Archives for category: medical marijuana

What a delightful weekend! I probably couldn’t say enough about it in the time I have available before a new work day begins. It was… awesome. Fun. Warm. Merry. Chill. Exciting… so exciting. It was also characterized by disrupted sleep (see “exciting”), and a lot of stimulation (an art show, a road trip, a weekend with my Traveling Partner…). I’m quite entirely made of human, and having the issues I do, a weekend – however delightful – full of exciting moments, color, light, music, and did I mention the excitement? A weekend such as this one just past often – too often – results in some sort of major freak out or melt down of some kind. No kidding. Yep. I have “mental health issues”. Definitely. It’s one little detail that is a reminder that I put so much time and attention into my self-care for reasons, not because it is a hot new trend.

Flowers need no excuse.

The drive back to the city started well, and traffic was well-behaved, although more than usually dense. Average speed was a comfortably ordinary 70 mph. Somewhere about 2 hours (a bit less, I think) from home, a bad snarl and some congestion developed rapidly ahead of me. Like… bad. Cars were spinning out, into the median, in one case, onto the left shoulder in another, and the third skittering across three lanes while other drivers used breaking maneuvers, and attentive skillful driving to both keep moving forward, and also, not hit anyone else. No collisions. I’m making a point of reminding myself of that. I “drive ahead of myself” a good way, and saw things going awry in real-time. The driver directly ahead of me began to lose control of his SUV. I let up on the gas after tapping my brakes gently (just enough to flash the brake lights) to alert the driver behind me, and slipped between the SUV as he slid sideways out of the lane, and the car to his right, which was crowding the fast lane out of panic as the driver ahead of him braked hard, very suddenly. Oooh… so close. As traffic finally slowed to a full stop, I looked in the rearview, and around; no collisions. I’m still very surprised by that. No indication of collisions further down the road, either. What the fuck? I began to seethe as it became more clear that this was likely the result of aggressive or frustrated ass-hattery, custom made by some clueless fuck knob. My fury began to build as the traffic crept along. At some point, I lost myself in my anger. Oh, “nothing bad happened” – by which I mean I did not attack anyone, hurt myself or anyone else physically, nor did I directly or indirectly confront any individual, or group of individuals…but oh wow. The invective. The yelling by myself in the car. It was… not okay. I’d fully lost my dignity, my resilience, my sense of self… I was… gone. Lost in it. Taken over by my metaphorical demons – who finished the drive more or less without me.

I got off the freeway at the first opportunity. It helped to do so; it slowed everything down just a bit, and reduced the feeling of “crowding”. Unfortunately, at that point I was also quite triggered, highly reactive, and the state I was in was less than ideal for driving, at all. I had no understanding I could have stopped driving. I wept much the remaining drive home. “I just want to go home!” I wailed, weeping. Purposeless, frustrated, impotent tears poured down my face, even completely blinding me briefly (I had to pull off the road to wipe the sweat-salt from my eyes). I got home shaking, angry, sad – so sad. Filled with drenching hopeless sorrow. My brain straight up attacking me from all sides with my deepest insecurities, disappointments in life, and leaning in hard on anything positive, and all my good feelings and recollections – a bit as if I’d come home and been confronted by a fucking dementor, honestly. It was pretty horrible.

I numbly started doing things that felt routine, feeling pressured by those experiences, and a little forced. Going through the motions. I made a point to let my Traveling Partner know I was emotionally unwell, and that I would be offline. (It does not do well to stay online in such circumstances, not for me; I use words. lol) I simultaneously gave a quick heads up to friends that I was having a tough time, but also that I did not require support; just in case shit went crazy wrong with me during the night and spilled over into the morning, I at least wanted people to wonder if I were okay – but I didn’t want to be fucked with right then (the terms in which my thinking colored all such thoughts in the moment). Then I got to work taking care of this all-too-human creature that lives my life.

A sunny summer day in the garden, tasks, routines, patterns of light – better moments.

I took a shower. I had a big class of water. I medicated (cannabis for the win, here*). I meditated. I watered the garden. I started some laundry. I began to redirect negative thoughts to their positive counterparts; ruminations about traffic were redirected to how pleasant the drive was in other respects, and what a pleasant day it was for driving, generally, and that there were no actual collisions, for example. I reminded myself, too, that once I was dealing with a storm of emotions, not only must the storm be permitted to pass, but then, as is often the case with the weather, there’s some clean up afterward needed. Our emotions have their basis in actual chemistry. Feelings of rage? Yeah, that’s like being on a fucking drug that causes that experience. It takes time for the drug to wear off, even though the moment is past. Sorrow, too. Each blue, emotionally disarrayedΒ moment got some support, some consideration, some care and attention. It did pass. All of it passed. I felt better before I’d been home for even 2 hours. The recovery period was shorter than the emotional event. (That’s real progress!) I went to bed a bit early; I hadn’t slept well over the weekend, and all by itself poor quality sleep is enough to put me at risk of losing my emotional balance and resilience, if allowed to go on.

During the night the phone rang. Connectivity was poor at the location my Traveling Partner and I spent the weekend together, and he’d only just gotten my message. He called, concerned, to check in with me and see how I was. I answered a ringing phone during the night (I rarely do), because I went to bed expecting he might call. Partnership is lovely. I heard the warmth and love in his voice, and he heard it in mine. I was definitely okay at that point. I woke this morning, feeling rested, content, loved, and comfortable in my own skin. It’s a new morning.

A picture from a lovely summer morning hike yesterday; where will today take me?

Hell, I considered not writing about this experience, that’s how good I feel this morning – but here’s the thing; this experience is not one I’m ashamed of. I didn’t “fail” here. I managed things pretty well, actually. Somewhere, out there, there is an alternate version of this experience playing out that may not end as well, or may feel “permanent”, lacking any hope or perspective. I put these words on paper, sharing this moment, not only as a later reminder for myself that all this progress isn’t “a cure” (I need these practices, this level of self-care and self-awareness, to maintain my quality of life day-to-day.) I also put these words on paper because someone else may need to hear that there is hope, and it is possible to do better, and it is possible to find some relief – it’s within reach. There are verbs involved, no lie, but the incremental change over time has been… huge. Wonderful. A vast improvement impossible to overstate. It could have been much worse. I’m okay right now. That’s a big deal. It’s worth sharing.Β  πŸ™‚

Oh, hey, look at the time! It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚

*Note: It is unfortunate that cannabis is not yet fully legal, and that it is not more widely available, and easily, affordably available to more people. It is actually fairly stupid we make it so difficult for researchers to research it. Literally nothing offered to me by doctors, anywhere, has been as reliably helpful for my PTSD as cannabis has been, and for the most part side-effect free. Psychiatric pharmaceuticals were less effective for me, had horrific side effects (that included impairing me artistically, cognitively, sexually, emotionally, intellectually, and destroying my health), and didn’t actually result in an improved quality of life for me. I don’t write much about cannabis, itself, mostly because I’m not sure how to do so skillfully, and feel uncomfortable with the unsettled legal status it has in a broader sense. Having said that, I’ll be frank; when I talk about “medication” and “medicating”, if I am not more specific, I am most definitely referring to cannabis, and no, I don’t particularly care that it doesn’t come in a pill. πŸ™‚

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.Β  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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜‰

 

I’m sipping a quiet hot cup of tea. The tea is hot. The room is quiet. The music is quite loud, in spite of the quiet room. I’m enjoying the contrasts. Cool room. Hot tea. Quiet room. Loud music. I am in pain. I feel that too, although I enjoy it less; it is part of my experience. I have mixed feelings about the pain; I am alive. I have survived all I’ve been through so far. My pain reminds me of how strong I can be. My pain is a reminder of my resolve. My pain hints at my pure will; I walk with it, work with it, every day.

…Fuck, I’m a bad ass! lol You are, too. Here you are. You’ve survived. Fuck yeah – all of it. πŸ™‚

Tonight isn’t fancy. I am making time for me. The woman in the mirror needing a little care, getting the care she needs. It’s a nice system.

Tomorrow, I’ll begin again. That’s soon enough. It’s okay to get some rest.

Okay, so… it isn’t autumn anymore. The weather is still gray and rainy-freezy-misty. Not good for long drives through mountain passes (at least, it’s not my preference). A poor choice for my arthritis as well, though there’s little to be done about that long-term without relocating; I take short-term actions to ease my symptoms, almost as soon as I get up, today.

I begin the holiday with a lovely stack of books to read.

It’s the just the loveliest winter day. I’ve spent it…oh… on me. Relaxing. Meditating. Reading. Doing yoga. Watching the squirrels play. I forced myself out of the house once, when I noticed I’d run out of coffee and didn’t have even enough for a second cup. Of course, the one time I venture out, and silence my ringer while driving, I miss a call from my Traveling Partner. lol I check messages when I get home, see the missed call, and phone him back. It’s always lovely to talk, to hear his voice, even that bit when he gets frustrated with me talking over him is worth the phone call. πŸ™‚ He gets back to his day, there, I get back to mine, here.

Today has been an exceptional day for meditation. It’s a good fit with all the reading, which somehow manages to surprise me. I find myself questioning the surprise; is it just an artifact of an injury that often misleads me about what is or is not new? I let that go and simply enjoy each precious chill moment of this pleasant holiday. I read awhile. Finish a chapter (or a book) and “take a break” by meditating for some unmeasured little while. I pause all that to have a bit of a chat with my partner, listen to some music, practice with the buugeng. At some point, I begin all that again, and return to reading. It’s been just about the perfect day off, in spite of missing my Traveling Partner, and even in spite of being in pain.

3 finished. Feminism, Love, and Dictatorship – a broad variety of topics, with still more enticing reading to come.

I put everything aside for a while. More meditation. Sitting quietly by the fire, taking a moment to simply be, and to be aware, and to really listen. To observe the moment without putting rules on it, or building a narrative around it, or making it any more or less significant than the moment itself provides without effort or guidance. Experiencing “being” as the verb it is, without the complication of all those other verbs, for just some little while. Some time later, the warmth of the room seemed to shift from cozy to stifling, and I got up, adjusted the thermostat, welcomed the twilight, and made my way here, right here, now. This? This is live – well, in the moment I am doing the typing, right now, it is. I’m often not “writing right now” in that way – it’s far more common that I am writing about some recently past moment (although rather rudely, I often do so in the present tense, having become emotionally entangled there in that past event).

So… here we each are, in our present moment. I giggle quietly to myself as I fully take in the meanings when I think to myself “I hope your present is not tense”… “present tense”. It should not be that god damned funny (it isn’t). I’m laughing out loud, and tears squeeze out of my eyes. A moment of subtly hysterical catharsis – no harm was done to this human in the writing of this blog post. πŸ™‚ I smile with considerable kindness “at myself”, and experience a weird moment of recognition and gratitude – when did we actually become friends, the woman in the mirror and I? I don’t think it’s been that long ago… we’ve been mutually supportive for some time (a couple years) but “friends” would have been a stretch. Funny.

I smile to myself and consider how pleasant the evening is, and feel fortunate to enjoy my own company with such ease these days. What a lovely day, well spent, in good company, reading, meditating, listening to music, dancing, practicing buugeng and watching squirrels… I think I’m ready to begin again. πŸ™‚

It took awhile to get here, today. At this point, I am relaxed, content, and more or less comfortable. I spend the day in pain, working, doing the things needing to be done, dodging interruptions and distractions as well as I could – some of them are my own doing, purely a product of being human, and enjoying that moment of connection with other humans. I probably need a few of those, anyway. πŸ™‚ The commute home was routine. Nothing terrible… well… no more so than usual, and somehow less aggravating.

Today was fairly shitty. It was hard, and I hurt all day. It was hard to smile. It was an effort not to complain. It was a struggle to fight back tears, more than once. I feel awkward and graceless on my cane. I feel old to be struggling with pain, and mobility challenges. Did I mention what a shitty day it was? I was mired in it all day.

I endured. I mostly endured through successful application of a favorite very portable practice (and I’m pretty sure that this particular practice, in part, resulted in the better-than-average commute experience, just saying). It’s too simple. Please don’t laugh…

It’s hard to stay angry or be annoyed with life when I am experiencing gratitude. Just that. Feelings are tricky, though, and faking it doesn’t work. I start with things that seem obvious to appreciate – and I take a moment to appreciate them. Continue until I’m not in a bad mood. Repeat as needed. It’s not any more complicated than that, really, although it can take a bit of practice to get comfortable and easy with it; sometimes it feels like I really want to be mad about shit. That’s hard to let go of.

I start with something immediate and in-the-moment… some small comfortable detail that, by itself, isn’t crappy at all. Like… looking out the window at the office to the workers on the roof across the way; I’m not working outside in the wind and cold. Yeah, okay – I’m grateful for climate controlled indoor work, for sure. Oh, and indoor plumbing, and potable drinking water from a tap any time I want it. The rest room at the office stocks feminine hygiene supplies. I don’t need that stuff on this side of menopause, but I really appreciate that we provide such obvious basic necessities. I value the basic day-to-day courtesy and consideration of our work culture. I have a coworker who sits near me who good-naturedly lifts my spirits on the regular with light-hearted banter. I am grateful for the decency and humor of my colleagues. On it goes. I can continue to list things I am grateful for, until gratitude has filled me up entirely and I have no room for anger, irritation, or surly bullshit.

One note of caution; this is a positive thing, this gratitude thing. I find it more effective to focus on positives for that reason, so, while it is definitely worth being grateful that I don’t have malaria (and it’s amusing to say as much, in any number of contexts), it’s sort of askew from the point of the practice. More useful, perhaps, to note that I am grateful to have had anti-malarial drugs available when I did work in an area that put me at risk of getting it… an observation that tends to lead me down the path of other medical tools, practices, experiences, skills, and medications which I am grateful exist. Yay! More gratitude. That’s the thing with being grateful for the lack of something, or the negation of something else; it’s hard to build on a negative without slowly becoming more negative. Well… that’s my own experience. Your results may vary. Negativity definitely has more comedic potential, if that’s what you are going for. I just wanted to feel better, and enjoy my experience more easily while enduring so much pain.

I got home still managing my pain with little more than my positive attitude. Medication was a huge, if not immediate, relief. It’s an Rx pain reliever tonight. I feel grateful to have it available. I feel grateful that it works. I feel grateful that it ensures I can get some better quality rest (it’s hard to sleep through pain).

I’m grateful that tomorrow I can begin again.