Now & Zen

I’ve been working on reducing my need for Ashwagandha, not remove it, but to lighten my dose a little to see what happens and what other supplements I can use in concert with my Ashwa habit.  I’ve done some research and I settled on L-Theanin.  It’s found in green tea, but it isn’t green tea…no caffeine, no tannin no thermos full of machta to get my RDA.  It’s suppose to sedate the mind without making you tired.  At the moment,I want to be sedated.

Perhaps starting this new regime while still trying to acclimate to my new job might not have been the best decision.  I added it to my morning meds on Monday and until Wednesday everything was peachy, nothing had really changed.  I even had the same trainer I mentioned in Training Is Fun-Da-Mental who seemed to want to kick my legs out from under me every chance she got.  (My paranoia has informed me she has reported every foible back to the boss lady.  It has been a struggle to keep my paranoia and anxiety from comparing notes.)  But I survived, that was my point.  I had therapy on Wednesday night and woke up tired on Thursday and struggled to do the morning draws and processing but I felt every prickly ounce of stress and salty drop of anxiety the whole day.  I came home, ate a bowl of cereal and went to bed.  Today was a re-run, just add diarrhea .  I did do better with getting through but the Zen-like calm I normally feel with the double-double dose of Ashwa was barely holding me up.  I hate feeling stupid, and constantly correcting myself when I call myself stupid, idiot, etc. 

I have noticed though when I am able to push through the initial onslaught of anxiety due to a new situation, or a change in process, correction and so on, I can quickly take stock and realize what it is I need to do to get it done, fix it, or who to ask to help.  I am asking for help.  I consider that a win and a move in the right direction.  I’ve been assured I am doing well, and my coworker has heard nothing but good things about me from the people who have trained me but when I have days like today and yesterday I wonder.  I soothe myself with the statement “lf if this job doesn’t work out I will just get another one”  I honestly don’t want another one, the benefits of this one is AWESOME. 

Tomorrow I work at a busy site that’s open 7/365 and I don’t think anyone in the group will assign me to work in the processing lab or checking people in so it should just be a busy day of sticking people with needles.  I am going to double my L-Theanine dose and see if I feel any calmer.  I can’t afford to lose my Zen.  I like my Zen.  I want to take it home, put it in a box and buy it squeaky toys.   Plan B of my Zen-Quest is to take the L-Theanine at night and the Ashwa in the morning.  Plan 3 is to just go back to the double-double dose  and keep and eye on my Thyroid. 

Wish me Zen.

UPdate

i was wrong. When I showed up on -time with my co-worker from my site I couldn’t find a lab coat in the room that was in my size. No lab coat, no sticking people with needles. I spent the first few hours on the front desk after everyone else on the team trickled in fifteen to thirty minutes later, giving the people in the waiting queue about and hour to contemplate how easier and convenient having your blood drawn on Saturday isn’t. The lead eventually found me a labcoat that would fit, almost, and I’m pretty sure by the wrinkles in the thing she pulled it out of the dirty dab coat bin. It didn’t smell and it didn’t have any unsightly or unexplainable stains on it so who am I to complain. It got me off the desk.

As for the re-mix of the morning supplements, the double L-Theanine did the trick. I still felt a little harried, especially when the lead would go through her personal exercises of correcting everyone, not just me. I guess that was something, I’m not the only one she feels is totally inept and needs “training”.

I was exhausted though. My mind work up at the normal time, 4:30am, and wanted me to get up and work in my journal, write, or do something productive. My body refused to obey. It’s been a nice quiet restful day. I did get the nibs and converters in my fountain pens cleaned and ready for the new ink I just bought….One is called writers blood. If I like the way it flows I might buy a big bottle and make it my signature color. I don’t feel the heart of darkness black ink I used to use doesn’t represent me any more. We shall see.

The Rest is Silence

I lost a member of my flock last week. Dotty was a budgerigar which is more commonly known as a parakeet. I adopted her from a foster mom back at the height of COVID in 2020 as a companion for my bird Blu. Blu had lost his mate, Fluffy, a few years before and as social birds I thought having a companion would be good for him. Blu, sadly passed away a year or so later at the beginning of 2021. Dotty lost her mate as well and came from a home where human/bird interaction wasn’t very high on the young families list. I’m a hands on kinda bird owner but I learned to respect her boundaries. She was never let out of her cage before and I’m a big believer in free flight in the house. She smacked into the sliding glass door a few times and resented me having to hunt her down behind furniture to put her back in her cage. Sammy, the macaw, kinda wanted to see how comfortably she could fit the little ones head in her beak so I never let them play together. She liked to be sung to. I used to sing “Hello Dotty” to Hello Dolly. The most remarkable thing about this little feather-ball was she was always trying to talk and master the sounds around her. She always sang, chattered, and made vocalizations which were solid attempts to talk. I should have spent more time with her to aid her speaking ability but shoulda/woulda/coulda seems to be the refrain which serenaded her life.

When I lifted the cage cover to check on her after she had been making odd noises I found her with her wing caught in one of the slats on the bottom of her cage. I extricated her and moved her over to my bed to observe her. She was breathless from the struggle with the bars, both wings drooped in exhaustion but she wasn’t fighting my hold on her, and when I uncurled my fingers from around her she didn’t try to fly away. In fact, she held fiercely onto one finger. She started having some sort of fit where she would try and bend her head all the way back to her tail and fly. The first time this happened she landed on the floor. I got her back on the bed and made a nest in the blankets for her but the fitting kept coming over her and she would get dislodged. I had never seen this kind of behavior before and I was terrified she was dying. Frantic, I found a site that connects people with questions with experts with answers and paid the $1 sign-up fee and was passed off to a vet who wanted to look over the techs notes before she continued. I never heard back from the vet. By this time I had Dotty blocked on the bed with my leg, she was still fighting the seizures but she was getting tired. I took a video of an episode and sent it to the vet. She was against my leg a little on her side when I saw her wing quiver; then she was still. I informed the vet she was gone and put my phone down and picked her up and gently held her to my chest and sobbed. I cried harder over that small bird than I did for my mother or my two brothers deaths. It’s taken me almost a full week to clean out her cage and move her out of my life. I miss her singing.

I wish I could say my mind allowed me to make this all about her. Recriminations rained down on me like a flight of arrows calling to mind every mistake I made, when I didn’t keep her cage clean, when I didn’t let her exercise, when I kept her in front of the window on a hot day, how I never took her to the vet, how I shouldn’t have let her suffer and I should have just rung her neck and put her out of her misery. Then a shield came up and deflected the arrows with comforting words (which has never happened before, at least not this consciously); You didn’t know her age, birds hide their illnesses, budgies don’t have a long life in a cage. You loved her, you took care of her and you were with her up until the very end. I don’t know which voice is true. I know which one I want to believe and for the first time in my life, it isn’t the negative telling me it’s all my fault. The self talk I’ve been practicing in my daily life, when it doesn’t seem important, has built up the muscles of support when I was to weak to block the old ingrained mantra of self loathing and disappointment.

The emotions of mourning have unsettled me, tho. I spoke to my sister about it briefly because I’ve not been able to talk to anyone about it without tearing up, and she speculated it might be an accumulation of all the changes, deaths if you will, I have experienced in the last five or six months. She might be right, I’ll have to talk to Ellen about it at our next session, but having these emotions so close to the surface is troubling for me, well, emotionally. Crying is so foreign to me, I feel like I’m forcing the emotions so I try to stop it and it comes back up to the surface in the most inopportune moments. I’m trying, on one side of my brain, to allow myself to cry when I’m alone and where I’m supposedly safe and the other side decided it wants to watch TV, write a journal entry or a blog, play with Sammy, crochet or do anything other than the needful. I guess I will cry when I cry. Maybe once the tears are all dry I will find the peace which comes with silence.

Doing the Needful

Boxes have been dancing around my head like cubed sugar plum fairies. In my first attempt at therapy with a Jungian therapist she diagnosed me with past sexual trauma based on an image in a dream she made me draw out (it was a doozy of a dream). I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO MEMORY OF THAT KIND OF TRAUMA. She told me it didn’t matter if I remember it or not, the dream image was proof. So I’ve been carrying around this idea in my head and dreading the day I would have to unbox it and deal with something I couldn’t remember. Ellen and I talked about this. No memory means no memory. The dream image is just a dream. There are survivor behaviors I exhibit (behaviors defined by talk-shows and internet articles), but it’s still not proof of abuse. We discussed my childhood and some of the frugal techniques my parents employed could explain a lot of those issues. Something which needs reframing further down the road.

Ellen pointed out the issues are in boxes and neatly put away. They are safe and secure and they don’t need to be dealt with right now, if ever. Not avoiding. Not ignoring. JUST NOT NOW. I can adjust their position on the shelves, but I don’t have to do anything right now. Right now is just too busy to be opening a possible cobra-in-the-box to scare me back into the void. I don’t need that right now. Relief doesn’t even describe what I felt at this realization.

Then why have the dream? Why would my subconscious bring this to my attention? One of the ideas which came to mind is I am starting to reduce my dependance on Ellen. It’s nice to have someone help you sort out the threats from the paranoia, if you will and it’s easier to have her on my calendar then to deal with things as they happen. I am doing okay on my own but I’m always afraid I’m going to mess up. When I start spinning on that fear I eventually stop myself and correct it with: “So what? You mess up. It’s not the end of the world.” Considering how many time I’ve found myself at the equivalent of square one due to mis-calculations and didn’t die or get arrested proves messing up isn’t the horror my brain has always made it out to be. Though the tool doesn’t present itself at the start of the spin, it does work once I get my hands on it. As long as I don’t stop trying I will succeed. As long as I get up every time I fall, I will cross the finish line. Right now, doing the needful is enough.