22 December 2015

Epic Crash... But yay Solstice!

Yesterday I crashed... In a truly epic fashion. I won't even describe it, but... Ugh. Awful. 

Let's not do that again. 

But today?

Today is Solstice. 

The Light returns. 

Spring will come. 

And in the meantime I shall drink tea, hug Ben, thank my family, and plan my garden. 

Nothing brings hope like planning a garden. 

Even the simple act of scooping the seeds out of a winter squash and saving them to plant along the fence line is a tiny act of hopeful rebellion against the dark.

I'm saving my apple seeds, too. 

Ha. 

Take that, Darkness!

20 December 2015

Involuntary Silence

Sometimes, I can't talk. 

There are words in my head, but I can't get them out. And there aren't a lot of them in my head, either. 

It's a PTSD thing, apparently. Stress bypasses the language centres of the brain. I'm not being stubborn or wilful, though it looks like that. I just... can't. 

I looked back, and it has happened before at the same time of year. Must be an anniversary reaction of some kind, though I don't know what triggers it. At least with the antidepressants I'm not also listening to the Mean Girls, I'm just... Silent. Wishing I wasn't. Hurting, without knowing why. 

I sedated myself heavily and slept for most of a day and night. And then I could whisper. And slowly, I could talk. Quietly... Then at normal volume. I still don't have a lot of words, but the silence has lifted. 

If you encounter someone who is under a lot of strain and cannot talk, just bring them tea and make sure they are safe and wait patiently for it to pass. The worst episode for me lasted three full days. Sometimes writing or texting simple things is easier than trying to speak. Whispering is easier than talking. Being shouted at or told to stop being dumb makes it worse. 

It's not a common thing, as I understand it, but it certainly isn't unheard of. 

So, to those who have patiently waited out my quiet, asked yes or no questions so I could just nod or shake my head, who refrained from showing their frustration at my inability to speak... Thank you. 

And for those who may run into this in the future ... Now you know a little bit of what it's like inside the quiet. It's uncomfortable, but easier than trying to speak. It'll pass faster if you don't fuss. 

Welcome to the weirdness that is PTSD. 




12 December 2015

Sick days

When we were small, if we were too sick to go anywhere we often went into Mom and Dad's big bed for the day. There was a little TV on the dresser, although there wasn't a lot on besides Sesame Street (Big Bird! Mister Looper! The Count!) and The Flintstones at lunch time. Still, there was something special about being in a different space - 1970s lilac floral curtains and matching purple Kleenex and all. 

It's the time of year when my symptoms get cranked up to eleven and I wish it were as simple to fix as climbing into the big bed, watching Sesame Street and sleeping till I recover. 

I do cope much, much better these days. We are still tweaking meds, and I'm sure there will be better days... But some days are gonna be long and hard and there's just no way around that. My condition is chronic, and science just hasn't reached the point where we can reset the body and brain after years of strain. 

So I focus on the good things: a neighbour installing fences for me as thanks for letting his cattle move across my land, my Muppet Puppy Ben, the beautiful Christmas tree, my beloved family. I try to accept that I'm doing my best, that rest and self care are necessary requirements of life not luxuries, and celebrate the fact that I'm still here, still happy (I truly am, despite the difficult days), still knitting and spinning and creating and caring. 

But man, do I ever wish the pain would stop. The psychic pain has gone, mostly, but the chest pain and fatigue are frustrating daily occurrences right now. 

Summer will come, and the burden will ease, it always does. 

Maybe I'll spend some time planning the garden and landscaping this afternoon. 

Anyone got suggestions for climbing plants that thrive in zone 3? :)

05 December 2015

Mittens

Boot Camp Uniform

Ben got a haircut on day one of Boot Camp, today he got a uniform.


Harness, collar and leash ... Safe *and* stylish!

04 December 2015

Lists

I'm starting to journal like this:

The list of verbs varies some from day to day, I just trace the squiggle from one of the templates, then fill in whatever verbs come to mind. 

Then I change ink and fill in the spaces. 

It works quite well. 

02 December 2015

Boot Camp for Ben

Ben had come so very far since he first came to live here. 

Then, he hid under my chair for a week, refused most food and took six months to regain his weight, couldn't be outside unless tied, and shook like a leaf meeting anyone new. Oh, and he begged at the table and barked incessantly when crated while we ate... I remember having to go lift and drop his crate to let him know he really had to quiet down. 

Now, he jumps on the couch and stays there while we eat with nary a peep. He will sit and lie down, mostly, understands Up and Off (for jumping on or off a person's lap or a chair), and is way more brave around people. 

He still loses his marbles when someone new shows up, though. And he refuses to come when called of he has another idea. 

So. Boot camp. 

He's lost "running around outside" privileges until his recall is solid. He's been asked to do a lot of little things. Meals now come twice a day. We've introduced new commands. 

He's done great. 

Yes right now there are no challenges or distractions, but that's a good place to start. Once it's solid in peace and quiet, we can extend the learning. 

By the end of the month I'd like Ben to be solid on all of these:

- sit
- down 
- up (including not jumping on a person until invited)
- off
- drop it
- in your bed

And we will be adding:
- follow (stay near me as I go from place to place, but walk wherever ya like, not strict like heel)
- wait (stay behind a designated edge and don't cross until allowed)

We will also play with fetch and tug, and maybe start retrieving items by name. 

I think just changing my attitude towards Ben and taking obedience seriously has had an effect.  

I think this will be good for both of us. 


01 December 2015

Process and infrastructure


When something isn't quite right, you need to change a process somewhere, and tweak the infrastructure to support the process you want to see. 

I need to write more. I need a bit more shape to my days. 

So I got a new journal book out, sorted the supplies, and drafted a process. 

It feels like the right direction.