Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Health

Frailty, thy name is humidity

gorgeous humidity.
Beautiful, but deadly.

I am back from my week of fun in the sun, emphasis on sun. I went to Malta, Gozo more specifically, with my family and Ian, and it was an experience unlike any other. First of all, I have to get the elephant in the room out of the way.

The heat. More to the point, the heat and the humidity. It’s the summer in Gozo, and it’s the worst of the worst. More than one Gozitan commented that we had come to the island at the wrong time while looking as cool as a cucumber as I sweated a river down my body. My mom’s sandplay association had a conference and why they chose Malta during sweat o’clock time, I’ll never know.

Here’s the absolute worst part–we were staying at a Jesuit retreat center. That’s not the bad part–they were wonderful people. Very kindhearted and generous, which I’ll get to in a minute. The retreat center had no air conditioning. I repeat, the retreat center had no air. Now, if you know anything about me, you know that I HATE the heat. Hate it with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. Anything over sixty makes me cranky, and when it hits eighty, I’m a right bitch. In Gozo, the average temperature while we were there was high eighties with an 80% humidity. There were two large fans in the bedrooms, but all it did was move the hot air around. Ian and I kept the windows open (one in the bedroom and one in the bathroom), but it didn’t help much, either.

I couldn’t sleep in the heat. It was oppressive. I know that phrase is overused, but it was true. I never knew how much I took for granted that nighttime would bring about a cool and much-needed breeze. I love my air and pay fealty to it, but I reasoned I could live without it. I have. My air was broken at the beginning of this summer, right when we had a few days of 100 degrees. It was actually broken since last year, but the AC company told me to wait to fix it until April of this year so the warranty would last longer. Well, not longer, but you know what I mean. In April, we had a 1 1/2 – 2 feet snowstorm, so the last thing I was thinking about was my air conditioner.

Anyway, I suffered through it wearing as little as possible and blasting a big box fan right in my face. I moved as little as possible, and it was relief once the heat broke. My air was fixed a few weeks later, and I haven’t looked back yet. Naively, I thought if I could deal with that, then I could deal with Malta.

I could not have been more wrong.

The heat hit like a Mack truck the second I stepped on that island. It surrounded me like a shroud and grew incrementally tighter every second I was there. From the moment I woke up until the moment I went to sleep, it wrapped around me like a blanket and wouldn’t let go. Breakfast was at 8 a.m., lunch was at 12:30 p.m., and dinner was at 7:30 p.m. We got there last Tuesday, I want to say afternoon? It’s hard to remember because time was so convoluted in Malta. Anyway, my heart sank when I realized there was no A/C, but I naively thought I’d be able to deal with it on some level.

That’s a lie. I knew I would have trouble with the heat. I’m a wimp when it comes to heat–there’s no getting around it. I can’t even deal with Minnesota heat which is bush league in comparison to what I experienced in Gozo. I’d lay down in the heat around midnight, drenched in sweat, feeling miserable as I waited for sleep to find me. I had one fan blowing directly on my face, but it didn’t help. I was miserable and pissed off, but trying not to wallow in it–or my stench.

Sleep was not my friend during those nights. I’d sleep for maybe an hour or two, and then I’d wake up hot and sweaty. To make matters work, I didn’t fully understand how the toilet worked, and I have a thing about public toilets anyway, so by the fourth or fifth night, I was pretty much avoiding the bathroom in the bedroom and using the one in the center itself. Ian and I got into a fight over the toilet in our bathroom, and it’s in a large part because both of us were sleep-deprived and majorly cranky. I felt like everything was working my last nerve, and I had to actively hold back from snapping.

Ian and I would go out to smoke at three or four in the morning, and it would be minimally cooler. It was actually cooler outside the rooms than in, but, again, it was a matter of degrees. As in less than five. We’d stay outside as long as possible, and then return to the stifling room. We’d both try to sleep, but it was nearly impossible. My sleep is shit in general, but in Malta, it got even worse. It hit Ian even harder than me, and I don’t think either of us got more than three hours of sleep at a time.

We’d wake up around six or so and then swan around miserably until breakfast. I have to give the retreat center props for having gluten-free cereal and bread (from my favorite maker, Schar) and vegetable milk, even though I don’t know what exactly it’s made of. Breakfast was  gluten-free flakes and vegetable milk, a banana, gluten-free bread with three slices of ham. Coffee or tea, orange juice, and water. Another smoke, and then life on the bay.

This is one of the ways the men at the retreat center were so wonderful. The director drove my father, Ian, and me to Xlendi Bay the morning after we arrived and picked us up a few hours later. He did that the next day as well. On the third day of the conference, he was busy, but he had one of the fathers drive us instead. Xlendi Bay became our second home, and, yes, it’s a tourist haven, but it’s gorgeous, and the water was crystal clear and cool. I loved wading in it, feeling the buoyancy keeping me bobbing. I had to be careful because of the rocks, but it was such a breath of fresh air–pun intended. Plus, there was a breeze that kept the air from being stifling.

What I loved most about the bay was seeing a plethora of people from all around the world–or more accurately, from all around Europe. There were people of all shapes and sizes, and none of them were self-conscious about their bodies. I saw older and large women who were rocking bikinis and bathing suits with confidence, not giving a damn about the cellulite on their thighs or upper arms. They didn’t give a thought about how their bodies appeared to others–which was so mind-blowing to see. I’m so used to American women (me included) being obsessed with what is wrong with our bodies, and even if it was an illusion, I loved seeing women who just didn’t give a damn.

Related note: Right before going to Malta, I went shopping to look for a bathing suit at Target. I had little hope of finding one because bathing suits are not made for women like me. But, I tried on a two-piece that was made by a company specifically for plus-sized women, and to my surprise, it did not make me want to cry when I saw it on myself.

In Gozo, I saw a women similar to my size wearing a swimsuit that was similar to mine except it was bright blue and flowery while mine was black–natch. The top had a camisole-like base with flowing drapes over it. There was cleavage shown, but still had support. The bottom had boy shorts with drapes over it as well. I didn’t feel uncomfortable in it, but mostly because of how comfortable everyone else was around me. On a related note, there were so many beautiful people–but not in the conventional way. They all looked like they lived hard and joyfully, and I had to stop myself from staring more than once. It’s why I like European flicks–the actors look real. Haggardly beautiful, but real.

After a refreshing morning at Xlendi Bay, it was lunch time. It was usually some kind of pasta followed by meat, potatoes, and veggies. Then, dessert or fruit. I tried to stay strong, but I broke. I had to eat the pasta because I was famished. Another thing I didn’t realize is how used to eating whenever I want I’d gotten. I don’t like to eat three times a day–I prefer to graze. In Malta, I felt I had to stuff myself when I had the chance because I wouldn’t eat again for a long stretch of time. On the other hand, I was so hot, I rarely felt like eating. It was a weird situation.

Dinner was vegetable soup, then meat, potatoes and veggies, and then wine. The first day of food was great. By the last night, I think everyone was a bit sick of the same thing. Oh, there was bread for every meal as well, but I couldn’t eat any of that. The pasta I had was good, but it wreaked havoc on my system. I stopped eating it after three days with just a pang of regret.

The last day we were in Gozo, Ian and I begged off the planned tour despite persistent urging from my mother (because I fucking hate tours. I hate crowds of people. I hate people telling me what to do or where to go. And, to be honest, I wanted the time away from my family. After breakfast, Ian and I walked into the town center with the explicit plan to visit the shopping mall and the citadel. There would be air conditioning in the shopping mall, we reasoned. Oh, how wrong we were. It wasn’t really a shopping mall, but merely a collection of shops for tourist with an occasional blast of air, but not A/C per se. I was dying at this point, but it was our last day in Gozo, and I didn’t want to waste it.

Walking to the citadel was painful; I’m not going to lie. I was gasping, though I tried to keep it quiet, and my extremities were tingling. My right thigh was numbing in pain–and this thigh has been a problem for the past six months or so. My dad has a lot of pain in his thighs in a similar way to what I’ve been experiencing, and it’s turned out to be serious. I’m not a doctor, but my interpretation is compressed vertebrae. There’s talk of an operation. The citadel was very interesting, but I was seriously hurting by the time we got there. I overheard a mother asking her daughter in concern if the daughter was OK, and the daughter nodded, but her face was dangerously flushed. I hope she’s OK, but it heartened me to know I wasn’t the only one who was having such difficulties with the climate.

I had a fish stew that was fucking amazing. But, no air until the cab we hailed to go back to the retreat center. I know we overpaid, but I didn’t care by that point. I would have paid five times the amount for five minutes of cold. It showed me how weak my flesh was and how willing I was to do anything to get out of that remorseless heat. I said to Ian that it started to feel malevolent, as if the heat was personally targeting me. Yes, I know it’s not true, but it really felt malicious by the third night I couldn’t fucking sleep. We slept with the door open during the day which helped, but it felt weird to do that at night. I don’t know why, but sleeping with the door closed was nearly impossible.

I have much more to say, but this is getting long. I’ll wrap it up here and pick it up at a later time.

Baby steps in health

caffeine injection stat!
Yes, I’d love a–GIMME THE DAMN TEA

It’s been a roughly a week since I started my caffeine cut-down. I’m at roughly 8 oz a day, which is where I want to be. It’s been easy-breezy-peasy!

Fuck the hell it has. It’s been harder than fuck, and you can tell I’m serious because I said fuck twice in two sentences. Three times. I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be. The last time I did this, I cut out caffeine completely (6 cans of Diet Pepsi a day), it was horrible for a few days. I barely remember because I was in a haze and my head was pounding like it was a taiko drumming. If I had any doubt that caffeine was an addiction, I didn’t after that.

This time, I decided to be smart about it. I cut down gradually, well, OK, not that gradually. I went from 60 oz to about 25 oz (the first cut is the deepest), and then slowly whittled it down to roughly 10 oz. I’m close to where I want to be, and it’s the worst. I’m so fucking tired all the time. I mentioned last time that it’s a weariness deep in my soul. It’s also mad headaches at time, but it’s mostly feeling unfocused and not able to think. I’m drinking the caffeine when I first wake up, and then I’m going the rest of the day mostly without. By the way, I just had a sip of Mango Diet Coke and instinctively made a face. It was gross. I don’t think I can drink them, though I hate just pouring them out. It’s the Taiwanese in me–we loath to get rid of anything.

I didn’t realize how much I rely on the caffeine to get me through the day. I’m draggy most of the time, and it’s hard for me to concentrate. On the other hand, I am less anxious than I was before, but maybe it’s because I’m just so fucking tired. My affect is flat–flatter than normal, which is pretty flat. I think my body is craving the caffeine, and I don’t know how long it’ll take to physically become not dependent.

I also don’t know if my body will accept anything less than going completely caffeine-free before adjusting. I think I might be keeping it in a state of confusion by pumping it up with caffeine in the morning and coasting on it for the rest of the day. I’ll report back in a week or so how the caffeine experiment is going.

I believe it’ll be better overall, but it’s hellish right now. All I want to do is sleep all the time, and I keep nodding off. It makes me think that at least some of my sleeping issues has been the caffeine. Yes, I know that’s a ‘duh’ thought, but I can’t be brilliant all the time. Could it be as simple as less caffeine equals more sleep? Yeah, no. I’ve been sleeping less actually since giving up caffeine, but maybe that’s just because of the adjustment period.  Continue Reading

Real life getting in the way of my blogging

We’re coming down to crunch time with my parents’ visit being roughly twenty-seven hours away and me being in a panic because I am not ready. Cleaning-wise because I always leave it to the last moment, but I’m mostly at peace with that because it’ll never be clean enough*. I mean it more mentally and emotionally. I’ve had a better relationship with my parents in the past few years since, well, ever. I’ve been able to roll with much of the bullshit, and arguments went from daily to maybe once every other week.

I was on the phone with my mom the other night, and she was talking about my father as she normally does. 90+% of our conversations revolve around him (partly my fault because I get pulled into it), and she mentioned something that instantly triggered my, “That’s fucked up” response that is specifically tuned to my family bullshit. Now, I knew mentioning it wouldn’t make things better. I knew, in fact, that it probably would make things worse. I *knew* it. My brain was like:

I even said internally, “Don’t say it. Don’t say it. Don’t say it.” Then it was as if the pod people had taken over my brain and I heard myself saying, as if from outside of me, “You know, that’s wrong.” I didn’t say it in exactly those words, but I was crossing that family boundary of saying the truth when a lie would do just as well. Even as I was saying it, I was yelling inside my brain to shut up, but something inside me compelled me to say my bit.

I was right. It didn’t make one whit of difference except to make things worse as I knew it would. I tweeted afterwards:

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Feeling under the weather

too damn hot!
Saunas are not my friend.

We’ve been experiencing a heat wave in Minnesota this week, and to make matters worse, my a/c is busted. This is my own damn fault. It broke at the end of last summer, and when I called the repair guy, he said it would be better to wait until this spring to fix it so I would have more time on the warranty. That made sense as last summer was fairly cool, so I agreed. Then, as you probably guessed, I forgot. To be fair, we had a 15 inch blizzard on April 14th. The last thing I was thinking about was air conditioning. So, yeah, my fault, but I’m ruing it now.

We hit 97 degrees on Saturday and 101 degrees on Sunday. It hit 90 before it was even noon. Now, if you know me, you know that I cannot stand the heat. 60 is about my level of comfortableness, and anything over that ratchets up my irritability. When we hit 70, I want to throat-punch somebody. If it hits 80, I start to lose the little bit of energy I have. 90 makes me incapacitated, and 100? Forget about it. I was outside in it for a few minutes at a time, and it was incredibly draining.

How am I dealing with the heat with no a/c? Poorly. I have three iced drinks with me at all times, which helps. I’m in as little clothes as possible (usually a tank top and boxer shorts) with my hair up. I have an old big box fan that only works on high that I have blowing on my face. When it gets really bad, I go into the basement because it’s so much cooler. It’s not great, but if I make like a slug and don’t move, it’s barely tolerable. I blasted the air when I was in the car, though, I’ll tell you that much for free.

My sleep, which is shit, anyway, is even more erratic now. As I said in a recent post, my sleep goes nuts when I’m sick–which I was in the near past. Currently, I’m going to bed by midnight and getting up around six. I used to go to bed around four or five in the morning and get up around ten or eleven. Before that, it was even worse. I went to bed at six or seven in the morning and got up four hours later. Now, it’s an average of six hours a night. I can’t get used to getting up at the crack of dawn, even though it’s been more than a month.

I’ve been exhausted since the heat wave had started, and I’m pretty sure it’s heat-related. No matter how much I sleep, I’m dead tired when I wake up. Not just sleepy, but drop-dead exhausted. I literally can’t keep my eyes open at times. It’s disconcerting because even when I was sleeping four hours a night, I wasn’t this tired. I’m blaming the heat, but I’m thinking it might also be my sleep deficit catching up with me. Also, still not completely 100% (about 93%), and I’m nervous about a relapse. I’ve been coughing a bit in the past few days, which isn’t good. Plus, my left ear is all crusty again. These are both signs that maybe I’m coming down with the sickness again.
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How to be (mentally) healthy, wealthy, and wise

burnt to a crisp!
Sleep is hell.

I was listening to NPR or MPR yesterday on my way to taiji, and the topic was mental health. Funnily enough, when I talked about it with my taiji teacher, I called it ‘mental hellness’, which I think is often apt. Anyway, the topic more specifically was how can we talk about mental health and being proactive about it in the same way we now talk about, say, how to prevent a heart attack (the example given by the host). One of the guests was a psychiatrist, and he said there was one thing that was most important above all else. I immediately shouted, “Sleep!” I knew one-hundred percent that was what he was going to say, and I was right. He went on to say that after thirty years of practicing psychiatry, he had three linchpins of good mental health. Sleep was one of them, followed by self-compassion and a deep connection with someone else.

There was also another guest who was the director of a cultural wellness center (I gathered it was a mental health center for minorities, specifically black people), and she said it was important to tell the truth to yourself, especially right before you go to bed. If someone wrongs you, you acknowledge it and ask what you’re going to do about it. If you did something wrong, you acknowledge it, too.

I think all this is important, but I immediately thought of a few questions. With the latter woman, I wondered if this worked for people who continually blame themselves for everything, anyway. Like me. What I actually had to do was learn how to NOT blame myself for things that I didn’t actually do wrong. I will admit there was a side helping of resistance when someone else pointed out I did something wrong because I was already so self-critical, and it miffed me that I had to think of something else that I might be doing wrong. However, I also have to admit that part of the reason I blamed myself for everything was the ‘do it to myself before someone else does it to me’ mentality. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true. If I was already being hard on myself, then other people weren’t as apt to come down on me. Then, I didn’t really have to do anything because, hey, I acknowledged I did something wrong! That’s enough, right?

My other question was for both guests. How do you help people get to the point where they can do these things? People are notoriously bad about recognizing their own flaws (and strong points much of the time), and we are not known for our self-reflection. So, yes, it’s good to tell the truth, but what if you don’t know what the truth is? I see many people walking around in denial, and it’s exceedingly difficult to get someone to see something they can’t–or won’t–see. In addition, what if someone is in a position where doing something about the truth is extremely difficult? Say, for example, an abusive relationship. I’ve learned that the time someone tries to leave is the time when an abusive partner is most likely to be deadly. So, it’s not as easy as, “I’m being abused. I must leave.” You have to plan it out very carefully and still recognize that it’s going to be hard. On the other hand, though, maybe just being able to acknowledge the truth of the abusive relationship and have others validate what you’re saying may be empowering in and of itself. I don’t know, and I would not dare profess that I have any kind of expert knowledge.

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Sleep, summer, and SAD; three of my least favorite things

Soooo sleepy!Today, I’d like to talk about sleep and summer, two things I really dislike. Or rather, one I hate with the heat of a thousand suns (the latter, which is ironic, don’t you think?), and one that hates me (the former). Let’s start with sleep with a quick primer on my sleep background. I never went to bed before midnight, not even a tiny person. I tricked my parents by stuffing the crack under the door with a towel/t-shirt, then reading for hours. In college, I had a 7:45 a.m. class, and I could never fall asleep before 3 or 4 in the morning. Needless to say. I wasn’t at my best for that semester. My favorite story is how I was looking for my alarm clock one morning (small, purple traveling alarm clock), but it wasn’t where I kept it. I looked everywhere, but couldn’t find it. I shrugged and opened my mini-fridge to grab my morning Diet Pepsi and guess what was in it? You got it, the alarm clock. I put it on the sink across the room from my bed, which kept me from putting it in the fridge again. Any time I would go home from college for a vacation or break, I would sleep fifteen hours the first day I was home and get sick.

In my sophomore year, I spent an entire semester falling asleep all the time. During classes, while talking to other people, and while driving*.  It was embarrassing to wake up in class with a line of drool slithering down my chin and nothing but scribbles in my notebook (literal notebook. This was pre-phone/computer to take notes days). It was jarring to be talking to someone and then ‘wake up’ ten minutes later and have no idea what we had talked about. The other person never knew I was gone, which I’ll talk about more in a bit. As for the last, that was terrifying. ‘Waking up’ to be driving 70 mph is not a joyous thing, I’ll tell you that much.

Many many years later, I figured out that while I was falling asleep during the first instance (and still got As/A-s for all my classes that semester), I was actually experiencing dissociative episodes. This is self-diagnosed, and I hesitate to say I actually had multiple personality disorder (in part because it no longer exists as a diagnosis and is notoriously hard to prove), but I’m pretty comfortable in saying that I had someone else talking for me while I was ‘sleeping’ inside. I would posit the same for the third situation because I didn’t crash, and this happened more than once or ten times. How did it stop? I don’t know. It just…did. Luckily.

Fast-forward to after college. I slept roughly four hours a night. It was barely enough to keep me functioning, and I have done a million things to try to alleviate the problem. It’s legend, actually. Valerian root (made me suicidal), sleeping pills (couldn’t wake up), lavender (allergic to it), chamomile tea (did nothing), exercise (nothing), sleep deprivation (temporary boost, then nothing), melatonin (jack and shit), hot milk (nada), and other such remedies. None of it worked. Honestly, the only thing that helped me at all was–sex. A rousing bout of sex had me sleeping like a baby and for a bit longer. Not much, but some.

You want to know when I get the most sleep? When I’m sick. It’s the only time my body says, “Hey, you know what? We’ll let you sleep a little more than usual, but don’t get used to it.” It’s how I gauge when I’m getting better after being sick–when I start sleeping less. It’s frustrating as hell, but it’s a good gauge of my road to recovery. The problem is, right now, this is not happening. I’ve been sick, but I’m pretty much over it. However, my sleep is being stubborn in that after I’ve been up for fourteen hours, I’m dead tired. This is not usual for me. At all. So, I’ve been going to bed anywhere from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. and getting up anywhere from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. Last night, however, I went to bed at 3:30 a.m. and got up at 8:30 a.m. My cat, Shadow, who has gotten used to me getting up at the crack of dawn, was not pleased at having to wait two whole hours for his breakfast. You would think he’d be used to being fed at weird times because I sleep at such odd times, but cats are creatures of habit.

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Health is fleeting and fragile

I think I’m mostly recovered from my recent bout of whatever, but one thing is giving me pause. Quick backstory: I don’t sleep well. I never have for a variety of reason, and it’s been something of a Thing for me for all of my life. I remember being six or seven and reading until midnight, stuffing a towel in the crack of my door so my mother wouldn’t realize I was still awake. I can’t remember the last time I went to bed before midnight on a regular basis–when I wasn’t sick. When I am sick, all bets are off. I can sleep at any time for any amount of time (my normal sleep is six hours. Which is much better than the four hours I used to sleep a night/day on a regular basis.

This time around with my sickness, I started getting tired after being awake for twelve to fourteen hours of being awake. This made me sleep schedule go all wonky, and while I’m physically recovered from the illness, the twelve to fourteen hour thing is lingering hard. As a result, I’m going to bed anywhere from eight p.m. to midnight (with a rare two or three in the morning, very rare these days) and getting up at the crack of dawn or before. It’s really strange to wake up when it’s dark or barely bright. It’s been weeks since this pattern has been established, and I’m still thinking of it as temporary. I’m still freaking out when I start getting tired at eight in the evening, and I’m nervous that this will not change. Why nervous? I’m not really sure. I think it’s partly because so much of my identity has been wrapped up in how fucked up my sleep schedule was and how little I slept, and it’s difficult to do a mindset change about it.

It reminds me of all the changes in taiji. First of all, I hate change. Intellectually, I know it’s normal and healthy and whatnot, but emotionally, I don’t deal with it very well at all. I know all the changes the Solo Form is going through right now are probably for the better in the long run–it doesn’t mean I’m dealing well with it on a day-to-day basis. It’s not learning the Solo Form that is the problem–I’m good at rote learning. I know it really irritates my classmates from time to time, but it’s nothing I can take any pride in because I was just born that way. It’s not as if I’m a show-off, either. I just…learn quickly. It can be a detriment in the few cases when I don’t learn something quickly, but that is not the point of this post.

It’s the same with my sleep pattern. I don’t like it right now. Intellectually, I know going to bed at midnight and getting up at six is roughly the same as going to bed at four and getting up at ten, but it feels different. Let’s take Mondays, for example. My class is at 12:30 p.m., which means I usually get up around 11 a.m. and leave by 12:10 p.m. Now, I get up at 6:00 a.m., write my post and do some other work before I go to class. I might even do my fiction writing before class, which means I’m done for the day by the time I get home around 3 p.m. Normally, I wouldn’t have anything done by the time I went to taiji, and it all would be waiting for me when I got home. On the one hand, it’s nice to be done with everything by early afternoon. On the other hand, it’s just fucking weird.

Yes, I know I have to adjust to it in case this is just the way things are from now on. I know it’s not really a big deal and  that I’m making it bigger than it needs to be. That’s my M.O., though, and I’ve gotten better about it the older I get, but it’s still how I react to things. I’ve joked with my BFF that I may argue with her vociferously when she tells me something, but I’ll go away and think about it. That’s me in a nutshell, both the bad and the good. Stubborn as hell and apt to digging in my heels when pushed. Will think things over when not as heated and will change my mind if I see a point in what I’ve been told. It’s not ideal, but it’s how I deal with things. I know this about me, and I accept it begrudgingly.


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Adjusting to change

childish stamping of my feet.
Wah wah wah!

I hate change. I’ll out-and-out say it. I’m highly resistant to it, even when I know it’s good for me. No matter what I can tell myself about it, I still hate it. I’m slowly getting better at it, but it’s still something that can put me off-kilter for the rest of the day, even if it’s a small thing such as a change of an appointment. I bring this up because my sleep has been fucked up ever since I was sick. My normal sleep pattern is roughly go to bed at three/four in the morning and get up at nine or ten. It used to be go to bed at six or seven in the morning and get up in the early afternoon. In general, I slept through the morning because it’s my least favorite time of the day, and late night is my favorite. Since I’ve been sick, however, all bets are off. I’ll go to bed at any time, which means getting up at any time. I also sleep more when I’m sick–sometimes up to a whole eight hours! It’s one way I gauge whether I’m getting better or not–when I start sleeping less, I know I’m getting better.

This time, I’ve noticed that after twelve-fourteen hours of being awake, I’m exhausted. I’m mostly better (think 90%), but the exhaustion is the same. This has resulted in me going to bed between eight-thirty and nine-thirty at night, then getting up at four-thirty in the morning. I’m currently writing this at four-forty-five in the morning because I write my posts when I first get up, and it’s really strange. This is normally the time I go to bed, not the time I get up. Waking up to dark is messing with me more than it really should. I’m groggy, only half-awake, and grumpy. I have my thermos of ginger lemon honey tea at hand as well as my Diet Coke, and I’m still barely awake.

I think I’d rather get less sleep and feel more awake than get eight hours and feel as if I could sleep endlessly. I think my extreme tiredness of the last few days might be because of my dental work as well as it’s still a bit achy five days later. I’m so tired, I feel as if I could sleep for the rest of my life. It’s so weird that I my usual habit of getting less sleep makes me feel more rested. I still feel like shite (watching too many Brits on the YouTube), but it’s marginally better than I do now. Another frustrating thing is that I can be dropping from exhaustion when I finally go to bed, and then I lie there, wide awake. It’s as if my brain takes it as a challenge. “Oh, you’re going to sleep? I think not.” Everything I’ve pushed to the back of mind during the day comes flooding back, and all I can think about is how much everything sucks. That’s always been the case, but it’s even more annoying when I’m so fucking tired.

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Getting better takes work

I’m probably at 90% right now, and I haven’t felt this good physically in over a month. I went to taiji twice in three days, and while I’m a bit tired, I’m fine otherwise. Actually, I’m very tired. That’s the lingering thing about this whatever it is. My taiji teacher told me that this cold has been affecting people for up to six weeks, and I can attest it’s true. I’ve had it for six weeks, and only in the last week have started feeling human again.

The only thing concerning is that after approximately fourteen hours of being awake, I’m suddenly exhausted. If I don’t immediately try to sleep, I’m no good for anything. The problem is, when I try to sleep, I can’t. That’s normal for me, though. What’s not normal, though, is that I sleep hard and long when I actually do sleep. Like seven-and-a-half to eight hours long. I normally sleep six hours or so at a time, so I know I’m sick when I sleep more.

Anyway. I’m glad I’m finally on the road to recovery. The one thing I’ve done every day (physically) was my taiji routine, but it wore me out when I was sick. Less and less so as I get better, and two classes in three days was doable.

The other worrisome detail is that my ears cleared up for a bit, but they’re now all crusty and scabby again. I don’t know what I’ll do if I get sick again. I won’t deal with it well, though, I’ll tell you that much.

Here’s Ricky Martin singing in Spanish because that ALWAYS makes me feel better!