I am in a state right now. About 2 weeks ago everyone had perfectly ordinary colds from which we recovered. Life resumed. A few days ago I was sitting upstairs with the family, I had a headache and hubbie asked me where I had gotten that rash on my face. The rash appeared out of nowhere, it looked like a rash not a blush, and then it disappeared pretty shortly after. That was a couple of days ago and possibly insignificant. I went to bed maybe it was that night or the next and I woke up with intense pain in my right knee. I struggled for a while to get the leg strait and then sat up in bed. I sat for a while before slowly getting up, testing if the knee was okay. Just as I was entering the bathroom I got hit with a wave of intense dizziness and nausea. I told hubbie and he asked if I was pregnant j/k. As weird as it sounds those were my symptoms when I got pregnant with my daughter. I woke up with intense pain in the knee, had to be carried to the bathroom, got dizzy and nauseous and then passed out. At that time I was also told that I had Hypothyroidism so I was never really sure which condition caused the bizarre symptoms. My thyroid fluctuates. Last time I had it checked a few months ago it was high but it hadn’t quite gotten to medication range. Anyhow the pain is now in both knees and in my mid/upper back. I have had the pain for about 3 days now. I started with meds yesterday for pain relief and it does help some but they only last about 3 hours. I take meds before bed but they wear off and I am unable to get back to sleep so I am exhausted. I am also peeing a lot. Like I need to get up 3 times a night and whenever I have peed this much in the past it has always meant I have an infection. I am not sure if I should go to the doctor or not. I don’t have a thermometer so I do not know if I have a fever, only that I am cold even when no one else is cold. Pregnancy is somewhat unlikely because I take birth control to stop my periods. The last time I was at the doctors she said my ovary had recently been active. I am having some trouble getting my ovaries to shut down and stay dormant so it is not impossible but it seems pretty unlikely given that I had a LEEP procedure recently and have continued taking birth control. Even if I got pregnant right before, wouldn’t the surgery have effected it? I have only recently been able to resume sexual activities so I think it would be too early to tell if I had just gotten pregnant and my ovaries do not seem to be working at the moment anyway. Since I don’t have a period I have no way to tell if I miss one. That said the thyroid sounds more plausible or maybe it is just some type of infection. When I had pneumonia I also had this level of pain in the body, only I do not have the lung/chest pain. I have noticed some cold symptoms today though so it may be that the pain is from an oncoming flu or that I never actually fully recovered from the first cold. Ugh I don’t know. Oh yeah and my breasts are full of cysts and hurt like hell because why not?
I was asked to do a tutorial on waking up in the mornings though it turned out to be more tips on improving sleep I hope there is still some useful information!
1. Have a consistent sleeping schedule. I can only speak from my own experience of course but when I am feeling sleep-deprived I find that my self-injurious and suicidal thoughts increase substantially. I also find that my productivity and performance take a hit which means my confidence does as well. For me sleeping in is not particularly tempting as my body gets very sore and very stiff. Sleep past 7 am and the sleep paralysis kicks in. I sleep from 10 pm to 6 am. I use my phone as an alarm. My alarm isn’t all that loud or annoying because it doesn’t take much to rouse me. For some people music works best and there are these nifty alarms that work with your circadian rhythms and light. Speaking of light turn it on, open the blinds. I can’t do this because Sam wakes up later so I have to physically exit the room. If you tend to hit snooze place the alarm clock far away so you have to get up to shut if off. I find having the schedule also helps when I am feeling especially Depressed because my body is trained to get up at a certain time so without even thinking about it I just get up.
2. Have something to look forward to in the morning. When I get out of bed or I should say when I leap out of bed to avoid slipping back into a coma I have a routine. I always drink a cold glass of water to rehydrate/wake myself. Some people will wash their faces in cold water or hop in the shower. I post to my blog but I don’t bother with my email because if I tried to sort that out when I first got up I’d never manage to get anything else done. After posting I do yoga for a ½ hour. Yoga has really helped me cope with Depression and body pain. Also doing yoga forces me to put on something at least resembling clothes. If you don’t like yoga try some other form of light exercise (Tai Chi is great for balancing and increasing chi) in the morning it helps to start the day healthy. After yoga there’s breakfast which I never ever skip. Then I brush my teeth. I have to brush my teeth because on the days I postpone it I am completely miserable and inactive. Later I will exercise more intensely as exercise is a great mood enhancer. Some people look forward to a morning cup of tea/coffee, cartoons, reading the newspaper. In my ideal world I would love to complete the above and then write but I have to get Isadora to school, clean, and of course I have to read those emails.
3. Air out your bedroom frequently. Seriously open the windows let the light in and try not to make the bed for at least 4 hours so the sheets can breath (I just never make the bed problem solved). Wash your sheets frequently. Make sure you have a good mattress and pillow so you are actually getting a restful sleep. Sam has Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome so we went with an orthopedic mattress it isn’t I’ll never get out of bed again soft. For some people a humidifier may help I lived in one apartment where the air was so horrendously dry I’d wake up gagging. I probably woke up looking like the crypt keeper too lol
4. Go outside every day if possible. You need natural light you can’t stay in an apartment with the windows closed and the blinds pulled you will get sick and you will get morose as fuck. I have to go outside and hug trees just to avoid becoming homicidal. A walk is often the best medicine.
5. If you really want to get picky follow a low GI diet and eat small frequent meals this will keep your blood sugar levels stable which will keep your energy and your moods from crashing. It will also help you to get to sleep at a decent hour because if you are subsisting on sugar and caffeine highs you are probably not sleeping properly. I don’t even drink caffeine I do eat chocolate on occasion though haha.
6. Lay off the booze while alcohol does help you fall asleep it doesn’t allow you to reach deep sleep.
7. Orgasms can relieve the stress and tension accumulating during the day which can allow you to sleep better at night.
8. Music once you get out of bed why not put on some upbeat tunes to invigorate?
9. Make dinner healthy and try to avoid eating after 7 pm (no late night junkfood binges)
10. Set yourself up in the morning for success. Lay out your clothes, prepare the coffee pot, a little prep work can help ease the stress and dread of getting up. You can record your favorite show and watch it in the mornings instead of when it airs.
11. Have a relaxing bed time ritual. Meditation, a nice bath, light reading. Try not to flood your mind with disturbing or distressing images before bed.
12. Write down something good that you look forward to the next day or try keeping a gratitude journal to add a little bit of positive energy. Turn your dreams into stories so you have to get up and write them down before you forget!
13. If you love animals and can properly accommodate and care for one, having a pet can lift your spirits. Having a dog forces you outside. Pets also demand to be fed in the morning so you have to get up.
14. Express yourself. Make sure you have a creative outlet and someone to talk to. Keeping feelings bottled inside is terrible for your health.
15. Exercise your mind. We’ve covered physical exercise, spirituality in the form of creative expression, but your intellect needs a good workout if you want to sleep better and feel happier. You can start with watching TED Talks or documentaries that way it’s not too far out of the comfort zone. But work your way up to active learning activities. Take a class, study a foreign language, take on a new hobby, try to rekindle your curiosity about life.
Increasingly I find myself getting into fights with cashiers because I can’t read the monitor even though I can physically see it, the numbers are just incomprehensible. Isadora spoke to me the last time I was checking out and the distraction caused me to just toss my money into the air. Sam likes to show me funny pictures online that I don’t get the jokes because I take them too literally is normal and doesn’t worry me in the slightest, the fact that I can’t identify the picture is what has me troubled (I am not talking about illusion pictures but normal photographs). Sam will show me a man in a parachute I will see two pumas in a cocktail bar (real example). Over and over again I find myself staring at images perplexed. Yes I have been to the eye doctor multiple times now and it doesn’t seem to be my eyes.
My confusion is getting worse.
Yesterday (or the day before by the time you read this) when I was looking for today’s therapy appointment. I found a previous appointment notice from Juli 2013. I had called the psychologist a few days previous to cancel that appointment (yes the one that was a year old). They told me I wasn’t scheduled for an appointment, they had no idea what I was talking about in fact. I became belligerent again. Why the hell can’t they keep track of my appointments? I was so angry. They made me another appointment assuming that’s what I wanted. The thing is when I picked up the old appointment I didn’t immediately think oh man I tried to cancel a year old appointment I thought why on earth did I cancel an appointment that wasn’t until July. I showed Sam and he cleared up my misunderstanding. That’s not the end of this story. I told Sam he had to take Isadora to school so I could go to my appointment today. He made arrangements but when I checked the appointment again before bed I realized I had made another reading error. Ironically when I got to the doctor’s office after ½ hour of jogging through the city completely lost and dazed I found out that they had sent me the wrong appointment time to start! They sent me home with another appointment I got lost on the way home as well.
All I can say is that I have had this weird tension in my head not a headache exactly. Just tightness. I find this tightness to be worse on the left side. In fact most of time my head feels great on the right side though when I look to the right I get very dizzy. Which doesn’t really sound abnormal in the slightest it sounds like stress. Sam says it is postural, muscular tension but I am not sure if muscular tension causes you to see an orange as a lady bug lamp. I notice I am not catching what people say either I have had to say huh so much no one wants to talk to me =( I almost threw up on the tram today because of a strong odor that no one else seemed to notice (I have no idea if they could smell it or not because they didn’t do anything revealing). My senses are off and I am having trouble sleeping. Whenever I do sleep my dreams are vivid, nonsensical, and fast-paced. My pupils haven’t indicated heavy seizure activity, stroke or anything else but I am losing a lot of time. Hours just vanish, days just poof, weeks, months dissolving. I guess I am really really tired. PS My posture sucks (according to Sam most of my problems including Epilepsy have to do with bad posture). It doesn’t matter what health concern I come to him with he’s always checking my back for clues. In his defense I do believe a lot of problems are caused by bad posture (most likely the tension in my head) and poor circulation but it cracks me up sometimes because he says it for everything. Hallucinations? Stand up straight woman for fuck’s sake.
My depth reviles
Only that of the Dead Sea
Rise from the belly
A fermented tongue hums
But unlike my hands
She cannot speak
Last night, while I slept, I came up with a poem of course I have no way of knowing if it was workable or even sensible but I had truly hoped to remember it because to my sleeping brain it was a potential piece for my blog. Though I have never done drugs I imagine it is the same sense of false genius at play here, so in reality there is no loss but it is going to drive me crazy just the same. Speaking of dreams Sam talks in his sleep. Some time ago he started reciting long calculations, which he followed up with diabolical giggling. The man is absolutely adorable and if the things he says out loud are anything like my dream poem I definitely want to know because it would be funny.
I prefer silence to the weaponization of words. If I “pretend” it is only that I might slip away unimpeded. My belly is full of raw, undigested stimuli, I am sick with worry. I had thought it possible, even necessary, to overcome my reservations about therapy in order to achieve a rather ambiguously defined state of “mental health”. I’ve spent years researching and yes even brainwashing myself in order to get to the point where I could commit myself whole-heartedly to the process. Hope involves, at times, a complete detachment of all rational faculties. I believe hope can sometimes lead to insanity. If I keep doing X, Y will surely happen despite consistent evidence to the contrary. I am most assuredly insane. I am also more hopeful than most. I am just as quick to seek out the negatives in a situation as I am the positives.
I only know of one person who has benefited from therapy. There are far more nightmares than miracles it seems. Some problems simply do not have cut and dry solutions. I believe that I can change, that I can heal, that I can succeed. I haven’t given up. I am just very skeptical that the type of therapy offered is of any use whatsoever.
The lack of depth in “therapeutic” conversations is something I find immensely disturbing. The emphasis is on small talk and routine. On symptom management without inquiry into the underlying cause. The focus on medication is a prime example, as therapy often ceases with the administration of psychotropics. I have been reminded countless times to keep the conversation light. To think less. To feel less. To avoid heavy and complex discussions. To talk only about my day to day schedule. I am sure I could find someone to talk with free of charge if all I wanted and/or needed was to have a chat about the weather. I hate small talk and chances are if we ever meet I would embarrass the hell out of you.
I do not like having my feelings trivialized. Normal is much too subjective. What precisely constitutes normal? I find that when I talk about my struggles and feelings I get “That’s normal” a lot. Of course it is, it is normal to suffer. Human’s suffer but when I am telling someone my feelings and they dismiss or write them off in order, I am guessing to comfort me, it diminishes the significance of my experience. I have enough trouble opening up without having to decide what is important or worthy enough to mention. I do not want to have compete with all of humanity every time I open my mouth.
I could go on, as my concerns and grievances are numerous. Right now I am too volatile to attend a therapy session. I need a time out. I have turned my rage inward. There is scarcely a moment of reprieve as I agonize from one session to the next. I’ve had an eye twitch since my last visit (a week plus). This is the first time I have developed a significant motor tick because of anxiety. I find myself happy only when exercising and in order to sleep I find that I must exercise nearly to breaking point. I am skipping my rest day just to avoid the insomnia it represents. I am withdrawn. Disconnected. Overwhelmed. I am in a state of alarm 24/7. I have always been the sort to face my demons. Being told to turn away and close my eyes goes against everything I believe in. Even my poetry has suffered, the staccato rhythm is like a fucking SOS.
I asked my therapist to reschedule and she stated, rather emphatically, that it is not possible but the issue isn’t up for debate. There are some things I need to work out before I can even engage in a meaningful and productive conversation.
As silk-wrapped wings
Crowding the periphery
A day of dreams
Tended but unmet
As if empty
As red earth
As if consumed
Into docile sheets
No greater impetus
Than to return
To the night
I am exhausted. Isadora had a great time yesterday, the kids were happy. There wasn’t much socializing between the adults, however. Isadora is on fall break now so she is home this week. I wonder if I can convince her to the let me sleep?
I tied the serpent’s duplicitous tongue that I should no longer feel obliged to listen. I am still too naive to recognize design. I clipped the harpies’ wings that she should never descend on me from above. I do not address her now as my mistress. Depression may overwhelm me but I would not be the portrait adjacent its definition. Today I winter. My marrow-less bones crave for naked warmth and slumber. We are all sick. Pale, sore, and fevered. Sam kayaked for 22 km (his first time) so I suspect he will be in pain. Speaking of kayaking he was gone all day yesterday. He is afraid of water and accident prone so I admit toward the evening I was in a very heightened state of alarm. I don’t worry in a reasonable manner. I worry in an active, paranoid, the thunder is surely the hooves of four dark horses come to unmake the world kind of way. This kind of deranged concern really only happens when someone is unreachable and later than expected. I am not the sort to worry over every detail in fact I am often accused of being too carefree, even irresponsible because I take typical stressors like being flat broke and having to eat nothing but cabbage for months on end without batting an eyelash. This sounds assuredly healthier than it is because in reality when the going gets rough I switch on automatic pilot. Sometimes my automatic pilot is proficient as when giving speeches (yes I can give prepared speeches so long as no one talks to me) and sometimes it is completely useless. In either case whenever I worry it is apocalyptic. Time seems to be the biggest trigger for me. It is 6 am I must get out of bed. It is 5:33 you said you would be here at 5:30, class ends at 3:00 pm and I am out the door irrespective of dismissal. While I easily lose track of time when I am engaged in my obsessions, I know exactly what time it is without looking at a clock when I am not preoccupied.
I have swim class tonight. Last class I swam a few laps. I say swam but it was more of a directed float. I move very slowly through the water. I like best to lie face down in the pool, taking in the immense blue, arms motionless alongside, thighs pumping madly, suspended in the water, as I slip almost imperceptibly forward. I tend either to use my arm or legs when left to my own devices. I am very good at floating what I am not good at is coordinating all of my limbs. I have minimal body awareness. Which means I leave my body in the most horrific positions without noticing. Try carrying a heavy grocery bag for ½ hour with your arm bent at 90 degrees and every muscle in your bicep and shoulder brutally clenched and see what happens. This happens to me all the time. I once forgot how to relax the muscles in my gluteus and for two days strait it felt like I was sitting on boulders. How does one forget something so basic?
With every gainless collapse
In both brow and linen deepen
I pray that I will arrive
Rested under the auspices
Of a whimsical moon
My dreams are too heavy
They do not exorcise
My demons but bring
Instead new infernos
To which my feverish mind
Must arduously conform
The sun is cruel
She rises later each day
That each morning
I am obliged to alight
The shadows would hold me
Awhile yet but always
I must wake at 6 am
Lately I have been falling asleep instantaneously, I am sleeping through the night, my sleep in heavy but it is not productive. I wake up completely exhausted more exhausted then I was the previous day. The days are growing darker which results inevitably in fatigue and a depressed mood but I can’t understand why I have begun this process so early. October has only just started how on earth will I survive 6 months of winter? I also have a reoccurring fever and eye bags. I have never had eye bags before. I realize my journal is early but I can’t imagine I will do much today when I have a fever, I feel like a zombie, and the weather is miserable. Sam went kayaking today with a friend from work. He has never been kayaking and he is afraid of water so I really hope he enjoys himself.
Lately I have fallen asleep on entry, the weight of blankets and bones dissolving swiftly my consciousness. Gone, are the stories I used to tell myself as I lie in bed giddy and immobile. My dreams come in alternating patterns of light and shade, their impressions linger faceless and nameless on waking. The peanut butter was in the fridge this morning, which is not where it belongs. The bathroom sink is suffering the filth of too many ablutions. I’ve eaten grotesque amounts of sugar. My thoughts are bandaged in cellophane, I see them their cyanic features gasping inaudibly, too slick for covetous hands to snatch. Last night Isadora read her first book. As I sat there welling up with maternal pride, I realized just how much a few words of praise mean. My compliments find no resistance, there are no razor-edged doubts to render my words misshapen, she does not hate herself. She is, however, sensitive to the criticisms of her classmates. Sometimes she comes home tumescent, with the assumption of a foreign ego. I always remind her to be herself because she is important. I am in danger of being too much myself. I arrive each day unborn. Vulnerable, bowed forward sometimes in deference, sometimes in gratitude. I expose anything on inquiry. I don’t know how to be with other people without deficit (except Sam and Isadora). The other day I stood uncomfortably while a stranger whittled away time that at that moment I did not want to spend. Time that I wanted to have uninterrupted with my daughter, in those few precious moments when there is only the two of us. I did not want to be propositioned but I find that some men are incapable of understanding disinterest without cruelty. This is one of the reasons I genuinely fear going outside, these predators, that approach any woman unaccompanied by a man. I hate being hit on. I have said it now and you may spread the word all over the world if you like. When I say “I’m married” that is the cue to exit graciously.
My therapist gave me an informational booklet on non-epileptic seizures which can be triggered by stress and which are curable. I did some research independently but there are some critical differences between my seizures and non-epileptic seizures. My pupils change sizes, my larger seizures occur at night when I am asleep, I have had abnormal EEGs, and lastly my spasms have a certain rhytym. I can’t exclude the possibility that I may have some psychotropic, non-epileptic seizures, but I have epileptic seizures as well. I wish that I could be cured because then there would be more moments for my burgeoning self to occupy. For now the best I can do is improve those aspects of my health for which I possess some measure of control.