It hasn’t been a good day for me, mentally. I’ve been meaning all day to look up why anxiety attacks cause intense chest pain.
Okay, I finally did. That answers one of my burning questions, ha ha.
Anxiety attacks or panic attacks can cause chest pain that mimics a heart attack. It is caused by the release of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline during moments of acute anxiety or panic. The pain may come from contractions in the chest wall, muscle strain due to hyperventilation, or the sudden spike in blood pressure and heart rate.
It definitely feels like hormones. So, if you’ve ever had those weird symptoms, now you know.
Of course it will pass. It’s just how I’m wired, unfortunately. And I was doing my best to focus on the good stuff.
Poor Apache seemed to be having an anxiety attack this morning before our lesson. I was pleased that he eventually settled down and I stayed patient with him. That’s hard when you’re keyed up for non-horse related reasons!
Drew and I didn’t do all that well in our long-awaited lesson, but it’s not surprising, since we’re both learning each other. I didn’t help by being shaky, but you deal with the horse and person you get every time you ride.
Like I read in a sweeping novel of the fictionalized Old South, “Tomorrow is another day.”
I’m always telling you all how much being out in nature helps me deal with my chronic anxiety and Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria (RSD). Today I’m really taking advantage of it and pulling out all the stops with nature, cuteness, and sunshine helping me deal with how people treat me and (the worst) the fact that it’s the second Tuesday in November in the USA. Election Day. I sure hope that voting tradition continues!
I’ve been voting since this time of year in 1976, when someone I truly admire to this day got elected, Jimmy Carter. I believe there’s only been one other time I actually admired a Presidential candidate. The rest I had deep reservations about or was just okay with. This year, we just deal with governors. I did vote for a few governors I liked, especially when I lived in Illinois. But I just hope that I continue to have the right to my personal freedoms and can feel safe in the future. And this is why I need warm fuzzies and cute animals to cheer me up.
You’re supposed to say what you’re thankful for nowadays. It spans all of November, not just the US Thanksgiving holiday like it used to. I guess it’s to help us remember what is still there for us. I’m thankful for the friendly animals in my life, like Christmas the bull over at Tarrin’s house.
My merry band of horses, who are enjoying the front pasture, the new pond’s hill, and the mud.
A lot of the time, though, I just need to breathe and look at the sky. While I missed the lunar eclipse last night (Lee was sure it was tonight), I did enjoy the sight of a beautiful sun dog in the afternoon sky. I love those cloud rainbows!
I also loved the rain we received over the past few days. It was supposed to rain again today, but maybe it won’t. At least new grass is growing and it’s no longer crunchy outside.
I’m breathing more steadily now and resolve to continue to treat people the way I’d like to be treated and assume people are doing the best they can. This reminder I saw on Facebook really rings true and has helped me for the past week or so.
Peace to all. Let’s try not to live in fear, especially of our neighbors.
Damn! Work was a challenge today and there’s other stressful stuff lurking. But I feel, as I like to say, “way mo’ better” now.
I knew I was in no shape to ride but knew I’d feel much better if I could hang out with the equines, so I headed outside, where it’s been a beautiful day. I got stopped in my tracks, though, when I got to the little field of asters between the chicken house and the tack room. It was practically moving, so many insects were enjoying the flowers! I felt like I was in some Disney movie where the protagonist has all these things flitting around them.
Those are just the ones that held still! I breathed deeply and enjoyed the moment before heading toward the horses. Soon stress melted away as Fiona stuck her head under my hand.
Then she made me laugh. She tugged my shirt when I tried to pet Apache.
I did eventually get to play with the other horses, who were BUR FREE! Apache was a little sweaty, since his winter hair has come in and it was warm outside. But he felt good to lean on and hug.
He also made me laugh. As I was trying to get a photo of his glorious tail flowing in the wind, he created more wind for me, the smelly kind.
Mabel wasn’t funny, but she was sweet and friendly. She’s a whole new mare. I feel like her name should be Mabel Grace now, looking at how she moves around the pens and glides across the pasture.
All these guys enjoying their late afternoon made me smile.
Dusty still seems a bit subdued, but enjoyed his hugs, love, and massages.
He needs a buddy and misses Drew, I think. Apache is not nice to him, but Mabel hangs out whim lots. Thank goodness! Drew will be home in just over two weeks, not that I’m counting.
It was great to hang out and relax with my buddies. I’ll be ready for another round of challenges tomorrow.
I’m visualizing calm and coolness. Neither is easy, since poor Kathleen is still racking up the challenges and trying to avoid the hospital, and it still hasn’t rained again.
It didn’t go over 100° today so far, so that’s encouraging. And the cumulus clouds seem bigger today that they have been. So I’m patiently hoping it all turns around. Like I keep telling folks, I’m fine as long as I have peace and hermit time.
Yep. My she shed is working out great. I even have a stool that lets me write at the desk AND serves as a footstool. Classy. Unfortunately, the comfort and A/C droning make it clear that this could be a nap shed.
Things will get more settled soon, and I’ll be able to share some cool renovation stuff.
In the meantime let me share a cool tip one of my local horse friends shared: you can fertilize by dropping horse apples (poop) into the gaping cracks in the earth right now, then when it rains, the crack will close and the poop will help the grass grow back. Maybe wishful thinking.
I read today that what horses want is peace. No wonder I like horses. I, too, crave peace. And calm. It’s been my goal all my life. I do not crave excitement, uncertainty, or the unexpected. But, guess what? That stuff shows up all the time. What to do?
I’m relieved that my anti-anxiety meds have kicked back in. They are really helpful for me. They don’t make me calm, but they do give me a better attitude about uncertainty and the unexpected. They help me detach a wee bit.
Calm and peace. You do have to work on them, but it pays off! For example, my work laptop has been a bit off since I got back from this trip. Just little things were happening until yesterday afternoon, when my webcam stopped working in the middle of a fun meeting. It didn’t work today, either, but because I didn’t get all upset and pissy, I was able to patiently wait until the Logitech help person found a solution. Yay! I stayed calm and didn’t just order another one.
And just as the camera was fixed, I had another meeting. Throughout the meeting the sound of the Zoom phone ringing kept playing. For an hour. I just laughed and tuned it out. What else could I do? I cultivated calm and just dealt with it. Go me.
There’s so much going on here that keeping on an even keel is important. My vacation helped. The horses help. Having great conversations with my son helps. Lee helps. All of you help. Keep spreading peace, calm, and lovingkindness. The world needs it.
Note: I realize I am a privileged person who has nice things, food, shelter, and a good education. My family that speaks to me does their best to support me. And I am NOT blaming other people for my perception. That’s on me! As I repeatedly state in my personal blog here, I’m grateful for that. No need to point that out to me when I share that I’m struggling.
I feel like shit. I was feeling okay for a long time, and now I realize it is because, like so many people these days, I had used medication to numb my feelings and help me cope with reality. Reality, today, especially if you’re a woman in Texas, Yee-Haw USA, sucks.
Reality is hard on a personal level as well. One thing that medication did for me was enable me to sort of sit back dispassionately and watch how life goes on at the soap opera known as the Hermits Rest Ranch and not let it get to me. Things happen, people do things, I get stuck in the middle of situations I don’t understand. With medication, I just say, “Oh, that’s just so and so being who they are…no need to internalize the consequences.” So, I am able to deal with the kinds of treatment I normally would be devastated by pretty well. I’m able to forgive and just drop things, knowing that we’re all messed up and doing our best.
The best or worst thing about the medications (depending on how you look at it) is that I am able to resist the urge to stand up for myself or call out behavior, knowing that every time I’ve done so for the past few years, I’ve been gaslighted or been treated to that classic technique of being blamed for causing my own problems. Me standing up for myself tends to go horribly, horribly wrong. And it achieves nothing other than upsetting others. So, I’d rather not stir the pot, since I know I’m no better than anyone else, with my sarcasm and things I say when stuff leaks out that aren’t kind.
Now is my life horrible? No. There’s great stuff in my life and right here at the Hermits’ Rest. I was generalizing about difficult experiences that aren’t constant but that, if I’m being honest with myself, are hard on me. Of course, knowing what a hard person I am to be around, I know I’m very taxing on everyone who has to be around me! My only point is that the medication made it easier for me, and that I’m having trouble now that I am feeling things harder. I don’t want to subject the people around me to un-squelched Suna!
Would I like to be my authentic self in my own home? Yes. I could probably relax more. Is it a good idea? No. This is not a safe place to share feelings about the state of the world or my inner dysfunction. I crave peace and love. So, sometimes I have to sacrifice to get one or the other. Don’t we all? Perhaps.
I’d love to share some of the challenges I face here in my personal blog, because I think it’s good to present a balanced picture of life, which is imperfect and not always easy. But there is a long list of things I’ve been requested to not mention. That makes my sharing of my life sound often like I’m living in a paradise of privilege with no problems. But that’s not true. There are health issues with everyone in this family but me (and obviously I have a mental health issue). We have a business that is struggling, I think. Not really sure. I sometimes feel unsafe in my own home, since I’ve given up a lot of my firmly held beliefs so that others can do what makes them feel comfortable. And those vague generalities are as far as I can go. Holding things in can make them leak out in weird ways when you’re unmedicated, though.
For example, there are dreams. Oh my gosh, I have been having horrible dreams about people from my past berating me for all the mistakes I have ever made. That’s quite the parade, let me tell you. My estranged son, his father, numerous people I dated, my father (always my father, who is the reason I am so afraid of being yelled at), friends from high school (including the one I did not have a baby with when I was 17), ex bosses. Whew. I wake up and read bland news items about nature to get the dreams out of my head. They keep coming. I would like to re-squelch them.
It’s overwhelming. I am not coping well.
If you’re my friend in real life, reach out to me sometimes. I suck at reaching out. I hate to intrude. But I realize that vaguely saying I’m not feeling well isn’t too useful either. These are hard times. Many of us are struggling. I’m not alone in having a genuine meltdown and personal crisis. But I want to admit it and say that I’ll listen to YOU if you want to talk.
And I love every single imperfect person in my life. That’s why I’m still here rather than checking out, which is mighty tempting right now. Well, that and the horses. I can’t leave the horses, too. And dogs.
Things I Want to Say (some borrowed from my spouse)
Anyone who has managed to read through my mental health drivel now gets to read genuine opinions by uncensored me. If I piss you off, unsubscribe, block me, or stop speaking to me. You won’t be the first. But people like me keeping quiet, I think, has helped the world get to where it is.
It is every-so ironic that the woman-hating judge Clarence Thomas claims to be an “originalist” and that every word in the God-given US Constitution must be taken literally is not even a PERSON in the original constitution. He is a black guy! FFS!
It is every-so ironic that all the gun worshippers who also claim to worship the God-given US Constitution don’t realize that if we really went by it in its original and perfect state, as delivered by God from Mount Vernon (or wherever it came from) don’t seem to realize that if they are too poor to own the property on which their homes have been set, they would not get to vote. Only land-owners who are also genuine 100% man-humans got to vote in the version handed down by the Blessed Forefathers.
By the way, I read in a book (I know, I’m one of those doomed intellectuals who use those as sources of facts) that the MEN who wrote the US Constitution were, in fact, people, not deities. They drank, swore, cheated on their chattel…err…wives, owned slaves, and made numerous errors, like humans do. Not gods. Not perfect. Not able to predict the future.
And didn’t the God in the Bible used by most Christians say to not have any other gods before HIM? Wait a minute. Guns? Constitutions? Trump? Aren’t those not Jehovah?
DO NOT TELL ME TO VOTE. I VOTE IN EVERY PODUNK ELECTION IN THIS PLACE. I EVEN HELPED ONE PERSON WIN, ONCE. EVERY OTHER REASONABLE CANDIDATE, I DID NOT HELP.
Besides, the people or entities who are creating the society we live in today have nothing whatsoever to do with this illusion that we are voting for who represents us or that those people represent anything other than money and power.
I want to say something I never thought I would say: thank you do the Precinct 2 Commissioner for getting guys out to the bridge by our house by 8 am with pressure washers. They got rid of that graffiti as fast as they could. We still have the potholes over by Sara’s but the icky stuff is gone. That stuff really has made some members of my family uncomfortable, and these community gestures do help.
I’ve been rather inwardly focused lately, and I have to tell you it’s because I am no longer taking my anti-anxiety medicine, so my actual emotions are coming through. I guess some of my equanimity lately has been drug-induced. I’m not as able to say, “Oh, that’s just so and so being themselves,” when I’m treated disrespectfully right now. But, I’m way better than I was before, so I think I’ll be able to handle it.
In stuff that is not me, me, me, me…other members of our ranch community are getting better lives, which makes me really happy. For one, we are soon going to be able to let Lee’s brother move out of the RV under the garage. He is 75 and a little unstable on his feet, and we worry about him going up and down the RV stairs. Plus, it’s not a great RV.
So, the gang has been working steadily to take the garage room that used to be Lee’s office then was the former tack room and make it a nice little in-law suite for him. There was already a toilet and shower in there that we used when we were first living here, so it’s not too much work. They’ve added a new door, which of course has a doggie door for Vlassic.
There will be a kitchen area with a sink (since the guys removed the icky old utility sink that was there before), a fridge (we have a basic one that was already there or may put in a smaller nice one), and a place to microwave and store food with NO mice. The hallway is extra wide, as is the door, because we are anticipating wheelchairs some day.
The main room is large and nice, so he will have room for his computer, his recliner, and a couch for Vlassic…I mean for the nephew to use on his visits, of course.
Another thing that the gang has been working on that will make ranch life easier is repairing the cattle guards on the road that leads to the cabin where my son and his partner live, which also has lots of traffic from the folks who lease our communal land for their cattle. Both the guards had been sort of repaired over the years, but they needed a re-do.
This is NOT a simple re-do. All our tractors are involved, and very large railroad ties. I got some photos of work in progress, but wasn’t able to get over there later in the day, due to work, cooking, and such.
These guys really WORK. I am really impressed with how coordinated the three men are with all these heavy objects. They each know their role and almost look like a delicate ballet as they move things around, measure, and place them. Both Declan and Marcus seem to be learning more and more every day!
One day I’ll share the progress on the pool house, which is the final installment in the “get everybody a good place to stay” campaign. We are a strong family who stick together despite our differences and struggles. Poo on haters.
I’ll never forget the day, myself. It was Easter and Lee’s friend, Matt, was with him. Matt said he’d take some pictures of me riding, which I thought might be useful for identifying things to work on and such. I wish.
Instead of me working on Apache’s inability to jump, me learning to leg yield, or anything remotely calm, I got a series of photos of Apache having one of his stress meltdowns.
I’ve decided it’s pretty educational, though. You can see my technique issues, my poor posture, Apache’s annoyed disconnection, and more. Matt already posted 51 pictures on Facebook of me and Tarrin working on this, so I’ll make the best of it and turn it into a fun picture story for any readers who are interested in what was going on in the photos.
All that took about 20 minutes of our lives, which are seared in my brain. But, by gosh, we did it! Apache made it to the trailer. Now you know why yesterday’s approach was an impoverishment.
I’m proud of myself for being patient and willing enough to move through this and make progress. I have different goals from many of my equestrian friends, but by gosh, I’m getting there.
Out here in my field
I fight for what's real
I put my back into my livin'
I don't need to fight
To prove I'm right
I don't need to be forgiven...
I’m still dealing with some anxiety, so when my noon meeting ended, I went out and just stood by the entry into the property. Ostensibly, I was waiting for the letter carrier, but they drove past the other way and never actually delivered anything. That was fine.
It certainly wasn’t a quiet time out in my field. The incessant “peep peep PEEP” call alerted me to the arrival of the dickcissels for the summer. Those little birds are so extra cheerful that it’s almost painful. The background was punctuated by the sounds of red-winged blackbirds, scissor-tail flycatchers and one male cardinal.
I heard a sound behind me. Hey, look at that! It was Mrs Hummingbird dropping by to say hi. Honest, that’s what it felt like. Thanks, little buddy.
I leaned on the fence and just breathed, like you’re supposed to when you have the stress going on. That’s when I said to myself, “Damn, it smells good here!” I looked down and figured out what was going on. The native grapes are in bloom. I believe I was today years old when I realized the mustang grape flowers were incredibly fragrant. It looks like we will get a lot of them this year, in addition to dewberries, if only it will rain just a bit.
Well, droplets of water did fall from the sky briefly, but I wouldn’t say it rained. Nonetheless, it took the horses from quietly grazing in the scenic field to racing to shelter, as if they were going to get inundated. They did not. But it was fun to watch. I also enjoyed watching Apache being friends with Mabel, which was sweet. She is doing SO much better with some magnesium supplements in her.
It never did rain, so I sort of plopped myself into a relatively insect-free part of the only field that hasn’t been mowed to a nub and enjoyed the variety of flowers and grasses I saw.
Once again, there are new bloomers coming up, including some big ones and some tiny ones. I just love the variety. Being among all this diversity brings me so much peace and joy. I am so lucky to have all these plants and animals nearby.
Speaking of animals, first, the chickens are happy as heck, because they can now go back out and roam, thanks to a screen door being added to the garage. They express their thanks by taking care of any horse poop they run into and eating all the June bugs Lee fishes out of the pool. They are hardly eating their chicken food now! And they are just so happy to be able to get all fluffy and take dust baths, which is a chicken’s favorite activity after chasing bugs.
I don’t know if I’m happy or sad to report this, but apparently we have a new ranch resident. It’s a large, fluffy, apricot-colored cat. It was first spotted Saturday morning when Sara and I were leaving for Sandhaven. It’s still here, and was in the middle of the chicken pen this morning. Luckily, we have no missing poultry. I shall be more diligent about shutting the door to the henhouse from now on.
I guess it’s okay for the cat to hang around, since we have a lot of things for it to eat around the barn area. Barn cats are good. Now that the dogs are reliably fenced in, cats seem to be able to hang out here. I am unable to tell if it’s male or female, and I haven’t even gotten close enough to see if it has an ear notch that would indicate it’s been spayed or neutered. I’ll work on that, of course.
I’m not expecting to last here long. If it is here after a week, I’ll bestow a name.
Hope all is well in your world. It’s not bad here; I have no clue what’s up with the chest pains.
I’m not ashamed that I’ve dealt with anxiety most of my life. I’m just wired that way. For the past few years I’ve done a lot of work to manage the stress levels in my life. I’ve:
Cut out volunteer work where people didn’t respect me or weren’t truthful.
Minimized contact with people who put me down or try to manipulate me.
Changed my internal self talk to be more positive.
Made good progress on liking myself even when I can see my unlikeable traits.
Stopped trying to fix things I can’t control, including wars, divisive politics, other people’s beliefs, and other people’s actions.
Spent more time in nature.
Got more exercise. Especially with horses.
Nonetheless, BOOM, anxiety attacked me today. My chest has hurt all day. Badly. My neck has tingled. My mouth feels numb. All the fun stuff.
I think it’s because my boss said yesterday that I interrupt too much. He’s totally right. It’s why I hate talking on the phone or in groups. I have a weird inability to take turns in conversation. That’s got to be annoying to others, since I’m often embarrassed when it happens.
Everyone has issues. But sensitive people like me can take a small comment and leap to conclusions, like that they won’t renew my contract because of it. I know I’m a good writer, though, which helps counter my conversational impairment. I can edit writing. No wonder most of my jobs have been online!
The thing is, I know I shouldn’t beat myself up for things I know are an issue but am working hard on. I’m paying attention and trying once again to be quieter in meetings. Usually my issues rear up when I relax and stop self censoring. I guess the real me is just an over-talking, sarcastic, judgmental bitch. But a lovable one, right?
At this point in my life, it’s going to be easier to just accept myself and enjoy being with people who accept me, warts and all. I’ll certainly return the favor and grant them the grace to be their flawed selves. I should add that to the end of my bullet points above.
Sigh. I was going to destress by riding Apache, but I realized the horses are now all together, which I hadn’t realized was imminent. They all ran far away. Mmm. Grass. I think two horses are going to the Farm this weekend, which will be easier on Drew.
Instead, I really-did my horse playground, since it was taken apart to mow, and a new fence is going to cut some of it off. That was enough exercise!
See, I’m flexible and going with the flow and adapting to change. Gooooooo Suna.