Self-Care for People Trying to Adult Good

This guide was meant specifically to help people with ADHD and ADD. While I don’t have either of those (as far as I know, I am increasingly less and less sure of anything about myself these days), some of the self-care tips struck me as Really Good Ideas. Halfway through reading it I stopped and downloaded the Grid Diary app. Sam’s examples of his own questions he’s set for himself to answer at the beginning and end of every day are, after some slight tweaking, a good reminder for me to be more mindful. Some of these are (tweaks included):

  • What are some strategies I can use to be effective and get shit done today?
  • What’s one way I can support my mental health today?
  • Am I worried about anything?

And one suggested by the app, which I decided to keep:

  • What problem did I encounter today? How did I solve the problem?

As Sam comments in there somewhere, these tips won’t be perfect for everyone but work for him as he spends a lot of time on his phone anyway. My partner, who most likely does have ADD, swears by bullet journals and didn’t seem as interested in this app as I am when I mentioned it — but then I’m more of a phone person, and any time I spend on my phone that’s not noodling away on Candy Crush Soda Saga or Solitaire Tri Peaks is probably a good thing.

 

That’s when I knew: I didn’t want to live like this anymore.

via ADHD Survival Guide: How I Stopped Procrastinating and Got My Sh!t Together — Let’s Queer Things Up!

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Walking With Giants

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. Your words have helped me feel a little lighter, a little more inspired. Plus, I had a kitty lounging on my chest and purring for quite a while this morning, which was nice.

The day after I made that post, we had already planned to go to a nearby redwood forrest and do a nature walk. My energy felt so sapped that I almost didn’t want to go, but between my partner’s infectious enthusiasm as sheer momentum I went. This particular park has an amphitheater area that we’re considering as a wedding venue, and I really wanted to see it. Temperatures have sometimes climbed to the 100s recently and that day was no exception, but at least the forest was full of shade.

“Green spaces are known to be good for mental health, and beyond that, there’s the powerful business of encountering.” —Nimue Brown

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With that, I felt a little better too. And this past weekend, as a delayed birthday present, my mom took my to Disneyland! It was very hot and very crowded, but even that helped clear my mind of non-immediate concerns. The Jungle Cruise was still there, despite some rumors we had heard of it being closed down permanently, and Space Mountain and Indiana Jones were as wildly enjoyable as ever. Plus, Disney is astonishingly good at accommodating allergies and I found gluten free bread here and there when I least expected it. (Grilled cheese and tomato soup, om nom nom!) Not for nothing is it called the Happiest Place on Earth, and although most of the happy glow wore off once I came home and returned to real life I do feel better for the three days of mental relief. I am extraordinarily lucky and grateful for that.

I don’t think I’m depressed. There are a lot of things I need to adjust in my life to get to a better mental place — I am too stressed, I am too anxious, I am worried about my upcoming endoscopy and the single Ativan I will take to keep myself calm that day, I don’t get enough exercise, I don’t eat enough protein, and I need to carry on with purging gluten from my system.

For the first three, I have started talking to a therapist again. I’m going to try and get back into meditation and breathing exercises, which might be a little easier to remember to do once the endoscopy is over and done with. I’m also taking some steps to reduce the stress in my environment… Work stuff. It’s a process.

For the last three, I have my Fitbit. I bought it for myself a few months ago and have been gradually bumping my step goal up from 5k as I build better daily habits. Currently my goal is 7k and I’m doing a pretty good job of hitting it. The app also tracks exercise and food/calorie/macronutrient intake. In the past week I’ve been using it as a food journal, in case I need to look back and figure out if I ate anything that wasn’t gluten free by accident. It tells me what percent of calories are from protein, too, so I can be more mindful of that.

There are probably other things I can do, but this is where I’m starting. I’m already taking vitamin D every day along with my anti-anxiety medication, which I believe isn’t giving me as much burnout from side effects as it was a few weeks ago. When I remember, I take gummy multi-vitamins. Once I get though the endoscopy, perhaps I will turn more of my focus towards meditation, vitamins, and writing more often.

And my partner and I definitely plan on taking more nature walks. We even bought matching water bottles for the purpose. 😊

Overall, I am not at my best, but I am better. I hope all of you are doing okay.

“Heal yourself first. Get what you need, do what you need to, first, always first, but after you have made some progress and stored up some strength yourself, go out and help the rest of the world heal.” — Lisa

Is this Depression?

I feel… wrong. Sometimes it feels almost like being dizzy, like my head is disconnected and floating slightly above my body like a balloon on a short string. Sometimes it feels like everything around me is moving at a slightly faster tempo than I am.

The amount of times I say “I don’t know” on any given day has quadrupled, at least — I never know what I want to watch, want to drink, want to eat, want to do in my free time. Or, if I do and that turns out not to be an option, I am generally unable to think of a second option. It’s been so hard to write lately, for the past month or so with only short-lived exceptions.

Yesterday, I locked my keys in my car because I’d forgotten to put them in my pocket. A couple weeks ago I “lost” my credit card because I put it in my back pocket, right into the middle of a stack of business cards, and a couple days after I “found” it again I forgot to take the cards out of the pocket and they disintegrated in the wash.

Is this what depression feels like? Or am I just psyching myself out? Because between my growing dread of an upper endoscopy, fretfulness about switching to all gluten free all the time, the anxiety I already had anyway, recently fiddling with my medication, and the fact that it’s 100° F out again today… I just don’t know anymore.

Life is a Complex Matter

Happy 4th of July! I must admit that right now I am not the proudest I have ever been of my country — more like, rolling my eyes real hard — but a federal holiday is a paid day off work and that at least is worth celebrating. Today there was less car exhaust in the air during usual rush hour time, and that’s worth some happy thoughts as well.

This Independence Day I would love to declare independence from the bad vibes and depression that’s been clinging to me for a while now, but I can’t. The dark clouds over my head are there and pretending they aren’t won’t get me any less stormed on.

“I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.”  — Walt Disney

In the past several months I feel as though my anxiety has gotten worse, and being toldI tested positive for celiac disease hasn’t helped. My jaw feels tight and at times almost clicky again. I’m back to flinching when I’m a passenger on the freeway and someone cuts in front of us. I am borderline apathetic about getting up every morning, partly because I don’t want to move and partly because I feel queasy.

I can’t just overlook these things. They’re too big, some days it’s hard to see anything else. All I can do is remember the buts.

  • I might have celiacs, BUT that means that maybe going gluten free will help me loose weight. (If nothing else, a GF bagel is smaller than a regular one, and similar upsides to portions.)
  • I might have celiacs, BUT that could explain some of my recent spikes in anxiety and insomnia, and offer hope that they’ll settle again soon.
  • I might feel queasy more often and easily now, BUT that’s probably because my sertraline dose was increased three weeks ago, so my body will probably adjust soon and that’ll go away.
  • I might feel queasy more often and easily now, BUT maybe that just means I shouldn’t drink any more alcohol until my body settles down a bit. (Because I’m really, really sick of getting hit with a hangover an hour after having two drinks.)
  • Sometimes I feel way too stressed and panicky and like I have no way of changing any of the stressful factors in my environment, BUT I have my partner to support me and, if I really need it, lavender pills to help calm me down. That at least clears some space in my head to think.

In theory, lists like these will help me stay more level. I don’t know if it’s working. I think it might be… but I’ll have to wait and see.

Work From Where You Are

“So, I have accepted where I am, and I have beat myself up enough for it. Now it’s time to start again, again.”

Wise words. I need to do this – with my day job, with my writing, with my mental health and self-care.

ZEN AND PI

Hello, and happy Monday! Yeah, I know, I know, Mondays aren’t happy. Mondays are for being tired, and grouchy, and remembering all the things you don’t like about your life. Mondays are for wanting to crawl back into bed. I know.

But, let’s try something different. Let’s think of Mondays as a chance as a fresh start, a reset of sorts that you get every single week. Let’s take this opportunity to do it differently. Let’s make the changes we want to see in ourselves and the world, okay?

“In human life, if you feel that you have made a mistake, you don’t try to undo the past or the present, but you just accept where you are and work from there. Tremendous openness as to where you are is necessary.”

— Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, Transcending Madness

For a long time now I have been trying to move beyond this blog…

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A Month in Review: June 2017

June was not my finest month. I finally found a new doctor up here and got through the first appointment well enough and got my anxiety meds dose bumped up a little, but nearly cried when I got blood drawn for tests and did cry when I went back for my next appointment. The doctor was very nice, but unfortunately all she had to distract me from my anxiety attack with was the news that I tested positive for celiac disease. So now I have an endoscopy to worry about, because that’s the next step to confirm, and that’s a lot more invasive than what freaked me out at the follow-up.

Maybe it’s that I’m still adjusting to the new medication dose, but I’m constantly on edge lately and it’s exhausting.

On the other hand, I only wrote three posts in June but one of them was a book review. One of my goals for the year was to do at least five reviews so I’m pleased about making progress on that.


Here’s what I am currently:

Writing

… Nothing. I kind of wanted to do Camp NaNoWriMo, but I just don’t have the energy with so much anxiety and other things I need to do demanding my attention.

Planning

… To work really hard to change the things I can change and accept/work with the things I can’t.

Making

… Avoiding gluten a priority. My grandpa, who was diagnosed with celiac disease when I was still in high school, has been off gluten so long that if he gets any contamination he ends up spending an hour throwing up afterwards. I’m definitely not there, but whenever I eat something that I know could sneakily contain some wheat I definitely psyche myself out into feeling awful.

Anticipating

… Bedtime. I am tired.

Reading

… Terry Pratchett, my fallback in times of stress. I know them so well and I know all the bits I really enjoy, so I have those to look forward to.

Watching

… Twin Peaks, seasons one and two. When I was a kid, my parents had the soundtrack for the show and, for some reason, kept a picture of me from when I was about four in the front of the CD case. That alone made me want to listen to it, and most of the songs are so hauntingly beautiful. I would listen to it in my room and flip through the CD booklet, looking at the headshots of the actors with their characters’ names below and trying to imagine what they were like.

As far as actually watching the show goes, this is my second attempt. I just finished the first season and I will definitely keep going with it this time around.

Feeling

… Overwhelmed. So, so overwhelmed.

Needing

… A vacation. Thankfully, I’m getting two this month: a long weekend/work from home stretch over 4th of July, and Disneyland with my mom in two weeks. She’s been really great about contacting her friends who live near Anaheim about GF options in the park.

Loving

… How supportive my partner is. They came with my to my follow-up appointment to literally hold my hand, and I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have someone I trust this much as my safety net.

Hating

… The health care bill Republicans are trying to push through. This has been a bad month for worrying about my health, and dropping potential financial concerns on top of that is swell.

Hoping

… To be able to relax sometime soon. I have a therapy appointment in a couple weeks, and I’m hoping that will help. Here’s to July being a better month!