I crave massive amounts of salt when I can’t sleep. Which makes ramen pretty much the greatest meal I can ever eat. But because of these coat hooks, I make sure I only eat vegetable ramen. Because I think those hooks are telling me that the meat that is used is mysterious.
If you have ever read any of my writings about living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or are currently a friend of mine living with CFS)- you will know that my mother doles out wellness advice. She is not a Doctor -but she has that kind of diagnostic confidence that doctors have when she is dealing with her children. She is often wrong -especially when broken bones are involved. But when dealing with CFS and me/ME (pun!) she is right on the money.
There are 3 things that she does really well:
- She makes a magic soup that will make just about any sick person feel human again.
- She makes a mean cup of tea
- She has created some rules for wellness that actually work – and she doesn’t exactly give you a timeline to do them, though they should probably all be done close to each other.
These wellness rules are simple – and created for a person who has zero energy – and isn’t capable of doing complicated tasks because the exhaustion has made life unbearable for the moment.
The rules for wellness by my Doctor Mom are:
- Drink water – a lot of it. 2 glasses immediately (as in right now).
- Eat an egg.
- Go walk around the block -I don’t care if it takes you 5 minutes or 3 hours.
I’ve been having a rough time of it. This not sleeping thing has screwed me up hugely. In fact, I am quite impressed with myself that I can type this out – because I have been having a hard time understanding english these days. But today, I couldn’t take it any more. I was in bed until noon – hurting and exhausted. I had to force myself to get up – get dressed, and go for breakfast. I walked to a diner – 2 blocks away – ordered eggs and bacon (I gave my bacon away to strangers), and then managed to walk about 2 miles. Yay! There was a time, that I couldn’t even do that. So lets take that as a win.
So now its almost 4pm, and I am laying in bed, fully dressed – with the covers on. Hoping that I have tired myself out enough that I will sleep tonight. But knowing that I shouldn’t be here (in this bed) just in case I accidentally fall asleep, and do more harm to myself.
So I’m getting up now.
Thanks mom for your rules. I feel like I accomplished something, even if that was only eating a proper breakfast.
*photo source Daniel Novta via flickr
At Christmas, I received a portable turntable stereo as a gift – something I had wanted for a long time, but it wasn’t a necessity- and so I had put off buying one. A few days later, I realized the gift wasn’t in the actual record player – it was the collection of music that I inherited from my parents and grandparents. Some of it, I was already familiar with – there was top 40 music from the 80s, K-tel compilations, a bunch of punk records my brother used to listen to, a ton of classical music that was mine- scourged from library sales and used book and record stores, and some of it was stuff I remembered my parents playing, from when I was a kid – Joni Mitchell, Simon and Garfunkel, Miriam Makeba, Harry Belafonte, and Broadway musicals. But mixed in with those beloved treasures – are records that I never expected to find. Chestnuts such as Pupi Lopez and his Orchestra (see photo), something that can only be listened to on a July evening -while cooking hotdogs under the patio lights – with a fizzy pink drink (or cold beer) in hand. Music that instantly makes you smile because you must dance, and must drink, and must laugh, and must drink some more. Music that requires a celebration.
I regard music as its own activity. When its playing, I sit and actively listen to it. I don’t often do other activities when I am listening. Sometimes I will walk – but I don’t listen to music when I’m working, it’s too easy to stop working and only pay attention to what I am listening to. Of course I will play music when I’m dancing- but that isn’t really listening is it. I don’t purchase music for purposes other than listening. And I had forgotten that there was a time, when that is how one listened to music. You would gather your friends over – and listen (and probably dance) to the new Elvis record- or what have you. Pupi Lopez reminded me this morning, that I need to learn to enjoy music on a different level. A social level. Listening is not a solitary activity. I can only imagine that my grandparents had a good time when they listened to music (if this was a staple of their collection). And I know that my parents did too – I certainly remember them throwing parties with my dad breaking out his record collection – and they and their friends would dance up a storm in our basement.
I dont have room to throw dance parties or backyard BBQs – but there is no reason why we can’t have a bit of fun. No reason that Wednesday evenings have to be spent listening to Coronation Anthems, and Flute Sonatas, and Fantasias. We can throw a bit of cha-cha music on, just for fun.
In the latest experiment to get some sleep, I took a journey to a cannabis lounge. Now, pot is not something that I am overly familiar with. I am a casual user, at best. A few times in university, or whenever I am with someone who has some. I have never gone and purchased any for myself before. I am quite neutral on the subject of marijuana. Had a friend of mine not suggested it, I never would have thought to go. But go we did. And it was fantastic.
After we figured out how everything worked, we enjoyed the lemony flavour of Harmony. Here is a short description of what we experienced (from Leafly).
“Harmony is a hybrid that synchronizes the very best of its three parent strains, Santa Marta Colombian Gold, Lemon OG Kush, and Lemon Thai. These tall plants produce flowery, lemon-smelling buds distinctly kush-like in structure. Its effects are invigorating and uplifting, but higher doses might push you into a more spacey experience. Indoor growers wait 8 to 9 weeks for Harmony to flower while outdoor cultivators prepare for harvest in the month of October.”
So here is what happened, we got baked. And for the first time in 18 months, I felt calm. I experienced normal. No anxiety. No worry. I was just calm and happy. And I could breathe. I was overjoyed about how good I was feeling.
When I got home, I was looking forward to sleep – because I knew that being calm and relaxed was going to help me get at least a few hours of anxiety free rest. But it doesn’t actually work that way. Yes I was calm, tired, and relaxed, and I did manage to fall asleep quite easily. But I didn’t stay asleep. I woke up at midnight, and have stayed that way until now (7 am), and since the sun is rising-any hopes of me getting sleep now has just disappeared.
So the lesson here is this – I now know that I can keep anxiety at bay, without medication or expensive vacations to Spain (a story for another time), and after talking with a knowledgable staff member, I am confident that the right stuff will help me achieve the desired zzzzzzs.
**Photo by Adrian Snood via flickr
I am currently in a system of insomnia. This time its caused by my dreams. Funny how that works. I am able to sleep for a couple of hours (before midnight), but then something happens in my dream, and I wake up – and my brain refuses to go back to sleep. Sometimes its because something frightening has happened, or sometimes like tonight its just confused.
Lately, I have woken up after I have been beheaded- and I am dancing around like a no-headed chicken. Sometimes my head pops off like a piece of lego, and sometimes its bloodier. But the result is the same. Dancing around without a head. I don’t need to look up an interpretation of this to tell me that I am stressed, and I should probably do something about it.
Tonight’s dream though, had to do with the fact that I don’t eat organic oranges. Feel free to interpret that one. I don’t think I have earned my sleeplessness tonight.
*Photo by Kema Keur via Flickr
I read a lot. Almost 2.5 books a week (depending on the page count – but averaging around 350 pages per book). At least so far this year.
I am plenty busy doing other things, I don’t have to read this much. I work full time, I teach a few lessons a week, I volunteer, and I see friends occasionally. I even go outside, when I remember that fresh air is good for me.
But I choose to read because it gives me a chance to escape from my life- something that television or friends doesn’t do. Reading engages my brain in a way that I am unable to think about things other than what I am reading. In other words, I am unable to have an anxiety or panic attack when I am absorbed in someone else’s story. I suffer from a form of PTSD (from childhood trauma) that triggers easily. The colour green will set me off – as will the number 11, black dogs, springtime, and the jerseys of the Green Bay Packers. Also children who are in pain. This one is a big one – and something I encountered a few weeks ago. And its made me retreat back into myself.
I met a 7 year old girl recently who told me some secrets about her life – and they were very similar to ones that I had experienced, and I have been unable to concentrate on much else since then. I reported the incident(s) to the people who needed to know, but I have a need to do more. But my hands are tied. I am unable to help any more than I have. I can only hope that what I did will not cause further pain. I hope what I did will keep her safe. For her sake, I am optimistic that everything will work out for the best. I have to think this way – because I am heartbroken that someone has hurt her. I am heartbroken that someone(s) have hurt me. Mirrors – I hate them. They show way more than we need to know.
So back to the books. I read to forget my own experience. I use books to create a new reality. I use them for other things too, like get ideas, and fall in love with fictional characters, and to understand new and old ideas. But mostly I read so I can trust. I can trust words (even if its for a short time – and I am aware that you cant believe everything you read). But its a different kind of trust. Fictional characters can’t hurt you like real people can. I choose to invest in this medium, because I am unable to trust anyone else in real life.
And I will never be alone, as long as I have a book in my hand.
Im having a day where I need to hide out from the world. Life has gotten fairly difficult lately – and I have been reliving my past a great deal. My past is peppered with some fairly difficult vignettes- and the most terrible of those, have come to visit today.
I am currently under a pile of blankets, and have no intentions of getting out from under them any time soon. Blankets are calming. I am a mess. I need calm. And blankets. And pyjamas. And someone to like me best.
Photo via flickr- amazing_podgirl
This is Fairfax. Now is a tense time in our relationship, since I am not wanting to play. He sits in the corner not so silently judging me with that enormous eye of his. He is a very big presence. And is always letting me know that I am a failure.
Sometimes Fairfax is a big jerk.
February 2nd. Best day of the year. Shadow, or no shadow. Who cares? Spring is coming eventually, and with it brings a new start. A new focus. A renewal. Your own Renaissance.
Let the groundhogs have their say. Come celebrate with them. Its the most wonderful day of the year.
**Photo via flickr – by Rucker Sewell
While I am taking a break from a creative life, I don’t want the people I have worked with to forget about me. So I decided to send out Valentine’s Day cards (like the ones we gave to everyone in our fourth grade class). The postage is easily more expensive than these little cards, but I thought it would make my former clients smile a little.
I chose to send Disney Princesses, because
the majority all of my clients (aka students) were between the ages of 4 and 17. A lot of them are girls who are just crazy about these ladies, and it will make the boys that I taught roll their eyes and laugh, and say something along the lines of, “ugh Laura is such a marshmallow”. Yes I am! I am also determined to be remembered fondly; so that whenever the next venture starts, these people and their friends are going to get in line to sign up- or sing my praises – or whatever. But they most certainly will not forget about me. If the memories of our times together fade – the weird little mailers I send are going to remind them that those lessons really were the good old days.
I don’t really subscribe to the whole Disney Princess thing, I was more into going to the beach, and seeing if I could dig all the way to China, and explore new lands along the way, then dressing up in gowns and tiaras, but whatever you are into is fine with me. However, this got me thinking, if I was going to be a Disney Princess who would I be? So l took a quiz, and…
No I didn’t take a quiz. Of course I didn’t. I am the least princess like person on the planet. And I am happy enough not being one. I’m kind, independent, smart, and interesting in my own way. I don’t need the tiara. I just don’t want to be forgotten.