Archives for category: Logic & Reason

I was pretty crabby and cross with the world all day yesterday. I felt drained. Frustrated. Fed-the-fuck-up. Just generally not in a great mood. As I left the office, I allowed myself to be more explicitly aware of my state of being, and it occurred to me that just maybe I was about to get into my car, in that state of irritation, and head into commuter traffic less than ideally level-headed. This seemed, in the moment, a pretty shitty trick to play on unsuspecting other humans… What if we’d all had sort of a shitty day? Well, damn…. That didn’t sound good.

I started the car, and gave that some thought. I reminded myself that we’re probably, mostly, all of us doing our best moment-to-moment, more or less. All of us human. What if we really did all leave work feeling cross and frustrated, get in our cars, and head for home in dense commuter traffic? What would I want from my fellow commuters? What did I want from myself?

I pulled out of the parking lot feeling more than usually aware that we are each having our own experience. More willing to assume positive intent. More sensitive to the basic humanity of each of those other drivers.

The commute took the same amount of time as it usually does. There were just as many unskilled drivers showing just as much poor judgement. The same amount of risk appeared to be involved. All the same terrible moments of congestion at particular intersections existed. The experience was much improved, though, and I felt personally less frustrated. I got home feeling calm, contented, and actually somewhat less cross than I might ordinarily. Win!

Only… my shitty mood surged back into life once I was in the house. I was dealing with my own bullshit. (Aren’t we all?) I took a deep breath. I spent some time meditating. I enjoyed a leisurely shower. I made a bite of dinner and a lovely cup of tea. I took the medication I needed. Basic self-care stuff.  I still felt on edge and somewhat aggravated, for no obvious reason. It happens. I knew it would eventually pass.

I took a moment on the deck, in the evening sunshine.

Self-care matters. It’s not always “easy” to take that time for ourselves, but so worth it – and so important! You matter. Take time for the care you need. 🙂

I enjoyed the fading sunlight awhile, filling up my experience with the sound of the breeze rustling the leaves of the Big Leaf Maples beyond the deck.

What you need for you is something you decide for yourself. Definitely don’t take someone else’s word for that. Try things. Practice practices. You are your own cartographer. If that didn’t work, try this. Eventually, you find your way. Life’s menu is vast – don’t just order the cheeseburger every time. 😉

 

Well, Monday comes around too soon after a busy weekend. The down-and-back to visit with friends and with my Traveling Partner was… interesting. Worth doing. Strange. In some moments just flat-out weird as the evening developed.  Good party. Good weekend. Weird vibe.

Mental illness doesn’t play nicely – with its victims, or with their loved ones. Let’s note that this is a true thing, and then set that aside.

I never actually slept on Saturday night. It was a huge effort for my Traveling Partner and I to get even an hour together to chill and hang out. It wasn’t the party that kept him busy, it was the on-again-off-again intensifying spiral of OPD generated by his other partner’s mental health challenges more often than not, but also just real-life hosting-a-party crap that comes up over a weekend (“hey, is there more water?”, “hey, I cut myself – where are the band aids?”, “hey, where can I park?”, “hey, what’s the wi-fi password?”, “hey, is the party in the house,too, or just outside?”). We finally got a few minutes together to cuddle, to catch up, to talk… in seconds he was fast asleep in my arms. I haven’t spent such a lovely night in a long while, meditating, relaxed, content, cuddled up with my Traveling Partner for a couple hours. I couldn’t sleep. I knew there would be that risk when I went down; I don’t feel physically (or emotionally) safe in that location now,so… No sleep. Still, huge improvement for me, inasmuch as I also didn’t continue to feel anxious once I got there, and the hours of the night passed gently in each other’s arms.

I dozed off once (so close). I woke to a knock on the door. I got up very carefully so as not to wake my partner, stumbled through putting my pants on, and went to see if there was something urgent that needed attention (the medical bag was with us). Nope. I went back to bed. Some little while later, we were wakened with more conviction; a neighbor had started a burn on their property in the very early just-at-daybreak time of morning. The party people, in various stages of intoxication, could see the fire…but couldn’t puzzle out whether it was a legitimate hazard, or not, at that distance. (It was unfathomable that people might actually wake up at such an hour and do actual work or life things. LOL) Farm folks are often up quite early, doing actual work. My Traveling Partner takes a look, says something reassuring. We go back to bed. He’s out like a light in minutes. I doze for a few minutes myself, wake again, and get up and dress for the morning; it was time for coffee, for breakfast, and time to hit the road. “No sleep at all” would mean a narrow window of opportunity to safely make the drive home before fatigue set in.

The drive back was pretty uneventful, and generally efficient and pleasant. I got home in a timely fashion, and messaged my Traveling Partner and concerned friends that I was safely home. I didn’t hear anything back for many hours (because… drama). I am okay with having made such a short trip down and back under the circumstances, and enormously pleased with how I feel today. (Untouched by OPD, and largely unaffected by the mental health issues of a metamour I am easily able to maintain adequate distance from). I am okay right now. I was okay Saturday. It was a good weekend, generally. My self-care was on point. 😀

There was an interesting moment, conversationally, during the party. Worth taking another look at, but maybe not this morning; it’s not relevant, specifically, to this topic, right here. 🙂 This morning? I’m getting ready for a new work week; it’s time to begin again. 😀

Where will the journey take me? What obstacles are in my path? Are they actually obstacles – or do I just need the gate code?

My gear is packed. I’m rested. The work week is behind me. The weekend is ahead. My anxiety is through the fucking roof, in spite of there being “nothing wrong” in any literal sense; I am facing my inner demons, today, or at least one small cohort of the mocking hateful little bastards, and I am hoping to come through, if not “victorious”, then at least fairly cognizant just how okay I actually am. That’d actually be a pretty spectacularly big deal.

I survived family violence in my childhood home. I survived domestic violence. I survived the Army, and yes, I survived war. I have, actually, survived all of what life has thrown at me so far – even the good stuff. 🙂 What has lingered are the scars, emotional and physical. The learned limitations. The fears. The background stress of my injured brain insisting something is imminently going to go very very wrong. Scary dangerous wrong. Look out for that hazard right there!! Only… generally? No hazard. PTSD instead.

When things went sideways with my Traveling Partner’s other partner (in poly vernacular, my “metamour”), becoming a mental health crisis of epic proportions, affecting an entire fairly closely associated community, it was also a re-traumatizing event for me. The aftermath was even directly emotionally abusive, specifically targeted to be so, hurtfulness set on “stun”, although the weaponized words and emotions were being launched by a human being fairly obviously not in her right mind at the time, I am human, and I feel. All the feelings. I’ve got my own baggage to carry. Afterward, the easy solution for me has been to just “let all that shit go” and walk on. I do not need (or want) that kind of bullshit in my life, and I have learned to turn away from it.

Not all of life’s decisions are mine to make. Funny how that works. I get to make mine, and I have learned to respect, value, and insist upon my agency. It’s precious to me. On the other hand, I’m not strolling through life utterly alone, here; other people have their lives, too, and their own decisions to make, and they so do make them. I live with those decisions, as well as my own, because we’re all in this together. lol One such decision is to have a birthday party at the very location where “all the bad shit went down”, some weeks after the fact, and almost-but-not-quite as if nothing untoward or unpleasant had even been a thing. Weird. I have trouble wrapping my head around that. Inviting me into that environment seems a tad disrespectful, or even callous, although more likely it is merely ignorant of the potential impact to me, or even more likely still, I am highly regarded, desired good company – which may matter more to all of the non-me people involved. lol I got invited.  …And… I’m an adult, right? My friends are adults, too. We are each having our own experience. Mine says ‘do not walk, run, get as fucking far away from that shit, as far as possible, because you do not want to be there when that mad bitch burns her fucking house down’… but… really? Well. I don’t know, do I? Mental health challenges being what they are, and love being what it is, people do make a fairly wide range of choices when loved ones lose their shit in one flavor of mental health crisis or another. People don’t always turn entirely away. I still don’t get it, myself, at this point in life; I’ve stopped taking abuse. Protestations of love are not enough to keep me in an abusive relationship. That’s non-negotiable…but…

…What’s a “safe distance”? In this instance, specifically, when there is no clear certain threat to me personally of any notable sort, what then? So… I’m doing something occasionally suggested in therapy, and utterly resisted by me. Exposure. Facing my fears, in real life. Making the choice to visit friends, and have a good time, in a physical location that causes me a fuck ton of anxiety and stress… for no obvious reason in this moment (the stress I mean; hanging out with friends does not need reasons, and every moment is a good one for hanging out with friends). This could be a very healing thing for me. It’s fucking hard as hell, though, and I find myself dithering a bit as I prepare to leave for the weekend away. It’s just an overnight, down and back, and a chance to look over some real estate on the way back. This? This is an experience to have.

There are verbs involved. Self-soothing. Taking time out to regain perspective. Practices to practice. This? It’s a test. 🙂 I’m content if I get a “C”… I would like to pass it, though. lol I take a deep breath and relax. I’m aware of the physical pain I am in – and the potential that some measure of that pain is directly related to my emotional well-being in some way. Another breath. I let my shoulders slide back down where they belong. I am okay, right now. The road beyond the driveway is quiet. It’s a good time to get started on this journey.

I am my own cartographer. My choices are my own. I walk my own hard mile. My results may vary; and I have choices. I become what I practice. The woman in the mirror smiles back at me. We’re in this together.

It’s time to begin again.

I’m sipping my coffee and smiling. I slept through the entire night. I feel rested. It’s a nice feeling with which to start a Friday.

Tomorrow, although it was not my original plan, I’ll make my way south, see my Traveling Partner, see friends, see a piece of property for sale that could become, perhaps, my own. A busy weekend ahead. A new plan.

There are things about the weekend ahead that don’t feel entirely comfortable for me. I turn it over in my head. Look at all the details from new perspective. Consider them in the context of my values, and my sense of self, and come face to face with the awkward truths of personal growth; I am not who I once was. (To be fair, that’s most likely nearly always at least a little bit true… of most people. It is a consequence of growth and change.) Considering the matter keeps my mind rather busy for some minutes.

Eventually my thoughts move on. They were, after all, only thoughts.

One more work day. A busy weekend. A couple rather long drives. A few hours of rest. Then back at it, with another week of work, then a busy long weekend, with a couple rather long drives… a few hours of rest… an illusion of a break in the routine sufficient to restore lost reserves, but more likely to drain them… then, on the far side of all that… oh fuck, am I kidding me?? The very next weekend after the long Memorial Day weekend is a long festival weekend… A festival, in fact, I have already lost interest in (the line up seems less exciting than I expected it to be)… and don’t know what to do about. Then… my birthday. I feel fatigued just thinking about the next 4 weeks.

…And in case I get cocky about progress in life, and managing my symptoms skillfully… my brain sees an opportunity for a sneak attack, the minute my birthday crosses my mind. “No one really cares about your birthday. Not even as an excuse to party. If you had a party, at your place, no one would come.” I sit in stunned, hurt, silence for a moment, wondering if that “is true”? The fact that it is a thought, and that I am capable of thinking it, doesn’t do anything to validate the truth of it, one way or the other. I can almost feel my chaos and damage, and a horde of tiny inner demons gathering around the edges, waiting for me to begin troubleshooting the painful thought, to begin obsessing over it, and letting it dominate my thinking…

Not today. 🙂 Thoughts, as with emotions, have no substance I don’t give them. No ability to create change until I take action. An uncomfortable thought is what it is – it doesn’t ever have to be more than that. Today, I look one boldly in the face… and shrug it off with an unconvinced and, better still, unconcerned “maybe”. People are people, and they can’t all go everywhere and do all the things, however much they yearn to. This very weekend, I’m having to choose between 3 equally enticing fun-seeming events to party with friends – different groups of friends, in entirely different locations. I can only do one. Do I hold the other friends in less regard? Do I think of them less fondly? Not at all. It was even a really hard choice. I smile and sip my coffee. Choices are a thing. Making them requires considering them. Hard choices sometimes result in some uncomfortable thinking, reconsideration, and doubt. Uncomfortable thoughts don’t have any special powers – they do tell me that some particular thing matters greatly – and that’s worth knowing. 🙂

I give myself over to my thoughts for a moment, and consider that my 55th birthday apparently really matters to me, myself. I wonder quietly what I might want to actually do about that? lol

I finish my coffee and pull myself back into this present moment, facing this imminent upcoming weekend; there are things to get done to make the house ready, and to be ready, myself. It’s time to get started on all that. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

I’m home for the day. The poor quality of my sleep continued to affect my experience much of the day. I arrived home feeling… sad. Drained. Sorrowful. Mortal. Contemplating such fun topics on the commute home as “do any of us really deserve to live?” and “would I spend my life this way if I knew I would be dead in 2 years?”. It was a grim and unsatisfying drive.

Now, home with my thoughts, armed with almost 5 years of better practices to fall back on, and still I pick at the open wound that is the recollection of last night’s nightmares. I continue to fuss quietly, seething, alone, and feeling disrupted. “It’s all in my head”, I remind myself. In this moment, right here, I am unconvinced, and my solitude is less than ideal. Words and phrases, lacking in context or purpose in the moment, bring me to the brink of tears, when they reach my consciousness. It’s foolishness of the first order, nonetheless it is difficult to dismiss it when I am tired, and feeling rather sad. It feeds itself. I even know this.

I stew in it awhile. The traffic beyond my windows aggravates me. I am sound sensitive, and easily irritated. I am sleepy – but also restless. My nightmares left me feeling averse, at this point, to falling asleep again; I don’t want to return to The Nightmare City. Not tonight. Not right now. Not when it is obvious that the current denizens of my darkest dreams really get what terrifies me most at this time in my life. I don’t want to be the grown up in the room… I want someone else to do that for me. I want to be held. Told “everything will be okay” – in spite of there being very little actually “wrong”, at all. I want someone to check for monsters under the bed, and in the closets, and care for me as though these concerns are “real”. I want someone to promise me things, and assure me that there is a happily ever after if only I am “a good girl” or “work hard enough”… or some other bullshit combination of magic words intended to soothe the savage bitch.

Being tired isn’t a good state of being for me, generally speaking. A wave of anger washes over me as I wonder how the hell I survived my 20s at all…? The anger is no more (or less) “real” than the other emotions that crash upon my cognitive shore, wave upon wave, disconnected from circumstances. There is more to come. I guess I’m fortunate, in general. This bullshit? It is bullshit.

This bullshit, though? It’s hard, yeah. This part, here? This doesn’t seem to get any easier over time. Mired in my own bullshit, for the moment, aware I could do more differently, could begin again, could move the fuck on from this… I know, I know. Choices. Verbs. Ennui overtakes good sense. Anhedonia steps in for will. There are, at least, these words. I can see them, as I write. I hear my voice – finally, I am heard, even in this dark moment. I’m here for me, at least that far. I’m not yet despairing… that’s something. I hold onto that. I breathe. I have a big glass of water, and marvel at how refreshing that can actually be. I take a couple Tylenol for this chronic headache (an exception, almost on the order of “a treat”), knowing that even a few hours of relief, in this state I’m in now, will make a difference – enough to be worth accepting the risks and contraindications. My temper flares up, and cools, again and again, disconnected from anything going on around me. “This too shall pass”, a calmer inner voice observes gently, kindly, full of love and understanding.

I breathe. I relax. I let go one notion, then another. Breathe. Exhale. Let the stray thoughts that plague me fall away like wisps of mist on a summer morning, before the heat of the day develops. Another breath, another moment. One by one. My seething fury begins to ease. I’m just tired. I put my ear plugs in, and add noise-canceling headphones. There is quiet now, except for my tinnitus. It’s enough. It’s enough to endure. It’s enough to survive. It’s enough to have choices and to attempt, in some small way, to choose. It’s enough to recognize agency, even if I fail to make use of it. Right now? “Enough” is plenty – I can hold on to that, perhaps long enough to get some rest.

Eventually, I will understand to begin again. Eventually, I can walk on from this moment. It’ll pass.