Archives for posts with tag: ask for help

Yesterday was lovely. Relaxed. Relaxing. Spent in a leisurely way on leisure activities, generally. Most of the weekend has been, actually. Each time something specifically not leisure got my attention, I put it to rest pretty firmly. I let my sleep cycle be whatever it was, too; naps are wonderful. Naps leading to long nights of delicious slumber are pretty spectacular, too. Any worries that my early morning weekday routine might get broken was “put to rest” (lol) this morning, when I woke, well-rested, at 2:47 am. Close enough to 3:00 am… and 3:00 am is close enough to 4:00 am. Today is the last day of my long weekend, and I woke quite naturally fairly close to the ludicrous early hour I typically wake. 😀 Splendid.

…Amusingly enough, I crashed hard last night sometime around 6:00 pm. I woke at 11:00 pm and considered getting up… instead, I went back to bad and slept deeply for several more hours. Hikes every day. Yoga. Taking up Qigong. Walking more. I’ve been putting in some time and attention on getting my activity level up where it needs to be to reach my fitness goals. Exerting the effort amounts to work, work leads to fatigue, fatigue requires rest, the need to rest results in feeling tired, which leads to sleep…and I do enjoy quality sleep. A weekend well spent. 😀

I have had opportunities to explore pretty much all the hours of the day over this weekend. Afternoon and mid-morning napping fairly reliably leads to wakefulness in the wee hours of morning, or late into the evening. I’ve spent them meditating, writing, reading… I’ve spent the hours of my days quite well. It’s lovely to look back on.

From my vantage point this morning, it feels I have gotten back on track on any number of little things that matter to me. I’m waiting on one more; I tinkered with my old Gear Fit2 fitness tracker and managed to bring it back to life. I woke this morning to a 100% charge on it (it hadn’t been taking a charge for a long while, then I forgot all about it in a drawer). Ah, but of course; updates. Well, shit. I’ve been looking at this 56% completed status for a while now… Will it? Won’t it? I try not to watch it. lol

Feeling “ready” to get back on track is a different place to be than yearning for it, or planning on it, or figuring I ought to do something about… something. Real readiness almost seems to handle business without any input from me; the inputs are implicit, and already exist, everything is down to verbs now. Readiness doesn’t hesitate over a fucking verb. 😉 I’m eager to see where this leads. Incremental change over time sometimes feels so slow. Mostly, actually. Painfully slow. Discouragingly slow. There are, though, occasional steps forward that feel a bit bigger – like suddenly lurching forward and finding oneself several steps ahead, upon returning to a more natural gait… or… like falling. Or jumping. Springing forward unexpectedly, and resuming the slow steady pace from a different starting point. It feels good, and in spite of hesitating to trust it and fully embrace it, it feels like real progress.

These are only feelings; there are still verbs involved. My results may still vary. My journey remains my own. My choices continue to matter.

I’ve still got to walk my own path.

56%? Shit. Still? Well… it’s more than half way. 🙂 As starting points go, it has promise. What if it’s just stuck and can’t go further? Well… I guess a factory reset, another attempt at the updates, and see where that takes me. Seems a good approach. Why would I give up entirely in the face of real progress, even when faced with a set back? Well… I wouldn’t. 🙂 I’ll most definitely be mildly frustrated if, after even that effort, my fitness tracker is no kidding just dead; it would mean shopping for another, and honestly, it’s a bad time for that – I just bought a car, and need to be very careful with money until I’m sure I’ve got my budget back on track. Wholesome adulting. I mean… the thing that brings a budget successfully to life isn’t the budget or the planning or the review of all the details and the careful documentation – it’s the choices I make that are rooted in that planning and decision-making. If I just do the planning and don’t live out the plan using my choices and actions? It’s just time spent on a spreadsheet, without any meaning. Busy work. The same thing that fails new year’s resolutions for most people is exactly the same thing that fails so many budgets; the simple failure to make those choices in the moment, in real life.

So many choices. So many verbs.

So much to “track” as an adult… so much to manage… so much to do… so much to care for and about… I am feeling particularly grateful to feel so well-rested. Small things stay small, freeing me to consider bigger things without any particular stress. 🙂

Then, there’s always technical support… sometimes, help is good to have. 🙂 After staring at “56%” for nearly an hour, through the entire process of waking for the day, making coffee, meditating, writing… I checked for online solutions. Read a support article. Noticing nothing seemed quite on point for the issue at hand occurred just at the same time that the Live Chat prompt popped on my screen. Sure. Why not? Precisely 7 minutes later… the update is completed. The device functions once more. 🙂 So basic: ask for help when you need help. 😀

Feeling good on a Monday; I feel very much that I’m “back on track”. If nothing else, I am, at least, back on tracker. 😉 It makes a great beginning.

It was a less than ideally comfortable moment, last week, when my therapist so frankly and calmly observed that I seemed “unwell” and that “we” need to work on that. He doesn’t play when it comes to mental and emotional health, that’s sort of his whole deal, but the “we” who needs to work on my mental and emotional health? Yeah, that’s me. He’s a great resource, but the verbs entirely belong to me. lol

I explored his observations over the weekend. I considered his words – and reconsidered mine, in context. I contemplated where practices were failing me, and was frank with myself regarding practices that were not being consistently practiced, or perhaps were less than effective, over time. I made some changes, because change is a thing, and embracing it can really work in my favor (and has, more than once).  My therapist proved to be quite correct about a number of things. It’s a journey. I’m very human. There are ample opportunities to begin again. lol

I already feel more balanced, contented, stable, and confident that “things will be okay”. It’s a good place to be on a Thursday, ahead of a work day, in the middle of a week that has been rather busy. I’m looking forward to the weekend. (I’d really like to sleep in.)

I’d started feeling really overwhelmed by my “to do list”, which just never seems to diminish, and had some “permanent” items that seemed sort of… stuck there. lol I’ve been tackling those one by one, now. That feels pretty good. I’d begun to avert my eyes from my list of shit that needs to get done… because I didn’t really feel like doing… any of it. Oh my. A hint of depression had apparently crept into my emotional life. Too much OPD? Oh, hell yes. LOL That shit’s toxic. It’s definitely depressing to be exposed to too much of that crap.

I’m not very skilled with depression. Despair is a familiar demon, but depression? Less so. I failed to notice the weight on my experience. My sluggishness and apathy seemed inexplicable to me. The constant fatigue and lack of fucks to give in life, generally, was foreign. Thankfully, depression is a familiar form for my therapist, and he recognized it, pointed it out, and provided me some direction. Win and good. I feel myself getting back on my path. Most particularly, building on the firm foundation of a weekend spending loved and loving, I feel each day improve upon the one before it, as my “to do list” slowly dwindles, and order is restored to my experience. 🙂

It’s okay to get help, when we need it. I hope that you do, if you are struggling, alone. 🙂

My Thursday is off to a good start. I may not save the world, today, but I’m on track to enjoy my experience. Sometimes, that’s enough. 😀

I woke feeling well-rested and content, and  I got a great start to my day – even on the professional side, or so it seemed, initially.

Like most people, I am not universally skilled at all things – personal or professional. It’s been pretty well confirmed over time that if my symptoms flare up (PTSD), or my brain injury gets in the way of getting things done, like dominoes falling in sequence more challenges begin to pile up, emotionally, cognitively, and socially. This morning, a ‘what the fuck?’ moment of frustration quickly developed into the sort of challenges I can’t easily manage in the office, and I made the choice to get out of the challenging environment, head for home and take care of me. I knew as I walked home in the chilly autumn sunshine that I would be more easily able to support myself in the quiet safety of my wee place, surrounded by green and contentment.



There’s been some construction in the community. My windows were recently replaced. Then a tree was removed – part of a ‘drainage improvement’ project. Not easy experiences – but I got over it, and the overall look of things has remained substantially unchanged… (You know where this is going, right?)

Today, when I get home, things are very different indeed.

Today, when I get home, things are very different indeed.

Speechless. Also just at the edge of becoming enraged by frustration, and a feeling of being actively undermined – professionally and personally – at every turn, if not by the willful intent of human beings, certainly by circumstances. This is hard. Frustration is my kryptonite, and I’m not even super.

Now I’m home… my feeling of safety is destroyed by the continuous sound of the voices of strangers shouting over machinery – on all three sides of my apartment (3 different work crews: painters, a pipe crew with a ditch witch, and a crew of…well…carpenters on the roof, or roofers doing carpentry). My sound sensitivity increasing rapidly to the point where sounds will actually seem… psychologically painful. (Is that the right phrase for this experience, I wonder?) My ability to sooth myself is shattered by the combination, and the tears I will no doubt cry sometime soon are beginning to queue up waiting for the next thing I can’t take more of. Just fucking great, right? I come home to take care of me… and… now what? Please tell me – now what? I’m even completely alone, no reassuring hug from my traveling partner, or anyone else, unless I want to step outside and start randomly asking construction guys for hugs. There is no human comfort to be had until I have to force myself into the world to get to my therapy appointment on the other side of town – using mass transit – at which point I can pay another human being a lot of money to spend an hour with me at arm’s length.

Sorry. You’re ‘seeing me’ at what is my current near-worst. I hope you understand that, for the moment, being heard is the best thing I can do for myself – even if it is the being-heard-at-a-distance of writing words that someone else will read from far away. It actually counts for a lot, so… thank you for being here. So…what else can I – what else will I do? Things. There are things to do that will help – the harder part is accepting that each thing may only help some tiny tiny seemingly insignificant amount, and that it is critically important to go ahead and do each and every one to get to the best possible self-supporting outcome. It’s harder than I’d like it to be in the moment.

  1. I’m going to put on some music to mask some of the background noise; I choose Squarepusher, and turn it up louder than I might ordinarily, because some of the noise of the machinery will tend to blend in and fool me into perceiving more music than noise.
  2. I make a soothing hot beverage (no stimulants, though); the heat of the cup in my hands is comforting, and enjoying a cup of tea requires me to slow things down and take a minute for me.
  3. I make a point of alerting the construction crews politely that I am at home, and ask that they be courteous about the noise as much as possible; given a chance, people are frequently fairly kind and accommodating when they are aware that a veteran with PTSD is struggling nearby.
  4. I sit down to write about my experience, without determining in advance whether this will be ‘for publication’ or not, freeing myself to ‘get it all out there’, and leave spelling, grammar, syntax, tone, clarity, and intent to be reviewed afterward. No self-censorship. No self-criticism. Just words.
  5. I review my self-care checklist and verify that meds and basics are handled, making any adjustments needed.
  6. I put the writing on hold for some little while, to meditate if I can (it’s really really noisy around her today), but that may have to wait for the work crews to go to lunch at noon.
  7. Yoga helps me relax my body – and right now every small bit of ease I can provide to myself is going to have value.

I’ve done what I can for now. Soon I’ll be leaving for my appointment, anyway. So far, step by step, practice by practice, I have dialed down my stress enough to feel calm and mostly okay. I am okay right now; it’s important to notice and reinforce the awareness to help build more positive implicit emotional memory, and emotional self-sufficiency.

Today is a good day to be a student. Today is a good day to practice the practices. Today I’m okay right now.

I woke this morning, but I’m not actually sure when. I checked the clock at 2:38 am, but didn’t get up. I may have slept more, I don’t recall being wakeful, but I recall many moments of being awake. I don’t know whether they are consecutive (and I was awake until I got up) or separated by sleep (resulting in sleep, however restless it may have been). I got up at 6:38, 4 hour later, when I next checked the clock. If it had been, say, 3:11 am, I’d have gotten up to pee and gone back to bed afterward – and perhaps that would have been a good choice at 2:38 am. 🙂

I see signs of autumn everywhere on my walks lately.

I see signs of autumn everywhere on my walks lately; time to get back out on the trails.

I’m not sure what sort of morning this one is, so far. I’m still sore from more than usual miles of walking yesterday (a reminder to get back on the trail). I woke in pain, stiff from my arthritis, and since that’s primarily in my spine, it affects most movement, even breathing feels subtly impaired, as I fight the pain to find posture that allows deeper breaths. (Many of my headaches source with a damaged cervical vertebra (C7) and its adjacent arthritic siblings, rather than with my TBI.) I put on music first thing this morning, even before I turned on the aquarium lights, which is unusual. More unusual still, I didn’t do so with deliberate purpose and awareness, it was the action of someone just being and doing, action following impulse without intent. I’m not unhappy with the choice, but the ebb and flow of my emotions seems more connected this morning to the music than to my experience. Highs and lows come and go with the changing tracks on my playlist. I made my coffee, and forgot about it on the counter in the kitchen. My memory seems very clear on details that are often sort of vague and challenging – but I am peculiarly inattentive to other sorts of things I generally track well. And… Yesterday there was this moment when it was entirely and rather publicly clear that I had entirely lost any ability to manage simple math – I couldn’t calculate 44 days from the current date for a simple forecasting scenario, even using a calendar, and the calculator on my computer was beyond me (cognitively), at that moment. It could have been an embarassing moment – it wasn’t; I was frightened, and felt very vulnerable and insecure. The feelings passed, the concern did not. I’m sort of … following myself around observing myself in the background today, with concern and curiosity.

I write awhile. I retrieve my forgotten coffee. I change the playlist when I find myself feeling some borrowed emotion that doesn’t fit the circumstances of the day. And I wonder. I try to avoid worrying, but find myself thinking of things like “Flowers for Algernon”, and the neuroscience of cognition, and the progress on A.I., and how fragile this meat vessel really is, and how many people in my family have died of strokes… and my injury. Suddenly my fears become liquid and the tears are quietly slipping down my face, and I weep to face my mortality so starkly. 52 isn’t old. Neither am I a child. I carry enough damage to this fragile vessel from years of punishing circumstances, trauma, casual thoughtlessness, and mischance that I probably ought not expect it to be without consequence where longevity is concerned. It’s a good call to take care of myself if I earnestly want to stay around – but, realistically, so much of whether I stay around isn’t actually up to me in the moment, at all. Strokes do happen. Will I know, when the time comes? Will it be like some of the TIAs I’ve had, looking out through my eyes as windows, aware but unable to say – but for longer than a moment? What’s next? Will everything just… end?

I didn’t understand yesterday how profoundly affected I was in that moment, with a colleague, utterly unable to do the simplest math, looking up from my desk so helplessly – and asking for help. That was hard. I didn’t lose face, and the moment passed. I’m open about my issues, and learning to ask for help when I need it has had a lot of value. I’m frightened, though, and that’s harder to be open about. I let myself cry, and face the fear. I am okay right now. My coffee is hot, well-made, and tastes just right. The morning is a pleasant one. The music is all music I like very much. I live well, comfortably, and meet most of my day-to-day needs easily. I am human; emotions like fear and uncertainty are part of the experience. I guess I’m just not ready to go now, and the fear hits that yearning for more time – now that I seem to be sorting some things out. It’s a complicated feeling.  Tears and more tears, no sobbing or hysterics, just this momentarily ceaseless flow of tears, blurring my vision. And this fear. I have so much more love to give…

The tears slow, and eventually stop. My head aches from the crying… or…was the headache already there? I’m not sure this morning. This morning I lack certainty about a great many things. Will I see my traveling partner, or is he still sick? Will my housewarming later today be fun and relaxed, or will I mess with my head foolishly getting overly worked up over small things and stress myself out? Will I continue to find, over the course of the day, that other things ‘aren’t working’ as I expect them to, in my ability to think, to do math, to spell, to write,  to reason, to recall, to plan, to communicate, to feel…? Will I rise above the small challenges to engage this lovely moment, or find myself faltering and failing to find any secure emotional foothold? Will I take care of me, quite tenderly, and recognize that at any age being reminded of one’s mortality can be ‘a tough  moment’, or will I treat myself callously, with disregard, self-deprecation, and mockery? Will I “be okay”, or can I find sufficiency in being okay right now? I momentarily feel as though I might trade actual death from whatever nasty virus my traveling partner picked up for 15 minutes in his arms, feeling comforted, cared for, and alive. Fear sucks.

My playlist comes through for me in the most amazing way some times. My heavy heart starts lifting listening to Atmosphere remind me how human life is. I remember, again, that I am okay right now, and that – truly – there is nothing in this moment right here that warrants these tears. I start letting it go, and gently finding my way; mortality isn’t really something we can fight skillfully (yet) as human beings. I may not live to see us achieve near-immortality through the advances of science. I have ‘now’, and it can’t be taken from me. Today isn’t a bad one. The morning isn’t difficult. I didn’t sleep badly. My coffee didn’t disappoint me. I am not out in the cold, or without nutritious groceries in my pantry. I am not lacking in love. I don’t have to go into the office today. I am, in fact, okay right now. “All is well” is approximately accurate – at least as far as any details I can be clearly aware of in my own experience, myself, in this moment.

As suddenly as they came, the tears – and my fear and uncertainty – dissipate. I am okay, right now. It’s enough, isn’t it? 🙂

I clean my salt-spattered glasses, sip my remaining now cold coffee, and notice again the lovely morning ahead of me, requiring only that I take care of me, practice good practices, and live well and mindfully in this moment, on this day. Now.