Archives for posts with tag: anxiety

Well, Monday comes around too soon after a busy weekend. The down-and-back to visit with friends and with my Traveling Partner was… interesting. Worth doing. Strange. In some moments just flat-out weird as the evening developed.  Good party. Good weekend. Weird vibe.

Mental illness doesn’t play nicely – with its victims, or with their loved ones. Let’s note that this is a true thing, and then set that aside.

I never actually slept on Saturday night. It was a huge effort for my Traveling Partner and I to get even an hour together to chill and hang out. It wasn’t the party that kept him busy, it was the on-again-off-again intensifying spiral of OPD generated by his other partner’s mental health challenges more often than not, but also just real-life hosting-a-party crap that comes up over a weekend (“hey, is there more water?”, “hey, I cut myself – where are the band aids?”, “hey, where can I park?”, “hey, what’s the wi-fi password?”, “hey, is the party in the house,too, or just outside?”). We finally got a few minutes together to cuddle, to catch up, to talk… in seconds he was fast asleep in my arms. I haven’t spent such a lovely night in a long while, meditating, relaxed, content, cuddled up with my Traveling Partner for a couple hours. I couldn’t sleep. I knew there would be that risk when I went down; I don’t feel physically (or emotionally) safe in that location now,so… No sleep. Still, huge improvement for me, inasmuch as I also didn’t continue to feel anxious once I got there, and the hours of the night passed gently in each other’s arms.

I dozed off once (so close). I woke to a knock on the door. I got up very carefully so as not to wake my partner, stumbled through putting my pants on, and went to see if there was something urgent that needed attention (the medical bag was with us). Nope. I went back to bed. Some little while later, we were wakened with more conviction; a neighbor had started a burn on their property in the very early just-at-daybreak time of morning. The party people, in various stages of intoxication, could see the fire…but couldn’t puzzle out whether it was a legitimate hazard, or not, at that distance. (It was unfathomable that people might actually wake up at such an hour and do actual work or life things. LOL) Farm folks are often up quite early, doing actual work. My Traveling Partner takes a look, says something reassuring. We go back to bed. He’s out like a light in minutes. I doze for a few minutes myself, wake again, and get up and dress for the morning; it was time for coffee, for breakfast, and time to hit the road. “No sleep at all” would mean a narrow window of opportunity to safely make the drive home before fatigue set in.

The drive back was pretty uneventful, and generally efficient and pleasant. I got home in a timely fashion, and messaged my Traveling Partner and concerned friends that I was safely home. I didn’t hear anything back for many hours (because… drama). I am okay with having made such a short trip down and back under the circumstances, and enormously pleased with how I feel today. (Untouched by OPD, and largely unaffected by the mental health issues of a metamour I am easily able to maintain adequate distance from). I am okay right now. I was okay Saturday. It was a good weekend, generally. My self-care was on point. 😀

There was an interesting moment, conversationally, during the party. Worth taking another look at, but maybe not this morning; it’s not relevant, specifically, to this topic, right here. 🙂 This morning? I’m getting ready for a new work week; it’s time to begin again. 😀

Where will the journey take me? What obstacles are in my path? Are they actually obstacles – or do I just need the gate code?

I’m home for the day. The poor quality of my sleep continued to affect my experience much of the day. I arrived home feeling… sad. Drained. Sorrowful. Mortal. Contemplating such fun topics on the commute home as “do any of us really deserve to live?” and “would I spend my life this way if I knew I would be dead in 2 years?”. It was a grim and unsatisfying drive.

Now, home with my thoughts, armed with almost 5 years of better practices to fall back on, and still I pick at the open wound that is the recollection of last night’s nightmares. I continue to fuss quietly, seething, alone, and feeling disrupted. “It’s all in my head”, I remind myself. In this moment, right here, I am unconvinced, and my solitude is less than ideal. Words and phrases, lacking in context or purpose in the moment, bring me to the brink of tears, when they reach my consciousness. It’s foolishness of the first order, nonetheless it is difficult to dismiss it when I am tired, and feeling rather sad. It feeds itself. I even know this.

I stew in it awhile. The traffic beyond my windows aggravates me. I am sound sensitive, and easily irritated. I am sleepy – but also restless. My nightmares left me feeling averse, at this point, to falling asleep again; I don’t want to return to The Nightmare City. Not tonight. Not right now. Not when it is obvious that the current denizens of my darkest dreams really get what terrifies me most at this time in my life. I don’t want to be the grown up in the room… I want someone else to do that for me. I want to be held. Told “everything will be okay” – in spite of there being very little actually “wrong”, at all. I want someone to check for monsters under the bed, and in the closets, and care for me as though these concerns are “real”. I want someone to promise me things, and assure me that there is a happily ever after if only I am “a good girl” or “work hard enough”… or some other bullshit combination of magic words intended to soothe the savage bitch.

Being tired isn’t a good state of being for me, generally speaking. A wave of anger washes over me as I wonder how the hell I survived my 20s at all…? The anger is no more (or less) “real” than the other emotions that crash upon my cognitive shore, wave upon wave, disconnected from circumstances. There is more to come. I guess I’m fortunate, in general. This bullshit? It is bullshit.

This bullshit, though? It’s hard, yeah. This part, here? This doesn’t seem to get any easier over time. Mired in my own bullshit, for the moment, aware I could do more differently, could begin again, could move the fuck on from this… I know, I know. Choices. Verbs. Ennui overtakes good sense. Anhedonia steps in for will. There are, at least, these words. I can see them, as I write. I hear my voice – finally, I am heard, even in this dark moment. I’m here for me, at least that far. I’m not yet despairing… that’s something. I hold onto that. I breathe. I have a big glass of water, and marvel at how refreshing that can actually be. I take a couple Tylenol for this chronic headache (an exception, almost on the order of “a treat”), knowing that even a few hours of relief, in this state I’m in now, will make a difference – enough to be worth accepting the risks and contraindications. My temper flares up, and cools, again and again, disconnected from anything going on around me. “This too shall pass”, a calmer inner voice observes gently, kindly, full of love and understanding.

I breathe. I relax. I let go one notion, then another. Breathe. Exhale. Let the stray thoughts that plague me fall away like wisps of mist on a summer morning, before the heat of the day develops. Another breath, another moment. One by one. My seething fury begins to ease. I’m just tired. I put my ear plugs in, and add noise-canceling headphones. There is quiet now, except for my tinnitus. It’s enough. It’s enough to endure. It’s enough to survive. It’s enough to have choices and to attempt, in some small way, to choose. It’s enough to recognize agency, even if I fail to make use of it. Right now? “Enough” is plenty – I can hold on to that, perhaps long enough to get some rest.

Eventually, I will understand to begin again. Eventually, I can walk on from this moment. It’ll pass.

Yesterday was rough. Well… no. Sort of. Not really. Well… not entirely. Just there at the end.

It was a great Monday in most respects, actually, and I was looking forward to my afternoon appointment with my therapist (really just a “check-in & catch up” sort of thing, and very much worth looking forward to). Hell, I even got there without any real inconvenience, and found a great parking spot, right away, (in a terrible neighborhood for parking). So far so good.

We sat down together and I started talking. I talked until I was hoarse. The words just kept coming. The clock ran out on our time. (Those hours always seem so much shorter than any other hours on the clock. lol) I left my therapist’s office, and stepped out into the pleasant warmth of a sunny spring afternoon… and into a wall of anxiety. Fuuuuuuuuck. Breeeeathe. Breathe-breathe-breathe-breathe-breathe. Shit. Damn it. I sit for a moment in the car, but this doesn’t much help my anxiety, roasting myself in the heat of the sun-baked car interior, with cars turning the block at regular intervals, seeing me sitting there, and waiting for a moment, hopefully, then driving on looking aggravated. Nope. Not helpful.

I set my GPS to take me home. It wants me to take the freeway – it’s 2 minutes faster than not taking the fucking freeway. I don’t want to deal with rush hour traffic on the freeway, and I’m pretty certain my GPS is being rather optimistic about the drive-ability of that route. I attempt to set my GPS for “no highways” – and can’t find the options. Damn it. I’m started to feel frustrated and rage-y. I’m also already driving. I half follow/half fight my GPS, which is generally a poor choice. Being aware of this frustrates me further, and I finally just shut it off and begin following side streets in the general direction of “east” based on the compass display on the rear view mirror (true thing, works okay-ish-ly), until I reach a fairly direct, more or less major thoroughfare that isn’t a highway, that will also get me home. In fact, after about 20 minutes of struggling with the GPS, I am, actually, on my regular route, some distance down the road from my typical starting point. lol Because my GPS has a human voice, I lecture it sternly about how dissatisfied I am with the experience of the day, crossly noting “I can do a better job of finding my way, generally, without your fucking “help” you bullshit piece of machinery”. I even feel a moment of awkward disappointment with myself to find myself willing to be so callous and cruel-of-tone; it was probably doing its best, more or less.

I am irritated with devices and technology when I finally arrive home, a bit later than usual. I dither awhile, still awash in anxiety and frustration, and feeling also… incredibly tired.

“Baby Love”, a favorite rose in my garden, and a moment of contentment and joy.

Meditation doesn’t ease my anxiety much. Still tired, too. Some dinner? Still anxious. A pleasant, cooling shower? Still anxious. I start going down the list of good basic self-care practices… finally noticing it is 7:00 pm, or a little after. Fuck it. I decide to yield to fatigue and just go to bed, after spending a few minutes in the evening sunlight. Oregon’s winters are sort of long and drizzly and gray. So is Spring. So, too, is Autumn. Vitamin D, precious warming healthy sunlight is a treat in this climate; I linger on the deck, appreciating the first roses blooming, and enjoying the sun. It feels nice. I begin to really relax. My thoughts begin to untangle themselves from the anxiety. Anxiety is a liar. It teases and irritates my consciousness with a very hostile, fearful, view of what may be, and generally with no real basis in fact. It is a poor framework for thought. As the anxiety recedes, my thoughts become more ordered, more useful, and begin to the take the form of plans to get things done that were nagging at me in the background. There are dishes in my sink. Enough to stoke my anxiety by itself, easily remedied on the way to bed, so I am not bothered by them in the morning.

All these practices help. Therapy helps. Taking better care of myself helps. I still have a brain injury – and no amount of meditation changes that. My c-PTSD is still a very real thing – all the practicing of practices I can think to practice doesn’t change a traumatic, haunting, past. There is no “cure” – there is improvement over time. A lot of that. Enough of that to almost feel like… yeah. Hopeful. Positive. Whole. Strong. Contented. All of that and more. Still not a “cure”, and I still have to deal with some shit sometimes… but don’t we all? Incremental change over time is still a thing, and I can still count on it, and it’s still so much better now than it ever was before. Resilience is about bouncing back.

I knew this morning I could so easily begin again. 🙂 I think I’ll do that. It feels good to be so sure I can. 🙂

By the time I got home from work last night, the anxiety that had been in background much of the afternoon had deepened and begun to take over. It was a visceral experience of anxiety, and mostly only that; I felt anxious. There seemed to be nothing much supporting it, and I probably prolonged it more than necessary by continuing to insist to myself that “it’s nothing”. Well, so what if it is “nothing”? I was still feeling it – and that’s something.

I disconnected from the digital world and began to practice very self-care focused practices with the specific point in mind of reducing my anxiety. Nothing much seemed to be helping. My Traveling Partner phones. A few minutes of gentle conversation seems to ease my anxiety almost entirely. Okay, well… that’s awesome. 🙂 We end the call.  Later, I end the evening…

…I laid awake feeling anxious for some time. Weirdly, I’d get sleepy, and as soon as I even started to doze off, the anxiety surged back and woke me. Fuck. Damn it. …Did I have too much coffee? …Am I stressed over work?? …Am I not “anxious” at all, but actually excited and not discerning the difference? …The weather? Troubleshooting anxiety doesn’t really help matters at all, that’s not how anxiety tends to work (for me). Trying to find answers to “why am I anxious” just puts all my attention on the anxiety, which makes it the focus of my experience. Yuck.

Strong steps seemed necessary if I wanted to sleep. I got up for a little while, went out onto the deck in the cool-not-quite-cold night air with my meditation cushion, and sat quietly in the cold, just… being. I went back to bed, and to sleep, shortly afterward.

This morning I woke without the anxiety lurking in the background. I don’t reach back to mess with the “why” question any further. I’m content to be without the anxiety. This morning, my thoughts are on the weekend ahead. The sound of bird song outside my window. How satisfying my coffee seems. Finding out the “why” of an anxious afternoon holds more potential to create another anxious day than it does to answer any profound questions about the nature of anxiety. lol I let it go and move on. It’s not as if there hasn’t been ample stimulus in recent goings on for anxious moments. I totally don’t need “reasons” beyond that. 🙂

I look at the clock, and notice that it is time to begin again… the weekend ahead of me… love, adventure… choices. All of that and more, just beyond this moment. 🙂

I’m contentedly sipping my coffee this morning and anticipating the long weekend in the country. I’m even looking forward to the drive, which would seem strange if it weren’t for the weird new little practice I started practicing days or weeks ago (I don’t remember now, long enough to have already become a thing I do); I make a point of reminding myself why I’m using the car, before I start it up, before I pull out of the driveway or parking space, before I start driving anywhere at all.

My commute has been much improved, and seems to get continuously better, and I am, each time, less reactive, less annoyed, less angry, and less likely to arrive home feeling that I’ve basically just wasted those minutes of my life – or even aged myself further by way of added stress. 🙂 Pretty good outcome for what amounts to 3-5 minutes just talking things over with myself. lol

It’s a simple practice. I sit for a moment, and take a few deep cleansing breaths, and ask myself a question. “What’s the point of this trip in the car?” The first time or two, I stuck to old habits, and framed my answer as “getting from ___ to ___ by hh:mm”. This, unfortunately, wasn’t helpful for me; I have hang-ups about time and time management, and the focus on time resulted in a focus on the outcome itself, and resulted in an increase in both anxiety and aggression. I felt as if everyone was in my damned way, an impediment to my forward momentum and timely arrival. Nope. Not helpful at all. I switched things up a bit, and focused on other important qualities about driving places: enjoying the time, arriving safely, creating an overall safe and comfortable shared experience alongside my fellow travelers. No kidding. The first time I focused on the safe arrival aspect, I found myself amusing myself with “safety games” – could I make this particular drive safely, without aggravating myself or other drivers, and also fully 100% participate in our social contract by also following all the traffic control rules and laws? Making “enjoy the time” a goal in my commuting experience ended up taking a lot of pressure off me to get somewhere else to enjoy that time, and I stopped driving around with the implicit understanding that driving around is a shitty experience to be kept short, avoided, and endured, and started… enjoying the drive. It’s nice. Much improved.

I still get frustrated by all manner of ass-hattery and douche-baggery. No doubt. I’m incensed when entitled fuck-nuts decide the right-turn-only lane at a particular intersection is an ideal way to simply get around all of the rest of us, also going that direction on that road, also waiting at that light. Yep. Totally human. I even feel a certain smugness about not doing that douche-bag bullshit, I totally do. lol Because… fuck that guy. I’m better than that. Well… at least about stealing the right away at that intersection right there. (Still totally human, probably should avoid being smug, in general.) …But, I feel less aggravated than I did, and less likely to hit some breaking point that could result in real rage, which is a huge win.

It’s a simple enough practice. Doesn’t work at all if I don’t practice it (confirmed). Works pretty well when I do. 🙂 Your results, no doubt, may vary. It’s the way of things, isn’t it? What works for me, however profoundly, may not work for you. Try it out, find out for yourself, and either adopt it as a practice that works, or discontinue it as a practice that does not work for you. 😀 Of course, if it “isn’t working” the first time, it is a practice, so you’ll likely want to try it a few times… you know… practice it. Be sure it isn’t working, or find out that it does. 😀

It’s a new day. A good one for beginning again. A good day to practice what works. 🙂