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Getting things done

I had a good evening yesterday. It snowed during the day so when I came home from work, I took Cassie to the dog park to frolic in the snow with all the other dogs who were enamored with the stuff. After a good romp, we headed home to cook dinner/collect dropped bits of dinner. Then I settled on the couch with a glass of wine to watch narrate berate the train-wreck of emotions that is The Bachelor. I have to say that on a scale of one to ten, I freaken love that show.*

Thanks to the early East Coast broadcast, it was done by 8pm and I decided to bring out the sewing machine that I got for Christmas. Earlier in the day I had popped by the fabric store and bought some clearance fabric to make Cassie a cozy little bed. It only took a couple of hours and turned out beautifully if I do say so myself.

 See she likes it! I didn’t even force her to lie down on it and pose or anything!

Don’t worry, this blog hasn’t quite sunk down to the level of me just telling you about my awful television viewing choices and finding any old excuse to slip in a dog photo – yet. No, I’m telling you about my evening because it made me realize that I am finally emerging from the fog of my migraines.

For the past two months, these headaches have descended on me most afternoons. I trudge through the things I absolutely have to do on autopilot – work, taking the dog out, feeding myself – before I can retreat to the couch and stay there, motionless, for the rest of the evening. I have little energy to be creative or social or productive. The dishes are often left undone, meals are left unplanned, and blog posts are left unwritten.

The migraines last just long enough to make me believe that this is actually who I am – this unmotivated, unpleasant, listless blob of a human being.

Last night it dawned on me once again what a different person I am when I feel well. I have energy to do things and the motivation to try. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve not only made dinner but actually enjoyed doing so (partly also due to being told what to make). I’ve taken on projects that I would normally put off until the weekend, or maybe the next one – like making Cassie’s dog bed. We’ve started grocery shopping on Tuesday nights instead of Sunday afternoons to avoid the crowds; we get the whole of Granville Island Market practically to ourselves and it is fast becoming my favourite weeknight. Last Wednesday we had friends over for a game night and I enjoyed it.

I know my headaches will come back. They always do. Until then though, I’m going to get things done. I think we might even finally start some bigger projects.

*Adaptation of an actual line by one of the participants last night. Only the best and brightest!

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Missing the grey

Fernie, BC

I have been feeling off lately, though it has taken me a while to register this because on a small scale it just looked like a bad mood – unsettled, quick to anger, sad. I kept blaming it on sleep deprivation, then PMS, then on having a cold. But I have run out of excuses while the cloud remains. After a while, it’s not a bad mood anymore – it’s a bad state of mind.

I have always disliked clutter, but lately controlling it has become an obsession. Suddenly all the quirks and annoyances of our small space feel unbearable even though we’ve already lived with them relatively contentedly for two years. The pile of crap that unfailingly grows in the downstairs entryway no matter how many times we tackle it now feels more meaningful than just some temporary clutter waiting to find a home; it feels like a judgement on the management of our lives. For the past few weeks I have been in a rampage of clearing out old things and re-arranging the remaining things into order but it never seems enough. It never gives me the satisfaction I’m hoping to find.

John and I work as a couple because he is the relaxed to my temperamental, the laid-back to my anxiety. So I try to be patient when he procrastinates on the housework and when it feels like I will always have to be the one to take the initiative to see things done. But lately it too feels so much bigger, like I am supposed to be the sole architect of our lives. This is not a role John ever assigned me, nor is it the reality, but it is a heady responsibility to carry even in my imagination. So when the laundry gets left in the washer once again, I rant and I rage in retaliation.

I have always tended to be a bit sensitive when it comes to perceived slights by others (of course always keeping it to myself like a good stoic Finn should), but lately I feel like I’m not able to handle these feelings rationally like I usually would. If someone cancels plans or doesn’t reply to an email, instead of just letting it roll off my back I feel the need to put up an emotional fence. Show them I don’t care, it’s fine, I’m too busy to answer you too. But my attempts at emotional distance are just leaving me feeling sad and dejected.

I have had a couple of bouts of mild depression in my life. Fortunately they have been relatively short, self-limiting and not debilitating, but enough for me to catch a glimpse of that world. That’s not where I am now, at least I don’t think so. I’m not sure where I am, but in this world it’s not that everything is grey and bleak – it’s that everything is so black and white. Right or wrong. Good or bad. I’m missing the shades of grey where most of real life resides.

Any armchair psychiatrist might be quick to point to the fact that I am turning 30 in ten days, but I really do think I am all right with this milestone. I suspect this has less to do with changes and more to do with how stagnant my life feels at the moment. I’m not striving for any new goal, nor do I really have the ambition to, but the guilt of feeling like I should still follows me. I feel like I am wasting my time because I’m not striving for a promotion at work, because I don’t have a hobby I’m passionate about, because I have no idea what the next step in my career is, because I like to stay home and cozy up on the couch after dinner instead of keeping busy, because my idea of a perfect weekend night is sharing a meal and a bottle of wine with my husband instead of going out to experience something new together.

All things I could work on fixing if only I could distinguish between what I actually want and what I think I should want, between laziness and contentedness.

I’ve written before about how stagnation tends to mess with my head. Well consider my head messed with.

Taking charge

I saw my doctor today and mentioned that my headaches were back. He is pretty stumped over them too and asked if I wanted to see a neurologist. I hummed and hawed over it – I’m still not convinced this deserves the attention of a specialist, especially as I’ve seen them in the past without any long-term success. Having lived with socialized medicine all my life means it’s second nature to me to think hard before using the services available to me – they might not cost me anything but I don’t want to waste them. It has a societal cost.

But I finally said yes, please refer me to a specialist. I need help. I can’t keep popping Advil through the day and spending my evenings miserable on the couch. Maybe they won’t be able to do much, but I need to feel like I’m at least trying.

For now he gave me some sample migraine medication. It sure worked – and ridiculously fast compared to ibuprofen – but I just nearly keeled over in the bathroom from dizziness. This might not be the medication for me.

It’s a learning process, but at least I’m back to trying.