Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Wellness

You won’t like me when I’m angry

We’re going through a heatwave here in MN. And by heatwave, I mean three days of ‘feels like’ 90+. I broke down yesterday and set the AC at 75 (I normally have it at 78, but I noticed I had perma-held it at 76 when I went to bump it down to 75). That’s surprisingly high for Americans if anecdote is data, which it isn’t, but it might as well be. Yes, I hate heat, but I also am trying to be environmentally conscious, and I hate wasting money. But, yesterday, I lost my shit when I woke up at 8:30 a.m. to my AC going off. It was already 88 degrees, and it was only going to get hotter. I decided to indulge myself for one full day before going back to my parsimonious ways.

I also have a fan blowing on my at high speed 24/7. That may seem like overkill to other people, but other people are not living in my very overheated skin.

Side note: I used to have hyperthyroidism, and now, I have hypothyroidism. You’re supposed to be never feel cold with the former and always feel cold with the latter. That explains why I never felt cold when I was younger, but not now.

The thermostat wars are very real. My BFF and her husband always argued about it. He’s more like me and would have happily never used the heater ever. She, on the other hand, is the one that when we used to go out in the winter, would pull her coat close to her, shiver, and demand to know why I wasn’t feeling the cold. She would say, “Isn’t your spine scrunching up?” I would retort that it made me feel alive, and we would laugh. It was all in good fun, just as me saying I would kill the sun with the heat of a thousand, well, suns, and she would get more energy from being outside.

She and her husband came to a compromise that neither of them were very happy about. Oh! This is a nonnegotiable for me in a relationship, by the way. Not that someone needs to love the cold the way I do, but that they understand that five minutes in the heat can deplete me to the point of needing to rest for several hours.

Back to my friend. She’s dealing with menopause now which makes her feel hot–which is a novice feeling for her. her husband is finding that he can tolerate the cold less as he gets older. They’ve switched to him wanting to bump the heater and her needing it colder, and she’s said to him, “Now you know how I’ve felt for twenty years!” while staring at him in the eyes and slowly turning the thermostat down. Ok, not the last bit because she’s a nice person, but it’s amusing how they’ve switched places.


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Leveling up my veggie game

though not quite as tasty.
Better for me than chips.

I need to stop buying chips; I really do. I had given them up at some point, then gave into the impulse to buy them once, and the rest is history. It’s funny because while giving up caffeine was a nightmare at the time, I haven’t really missed it at all. I bought a thing of mocha coffee (with almond milk) last week, drank it for three days, then didn’t miss it when it was gone. Chips, on the other hand, are my weakness. Which is weird because I never used to be a salt person. I’m still not actually a salt person. I don’t add it to anything, and I wipe off my chips before I eat them. Or I get low-sodium chips.

I know the conventional wisdom is to eat in moderation, but that’s just not possible for me. I think another conventional wisdom should be to know thyself. One of the problems with giving advice, especially on the internet, is that the giver tends to look at the ideal situation. Look, you know I love me some advice columns. I consider them my stories, and I read them every day. But many of the comments are very black and white without considering the nuance. So, ‘eat in moderation’ is sound advice, but insisting that someone can do it through simple willpower isn’t.

Yes, of course, I know it’s because most people are limited in their capacity to look outside themselves (one reason I get so frustrated with conversations) and have a hard time truly understanding that other people may react to something differently than they do. I saw that in the Ask A Manager comments once when someone was talking about not being able to have their favorite junk food in the house because they had no control. People made sensible suggestions like divvying it up beforehand and freezing the parts you don’t immediately eat (in the case of chocolate) or hiding it away (for chips), which were very good suggestions. The problem is for someone like me–I won’t do it. I just know I won’t. We’re not always rational beings, and it’s difficult to explain why.

For example. One time while my mother was here, she said if I folded the paper bags from Cubs correctly before putting them in the cabinet, they would take up less space. Later, I told Ian that she was correct, and that I wouldn’t be doing that. He gave me a look of pure puzzlement. He said, “You know she’s right, and yet, you won’t do it?” I cheerfully said, “Yep!”, which just blew his mind. I knew it was irrational, but in that case, I also knew the reason why. Pure childish spite.

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Preparing to go out is harder than actually leaving

My niece’s bridal shower is this Saturday, and I am freaking out. Why? Let me count the ways. One, I’m no good at girl shit, and I know this is going to be girl shit. There are no men/non-binary people invited, and there’s going to be a game involving purses. We were told not to look it up, so I didn’t, but I can imagine what the game might be having been to a baby shower.

I get really weird about gifts. I was going to give money for the bridal shower gift and her birthday gift (which is the next day), but then I read that this is NOT DONE.

Side note: It’s a very American thing as money is frequently given as wedding gifts in other countries. I read on a wedding gift thread that giving gifts was pushed by the shopping industry, which makes sense. And I do understand the joy in receiving a well-thought gift, and I used to give them. I still do with some people, but in general, it’s easier to give money. In addition, for adults who have lived together for a while, money can be more welcome than some needless bric-a-brac.

Back to the topic at hand. I know I put a lot of the pressure on myself, and it’s my anxiety. If I don’t find the perfect gift, I’m going to be cast out of polite society. At least that’s what my mind tells me. I’m already aware that I’m a freak, and it’s difficult for me to act like a normie. It doesn’t help that the last time I went to a thing at my brother’s house, it didn’t end well because of a rude comment by a friend of my brother’s towards me, and me storming out in response. My brother got mad at me for storming out, even though he had heard the rude comment and didn’t say anything about it to his friend.

Part of depression is knowing I have to get a bridal shower gift and putting it off until the last moment. It doesn’t help that the shower itself was very short notice, but this is on me. When I don’t want to deal with something, I put it off until the very last moment, stewing and fuming about it the entire time. I couldn’t sleep last night because I was worrying about it. Even now, I’m putting off going to Target while I write this post.

Why am I going? Because I love my niece, and I want to support her. I know all this shit that comes up is not on her or the party or the other people. It’s on me, but it can feel insurmountable. All the insecurities I have are set off by events such as this, and I just want to bury myself under a blanket and never come out again.


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I am done with sleep

My sleep has been shit.

I say this as if it’s news, but it’s not really. My sleep has been shit all my life for varying reasons. I had gotten into a semi-regular sleeping habit recently of going to bed by 2 am and getting up around 8:30*. Then, I got sick again as is my wont and my sleep schedule got all fucked up again. The sleep time started getting pushed back further and further until I found myself going to bed at 5 a.m. Then, two days ago, I could not stay up past 11:30 p.m. I crashed, but kept waking up every few hours. I finally got up at 6:30 a.m. or so, and I felt shittier than if I had gone to bed at my regular time.

If I could have one wish come true, it would be that I could get a solid eight hours of sleep a night. That I could sleep without tossing and turning for a half hour first. That I wouldn’t wake up in the middle of the night, my heart pounding uncomfortably fast. That I wouldn’t have nightmares, or more recently, anxiety dreams. That Shadow wouldn’t be in my face howling when I woke up in the morning/afternoon. That I would feel actually rested when I woke up. That my immediate response wouldn’t be, “God, I wish I could sleep forever.”

Some of that has to do with depression, of course. I don’t want to be alive, and that makes it harder to get up and go about my day. There was a program on MPR (or perhaps NPR) about suicide and how to talk to someone with suicidal ideation. The doctor said you had to first find out why the person was feeling suicidal. She mentioned there was a difference between someone who coped with the thoughts on a daily basis and someone who might have those feelings in response to a bad situation. She said in the former, it doesn’t help to tell them it’s going to be ok or to look at the bright side. She said it made them feel more isolated and as if nobody understood them. I wanted to shout an ‘amen’ from the rafters because fuck that bullshit.


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The vicious sickness cycle

I’m feeling better than I was two days ago, but yesterday was not great. I went to Cubs to pick up some provisions, and I ended up feeling dizzy and nauseated. It’s a good thing I’m not having sex right now because I would be worried about being pregnant, but hopefully that won’t even be a possibility soon. I’m having issues with getting older, but the end of my period is not one of them. I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve only had my period once every three or four months for most of my life, and it’s only three days at a time. The pattern was light on the first day, heavy-ish on the second, light on the third, and very light spotting on the fourth. Maybe. Sometimes, it was only three days. I got vaguely crampy and possibly a tad bitchier (though it’s hard to gauge one’s own bitchiness), and my boobs hurt a bit. Other than that? Didn’t even know I had my period. I’ve been incredibly lucky.

Side Note: I was concerned when I only had three periods a year, so much so, I asked my doctor about it. She said as long as you have two a year, it’s fine. That surprised me because I had been taught (as I’m sure most people have) that it came monthly. Hell, it’s even called the monthly visit. There was nary a mention that it didn’t have to be every month. Then again, I was also taught that the schedule was rigid, whereas mine fluctuated wildly. I had to keep a pad with me at all times because I never knew when it was going to happen.

Funnily enough, when I had sex, it was more regulated (obviously). It came every thirty-five to forty days, but it still was as light as before. In the past few years, my schedule has become more regular (roughly every thirty days), but the period itself is much lighter. And in the past, say, six months, it’s all but disappeared. My mother hit menopause when she was 55 and said it was a breeze (my mother is known to gloss over difficulties), and I’m already experiencing perimenopause. Hot flashes, which, by the way, makes it harder to know what is sickness and what is perimenopause. Flashing hot is one of the symptoms I have when I’m sick, and it’s not fun to try to decipher when it’s sickness and when it’s period-related.  One helpful hint is that if I’m alternating boiling hot and freezing cold, then it’s sickness. I don’t get freezing cold unless I’m sick.

My sinuses suck. A lot. I hate them, and I think they’d say the same about me. We don’t get along, and we only tolerate each other because we have to. I mean, I can’t really live without my sinuses, so there’s that. I wish I could, though. I’ve gotten over wishing I could just be a brain bobbing around without a body, mostly in thanks to taiji. I’ve accepted that my body is part of me and that it’s not just a meat sack carrying my brain around.

I’ve become more in touch with what my body is saying, but I still miss the mark a lot of the time. I’ve had a history of eating disorders, and I still don’t know exactly when I’m hungry. I was used to ignoring the cues–along with emotional cues–and that’s how I became anorexic. Now, I still sometimes ignore my body telling me I’m hungry, but I can at least feel the literal hunger pangs. There were times when I couldn’t tell if I was hungry or not, and then I’d decide I wasn’t.

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I’m my own worst enemy

I’m tired. My sleep is fucked, which means at least I’m not sick. My sinuses are still all over the map, and I’m squarely blaming that on the weather. It’s been 50 to 89 and everywhere in between. I’m loving the former, but not the latter, and my body really doesn’t like the rapid changes. I’ve also become even more intolerant of heat, and my love of the cold is gradually diminishing as well. I used to be able to keep the car windows open until it was well in the sub-zero temps. Now, I close it when it’s zero.

I have said that the problem with getting old isn’t that I can’t do what I used to (though that is starting to be a problem), but that it takes much longer for me to recover. I used to be able to get by on four hours of sleep a night (barely); I could go out until the wee hours of the night and sleep it off the next day. Now, I could go out all night, but it would take a few days to recover.

I also have to admit that my depression is back and not going away any time soon. It’s low key, and it’s not paralyzing the way it has been in the past, but it definitely permeates my mood. There’s an ever-present feeling of ‘why bother’, which seeps into everything. It’s frustrating as hell, and I know the only thing I can do about it is to go to therapy.

*deep sigh*

I do Not want to go to therapy. Not because I think it’s worthless; I don’t. I am a big proponent of therapy, and I have been in it many times in my life. I have learned a lot from therapy, and I know I could learn more. However, the thought of finding a new therapist makes me want to curl up in a ball and never get up.

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Fuck spri–summer and the horse it rode in on

Fuck summer. No, seriously, fuck summer. If I could, I would ban it from the face of the earth. One of the worst things about Minnesota is that we can go from a frost advisory two weeks ago to 90 degrees four days ago. Today, it’s 76 degrees, ‘feels like’ 77 with a high of 87. This whole week is going to be mid-seventies to mid-eighties, and I Do. Not. Want. I find that my grumpiness ratchets up in direct proportion to the heat. In other words, the hotter it gets, the more of a bitch I become. I also feel physically limp and drained, and I want nothing more than to sleep. But I can’t because I’m all puffy and hot, and my brain is about to explode.

What the fuck happened to spring? We didn’t have one. It’s not unusual for us to have snow in late March/Early April, but the cold we’ve had this year means that we skipped straight from winter to summer. It’s been really hard on me both emotionally and physically. Emotionally because I hate summer, so going from forty degrees to eighty degrees in a matter of a week (and going back and forth between the two) is not good for my psyche. It’s also not good for my body because I can’t acclimate to one or the other.

It’s one reason my sinuses are exploding. Some of it is allergy, and some of it is reaction to the ever-changing temperature. My homeostasis needs to be relatively settled in order for my sinus system to run optimally. Let’s face it. My sinus system sucks in general as does my immune system, so anything that throws it off is not wanted.

I ran to Cubs today to do some grocery shopping. I was wearing light sweats (with pockets! I can’t tell you how amazing that is as a woman. It should be simple, but no. It’s still a reason to be joyful in the year of our lord, 2019) and a sleeveless shirt made in Taiwan (in other words, meant to be worn in the heat), and I immediately felt like shit when I walked out the door. It’s hard to explain to someone who doesn’t feel the same way how enervating it is to be in the heat for me. Five minutes, and I was ready to snap off someone’s head. I had to keep a tight rein on my ire, and that’s part of the reason I hate summer so much.

I’ve been dealing with my sinuses for the last month. At the beginning of that month, I also had a cold. That was a lot of fun, let me tell you. I could not hear out of my left ear for two weeks. Fortunately, my ear ‘popped’, and I can hear out of it now. Not so fortunately, the rest of my sinuses are raging out of control. My nose still feels as if there are a thousand needles piercing it. My throat is sore and clogged, and I’m having drainage in it on and off. My lymph nodes feel swollen to the touch, and I’m worried I might be getting another cold.

I’m tired. I’m grumpy. I’m dealing with sinus issues, and summer has just begun. It’s only going to get worse from here. Sorry that this is so short, but all my motivation is drained. Here is a video of the incredible Cher and the rrrrowr Andy Garcia (had SUCH a crush on him years ago) singing ABBA’s Fernando. Cher is still queen after all this time.

Health on my mind

leave me alone.
Go away.

I’m better. I’m worse. I’m both at the same time. I don’t have a cold any longer. How do I know? Because I’m sleeping six hours a night again if that. When I’m sick, I sleep seven to eight hours, and when I’m really sick, nine. That’s extremely rare, however, and it’s not something I want. Why? Because when I sleep that much, I feel like absolute shit. Or rather, I sleep that much because I feel like absolute shit. It’s the bare minimum my body can do to remain somewhat upright. The fact that I’m back to six hours a night means that I’m no longer sick.

Side note: I fucking hate that being better means less sleep. There is so much evidence that getting at least seven hours of sleep a night is optimal, nay, necessary, and there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s taken me twenty years to build up my sleep from four hours a night to six hours, and I don’t know if I have twenty more years in me to add another two. In addition, there is some evidence that we sleep better in chunks rather than one full slate of eight hours. Much like eating. It’s better to eat several times throughout the day than to have three big meals. Sometimes, I think of how different my life would be if I could actually be refreshed upon waking up. Alas, it is not meant to be.

My left ear has cleared up as well, so that’s good. Just yesterday, I was wondering if I was ever going to be able to hear in my left ear again, and now I can. It’s not fully cleared, but it’s about 90%, which I’ll gladly take. Those are the two positives, which I’m recounting in part to remind myself that my health isn’t all shit. It’s just mostly shit.

Side note II: I had a hankering for a burger last week. There’s a Culver’s near me, and they have a gluten-free bun. It’s ten minutes away. It’s not difficult to go and grab a burger and fries. At least that’s what I told myself, but minutes passed by, and I wasn’t actually getting off the couch. I was just sitting there like a dumbass, bitching on Twitter about how I wanted a burger. This has been a problem for me since I was much younger. Even when I wanted to do something, the effort to actually get up and do it was immense. I knew I would enjoy the event once I got there (or enjoy the burger in this case), but it still seemed too much for my brain to force myself to do it without arguing for twenty minutes. I know it’s a part of my depression, but it’s one of the most irritating parts.

I finally hauled myself off the couch, changed into something presentable, and hopped in my car. Just as I was about two blocks from the Culver’s, the road was closed. Shit. I forgot it was construction season in Minnesota. I had to detour, and it’s not something I’m good at. Even though it’s my neighborhood, I never go on the side roads. I probably could have looked it up on my phone, but I adhere to the ‘keep driving around it with the destination in mind, and you’ll get there some day’ mentality, which probably isn’t helpful. Why? Because I have spatial issues, and I’m horrible at directions.

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Writing & aging don’t always mesh

all. the. questions.
Huh?

I’m reading the second book of a trilogy I’m working on, and I noticed that I completely left out a scene that I had setup to write. It wasn’t a huge setup, but I was carefully making it seem to be something important. Then, I just…forgot about it? Got distracted? I’m not sure, but probably the latter because I had setup another important scene, and that one I actually wrote. I’m going to have to write the scene and make it seamless, and I have to have my character talk to another character whom I introduced and noted I had to talk to, but then never did.

It’s not like me to forget entire scenes and characters, and I think it’s because I’m getting old. I hate to admit it, but my memory ain’t what it used to be. In my heyday, I worked in a department that had five hundred people. I checked in people to training classes, which meant I met most of the people in the department as many of the training was mandatory. I only forgot the name of two people, and one was because she was perhaps the blandest person I’d ever met. I felt bad about it, but it’s still a pretty good track record.

I’ve been losing the lyrics from 80s songs, which I’m fine with. I don’t need them, and they take up way too much brain space. It’s disconcerting, though, because I’d been carrying them around with me for decades only to have them disappear. Not all of them and not even most of them, but some of them–and that’s weird enough. I know it’s human nature to lose your memory capabilities as you get older, but it’s disconcerting. My mom and i have had several discussions about this because my father is rapidly losing his memory. He’s always had a terrific memory as well, and now, it’s really bad in some areas. To complicate matters, he never remembered anything he didn’t want to remember. If he didn’t consider something important, it didn’t register in his brain. For example. He never went to any of my activities when I was a kid unless my mom made him. He never showed any interest in my life, and I doubt he knows anything personal about me except I like cats and the color black. In addition, when he was the president of an economic research company, he had an excellent secretary (they still use that word in Taiwan) who would print out his emails for him. That’s not all she did, but that’s the extent to which his helplessness was extended.

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Trying to be positive about health

I’ve been struggling with diet-related issues for some time now. By diet, I mean what I eat in general, not any specific diet. I don’t follow diets because that way lies danger for me. In fact, that’s one of the issues I have in trying to eat more healthily. I can’t count anything because it starts me down the road to an eating disorder. My brain has so many ways to trick me when it comes to eating disorders, and it’s part of my all-or-nothing personality. If I do something, I’m going to DO IT ALL THE WAY. The last time I tried to diet, I set it up in what I told myself was a reasonable way, but it wasn’t. And it only got even more unreasonable the longer I did it. I can’t weigh myself because of the numbers as well. I get too focused on them, and I get obsessed with them going down on a regular basis. The first time I slipped into an eating disorder, I was weighing myself twice a day, which is madness. It’s ridiculous for many reasons, but the biggest was that my mood would be entirely dependent upon what that number on the scale said.

The common advice for people who can’t handle the numbers on the scale is to only take your measurements instead. Boobs, waist, hips. In theory, it makes sense because those are truer numbers than the ones on the scale. Because muscle is denser than fat, you can weigh more and still be thinner, er, healthier at a higher weight than a lower one. There are a few issues with this. One, I know how much each half inch represents in terms of pounds. For me, a half inch is two-and-a-half pounds. So, I knew that when I lost a half inch (usually every week), it was two-and-a-half pounds. I would freak out if I didn’t lose the half inch, which meant I was just substituting one number for another.

I used to know the calorie count of everything I ate, and it was not a good thing. It’s why I don’t like having the calorie count so prominent on foods these days, even though I understand the reason behind it. In general, I think it’s a good thing for most people who may not be aware of how small a portion is or what the ballpark is for the calorie count of, say, a bagel. In addition, portion sizes are huge in America when we go out to eat, so it can be bracing to see the calorie count on the menu. I’ve learned how to stridently ignore the numbers, but it takes a considerable amount of mental energy to do so.

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