Archives for category: anhedonia

What an absolutely shit-tastic fucking morning. Maybe I get it back on track, maybe I don’t. Maybe I sort myself out and feel some amount of joy or enthusiasm for living, maybe I don’t. I’m not depressed, I’m just… an emotional trainwreck, this morning. Medicated? Yep – and there are reasons for that, and this morning the medication isn’t enough to overcome my bullshit and baggage. My results absolutely fucking vary. Sometimes I don’t “get it right” and I have to deal with whatever hurt or lack of courtesy I’ve delivered to some (probably) unsuspecting other human being (who may even matter to me)(probably) – and also deal with supporting myself, soothing myself, and managing my self-care. It blows.

…Then I deal with the pile-on bullshit of the aftermath, the feelings of inadequacy, guilt, shame, frustration, self-directed disappointment, the feeling of futility, the sense of “making no progress” and the potential descent into despair, because… “this?? again??” Also major suckage.

Here’s the thing, though, and I’m trying to hold on to it ferociously right now; I do deal with it. I do get past the moment. I do manage – again and again – to soothe myself, sort it out, and move on. It’s just not “easy”, and I’m “having a moment”… about having had a moment. So fucking annoying.

This too will pass. Emotional weather means occasional storms and showers of tears. That’s just real – and very human.

I tried to go to work before I was quite ready, in spite of “where I was at”. I had to park the car and just let the tears fall. I couldn’t really drive. I for sure could not have worked. In an office. Around other people. (I’m 100% done with crying at my fucking desk during work hours. lol) So, I got that over with parked on a dark side street. Then I went on to the co-work space I’m presently working from (working from home is a bit too distracting right now, and sometimes very noisy with the new CNC machine) and got my day more or less started.

…Now I’ve got to begin again, properly. Be the woman I most want to be. Deal with people. Process tasks. Handle communications. Be present and engaged. It’s hard. It sounds like too much to ask. The morning started incredibly poorly and I’d honestly rather just “run away from home” and be literally anywhere else but trapped in my own experience of life and love and self. I’d rather be hiking a muddy forest trail, or a cold oceanside beach. I’d rather be sitting at a sidewalk café with an espresso drink and book. I’d rather be watching a high desert sunrise, or playing with a kitten. Hell, I’d rather be home alone doing the fucking dishes. Anything but being the woman I am, in this moment, living this life, feeling these feelings. Fuuuuuuuuuuck. I’m not a g’damned machine. Just a human being.

…I think about my assorted medications. Is there a pill to take for feeling miserable and emotional and filled with shards of chaos and damage? (No, no there is not. Bitch, pull yourself together. Fucking hell – it could be, and has been in the past, so much worse.)

I sigh out loud, drain my untouched cold cup of coffee impatiently. It’s time to begin again. Again.

Sipping my coffee and feeling a tad sluggish and disengaged this morning. I am contemplating all the many things I think want to do, experience, or change. From this vantage point of “feeling disengaged”, it suddenly seems quite overwhelming to want to both “be very good at my work” and also “improve my fitness and emotional wellness”. Fuuuuuck… there are a lot of verbs wrapped up in those two things, and my list is longer than those! Suddenly I just want to walk on a beach somewhere – hot or cold – and just be. I feel… exhausted. Makes no sense. I’m resting, aren’t I? My sleep is okay, isn’t it? I sigh out loud in this quiet place where my day has started.

…I check my fitness tracker for data, instead of relying on impressions and emotions…

Over the past month I’ve averaged 7 hours or so of sleep per night, and the change in medication has resulted in the sleep I get being much more restful. That’s good news. Looking closer I also see that there are a couple noteworthy outliers – nights that I slept more than 9 hours. When I eliminate those (3 nights), the average amount of sleep I’m actually getting is only 6 hours. Endurable but not ideal (for me personally). Okay, so maybe I really am tired. No point taking fatigue personally.

I find myself imagining driving some great distance and parking alongside a sunny meadow on a quiet lane and napping in my car. lol To be “nowhere doing nothing” sounds incredibly enticing right now.

…I find myself “in this place” kind of a lot…

I take a breath. I grab a bottle of water. I stretch. I think about fitness and emotional wellness – maintaining my health sort of allows everything else to fall into place more easily, and keeps challenges feeling quite manageable, generally. The changes to my medication have done a lot of reduce my anxiety and improve my energy and the quality of my rest. What am I missing? Exercise? I’m getting more of that too – and it feels good. A healthy diet? Definitely eating a more healthy diet, and it shows. I’m even drinking more water. So… what’s missing?

Cognitive rest matters more than I sometimes think about. Not just sleep, but actually giving my brain sufficient “down time” to process buffered information, and to rest/recharge/rebuild – and I’m pretty bad about making sure I get enough of that sort of rest. The new medications help, but I go from the cognitive busy-ness of a work day to the cognitive busy-ness of hearing about everything going on in the shop for my Traveling Partner, and then pump additional information into my head through my eye balls on top of that. Day after day, night after night – and I’m doing it without quite enough sleep. It’s too much, and it’s that simple. This need for (and lack of) cognitive rest is the primary driver of most of my trips out to the coast, my camping trips, and my time out on some trail with my camera. I’m just seeking internal quiet.

Giving myself a few minutes in the morning to really think about what I need to thrive, and listen to the woman in the mirror, goes a long way to meet the need for stillness… but it’s not “a cure”. This morning, I get to the end of my “me time” with a yawn, and a third cup of coffee.

It’s time to begin again.

Damn. Still struggling with my bullshit today. There’s no obvious driver. For some folks, the weather would be enough; it is gray and chilly and the rain falls pretty steadily. A wet autumn day, with a twilight quality in early afternoon. I’m fortunate that I’m generally not affected by S.A.D. Doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally feel blue on a gray day, but it’s usually not the season… it’s something else. Right now? It’s a lot of small things piling up and becoming “a thing” – my anxiety, my struggle with it, and my stress about the state of the world. It looms large in my awareness, and lurks in my very dreams, most of which, right now, are nightmares.

I’m just feeling a bit low is all. It happens. It’ll pass. Feels even a bit “hormonal”, although I cling to the thinking that menopause should have put an end to that mess. Maybe it doesn’t entirely? Considering the state of medical science regarding women’s bodies and health, I can’t be surprised that we don’t know more even in 2022.

…So, this is where I am today. I feel bleak, a bit blue, not quite overcome by anhedonia. I feel beat down. Silenced. I’m not actually any of those things in any practical or real way. These are just feelings. Perceptions. They have only whatever life I give them, myself. So I keep fighting it. Self-care steps of various sorts – you’re looking at one of those right now. 🙂

I get an irritating email from the VA just as the sun breaks through the clouds for a minute. My aggravation brushes aside the blues and the stabbing pain of a flash of sunshine through an uncovered window straight into my eye are at least enough to distract me from my shitty mood momentarily. So. Here I am. Beginning again. Again.

My morning started too early. The air compressor in my Traveling Partner’s shop “went off” in the wee hours (it hadn’t been shut off the night before, after the work day was completed). Well, shit. I was awake, wasn’t I? He wasn’t, though. I got up quietly, dressed, grabbed my laptop and workday shit, and quietly slipped out of the house, hoping he would be able to sleep in.

I woke feeling a complex stew of crappy emotions. Frustration, sorrow, fragility, the threat of imminent tears without cause or point, anxiety – stress – filling my morning like this Americano fills the cup on my desk. All the way to the fucking top. It’s not a helpful addition to the pain I also woke up in. I’m cranky from being awakened by an unpleasant noise first thing in the morning, too early, on the heels of a bad dream. I’m cross because… I don’t know, just because. I mostly just want to put my head down on this deck in this co-work space and cry for awhile. This coffee isn’t going down very well, and my stomach is sour over it. What a rough morning.

I know, I know, “begin again”… but… it’s easier when it’s easy, you know? Right now, it’s not so easy, and I’m feeling fussy like a toddler with an attitude problem. My “inner adult” knows better, and some of my stress sources in the conflict between that worldly experienced woman with a job to do, and the frustrated fussy little kid that lingers within me.

This lives in my saved images for mornings like this…

I’d like today to be easy. Relaxed. Productive. I’d like to “kick ass” on the job today. I’d like to “win big” at life today. I’d like to be my best self, every moment. In this moment, I don’t know what that looks like. My poorly managed physical pain on top of my poorly managed background anxiety have combined to make me a fairly shit human being right now, hard to be around, cross, irritable, unpleasant, with a seriously dark sense of “humor” that isn’t funny. Looks like a long work day ahead, too – not because I’ve got so much to do, more because I sense that I’m not someone my partner is going to want to be around, in the shape I’m in. May as well spend that time working.

I sit here seething. Sipping coffee. Feeling the tears pooled just at the edge of my eye lids, not falling, not going away. Therapy tomorrow… I can do this, right? I can stretch one day to the breaking point, collapse into a deep sleep, and drag myself back to the office, and then on to my appointment…? That works, right?

Fucking hell. Some days being human just fucking sucks all the god-damned dicks. :-/ Well. I guess I’ll do my best – whatever that is today, and then try again tomorrow. The clock keeps ticking on this mortal lifetime… It’s not easy, but…

…It’s definitely time to begin again.

I am sipping coffee on a Sunday. Good coffee. Pleasant Sunday. I am reflecting on what makes some moments “special” and others so seemingly “ordinary” and wondering if there is really any difference outside my own subjective impression of each moment.

I recently went to the seashore for “a bit of a break” and some “me time” away. I walked the beaches and nature trails. I took pictures. A lot of pictures. Many of those were pictures of entirely ordinary birds standing or walking along the beach, or parking lot, or some strip of not-quite-lawn. Why did I bother? They weren’t special or fancy birds… just gulls, crows, jays, and little brown birds of a variety of sorts. What’s so special about those birds? Nothing, right? It was getting the picture at all that was special (to me) – taking pictures of birds is hard. lol

A dandy gull strolling along in a parking lot. He was aware of me, and unconcerned, just walking along.

Were the moments themselves particularly “special”? I don’t actually recall them as unusual moments in any way, aside from being part of this particular beach trip. If I were to glance quickly at one of the many hundreds of beach photos I’ve taken over the years, I’m not sure I could easily identify one trip from another. They illustrate a more general experience of “going to the coast” and “being at the seashore”. Special inasmuch as it is not the routine day-to-day experience of life…but often very similar to each other (if for no other reason that I am always me when I go do these things, and generally I am doing them with similar motivation and goals in mind).

This crow was not interested in being photographed and quickly walked away when it noticed my gaze.

In a certain sense, isn’t every moment “special”, in that there is a predictably finite number of them for any one of us? We don’t even have the advantage of knowing in advance how many there will be – only that they will eventually just run out, often unexpectedly.

Even for little brown birds on mellow summer days; moments are finite and limited.

It seems far more likely that all moments are special than to assume no moments are special – it’s easy enough to identify one or two special moments (just look for lingering significance or fond memories!), which immediately debunks the proposition that “no moments are special”. So… moments are special in a quantity somewhere between “some” and “all”. Tough to know going into a particular moment how special it may prove to be, even immediately afterward. Some moments are so spectacular it’s probably obvious that those will become lasting fond memories for someone (or recollections of profound tragedy – “special” isn’t always “good”, right?).

Thoughtful? Distracted? Just having a moment?

This last beach trip was special, for sure. I was out on the coast giving my Traveling Partner room to work on complicated CNC build details without me being underfoot, or becoming a distraction. That’s not what was special about it (for me), although it is always wonderful to know I am missed when I am away. What made it special was the combination of finding new awesome locations to take pictures, new trails to wander, and also – that’s where I was when I got the call from my new employer with their offer, and knew that I would be returning to work soon.

I got the news sitting in my car, parked, watching the waves roll in, just after getting off the phone with my partner, after receiving an automated rejection email sent in error. lol

When I was mired in the worst of my bullshit, baggage, chaos and damage, I often felt as if “nothing is special”. That feeling (and experience) has a name, anhedonia. Life feels gray, meaningless, and very much as though nothing matters and no effort will change that lack of meaning. It’s grim. It’s bland. It’s very hard to pull oneself out of that pit. I had it wrong. I mean, obviously (anhedonia is an experience of disordered thinking/feeling). It’s just that I’m sort of blown away by how wrong I’d gotten it (as a result of poor mental health) – because it’s apparent now that the truth is so much closer to “everything is special” (even to the point of potentially numbing us to the “specialness of the ordinary”).

I smile and finish my coffee. I’m happy to be where I am these days. I delighted with the pictures I’ve been getting of birds. I’m okay with the birds themselves being entirely ordinary. Most things are. Moments, too. I’m done with insisting that anything “special” also be entirely out of the ordinary – that seems, now, to be a needlessly high bar to set for what is special to me. Sure – love is special, and very much out of the ordinary… but a great cup of coffee, a picture of a bird that turns out well, or a gentle relaxed Sunday morning are all pretty ordinary experiences – and also comfortably special. I’m good with enjoying the specialness of the ordinary, and embracing contentment and joy.

It’s time to begin again.