Trusting the good

Source: Today is a good day

Okay, I admit it. I’ve been a bit stumped by aspects of the “mindfulness” thing.

On the one hand, I get that it’s important to pay attention to what’s going on with me. And I get that it’s important to not get carried away by my emotions — to “name them and tame them,” as I’ve heard it described. I get that it’s important to have a good understanding of myself and the processes that go on in my mind, so that they don’t just take over me randomly and run my life.

But I haven’t exactly understood HOW it all works. Why should the simple act of paying attention change anything? Why should it matter? Why should it cause any sort of shift to take place? Just noticing something changes it? Really?

That makes no sense to me.

Unless I stop to consider that mindfulness is less about doing than it is about being. Wu wei. Doing without doing.  Not so much about getting myself to do/act certain things/ways, as allowing myself to BE a certain thing, a certain way. A way that is innately good. Not bad. Or at the very least, neutral — with a keen sense of balance and proportion (no matter what my brain might tell me).

It might just be that the simple act of noticing something is amiss causes the orderly and well-intentioned nature (that is my own True essence), to step in and do something about it. If I entertain the possibility that my character is positive and good and wants only the best for me… and when it realizes things are not as they should be, it steps in and moves things around, so they CAN become as they should be… Well, this mindfulness stuff starts to make more sense.

It’s one thing for me to focus on the Doing of keeping my act in order. It’s another, for me to allow my Being to keep myself on track.

The two can go hand-in-hand, of course, but until today, the Doing part was the only one I could relate to.

Now, though, I get the Being part of it. And I realize that if I can manage to trust my own innate goodness, and my own innately positive nature and character… then I can know that it will by the force of its own Good essence, cause a course correction to my behavior, when it realizes I’m being badly behaved or I’m being overtaken by less-than-positive emotions.

When I get that, the pressure is off.

It becomes less about working overtime to keep myself in check, and it becomes more about allowing myself to Be the good person I am, despite the “bad” things I experience within me.

Now I think I get it.

All of me

I’ve been reading Mindsight and thinking about how much Siegel talks about using the whole body to interact with the world, not just the brain.

Mirror neurons… body scanning… breath… it makes sense, though I would like to have seen more specific detail about the approaches he took with his clients.

I guess I’ll have to read The Mindful Brain next. That may have more info.

But books aside, I’m soon off to my second day on the new job. I’m doing what I can to relax into it, to give myself time and space to learn, plenty of rest to digest and incorporate everything… Just taking things gradually and slowly, not overwhelming myself with a mad dash into the fray, but intending to pace myself, spend a lot of time thinking through things, and listen – listen – listen.

Learn – learn – learn.

And pay attention. Do periodic relaxation (I have an office with a door that closes) and body scans. Listen to music I love that gives me a boost. Pay a close mind to the things that are going on around me, and don’t get ahead of myself. Take care of my whole self, and also use my whole self to navigate my life.

Easy does it…

I’m going to start cooking (more)

Source: Stampest

I came across this the other day:

Development and Evaluation of an Ecological Task to Assess Executive Functioning Post Childhood TBI: The Children’s Cooking Task,which talks about how kids with TBI made more errors in cooking, than kids without.

Results: . . .  Children with moderate-to-severe TBI, as well as children with mild TBI made significantly more errors in a Children’s Cooking Task (CCT) in comparison to controls (those without TBI).

What I’m going to use is the idea that cooking success (or lack thereof) can be a good an indicator of how well I do with basic executive functioning stuff like attention, comprehension, staying on-target, etc. The results (I’m sure) don’t just apply to kids. I’m sure they could apply to grown-ups as well.

Given that I believe that I can strengthen the areas where I have issues, cooking seems like a great thing to dive into more. In fact, how well I handle cooking (when I have the time to do it) is a pretty good indicator of where I’m at.

PLUS, it really appeals to the side of me that craves sensory input. It can be an excellent way to experience my life more deeply, charge up my senses, and infuse a deeper and more thorough quality into my life.

After all, I have to eat, so I’d rather eat the good stuff — stuff I make myself. And since I’m the one who’s going to be consuming what I make, it gives me more leeway to experiment – my picky spouse notwithstanding ;).

I used to cook a lot more than I have been, lately. And when I cooked before, it was not very varied or adventurous. When I did try new things, I often messed them up. But I probably wasn’t actively managing my issues well enough. Now, though, I am aware of my issues, so I can actively keep an eye on them. And with this new job, I will have more time in my days to make things I can take with me to lunch, and maybe I can coax my spouse into trying a new thing or two. Less tired is a good thing. Especially for cooking.

As always, moderation is the ticket. Take it slow and be systematic and smart about it. But do it.

Peeling back the screen

Source: taiyofj

Tomorrow I start my new job. It’s starting to sink in. It’s also sinking in, just how “novel and narrow” my recently life has been. I’ve been so focused on job hunting and shifting my orientation away from the kind of work I’ve been doing for the past 15 years, that I haven’t paid much attention to the regular everyday elements of my life — keeping my papers and correspondence in order, picking up after myself, making sure my lawn is cut and my shrubbery is trimmed back, not to mention sweeping the driveway and taking the car in for an oil change and tune-up.

Everything has been geared towards navigating THIS DRAMATIC SHIFT I am experiencing. And I’ve done — I think — and admirable job of managing my energy and my limitations during the whole process. It’s not just a job change, the position change. It’s a life change — I’m moving out of the line of work I’ve been in for 15 years, and taking it to the next level.

I’ve been pretty intent on the future. But now the future nearly The Present, and I’m ready to settle into everyday normal life again.

I’m ready to get my life back.

And how.

Something has shifted with me, and in a good way. Getting back to “normal” is actually anything but, for me, these days. Because I have a new orientation, a new “take” on things, that has very much to do with being fully present and engaged in my everyday life. I feel so much more… involved… in my own life. Like I’m actually here. Like I’m actually present. I’m not standing off at a distance, regarding everything going on around me with a wary mix of curiosity and dread. I’m actually here. And I’m actually in it.

In a way, this new normal is not really “normal”… not for me, anyway. Imagine spending 40-some years inside a screen house. Everything you look at is modified by this screen of fine wire that might keep the bugs out and keep the unwanted stuff at bay, but still skews your view of things. It darkens it, it distorts it. And it keeps you from engaging directly with it. That’s how I’d been living my life, for so very, very long — uncertain about just about everything I encountered. Uncertain about myself — especially myself. Unwilling to voluntarily step outside my comfort zone, but at the same time, never really having a comfort zone. Being perpetually un-comfortable, and never thinking there was anything amiss with that.

Huh.

Now, imagine peeling back a corner of that screen, and seeing the whole world — for real. Having to combat bugs and mosquitoes, but seeing the colors for what they really are, and feeling the whole breeze on your face, not just the small part that can get through.

Amazing.

The colors really are brighter than I though they were.

Pretty cool.

If it WAS a TBI, then this is good news

A visualization of the number of times the words "hope" and "crisis" were used in the New York Times. Click the image to see more details. Very cool.

I’m making good progress reading Mindsight by Daniel Siegel. I’ve been reading in the mornings while I ride the exercise bike, as well as sometimes in the evening. It feels good to be reading again — I’ve realized that the main thing that makes it so hard to read, is being constantly distracted by stray thoughts.

With all due respect to my association-driven brain and the tons of (sometimes useless) knowledge I’ve crammed into all those nooks and crannies — and there are a lot of them, if you ever examine a brain closely — the main challenge with my reading is having mind seize on an idea and think, “Hey – that reminds me of _______!” and runs off in a different direction, making connections with other ideas and information I have. And I get left in the dust, the book unread and what parts I’ve read not being fully grasped.

Sigh

But the Mindsight reading is going well. And I’ve gotten some really great ideas from it. The main gist of the book, that I can tell, is that intently focusing the attention on something for extended periods of time helps to build connective fibers in the prefrontal cortex — the place where planning complex cognitive behaviors, personality expression, decision making and moderating correct social behavior, originate and are managed. Mindful awareness can strengthen the physical structures that make these things possible, and add more skill to one’s practice of them. The activities of the prefrontal cortex are where I have huge issues:

It is responsible for the executive functions, which include mediating conflicting thoughts (uh-oh), making choices between right and wrong or good and bad (it’s not that I WANT to choose wrong, I just tend to have trouble distinguishing my choices), predicting future events (what will happen if I press this button?), and governing social control — such as suppressing emotional or sexual urges (sexual urges I can manage — it’s the emotional ones that get me). The prefrontal cortex is the brain center most strongly implicated in qualities like sentience, human general intelligence, and personality. (That could be why some people think I’m an idiot and treat me like one, or treat me like I’m not anyone at all. Or maybe they’re just assholes? That’s entirely possible.)

Anyway, I can really use some help with my prefrontal cortex, and I’m hoping Mindsight will do me some good.

In the book, Siegel talks about how practicing Mindsight helped that kid with the problems with outbursts — dysregulation, I believe folks call it. It helped him get a grip, handle himself better, and have an overall better view of himself in the process.

Another important piece of this kid’s treatment was exercise. He combined exercise with mindfulness work, and he used going for a run as a way to take the edge off his temper and issues. Sounds like a plan.

Hearing about this kid’s problems made me think there was more to his situation than just being a teenager. I latched onto the idea that this kid may have sustained some sort of head trauma when he was around 13. I know it’s all conjecture, but if there was some brain injury involved, then the fact that he could overcome his crying jags and his raging outbursts with this mindful awareness practice and exercise (and nutrition – let’s not forget that), then it really give me hope for myself. What’s more,  it is also consistent with my own experience in the past few weeks.

I’ve been practicing Mindsight, myself, in hopes of strengthening the parts of myself that seem to be particularly challenged. In addition to doing my morning workouts, I have started doing breathing mindfulness practices each day. While I’m still in bed, I breathe deeply 45 times (the number of years I’ve been alive), really concentrating on the breath. It’s interesting how I tend to wander and “get lost” in the course of this practice. I also tend to get tense and hyperventilate, if I’m not careful. But I’m working on it, and it’s getting easier over time. And after doing this for the past 2 weeks, I’m starting to get the hang of it.

Perhaps most significant, it’s helping me get out of bed in the morning, since I do it before I get up. I had been having a terrible time just getting out of bed — I’d lie there for30… 45… 60 minutes (sometimes longer), before I actually got up. Doing this breathing work helps me wake up more quickly, and for some reason, I actually want to get up. Magic.

Anyway, over the course of the past week or so, I have been noticing how I don’t get as upset over “triggers” like I used to. It’s really wild. Things that used to just set me off into a freakish rage, sometimes now just happen. I notice them, but I don’t react to them immediately. They just occur. I don’t jump into judging them, or making them into bad things, or deciding that they demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m a total friggin’ loser. They just happen. And I have an extra few minutes to decide what I’m going to do in response.

Case in point:

This morning I woke up at 4:00 a.m. I had gotten to bed at 11:30 p.m. last night. Now, 4-1/2 hours is not my idea of a good night’s sleep, especially when I’m at a real deficit lately, and I was pretty upset about being awake. I lay in bed for half an hour, trying to get myself, to relax, getting more and more agitated and upset. And I started to worry about money. I start a new job on Monday that’s going to pay me less each paycheck (though the benefits and total value of the position is far greater than the job I just left), so I’m concerned about my money situation.

My head got hold of that, and it started to churn. I started to make up all these mental spreadsheets and calculations of how much money I was going to have each month, and how to stretch what I had. I tried to put a better light on things, telling myself this was something I needed to figure out, but I was getting really agitated and tweaked over it.

Then, all of a sudden, I realized what was happening — I was awake before I wanted to be, I was anxious about having left my last job, and I was not on the same schedule today that I normally am on Fridays. I was off-kilter, and that was making me anxious, and my energy was trying to find an outlet.

The moment I realized that, my agitation started to subside, and I felt myself looking at my behavior like I was at a distance from it. I could see that it was just my body getting wired and getting my brain in on the action. And I could see that I had choices about what I did with the energy.

I decided to make a different choice — to direct that wave of energy towards doing some deep breathing and progressive relaxation. I also realized that the windows were open in my bedroom, and the birds singing outside were really loud. So, I closed the windows, put in my earplugs, lay back down, and did my progressive relaxation, starting at my toes and working my way up to the top of my head. I hadn’t even gotten past  mid-thigh when I was back to sleep.

And I slept through — up to 5 minutes before I was supposed to run out to my chiro appointment. I didn’t get a chance to work out and stretch and get myself woken up before I left for the chiro, but I was also able to navigate that, instead of getting all tweaked about it and flipping out with myself. I just got up, washed off, threw on some clothes, and went to my appointment. Then I came home did my workout, read my book, had my breakfast, and got on with the morning.

Simple enough, right? It sounds like it, but up until a few months ago, it was a real challenge for me. Up until a few weeks ago, even. This mindful awareness practice, this “mindsight” stuff actually seems to be working for me — and this after only a few weeks of doing it every day. I do make a point of doing it every day, just like my workouts/warmups. It’s become part of my daily routine, and it helps me get on with my life, not postpone it. That’s a good thing. It’s a really good thing.

So, even if that kid in the Mindsight book was just dealing with being a teenager (rather than having sustained a mild TBI), for me the practice is working. I feel a lot more chilled out, a lot more present, and a lot less driven by events that happen to me. I know it probably sounds implausible, for it to have an effect so soon, but I hear others have had the same experience.

The great thing is, I don’t have to go to an ashram or a retreat center or sign up for some special class to do this. I can read a book, watch/study videos of Dan Siegel talking about this on YouTube, and practice it myself. I know about the vagus nerve and how it helps with relaxation. I know about the parasympathetic nervous system and how it helps tone my overall nervous system, so I’m not so tweaked and fried and hair-trigger-happy over every little thing. I know some background neurology and psychology stuff, so that helps me get my head around this.

But the proof is really in the pudding. I can “know” all I like about this mindful awareness practice, but does it really work?

So far, for me, it does. I recommend others try it, too.

Fear can be my friend

Source: oddsock

Oh, man – was that ever a close call… I have been juggling money, the past few weeks, making sure that I’ve got enough in my main account to cover the online billpay expenses. Online billpay is awesome, but when you have more than one account and more than a handful of people you have to pay money to, it can get a little nerve-wracking. Especially when the pay dates are staggered.

Hmm… Staggering. Oh, sorry for the wordplay (it’s my last day at my old job today and I’m a little punchy).

Anyway, the other day, I had to move cash from one bank account to the other. One of the problems is that my ATM card for the cash-full account no longer honors the PIN number the bank mailed to me. An ATM “ate” my card a few weeks back, telling me my PIN was wrong, and I had to jump through hoops to get it back. I haven’t gotten around to fixing that. Plus, the amount I needed to take out of the cash-full account to put into the cash-challenged account was more than you can withdraw at an ATM.

I had to go to a branch and get an envelope full of cash. First thing, before I did anything else. I had to do cash, so the deposit would be instantaneous, and we wouldn’t have the problem of those pesky overdraft fees (which really add up!).

My plan was to get the money at the start of the day, then go to the bank in the afternoon, since a branch for the bank for the cash-challenged account is just across the street from where I work. I figured it would be a simple thing — right?

Well… Phase I — getting the money out — got delayed because I forgot that I needed to do a bank run, and I left later for work. Then I remembered on my way in, and I took the detour to the bank. I started out a bit behind. Then my day got busy, I had a Very Big meeting late in the day (6:00), and I got so caught up in preparing for that meeting, I completely forgot about the cash deposit until 6:25 p.m. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but all the bank branches in my neck o’ the woods close at 5:00. It appeared that I was totally screwed.

Hmmm. What to do? I had this intense rush of adrenaline (and probably glucose, since the liver pumps it out big-time when you’re in “ON” mode), and I started to panic. Then I thought – WAIT. What Else Can I Do Besides Panic?

I went online quick, pulled up my bank’s website and scanned through it for signs of any branches that were open later than 5. I couldn’t see any, and there were too many choices to sort through. So, I picked up the phone and called them. The service rep guy on the other line told me that there were some supermarket branches open till 7:00.  GREAT. Rather than have him look them up, I went back online — thank you Google Maps — and found a supermarket branch that was in a sorta-kinda familiar location.

The directions looked a little tricky, but I jotted notes down, did my damnedest to commit the visual map to memory, and ran for my car — which was parked about half a mile away at the “cheap parking lot”.  Boy, am I ever glad I work out every morning and I work on my stamina. I couldn’t run the whole way, but I did manage to do some pretty intense intervals. By the time I got to my car, I was dripping with sweat, and my whole body was pulsing with all the magical stress hormones that cut pain, focus your attention, block out hunger or any other extraneous sensations, and basically get you where you’re going.

I had 20 minutes to find a place that Google maps said was 17 minutes away — and get there in time to deposit my money to cover my payments.

Challenge. To say the least.

Traffic, predictably, was not cooperating, and I was losing time. I was literally teetering between desperate determination and abject despair. I started making up a Plan B contingency plan… what to tell my spouse about having forgotten such a simple yet essential task… how to cover the overdraft fees… all that. But I stopped the thinking before it got hold of me. I couldn’t spare the rumination. I had to just keep going.

As I got closer, I realized that I’d either overshot the first turn I’d written down, or there were streets on the map I hadn’t seen. Nothing looked like what I’d written down. In another time and another place — years before — I would have despaired, given up, and run off to spend some of the cash on something that would make me feel better. Years ago, I would have just gone off and gotten drunk or stoned. But it’s been decades since I’ve touched any controlled substance or a drop of alcohol, so that wasn’t an option. The only option was success.

So, I pulled over and asked a lady walking by if she should tell me where this grocery store was. At first, she ignored me, but I think I was sufficiently desperate that she took pity on me. She stood in the middle of the street and gave me directions, which sounded a lot more confusing than the map, but I went with it. I was losing time rapidly. It was 6:55, and I was still blocks away from this store.

I just kept going.

God only knows how I found the place — it was over a bridge and behind a wall, and no rational explanation can account for how I found it. But I did. I pulled up in front of the store at 6:59, grabbed my wallet, and ran inside.

Alas — the bank area was dark, and the tellers were all counting their money for the day.

“No — you’re closed?!” I panted.

“We’re closed,” said a little man who looked like he was pissed he had to work till 7.

“Can’t someone just help me?” I said, trying not to sound too desperate, and focusing all my energy on staying calm and not breaking down like I do sometimes.

“Sorry,” he shrugged.

I started to turn away, then I turned back to give it one last try. I had come so far so quickly, I couldn’t just give up and walk away. “Can someone just give me 30 seconds?” I asked. “I have cash, and I need to put money in my account to cover my online payments. It’ll just take a second…”

“I can help you,” said a woman who was tapping keys on a calculator. With one hand, she slapped a deposit slip on the counter. I scribbled in my numbers, handed her the cash, and in 3o seconds — literally — it was done.

I’d made it.

Hardly believing my luck, I headed for my car in a daze. Then I realized I was famished and thirsty (when the fight-or-flight impulse subsides and your parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, that’s very common), so I decided to get a snack. I walked through the store in a sweaty daze, looking for something I could eat that wouldn’t fry my system. I settled on raspberry lemonade and an energy bar. I also picked up some stuff for my breakfast. As I was headed for the check-out, I looked up and saw the bank tellers still working, and I had the idea of going over and giving that unhelpful little bastard a piece of my mind. But after thinking about what might occur as a result — nothing good, that I could imagine — I decided to just let it go. Steer clear of the bank, and let everyone get on with their evening.

The bottom line was, I had made it, I’d gotten help, and I wasn’t going to have to explain my screw-up to my angry spouse AND pay a bunch of overdraft fees in the morning. Life was good. I could let it go at that.

This little adventure highlights something that I’ve been thinking about a lot, lately – the difference between anxiety and fear, including the biochemical differences between the two.

Some time ago, I discussed this a bit in the post Of Pain and Agitation and PTSD

The Difference Between Fear and Anxiety

Fear Anxiety
Fear is an immediate alarm reaction to present threat, characterized by feelings to escape and accompanied by specific physiological changes. Anxiety is a future-oriented emotion characterized by anticipation of potential threats.
Fear mobilizes a person to take action – the commonly known “fight or flight” response. Anxiety leads to scanning of the environment and body, resulting in increased sensory inputs

The “place” where I was the other day was definitely one of fear, rather than anxiety. It was immediate, alarming, and I was reacting to a present threat. I wasn’t all caught up in future-oriented imaginings — the threat was right in front of me. I had to get to the bank. NOW.

It mobilized me to take action — fighting the circumstances of limited time and fleeing from work to the bank as fast as humanly possible. I also kept “fighting” when I got to the bank — not fighting with anyone, but fighting the circumstances I was in. I didn’t give up, till the deed was done, and I wasn’t going to quit until I had some resolution. Even if it was a bad one, I wasn’t going to just walk away from completion.

In this case, fear really saved my ass. That biochemical fight-or-flight drive pushed me, kept me focused, blocked out all sorts of extraneous issues, and it helped me achieve the seemingly impossible — finding a bank that was open till 7 in an unfamiliar neighborhood, getting there, and actually depositing my cash where it needed to go. I did get critical help along the way, and for that I am grateful. Another thing the fear helped me with, was overcoming my reluctance to ask strangers for directions or help. I’m notorious for not asking directions. I want to do it all myself. But this time, I made an exception, and am I ever glad I did.

What this experience has taught me is that my body is wired to see me through. I’m designed to get the biochemical boost(s) I need, when I need them. I don’t need to be hesitant about engaging challenging situations. I can step up to them and see them through, rather than hanging back and thinking through every possible scenario, till I’ve talked myself into believing a situation is hopelessly complex and I’ll never be able to handle it.

It’s important to not get stuck up in my head, as I tend to do. My experience the other day showed me how doing that — being up in my head afternoon about the evening meeting — kept me from realizing I needed to go to the bank. I wasn’t paying full attention to my whole life. Yes, it’s important to have single-minded focus on important tasks, but I also needed to just open up my daily minder and pay intermittent attention to other things going on with me. I also needed to wake myself up — I had been lulled into this sort of cognitive doldrums by my incessant focus on this one event of the day. I needed more variety. I needed to wake myself up.

One thing’s for sure — I did wake up when I had to get the banking done. All my critical systems fired up again. I was back online. And how. The important thing for me to realize is that no matter how dull I may have been earlier in the day, I did indeed have the capacity to come back online. My pilot light had gone out — but the gas was still there. I just needed to light a spark to get myself back in the game.

And I did get back in the game. And then some. Another really important piece of this was that it also showed me that I have what it takes to overcome those kinds of difficulties. I may be somewhat “off” because I’m caught up in thinking about stuff. My pilot light may go out. But I have what it takes to light a spark again, and get myself fired up and kicked into gear. I may not trust my brain all the time, but I can trust my body. My autonomic nervous system is literally built for situations like this, and it’s always available to me, no matter what. So long as I take care of it, it will take care of me. With proper rest and nutrition and giving my sympathetic nervous system a break with my deep breathing (which I now do before I get up each morning) and relaxation (which I do before I go to sleep each night), my built-in regulatory system can rise to the challenges of my everyday life, and help me get where I’m going.

It may not always be pretty, and it may not always be easy, but I can do this thing called living my life. If I take care of my body, it will take care of me.

A rare reprieve

Source: zanzibar

I had planned to start my new job Friday. But they still have to get my workspace together, so it’s going to be Monday. That’s fine. I get a beach day on Friday!

Woo hoo! I’ve been working so much, trying to get my job finished up, that I haven’t had time to breathe. Now I will.

The weather is supposed to be nice.

Fingers crossed.

Just stay safe

Source: Peter Kaminski

Little alarm bells have  been going off in the back of my head, lately. I am at the kind of place in my life that previously has resulted in a number of mild traumatic brain injuries:

I’m tired. I’ve been (over)tired for months, now, as I’ve been looking for a new job and going through the process of interviewing.

I’m anxious. Money is tight, and I am starting to get nervous about this new job.

I’m behind on my chores. Bills are outstanding. I’m behind in my yardwork. I need to make some repairs to the house, but I can’t seem to get started.

I’m rushing and pushing and overdoing it. I am driving a lot more, these days, than usual. I am also driving when I am tired — but jazzed on caffeine or amped up on adrenaline from anxiety and nerves. I have been drinking more coffee than I would like. And eating more cheap, crappy carbs which make me feel like crap and stress me out.

I’m desperate to keep it together. I so want to do a good job with this new position. I don’t want to start out on the wrong foot. I’m stressing about it, worried I’m not going to keep it together. Already, I’ve had some discussions with the HR folks about some questions I have about the legal aspects of the job, and I’m not sure I’m coming across as someone who has half a brain. I’m trying a little too hard. I feel like I’m already behind.

But I can’t give in to that feeling. “It’s a feeling, not a fact,” as one of my alcoholic friends used to (annoyingly) tell me. I need to find a way to enhance my tonic arousal and keep myself alert and awake without using cheap carbs and caffeine and stressors that pump me up with adrenaline.

Right now, my main priority is literally keeping myself physically safe. I can’t afford to have another TBI. I’m not being paranoid — I am living in conditions that are very similar to ones that occasioned my past accidents, and it’s making me even more nervous than I already am.

I need to chill out. I need to not overdo my schedule, to the point where I can’t  pay attention while I’m driving, or I fall down the stairs, or I slip and fall, or I run into something. I need to stay extremely present in my life, right now, just focus on the most basic things, when I’m not doing my job. Keep things very, very simple. Don’t complicate life any more than it already is. Just focus on keeping my balance – literally – and be very, very aware of what and when I eat, and how late I stay up at night.

This is so incredibly boring for me, I can’t even say.  I’m not in the mood to pay attention to staying upright/vertical. I know I’ve talked about the unbearable fulness of being before, but tonight I’m not in the mood to take good care. I’m not in the mood to cook real food and eat on a regular schedule. I don’t want to pay attention to how much money I’m spending, and whether my clothes are clean. I want to run around like a chicken with my head cut off, bouncing from one frantic activity to another, racing around at top speed, zipping up and down the highway, careening from one appointment to the next. I don’t want to have to stop and consider, to ponder, to assess. I don’t want to analyze and examine.

I’m whining, I know, but that’s how I feel. I’m tired. And I’m a little concerned about my state of mind. I’m starting a new job on Friday, and I need to take care of myself. Get more sleep. Eat right. Quit eating all that sugar, already.

Speaking of taking care of myself, let me stop writing, already. I’ve got to get to bed. Early. Sensibly.

I can do this.

I can keep myself safe, in one piece.

I can do this.