Archives for posts with tag: OPD

The quality of the sleep I am getting seems good. I’m not waking during the night. I’m getting to bed at an hour that results in no less than 7 hours of sleep, which I seem to be getting. I’m consuming carefully measured quantities of caffeine, and limiting that to early in the day. I mentally run down the list of carefully selected good sleep hygiene practices that I rely on to get the most out of my resting hours…

…Regardless of all that, I am particularly groggy upon waking to the alarm these last couple work days. My body feels rested. My brain feels unready for the new day. I’m doing my best to properly wake up, to be thoughtful, coherent, ready for the day. So far this is more an exercise in effort than any sort of effective achievement.

A moment in the garden on a summer evening.

I sip my coffee and contemplate the summer heat. The garden isn’t as lush as I’d like it to be. Summer heat. I’m often away all weekend. The time taken to water during the week, before work, and again in the evening as the heat slowly begins to fade to cooler night-time temperatures, really makes a difference when I’m not at home to do it on weekends. This past weekend many of the roses bloomed in what seems a rather early second blossoming of loveliness and fragrance. I take a moment to feel grateful to have gotten to see it.

This year, just one flower.

Peeking out from the summer foliage, a single flower blooms on Nozomi, a delicate miniature rose that is a long-time favorite that I’ve had since… 1993? This year she’s only bloomed this once; she is usually among the most prolific bloomers among my roses. I make a mental note to re-pot her this winter.

“Feeling overwhelmed” is an experience fairly common to being human. Seems more common these days, for more people, although I’d begun to experience it much less myself. Starting in November, 2016, it has become, once again, plenty common for me, as well. “It’s all just too much” is the feeling. I give myself a little internal moment of real understanding, because, as feelings go, the most appropriate response to the feeling of “it’s all just too much” is simply “yes, yes it is” followed by “we’ll get through this, together”. A deep breath. A sigh. I move on from the moment; every moment passes.

I think over an interaction with a friend from earlier this week. She was feeling overwhelmed to the point of tears. “It’s all just too much!” A moment of sympathy and support rather quickly became quiet frustration and puzzlement, as it became apparent that she was investing in her feeling of being overwhelmed by building that and growing it, rather than sorting it out and easing her own suffering. Attempts to support and help her weren’t seeming either supportive or helpful, as she quickly interrupted anything helpful, soothing, or perspective-offering, (that could have just as easily been used to calm herself) to reinforce her self-inflicted, home-grown, utterly subjective internal experience with quick contradictions, veering tangents, and distractingly vague exclamations of distress. She quickly shored up her powerfully negative narrative each time I attempted to bring clarity or calm to the shared moment together. So frustrating. Eventually, the time-sensitive nature of schedules and calendars intervened. I went on with my day. She went on with her tears. I am still puzzled at the whole thing; it’s hard to fathom someone not actually accepting the help and support they’ve sought out. I still just don’t get it.

…I don’t have to “get it” – a lot of what is going on just isn’t at all about me. Not my circus. Not my monkeys. That’s not only okay, it’s necessary; I can’t shoulder the burden of all the world’s chaos and damage alone. I manage my piece as skillfully as I am able. I try not to add to the pile. 😉

Still groggy, I check the time. Well, damn. It’s already that time again. I hit that metaphorical reset button, look out the window into a pre-dawn sky that reminds me summer will end, and likely sooner than I expect. It’s a good opportunity to begin again. 🙂

It’s almost routine, these days, to face stress with this internal reminder: breathe, relax, let it go, begin again. Individually, or as a sequence, it has given me the “moment I need” to bounce back from a stressful experience far more quickly than I once could. It’s enough. More than enough. With practice, over time, it has become something I can pretty much count on, rather reliably. Enough to make it especially difficult when it fails me – being human, that’s still a thing, too. 🙂

I am sipping my coffee, relaxing over a few minutes writing, starting my day a little later than typical. I smile thinking about my abrupt wake up call this morning. A literal phone call jerked me from my sleep in the pre-dawn darkness. It rang persistently from the other room. I was in motion before I was awake; a ringing telephone in the darkness is alarming. Distant family, friends, old buddies from military years… emergencies and bad news generally arrive via phone call in the darkness. I realized I was (sort of) awake when I heard my voice out loud answering the phone.

“…Hello…?”

My relief was immediate, and followed the audible relief in my Traveling Partner’s voice. He phoned because I am a creature of such regular habits that variance is noteworthy; he hadn’t yet heard from me, and it was nearly an hour past when I am usually up, and greeting him with a sticker or emoji. My face still hurts from smiling because I matter that much. I had forgotten to alert him that my hours would be different today. The one downside to regular habits (inclusive of habitually explicit clear communication) is that deviation from those routines can be stressful for others when it touches on their experience, too. We put each other at ease. I begin my day 7 minutes earlier than I’d intended – and with a wonderful moment of warmth and caring from my partner. Delightful. 🙂

…Sure, sure, I suppose I could have been irked to be wakened early, when sleep can be so difficult for me, but… no. No need to let something so small swamp the beautiful moment of awareness of how much I matter to this particular human being who also matters so much to me. 🙂 It mattered so much more just hearing his voice first thing.

Suitable for challenges of all sizes: breathe, relax, let it go, begin again. 😉

It’s a lovely morning, suitable for change, and for choices. It is a good day to start down a new path, or to continue to walk a path that is taking you in a direction you are seeking to go. It’s a good day for new beginnings, and for saving the world one moment at a time. It’s a good day to be civil, to be merry, and to celebrate small successes. It’s a good day to lift each other up, to express appreciation, and to share what matters most. It’s a good day to be our best selves. In all cases, of course, there are verbs involved; we have work to do, and choices to make.

Are you ready? It’s a new day. Let’s do better. 🙂

It can be a bit of work, support loved ones through difficult times. I remind myself that the circumstances change, but the humanity remains; we need each other.

We don’t need a lot of complicated drama and bullshit – but being human, we also, sometimes, don’t recognize where our choices may lead, before we get there. Once we’re there, we may have been slowly inoculated over time to the point where although it is obvious to a great many other people, we don’t see what a mess we’re in – or what a mess we’re making – nor how it affects other valued relationships.

If that’s what you’re waking up to this morning, you have my sympathy. I’m sorry that’s the situation – an expression of pure regret, without any personal involvement. Drama sucks unless it’s on a stage (even then, sometimes it still manages to suck; not all performances are equal). Here’s something majorly cool, though; you have choices. Seriously.

…so many choices…

The path (and practice) of non-attachment is a huge win for fighting drama demons. There are verbs involved, of course. Choices. But the simple (seriously simple) choice not to engage the trolls in our social network is incredibly effective. The choice to let go of whatever we’re attached to that is being used against us can be a radical move in the direction of freedom. Although it feels incredibly costly, often we can more quickly and easily move on from a negative experience, or toxic relationship, if we can make peace with the perceived “losses” that result from doing so. Bonus; few things aggravate a hate-filled troll more than being of no consequence whatever. lol So… there’s that.

It’s easy to recommend. It’s harder to put into practice. We’re so easily baited. We’re so heavily invested. We’re so reluctant to be fully aware that our emotions show up for every appointment before our reasoning thinking mind can even find a parking space nearby. lol I said it. The balance between emotion and reason tends to rest on an understanding that emotion is more immediate, more reactive, and less easily argued with – even internally. We tend to “believe” our emotions, even in the face of contradicting data. It’s both a strength and a weakness.

On the other side of the equation, if you are invested in your righteous rage, and lashing out while justifying your shitty behavior with smug observations of how “right” you are… maybe… just maybe… You’re not actually the good guy in this little scene? Think that one over. If your decision-making is more about the effect the outcome will have on another person – most especially if that outcome is intended to be difficult, painful, awkward, challenging, or “deserved” – you are definitely not living up to any aspirations you may hold about being a good human being. Just saying. You can do better. Don’t be one of the bad guys. Yep, even if the person with whom you have developed this drama “deserves”… whatever you think you’re so right about. That’s your opinion, based firmly in the context of your personal narrative, most of which you made up in your head. Leave room to be human. To be wrong. To do better. To be the good guy.

Or not… It’s your call, I guess. I’m just saying, stooping to bad behavior merely because you feel hurt by someone else’s words or actions, is… fairly stupid and short-sighted, and generally also quite counter-productive.

Here’s a flower. Let that shit go. Begin again. 😉

There should always be time for beauty. 😉

 

I’m sipping my coffee, well-rested, on a lovely summer morning. I scrolled through my news feeds, and at the end of it found myself feeling a bit let down with humanity, with my own relative powerlessness in the face of the world generally, with the drama and bullshit that we allow to impede our forward progress as creatures… We could do better. I mean, obviously. lol Hell of a start to a lovely Saturday.

I push my seat back, and carry my coffee to the deck, and enjoy the rustling leaves, birdsong, the smell of freshly watered plants, the sweetness of a newly ripe tomato fresh from the vine, and a few healthy moments of other thoughts and experiences than the embrace of an office chair, and the bright white pipeline of infotainment shoved directly into my brain through my eye holes. I get way too much of that, and too little of small brown birds daring to come closer to see if maybe I have another seed hidden in my hand. 🙂

When I came back in, I sat right down at my desk, and let the excess of words and pictures continue to stream into my brain. Damn it.

I get up. Again. I breathe. I do some yoga. Somewhere amidst this second flurry of activity, I have a second coffee that I’ve already forgotten now. Some mindfulness. (That’s sarcasm there.) I nag at myself about my baggage. I pause to feel annoyed with myself for nagging myself, instead of simply practicing.

I let that go, too.

I find myself, at some point, wondering about how I create the baggage I carry in life. I mean… some is picked up in some moment of trauma, sure, but what counts? Does it need to be major trauma? (You already know the answer, if you are honest with yourself; it could potentially be the most petty irritation, if allowed to fester.) I mean… hell… I even have baggage about this. Right here. Blogging. No kidding – did you not know? lol (“Do tell!”  “Okay, I will…”)

In December 2012, sometime, during a terribly dark time in my emotional life (one of the worst, darkest, most despairing times of my life had begun, and I was very much at risk of not making it to the other side) I began to consider starting a blog. I had mostly given up writing in a journal – a life habit of many years, that I’d found huge value in, but which had become a ruminating spiral of negativity that developed a fairly self-hateful feedback loop that supported the despair more than the woman writing about it. The saner choice, then, had been to just give it up, for at least awhile. I lost an important voice in my narrative in doing so, and I needed… something. A blog? Maybe; I’d be writing in a public place, read by anyone who cares to read my writing, which, I felt, had a chance of keeping me from falling to the demons of rumination and negativity, and maybe give me some purpose and focus,  a foundation on which I could… maybe… heal. Or at least feel heard.

I approached one of my partners (now an ex) at the time and brought the subject up. I viewed her as being “more internet savvy” than I was myself, and I knew she also had a blog. I suggested I was considering writing a blog, myself, and asked her for suggestions or recommendations for platforms. What I got back was… a hearty helping of ego and discouragement. “Oh, well, you shouldn’t expect anyone will read it, and you most likely just won’t keep up with it, and you’ll probably just abandon it. Most people are very bad writers, and don’t have anything interesting to write about. You should expect that you’ll get bored with the work of keeping it up. I have several followers and a very successful blog because people love my writing. It probably won’t be that way for you, and you shouldn’t be discouraged if it turns out no one cares and you’re wasting your time.” I felt astonished, first that she’d assume anything about my writing, when she’d never taken any interest in it, and also that she had no awareness that I’d been making a practice, my entire adult life almost continuously, of writing 500-3,000 words a day – entirely without a fucking blog. LOL I also felt hurt by the dismissiveness and lack of emotional support, particularly so early in our relationship (there was much about her, as a human being, I did not yet know).

…Then the insecurity kicked in. Maybe I’m not “good enough”? Maybe I lack worthy content? Maybe no one does care – at all? Maybe I am “wasting my time”? I almost didn’t start. I almost gave up writing entirely. A few more days of systematic discouragement at a difficult time in my life, and I even started considering ending it. My life, I mean. It was a dark time, indeed. Then I read her blog – looking for a clearer understanding; maybe it was “too hard” for me? (Clearly not.) I didn’t really know, and I wanted to understand more clearly what limitations I was truly facing as an individual. I read a bunch more blogs by great thinkers and writers, because it was immediately evident that little was to be gained reading hers. I looked over various platforms that support blogging. I asked myself what I wanted to say – and what mattered most about my writing, generally. Let’s be very real about this; I was attempting to do this while also wholly disrupted by mental illness, and family-life stress. I was in no shape to adult without supervision. I still needed to do my own homework; unavoidably, the advice of other people is shaped by their agenda and biases, and filtered through their own bullshit. It has limited value. Ever.

I’m smiling this morning as I sip my coffee. I value my time writing. I appreciate my readers (hey, that’s you!). Six and a half years and 1625 posts later (not quite one every day), and I’m still writing, still finding value in that practice, and still feeling heard. 🙂 I’m glad I didn’t let one voice of discouragement stop me from being the woman I most want to be… or the woman I am. 😀

Baggage is a funny thing. It lingers. I did pick up some baggage that long ago winter afternoon, talking about blogging; I occasionally still question my writing. It’s fairly public. There are some things, perhaps, that would be best unsaid? Should I mention my weekend plans? What if someone might use that to burglarize my house by noting when I am likely to be away? Should I mention when I am happy? Someone who has an agenda of minimizing my happiness may use that to undermine it… What about… her? Yep. Sometimes, even now, I consider the considerable drama, bullshit, and emotional pain she continues to inflict on friends and loved ones at personally inconvenient moments, and I can’t help but wonder… did my writing drive the timing? Am I feeding information to a human being who now places me in her world as an adversary?

…Should I stop writing??

More baggage. I laugh it off, and remind myself that she has no power over me that I don’t give her, myself, and no current place in my life, now, at all. Like any bad memory, or former association ended with cause, there’s no real need to revisit that time, place, or person, other than to heal myself. Certainly no reason to give it power over me now. lol

Consequences (of our words, or our actions) are real things, though, and I do consider the consequences of my writing; I spend far longer reviewing a finished post, and refining my words, than I do writing it in the first place. Consequences matter. People’s hearts matter. Being authentic, practical, and frank, matter. Being a better person today than I was yesterday matters. Sometimes I delete whole posts rather than publish something that might cause a stranger undue pain, or “out” someone’s private experience without explicit approval. or even just fall short of adequately expressing my thoughts in a true-to-self way.

What I’m getting at, I guess, is “do you” – support yourself in your endeavors. Don’t let “the world” slow you down or change your mind – but be prepared to face the consequences of your choices (good and bad), and consider them with care. Choose wisely. Be your best self… but do be you. No one else can do it so well, although a few bad sorts may try to steal your identity, your words, your very soul – authenticity can’t be faked, and over time, those stolen facades break down, revealing the real person beneath the lies. Walk on from that drama. 🙂 No direct confrontation can be sufficiently satisfying to make the fuss worth it. lol Life is too short to leave the trolls in charge. 😀

Bottom line? We really do choose – and carefully craft – most of our baggage in life. It’s okay to put that down, and walk on. Let it go. Just… let it go. Move on with life without it. It can be a choice… if we care to choose it. Yes – sorry – there are verbs involved. It may require some practice. You may have to begin again – any number of times. Still worth it.

It’s time to begin again. I’m sipping my coffee, well-rested, on a lovely summer morning, smiling, and content. I am enjoying the morning with the woman in the mirror – she’s a survivor, a bad-ass, and this morning? There is no other woman I would want to be more. 🙂

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. 😀