Category Archives: Health

Causal Awareness

I have had depressive bouts for a long time.  In the early years, they would come on as a result of a life situation, or circumstance, or poor decision, and cling to me like a strong sedative for a short duration.  I would loll in the depths of despair for a few days, allowing the emotions to be acknowledged.  Then, I would pick myself up and shake off the dredges – usually finding a positive action to perk me up – and resume.  Don’t worry, be happy.  Happy face on, life goes on.

At some point though, I stopped recognizing the depression, as it would not necessarily be tied to a thing that I could pinpoint, but rather, an accumulation of things that were akin to being in the pot of water, as the fire is started below.  You don’t notice the heat, until it’s reached near boiling point.  These depressive bouts didn’t give me the awareness to acknowledge and feel the pain,  which I had earlier found to be an integral piece in the process of healing.  Rather, these bouts were more like a drug addiction, where the chemical has lost its potency.  I had built up a tolerance to the depression and a deeper state would settle on me before I would become aware.

This last bout, coupled with its added menopausal symptoms, struck a nerve finally.  Likely, it was because I could finally point my finger at a cause and effect.  Estrogen, you bitch!  How could you do this to me?

No matter the reasoning, I now feel that I have the arsenal to effectively combat this bout, and be more aware of any future bouts to stop them before I become mired.

I’ll admit, the emotions do start to roll in, creeping from the edges like fiery smoke, and it’s usually the awareness of an angry edge that raises my alarm.  I’m aware now, that alarm means it’s time to take action – turn up the music, sing it off.  Take a walk, reason out the emotions.  Drink some water, and redirect my attentions to some neutral subject for five minutes.  And suddenly, I’m back.  Me.  The me who finds the positive in life – the upbeat, still reclusive, but happy me.  Not the angry, withdrawn little ogre I’ve been.

So – wordy insight now given you to explain my dilemma, I thought I’d share some of the things that have helped me recover and get myself back to stability, sans pharmaceuticals or intense psycho-therapy.

Coloring Therapy
  • Supplements – first three taken daily, with EPO taken once/week (due to effects of blood thinning – I always check counter-indications for any alternative therapy on WebMD):
    • Vitamin B12
    • Fish oil with Vitamin D
    • Grapeseed Extract
    • Evening Primrose oil
  • Topicals – mixed with carrier oil and a few drops  rubbed on top of feet a few days a week:
    • Clary sage
    • Roman chamomile
  • Foods – needed to counter the effects of the estrogen loss
    • Green tea, and occasional Tulsi tea
    • Colorful vegetables:  leafy greens, beets, red cabbage, etc
    • Garlic
    • Turmeric
    • Nuts, seeds, legumes
    • Avocado
    • Wild caught salmon, sardines and mackerel
    • Oils:  EVOO, Flaxseed oil
    • Probiotic yogurt
  • Activities:
    • Reach out to and spend time with friends
    • Exercise at least 3 times a week for 10-30 minutes each
    • Music therapy – something I can do at work, at home, or in the car
    • Art therapy – the picture above is from my adult coloring book – a great way to redirect my attention at home
    • Outdoor time
    • Education – more time with actual pen and ink books and less internet
    • Reduced social media time

These are the things I employed to counter my situation, and it has worked wonderfully.  Being aware is key, I believe.   I had to know exactly what I was dealing with in order to find the balances necessary for me to put into effect.  Then I had to act.

 

Is It Real…

Or is it Menopause?

It was a relief to discover that my red-eyed appearance was not an emotional symptom, but rather simply a case of dry eyes that I ignored to the point where my tissues were constantly inflamed.  Menopause symptom, likely, and easily addressed by adding Omega 3 and using re-wetting or artificial tear drops as needed.  As needed being more often than I remember to administer – but I’ll get there.  Thankfully, my constant red eyelids are now just an unpleasant memory.

Granted, I’ve been more likely to reach a silent overwhelm of emotion these days, particularly when I’m in the presence of my children.  It makes no sense to me, as these are some of the people with whom I draw the most comfort.

watered false nettle

I am rendered nearly speechless, unable to converse comfortably, or sensibly.  Some of it is attributed to tinnitus – there are only so many tones that I can focus on without losing part of what’s being heard.   Partly, it’s that I don’t want to miss a thing, so I nearly miss everything as I try to focus on every conversation at once.  Not as easy a fix – but I’ll be working to find my perfect hearing range so that I can focus to give full-on attention to the conversant in that range.

The part that I can’t change is that I’m full to the brim with love for these people, and am faced with a change in status, for which I have no practice.

watered dawn 2

Change is a constant in life, and I’ve done a damn fine job of handling change in the past (meaning that I didn’t go on a rampage, and I didn’t have a total meltdown).  Change during my earlier years was like drinking water.  I gulped it down and on to the next task I went.

About five years ago I noticed a shift, a grating of tectonic plates sort of shift.  Suddenly, I found myself irritable with too much change or too many compounded changes.  Sure, I could still function well, I could still move on to the next task, but my comfort zone had been impacted, and it unsettled me, irritated me.

Still in the irritable stage, change has been fairly constant, the compounded sort, but I’m functional.

watered daylight

A change in position not aptly prepared for – that sort of change is like a chasm that has opened up beneath me.  I’m not prepared for it, but accept that I must either embrace and learn to roll with it, or tumble along grasping recklessly at strongholds along the way.

Mother-in-law, Step-mother-in-law, Grandma, Step-Grandma – these titles, these changes to my position, have caught me off-guard in comparison with my own head-in-the-clouds, prior-concocted expectations.

Let me broadcast with great joy:  I have the absolute best of the pick when it comes to family.  Our sons were extremely easy to raise, and they chose very well when they chose their mates.  I have daughters-in-law whom I love dearly, and they are the perfect complement to our family.  Our grandchildren are a pure delight, and their parents are doing a great job raising these youngsters.

sunflower detail

My job should be easy, but I’m a perfectionist in the most annoying ways – obsessive about where my everyday use items are situated, persnickety about what I ingest, and particularly overly particular in creating my own expectations.

I want to match expectations that I set long ago.  I want to take bits and pieces from others I’ve observed in these positions and meld them into some fantasy figure, based on very little reality.  Who could possibly have factored in where I or my family would be in our lives when this particular stage of life arrived?

So I emote silly things based on my silly notions, and get myself all tizzy-frazzled for things that no one else can control.

Compound that with the fact that my mother-in-law died during my second year of marriage, creating a void where I could have learned a great deal.  My mentor is absent, that’s my excuse…

hewn

So I’m forging ahead in uncharted territory, with great hope that I won’t injure any relationships, step on anyone’s feelings, or cause any great distress; yet keep in mind my own emotional health and well-being.

Oh, and did I mention I’m menopausal?  😉

Understanding Snowbirds

Each year, another notch of unrest strikes at my aging body.

During the early years of marriage, our primary difference was where our ‘dream’ home was located.  He said humid Texas and I said rocky Colorado.  He loved the moist heat and I loved the dry cold.

As an easy compromise, we remained in Kansas.  Hot humid summers and cold-ass winters.  Neither of us really thrilled about the locale, but staying put is ever so easily accomplished.

Aging, it seems, makes me reconsider – perhaps there’s merit in warmer climates.

As the joints in my fingers squeal little prophetic tunes of ‘if you think this is bad, just you wait’, and my cold ankles send icicles up my spine, I recognize that there will need to be some more compromises made – and quickly!

I’ve discovered that once my ankles become chilled, there is no other body part that I can warm to adjust my core temperature back to comfort.  I simply have to find a method to keep my ankles warm, always.  Similarly, the back of my neck is now a temperature modifying zone.

Where are those leg-warmers of the 80s?  Why didn’t I subscribe to that fashion phase and store a box of them as mementos?

Thankfully, scarves have been quite the recent fashion craze – and as usual, I’ll finally be interested in them once they’re going out of style.  Count on me to be completely off the tracks of fashion sense.  🙂

Seriously though, I’ve recently discovered that quality “short”boots – not the ankle boots, mind you – provide just the sort of heat entrapment necessary for these thermostat ankles, so I’ve stalled the caravan South for a bit.

But I do understand those SnowBirds now.  Does that mean I’m still learning?

 

Insight Into Introversion

yellowstone view 2

“He was always seeking for a meaning in life, and here it seemed to him that a meaning was offered; but it was obscure and vague . . . He saw what looked like the truth as by flashes of lightening on a dark, stormy night you might see a mountain range. He seemed to see that a man need not leave his life to chance, but that his will was powerful; he seemed to see that self-control might be as passionate and as active as the surrender to passion; he seemed to see that the inward life might be as manifold, as varied, as rich with experience, as the life of one who conquered realms and explored unknown lands.”

W. Somerset Maugham