I think I have to give up reading crime murder mysteries for awhile. I am unable to put put them down after I’m hooked. Besides not getting much done, my head is in a funny space. They do absorbed me, deflecting my attention away from the ickiness of everyday life and unwanted thoughts. At the same time they cast me in the real harsh realities of life. I’ve just finished Patricia Cornwell’s Depraved Heart. Her books that I’ve read are about crimes, murder, the FBI and the U.S. government.
The latter two have been on our news alot lately. What I thought of as purely fiction is very much real. Real is scary and I see that very night on the national news. It’s not just pulp fiction. Hard to believe. I have to give my head a shake every time I see and hear Donald Trump. Is he real? Is he really the President of United States? These days I’m learning about fake news, articial intelligence and from Depraved Heart, data fiction. Is anything real or are we manipulated to believe that they are? I wonder if we are living fake lives.
I think I better change my reading material and not watch the news so much. I’m like a sponge. I soak up too much of what’s around me. Better yet, I need to develop a thicker skin. I cannot stick my head in the sand. It will not change reality. I need to see clearly to survive. I need to grow up and not whine so much. I will start tomorrow.
These cloudy wet autumn days are starting to get on my nerve! Sheba is getting on that one nerve that’s left, too. Every time I get up, I feel like I’m getting a FBI escort. Most of the time I’m just heading to the kitchen to get a cuppa. She’s thinking food. Me also if I was telling the truth.
I can do absolutely nothing about the weather. I sure feel its changes though – summer, autumn, winter and spring. I’m a sensory being. I feel all the changes of temperature, pressure and probably even wind velocity. I probably have more feelers than most people. You would think I’m a spider with all these feelers. It has its advantages and disadvantages. I’m only aware of the disadvantages right now – the aches, pains, fatigue, sleepiness and then there’s the moods.
The advantages are maybe coping has pushed me to investigate the whys, wherefores and hows to have a good life despite everything. I’ve been an avid reader of anything and everything pertaining to depression, chronic pain, SAD, nutrition, supplements, mindfulness, etc. I’ve eased up a bit in the last few years. I’m spending more time dabbling with my paints and sewing machine. Being engaged in meaningful and rewarding activities take my mind off those nagging and distressful symptoms of pain and anxiety. I must be producing those feel good endorphins with my paint brushes and Bernina.
These days, I try to think of solutions instead of staying in my pit of misery. I didn’t make it to my Saturday morning swim yesterday. I did today even though I felt like hell. I felt green with total body pain and fatigue. I didn’t voiced any declarations the night before in case I couldn’t live up to it. To make it a successful mission, I had to plan for success. I packed my gym bag with all my necessities way ahead. When the time came, I just had to walk out the door with it. I eliminated excuses and delays. There was no searching for my shampoo, goggles, earplugs, etc.
I didn’t plan for an Olympic swim today. It was just a splash or two. It was just to wet and loosen up my body. It was just a pretend swim. And that’s what it was – 6 lengths up and down the pool. Then a few minutes in the whirlpool. Mission completed. I stopped and visited my mother on the way home. She fed me goji soup and gave me some Chinese pastries given to her from her friends. I don’t say no to my mother when she offers me her soup. I am happy that she is still able to make it. I can’t say no either when she gives me stuff. That’s my mother – giving.
Morning has broken. Snow is falling. There’s snow on the potted avocado. The buddhas are content beneath the spruce trees. My body is slowly easing and unfolding from its tightness. I need to move and stretch but sometimes what we need is the hardest thing to do. I skipped on my Saturday morning swim. I went through much talk in my head about why I couldn’t. The miserable weather gave me the final good excuse – as if I need one. Who do I have to answer to?
I have to give up the need for excuses and explanations. It’s as if I still need approval and permission. Just when am I adult enough to do or not to do as I please? I never seem to know if I am doing the right thing or not. Maybe it is that I am not willing to live with the consequences. I want to straddle both sides of the fence – the need for self esteem and pleasing others. Straddling never works for me. It has failed every time and it is I who is sorry for not being brave enough to choose my true North. I have not been strong and free. I have always compromised myself.
But I am getting a bit stronger. I am not so keen to please anymore but I am not aiming to displease either. I am just a little more thoughtful and generous towards myself. I am practicing doing for myself as I would for others. What better day to pamper myself a little than on a snowy Saturday in September? I am deliberately giving myself a break.
I mumble mostly about the mundanes of my extraordinary ordinary life. I’m starting to feel I’m a very boring person with a boring life. I’m repeating the same stories over and over. I’m not doodling the same old, same old YET while I’m telling the stories. I’m thinking of an orderly I used to work with who did that. He got dementia after he retired. I’ve been retired for five years now.
I’m happy about the retirement part. Thank God that I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn. Thank God that I don’t have to work a 12 hour night. Thank God that I don’t have to save lives anymore. I sound callous, don’t I? Maybe I am in this moment. It’s a very cloudy September day. And now it is really snowing. I feel ever so sleepy and zapped of energy. I want to close my eyes, sit or lay down every minute of today. I’m remembering having to work for a living whilst feeling thus.
I’m feeling grateful that I don’t have to put on a front anymore. I’m feeling grateful that I don’t have to put my best foot forward or outward. I can stay home and let everything hang out. BUT I’ve roused myself out of sleepiness and have made a run at the lunch dishes. And DONE. Sometimes I like a vacation from myself. I sound pathetic, don’t I? Though my motto is to leave some hope and possible solutions on the page, I don’t always succeed.
But let me think and try to fulfill that part of my mission. I’m not feeling and performing my best but I know that could be a part of my SAD. Feelings are not always indictive of truths. I could be grasping for excuses but I am feeling and doing much better underneath all this crap. I am not feeling weighed down with things left undone. I’ve been tending to everyday life. There’s bravery in shouldering and resolving those icky, boring facts of life.
Alas, I’m getting sleepy again. I must get up and stretch a little. My brain is not functioning on all cylinders. I have been idling too long. I must move on to another task.
How are you today? I’m none the worse for wear. In some ways I feel better than yesterday. In other ways, I’m worse. I should not have talked about Sheba’s past anxiety issues. It was begging for trouble. It came last night. It’s a good thing I went to bed early. I got a good first two hours of sleep. I don’t know if Sheba and I woke up simultaneously or if her whimpering woke me. I thought it must be close to 6 am but it was only a little after midnight. She sounded like she had to do ‘potty’ so I let her out. The only trouble was that sometimes it takes awhile to get her to come back in. She is a barker and I have troublesome neighbours.
I can entice her in with treats sometimes. Other times I have to scout her out in the dark. It is not easy. She is black. But I know where her favourite spot is – in the flowerbed by the sunroom. Sure enough, I found her there – a black blob curled up in the black dirt she had hollowed out. I should have left her there. She looked content. But you know how mothers worry about their fur babies. I roused and chased her back inside.
I really should have left her there because she fussed, whimpered and kept me up for hours. In the end I had to let her out again. She was anxious. Something was bothering her. If only she could talk and tell me what it was. She can’t. I had to figure it out as best as I can. I was not going to let her anxiety go on for weeks on end like the last time. We were both sleepless for that long together. I was determined that it was not going to happen again.
I was happy she found comfort in her flowerbed outside. It was probably very grounding nesting in the dirt. She was quiet out there and I finally got another couple hours of sleep. She barked to get in at 6 am. It was her breakfast time. She was back to her normal self again. In the morning light I could see that she had tracked in all the dirt from her hole in the ground. It’s no wonder. The ground is still wet from all the rain we’ve had.
I’m hoping for a more peaceful night. I could stand some sleep. My head is not working too well today. I’m probably babbling incoherently. Oh well….
No two days are equal. Today is not a good day. Nor is it a bad day. It’s just that I am feeling heavy. Do you know what I mean? I am not sure that I do either. You could say I’m treading water, keeping my head above the waterline. I wish I am more buoyant. I am getting tired. I think I am coming down with something.
Even so, it is difficult to rest, to let things be. I have this feeling, compulsion to do, to get ahead, to accomplish. I wonder if it’s me or is it the society we live in. Have I bought into or have I been brainwashed into the idea that I have to be useful, productive, blah, blah, blah. I really like to rest awhile like in the olden days, guilt free. I’m starting to feel flu like. My eyes and nose are dry like sandpaper. My head a bit achy. My body heavy and weighed down like a big sandbag. Even my hands feel flu-ish and achy.
So, why don’t I just give everything a rest? I feel somewhat programed like an EverReady battery. I feel pushed to GO, GO, GO. It’s no wonder that when I get sick, I get SICK. A couple of months ago, I had a summer cold. It lasted a month. I coughed and coughed the whole month. I think I better smarten up, ease up, drink lots of fluids and REST. I should not think so much. I should learn to let go and let be.
Some mornings I just feel like throwing up. That’s how enthused I am. It’s not about who I am or is it? I have many mornings like this. When I was still working, I often start the day by telling people I am grouchy. I want to let them know that it’s not personal. It was how I was feeling (my physicality and my brain chemistry) at the time. Mornings can be tough when you have to get up at the crack of dawn, walk the dog and be at work for 7:30. Most of the time I feel like a sleepy grumpy bear.
I’m lumbering around this morning, heavy and slow footed. There’s not an ounce of joie de vivre in me. I could lay on the couch all day. I see the crumbs and dog hair on the floor. They seem magnified and multiplying. I like to turn a blind eye but they irk the hell out of me. I sigh and take the big bic of a vacuum stick off its charger. I would just like to make a cursory round on the floor. But I know about all the dog hair under the legs of the chairs and stools. I heave another big sigh and painfully pulled them off. Then there’s the kitchen mat to shake out.
The kitchen and dining room are done. I even took a damp mop to give the hardwood a shine. It wasn’t that difficult now that it’s done. It’s a distant memory. I have to keep that in mind for the next time and forever. Difficult is however difficult you want to make it. I remember my mother telling me, don’t include difficult or hard in your vocabulary. Mothers have a way of always being right.
Now that the difficulties are out of the way, I can make something of my day. I’ve gotten up and shown up but haven’t dressed up. Guess what I am going to do next?
It’s a wet, dreary, windy day. Thank God for the autumn leaves. Their gold was more vibrant in the grey. This is the kind of day when I wish Sheba was self-walking. But I will brave up shortly and take her out. We’ve done this once or twice before. We got caught in a sudden deluge at the park couple of summers ago with no rain gear. There was no place to hide, not even down among the trees. The rain came down so fast it had nowhere to go. The trails became little streams. We got wet! We were not happy.
There was a lull in the rain. Sheba and I have been out and back. It was not too bad. The thoughts and anticipations were worse. But it is nice to come back to a warm dry house. It’s nice to have tea, toast and jam. One must keep one’s spirit and resolve up somehow. I need all the help I can get. I am not sad or mad but I’m not overflowing with glad either. It’s that kind of day. It’s the rain.
The day is restful but maybe a little too restful. I feel a bit at loose ends, somewhat like a soggy noodle. I’m not brimming with ambition. I feel no creativity whatsoever. Perhaps it’s not a good day to read How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollen. The cover enticed me at the library. How could I resist: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence? It’s probably not meant to be read at one or two sittings like a whodunnit. I must learn to be patient. I did manage a few pages though. It is interesting to read that LSD was discovered by Albert Hofmanm in 1943 and his first accidental ‘acid trip’. He lived to be 102. Amazing!
I’m boring even myself now. It’s the rain. I’m happy to have it. I’m happy to have a rest from all my strivings and doings. Sometimes it is really ok to be bored. My mind and brain need the downtime to idle and recharge. I love to sit and look out the window. How lovely the autumn foliage. How they light up the grey day. Is it not picture perfect?
Sheba is doing her job. She gets me out whether I want to or not. She’s not affected by seasonal changes at all. When I ask her if she wants to go for her walk, she pops up off her haunches every time. She didn’t fail to do so today. I only had to ask once. I said a silent darn.I didn’t want to but I can’t fail her. She loves her walks. No matter the weather or conditions I may have, she gets me out the door.
Today was one of those comfy misty gray and cool days. I didn’t do the hot chocolate marshallow thing but I cozied up to the fireplace downstair. Mind you I was not idle. I worked on my Bernina sewing machine and my paints. I made up for the days when I couldn’t do either. I might as well go with the roll when the rolling is good. That’s what I’ve learned to do. Make good of the good times. When the SAD hits, I can afford to shut down and not feel guilty. I can put my feet up and rest on my laurels.
I’m not speaking for everyone but I am not unhappy that I am affected by SAD. It is part of me. Who would I be without it? Would I be as interesting without my idiosyncrasies, my grumpiness and what have yous? Maybe you might find me easier to be with minus all that, but don’t I challenge you to be more this way? I am more having to search for the whys and hows to be living with who I am. Life is not stagnant when there’s so many ups, downs, sideways and bumps to deal with.
Here it is, after six, and I have no words or thoughts on the page. They’re all in my head. I have conversations and tell stories there all day long. They keep me company. I’m never lonely. It is a good thing. It is tough enough to have SAD but at least I can entertain myself and not to fight loneliness as well.
I don’t want to leave you with an impression that I am having a bad time all the time. I am not. There’s some positive things about having seasonal affective disorder. Honest, there is. For sure I struggle with sleepiness, sluggishness, moodiness, forgetfulness, anxiety and depression. But what and who would I be without those struggles? I am one who does not/cannot stay in the undesirable and unsustainable. My instinct for survival always makes me reach up and out for the light.
I can say that this life of mine is exciting and full. My life is my canvass and palette. I am the artist. I can choose what I want to create. I can choose the colours. Is it gold or blue? Does it have to be black and white? Can I make a rainbow? Would I be able to paint those colours if I have not experienced them all? So I do not mind being in the blues or the darkest of the blacks. I have also felt the goldens and tangerines. I’m always learning. I am always open to the way. I try not to question too much. I don’t have to understand how things work. I can just do it.