so I figured it was no big deal. Meanwhile, the two white yorkies from my last dream were running around and yapping.

At that point I realized my mouth really hurt. I touched it with my finger and there was blood on it. I realized I had left my nightguard (I don't have one in real life, I just know people that do) on and for some reason this explained the blood. I pulled it out, but it was stuck on my teeth, and my mouth started bleeding more and more. I discovered a lot of black string was also caught in my teeth, but pulling it out just caused more pain and bleeding. I started to panic and ran into the tiny bathroom attached to my room, where I had to hunch over uncomfortably to look in the mirror, because for some reason the ceiling was slanted and low. I looked in the mirror and saw blood dripping out of my mouth, the nightguard half in and black string stuck all in my teeth. I started trying to get them out gently, and to rinse my mouth with some water. The sink was filthy and disgusting, covered in this slimy, leftover food. I was so frightened by my loss of blood that I stood there trying to rinse out my mouth anyway.

And then I actually woke up. It was really hard to shake off the dream. I went into the bathroom, straightaway, just to make sure I wasn't bleeding. Of course everything was fine, but sometimes you just have to check. I slapped my face with cold water and felt a little bit more in the here and now. It wasn't until I had some caffeine with breakfast before I really felt like part of reality.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fort Hotel Dog Drama

Last night I was freaking out about travel and dog drama to my girlfriend, so how my dreams turned out really didn't surprise me.

I was on a trip with my two college roommates (one of them being the girlfriend I'm always gushing over) and our hotel was basically a bunch of forts made out of sheets and clothespins over chairs and tables in this giant mall food court, complete with escalators, food (gluteny poisonous food) and random shopping. It was seriously random. I had woken up late and we were supposed to go on some tour of somewhere, and I was rushing trying to get ready, but I was so exhausted I could hardly move and I couldn't find any clothes besides my pajamas. I asked my non-girlfriend roommate if she had seen my stuff anywhere, but she hadn't, and she was busy sewing a quilt so she couldn't help me. My girlfriend had run off somewhere and I had no idea when she would get back, and I was kind of worried she wouldn't get back in time for us to leave.

Then I was at this really frilly, fancy house in the guest room, and the person I was apparently staying with had two little white yorkies. They were quite well behaved even though they had a lot of energy, and I was trying to get my dog to relax around them. Of course he was completely traumatized and scared and he kept hiding behind the frilly white curtains or under the poofy pink bed. I ended up telling the yorkies to calm down and just sit next to him, and eventually he showed signs of getting over it.

Suddenly I was at this stadium, and the three dogs were on leash. I was trying to get us through all these crowds of people headed for their seats, and I was with this really big extended family with a ton of kids, so we had to move slowly. My dog was done freaking out, and now I was trying to get him to stop yanking the leash around while also keeping the yorkies in check, and trying to hold a conversation with various family members in Spanish. As we walked, we passed a bunch of small but deep pools of very clear water just randomly in holes in the sidewalk. My dog jumped in and started swimming, and I was all excited because he was having a really good time. Eventually we got near our seats and I asked the family to hold the dogs for me while I ran into the bathroom, because I knew I would need to go before whatever we were going to watch started. There was a lot of confusion around the dogs because I didn't remember that much Spanish and we were still sorting it out when I woke up.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Suicide Party Mansion Exploring

Last night I was at this reunion of sorts in a dark, dingy house. A lot of my middle school friends who I hadn't seen in a really long time were there. The party eventually turned into a sleepover, and I kept trying to catch up with people but I was constantly falling asleep and having trouble participating. At one point, one of the people at the sleepover shot himself and committed suicide, and it was really disturbing. There was blood everywhere. Everyone was shocked and scared. We started looking through his backpack, trying to figure out why he had done it.

Then the setting changed from this dingy house to my grandparents' backyard, where the party was still going on only now it was a roleplay game involving my cousins. We each had a different anime character we were supposed to be portraying, but it was difficult because I didn't really get who I was supposed to be. My cousin had made up his own character, and everyone was making fun of him because he was being all emo. It was pretty funny actually. I decided to follow him around instead of trying to be part of the game anymore, because we hadn't talked in awhile. So we ended up walking around this pretty fantastical yard, with waterfalls and rocks to climb on and secret passages between all these fences. It turned into us avoiding the other people, and then we went inside the house, which turned out to actually be my house.

Apparently when my parents moved, they had moved to this mansion. Like, literally. The place was insanely huge and had endlesss staircases and hallways. My cousin wanted to show me this extra suite of rooms he had discovered that had a balcony outside, down this back staircase that was carpeted. It was funny because the inside of the mansion looked exactly like my real house, it just had like ten times more rooms. I was thinking about how crazy my parents had been to move the three of us into a mansion that could easily house about fifty people, and my cousin explained that he knew someone who was talking to my parents about turning half of the house into a hotel. Oh, I thought, that makes sense. Anyway, we explored for awhile, finding a huge living room full of fancy old world furniture, a patio with a koi pond just outside, and a large cafeteria full of people eating lunch. I then got this awesome idea to move my room into one of the more secluded parts of the house, and to see if I could move in next to a patio with backyard access because I figured my dog would like that. Then I woke up, amused.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Moving Halfway Across the Country Again

Alright, so I've totally been neglecting this blog lately. The main reason is that my life is once again rearranging itself. Definitely in a good way. My girlfriend got home fine, but we both started pining pretty badly the second she had to leave, which led to planning a trip for me to visit her, which then turned into me taking my dog and moving up north for the winter until she finishes getting certified and can move down here. Yes, me moving up north. For the winter. XD

I spent three years of college up in Minnesota, and being a native Texan it made a pretty big impression on me. At first it was pretty frightening, as winter came in November (instead of maybe pretending to show up in January) and the temperature dropped from "chilly" (65) to "freezing" (45), then bypassed "#$%@ing cold" (20) and kept right on dropping until it was hitting those pesky negative numbers that my poor Texan self had never even heard of before. Every one of those three winters had me wondering, around April when you'd think some hint of spring would have shown itself already and instead the ice and snow was barely even thinking of starting to melt, what the hell am I doing here??

It was hard. Having grown up with school canceled if the temperature hit freezing (like once every five years lol), walking to class buried in layer upon layer of clothing and still feeling like my face was going to fall off in the negative degree windchill was not fun. After awhile I did get used to some things: I learned to appreciate snow and layering, and I loved walking outside to see a world worthy of Christmas postcards every day. I started to refer to 50 degrees as "nice", especially in the spring, and there was something amazing in the total silence and stillness in a frozen landscape. That said, a winter in the Midwest still daunts me. I'll be somewhere slightly warmer (in theory) than where I was. I also have the accumulated knowledge of my three years behind me, if I turn out to have retained it, that is. But it's going to be worth it to be with my girlfriend.

It should work out well, because it means we can start our exchange of life skills that will make both of our lives better: she cooks, and I keep her life organized and clean. That sounds like an awesome deal to me, because I'll do anything to not have to cook (which she really enjoys, the crazy person), and she could really use some help with organization, the one thing I'm really good at besides drawing. She constantly loses things, the poor girl. Anyway, I'm pretty psyched. And it'll mean not having to drive anymore, thank god, because she'll do the driving when we need to go somewhere. That by itself is worth moving halfway across the country.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thank God For My Girl... And The Caffeine

I had an amazing visit with my girlfriend this weekend. It was fantastic to see her and we had a great time. She's the only person who has ever really understood me and been okay with my limitations and challenges. We spent a lot of time curled up on the couch, watching movies, because I'm so tired. We did take my dog to the park one day, which totally flattened me for that day and the next, but she was very helpful and loving and understanding about my lack of energy. This is especially impressive because of the fact that she's high energy by anyone's standards.

On Sunday we went to the nearest bookstore. I sat down in the cafe with my caffeine fix and read dog magazines while she ran around looking at books. She came back every so often to check up on me, and it kept us both entertained without draining me. I think once she moves here (a torturous six months from now) we'll do that more often.

Of course she had to go home though, and it hit me pretty hard. As soon as she left this morning I hit the couch and turned on the tv to keep my mind off of it. I already miss her a lot. I probably would have just spent all day pining if I hadn't figured out I was feeling depressed. Instead caffeine saved me again and I'm feeling much better. Talking to her when she gets home will also help. I'm shocked and amazed when I think about how lucky I am to have someone who cares so much.

Not to mention she's a really good cook. I got leftovers for lunch. :D

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

School and Dogs

I survived another day of class and driving, and went ahead and filled out the form to withdraw from the school. My photography instructor, who is also my head of department (or Head of House, as I like to think of it, haha) knows I'm leaving because of my health and he brought me the form and explained that he'll turn it in and I don't really have to do anything else. I really really appreciated it, because now it's taken care of and when my class ends I'm done. He said he's sorry to see me go, and I am too. I've really had fun with this animation stuff, and I still think it would be the career for me if I could hold down a job.

I decided today that I will try to go back in the fall. I'm moving out of my parents' house and into an apartment with my girlfriend this summer, and so that gives me three quarters to recover and move and possibly feel better. If fall comes around again and I'm still too tired to do much I won't start again, but if I feel up to it I would like to. It's been really fun, as much as I've complained occasionally. XD

In other news, my girlfriend fell in love with a dog. I had a lot of worries at first which we've gone through and discussed, but let's face it, one look at pictures of this dog's face and I was sold. XD Seriously though, we had agreed on adding a second dog to our family of two humans, two ridiculously adorable cats and a fluffy dachshund, we just weren't originally thinking of adding the second dog for a couple of years. We all know how that goes, though, lol. We're both suckers and animal people, so it really was inevitable. I'm excited. He does sound perfect, and I figure, if I managed to train my dog I'm really not worried about a more mild-mannered one. So life is good, and my girlfriend is coming to visit tomorrow, so my guess is that it'll be next week before I post again. YAY.

Middle School Stress Out

Most of my dream was about middle school. It was actually some sort of weird combination of my actual middle school experience and the art college I'm about to stop attending. I had five normal subjects, plus a homeroom class that was apparently a fashion class that was preparing us to be models (probably because I was watching America's Next Top Model the other day). I was sitting in my various classes, trying to figure out how many classes I could drop because I was really overwhelmed, but the year was really close to over so it was hard to decide- I didn't want to take algebra again later, and in English there was just one project left and I thought it was going to be fun- an essay about your imaginary friends and a self portrait (hahaha). Basically I had way too much to do but there was no good way to slow down. I hated homeroom because it was really hard for me- I had to conjure various weird fashion clothing out of thin air and onto myself, plus find makeup and glitter and jewelry that matched to have on my face, and all in front of the class. I thought my costume that day wasn't too bad, but I wasn't very happy with it and thought the class was pretty pointless. Oh yeah, and it was full of people from my art college, haha. I was pretty sad thinking about leaving and not getting to see them anymore, which obviously has a basis in real life.

After struggling to find a way to drop things while also trying to concentrate in math and English, it was finally lunchtime. I grabbed my stuff and followed one of my real middle school friends into the bathroom. I was tired and hungry and really wanted lunch, so of course everything started to go wrong. First, this guy from my elementary school ran into my friend and knocked her over while we were putting all of our stuff down on the floor (we each had about five different bags, and one of mine was a koala backpack for some reason o.O). My friend started crying and I ran over and hugged her, and it took her awhile to calm down. Meanwhile, the entire bathroom got really busy, and then there kept being things wrong with the toilets (as always happens to me when I dream about bathrooms). It took us what seemed like forever to get to our usual lunch spot, which was apparently in the school's carpeted ballroom (because that makes sense). Our other friends were there- high school friends this time- and it turned out to be after school and we were waiting for calls from our parents. I pulled all of my homework out, still trying to figure out how I was going to survive until the end of the semester. Another one of my friends was really grumpy because she'd gotten a B on something, which is funny because it's so her, and the friend who had gotten knocked down was just really quiet and unhappy. Pretty soon I realized I should start packing up to take all of my stuff home, still no closer to figuring out what I was going to do about having too many classes.

I started shoving things into my massive backpack, and as I did more things would form on the floor, so that there was always one more pencil, or folder, or sheet of paper to stow away. After awhile the items got sillier- tiny stubby pencils, or a fistful of rubberbands, or marti gras necklaces in Christmas colors. I woke up while I was still packing.

I feel like there was another dream in the middle of all of that in which my girlfriend and her new dog were at my grandparents' house, trying to introduce him to my dog, only I drifted off and had a dream about a house in a puzzle I'm working on. But I don't remember anything else about that.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Good Decisions

Well, my latest attempt to raise my Xyrem dose has (not surprisingly) backfired. I only raised it one little increment on one of the three doses, and it did help me sleep for about a week. But then I got my usual side effects back- anxiety and lack of appetite- and had to lower it again. It's made me uptight and tense, so it was a relief to wake up this morning feeling a little bit back to normal. I'm pretty cheerful today.

I'm so glad that I went ahead and dropped two of my classes. I've had a chance to rest and after a couple of weeks of falling behind I'm actually ahead in my one remaining class. I'm also no longer finding it hard to keep things clean, I have the energy to make myself food again and I haven't missed a single walk with my dog. Since regaining the energy to take care of my daily life was the point of dropping classes, I think it's been worth it.

At the same time, as I get ready to leave the school, I've been a little sad about it. I've had a good time there and learned a lot of very useful information. Part of me does want to finish this degree, but I know it doesn't make sense practically. Last March, I was taking four intense classes- two of them with the hardest drawing instructor in the school- and easily taking the stairs up to the fifth floor almost every day. Yesterday I went to school to sort through some photos and print some things out. I was there for maybe two hours- more like one and a half- and I needed a nap by the end. One of the elevators was broken, so it was a long wait for the other one. I took the stairs up to the fifth floor for the first time in months. It took all that I had- I leaned heavily on the handrail and went very slowly. It really impressed on me how much worse I've gotten, and I have no way of knowing when I'm going to get feeling better. That's why I need to leave the school, because I just don't have the energy anymore.

I wish I could say for sure that I'll be coming back. But the reality is that it could be years before I'm really able to, and by then life might have taken me somewhere else. Or it could be just one quarter that I'm gone, who knows. We'll just have to see.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Anger Management

I don't look particularly threatening. I mean, I'm a short and skinny person who looks about 14 despite being about ten years older, who has a fondness for animated movies and likes to belt out Backstreet Boys lyrics while driving along in her car. I have a nice collection of stuffed animals for God's sake, and the silliest looking little dog ever. I've been described as cute in multiple languages, and adorable, and people I don't know are constantly asking me what grade I'm in.

So you would think I would be more or less harmless, but that just means you haven't seen me when I get angry.

It doesn't happen very often. Most of the time I take things in stride, or else get upset rather than angry. The result of this, though, is that it slowly builds up, so that when I do explode I don't see it coming. It seriously seems to me, after the fact, that it comes up suddenly out of nowhere and the anger just takes over. I start shouting and throwing things, and storming around and kicking the furniture. It's a little frightening for me because I'm used to being in control of myself, avoiding any and all conflict by just not saying anything, but then I turn into this total monster for a good five minutes every couple of months.

Most of the time it doesn't effect anyone else. I keep it hidden, try to contain it, to get out later when I'm alone and can throw my sandals at the dresser or rip pieces of paper into tiny shreds. But two days ago I was talking to my girlfriend on the phone when it happened, and I lost control of myself again. I think it flared up around her because we're so close, and I feel safe around her almost like I'm alone, if that makes sense. I'm very, very lucky that she didn't dump me then and there. There is no excuse for my behavior. Plenty of reasons, but none of them justify the hurt I inflicted with my outburst. Part of it was definitely related to frustration with my parents at the moment. Part of it was probably being hungry, or exhausted, or the fact that my dad came home early without warning that day, interrupting my peace and quiet. It had to do with my girlfriend recounting her bad day, and me being upset that her day was bad too. But whatever the reasons for it, it was wrong and I hurt the person I love the most.

I've always made excuses for it, because I do have a lot of good reasons to be angry, not the least of which is having a misunderstood medical condition that makes me look like an idiot a lot of the time. I've had shouting matches with my parents before that hurt everyone involved, so it isn't a new issue. But now is the time to find a better outlet, or at least gain enough control over my emotions to not hurt someone else. For one thing, I'm planning on figuring out how to spot the buildup before the explosion- that way I give myself time to get away from anyone else before I let it all out. I also need to find a way to let it out more frequently in smaller amounts, because I think that would make my life better anyway- tucking it all away can't be good for me. I'm glad, to a certain extent, that something happened to bring the whole thing into perspective, even though it sucked. Now at least I can work on it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lunchbox Cult

I had a pretty disturbing dream last night. It was basically about me joining a cult. I don't really remember how it started; I think it was my girlfriend who took me to this meeting in a high school classroom where this really charismatic cult leader guy was trying to recruit people. We were really late, so I didn't get most of what they were talking about, but I figured it was probably all fake anyway. We ended up staying after a few minutes to talk to the leader guy, who I thought at the time was pretty sketchy. It was a little bit weird.

We went home and I was talking to my girlfriend on the phone (apparently we lived in seperate places) when I got a call from the cult leader, inviting me to a meeting at the high school late that night. This time I went without my girlfriend.

We were all sitting in a classroom, crammed into high school desks, with the leader writing diagrams on the blackboard. At first I thought the whole thing was pretty weird, but then we all got these gift bags with really random stuff in them that apparently had to do with the cult, like robes we were supposed to wear and a complicated set of lunchboxes with compartments for everything. I thought this was really cool, apparently, and decided to at least give the cult a chance (you know me, easily swayed by... fancy lunchboxes? XD).

Then he went on to talk about the various beliefs the cult had, including this method of talking to spirits and ghosts, which it turned out I was really good at. The information all seemed to be disjointed and not make any sense, but somehow I understood it and I was thoroughly convinced. By the end of the meeting I was feeling really weird- really happy, but kind of drugged, and I couldn't for the life of me remember if he had given us anything to eat or drink. I was having trouble understanding a survey one of the higher up people was trying to give me about the meeting. I paid seven dollars to join the cult, in cash, in the form of a $4 bill, a $2 bill and a $1 bill. Then I woke up, vaguely disturbed. o.O

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Interesting Stairs House

Last night I had a dream about an interesting house, and it was funny because it relates completely to stuff I've been thinking about.

It started out that I was at this tiny theater to watch a musical that one of my close friends (who I needed to email in real life) was directing. I sat down and it started, with a couple of characters emerging suddenly from behind a tree that had at first looked like it was painted onto the background. I thought this was really clever, but then the play turned out to be pretty bad, and most of the audience left. I ended up talking to my friend instead and telling her everything I had planned to email her about.

Then the dream changed and I was walking around this massive house with my dad. He was helping me apartment hunt so I could have some good options to show my girlfriend when she came to visit. The place had a lot of stairs, which I had reservations about, but it was pretty cool all the same. You entered the front doors, which were massive, dark carved wooden double doors, and there was a small entry room with a closet and a flight of stairs going up, with a beautiful carved wooden banister and aged but gleaming wooden steps. Up those stairs was a small sitting room, like a miniature living room, with more stairs going up. On the next landing there were two hallways going left and right. One hallway had the master bedroom and no less than four other bedrooms, obviously intended for kids by the paint colors, all off the hallway and right next to each other, sharing one bathroom. I thought at the time that this setup was pretty weird, with the parents and kids right on top of each other. This floor was carpeted in a soft blue-green carpet.

Down the other hallway was a tiny office space and a closed door. When I opened this door, I found myself looking into a massively gigantic room. It was carpeted like the bedrooms and looked identical, except that it was multiple thousand square feet by itself. The ceiling was pretty standard height but the room continued on so far that it was difficult to make out the opposite wall. I remember wondering what on earth you would use a room that big for.

Back on the landing, I went up another flight of stairs to find a couple more office-like spaces, with wood floors this time. Up more stairs took me to the top floor of the house. It was massive. There was a huge kitchen behind metal doors, looking like it belonged in a restaurant with steel countertops and huge amounts of workspace, plus a big walk-in freezer. Next to the kitchen was a small area with a few tables next to the stairs. Through another door was a massive room like the interior of a restaurant, with tons of tables set with napkins, silverware, candles and even menus. Beyond that I could see an empty area like a ballroom. The carpet up here was a rich shade of red and the whole place looked pretty classy.

I followed my dad back down to the front door, exhausted from climbing the stairs and seriously wondering why I was considering this house. I really liked it and thought it was cool, though I was trying to figure out what on earth we were going to use the restaurant and random huge room for. Plus I knew I didn't want a kitchen upstairs from my bedroom like in my parents' house. I resolved to discuss it with my girlfriend and then suddenly woke up, really amused.

I'm already feeling physically better and I only just dropped classes yesterday, so I'm sure now that I did the right thing. Plus my parents have agreed, more or less, to give me space on the health stuff. We'll see how long that lasts.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Today I went up to my school and dropped two of my three classes. I was stressed out all morning, dreading it. It was pretty quick and easy, but I still feel really guilty about it for some reason.

It's not that I think I'm not doing the right thing. I already feel a lot less stressed out knowing that I just have one class to keep up with now. It really was too much and there's no doubt about that. It's just hard for me to let go sometimes, especially when I'm doing well in a class despite everything. Plus I'm a little worried I'm going to get crap for it or something, which is silly because I do have the best reasons ever.

I still have to sort out not coming back next quarter, but fortunately it turns out I can do it any time between now and the end of the quarter. That gives me a little bit more time to recover before I tackle the next hurdle.

I have been talking to my parents about it, and they reacted more or less exactly how I predicted, with my mom freaking out and resistant at first, but then getting it after a lot of explanation, and my dad taking it in stride. My parental drama now has to do with how worried they are about the state of my health.

It's not surprising. I mean, they really care about me and sincerely want me to feel better, and I do appreciate that- a lot. But it can be stifling- they want to direct everything, and get more involved than I really want them to be. Part of it probably comes from living with them still. Right now I'm just trying to get myself a little bit of space, and do some recovering before I go back to my neurologist. My parents wanted me to make an appointment as soon as possible, but I think that's rushing things. I want to see what effect, if any, not having classes to get to and get through and stress out about has on my health first. I really think I'll get feeling better in the next couple of weeks without doctor intervention. Also, I need my slightly raised Xyrem dose to settle out so I can tell if it helps or my side effects come back. Basically they want to rush over there and start interrogating my doctor about how we're going to fix me, and I just want to coast along and see how I feel. I think my parents still have this idea of a healthy me that may never actually happen. I have Narcolepsy, and I know that I may always have this interfering with my life. I'm okay with that at this point- I'm beginning to accept the idea of making the most of the situation instead of trying to live as if I don't have a chronic condition. I think my parents aren't quite there yet.

I'm really really grateful for their support and how much they care. But I'm also glad that my girlfriend agrees with me and supports my view of the situation. I might have mentioned that I have the best person in the universe as my girlfriend, so it's thoroughly unfair to compare my parents to her. It does mean that in the future life will most likely involve less freaking out, at least about this stuff, which is something I'm very happy about.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Forest Exploring Ceremony

I had the coolest dream last night. It was set at my grandparents' house- I was there with two of my cousins and we were younger- maybe 13 or 14. The backyard was this vast forest that was dark and dense and generally awesome. It was filled with hundreds of twisty, fantastical trees that looked like they belonged in Disney's Tarzan. It was cool and wet and the forest floor was mostly mud and moss.

I was inside, getting ready for an expedition into the forest. My mission was to hunt for these glowing rocks and when I found one, to leave a token of some kind there. You could see the glow from a certain distance, so it was going to take a lot of walking. The whole thing was some sort of coming of age ceremony, and I had an elaborate costume made out of sticks, leaves and mud. I went into the kitchen (which actually looked like the kitchen at my old house) and was searching around for provisions to take with me. My expedition was going to take me all day and I needed to have enough food. I found a box of gluten-free granola bars in a cabinet and thought that would be perfect. Then I found an instant breakfast sandwich wrapped in foil- the box said it was self-cooking, you just put the foil in the sun and it would be ready to eat. That sounds perfect, I thought. I packed that in my small backpack. Just then, my grandmother called me and my cousins into another room. I don't remember what it was exactly but one of my cousins had done something against the rules. I was exasperated because I was ready to leave and go on my fun adventure and I didn't want such a pointless distraction.

I feel like there were a couple more delays before I actually got out there, but I had just started to explore (now with a couple of other cousins) when I woke up.

Well, at least the extra Xyrem is improving my dreams, even if I'm still not getting enough deep sleep.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Going Domestic

It's finally time to reveal my latest life plan. To be honest, it surprises me a bit. But then again, life is surprising and it likes to change your path in ways you never expected. I suppose that's something I've been learning through my last eight attempts at planning the future, lol.

As you know if you've been reading about my life for some reason, my Narcolepsy has been really kicking my ass lately. For over a year I've been working on an Animation degree at the local art institute, but as my energy level has been plummeting the last couple of months I've been rethinking things. I dropped from four classes to three two quarters ago out of necessity and now I'm struggling to stay afloat with just the three (and they're easier). When I started this degree (my second bachelor's) a year ago, my intention was to use it to get a full time studio job because the field of animation is just such a good fit for me personality-wise. If I were going to work full time, that would be the job for me. And I've really enjoyed my classes, don't get me wrong. It's been a blast and I've learned a ton about a lot of art-related fields, as well as some useful practical skills. But things have changed. I've gone downhill far enough to really put full time work out of reach. For awhile I just assumed I would switch to trying to work part time eventually, but right now that, too, has become unrealistic. So there goes the main reason I was pursuing another degree.

Meanwhile, I'm starting to realize that taking these classes has begun to interfere with taking care of myself. While I'm still enjoying them, I've been really stressed out because I'm barely keeping up with the work. Having a class on a day tends to kill it- by the time I drive over there, try to concentrate for four hours and drive home, that's my entire day's worth of energy gone. I'm finding it difficult to keep things clean around the house or cook something other than a frozen dinner on those days. Most of my class days- three days a week- my dog doesn't get his second walk. And basically I'm tired of skimping on the important dog and health aspects of my life in order to finish an extra degree.

But there is the really good addition to my life right now, namely the fact that I'm dating my best friend in the world, who actually gets all of this stuff. We're planning to move in together over the summer, and her take on the situation was that as she's going to be busy and full-time employed with a steady job that's likely to always be in demand, she can support me financially. I could take care of the animals and the apartment and help her to stay organized (which she desperately needs help with), and run the errands and work on my art, and that will be my full-time job. I think this idea is brilliant because for once I feel like it's something I could actually physically manage, even with Narcolepsy breathing down my neck. It also aligns more closely with my own personal values than any hypothetical careers I've tried to come up with in the past. Taking care of her and our environment and pets sounds wonderful to me. And you know, if I start feeling better I can always add more. If my art becomes something good I could pursue that, maybe even make some money on the side, but I wouldn't be in the predicament of needing to produce it fast enough to support myself. Also, I can be on her health insurance, which solves that looming problem.

I'm anticipating some resistance from the parents on this latest occupation idea, however. I tried to feel my mom out on the idea of not finishing my Animation degree, and she has the opinion that if I'm not in school or working this means I'm going to be bored or unhappy. Now, this makes sense, because that's how she would feel without school or a job, which is why she's worked right through periods of her own bad health. But I think I'll be fine. I'm pretty zen. I can slow down and actually be happier that way.

I think my dad will be resistant just because he really likes making money, has a ton of energy, and has trouble seeing things from other points of view. I had a really good conversation with him last week about how my health is right now, so I'm hopeful he'll understand that aspect of it. But he's always had this image of successful career-woman me in his head that I've been bumping up against my entire life.

What I think is interesting about this situation is that if I had a serious boyfriend instead of a serious girlfriend no one would so much as blink- this is Texas after all. And if it was fifty years ago this novel, out-there idea of being my spouse's housewife would have been a given. But it is here and it is now, and this will be interesting.

Old House Exploration Sleepover

Yesterday I got fed up with not sleeping very well and raised my first dose of Xyrem slightly, hoping that even if my stomach rebelled I would at least get more sleep for a few days. I did sleep better and had a couple really interesting dreams.

It started out that it was dark outside and I decided to take my dog out into the yard to use the bathroom before going to bed. I put his leash on for some reason and opened the door, and found myself in this fanastical Japanese garden. It was really cool- it had a curved wooden plank bridge over this little stream that had big waves in it, and there was a lot of wild-looking plants everywhere. I crossed the bridge and it was suddenly the middle of the afternoon, and I realized I was actually in the backyard of my old house. It was how I remembered it being as a child, before we did any landscaping, and everything was exactly how it was at that time. I ran around exploring it and just really happy to be back there.

Then I went inside the house and was exploring in there, and it kept changing into different dream variations on that house- everything from how it was laid out last week in my dream with the huge computers to some variations on it I hadn't dreamed about in years. I found some really neat stuff in my room, though I don't remember the specifics now. As I walked into the living room I instead found myself in this mall. Apparently my parents had started a mall out of our living room and as business grew they had built on to the front of the house. It was pretty crowded and they were selling some pretty random things. It was a bunch of tables loaded with piles of boxes of stuff for sale, a lot of it candy or little knickknacks. I spotted some stairs and started going up to see what was above.

There turned out to be floors and floors on this building, which had turned into an adobe style thing- all the walls were smooth and brown. Every so often the stairs would end in another room of merchandise, and in one of them was a pile of candy bars that were labeled "gluten" in large letters, which I thought was hilarious at the time. I kept running into food I couldn't eat while I was exploring, but I didn't really mind because I having fun seeing what all was there.

After that dream I had another one in which I started out in a class my best friend was teaching, and I don't remember much about it except that it somehow turned into a sleepover with my high school friends on a boat where I was taking pictures for my photography class with the fancy camera. I was trying to get nice portraits of people but it was like 3 AM and I was really tired.

Overall I think it's an improvement as I'm feeling better rested this morning. It was also nice having a night without frustration or disturbing aspects to my dreams.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Good Cry

Sometimes you just need a good cry.

Every time I've tried to talk to anyone about my health lately I've ended up in tears before I can even really say anything. I'm in a pretty bad place with Narcolepsy right now. I've been going downhill for months and my neurologist is basically out of ideas, which makes me feel pretty helpless. I'm having more and more trouble doing the work for my increasingly fewer classes and I'm sleeping worse as the nights go on. I feel like I'm fighting an uphill battle and losing ground every day. To say I'm scared would be an understatement.

At the same time my life is changing for the better. I've been able to make plans to move out of my parents house (which I was seriously worried I would still be living in at the age of 35) to start a life with my girlfriend (who we have already established is the best person ever). It's such a wonderful emotional thing, and my health is such a terrible emotional thing that between the two I've felt like I've been on an emotional rollercoaster all day.

I talked to my mom this morning and my dad when he got home from work. Both parents are ecstatic about the plans and worried about the health. I had a heart to heart with my dad on the way home from dinner about how bad my Narcolepsy is getting and how helpless I feel in the face of it. When we got home he gave me the tightest hug in a long time and told me he loves me. I was already crying, but I lost it even more because I'm so damned lucky to have the parents that I have. I headed straight for the shower and cried my eyes out for awhile. I actually let all my feelings about my health come out for once; most of the time I shove the panic down and try to ignore it, to pretend like I can handle this.

My inner therapist is telling me that I need to learn to accept the lack of control. I think that's one of the major things I can learn from this illness... that I need to let things happen sometimes instead of getting caught up in frustration and disappointment when I can't change how I feel. But I'm so not there yet. At least the people around me are the best people in the world, and because of that I know everything will turn out okay.

I Already Forgot My Clever Title For This Entry

I've been having a pretty trippy week. I'm still doing a lot more intense dreaming than usual and it's taking its toll on my energy level.

Yesterday I woke up from a really bloody and gorey dream in which I was this girl in a family that was heavily involved in organized crime. I didn't look anything like me; I had very dark hair and so did the rest of my dream family. A lot of them were these big burly thugs like you see in movies. I forget what the latest crime plot was, but most of the dream took place at this party that was outside in a rural, forested place. It was daylight but overcast and a little spooky. At one point I discovered that there was an undercover FBI agent at the party and decided (for reasons I don't remember) to help him out. I was terrified of my brothers finding out what I was doing. Someone figured out who the agent was and I was helping him escape; we were being chased and I had to lead him through the back of our sprawling, mansion-like house. There was lots of gunfire and blood and the whole thing was pretty disturbing, but he got away and I hid in a bathroom so no one would know I had been involved.

I actually had some energy to start with yesterday, which was good because photographing stuff takes it out of me. I got my first photo idea all set up when my memory card claimed to be out of space, which made no sense because I was careful to delete everything off of it last time I was downloading things. I ended up having to go buy another one.

Leaving the house always lays me out, but there's an office supply place really close to my neighborhood so I figured if I just went there they would have it. Wrong. I drove over there to find that they didn't have anything like what I needed and by the time I got back (all of five minutes later) I was so exhausted I had to lay down.

I figured a nap and some lunch would give me the energy I needed to go to the slightly further away office supply place. Well, by the time I got back from there (and a quick grocery stop because I had discovered when I tried to make lunch that I was almost completely out of food) it was 2 PM and I was pretty much dead in the water.

I was determined to get some homework done, so I took a couple of shots in my room. Then I dragged myself upstairs and spent the rest of the day on the couch or in bed. That's the earliest I've crashed in awhile.

And today I don't feel much better. I was reading Harry Potter again last night and dreamed that I was Harry and had to hide from Voldemort, who could suddenly read my mind, so if I made the mistake of thinking about where I was he would appear and I would have to escape over and over. I ended up some really weird places, like a carnival with giant brightly colored rides, a small log cabin in the woods, a big theater in a high school, etc etc, with various other characters mixed in. At least it wasn't particularly disturbing.

Here's to hoping that today isn't a repeat of yesterday, even though I'm already dragging...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Best Girl in the Entire World

I'm not sure where to start on this one, because there's so much history and depth and communication and plain old sappy love involved. So I think I'll settle for the simple explaination: I found a girl.

We've been best friends since we met five years ago at Carleton. Over the years we've been through a lot together and we've grown very attached to each other. We have never really had secrets from each other- she's always been the one person I could tell everything to. Not even every crazy little detail of the inner workings of my messed up brain have scared her off, which is impressive. We have always shared a very deep bond.

During our senior year at Carleton we realized we were completely in love with each other. The timing was unfortunate and a lot of stress and depression (on both sides) eventually caused it all to crash. Since then our feelings toward each other never went away. We got over ourselves and our close friendship continued after graduation, though we were both afraid of broaching the subject again. Despite living across the country from each other we actually kept up communication so well that our relationship got even stronger over the past year.

A month ago we decided we might as well be officially dating again since we were practically dating already anyway, haha. And since then we've both been so much happier about life. I can't even begin to describe how much I love her and I'll spare you the ridiculous amount of sappiness that could fill about eight entries on here, easily. I'll just say that life is good, my girlfriend is awesome, and leave it at that.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Getting Exercise

Today I had a day pretty much off from class things, having been especially responsible about getting things done last week (or it might have been the caffeine, haha). So when I got up this morning I decided to catch up on some cleaning. When I'm as focused on getting through college (again) as I've had to be lately with my health going downhill, things fall by the wayside around my part of the house. I'm only responsible for my small bedroom and the downstairs bathroom but it still has to get pretty bad before I do anything about it. Now, we are talking about my grew-up-with-a-total-neatfreak version of bad, so I'm sure there are many worse bathrooms out there. But it was seriously starting to bother me. Besides that, dust has been building up in my room again so I figured I would tackle that afterwards.

I figured I'd just do my cleaning in the morning, so after I ate breakfast I got out all the bathroom cleaning stuff to drag back downstairs. Then I got to work. It took me awhile because I had to figure it out- it had been awhile since I'd done more than the vanity and with my terrible memory I had forgotten exactly how to clean everything. By the time I finished the bathroom was gleaming and I was overdue for a nap. I decided to take the dog outside first.

I got out there to find myself facing another accidental nap on the porch and just went straight back inside. I took an hour-long nap and was still tired after that. I definitely abandoned the idea of dusting.

I tend to forget how much cleaning takes it out of me. If you think about it though, if you're doing a good job it is pretty serious exercise, though it isn't valued as such. It does involve a whole lot of moving around, getting down on your knees and using muscles you aren't really used to using. I can remember countless times pre-diagnosis when I would try to do just a little bit of cleaning and end up completely flattened. I used to be very confused as to why it was so exhausting. Sweeping especially kills me- all that standing up nonsense. How dare I think about walking around like that, moving my arms, haha. It's too much physical work, so I leave it to my dad. At least these days I usually remember to save the cleaning I do have to do for days when I don't have anything else.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Festive Music

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. Something about getting to dress up like an animal and having it be not weird, most likely. It's been several years since my last trick-or-treating expedition- I eventually admitted to having grown out of it, and when you can't eat the candy anymore (because there's soy or gluten in pretty much all of it) it kind of loses its purpose.

The other side of Halloween- the horror film, blood and gore, scary music, dead rotting people side- has never been something I've enjoyed. I think it has to do with the fact that these things tend to show up in my dreams, which are creepy enough to begin with without any encouragement, thanks. I could write horror films by simply recording my nightmares back before Xyrem. Also, being afraid has never been something I enjoy, even though I know people who actually like it. The weirdos.

All this week I've been watching tv- with all the horror movie previews- and I've ended up coming across the usual stupid fake skeletons in people's yards a lot. At the same time I've been sleeping steadily worse every night this week. So of course last night there were creepy rotting people all the heck over my dreams, and I kept brushing up against them on accident and feeling them- at one point I was swimming in an inky black cave that was completely underwater, and they were all over the floor, and there was a current in there that kept me from easily swimming out. It was a tiny part of a whole lot of complete nonsense that lasted all night, and besides that mostly wasn't creepy. But I woke up dead tired because I had spent all night in REMland instead of getting actual rest. I didn't dare try to sleep in because I knew it would just be more crazy dreams, so I ended up taking a nap right after breakfast instead. It took caffeine to get me through my class okay.

So I get to my class in the afternoon. It's Introduction to Audio, so it's basically about music. So of course our instructor thinks it would be really awesome to play us some creepy music so we can talk about what makes it creepy.

As soon as he announced this I started to tense up. The last time I got talked into watching a horror movie it was the music that really kicked my ass. I was creeped out for months after that. So even without the visual I knew I was pretty much screwed. Still, it didn't occur to me to just leave. I can be stubborn about these things in kind of a bad way.

From the first note of squealy, screechy music I was totally freaked out. And as I was expecting, even after it was turned off, it kept playing in my head. On the way home I blasted bad pop music, but when I got home and turned off the car it was back, screeching away in my brain where I couldn't escape from it. It took lots of happy music and watching Kung Fu Panda to finally get it out of there. So I went upstairs, feeling the inner peace and totally doing fine again.

I'm sitting next to the tv (with it off) eating dinner when my dad comes home and sits down. He turns on the tv, and there's the music again, in a stupid preview for yet another new horror flick. I ask him to mute it. He doesn't hear me. I ask him again. I finally yelled, and he heard me and muted it, looking like I was totally weird for being that insistent. And then he ends up watching this spoof horror movie- probably one of the Scary Movies- and it has the same damn music. I was so out of there. I grabbed my dog and ran for it. When I got downstairs I was shaking.

I decided I needed out of the house. So I got my dog leashed up and we went for a walk. As soon as we got outside I felt better. It's a cool, clear evening, and the moon is beautiful tonight. Walking down the street, looking up at it, I remembered why I like Halloween so much. There's nothing quite like walking around after dark under such a nice moon.

Friday, October 30, 2009

College Visit Car Trouble

Last night I was on a roadtrip. I had driven to another city to visit a college for some reason. I had just gotten finished with whatever it was I was supposed to do there and was completely exhausted. I was also hungry, so as I got in my car (it was exactly my real car for once) I decided I was going to go find a grocery store and get something to eat back at my hotel. I thought I had seen a grocery store on my way to the college so I thought I would try that.

I was having some weird driving issues. For one thing, my brake wasn't working as well as it usually does, so I had to be really careful. As I navigated the large and busy parking lot, I kept almost scraping cars when I turned around them, but then I would just get by without touching. It was pretty nerve-wracking, but I got to an exit and was just congratulating myself on not hitting anything when the car pulling into the same entrance misjudged and scraped into me. I heard this horrible scraping sound and my car shook. I sighed, put my car in park and got out.

The guy was actually really nice. He looked a lot like (but not exactly) one of the people who works at Petco and chats a lot while I'm checking out. I went rummaging around for paper to get his insurance information written down.

I was feeling pretty light-headed and confused because I was so tired and hungry. I looked at the cars. From what I had experienced inside the car, I thought I would just have a scrape along the side, but instead it was quite different. The front of his car had somehow smashed the back of mine, though it wasn't bad enough that I couldn't still drive it. His car looked really bad though. Pretty quickly a couple of people came to tow away his car and we moved out of the way by sitting down at this table that was randomly in the parking lot for some reason. This part of the dream got really frustrating because all I was trying to do was write down the man's information, but I would write his name only to lose track of my stack of papers and then not be able to find it again, or I would be trying to write his phone number and it would turn into crazy symbols so that I couldn't read it, or I would write something down and the wind would blow the paper off the table, and when I picked it up it would be blank.

I was convinced it was just me being confused and tired. I seriously didn't figure out that I was dreaming because I was too busy being worried that I wouldn't get the important information down. I told the man (and his father, who was suddenly there randomly) that I was hungry and that was why I was having so much trouble, and they started offering me various gluten-containing things which of course I had to refuse. Finally the man just wrote it all down for me and handed me the paper. I thanked him and went back to my car.

It was gone. Apparently it had been towed with the other car. I sat down on the grass, and out of nowhere my grandparents showed up. I explained to them what had happened and got in their truck, and we were on the way to the grocery store when I woke up. And was very surprised (and relieved) to find that it hadn't really happened.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Professional Porch Napping

This morning I actually slept okay for the first time in awhile. I had a cool dream in which I was travelling around inside a vast dormlike place via subway trains and buses, hanging out with two of my close high school friends. It occasionally made itself frustrating, but for the most part was a good dream. And after that I actually slept as far as I could tell when I woke up later than usual, feeling somewhat refreshed (or at least less run over than the rest of the week).

So I figured, since we were going to have a substitute in my class today and therefore it would most likely be shorter than usual, that today wouldn't be so bad. Maybe I could get away with two naps instead of like five, and by the time 7 PM came around I wouldn't be ready to keel over and give up on that staying awake nonsense.

Well, driving to class actually wasn't that hard for once, as I felt like I could pay attention without having to focus every ounce of brainpower on it. Class was fine for about the first half hour, and sleeping during the twenty minute break did help, though I got weird looks from my classmates again. But by the end of the three hour class I was pretty dead. Driving home was difficult and when I had finally pulled up safely into our driveway I just sat in my car for a few minutes, summoning the energy to open the door and get out.

I decided it would be a good idea to let my dog out into the yard for a few minutes and then take a good solid nap. My body decided, however, that that wasn't going to be soon enough. And I ended up falling asleep sitting on the front porch. It was at least ten minutes of nap and it was definitely not planned. I was aware for most of it, so it's not like I was completely out, but that was my first accidental nap in awhile. Though I still think it's kind of funny (add that to my entertaining list of strange places I've taken a nap) it really just highlights the trend I've been experiencing lately. The not so great for any future plans I might have trend.

At this point I'm starting to doubt everything I had thought about before- about how animation is really something that would suit me as a career. It's not that I don't like it or that I'm not good at it, but it requires energy. Which I don't have. And I really don't know what to do about this as my lack of energy seems to be getting alarmingly worse. My doctor is out of medications to add at this point, after the Ritalin made me depressed, and I'm pretty sure he's as frustrated as I am with the situation. We can't increase the Xyrem either; we tried and my side effects came back, and besides that my stomach can't really handle it anyway.

So right now I'm in a pretty angsty state of mind. I keep having to cut back on my daily activities in order to avoid completely flattening myself for days at a time, but every time I think I'm done cutting stuff out of my life I end up having to cancel more. I'm sick to death of being in this house, but leaving it takes more energy than I have to spare most of the time. I keep trying to decide what to do with my life, but everything I want to do takes more energy than I have, so I find myself stuck without plans at all. I just don't know what I'm going to do.

Monday, October 26, 2009

New Job Garage Art Frilly Reunion

Weird dreams this morning. o.O

In one dream I was working for this company that apparently helped people edit their papers. It was a kind of fancy looking office and we all had to wear suits. All the furniture was shiny polished hardwood. A client would come in and check in at this library desk, and then the receptionist would send them back to one of our editing cubicles.

It was apparently my first day on the job and my first ever client turned out to be an acquaintance from high school, only in the dream I thought I knew her from Japan. I was relieved to have someone I knew because that way I wouldn't have to be all formal and nervous. We talked for awhile and she gave me a research paper for grad school to edit. It wasn't that hard but I was starting to get sleepy sitting in my comfy armchair. I started to move around, finding excuses to stand up because I needed to wake up again. Unfortunately this strategy backfired and I got really tired and started having trouble pretending I was fine.

The next dream I had took place at my house except that it was still my senior year of college. Our garage was the Carleton ceramics studio, and if you went into the actual house it was nothing but twisting hallways with these framed bold graphic poster-sized drawings hanging neatly on both walls. Apparently I had just finished my senior comps project and was pulling it out to look at everything in the garage. The last person to be in there had left a slide projector and a lamp across the street in a park for some reason, and I was annoyed because it could have easily been stolen. I took both back into the garage but left the garage door open because even though it was foggy outside there would be better light in there that way. I had laid out all of my work on a table and was looking at it. It didn't look great, because the glaze had come out kind of weird and not how I'd planned, but I figured it would work anyway. I had lots of different sizes of dinosaurs and other animals, and the really big ones had lots of detail. The lighting in there was pretty bad and kept getting worse until it occured to me to turn on the light. At one point a giant ceramic owl fell from the rafters and half-smashed on the floor, and I was relieved that it had missed the table and hadn't broken any of my art. People kept coming in and looking at my stuff or just randomly wandering in and out, and one of them was a friend I had in elementary school who I haven't spoken to in many years, only in the dream I apparently still knew her pretty well because we were discussing art stuff. We got onto the subject of making jewelry and she showed me a couple of rediculously impressive little metal pendants she had found somewhere. One of them was shaped like a tiny domed building, and if you opened the little door and looked inside there were tiny metal people dancing (literally moving) under a tiny chandelier. The whole thing was made of gold and on a gold chain.

That dream melded into another one in which I was at a family reunion showing off the little metal building. My grandparents and cousins were all there and we were sitting in chairs around the edge of a small square bedroom with a big fancy bed in the middle. Everything from the curtains to the carpet to the fluffy comforter were pink and frilly. No one thought it was weird to be in there, lol. I mostly listened in on conversations for awhile but people kept talking about things I didn't really understand. Eventually I decided to go home. I was walking around and saying goodbye to everyone when I woke up.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Every Time is Naptime!

Well, the day after my failed Ritalin experiment was awesome. It was like night and day, haha. I still had my usual amount of no energy, but it was so much better than the day before that I felt like I was doing great. I'm really glad the depression wore off so fast. It was also nice because the weather was awesome for my photography homework.

A couple of days later, though, and I'm back to the every time is naptime routine. On Friday my mom was home, and since she had lots of errands to run I went with her. It worked out really well, actually, because we would chat about stuff as she drove, then when we got somewhere she left me in the car to nap while she went in. So I didn't get too tired and so got a lot done, haha. There were a couple of parking lots where I felt kind of self-conscious sleeping. I mean, it's not like we were in a bad part of town or something, but it is kind of weird to be napping in your car, especially when you're pretty obviously over the age of 10. Luckily I've now officially mastered the ability to nap while still aware of my surroundings, so it wasn't unsafe. I bet I confused some random passersby, though, haha.

Speaking of confusing people, lol, last week in my photography class another student kept questioning me on why I take naps during every break. That class is pretty intense, so in order to get through the entire four hours without missing half the information I have to put my head down when I can. He kept questioning until I finally just told him that I'm really tired all the time. I don't like pulling out the word Narcolepsy. Either people think it's something it's not or they've never heard of it. I know I'm not helping to educate people and spread the word, but it's a pretty personal thing to me and I'd really rather not spread it around that I have this disabling illness. It's like, too much information to people I don't know. Plus there's the fact that I'm just too damn tired to explain all this crap. So I brush them off instead and let them wonder why I'm constantly napping.

Today I've taken two significant naps (more than five minutes, haha) already, but I think it's time for one more. Otherwise walking the dog will turn into napping while walking the dog, which is probably something that I should avoid.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

And That Would Be a No

I took Ritalin this morning, and at first it seemed like it was going to work. I was more awake, but then I got really really tired. As in worse than the usual Narcolepsy thing. I've been on the couch all day, dead tired, a little depressed and completely lacking motivation to try to do anything. I was excited about doing my photography homework this morning, but now I'm pretty sure it's not going to happen today, which is bad because if it rains tomorrow I could end up with hardly anything to turn in.

Mainly I'm just really frustrated. I planned carefully this week just in case something like this happened so I could still get by anyway, but it still sucks when the experiment doesn't work out, the small amount of hope you had allowed to build up gets dashed and you're back to square one. I'm definitely not taking this tomorrow, and I'll probably just call my doctor on Monday and see if he'll prescribe a different one. Then Thursday can be another experiment. I wonder if any of them will end up working out.

Oh well. Back to the endless napping.

Photography Homework

Last night I dreamed I was working on my photography assignment. I really do have one to do over the next two days, and yeterday I was having trouble thinking of things to photograph because I used most of my good ideas up last week, haha. But in my dream I was having no trouble coming up with lots of crazy but awesome ideas. I kept waking up enough to jot suggestions down in my notes. In the dream I got so preoccupied by setting up cool ideas that it got dark before I had time to actually photograph anything. Plus people kept getting in my way. A friend I haven't spoken to in awhile was at my house, trying to do a puzzle with her eyes closed. She wouldn't even open her eyes while I was trying to get around the giant table she was working on. My dad kept following me around distracting me by asking me to do other things. There were a bunch of other people wandering around too. It was a pretty interesting dream, and when I woke up I jotted down a couple more ideas for my homework. Then I looked at the list. It was hilarious because half of the stuff involved parts of the house in the dream that don't exist in real life. I can't get on this house's roof, for example, and we definitely don't have a waterfall in our front yard, even though that would be awesome. There were still some ideas I can use though, if it stops raining. It was also nice to have such a coherent dream again as they've been disjointed lately.

Today I'm starting Ritalin. We'll see how that goes.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Even More Drugs!!

I haven't been sleeping very well for about a week now. I had three or four mornings in a row where I woke up paralyzed after almost-nightmares, which had not been happening more than once every month or two before. After going back to sleep it's been whacky dreams and then I wake up early, feeling exhausted. Yesterday morning I was feeling okay- I actually slept some after my third dose- but by the afternoon I was more exhausted than I've been since the failed Nuvigil experiment. And this morning I'm way out of it and zoning out.

So I called my doctor. He wants me to try Adderal or Ritalin as a last resort of sorts since I'm really struggling to stay awake at this point, even though they could make me lose weight- which would be a very bad thing for me. But we've both decided that it's worth a try at this point since I can't take Nuvigil. I'm having a really hard time keeping up with my classes, which don't even have that much work.

So it's more drugs for me. I wanted to go pick whichever one he gives me up at the local pharmacy, but apparently you either have to pick them up from the sleep center or have them mailed to your house. I decided I'd rather wait a couple days for it to arrive here than drive for half an hour to pick it up. Yes, I am that tired.

In the meantime I just have to hang in there and try to get everything done. I really like my digital photography class, but it's hard because going around with a camera and snapping pictures from all sorts of angles is really exhausting. I managed to do this last assignment around my house, which was lucky because I only had the camera for a day and had to rest a lot. I'm a little worried that this week I'll have to go farther afield. At least nothing this quarter is really difficult so far.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday Class

Last night I dreamed about going to class today. Oddly enough, this quarter I really do have a class on Saturday, and it's no mystery why I dreamed about it because I've been dreading it all week. It's not that the class is all that bad. It's just Saturday. I mean, come on. I ended up stuck with it because I forgot to register until after the good times were taken.

In the dream I was sitting in class and getting very annoyed at the instructor. In real life he's very pompous and it's difficult not to roll my eyes at him, so this kind of made sense. So I got this fluffy blanket out of my backpack and put it over my head. Then I got out my ipod and was listening to the usual bad pop music. I also somehow had a cup of hot tea I was sipping. No one around me seemed to notice, even when I started singing along loudly, hahaha. Eventually I decided to poke my head out and see what was going on.

The prof was writing something in code on the board. Apparently he had just explained what it meant, but I hadn't been paying attention and had missed that part. He started calling on random people to answer questions that I didn't even understand. He called on me and I felt pretty guilty for getting distracted and not being able to answer. Then I woke up into another dream in which I told all these people about the dream I just had, lol.

It was pretty funny because even when I don't really like a class I always pay attention and get as much out of it as possible, even on a Saturday, and I definitely don't sing loudly in class. XD

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Earrings Saga

Just over six weeks ago I got my ears pierced. This was a pretty big feat for me because I have a pretty serious needle phobia. I survived the first piercing and was really proud of myself for not fleeing in terror (which I was definitely in danger of doing at the time). I figured that I had gotten through the worst part and the rest of this would be easy.

Well, the first six weeks passed and I was pretty excited to be able to change out my earrings. On Monday I decided to go ahead and do it in the morning. Before I knew it it was half an hour later, my feet really hurt (how dare I stand up for half an hour!) and my fingers were all sore from gripping the metal backs of the earrings, which were showing no sign of budging. My arms were even sore from holding my hands up, haha. I gave up for the day.

Several days and several attempts later I was seriously wondering if I was stuck with these earrings for the rest of my life. I started talking to friends about it and found out that I probably needed someone to help me. With my only friends in town really busy and both parents away on business I pretty much had to wait. I kept at it anyway though.

Yesterday morning I finally got them out. I was really happy that I had managed to do it all by myself. I got a new pair that looked easy enough to put in and then I found out that the worst was not, in fact, anywhere near over yet.

It was terrifying. I could get one earring halfway in, but I couldn't find the hole in the back. I had no way of seeing it. The scary part was that the digging around in my ear I had to do while trying to find the hole felt way too much like a needle to me. I ended up having a panic attack right there in my bathroom. I refused to give up, which admittedly was pretty impressive at the time, but it ended up just making me feel worse because it just wasn't going to be possible without help. I got really good advice to use neosporin on the earring to dull the pain, but that wasn't until after my disastrous first try to get it in.

I was panicky all day. I was concious of the fact that if I didn't get the new ones in before I went to bed the holes would start to heal shut overnight and all of this would be for nothing, because after how frightened I had been I was pretty sure I wouldn't have the courage to get them pierced a second time.

Luckily my mom got home last night and agreed to help. I ended up on the floor (because when I was standing up I felt like I was going to faint), crying because I was afraid, with my mom leaning over my ear trying to find the hole. It didn't hurt because of the neosporin- it just felt like a needle and I didn't like it. I managed to stay still and finally it went through. Thank god for moms.

I've decided these are staying in for awhile, haha. I'm proud of myself for going through with this though, and I hear that the first time always sucks. And as scared as I was I think next time will be better, and that this will help me to eventually overcome my phobia. Take that, needles!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Really Weird Night

Wow, last night was bizarre. And I'm still feeling it. o.O

The first two doses went just fine. I slept deeply with no dreams. At the end of the second dose I overslept my alarm by like half an hour, which has happened without anything weird before. But last night I had an interesting hallucination.

I woke up in my dark room and looked around. There was a ladder leaning up against my bookshelf, which made perfect sense to me at the time- I remembered needing to change a lightbulb yesterday and leaving it in my room so I could hang a couple of pictures up today. Then, suddenly, a bag of really tall golf clubs fell on me. It was startling because I hadn't seen them at all until they were falling towards me, and they were very long. When they fell against my arm they were really cold and smooth and it hurt a little. I sat up and leaned them back up against the ladder, suddenly remembering that they had been in the closet with it and that's why I had to bring them into my room, too. I decided to get up and go to the bathroom before going back to sleep.

When I stood up my door was open, and there was a cold white light coming in from the skylight over the entryway. I looked up at it as I came out of my room and started freaking out because it was snowing. I was really excited and ran to the front door to look out.

I was having trouble keeping my eyes open, but I could see there was a thin blanket of really fine snow over the grass. I was very impressed. I watched the small flakes fall for a few minutes until I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore.

As I walked into the bathroom I suddenly knew that I was in a hallucination. Then I felt hands grabbing my arms and hands and I couldn't move. I fought the paralysis until it went away and I could sit up and turn my lamp on. I was suddenly back in my room, with no ladder (I didn't actually do anything with a ladder yesterday) or golf clubs (my parents have never had anything even vaguely resembling golf clubs, haha). I went to the bathroom without passing any skylights and it certainly wasn't snowing- it snows lightly here maybe once every couple of years, and certainly not in October. I was pretty creeped out by the dark corners, but I figured leaving my light on would help me sleep the rest of the morning.

Unfortunately I was wrong. I took my last dose and read a book until I figured it was safe to go back to sleep, only to get plunged right back into serious REMland. I had dream after vivid dream, and every time I woke up I fought paralysis. I went through three different half-dream, half-hallucinations that way. In the dreams I had all of my senses so it felt almost like real life. I would wake up to find my eyelids closing again of their own accord despite my light being on, and then in an instant I was back to dreaming. At least one dream was Harry Potter related (not surprising as I'm rereading those), and in another one I was on a football team (which is hilarious because I'm the biggest wimp ever). I woke up late and got up to avoid going right back under again, and I'm still fighting my eyelids after being up for half an hour. I'm thinking I need caffeine this morning.

I figure it might be food related. I did try a couple new things yesterday. Hmmm.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Flying Solo

So today was my first day with no parents around. I'd like to say that it went well... except that it didn't.

Well, okay, so I didn't crash the car yet or anything. I still have all of my limbs intact even if they tend to have a mind of their own. The house is also, in fact, not burned down. So far so good?

I had a short class today, and I planned on going to the grocery store because- and this is a pretty good reason- I was literally out of food. And I can't exactly head for the Taco Bell, haha. So I decided yesterday that I would just go after my class.

After class I wasn't too tired because of a couple of strategic naps. So far so good, I thought as I drove out of the parking garage. But that's pretty much where that thought ended. First off, it started raining pretty hard. And then I managed to turn too early and had to backtrack. When I did get to the grocery store it was pouring and it was busy so I couldn't even park nearer the door. I got to the line with my food and realized I had forgotten something, so I ran down an aisle to get it. Big mistake. The running was the last straw. When I got back to the cashier I was completely drained. I didn't even run very far or fast, but it was still too much. The guy tried to make conversation while he was checking me out, but I just brushed him off and leaned on the counter and tried to muster the energy to get out to my car.

Of course while I was in there it had started raining even harder. I got soaked loading up my groceries. I sat down in the driver's seat and shut my eyes for a minute. But I knew I had groceries and even though it was raining it was hot, so I had to get everything home.

When I pulled up in my driveway I found that my dad had left his car in the garage, meaning I would have to unload everything in the rain. It was coming down harder than ever now that I really needed it to stop. I got wet and so did everything else, and my car alarm kept going off because it thought I had accidentally left the trunk open when actually I just had to carry each bag one at a time with both hands just to lift it at all. I pulled the bags into the house and shut the door. I leaned against the wall to catch my breath.

One of the things I really hate about this house is the fact that the kitchen is upstairs. I hate stairs. I dragged my three bags over to the stairwell and looked up.

I seriously felt like I was in The Lord of the Rings, during that part in Fellowship where Frodo is looking down the road and they use that really creepy camera thing where it's backing up and focusing at the same time, and the path looks really ominous. I looked up those stairs and wondered what I had been thinking, doing my grocery trip with no one to help me. Between the driving and class and shopping and driving... I wasn't sure if I had it in me to carry them that one last stage.

I ended up doing it both hands, one bag and a couple steps at a time. I'm going to pay for this tomorrow, but I was damned if I was going to let anything melt after getting it through all that rain. Then I spent the rest of the day on the couch recovering. I'll still be feeling this tomorrow, but at least I now have food.

Back to... Normal

After my bad reaction to Nuvigil, it took me a couple of days to get back to normal. It was interesting because I was still more awake than usual even the second day I was off of it. But of course it couldn't last, and now I'm back to dragging myself through even the easiest chores.

Luckily this quarter it looks like my classes won't have difficult homework. It all seems like it'll be pretty easy to accomplish, and even with all the resting I might be able to do a good job on my assignments. That said, I'm a little worried about the next short while because both parents will be gone on seperate trips.

Looking back a couple of months I think it's pretty funny how much my attitude towards my parents leaving has changed. Every little thing when they were home used to bug me. As I've been feeling worse, though, I've been relying on them a lot more. Since driving has gotten more nerve-wracking I've been avoiding it by hitching rides with a parent to run errands, or asking one to get me something while they're at whatever store anyway. Also, both of them being gone means all the little chores around the house become things I have to remember to do. And when I'm this damned tired every little extra thing is a problem- every extra step is. When I was doing better over the summer, I was really happy to have the house to myself. Now I think I'd rather have them around, not just for the errands, but because I'm feeling so lousy that I don't leave the house very much anymore. And it's pretty lonely with no one around, because as much as I like my dog he doesn't talk much.

My neurologist said the only thing left for me to try (in an attempt to keep me awake) are stimulants. We haven't tried them before now because weight loss can be a side effect, and that would be really bad for me. I'm still underweight even though I've finally gained back a few pounds. I'm starting to think it might be worth doing, however. And I have a feeling that this time next week I will have gotten fed up and called him back.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fancy World Traveller

For most of this week my dreams have been so mixed up and nonsensical that I haven't been able to make enough sense out of them to record them. But last night was back to clear and interesting.

It started out in Japan where I was visiting my host mom and we decided to go shopping. We went to this store that had a variety of things. There was a lot of jewelry and clothing but also lots of kid's toys. At one point I was looking at these rainbow-colored puzzle pieces that you had to try and make a cube out of, only I couldn't get them to fit together and it was really difficult- they would change shape as I picked them up. I looked around at the earrings and the dinosaur toys and then at the clothes a little bit, and was excited about the fact that the blouses were small enough to actually fit me (I have trouble finding clothes that fit me here in the States because of how small I am, and in real life Japan it really was easier). I wasn't sure if there was a dressing room though, so I settled on a couple of dinosaurs and a necklace or something.

After that it turned out I needed to get dressed up for something. Now I was in a mall, but my closet was in this room off to the side where I could change. I had some really crazy clothes and was having trouble putting together anything that matched. I was getting pretty frustrated because I would put on one thing and it would turn into something completely different as I put it on, so that I would end up not matching again. I somehow didn't catch onto this for awhile though and just kept at it. Finally someone came in to help me (whoever I was with; maybe my mom?) and she had found someone to do my hair and make up. And after that I totally looked like a movie star, which I thought was pretty weird and not me but I figured it was just for this big event I was going to.

I actually don't remember what happened next, just that after awhile I ended up in an icy field with my parents, crossing it carefully because there were those concrete blocks they put at the end of parking spaces lying everywhere, only instead of concrete they were made of ice. It turned out to be a memorial of a war with the blocks symbolizing something. After awhile it turned out we had crossed over the sea into China and were right on the edge of Shanghai.

It was pretty cool because it looked like a Chinese watercolor painting of a rural landscape. My parents explained that they had wanted to show me Shanghai because they really liked going there on their trip over the summer (which is true). We went down a hill into an alley that looked like it belonged in Europe with medieval stone buildings really close together. It was after dark and I was kind of scared, but my mom started talking to the locals in Chinese (which she really is learning, though she was way more advanced in the dream) and sorted out where we should go. I was a little worried because I suddenly realized I didn't have any of my medication with me, and I didn't know where I would find something that I could eat. At the same time I was glad to be there though, because I felt that if it had been up to me I would have been too cautious about these things to visit China in the first place. And I was really glad to be there and learn something.