Archives for category: Anxiety

Last evening was relaxed, and contented. I shared that time with my Traveling Partner. All is well. We checked in with each other regularly, gently, careful to be our most considerate and our most kind. The evening followed a difficult morning, for sure, and we were not planning to worsen that experience, or prolong it. We let that shit go. We each embraced a new beginning, individually, and together. There were verbs involved. Now and then, our results varied (at least initially).

I crashed early, likely one of the consequences of my emotional bad weather from earlier in the day. I slept deeply, waking once or twice – noisy neighbors, partying on a Saturday night – and returned to sleep quickly each time. I woke early, late for me, managing to sleep in a couple hours. I made coffee. It’s good. I refilled my vape with this “peach gummy” flavored juice I made, then found my morning halted momentarily when I could not change the battery in my vape device. Shit. Small thing. I shrug it off and grab a different vape to use, frowning with distaste at the “vanilla latte” juice I no longer favor. I try a few more times to unscrew the cap from the battery box on the other vape, without success. I use a tool or two, no luck there either. Fuck. I set it aside, refusing to allow the morning to become characterized by frustration.

I make a point of letting my frustration go. This particular challenge need not command the whole of my attention this morning; I’ll deal with it later. 🙂

I sip my coffee and reflect on yesterday, ever so briefly. This, too, need not command the whole of my attention this morning. 🙂 I’ve already dealt with it. 🙂

I hit my vape. Less than satisfying. I sip my coffee. Very satisfying indeed. I contemplate balance, and choices. I contemplate emotion and reason. I think about our new life in a new home in a new community, and find myself wondering if at long last Emotion and Reason will take her place on the wall somewhere, in our home?

Because love matters more.
“Emotion and Reason” 24″ x 36″ acrylic on canvas w/ceramic details and glow 2012

It’s a leisurely Sunday morning. I think about some household chores I’d like to get done today. Nothing major: vacuum, dust, clean the bathroom, do some laundry, empty the dishwasher, take out the trash, routine quality of life stuff that simply has to get done, regularly. I’m okay with it. Doing those things is a meditation of sorts. My Traveling Partner is very helpful with the housekeeping. He counts on me for some of it, I count on him for some of it. Together we get it all done. Partnership. I feel calm, and okay with myself, my life, my relationship, my recent choices, the move ahead of us…. Hell, I feel okay with the rather gray morning, that hints coyly at sunshine later, but promises nothing. It’s a pleasant day, and I’m in a good place. It’s enough.

I may never be “fully over” or entirely free of PTSD. I’ve learned to spend more time on joy than on sorrow, and on creating order than on creating chaos. I’ve learned some practices that help me bounce back in hours instead of days (or weeks). I’ve learned not to take my own moments of despair personally. The actual damage was done so long ago, how does it actually even matter now? I don’t take that personally, either. I’m human. I feel a pang of deep, abiding regret for the pain my PTSD causes my Traveling Partner… then I give myself a moment of kindness and compassion, and some for him, too; his PTSD similarly causes me pain. I let it go. We’re in this together, although we are each having our own experience. 🙂 Forgiveness is about letting go of the hurts, and growing, and moving on from that chaos, and beginning again, isn’t it? I regularly choose to begin again, right here, with my Traveling Partner, because it really is the sort of partnership worth forgiving the small hurts, and sharing this complicated journey toward being the human beings we each most want to be. Nothing about that suggests we’re traveling with a clear plan, a detailed map, or smooth illuminated pavement. Our results vary. There are a lot of new beginnings, together, and individually.

The clear simple perspective of a quiet Sunday brings me a satisfying peace.

I sip my coffee and think about the move ahead of us. That’s not until July, and I have time to plan, to anticipate, to consider, to daydream, to tackle real questions, to discuss, to share, to work out this-or-that detail. We’ll enjoy many hours of conversation about rooms, placement of objects, things we may need (or want) in the new place that we do not have now. A budget is already beginning to take shape. A countdown of sorts has already begun.

Life is very good. I’m okay. I happen to have PTSD, and maybe I’ll always have symptoms flare up unexpectedly? Maybe I won’t. I’ll become what I practice.

It’s time to begin again. 🙂

Was it me? Was it them? Is anyone at all “right”? Is anyone “the good guy”? It doesn’t feel like it. We’re each having our own experience. Really listening to each other – both of us, reliably – is not a thing right now. This shit went so wrong that even the neighbors are awake with it. It’s not okay. I can tell I’m not “the good guy”. It’s pretty much a given that I’m not the good guy, any time shit blows up; complex PTSD is nasty shit, and most of the time, in most circumstances, when things fall apart this badly, this fast, it’s on me. I’m not being hard on myself, or sarcastic, or fatalistic, or catastrophizing. It’s just statistics. If something goes this badly, this quickly, I can reliably assume with considerable likelihood of being correct that it’s me, because far more often than not, it is. My words. My actions. My reactions. My… something. My PTSD. It’s hard to take, as answers go, and at least right now I’m feeling mostly despair and that bleak sense of “this again?” I feel like I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. Metaphorically speaking.

…I’m so tired of it…

…I’m so tired of me.

Is this “who I am”, when it comes right down to it?

I’m tired of PTSD. So tired of it. The unexpected flash of unreasonable anger/frustration/rage/tears that sweeps in out of literally nowhere, and just lays waste to every fucking thing that could ever have been good about a moment is beyond comprehension, and seems defiant of management or control. It leaves an emotional film of unpleasantness and sorrow over everything that follows for some time.

…But… I have all these excellent practices… all this therapy behind me… all these good intentions… all this fucking work. My demons howl with laughter and general merriment. I can hear them like a Greek chorus, “Fuck your practices you stupid meat puppet! We fucking own you. We will own you until it kills you or destroys everything you love.”

Sure, there’s shit my Traveling Partner fucks up, too. He’s human. I think it’s easy enough to acknowledge his humanity. Sometimes he’s wrong. Sometimes he’s an asshole. Sometimes he’s not either of those things, and shit still goes sideways. I’ve got to acknowledge that he definitely loves me, too; how else could he have stayed through so much of my bullshit? How else could he continue to approach me, seeking to calm things down and soothe me when he is hurting, himself?  Is it enough? Is love actually enough? Can it really keep me trying? Can it really lift me up? Is love enough to get me to hang in there through another freak out? Another break down? Another fuck up? Another moment of missed communication, sabotaged joy, lost delight? Is love enough to endure more of this shit? Is it unreasonable to expect it to be?

What do I even do right now? (What do I even do right, now?)

I’ve lost my appetite. My coffee tastes sour. My head aches. My tears just keep slowly flowing down my face. This is an incredibly painful moment. We’re on the edge of doing something really wonderful together… and I continue to suck as a human being. God damn it. Fucking hell. This is miserable.

…Why am I choosing misery?

(Breathe. Exhale. Let it go. Breathe. Exhale. Let it go, some more. Breathe, exhale, let it go, be here – present in this moment. I remind myself that I am “okay right now”.)

So, now what? I don’t know. I know my partner is hurting in the other room. Emotional pain because this was a painful moment. Physical pain because he’s a human, and aging fucking sucks; old injuries hurt worse as we age than they did when we were recovering from them. Both of us are hurting. There’s no physical violence in this relationship, but we sometimes treat each poorly. Harsh. Unkind words are for sure “better than a punch in the mouth” – but they aren’t good. It’s not what I want from myself. It’s not want I want for myself.

…I just want my pleasant relaxed morning back. I want to roll back the clock and treat my partner well, and feel well-treated in return. We missed our moment. I can’t refuse to own my part in that. I can’t turn away from my critical failures. The way out is through. We learn best through our mistakes and failures. Growth is uncomfortable.

“Begin again.” It’s feeble, but I heard it. That’s something, I guess. I think I want to, too. I just don’t feel confident about the outcome, right now. 😦 That’s even okay. It’s enough to make the effort. It’s enough to begin again.

…and again…

…and again…

We become what we practice. It’s time to practice calm. It’s time to practice loving words. It’s time to practice listening deeply.

…It’s time to begin again.

 

I woke more than an hour ahead of my alarm. I crashed on the couch in the living room, hoping to get a bit more sleep, and although that was a successful endeavor, I’m tired today, and cautious with myself. I sat down after meditation, and some yoga, thinking I had something to write about, but it slipped away before I got started. My Traveling Partner woke early this morning too (did I wake him, I wonder?). Instead of bounding into his space and crowding him first thing with chatter, I do my own thing this morning. Unsure what I need for myself, from myself, this morning, I figure the safest bet for a harmonious day together is to focus on taking care of this fragile vessel first thing. I offer to make coffee for my partner, and I do that, then get back to my writing, which now feels… lacking in focus or direction. It’s not the fault of making coffee; I was already “here”, when I offered to make coffee. lol

I’ve got a routine workday ahead. Things to do. Things to manage. Things to analyze. Tasks to process and outcomes to document. Work. Wholly routine shit. I’m not annoyed or disappointed or frustrated – I’m not even complaining. It’s just a Thursday with things to do, and wow – where did this week go??

…I’ve got the munchies and I want a fucking donut. 0_o

…When did we stop spelling donut as “doughnut”?…

I sip my coffee feeling… well… I’m not sure what the name of this emotion is? Resigned-and-purposeful-less-than-ideally-well-engaged-but-okay-with-it-from-a-practical-perspective-mostly-content-and-I-ain’t-even-mad seems about right. Does that have a name? I sigh and have another sip of my coffee. It is what it is, and what it is, is a Thursday in the time of pandemic. I get why people may feel inclined to protest the shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders; it’s getting old for me too, and I really like being at home. I feel fussy and if not actually bored, definitely yearning to be on the move, elsewhere, seeing things out in the world.

I had cause to run a needful errand yesterday (paper mask, social distancing, and the whole pandemic safety deal). It was pleasant to drive a distance, and return home. It wasn’t the solitude out in the trees that I’ve truly yearning for, but that’s just gotta wait on safer times. It too “is what it is”. I breathe, exhale, relax, and let that go. Another time.

Small frustrations and moments of impatience feel “bigger than they are”, these past few days. I know it is a matter of perspective. This morning I work on resetting my experience by resetting my expectations, and working to hold onto a better awareness moment-to-moment about how human we all are, how hard this is for each of us (for our own reasons), and why it matters. I take a moment to reflect how on much love fills this household, specifically making a point to exclude tense moments and contentious conversation from my thoughts; those moments of emotional weather are not what my life, or experience of my partner, or our relationship, are actually built of. They’re quite rare under most circumstances, and truly not worth blowing out of proportion. I take a moment for gratitude – we help each other out every day, and we’ve gotten so much done over these weeks shut in together. Everywhere I look, finished projects, and quality of life improvements. Nice. I hear my partner in the other room. I smile, and feel warmed all through by my awareness of his love.

This seems like a nice beginning to the day. It’s enough. 🙂

I slept last night. It wasn’t a great night of sleep, but I slept more or less through the night. No bad dreams. I woke fairly well-rested. I feel calm, and generally contented. The morning begins quietly. My coffee is hot, and comforting. I feel ready for the day, generally speaking. It’s a new day. 🙂

Meditation. Yoga. Some exercise. I feel okay. I’m not filled with youthful enthusiasm, and that’s fine. I don’t expect to be filled with energy and verve every morning. It’s enough to feel decently well-rested, and if not merry, at least relaxed and comfortable. I’m not in as much pain as yesterday, which is helpful. My thoughts sneak back to yesterday, wondering “what the fuck?”, and I bring myself back to now, with some firmness and insistence; there is no particular value in revisiting yesterday’s pain from today’s perspective. There is more value in simply being here, now, feeling better. 🙂

…My Traveling Partner did his best to be kind and supportive, yesterday, while also dealing with his own frustrations and discomfort. That could not have been easy. There were clearly verbs involved. I pause the random flow of my thoughts to be appreciative and grateful, and then, again, bring myself back to “now”.

It is a new morning, a new day, and I am making a point to give this day a chance to stand on its own merits. 🙂 A lot of emotional baggage depends on remaining stuck on some past moment, or potential future moment – neither of which are “now”. I spend a lot less time, these days, mired in past or future moments. It’s been a healthy change.

I sip my coffee and think about friends. Family. I wonder how everyone else is doing after weeks at home. My Traveling Partner and I are doing okay. We get on each other’s nerves a bit, now and then, which seems normal enough. Life in the time of pandemic is improved by sharing this time with him. I feel fortunate to enjoy his company. Excusing the occasional moment of crankiness isn’t a hardship; we’re both so human. 🙂

I glance at the time. Such an ordinary morning. Looks like it’s already time to begin again.

I slept badly. Restless dreams. Woke ahead of the alarm, feeling… alarmed. I turned over and got comfortable again, just in time to hear the alarm go off. I felt stiff and sore getting up, which has persisted beyond a few minutes of yoga. I made my coffee in the dim ambient lighting of various household indicator lights, and a small lamp left on. The morning feels chilly, and my bones ache. The pain in my neck is a pain in the neck, slowly becoming a headache. I remind myself to take something for that, before the work day begins. I sit quietly, for awhile, wondering what’s missing from my experience of the morning, this morning. Something feels missing

…At some point, after some reflection, I accept that I just “don’t feel into it” today… like… disengaged from my experience, and generally… uninterested. I try to tempt my consciousness to be a tad more joyful… or at least minimally appreciative to have another shot at living life… Minecraft? I shrug silently. “Whatever.” How’s the coffee? Fine, I guess. No enthusiasm. I’m in pain, and I slept badly, and this entire day ahead of me, from the vantage point of right here, right now, can just… yeah, I’m not so into it, this morning. I at least manage to avoid feeling altogether bleak.

So…okay. New day, old practices. I breathe deeply, and sit more upright. I exhale and feel my aching cramped shoulder, perpetually twisted in an impression of being a rock of some kind, relax just a bit. Another breath. Another exhalation. I let thoughts drift in, and I let each one go. The pain in my shoulder is connected to the pain in my neck, that becomes the headache at the base of my skull – and just on the left side, leaving the right side taunting me with what life could feel like if I didn’t hurt like this. I tear up a bit. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. I let that go, too. These honest tears that threaten to fall aren’t shameful in anyway, I’m just… also not into that. lol

Time spent on meditation helps me gain some perspective. I know this is only “emotional weather”, and may source with unremembered dreams and poor quality sleep. It’ll pass. I remind myself to be kind – to myself, too – and give myself some support and consideration. The sky beyond my window reveals a gray rainy-looking day ahead. No wonder I hurt so much, I think to myself. Damn, …this headache, though…

I sip my coffee, and half-listen to a video I only half-wanted to watch, anyway. It doesn’t seem to matter. I find myself rather earnestly wanting to simply fold up into a pile of warm heavy blankets and just… cry. Or sleep. There is a work day ahead of me, and much adulting to do, on an utterly ordinary routine day in this life in the time of pandemic, and it’s not going to wait on a headache. I sigh quietly, and breathe. Exhale. Relax. Let that shit go… again. Feels like it may be a long day, today. I remind myself to let the moments unfold without pre-loading them with expectations and assumptions, and to give the day a chance to be more than this moment is, right now.

Practicing healthy practices that support emotional wellness day-to-day doesn’t mitigate my fundamental humanity, or erase the challenges I have – and my results vary. There is no “perfect” to get to, no “finish line” to cross with a champion’s raised arms, triumphant in victory. The journey is the destination… and sometimes the path is rough going, and poorly illuminated. This too will pass. It’s a moment. Like other moments, it is finite, and of limited consequence taken all on its own. I make a half-assed attempt at shrug. One day of many – sooner or later there will be one that isn’t characterized by contentment and joy. That’s just real. I let that go, too.

Another deep cleansing breath. I exhale. I relax. I think about a second coffee. It’s time to begin again.