Reflections on Life Thus Far

My life. My story: Exploring mental health, spirituality, meditation & random thoughts I have


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Happy New Year!

Okay, so I am late for the Western world but the lunar new year is February 8th so I am technically on time for that anyway! lol It’s the year of the monkey.

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2016 arrived, for me, with little to report as I have been in some weird state of lethargy that left no energy for grand New Year plans. Due to the fact I hardly ever leave my house I find anytime I do go out I end up catching something. Thus, for the past month I have had an annoying bout of allergic rhinitis and sinusitis, as well as some flu like symptoms in spite of getting the ‘flu shot’.

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I want to hibernate all winter like a bat.

In short, I have had no energy. Oh sure, I went out a few times (not to do groceries!) and managed to avoid sinking from Seasonal Affective Disorder into a clinical depression; but beyond that I feel as though I have done very little. My counsellor has been ‘missing in action’ since she left for some type of emergency back in July (not sure of the specifics obviously). The point is I have not seen her since the end of May 2015 (my last appointment) and think I am doing alright. It’s just the winter lack of daylight draining me along with my seeming penchant for catching colds/sinus problems every time I venture outdoors.

All I want is enough energy to do my laundry regularly and keep my home looking half-way decent. Surely, that is not too tall an order. Now that my ear and jaw are feeling less painful (sinus related) I have found a bit of energy returning to me. For awhile I wanted to pop Advil regularly but decided against it since one develops a tolerance to drugs that way.

Fortunately I don’t take it often, as I heard in the medical news regular long-term use of NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can lead to Alzheimer’s. Before 2010 the medical community thought it prevented or protected against Alzheimer’s. Good thing I only ever overdosed on Aspirin and Tylenol! Sorry bad joke. I last tried to commit suicide in November 2000 using Aspirin on two attempts and Tylenol on the other one. I have to wonder though about my mom because she took NSAIDs regularly for many years for arthritis and developed Alzheimer’s. She died at age 60. The only positive I read about the connection between NSAIDs and Alzheimer’s was there was some speculation it might stave off the worse symptoms of the disease for longer than would be the case without NSAIDs.

But none of this matters now because we never did an autopsy on my mom’s brain after her death. We felt she’d been through enough and never liked doctors much so decided against any postmortem; so we’ll never know if her brain could have revealed any clues or not. I like to think the NSAIDs gave her a few extra years before the worst of her symptoms set in. Either that or it was a contributing factor in her developing the disease.

©Natalya for Reflections On Life Thus Far, 2016.

 

 

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This & That

Well it’s been too long since I’ve updated my blog I fear but hopefully you’ll forgive me. I have not been especially busy apart from wondering what I’m doing at times. Mainly I read silly novels and distract myself from the onslaught of emotions I stirred up after my minimalism cleaning spree in June. It seems I must have dislodged some emotions or some such thing because I feel ever since my clean up I have retreated into the decidedly preferable world of characters in novels. Not only the cleaning though has caused this retreat from the everyday; no, my dad’s sister has Alzheimer’s and he went to visit her. Apparently she’s worse than predicted and my uncle wanted me to attend to my aunt’s care whilst she waits to go into a nursing home. Well I am not a caregiver sort so the idea didn’t appeal to me in the least especially as my aunt is aggressive like my mom was before she died from Alzheimer’s related complications.

Anyhow, I had to deal with my own very strict Superego and felt no end to my guilt for nearly a month. My therapist did manage to elevate me from my guilt ridden state but only after I’d already fled reality for the imaginary world of novel characters. Only now am I losing my taste for reading frivolous novels and returning to some state of reality again. I do not know how long it will last for. I suspect until my dad visits my aunt again and tells me how much my uncle would appreciate me giving my help (I expect there would be no money paid to me but I wouldn’t want to do it even if monetary reward was involved). Honestly, I’ve been burned out from my mother’s experience with Alzheimer’s and couldn’t abide by putting myself in the position of the martyr caring for someone I didn’t have a close relationship with again. Although I doubtless sound cold and unfeeling for not flocking to my aunt’s proverbial bedside I don’t feel particularly cold or unfeeling, at least not since my therapist convinced me otherwise. 

It was only within the last week or so I made the connection between the guilt and stress I felt from being asked to be a caregiver to my aunt that I realised why I’d stopped doing much else besides reading novels. Suffice it to say I found the novels holding less appeal once my reasons were made conscious to me. Perhaps I can finally persuade myself to go out again and be amongst people. Not that I favour crowds but I do miss taking in the sights during tourist season and wish for a change of scenery beyond the grocery store aisles and the office of my shrink. Besides I told my therapist I’d make an effort to take part in something that gets me outside my home. Guess I’ll ‘sign off’ for now.

 

©Natalya, Reflections On Life Thus Far, 2014.

 


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Happy Canada Day! & A Bit of Rambling

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians. What am I doing to celebrate my country’s birthday? Well nothing unless you consider sitting in front of your computer on WordPress celebrating! LOL Guess my patriotism doesn’t get too stoked about these holidays. July 4th is a big deal in the U.S. but July 1st in Canada is a bit more subdued 😛

I haven’t been on here much so apologise for missing your posts. It’s really warm and humid today so I haven’t got much energy unfortunately so this post is likely to be slightly scattered like my brain at the moment. Humidity and heat really aren’t my friends. I take two antidepressants and both cause me to perspire more and be more sensitive to the sun/heat. Thus I am not loving summer so far even though I would likely be told I’m nuts because it’s cold the other three seasons and ought to enjoy it. Oh well.

Okay, I’m not thinking straight now so am going to contemplate the merits of putting my head in the freezer to cool off.

 


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Chicken Skin & Fish Scales (Keratosis pilaris and Ichthyosis vulgaris)Skin Conditions I Have

Keratosis pilaris on the upper arm.

Finally I found a name for the skin conditions I have had my whole life! I was doing a search on adult acne and came across these two skin conditions in the process. Fortunately, I seem to have the milder form of both conditions judging from the photos I saw of some less fortunate people living with the condition(s). Why my skin is so bothersome I don’t know-what did I do to you skin to deserve this? (being silly) No, I know it is genetic so there’s nothing one can do except try managing the condition. I’ve had dry skin since infancy but I didn’t mind how it looked until I was a teen and thought my arms and legs were horrible looking. Seriously, I have adult acne, eczema (allergic type) and the keratosis pilaris and ichthyosis vulgaris all in different spots. It’s like I don’t have acne on my legs so I have “fish scales” (ichthyosis) on them instead and no eczema on my arms but keratosis pilaris instead. Gee wiz, did I ever win the genetic lottery?! lmao

Well, in the grand scheme of things it’s not so bad but I hate wearing shorts or skirts/dresses because of my ‘fish legs’!lol My legs aren’t too bad but super dry and discoloured (uneven skin tone) so whilst I dislike my legs it’s purely my vanity that’s taking the hit. I guess it’s easy to find fault with myself but I am gradually accepting myself more and more; with that acceptance comes less distress over a primarily ‘cosmetic’ skin condition knowing it could be far more debilitating if I had a different type or more severe form.

A mild case of ichthyosis vulgaris on legs. Image from Livestrong.com

Why do I even get upset over skin conditions that are little more than a nuisance for that is what they are. Having less than flawless skin is sort of trifling when I think of those poor Nigerian girls held captive by the Boko Haram. My best guess is I am looking for something to focus my attention on that is manageable. Whenever I focus my attention on my skin it’s usually because I am trying to find some degree of control in my life. But my poor skin doesn’t deserve my scorn! It is mostly doing its job and I attack it for not looking perfect! LOL Such folly. It’s really very silly when I know how much I have to be grateful for even with my skin.

Do you have medical conditions that are benign and mostly cosmetic that upset you? How do you cope with them? I’ve had my whole life to accept them (except the acne) yet I still fight an urge to cringe seeing my skin. Perhaps this is what some term a “first world problem”. For that reason I’m working on getting the courage up to wear shorts in the summer out in public. Why let imperfect skin ruin my ability to live life as I otherwise would? It’s just skin and it’s not causing me medical harm beyond dry skin so I am grateful really, grateful that I am otherwise okay.

©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®


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Good News :)

Good news! My dad doesn’t have to use his walker anymore to get around and is allowed to do stuff like before. He saw

Spring crocuses

his orthopaedic surgeon this morning and got the green light to do stuff without restrictions. His hip is doing very well apparently and has not moved since being replaced (he had a total hip replacement). I am so happy because we finally can get rid of the raised toilet seat and huge bath seat for the tub. The good news made me so happy I cleaned the bathroom! haha. Now it feels like Spring cleaning can commence because there are fewer bulky assistive tools about making it difficult to move around. Our home is small so having those extra items that took a lot of space up were very inconveniencing for me. Since my dad doesn’t require them now I happily moved them out and put away in storage (the big bath chair is a borrowed item so is going back to the Red Cross).

Now if only I could get so excited about filing my taxes! LOL Deadline is April 30th so I am okay but need to get them done. I use TurboTax software because I am not great with numbers and am too cheap to get an accountant to do them for me. It is a great thing for anyone doing their own taxes who don’t know a lot about accounting or who get confused-like me-with too many numbers to keep track of.

Well that’s it for now.

©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®

 


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Tired of Winter (It’s Supposed to be Spring!)

 

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Cute raccoon hanging on opossum’s tail. Just because 🙂

Winter isn’t letting go here and I am feeling my energy levels evaporating each time I shovel. Officially it is Spring but you wouldn’t know that to look outside. Outside it’s blustery and snow mixed with freezing rain makes for tricky conditions (driving/walking). Fortunately, the snow we got last week has largely gone due to rain we got afterward but there’s still a fair amount about. Maybe Spring will get here in another week or so then we won’t lose the whole season to cruddy winter! As you can tell my tolerance for cold temps and snow/freezing rain is pretty low.

Yesterday I saw my counsellor where I complained about the weather and how it’s making me cranky. That likely took more time than was reasonable which makes me think I’m stalling or experiencing resistance to something. My resistance is likely due to not wanting to talk about why I never go out or have a social life. My excuse is it’s too difficult to go out and try having fun in social situations. Historically, social situations have not been fun for me so I am already primed to expect negative outcomes. It doesn’t do much for getting me out the door to try retesting the experience. My counsellor would like for me to try going out a bit more so I am not such a hermit like I am now. Currently, I spend most of my time at home unless I have an appointment or my dad has one where he needs help from me. So I really don’t know how to have fun unless it’s on my own. Making myself vulnerable enough to experience new situations with people I don’t know is scary for me. Suddenly my fears of rejection and abandonment come back in a most irrational way.

Sweet raccoon and opossum hanging onto the moon.

Sweet raccoon and opossum hanging onto the moon.

I’m really good at finding courage for facing stuff that scares me internally but externally it’s a whole other issue. In a way my fear is from inside me but it’s a visible or concrete one that can be observed. Recently, the social anxiety has lessened in low social pressure situations like going to the grocery store but stayed the same for social situations requiring me to interact more, such as conversations longer than a minute or two. Maybe I am supposed to just go slowly. But it feels like I have nothing to “show” for all the time I’ve been taking to work on healing myself so I get frustrated. It’s my darn ego trying to trick me into being its slave again! Guess I’ll just have to work on cultivating my patience further.

That’s it for now. I am going to read some blog posts now since I have been slacking in that area.

©Natalya, 2014 for Reflections On Life Thus Far.


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Feeling Grumpy

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while or been reading your blogs much, I’ve been tired from my sinuses I think. Today I feel grumpy and generally it’s my sinuses that do that to me. PMS is already past so it’s not that. I’ve got things to do but don’t seem to have the energy. Maybe it’s S.A.D. coming on me now that it gets dark here shortly after 5 pm. My mood has not been low but I have noticed some irritability in myself since turning the clocks back over a week ago. I really dislike this time of year. Despite my best intentions for learning to enjoy winter it’s difficult when it causes one to suffer in mood. Guess I’ll have to try my light therapy.

Anyone else noticing S.A.D. symptoms coming on lately too?

©Natalya, 2013.


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Sunny Sunday

I thought I’d try giving my post a positive title versus the one I wanted to give it! My head hurts because my sinuses have been bugging me for the past week or more. What is it about those of us with seasonal allergies that makes us more prone to sinus woes anyway?

Today has been quite nice so I want to avoid lamenting my stuffy head. The sun is still shining and it’s a comfortable temperature with moderate humidity; thus I will focus on that. The drilling and hammering outside does not do wonders for my head but when it’s done we’ll have a ramp. My dad requires a ramp now because he uses a walker. So today the builders started it and it will likely be done tomorrow.

I hope you are all having a nice weekend or Monday if it’s tomorrow already in your part of the world.

©Natalya, 2013.


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Garden Shed Space Clearing

For some reason I haven’t had much to say so I haven’t been posting much lately. Anyway,

A garden shed

A garden shed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I decided to tackle the garden shed that was crammed full of 30 years of junk. Before I could not tell what was in there and had to take stuff out if I wanted to go in the shed. Now I can walk in but there’s still A LOT left to clear out. I haven’t even got the old boxes ready yet for the garbage. So far I’ve found oodles of junk that should have been tossed in the first place-not stored in the shed! My parents never were able to throw anything away so they just piled it all in the shed even if it was obvious to anyone else the stuff was rubbish. Now I have made it my mission to clean the shed and have it only filled with things we still want and use. I’ve got a lot of work left to do but at least I have made a start!

In other news, I have been trying to organize my Zazzle store products. If you’re not familiar with Zazzle it is an online only place you can put your own designs on products and buy or sell them for a royalty. It’s pretty easy to do but the stuff tends to be a bit overpriced so it can be hard to sell much. I’ve sold a few things that were not too expensive but I have barely made anything either. If you are Canadian you have to make $50 in profits before you can get a cheque. The U.S. only requires $25 but I am in Canada so have to make twice as much before cashing out.

It’s a bit of a ‘slog’ trying to make enough merchandise and keep my two stores organized so people can easily see the products. I have been trying to make more of the lower cost products so I might make a few sales. Before I was making more expensive items and not selling hardly anything. Marketing is not my forte either so I am not very adept at making my products visible since I can’t afford much in terms of advertising. Business has never been my strong suit thus my efforts at being entrepreneurial have usually gone poorly.

The only “marketing” I have done so far is through social networking on facebook and Twitter. Unfortunately that only works well if you have quite the following 😛 Aw well. I made a page on facebook for my Zazzle store products but that’s been slow going too. My problem is I dislike promoting myself because I am too modest but I will have to be less modest if I want to promote anything I’ve designed. I was using Zazzle’s ‘quick create’ function to make multiple products at once with the same design but I have found it to be less useful than I originally thought. Many of the products have looked crappy so I’ve had to spend time deleting products here and there to ensure I don’t have a bunch of junk in my stores. It’s not easy to do successfully unless you don’t care to make anything profit wise.

I’ll have to get back to cleaning the garden shed soon. As it is warm out I came inside to rest myself a bit. The part I like least about clearing out the shed has to be the bugs. I don’t appreciate getting bitten or walking into a spider web. Oh well guess that’s not so bad as long as I don’t get too many bites!

©Natalya, 2013.


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Embracing Your Inner Critic

Has anyone read this book yet (it’s old-1993)? The “Embracing Your Inner Critic” one? My counsellor suggested I

Inner Critic

Inner Critic (Photo credit: anthom)

read it so I bought it online in electronic form. I’m reading it now and so far it is pretty good. Nothing new I didn’t know before yet, aside from the names/terminology used for certain aspects of our inner critic. But I will keep reading. There’s exercises at the end of every chapter and I’ve just reached the first ones. An interesting question was to write out your inner critic’s criticisms of you and ask yourself where or who they came from. I think this is doable but I dislike work for works sake so am procrastinating by writing this post instead! LOL Guess the helpful piece is identifying individual criticisms and where/who they came from.

Yesterday I went out because I had to see my doctor for a prescription renewal; as it was so nice out, I stayed out for the afternoon and enjoyed myself. It felt good because I hadn’t been out besides to pop into a store for an item or two then go back home. But the weather was so pleasant that I wanted to take advantage of it! I’m glad I did because I got to walk about a bit and take in the surroundings. I even found an air freshener for my dad’s car in “new car smell” like he wanted! haha. He recently bought a new to him car and wanted something to make it smell brand new. I can’t say the air freshener smells like a new car to me but I’ve never smelled one! Anyway, it was the only one I have seen around in that smell and the last one so I got it for him. As it was only a dollar I couldn’t go wrong 😉

Today is lovely and cool so I’ve been doing laundry and cleaning a bit because I don’t feel like doing it in the heat and humidity. The place was starting to look a bit worse for the wear so I am going to have to get the vacuum out too. Best to do it when I have the energy. Hot days make it impossible for me to clean because I only have fans-no air conditioning. Well guess I ought to finish here and do some of those chores I mentioned 😛

©Natalya, 2013.