It Works When I Work It

I don’t know if i turned on a dime or if it was advancing on me and i just missed it.
Regardless, i’m not in a good place. I’m managing far better than i would have even a few months ago, but it still sucketh mightily.

I’m picking up on sick thoughts floating around up in my noggin, the kind that are based in my upbringing and old ways of dealing with such. I’m overthinking interactions with others, obsessing over each interchange, and worrying that i’ve said something wrong or stupid. My anxiety is coming at me from a number of places, and by that i mean manifesting physically. One is the yawning pit of worry that opens up behind my breastbone, another is the roiling ball of acid in my stomach, and the third is the band i feel squeezing my ribs, oh yeah – and that damned elephant is sitting on my chest again, demanding my attention.

In a matter of days i’ve been reduced to barely hanging on. Everything is too much. I can’t deal with everything that’s on my plate. I tried bitching about it on my social media, but it didn’t give me much relief. I’ve got to dial things back again. I’m going back to a bare minimum of functionality and seeing what i can reasonably accomplish while dealing with causes and symptoms of my current mental/emotional/physical state.

One source of anxiety that i can eliminate immediately is news/current events. Our province has been hit with a wave of new coronavirus cases, so i began watching the news again, which in turn led me back into some current events and then politics… And that’s getting noped. No more. I keep having to do this, but i’m going to try not to feel bad about it. I care about my family and friends and fellow humans, and i’ve always been a keen and regular consumer of local/national/world news. It’s not bad or dumb to care about these things – i can go back to it when my health is better. Once again i’ll be relying on my husband to tell me only what’s most important.

I need to talk to someone, but i’m not sure who. Normally i go to my husband and my therapist, but neither are currently an option. Hubby is dealing with some issues at work that have him all knotted up with anxiety too, and i don’t want to add to his burdens. Our income is going down, the government slowdown has thrown a wrench in our access to some assets, and we don’t know how screwed our economy is going to be when the smoke clears on this pandemic. My therapy had finally begun to ease in intensity, so i made the decision to put it on hold for a bit, hoping the money we save might provide a bit more cushion. There’s only a couple of people that i could talk to like i need to talk, and they’re dealing with their own piles of crap like the rest of us, so…

I’m blogging. It’s what i’ve got to work with, and it’ll just have to do for now.

Now to the thing that i don’t want to blog about. My health. I’m not well, but i don’t know how not-well, and i’m scared AF to find out. I live with chronic pain due to fibromyalgia, osteopenia, and various offshoots like restless legs, irritable bowels, myofascial pain and bruxism. I’m also going through menopause. I’ve had carpal tunnel since around 2001, but i lost a great deal of weight shortly after i was diagnosed, so that helped and as a result it’s been quite manageable. Until now. And it’s not just that in my hands, now. I don’t know if the fibro is worsening, or i’m developing arthritis, or something else, but my hands have become a daily misery. They’re stiff and painful and barely work for the first few hours of each day, then it eases enough to perform regular tasks, and then the pain returns full force before bed each night. The pain often flows into my forearms too, and i experience random but regular shooting pains, like electric shocks, throughout my body, and throughout the day. Nerve pain? I don’t know. I have a constant headache, but not my usual – it starts in the base of my skull, but rather than a band tightening around my temples, it shoots out almost exclusively on my right side. At times it greys my vision. I’ve pulled a muscle in my back and my ribs feel out on the left side. I’ve strained my neck on the right. Sciatica comes and goes. I experience dumping syndrome every time i eat, no matter what size my portions or what i consume. I’m never not tired. When my blood pressure isn’t too low and causing me to almost pass out every time i stand, my heart’s threatening to burst out of my chest due to anxiety. The fibro pain in my neck and shoulders hasn’t felt this intense since i was first diagnosed, i don’t think.
So yeah, i’m a mess.
I’m seeing my doctor this week.

Some things are crappy, for sure. However, i feel different. This situation seems different. I’ve been pondering what for some time now, and i think it’s me. I mean, in this blog where i am my own psychoanalyst that’s usually the answer. I’m actively working on self-awareness and healing, and i welcome change – it’s challenging and scary, but it’s good.
But still, that’s not quite it. This is different. I am different.

There’s a steadiness inside me that i’ve not had before. I’ve been babystepping for nearly 15yrs now, working towards a time when life happening no longer has the power to lay me low with the most mundane and regular of things. Fewer triggers, better function.
I should be a half step away from commitment. If all this had come a couple or 3yrs ago i think the chances are fair i’d be in care right now.
But i’m coping reasonably well, all things considered.
I could list everything currently on my plate, but i won’t, and i won’t because i know it’s not a good idea. I know it would drag me down. If you’re a regular reader you already know, and if you’re new, you probably get the gist. And you can guess if you don’t. We all have stuff. I have some physical and some mental stuff. I have the past, the right now, and wth-is-next.
Same as most of us.

I’m here, though. I’m in the face and present in most moments. I’ve switched a couple of times, but for mere hours, in total. I’m here for all of it. It’s stressful and i’m always tired and in physical pain. Yet i am not at the end of my rope. I see that, earlier in this piece i characterised myself as barely hanging on. That’s not so. I think part of the reason i feel so strange and unsettled is because i am NOT barely hanging on. I’ve got the rope grasped firmly and my feet are finding purchase rather surely.
Yes, i’m still dealing with a significant level of anxiety, but it is in keeping with current circumstances – it isn’t wildly out of scale. I’m not catastrophising. I’m not flailing. I’m staying the course and charting my path as the weather allows.

Well, i feel better. I’m in a better place than i thought.
I guess blogging works, when i work it.
I’ll try it again tomorrow.

Love and Peace,
~H~

IMAGE: Laura Nyhuis



Jiggling It Loose

I’m stuck. I’m in a weird place and i don’t quite know what’s going on or how i’m feeling. I’m having trouble defining it at all, let alone identifying, then describing and sharing it with my readers.
And i’m usually so eloquent and erudite. *snerk*

Well first – i’m low. My mood is blah, somewhat dark, and slightly negative. It’s not dangerously low, like, i need serious support/intervention. I don’t have much energy, but i get enough done. My house is clean and so am i. I’m struggling with overeating a bit, but i’m handling it well enough that i’m still losing weight. I get out for some solid exercise 6 days a week. My skin care regimen is back up where i like it best, and i put on a bit of makeup every day. I’m enjoying cooking again, and have resumed baking. I’m reaching out to friends and connecting emotionally. I’m sober. My marriage is good. My brain chatter is quieter and more easily managed than it has been in months and months, maybe even years. Maybe?

Still and all – lots of things suck. I’m in a major flareup (fibromyalgia). My RLS (restless leg syndrome) has been intense, and sometimes wakes me 2 or 3X a night. It’s coming on during the day too, and creeping up into my arms, shoulders, and mid back. My Botox injections wore off months ago, so now my face aches and my jaw throbs most of the day due to chronic, severe bruxism. I can barely move my hands and feet in the morning, they’re so stiff (fibro? old age?). I’ve had a persistent headache for months (yes fibro, yes stress). I’m experiencing dumping syndrome (a result of gastric bypass, and not what it sounds like) every time i eat, no matter what i consume or how much (definitely stress, but my doc has been on the lookout for an ulcer for some time).

Moving on, my relationships with my children aren’t where i want them to be. My marriage is good because i’m choosing to let go of all the things that don’t work for me in light of other, more pressing circumstances. I’m disappointed in humanity as a whole. I’m overwhelmed by politics and social issues. I have a sick pet. I’m extremely concerned about our financial situation. I’m lonely. I miss shopping and eating out. I’m struggling with writing. And i just learned a few days ago that a friend that i’d lost due to my craziness and manic behaviour has passed away, and i will never get an opportunity to make amends to her and maybe earn her friendship back.

Only weeks ago i would have been swimming in my cups over all this. I’m not entirely sure why i’m not, honestly. I should be switchy AF – but i’m not even very slidey.
I’m depressed, anxious, disillusioned, fed up, frustrated, sad.
I’m not happy and the things that i want seem very far away.
I’m restless and unsatisfied.
But, despite all of this, i’m stable.
I’m not falling apart. I’m not picking fights or losing my temper or drinking or eating anything not nailed down or causing chaos/drama or catastrophising. I’m not even histrionic.

I’m in foreign territory. I don’t know what’s going on with me. This state i’m in is unfamiliar. I’m wondering if… I’m thinking that i might just be… functional. Perhaps i’m living life on life’s terms. Considering what’s currently going on in the world, i’d guess most of us are struggling in some form or fashion, so this might just be how it is for non-crazies and the higher functioning. Could it be?

This is not dissociative behaviour. I’m not putting distance between my thoughts and emotions. I’m going towards relationships and making connections rather than climbing up inside my brain and hiding in some darkened corner. Physically, i feel like shit. Emotionally, i’m wrung out and stretched thin. Intellectually, i’m foggy, muddled, vapid.
And i know and am experiencing all these things in real time.

I’m not obsessively analysing things to figure out wtf is going on. I’m not trying to package it, to keep it manageable and contained. I’m not tying it all together and sticking a pretty bow on it. I am just in it. This is the hand i’ve been dealt and i’m playing it. I may win i may lose, i don’t know. I do know that i’m sure as hell not folding.

The anxiety and frustration are big right now. I can feel rage wanting to come and take the burden from me. I can hear it knocking, i can feel its heat, i can see the red glowing under the door, but i have no urge to open it. Rage is an important component of who i am. I’m grateful for some of what its done, and i give it honour and respect where i think it’s due. Rage pulled me back from the brink of death and made me want to live. It shook me until the dam burst and washed away the rot and the scum. Rage pried my eyes open and made me truly see as it tore off the sheepskins of the wolves surrounding me. I’m not done with rage – i need it. But not now and not for this.

This is my life today, and while it is hard, it is not anything like the hell i knew as a child. The wolves are long gone. All my basic needs are met, and then some. I have the means and the ability to hunker down and weather this current storm, that is indeed raging just outside my Little Crooked House.
I’m not tearing the walls down around me out of fear. I’m not shrieking into the wind. I’m not at the mercy of any of my emotions; i see them coming, and i let them wash through me. I know why they’ve come, and it’s understandable. They’ve a right to be here. It’s normal to be feeling this way under these circumstances. Most people are probably feeling somewhat similarly. Normal. Appropriate. Me. Is this real?

I think this feels weird and different and dodges my desire to define it because it is brand spanking new. I think i’m functioning at a higher level. I think i’m meeting some of my goals, and i think this is setting the stage for more and better. We’ll see, though. I don’t know this for sure, although i do hope it is so. If it’s not, or i suffer a setback, i’ll handle it the best i can and continue on. It’s what i’ve striven for and what i have attained. A doggedness, a tenacity, from whence has unexpectedly arisen a confidence, yes, a surety. I’m finding a certainty bubbling up inside me that i can do this. I’ve survived everything life has thrown at me so far, and the fear that i cannot or won’t is falling away from me with each stubborn, willful, intentional step i take.

Things are quieter in my head. I still hear and feel my Bits N’ Pieces all day, every day, but it is not the cacophony of voices it once was. I’m not always thinking and acting from a place of imminent danger and the need to survive. I’m not as constantly troubled by the dark, private, unknown parts of humans that i believe we all possess. And i’m not scrambling around, frantically trying to figure out who i really am and what i really want. Or even who others really are and what they really want.
I’ve finally done enough work that i just know*…

I also know i’ve got scads more work ahead of me, but this is an important moment in my journey. I still can’t see what lies ahead, and i’m trepidatious yet, but i WANT to jump. It’s time and i’m ready.

I didn’t know what i was going to write about today, just that the time had come to stop trying and post something. Anything.
I didn’t expect this, but i’ll take it.
Damn straight.

I grew up in the shoes they told me I could fill
Shoes that were not made for running up that hill
And I need to run up that hill
I need to run up that hill, I will, I will, I will, I will, I will

~ Fiona Apple, Fetch The Bolt Cutters

*I know for me. Anyone else is as much of a mystery as they wish to be, for the most part.

Image: Karsten Winegeart