Archives for posts with tag: you know it ain’t easy

Sometimes the things we need to do aren’t easy. Humans do some amazing things, from truly enormous undertakings like building a civilization – or raising children who grow to be competent, wise, adults – to small things like going to work on a Tuesday and coming safely home. Sometimes the truly complicated things we take on practically coast toward an amazing seemingly effortless wildly successful finish. Sometimes the simplest practical endeavor seems beyond our abilities. Real. True. Human.

Yesterday, I got that flat tire from over the weekend repaired. I felt fortunate that it was repairable – I didn’t need to replace all 4 tires on my AWD vehicle. I happily got into my car this morning and went on in to work on a very typical Tuesday (which I’ve been doing in a co-work space these days). Totally the routine, ordinary thing. Only…

I did just make pretty significant changes to the medications I take. Not just adding a new one – I added two. Not only that, my doctor changed the dosage on one I’ve taken for a decade without a change. Not enough change? I also needed to change the timing on that one so that it did not conflict with one of the new ones in a weird way. So, okay. My meds are all switched up, and I need to give myself some patience while I get used to all that. Sounds reasonable. Hell, the effect on my physical and emotional experiences are very much improved in most regards – which is great news! Here’s the thing, though, one of the changes seems to be having – at least for now – an “unintended consequence”; I feel more relaxed and chill moment-to-moment and have the subjective perception that I am, indeed, more “relaxed” and comfortable, and my partner seems to (generally) find me easier to be around… but… I have much less emotional “runway” from the moment I become impatient or annoyed with something and when that impatience or annoyance overcomes my (very) limited ability to provide “top down” control of my reaction. I feel fussy, and I’ve got a short-fuse, and I honestly have a very limited capacity to “deal with shit”. So… there’s that. On top of the changes. I mean – it’s part of those changes, but it’s a part I hope fades as I sort myself out on the new meds. (If you can, try to hold on to what I’ve said about where I’m at, for just a little longer.)

My work day was a good one. I feel valued and appreciated. I walked away from my work at the end of the day, headed to the bank to run an errand for my Traveling Partner (well, in support of his new business, so, yeah). No problem; he was crazy busy receiving a shipment in several packages (also business). Cool, cool. No big. I’ve got the room in my day to do it. About half-way there, I felt very much that the car was not handling the way I expected it to, though I had some trouble putting my finger on quite what was going on with that. As I passed the tire place I’d spent part of my morning at yesterday, I thought to myself “maybe I should ask them to check that tire they replaced…?” I pulled in to the bank parking lot less than a mile further on, eager to be done with the day’s work and headed home to hang out with my partner. As I parked, the “check tire pressure” light came on – again.

Wait… a different tire is flat??

I got out of the car hearing a hissing sound that was pretty loud and turned to look. Flat tire. Fucking hell – seriously?? I felt my entire body tense up. My jaw clenched. I felt my body begin the first changes that signal an incoming panic attack or hysterics. I took a breath, then another. I called my partner and told him I had a flat – another flat. I told him, feeling almost desperate and very much “on the edge”, that I wasn’t even a mile from the tire place! I wondered if I should “just drive it over” but that tire was already even flatter than when I first looked at it. Shit. I can’t drive on that. He confirmed and reminded me “they have a truck” and suggested I call them. So, sure, okay. That makes sense. My stress level immediately dropped. Wow. Real progress and change. This works! I phoned the tire place and they assured me they’d get someone over right away. I went into the bank, and rescheduled the appointment I had (it wasn’t urgent, just needful, and I had had that time available). I settled myself down for the wait…

Is that a fucking knife??

As I waited, I looked closer at the pictures – then at the actual tire. My Traveling Partner had noticed first, and I admit, I was skeptical, but yeah… that looks like a knife broken off in my tire. What the hell?? How did that happen? This is not that kind of community. I don’t live that kind of life or keep company with folks inclined toward this sort of violence… wild. What the hell? “Weird spot on the tire for that sort of thing… wouldn’t that take a lot of force?” I thought to myself.

I made it safely to the tire place after their truck showed up and reinflated the tire. It was only a half mile drive, but I could feel the tire “softening” as I drove, and I cursed the rush hour traffic under my breath, fearful that I wouldn’t make it before the car was rolling on the rim. I did get there before that happened, but minutes after I parked the car, that tire was entirely flat once more. I’m glad I wasn’t doing any freeway driving!

The tire folks were pleasant, efficient, and brought me the bit of metal that punctured my tire. Sure enough – it is the snapped off end of someone’s no-longer-very-useful Gerber knife. The tip was quite gone, though, and the tire technician pointed that out and also the thickness and sturdiness of the metal generally; it seemed unlikely it was a hostile act. More likely, he suggested, it was a bit of debris fallen from a trash truck or work truck that I ran over. He suggested the front tire might have popped it up, making it more likely to pierce the rear tire, and becoming embedded, then driven-in as I drove on, unaware. Seemed reasonable. They put an appropriate “loaner” tire on the car and ordered a replacement. I am grateful that the minimal wear on the tires made that feasible at all. I’ll go back tomorrow or Thursday, when the proper replacement is in, and they’ll put that on and rebalance my tires and I’ll be on my way. Fine.

It just doesn’t seem like “all that” now…


I got home. I brought burgers. We relaxed until a neighbor came around with some work my partner had offered to finish tonight, and he took off to do that, and returned a bit later. Somewhere along the way, I don’t know, I just … finally didn’t have anything left resilience-wise, and a handful of interactions later, and I just could not maintain the facade of doing my best. I mean… I guess that was all I had left “doing my best-wise”, in spite of fancy new medication, and improvements in self-care. I just wasn’t able to accommodate even one more critical observation of any sort, however well-intended or legitimately helpful. I managed not to lose my temper, but my frustration was growing more evident by the minute, and I found myself no longer willing to wrestle my emotions into compliance. I just wanted to be left alone with my problematic experience for a little while. I found myself needing a lot of nurturing and emotional support – way beyond what would be a reasonable ask – and just gave in to being alone with my bullshit for a little while.

So many times we fail to be kind to each other when we’re “going through changes” – it isn’t easy. Even something like changing the timing on just one prescription, depending on what it is and what it does, can have profound effects on our emotional resilience, ability to manage our mood, our executive functions (or disfunctions), or our experience of the world around us. (Don’t be a dick to people – you may not know what they are going through.) (While you’re at it – don’t be a dick to yourself, you definitely do know what you’re going through, and you could use a break from your own bullshit.)

I’ve got a mug of very excellent drinking chocolate. There’s soft holiday-ish jazz playing in the background. My pain is decently well-managed, and the mild vertigo I woke with this morning has dissipated. It was actually quite an excellent work day, and I’m making room in my awareness to really savor that. My Traveling Partner has a lot going on this week, and I admire his ability to balance all of that with… all of me. It can’t be easy. (I’m annoyed by the feeling that if I try to say that to him right now, instead of “thanks for understanding”, I’ll get a short lecture from him on why it isn’t easy, instead, and I’m irked with myself for letting that hold me back.)

…I’m still holding back tears, but I think they’re just an artifact of the ups and downs of the day I’ve had, and an expression of frustration and fatigue, and the complexity of changing my medications. It’ll pass… or I’ll cry myself to sleep later. Either way, tomorrow is a new day, and I can begin again.

My morning started too early. The air compressor in my Traveling Partner’s shop “went off” in the wee hours (it hadn’t been shut off the night before, after the work day was completed). Well, shit. I was awake, wasn’t I? He wasn’t, though. I got up quietly, dressed, grabbed my laptop and workday shit, and quietly slipped out of the house, hoping he would be able to sleep in.

I woke feeling a complex stew of crappy emotions. Frustration, sorrow, fragility, the threat of imminent tears without cause or point, anxiety – stress – filling my morning like this Americano fills the cup on my desk. All the way to the fucking top. It’s not a helpful addition to the pain I also woke up in. I’m cranky from being awakened by an unpleasant noise first thing in the morning, too early, on the heels of a bad dream. I’m cross because… I don’t know, just because. I mostly just want to put my head down on this deck in this co-work space and cry for awhile. This coffee isn’t going down very well, and my stomach is sour over it. What a rough morning.

I know, I know, “begin again”… but… it’s easier when it’s easy, you know? Right now, it’s not so easy, and I’m feeling fussy like a toddler with an attitude problem. My “inner adult” knows better, and some of my stress sources in the conflict between that worldly experienced woman with a job to do, and the frustrated fussy little kid that lingers within me.

This lives in my saved images for mornings like this…

I’d like today to be easy. Relaxed. Productive. I’d like to “kick ass” on the job today. I’d like to “win big” at life today. I’d like to be my best self, every moment. In this moment, I don’t know what that looks like. My poorly managed physical pain on top of my poorly managed background anxiety have combined to make me a fairly shit human being right now, hard to be around, cross, irritable, unpleasant, with a seriously dark sense of “humor” that isn’t funny. Looks like a long work day ahead, too – not because I’ve got so much to do, more because I sense that I’m not someone my partner is going to want to be around, in the shape I’m in. May as well spend that time working.

I sit here seething. Sipping coffee. Feeling the tears pooled just at the edge of my eye lids, not falling, not going away. Therapy tomorrow… I can do this, right? I can stretch one day to the breaking point, collapse into a deep sleep, and drag myself back to the office, and then on to my appointment…? That works, right?

Fucking hell. Some days being human just fucking sucks all the god-damned dicks. :-/ Well. I guess I’ll do my best – whatever that is today, and then try again tomorrow. The clock keeps ticking on this mortal lifetime… It’s not easy, but…

…It’s definitely time to begin again.

It’s a dumb question, isn’t it? It’s probably clear that this is not “how happiness works”. There’s no minimum investment in time required, there’s no proper single process with a reliable outcome. There is this “now”, these fleeting minutes of time, and an assortment of practices to choose from.

…It’s been more than a month, I think, since I last wrote anything here. Aside from a couple of note cards sent to family or friends recently, I haven’t written at all. I’ve overlooked personal correspondence to friends pretty much completely. Every minute of chat or idle conversation with anyone who isn’t my partner feels sort of stolen from the limited time we share with each other (even though we’re together very nearly 24/7)… or from time I’m paid to spend on work. 40 hours of life gone, right off the top. Those are not my minutes.

…Some days it feels like literally everyone wants a fucking piece of me, and nothing much is left over. I already know this is, in part, self-imposed and perhaps also a bit of an illusion caused by the additional emotional pressure and background stress caused (for me) by simmering threat of global conflict. The cold war no longer feels like the distant past, for sure. Subjectively, I feel like I “can’t get a break”. The only activity that seems to sooth that stress is meditation, or… just sitting still, alone, quiet. There are so few minutes to spare for that… because there is all this other shit to do: housekeeping, grocery shopping, budget keeping, errand running, meetings at work, don’t forget to make that call, appointments to make, to keep, to get to, fuck – aquarium maintenance! There doesn’t really seem to be an end; it’s life. The minutes – and the tasks – just keep coming. (Sit still for a minute and sooner or later someone will come along with something that needs to be done “since you’re not doing anything”.) Even hitting that “pause button” for a few minutes of meditation barely takes the edge off, at this point. It’s not a good place to be.

Today, in the middle of an ordinary work day, tears started falling. Just… yeah. The HRT? Maybe the anxiety? Did I take my allergy meds? Did I overlook my vitamin D? Have I had enough water to drink? Am I being sufficiently kind to myself? Is “all this” really worth all the stress and feeling of pressure? Am I doing it to myself 100%? Is there a way to get off this fucking treadmill???

I set a timer. 15 minutes. I am sitting with my thoughts and a few minutes to write, and reflect. I figure I deserve that from me. Me first, for just a fucking minute or two.

Chat…text…email…phone…Zoom… ping! ping! ping! ping! …Don’t let it distract me from that one thing I’m trying my damnedest to focus on…

“Fuck, I’m tired.” Sure, maybe. I think so… but it’s not really that, is it? If not that, then what? I’ve got that weird jones to “just walk away from everything, completely”. That, my friends, is not a “mood” or a legitimate sense of initiative unfulfilled. Nope. It’s a symptom of mental illness. I’m on the edge of too much and feeling the imminent threat over being entirely overwhelmed. Yes, better self-care is absolutely required, potentially urgently. I feel grateful that I’ve got an appointment with my therapist tomorrow, and a loving partner to go home to at the end of my day. I miss hanging out with friends. I miss being easily able to “keep track” of all the details of what is right in front of me day-to-day. I miss “easy”. When was that…? Ever?

Sometimes adulting is hard.

“Ding!” goes the timer. Back on the treadmill… I check my calendar, check my hair, click the Zoom link and smile for the camera.

“E” is also for effort. Sometimes “easy” isn’t within reach. This morning is one of those times. The weekend, so far, has its ups and downs. My head aches today. My arthritis joined the party before I even woke up this morning. My sleep was restless, disturbed, and filled with strange nightmares of failure and inadequacy, and being tangled in dense sticky spiders’ webs. It was not a restful night.

I remind myself to begin again. To stay open to success. To choose. To choose again. To practice good self-care, to practice self-compassion. To treat myself and my partner well in spite of where I find myself this morning. I breathe. Exhale. Let my shoulders relax (again). I acknowledge my pounding headache, and sip my coffee as if the headache doesn’t matter. Later, I’ll pull myself together into some form similar to an adult human being equipped to handle the needs of the day, and go do those things I’m up to doing. For now, I’m here. Thinking my thoughts. Sipping my coffee. Hoping to one day be a much better version of myself than I was yesterday. (Right now, the bar seem relatively low there, so perhaps I do have a shot at that, in spite of how I feel right now?)

…All too human. The anhedonia and ennui are dragging on me a bit. It’s not as bad as despair would be. I make myself fully consider those words as I type them; this truly could be much worse. Another breath, it becomes a sigh. I exhale slowly, deliberately. I let the feelings come and go, observed but not interfered with. Acceptance and awareness are important steps for change.

My coffee grows cold. My thoughts begin an unproductive spiral. I shake it off. It’s time to begin again.

Keepin’ it real on a Sunday. Later I’ll just get to work on housekeeping chores and try to get past being a fucking human being, with all the flaws and limitations and confusion that seems to include. This morning sucks. Shit-tastic moment right here. Crap-tacular.

I’ve managed to up-end what might have been an ordinary lovely Sunday morning over-reacting to something my Traveling Partner said. I could have “let it go” or allowed myself to understand his perspective without sharing mine, but in attempting to speak up about my own perspective and experience, the whole entire morning just came crashing down around me. I don’t communicate skillfully in that moment, he doesn’t seem to understand what I’m trying to communicate. I manage to hurt his feelings, frustrate, and anger him. Now we’re separate people with separate lives in separate rooms having separate moments quite removed from each other, still, I’m sure, entangled emotionally with this shared shitty experience. It sucks on a lot of levels. We’re each having our own experience. We each understand our lives in a context we may not be able to actually share with each other in an understandable way. We’ve got our own perspective, our own baggage. Our own PTSD.

I’m trying to avoid creeping despair with limited success, as it attempts to weave its way into my emotional landscape.

I feel isolated and lonely. I lack a feeling of being understood, or even accepted. My fingers pause on the keyboard while my brain grinds through all the ways this is “my fault” and all the many things I have sought to do differently in one partnership or another to be other than I am, with varying degrees of skill – or success. The more my thoughts swirl around all this shit, the more it blurs together, like bad finger painting at that point at which the colors are just becoming a muddy homogenous gray. I’m already not even making sense, to myself. The tears keep coming.

I know, I know. It’s clearly time to begin again. The weight of the ennui and learned helpless is tremendous and if I were standing in an inch of water, I’d likely drown. My attempts to communicate are falling so short that each new attempt is at risk of being an escalation, and I was told I’m “being dramatic” several times this morning, before I finally withdrew into my carefully crafted one-room private hell. (I know, I see it. It does read like I’m “being” “dramatic”; I’m having trouble making myself heard over the din in my own head.)

New beginnings do tend to require that something else end. I don’t really know what needs to be ended, right now, in this moment. I feel sad and worn down. Tired. Frustrated. I assure myself “this too shall pass”, and although I know that to be pretty reliably true, I don’t have much confidence in whatever may come after it. A literal lifetime of struggling with my mental health, and specifically in the context of intimate partnerships and familial relationships, has worn me down past the point of being sure I can make constructive, practical, healthy, useful changes that result in being whole and well and emotionally self-sufficient. I’m frustrated by that. Most of the “obvious” choices, in this particularly difficult moment, seem rich in potential for self-sabotage or self-spite, wildly contrary, and the sorts of things that follow someone shouting “Well, fine, then I’ll just never…” (or, you know, “just always…”) before going immediately to gross hyperbole and refining the discussion to some ludicrous probably irrelevant extreme.

I read those words once or twice more. It’s true I’m definitely not feeling heard. It’s also true that when my experience hits that wall, I do tend to become more prone to drama (in both word choice and tone). I become more ferocious in my delivery, seeking any breach in the wall of misunderstanding, trying to force the person I’m talking with to hear me, to acknowledge my humanity, to “get it” – when they clearly don’t get it. It’s not helpful. It’s not helpful for them or for me; it’s not possible to force people to understand something they don’t understand. Just letting it go… like… forever? Not helpful for me. Might save the relationship, though. Is every point of contention a “hill worth fighting for”? I mean, obviously not; I used the word “every”. Along with “always”, and “never”, “every” is pretty much the customs stamp of a logical fallacy; if the argument is taken to that extreme, I can be pretty certain, generally, that whatever is claimed to be “always”, “never”, or some portion of “every”… it’s incorrect. Fallacious. Not accurate.

I start on better self-care.

I breathe. Relax. Try to let this one go, again. What matters most? Maybe I can let myself focus on this list of chores. Do those, as mindfully as I am able, let this other shit go… deal with it when I feel stronger. More emotionally safe. Clearer of mind. Choose a better moment, from a more rational perspective – sounds super smart. I’d like to be that person. It doesn’t make sense to keep expecting other people – any other people, including my partner(s) – to really understand my experience from my side of it. Pretty silly, actually, in the context of “we’re each having our own experience” – which we are. Another breath. Another sip of cold coffee. I’m fortunate to enjoy this loving partnership with this human being I cherish so much. Expecting that it will also be characterized by a universally aligned, wholly informed and accepting shared understanding of self, of each other, and of the world around us is, at best, wildly unlikely. I don’t think it’s very reasonable, at all, actually.

I think I’ll shoot for “reasonable” and “contented” today. Pretty lofty goal from the vantage point of this desk, and these tears drying on my cheeks. It’s something to work towards. I’ll focus on practical matters like good self-care, and perspective, and this list of chores. I’ll keep the achievements small and achievable. I’ll let the emotional weather pass like clouds. I’ll work on keeping my expectations of myself, and of the day, quite manageable, and reality check my assumptions regularly. It’s not “everything” (what is?), but it’s a starting point, and it’s within reach, and looking over the commitments with care, it looks both reasonable and emotionally healthy. That’ll have to be enough today.

My Traveling Partner looks in on me. He says kind words. He has a kind face and a concerned look. We connect gently, carefully, seeking to ease the emotional hurts, reduce the stress. He tells me that spiders have invaded the house during the night. I say I’ll make a point to vacuum with care and do my best to make our space unwelcoming for them. The interaction approaches normalcy. It’s something to hold on to. A stepping off point from which to begin again.