Archives for category: Anxiety

Today is off to a rough start. I’m writing early, with tears on my face. This morning begins with a challenge. I’m not always ready to measure my words, to smile accommodatingly at the world, or to be prepared for things to skid sideways unexpectedly over some random thing and handle it with grace and diplomacy. I’m not that skilled or resilient, yet. I’m taking my coffee in the studio, this morning, as far from other human beings as this house permits. Fuck humans. This morning I have already had enough of people.

…That didn’t take long…

An innocent seeming remark, taken personally, wrecks what had some small shot at being a good morning. It sucks. Weekday morning. I’ve got work in a little while. I’m wreckage. God damn it this sucks all kinds of completely.  We’ve got a house guest too, on top of just sucking generally, so on top of the general sucking – we’re having an argument at 5 o’clock in the morning while a guest tries to sleep through our bullshit. Fucking hell. Not okay. On top of the stress of this, generally, I’m also deeply embarrassed by our basic rudeness.

Fuck people. Fuck relationships. Fuck having to deal with any of it, ever, at all. I am feeling bitter, and I am feeling blue. I am angry that a small well-intentioned observation that was emotionally neutral at the moment it was spoken, turned into this shitstorm of emotional sewage so early in the morning. I feel robbed of a pleasant morning. He does too, enough to make a point of expressing unhappiness that I would choose to be in my studio, writing, instead of hanging out with him, even as things are right now. (I admit, I don’t get that – I don’t even want to be around me right now.)

…I slept like shit…

…I woke up feeling cross and headache-y…

…I was already “not in a good place”…

…I’m in pain…

Realistically, I can’t put this morning on my partner. My emotions? Mine to deal with. I apologized to him. He didn’t hear me. He apologized to me. I didn’t hear him. We repeat the cycle. Eventually apologies are audible. We hear each other. We acknowledge those words. He wants to talk. To engage. To restore emotional intimacy. I want to withdraw to the safety of solitude. He feels hurt by my rejection. I feel hurt by his lack of understanding that I want to provide myself with some basic self-care right now. We repeat the cycles we’re most familiar with. Doing differently is serious work.

…I haven’t even had my first cup of coffee…

Making predictions about the day may tend to “lock in” the assumptions I’d have to make to do so. It’s a poor choice. I breathe. Exhale. Let it go. I keep at it. Breathing. Exhaling. Focusing on my breath. Letting my shoulders relax. Pulling my posture upright. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. I hear my typing cadence begin to become even. Regular. A steady beat. Less chaotic and tempestuous. There are choices here. Verbs. Effort. Will. The journey is not always an easy one. The road ahead is not always smooth under my feet when I walk it. There is no growth or forward momentum in what is easiest, only joy and contentment. My results vary. I need more practice.

…I’ve gotta admit, I do like the joy and contentment, though…

I sip my coffee. Contentment can be built. More verbs. A lot of practice. We become what we practice. What am I practicing? (I can’t do a fucking thing about anyone else’s practices, only my own, that’s just real.) Am I, as I sit here, the woman I most want to be? (I could do better.) Still human. So human.

It’s a fairly shitty morning so far. I could definitely do better. I guess I have to begin again.

…Time to get on with that…

I woke abruptly from an unpleasant dream, this morning. It was much earlier than I needed to be awake, but I couldn’t go back to sleep. After a few minutes, ruminating over my dream, I got up. My Traveling Partner and I shared coffee. The day began.

Now I’m sitting contentedly in my studio once again (no, the repairs have not yet been done, and the wall and closet are still “torn out”, waiting on those repairs). I was inspired to get moved back in by my unpleasant dream. The details are not critical here, the fundamentals were what got my attention, and I woke motivated to act on what was “suddenly so clear”; I needed to have my studio back, like, immediately. Having my workstation (and conducting my day-to-day work) in the dining room was an acceptable short-term solution while the water damage in my studio was being addressed. (The big air movers that were shoved in to the smallish space were reason enough; it was way too loud for work.) That’s all over with, though. Right now, it’s just a room waiting for some dry wall to be replaced, and some finish work. I’d cluttered up the opposite side of the room, making haste to move paintings to safety, and bookcases out of harm’s way, and the big deal at this point was that I couldn’t get to my desk! I woke from my troubling dream with a clear plan how best to regain the lost space and move forward.

…And it’s not as if I have any expectation of the repair crew coming this week…

It feels particularly good to be seated at my desk. I smile, and gaze out the window, content with the small view of pear-laden trees on the other side the fence, and a wedge of sky beyond my neighbor’s house. My desk is clean, tidy, and looking around the room with some satisfaction, I note that things are as well-managed and neat as before we noticed the leak that caused me to be temporarily kicked out of my studio. In some ways, it is tidier, simply because most of the canvases were moved into another space in the house (permanent solution still tbd).

My Traveling Partner was also inspired to begin “putting things right once again”, and between coffees tidied up his workshop, and rehung the sun shade “sails” that make the deck so pleasant on sunny summer days. They had been taken down during a wind storm, and we didn’t bother putting them back up while the air outside was indexed at “hazardous” – we weren’t spending time outside!

We each (both) remarked how much difference it made to our general feeling of emotional wellness to have the dining room restored to it’s ideal function (as a dining room), and my workstation back on my desk where it belongs. Reclaiming that living space was a big deal for both of us. Reclaiming this space (my studio) was critical for me, and probably pretty fucking helpful for my partner, too. It was getting beyond annoying to have business calls going on all day, in the shared living space where one might expect to be able to just relax and watch a damned video, or read the news. I know it was messing with my partner’s morning routine. It was challenging for me to deal graciously with life and love being so intimately present in the midst of work – my attention was unavoidably divided, and however much I might prefer to turn my full attention to matters of home life and love and my lover every minute, every time, I also felt the tug of the paycheck; my time is not my own during those working hours. It was hard on us both. I had started to feel pretty trapped. My partner made it explicitly clear he was having some feelings about it, himself. It was not a sustainable arrangement.

…I’m almost eager to face Monday’s calendar, from this seat, in this room, looking across my monitors to this window, and those trees beyond. Once again, I feel “at home” – which is much nicer than feeling chronically uneasy and displaced, for sure.

The morning was fairly merry. I find myself ready to begin again. 🙂

Yesterday, rather unexpectedly (entirely unexpectedly), my Traveling Partner called gently to me from inside the house “…can you come into the house quickly?” So, of course, I made my way into the house with some haste. I stepped into the living room, and first saw him, standing in front of the aquarium, looking at it, perplexed and concerned. As he pointed, my eye followed… to water flowing from the aquarium… the water on the floor… back to the “leak” (which appeared to be coming from nowhere, just sort of “seeping, aggressively” from the lower rim. What the hell? (And, also… 29 gallons of water is a lot more water than it seems like it would be, when it is flowing down the front of furniture, pooling on the floor, and expanding in all directions. Just saying. “Astonished” just about describes my experience.)

A lot went on from that moment of recognition, until the completed resolution some hours later. My Traveling Partner stayed cool and calm. I did pretty well in that department, too. I obtained a new aquarium was quickly obtained from the local fish store (a genuine stroke of good fortune on that – it’s a strange size, and not commonly carried everywhere). While I was doing that, my partner siphoned the remaining water into buckets, rescued plants and livestock, and cleaned up literally every sign that there ever was a leak, anywhere. (Call me impressed – I got home seriously worried about “all of the things”, and committed to doing my part… which was, after all that, simply to set up the new aquarium. Wow. So much love.)

I spent a relatively relaxed evening setting up the new aquarium, and enjoyed having the help of my Traveling Partner. We worked together on it, and the outcome was a good one; not one fish fatality, a thorough water change (that was due), significant pruning and algae removal, and some tidying up and re-scaping the substrate and object placement. This morning, clear water and happy creatures were waiting for me.

The point of relating all of this is mostly to point out how fucking cursed I felt in that moment of discovery; yet another “aquarium-related” mishap. Another leak/water damage concern. Another moment of chaos. I could have just fucking lost it… and I didn’t. Not this time. Neither did my partner. Fish could have died. I knew that, then. I even contemplated, briefly, just … not. Meaning just give up on the aquarium (the eternal cry “this is too hard!” so readily within reach). I chose differently. Not because I felt obligated, or cornered, or expected to – I chose to “do the needful”, because I really enjoy my aquarium. It matters to me.

We each practiced good emotional health practices last night. We supported each other. We “played to our strengths”. We took immediate action, but without panic. Hell, my partner even made sure I specifically took breaks – we worked on this together for hours. With his help, we didn’t end up exhausted or cross with each other. It was simply the adventure we shared that evening.

Then we began again. 🙂

Fog is weird stuff. We pass through it easily, still, it blinds us and alters what we see of the world around us. Try to shine a bright light directly into fog, and it becomes more difficult to see, rather than easier. So weird. So… metaphorical.

Sure is foggy… am I really so certain I know what’s hidden out there?

How many times have I driven a familiar road, blinded by fog? Or walked some foggy trail listening to muffled steps through the mist, with only my thoughts for company? Or just sat quietly, in the dense damp of morning fog, imagining whimsically that the fog held more meaning than mere droplets of water densely dispersed in the air?

Fog is a pretty good metaphor for the various thinking errors I find myself prone to, and even the “obscuring mist” of misleading assumptions that can so easily crowd out any perception of my reality in the moment. I think about that, on and off, from that first moment standing outside, early this morning, wondering if the mist were properly fog, or more likely the smoke of distant wildfires. Both, maybe. The stench of it suggested at least a considerable portion was – is – smoke. Blech.

…Maybe rain tomorrow? The weather hints at the potential. So does my arthritic back. Fingers crossed! We could use some rain. We could use a way out of the fog.

Yes, of course, it’s a metaphor. 😉

Begin again.

My coffee is a memory. By the time I got to actually drinking it, it was already rather tepid. It lingers, cold, and bitter, in my recollection. My day is off to a rather poor start for no good reason. At some point, the quality of my experience becomes up to me…

I reflect on things quietly, thinking perhaps I’ll gain perspective through writing, then find myself stalled, unwilling to tackle the “harder questions” this morning, in spite of knowing they would do well to be asked, and where possible, answered. Instead, I make an ambitious list of household chores and resolve to complete those. It’s easier.  Today is, in most respects, an ordinary enough Sunday.

…Order from chaos… sometimes I find it helps with other challenges troubling me in the background…It helps to have a list.

Same view, different day. Perspective matters, but we each have to walk our own hard mile.

I remind myself to make room for other perspectives, to listen deeply, to be open to change…

A slight change in point of view can make a difference in understanding our circumstances.

…I wander off to get started on my list. Another new beginning… the day may improve, if I can stay open to that potential. I can always begin again…

…Sometimes this shit is hard. Seems so, I mean. Subjectively. I remind myself “one practice at a time, one step at a time, one task at a time; it all adds up”… I feel unconvinced and blue. Some days suck. I make a mental note that change is – even the most miserable moment is just a moment, and it’ll pass. I have choices. I have practices that I know I can count on to be uplifting. Yeah, not super convincing that time, either. I’ll “get over it” and “move past this”. For now, this is the experience I seem to be having. I try not to take it personally, and stay with both this actual moment, and these feelings; the moment, which is frankly fine, is my anchor, my point of “safety” that gives me a firm foundation to consider the feelings without becoming mired in them (that’s the intention, anyway). I’m okay right now. That’s real. The emotions are emotions. I make a point to refrain from conflating the feelings with actual experiences.

…I make a point to consider the experience separately from the emotions I feel during or about the experience, itself…

…Uncomfortable or unpleasant experiences are something I can learn and grow from. Fighting that isn’t particularly helpful. Getting mired in unresolved emotions isn’t particularly helpful (or comfortable) either. I take a breath and turn towards my discomfort, seeking growth… and begin again, again. I eye my “baggage” and personal demons with some distaste and impatience, and snarl to myself “bitches, I can do this “begin again” shit all fucking day, just go ahead and fucking bring it“. That at least gets a laugh out of me.

I check my list, and yeah, I even check it twice. There’s more to do… and it all begins with a beginning.