Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Mental Health

Finding my way home

Today is gray and drizzling out, and we need the rain. I like gloomy weather, but it doesn’t do much for my depression. Which I still have right now. It’s not as bad as it was on Friday, but it’s still (ma)lingering. Friday was the worst I’d had in quite some time, and it freaked me out. I could barely get through the one day, so how the hell did I used to do this on the daily? I passed much of my twenties in this fashion, and I’m amazed I made it to the other side. There were days when I considered it an accomplishment that I brushed my teeth. That’s how I felt on Friday. I struggled to get anything done, and I’m feeling it a bit today. The last few days, it’s been difficult to get my writing done. I’d write a sentence or two, then stopped. My head felt heavy, and my eyelids kept closing against my will.

Today, I’ve had to push myself to get my shit together. My taiji routine should take a half hour to forty minutes. I’ve stretched it to ninety minutes before by reading my phone as I was stretching. Today, since I wanted to go to Cubs afterwards, I managed to do it in forty minutes. My routine now consists of 10 minutes of stretching, 10 minutes of warm-ups, 10-15 minutes of weapons, 5 minutes of Solo Form, 10 more minutes of stretching. As I was doing my morning routine, I thought, “I don’t have to go to Cubs. I can go tomorrow.” This is one of the more insidious aspects of my depression–I can talk myself out of doing anything. Now, granted, I didn’t *have* to go to Cubs today, but it would have been a lean day if I hadn’t. Nothing wrong with a lean day, but I probably wouldn’t feel like going tomorrow, either. I made myself go today, and now, I can eat fairly well (given that I don’t cook).

I’ve been exhausted since my parents left. I can barely keep my eyes open, and all I want to do is sleep. Yet, when I try to sleep, I can’t. This is per yooz for me, though. I can be falling asleep every minute of the day, and then when I actually go to bed, I’m wide awake. I used to get frustrated about it, but I’ve accepted it as a way of life. My weighted sleep mask has been a god-send for keeping me asleep (except for the bizarre fact that it doesn’t have a fastener, but merely a slit to pull one end through, so it falls off. I should sew a button on or something, but, that’s probably not going to happen), but it doesn’t help me actually fall asleep.

I’m really tired. So tired that my brain is refusing to brain. So, for today, I’m shutting it down. Here’s Vienna Teng’s Lullaby For a Stormy Night. I may need to take a nap.

 

Matter over mind

Last weekend, my taiji teacher invited me to her place this Saturday (last night) because her husband was on a retreat so she was baching it for the week. When she asked, my brain immediately came up with a million reasons not to go (even though we are friends and I like hanging out with her), so I did the Minnesotan response* (which I then explained to her in another context ten minutes later) of saying I would have to see how I felt that day. Then, after I went home, I thought about it more and realized that I had a habit of naysaying because I had such a difficult time leaving the house. I had to convince myself that there was a good reason to leave, then talk myself through the actual leaving. I hate driving so that’s part of it, but it’s also just that I am not able to control things outside my house to the extent that I can inside my house. Except my cat. There’s no controlling him.

I emailed my teacher and told her I’d be going (betraying my MN roots) and if I could bring anything. All was well until Friday rolled around. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed as the saying goes, and I was in the worst depression I’d had in at least a decade. It wasn’t my usual general malaise; it was a serious I hate everything about the world feeling. Plus, I was physically drained to the point where I could barely keep my eyes open. I had no idea why I felt that way or what caused it, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it. Everything I tried to do was made impossible by the heaviness of my eyelids and my body. I would try to write, and my eyes would close.

I wanted to go to taiji, but I knew I would be putting myself and others at risk if I tried to drive. I emailed my teacher telling her I wouldn’t be in class, and then I immediately started worrying about whether I would be able to go to her place the next night. My brain told me I should just cancel (even though I told her I was still aiming to go) and promise to take her out for lunch later. I didn’t want to disappoint her, plus I knew that my depression made me catastrophize everything. I decided to wait and see because I might be better by the next morning. There was no reason to call it off with plenty of time to see if I’d get better. But, that’s how my brain rolls. It says everything is terrible and I might as well just give up because it’s no use. What is no use? Everything is no use.

The rest of the day was me struggling to get shit done. I did manage to do it, but it took about four times the effort, and the results were…not great. But I got them done. I went to bed or rather passed out against my will (I hate falling asleep sometimes), and when I got up, I felt much better. Still like shit, but at least it didn’t feel as if I were swimming in molasses. I decided I was going to taiji and my teacher’s place later, even though my brain was screaming at me not to go. Why? Because it hates me.

Side Note: I have a lot of anxiety, obviously. It makes me sympathetic to others with anxiety, but it also makes it difficult for me to be around others with a high level of anxiety. My mother also has a lot of anxiety, and while she used to keep it somewhat under control, now she just lets it run amok. Her constant stream of anxiety is the way the voices in my head sound, and I don’t need an outwardly manifestation of said anxiety.

I went to taiji, and it was productive. I will talk more about that later because it’s worthy of a post in and of itself. Afterwards, my teacher and I chatted for a few minutes before we went our separate ways *cue Journey*. I went home to relax a bit, but in the back of my mind, there was a little voice worrying about the evening. That’s the way my mind works. There’s always a little voice saying something negative. Over the years, I’ve been able to tame it to a great extent, but I can’t get rid of it completely. In the past, I would give in to the voices just to shut them up, but it was folly. It only stopped them for a second, and sometimes, not even then. It used to be a shout, but now it’s more a dull murmur.

At least I knew what I was going to wear. I have a new favorite pair of paints that I bought from Target. AVA And Viv. Burnt Orange. Pockets. Comfy waist. Wide legs. In other words, fucking perfect. Plus a black button down from Taiwan. The drive was terrific because I was able to take the freeway that is currently NOT under construction rather than the one that is a fucking nightmare right now. There was one other woman there, someone I had met before who is really kindhearted with a fey outlook on life that I found both fascinating and at times bewildering.

I bought two tubs of hummus, two packets of pitas, and one bag of gluten-free bagels. I also bought some dark chocolate hummus to try for myself, and it’s…ok. It’s bland and too gritty, though. I also currently have a dark chocolate vegan spread that is…ok. It’s too gummy, though. The best is from Peanut Butter & Co., but it’s a tad too gritty. They also have a dark chocolate hazelnut spread, but the shipping fee on a five dollar jar is ten bucks. Uh, no. I could get six for thirty from Amazon, but that’s too much for one person.

We listened to music, chatted, and had tasty food. The other woman brought corn chips, and my teacher made a great guac to go with them. She also had a tasty flavored drink made with cane sugar. I think it was cherry? I can’t quite remember. In addition, she provided dark chocolate-covered almonds and dark chocolate-covered nuts and Majula dates. For a second, I was concerned about the chocolate until I remembered that she was allergic to dairy herself so she would not buy anything that would trigger a reaction.

My teacher’s husbands has an impressive array of insects and lizards, and my teacher has an adorable cat. It was so cool to check them all out. There is a lizard, um, gecko, um, not sure exactly what species she is, but I told her she was me in lizard form. She’s stealthy and likes to hang out in the shadows, being more of an observer than a participant. The boy lizard, on the other hand, is gregarious, outgoing, and likes to show you his big testicles. I didn’t get to see them, but I cackled at my teacher’s description of him manspreading on the glass.

At the end of the night, I marveled to myself that I had gone through so much anxiety over the event because it turned out to be lovely and very low-key. That’s the way my brain works, though, and I doubt I will ever be able to get it to stop completely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Anything other than a yes is a no. “I have to check my calendar” is a no. “That sounds interesting” is a no. “I’ll talk it over with my husband/wife/spouse/dog” is a no. “I’d love to if I can ____” is a no. If you don’t hear an explicit, “Yes! I’m there!”, it’s a no.

Analysis in the aftermath

self-imposed timeout.
Who could resist this face?!?

The parental visit is finally over*. After I dropped them off yesterday, I did a few things, and then, I just vegged out for the rest of the day. I mean, I did the things I had to do, but I did them MY way. Shirtless, to be more specific. With my parents in the house, I couldn’t be as stripped down as I normally am. My usual wear in the summer is boxer shorts and a tank top or no shirt. When my parents were here, I wore gym shorts** and a t-shirt. It may not sound like much more clothing, but for me, it is. I have both sensory issues and heat issues, and I felt as if I were dying much of the time. I had a personal fan blowing 24/7, and it still wasn’t enough.

By the way, the single indication of my father’s narcissism that stands out the most for me is how he keeps asking me if I’m cold/will be cold/might get cold. No matter how many times I’ve explained to him that I don’t get cold (for the most part, but he doesn’t do nuances), he can’t let go of the idea that if he’s cold, other people must be cold, too–especially someone whom he views as an extension of himself. On one of his many rambles, he opined on how he couldn’t understand people in India being able to tolerate living there. I admit I got impatient with him because he lives in fucking Taiwan! I don’t know how the hell people live there! (I mean, I do, but it’s a valid comparison.) I pointed out that people say the same thing about Minnesota and cold. He said you can put on more clothes when you’re cold (yes, you can, Dad. Which is my argument when he says 78 is too low for the AC), but you can only take off so many layers. I said only to a point. When’s it’s -35, there really isn’t much you can do other than go some place heated.

The point is, he can’t see anything outside his own purview, and it’s fucking irritating because it seems so basic to me. But, then again, that’s one of the characteristics of a narcissist–they literally can’t understand how anyone can be other than they are in any way. Also, a man. Too. As well. I try to tell myself not to get drawn in, but when he says something as egregiously ignorant as, “I don’t understand how anyone can live in India”, well, all my patience goes out the window.

I digress as is my wont, though.

This visit wasn’t the worst by far. Does that sound like damning with faint praise? Well, it is, but it’s worthy to note how much better than the worst it was and how I still passively felt like killing myself almost every day. In the past, I’ve actively wanted to kill myself during visits with my parents, and I’ve felt physically uncomfortable being in the same room with my father, so this is definitely progress. I’m not being flippant even though it sounds as if I am. Several years ago, when I was coerced into going to Taiwan on a ‘family’ trip, I had to stop myself from killing myself more than once. We’d be looking at the ocean–my spiritual home, the Pacific Ocean–and I had to restrain myself from walking into it until I could walk no more. When we walked across a bridge over the Taroko Gorge,*** the impulse to throw myself off it was so strong, it made me nauseated. Then, I thought, maybe I was supposed to have died there when I almost drowned in my early twenties, and I couldn’t shake that thought from my brain for the rest of the trip.

I was, to put it mildly, a hot mess for the entire trip, and the worst part was that I did it to myself. I knew it would be horrible for many reasons, but my mother wore me down. Every time we talked, she nagged me about it and guilt-tripped me about it until I gave in. That’s her M.O., by the way, talk and talk and talk until you agree just to shut her the fuck up. She did that to me about having children for fifteen years (going on and on about it every time we talked), and if I hadn’t been so deadset against having them, I might have given in. As it was, I once thought, “Maybe I should have a kid so she will shut the fuck up about it.” Fortunately, I realized that was a terrible reason to have children, but it just shows how much pressure I felt from my mother to even reach that moment.

By the way, my brother said on the way back from the airport, “Mom just won’t stop talking.” It was something I’d noticed over the past few years, and it was a tremendous relief to have it validated that it wasn’t just in my head. My parents are masters at the unconscious gaslighting (they don’t do it intentionally, but they are willful creators of their own reality), and if left to my own devices, I would question many of the observations I’ve made about our family. Then again, my brother can also do this to a certain extent, so it’s a double-edged sword. Everyone in my family, including me, is very invested in his/her own version of what our family looks like.

I asked my brother if it had gotten worse over the past few years. He agreed that it had. My mom has always talked a lot, but as he said, at least she would listen in the past. Now, she just goes on and on and on. And on. And on. It’s especially frustrating when she asks a question, but then will not pause to actually hear a response. My brother cuts in telling her she needs to listen. I cut in and tell her to stop for a second. Both of us say it in exasperated tones, which isn’t ideal, but understandable.

Here’s my theory. My father was forced to retire three or four years ago. That’s around the same time that my mom’s chattiness has gotten worse. My theory is that she’s gotten used to talking compulsively around my father because of their unhealthy dynamics. She’s always trying to please him, and he extends his approval and snatches it back at random. Well, not random exactly, but according to his byzantine inner rules about when someone has slighted him (which is more often than not). In addition, he’s probably in early onset dementia, which means he has no memory of anything said to him.**** So she has to tell him time and time again the most basic of information. In addition, his critical nature jabs at her anxieties, and that’s what the chatter is–her anxieties outwardly manifesting.

On the way to the airport the second time, I realized that she did not take a breath for the entire forty-five minute drive. There were stretches when I didn’t say anything at all, and there were other times when all I said was, ‘uh huh’ and maybe, ‘right’. I will admit at that point, I was doing a bit of a scientific experiment to see how long she would go without any encouragement, but it was mostly because I was exhausted and did not feel like talking. Also, she wasn’t looking for a dialogue. She just wanted to monologue about whatever it was that was in her mind at that moment.

I will say in that way, she and my father are alike. Neither of them cares about their audience–only in the reflection. What I mean is, with my father, he just wants to pontificate, and he wants you to reflect back what he wants to hear. You can tell by the way he crafts his questions that he is aiming for a certain response. That’s when he has a strong opinion on something (which is almost everything. Another thing all of us in the family have in common.) If he’s truly asking a question about, say, why squirrels go down the tree head first, then it’s a straightforward question. It’s still annoying because I don’t know and I don’t care, but it’s easy enough to ignore or to utter a platitude. It’s when he has an opinion such as America is so great and Taiwan sucks that I have a hard time just biting my tongue.

My mother, on the other hand, just wants what she calls a sounding board but I call a dumping ground for her woes. It leaves me feeling battered and worn, especially when I know that she will not do what it takes to change the situation. What’s more infuriating, she rewrites history so she ‘forgets’ what she was complaining about (or what I actually saw with my own eyes) happened. That’s what I mean about gaslighting, and that’s why I’m very particular about the truth. It’s hard for me to witness my father emotionally abuse my mother, and it’s even harder to listen to her deny it happened. Or ‘forget’ it happened.

I have much more to say, but this is running long as usual. I will save the meat of my musing for the next post.

 

 

 

 

*A day later than planned. My brother and I dropped my parents off at the airport Sunday at around 5:30 p.m. This was after having a tea at Starbucks for about an hour. I went with my brother to run an errand, and I made it home by 8:00 p.m. He called me ten minutes later to tell me that my parents’ first flight had been delayed to the point where they wouldn’t catch the transfer (2 hour delay), so they needed to come back home. I almost cried because I was so looking forward to having the place to myself and because driving back to get them–and then back home–was too much to bear. There is so much fucking construction that getting there and back nearly doubled the trip, and I hate driving in general. Fortunately, my brother was able to pick them up and bring them back here, but I was still irrationally pissed off at having to push off Freedom Day by fourteen hours or so.

**Both the boxers and the gym shorts I found in the men’s department. It’s hard to find women’s gym shorts that are baggy and have pockets (what the fuck is it with women’s clothing and pockets in the year of our lord, 2019????), and there is no such animal as women’s boxers. Unfortunately, men’s boxers seem to be dying out as well, sadly. Sigh.

***Where I almost died in my early twenties. I was in Taiwan during my semester abroad, and me and a bunch of the other women were swimming in the Gorge. Not a smart idea because I’m not a good swimmer. The rapids swept me away, and if one of the other women hadn’t grabbed me and pulled me out, I would have died.

****This is complicated because he’s always ignored anything that doesn’t interest him. So, part of his current not remembering things is hard to parse. Is he not remembering because he doesn’t care to remember or because he truly can’t remember? I think it’s mostly the latter because it happens even when he asks a question, but there’s also some of the former, especially if the answer is not what he wants to hear.

Falling in love…with my sabre

The first time I learned the Sabre Form, I was high off learning the Sword Form, which is my favorite thing in the world. Well, at least in the top three. The sword was like an extension of my hand, and I naively expected the sabre would be the same. I mean, it’s a sword, but bigger, amirite? I dove in with enthusiasm, only to find it wasn’t the same. At all.

I struggled with it. I can admit it now. The sabre felt clunky and unwieldy in my hand, and I was instantly disappointed. Let me tell you one of my biggest flaws: I will quit something that I am not good at in a heartbeat. I don’t like to look stupid, and I get embarrassed beyond all measure when I’m flailing about. There is also some childhood background on this. My parents were typical Asian parents in that they were way more apt to harp on my mistakes than to praise me for something well done. An example. I graduated magna cum laude from college. Not bad, right? My mom immediately says, “If you had done better in your first semester, you would have been summa.” Years later, when I confronted her about it, she denied saying it. Then, she added if she *had* said it, she meant it to comfort me in case I was upset about not making summa.

Well I wasn’t until you mentioned it, Mom, but I am now, thanks! That’s my mom, though. She has selective memory (putting a rosy tint on everything), and she allows her anxiety to overcome her common sense. I actually understand the latter because I have anxiety as well. I just learned to keep most of it to myself.

Anyway, I didn’t feel as if I couldn’t do the Sabre Form. One of my assets (which is also a flaw) is that I learn things really quickly. (That’s one reason I give up easily if I don’t catch on right away. Like badminton. It’s also one reason video games have been good to me. All the games I really like are ones that had steep learning curves.) The first time with the sabre, I learned the postures, now movements, easily. There are six rows, and we got to the end of the fourth row. I didn’t sweat the postures, but I felt as if I were doing them by rote.

The sabre never felt alive in my hand–it felt like dead wood. With the sword, I felt as if I were dancing with a partner. Every cell in my body would sing as I moved it around. Or let it guide me around. My teacher was asked by one of her classmates about if the sword should lead or the person should lead the sword (in the context of a certain movement). Her response was that there is a movement called ‘Step Forward to Unite With the Sword’. It’s in the beginning of the form, and she explained it’s meant to bring the two together so they work as one. Her classmate did not appreciate the response, but I did. It neatly summed up my feelings for the sword, and it was sorely lacking with the sabre. Granted, that movement isn’t in the sabre, but I still wanted it to feel the same way.

Continue Reading

Mental health and boundaries

no trespassing!
STAY OUT!

In American psychology, they talk about healthy boundaries and how to delineate them. In theory, it all sounds good. In reality, it’s not as clear cut as it appears. Maybe it’s because I have immigrant parents (Taiwanese), but it’s not as easy as it’s portrayed. I mentioned  in the last post how Asian boundaries are much softer than American ones are. It’s difficult for me because I’m at least 90% American, but the 10% that is Taiwanese is really, really, really persistent. In addition, my family is…dysfunctional at best when it comes to boundary. A small example.

I am not a morning person. At all. I used to go to bed at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. and get up at noon or 1 p.m. I’ve been trying to push it back to a more normal type because, well, I’m not exactly sure why. I think maybe because I’m a such a freak, and it’s a way of being more ‘normal’. In addition, I was sick a few months ago, and I could not stay up past midnight. I vowed to stick to it, but I have not. I haven’t gone all the way back to six in the morning, but it’s definitely not on the bright side of midnight. It’s been one or two before my parents came for their yearly visit–and now it’s creeping back again. Two, three, and sometimes four.

The worst part is that my father’s sleep schedule is all over the place, and I am not happy about it. He goes to bed around nine or ten, then he wakes up at three or four in the morning, which means he’s awake when I’m awake. I know that part of the reason I’m going to bed later is because I need my personal time. I need time when I don’t have to brace myself for someone talking to me at any moment of the day. It’s Skinner all over again. Briefly, if something happens consistently, then you expect it. So, if they were to talk to me, say, at the top of every hour, I would know when it was going to happen. Of course, on the converse side, if they never talked to me (my dream), then I wouldn’t have to be tense at all. But, the worst is that I never know when it’s going to come. It could be ten times an hour, or it might be at the end of the third hour.

I had to tell my mom yesterday that I needed a half hour in the morning to do my routine before she and my father dove straight into pelting me with questions or telling me irrelevant information that was of no interest to me. I’ve told her before, but she has selective memory. To be fair, she has a bad memory. To be unfair, it’s worse when she doesn’t care to remember something. I mean, we all have that problem, really.

Side note: She was complaining the other night about how she was saying something to my father about a a headache* she was having, and he jumped into say something about his headache, and she told him to keep the attention on her. he got mad (of course) and said he was going to say what worked for him. She then said with a straight face that he always turned everything back to himself. I pointed out that she did that as well. She’d ask how I was, and I’d say I had, say, a cold. She would then veered off that she had had a bad cold for weeks and in detail for fifteen minutes. She argued, but then carefully thanked me for pointing it out. And I’m sure she promptly forgot it.

Where was I? Oh, yes, boundaries. I was in the bathroom yesterday morning going to the bathroom, brushing my teeth, and doing my leg lifts. My mom knocked to ask me…I can’t even remember because it was so unimportant. Oh, right. She wanted to know where my cousin whom we met up with a few days ago taught. Which college. Seriously? That couldn’t wait fifteen minutes? Of course it couldn’t because it was my father who wanted to know, and when he wanted something, she hurries to do his bidding. I know why she does it. It’s because he’s extremely unpleasant when he doesn’t get his way. As in shouting at her or giving her the silent treatment for hours, and I clearly remember him doing that in my childhood. We could not tell my father this, that, or the other thing because it might upset him.

Continue Reading

The weight of the world

roast chicken, melted cheeze, and a bagel? yes, please!
Nothing like a bagel sandwich to brighten my day.

I am still thinking about how I might have ADD. Or not. Another symptom is the inability to get things done no matter how sincere the desire. I have this. For example, in preparing for my parents’ yearly month-long visit, I had a whole list of things I wanted to do, and I vowed to get started a month before they were to arrive (which is today). I make the same vow every year, and I fail every year. Why did I think it would be different this year? I have no idea. It didn’t happen, and even the things I did, I had to scale down form what I had planned on doing. There are several reasons for that. One, I’ve been dealing with gastrological issues for the past few weeks, and it’s made me have even less energy that usual. Which is close to none, anyway. TMI for anyone who doesn’t like to think about bodily functions. I had to deal with diarrhea on and off for a week. The first time, it wasn’t related to food because I know what that’s like. I eat something and a few seconds later, I’m running for the bathroom. That came later in the week, and it was because of tomato spaghetti sauce. At least that was my best guess. The first time, though, ti had nothing to do with food because I hadn’t eaten in eight or so hours. I was already feeling the effects of a migraine, and then I shitted my brains out. I was sitting on the toilet for half an hour, then I had to run back about an hour later for another half-hour round. That lasted for about three hours, and then I went to bed. I had to get up a few hours later to repeat the cycle, and it was the worst.

Now, the diarrhea is mostly gone, but I’m still having issues now and again, and also the opposite problem–blockage. Before I continue, I’d like to say that I love all kinds of foods. I will basically try anything once, and I used to live for spicy food.

Side note: I watch Hot Ones online, and Da Bomb is the sauce that makes everyone gag. It’s not their hottest, but it’s the one the guests are least able to handle. Why? Because it tastes like battery acid. I know because I’ve tried it. My brother and I had a years-long competition to see who could give each other the hottest of hot sauces. Da Bomb was from me to my brother one year, and I used four drops in a pot of chili that was too hot to eat. My brother called off the competition after trying this sauce. It’s made strictly to be hot and nothing else, and it’s doesn’t have any of the complexities of a good hot sauce. Anyway, I have to smile whenever it comes out on Hot Ones.

Now, however, my diet is very bland. The last few days, I’ve mostly been eating gluten-free crackers, rice, roasted chicken, and corn on the cob. I also am eating gluten-free bagels with either a meatless patty on it, corned beef, or roasted chicken–and melted Monterey Jack cheeze (Daiya). Citrus is still treating me right, so I eat an orange or two a day, and I squeeze lemon into my honey lemon ginger tea. Or plain gluten-free pasta with melted Monterey Jack cheeze and roasted chicken. I’ve cut out the sauce which is usually some kind of spicy mayo/mustard situation. I’ve also been eating spring greens with a mango chipotle dressing, but I’ve mostly cut out the dressing as well. I’ve had some soy yogurt with no issue. One night, I had the squirts, and I was terrified it was the rice. It can’t be the rice! I love rice, and as an Asian person, you will pry my jasmine rice from my cold, dead fingers. Yes, I know brown rice is better for you, but I don’t like brown rice. I may try to like it better, but for now, I’m sticking with what I know and like.

Continue Reading

Dealing with my shit as best I can

My parents are coming for their annual visit in a week, and I am not ready. I am never ready, but I hate that I put off doing the shit I need to do before they get here until the last minute. I need to clean, which is an intensive thing, and I always vow to start early. I never do. It ends up with me cleaning the fridge at three in the morning the night before they come, contemplating going inside the fridge and shutting the door. I also have some chores outside the house I have to do before they get back which include the car.

Amusing anecdote: I called a garage to set up an appointment, and I asked for the times they had available. The guy said, “1 o’clock, 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock.” Then he stopped and my brain immediately shouted, “ROCK!” I managed to stop myself from yelling it out loud, and I answered him with a half-laugh. I am An Old.

It’s a funny story, but it took me forever to make the phone call. Rationally, I know it’s not a big deal to make the call and go to the appointment (for a bad tire), but my brain is wired incorrectly, and it takes everything I have just to make the goddamn phone call. Going to the appointment won’t be an issue, but making that phone call? Took me weeks to force myself to do it. I know it’s not rational. I know it’s silly on my part. I know that the mental energy I use to avoid calling would be better sent doing literally anything else. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I remind myself that it’s not a big deal. A weird side effect is that once I decide to do the difficult thing, I become obsessed with it. I have to make a cancellation of a trip for my mother, and there is a glitch on Orbitz that won’t allow me to cancel that way. I’ve tried several times, and now I’m on hold while waiting to talk to an actual person. By the way, I hate when you’re on hold, and they interrupt the music in order to have the automated voice assure you that you are valuable to them before returning back to the music. Don’t get my hopes up like that! Also, when one song is twice as loud as the one before it, that’s irritating as well.

Sigh. Moving to health issues. I think I’ve figured out what set off my stomach the night before last–the tomato-based spaghetti sauce I had with my gluten-free elbow macaroni. The minute I ate it, my stomach clenched, and I was racing to the bathroom. The biggest problem for me with diarrhea–there’s a sentence I didn’t think I’d be writing–is that it’s never a one and done. It wouldn’t be so bad if I eliminated everything in one go–but, no. It’s me sitting on the toilet for ten to fifteen minutes, several times in a few hours. It wakes me up in the middle of the night, and it’s the first thing I have to do when I get up the next morning. Since I eat basically the same thing every day with slight variations, I can usually pinpoint the problem to a certain degree. I’m fairly certain the tomato-based sauce is the trigger this time. But, I’m also wary of peaches and cherries. I know the right way to test is to eliminate a bunch of things and then slowly add them back in, but that seems tedious as well as time consuming. Also, I’m not particularly wedded to tomato-based spaghetti sauce, so cutting it out is not a problem for me. I’m pretty sure it’s the tomato-based sauce because I had the same meal minus the sauce last night, and it was fine. I added a spicy mayo-based dipping sauce instead of the tomato-based sauce, and it was fine. Gluten-free elbow macaroni, dairy-free pepper jack cheeze, roasted chicken, and the spicy dipping sauce. Oh, and spring greens thrown on top, which I ate separately. It’s a quirk of mine that I eat veggies separately, even if they are incorporated into a dish, unless it’s something small like slices of mushrooms.


Continue Reading

You won’t like me when I’m angry

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

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

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

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

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

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


Continue Reading

Preparing to go out is harder than actually leaving

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

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

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

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

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

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


Continue Reading

I am done with sleep

My sleep has been shit.

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

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

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


Continue Reading