Archives for posts with tag: anxiety

First night home alone in a new place. The moving in process, itself, is one I associate more with excitement than dread, and it comes with a nervous energy that isn’t quite enthusiasm, and falls short of panic. It’s already hard to choose to go to bed, already hard to find sleep; there is more to do. This the part where I get to create order from chaos, so… more a fun project than a chore in most regards. Then there is the part where I am getting used to new noises.

The refrigerator here is quieter than the old one, generally, but sounds completely different, and the sound turns up in some unexpected corners. Each time I trace some odd noise back to the fridge it surprises me, because each experience is “about” a slightly different quality of the noises it makes. It isn’t “bothering me” so far, just new.

The house itself is rather “wide open to all the noises”, or seems so; the noise of the busy street I’m on is easily audible during peak traffic. The nearness to the airport is now quite evident, but limited mostly to fly overs that are on an approach directly overhead. I don’t hear the neighbors (so far), except when they use the shower; the fans in the bathrooms are loud enough to hear through the walls. (Why do we not stop building things in this slipshod fashion? We can do better.) I know that once the paintings are hung, it will be quieter. I contemplate backing the largest ones with some sort of foam for additional quiet…

Last night I heard sirens, a fire truck passed by quickly, then an aggressive knock at the security door – loud voices? I was in bed, dozing off… my feet hit the floor immediately to get to the door. In the darkness, it became a real problem that I was in a new place; the security door was locked, I knew I’d need my keys – I could not find either a light switch, nor my hand bag, and omg – this place may be noisy, but in the dark of night? It’s really really dark. In my half-waking panic, I walked directly into a wall, turned and banged my shins, stubbed my toe, and tripped over something. I finally got to the door – without putting on my glasses. Without finding my keys. Just wanting to reach the door to speak to the stranger with the aggressive knock that followed sirens…

…No one there. Quiet peaceful night, aside from… fireworks? Fireworks. There was no knock. Just firecrackers, which is probably what the fire trucks were called for. Damn it. I stood there a minute, then patiently worked my way back to the bedroom one light switch at a time, to put on my glasses and “check for monsters”. My heart was still racing, and I was shaking all over. I took time to meditate and calm myself before returning to bed, fairly confident my potential for sleep was just destroyed for the night.

I woke from a sound sleep 4 minutes before the alarm went off. So…okay. I can sleep well and deeply here, even right after I am freaked right the fuck out by sirens. Nice. ๐Ÿ™‚

My morning here feels different…the leisureliness of it feels longer… more relaxed… it’s all made up in my head, of course. It’s a new place. I choose a lot of how I will feel about it. I watch the sky lighten beyond the window of my studio. It’s a very different view. I look through the window, to look through the security door, to look into and across a tall ย healthy hedge to trees beyond, and just a sliver of sky. I see the edge of the step into the entry, and a small patch of ground. No expanse of meadow, no horizon. I’m not disappointed with the view. It’s just different. It’s a very emotionally comfortable view; no one can approach me by surprise, and from outside the window, on the other side of that security door, no one can see in. It feels very safe here. (It needs a hummingbird feeder in the small bit of view, perhaps.)

It is a work day. There is one more just like it, then another long weekend to spend getting all moved in (for some values of “all moved in”), a luxury I don’t fail to appreciate, carefully planned because it supports me to do so.

I hear a bird singing in the hedge and smile a broad happy smile at the idea of morning. I feel good. I feel safe. I feel content. This is enough.

…It’s a hell of a beginning, this particular beginning again. ๐Ÿ™‚

Just three work days to go. It was my first thought as I woke. My second was “damn, morning already?” My enthusiasm balances against my obligations for the week. Eagerness balances against fatigue. I take a few deep breaths. I meditate before I write, enjoying the slow lightening of the pre-dawn sky.

I chuckle at my self for a moment and enjoy my self-directed merriment while it lasts; life has far too few such moments, and I find them well-suited to being savored. Every one of life’s destinations, goals, and benchmark moments, seem also to be beginnings. Endless beginnings, even though from the moment we are born, our clock is also winding down. It’s definitely felt more stressful to view life through a filter of being goal-focused and purposeful; the frustration that often results is an emotional kick in the groin every time things go a little sideways. Viewing life more as a journey, a solo hike through time, across experiences, with the “purpose” being to make that journey, nothing more, feels much less stressful (to me). Your results, of course, may vary.

My plans (and my alternate plans) are made with as much care as I can bring to that process. I’m eager to be able to take other actions. I am bored with packing things in boxes, perhaps. lol This morning, anxiety creeps in around the edges, and I second-guess myself over my morning coffee. I remind myself, for perspective, that getting the keys is not the end of the journey (by far). It’s a good idea to keep it in mind, to prevent ending up feeling frustrated and lost, or overwhelmed emotionally, by the very predictable challenges of moving to a new place. Some shit is going to go wrong. Definitely. No idea what, but this is still happening in the context of real life, so… it’s a given; something will go wrong. lol But… It isn’t necessary to deal with whatever that is in advance, because I won’t know what it is until it happens. ๐Ÿ™‚ I take a deep breath, sip my coffee, and let it go.

I look out over the meadow. 3 days until I have the keys, but there is another count down happening in the same head space… 7 days until this is simply no longer (ever) my morning view, as I sit and write, or while meditating on a cushion in front of the patio door. The short expanse of lawn, the summer-tall grasses of the meadow beyond, the park, the playground, the trees on the horizon… I pause to really soak it in. I listen to the red-wing blackbirds greeting the day, and the crows, ducks, geese, and doves, and the early morning commuter traffic on the not-so-distant freeway. I watch a neighbor’s cat stalking something along the edge of the meadow. I watch the sky change colors as dawn approaches. I breathe the breeze filling the room with the scent of meadow flowers. “More ‘and’ than ‘but’…” I hear myself think, rather oddly and apropos of nothing particular. I like the way the phrase sounds in my head.

I glance at the clock. Mornings are shorter on Sunday (from this address) due to the hours I work, and limitations of public transportation. I smile and remember that I have the car. I smile more thinking ahead to getting home earlier in the day; there are a few more things I can box up, a few more boxes…and all I need to get that done is a little more time. ๐Ÿ™‚

The sun begins to peak over the horizon. It seems a good time to begin again. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

I woke this morning to a cooler apartment than usual after such a hot day; I’d fallen asleep with all the windows and the patio door wide open, without meaning to. I’m sort of glad I didn’t notice. It’s lovely to feel the cool morning breeze and the apartment refreshingly comfortable instead of stifling and oppressively still and warm. I’m even more glad that no passing stranger noticed the opportunity to quietly slip into my utterly unsecured dwelling and take all of my (conveniently packed) belongings while I slept (rather more soundly than usual). I wake feeling comfortable, grateful, appreciative, and relieved all at once. I sip my coffee wondering if this particular mix of emotions has a name of its own.

Another good day to begin again.

The dawn sky is shades of peach and a watery pale blue. Another hot day ahead. Peculiarly, I have my headphones on… no music. I must have meant to put some on… I didn’t actually do it. Even noticing this, I don’t actually pause to remove the headphones, or to put on music. I sip coffee. I write. I am content in this moment and the headphones are simply not relevant, nor are they uncomfortable. So… there they sit. On my head. Without purpose. lol Funny human primate.

I’ve still got a week to go before I have keys in hand, a new address, and a busy long weekend of getting moved out of here. So many boxes, in stacks and groups and piles and pillars and arrangements in spaces… and still a week of waiting remaining to be waited out. I still have more stuff to go into more boxes. A few more evenings and a weekend will take care of that.

I chuckle to consider a faraway friend making the journey to help me move; we’ll be basically “camping” in this space by the time he arrives, and then in the new house after the movers do their thing. I’m pretty blown away by the affection of friends who will help with moving. Friends who not only help with moving but will also travel more than 700 miles to do so, and do that with the expectation that there will be no comfortable convenient hospitality of the sort I usually provide is absolutely a treat, a wonder, a rare delight – and appreciated on a whole different level, that involves more than a little awe, and perhaps a tiny bit of bewilderment, and a sense that I need to step up my own friend game… because… I am not sure I’m that person, myself, and just… wow. I could be, though, right? Choices. I am fortunate indeed to have such friends.

What next? I have so much of the next few days tightly planned, centered on this move… I make a point to also take care of this fragile vessel. The hot days are difficult. I make a point to slow down a little bit, to drink a lot more water, to attempt to get adequate rest – even if that means laying down while evening is still daylight, windows and doors wide open to breezes, and at risk of falling deeply asleep without securing the premises. lol I finally got a really good night’s sleep, in spite of the heat. ๐Ÿ˜€ I really needed the rest.

The “hard part” of the packing comes next. It is time to box up all the books, and take down all the paintings. This also means having to work a little more to manage my anxiety as it comes and goes; bare walls reliably fill me with anxiety and a subtle continuous stress – “you don’t belong here” is the message of bare white walls, to me. It’s fairly important to my mental and emotional wellness that I not subject myself to unadorned walls any longer than necessary. ย Still, it is time, and it must be done. The weekend will be a good one for it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Once the keys are in my hands, and that first car load is unpacked, there will be at least one small painting along for that trip, and it will go up before I even head back for another carload of household goods. No kidding. If it fits in the car, I may very well simply take the big painting that is most likely to be hanging above the fireplace. It’s a touch that makes me feel very at home, and the message it sends becomes “I live here”. Comforting. Safe. Real.

Gnothi seauton. “Figuring out my shit” turns out to be less about changing it, sometimes, than understanding it, and working with it instead of fighting it all the damned time. ๐Ÿ™‚

[Oh hey, I’m talking about emotion and domestic violence in this one. No surprises. Please take care of you. <3]

Think about this carefully; anger doesn’t solve very many relationship problems. It’s not that anger is “powerless” – it isn’t. It’s a dangerous force for change, particularly in the context of lost self-control, lost perspective, and a righteous sense of entitlement, possession, or justification. Tragedies happen by way of uncontrolled rage. Clearly, anger can be quite powerful. “Violence never solved anything” is both true and false – and very much dependent on what we mean by “solved”. If we end an argument with violence, we’ve ended the argument certainly, but whether that counts as a solution depends on whether everyone walks away undamaged.

There was a time I didn’t understand emotional violence as violence – primarily because I lived in a messy tangle of both physical and emotional violence, served up with a hearty helping of military life, as well as gas-lighting. Emotional violence was the least of my worries. I didn’t understand my experience. I lacked the emotional intelligence to understand that I had options – and choices. It’s hard to look back comfortably on the choices I did make. Like a barefooted journey across hot asphalt and broken glass, every step did more damage. I lived with continuous fear and anxiety. I rarely slept. The emotional violence in my relationship was the least of my worries; I just wanted to survive the physical violence. I eventually got out of there, safely away, and sadly still unaware of the worst of the damage that had been done, because that wasn’t physical at all.

Physical injuries heal in a physical way. Bones mend. Scars fade. My arthritis follows me everywhere, but as a consequence of earning my freedom from fear it is a reminder that I live…still…it fucking hurts. I never forget how I got here. Tomorrow is 22 years since a nightmare ended. I ended it. I walked on.

…I took the chaos and damage with me…

The worst of the damage was emotional. I didn’t understand that for a long time. I understood “symptoms” – complex PTSD has many – diagnosis in hand, I recognized that I seemed to have no ability to manage my emotional volatility, as a symptom – as something that happened to me. I didn’t understand how accountable I actually was for my actions, though. I didn’t really “get” that like it or not, when my feelings become choices that become actions that affect other people, I am responsible for my actions. There’s no argument there, so just don’t. “Hormones”, “PTSD”, “a terrible headache” “a tough day” – none of these things actually make it okay to be emotionally violent with someone (most especially and particularly someone I say I love). I didn’t understand that I could – no, seriously, I totally mean this – I could choose to behave differently. My experience is my own. My emotions are entirely mine to feel. My choices are mine to make. I am responsible for my actions. Not one moment of personal misery really excuses treating someone else badly. ย I was slow to learn this lesson. I carried the violence forward into my future with me, woven into the damage I’d survived, and expressed it as uncontrollable impotent rage, meltdowns, tantrums and frequent loss of rationality. I’m done making excuses for emotional violence – few people die in a literal way from emotional violence, but the life they are left with is changed. It’s really not okay to behave that way. (Nope, PMS, PMDD, they don’t excuse it either. Get help. Make amends. Say you’re sorry, for fucks sake. Do better over time.)

I’m glad to be moving. Escalating domestic violence next door is uncomfortable to live around. It fucks with my head when I hear the yelling through the walls, the slams and bangs, vague and undefined. There are no good guys. Only human beings unwilling to choose differently and calling it “love” (it isn’t).

Look around. There’s a lot of that going on. We can choose differently. All of us can do better. I can. You can. That person pulling out a gun on the highway to shoot a teenager can choose differently, too; they chose their actions. Think about what that means. Feel your feelings. Behave well. Treat others well. Recognize the subjective nature of your emotional life, and don’t inflict weaponized emotions on other human beings. Fuck your hormones. Fuck your PTSD. Fuck your anger. Care. Care enough to choose better behavior. Care enough to be the person you most want to be. Care enough to seek help if you need help. Care enough to take care of you – well. Care enough to take a step back from a difficult situation. Care enough to understand that each of us is having our own experience – and it’s ours, not to be taken from us. None of us belongs to another.

I say that, then sadly spend minutes contemplating the very real continued existence of slavery and violence around the world. I don’t really know what to say. I am saddened by the constant awareness that there is so much violence loosed on the world. That we wear the face of our own destruction, as a species.

We can all do so much better to treat people well than we actually do. What will you do today to become the person you most want to be? We become what we practice. What are you practicing?

Ever wake up to a lovely morning, resting contentedly in the context of a beautiful moment, begin your day and…

Change? Change. A change that literally “changes everything” – or least feels like it does – can rock my world, shake my foundation, and result in a surreal overload of mixed metaphors, mixed emotions, and general confusion that lasts…well, it used to last until well past whatever the crisis du jour happened to be, and there used to be a lot of them. So many changes and moments were overwhelming crises of circumstance that resulted in chaos, upheaval, and “too much to handle”.

Medical problems. Unexpected bills. Break ups. Lost jobs. Hell – new jobs. Good stuff can do it, too. Love? Love causes some major changes in life and decision-making about the future, I guess I’ve just tended to assume all that anxiety was “excitement”, or failed to notice it in the hormone storm of positive sex-charged emotion. I like to feel emotionally comfortable. I like to plan my life such that even the “unexpected delights” and surprises are not entirely unexpected, nor entirely surprising. I like to feel prepared.

Sometimes I’m not “prepared”. I’m very human. Life can be scary.

Context and perspective are helpful – change is still change. Soon this will no longer be a stopping point on my morning commute.

My anxiety flared up severely – and so did my anger – yesterday morning, as I left for work. I haven’t managed to fully resolve it, but I’m reached an equilibrium with my emotions that feels… manageable. It’s only over a rent increase, really. I’m angry about the circumstances, which seem sleazy, exploitative, and just… douche-baggery for profit. My anger started getting out of hand, my anxiety shot through the roof, and I still had to go to work. I talked things through with my Traveling Partner, gaining perspective as I vented my irritation, resentment, and anger as gently as I could ย (Seriously? He’s doing me a favor to be there for me, and isn’t at all involved or responsible, so “taking it out on him” would be inconsiderate and unkind.) So, I talked about it, over messaging, and stayed practical about it as much as I could. I wasn’t “looking for satisfaction” or confirmation that I am “right”, just a reality check, and some supportive understanding. He’s super good at those things, and our conversation ended as I reached the office, feeling… prepared, although still angry. I love feeling prepared!

I’m fortunate that I can fairly easily move, because now I don’t just want to – realistically, I have to (which is why I was feeling so angry, I was making very different plans). The suggested rent increase isn’t sustainable for me, and the circumstances of the increase are such that I certainly don’t care to rent from this landlord anymore, at all, and don’t feel valued as a tenant.

What a strange turn to yesterday’s lovely morning. Still, these days it’s such a mundane bit of adulting, writing about it almost wasn’t a thing… only… it’s still on my mind. I spent my lunch yesterday, and my evening, looking at available rentals, where they are located relevant to work, how much they cost, how soon they are available, and considering each in the context of real life concerns: features, amenities, utility costs, convenience to goods and services, nearness to public transportation (because now I have to move before we have second vehicle – one of the changes we discussed while we were hanging out night before last), nearness to green spaces, nearness to neighbors, and how quiet and safe the communities appear to be. It’s a lot to consider. It’s my life – and worthy of such consideration.

…I had other things on my mind, other things to write about…

I think back, smiling, to hearing my Traveling Partner remind me I already wanted to move (though I hate the process of moving), and that this – however poor the timing – is an opportunity to improve my quality of life through my choices. It’s true, too. The frantic panicked feelings all mixed up with my anger and my anxiety began to fade away as my options began to open up (through skillful Google-fu, and studious inquiry). The number of potential choices became a list of bookmarks in my browser, phone calls and emails to send inquiring about various rentals… houses…duplexes…apartments…condos…townhouses… My criteria stopped being based on “oh-my-fucking-god-what-the-hell-am-I-going-to-do-I’ve-got-to-find-somethingfast!!” and started being based on “wherever I move, the details need to improve, and can”. I struck everything from the list that didn’t achieve that – and still had a decent list of immediately available rentals to act on that shorten my commute, reduce my rent, and improve my day-to-day quality of life – and in one case appears to do so while also keeping me very near to green spaces, and increasing my quiet and my privacy. Nice.

I’m moving. I am okay with that. Change is. I sometimes wish it weren’t so much, so often, but… wishing is a child’s plaything, not a productive tool for managing change. So, I let that go. I confidently choose a move date. I’ll be somewhere new on August first. I don’t know where – but I know I’m moving.

Beginning again? And then some! ๐Ÿ™‚

…It’s a new dawn…it’s a new day… it’s a new life for me…ย