Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Health

The consequence of not reacting

where did my head go?
I’ve lost my head over this.

I’m going to start out this post talking about Dark Souls because one, I love the series and will talk about it whenever I can. Two, I had a realization today about why I’m shit at parrying (in Dark Souls), and I wanted to muse on it a bit. Yes, it falls into the Wellness category because it’s  about mental health manifesting in a physical way.

Brief primer: Due to a traumatic childhood, I have an extremely high pain tolerance. I’ve mentioned this in the past that when we do chin na (joint lock) techniques on each other in taiji class, I have to be very conscious about when it’s reasonable to tap out rather than do it when I actually feel pain. In the beginning, I could only practice with my teacher because she didn’t trust that I wouldn’t get hurt else-wise. Part of that is natural flexibility in certain ways, like I can yank my thumb towards my wrist without even flinching when others jump after a little tweak. Most of it, however, was me training myself not to react to anything because I would get yelled at as a kid if I let one iota of a negative emotion show.

Come to think of it, that’s probably why I don’t talk about my depression much with anyone or I downplay it. I was either told I wasn’t feeling it when I was a kid, ignored, or scolded about it. When my mother actually did something about it, dragging me to a therapist when I was fourteen, it was at a local very religious school, and he had nothing for me. Yeah, it was a man, which only added to the problem.

I was also heavily bullied in school, and my mother gave me the age-old useless advice of ignoring it because that always works so well. The only two times I got a bully to back off (and both girls for what it’s worth) was the time I cried when a much older girl was bullying me. Her face immediately changed, and she complimented my hair and never bothered me again.  This was when I was six, and the only thing I took away from that experience was that it was so embarrassing to cry in front of someone else. Much later, I realized she was probably in a not-great home situation herself, but six-year-old me couldn’t understand why a teenager would want to be so mean to her.

The second incident was in high school. There was a girl (and I still remember her name) who used to pick on me every day in science class. I want to say physics, but that detail is fuzzy. My stomach would twist in knots every time I walked into the classroom because I knew the second I stepped into the room, she would be on me. Why? Who knows? Probably because I was easy to target as an outsider (fat, Asian, smart, and not knowledgeable about American culture at all). Remember, I was also deeply depressed at this time and probably had anxiety, although I didn’t realize that I had anxiety until much later, and the last thing I needed was some bitch picking on me in class.

I snapped. One day, she started in on her usual bullshit. I grabbed her hair, yanked it back, and told her if she ever bothered me again, I would fucking kill her. She blustered something about me thinking I was so big, but I didn’t. I was just fucking tired of her picking on me every goddamn day and no one doing anything about it. She never bothered me after that, and you would think the lesson I learned from that incident was that a bully doesn’t like to be bullied, but no. I was mortified at how I acted, even though I was pushed into it.

That’s part of the problem of constantly put down–you believe it’s what you deserve, and if you stand up for yourself (the general you), it feels wrong, even if the result is positive. It’s a vicious cycle, and it keeps someone who is downtrodden firmly under other people’s feet.

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Let’s talk about health, baby

the best is a combination of all of the above.
All the bad and none of the good.

Hello. I have sinus problems. It is no fun. I think it’s allergies, but I am not not sure. I woke up feeling as if ice picks are being smashed up my nostrils. By the way, I think I know why I’ve had two migraines and the beginning of the third in the past two weeks is because of the lemonade lite I bought that has Stevia. Now, it’s not one of the listed side effects, but it’s the only thing that has changed in my diet, and I haven’t had a full migraine for about a decade.

I had a taiji classmate who asked me how to tell if a headache is a migraine, and my immediate response was that you would know if you had a migraine. Correction, that’s if you get the headache part of it. My taiji teacher doesn’t, and I’ve learned that’s a type of migraine, albeit rare. You get all the accompanying symptoms without the actual headache. That sounds wacky to me, but it’s apparently a thing.

For me, I can tell because the world goes gray. Or rather, everything starts losing color and feels dull. In addition, stimuli hurts even more than usual (I have sensory issues in general), and I find myself wincing at the least bit of light. When I say hurt, I mean physically. The light hurts my eyeballs, and sounds hurt my ears. It’s as if I have no sensory filter, and everything scores a direct and palpable hit.

If I’m lucky and I catch it right in the beginning, I can pop two Excedrin Migraine (or the generic equivalent), deal with a lowkey headache, and go about my life. If I don’t catch it in time, however, it’s a completely different matter. I will say that I’m still lucky because I can at least function when I have a migraine, albeit at a much less productive pace. I have to turn off all the lights and if I’m watching a video, I have to keep the sound extremely low. I can still write/work, but I have to take more breaks, and my brain runs at a slower pace. The full migraine lasts roughly twenty-four hours, and the chemtrails last for another twenty-four hours or so.

Sinus issues are a different matter. This time, it’s not a sinus headache. It’s my nose feeling as if I’ve snorted a handful of pine needles into it. Again, it’s as if I have no filters, and I can feel everything more intensely than I otherwise would. My nose is also stuffy, and my ears are scabby. I have a cough that comes and goes as it pleases. My body is aching, but that could also be because of some changes my teacher is making to our stance in taiji. It takes more effort, though it’s supposed to be better for you in the long run.

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My life is one long Groundhog Day

The night before the new classes, I was hit with a migraine. I didn’t catch it in time, which I think is a shorter window these days. I’m also not sure my Excedrin Migraine (generic) pills are enough any longer. That would be a shame as it used to be I could pop two if I caught it in time, suffer through a low-level headache for an hour (and maybe some nausea), then I was fine. For the last three instances (in two weeks!), I didn’t catch two in time, and the one I did, it the pills didn’t have the same effect. It took longer to work, and the pain was more intense.

I’ve written before that I’m relatively lucky when it comes to migraines because I can still do work even though I’m not as productive as long as I take plenty of breaks. I think it’s because I have a very high pain tolerance, but whatever the reason, I’ll take it. On the other hand, it’s possible if I completely rested while I had the migraine, it might not last over twenty-four hours.

I just went to the grocery store, and I knew in an instant my migraine wasn’t over. It’s a gray and gloomy day, but there is sun. I winced as it hit my eyes*, and the bright lights in the grocery store made me nausea. I had to press my lips together several times even though I don’t throw up in general,** and I got out of there as quickly as possible. I hate nausea and dizziness. I would much rather have a backache or even a headache rather than nausea and dizziness–or my eyes hurting. It’s the weirdest feeling. It’s like the lenses of my eyes aren’t even there, and the sun rays are boring into my pupils.

Anyway, migraines suck. I don’t know why they’re popping more lately, but I need to figure it out. I hate having a whole day and a half (or two or more) wiped out because of them, and I haven’t had a full migraine in quite some time. I experience many of the triggers for migraines. Lack of sleep, stress, and depression are on the list. Also, certain smells, foods, and even sunlight can be triggers as well. That’s basically my whole life right there. The only one I am mostly clear of is the food trigger. I don’t consume caffeine any longer (which has been hellish, let me tell you); I don’t drink; and I don’t eat cheese any longer, either. Those are the biggest migraine triggers food-wise.

Veering wildly to another topic. The one YouTube series I watch consistently is the Prepare to Try lads. Well, it used to be. They were a group of three lads from IGN who started this as a lark. Apparently, Krupa (Daniel Krupa, who loves the Soulsborne series) floated the idea before the release of Dark Souls III of having a newbie (Rory Powers) play through the original Dark Souls with him, Krupa, as the guide/loremaster. Gav (Gavin Murphy) was along for the bants (banter. He drives the banter bus). I found it way after they did it, and I gobbled up the whole thing. I bingewatched the original series plus the Dark Souls III series.  They’ve done a bunch of one-offs as well as Bloodborne, and I was excited when they finally announced they were doing Dark Souls II (which Krupa hates. I think it’s a very good game, though not a great Souls game). This was in November of last year, then they said it was being put off until February of this year because reasons.


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Getting older and not necessarily wiser

taiwanese tai chi sculpture!
I don’t want to be made of stone.

I woke up yesterday to an incipient migraine and immediately popped two Excedrin Migraine (generic) in hopes to stave it off. It didn’t pop into a full migraine for the rest of the day, but it also didn’t dissipate after an hour as it normally does. I am still dealing with it now, but at a very low level. This is new to me. In the past, either I caught it and it went away in an hour or I didn’t. I mentioned it to my taiji teacher yesterday, and she said that unfortunately, our bodies get brittler as we get older. This is true. When I was in college, I could get by (barely) on three to four hours of sleep. In my late twenties, I could go out all night and bounce back (mostly) after four hours of sleep. Now, I could go out all night, but it would take me three days to return to normal.

Speaking of sleep. I used to get four hours a night. On the regular. Thanks to taiji, I’ve slowly added to that. Now, I’m up to six hours on average a night. That’s epic for me. I keep hearing how terrible it is if you don’t get eight hours a night, and I always want to shout, “Yeah, I know, but what the fuck do I do about it?” They never talk about that, do they? They only talk about how important eight hours of sleep is, and by the way, people used to sleep in four-hour chunks rather than one stretch of eight. That seems way more reasonable to me than sleeping eight hours in one stretch.

The only time I can sleep for eight hours (or even seven-and-a-half) is when I’m sick. Which has been a lot in the past few years. It makes me wonder if my body gets sick for the sole purpose of getting more sleep. I know I’m really sick if I actually manage to get nine hours. One time, I got ten hours! TEN HOURS. I can’t even with that. That’s like, luxury. I hear from friends who get eight to nine hours regularly and who love sleep, and I’m so envious. I don’t know what it’s like, and I can’t even imagine it. I wrote a whole novel about confronting Morpheus, for fuck’s sake.

Sleep is something that I’ve given up trying to improve consciously because I’ve poured so much energy into it for no benefit. I’ve tried ::deep breath:: melatonin, hot beverages, hot baths, valerian, lavender (found out I was allergic to it while taking a bath in it. Not a good way to find out), sleep deprivation, sleeping pills (can’t wake up from them, even if I only take a fourth of a pill), dream catchers, and other things I can’t remember. None of it worked, and it only left me more frustrated than ever. Taiji is the only thing that has helped, and it’s taken a long time. An added two hours of sleep over ten years of taiji. That means I should reach eight hours a night in another ten years!

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A new year and a newer me

look at my toofs!
So tired. Must sleep.

It’s the end of the year, so inevitably, thoughts turn to the next year and how I’m going to do things differently. Even though I am not a bit believer in holidays or ritualistic endeavors, there is something about the end of the year that makes me somber about time passing. Not as somber as my birthday, but somber nonetheless. This year has kinda sucked for me, mostly because of my own depression. There are external factors as well, but I do not want to go into those for this post. For now, I want to focus on my health, especially since it’s been so bad this year. A couple months sick, a few weeks not sick, then back to being sick. All of it lasting the past four months or so.

I have come to the conclusion that much of it is probably allergies. From my research, I have learned that allergy symptoms can seem a lot like cold symptoms. In addition, when one has as bad allergies as I do, it exhausts the immune system, thereby making it easier to catch colds. Right now, I’m still coughing and my nose is alternating between stuffy and runny. My ears are crusted over, and my throat is scratchy from time to time. I also have gobs of goo in my throat that make it hard to swallow.

This post is about the ways I’m going to try to better my health in the new year. First, a doctor’s appointment to get everything tested. Allergies because I haven’t had it done in a while (because the testing is so unpleasant. All those pricks swelling up and me feeling as if I can’t breathe. It is no fun at all). If that doesn’t bring up anything, then other testing. Maybe a sleep test because, yeah, me and sleep still aren’t friends.

I was listening to NPR, and they had Matthew Walker on again. He is a sleep scientist and a professor in neurology and psychology. He’s an enthusiastic proponent of sleep (and he has a lovely British accent. He talks about the negatives of sleep deprivation and the positives of getting enough sleep (at least eight hours a night). Which is fine and dandy, but what he doesn’t say is how to get eight hours of sleep a night. It’s frustrating as hell because I have tried almost everything under the sun, and the only time I’m able to get eight hours a night is when I’m sick.

I’ve written before how I existed on four hours of sleep a night for many years. Decades, even. And, yeah, I know that driving while sleep-deprived is worse than driving while drunk, but if I only drove when I was fully rested, I wouldn’t drive at all. With the help of taiji, I am currently up to six/six-and-a-half hours of sleep a night. Sometimes five, but mostly six. I would love for the dear doctor to tell me how the hell I’m supposed to get the other two to three hours.

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Sleeping and sickness

So, this is me right now:

Except, I’m not a furry alien, I don’t have a box of tissues or hideous pajamas, and I forgot to pick up cough syrup/cough drops when I was at the grocery store yesterday.

Speaking of, they’ve started the Christmas music this last weekend, and hearing it immediately sets my teeth on edge. It didn’t help that they played ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ while I was there because I’m sick of the controversy. Is it a rape song? Is it a girl-power song? I don’t know, nor do I particularly care. It’s a BAD song is my main issue. It’s fucking insipid, and even without the controversy, it’s worthy of being banned on triteness alone. Yes, yes, yes, different time, different context, blah, blah, blah. I don’t give a shit. It’s an irritatingly syrupy song, and I would be too happy never to hear it again.

Let’s be real, though. I would be happy not to hear any Christmas song ever again, except, of course, ‘O Holy Night’, and even for that, I don’t have much enthusiasm this year.  But! I will include a glorious version by Mariah Carey.

Her voice gives me chills. I know it’s fashionable to slag on her for her diva ways and her crazy life, but she can flat-out sing. Also, I don’t like the fact that I think some of the criticism of her is gendered in a ‘bitches be cray’ sort of way. At any rate, I could listen to this version of ‘O Holy Night’ twenty times in a row and not get sick of it.

So. I’m back to bronchial shit this time (with a dash of sinus thrown in). My nose is alternating between runny and stuffy. My throat is sore. I’m coughing, which doesn’t help the sore throat. I get the chills, which just makes me angry. I don’t get cold, so having that as an indication of sickness feels like a kick to the face. I’m also getting hot flashes (not that kind, though those, too). I’m not getting more sleep, though, which is how I know it’s not the flu-like crap I’ve been getting recently. My ears are crusted over (first one then the other), and I’m parked on my couch with Shadow warming my legs.

I’ve been doing my taiji morning routine, and it’s probably the only thing that’s keeping me from getting even sicker. I have to say that the stretches I’ve been including have worked miracles on my back, so I’m thankful for that. I have almost no back pain, and the pain in my right thigh (numbness alternating with flashes of searing pain) has slowly become ameliorated with my diligence. I’m trying not to rush through them just to do them, but it’s hard not to just do them by rote.

I’m also having menstrual frustrations. Quick backstory. I’m used to getting my period three or four times a year. Yes, I checked with my doctor, and as long as I get it twice a year, it’s fine. I get it for one light day, followed by one relatively heavy day, then one light day and maybe one day of spotting. I didn’t like never knowing when I was going to get my period, but other than that, I had no complaints. The only time I had a regular period was when I was consistently having sex (for obvious reasons). In the past year or so, as I near menopause (I’m in peri-menopause), my period has become more regular, in a sense. I started getting it more often (boo), but with the same heaviness (yay), and in the past six months or so, it’s gone from once every forty-five days to once every thirty days to once every twenty-five days. This month, however, it’s back to at least thirty-five days (still haven’t gotten it yet). When I’m sick, the last thing I need to do is worry about when I’m going to bleed.

You know the other sucky part about being sick? How much mind space it consumes. It’s hard not to think about it when I’m coughing up a lung until my chest hurts and my throat is raw, when my nose is bleeding from all the blowing, and when I’m fretfully picking at the scabs in my ears. It’s the worst when I’m out and about, and I start hacking. I want to reassure people I’m not contagious (though I don’t know for sure. I’m just assuming. My bronchial crap is never contagious). I’m pretty sure I look miserable and haggard as well. Though, funny story. I went to SA to buy a pack of cigs (and, yes, I’m aware of the irony), and the cashier said, “Bear with me, but I need to see your ID because of a recent policy change.” I asked what the policy change was, not in a nasty way, but just because I was curious. I’d never had to show ID for cigarettes before. She said that they were carding anyone who looked under forty, which tickled me. I looked like shit in my sweats and sweatshirt, hair pulled back in a sloppy bun, and she still subtracted nearly a decade from my age!

I don’t do NY’s resolutions, but I have three goals for next year.

One: not burn myself with tea in a particularly stupid way. I have a travel mug I love that by bestie gave to me one Christmas. It says, “YOU CAN NOT IMAGINE THE IMMENSITY OF THE FUCK I DO NOT GIVE’ on it in all caps, and she knows me too well. Anyway, I fill it with boiling tea, then I put it in the spot on my couch where the cushions all meet (there’s kind of a divot there), and for the most part, I secure it firmly. Three times this past year, however, it’s fallen over and spilled tea onto me. I’ve done this twice, and I’ve spilled it on my arm a third time (other arm) because I was trying to hold the traveling mug in the crook of my left arm. Since I drink boiling hot water, I got second-degree burns each time. NO, MINNA, NO! BAD MINNA!

Two: find out what the fuck is wrong with my immune system. I can’t do this much longer. I feel as if I’m sick more often than not, and while I would hate if this was me for the rest of my life, I would rather know than not. Then I could deal with it (or not) rather than just wondering what the fuck is wrong with me. There’s a healthy amount of shame involved as well because I keep thinking it’s probably in my head. I mean, it literally is in my head (sinus, bronchial issues), but I’m not making it up. The next time I go in for my annual checkup (have to do it for my thyroid issues), I’m going to ask for an allergy workup. I think some of this might be allergies since I’m allergic to everything.

Three: stop smoking. I smoke between 1 and 2 cigarettes a day (half a cig in the morning, a fourth of a cig every now and again throughout the day), and while my own doctor told me it was no big deal (this was two docs ago, and my current doc gave me the obligatory ‘you could quit easily, you know’), it’s definitely not something that is good for me or my bronchial system–which already sucks. I’ve been trying to cut down, but it’s been slow-going. It’s become such a habit for me. I think it might be easier for me to quit cold turkey because once I make a decision like that, I stick to it (as I’ve said, the plus side to OCD). We shall see. I’ll try cutting down for now, and if that doesn’t work–cutting it out completely. I’m already sick, cranky, irritable, and miserable, so why not just do it?

The struggle for good health

I feel as if I’m on the cusp of getting sick.

Again.

I’m done. I just….

What if this is my new normal?

Quick note: I have a history of bronchial-related issues in the past. There was a time where I had bronchitis or something similar every year. Not just for a few weeks, either, but months. One time was epic because it lasted nine months.

Nine. Freaking. Months.

By the end of it, I was so desperate, I begged my doctor to give me antibiotics even though I knew it wouldn’t work. Let that sink in. I knew antibiotics wouldn’t help (and I am against them for the most part), but I had been hacking and dripping for so long, I didn’t care.

My doctor did so reluctantly, but she warned me it wouldn’t work. I told her I knew, and took them, anyway. And they made it worse! I looked up the side effects of the antibiotics (which I should have done before I took them. I usually do my research ahead of time), and they were the same as what I was already experiencing, but worse. I finished the whole run, of course, but I will never do that again. Yes, it was a last-ditch effort, but it made things worse.

Then, I started taking taiji, and I stopped getting bronchitis. It wasn’t a one-to-one like that, but I’m sure taiji helped me with those issues. Then, I started flying on a frequent basis, and my system couldn’t handle it. Now, I have to deal with this bullshit for the past few years. It might also be grief from my Raven suddenly dying nearly two years ago. In fact, the anniversary is coming up, which might be why I’m more melancholy than usual.

That is neither here nor there. My immune system is proving to be not great, and I know I have to go to the doctor. Which I don’t want to do. My current doctor is really great, but there’s still a sense of dread in going. It’s time for me to suck it up and do it, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.

Side note: Instapot shenanigans. I decided to try a pork recipe that had four ingredients without looking at the actual directions. I bought the pork, though only 2 1/2 pounds rather than 4, and then read the recipe this morning. First part is to separate the pork in two batches. Ok! I can do that. Next is to add oil to the pot, press saute, and brown each piece. Wait. What? Oil wasn’t one of the ingredients, and how much oil? How long will it take to brown? I quickly Googled on how to brown pork in an Instant Pot, and a recipe for pulled pork from the Food Network was the first link. I read it, and the first part was almost exactly the same. It also required 4 pounds of pork for eight servings, so apparently, it’s not an insane amount of pork.

Anyway, it also said put unspecified amount of oil in the pot, cook the (six pieces) in two batches, but they at least gave a time for the browning (5 minutes per batch). This is what I was talking about when I mentioned all the assumptions that go into a recipe. It’s reasonable to assume that people who cook know this shit, but that leaves us n00bs out in the cold. That’s why I also Googled cooking in an Instant Pot for beginners, but I came up with very little because of my dietary restrictions.

I was going to start the pork this morning after my taiji routine, but I felt defeated once I started reading the instructions. That’s one of the problems with depression. Even something as simple as dividing the pork in two pieces and browning each piece was too much at that time because I hadn’t planned for it. I will do it in a bit, but ugh.

Part of the reason I got the instapot is because of how everyone raved about what a time-saver it is. How you don’t have to watch it. You can ‘set it and forget it’. Well, yeah, but you still have to do the prep stuff, including, I guess, browning the meat. The actual cooking the meat? Yes. That can just be left cooking. And, it takes much less time in an instapot. But overall, it’s still cooking. As I’ve had pointed out to me, what I want is a food processor (to cut down on prep time). Yeah, not doing that because it feels as if I’m going to get thrown even further into the deep end.

I’m not giving up on it yet, but I do feel a little hoodwinked. All this shit that no one tells you because it’s so basic to them is new to me and intimidating. I don’t like cooking. I never have. This is not making me like it any more. I really shouldn’t have started with the instapot, but it’s too late for that now. Again, making a Dark Souls comparison. I kinda feel as if I’m doing a onebro run as a n00b, which is not the way to play the game.

Back to my health. It sucks. A lot. I’m tired of it. I need to figure out what the fuck is wrong with me. I don’t think it’s fibro or chronic fatigue (yes, I Googled it), and my best guess is that it has to do with a compromised immune system.

I will say it’s frustrating that I keep having to deal with this because I don’t interact with the public that much, so why the fuck do I keep getting sick? I am beginning to believe it’s allergies. I am allergic to all pollen, dust, animals (yes, including cats. I’m less allergic to my own, but not completely allergy-free), scents, and pretty much everything else. I like to joke that I’m allergic to air. Which isn’t that much of a joke, come to think of it.

Anyway. My mood is this right now:

(Un)Healthy, (not) wealthy, and (un)wise

I’m feeling better today, which is a relief. I dragged myself to taiji yesterday, despite feeling like crap, and did just enough. I had a private lesson with my teacher, and near the end of the class, she asked if I wanted to do some Solo Form or some Sword Form. I said, “This will surprise you, but let’s do the Solo Form.” Surprise because I love the Sword Form and still merely tolerate the Solo Form. But, the Sword Form is a weight-bearing activity, and I was simply not up for it. The Solo Form, on the other hand, was gentle (especially the first section, which was what we did) and easy on my aching body.

After class, I picked up a few things at the co-op and then went home. I crashed in the early evening, but I still felt better than before I went to class. Actually, I felt shitty upon awakening (around seven-thirty), and then improved throughout the day. That’s why by noon, I felt (barely) good enough to go to class. Bottom line is that taiji is good for me, but it’s just a matter of having the energy to get there.

When I’m sick, it’s the worst when I first wake up and right before I go to bed. Unless I’m really sick, I generally can maintain throughout the day. That’s why I think it might be allergies along with whatever else I’m fighting. I’m tired of it, so I will actually see a doctor when I can get the energy. This week, next week at the latest. I’m skeptical that she’ll be able to find anything, but ruling out possibilities is just as valuable as finding the actual cause. Or if not as valuable, at least it allows me to focus my worry. Some ideas. It’s an immunodeficiency problem, iron deficiency, chronic fatigue, or fibromyalgia. It could also be a problem with my thyroid medication, but I get that checked every year, and it was stable the last time I checked.

I just did a quick Google, and I’m more convinced than ever it’s allergies. I’m allergic to everything. I’ve recounted before that when I take the allergy test where they put all the allergens on your thigh, my entire thigh swells up like a balloon. My brother and I were talking about the allergy shots we got when we were kids, and all I can remember is how miserable I was after each shot. My arm would swell up and be hot and itchy. My brother couldn’t even get the shots because he didn’t reach the threshold for getting them. The last time he tested for allergies, he got hives.

I’ve cut out dairy and gluten because of my sensitivities. I know they don’t reach the level of allergies, but it’s still not fun to spend a half hour on the toilet every time I eat either. I don’t use any scented products because of allergies, and I can smell most people’s perfume/cologne/body wash from ten feet away. I don’t like how Americans are so obsessed with covering natural smells. I much prefer the smell of of an honest sweat than of the crap people used to cover it up. I don’t use deodorant, and I’ve never had a complaint about it. I also don’t take a shower every day or wash my hair every day.

I recently learned that there are corresponding food allergies to pollen allergies (from the Mayo Clinic). It was an eye opener, and it immediately made sense. I’m allergic to every kind of pollen known to womankind, so if there’s a pollen-food connection, then it makes sense that I’m finding myself increasingly sensitive to different foods. The most frustrating part is figuring out which ones are causing the reactions. I need to do a more scientific study, but I get tired just thinking about it.

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OCD traits and general update

i'm broody, damn it!
Cute black kitten just because.

I think I’m finally on my way out of the cruds, crossing all my bits and knocking on wood. I’m sleeping less, which is a telltale sign, and I’m only getting the chills very rarely rather than regularly. Yes, I’ll take the positives where I can get them because they have been few and far between when I’m sick. I’m still exhausted, but that’s perpetual for me. It doesn’t matter how much or how little I sleep–I can barely keep my eyes open during the day. In fact, sometimes I just doze on and off throughout the afternoon/evening.

I’ve been thinking about my mental health lately because I’ve been depressed for no reason. And, yes, I know that’s part of depression, but it doesn’t make it easier to accept. That’s not what I’ve been thinking of, though. I’ve been musing over my OCD tendencies (I don’t have OCD, but I definitely have some of the traits). OCD is misunderstood in the general public (as with most mental health issues) or boiled down to someone having to alphabetize their soup cans or checking the door fifteen times in five minutes. There’s more to it than that, and I’ll try to explain how it affects me. In addition, whenever OCD is being portrayed in the media or talked about, it’s presented in an overwhelmingly negative light. I would be the first to admit that it’s not fun for the most part, but there are positive aspects to it.

The biggest plus is that when I plan to do something, I go all in. If I commit to it, it’s gonna get done. The two times I decided to lose weight, I set a plan, stuck to it, and the pounds came off like clock-work, two pounds a week. It’s the same with my schedule now. I wake up whenever, then I feed Shadow his breakfast. He has his own schedule, by the way, which includes meowing in my face before I wake up until I actually get off the couch. After I feed Shadow, I go outside and smoke half a cigarette. Then, I heat up my tea while going through my taiji/stretching routine. That takes about half an hour, and then I write my blog post. After that, I take a brief break (or not) and work for my brother. Then, I eat something and smoke a fourth of a cigarette–or rather, smoke first while heating up food. After a break, maybe playing MHW or a DS game,  then I write my two-thousand words of fiction.

Those are the things I need to do every day (posts only for week days, which means writing them Sunday – Thursday, and work for my brother on week days, Monday – Friday. I write fiction every day), and I have it down cold. When I decide to do something, something in my brain clicks in and it becomes a given. I give it everything I can at the time, and I do it to my best ability. The problem is, it becomes rote over time if there’s no end date, and my attention starts slipping.

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Of (not-so) sound mind and body

drinkin' tea 24/7.
All the tea in Taiwan.

I slept for nine hours the other night, which makes me think I’m getting sick again. I don’t sleep for that long unless I’m sick. I slept nearly seven hours last night, which is still a bit much for me. When I saw my taiji teacher yesterday, she was like, “I hope your week is filled with shitty sleep.” That was her way of wishing me well, and while it made me laugh, it’s sadly apt. The best way for me to gauge how sick I am is to look at my sleep. The ratio for sickness is directly proportional–the more sleep I get, the sicker I am. It’s not something that makes me happy, obviously, but it’s handy to know.

I don’t know what it says about me that my body only allows me to get a good night’s sleep when I’m really sick, but it’s as frustrating as hell. Is it too much to ask that I sleep a full night when I’m not sick? When I’m not sick, I sleep maybe six hours a night, and I wake up at least once. That’s not very restful, as I bet you could guess. I can’t help but think it hearkens back to the days when sleeping through the night was dangerous, and my body hasn’t yet realized it’s not necessary.

Side Note: I don’t sleep in a bed. I’ve found that I sleep marginally better on the couch. I think that’s part of the reason my back is messed up, however, so I might try sleeping in a bed again.

I also wonder if my shenanigans in college contribute to my sleep woes. My first semester I was there, I had a class at 7:45 a.m. (or some such ungodly hour), and I wouldn’t go to bed until three in the morning at the earliest. That meant I got at best three hours of sleep a night on the days I had that class. I think it was a T/Th class, so twice a week. I probably got 4, maybe 5 hours. In other words, I was severely sleep-deprived for my first semester of college.

I’ve told this story before, but there was one time when I woke up and couldn’t find my portable alarm clock. I looked everywhere in my (small) dorm room to no avail. I opened my mini-fridge to grab a Diet Pepsi (the way I always started my day), and there was my alarm as pretty as you please. I had no recollection of putting it there, which was worrisome. I put it on the sink across the room, which meant no more stowing it in my mini-fridge, but didn’t change the fact that I was having serious sleep issues.

I used to get four hours of sleep a night on the regular. Now, I’m up to six, and I owe it all to taiji. Well, taiji and therapy, but mostly taiji. It’s frustrating that it’s not more (and, yes, I know eight hours a night is ideal), but it’s amazing I even get that much*.

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