Archives for category: Post Traumatic Stress

I hurt today. I hurt when I woke up this morning. It’s autumn, leading into winter, the weather is chill and damp, and the arthritis in my spine is delivering on the annual promise of pure nearly unrelenting misery for the winter for the moment.

Perspective is a funny thing; we build our subjective experience on a web of sensations, assumptions, wishful-thinking, and straight up lies we tell ourselves, which, over time seem very convincingly true and real. We rarely pause to reconsider any of it, and sort of just bumble along thinking we’re right, most of the time. So… it’s not true.

I’m not always in pain. I’m not even always in pain all winter, ever winter. I’m certainly in pain more often I’d like. I’m most definitely in pain right now.

Three paragraphs about pain. Not one about pain management. lol Fuck pain. Pain shrinks my world down to the size of wherever it hurts, and keeps my attention there, to the exclusion of most anything else. That, sadly, has a lot to do with how, over time, my implicit experience of my quality of life, and my day-to-day expectations of my experience to be, is about pain. I’m focused on my pain right now, and that pain becomes a defining characteristic of the memory of this moment, and, again, over time, that adds up to a long-term perception that my life, itself, is defined by my pain.

It is not.

Pain is a small wee minuscule tiny barely significant part of my experience when I allow myself to experiences and observe other things besides just my pain.

I’m not suggesting this is easy. I even admit, my results vary; today I am in pain.

So… now what? Take fuck tons of pain-numbing drugs? Not my preferred solution, honestly. Ignore it? That’s far easier to say than to achieve. So… what, then? Other things. 

Yeah…like, I mean a lot of other things. I mean, taking a break from the work routine long enough to really engage a colleague in a great discussion of any other thing than either routine work matters, or my pain. Or their pain. Or pain at all. I also mean, taking a break from sitting at my desk, and giving myself a chance to move and walk around. Have a big glass of water. Read something I’ve never read before. Write love poetry.

It’s about the distraction from being trapped in the wholly subjective experience of the context of long-term pain challenges; it doesn’t have to hurt this much. So, right now, at least for some little while, I put my attention on matters other than pain. It’s not the easy choice; pain makes my world tiny, and utterly self-involved. Looking beyond that is… hard.

I guess I need to begin again. 😉

It’s basic troubleshooting, right? I mean, at least it seems to be with a lot of stuff. Not working? Restart it. Computer lagging? Have you restarted it? Vacuum cleaner stalled? Have you turned it off and turned it back on? Internet connection isn’t delivering on its promise of connectivity? Have you power cycled your router?

…Literal new beginnings just every where…

I sip my coffee and struggle to wake up. My coffee is good. Hot. Carefully brewed. Tasty for such values of flavor as are available for coffee in the first place (realistically, if it was about flavor, I could do better than coffee lol). I’m satisfied with the coffee, but less so with my state of relative alertness, this morning.

Yesterday evening was peculiar. I got mired, briefly, in the search for a carefully saved file I did not want to lose track of and could not find, and instead of finding it, went on a strange journey through saved photos and rediscovered all (I think) of the missing photos I thought I’d lost after my apartment was burglarized back in 2016. That discovery still has me smiling and a little astonished. It’s not the real point, though (wait – why isn’t it?) – the point is, I didn’t actually need the file I was looking for – I just got hung up on finding it, once I couldn’t. I had an alternate solution that was perfectly feasible and practical in every way. Once I finally gave up on insisting on finding that file, and actually just took care of the need (which amounted to taking a picture with my camera, seriously, it was nothing), I immediately found that fucking file. I’d ever so carefully saved it to my desktop so I wouldn’t lose it. LOL

Damn it. So human.

About those pictures. There are some wonderful shots that I’d thought I’d lost forever. There are a lot of memories saved in those photographs. I felt, as I scrolled through them, that I had regained something tangible that had been lost. More wonderful even than that? By the time I had scrolled long enough to satisfy my curiosity and emotional appetite, I was also very much aware that I had not really “lost anything” at all, in the sense that my memories of that time were intact – even without the pictures. Wow. I mean… wow. Really? 😀

I’m sipping my coffee, now, with a happy smile as I think about how good it feels to have memories of pleasant moments. 🙂

I think about that a bit longer, sipping my coffee, almost losing track of time. It’s a work day. I think about my challenges in the evening, yesterday. I think about how easily a quick “restart” works out for me, so often. Another glance at the time…

…Already time to begin again. 😀 I’m still fairly groggy. Time to restart the morning… I’ll take my coffee to go. 😀

It’s funny, isn’t it, that things change so much in such a short time, and often in such unexpected ways. Sometimes subtle, sometimes quite obvious, sometimes in unimaginably pleasant ways, sometimes less so – change is

I smile and sip my coffee. This morning it is exceptionally good. I feel well-rested, content, and calm. The morning begins well. I enjoy this feeling, savoring it, lingering with it, not asking it to be anything more than what it is. Grateful for it, and appreciative.

Some lovely fun hours in the company of dear friends, and my Traveling Partner, were a nice addition to the weekend. I am still enjoying those recollections, too. I think about all the many small commitments to mutual support, and shared experience, that make up these relationships – as much about “family” and community, as they are about friendship. Our relationships are so much of who we are. Almost a “living mirror”, in a sense; we see reflected back what we are able to deliver, ourselves. It’s a lot of work to maintain a low-drama experience in the context of our relationships, sometimes, but it is possible. I smile and think about that for a few minutes more. How do we share the best of who we are with the people most dear to us? How do we encourage them to do the same?

I glance at the time. It’s an ordinary enough work day, and I’ve commitments aside from those to family, community, home, and hearth. There’s also the work thing, and it’s already time to begin again. lol

…Are you ready for a new day? What will you do with it? 🙂

My work day is over. My Traveling Partner, and friends, have journeyed onward from this place, for places elsewhere, undetermined, and for me, unknown. I am tired. Figuring on writing a few words before (quite probably) napping… maybe… It was a short night. I sat down, fingers poised over the keyboard… Nothing.

I find myself wondering “why”, which so often leads to attempting to attribute a cause to this or that experience, which tends to lead me away from just having – and being present for – the experience, itself. More thinking about, than doing. “Because…” is sort of funny that way. We use it to excuse, to justify, to explain, to support – we squeeze a lot out of that one word. I’m not certain of the general usefulness of “because…”, considering how often I am just fucking incorrect in some momentary reaction to some circumstance or situation; I just don’t know enough to root-cause every detail of my life, and I’ve finally realized that it doesn’t actually help, most of the time. So… I mostly avoid “because…” these days. It’s a word that seems to immediately precede not continuing to live life, but instead toward pausing to re-evaluate it, often repeatedly. Tedious.

…Have you ever tried to go through a day without using the word “because”? Like, actually live life without making excuses, or trying to tie one event to another using causality? Instead, just accepting the moments, one by one, living them, observing the experience, and practicing both compassionate acceptance and non-attachment? I often try. I often fail. It’s more challenging than it appears.  I could use more practice…

…Right now, though? I mostly could use a nap. LOL

I like a smooth, well-mapped, route when I travel from place to pace, it’s true. I don’t at all mind “a road less traveled” – I just prefer to use a map. lol The enormous emotional relief, for me, in beginning down the path of mindfulness, of improved self-awareness, of improved emotional self-sufficiency, has been largely due to the increased sensation that this journey can make some sense, can seem to follow some sort of map. Sort of. 🙂 It’s a feeling of “safe travels” on life’s journey, for me.

…I’m less than ideally well-suited to unexpected drama, profound losses of perspective or resilience, or that emotional teeter-totter that gets slyly labeled “reactivity”. I falter. I panic. I want to run. Doesn’t matter if it’s my mess, or someone else’s. I really just don’t want to be part of it, and I begin to do a lot of emotional dog-paddling in life’s choppy waters, just trying to stay ahead of things, or smooth things over. I’d often rather just yield to whatever the chaos brings with it, accept and reject it, and fucking walk on. So often, it’s either my own mess to clean up and manage, or it belongs to someone dear to me, who has… for fuck’s sake… reached out to me (of all people) for help and support.

It was late last night before I’d self-soothed and medicated sufficiently to stop by brain spinning out of control on details that didn’t really belong directly to me, but touched my experience enough to be aggravating. I slept fitfully, once I was able to sleep at all, and my nightmares were not all that helpful toward sorting shit out. I was fairly grateful for the loud crashing noise on the roof over my bed, which woke me abruptly at 1:49 am. Heavy winds all day and into the night, really making a loud rushing and roaring noise, had been tossing the treetops back and forth for hours. Seconds after 1:48 am, I guess, a largish tree beyond the back fence couldn’t take it any longer and snapped just a couple feet up from the base. It hit the house and broke again, the top sliding down the roof into the neighbor’s yard, the mid-section crashing into the fence, and destroying a section of that, breaking again, and that piece falling sort of into my yard.

Well…shit. That’s not good…

Minutes later, we were all standing out there in the wind and rain, faces wearing looks of astonishment and relief. It could have been worse. In the darkness, the wind carried off any real sense of fear or anxiety, leaving behind only words of surprise, and cautious optimism. It would be hours before day light gave us a better look. Still, it was easy to tell it could have been much worse.

I went back to bed with that reminder in my mind; it could have been worse. So often in life this is true. lol

I woke to a lovely note from my Traveling Partner. I woke to no drama. I woke to peace and contentment. I woke to a large tree broken in pieces spread across the back yards, and a displaced squirrel looking up at me with a recognizable “wtf??” look. I smiled. I get it. I put out peanuts for the squirrels and made a cup of coffee for myself – and began again. 🙂