Feelings of Okay-ish-ness


I think this is part of the human condition, rather than a function of mental illness (or wellness, for that matter).  We try so very hard to maintain a baseline, and sometimes it floats away from us, due to circumstances not within our control.

Let’s face it…very little is within our control, and especially others’ behavior and inactions and lives — those are exquisitely beyond our control.  And that little fact can drive me a bit mad.  I have the tendency to want to loop my lasso over the horns of every bull and drag it to the ground, and this is simply insanity and I cannot sustain it over the long haul.  I can (and do) work on my own issues, but I cannot *fix* or even (in most cases) alter the path of others’ behavior.

I have been quiet for the past couple weeks, simply living life, and struggling to live it on the terms which are required of me.  There is so much suffering around me and I want to reach out and heal it, but when I do, I often leave myself with scars.  I cannot help you, without being affected myself, and I am not always in a position where I can afford to be affected by anything other than my own complicated existence.

In the past few weeks, my focus has been on living in the moment, general mindfulness, willingness, practicing opposite to emotion.  In other words, Rosa is doing some hard work right about now, and sometimes when I am doing that, I have to disappear a little bit.  Because words are hard to come by, and there have been other challenges that I haven’t wanted to put a spotlight on — very real, very concrete and physical challenges that I don’t know how to wrap my own tired mind around, nevertheless explain them to someone else.

I miss blogging when I don’t do it, but it is necessary for me to shut down, or maybe even reboot my brain every once in awhile.  I haven’t been talking about it, but in the past month I have been dealing with a new mental health diagnosis, the confirmation of a new chronic physical illness, a septic system that is no longer working, the death of an aunt, worries about family members, and with all the recent rain, a basement that is full of water and must be pumped every couple of hours (and the ruin of my HVAC system and hot water heater, with the first wave of rain).

A lot going on, yes, but I am managing because I am living in the moment and not allowing myself to think too far outside of where I am right now.  I also don’t want to feel like I am complaining, because I really do have a great deal to be thankful for.  The challenges keep pouring in on my head, but I continue to have hope and faith that things will work out for the best.  That fact, that I still have hope and faith even with the storms of drama around me, is near-miraculous, as my general tendency (once-upon-a-time) would be to catastrophize and live in panic.  I don’t want to do that anymore, and I actually refuse to do that anymore.

some days are betterwill write more about the new physical and mental health diagnoses at some point, and at another  point I might take a moment to complain about my failed septic/HVAC/basement disasters.  For today, though, I just want to be grateful for things like my LarBear, family, friends, and for my new-found sense of hope and ok-ish-ness.


Tug Of War


Every since Kizzie was  a puppy (this pic was taken at about two years old), she has LOVED to play tug of war.  The name of the game was to get the toy close enough to you for you to grab, and then pull it just out of your reach.  Every once in awhile, let you grab it so we can play tug of war.  Once little Kizzie has “won,” she runs around the house shaking the toy.  Best puppy game, ever.

You would think with all this free time I have, I’d be blogging more.  I’m actually mostly sleeping during the day, playing with Kizzie, doing a few light chores, and chatting with friends.  There is a big cloud hazing over my brain and I can’t seem to come up with a decent topic, nonetheless the motivation to write it properly.

So I’m doing this little tug-of-war with myself that DBT would term “opposite-to-emotion.”  Basically, you make yourself do a little bit of that which is opposite to how you are feeling.

My opposite-to-emotions have been ranging from doing diary cards to picking up the kitchen to taking out the trash.  I think I need to add blogging in there, though, because I do miss it.

What I Need

I realized yesterday that I haven’t done a single mindfulness exercise since I moved into this new house.  Additionally, it seems I have stopped practicing mindfulness all together, here within the past however long.  At least that’s what it feels like.

I have started to notice that I am having a lot of intrusive and obsessive thoughts.  They spiral, they go out of control, they so go there.  And then back again.  And then there.  I have become stuck inside of my own brain.  There is a part of me that wants to get out, and a part of me that would rather just stay there.

I have been doing some evaluating of my health here in the last month or so.  I feel like shit.  My weight has gotten to the point that it is keeping me from doing things I once enjoyed, and also keeping me from things necessary to function.  It’s not pretty.

I am considering Lap-Band surgery.  I have had a weight problem since I was young, and have tried to control that problem since I was in my mid-teens.  I go up and down, up and down.  Off and on Weight Watchers, trying low-carb, joining a gym, buying a Bowflex, taking diet pills, exercising into pain and then relapsing on food.  Nothing has given me the results I desire.  And I don’t desire to be thin.  I just want to be able to function again.  I want to have energy and I want to be healthy for years to come.

It has been quite an experience for me, reading all of the forums and literature about Lap-Band.  It is anxiety-provoking, because I wonder if I can do it, and it is exciting because it is a new possibility.  I would have to radically change how I eat and live.  I would have to do that anyway in order to lose any weight.

If I don’t want to end up dead at 35, I will have to radically change my eating and exercise patterns, whether I get a Lap-Band or not.  I question if I can do it.  I wonder if my overall life pattern of apathy toward improving my health can change.  I am asking the question and not getting an answer.

I am going to a seminar on Saturday about the procedure.  Hopefully that will help me decide if this is something I want to do and something I think I can do.  I want to be sure.  This is serious.

If this blog seems forced, that’s because it is.

Sometimes, I have to practice a little opposite-to-emotion to get through all that willfulness I have churning inside me.

Do What Makes You Feel

Times have been tough lately.  I’ve been feeling really depressed here for the past while and have really not wanted to admit it.  Finally it got so bad that I had to admit it — to myself, to Dr. Love, my therapist, my med doc.  Of course, QoB already knew.

It seems like I haven’t been completing any projects lately.  I come home from work, go to QoB’s (unless it is one of the two days Dr. Love is home), eat dinner, bullshit, and go to bed.  My eating hasn’t been as bad, but it’s still leaving a lot to be desired.

I had therapy last week and the focus was to practice opposite-to-emotion.  It’s exactly what it sounds like — you feel like lying on the couch, but you get up and do the dishes.  You feel like never speaking again and you go to QoB’s house and talk talk talk.  Supposedly all that “doing” makes you feel better.  I know I have been working really hard at it, sometimes failing miserably.

Today started out really rough.  I felt really angry and irritable and annoyed.  No patience for anything, and definitely not any motivation to do any of the things I felt I needed to be doing.  I went to QoB’s under the guise of picking up some money, then called her on the way and said I needed some talking time too.

We talked about things, I unloaded her dishwasher, we went to the grocey store and got that task taken care of.  I felt better when I left, but still fairly crappy.  I have an overwhelming list of tasks I feel I should be doing at the house and I am never home.  It has been much more important lately to be around people than it has been to vacuum my stairs and basement, as little as I want to accept that I need so much attention.

After I left QoB’s today, I was determined to get a few things done.  I decided to do only the things that would make me feel satisfied, and damn everything else.

What I got accomplished today that feels good:

–  bought healthy food from the grocery store
– ate sushi
– spent time with my momma
– organized my tupperware drawer and pots/pans area
– put away a box of glass tupperware and bowls
– hid all three boxes of ammunition I found
– cleaned out my fridge
– cleaned out my microwave
– ran vinegar through my coffee pot
– loaded and ran the dishwasher
– cleaned all my kitchen counters off
– reorganized the freezer
– made dairy-free butterscotch pudding
– watered my indoor plants and tree
– filled pill case
– fed birds extra treats until I can get better food
– researched Asperger’s syndrome
– looked up the obituary of an ex-inmate that I helped who recently passed

I don’t feel great, but I don’t feel terrible.  What I do feel is that I’ve accomplished some things that needed doing.

Maybe I’ll vacuum tomorrow.  Maybe not.  Dr. Love and I have to meet his parents in the big city tomorrow to change cars and I am really hoping that isn’t an all-day process.  It would really be nice to spend time, just the two of us.

Phil Collins, Everyday

Fuzzy Wuzzy

I have discovered the key to being happy at work — I have to be busy.  When I have a “paperwork day,” I end up goofing around and not getting anything done.  When I have inmates scheduled all day, I’m all over it and get everything on my “to-do” list done.  That overwhelmed feeling that happens when I have a bunch of paperwork to do and also a lot of inmates to see will happen and I just have to accept that.  I have to accept that I don’t do well with unstructured time — especially not an entire eight hours of unstructured time.  It may be somewhat stressful some days to do all of my paperwork AND see inmates all day, but it usually means that I feel good at the end of the day, like I have been productive, and it’s totally do-able.  I have found that if I see people every half hour, that leaves me about ten minutes at the end of every appointment to do the note and post it, and I can get my other paperwork done when the inmates are on lockdown.  I wish it hadn’t taken this long to figure it out, but I’m glad that I did.  Giving myself an entire day to just to paperwork = extreme laziness and goofing off.  Duh.  😀

Dr. Love has been in MB since Monday night and I am soooo ready for him to come home!  We went there this past weekend (as I posted before), and his dad was telling me on Saturday morning that he was going to give Dr. Love a bunch of money.  I suggested to him that he do it as a loan and not just give it to Dr. Love, as this causes Dr. Love to feel bad, having money thrown at him instead of giving him real help.  I suggested that Dr. Love’s self-esteem would be well-served if he wasn’t getting money for nothing, that he should know he is expected to pay it back.  Well, that went way over his dad’s head — he said there was no way he could ever “loan” money, that it was his “responsibility” to be sure that Dr. Love is taken care of.  I didn’t get into it with him like I would have liked to, but I made it clear that this type of situation doesn’t make Dr. Love feel better, it makes him feel worse.  Long story short, the next day his dad told Dr. Love that he had some work that needed to be done around the house and he would like for Matt to come up for a few days each week and get it done. 

Okay, not exactly what I had hoped for, Dr. Love being in MB for a three-day stretch, doing chores at his parents’ house when there is plenty to be done around here, but I suppose that I can begrudgingly admit that this solves the problem, at least somewhat, of his parents just throwing money at him with nothing expected in return.  To be selfish, I would like Dr. Love to stick around here and just pay his parents back, so that he’s not away and I have to miss him.  However, absence does make the heart grow fonder, and I believe that has happened on both sides. 

It has also given me some reassurance that I can survive “on my own,” which I was unsure of.  Granted, it has only been a few days, but I have really come to depend on Dr. Love for a lot of things, especially emotional support.  It is perfectly normal to not want someone to be away that you really care about and to worry about what you will do without them.  I have spent a lot of time “on my own” for years, months, weeks at a time and have done just fine.  But I am so used to having Dr. Love around that I think I needed to be reminded that I can still take care of business if left to my own devices.  Of course, I am much happier when he is around, but at least I know I can make it without losing my sanity when he is not around. 

I have noticed myself slipping into some bad habits to numb myself, to slip away from reality while still appearing to be engaged in reality.  When I go for long periods without eating, or go for long periods without sleeping, or wait until late at night to take my meds, my head gets pretty fuzzy.  To me, it’s a pleasant sensation, one that I seek out.  I can just hide out inside my head and not be connected to what is going on around me — I can be totally oblivious.  This is not healthy for me mentally or physically, I realize.  With the not eating, I walk a fine line around my eating habits become more disordered than they already are.  With the not sleeping, I take a gamble on my mental health, and when I don’t take my meds until late, I mess up my schedule.  I am working at being engaged in the moment as an opposite-to-emotion practice.  In fact, I have been doing a lot of opposite-to-emotion, when I am not busy being willful. 

Over the past little bit that Dr. Love has been gone, I have filled up my time with things that I used to do all of the time that I enjoy — blogging, reading my favorite blogs, surfing the Internet, spending time with QoB and the Big Dog, meditating — it’s something I’d like to keep up with when Dr. Love returns.  It’s one thing to want to spend time together, but, as Dr. Love is always quick to point out, we don’t have to spend every single moment together.  I think I have realized that more since he has been gone, and am going to go back to doing things that I like to do, things that we can’t necessarily do together.  It’s always good to have “me” time, and I have been neglecting to do that, especially because it is hard to do when we are always at home at the same time. 

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Learning to Fly