Thursday, September 20, 2012

Health Report Update

Well, summer's over, and it was an up and down summer. In June I was so happy and losing weight and exercising every day and doing a lot of swimming. In July, I became very depressed and the depression lingered and was hard to break out of. August was up and down. September has been, too, but more up than down. I feel back on an even track again.

My mother-in-law gave me a book called The Relaxation Response that has been extraordinarily helpful over the last couple of weeks. It's made me understand more than I did about the physiologic processes of not only hypertension, but also of anxiety. That always helps me immeasurably: knowing how things actually work. Now that I know about blood lactate and how it can increase anxiety, I can make steps to combat that. According to this book, a major contributor of the stress that feeds hypertension is the Fight or Flight Response, and this book is helping me to understand that I can be more passive and not stress out over things that I can't control.

Part of this comes down to Transcendental Meditation, and I've been working on trying to meditate. Some days I'm more successful than others. I notice it's harder now because we're getting our autumn winds, which are very high after the harvest without the crops to break the winds down. The wind rattles the ventilation ducts on the roof and makes it harder to concentrate. But I have finally developed a passive attitude towards that, too. I used to get very frustrated trying to make myself concentrate, which of course just made me angrier and had the opposite effect of meditating. Now if it won't happen, it won't happen, and I move on without beating myself up about it. That's my biggest problem: beating myself up for all of my little failures. I need a better perspective on what is and isn't a failure.

I did really well on Tuesday, though. I meditated while waiting for Becca to pick up art supplies. It really did trigger the kind of Relaxation Response the book talks about. I wasn't completely successful, but the panicky feeling I get in traffic didn't trigger at all. A car almost hit us in the parking lot, and I just sort of felt like, well, it happens, Becca's driving and she's careful, no one got hit. It was kind of amazing. Normally, I would've panicked and maybe yelled because I don't know what else to do with the panic energy. That's quite a step for me. Because instead of having to consume an automatic reaction, I didn't have the reaction at all. That's huge. Everyone's been telling me for years to meditate. What a lot of time I've wasted not doing it. Time and health. Being relaxed makes me feel more capable and gets me moving more and will ultimately get me to weigh less.

Today's a big test because we found out that Becca's unemployment runs out as of today, not December, like they told us. So we're kind of financially fucked. I'm kind of amazed that my attitude isn't one of anxiety. I have some fears, but they're overwhelmed by a sense of... I don't know. Pragmatism? What? I just know that I need to work as a sub as often as I can and if that doesn't work I'll at least need a part time job or something. And she has two part-time jobs and maybe she'll get more commissions or maybe she'll get a more substantial part-time job. Maybe we'll have to work retail again, though I'd sure love not to.

But I'm not panicking. We'll work it out. We'll be okay. Maybe one day we'll even be comfortable again. Things will be hard for a while, but being upset about it won't help either of us, so I'm not going to do that.

Gee, I haven't even had a Xanax. If I'd heard this news a month ago, I'd have had four by now.

Meditation. Relaxation. Passivity. Knowing where I have to try harder and where I can't control something and don't have to get angry about it.

I don't know this version of me, but I'm intriguerested to grok what he's about.


Caffeinated Joe said...

Positivity can work wonders, right? Hard to be positive all the time, that is just human nature. But trying and putting yourself in that place can make a difference. Hoping for the best for you both!

Nathan said...

I'm getting to the point where I'd almost welcome working retail again.

Roger Owen Green said...

grokking is good
best to you two

Kelly Sedinger said...

Well, judging by some of your recent blog posts, this new version of you is quite the wordsmith!