December 27. I’m having one of those early morning awakenings when I can’t fall back to sleep. It was better for me to get up rather than lay in the dark with dark and unpleasant thought and feelings. It is 7:00 am an -12℃ outside. I’m on my second cup of tea, have scrolled through social media and played today’s Wordle. It would be better if I could skip the scrolling but it’s become part of my morning routine for waking up.
Surprisingly, my bad thoughts and feelings dissipated with my rising, turning on the lights, brushing my teeth and having my cups of tea. I am surprised only because I have been/am paying attention to when these moods come and go. They had been more frequent in the past. I like to think that I now have a better handle on them. Even though I know better and that I am not alone, I feel alone. I know I am not a failure but feel so in these times.
So this is the nature of my beast. I have accepted and befriended it. I am becoming a scientist in its investigation. I wonder how I can use it for my betterment instead of detriment. For one thing, it has made me realize that I can control it. I am not at its mercy. It has driven me to seek not only the why of its existence but also ways to work with it so that life can be as easeful, pleasant and meaningful as possible. I’m seeking ways of being kinder to myself with less self blame.
It is not the best time to be a think tank when I am being squeezed by my beast. My brain is in a thick fog. It would’t be able to figure out how to get out of a wet paper bag. The best activities for me would be to clean anything – like wash the dishes, floors, windows. I can still draw pretty good in these moods. Tapping out the words and moods is soothing and comforting. Cross country skiing is my newest, most fun and effective tool. My mind and senses are fully occupied. There’s no room for dark and ugly thoughts.
This is it, all that I’m able to write today. I had fallen off my writing wagon for a week. A week ago, I was bright eye and bushy tailed. A week ago it was sunny and bitterly cold, in the -30s ℃. But I felt oh so well. I feel better now just remembering how good I felt. I will hang on to the memory. My spirit dipped on December 24 when it got cloudy and up to -16℃ overnight from -34℃. We’re in for a stretch of clouds and snow ahead. I’m geared to make my own sunshine.
I have days when I fall into foul and dark moods for no explicable reasons. I’ve never questioned the validity of my feelings till lately. When I asked myself, Why do I feel so angry and pissed off? I could find no good reason. A poor sleep aggravates my dourness greatly. Faced with that knowledge, I had to ask myself a more important question. How do I get myself out of this fix?
It’s not good to sit with these feelings. They tend to mushroom and grow bigger and darker. One of the ways that works for me is coming to this writing space to air my angst, known and unknown ones. The rhythmic tapping on the keyboard soothes and smooths the wrinkles in my brain. I’m flossing my nervous system. If flossing works for sciatica and other conditions, it should work for my brain angst, too. Of course the exercise technique is different for each malady. It’s up to me to pay attention to what works for me.
I’m able to come out of myself a bit tapping for a solution to a problem. My attention, thoughts and feelings are redirected to a different direction. I’m not locked in. It’s not just about me. The world is a big place. There is the whole universe. The Queen has died. While I am not a royal follower, I enjoyed watching her committal service on YouTube. I was fascinated by the colours and pageantry and it’s happened in my life time. It’s quite remarkable. It really brought me out of the doldrums. How could I stay immuned to life and joy watching it all? I might sound paradoxical since it was a funeral. But to me it was a joyful celebration of a life well lived.
I do not have to understand why I fall into my moods. Usually I blame the weather and how it changes. It’s better than blaming myself. The important thing is being aware of : 1)When do they happen? 2)Can I avert them? 3)What can I learn from them? 4)Are they all bad? I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have my moods. How boring life would be if there was no ups and downs, with just one flat line. Don’t get me wrong. I am not a fan of bungee jumping or skydiving.
So..I’ve had my first dental checkup and cleaning since Covid disturbed everything. I had been waiting till things got better but things keep getting worse instead. I ended up going when the numbers of positive are at the highest. But I do have both vaccinations. Looking at the news, the number of positives today is under 400, the lowest in over a week. Though I had a few misgivings about my appointment, I am glad I kept it. The hygienist and dentist were masked and had face shields on. We are all as well protected as possible. It is good for my mental and physical health to keep up the activities of daily living. The hygienist and I had good chats about gardening. We were a good fit.
I’m finally able to have my second cup of tea of the day. I had to wait a couple of hours after fluouride varnish was painted on my teeth. I wouldn’t think it’s such a long time except when I have to wait. Oh, but the tea is so good and warming. Just what I need. I’m having a bit of irksome day. I’m trying to work on my concentration and decluttering. It’s hard when the kitchen sink plugs up and the window venetian won’t open. Then there’s those pesky fruit flies. There seems to be swarms of them around the diningroom table. I’ve set out a glass of diluted wine to leer them away from the kitchen area.
I’m trying to be patient and not fret too much about these things. It’s quite unlike me. I think I am getting a little smarter. I want to work for and not against myself. I couldn’t let things be when they aren’t working. I spent the rest of the afternoon pouring kettle after kettle of boiling water down the kitchen sink in the basement. The trouble lies in that both upstairs and downstairs kitchen sinks are on the same drainage pipe. It leads to easily cloggage if we are not careful. We had to call the plumber last year. I’m hoping we can forego that this time. The hot water is helping a little. We need to do another round of enzyme down the drain tonight and cross our fingers and toes.
That was my muttering on Tuesday. Today is Friday. I’m still working on declogging the kitchen drain. We might have to call the plumber but for now I want to give it and my patience a chance. Nothing is easy or simple. Have I said that already? It is a cool but beautiful sunny morning. I’m looking forward to visit a farm with a high tunnel greenhouse this afternoon. Meanwhile, things are still looking good in our greenhouse. The lettuce I’ve transplanted are looking quite at home. There are 6 bitter melons at various growing stages. At long last I have one viable winter melon. They have been difficult to take. I had quite a few little ones started. I have not been successful at hand pollinating them. The tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are still being quite productive. My harvest basket overflowth.
And so is my kitchen drain. It is still a problem but it is slowly getting better. It is also teaching me to look at problems in a different way. Problems are also solutions in themselves – if I have patience to wait, observe then try to solve. While I was/am waiting I clear and create a little bit of space in whichever corner I happen to be in.
I’m sleepless again. After wrestling unsuccessfully with the mattress, I decided to give it up. So I’m here, sipping my Orange Pekoe tea, trying to tap myself into ease and sleepiness. It is about the enigma, the woman next door again. I tell myself that there is clearly something wrong with her. Yet she has enough wits about her to run a business out of her house and a talent to irritate the hell out of us.
The frustration comes from not finding a solution/resolution to the problem. It’s difficult to conduct a conversation, never mind to enter into a negotiation with someone who makes her own rules/laws. Who does not allow you a voice at all. Who talks/yells over what you have to say. Who lies. I guess she could be called a bully.
What has she done this time? It’s the same thing – her obsession that she has rights on our property. She doesn’t like how we do our yard. She planted little spruce trees on our property next to the raised bed that she doesn’t like either. She ‘weeds’ and digs little trenches to ‘drain’ rain runoffs on our property. Somethings are just too small, petty and too tiring to fight over. So I had been ignoring all this before. Then she doesn’t like that we use woodchip mulch because it is a fire hazard. We mulched under our cedar trees adjacent to her driveway. Whatever we use, she would push, scrape back when we’re not aware. So we put up some low wire fencing along the trees to prevent her from doing that. We used black (dyed with vegetable oil) wood chip thinking that it’s the colour of dirt and she wouldn’t see. How can anyone object to that since it was on our property and with a fence to keep them from her driveway?
Of course she would see and object. Today I found the posts pulled almost out and the wire netting laying flat on the ground, the mulch pushed back. I took photos. I am not sure as what to do. I could report this to the police as this is clearly vandalism, mischief and destruction of property. But I’ve been dealing with this kind of stuff from her for years. She is ‘something else’ as one could put it. She clearly has a bead on me and knows what gets my goat. She is very clever in this way.
I’ve also been getting smarter about myself, how I let people push my buttons. I don’t like how bodily reactive I am. I don’t like how the blood and thoughts rush to my head and I can’t think anymore. I can only feel – the cortisol coursing through my system and the feeling of helplessness. I’m here taming my thoughts and adrenaline. This is not a bitch session nor a tell-all. I’m trying to find some peace. I’m trying to find some love and compassion for the woman next door. It must be terrible for her to be so obsessed about me, my yard and whatever. Don’t we all need love and compassion?
I want to end on a positive note with a video of Daniel Champagne. We saw him perform live at the Bassment the other evening. He’s travelling across Canada. If he comes to your town/city, do go and see him. His guitar picking and music are out of this world. I came away from it with total body relaxation. I suffer anxiety and high blood pressure. It’s hard to explain but I suffer a hundred deaths of fright getting my blood pressure check. It’s difficult to feel confident about how well controlled it is. I’m always high at the doctor’s (white coat syndrome). The last visit a couple of weeks ago, I registered a reading of 180/90. Eeeek! I’ve come down since then, desensitizing myself each day by taking it regularly. My reading after coming home from the concert was 108/79. Music is good therapy. I have to listen and attend live concerts more often. Forward, ho!
Beginnings are damned hard! Look at how long we had to wait for the rain. There were days, weeks, months of possibilities of rain. It finally came today, our first real rain on this 20th day of June. We rushed onto the deck to witness and rejoice.
I feel somewhat akin to the dammed up sky, full of possibilites but unable to deliver. It’s a most uncomfortable and perplexing feeling. I’ve had days, weeks and maybe months of this. I hope I don’t have to wait till winter before I can unleash my whatever it is. It will be such a fury by then. I wonder if I’m a manic depressive. Hmm. Or it is just my ADHD symptons of trouble organizing and starting a task having a field day.
I’m trying to relax, gather and organize my thoughts so as not to waste time and energy going every which way. That is one of my handicaps. In between gaps here, I’ve vacuumed a couple of rooms and washed some Chinese broccoli for our lunch. My attention span is short and jerky. Doing some 4-7-8 breathing helps to relax and slow me down to concentrate better. The exercise has many other benefits of sleeping better, relieving anxiety and improving cardiovascular health. It takes only minutes in a day.
I have to make more of an effort in showing up here. I’ve said that a few times already, haven’t I? I know what to do but sometimes I can’t do it. I need a visual, physical written out agenda. That’s what this blog is for me, a roadmap, my GPS for my daily life. I need to get up, dress up, show up and tap here regularly for my mental and physical health. When I tap out my thoughts, wonderings, wishings, doings, it makes grooves and pathways in my brain to guide me. They anchor and comfort me. I can see by the words, sentences and photos that I have not been idle and useless. I have been busy living my life as best as I can.
I’ve been feeling stuck, immobile, yucky and not getting anywhere. Sometimes feelings can be false and misleading. Somehow amidst all these feelings, I have put in a flower bed, a garden, raised vegetable beds, and a few flower pots here and there. The moral of the story is not to believe all your feelings. They can be your saboteurs.
January is over. I’ve finished posting for the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Now I like to write for the Heart Month of February. Writing, photography and posting them are my therapy. I am not a good or professional writer and photographer but I love the practices. I hope I am improving in both as I go along. Like my Bernina sewing machine, I’m made to create. I rid my stress and distress through these expressions. It is better than exploding and imploding.
I woke up last night with a mini panic attack. I had this feeling of breathlessness. My mouth was so dry and my throat tight. I could not take a deep breath. I tried to shrug and laugh it off, rolled over and tried to get back to sleep. It didn’t work. Fear started to creep in. Thoughts of all my COPD patients flashed instantly through my mind. I wondered if I was an empathetic nurse to them. I know that I offered treatment – inhalers, nebulizers, more oxygen. I would call the doctor if all failed. But was I understanding? Was I kind?
Now the shoe is on my foot. I am the patient panicking in the night. I had experienced it once before. It was much worse then. Experience does help. I comforted myself, got up and walked to the kitchen. I put the kettle on for some hot water. I wondered if it could be my sinuses. I looked for my saline mist and my nasonex. I am a patient and a nurse all in one. I slowly walked my kitchen, drinking my hot water. It was calming.
I knew better than trying to go back to sleep right away. I sat up in bed with two pillows behind my back and read. It was a journal from years past. I was always thinking and scribbling, especially when I’m not feeling good. Whether those scribblings of feelings were true or not is debatable. It tells me 2006 was really a hard, hard year. I was coming off celexa and using natural remedies. I’ve forgotten about the St. John’s Worts and 5-HTP.
I can understand why I had stopped reading my journals. I wrote mostly when I was feeling bad. Reading it now, I would say I must have been damned depressed all the time. That is if I didn’t know me. But I do. What I know for sure is that yes, I fucking sure struggled alot. It was worth my while. I remember remarking to a counsellor that every time I filled one of those psychological assessment forms, I feel that I don’t need counselling. I have never felt hopeless. Her observation was it’s a good thing.
It is a good thing, all my struggles. I don’t regret anything. I do feel like a failure at time. Failing is not a bad thing. It gives me a chance to do better. I’ve never been ashamed of my depression. I’ve never hid it. I do talk about it. I’m not being brave. I’m seeking a solution. For the month of February, I’m writing for my heart and brain. I can see from the now vantage point, I have come a long way. I have been off all medications prescribed and natural for depression since 2006. Instead I got Sheba. She is good medicine. But she was hard to raise from 2 months. It took years. Now she is perfect.
When the conversation stops, it’s difficult to get it going again. That’s what I’m experiencing – here and in other places. I’ll see if I can get it going again. This stretch of October days has been sunny and warm. My energy and spirit have benefited. I’m doing more and complaining less. Hallelujah!
Having said that, I am feeling overcast by the news. Not watching or listening doesn’t make the bad stuff go away. It’s better to be informed than hiding my head in the sand. That way, I can make better decisions. It is not easy, though, to be in the here and now – watching the migrant caravan trying to gain entry into a better life, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the political scene and Donald Trump in the United States. None of it is uplighting. It is what is happening.
There seems to be so many things wrong in our world. It seems so wrong that so many people are living in abject poverty while the wealthiest one perfect of the world’s population owns more than half of the world’s wealth. It seems so wrong to build a wall to keep out the poorest and most suffering from having a chance to better their lives. It seems that we live such hippocritcal lives. While the world condemns Saudi Arabia on its human rights, the U.S., Canada and the UK still have arms deals with the country. Will they continue?
This is not the conversation I want to start but how could I not? I come from a country whose human rights record is questionable. I have my own personal memory bank of my native country’s violence. I remember the sound of a firing squad in my childhood. You cannot speak out against Chairman Mao. You cannot breathe a negative word to a wrong person. My mother had to be a witness to such an event. She kept her eyes on the ground, she said. The victim was a teacher who spoke out of turn.
My eyes tear at the memory now. Then, I was but a child with no understanding. It’s distressing that not much has really changed. But maybe it has. With the technology and communications today, we are aware of what is happening everywhere. It is not ‘over there’ anymore. It is here, right in our livingrooms. There is nowhere to hide anymore.
Conversations are difficult to start and maintain. The flow takes practice, practice and endless cups of tea. Solutions and relationships can be the outcome in the course of sipping tea and exchange of words and ideas. It does take effort and courage or foolishness. It could be the latter for me. I cannot live in silence of non response and proper ettiquette. I often speak without wisdom.
Yesterday, I talked about how difficult if not impossible it is to mend old fences. Today I’m thinking about how to build new ones. I have to understand first why my fences failed. I don’t want to repeat the same mistakes. They do a post mortem of failed Code Blues to find the cause. I should do the same for my failed fences.
I have been living here in peace with my neighbours for many years. The house on one side used to be a rental. There were a variety over the years. There were attractive girls who liked to sunbathe in skimpy bikinis. I remember seeing the kids from the daycare next door peeking over the fence. They were cute and quiet. There was no angry commotion. Then there was a family with 2 cute puppies. They liked to wiggle under the fence into my yard. The only thing was they always left presents behind. I had a talk with their owners. They were very pleasant and apologetic and the puppies went back to their farm.
Then there was an end to the renters. The owner of the house moved in. He had been living in a small town with his wife. She had passed away. Peter was in his 80’s and had 2 white poodles. They were barkers like Sheba. I didn’t have a dog back then. They would bark and bark at the sight of me. It didn’t matter if I tried to be friends with them. I didn’t mind them as I knew they were Peter’s companions. We got along. We greeted each other. Peter helped shovel part of my snow in winter.
I had peace with the neighbours over the same time period on the other side of me. They sprayed my trees one summer when the worms were really bad. When I told one that I couldn’t open my basement window because of the snow from his driveway was piled against it, he apologized, explaining his father comes over and does the shovelling for him. There was no animosity or paid backs for my complaints.
It’s strange how things changed at about the same time on both sides. They changed with different sets of neighbours. It really isn’t the fences that is the problem. It’s the people who lives behind them. I’m sad to say that we’ve discovered that the ‘fence’ that I erected to cover a small open space in the yard was tampered with. Part of it was bent over so that it was possible for Sheba to escape easily onto our busy heavy traffic. Lucky that we’ve spotted it before that happened. I felt the maliciousness of that intent.
I’m not sure if I have a conclusion or solutions to this investigation. I have not done well at all in the past. I let myself be bullied. I always acquiesced, not wanting to cause trouble. Pershaps that’s my problem. When there’s a fence involved, there’s always 2 sides. No one side decides. Everything needs to be put on the table to be clearly examined, discussed, negotiated and agreed upon. It is easier said than done, especially when one voice is louder than the other. It always command more force. It sounds more right. I’ve never been strong in my stance. I mostly back down, give up and say I don’t care. I’ve never demanded for anything. If I had, I never got. I need more work to make recommendations.
I am not making any better time today but at least I am not making more clutter. I dealt swiftly with the incoming mail. I just have to repeat it every day. So many things are calling my name. Some things will have to wait. I will make a list of things to tend to for tomorrow. I will use my small index cards. Got the idea from Kinsey Millhone, the private detective character from Sue Grafton’s alphabet series. She jots important notes on index cards and files them after. Mine can go into the recycling bin after.
My flow of words seemed to have dried up! Maybe I need my glass of wine now. Goes to show how exciting my life is. I started back with my aerobic classes after a few absent sessions due to physical ailments and the Easter weekend. It feels like it’s been a long while. I’m feeling out of shape already and my enthusiasm waning. There is danger of dropping out hanging in air. This spring has been hard. I said that about winter, too, didn’t I?
I’ve been using the word too much lately. I can hear my mother admonishing me in my head. She’s a great storyteller. She used to talk to me about our family and ancestors. She admires my grandfather’s brother and recounts numerous things that he has told her. One of which is never think of anything as being hard. Make a start and things will follow to resolution. In a difficult situation he would say, Stop! Let me think. They’re very good stategies. A pause is often fruitful whereas rash reactions could lead to more problems.
I’m working on my glass of wine now. Feeling mellow. Enjoying the pause. Tomorrow is another day.
Have I told you lately how hard life is? Okay, I have. Just about every other post. Not apologizing for it. It’s true. It is so hard, especially when you hit a spell of sleepless nights. After 3 in a week, I started worrying. Should I just take that damn pill for awhile? Then I start worrying about not ever getting to sleep without one.
I decided to have a little faith and tough it out a little longer. I researched and found that nutmeg promotes relaxation and sleepiness. It never hurts to dig deep. Sometimes we think we know it all but there is always something else out there. I went to Dr.Mercola’s site. He has some good information on getting a good night’s sleep and its benefits.
I tried the nutmeg solution last evening an hour before bedtime. I made a cup of hot chocolate with a pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon and ceyenne. It worked. I slept well, waking up only once during the night for a bathroom trip. I had no trouble getting back to sleep again. To be truthful, I was a little sleepy before the nutmeg. A little insurance doesn’t hurt and it is a nice evening ritual. I shall try it again tonight.
Life truly is frigging hard. There is no doubt about it. Getting a good night of sleep is the best way of getting myself out of a wet paper bag. I’m saved again! I’m sticking to the things that work. Get up, dress up, show up. I am happy to show up at the pool this morning. I front crawl up the lane and back stroke down, blowing bubbles and cares away. Looking forward to sleep again tonight.