Archives for posts with tag: hormone hell

Tonight started in a most promising way. I had a task in mind; hooking up the stereo. Simple stuff, but it hits a nerve with my post traumatic stress and I felt considerable anxiety about the undertaking, and a dreadful lack of confidence about it. Here’s the thing, though; I know how to do hook up my stereo, and the fear and stress are an illusion left over from a lifetime ago. So, I got home, and got started. Didn’t get it quite finished – it turned out the wee allen wrench for tightening the set screw on the back of the speakers had gone missing. It’s a small thing – I’ll replace it and finish connecting the speakers and be done with it…

…I’m not wired for frustration. Rationally, I knew it wasn’t a big deal – I’ve been contentedly listening to music on my laptop for days. The disappointment and frustration collided at the end of a busy workday. I wasn’t up to the challenge and wept for some time, helpless, immobilized, overwhelmed. It seems inexplicable now, on the other side of it. I had a shower, meditated, did some yoga, had a bite to eat… I’m fine. Frustrated, but even that has dissipated.  You know what hasn’t changed? The ferocious itching of bites that I suspect now of being spider rather than mosquito. I’ve got several large painful welts that itch so fiercely moment to moment that it’s hard to focus on anything else. The one of my foot was most agonizing walking to and from work. Right now the one on my calf feels worst. My mood may be affected by these bites – I am sensitive enough to bee stings to carry a bee sting kit all spring and summer, anywhere I go.

...I still try to get pictures of bees...

…I still try to get pictures of bees…

Practicing good practices doesn’t prevent bug bites (well, there are probably some excellent insect control practices…) – and I don’t know how or how much these bites may be affecting me. (When my traveling partner got a nasty spider bite sometime last year it definitely changed his outlook on the world, and he was much more irritable, generally.) I’m suffering enough with these bites – and they are numerous – that I withdrew an offer to hang out with my traveling partner sometime over the weekend. It doesn’t make sense to allow even one previous minute to be tainted with predictable irritability or suffering when we can save it for another day, and enjoy each other. It was a difficult choice to make – but hanging out Wednesday went sideways pretty easily, and I wouldn’t be surprised to confirm these bites had something to do with my emotional dis-regulation. Another time.

detail of "Emotion and Reason"

We are creatures of both emotion and reason, of both light and darkness.

Tonight, between the frustration with the stereo, and the itching of the bites, and challenges getting my routines down (I think I missed on my hormones…not sure, though, I can’t recall taking them, but I also don’t recall not taking them…) (Did I mention the fucking itching? lol ) I finally just broke.  So sure, I cried some frustrated tears. I do that. I suck at frustration, even now, although I am hopeful that experiences like this will help me improve the way I handle frustration the next time. No humans were harmed in the making of this experience – even me. Really. Frustrating, sure, but even that passed, leaving behind only me. Pretty content, and entirely okay. Yes, it was a choice, and no that doesn’t make it less valued, or less genuine. It isn’t forced, it’s just that there are verbs involved. 🙂

At 2 with Inga

At 2, a very different perspective.

I’m tired. Sleepy, fatigued, and not feeling my best, without actually feeling ill. It’s a lovely evening to meditate – the process of moving has broken so many routines. It’s time to rebuild good habits, practice good practices with consistency and discipline – it’s time to take the very best care of this fragile vessel.

“We are each having our own experience.”

...Stormy weather.

…Stormy weather.

I don’t actually remember, now, where it was I first heard that specific sentence, carrying the significance it now does. A book I read? My therapist? My traveling partner? I hang on to it on mornings like this one. Maybe you have them, too? Those mornings that begin well… I mean, really really well…then unexpectedly slide sideways on some icy emotional sidewalk? Yeah. Those suck. At least…they suck in the moment that I feel the good morning slip out from under me, stranding me in some very real, very challenging emotional moment of some entirely other variety.

Afterwards, sometimes days, sometimes hours, I often find that I’ve learned something important about someone who matters to me a great deal. It’s worth noting that I only seem to have these experiences with the people in my life who do matter most to me. That’s meaningful…but for now it generates only questions, and most of those are not of the useful sort.

Growth can be a lonely process.

Growth can be a lonely process.

I am continuing to re-read The Four Agreements. More studying, really. I find immense value in some of the simple concepts within this small, humble book. It’s on my kindle, but I am reading it from a bound book, to feel the weight of it in my hands, and connect with the experience in some more physical way, somehow. This morning, “Be impeccable with your word” rang out in my consciousness in conversation, and supported me; I was able to be more simply honest about my experience than I am often able to do without seriously escalating emotionally. Learning to let go of the sensation of ‘not being heard’ in order to speak freely, regardless, has challenging moments. There is balance and perspective to learn here, too. There are opportunities to learn to soften my tone, and choose words with care – still respecting my experience, and sharing it frankly, and simply. That isn’t always well-received – and it isn’t ever going to be ‘always well-received’, because we are each having our own experience; there may be things about what I have to say about mine, that are not a comfortable fit for someone else’s understanding of their own.

Those complicated mismatches between individual experiences, perspective, emic realities, maps – hell, even vocabularies and context – push another of The Four Agreements to the forefront this morning, “Don’t take anything personally.” It’s hard to be simpler than that. I am having my own experience, understood solely with my own understanding, filtered entirely through my own filters, limits, beliefs, and assumptions. I find myself wondering if all conflict, everywhere, comes down to one attempting to convince another to adopt an experience that is not shared… ‘just because’. Does the reason matter? Life and love are not a race to be won, or a competition in which someone ‘comes out on top’, or a battle… I guess, unless you’re in battle. At this point in life, my lack of interest in ‘being right’ sometimes sets me up to cave to pressure, rather than simply being.  That’s complicated. If I defy who I am to yield to someone else’s idea of who I am, or what I have said, I will neither be heard, nor will I be who I am. Strange puzzle.

This moment. Just this one, right here.

What about this moment? Just this one, right here.

You are not the person I think you are. You are who you are. I am not the person you think I am. I am who I am. Suddenly, this morning’s sturm und drang pulls the nature of attachment, and the gift of acceptance into focus. My irritation passes, and I feel more able to treat myself kindly; being poorly understood sucks. Being dismissed or rejected sucks, too. Feeling hurt over those things is still more suckage… but here’s something that doesn’t suck; being poorly understood isn’t about me, and there may be occasions when however clearly I express myself, the message is not wanted, and will not be heard. So not about me. Being dismissed or rejected? I guess I could take that personally – I’m pretty cool to hang out with – but why put myself through that? Choice is what it is, and there is no obligation for someone to choose me, in any moment, of any day, in any relationship. Free will being what it is, it makes sense to feel quite wonderful to be chosen – but probably healthiest to utterly disregard rejections, beyond moving on to other things with my time; there is no requirement that I be chosen, ever. Suddenly, feeling hurt dissipates, and I am free, myself, to choose.

Still, it’s not the morning I faced with such eagerness. That’s more than a little disappointing. I can choose, too, to invest in that disappointment, nourish it, grow it, and let it take over my day, filling my heart with resentment, and hurt feelings… or not. I think this morning I choose ‘not’. There’s a whole day ahead of me, with unknown delights that could so easily be missed if I am weeping in my coffee over someone else’s experience.

Each moment has its own beauty, its own significance, and its own worth.

Each moment has its own beauty, its own significance, and its own worth.

Today is a good day to enjoy my experience, and create compassionate space for others to similarly enjoy theirs, without taking personally the choices they make. Today is a good day to breathe deeply, to smile, and to notice that I am okay right now.

There’s a quality every yesterday shares with all the other yesterdays; they are in the past. Sometimes that’s a sad thing, because we enjoyed the day so much while it was ‘today’. I will admit that yesterday – the yesterday that was most recently today, and is not now, having become yesterday in the most clearly defined way – is not a day I’m sad to see in the past. Yesterday was a difficult day. I hadn’t slept well the night before, but woke feeling good and enjoying the morning, it didn’t last because… well… hormones, mostly, I guess. Not much to be done there but wait it out, treat myself gently, and show great consideration and courtesy to others – and hope for the best.

The evening was okay. No big blow ups, no significant stress, no baggage; I retired for the evening shortly after I got home, moodily wrote for a while, and crashed out early. The writing won’t see sunlight; it was hormone-fueled, angst-y, discontent, and sad. Not share worthy, just very human. Keeping to myself was more a matter of caring for my family, than a self-care practice; the storms and tantrums that sometimes result from the combination of fatigue, hormones, and a disinhibiting brain injury are pretty nasty to go through – and quite possibly worse for the loved ones who must helplessly bear witness. It is by far the easier to choice to reduce the potential for such things completely, by withdrawing to a quiet private space with less stimuli. I kept an eye on the clock and was firm with myself about going to bed ‘on time’; I needed the sleep, for sure, but the routine itself provides structure that helps me maintain balance.

I slept last night. I slept deeply, and I slept through the night. I needed the sleep. I woke with some difficulty when the alarm went off, and I suspect if I were horizontal right now, I’d be asleep in seconds. The hormones are a component of my sleep challenges, which is more obvious now that they are entirely of the replacement variety. At some points in my natural cycle, as well as on this replacement, there’s a particular point at which my estrogen level seems to drive wakefulness; I don’t know with any certainty if it is the high or the low, or an intermediate level that complements some other feature of my biology. I’m not doing the science – I am living the experience. My observations are subjective.

We all need restful moments, and real rest, to recharge for the next challenge.

I need restful moments, and real rest, to recharge for the next challenge.

When I am tired or run down, great mornings hold greater potential to become difficult days later on; I lack emotional resilience when I am fatigued. By the time I am really aware that the emotional weather of the day is changing, I’m often already drenched in the sudden downpour, unprepared. I think I could easily address the ‘unprepared’ piece, though, if I go forward with more awareness of how fatigue does affect me – and that the effect is often not felt immediately, but later in the day. Being prepared is sometimes enough to change the outcome of events that tend to follow a pattern. 🙂

Today is a whole new day. I am still dealing with the hormones; hot flashes and nausea this morning. I’m in a decent mood, though, and I feel rested. Being well-rested is a very big deal.

I hear the household waken, early. I resist the impulse to rush into morning interactions; I’m quite honestly not at my best first thing, and I’m still waiting for my pain medication, and morning coffee to kick in for the day. 🙂 Good self-care is sometimes about simple practices, and discipline learned over a lifetime; I try to stay to myself first thing in the morning, until I am really awake.

It’s interesting to note that I’ve been finding a great deal of value, recently, in reading literature regarding development of executive function in children; it tends to shed light on the tantrums, the fury, and loss of emotional regulation…things we see, and even expect, in young children but that appall us in adults. The literature has enhanced my understanding of why some practices do seem to genuinely improve the state of my overall executive function over time, while other practices provide soothing, comfort, or ease the social impact of behavior widely viewed as uncomfortable or inappropriate from a woman of 52 (even by family members). Even practicing good practices, there is a desirable balance of outcomes to find; if all my best self-care practices are focused on easing the impact on loved ones, rather than improving my own experience, I could predictably be facing a whole lot of resentment down the road – and no real change in my own experience, internally. If I focus entirely on self-care practices that tend to take a longer view, improving my emotional resilience over time, potentially building lost executive function, but take no steps to ease the day-to-day stress of living alongside this injury, complicated by post-traumatic stress, I am less likely to make the progress I am seeking – because I will likely lack support from loved ones who don’t ‘see the work in progress’ as easily day-to-day, and don’t benefit from it, themselves.

A lovely spot for a moment of meditation; is that about time or place?

A lovely spot for a moment of meditation; is that about time or place?

Balance. Perspective. Verbs. (Your results may vary.)

Today is a good day to smile. Today is a good day to practice good practices. Today is a good day to exist right now, unconcerned by yesterday’s moments. Today is a good day for good practices, and the secure knowledge that incremental change over time can be a subtle thing – but it is a thing. 🙂

I may as well have ordered from a menu…”I’ll have the Random Emotional Overload, please – does that come with Feelings of Not Being Heard? I’d also like extra Not Well Understood, please. Can I have that with a side of Fail Sauce? There’s no Diary in that, is there? …Oh, Honey – you should try the Accusations and Dismissiveness, I hear that’s really exceptional here…”

Yesterday, I went, in mere seconds, from feeling content, comfortable, and enjoying quite a lovely day, to… something very different. The tiniest of difficulties with communicating a very simple idea (“yes and I am uncomfortable”, versus “No, because I am uncomfortable” – quite different concepts, truly) quickly became an embarrassing loss of emotional regulation on a level that is difficult to accept, explain, or excuse without some understanding of how a disinhibiting brain injury might complicate PTSD. It is what it is. I continue to do my best and work to grow and improve on what I can’t rely on without exerting will and continuous practice… It is what it is, and what it is just happens to be my experience, which sometimes sucks rather a lot.

I moved on, the evening unfolded, eventually I slept. The damage is done, of course. There are no ‘take backsies’, once I’ve hurt someone – they hurt. It’s the crumpled paper model of regret; the apology is necessary, and making amends is important, but the damage is done.

My head hurts today. I didn’t sleep well. Hormone Hell sucks like crazy, but it’s still 100% on me to do my best to be the best person I can be, moment to moment. It sucks that a few painful moments on a single day out of many can have the potential drive pain and stress into so many other potentially entirely unrelated moments even on entirely different days, but there it is. It’s one major reason why mindfulness matters so much, why I keep harping on being in this moment, and reminding myself that we are each having our own experience; there’s just no sharing some of it, and becoming mired in what sucks is so much easier than becoming wrapped in what is warm and lovely and good. Be. Here. Now.

This moment was lovely...

This moment was lovely…

Today is a good day for practicing practices. Today is a good day to be this amazing woman I am – challenges and all – and to continue to do my best, and to grow, and heal, and walk on, until I reach a new perspective. Today is a good day to embrace all the vast character and wonder of this creature I hold so tenderly in this broken vessel. Today is a good day to stand between myself, and the world, and be the person I can count on right now to care for me, reliably well, every day.  Today is a good day to make choices that meet my needs over time.

Today has been…strange. Peculiar? Sure, that, too. Perhaps a bit surreal, too, although bizarre would go too far. It’s late in the afternoon, and odd time to find me writing. That’s strange, too.

I slept deeply and well, and woke easily this morning – but woke thinking in the moment that it was during the wee hours. I felt discontent and off kilter to check the clock and have the alarm go off in my hands. My coffee was hot, and the household woke shortly after I did – only, I did not wish to interact with anyone. I heard beautiful music in the other room, and felt moved to greet my traveling partner, and the start of the day. He changed the music just at the moment I got to the living room. It was still a great track, not in step with my mood, but I lingered to enjoy it. Conversation developed, on a topic of shared-interest, and I didn’t really get to listen to the music. Then curious fact-finding questions resulted in de-railing the conversation, itself and I ended up being cut-out of the conversation. No one noticed, and I excused myself politely. Shortly after that I managed to turn a compliment into a contentious moment, making the mistake of trying to explain something that didn’t require an explanation, as it had gone unnoticed by anyone but me.

I’ve felt more than a little ‘out of step’ most of the day. Peculiar describes it well enough.

I don’t really have any enthusiasm (or interest) in troubleshooting circumstances; there’s really nothing ‘wrong’. I also don’t know that I have much more to say about it. I feel… weird. The weekend is almost here. The day is almost over. There’ll be another tomorrow. I don’t know what, if anything, I want out of ‘now’ – a connection; that’s as close as I get to understanding what I want.  A particularly intimate, deep, comfortable, reliable, loving, romantic, profoundly secure emotional connection…that I don’t know how to achieve, yet. (I will not be particularly surprised to find, on my deathbed, that this thing I yearn for doesn’t actually exist, but I am not convinced that it doesn’t…because I have the recollection of having achieved at some other time, what I yearn for now…which I also can’t count on being real.)

Inconveniently, the doctor put me on an Rx that may influence my thinking…so…what can I be sure of, at all? Yeah. Well…I’m sure it’s been a strange day.

A moment of illumination is sometimes not so easy.

A moment of illumination is sometimes not so easy.