Monday, February 20, 2017

Following Instructions

I woke this morning a little distraught. The good news is being emotional is a sign of healing. After about two years of the void that I had been caught in, moodiness comes as a breath of fresh air.

I noticed my memories returning, the ability to connect past images with current stimuli was lost to me for some time. I noticed myself not only laughing more, but, more importantly, laughing at my own jokes. I have begun to do things to amuse myself, reach out to my friends more often, and just over all feel the weight of nothingness slowly slipping off.

But I haven’t been sleeping well, having odd nightmares, waking up before I was ready, feeling groggy and getting exhausted at three and then seven. Mood is obviously tied directly into your survival basics, meaning that if you can take a moment to breathe properly, eat right, sleep right, and exercise, you typically end up feeling better. So they claim, and so I’ve found in my limited experience.

A part of my distress is guilt, a feeling that weighs on me the vast majority of the time and tends to be circular. I didn’t do something I was supposed to, wasn’t as productive as I’d want to be, and make myself so miserable about it that I really don’t feel good enough to do it the next day.

So I need to get my sleep right. I need to feel good and do good. How do I do that?

The problem with problems is that most advice is overly simplified. How do you get your sleep cycle back into sync? Well, according to the internet, do nothing!

As in, two hours before bedtime, do not use artificial lighting, exercise, eat, and make sure to stay out of your bed.

Yeah. I’ll get right on it.

Today I have some irons to check up on, something about a potential job that I feel I’m worrying more about than what is rational, and so there’s a good chance that if I can get some of things nagging thoughts under wraps, I’ll sleep better tonight. Also, upon doing more research, there are more limitations to the limitations of sleep; namely don’t use “blue light” found in electronics and energy saving bulbs—though fluorescent lighting gives me a headache—and tossing and turning just trains yourself to have disturbed sleep, so instead of staring up at the ceiling, get up. Overall, it seems I just need to spend way less time in bed period.

In an apartment the size of a closet, this is harder to do, but not impossible.

On the other side, I want to get my eating habits under control. I struggle with a hatred of food, and find eating to be a painful chore. Most of the time I am queasy, fatigued, and picky, making it easy to blow off eating all together. I am suspicious that my chronic thirst and perhaps flatter teeth makes chewing unpleasant which affects the whole shebang, but also have begun to wonder if the allergic reaction I had two years ago upon changing to high protein diet isn’t a factor.

My egomaniac of a doctor told me not only, “OH! You really CAN’T breathe!” but to walk it off. He didn’t seem remotely interested in the cause, believing the problem I’d suffered from for many weeks would just magically go away on its own. The jerk I had been dating in that time, who had never heard my real voice, also looked at me like I was a liar when I told him I couldn’t sign karaoke due to an inability to project. So on my own, like always, I speculated that my change in diet had caused the problem, and after the recommended, “Wait two weeks and come back if doesn’t go away,” I just changed my diet on my own and my throat opened back up. People wonder why I have trust issues.

I never figured out what the allergy was, but after talking to a (new) doctor about my problems, she suggested a mouth moisturizer that seems to help with my appetite, but give me a headache. With the moisturizer, I realized the “dryness” feeling was lower in my throat, and could possibly be a tightness or swelling rather than dehydration.

Anxiety and depression can cause an decrease in appetite, which is also circular. Don’t eat, feel worse, feel worse, don’t eat. Unfortunately, it’s not just a lack of desire to eat, but my stomach’s constant threat that it will puke it back up if I even try, so I have to be careful about what I attempt to jam down there.

Snacking, routine meal times, and exercise can increase appetite, so I’m going to buy a few snack items to keep on hand, which supposedly might make me actually eat more at mealtime.

It’s obviously important for me to get rid of this feeling of dread that follows me around. Anxiety is exhausting, painful, and obviously is the root cause of at least some of my problems. Even though after a bad experience with yet another doctor tapping her head to tell me it’s all in my mind makes me hope that there is something horribly wrong with me (That’ll show her), I recognize that my emotions screw with my body to a pretty strong degree.

I decided to log off; using the internet as a distraction only exacerbates my anger. I cleared my browser of Reddit and logged out of Facebook and Twitter, and hope to use alternative methods of distraction—even though, once again, trying to distract yourself while anxious often brings thoughts back to the negative.

The funny thing is, even as I try to think of ways to be positive, my mind turns to the last times I attempted to do so. I posted a blog about how I hoped to ban negativity and a Facebook stranger who had been mildly hitting on me for some time sent me a PM telling me what to do and how to solve my problems. It’s not that this in itself is a bad thing. Many fans will send me emails and PMs in response to what I’ve said, and they often offer personal experiences and advice and it doesn’t bother me at all. Some of the things you guys have said to me really helped me to feel not so alone, and even did help me progress. It’s not doctors who found my headaches were caused by my posture while writing, it was you guys.

My upset is more about his dismissive nature was akin to most men who have sexual attraction for me (see above jerk) and it pulls back my memories into the sexual harassment I have endured, the feeling of helplessness at trying to be compassionate towards someone who thinks he’s far superior than you… while still needing your approval. And the feeling of guilt when you decide you don’t owe him anything and people try to explain how your “condescension and rudeness” was why you got harassed in the first place. There’s no winning, and when you ultimately come to the decision that you just “won’t engage” with anyone, par the patronizing advice of someone who clearly believes unwanted attention is your fault, you are reminded of the distinct possibility that the family you envisioned yourself having might never happen for you. You might be alone with your cat and your dog.

Fine. Not that that’s not a big deal—or rather, it’s not an end all—but you’re also reminded how the publishing process is going (or isn’t) and the fact that your career won’t happen for you either.

Then what do you have? Travel? Need more money for that? Helping people? Yes, but need money for that too, bare minimum to sustain you while you give your time. There are things you can do with your life even if you do end up alone, but then again, you’ve read that isolation is a big reason why you want to spend all your time in bed.

Scared to deal with people, isolate yourself. Isolate yourself, be less productive. The only reason to be by yourself is to be more productive!

As I read up on solutions to my problems, I am reminded how long I have suffered with these things, how many times before I have attempted to do something about them, and how much antipathy and derision I was met with.  People love to second guess you. People love to tell you how to fix your life. You reach out in hopes of finding someone who can teach you how to cope and all you get in return is overly simplified advice that triggers upsetting memories on how solving your problems can make things go wrong.

Today, of course, I’m doing something that came from a place that I can trust: my own advice. I am focusing on taking it step-by-step, one thing at a time, and trying not to worry about the future. What can I do today? What do I need to do right now? Don’t focus on things you can’t solve. Don’t try and cram your day full of responsibilities and be devastated when you don’t meet your own expectations.

What’s one thing you can do right now to make you happy?

Pee. But that’s nothing new. Tests came back with no help. People laugh when you think it’s abnormal to piss 20 times a day a still be thirsty (I mean, where do I think it goes?)

No. Just pee. Go to the bathroom. Get dressed. Get breakfast. That’s all I need to worry about right now. Shut the hell up and go just go pee.

That’s my motto.

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