Archives for category: anhedonia

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. 🙂

 

Sipping my coffee, scrolling through my feeds, reading the posts of friends dropped into this app or that one, during the night. There is content that troubles me, and I see a lot of it; people posting vague remarks that are self-critical, negative, and on a hopeless sort of downer that shrieks of depression, self-loathing, and… a regrettable lack of understanding that there are, still, and yes, even if they are deeply depressed, some choices involved. Harsh. Why the ever-loving-fuck would someone repeatedly post this sort of quagmire of terribly self-contempt-filled morsels on which to feed themselves? Horrifying.

I don’t have to look too far in the past to “get it”. I only “don’t get it”, now. It’s one major drawback, for me, of healing and forward momentum; it can be hard to understand, or identify with, those past challenges. I guess I’m grateful for that, generally, but when I want to offer comfort, or suggest there is another way, I wish I were more easily able to do so. How do I tell someone in such circumstances “that’s just your opinion of yourself, and only for right now, and holy crap – did you know you can change that??”… when it is their own heartfelt convictions, and deepest terror, about themselves, that I’d be seeking to challenge? I mean, I can say words. Words I’ve got – lots of them – but, generally, these friends are not listening to those words. They hear the words they say, themselves, about the self they so loathe. Anything I could (and often do) say is drowned out in the din.

…It can be heartbreaking to scroll past egregious thinking errors that recognizably mire dear ones in misery. We each can only do so much. If a feeding frenzy of corrections, positivity, love, and encouragement, in response to such posts does nothing to bandage a wounded heart… what can? Well… being present helps. Listening deeply helps. Constancy and steady patient friendship helps. Eventually, though, it’s down to that person and those feelings. …And the verbs…? Yep. No surprise; they’ve got to do the verbs, themselves. No one else can actually undertake to do the work to feel better, aside from the person having the shitty experience – particularly if that shitty experience is one they’ve willfully crafted for themselves and reinforced over time.

Well… shit. That sucks. I’d love to be able to reach out a hand to a friend and take their pain away. Generally, it does not work like that. If I cling to them, wrapping myself up in their pain, eventually some may even sap my strength for living my own life, and caring for my own heart – and not out of malice, just done in a way not so dissimilar to someone overboard grabbing for a life vest or flotation device and just holding on desperately. So, I focus on self-care, and listening deeply, and sharing the journey, and “being there” – but I also work to set skillful boundaries, to be there for my own self, reliably, and to avoid getting sucked into drama. I do what I can to encourage friends who are suffering to choose less suffering, if they are able to. I still feel sad when I watch them choose suffering again and again, in a way that appears crafted and willful. My heart aches for them; I’m pretty sure that if they were able to really understand how much suffering they specifically choose, foster, nurture, and feed, they would also understand they could choose differently.

…I couldn’t treat myself differently until I both understood that such a thing were possible, and – but? – also not until I was ready to see myself differently, and as worthy of better treatment from myself. Harsh – but the truth of it is that I can’t walk that mile for anyone else. I can only suggest that there is such a path available to be walked.

It was a lovely quiet weekend, spent in the gentle good company of my traveling partner. Some snow fell. Some rain fell. Movies were watched. Content was shared – as was contentment. It was warm and connected and close. It feels good to share the company of such good companions: my Traveling Partner… and the woman in the mirror. It feels good to be in a place in life where my own good company is precious to me. I finish my coffee, wondering what words it takes to suggest to the worn down, forlorn, depressed, or anxious, that they, too, have this amazing relationship near at hand…? That perhaps the answer to the question “when will I find someone?” could be found in their mirror, right now?

The coffee is finished. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

Well, new job… new opportunities for contagion. lol Shit. I’m sick. Oh, it’s not any sort of dire life-threatening sort of thing, just an annoying virus of some kind. It began with robbing me of my appetite night before last, but I didn’t really notice that. Yesterday the tickle in my throat, and a spectacular fit of sneezing heralded the coming of the new virus with more certainty. By midday, in the office with it, the weakness, aching joints, and fatigue, joined the party, and I went home to take care of myself. I think my Traveling Partner may have it, too, but I was too sick yesterday to be at all clear about that; he was an absolute pro at providing nurturing and care, and if he was sick, too… wow. It wasn’t obvious, and as sick as I was, we enjoyed our time together.

…I meant to actually just go to bed, and to do so early. What I actually managed to do was sit around wrapped in a fuzzy blanket staring blankly at the television for several hours, then went to bed. lol I woke too early, but also too… awake. Now? Now I’m up. It’s a new day. I get started canceling plans; I am still feeling ill, and there is no good reason to expose my friends to this. I’m already looking forward to that moment when I… just go back to bed. Self-care first, and some coffee, then I will yield to the call of warm blankets, and a quiet room.

Mindfulness will not prevent a head cold. A great meditation practice will not prevent me from feeling confused, weak, and ache-y, when I’m sick. This is just real. I keep grinning every time I consider the “new love” excitement of realizing that mindfulness practices really were helpful for me – every day, every moment, significantly improved with them – and how easily I was tempted into enthusiastic cheer-leading, and also into gradually slipping into thinking errors about what it was capable of doing for me. Great self-care means practicing all the practices that support my wellness – emotional and physical – without putting any one of them on such a high pedestal that it becomes a set up for failure, over time. I’m not dissing meditation or mindfulness, at all, I’m just pointing out that – as is often also the case even with the medicines we take – no single practice (for mindfulness, for self-care, for emotional well-being, for physical health…) can do 100% of everything we need – for everything we need. Just… It doesn’t work like that.

I’ll still meditate today, if I’ve the mind for it. It’s an important practice, a foundation of my emotional health, and I get a lot out of it. I’ll still practice mindfulness, as much as I am able to while I’m feeling ill, and whether sick or well, it’s a practice I find worthwhile for keeping me grounded, realistic about life, and able to maintain a clear perspective on the things that matter most to me. I’ll shower, and practice good hygiene. I’ll make the effort to eat healthy calories. I’ll drink water. I’ll rest. No one of these great practices will cure the common cold. It is what it is. They are what they are. Only that.

…Imagine how awkward, uncomfortable, disappointing, and frustrating it would be, if I fostered a belief that meditation would cure my cold… and then it just didn’t. I might be angry. I might give up on my practice, and lose the benefits it does provide me. I might lash out at others, or rhetorically, spreading my feelings around my tribe or community, and undermining the practices of others with the festering wound of my disappointment and my sense of failure. I would wonder if I were “doing it wrong” and whether it’s “all bullshit”. What a lot of wasted emotional bandwidth. 😦

Meditation has been a practice that has served me well, thus far. I continue to practice. I value the effect it has on my day-to-day experience. I am emotionally more well, in the context of having a committed meditation practice. It’s still only what it is, and it can’t be more than that.

Today I have a cold. At some point, I’ll meditate awhile, and when I’m done with that… I’ll still have this cold. These experiences are not related to each other, and that’s entirely okay. This? This is not my best writing. It is, however, a parable. A moment to pause and reflect on what meditation is – and isn’t – and what it do – and what it don’t do. 😉

Once I’m over this sickness, I’ll definitely begin again. 😀