I Think I’ll Live

I kept having dizzy spells today but got my work done. Then I went to the really nice new clinic and talked to the nice PA about my symptoms. I love that he didn’t start me on antibiotics! While my eardrums are swollen, we’re just trying Mucinex first. That should fry up my poor Eustachian tubes.

I guess one chicken is also feeling poorly.

It was a fine day other than the dizziness, thanks to my ability to enjoy the animals from a seated position. I especially enjoy Goldie when she feels she MUST protect us from those treacherous cows. The cows who just look at you funny, in her opinion.

And the horses. They tried to mow the lawn. Apache was gleeful in his role as weed eater.

I love my job.

I’m glad for this stuff. It’s been such a hard day for a lot of friends. A hard couple days for horse friends. It’s made me hug my guys so hard. And my human friends. I know I’m getting older when my friends are getting dementia falling into mental illness, and struggling. Hug your friends, too. And you family members who love you. Let’s look at some nature, shall we?

The lawn mower eating Johnson grass.

Self Care Lets You Care for Others

It’s thoughtful not to bare your inner torment then just drop the subject. People worry (at least two of them!). So, hey, not only did I get in some quality talk therapy and encouragement from people I rely on, I bravely ventured to a new health-care facility to get my medications back (or see what other alternatives there are).

Hey, look, my tack room has a horse sign now. Thanks to Lee for hanging it!

Cameron is not overly full of health-care options, but a new one opened last month, and I tried it rather than stressing myself out by going to my old neighborhood in Austin to see the doctor. More self care, right there! The facility is nicely renovated and conveniently located on the same road we live on (only in the city, not the country). I had a rather negative first impression thanks to the relentlessly cheerful Christian radio station (complete with phone number I could call to get the staff to pray for me!) that clients have to listen to. But, at least it was positive in focus and not a certain television network I would have walked out on.

A cricket frog also cheered me up.

Good news! The PA I met with was just great. We talked a half hour, at least, and he both listened and shared information with me. I went ahead and got the same thing I was using before, but he gave me some ideas to look into, including a kind of progesterone treatment I hadn’t thought of. If it would help my hair grow more, maybe I’d like it. But, I’m going to read up on it a LOT before trying anything hormonal. I am really susceptible to hormonal flux.

Great blue heron says, hey, the pond got a wee bit bigger

Anyway, I’m hoping I’ll feel more like my easy-to-live-with self soon. That will let me be helpful to others, including animals. And oh my. Poor Vlassic needs help. Last night it rained, and of course rain is good, right? Especially when you are in an intensifying drought.

Better than no rain at all

The rain came with thunder and lightning, and poor Vlassic was over in the RV alone. He didn’t cope well. When I came to get him this morning, he couldn’t walk right, was screaming in pain and was unable to bark. He must have panicked. Well, that is NOT going to happen again.

I need love.

It looks like his companion in the RV won’t be home for a while, and Vlassic won’t come in our house because Penney traumatized him soon after we got her. So. Lee and I have all his stuff set up in the new apartment, even though it isn’t quite finished yet. There’s a couch in there, and I’m going to sleep in there with him until his buddy comes back. Then it will be plenty busy and he will be happy again.

I’m tired from being scared.

I can’t let my animals get all messed up. I’d been thinking Vlassic would only have to stay alone for a few days, but that isn’t the case. He needs to be with people at night as well as during the day (we’ve been spending a lot of time with him during the day). So, wish me luck, knowing how many nightmares I’ve already been having! But, Lee will have the other dogs and I’ll have Vlassic, and we will all have the care we need.

Sunrise after rain.

This will work until next week, when we had planned to go out of town. I’ll have to see if I can get some help after that if Vlassic’s companion isn’t back yet! Or stay home. I can also do that, because my little buddy’s more important than a vacation!

I guess this is good news. We apparently have an aviary in the porch. The former ceiling fan fixture near where the swallows live has just morphed into a gigantic sparrow nest. Mrs. Sparrow seems so happy about it. At least we lived here quite a while before those English immigrants found us!

Now, I have to say, it is hard to not be grumpy about some things. Some dog ate my crochet hook. It was a nice wooden one. Now I know I have many, but they are all packed up still. Damn. Back to knitting until Friday. Um, let’s look at more photos of more cheerful things…ish.

My former crochet hook. I thought they’d eaten a walking stick bug. No.

When Your Feelings Are No Longer Squelched

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.

Feeling bad can distort your perception of reality just like a weird mirror on a trailer.

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.

Next, here is what bugs me.

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.

Bad Mental Health Day

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:

  • Changed jobs.
  • 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.
And I keep flowers in my life.

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.

Poor Bitmoji me.

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.

I’d like to disappear.

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!

Not my best thing

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?

I’ll knit you a heart.

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!

Ready to jump, slalom, figure 8, circle, and side pass. And plenty of leg yield space.

See, I’m flexible and going with the flow and adapting to change. Gooooooo Suna.

Anyway, I love you all, imperfect as we all are.

Things to Smile About

I’m thinking hard about hard things all day, so indulge me in dwelling on some good things that are going on around here.

I have a shiny rooster

The chickens are cheering me up. For one, Peeper is proving to be spectacularly gorgeous. Today he was so shiny it didn’t look real. Bruce hasn’t killed him, so I guess they are ok.

Should I attack this shadow Peeper?

The hens are doing great, too. I got 7 eggs yesterday, which is a record for my weird chicken collection. Even the older hens kicked in! And they’re happy with me for letting them out to run around the last few days.

We’re a-comin’!

For the past three evenings, I’ve walked into the coop and they’ve all waddled in to join me. I haven’t had to chase them or anything. Now that’s how chickens should be!

Hey, look!

Other goodness: I found my Navajo dragonfly ring that had been missing for a long time. It was in a jewelry drawer from the Austin house, in a bag full of La Leche League stuff. Yep, I last saw this ring before COVID when I was in New Orleans. Happy times!

Trailer on blocks

And finally, Tillie the Trailer is getting new tires tomorrow and her bearings refreshed. The tires were in good shape, but older. And we were asked to re-do the bearings so Sara can ride with me. Now Tillie will be even better. So grateful to have help for things like this.

My office coworkers help by snoring, farting, and growling. Who needs humans?

I’m doing my best to concentrate on the things I can influence, so all this good stuff makes things easier. I’m doing well at not doing the stressful parts of my volunteer work, while keeping what’s fun. That’s so hard, but I’m managing.

Now I just need some sleep. It will let me send energy to those around me and around the world who need it.

Poo on Pandemics

It’s been a rough week over at my house, with half the occupants down and out from the coronavirus, and the rest of us staying home, since we weren’t sure if we were asymptomatic but sick or not. It’s made me really glad we got some flowers last time I was at the grocery store, since I’ve needed the cheering up.

The peaceful tulips at full bloom

I’m glad there’s so much to see and do here, because it’s made things a little easier. We even have separate seating areas by the pool for the sick and the non sick. And to think I thought those areas were for basking in different angles of the sun.

Germs can’t go that far, I hope

I have some things I really want to do this weekend (outdoor things), so I went to get a COVID test yesterday at the Cameron Fire Station. So did most of the rest of the county. I’d say by the time I arrived, the line was half a mile long or more. It took about 2.75 hours to get through the line, which seems a lot longer when you have to pee, I assure you. Plus I got sunburn on my nose and arm! I had not planned ahead with sunscreen. If there is a next time, I will remember, but I hope my home tests arrive before the next time I need to test.

But, I did get in, finally, and endured the nasal swab thing. Ugh, now I see what people were talking about. That’s right, I hadn’t had a test before this, since I just stayed home the couple times I was exposed. The best news is that they called me less than 24 hours later to tell me I’m negative. Woo hoo. That probably explains why I feel fine. I guess we’ve done a good job separating ourselves, or my vaccinations worked. I’m relieved, in any case.

I am NOT the Germ Police in this neighborhood. Just the Coyote Patrol.

The book I’m reading, which is called Phosphorescence, talks about the importance of being in nature for your physical and mental health. I’m so glad to have so much woods and water to spend time in here at the ranch. (I was also lucky at my Austin house, since it was surrounded by greenbelts and had a view of the pool.)

Today the whole sitting around and looking at nature thing got a lot better, because we now have two lounge chairs with cushions on them, which makes sitting by the pool and blogging a heavenly experience. It helps that the temperature is perfect, in the low 70s. What could be better?

I’ll tell you what! It would be better if I had a hot tub to sit in (not while typing). And there’s good news on that front. I called the propane company myself and talked to the woman there (who was chatty and fun to talk to about heavy equipment we each own). That got us ON the schedule to get the hot tub all hooked up on MONDAY! It’s conceivable the pool will be completely finished by then.

Until then, I can just enjoy the animals. Vlassic and Gracie Lou look so cute together. Our small doggies deserve some time in the spotlight, or sunlight.

Lunch hour is over, so I have to drag myself back in and work on some training material. Then Drew gets to jump over jumps and have some fun. This is not a bad place to endure a pandemic at all, nope. Not at all.

Everyone Was Right – It Got Better

Some of you may remember that I had a pretty dismal experience with my little horse, Drew, last week, and I’ve been feeling like a crappy horse person with my paint, Apache, as well. I mean, I used to be able to ride him on long trail rides and take him places. Now I am confined to the round pen.

No round pen here, my pretty horsie backing up in the afternoon sun.

But, it’s not so bad. Yesterday I talked about doing much better with Apache. Today was another lesson on Drew, so Sara and I drove out to the trainer’s place…only to find we were an hour early. Oops. As hard as we all try, we keep getting our times and days confused. None of us is to blame, because each of us has been confused in different ways. You just have to laugh, which is what we all did.

The horse part went really well, though. Aragorn has made huge progress, and it was interesting to watch him today. I am getting better at understanding when he’s doing well and when he’s messing up on his complicated work. It sure was fun seeing him try to deal with a new and more complex pattern that was intended to keep him from anticipating what he was going to do next. Plus, it’s enlightening to realize that some of his issues are much like what I deal with on my horses, just at a higher speed. I was so fascinated that I didn’t take pictures, but my brain learned a lot, which is important.

Nope, not Aragorn. It’s Drew going sideways down a pole.

Next, we went and got Drew. I got to groom him and do his feet. Three out of four feet went well; one was a challenge, but I got there. We then marched right out and did the longe work that I was so bad at last time. Thankfully, I was not in such a difficult mental place today, so I did just fine!

Drew looking out of control in his canter, but he’s okay.

I really think I was so upset from the various things that were going on that I couldn’t focus. Today, I had focus, and got that little guy going around in his circles going both ways just fine. And if there was an issue, I just coped. Hooray for me. After that, I backed him up and down his little “hill.”

He backed up for me! Cinder the dog is proud.

We moved on to jumping! Yes, I got him running in circles over jumps. Sara was so fascinated that she didn’t take pictures. One direction went better than the other, but I eventually got him jumping over the right thing. Wow, that little guy can jump (over the wrong things). I never got scared, which was key, I think. I had a much better attitude, which of course passed on to Drew.

Backing up.

Finally, we did some walking with his shoulders in and haunches in, and I did fine with that…then the trainer got on Drew and showed us what he has learned under saddle. He is cantering amazingly well, which impressed both me and Sara. He’s young, though, and isn’t having to unlearn old patterns like Aragorn is. But wait, there’s more!

That lump is me, on Drew!

I got on Drew and rode him solo. Well, mostly we stood still a lot. He was not interested in having a different person on him telling him what to do. I persevered, though, and things got better. I’ll try again next time I go see him, which is on Monday, when I bring him home! I look forward to that. We have a lot of “homework” to do for the next few months as he grows and matures, including all these things we have practiced today.

At least my posture is good. This is a still from a video Sara took of me flailing away trying to get him to move.

I look forward to hanging out with my little bundle of muscle and working on our partnership. And I now feel like I can learn and improve…which is really all I want.

I’ll dream of the day when Drew and I can do this.

By the way, I know a lot of us are dealing with illness these days. You’re in my thoughts. It seems like COVID and the flu (and bad allergies) are everywhere right now. I know it’s hard. I know I’m tired of feeling trapped at home (even with a pool!). I canceled my next trip, too. Flights seem scary right now.

Weirdest Day Ever

Sure, it’s been a weird couple of weeks for me. I’ve not shared most of it. Lots isn’t mine to share. But today. Wow. I literally was left with my mouth hanging open a couple of times.

I spent some time on the porch sorta glazed over, watching hummingbirds. They are monotone, because that’s how I feel.

I got a new laptop of my own, so I won’t be relying on work machines, but I’m so un confident in myself that I’ll wait until tomorrow to get it going. I am just zonked.

It’s silver.

So, here are some plants.

And look, a baby water snake and fish I need to rescue, once my brain engages again.

But wait. I did get to laugh last night. Mandi and I were talking to Lee on the porch, and Goldie got thirsty. She did her usual drinking method, where she buries her head and blows bubbles. We were so humor starved that we just laughed and laughed. Here’s Goldie today, though I couldn’t get a shot with bubbles.

See, even the weirdest day ever isn’t all bad. That’s worth remembering.

What’s My Problem?

My brain is not working, that’s my problem. Somehow, I’ve allowed myself to fall into a pretty deep hole of depression, low self esteem, or hyper-protectiveness to where anything I try to do that even remotely resembles work is a huge hurdle. Anything that has drama, misunderstandings, unkind behavior and the like makes me want to flee, and it’s spilled over into my volunteer work the most. It’s hurting my head to write this, but I’m going to, anyway. Someone has to say something, and perhaps if it’s me, I’ll feel better and more like keeping on.

“What is happening in her head? Ooh, I wish I knew!” (paraphrasing Pete Townshend in Tommy)

What’s happened is that one of my “triggers” has been triggered. It bugs me, because I’ve worked really hard to get past it, but I’m getting the idea that I didn’t get past it; rather I buried it. I’ve talked about my issues with La Leche League before, but I’m going to briefly re-hash a bit to explain why I’ve been so messed up for the past month or two.

First, I love the friends I made in LLL. Love them to pieces. They are some amazing people. But, the organization itself keeps repeating its mistakes, as if no one learns from history (which is probably true). In a majority-women organization with a strong, focused mission, many people get “power” for the first time. And it really screws up some people’s senses of right and wrong, and for some reason empowers them to bring new things into the mission (like natural childbirth, co-sleeping, baby wearing, etc.)

Continue reading “What’s My Problem?”

Stress Dreams: A Cry for Help You Can’t Answer

One thing that becomes clear to me is that if I try to squish down stressful situations and pretend they don’t affect me, my anxious brain has its own ways to beg to differ. It’s all well and good to consciously remind yourself that the only things you should concern yourself with are things you can do something about. But some part of you (probably hanging out somewhere with those unconscious biases, over in the unconscious stressors area) still feels stressed about those things.

Envying butterflies. They eat a lot, then sleep a lot. After that they just have one job, they do it, and then they go to butterfly heaven.

Usually I feel okay during the day, sort of observing what’s going on and doing my best to let other people’s problems be their problems and not take things personally. That’s a major triumph right there! I do a lot of deep breathing, just like I do with the horse. People, horses, they’re all things I can’t control, only offer information to.

At night, though, I have a completely different type of dream when I’m feeling anxious and overwhelmed than when things are just normally stressful. First, it’s the dreams about being in school and not knowing where to go or what the test is about. Then I’ll be at a large conference trying to avoid the scary people. Lately I dream about trying to get dressed in fancy clothing, but having forgotten how. That sounds like a COVID dream, doesn’t it?

I also think I’m trying to cover up my insecurities and put on a more professional/fancy face, but failing. People try to help me, but that makes me end up dressed really funny. I tend to end up going out to the party, meeting, or whatever half dressed. That’s a work-based interpretation. It means that all this hashing out of the same problems but only coming up with half-assed solutions ends up creating something totally unworkable. Hmm, that’s what my colleague L. and I talked about just today!

This is how I feel. All “extra” and woozy.

Otherwise, I’m overwhelmed with baby animals, adult animals, and their excrement. Duh. That’s literally true at the ranch, and figuratively true with my work and family life.

The dreams partially come from having so many animals in bed with me, and partially come from my problem of wanting to take care of everyone who’s helpless or needs comfort. Even when I consciously tell myself I can’t help people who don’t want to be helped or comfort everyone who’s hurting, my heart wants to anyway. Oh, stop it.

For me, I get physical symptoms only when my subconscious’s other ways of communicating don’t work. Right now they’ve been screaming at me for a week or so, and that’s led to my favorite anxiety symptom: chest pains. That means I need to do something NOW or I won’t be fully functional. I also get weird feelings like everything’s in slow motion, which makes it hard to talk. Usually, I can get through these and still do what I need to do, but it takes so much energy!

My mind and body are crying for help, obviously, but there isn’t a darned thing I can do to make today any different. I just have to get through today and see what tomorrow brings. We can’t always cope, and that’s actually fine. Sometimes we have a right to have an anxiety attack. It helps to know they will pass, and things can get back on an even keel.

Hope you aren’t having the ups and downs I am today! If you are, know you aren’t alone, because I’m surrounded by people in the same boat!

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motivational posts, rants, and stories!

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Featuring Fine Arts & Crafts created and sold by Texans

Seasons As My Teacher

Truth Written In The Wind

claudiajustsaying

Aging & Attitude

The Tragedy Kween

A boisterous introvert illustrating her way through life.