Archives for category: medical marijuana

Last night I dealt with my anxiety, and comfortably resolved that. Win! Progress. Practice. It wasn’t any sort of trophy-winning event, and my “victory lap” will be just this handful of words, a later reminder for another day, perhaps, that it does pass, and it can be eased. It wasn’t over anything consequential, but it was very real, very visceral, the sort of mind-binding gut-punch of stress and fearfulness that anxiety is so famed for. Meditation still works. It still wasn’t “easy” – and I’m honestly not even sure I would call it meditation, considering the challenge I had calming my monkey-mind even long enough to take a few breaths…but…I went easy on myself in the moment, emotionally, understanding that the anxiety itself promotes a certain restlessness. I patiently returned my consciousness to the moment, to my breath, to a timeless mental space in which anxiety cannot thrive. No tv. No music. Just practice. It was, after a time, highly effective. There were indeed verbs involved, and even moment by moment my results varied. There’s no fighting it, though; we become what we practice, and continued practicing of calm… I became calm.

I slept poorly last night, although I did sleep more or less sort of through the night (my sleep tracker notes periods of wakefulness, and very little deep sleep, but I have no clear recollection of waking so often). I woke with the alarm, head stuffy, eyes watery… back aching. It’ll be a good day for physical therapy. I hurt. I manage my pain in a similar way as with anxiety; practices that tend to offer relief, practiced routinely, and given still more attention when I hurt more than usual. In this case, appropriate medication, yoga, yes meditation for this too, and a little later, dancing (to sort of force those stiff joints into a state that accommodates movement). I also spend more time considering things that don’t hurt than things that do, and once my symptoms are properly treated, I move on to distraction; shifting my attention to something else quite engaging, and letting the awareness of my pain recede into the background.

It’s a pretty ordinary work morning. Nothing fancy. Nothing noteworthy, really. Ordinary stuff right here. If I let myself get all worked up over a moment of anxiety, or a painful morning, I have the power to amplify both. If I take care of the woman in the mirror in the best way I know how, I have a shot at easing both. So many choices, so many verbs, so many results vary; it’s a very human experience.

It’s time to begin again.

This morning is a lovely cool sunny summer one. I’m enjoying my coffee slowly, listening to birdsong and watching the sun crawl lazily into the Sunday sky. I make a point of savoring this gentle experience, because this wasn’t likely to be the experience I’d be having this morning, just a couple years ago. This  morning, I wrote a very different post than what I might have written a year ago under similar circumstances. 🙂

A picture of night.

A picture of night.

I woke at 3:00 am to a dense core of raging anxiety consuming my breath. My body felt panic-tight. I sat bolt upright in bed, struggling for air, and wrapped in fear. A nightmare? Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t remember a dream, and when I woke I was alert – too alert for sleep. Too anxious. My brain immediately attacked me with all the ‘nevermore’ idiocy available from the darkest and most insecure reaches of my consciousness, dragging me from panic to despair like a horror film monster. I sighed aloud. Got up without internal commentary, or external tears. I shuffled into the kitchen for a drink of water, like an uneasy child. I medicated (cannabis is safe to use as needed). I didn’t fight back my insecure thoughts, instead I took them with me to my meditation cushion, sat awhile watching the cloudy night sky shift and roil overheard, breathing, focused on breath. I breathed in the cool night air through the open patio door. I breathed out the anxiety, imagining it a fog that would dissipate as vapor across the meadow. I gave myself time without concern for the hour, and let myself settle down in my own time. I don’t know what time it was when I returned to sleep. The night sky was still quite dark.

Here it is, morning, and it is a lovely one. I never quite know how to communicate how much difference building a good meditation practice has been for me. Or how much difference it made [for me] to give up psychiatric pharmaceuticals in favor of improving my self-care, and getting real therapy. Pills didn’t solve anything, or even really improve anything; they slowed everything down. The Rx pharmaceutical drugs were poisoning me, impairing my ability to create, and stalling my growth as a human being. Without also having real therapeutic support of some kind they were chronically useless, and probably killing me very slowly. (My opinion here is related to my experience only, your results may vary, and I am not a medical professional; my opinion does not have the weight of scientific fact, and should not be used to make decisions about your own prescription medications and whether to take them! If you have doubts, please talk to your physician. If you don’t like their answer, please get a second opinion – this blog should not be considered medical advice of any kind!)

My first cup of coffee is finished. The sound of the wind chime through the window charms me into listening awhile. I lose the thread of my writing… I decide to move on with the day from here.

Today is a good day for a second cup of coffee, and a leisurely moment. Today is a good day to enjoy the value of incremental change over time, and a moment of celebration with the woman in the mirror. Will it change the world? I don’t know, probably not, and I am willing to wonder, and to enjoy today. 🙂

 

Sometimes I have the sense that the entirety of my life is a process of waking up slowly, but in the case of this morning, the titular remark is an observation relevant only to the morning I face now. This one. I woke really early and went back to sleep. I woke a bit later, on time for taking my morning medication – which I did – then I went back to sleep. I woke about 90 minutes later, again, found another comfortable position. Went back to sleep. This repeated until some minutes ago… when I woke, and after looking at the clock, pulled myself upright to begin the day, rather arbitrarily. I think I could have kept sleeping.

I woke slowly. I woke puzzled by the utter quiet. I still don’t hear any traffic, really, just bird song. The on site contractors working on this and that haven’t yet arrived, and there’s no sound of neighborhood children heading to school… It’s quite peculiar. I make a point to listen – I do hear birdsong. I hear my fingers on the keyboard. The morning is such a quiet one, even with the windows thrown open to the morning breezes, that I easily hear the goose neck kettle finish it’s part in the making off coffee – no whistle, no alarm, just a quiet ‘click’ from the kitchen.

My coffee is good. I sip it contentedly and let the morning slowly come to life. I think about yesterday, and consider what I learned from it, and all the many mysteries that remain. It wasn’t actually a ‘bad day’ or even a ‘bad experience’ being at the VA yesterday, generally speaking. I got my imaging done, and took some interesting pictures while I was waiting. I don’t know more about my health than I did before. I’m still waiting. I’m not at all sure what to make of that. There’s probably something to learn from it. 🙂

Something... something... perspective. (Give me a break, I haven't had my coffee, yet!) :-)

Something… something… perspective. (Give me a break, I haven’t had my coffee, yet!) 🙂

I arrived home incredibly cross on this whole other aggravating level. I canceled plans with my traveling partner; I wasn’t fit to be around, honestly, and I’d have gotten as far from me as I could, if that were an option. My irritability didn’t last, once I undertook to care for my needs. There is no place at the VA convenient for using cannabis, the grim hilarity of which is not lost on me (it’s the only drug I know that actually works effectively on many PTSD symptoms), and I arrived home seriously under-medicated for my stress level. My blood sugar wasn’t an issue, and I was pleased that I’d managed that piece with such care. My noise sensitivity was through the roof – doesn’t matter if that was caused by being under-medicated or due to the stress, resolving either would ease it. I felt angry-but-not-at-anything-specific, and more than anything I just needed quiet in an environment with a lot less stimuli – particularly social stimuli. Public transportation is crowded, noisy, and emotionally loaded during rush hour. Once I was home, it was not-quite-easy to take care of my needs, dial down my stress, ease my frazzled nerves, and find my way to feeling okay, again. It was a nice change to be able to re-calibrate my mood successfully.

Work in progress - like me. :-)

Work in progress – like me. 🙂

Now, here’s today. What’s to be done with that? My knee aches from the long Monday hike, and I’m walking with my hiking staff for support for a few days. The apartment could use some tidying, and there’s laundry to be done. I’m in the middle of an art project I’m emotionally  invested in. I’ve taken up bass guitar, and – well – practice is a necessary thing. I have one appointment, later. The knee is an inconvenience, were it not for that the day plans itself easily walking to the appointment, from the appointment to the store, and home… maybe I can manage that in spite of the knee, taking things slowly and with great care? There’s time. It sounds like a nice day, actually…but it won’t feel so nice if I over-commit, and find myself a mile or more down the trail, unable to continue due to pain. Yoga first and reassess? That seems a wise choice. I finish my coffee feeling purposeful, still wrapped in contentment.

I’m hopeful the day will include a visit with my traveling partner, but I’m not so invested in it that I would be blown off course if the day takes a different turn. That’s a lovely level of flexibility and resilience to have – I’ve worked at it for a while now. Success feels very comfortable. Natural. Learning to let go of attachment, and becoming more emotionally self-sufficient, has been entirely worth making the effort to sort myself out, find out how worthy I am of my own company, and to become a woman I am entirely content to hang out with day-to-day, on my own. 🙂  Still… I miss my partner when we’re apart, and I’m eager to enjoy his company, if not today, then another day – any other day. 🙂

It's a good day for practicing effective practices.

It’s a good day for practicing effective practices.

Today is a good day for sunshine, and getting things done. Today is a good day to smile at strangers. Today is a good day to be the change I wish to see in the world. Right now? Right now is a good time for a second cup of coffee. 😉

I woke in pain this morning, to a chilly gray rainy day. Yesterday’s sunshine is a memory. Today, pain takes a firm determined step forward; I am often in a lot of pain on the rainy days I love so much. It’s an arthritis thing, I suppose. Still, it’s a lovely morning so far in spite of that, and I sip my coffee and make my list contentedly. I look at my list and realize I’ve jotted down a task I’m unlikely to be physically able to do today…I cross it off. Tomorrow, maybe.

Yesterday's sunshine...no more real now than any other memory unless I savor it and make it my own.

Yesterday’s sunshine – a lovely memory.

It’s early, still. Meditation, yoga, a walk, and a shower – the morning is well underway. My physical pain distracts me. I pull my mind back to other things – things that matter more to me; it’s ‘date night’ with my traveling partner. Our time together is so genuinely at ease, so deeply connected and passionate, so emotionally supportive, so playful… I’m still awed by this amazing love we share. 🙂 It’s worth pausing often to appreciate it, especially with impermanence being what it is, and change being a thing. I don’t know what obstacles may exist on the path ahead, or what twists life may sneak into future of love. I am learning to enjoy what is, without wailing over what isn’t – or taking every damned thing so personally that I am unable to understand that we are each having our own experience. Incremental change – incremental progress. 🙂 I keep practicing.

We choose our path, but sometimes the way ahead is not obvious until conditions are right.

We choose our path, but sometimes the way ahead is not obvious until conditions are right.

There’s plenty to practice, isn’t there? Life is rich with complexity, full of stress, and so busy it all seems to happen so fast – too fast, sometimes. Yesterday morning, I could feel how very precariously poised I was, between a full on meltdown, and something different from that. I was uncertain I would be able to maintain emotional balance, perspective, and contentment in the face of the numerous stressors piling up, and the growing feeling of being overwhelmed somehow. I took the day, and I took care of myself. Meditation. A walk in the sunshine. More time meditating. Time spent in the garden among green living things. Some time enjoying coffee in the sunshine on the patio. Meditation. Healthy nutritious meals made from whole fresh ingredients. Adequate sleep. Mediation. Comfortable clothes. An orderly environment. Appropriately timed medication. I spent the day being purposefully kind to myself, and as much as possible taking action, rather than reacting. By mid-afternoon, I felt reliably, sustainably content, comfortable in my body, safe with my thoughts, and secure physically and emotionally. 🙂 My results vary – it could have gone quite differently, and I was prepared that it might.

There's more than one path, more than one way, more than one choice; there are a lot of verbs involved.

There’s more than one path, more than one way, more than one choice; there are a lot of verbs involved.

So here I am today. Today seems nice so far… the pain is not relevant to that, and it may not be an impediment to enjoying the day in relative comfort. Even here there’s a balance to be found, the balance between distracting myself from hurting, and being sufficiently aware of it to take appropriate measures at regular intervals: moving around, taking those effective pain relief measures available to me, taking ‘yoga breaks’… It’s easy to get mired in the sensation of pain and overlook that it would ease if I got up and did something else for a few minutes. 🙂

I keep practicing.

I keep practicing.

Even my heart is at ease today. That was not so much the case yesterday. Ah, but it isn’t yesterday now, is it? I begin again. Today is a good day to take care of me. Today is a good day to enjoy the things about life that I find most enjoyable – and maybe find some new things to enjoy as well. Today I begin again – again. 🙂

I generally enjoy my experience of life so much these days. Contentment is a prominent feature of my emotional landscape, sustainable, real, authentic, and fairly easily supported with a number of basic good self-care practices (emotional and physical). It’s not fancy, but it’s a long way from misery, chronic frustration, and anger – and more than that; it is enough. More often than not, these days, my experience is both ‘about’ sufficiency and enjoyed on the basis of sufficiency, as well as ‘wholeness’ – which isn’t quite ‘wellness’ – and basic worthiness.

The journey isn’t over, and I hope it continues for a long while to come. I’m still very human. There are still verbs involved. I still experience emotional weather – although the climate has improved greatly. 🙂 My results vary.

Be love.

Be love.

Last night I had a bad bit, and even now I am not certain why. I’d gotten home from an afternoon appointment with a new physician. It had gone well, and I didn’t have to travel very far at all, so I arrived home quite near to the usual time of evening. I was relaxing after a bite of dinner when a state of extreme irritation, almost anger, swept over me quite unexpectedly, and without any obvious cause at all. Unpleasant, sure, and potentially very problematic if I were living in a shared household; that’s the kind of stray emotional bullshit that quickly escalates among human primates, becoming a nasty evening of arguing, or unpleasant confrontational tension, with all the associated blame-laying and accusatory dialogue imaginable. Go ahead, imagine it if you want to; haven’t most of us been there at least once or twice? I did imagine it, in the moment, and gave myself a chance to feel the relief of living alone, and literally having no one to start shit with.

A helpful reminder; I apply it equally to how I speak to myself these days.

A helpful reminder; I apply it equally to how I speak to myself these days.

I gently alerted my traveling partner I was having some challenges with emotional balance and logged off for the night to manage my needs, medicate, meditate, and call it a night. Few things ease unexpected emotional volatility like meditation. Medical cannabis is a another exceptional tool in my toolkit, particularly if there is any chance that my issues are symptomatic of my PTSD, or when fatigue causes my injury to weigh in more heavily on the outcome. Getting adequate rest [for this particular human being that I am myself] is critical – and I’m not always aware of the impact of small changes in my sleep. (Even something small like having a stuffy head interrupting my sleep periodically over days can eventually become a bigger deal.) It’s hard to overstate how valuable it has been to learn to more skillfully take care of this fragile vessel.

I sat quietly for a long while, letting emotions ebb and flow without interference, interpretation, root cause analysis, or criticism. No tears – this one was mostly emotions of anger, quite specifically, and just not associated with anything particular. I could so easily have made it ‘something’… Instead, I let stillness fill my senses. I took deep calming breaths and let the emotions come and go, feeling them fearlessly and letting them pass. And again. Over about an hour, the landscape of my thoughts began to shift toward pleasant observations, contentment, calm, and I found myself wrapped in a gentler experience as the evening ended. I slept well and deeply.

Would it make you nuts to feel angry and not know ‘why’? Would you feel an urgent need to explain or justify it? To make sense out of it? To identify the cause and bring the wrong-doer to justice? Does there have to be a wrong-doer in the first place? Our emotions have a chemical component – and some of our most basic physical sensations are shared with emotional experiences, too. How often have I taken some physical experience and ascribed causes to it, nudged it into an emotional context, and turned it into drama – instead of taking some time for myself to just breathe through it, recognize that feelings are… feelings (and may not be anything more than the sensations of experience), without further requirement to take action on them, at all?

Sometimes finding a happy place is surprisingly close to home.

Sometimes finding a happy place is surprisingly close to home.

This morning begins gently, and I have a busy work day ahead that doesn’t occupy my thoughts needlessly early. I have evening plans with my traveling partner. In all respects a promising day unfolding ahead of me. It’s enough.