The Difficulties of the Dead of Winter

No, I’m not going to start moaning and crying about the weather.  Nor about SAD.

However, they do have their place in this post.  I have not been able to keep up with regular posting since Thanksgiving. What I finally sat down and recognized is that I have become more easily overwhelmed.

You have to understand, my family (like myself) can be quite boisterous.  Even my elder sister, who is the least boisterous of us all, has what people have called an “overwhelming personality.” Though, I have to admit, there’s a bit of a tie whether my personality or my Dad’s is the more overwhelming in the family.

When we get together as a family, as does happen during the holidays, too much togetherness can be very overwhelming.  As I work through my issues, I am relearning to actually recognize the first warning signs, which I have in the past learned to ignore or suppress.  It doesn’t mean that I stand up and have a hissy fit about being overwhelmed, it means that I need to recognize the first signs so that I can take a few minutes away to recenter myself.  And if I need more than a few minutes, I need to learn to not feel guilty that I need that space.

But my family is not the only people in the world who can be overwhelming. Sadly, I’m just not quite sure how to communicate that need for space, for breathing room, without the person(s) I’m talking to either going into their own guilt spiral or worse, stressing their resentment about the fact that I need that breathing room.

Yes, I am well aware that being concerned with someone else’s feelings in regard to my choices can be quite co-dependent. But sometimes, it isn’t so much about someone else’s feelings, rather enduring the expression of that guilt spiral or putting up with the resentment.

This last six months has been a roller-coaster ride of life.  I haven’t been able to complete any art (in other words, I have multiple project going, but none of them anywhere near being finished).  But, as my sister has reminded me, I have been focusing a lot of my energy on trying to become as healthy as I can be.  But, even doing that becomes somewhat overwhelming, meaning I need to rest  – sometimes for days.

It’s not just physically overwhelming because now that I’m living rural quite a few of my necessary medical providers are located in Eau Claire, WI.  From my current home, that is about an hour to an hour and half (depending on whether the office is on the north side or the south side.  That’s also the same amount of time that going into the Twin Cities requires (well, it’s a little longer of a drive into the Cities).  One appointment in Eau Claire will exhaust me for at least 24 hours (yes, this means I’m running on a spoon deficit). Plus, it isn’t just health requirements that exhaust me.  On the day I do groceries, that is about all of the energy I have.

I’m struggling a lot with my own wellness requirements.  I’ve always struggled with self-care, including eating and taking medications.  These last few months have actually scared me, because there are days I have literally ingested nothing but coffee.  I’ve made pacts with two of my health care team to attempt to make at least 15 days (between office visits) where I have not only eaten, but eaten more than once per day and especially that I have been taking my medications and supplements (most of which I need to take with food – therefore, no food = no pills) at meals.

I’m fairly sure that many of you reading this are scoffing (whether it is just a little or a lot) at a fat woman saying she forgets eat.

Guess whar? I’ve been that way for most of my life, particularly starting in high school.  Since I went to a boarding school, breakfast meant waking up early enough to do all of your morning things, and walking over to the cafeteria in enough time to eat before classes started.  I’ve always been a night owl, so sleeping in that extra half hour to 45 minutes almost always was more important than breakfast.

What many people do not understand is that starving one’s self means your body’s “engine” slows down.  Your metabolism tries to burn the least amount possible, meaning you are fatigued earlier and your rest is less likely to refresh.  It got worse when I was an adult.

It also is a sign that my brain isn’t as healthy as I thought it was.

I’m not feeling depressed or anxious quite as often, which made me think I was progressing better than I really am.  Oh, I acknowledged that I am still suffering from the cognitive issues, but I would breezily blow that off as being just slower than the rest of my recovery.

BTW, the wording of the reminder is not ghetto or being racist. It’s showing remainders of where I lived for a long part of my childhood. “Gots” was at the time I lived there an Ohio-ism.

Yes, it IS possible to be depressed and anxious and not feel the physical symptoms (i.e. sadness, heart palpitations, adrenaline rushes, etc.)  My brain is slapping me upside-the-head to remind me, “Nope, chickie, you still gots LOTS more to do!”

It’s another old habit of mine.  Feeling better somehow means I am completely healed.  Yeah, there’s a big pile of NOPE there!

A lot of this recovery has meant that I’ve needed to learn mercy.  Not towards others, I have that fairly down pat.  It’s giving myself mercy that is the hard part.

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