This is not an update

Hi all,

This is not an update. I’m not sure what this is. I just feel a need to write. It’s been quite a while and I’m not sure what to say. There’s a lot going on, probably. Or maybe there’s nothing going on. It’s hard to tell. I’m not depressed, but I’m not relaxed.

It’s probably because I’m still living away from my partner. We talk about him coming to visit me here. But we are pretty strict here with how we treat possible exposure to ‘the virus’. He’d be tested upon flying, and then be in strict quarantine here at the house for at least a week or two until he’s tested again. We wouldn’t encourage breathing the same air until then. It would be a hard time period.

Then, he’s willing to take more risks than we are. He’d probably be going into local bakeries for pastries and such. He does that presently. We don’t do that. We’ve gone into a store at least 8 times in the past half year, but only for some supplies and groceries.

Well, you know. It’ll be what it is, I suppose. I’m just not sure what it is. Part of me can see positives of me returning back to what was my previous life. Part of me would leave where I presently am over my dead body, so to speak. You’ll have to drag me out kicking and screaming. And yet. I had friends and stuff in my previous life. Well, not like REAL friends, except the one. What was his fake name on here? “Joe” or something? The person I used to walk with once a week. He was a real friend. The others were just upbeat acquaintances but that could be so much fun. My Pokemon friends, I suppose I mean. And I had been developing some kind of friendships with people at work, but also not exactly. That is complicated.

Work is really, really, ultra weird. I suppose my paranoia and self-doubt is what’s kicked in, really. I’m pretty convinced everyone hates me. It’s funny to write that out, but I’m dead serious. I wish I could just do my work and not worry about what other people think of me. That would be so nice. It’s worse long-distance, because I don’t get any smiles. Apparently I find smiles really comforting when talking with others. Who knew. Also, nobody asks me how I am. At least in person, people might stop and ask how was my weekend, or whatever. Long-distance, nobody reaches out to me. It’s frustrating. I try to reach out to a couple of people now and again. But it’s so hard. I can’t tell what anyone else is doing. I don’t know what they’re doing! I don’t even know if they’re working half the time. Maybe more than half the time. What are they doing?

If this long-distance was going to go on a long time, I’d want to work elsewhere. I’d want to work for a company that is willing to work on developing a healthy mode of connection online. We suck. It’s so awkward. People don’t even turn on their videos during Zoom meetings, and typically keep their mics turned off, too. Are they even there? Are they listening? Are they working? Are they out driving around in their car, or doing house chores? How can I know? It’s frustrating.

Maybe I don’t like the people there anymore. I did before. Maybe I don’t now. Maybe it’s just a job. Maybe I need to calm down about it and just treat it like a job. Before, I was making it a center piece of my life, hanging out with some of them after work, trying my heart out at work, doing my absolute best at every moment. Not having energy left over for my personal life.

So, you know. Life’s weird. But isn’t that what I always say? Maybe I don’t know what a normal life would look like. Maybe it’s staring me in the face and I think it’s weird.

Well, I’m exercising a bit more finally. And I’m eating pretty well. I’m getting some chores done that I’ve wanted to get done. I guess that’s all I can ask for. I talk with my partner over the phone most every day. I don’t feel that I’m missing anything, other than talking with him and his parents. He doesn’t do things that I wish I could do– like he doesn’t go on hikes or anything, so I don’t have fear of missing out. I get to talk with him over the phone.

I’ve set up a ton of bird feeders. So far we’ve seen seven different types of birds, only 5 of which have used the feeders. And a squirrel, of course. But we love squirrels, so that’s good.

I can’t believe it’s going to be winter soon. The weather has changed.

Topic: OCD and the so-called novel Coronavirus

[Hi all. I’ve been wanting to write a post about this for a while. But full disclosure: I have been very, very, extremely lucky. I was able to leave the city for the country, where I have been for three months. I did touch three airports and then quarantine for 14 days on the other end. Also, I am still employed and working full time from home. And largely, none of my friends or family have died from the virus so far. So my thoughts on this topic are not as panicked and stressed as they would otherwise be. The only negative I feel at all times is anxiety/guilt — because I am so far away from my partner and workplace, and feel I have been more lucky than I “deserve”. And work is super stressful because three people were fired and the rest of us have to pick up all of their work. But that is all for a different post.]

What I want to discuss is this highly contagious virus and my observations from the perspective of someone who experiences contamination OCD on a good day. To me, it feels like a very cranked up version of how I’ve always felt. It’s like my normal tendencies are amplified.

I was born to wear a mask. I was born to avoid touching doorknobs and avoid outstretched hands of greeting. I was born to avoid breathing in another person’s breath. I was born to stand across the street when chatting with neighbors. I was born to avoid standing in a crowded post office. I was born to stay a hundred miles away from a sneezing or coughing person. The amplified part is that I do feel strong anxiety when a non-household member gets very close, particularly if they’re not wearing a mask. And I feel quite upset when I have to go into a store, with double-mask and typically gloves (for which I have a specific routine), and so many other people are not wearing masks at all (if they would wear a mask, there would be less chance of virus in the environment).

These parts of the so-called “new normal” are easy. What will NOT be easy, and may in fact be impossible for me, is going back to a previous life. How will I possibly snuggle in shoulder-to-shoulder with a hundred other people on a dirty train? How will I possibly walk around in a grocery store in the future without a mask and possibly gloves? (How had I ever become so mentally healthy that I was able to do those things?)

Hearing people TALK about hand-washing for 20 seconds, and proper washing technique as though it was a brand new concept was shocking to me. Hearing people actually think aloud about what might be on a mailing envelope or a piece of grocery store fruit or a public railing was a little satisfying for me, I’ll admit. For a brief time, non-contamination-OCD people actually had one second of insight into my mind. There’s never been ANYTHING in public that I’ve EVER touched in my adult life that didn’t cause me to at least briefly consider what might be on it. 99.99% of the time, I’m able to pick up or handle the item anyway, but it’s ALWAYS the first thought. For a brief time, people around the world seemed to take a moment to consider those things, too. It was nice.

I use past tense because a lot of areas within the USA seem kind of done with considering surface contamination. That’s fair enough, because now we believe the virus isn’t as transmittable by surface contact, so even I don’t wash my hands after handling the newspaper (which was delivered four hours before I touch it anyway, so I don’t know if that example should count).

How I’ll deal with life going back to the old-normal, I have no idea. Frankly, I’m probably isolating myself so much that I’m missing out on a lot of germs that would be helping to strengthen my immune system in the long run. But the future will come when it comes. For now, you’ll be speaking to me through a mask from a great distance away.

A brief update

Wow. I’m here. It’s been a really long time. For over two months, recently, I had a different computer and it wouldn’t load WordPress. So that’s part of it.

Some things have changed big time. Some things have not changed, at least on the outside. But I have changed on the inside.

It would be nice if I could use this space to keep my thoughts organized this time. I know it isn’t realistic; some parts of me seem static, like my cycling interests which control where I am able to focus on any given day(week)[month]. No matter how much I wish that I could keep to one thing each and every day of a year, it just doesn’t seem possible.

But, regardless, part of what changed in the past couple of months has affected me deeply. I feel very different inside. It has rippled out into some changes in behavior that I am keeping strong each day, in the hopes of them becoming habits.

For example, food. Before my motivation wanes and exhaustion sets in again, I am fostering better habits. I am keeping certain foods on hand that can always been easily consumed (eg. carrots, pre-washed spinach, potatoes, broccoli, bananas). I am spending some time at least every couple of days to prepare some food. For example, tomorrow I am cooking a spaghetti squash. I have made tacos. I’ve had canned soup. I made two veggie pizzas that I cut up and put in the freezer for future days.

Portions. I’m being conscious of portion sizes. Even though I hate watching my share get eaten by others, I can either take my whole portion and set half aside for future days right away, or allow my remaining share to go to others and feel happy with myself about it, not envious.

Going to bed. I am going to bed at a decent hour every night. I will continue to do this.

I’m going elsewhere to study. I am nearly all packed for tomorrow, where I will go to a library for most of the day in order to focus on my current class. I just need to finish with this computer and pack it away. Tomorrow morning, I’ll pack up some carrots, apple slices, and perhaps a PBj for lunch.

I have to go.

Poem: Phoenix or Burn

If this is the time of the Phoenix,
things are going to change.
All that’s set is full with smoke and coals
choking and vision poor
But if it’s time, I peck and claw my way up through the rubble.

I’ll spread these fiery, glittering wings and prepare for flight
New lands coming fast.

Or I need to increase my Lexapro.

Poem: Why bother? Complacency.

Why fight?
When we can be stressed.

Why run, and change?
When we can stay and do nothing.

Why struggle? Why push and crowd? Why try to get to the front?
When you can find a lazy chair and kick up your feet and relax.

Why get bitter? Why spit venom? Why try to articulate all of the things that NEED FIXING?
When you can burrow your face into a book or newspaper and blot it all out instead.

Weaning off Lexapro: Days 89 – 124

Scraggly trees and a dark sunset with interestingly patterned clouds

Sunset through a pattern of gray clouds

Meds:

  • 5 mg Lexapro, normal thyroid meds
  • Vitamins if I remember (maybe a couple of times a week)
  • Exercise (walking, bicycling, skiing)

Symptoms:

  • ANGST
  • Irritability only with certain people (such as my bf)
  • Insomnia now that I’m back home
  • Longing
  • Feeling that something BIG is going to happen soon (CHANGE)
  • Confused. Torn. Mixed up.

Journal Items:

  • There’s no way for me to remember and write what has passed.
  • But I did go to my parents’ house. And spent time with my beloved, beloved dog, who has heart failure now. He’s living on borrowed time thanks to responding well to medicines. Every day he’s with us has always been and will remain a gift.
  • My dad’s going to turn 70? What? How?
  • Practicing music
  • Studying for class
  • Walking, very short walks with my dog, and longer walks with my mom
  • Skiing with my folks, and my bf when he came

The mountains, the snow, the smells, the sounds. The fresh air, the cold wind. The gravel, I could roll around in it and never get enough.

I miss it all so much. My heart stayed there. I’m a split person as I have been the whole time, but it’s more obvious right now. I’m dissociating mildly here right now. I’m not connected to this place. I don’t like living here.

But life is complicated and I have to let it slide in this moment of time. I believe the reduction of Lexapro from 20mg to 5mg has really made a large difference in me. I *feel* more like I used to feel, so long ago (I’ve been on Lexapro for over a decade). But that doesn’t mesh well with what’s around me today. I believe that the Lexapro put a bubble around me and I was okay with things I would never have been okay with before. It might reach back far enough to say that I wouldn’t have been married in the first place if I hadn’t been on Lexapro and had such drug-thickened skin. Life is weird.

LIFE IS REALLY, REALLY WEIRD!!!

I’m listening to this song all day today:
https://youtu.be/djEg4O3b2IU

Squirrel

Squirrel

Well, here I go. I’ll be away from the computer for a couple of weeks. I spent the entire day yesterday attempting to pack but it was overwhelming. Executive function for the … not win. Came in 200th, perhaps?

Anyway, I found a group of people that plays PokémonGO, so when I get back, I’ll be able to meet up with more people for the level 4 raids. Very exciting. Real, human people. I met them the other day and they gave me a plushie Pokéball because they had extra. I like this. They had a bag of battery packs on the ready in case anyone needed one. They’re prepared.

I need to stop picking at my acne. Bandaids are in play. The pictures are going to look awful.

One main issue outstanding: I never signed the paperwork over for my pony. If I die on this trip, there will be some contention over ownership, and that’s not what I want. I should at least write a non-legally-binding letter letting people know my intention to transfer her my pony.

Everything else? If I die, I don’t believe there is anything else that would be difficult to clear up. So, I just need to write out my letter of intention and I’ll be good to go on this trip with perhaps lighter shoulders.

Cheers, all.

Current song I love

I’m currently really into this song: “Pray to God” featuring HAIM, the Calvin Harris version (I’m assuming there’s an original but I haven’t heard it).

I don’t know what the song is supposed to be about but I’m happy with my more religious interpretation. Here is a lyrics video I found that matches the way I hear the lyrics, and then just go with the religious interpretation from there:

Poem: Not understood

I WISH I HAD WORDS

I’D DESCRIBE THE FEAR
                               EMPTINESS

BUT YOU WEREN’T THERE

    your words
         your words

you’ll never understand

in this, i am alone
with no proof now
my palms are empty
not one grain of sand left to fall

just a memory
         and vocal cords that can speak and sing
         and fingers with which to type
         and a hand with which to draw

it would take a great deal of time and tearing open of old scars
to explain this to you

— innerdragon