Just follow your dreams.

I am so tired of hearing this sentiment, and for multiple reasons.  First, a little history.

When I was a teenager, I bought into the whole “if you think it, you can do it” mentality. I worked very hard and enjoyed doing it. I had great grades, a super grade point average, and was the favorite of all the teachers. “Stop bragging,” you may be saying. You’d be totally wrong.

I had no friends and socialized in a combination of avoidance and verbal acid. I developed a very serious anxiety disorder and several physical health problems.  I ended up dropping out of school at the end of my sophomore year.  Or maybe it was the beginning of my junior year.. I can’t remember. The thing is, I don’t remember much of that time except that I was constantly studying – and sleeping. I didn’t do anything recreationally – I just lived and breathed schoolwork.

I did my homework (and all extra work) on the bus ride to and from school, at my lunch hour, during study hall (when everyone else was napping), and at any time I was home and not eating or doing chores. I have worked hard to not regret these years as much as I used to. I keep thinking of the opportunities that passed me by: fun times with people, a part time job to help out, and maybe – just maybe – a healthier person overall.

This experiences, and the fallout afterwards, has brought me to a point in life where I can appreciate a “all is for naught” attitude. It is dangerous to delve too deeply into the depression that such an attitude can bring about. In order to counterbalance this, I turn it into kind of a philosophical state of mind. I’d talk about Nihilism and the implications of it on life, but I think that may be a bit too much for all involved (including myself).

Here’s Today’s Lesson: Yes, by all means, follow your dreams. It’s hard work to get there. Just sitting around dreaming about it won’t get you anywhere. Still, be sure to enjoy life itself.  Don’t “put your nose to the grindstone” all of the time. Talk to people and truly enjoy being in their company. Take part in solo and group recreational activities. Learn about the environment you live in (small town, big city, countryside) and come to appreciate all it has to offer.  Life is precious and it’s too short to be chasing something you think you need or want. Instead, enjoy what you already have.  It’s far more rewarding.

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Fevered Delirium

Ugh, I’ve had a fever for a week, now.  It has slowly gotten worse, to the point of sweating beyond my comfort zone.  I constantly feel dizzy and light headed, and I’m having difficulty staying awake.  I finally broke down and went to the doctor’s office, yesterday.  I was fully convinced that I had a massive ear infection due to the dizziness, general pukey feeling, and stabbing pain in my right ear. As the nurse practitioner rammed the light down my ear canal, making me wince and jump, I was shocked to be told that it was not an ear infection. Instead, I have tons of sinus drainage flowing through my ears.  “Dear God,” I thought, “what pain must one go through to have a true ear infection, then?”  I hope I never find out.

On the up and up, the only thing I can stomach for certain is popsicles, ice cream, and ramen noodles with mashed potatoes. Yum.  On the down side, I have missed too many days of work for my already over stretched budget.  I hope I don’t point out and end up on the unemployment line. Then again..

I’ve been creating resumes and applying for other jobs in town.  I have to take a break from all of this because my past experiences of going to an interview in a fever induced delirium did not end well.  Yes, I’ve done it before. Usually, I was unaware of the situation until the following few days.  And now I am beginning to wonder if any of this is making sense.  Oh boy, here we go again.. The Twilight Zone.

 

Twilight Zone TV Show gif

Twilight Zone

Exercise

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Today I did a workout from FitnessBlender.com.  Let me just say that I have had poor success with consistent workout routines.  I had a good stretch a couple years ago where I lost weight, gained energy, and built muscle.  Since then, I’ve never been able to “push” myself to workout on a regular basis.  The thing that holds me back is that there seems to be little purpose in the typical workout. I’m not doing anything but moving; I’m not accomplishing anything like gardening, building, or anything else.

I am going to try FitnessBlender, though.  I like that it shows a calorie bar on the side of the screen.  This bar increases as you work out to give your mind a visual representation of the calories you may be burning. I am aware that the calorie bar is showing the calories being burned by the lady in the workout video. I also know that this may differ greatly from my own calorie burn.. uh.. burnage.  However, it acts as a visual reinforcement for me to continue working out.  Look, I am accomplishing something!

The other thing I like is the guy talking while the workout is being done.  He gives encouragement (“Push yourself, you’re almost done!”), information on how the current exercise is helping you build muscle/burn calories, and he gives you alternatives to the current workout in case you just haven’t built up the strength yet.  I don’t feel bad about having to stop and take a breather in the middle of the workouts.  I feel like that’s alright, because I’m just starting and haven’t built up my strength yet.  I know that when I do build it up, I will enjoy doing the workouts as they were originally designed.

I’ve also realized something else: working out is my frenemy.  It’s my best friend and my enemy.  I’ve had Frenemy relationships in the past and I’ve learned to make the most of them.  The important thing is that I have experience with this situation, so I know what to do.  Here’s  a run down:

Starting the workout: “I can so do this, it looks so easy, I’m gonna be awesome!”

A little ways into the workout: “Umm, this is a little harder than I thought. I’ll just slow down a little bit and be alright.”

Half way through the workout: “You bleepin son of a bleep.  You suck! How can you do that? Uhhh..”

At the end of the workout when I’m drowning in sweat and unbearable body heat: “I.. will.. not.. give.. up.. *collapse*”

After the workout: “Death.. is.. a.. reprieve.. Sweet mercy.”

After the shower following the workout: “Dude, I feel so awesome! Why don’t I workout more?”

The next day: “Legs are jello.  Can’t . . move.”

Yea so it’s a love-hate relationship and I’m cool with that.

Fighting the Not so Good Fight

This post is about health topics, namely pain.  If you find this to be a pain to you, feel no need to read any further.  I must confess that I get a little text book-ish too.  You have been warned.

 

Inflammation sucks.  It causes nerve pain, muscular skeletal pain, and can down right interrupt your life.  It keeps a person up at night, makes them unable to use effected limbs (leading to Depression as activities are restricted), and can lead the person to become moody and unfriendly.  I’ve been experiencing all of the above, but before you think this post is about wanting the sympathy or pity of the casual reader, read on.  I have dealt with this pain my whole life and it is, as many things are, simply a part of life.  I am looking to share information for any of you out there that might be suffering from the same, or know someone else who is.

The thing about inflammation is that it is your body’s natural defense mechanism against injury and infection.  The very pain that is wrecking havoc on your life is your immune system’s genuinely sincere way of trying to protect you.  Whenever you experience a situation that might negatively impact your body from your immune system’s perspective, be it infection or injury, your body releases specific chemicals to trigger inflammation.  This is an attempt for your body to remove the possibly infectious material from your body by increasing blood flow and the ability for it to pass through your veins.  This can be a good thing when you are ill as the nasty microbes are more likely to be released.  However, inflammation can be triggered by the body when possible injury is present.  This is an attempt to also increase blood flow to the area to get the good chemicals there to begin the healing process.  So, see.  The body is actually trying to help when something becomes red, hot, irritated, and ungodly painful.  The problem is that the body thinks repetitive motions can be injuries.  In all do honesty, they can cause some nasty injuries such as strains, sprains, and even carpal tunnel syndrome.  The body is trying to help out by getting extra healing chemicals to the limb that is being overused, such as hands.  Unfortunately, the more you repeat the movements, the more the body sends these chemicals.  What’s the answer?

There are many things you can do for inflammation.  Number one is to relieve the immediate discomfort.  This can be done with a rotation of hot and cold compresses, switched out every 15 to 20 minutes.  It is very tempting to dunk your effected area in a buck of ice, but that would be a bad idea.  It would simply trigger the nerves that there is possible hypothermia.. yadda yadda, more inflammation.  The next step is to reduce all other aspects in your life that could cause inflammation.  In other words, if you cannot stop doing the repetitive motions because they are apart of your job or life, then focus on the things you can control.  This includes diet and exercise.  Dun dun dun.  Everyone hates those words, but it is true.  Diet changes such as lowering saturated fats and increasing inflammation reducing foods (turmeric, fish oils, etc) will have a positive impact on the situation.  Exercise is also a must.  It seems like an impossibility when something is severely inflamed, but exercise is a vague word.  For me, it is merely stretches.  In fact, counter measure stretches.  Whatever repetitive motions I am doing with my muscles that are causing the inflammation, I try to do the opposite when I get home.  If I must move my thumb one direction all day and it is causing inflammation, I will find another way to move it later which will relieve the stress in the muscle.  Massage can also be helpful.  This might seemingly hurt more at first because massage tends to increase blood flow, which can lead to more inflammation.  Good communication and an experienced massage professional will be able to reduce this as much as possible.  With anything, see your doctor.  They go to school for a reason.

For me, I have severe hand inflammation and swelling.  I saw my doctor and was put on a diuretic for the swelling (which has helped dramatically) and an anti-inflammatory.  I only take the AI as needed because it can cause some other nasty side effects.  I generally wrap my hands and wrists after slathering them in mentholated ointment.  I then do the hot/cold compress.  I find this is the most beneficial when looking for immediate relief.  I’ve been looking into alternative treatments but I have not be completely satisfied with what I have found.  This past weekend, Hubby and I went to the health food shoppe where I was looking for Marshmallow Root (an anti-inflammatory/anti-swelling) and Devil’s Claw (helps with nerve pain).  I let myself get talked into buying something called “The Rub”.  It was supposed to be an odorless and painless alternative to mentholated rubs.  I took it home with me and put it on my hands, noting that it actually smelled like rotten vegetation.  I began remarking about this to my husband who immediately picked it up and looked at the label.  He then told me to wash my hands.  It’s main ingredients include Nightshade and Monk’s Hood, which are both highly lethal in very tiny amounts when ingested or absorbed through mucous membranes or broken skin.  Since I would be putting this on my hands, it only leads to reason that I would end up putting it in my mouth.  Not so good and in the trash it went.

Diet is something that I plan on being more focused on in the next few weeks.  I have started doing counter measure stretches and find them helpful as well.  Like mos things in life, I find that dealing with inflammation is a constant battle and is better to manage once it has been accepted that the pain is not going to magically disappear.  It will, however, get better with a few changes.  Here’s to fighting the not so good fight.. as the immune system causing the inflammation is truly trying to fight the good one.  Kudos.

Depression

This post is about mental illness and my own welfare.  If either of these things does not interest you, do not read on.  You have been warned.

peanuts_Psych

I have struggled with many forms of Depression and Anxiety in my life.  This current episode of Depression is something I have experienced before. It is not Major nor is it Chronic Depression.  I do not want to sit around and cry all the time, asking why people are so mean to me or why life is unfair.  Rather, I find myself wanting to yell at all the morons and I am having to keep my temperament in check.

When I hear other people who are talking about Depression, they describe it as a black, all encompassing abyss.. I have to stop myself from saying anything. Just like any other disease, there are different types of Depression (Chronic Depression aka Dysthymia, Major Depression, Atypical Depression, etc.).  I have experienced Major Depression in my lifetime and it did feel like a black, all encompassing abyss.  This time, however, it’s different.

This time, the Depression is not what one would refer to as clinical – it is “circumstantial”.  This is good and bad.  Good News: It will go away.  Bad News: Not soon enough.

The circumstances leading up to this episode of Depression include health problems, losing my job, and still not meeting those long ago set goals that have been looming over my head.  Add good old Seasonal Affective Disorder to the mix and you have a Depression just waiting to burst forth. However, I do not feel as though I am in some dark abyss.  Rather, I feel as though I am in a vat of quicksand.  Everything is much harder to do and seems to take much more energy.  My whole body aches and I simply “don’t want to”.  I must push myself in order to accomplish simple tasks such as taking a shower, getting dressed.. hell, even getting out of bed.  I find it far too easy to make excuses in order to not accomplish these things.

How do I overcome this?  I pretty much have to ride it out.  My saving grace is to work my hardest so that it does not get worse.  I do this by putting my energy and effort into pushing myself to stick to as much of a routine as possible.  Take that shower, get out of bed at a quasi-reasonable time, eat for heaven’s sake.  I try to not add anything new to my plate because this would surely be suicidal.  I would get a very temporary euphoric feeling from taking on something new, but when I do not continue with my new found goal, I will have more fodder to stay in bed.  “I can’t even do such and such a thing now, so why bother with anything at all?”

And that’s another thing.  Self talk.  When I am in a Depression I find that being more aware of my self talk is vital.  Not criticizing it, that is something altogether different.  Rather, I am simply aware of what I am saying to myself and the impact it is having.  “I don’t want to get out of bed, my whole body hurts, a few more minutes won’t be such a big deal.”  This type of thinking can become a vicious cycle.  Although that may seem like sound reasoning upon passing glance, it can start to devour other things.  “I don’t want to get out of bed to eat.. I am fat enough as it is, I don’t need to eat really.”  That is when I have a problem.  I try to prevent my self talk from getting to this point by addressing it in it’s beginning stages.  I get out of bed even though my mind and body are screaming at me to stay under the warm covers, snuggled next to my husband.

The odd thing I find is that when I get out of bed it continues.  There is not some magical awakening as if I have suddenly been pushed into a state of enthusiasm.  It’s strange because I almost expect this each and every time.  No, the Depression continues.  I must listen to my self talk to ensure that I eat breakfast, shower, don’t crawl back into bed, and watch my temper.  This constant mental regulation is exhausting in and of itself, so for another rule of Depression’s thumb, I try to do things to keep my energy up.  Rest but don’t go back to bed, drink a lot of water, eat healthy foods (don’t pig out on chocolate), and get some sunshine each day.  I find that when I am able to do these things, I can ride out the Depression and prevent it from getting worse.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Because I haven’t been posting.  I haven’t really been doing much of anything.  Scratch that.  I’ve been keeping the house clean which is like climbing Mt.Everest when you are in an episode of Depression.  I’ve been keeping myself on a dietary and hygienic routine.  I’ve also been shuttling family around town.  In all honesty, having people to take care of has helped out a little bit.  I have a reason that I have to get out of the house.  If I don’t do it, these people can’t get to work or get to the store to get food.  It also makes me feel good, as if I am doing them some good.  And finally, they give me gas money.  Although I’m not making money because I usually get just enough to cover trip expenses, it feels like I am.  This does help that whole “lost job” thing a little bit.

All in all, I think I have this Depression thing down but I don’t want to count all those eggs just yet.  Cockiness can oftentimes land me in big trouble when it comes to these things.  I guess I am going to be riding this storm out for a little while so if you don’t hear much from me, I haven’t disappeared off the face of the Earth.  I’m just busy trying to get my ass in the shower.

Sabbatical

I haven’t posted any short stories in what seems an eternity.  They still dance about in my mind, but I have been too physically ill to put them down on digital “paper”.  I will have a lot of catching up to do with Miss Cookie’s Word a Day when I finally start feeling better!  I am actually looking forward to it.

In other, less interesting news, I am sick.. again.  No wait, you have to get better in order to be sick again.  I am sick, still.  This time, however, things have taken a bit of a stronger blow.  I am actually running a fever!  I never run a fever because my body temperature is naturally lower than the average.  That is to say, I run a temperature but it doesn’t register as one in other people’s minds because it is still below 100, until today.  Today my body temperature is 101, which means that  I have a high temperature.  So on the list of things to do today is rest, drink lots of liquids, rest, and take medicine.

I have been battling this stalwart infection for a month now, trying to beat it with at home remedies.  The kicker is that I was almost successful, almost.  The three weeks worth of salt water gargles, steam treatments, sinus rinses, home made herbal teas, and pain relievers was making a good impact.  It just wasn’t enough.  I was symptom free for about a day and a half.. maybe two days.  I was happy about my new resolve to not miss anymore days at work.  Why would I need to?  I was getting better! And then it crashed down like an avalanche.

The body aches, headache, sinus pain and pressure, eye pain, ear pain, dizziness… all of it.  It all got suddenly worse.  Off to the doctor I go.  I don’t expect to see Santa coming through the snow for me this year.. I’d rather see a Pharmacist waving a bottle with my anti-biotics in it.  Screw my two front teeth, give me relief for Christmas!

Animosity Rising

Despite the title, this post is not a vent post.  At lest, it’s not yet.  It’s just a post about how I tend to alienate people while simultaneously making decisions that harm my future.  It’s a fun little game I call “Animosity Rising” and I’ve been playing it at work a lot.

It all starts when I’m not feeling well, or I got like three hours of sleep in two days, or maybe there’s a lot of stress at home for various reasons.  Hell, I’ve had all of the above before.  I’m not excusing why this happens, this is just why it happens.  It’s kind of like road rage, but less rage and minus the car.  You know what I mean, that thin line where one minute everything is bearable and the next minute you’re reacting to things around you based on some illogical sense of animosity.  Yea, that one.

I know it’s happening and I work hard to counteract it.  I utilize my self-talk techniques.  “This person is truly not this annoying, I am just tired. Be polite.”  It works for a short while, but people can still tell something is off.  I’ll get a lot of questions like, “Are you okay today?  You look awful.  Maybe you should have called in?”  That’s never a good sign.  I’m working hard to combat it and I’m obviously failing because it’s so obvious, people can read me like a slutty book that is astonishingly a best seller.  You know what I’m talking about.  They can see right through me.

At any rate, I try my best to keep up the charade.  This generally backfires.  The energy I put into trying to be civilized just wears me out more and I become even more uncivilized.  It’s only a matter of time before something breaks: I snap at someone, I demote myself to a less stressful position, or I start talking really loudly and obnoxiously.  I haven’t truly snapped at anyone in a while, but I did demote myself.  I was all regretful and guilty about this until tonight when I had to work in that job position again due to low numbers of people.  It sucked.  I don’t regret it anymore.

Talking loudly and obnoxiously however, that I’ve been doing very often.  Like on a regular basis kind of often.  So regular that I can turn to my coworker and go, “I’m psychic and I can prove it.  I know exactly what you are thinking right now.”  “What is that?”, they’ll ask.  “Shut up.”  Yup, everytime.  I should start my own phone scam.

This isn’t mania.  I am not Bipolar.  It’s not that being Bipolar (aka Manic Depressive) is a bad thing.  I have family who are and they cope very well.  I am other things.  This behavior is purely a shit ton of frustration pent up and a sense of impending doom as my options run short.  I feel trapped in my current situation and there are many reasons for it.  My job sucks, I don’t get paid enough, the bills are piling up, and I am constantly sick and tired.  Add onto that the fact that I’m sick of living in a sardine can and you have yourself one frustrated and constantly pissed off lady.

I have tried many things.  I have tried to “take my space back” with positive energies and Feng Shui.  It has had limited benefits.  Feng Shui is, in my opinion, just a common sense approach to healthy living.  Fix your drafts, fix your leaky pipes and drips, keep clutter to a minimum.  Pretty easy to understand.  Positive energy is just a conscientious effort to focus yourself on the positive outcomes you want in your life and to create an environment that stimulates that outcome.  Again, pretty straightforward.  I can only practice these techniques in a limited way at this time due to budget (haha, as if I had enough money to have a “budget”), lack of ownership of the apartment I live in, and exhaustion.  Pure, make you want to throw up and pass out exhaustion.  Please don’t be CFIDS.  *crosses fingers and chants*  Please, please, please.

CFIDS (Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome) is a nasty syndrome that I haven’t had to deal with in a decade or more.  I’ve had to deal with other things like Mono, severe allergies, constant upper respiratory issues, etc.  All of this has had a lasting impact on my immune system and I fear it may have triggered a relapse.  How can I possibly know this?  I know because I have surpassed that point in time where I just accept that I am going to be tired, cranky, and hungry all of the time and there’s really not much to be done about it.

I’m tired for health reasons.  I’m cranky for circumstantial reasons.  I’m hungry because my stomach has turned into a PMS’ing bitch that doesn’t know if it’s hungry or wants to try to set me up with the Porcelain King for another night.  Well look at that.. I guess this is a vent post.  Since people are the main reason I vent, it only makes sense to talk about them some more.

People drive me crazy.  If you’ve read any of my posts you already know this.  Despite this, I am thinking of taking a Customer Service job.  That’s how much I hate my current job.  I know that the workforce has been inundated with individuals simply looking for a way to get off Unemployment or get back to work from prison.. etc etc etc.  My problem is that I need something to balance out the negative.  I know that HR is fully aware that I am replaceable and that most things aren’t going to be fixed or even defined in a logical way that ensures a teamwork environment.  But some kind of positive to balance out all of these things would really help out the situation.  Like not feeling like an utter peon.  Being thank for a job well done.  That would be great. /vent