Archives for category: health

One thing I routinely find myself struggling with (and I use the word “struggling” very specifically, aware that there is definitely a better way, and other practices), and struggling rather unsuccessfully, is getting enough “cognitive space” and cognitive rest to really be rested, and really get what I need out of my own mental bandwidth. It’s hard. All day, when I’m at work, continuous input, stimulation, and other human voices. Then, at home, my only opportunities to connect and be close with my partner have to come out of whatever time is also left for me to care for myself, to take care of hearth and home, and finally, if I’ve left myself anything at all – time to simply be. To reflect, and to meditate. I too often find myself either left without adequate clarity of thought; distracted from my own by the world, or those dear to me, or commonplace noise… and distracted from those distractions by my own persistent attempts to read what interests me, or sit with my thoughts, or plan, or consider the future… and, those attempts are distracted by all the things that preceded them… and around and around, until I am dizzy and short-tempered, and unable to form correct sentences, or really understand what I’m hearing…

…It is 100% a crappy experience, and deeply fatiguing. People end up becoming impatient with me, and by that point, I already can’t adequately explain myself, through my frustration, and theirs.

I’m not particularly skilled at dealing with this. There are no pleasant ways to say “not now, I need to be there for me, myself, right now, and this is too much” without somehow communicating rejection. It’s hard to tell someone I care about, who is super excited about what is going on in their experience, that I need to also enjoy my own, for me, and that I’m running out of room to do that, somehow. It’s boundary-setting I need to do for myself… and I’m honestly fairly terrible at it, generally not wanting to be “a buzzkill” or seem disinterested… I do my best, whatever that is, in the moment, and it often feels inadequate; everyone wants to be heard. I even know this. I just don’t know how to definitely be fully present and 100% engaged with someone else, when I also need to ensure I am doing the same for me.

I’m sitting here frustrated and angry with myself. I’m still a bit ill, which isn’t helping. I isolated myself rather than continue to piss off someone who matters to me so much, but… I seem unable to put the time to any better use than this; bitching about my frustration that I am so challenged by this particular puzzle. How do I both be fully present for everyone else, all the time, and also do so for myself? How does this work? When is “my time” for me? And I’m not asking that rhetorically to drive an emotional point, or express resentment – this is a sincere and gently intended question – when is that time?

I haven’t been sleeping deeply for quite a long time. Even when my sleep tracker tells me I am getting enough hours of sleep, very little of it is deep sleep, almost none of it is continuous. I am mostly getting interrupted light sleep. How do I treat myself better? Would I be having the same frustrations in ordinary interactions with other people, if I were sleeping better? What does that take? Why am I having these challenges?

I know it isn’t helping that I’ve been taking OTC symptom relievers for this cold. I foolishly let my partner talk me into taking Sudafed yesterday, too. Experience tells me that some of my experience right now, emotionally, is likely an unwelcome after-effect of yesterday’s cold medications. Why isn’t it easier to hold that thought in my real-time consciousness when I am interacting with other people?

More questions than answers tonight. I feel the tears that want so much to fall. I refuse to accommodate them out of self-directed pique, maybe a bit of personal spite with myself. I hear my partner put on music he knows is “everything to me”… I find myself wondering what he means by it, and whether he understands this music the way I do. Probably not; we’re each having our own experience. How human. Still… I assume positive intent. I know he loves me. If nothing else, it’s a gesture, a hand extended across a divide. A moment of shared experience. A chance to begin again, together.

…Like the lasting value of self-care. That doesn’t change much. Or the sweet comfort of not yelling at people, or being yelled at, myself. That’s something else for which I have lasting appreciation. Those are connected to each other, too, in an annoying way; I have a head cold. Yep. It is not a coincidence that I’m down sick with the latest ick to go around the office after being quite healthy all year, at least with regard to contagion. Freak outs, screaming matches, nasty arguments or loss of emotional control, all seem – at least for me – to have a direct hotline to an invitation to illness. I get pissed off to the point of losing my temper on a Saturday… by Wednesday I’m down with a cold. I have frequent exposure to sick people in my work (primarily due to the gross lack of emphasis on self-care in the American workforce, and the emphasis on strict attendance vs “stay home if you’re sick”). Within 48 hours or so of my most recent obvious exposure (in an elevator, to sneezing), I have this cold. Pretty sure I’ve been exposed to it, and others like it, all year, but this one got me. Why? I don’t know really… but… I suspect the yelling.

I’d planned to write something quite different this morning. Instead, I’m coughing. Sneezing. Going through tissues like…well… like I have a head cold, honestly. What the hell else would I compare this too?

I definitely don’t want to carry this back to my work team; we share a small office, within a larger open office space. I’m still considering work, but I don’t know how long it will last… and I didn’t bring my laptop home last night. So… the plan, this morning, is first to go get that, then maybe work from home… or die quietly in a pool of snot. I don’t know. Hard to say at this point. :-\

I satisfy myself in the moment with reminders that it could be so much worse… I could be in California. Dear friends there are in some cases worried about whether their homes will even be there tomorrow, others struggling to deal with extended power outages that don’t seem to be providing any positive benefit, just incredible inconvenience and personal cost, and creating even health or life threatening risks due to loss of power to medical equipment. What a terrible experience. This? Me? Just a fucking head cold. I’ll get over it pretty quickly, however dire it feels in this hot, uncomfortable, sticky, wretched, tissue-wrapped moment.

Okay, okay, I’m going to set aside the bitching, and make the attempt to begin again. Repeatedly if necessary, until I have to give up, and just rest. Self-care matters – so it’s fluids, and rest, and symptom relief, for now, with confidence that this too shall pass, and on the other side? Another new beginning. 🙂

Good moments pile up, if I let them. It can be a worldview-altering experience, if I’m open to it. 🙂 (Your results may vary.)

I’m sipping my coffee and thinking over last night. I’m awake a bit early. I woke ahead of the alarm, simply aware that I was awake. Wide awake. So… I got up. 🙂

Yesterday’s cold weather was “the first day of arthritis season” in all the worst ways, and I was in too much pain to go out, although I wanted to, and my Traveling Partner was eager to, himself. I hated to disappoint him, and seriously considered just doing it, anyway, figuring maybe the experience would overcome the pain…? I was pretty miserable, though, and thought better of it, choosing better self-care instead, on this occasion. His job may take him out of town again, soon, any time… I worry about “wasting the opportunity”, and then realize how “FOMO” that sounds… lol Adulting is so hard. 😉

I sit sipping my coffee wondering if I am under-dressed for the weather…? I shrug it off; once I’m in the office, I’ll be quite comfortable. 🙂 It’s probably my last good chance to wear this blouse to work before the weather turns “seriously cold” (c’mon, it’s Portland, Oregon, and “cold” is fairly relative – but it is 32 (F) this morning). I’m enjoying the experience of wearing dressier clothes for work… I didn’t think I would. In all the years since I left the Army, I’ve never taken a job that required me to (and am not required to now), and it’s appropriate for the job, my circumstances, all that sort of thing… I just don’t have to, so I hadn’t been. I’m enjoying it way more than I ever expected to.

I chuckle noticing my dress pants already don’t fit as well as they did when I bought them, less than two weeks ago (two weeks? that’s all??). That’s a “problem” I’m okay having. Losing a few pounds would be good, being fitter would be good, and this appears to be heading that direction. 😀

I feel as good, and as comfortable, this morning, as I can imagine feeling. I hope the feeling lasts, but of course “this too shall pass” also applies to this moment, as much as any other. I eye the warm fleece zip-up jacket I’ll wear as a coat this morning, and think about shopping for a new winter coat. Overdue. I check over my everyday carry items, in my head (keys, cards, purse, phone, vape, batteries for my vape, juice for my vape, hey – a lightweight winter base layer I could slip on under dress pants, just in case I am colder than I expect…), then double-check my backpack to make sure I have everything. I’m minutes away from another new beginning, a fresh, unspoiled day, filled with potential.

Sometimes this whole “adulthood” thing is pretty okay… I smile, finish my coffee, and begin again. 🙂

I am groggy this morning. Waking up feels more than ordinarily difficult. My thoughts wander, fractured, and disorganized. My coffee is… cold. For real? Am I drinking the dregs of yesterday’s cup, left carelessly on my desk? That’ll teach me. (No, seriously, I learn some of the best and most useful life lessons by way of carelessness, haplessness, and basic fucking up. lol) I take steps to correct my mistake.

I kill some helpless minutes by making a numbered list, simple steps, for learning from mistakes. lol

  1. Experience the error.
  2. Recognize the error.
  3. Correct the error.
  4. Move on from the error.
  5. Learn something from the experience.

I listen to the traffic outside the window. The morning is still quiet. The sky is still dark. Plenty of opportunities for new beginnings of all sorts. 🙂

I refill my vape; trying to do so while driving is poor decision-making, and just not a good choice, so I do it before I get in the car. Strawberry lemonade. I know, I know – all sorts of places are banning flavored vapes. Well, isn’t that fairly fucking stupid? Just saying, people have been vaping since the 90s, and this whole other new storm of fear and controversy doesn’t seem to correlate to the long-time process of vaping nicotine, itself. So… something else? Sure. Obviously, something. Banning flavors, though, (we’ve got to think of the children!) is just… yeah. It’s a little weird to ban a legal substance, being used in a legal form, with the sole outcome of forcing adult consumers to use a form that is known to be harmful to health, and to also require them to consume it at higher doses. No kidding. I don’t “Juul”, though, and I don’t use a “pod system”. (I use what is called a “regulated mod”.) The nicotine in my vape is very low concentration (3 mg per 100 ml of ejuice, resulting in my own daily use being about a half milligram per day, generally, at most). Most cigarette smokers use a lot more nicotine, according to the NIH. I don’t like the taste of tobacco, and I’ve never been a smoker (I tried a cigarette, and thought that was the nastiest thing, ever, many many years ago). I do, however, like the sweet taste of strawberry lemonade, or butterscotch, or pineapple – and the miniscule amount of nicotine I use, since I started (at 56 years of age, and most definitely an adult consumer), turns out to be a profoundly more helpful anxiety medication than anything the VA ever gave me. So… fuck the flavor bans? I mean… children are not legally allowed to purchase or use nicotine products anyway. Making the laws hard on legal adult consumers to attempt to restrict child access and use seems a tad… off the mark? Just saying. I dislike decision-making driven by panic, or media hype, or hysteria; it’s generally quite poorly done.

…At the same time, I also think it would be pretty splendid if all the flavors used in vape products were tested, regulated, and safe for vaping – that seems appropriate, and alleviates consumers of having to pursue chemistry degrees to ensure their individual safety in the marketplace. Have we not had this conversation before, as retail consumers and voters? I mean… I feel sure we have… and possibly, I mean, I think we did, even set up a regulatory agency responsible for, you know… the safety of the food we eat, and the substances we use… you know… something like a… Food and Drug Administration?? 😉 Just saying; the groundwork is laid. The regulatory body exists. Maybe do something wise and reasoned with the opportunity, eh?

Fucking humans. lol We can, each of us, do just a bit better today than we did yesterday. I’ll make it a point to do so, today. Will you? 😀

Well, okay then… let’s begin again. 🙂

I’m barely awake. I didn’t sleep particularly well, and woke in the middle of the dream when the alarm went off. The work day is ahead of me. My coffee tastes… flat. The morning feels… “too early”. S’ok. It’s another new day, entirely, and I’m pretty glad yesterday is over – no fault of the day. Yesterday was fine. Lovely, actually, right up until my guts betrayed me entirely, later in the day, and I had to go home, because I just didn’t have a change of clothes, and unexpectedly needed one. 0_o Being human has some gross moments.

…Still…aside from that? Yesterday was a great day. Pleasant, productive, and generally comfortable.

The evening was spent in quiet intimacy. I wasn’t up to anything more strenuous than television, and we relaxed in each other’s good company, being entertained by streaming content. Doesn’t matter at all what we were watching, really, the point of the shared good time had nothing much to do with that. 🙂

It’s a whole new day stretching ahead of me. I find myself wondering if I should keep a spare set of clothes in the office for “inconveniences”. It would not be out of character to at least have clean dry socks tucked into a desk drawer. lol Wet feet suck, and the solution (clean dry socks) is way too easy and compact to be unprepared – I walk a lot… although, writing those words reminds me I walk less lately than I would enjoy. Even there, the solution is obvious – and easy. It’s just a choice. 🙂

Hmm… choices. I sit sipping coffee, contemplating choices… and the nature of decision-making. We’re such complicated creatures in some ways. I yawn, interrupting my own thought, and check the time… damn it. Already time to begin again. 😉