Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Wellness

Not down with the sickness

I am sick. Still. And very pissy about it. I am the worst when I’m sick because it offends me. I can’t be equanimous about it because, well, I don’t know why exactly. I think it’s because I do so little that exposes me to other people, but that doesn’t mean I’m totally isolated. I also have a shitty immune system which means that it’s much easier for me to catch shit than it is for other people. Let’s be frank. I’m not the best at taking care of myself, either. I’m a slob. I don’t eat well. I do taiji every day, but that’s about it. I sit too much. I smoke two cigarettes a day. By the way, I am thinking about giving up the last, but there’s a part of me that rebels because it’s the only vice I have. I don’t drink or do drugs. I’m not having sex. I don’t eat extravagantly or travel that much. So, it’s the cigarettes that give me that little boost of rebellion every day. In addition, it’s a contemplative time when I sit on my back porch (stand) and get a bit of sun. Yes, I could go outside without the cigarette, but I’m not going to do it. I know myself. I know how I work. That’s not something I’m going to do. Of course, the argument is whether it’s better to go out five or six times a day and smoke (I smoke a quarter of a cigarette at a time, a half in the morning) or not go out at all. Probably the latter, but I can make a good argument for the former. Which I do. So, yeah, the two cigarettes a day aren’t the end of the world, but because I have so many sinus/bronchial issues, it would help to give them up.

Another problem is that I have severe allergies, which I griped about in last week’s post. That makes it difficult for me to know what is allergies and what is an actual sickness. There is a lot of crossover, so it’s hard to tell what is because of what. Anyway, I’ve mostly been extremely exhausted and flushed. Once in a while, freezing cold, but that’s not as often as being insufferably hot. I’ve slept eight to ten hours a night which is how I know I’m sick (average is six), and I’m tired all day long. Today, I woke up with my sinuses going haywire. My left ear is plugged. My nose feels as if there are a million little needles pricking at it constantly.

Side Note: I recently learned that sinus issues can be related to migraines. I hadn’t known that before, and it’s fascinating to me. Just as fascinating as the fact that you can have a migraine without the headache. Which leads me to wonder, why are all these things called migraines? I kinda like migraines being restricted to severe headaches, but that’s just me.


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Fuck you, spring!

mainlining the tea.
All. The. Tea.

I hate spring. I hate summer more, but spring is almost as bad because everything is coming to life, and I’m allergic to all the green things. In addition, I’m still visiting Ian in upstate New York, so there is a bunch of native flora that doesn’t live in Minnesota. This is my long-winded way of saying that my allergies are on high. At least I hope it’s allergies. I think it is. My eyes are itchy and my throat is tickling. There is a drainage situation that is coagulating in the back of my throat. I’m feeling logy, even more so than usual.

The reason I’m hoping it’s allergies? Because the alternative is that I have a cold. Again. Or sinus issues. Again. Or any of half a dozen things that are worse than allergies. Allergies are a low-level energy drain. Sinus infection? That’s a massive hit in the gut. I also have a medium-grade headache that really intensifies right before I go to bed. I’ve taken two Excedrin Migraine (generic) almost every night I’ve been here which keeps the headache at bay, but it’s not something I want to do too often.

I have zero motivation when I’m sick/allergy-stuffed as well. I know I have shit I need to do, but I just can’t make myself do anything. Writing this post feels unbearable, and I’m just writing nonsense. I know I’m not, but that’s how it feels. I woke up about an hour ago, and I want a nap. That’s what makes me think I’m on the cusp of getting sick and not just suffering allergies. Allergies are annoying, but not soul-sapping the way getting sick is.

I’m flying back tomorrow, and I really would rather not have to do it while being sick. I’m sure the other people on the plane would be happier without me spreading the sickness as well.

Side note: Delta has this thing where if the flight is full, they’ll have you bid on your seat, meaning saying how much it would take for you to change your flight. Ideally, everyone would ask for the highest bid so someone will get that amount. Gamification theory indicates, however, that someone will lowball everyone so they will at least get something.

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The magic of pants that fit

the room of doom.
Striking fear in my heart.

Today was errand day. My new progressive glasses were ready, and I had to pick up my meds, too. On my way to Target, I heard the beginning of a discussion on sleep on MPR. I sighed because every other time MPR did something on sleep, it was how important it was to get seven to nine hours.

I FUCKING KNOW THAT. STOP TELLING ME THAT. TELL ME HOW TO DO THAT INSTEAD.

Apparently, this show was going to include that pertinent information, but I missed it because I was in Target. I’ll have to look it up later and listen to it to get the pearls of wisdom. I did catch the tail end, and the advice was to put an ice pack on your eyes. It does something to slow the heartbeat (probably ‘coz you think you’re about to die and everything shuts down) that makes it easier to sleep. I did wonder if you’re just supposed to leave the ice pack on your eyes as you fall asleep, and I wear a sleep mask, so what about that? But the doctor said you could use a frozen pack of veggies, which I have. I may have to try it. I’ve tried everything else, so why not?

Anyway, I got my new progressives, which the doc warned me would take time to get used to. He was a month into his first pair, and he was still adjusting. He said the trick was to really focus on whatever it is you’re doing, which is not easy for me to do. I have a tendency to multitask and scan things rapidly, so this will be an exercise in getting me to slow the fuck down.

It’s strange because if I move my head too quickly, the object I’m looking at sort of bends in the middle. I imagine it’s similar to what being on hallucinogenics is like. In general, though, everything is crisp and clear. It’s actually strange because it’s been ten years since I’ve had my eyes checked, and my left one has gotten really bad, apparently.

I also love that there is no line on my glasses. I remember the days when if you needed bifocals, you got that nice line on the glasses. Yes, I’m that old. I chose lenses that were a bit bigger this time with a black half-frame. I like them, but it’ll take getting used to as well.

I like them, though, and I take it as a sign that I’ve done something to take care of myself. It’s a big deal for me because I tend to put these things off for forever. See not getting my eyes checked in ten years. I probably would have left it off even more but one of the nose pieces fell off and one of the handles was broken. I had taped it together, but come on. I’m a grown woman. I should not be jury-rigging my glasses, damn it. I also had toothpaste around my mouth when I went to pick up my glasses. Mortifying! It’s from not looking in the mirror, and I need to start doing it because it was the second time it happened this week.

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Depression is a tricky bastard it is

I’ve been experiencing a medium-grade depression for roughly six months, and it’s time to admit it isn’t going away on its own. I gutted it out the first few months because I thought it was temporary, but now, I fear it’s not true. I want to mention that I always have a low-grade depression. Always. Some days, it’s very minimal. Some days, it pushes the line between low and medium, but it never goes completely away. There is an argument to be had whether it’s depression or anxiety or a combination of both, but whatever it is, I’ve come to accept it in my life.

I do not want to accept the medium-grade depression, though, because it’s actively hindering me. When I have a low-grade depression, I can still go about my life and do what needs to be done with little problem. With medium-grade depression, the intrusive thoughts are more intrusive, and it’s harder to ignore them or brush them away. In addition, the depression knows me and my weaknesses very well, and it uses the knowledge against me. Once I catch on to its manipulations and become immune to them, it changes its tactics.

For example. When I used to be severely depressed, an entity I called The Dictator would tell me that I was toxic, worthless, and no one would care if I died. It told me that the people I thought were my friends weren’t really, that they were just being nice. Why would anyone want to be my friend? I didn’t have any redeeming qualities. I was fat, loutish, uninteresting, and unattractive. I firmly believed this, and no one could tell me anything to the contrary.

Now, I don’t believe any of that. Well, I am fat, but that’s just a descriptor and not a pejorative. I also think I’m boring, but I’m willing to believe that’s just me being hard on myself. I no longer think The Dictator is a part of me, but I haven’t gotten rid of the depression. It’s changed its attack, however, because it’s a sly and sneaky bastard. Now, instead of telling me the above, it tells me that I’m worthless because I’m not doing anything with my life. I don’t have an office job. I’m not moving up in the world. I don’t have many friends. I’m not putting out content in a way that is meaningful, and no one gives a shit about my writing. I’m never going to be published unless it’s self-published. Maybe ten people will actually give a shit if i die, and I’m not counting online people in that number. Not because they’re not real and not because I don’t care about some of them (and they probably care about me in return), but because it’s simply not the same.

All of this is true. Well, most of it is true. Some of it is more a feeling thing than an actual thing, but it leans on the side of being true. It’s hard to argue with any of it, except for the content part. That’s on me. I haven’t done what needs to be done to even have a chance of being a known content producer.

Side Note: I hate that phrase, ‘content producer’, because it’s simultaneously pretentious and antiseptic. But, it’s become an accepted phrase, especially for YouTube/Twitch.

I don’t like the term ‘creative’, either, for someone who produces artistic content, but it’s better than content producer. I like artist, but I understand that it’s not very inclusive. In general, I just like to say I’m a writer.


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With age, hopefully, comes wisdom

 

but not when i first wake up.
All of this looks soooooo good.

I’ve been thinking lately about all the things I learned as a kid that are not relevant to me now. For the purpose of this post, I’m going to stick with the ideas related to health, mental and physical.

1. When and how I eat. If you’re around my age (late forties), I’m sure you were taught the four food groups, how much you should eat of each, that you should eat three square meals a day, and that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that all of this is different now. Some of it is just science. There are now five groups (fruits and veggies got split up), and in the old days it was 4-4-3-2, that’s the way to eat for you (or something like that). I don’t remember which number goes with what group, but that was taught to me as a kid. Now, it’s ounces/cups per day, and the amount of each group has changed. I don’t have an issue with that. Things change over time.

When I should eat has always been a struggle for me. I don’t like to eat when I first awake, and usually it’s more than an hour after I get up before I’m even remotely hungry. In addition, I take a medication that requires that you don’t eat for an hour after you take it.

Side note: It would have been nice for my first doctor to tell me that when I was fourteen–which was when I first started having to take this med. He didn’t, though, and he was a bad doctor all around. Then again, he might have said it and I didn’t listen because I was overwhelmed with the new information and was exceedingly depressed at the time. Either way, it wasn’t until I was in my thirties that my (new and great) doctor told me that I wasn’t supposed to take the medication with an hour of eating.

Anyway, I sometimes don’t eat for hours after I awake. It just depends. I have a history of eating disorders, so I’m trying to honor my body by eating only when I’m hungry. It doesn’t work all the time (or even most), but I’m working on it. As for the three square meals thing, I’ve found that I feel better if I eat a little bit several times a day rather than a lot three times a day. I think it makes more sense, too, to keep my hunger at a reasonable level, rather than have a feast or famine mentality. When I go out to eat, I never eat more than half, especially if I order an appetizer and/or dessert. I don’t like feeling stuffed, so it’s easier for me to eat many times a day.

I also have to take into account all my sensitivities. I’ve been gluten-free/dairy-free for almost two years, and I’m currently troubleshooting what else is wrong with me. Food-wise, I mean. I thought it was nuts, but now I’m finding it’s not. It might be hydrogenated oil? I’m not sure. I haven’t had a serious stomach issue in a week or two, which is nice, but I would like to pinpoint what made it happen.

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The pain of my weight

fuuuuuuck!
Itme begging for mercy.

Still having birthday thoughts (not thought about my birthday, but thoughts stemming from it being my birthday), and since today is Wellness day, let’s talk about health.

Currently, my back is giving me hell. Let me clarify: My back always gives me hell one way or the other. I store my tension in my back (and my shoulders), and I didn’t feel it for a few decades because I froze out my entire body. My taiji teacher has a saying that she got from her teacher–the first sign of relaxation is when you notice the tension. Most of us are so tense all the time, we don’t realize it any longer. We kinda block it out until something reminds us.

I’ve been working diligently on my back issues, and it’s much better than it used to be. However, I still had a problem in which I have a lower back spasm that came maybe a dozen times a week. It wasn’t too bad–it basically just caused me to clench up for a brief second, then it’d go away. I do a bunch of stretches every morning that are solely to help my back. They’ve kept the pain at bay–mostly.

Then, last night, I got up from the couch (I sit sideways so my legs are out in front of me. Shadow likes to perch on my legs as I type) and my back spasmed so hard, I screamed out loud. Not grunted. Not a ladylike yelp, but a full-body scream. Like I’m a cheerleader in a horror movie scream. I wasn’t *trying* to scream like that–it was ripped from the back of my throat. Every time I shifted, it would happen. I screamed so much, I scared my cat.

I don’t feel regular pain. I trained myself to block it out when I was a child. This pain was unblockable, and it was intense. I did not want to move at all because it hurt so much. When I was changing pants and standing on my right leg, the leg buckled as my back spasmed again. I almost fell to the ground but managed to stop in time. The pain was literally breathtaking, and I found myself moving much more slowly because I didn’t want to feel it again.

It was a warning sign to me that I had to change the way I sit. Right now, I am sitting the proper way on the couch with both my feet on the ground. Shadow is sitting to the right of me, gently thumping his tail. He tried to sit on my chest, but he didn’t have as much purchase as he would if I were lying down. I don’t think he’s mad at me, but I feel guilty, anyway.

This morning, I woke up to the same spasms. They were quite as bad as they were last night, but still caused me to double over. I did the series of back-stretching I do every other day (because I don’t love it), and the pain went away. Not completely, but roughly 80% gone. It truly was a miracle, and now, I’m going to do these exercises every day. I may do them several times a day. It truly feels like a miracle. I was not looking forward to another day of spasming and crabbing my way along, and it feels good. I still have the smaller spasms, but I can deal with that. I’m determined to make changes so I’ll never have to feel that kind of pain again.

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My mind is on my matter

and not much of that.
A lotta this….

I think I’m getting sick.

Again.

I have gunk in my throat that will not go away no matter how much I clear my throat or cough. I’ve been sleeping more, which is usually a sign I’m getting sick. Could it be because I’m depressed? Yeah, maybe, but that’s not how my depression works. I may be more immobile when I’m depressed, but I don’t actually sleep. My brain races too much for me to actually drift into oblivion.

Side Note: It’s one reason I don’t like meditation. I know it’s about clearing my mind and allowing thoughts to just flit away, but it just intensifies the flightiness and the frantic nature of my brain. There was a time, I was having flashbacks during meditation, and my teacher let me do walking the circle from bagua instead. I Googled it, and meditation can be harmful to people with PTSD. In fact, there are a lot of negative side effects that I never see mentioned, and while it only affects a minority of people, it would be nice for practitioners to be aware of it.

I’ve dealt with my sleep issues in a way that probably isn’t healthy, but it’s the only thing that works. I sleep when I’m drop-dead tired. Sometimes, I fall asleep while I’m watching a video, and I’ll wake up after twenty minutes, rewind the video, then fall asleep again. When I reach that point, I just don’t have the will to get up and get ready for bed. I just lie on the couch, having no will to do anything. I know I’ll feel better if I get up, go to the bathroom, and brush my teeth, but I can’t make myself do it.

I also don’t sleep in a bed because I have really shitty sleep when I’m in a bed. I have no idea why this is, but I gave up for now. I sleep on the couch, and while my sleep isn’t great, it’s better than when I try to sleep in a bed.

Back to the question of sleep. I used to get four hours a night when I was at my most depressed. Weirdly, I sleep less when depressed. It sucks because the last thing I want to do when I’m depressed is be awake. I understand why many depressed people sleep twelve-plus hours a day because it’s the closest thing to oblivion while still being alive. If you don’t have nightmares, that is. I just could never force myself to sleep that long, and I have tried many, many, many different remedies for my lack of sleep that have not worked. They include melatonin, lavender (not recommended when you’re allergic to lavender), warm milk, warm tea, valerian (made me suicidal), St. John’s for depression in general, sleeping pills (couldn’t wake up, even after halving the pill and halving again. Obviously not tested on Asian women, per yooz), and more.

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I need a doctor

I’ve been feeling pretty shitty lately, and I’ve been open about it–here. Not in my real life because I keep that shit to myself. I wish I could talk about it, but it goes against everything I was taught. My mom has been calling me more often lately, and it’s mostly to complain about my father. Sometimes, she will perfunctorily ask me how I’m doing, but even when I answer with anything other than ‘ok’, she’ll move it right along to whatever is on her mind.

Side Note: My father is a raging narcissist, and I’ve known this since I was a little girl. I might not have had the term for it, but I knew he was a self-centered man to the extreme. What I didn’t realize until very much later, maybe my thirties, is that my mother is self-absorbed as well. I wouldn’t say she’s as extreme as my father as she has some self-awareness, but she can’t see other people’s points of view very well, either, even if she keeps it to herself more. One time, she asked how I was doing. I said I had a cold, and after a minute of sympathy, she segued into how she had had a cold as well. Then, she was off and running about her travails with my father.

Side Note to the Side Note: I’ve gotten sucked back into being her confidante. I’d done better at setting boundaries, back when we had a more fractured relationship, but now that I’ve moved past much of the turmoil of our earlier relationship and let go of a lot of my resentment (which translates in me snapping much less at her), she’s taken to dumping all her problems on me again. It’s frustrating for more than one reason. One, I’m her child. Yes, I’m an adult and an Old, but I’m still her kid. I don’t necessarily want or need to hear about her problems at length, especially with my father.

Two, she has no intention of doing the hard work that would actually make her marriage better for her without sacrificing more and more of herself. She said something about her ‘not being allowed’ to do something or the other in her marriage, and I pointed out that she *could* do it, but it would just make my father extremely unpleasant to deal with. He’s learned that if he throws a big enough temper tantrum, he’ll get his way. He’s can be very cruel and downright mean when he wants to, and my mother is extremely conflict-avoidant as am I. She knows she’s enabling him. She knows that she’s rewarding his bad behavior when she does what he wants when he throws a tantrum, but she’s been doing it for fifty years.

Three, I know way too much about my parents’ marriage now, and there’s the added fact that there’s an elephant in the room as my mother pisses and moans about my father. His mistress. Who might or might not be his mistress any longer but who is still heavily involved in his project and therefore, they talk for hours every day. Yeah, they’re still involved, even if it’s not physical. I know about it because of his hubris (as I’ve explained in past posts), and my mother knows about it because she’s not stupid. She won’t actually say it, however, and when I’ve sideways confronted her about it, she’s both deflected and talked about it (without actually naming it) in equal amounts.


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My body hates me–and the feeling is mutual

I hate my body right now. This is not unusual for me as I’ve hated it for most of my life. I was a chubby kid starting when I was seven for many reasons, and my mother put me on my first diet. One of the things I remember her saying from that time was, “You have such a beautiful face if only you weren’t so chubby.” She was a big believer in vegetables and fruits, and she didn’t allow much junk in the house. All of this started me down the road of body shame to the point of body dysmorphia, It also gave me a food hoarder mentality, and I still don’t like to share my food.

Side Note: My mother has had body issues my whole life as well (yes, my life. I don’t know about life before me, obviously, but I suspect it was there from the start). She’s tiny–roughly 5’3″ and petite. She’s been heavier in the past, and she’s always obsessed with losing five pounds. It doesn’t help that she comes from a culture that is even more oppressive about women being fat (Taiwan) than America’s, so it’s something she unthinkingly handed down to me.

It shows up in small ways as well as big ones. Such as her talking about her diet whenever she was on one (which was basically thirty years). It was her policing my food to the point that I didn’t eat fruits and/or vegetables for years in my thirties because I was so pissed off about it. It was tricksy as her adopting the tone of ‘I’m only concerned about your health’ when I confronted her about it. Fortunately, I knew that was bullshit because she never said a word when I was anorexic/bulimic other than to comment jealously how my waist was smaller than hers.

It got so bad, I had to explicitly tell her that she couldn’t talk about my weight (this was when I was at my heaviest). Predictably, that’s when she wanted to make it about my health. Hell, she probably even believed it, but as I noted, she never had a problem with me being dangerously skinny other than to envy me, so it’s never been about my health. It’s been about how she hates having a big fat galoot of a woman for a daughter–except, she can’t handle having a too-small woman as her daughter, either. I don’t know what ‘just right’ would have been, but I suspect she didn’t know, either. It wasn’t about me, you see–it was about her.


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My health is on my mind, and my mind is on my health

all the dumplings.
Oh, how I miss dumplings!

I am an idiot.

I recently read the ingredients in a veggie burger I commonly buy. I don’t know why I hadn’t read it at the time as normally I am very rigid about that, but for some reason, veggie burger in my mind equaled GF/DF. Which is ridiculous because I am the first to point out that vegan is not the same as GF. Anyway, it had both wheat and dairy (most likely traces), which is one thing that has been causing me problems. I am not going to eat it again, obviously, but it underscored how I need to be hypervigilant about what I eat. Which I definitely am not.

In the last week, I’ve had two episodes of eating something that previously had not caused any problems and then immediately having to run to the bathroom. Then, it was a half hour of communing with the commode while cursing out my stomach. It happened once before this a few weeks ago, which I wrote about. That time it happened, I woke in the middle of the night and had to run to the bathroom again. I barely made it in time because I was dazed with sleep, and I nearly fell asleepĀ  while I was on the toilet. That was a surreal experience, and it’s one I don’t want to repeat again.

I thought it might be the peanut butter (all natural) that had caused the reaction, so I switched to cashew butter which has a milder flavor. I prefer peanut butter, but the cashew butter was a good substitute. It was fine the first few times I used it, but the third or fourth time, I had the same reaction and raced to the bathroom.

I’ve used that brand of GF bread with no issues for several months, so unless they changed their ingredients (which, you never know), it’s not that. I don’t think it’s the jam, but again, who knows? That’s the most frustrating things with food allergies–it’s a bunch of ‘who knows?’. The second incident happened after I made an egg salad sandwich with the same bread, lactose-free cream cheese, and egg salad from the co-op. There is no ingredient in the egg salad that I recognize as something I can’t have, but I’ve had a bad reaction to the egg salad before. I also thought it might be the lactose-free cream cheese because it still has < 1% lactose, which is greater than 0%. I’ve had the lactose-free sour cream (made by the same company), and I haven’t had any intense reaction to it, but I’ve had a squidgy stomach in general for the past few weeks.

It’s really depressing because it makes me not want to eat at all. If every time I eat I have to worry about racing to the bathroom and staying there, well, that’s a disincentive. My asshole has been sore and my digestive system has been grumpy. I know I have to figure out what exactly is fucking me up, but I don’t have the energy to do that.

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