Friday, January 20, 2017

...being, admitting, walking, and practicing self-care...

"Be who you are and say what you feel
because those who mind don't matter,
and those who matter don't mind."
~Dr. Seuss
picture taken on a walk of Woodland Cemetery in Ashland, VA
In The Curious Professor Z’s Bat Fit 2017 Grand Finale post she writes about cutting yourself some slack. It’s exactly what I needed to read; in fact, a great deal of that post was read just at the right time.

I have not been taking very good care of myself… and, I’m also getting older, which I had forgotten means that I need to be mindful of that. When my pup was old, I watched as he started to slow down. He still wanted to go, go, go but he just couldn’t anymore.

In therapy, I learned that I am a do-er and that I needed to practice “be”-ing: being mindful, being present, being relaxed. Do-ers like to go, go, go and do, do, do. But lately, I have discovered that I need to focus on a place of being.

picture taken on a walk in Washington, D.C.
At the end of last semester, my Ménière’s disease was not in control. I was having somewhat severe vertigo weekly. I have lived with Ménière’s disease since I was a teen so it is just a part of me. I will always crave salt; I will always have to limit my salt consumption. I will walk the steps if I can avoid an elevator. I cannot look to the side when I am in a moving vehicle. I cannot turn my head sideways. I hear shit that does not exist. My ears often feel full.  Sometimes I cannot hear well at all. And, I cannot function under a great deal of stress without going into a spin… a room is spinning I am going to vomit right here/ I must lie down wherever I am vertigo. In December, I was standing in line for coffee with my fella. We were having a great time and instantly I was in a full spin. Stores do not allow you to lie down on the floor in the middle of the store. They always call an ambulance so for me I had to quickly communicate that I had vertigo and maneuvered out of the building where I ended up lying on the ground of the parking lot because we had gone in my fella’s car. I couldn’t get into the backseat fast enough and I needed to be horizontal.

Tomorrow is the Woman’s March on Washington and I cannot go. Let me clarify that; I can NOT go. I need to stay home and practice self-care. When I see videos about tomorrow’s march that include the elderly and those who are physically disabled saying, “Even I am going to the march” it hurts me. I cannot control the environment enough for it to me safe FOR ME! If it works for others, great; insinuating that everyone can attend such a function is not helpful. In fact, those videos make me feel awful, worthless, and even more stressed that I cannot attend. I read the message that because I am not attending I do not care about standing up for our rights.  

I am fortunate enough to be loved by friends and family who understand that even fun events become stressful and make me sick. One example is my wedding day, which my fella and I controlled the environment to the point that it was only the two of us in a Bed & Breakfast with the understanding that there could be a flexible timeline in case I had vertigo.   

Last week my fella took me to the doctor because I could not get there myself. My blood pressure was much higher than normal, which is scary since the meds that I take for Ménière’s disease are similar to the ones that people with high-blood pressure take. Had I not taken my meds, I’m sure it would have been through the roof.
I feel anxious even writing this. I don’t like being in timeout. I do not like revealing that there are aspects of my life that I cannot control, but there are. That’s life; I need to cut myself some slack.

There are parts of my life that I can control, and practicing self-care will include focusing on those tasks. I need to get some weight off; I need to focus on eating healthy foods (so I’ve returned to counting Weight Watchers points, which really works for me even if it doesn’t work for you. My type-A personality/ slight OCD likes tracking); and, I need to walk (which I do not call exercise because then it becomes un-fun).  I really, really like to walk. I wish I lived in a world where I could walk everywhere. So far this month/year, I have walked 37.2 miles. I do not track daily steps but actual “I’m going out for a walk” walks.

While I like tracking what I do, I am not really great about forming goals. Something about noting that I would like to walk 360 miles this year feels too much like *work* so I end up not wanting to do it. Similarly, if I say I want to lose 20 lbs, it feels like I am pressuring myself. I know this is counter to what most life coaches might recommend but my goals are to walk more because I enjoy it and it is good for me; to lose some weight so that I am more comfortable in my body and consequently more healthy; and, to TRY to cut myself some slack.

I cannot do everything; I cannot be everywhere. Commuting to DC today or tomorrow would not be like a normal workday. In fact, my university closes every inauguration event so today I am home trying to finish up a chapter that is do in a week.
Today, I am going to focus on my small part of the world. I am not going to visit social media; I am not going to watch the news or even turn on the television. It affects my anxiety which affects my health.

Today I remind myself that this too shall pass.  


  1. It seems like you guys are taking several steps back vs going forward. I learned a lot about how your political system works. Its a bit different over here. I never realized how weird things are over there. I don't mean any disrespect. It is sad what is happening over there, especially with planned parenthood. It is sad that a man that can go on TV, make fun of the handicapped, say the things he says about grabbing women by the crotch, peeking in underage girls as well as women's locker rooms when he owned Ms. America and be in charge of the nukes! The things he writes on Twitter, even here in Canada, we are afraid of what will happen! I am so sorry (what can I say? I am Canadian, we say sorry about everything,eh!) you have to go through this. I am so sorry you feel bad that you can't go so I am glad I made you smile with my post. My heart goes out to you. From what I understand of your politics, laws are also made in each State, which is why some States have abortion clinics while others don't. Pardon my ignorance. If I am wrong, please correct me. If you are feeling up to it and think you can manage this, is there a way you can rally others and voice your concerns to your state representative? Super big *hugs* to you, my friend. These are scary times.

    1. Thanks, Sylvie. Virginia has two senators in the US Senate and 11 representatives in the US House of Representatives. I have always written letters to voice my concerns for and against legislation. I will continue to do that but I really wanted to go yell with my peers. I've already written my Senators: Tim Kaine-D (you may recognize that name ;D ) and Mark Warner-D. I live in the 1st district so my representative is Rob Wittman-R who co-sponsored a personhood bill in Congress, which defined life as beginning at conception so I'm guessing that he won't be marching on Saturday, and I'm guessing my letters end up in the trash/ emails are deleted.

      I work in an echo chamber of voicing concerns so I don't think I will have to rally my peers (hence being off social media today... like-minded folks are clearly concerned). Johnathan and I are also voting with our money in that we will avoid conservative companies and donate to charities and organizations that should be supported such as Planned Parenthood.

    2. I am not in your shoes. Please forgive me if I misunderstand your feelings. Please dont feel bad you cant be there. I know its hard when you really want to do something and you cant. Be proud that you are taking care of yourself. Be proud that you are doing something even if its writing letters and donating money to charities. Keep using your voice and dont give up. Again, big hugs to you and hope you feel better soon.

  2. Wow, I've heard of that condition, but had NO idea how bad it could be! I don't think you are not doing what you "should" be doing by not attending the marches or other things; honestly, if your vertigo is that bad, you are doing the RIGHT thing. If you went and it kicked in, you might be endangering yourself, and that certainly wouldn't help anyone. You will be supporting your cause by doing the things you CAN do, like supporting PP and other worthy causes, and by speaking out like you do on this blog! NO ONE who knows you even a little bit would believe for a second that you don't care and won't be as supportive as possible in the ways that you can be. As the quote at the top of this post proves, Dr. Seuss was a pretty smart guy, so don't mind those who really don't matter! ;-)

  3. It's very brave of you to write about this. I hope that learning to be instead of go, go, going all the time will do good for you. And I think it is unfair to judge people when they really CAN'T go to the demonstration. Making those people feel guilty for a thing that no-one should feel guilty about doesn't accomplish anything. :(

    I feel I always write about the difference of American and Finnish cultures but here we go again: I often feel that expressing compassion through words is difficult. There is always the risk that the other person will interpret them to be somewhat condescending (or pitiful! gasp!) or that the other person is dismissing the problem. Saying things like 'well, I'm sure you'll manage' are not always helpful. This is very typical for Finns because in our culture compassion is often expressed with 'respectful silence', with a nod and a pat on the shoulder, thus giving room for the other persons grief (or emotions in general). But that doesn't really work in blogsphere, where everything is made of words! :)

  4. I like that very much, Jade - a respectful silence, a nod and a pat on the shoulder. I can never put into words what I really mean and usually end up feeling like I've completely botched it while making everyone uncomfortable. **Nods, pats Goth Gardener on the shoulder and maintains a respectful silence ❤**