Someone Loves Their Chainsaw

Song: N/A

Mood: 5.5

Nightmares: 0

Today was another kind of rough day. I woke up feeling like I hadn’t slept at all, and no matter what I tried I couldn’t get back to sleep. I stayed in bed far too long and got frustrated with things before I finally got up and started my day.

I had breakfast, then went downstairs to do my exercises. I kept losing focus because I was so tired so they didn’t go very well. After I was done them, I had a pretty lively debate with myself about whether I should go out and do my homework or whether I could take a day off. The weather suggested that I stay inside – the morning started with clear skies and some sun but it quickly turned cold and damp and drizzly again. I ended up deciding to go out for a few reasons: I would be disappointed in myself if I didn’t, J would be disappointed in me if I didn’t, I wanted to look at the cable the crew strung along the fence yesterday, and WHAT ON EARTH HAS SOMEONE BEEN CHAINSAWING FOR THE LAST TWO HOURS?

So, I put on pants (sigh) and went outside for my walk and truck time. It wasn’t actively raining while I was outside but the tiny little drops were just hanging in the air. Like a day that’s so humid you can see it. I made my way around the block and then checked the cable in the back yard. No writing on it that I could find, and it’s either made up of two cables (one thicker than the other) or it’s a single cable with something structural to keep it from sagging, or maybe hold it to things like a piece of nylon line.

Unfortunately, I did not find out who was running their chainsaw or what they were cutting up. Perhaps they were teaching themselves how to juggle, or maybe their kid was doing a horror movie for class and needed two and a half hours of chainsaw noises. Maybe they just got it and they were following some esoteric motor break-in procedure. Maybe they started it up, forgot they had pasta boiling, and left it running while they made tortellini or something. I don’t know.

After that, I went into the garage and sat in the truck with the express purpose of waiting until I hit the peak of my anxiety in that situation. It took a little over an hour, but I played music through the truck speakers today which was much more immersive than listening to it from my phone’s little speaker. I worked on my mindfulness and grounding and did breathing and muscle relaxation exercises to try to relax and keep the anxiety as low as I could. And I tried very hard not to feel silly about what I was doing.

Had a couple of text conversations today. One of J’s aunts has been wanting to get a cat since her dog passed away, and she finally did on… Thursday? I think it was Thursday. She actually got a cat that’s affectionate and pretty normal, which I think is great because she always feels sorry for the animals that not a lot of people would want. You know, the 22 year old cats with no ears or the dogs with three wooden legs and a ton of slivers? She has saved and given a great home and care to plenty of sick, odd, or downright evil animals, so I’m happy that she got one that doesn’t do anything really weird and actually hangs around her and purrs. Anyway, I heard today that her first weekend with her new friend went quite well, so that’s great!

J and I watched Hotel Transylvania 2 this evening. The first one was not too shabby. The second one? Let me just say it didn’t deliver and leave it at that.

I also got a text from FA today and it looks like she’s going to be coming over tomorrow for lunch and some games. It will be great to hang out with her again – she always has interesting stories!

Stay safe.

Feeling Weird All Weekend

Song: N/A

Mood: 5.5

Nightmares: 0

The weekend didn’t start off all that well. For whatever reason, I haven’t been feeling myself for the last few days, and it seemed like I was going to be a stick in the mud all weekend. I’m not sure if I’m waking up more than I remember, or if something’s disturbing me when I sleep, but I’m exhausted all day. I ended up going for a nap this afternoon and it helped for a while but I’m dragging pretty bad again.

Fortunately, hanging out with J always cheers me up. We had a couple of really good conversations this weekend about very random things, and just talking with her or watching shows with her or having dinner with her or sitting in the same room with her makes my world brighter. So I’m feeling quite a bit better but unfortunately, I’m still really tired. I think I’m going to set my phone to record sound all night again to see if I’m moving around a lot or we have squirrels running around or something.

I didn’t accomplish a lot this weekend. Cleaned up the kitchen somewhat and then promptly dirtied it again. Sometimes I wish the whole thing and everything in it was stainless steel with a drain in the floor and a power washer on the wall. Maybe one of those big red heat lamps to dry everything, or a big fan. Just leave everything where it is, squirt some dish soap around the room, and have at it with the power washer. Ah well…

The cable company parked a van, a truck, and a lift truck out front of our house today. I thought that was kind of odd (we don’t have cable) and was surprised when the doorbell rang. J answered it and it turns out one of their underground cables is broken so they need to run a temporary above ground one and it needs to go through our back yard. Not a big deal – J took care of the gate and the cable, and they did a nice job of hiding the cable along the fence. It seems, however, that they’re going to be coming back once their plans are approved and trenching out a run for a replacement cable. I’m not sure when that’s going to happen, but I expect they won’t want to wait too long, particularly with winter coming.

I’m also not thrilled about Halloween again this year. J and I talked about it quite a bit and I expect I will be cowering in the basement while she does all the work again this year. Yep, big old Mark is still afraid of little kids in princess and ninja turtle costumes.

Tomorrow it’s back to my walk and time in the truck. The tender is still hooked up to the battery so I think I might hook my phone into the stereo and turn that up instead of listening to music or guided relaxation exercises on the tiny little speaker in my phone.

But yeah, I don’t feel right. I’m not even sure if it’s a physical or mental thing. Maybe both. Maybe neither. Hopefully it’s just something that will pass.

Stay safe.

I’m Going To Bed

Song: N/A

Mood: 5

Nightmares: 1

Didn’t sleep well again last night and had a rough start to the morning.

Didn’t accomplish a lot today other than sitting in the truck, feeling weird.

Dr C appointment was difficult but informative. She wants me to keep getting out of the house and doing the truck thing.

Didn’t have the greatest evening, and now I’m going to bed early.

Stay safe.

Running On Empty

Song: “There Goes Norman” by The Undertones

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

Very short post tonight, I’ve been tired all day and my medications are kicking the heck out of me. Here’s a list:

  • Woke up a lot last night worrying about this or that. It wasn’t so difficult to get back to sleep, but I woke up so many times it kind of ruined my night.
  • Sat out in the truck again today. I really like the truck but sitting out there is quite unpleasant.
  • My exercises didn’t go well because I’m too tired.
  • Cold and gloomy again today. There’s a thin layer of snow on the deck right now. I hope it melts tomorrow.
  • Got another letter from my aunt today. I sure enjoy getting a good old-fashioned paper letter and reading it. I hope she knows how much I appreciate them!
  • Every time I close my eyes it takes a deliberate thought and effort to open them back up again. I feel like I’ve been about to fall asleep all day.
  • Dr W appointment was difficult but not too long (thank goodness). No medication changes, and he’s happy that I’m keeping busy and following what Dr C has me doing.
  • FA sent me a text today mentioning something called a “squirrel gym”. I looked it up and it seems like it could be pretty amusing to make. Plus, we have a zillion squirrels here and it’d be nice to play tricks on them without hurting them.
  • Had a lot of text conversations today. I know it’s not the same thing as getting together with someone (or even a phone call) but it felt good to communicate.

Tomorrow I have a Dr C appointment in the afternoon. I’m not sure what else I’m going to be doing yet. Hopefully I sleep well tonight and tomorrow is a good day.

Stay safe.

Another Gloomy Day Outside

Song: “Downtown” by Mrs. Miller

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 1

It’s not tough to tell that fall is here. It’s been dark, gloomy, rainy, and cool since the end of September. The sun comes out occasionally, but it doesn’t seem to be enough to clear the dampness from the air or warm things up much. The street has a thin cover of fallen leaves, which are sticking to everything because they’re damp. From late morning to the middle of the afternoon there was a decent breeze blowing, too. I’m really hoping for a warm spell or two before the snow arrives for the season but I don’t know if that’s going to happen.

It looks like it’s been a couple of days since I did much of an update. I was pretty happy that the truck started on Sunday but I didn’t mention anything about my Dr C appointment or anything like that. Let’s see… my appointment was difficult again. We started out talking about how my week went, and then I handed her the list of things that bother me in a normal day (I went through it a couple of times and changed the font and margins and got it down to two pages) and we talked about that for quite a while. I had the items on the list organized from the things that bother me the most to the least, and Dr C asked how I thought we should start in on it. I was of two minds – get through a couple of easy things first to build up to something more difficult, or work on a hard one to prove that if I could do that, the others would be easier?

We talked about that for a while (lots of talking in therapy, go figure) and then we talked about a goal that I wanted to achieve. I replied that I would really like to be able to reliably get to the local grocery store so I can pick up groceries so J doesn’t have to do 100% of the shopping. Considering the impending winter and a couple of other factors, we decided that I’m going to take little steps to drive the truck to the grocery store and pick up groceries. To do that, I needed to get the truck running again since it hadn’t been started since March and the battery was completely shot (wouldn’t take a charge and read 4V for you battery geeks out there).

My self-confidence is (at best) 97% absent; despite maintaining vehicles since I was 16, I was very nervous about swapping out the battery and making sure the truck was in good condition before starting it. The longer it sat, the worse I felt about it. Things fell into place this past weekend though. J picked up a battery tender and a new battery last week (thank you!!!) and when my folks came in on Sunday, Dad gave me a hand changing out the battery and giving the truck a good once-over before I turned the key (thank you!!!). I was worried that various truck juices had leaked/evaporated and after being that long without power, the belts would’ve cracked, or the computer would’ve forgotten the chips in the keys or the signal from the key fobs… all kinds of things.

Turns out I was worrying about nothing. The various juices were in the right places, at the right levels, and the right colours, and the truck fired right up. I even put it into gear and drove back and forth a little bit while Dad grit his teeth, hoping I didn’t bump the side of the garage. The only thing I lost were the time and the radio station settings. That should only take me six hours to figure out (or four minutes if I break down and look at the manual).

So… that was a lot of talking about a little truck. Long story short – if my goal was to drive the truck to the grocery store, I needed to get the truck running first, and with an enormous amount of support from J and my parents, the truck is ready to go. I am so, so very lucky!

Baby steps, though. Sit in the truck for a while. Start it up and sit for a while. Back it down the driveway, take it slowly around the block. Play lots of music. Remember to do grounding and mindfulness. Push up against the discomfort but don’t jump into the panic zone. Baby steps.

As for today, it was alright. I woke up worrying four or five times and a nightmare jolted me awake once but after going out to the living room for about half and hour I was able to head back to bed. I couldn’t get back to sleep after J went to work, so I got up and started in on my day a little earlier than usual.

I went for a short walk between spots of rain and then spent some time out in the garage, sitting in the truck. Sitting there by myself, it didn’t take very long for me to get pretty uncomfortable. I felt anxious and silly at the same time. I hung on, though, and waited out the peak of the anxiety while my phone’s tinny little speaker blasted upbeat music from the dashboard. The anxiety felt like it was just going to keep building until I started to panic, but eventually it started to back off a bit. I grabbed my phone, hooked the battery tender up to the truck, and darted back inside, scaring the rabbits in the back yard in the process. I’m calling today a success. Uncomfortable and felt like eternity, but a success nonetheless.

My exercises didn’t go very well, unfortunately. Between being tired and still feeling rattled from my walk and sitting outside, I had a lot of trouble keeping my mind from zipping hither and yon. It still beat sitting in the truck, though, and I felt a little better when I was done.

I sent out my texts and had quite a few good text chats with people. One of my good friends sent me a bunch of pictures from a trip she just took. One of them is a black and white photo of her walking on the beach at the ocean, the waves splashing against her rubber boots as she stands there in contemplation. It’s a very striking and relaxing photo.

I went to do my daily banking and crafting stuff in Star Trek Online, but it was down for a long time due to a giant update, and after it came back up the banking and crafting was broken. It wasn’t just me, either – the chat windows were full of very unhappy STO fans. They’ve announced another maintenance window for tomorrow morning – hopefully that’ll fix some of the problems.

I was texting with DA and he mentioned that he’d just scored a super good deal on a 60” pull-behind mower. That got me to thinking about lawn tractors, which got me to thinking about welding, which got me to thinking about generators, which got me to thinking about lawn tractors. Some weird yet interesting idea was starting to form in my mind. I mentioned it to J later and she… well, she wasn’t impressed. Still, I think my idea will be on my mind for a little while. We’ll see.

This evening, J and I watched some more Parks and Recreation. We’re into Season 5 now and even though they changed the formula, I think it still works very well. I’m already a little sad that we only have the rest of 5, then all of 6 and 7 left. J and I have already decided that we’re going to have to watch them again.

Tomorrow I have my Dr W appointment. I am not looking forward to going all the way out there again but it’s been a while since I last saw him and I really need to keep making sure that I’m on the same page and doing the same things that I’m prescribed. Quite a lot has happened since we last had an appointment so I expect the appointment will go long. Hopefully things go smoothly and J and I are back home nice and quickly.

I have a Dr C appointment on Thursday afternoon – not looking forward to that, either. I think I’m going to start taping my sessions so I can play them back later. With all of the stuff going through my head when I’m out of my comfort zone, it’s very difficult to pay attention, never mind absorb information. I recorded quite a few of my sessions with Dr P and being able to listen to them when I was back at home and relaxed was very helpful. I will try to remember to ask Dr C if she’s okay with that.

Stay safe.

Snow’s Almost Gone

Song: “Get Over You” by The Undertones

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

I didn’t sleep all that well last night. I was hoping that my luck from the previous night would hold out but I guess it didn’t. Oh well. Maybe it’ll show up every once in a while as a treat or something. Still, no nightmares and no panic so that’s good.

The snow that fell yesterday was still on the ground this morning, but as the sun crept across the sky, it slowly burned the snow away. It was still pretty cool all day but standing out in the sun felt pleasant.

My exercises didn’t go as well today but I was tired so that’s okay.

As you probably guessed from my earlier post, I listened to a lot of music while I was going about my day. Even brought some along on my walk, although my ear buds keep falling out when I move around.

I spent a lot of time writing and working on my homework for Dr C. I also puttered around a bit with the stuff for DA but he texted me the other day and said he bought a bag full of wireless motion detectors that he’s going to put up around the outside of his cabin. Still, I think I may play around with this stuff some more – I’ve been enjoying it.

My mom called too and we had a good conversation. Stuff is falling into place for their visit this weekend. I think I said this already but I’m a little nervous about it, although I am really looking forward to seeing them. I also feel guilty that they’re coming out here – J and I used to be the ones who would do the driving back and forth. Dr C, Dr P, Dr W, J, my parents, and the guy pouring concrete down the street all say the same thing – they’re doing it because they want to do it, not because they feel they have to.

So tomorrow I have an appointment with Dr C in the afternoon. I’m still not completely done my homework but there should be enough time tomorrow morning for me to finish it. It’s been quite interesting taking note of all of the things that bother me or that I worry about for whatever reason. Lots more stuff on the list than I expected.

But for now, it’s time for me to get to bed. Going to the appointments is difficult enough – going while being too tired to remember my name makes it harder to participate and remember what we talked about during the session.

Stay safe.

Songs That Make Me Smile

During the day, I almost always have music playing. Whether I’m listening to a record, or have my earbuds in, or have the radio on, or I’m blasting music over bluetooth… I’m very rarely without music. Sometimes I’ll play stuff in my head. Sometimes I’ll whistle or sing to myself (ideally when there’s nobody around).

My taste in music has widened over the years as I’ve met new people and found out what they like. I think it’s safe to say that I like most kinds of music – some more than others of course, but I think I like most of it. I rarely listen to the lyrics to any song. I treat the vocals as another instrument, and I like picking songs apart and listening to what each instrument does and how they work together.

On rough days, music can help me stay afloat. If I feel really down or like there’s panic coming, I will crank up the music – nice and loud and upbeat.

Here are some songs that make me smile or help me see things differently when things aren’t going well.

“Get Over You” by The Undertones

This is my go-to song for almost any occasion. The best chorus in the best song by the best band on the planet. If you don’t like classic punk or think you’re going to hate this song, at least skip to 2:00 in the video and listen to the harmony in the chorus. Not bad for some kids out of Derry!

“Lydia The Tattooed Lady” by The Muppets

From the second episode of the first season of the original Muppet Show comes this gem. Supposedly, “Lydia The Tattooed Lady” was one of Jim Henson’s favourite songs, and the Muppet version of this song pretty much bursts at the seams with glee. This song made it onto my first “Videos That Make Me Smile” list.

“Mr. Blue Sky” by The Electric Light Orchestra

This song is… I don’t know what the best way to describe it would be. Somehow, ELO managed to perfectly package optimism in song format. I can’t listen to this song without tapping my toes or bouncing up and down.

“King Of The Road” by Roger Miller

This song is an exception to my “upbeat music” rule. Miller’s vocals are laid back and you can practically feel the swing. Everybody has heard this song, and most people can probably sing a few bars. There is nothing quite like listening to this song on a record player – pops and hisses and all.

“The Blue Danube Waltz” by Johann Strauss

This song has so many different meanings for me. It reminds me of the simpler times of childhood. It reminds me of HAL 9000 (one of my favourite movie characters). It makes me think of the grandiose and amazing things that humanity is capable of when we share a vision and work together.

BONUS: “The Blue Danube Hustle” by The Rice And Beans Orchestra

You know how every food tastes better when you deep-fry it? Well, every song sounds better when you, uh… “disco” it. Do the Hustle Waltz (whatever that means)!

Stay safe.

Sweet Wonderful Sleep

Song: “Simon and Simon Theme” by Barry De Vorzon

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

I slept a lot better last night. I don’t know if it was because I was so tired or because whatever planet was in whichever constellation but I fell asleep quickly, only woke up worried three times (that I can remember), I had no nightmares, and I slept until almost 8AM. I’m feeling a lot more alert and smarter today than I have for a bit. If I can get another couple of nights like that I’ll be in good shape. If this is the only good night I have for a long time, well, at least I had it.

It was really dark out this morning up until around noon. I was going to go for my walk but it was near freezing and raining. A while later it was at freezing and snowing. I am not impressed that it snowed and that the snow is still all over the lawn and the deck. I keep telling myself that there’ll be another warm spell or two before the snow is here for the winter, but I don’t know – this year might be different.

I did my exercises today and they went pretty well. The ear defenders, beach sounds, and it being very dark and gloomy helped me ignore almost everything that was going on around me. I only had to get up twice to take a look around to make sure everything was okay. Once, I was sure that I heard something breaking like a glass on a concrete floor but I couldn’t find anything.

I spent quite a bit more time today working on the list for Dr C and chasing ghosts. I’m not sure if I’m doing the right thing with my list. Dr C asked me to list everything that bothers me and rank it from most to least difficult. I have almost three pages of items at this point. I carry my phone around with me and when I catch myself checking something, I make a note of it and add it to the list. I’m not sure why but I think I’m doing this wrong. I guess I will find out on Friday.

Things didn’t work out today and I had to reschedule my Dr W appointment. Fortunately his staff is very good and he is very understanding about that sort of thing so we’re on for next Wednesday.

My parents are coming out this weekend for a day visit. For whatever stupid reason, it makes me anxious, but I am also really looking forward to seeing them again. Plus, Mom mentioned that she might put together up a lasagna that we can cook here. Lasagna is one of my all-time favourites and I haven’t had it for quite a while. Hopefully the weather improves so they have clear skies and clear roads for the drive.

I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to do tomorrow. I’ll definitely be working on the homework Dr C gave me, but beyond that I’m not sure. I might go out to the garage and give the truck a once-over. It still needs a battery but it would probably be a good idea to check the tires, oil, coolant, etc since it’s been sitting for so long. J picked up a tender a few days ago (thank you!) so that once I finally get out there and pick up a battery and install it, I won’t need to worry that it’s going to go flat.

I’ve got my fingers crossed for a good sleep. Wish me luck!

Stay safe.