Archives for category: Anxiety

I was a bit lonely yesterday. It happens sometimes, and it an occasional inevitable byproduct of living alone. I’d heard from my Traveling Partner quite early, and very briefly; he was awakened by way of practical joke, after a late night working. (Which, while it must have seemed an amusing notion in the abstract to the prankster(s)… really?? What the hell, grownups? No. Just, no. Jokes that amuse at the specific expense of someone else’s discomfort aren’t actually funny to the person who endures them. My opinion, but admittedly, I learned that fairly late in life, myself, sometime in my 30s.) He shared his irritation and we both moved on with our mornings. I didn’t hear from him again, yesterday, aside from seeing an occasional like or post or reply on Facebook.

I spent the day contentedly working down my “to do list” of things both needful and helpful, and a few things that were subtle improvements that were in no way actually necessary. Music played in the background throughout the day. Near the end of the day, as I began to tire, I began also to miss my Traveling Partner immensely, and yearning for any little moment of connection or contact. Nothing. He was busy elsewhere, doing other things, and did not have the time or inclination to connect with me. This has to be okay; we are humans, living our lives, and do not live together. Sometimes, one of us will be busy with what is in front of us, right here, right now, and that distant lover is… distant. Far away. Not here. I ended the day feeling lonely, and a little unsettled; I’m used to more contact with him over a weekend, unless he explicitly sets expectations that I won’t hear from him. Lacking that expectation-setting, I allowed myself other implicit expectations and fucked myself over, emotionally; loneliness settled in with my fatigue, late in the day. Which sucked. But… I wasn’t having a shitty day, there wasn’t any drama, or cause for alarm, and really – I was okay, and most likely, so was he. All good.

I put down that baggage several times, and moved on to other things. “Practices” take practice – actual repetition, actual verbs, actually doing the things. Yoga. Strength training. Study. Deep listening – even to the woman in the mirror – have such value. I made a point to allow myself to be heard, to feel understood, by me, myself, and it was enough. I went to bed just a bit disappointed that I hadn’t heard from him, and hoping that he was well, and content, and feeling loved. I reminded myself how loved I am, and when I wrapped myself in my blankets as I crawled into bed, I felt content, and warm, and yes, loved, too. All good. No heartache.

I woke once very early, and saw that my Traveling Partner had messaged me quite late. He even tried to call. He was sorry I was lonely and feeling unsettled. He’d had a busy day with a lot of work going on, and some help at hand – so a limited opportunity to get quite a lot done, and he’d been involved in that. Makes sense to me. I smiled in the darkness. On my way back to bed, I hoped that he wasn’t too disappointed not to reach me by phone, after I’d gone to bed. Even though I saw him last weekend, I miss him greatly, already. I fell asleep reminded that I would be seeing him this week, showing him the new place, going to a concert with him…

My loneliness yesterday wasn’t a matter of being without Love in my experience of living. It was a matter of choices; I had a list of things to do, and was insisting (to myself) on doing them. lol That was a choice. I made that choice because it was, in my opinion, needful. My loneliness increased over the day, not hearing from my partner, because I’d hung on to an implicit expectation of hearing from him “more often” (I’ll point out how poorly defined “more often” is…), not because he’d actually let me down in any way. My emotional life is mine. The emotional “climate”, the emotional “weather”, the long-term experience of self, the immediate turmoil of some moment – these are all mine to manage, to endure, to delight in, to change, to explore, to accept, reject, or to resist as if it were madness. No one actually “made me” feel lonely – feeling lonely was merely my reaction to insisting (for myself) that I stay home and “work the list” rather than be out and about doing things with friends. I had shit to do. I chose to do it. <shrugs> It’s not even a thing this morning.

For me, today, it matters far more than my loneliness matters to my Traveling Partner, even at a distance, than the fact that I experienced some loneliness. His reassuring message and attempts to call were sufficient reassurance that he was okay, and adequate reminder that I matter (to him). I sometimes worry when I don’t hear from him. He heard me. I feel heard. All good.

I smile and sip my coffee and think about hearing and listening. I think about feeling heard. I think about emotion and reason, and love and lovers. I think about perspective and balance. I think about being the best human being I am able to be with the resources and qualities of character that I have right now. I think about walking my own path, and becoming the woman I most want to be.

Eventually, I think about my “to do list”, and the autumn leaves on the deck I have yet to sweep up. I smile, sip my coffee, and get ready to begin again. 🙂

What a week. Glad it’s behind me. Relieved to feel satisfied, pleased, and accomplished, instead of terrified, anxious and regretful. It could have gone differently. I am content with the outcome.

Stress is a weird thing, though, right? I mean… once I’m stressed about A, then it’s far more likely that unrelated experiences B, C, or D may also feel more stressful, or seem to be cause for concern. I crashed out last night feeling terribly blue, struggling in a sticky web of anxiety-lies and insecurities being launched at me from within, by an anxious, stressed, fatigued brain. I wept. For the world? It seemed so at moments. Other moments, I just felt “cracked open” and unable to hold anything back however small, however simple – even some lovely tender moments felt like pure heartbreak, and I cried, merely because there was too much emotion to hold back any longer. My executive function limitations hit me in my emotional life pretty hard. This week that was more obvious than most weeks in recent months. It’s been a peculiarly emotionally stable year.

I went to bed worried, even, about my relationship with my Traveling Partner. No reason for it, really. At least, nothing I could easily identify. I woke this morning without that insecurity or doubt, feeling rested, anxiety gone; I’m excited about the road trip ahead of me. 3 day weekend with my lover? Yes, please! Sign me up. 🙂 

Fuck, I am so glad my “default setting” is no longer despair. I feel fortunate to have survived the first 50 years of my lifetime. Emotions come and go. Like weather. “Who we are” is less volatile, less mutable, and sometimes feels rather… permanent. It isn’t. It’s more like climate; tends to be what it is, but still changeable over time. We become what we practice. No kidding. It’s a slow thing to change the climate – but it can be done. Choose wisely. 🙂

Are you unhappy? Make changes. There’s no map on this journey… it’s rather like setting off on a road trip to see someone you love, unclear of specifically where they are, but with a direction in mind… generally. lol This may help. 🙂 It’s a favorite of mine for reinforcing healthy basics; do the opposite of everything it suggests. lol (Here’s a follow-up on that…)

Maybe something simple this morning? One thing that could be easily improved by one little change in your decision-making, habits, or actions? Start small – committing to a marathon, while breathless from walking across the street may be a bit unmanageable. It’s so easy to become discouraged. I’ve been there…

After years of frustration, despair, and inactivity, I decided to go to the Farmer’s Market, one year. My feet hurt all the time, stupefying medication and unmanaged pain had pretty much nailed me to my couch between work shifts. Doing so would mean a two block walk uphill (barely) from the light rail station. I look back astonished (because I regularly go to the Farmer’s Market quite easily and comfortably, now, and often walk miles, not just blocks) – it seemed hard then. It required effort. Commitment. Patience with myself.

I don’t look at it the same way now, at all. My perspective has changed with my experience over time. Incremental change over time; it wasn’t easy the first time, the second or third times, the fourth time… but eventually, it sure didn’t seem hard, and then… at some point… almost unnoticed, it became quite the natural thing to easily and comfortably do. (For my less physically able readers out there, I’m using an example familiar to me, only, and part of my personal experience, no intention of falling short of being inclusive, but I see where my example could be. I regret any aggravation, or sense of being left out of my consideration that this may cause. Start small, is all I’m saying. 🙂 )

It’s a good reminder for me, too. There is further to go. There is more to do. I still struggle with my weight, health, and fitness. There are changes to make. There is future progress out there on the horizon to be experienced. Incremental change over time takes both time – and verbs. A lot of fucking verbs.

Oh hey, look at the time! It’s definitely time to begin again. This journey won’t make itself. 😉

I’d been growing progressively more irked with myself over my lack of motivation in the evenings, after long, busy, cognitively complex work days dense with new information. By the time I got home each evening this week I just… couldn’t. Not even. Not at all. So… I didn’t. Mostly.

Last night I happened to arrive home and sit down at the computer to alert my Traveling Partner I was safely home for the evening, feeling a little low for no reason I could pinpoint. The phone rang unexpectedly – my partner calling me, spontaneous, out of the blue, no agenda; he was on his lunch break from work. It was good to hear his voice, and I felt considerably “lifted up” by it.

The called ended just as a recently-discovered-favorite DJ began a live set on Facebook. Yay!! I said a silent thank you for Chromecast technology as I cast it to the stereo. The hour passed so quickly, and with so much energy! I spent that hour dancing, and chatting with friends who had noticed the share on Facebook and also checked him out. Even my sister – which surprised me, and made me smile so hard my face hurt. It felt connected, shared, and it was fun.

I must have really needed some wholesome shared fun with friends. I mean, like, a lot. 😀 I’m still smiling.

When the live stream ended, my energy didn’t. With a smile and no sense of fatigue I tackled a bunch of small shit from my to do list that had been silently mocking me. (Take that, housework!!) I went to bed still feeling mildly burdened by “all the shit I’ve got to get done before I head out for the weekend” and a little anxious about it.

I woke this morning still carrying that around with me, and annoyed by swollen eyes and stuffy sinuses (hoping, hoping, hoping that I do not wake up actually ill tomorrow – I’ll be so fucking pissed off if I do). I sat down with my coffee, and a willingness to begin again, and decided to take on my anxiety-driving concern head-on; too much to do? Let’s see about that, I thought to myself, and opened my task list.

I made a short list of things my Traveling Partner asked me to bring down for him. I made a short list of the things I wanted to get done, because I don’t want to come home to having to do them. Neither list was actually all that bothersome. Totally doable to complete them in an evening. Is all this stress really to do with work? Could be; there’s a lot going on, and more than typical performance pressure. I take a deep breath and let it all go, queue up some music (the track linked above, actually), and sip my coffee feeling less pressure, less anxiety, and a reduced sense of urgency. I open up my blog, and start writing. Much better.

Perfection? Nah. Just perspective. It matters. Do I have a lot to get done tonight? Not as much as it felt like in the abstract. I just had to take a step back, get it on paper, and consider it differently, and (for me) in a more organized way. It’s where the work-related anxiety comes from too; I work in a distraction-rich environment that results in constant interruptions of work processes that benefit from not being interrupted. lol I need to take more breaks – that don’t become interruptions of their own, by taking those breaks as moments of quiet, without actually pumping even more information into my brain (which actually needs a proper break). I commit to treating myself better in the office, and make a second coffee. 🙂

It’s already time to begin again…

I was musing about the future, near term, specifically a concert I plan to see, which my Traveling Partner also has tickets for, but now lives quite far away and likely won’t drive 5 hours to attend it. It’s a poignant realization, to reflect on how unlikely it is that he’ll make the trip up this way casually, just to see a concert, go to dinner, or hang out. He’s never even seen this new place…

…My eyes begin to fill with tears. I take a funny little moment to “mentally hold my own hand” in a comforting sort of way (actually visualizing an adult-me, holding the hand of a tearful child-me); I need my sympathy, compassion, and support in such a moment. It’s only a moment, and without compounding it by additional needless self-inflicted suffering to force it to grow and linger, it quickly dissipates. We’re each having our own experience. Our most reasonable, rational, choices do not reliably also represent the most emotionally comfortable or satisfying choices for those dear to us. That’s something I’m glad I’ve come to understand, because I am also prone to rational, reasonable, choices, and also have loved ones dear to me who may be discomfited by them.

I had been, I admit, daydreaming about making a home here in this new place, in which my Traveling Partner would feel welcome and comfortable, and in which we would enjoy our lives together any time he blew through town. It doesn’t look likely at this point. His job down south quickly resulted in a permanent move. His other partner, having the means to do so, simply packed up her household, and moved also. I definitely feel more disconnected from my partner than I generally have; living alone wasn’t enough to cause that, it required a sense of greater distance and a sense of being less… something. The very fact this lessening is so very nameless, when I have so many words for so many emotions, suggests it is an illusion. My recollection of our conversations, and our time spent together recently, seems to confirm that my sense of our connection being somehow diminished is indeed an illusion.

…Daydreams don’t make much room for change. Daydreams can feel very threatened by change, by variance from the ideal, by realities that don’t match expectations, and by unspoken assumptions. Plans work differently. I smile when I think about planning my retirement. My Traveling Partner and I had discussed our plan for my retirement in detail. That planning touches nearly everything about our shared experience. I can look around this space, and see things that are “not yet according to plan”, that could be, and I find myself moved to action; it’s the action that gets me to my planned goal. Reflecting on that shared planning is less emotional, and less uncomfortable. Funny how my planning is not negatively affected by my emotions, the way my daydreams can be.

I have literally gone to pieces, and wept openly, when a vacant lot I daydreamed about building a home on for many years was sold to a developer and a condo was built there. Wasn’t my land. I didn’t have a plan. There was nothing real or solid there, just a daydream that lingered over years. It was unkind to treat myself so poorly, but I didn’t have any sort of understanding that my daydreams could do me any harm. I’m a big fan of daydreaming. It’s becoming attached to a daydream that gets me into emotional trouble. I don’t know that being attached to a plan would be any different… but I think generally, becoming committed to a plan usually resulted in achieving a goal! (I mean, so long as I am also flexible about rolling with the changes, prepared with a plan B, and willing to also not be attached to the outcome!)

Yes, and I’ve written more than 600 words this morning on the difference between daydreams and plans. lol I’m not sure this was necessary. I’m not even certain it can be fully understood by anyone who is not me, because our personal dictionaries matter so much here. It matters how you define “daydream” and “plan”, for me to be understood clearly. (How much does it matter that you understand my own specific point here, though, so long as you understand something and find some value in that for yourself that makes the time spent reading these words worthwhile?)

This morning I plan the visit down to see my Traveling Partner, while also daydreaming about it. I’ll get to see his new place! 🙂 That matters to me. I enjoy having a good mental map of his physical experience when I think about him. I like knowing, first hand, that he is safe, comfortable, and living well. I am eager to get as many visits down as I can before icy weather sets in; I won’t want to drive when the roads are icy. (Note to self, be sure to verify your VPN connection to your work tools before winter weather sets in! You’ll want to work from home on snowy or icy days.)

My brain sneak attacks me once more, and I find myself wondering a bit sadly if he will still come for the holidays… Seriously? I sigh out loud, and let that go. We can talk about our holiday plans together in person this weekend. That makes more sense. 🙂

I sip my coffee, review my to do list, and consider my plans. There are verbs involved. I’m the only one here right now, so all that is up to me. It’s time to begin again. 😀

 

I hadn’t read the news, yesterday, when I sat down to write in the morning. Of course, at this point, it isn’t new news that a shooter in Las Vegas killed a bunch of people. I don’t intend to minimize by saying so little, so briefly. Now news feeds are filled with noise. Repeats of the same talking points. Refutations of arguments for gun control. Reminders that we ought not overlook the atrocities perpetrated against our native forebearers. The push-pull of cries for attention by marginalized groups, all of us, of every sort, struggling to sort out what this heinous act of violence against strangers means for us, as individuals and groups. The resentment and fears of firearm owners who don’t want this to be about them. The anger, sorrow, and outrage, of folks who stand entirely against any form of gun ownership who just can’t believe that we’re all allowing this bullshit to happen yet again.

Change is a verb. Until we take actual action there will be no actual change.

Stop talking – well, stop just talking. Do something. Words pouring onto pages, whether paper or digital, is not enough. Blog posts. News articles. Social media posts. Research. Data analysis. Passionate oratory. Conversation. Argument. There’s really only one sort of words left that have legitimate value here; legislation. There is one group of people to whom we should be talking, loudly – and using firm clear demanding language, and not shutting up about it, ever; our elected representatives at all levels.

(Make a list. Start phoning them.)

It’s time the grown ups in the room sat down and drafted clear, reasonable, prohibitive legislation that secures the freedom of Americans to own firearms, while also securing the safety of Americans who do not own firearms. (If the representatives we currently have won’t enact change, vote them out.) It’s time we acknowledged that we don’t want “everyone” to be able to buy or own a firearm – and also decided who those folks very specifically are – without being afraid to say out loud that indeed we do think some people are a poor fit for gun ownership. It’s time we made it necessary to take safety and knowledge tests for gun ownership – just like we do with getting a driver’s license. It’s time we required gun owners to carry specific insurance to protect themselves and others from the cost of violence. It’s time we set clear boundaries that prevent people convicted of domestic violence crimes from owning fire arms in the future, ever. We have all the data we need. We know where the risks are. It’s time to grow the fuck up and do the verbs.

We’ve talked about this one long enough. Too many innocent lives have already been lost. It’s time we phoned our representatives – all of them, local, state, and federal, and demanded that they do their jobs, by legislating change.

Change is a verb.