Archives for category: anhedonia

Warning: this may be disordered ranting, in whole or in part. If you continue, please don’t get sucked into my bullshit and baggage, and know in advance that I’m okay, for most values of okay. Still just 100% made of human.

Well… yesterday was unexpectedly unpleasant. I don’t mean to minimize, and frankly, I don’t do myself any favors to do so; I lost my shit completely, reduced to actually yelling at someone I love in a fit of unrestrained, wholly excessive, temper, frustration, and despair. I let myself down in a remarkable betrayal of a commitment to myself that my living environment be maintained as a “no yelling” space. My neighbors, here, for the first time since I moved in two years ago, have heard me raise my voice in anger. None of that is okay with me. Not any of it. (And no, I don’t think I’m being unreasonable about that; I made myself a promise, for reasons of my own, and now that promise has been broken. It’ll be some time before I’m “over” that.)

It probably matters to have context around it, but I don’t feel emotionally up to a deep dive of the details; I over-reacted to something I could have let go of. I regularly let go of lots of things, and in a wiser moment, I’d have understood to do so then, too. I didn’t, though, because I got caught up in feeling misjudged, feeling misunderstood, and struggling to express my frustration and irritation. I got taken by surprise by my own long-lingering feelings of resentment left over from a relationship I have long since exited, and a few left from early in this one I have, which is so precious to me. It went badly. There were clearly things I was “wrong” about. There were things I wasn’t “wrong” about, but nonetheless handled poorly. It was only a matter of minutes that overwhelming strong emotion got the better of me, and at that point it didn’t matter at all who was right or wrong (how many relationships die on the back of someone’s insistence in being right?), it really only mattered that we treat each other well in that moment. I did not succeed in that requirement. None of this goes to explaining why… I don’t have that for you. I don’t really know.

Failure stings. Disappointment is painful and filled with sorrow and regret. Anger burns in one’s veins, and tells lies to one’s heart. It was a mess. The aftermath wasn’t a huge improvement; my chemistry didn’t reset very quickly. This is telling; my resilience isn’t what it was even a year ago. Why? Why on that is easy; I haven’t been properly caring for myself with the same strict standards that I had been. Again… why? Well, shit… that’s also too easy, and kind of dumb; my Traveling Partner moved in with me, and omg – I love spending time with him. I’m not saying that’s a healthy choice, just very human, and it’s what I’ve done. But… that isn’t all of it.

There’s the pain management piece, too; it’s hard to live in pain. People do, and yeah, a lot people other than me, and a lot of people in more severe pain. The VA, once again, had provided me an Rx solution to use “as needed” (let’s move on from the fact that I suffer from chronic pain), and that drug… um… has “mood altering effects”, and is actually in a category of drug I absolutely should not be taking (for that reason), and this is a known thing, documented in my medical records. My civilian physician even called me at home at some point, expressing concern, reminding me not to take it with specific other medication, and I was already noticing some personal “concerns”. So… I stopped taking it, at all. It’s probably not a coincidence that soon afterward, I became more fragile, less resilient, and then, yesterday, simply “broke”. Fucking hell. I am so vulnerable to poor medical practices, and decisions made without regard to my actual needs, but rather based on some doctor’s comfort with this drug, that drug, or ignorance about the details of my medical history. I am so vulnerable to the demands within relationships to change this, change that, catch up on something, move on from something. I am so vulnerable to my own desire to please, my own need to be comfortable, to have agency, to feel valued. Yesterday’s chaos and damage was brought to me by… me. I overlooked the considerable impact likely from discontinuing that medication, and doing so in the context of not maintaining – very strictly and consistently – my meditation practice in the way I know I must. Tons of this is about my choices, and I’ve got to be accountable for it. I can do better.

I fled the house in hysterics, and despair, and had no business driving a car in the condition I was in at the time. “Driving while crying” is an impairment of note, and I sought somewhere close to stop. It’s not like I had someplace to go in mind. I found an empty parking lot, backing up to trees, and a verdant hillside. I parked. I wept. I sobbed. I wailed. I let go, and had that painful moment of altogether losing my shit on this whole other level. No lie. There was no dignity in those moments. My Traveling Partner tried to heal the wound, texting me, pleading with me to be safe, to care for myself… to come home and just talk. I didn’t, for some time, have that in me. I’m still glad he tried.

Eventually, my tears dried, and I drove home. We went to breakfast. I was still fragile. We gently sidestepped all the emotional landmines we could. We shared the day together. I did my best. He did his best. Eventually… the day ended, gently. I went to bed and enduring nightmares of great dragons attacking civilization, and the persistent frustration of The Party People playing loud music and flashing lights, even knowing that the fucking dragons would thereby know our location. Fucking idiots. Then there were those who kept insisting that the dragons were as scared of us as we are of them, and if we’d just leave them alone… oh, hey, another one of those, torn to bits, and consumed. Well, then. Fuck. Rough night. I survived.

…Rough life. So far, I’ve survived.

I woke this morning, grateful to see the dawn, and that the house around me was not the charred ruin of my dreams. Had coffee with my partner, grateful for his love. I’m still pretty volatile, vulnerable to feeling easily hurt, struggling with my feeling of being disappointed with myself. (No, it doesn’t much matter that it may have been, again, an Rx I was given by a doctor, putting me at risk. I am collateral damage in “the opioid war”, as are a lot of other chronic pain sufferers. Doctors don’t want to prescribe them, even to very low-risk-of-abuse patients, even when we’re talking about very low dose, very mild drugs; liability concerns, more than patient care, in my experience. People get hurt not being able to ease their pain. No one much cares about that, so long as we can put a lovely “we’re winning the drug war!” headline out there.)(Sorry, my personal bitterness is showing there, that’s baggage I need to deal with.)

So… another day, another chance. Another time in my life when I have to just admit that the drugs available for pain management don’t work for me, for a variety of reasons, and learning to live more or less graciously with pain is what’s left over. Didn’t I already know that? Why do I keep trying?

I finish my coffee. Frown at this post, already annoyed with it, for no particular reason beside “failure”. Pretty sick of that right now. I guess I’ll let that go, shower, dress, and begin again. :-\

Yesterday was weird. Started well. Went well. Then… rather unexpectedly, my mood just went straight to shit in an instant. I wasn’t even sure why. My noise sensitivity got crazy intense, and the frown on my face seemed to “come from within” from this whole other deep deep place that felt like “this is me,now”. It was hard. I looked over my work calendar, and cleared off the meetings I had remaining; none of it really required me, that I could tell, and all of it could be rescheduled. So, I did.

I was still fussing with an analytical question I was wracking my brain over, when I left, and committed to finishing that off, from home. I looked at the days ahead, and determined I could spend this one (today) more wisely as a “training day”, tackling annual “tick the box” training regularly assigned to everyone and due in just a couple weeks, and finishing off some certification training and testing I’d committed to earlier in the year. It seems a practical and efficient way to give myself some room to sort myself out without the risk of infecting my workplace with my toxic bullshit and baggage. 🙂

…Sitting here with my coffee, I feel fairly “grown up”, having managed this piece of self-care adequately well. Yesterday was weird though.

I got home tense and cranky. I stayed tense and cranky long enough for my Traveling Partner to make other plans for his time that evening, while I was in the shower trying to “wash off” my shitty mood. (No surprise, I was not able to wash off my mood. lol) I wasn’t surprised; his self-care skills are very good, generally, and he knows that it does neither of us any good to sit by and endure each other’s bullshit. There are better ways. 🙂 He was heading out for the evening, shortly after I was changed into “comfy clothes”. A few minutes of conversation. A kiss. He was gone.

I sat quietly for a time. Still so cross with… whatever… I was irritating myself without trying. I made a salad. I the dishes in the dishwasher. I sat a while more. Distracting myself was harder than usual; noise sensitive, cross, anhedonic… I wasn’t fit for my own company (and these days I really like me). At some point, I dozed off on the couch, wrapped in a snuggly soft throw. The phone woke me. My Traveling Partner calling, some time later (I never looked at the time)… did I want to join them for dinner? …Italian. Um… I’m sleeping. Deeply. LOL How rare is that?? I thanked him (I think. I hope.) and declined.

…Some further time later, I heard someone in the house… I felt disoriented in the darkness; I had lights on in the living room, where I had been dozing on the couch… I was waking out of context – in bed, no clear recollection of going to bed. I slipped out of bed, still confused, and quietly went to the door. Home intruder? Break in? Um… probably not; I hear the sound of someone using the hall bathroom. I call down the hall way, “hello?”. My partner answers, and I relax, finally pulling myself fully into the present. I’m not really awake though, and hadn’t even put my glasses on. Staying up long enough to connect, to embrace, I went back to bed pretty soon after he got home.

I woke reluctantly when the alarm went off. I feel pretty well-rested this morning, but I’m also glad I adjusted my work plans to make room for self-care. I needed to ease up on myself, and although I still don’t know what the hell went wrong with me yesterday, I’m pretty sure caring for myself in a way that demonstrates that I matter, to me, remains important, today.

Self-care choices are not always easy. It’s taken me years to break habits of self-abuse, self-exploitation, and inwardly directed mistreatment of all sorts. I still practice self-care, because I still need to. It still takes commitment, effort, and deliberate willful consideration, to choose to care for this fragile vessel, and the being of emotion and reason who resides within.

I’ve got a work day of training ahead of me, self-paced, isolated by headphones and the door of my studio. This suits me, although I am already feeling much better this morning. I find myself wondering if my poor sleep is something I need to be taking more seriously at this point… I smile and sip my coffee. The short to do list I’ve got for later seems wholly manageable and it’s not driving any stress at all. So far so good. I finish off my coffee while I rock out to this playlist… it’s time to begin again. 😀

Tooth extraction. I guess I’m more than a little grateful how far dentistry has come. It was, as suggested, not all that painful. Even getting the shots to numb the area was insignificant, pain-wise. The extraction, itself, was peculiarly… forceful. I mean, seriously? My dentist basically pulled a living tooth with no interest in being removed right on out of my jaw, where it was pretty permanently lodged, right? The amount of force required was… impressive. I couldn’t really feel anything but the pulling, and even now, I am ever-so-grateful for the advances modern dentistry has made. It got a tad grim when I could literally hear bone snapping, breaking free, and the taste of blood isn’t particularly pleasant. Still… no pain.

“…Oh, just one thing to cover before you leave… after we get an x-ray…” Yeah, well… okay. A “complication”. A small perforation of my lower sinus, which is, I guess, not an especially uncommon complication of an extraction of one of those back molars. I walked away, face beginning to ache, equipped with care instructions, and feeling very grown-up; I got through it, and it’s done, and I’m fine.

I arrived home. Relaxed for a few minutes with my Traveling Partner. Reviewed those care instructions… carefully. Wondered about what I’d be able to eat for the next few days. Frowned at the likelihood that it may be 2-3 weeks before I could vape again, or drink through a straw, or do literally anything that results in any notable amount of suction (trust me, this affects my quality of life! lol). I was pretty quickly overcome with a serious case of “I don’t actually care about any of this, actually”, and crashed out for a “nap”, that turned into about 18 hours of solid sleep, interrupted only long enough for interludes to sip water, sit up for a handful of minutes, go to the bathroom, and have a few very finely minced calories with great care. lol I still feel like I’ve been hit hard in the face, several times. I still taste blood, faintly. I’m still incredibly careful about every swallow of liquid, every bite of food.

…2-3 weeks??

Fourth of July. Well… no BBQ for me. I’m still “injured” enough that I don’t actually much care about that. I’m grateful for Ibuprofen; it’s getting me by nicely for pain management. My mouth “feels weird”. Talking, too, seems affected by the change in the shape of my mouth, the swollenness of my gum, and the pain in my jaw. I know it will pass.

…I think I’ll have another nap. LOL

It was a weekend of long walks in the sunshine, of fresh ripe blackberries, of farmer’s markets, and of grilling. It was a lovely, easy, relaxed summer weekend. Enough. More than enough. I let the recollection put a smile on my face this morning, as I sip my coffee, and prepare for a new day, a new week, and a new beginning. 🙂

All of the richness and warmth of the weekend, though, wouldn’t be “enough”, if I were to refuse to allow it to be; I could so easily choose to demand more from my experience and find myself mired in discontent and dissatisfaction. (I know this for certain, because I was once that person.) This morning the choice is to enjoy each of the small things I do enjoy, and to savor those experiences. I let them fill me up and become substantial in my recollection, and, over time, they become quite prominent in my implicit memory, and useful towards building emotional resilience.

…So practical. 😀

This week will “feel different” in the office, mostly simply to do with changing the office, itself. We’ve moved the work from one location, to another, although not very far. The two locations have a very different “vibe”, and quite a different arrangement of space. I’m eager to observe how these differences change other behavior than my own. It’s a work thing. lol Still, I’m eager to get going with it, and find myself considering leaving for work early, although few people will be on site, or working, as early as I generally get in. It’s the momentum that I’m after. I feel eager.

…Oh hey, “eagerness” is returning. I smile, feeling welcoming, and positively-inclined toward the experience of feeling eager. 🙂 It’s not much to hold onto, but any little foothold that helps me on my way up and out of last week’s pit of raw grief and existential disappointment is worth enjoying. 🙂 Grieving is such a personal thing. It will be a long while before I’m anything like truly being “over” my mother’s death – but, fortunately for my mental health and quality of life, feels like I am very nearly “over it enough” to see the color and joy begin to return to the day-to-day. 🙂

I take a moment for pictures of flowers from the weekend, before I begin again. 🙂

I’m sipping my room temperature coffee (lost a crown, haven’t yet had that repaired), and considering the path I am on, and where it has taken me. I’m thinking about my mother’s death. I’m slowly waking up to a new morning, and a new perspective.

Every ending, also a beginning; the sun shines even on our dark moments.

I went to the farmer’s market yesterday. The blueberries and blackberries are just in, and the strawberries have not yet disappeared. At the grocery store, exceptional tree-ripe apricots up from Dinuba were in. They are delicious this morning, with my coffee. Needing more novelty – and admittedly, also more exercise – I selected a nearby trail I “hadn’t gotten to, yet” – and got to it.

The sunshine was bright and illuminating.

It was only two miles, and spent mostly in my head. The sunshine was warm on my skin.

There were beautiful eye-catching flowers I’ve never noticed before.

The breeze was soft, and heavily scented with flowers.

Sweetpeas bloomed all along the trail, at the edges of the blackberry thicket.

I let my feet carry me forward, enjoying sunshine and movement. Thinking about Mom’s passing, without being fully aware that her service was going on, at that time, but still very much grieving the loss in a personal way. No guilt over not traveling for the service; she’d have understood. I know this, because we had discussed it.

Thimbleberries!

I spot a thicket of ripening thimbleberries along my path. I help myself to just one; they are too fragile for commercial cultivation, and have minimal fruit. The lovely flavor is unique, and I savor it, present, just being for that long sweet moment. I enjoy just the one berry, leaving the rest for the birds, before walking on.

There are wee bunnies in the underbrush all along my walk. Most of them are too fast for me to capture on film.

I return, eventually, to the car, and to home, and enjoy a quiet relaxed day of this-n-that, generally at leisure.

…No headache.

I sit a moment with that awareness; no headache yesterday. No headache this morning. I don’t want to miss this moment. This, too, is worth presence, worth savoring long enough to form a clear recollection, for later.

I enjoyed the walk yesterday more than the walk itself probably rates. I definitely need to be doing more of that. I sip my coffee and consider the morning ahead… I can definitely get a walk in, this morning, too. Maybe no pictures? A walking meditation, perhaps. Along the river? I don’t go up that way often; the wind in my ears, the sparseness of the vegetation, the bare expanse of berm along the path; it’s not much to see besides the long broad ribbon of muddy water, but this morning even that sounds enticing.

I finish my coffee, and start figuring myself out for the day. I find myself recalling bow practice, yesterday, with the crossbow my Traveling Partner got me as a late birthday present. I’ve no idea, really, what inspired him to go that direction – and it was a master-stroke of loving inspiration, as it turns out. We enjoyed the sunshine together for a few moments of target practice, before determining that, ideally, we’d need more room than we have behind the house. I promise myself to keep an eye out for suitable locations as I travel here and there. Still grinning, I settle on a pair of jeans, quietly (randomly) retrieved from the closet, as my partner sleeps. This day won’t live itself!

It’s time to begin… again. 🙂