Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: recovery

It’s just a fantasy

I am mostly better from the cold I had, but I feel as if I’m on the cusp of something else. I know it’s a vicious cycle, but any time I go out, I get something that makes me feel worse than before. It’s one of the problems with not interacting with people on a regular basis. I have a shitty immune system, and it has no chance to improve because I don’t allow it to interact with bad things on the regular. On the other hand, I am allergic to everything under the sun, so my instinct is to wrap myself in a bubble so I won’t get hurt. The reason I got my cats in the first place was because I decided since I was allergic to everything and miserable all the time, I might as well get cats. Yes, I was allergic to them, but they would make me less miserable. I’m actually not that allergic to my cat now unless he decides to sit on my face, which he does from time to time when I have a pillow over my face.

I’m really frustrated right now. I’ll be real with you. Why? Well, I’m going to tell you. One, depression. It’s low grade, but persistent, and it saps much of my energy to do anything. Two, my physical health. I’ve been sick more than healthy it seems in the past year, and it’s just draining as well. Three, the intersection of the two and how it makes me not want to do anything. I’m trying to push past it and change the way I think, but it’s not easy. It takes a tremendous amount of willpower to even get me out the door, not to mention driving to the place I need to be. I haven’t even gone to the co-op since I got sick, for example, because it’s too much effort. It’s fifteen minutes away, but I can’t make myself do it.

I have a hard time not castigating myself for doing more, which is not the best motivation. The taiji demo showed me so many things I want to do, but I just don’t have the capacity to do them all. I set the goal of learning the Sabre Form this year. I am at the end of the fourth row (there are six), and this is where I stopped the last time I was learning the Sabre Form. Two years ago. The end two postures of the fourth row are insane, but in a good way. Part of the problem the first time I learned the Sabre Form was because I was fully expecting it to be like the Sword Form. I couldn’t wrap my brain around the idea that it wasn’t, and it made the whole experience sour for me. This time going in, I fully realized it was a very different beast, and I fell in love with it immediately. I had to have that extra experience under my belt before I could really get the Sabre Form.


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Adjusting expectations and dealing with an emergency

Yesterday was the taiji lunar new year demo at my teacher’s teacher’s studio. I didn’t hear about it until last Saturday because I hadn’t been in class due to my sickness. I was caught off-guard because I like to plan things well ahead of time and because I was still feeling iffy. I had missed the last few demos, though, due to health reasons, and I really wanted to go this time. I just didn’t know if I could endure, and I didn’t want to embarrass my teacher in front of her teacher. In addition, we had a snowstorm on Friday that lingered into Saturday (the day of the demo), and the winds were up to 45 mph. I was talking myself out of it, but I really felt I should go. Not only to represent my teacher, but because there was going to be a ton of weapon forms. I had to set some ‘rules’ for myself so that I would feel ok going.

The first was that I could go at any time. One of my issues is that if i go to something, I feel  have to stay for the whole thing. I have to deliberately give myself permission to leave, and weirdly, that makes me enjoy it more. I don’t have to be uptight and agonizing about how I’ll make it to the end. I can stay ten minutes or half an hour, or I can stay until the end if I’m up to  it. That way, I don’t feel trapped, and I’ve used it to a good effect for the past couple events I’ve gone to.

Secondly, I had to tell myself that I didn’t have to do anything. There were three things I knew well enough to participate in, the Solo Form, the Sword Form, and the first section of the Fast Form. Funnily enough, they were the first three performances of the afternoon, one right after the other. The thing is, I really wanted to do the Sword Form. I had not participated in it before even though I’ve known it for years, and I wanted to show my teacher’s teacher that she was a damn good teacher in her own right. As my classmate said, we have to represent the Seven Stars. The problem was that the Solo Form was first, and I knew if I did that, I would not be able to do the Sword Form. I did not have the energy for both of them.

Let me be real with you. I felt the need to show what I could do. Why? I don’t  know. No one cared but me, but it was in the back of my mind. I don’t take any classes at my teacher’s home studio even though it’s in the same building and I’m able to take any of the classes, and I am very competitive–though I try to keep it to myself. I had to tell myself that I didn’t need to prove anything to anyone. My teacher knew where I was at, and that was really all that needed to happen. Even more to the point, I knew where I was at. I know some of my insecurity is because I’ve missed so many classes in the last two years. Plus, there’s a woman in the home studio who I found out started roughly the same time I did, and she’s so much further. It’s hard for me because I know it’s all on me, but I want to be so much further than I am.

I ended up skipping the Solo Form and the first section of the Fast Form. I did the Sword Form, and I felt good once it was over. I did not make any major mistakes, and I definitely looked like I was one of the crew. I didn’t bring my own sword because it would have been one more thing to make me anxious–keeping track of it and making sure I didn’t leave it behind. There are plenty of practice swords in the studio, so I just grabbed one of them. I will admit a second of feeling embarrassed because I normally practice with my stainless steel sword, but I brushed it to the side. I did the Sword Form to the best of my ability, and I was pleased once we were done. I didn’t hit anyone, though I came close, and I remembered all the movements. I call that a win.

I had a mini panic when I arrived at the studio because I could not find my key fob. It wasn’t in the pocket it was supposed to be, and I couldn’t find it in the other pockets, either. Since I had been at the tire shop on Friday, I thought maybe I left it in the cup holder in the car. Nope. I spent five minutes rootling around in my car, but I could not find it. In desperation, I checked the original pocket again, and I found a hole in the corner. My key had slipped into the hole, and while I was relieved to find it, I also was grumpy about the hassle it caused.


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The more things change…part three

Last week, I wrote about how there are several things in my life that have changed without me actively trying to enact said change. Most of them I put down to taiji, and there’s one more I want to add to the list. It’s a weird one, but it’s fascinating–at least to me. Let’s talk about my hair for a minute. I don’t like much about the way I look, but my hair is my shining glory. Funnily, I mostly keep it in a bun these days, but I feel badass when I have it down. For at least a decade, it fell to my waist, just above my ass. In the past year or two, it’s grown about eight inches and now it falls past my ass. I thought I was making things up, but, no, my hair is appreciably longer now. I’m excited about it, but also a bit weirded out. I haven’t changed any of my hair regime, so what’s the difference?

At first, I said taiji. Why? Because that’s my go-to for anything positive in my life. It’s true 85% of the time, so it’s not a bad shout. This time, however, I don’t think I can give credit to taiji. Instead, I think it’s beacuse I drastically changed my diet two and a half years ago by cutting out dairy and gluten. I also cut out caffeine almost 100% later, I think six months or so, and maybe that’s part of it. Anyway, I think it’s the diet that has strengthen my hair, and at any rate, I hope it keeps growing.

That’s not the coolest part, though. Well, the next part is half cool, half not-cool. I have a lot of silver/gray in my hair. I’ve been eagerly awaiting for it to turn all gray/silver because I think that would be bad and ass. I want to look like storm, and then I’m going to cut it all off. At least that was the plan. I’ve become really attached to it (no pun intended), so we’ll see. That’s not the cool/not-cool part, though. The gray is reversing. I know it sounds crazy, but it is. I took it down to brush yesterday–

Side note: Part of my depression is that I am not always on point with my daily grooming. It’s one reason I wear my hair up in a bun–so I don’t have to deal with it. That’s fine and dandy, but it means that I sometimes can go a week or longer without brushing my hair. If I just left it in a bun, it might be ok (but probably not), but I have to redo the bun every few days, which means by the time I let it down, there are usually huge tangles in the underneath part of it.

Side note to the side note: I remember reading a series of tweets a while ago about a woman who had severe depression. She did not wash her hair or brush it in something like a year. Her hair was as long as mine, and she went to a hairdresser to deal with it. It was the hairdresser who was tweeting about it. The woman was still downtrodden and self-defeating, and the hairdresser decided she was going to do what had to be done to save the woman’s hair. For the next six hours, she brushed out the woman’s hair until she got rid of all the mats, tangles, and snarls.

Anyway, with the amount of hair I take, when it snarls, it takes a lot of patient coaxing to get them all out. In addition, it’s the worst in the exact back of my head, so it’s difficult to reach. I know the answer is to brush it every day, but that’s simply beyond my ken. It’s one thing that I hate about myself–how much mental and physical energy it takes for me to do simple tasks–and it’s one that I would like to change.


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The more things change…part two

In part one, I talked about my frustrations with things that do not change over time. In this post, I want to talk about the things that have changed without notice from me. I’ve mentioned some of them in the past such as my sleep. To summarize briefly, when I was in college, I rarely slept more than three hours a night. Then, when I went home on breaks, I slept for fifteen hours the first night. Partly because it was my sleep deprivation catching up to me and partly I would get sick, but fight it off until I got home. In my late twenties, I slept maybe four hours a night. I will say I have thyroid issues, but at that point of my life, I had hypothyroidism and not hyper, so insomnia should not have been a problem. If anything, it should have been the opposite. I got my thyroid destroyed when I was fourteen (radiation), so any insomnia before hand could be attributed to hyperthyroidism (well, at least partly), but afterwards, it should have course-corrected.

I also learned yesterday that having vivid dreams is a symptom of not getting deep REM sleep. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. I used to have very graphic and disturbing dreams all the time when I was sleeping four hours a night. I woke up after two hours, usually in a cold sweat because of a weird and intense dream, and then I’d drift off into another uneasy, unsettling dream before waking up again. I knew I wasn’t getting REM sleep, so it was weirdly validating to read that I wasn’t just imaging things.

In the time I’ve been studying taiji–over ten years–I’ve slowly started sleeping more and more. I’m up to six hours on a good night, and I rarely remember my dreams any longer. If I do, they’re anxiety dreams. While not great, they’re much better than the murder dreams I used to have. Six hours is a huge leap for me, but it’s hard not to get fixated on the fact that I’m not getting the requisite eight hours unless I’m sick as I am now. Currently, I’m going from five hours in one night to nine hours the next. That’s how I know I’m sick. It’s actually one thing I like about being sick–I actually get a long chunk of sleep without disturbance. Other than that, though, it pretty much sucks.


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A new year, but the same old me

It’s the day of the eve of New Year, and I’m doing the tiniest bit better. I had a horrible night in which I was shivering and sweating alternately. I have Googled cold vs. flu several times, and I still don’t exactly know the difference. I feel like being ‘feverish’ (I don’t get fevers as my base temp is 97) is a symptom of the flu, and there is some writing that backs me up, but it’s hard to say. It doesn’t really matter as there’s no cure for either a cold or the flu, but it’s just my natural inquisitiveness that I want to know. Either way, I woke up with the feverish symptoms gone. Now, it’s ‘just’ a stuffy head (nose, brain, throat, ears–the left one is blocked), sometimes a runny nose, a hacking cough with a sore throat, and just a general exhaustion.

Here is ABBA’s cheerful Happy New Year song. Enjoy!

Run over by a semi truck

The crud that I’ve been fighting off has hit hard, and I sound like Barry White–when I have a voice at all. I already have a deep voice, but this cold is making me a double bass. Sexy? Not really because it’s interspersed with a hacking cough or a loud throat clear that ain’t sexy no way, no how, no why. So, another day of hunkering down on my couch with Shadow warming my legs as I alternate between freezing and boiling. Have some Barry White in honor of my sickness.

All the ginger tea in the world

Back at home with Shadow on my legs. Had a great time in Philly with my BFF, but traveling is not fun at all if you’re flying basic economy. I got a really good price, but that meant I didn’t get to choose my seat and I couldn’t check any bags for free. I don’t are about the bags, but I do care about the seat. I get the aisle when I can for many reasons, but I knew I’d be in the middle. It was only a two-hour nonstop flight, though, so I didn’t care as much about it for that flight. It was really uncomfortable, though, and one of the reasons I get the aisle seat is because I have bathroom issues. When I am confined, I have to pee more often. I do not know why, but that’s how it goes. I hate asking others to move which is why I get the aisle seat.  Fortunately, the guy in the aisle seat next to me (very nice guy, btw) had to go to the bathroom once so I went when he did.

Flying to Philly was a breeze. I also had my first Lyft ride because of a mix up with my brother. It was interesting. He was from Kenya, and we had a very spirited discussion about America, capitalism, and snow. Anyway, shout-out to Delta for making the flight out as painless as possible. They even had Kind bars as a snack option, which means I could actually have one. I brought five with me as my emergency snack.

On the way back was a different matter. It was a Sun Country flight, and when I went to check in, I had to pay $35 to have one overhead bag. Excuse me, what? I have come to accept that check in bags cost extra, but overhead bags???? On a flight back? That just seems sneaky and wrong to me. I also had to pay for a seat–or at least that was how they presented it. Maybe it was if I didn’t choose, they’d give me the worst seat ever. However, I chose a seat, and the screen made it seem like the plane was more than half-empty–which it wasn’t. I didn’t check in that early, either, so I don’t know what’s up with that. I did get an aisle seat at least, so there’s that.

I also have to say that the night before I went home, we went to get Indian food. There was an appetizer called Cauliflower Bezule that was both DF and GF, and I decided to give it a try after my bestie said it was really good. It was fucking amazing. Here is a Yelp! picture of it. I couldn’t stop talking about it all dinner, but the cramps started as soon as I got back to my BFF’s house. It lasted all night and into the next morning, and I would do it again because the cauliflower was that fucking good. However, that meant I had to worry about the flight home. More on that in a sec.

We were sitting on the plane, idling, and not going anywhere. This is not a good sign. Ideally, once you’re in the plane and everyone is belted in, you should be off in five minutes. In this case, ten minutes went by. Then another five. Then, the pilot came on and said that there was an unexplained light on which meant we had to go back to the gate so the crew can look at it and sign off on it. Ok, fine, but what if it meant we had to switch planes? The pilot said it should be twenty minutes or so. Which, again, fine, but what if something was wrong?


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The vicious sickness cycle

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

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

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

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

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

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Health on my mind

leave me alone.
Go away.

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

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

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

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

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

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Not down with the sickness

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

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

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


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