Archives for category: more than a little bit of bitching

I woke drenched in sweat when the alarm went off. I’d already committed to working from home today, so I reset it and went back to sleep for another hour. I woke 30 minutes later, still drenched in sweat, but waking at a more comfortable point in my sleep cycle was nice. I’ve been down with a nasty head cold that first made its presence known late on Friday, with a hint of a tickle in my throat after an entire day of being generally cross about stuff without cause. I didn’t think bringing it back into the office (where I likely picked it up, let’s be real) would be considerate, particularly immediately before Thanksgiving. So. I’m home. Still fairly sick, but I think I’m up for working… mostly.

I pause to appreciate how fortunate I am to be able to work from home when I choose to do so.

Then I also pause to wonder what I’ll really be good for today, and to appreciate that it is a Monday, a day (on my calendar) that is short on meetings, and generally filled with updating workbooks,  slide decks, and preparing notes for meetings that occur tomorrow and on Wednesday. I think I’ve got this. 🙂

…I haven’t started yet. LOL I’m still thinking about it. Sipping my coffee, and making the day as normal and ordinary as I can. This? This is my “commute”. 🙂 Although, I may take out the trash before I actually start working, to feel the cold morning air, and really differentiate the work part of the day, from the non-work part of the day.

This cup of coffee is terrible. Is it me? Is it the coffee? Seems unlikely to be the coffee beans, themselves; they were excellent when I had coffee Friday morning. (Yesterday it was just pretty tasteless.) That means that 1. something wasn’t quite right with the preparation or 2. my sense of taste is altered by being ill, or by the symptom relieving remedies I’m taking to address that. Either way; something’s a bit “off”. My results, even with coffee-making, definitely vary.

My Traveling Partner has been sweet and considerate while I’m sick. I am pretty sure he’s sick too, although not nearly as severely taken by this particular head-cold. He’s worried aloud once or twice that perhaps I have the flu? Fucking hell, I hope not. 😦 He’s encouragingly tried once or twice to suggest in a hopeful tone that perhaps it’s just allergies? Not likely; I don’t have allergies on this order of magnitude, ever, really. I’m not particularly allergic to pollen, and those sorts of things, and can happily inhale deeply the scent of newly mown grass, and bury my face in flowers. (Aside from some “late in life” developments with food sensitivities, and bee stings, I’m largely allergy-free.) I kind of wish it were allergies… I could go into the office in good conscience, and tell myself this “drenched in sweat aching all over” feeling is… a coincidence. lol

The last two days has been fitful restless sleep (hard to sleep deeply when I can’t breathe), naps, drinking tea, water, chicken broth, and sitting around bitching about being stuck sitting around. Once or twice I’ve dragged myself out of the house on some errand that seemed important enough to warrant the effort. I’ve regretted each one by the time I returned home. I didn’t write, because my head was aching and full of snot, and I just didn’t have anything much to say that wasn’t 100% pure bitching about being ill, like a fussy child. So… yeah. I think you’ll get enough of that, here, this morning. 😉

My attention to my surroundings is much improved today. I even feel mostly up to working a bit, in spite of every movement making me cough, and the house feeling like we’re trying to roast chestnuts using the furnace. lol If nothing else, I know I can begin again, and I know “this too shall pass”. My results may vary… but I get results. 😉

 

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

Warning: this may be disordered ranting, in whole or in part. If you continue, please don’t get sucked into my bullshit and baggage, and know in advance that I’m okay, for most values of okay. Still just 100% made of human.

Well… yesterday was unexpectedly unpleasant. I don’t mean to minimize, and frankly, I don’t do myself any favors to do so; I lost my shit completely, reduced to actually yelling at someone I love in a fit of unrestrained, wholly excessive, temper, frustration, and despair. I let myself down in a remarkable betrayal of a commitment to myself that my living environment be maintained as a “no yelling” space. My neighbors, here, for the first time since I moved in two years ago, have heard me raise my voice in anger. None of that is okay with me. Not any of it. (And no, I don’t think I’m being unreasonable about that; I made myself a promise, for reasons of my own, and now that promise has been broken. It’ll be some time before I’m “over” that.)

It probably matters to have context around it, but I don’t feel emotionally up to a deep dive of the details; I over-reacted to something I could have let go of. I regularly let go of lots of things, and in a wiser moment, I’d have understood to do so then, too. I didn’t, though, because I got caught up in feeling misjudged, feeling misunderstood, and struggling to express my frustration and irritation. I got taken by surprise by my own long-lingering feelings of resentment left over from a relationship I have long since exited, and a few left from early in this one I have, which is so precious to me. It went badly. There were clearly things I was “wrong” about. There were things I wasn’t “wrong” about, but nonetheless handled poorly. It was only a matter of minutes that overwhelming strong emotion got the better of me, and at that point it didn’t matter at all who was right or wrong (how many relationships die on the back of someone’s insistence in being right?), it really only mattered that we treat each other well in that moment. I did not succeed in that requirement. None of this goes to explaining why… I don’t have that for you. I don’t really know.

Failure stings. Disappointment is painful and filled with sorrow and regret. Anger burns in one’s veins, and tells lies to one’s heart. It was a mess. The aftermath wasn’t a huge improvement; my chemistry didn’t reset very quickly. This is telling; my resilience isn’t what it was even a year ago. Why? Why on that is easy; I haven’t been properly caring for myself with the same strict standards that I had been. Again… why? Well, shit… that’s also too easy, and kind of dumb; my Traveling Partner moved in with me, and omg – I love spending time with him. I’m not saying that’s a healthy choice, just very human, and it’s what I’ve done. But… that isn’t all of it.

There’s the pain management piece, too; it’s hard to live in pain. People do, and yeah, a lot people other than me, and a lot of people in more severe pain. The VA, once again, had provided me an Rx solution to use “as needed” (let’s move on from the fact that I suffer from chronic pain), and that drug… um… has “mood altering effects”, and is actually in a category of drug I absolutely should not be taking (for that reason), and this is a known thing, documented in my medical records. My civilian physician even called me at home at some point, expressing concern, reminding me not to take it with specific other medication, and I was already noticing some personal “concerns”. So… I stopped taking it, at all. It’s probably not a coincidence that soon afterward, I became more fragile, less resilient, and then, yesterday, simply “broke”. Fucking hell. I am so vulnerable to poor medical practices, and decisions made without regard to my actual needs, but rather based on some doctor’s comfort with this drug, that drug, or ignorance about the details of my medical history. I am so vulnerable to the demands within relationships to change this, change that, catch up on something, move on from something. I am so vulnerable to my own desire to please, my own need to be comfortable, to have agency, to feel valued. Yesterday’s chaos and damage was brought to me by… me. I overlooked the considerable impact likely from discontinuing that medication, and doing so in the context of not maintaining – very strictly and consistently – my meditation practice in the way I know I must. Tons of this is about my choices, and I’ve got to be accountable for it. I can do better.

I fled the house in hysterics, and despair, and had no business driving a car in the condition I was in at the time. “Driving while crying” is an impairment of note, and I sought somewhere close to stop. It’s not like I had someplace to go in mind. I found an empty parking lot, backing up to trees, and a verdant hillside. I parked. I wept. I sobbed. I wailed. I let go, and had that painful moment of altogether losing my shit on this whole other level. No lie. There was no dignity in those moments. My Traveling Partner tried to heal the wound, texting me, pleading with me to be safe, to care for myself… to come home and just talk. I didn’t, for some time, have that in me. I’m still glad he tried.

Eventually, my tears dried, and I drove home. We went to breakfast. I was still fragile. We gently sidestepped all the emotional landmines we could. We shared the day together. I did my best. He did his best. Eventually… the day ended, gently. I went to bed and enduring nightmares of great dragons attacking civilization, and the persistent frustration of The Party People playing loud music and flashing lights, even knowing that the fucking dragons would thereby know our location. Fucking idiots. Then there were those who kept insisting that the dragons were as scared of us as we are of them, and if we’d just leave them alone… oh, hey, another one of those, torn to bits, and consumed. Well, then. Fuck. Rough night. I survived.

…Rough life. So far, I’ve survived.

I woke this morning, grateful to see the dawn, and that the house around me was not the charred ruin of my dreams. Had coffee with my partner, grateful for his love. I’m still pretty volatile, vulnerable to feeling easily hurt, struggling with my feeling of being disappointed with myself. (No, it doesn’t much matter that it may have been, again, an Rx I was given by a doctor, putting me at risk. I am collateral damage in “the opioid war”, as are a lot of other chronic pain sufferers. Doctors don’t want to prescribe them, even to very low-risk-of-abuse patients, even when we’re talking about very low dose, very mild drugs; liability concerns, more than patient care, in my experience. People get hurt not being able to ease their pain. No one much cares about that, so long as we can put a lovely “we’re winning the drug war!” headline out there.)(Sorry, my personal bitterness is showing there, that’s baggage I need to deal with.)

So… another day, another chance. Another time in my life when I have to just admit that the drugs available for pain management don’t work for me, for a variety of reasons, and learning to live more or less graciously with pain is what’s left over. Didn’t I already know that? Why do I keep trying?

I finish my coffee. Frown at this post, already annoyed with it, for no particular reason beside “failure”. Pretty sick of that right now. I guess I’ll let that go, shower, dress, and begin again. :-\