2020-10-27 My Days are Like the Weather in Nebraska

Being gung-ho one day is no problem. Having big plans and Ideas and goals is easy to do for a day or two but sticking with a plan, day in and day out, is not as easy. This is why taking on bite-sized improvements is important. I can count on my 10 fingers the things I committed to yesterday. And somehow I had energy and was inspired.

I also had all these other non-goal related thoughts about past relationships and memories and poems I wanted to write. A variable fever parade of ideas. Today, however, it’s all gone.

Rewind to last night when I was riding a wave of unusually high evening energy. I was attributing that to a boost in the protein I had to eat during the day. Like one day would make that much difference. But I was still awake at 10:30 which is super rare. Then when I did get to bed I began to have a headache. And a stomach ache. Both persisted through the night and that’s exactly how I woke up.

6:30am with an aching head and nausea. The light sensitivity made me conclude it was probably a migraine. My sleep was so poor the FitBit didn’t even calculate a score. Good grief.

It’s definitely not the way I wanted to start day 2 with all my new goals. And it’s not like I could have slept in to try and extend my night. Nope.

I had to get up and make breakfast and get my son Up too as he forgot to set his alarm clock. I drove him to school and when I got home I had to grab our new little kitten who had a vet appointment for the rest of his shots at 8:30.

I briefly considered canceling that because of my headache but powered through to get it over with. The good news is that Gus-Gus is doing great. He’s 9.4 pounds and very well adjusted for a 5 month old. The women at the clinic just love our little purrrr machine. They clipped his claws and say he did great. When it’s all said and done, I’m glad I went and can check that off my list.

When I got home, I gave myself like an hour to lay on the couch with my eyes closed. The ghost of my migraine still loitering about with Luigi on the right side of my head. But I knew I would feel worse if I lay around too long so I got up and took a caffeine and did the dishes.

Now I’m on the treadmill trying to get my steps. Yesterday I got 17K which is way above goal and also rare. Of the measures agreed upon I did good on 3 out of 4 yesterday. Sleep is the only one I didn’t hit goal on, but as I said yesterday the answer to that is mostly getting to bed at a descent time.

So now that I’m in a more “typical” state of mind, I can think clearly about what bite size goals looks like. Doing “everything” now is not realistic. I can reposition the needle, point at moderation in most cases.

Still, I wish I could get back the energy and all those ideas I had yesterday. I’d like to do some of that creative writing.. something new, anything. The amount of viable writing I have done this year is kind of pathetic, but it’s a pandemic so I can’t be too hard on myself.

I wish I had something more today. I think this is it though. Time to try and be productive. That trash is not going to take itself out. The litter boxes aren’t going to scoop themselves. My life is so exciting. 🙄

Wait a Day and It Will Change (again),
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-26 Goals and Accountability

Making progress is sometimes tough. But what IS progress anyway and who decides what success looks like? Like most things it’s not one size fits all. Each person has to decide for themselves what success means to them. Regardless, there has to be some measure and to measure something there has to be a value associated. Some way to set one instance next to another and say “that’s an improvement”, closer to a goal or farther away.

After talking with my friend Tre yesterday, I’m thinking more about not just my goals but the measurements I use to determine if I’m doing good (or slacking). I used to do accounting of my “stats” on a weekly basis. Comparing my sleep, steps, healthy eating (via weight—as flawed as that is) to what I had recorded in previous weeks, months, and yes, even years.

Then my life changed and I stopped doing that. I’d still look daily at the things recorded in my Fitbit app but wasn’t really paying that much attention or comparing one week to the next with some goal in mind.

Perhaps I felt it was futile or maybe that I had achieved what I wanted and was in a maintenance mode where goals were no longer necessary. Either way.. it seems as though I’m no longer hitting those original targets and in need of a reboot.

For sure there’s no better time to start again than today. Because .. why wait?! 

The first step is to look at my measures and redefine what realistic goals are. I struggle figuring out which things are the most important for helping me feel better (and I’ve felt like crap long enough now that it’s become the new normal).

I always think getting better sleep will have the biggest impact in how I feel each day. Not sure why that is. And my goal in Fitbit, has been 7.5 hours a night. How often do I hit that? Almost never. Vacations, weekends sometimes. I think I dismissed this stat / goal when I got my Alta HR which provided the ability for the device to collect heart rate and calculate my sleep score. The sleep score became the new measure, but what’s the goal?

When I talked to Tre I told her that anything below 70 is no good, 70-80 is fair, And anything above 80 is good. I didn’t say anything about above 90 cuz that feels like an unachievable target. One I’ve only had a few times and never without some sleep aid.

So if I’m going to start paying attention again and be accountable for reporting out my “stats” do I revert to duration? Reevaluate the goal? Or do I use the sleep score. Say anything above 75 is a star for the day.  That feels reasonable.

I also have to recognize that I’m never gonna hit my goal without actually making a change. I need to get to bed at good time. 10pm?? I need to try to do that. Which does not really mesh with Jim’s schedule. But I gotta try.

The other things under consideration are exercise, healthy eating, and general productivity/wellness.

I think I have ways to determine how I’m doing with exercise but how about productivity and general wellness? What’s the measure and the goal?

I told Tre that I feel very motivated in the mornings but the more the day drags on, the more I start to waiver. Make excuses why I can’t get stuff done and then just flat out give up. So what if I set myself like 2 or 3 tasks each day and if I do them, I get a star that day? This might require some planning.

Tre talked about meal planning on Sundays and then all you have to do is grocery shop for that and roughly follow the plan. Maybe I can do the same with my tasks? Write them out on Sunday and then just make sure that week, 2 get done each day. That could work.

Not sure about meal planning but I might start tracking my macronutrients again. After a conversation with Jim’s sister this weekend, I think I might not be getting enough protein in my diet. But you know I have no idea how much I should be getting. Time to do some research!

So that’s it. 4 measures, 4 goals and evaluating/reporting it out weekly. I can do this.

The accountability to another person will help I think. I’ve never had that before. Sort of an accountability partner. Someone to check in with who also has goals and cares. We all need more people in our lives that care like that. I’m excited to get started actually.

Today’s “tasks” aren’t well defined but I’m gonna try to get my GLR subs distributed AND hopefully make some progress on getting our Org established as a real entity in the eyes of the state so we can finally have that non-profit status. I’ve been procrastinating that and ain’t nobody gonna do it but me.

Of course there’s also my house chores and ain’t nobody got time for hearing more about that.

I think that’s enough for today. I still need more steps but I’m gonna do a bit of reading to pass the time.

Cheers to Rebooting my Health And Wellness!
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-10-14 New Addiction

I can feel it. I’m approaching being completely free of my benzodiazepine dependency. I haven’t taken a sliver of a pill since the end of August so it’s about effffing time! And my doctor was spot on when he said it would take up to six weeks to clear my system completely. Yeah… that.

Last weekend, when I was on my way to Colorado I commented to Jim that i was noticing more improvement. Some intermittent days without the withdrawal symptoms. The progression was so slow it comes close to imperceptible.

Now it’s Wednesday and I don’t think I had any symptoms yesterday. That’s a freaking incredible milestone! I’m looking forward to being done done. The day I can say I don’t remember when the last time was that my teeth hurt. That it’s just faded into the part of my past where the memory of it can no longer be pinpointed with accuracy.

At this point I’m not sure which affliction was slower to heal. The benzo recovery or tennis elbow recovery. That mess was also so terribly slow to recover from. Some days I think I still feel a ghost twinge. Now that I’m actually doing the math in my head, I’m pretty sure the tennis elbow took longer.

It’s also difficult to tell which was worse. In the thick of it, it’s just awful. The tennis elbow made me miserable for so long and to such a moderate degree. Something you can probably live with, like a toothache on one side of your mouth that causes you to chew on the other side. The Lorazepam withdrawal caused an actual tooth ache. Also moderate and tolerable but with no way to relieve.

To both I say “good riddance!!” Let’s hope that’s this is the last post I’ll ever do about that sort of crap. I’d much rather be writing about my apparent newest addiction. I mean, I use the word addiction with tongue in cheek, because what I’m really referring to is the fact that I’m spending a lot of time on Submittable, researching places to submit my writing and writing cover letters and putting together manuscripts somewhat tailored to what they are Looking for.

I started with a goal of doing one or two a week. Then my new target became daily. And now I’ve changed the measuring stick and want to have at least 50 open subs by the end of October. That’s not 50 total. It’s 50 new or in process with the publisher.

Feels a bit like gambling actually. You toss the dice and mostly the dealer just collects your money and says “please play again.” But sometimes a winning number comes up and you’re all like “Huzzah!!”, collect your 10 bucks and throw it right back down on the felt. Yeah, let’s go!!

I’m still green with this process but I feel like the insight I’m getting by doing all the research makes me a better equipped to be a success in my role as managing editor of The Good Life Review.

I’m getting exposed to a lot of magazines and publishers and their styles, approaches, and really have my finger on what’s hot right now. I already have a bunch of new ideas for promotion and adding a bit more personality to our public facing image. Yeah.. big ideas!

But back to my new personal affliction… with my aim to submit once a day, I found that one I started, mid morning, I really found it tough to close my laptop and move on to something else. I’d be all like “just one more” and “I wonder what submission windows will close tomorrow” and then “ohhhh, this one is a chapbook”.

Yesterday I was on submittable for 2.5 hours. I was only able to tear myself away because my stomach started grumbling and I realized it was past lunchtime. I was happy to sacrifice the time I had earmarked for cleaning toilets. The toilets can wait right??!! 😜

I’m up to 35 open subs, so I’ve only got 15 more to hit my goal by the end of October (unless I get some rejections, which is highly likely). I got one yesterday which was from a fairly recent sub.

That’s always appreciated.. punctual responses are delightful even if they are rejections. I have one open sub that’s been “in process” since February. I think the editors may have made a mistake. I’ve read the turnaround time with some of these publishers and am amazed at how long it takes. But I suppose some of those places get mountains of subs.

I’d send an inquiry note, but I’m kind of curious how long it will take.. like some sort of experiment. I love experiments.

I kind of love my new “addiction”. It’s much better (and a lot less destructive or personally harmful) than most other possibilities. And since I’m apparently immune to rejection now, I can submit away without any ill feelings. My bank account might get a little lighter, but I’ve certainly saved enough to ride this wave for a while.

Of course I’m keeping meticulous track of all the subs, moneys spent, and yes, moneys I’ve received. You kind of have to keep track because if something gets accepted, you have to withdraw it from all the other places you sent it. That will be a bit of a task indeed IF that happens.

Wowza.. and just like that I’m already at 10k steps for the day. Time to get rolling with the rest of my day.

Cheers to Good Health,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-09-22 The Benzo Trap

How do I feel about benzodiazepines? The title says it but doesn’t do justice for calling it out as the devils candy that it is. It’s evil.

It’s a quick fix. An over prescribed band-aid which might have valid clinical use in a limited capacity for something, but not sleep. I’ll skip most of the backstory cuz that’s old news. All you really need to know is that I was taking it (started taking it) for sleep issues. And kept taking more and more “as needed.” Which is a dangerous way to give direction with a drug that has physical addiction properties.

I weened off of it really slowly, because the side effects of not taking it were terrible. I’ve heard people say that the withdrawal experienced is different for everyone. For me, it was this fucked up feeling in my head and an inability to focus. Oh, and I also my teeth hurt. Which was so bizarre but now that I know that it’s connected, It’s a classic tell. Which is to say, that I’m still experiencing these things to some degree now and again. Seems to be exacerbated by stress.

Yesterday was rotten. Which is why I’m writing this today. It’s been 27 days since the last dose (which was a tiny sliver of the prescribed amount) and I’m still feeling the side effects. It’s such a trap.

I started taking it for sleep issues and then kept taking it just to feel normal. When your brain is tricked into thinking “just a little dose and you can feel better” .. that’s when you know you are caught in a trap.

I mean, I’ve never been addicted to any drug before so I had no idea. And I’m sure it’s small potatoes compared to the heavy hitters, but it doesn’t mean that what I’m experiencing isn’t that bad.

My internist tells me it takes up to 6 weeks for that shit to clear the systems of the body. So I’m over half way there but good-freaking-gravy!! Just evil.

I was originally thinking I’d be right as rain by September. Then the step down was so slow that I wasn’t able to cut it completely until the end of August. So the new done-done looks like it’s going to be October.

Like I said, yesterday I was stressed. I felt my classic teeth hurting by 8:30 am, before I even started working. Then I had to endure all day through trying to get things done. Then, as if to add insult to injury, I could not sleep.

I had a flair up of allergies and was very congested. I ended up taking a Doxylamine succinate which did the trick eventually. But wow.. I did seriously consider the Xanax. Incredible!

Today is a new day and I’m glad I did not cave. And so far so good on the symptoms. My teeth don’t hurt and my head feels ok. My hormones are still bonkers but that’s a whole different story. 😜

The countdown is still on.. 7 more work days (if I don’t end up working the weekend again). Hopefully there will be no lingering side effects of quitting THAT! And when it’s done, it’s truly done done!

That’s it for today’s benzo/sleep/mental health update. Time to get to work.

Happy Taco Tuesday,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-08-07 Let’s Do the Time Warp Again

If there is 1 thing that I know as truth this minute, it is that 2020 will go down in the history books as a year the world was sucked into a swirling vortex of doom.

As humans, we’ve had some bad years. Who is to say that what is happening this year is worse than Spanish Flu, or WW II, or any year of the plague. I mean, Black Death sounds pretty ominous. I’m sure the days of Genghis Khan were also quite horrific. Not that it helps a ton dealing with the grief of every single day of 2020, but it does put things in perspective.

My family is healthy and no merciless ruler is invading my village and massacring us. I may be struggling but no one I love has had Covid and I have the future to look forward to.

I still wake every day in a comfortable bed in a house with people who love each other. I’m still looking forward to the weekend, where I will get better rest and next week getting my daughter moved into her dorm room. And my son back to school. We’re still scheming about times ahead where we can travel again and have social gatherings again.

There will be a vaccine soon and, for the love of all the cheese in the Universe we may also be rid of the Plague that America has suffered through for the past four years come November.

As we settle into August like Sugar into melted butter, I’ll be embracing hope for the future. I’ll be trying my best to hold on tight to positive vibes. For some reason, Today I’ve got a feeling that everything is going to be ok.

I’m sure I had other things to say. But I lost it in a dream. I need to get to work and get through Friday so I can get to the weekend.

Peace and Love from the in-skirts of Contemporary Doom,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-07-13 Prognosis Pending

Mostly I’m just tired of saying I’m tired. Mostly I’m looking in the mirror and wondering if I’ll ever not feel tired. Or look tired. Some days it takes all the energy I have to appear awake and aware of what’s happening in the small, medium, and large circles I’m turning in these days.

This week it will be 5 weeks since I crashed hard. Had the worst day I’ve had in a great while and broke down and went to see a doctor. An internist. I could barely get through that experience. He set me straight but in the course of that visit he had me fill out some paper forms. Quizzes. One or two had to do with mental health.

It’s not the first time a doctor has suggested I was depressed. But saying someone is depressed is as nondescript as diagnosing someone with happiness. Here’s a 10 question quiz, and we’re going to add up your points and say “congratulations, you’re happy!!”.

I was in so much distress, I don’t remember a single question. I probably answered fairly negatively given the fact that the world is caught in a vortex of doom and I felt like a hot pile of garbage. The immediate action plan that day was to get me off the benzodiazepines and then start addressing the “other” issues.

Ok. Now it’s 5 weeks later and I’ve got my follow up appointment on Thursday this week. I’m down to a quarter pill (.5 mg Lorazapam) a night, with an off night (no dose) about every three nights. I’m ahead of schedule and have been pushing hard for that through some unpleasant side effects. I just want to be done.

Of course, the sleep issues have returned. Waking up early and not being able to fall back asleep. Jim says I need to try some techniques to calm my brain and it sounds like maybe meditation would help. But what’s the doctor going to focus on I wonder? The sleep? The depression? The progress I’m making with the meds and the side effects? Will he make me take those paper quizzes again? Will I score better now that I’m feeling better?

Will the doctor suggest I see a counselor or therapist again? Should I consider that?

Will I wake up at 5 again tomorrow with all these questions plus 47 more about work and the kids and school and the pandemic and the meaning of life and my purpose In it?

When he asks me how I’m feeling I’ll probably say that mostly I’m just tired of saying I’m tired. Saying any more than that will just take too much energy. Good grief!

I’m on the treadmill and looking in the mirror in front of me. At least my hair looks good. That seems familiar.

That’s enough already,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-07-03 Yes, Person I’ve Never Met, I’m Judging You 😷

I almost wrote this post a few weeks ago after I had to make a trip to the pool supply store to get out pool water tested to make sure the chemicals were safe and balanced for swimming.

Most of the trips I make outside the house are to get groceries or pick up prescriptions. The occasional quick trip into the hardware store, putting my mask on like a good human each time (though the pharmacy has a drive through so that’s nice).

It’s difficult not to observe the other humans and their choices. I’m naturally a pretty judgmental person. In a non-pandemic world, I would be scanning the crowds and throwing side eyes at people’s choices of clothing and hairstyle. I know, I know, “do not judge, lest you be judged”, but I’m only human. Now with the pandemic, all bets are off.

I don’t care if you’re wearing your pajamas or slippers in the grocery store, but if you’re not wearing a mask. I’m judging you. I can’t escape it.

And as a person who does make these regular trips outside of my household, I can’t help but detect trends and have my finger on the pulse of the attitude of the people. It’s definitely shifted in the last month with the easing of restrictions.

A month ago, almost everyone at the grocery store was wearing a mask and now it’s about 50/50. I haven’t been to the hardware store in a while, but the last time I went masks were still required. However I’ve also noticed a rise in people not wearing masks correctly. It doesn’t do anyone any good to wear a mask over your mouth when your nose is still hanging out. It defeats the purpose, why wear a mask at all? Good grief!

Circling back to the pool store, at the time everyone in the grocery store was wearing a mask. So when I put my mask on and went into the pool store I was shocked to find that none of the customers nor the employees were wearing masks. I felt like I was walking into a bizarro world where the pandemic did not exist. What the hell?!

My next over-arching thought was that all these people who have pools are too pretentious or assuming and thinking that they are above wearing a mask for some reason. No, the fact that you have a pool at your house does not eliminate the possibility that you’re going to get the virus. Just because you have a business with a pool or a house with a pool and probably have money does not mean that you are not also vulnerable. I was actually disgusted by that thought process. And there I was among them.

Now I’m not saying I’ve made the best choices all along either. I did have a meet up with friends a few weeks ago where we were outside most of the time and 6 feet apart most of the time and not wearing our masks. Again, I am only human too.

Yesterday, I had the need to go to a few different stores for items for the Fourth of July and was once again irritated by the fact that almost no one was wearing a mask. I was wearing mine, but in the minority. I also happen to drive by several businesses with glass fronts and saw lots of tables full of people inside enjoying a meal or a drink. Not a lot of social distancing going on there.

Every single day this week the news has been full of the fact that positive cases are on the rise, hospitalizations are on the rise, resources are beginning to get scarce again, especially in a few of the more popular and densely populated states. California Florida Texas… All hotbeds of activity for this virus.

My daughters high school graduation was canceled and rescheduled three times. And the latest date that has been on the calendar for a few weeks now is August 2. If the trend continues that will be called off completely. A week after that she supposed to move into her dorm room at college. How on earth can those things happen if People keep ignoring the fact that the virus is still spreading and will likely not be contained until there’s an approved vaccination that’s widely available.

One last note on this… I heard a bit of a narrative on the news this morning that asked the question, “how would all of this be different if you could actually see the virus? What if there were outward physical symptoms that you could see or that the virus was big enough that you could detect when it was exiting someone’s body through their breath and falling to the ground?”

I think about this and imagine little grey particles with tufts of red fuzz floating in the air and slowly dropping to the ground. I imagine seeing someone standing in the grocery store, contemplating what type of hamburger buns to buy with the covid emerging out their mouth with their every breath and landing on those plastic wrappers. They pick one and put it in their cart and then change their mind and put it back. The packages in the store are covered in virus until the grey and red spots start to fade away.

People would be wearing masks, I am sure of it. They would be more inclined to because the inherent risk of not wearing one would be more obvious. I mean, almost everyone who gets into a car puts their seatbelt on. 1.) We have seen what has happened when you don’t wear a seatbelt, either in video or in real life. 2.) in many, many states it’s the law.

So why can’t we just enforce it with the law? Law enforcement is to serve and protect. I know that there’s been a lot of negative press about the police lately and for good reason, but law enforcement is still necessary and it might help if we had some local laws that people had to abide by or suffer some penalty. At the very least, business that just followed the rules and also enforced the wearing of masks. Again, just my opinion.

And as a collective group, we are only as good as our lowest common denominator. But people don’t seem to care and there appears to be a lot of low denominators out there. Yeah.. I’m looking at you complete stranger in the checkout line in front of me at the Whole Foods. The life you save by wearing a mask could be your own, or your moms, or someones child. Don’t be that asymptomatic virus shedder galavanting around town without a mask!! Just don’t.

Yes, I know this post is very preachy and very judge-y. My opinions are my own of course. But I just wish that people would realize that their choice not to wear a mask affects more than just themselves.

OK, that’s probably enough of a frustrated-human-sugar-cookie rant for one day. But I had to vent for a minute and that’s kinda what this blog is for (sometimes).

Enjoy your holiday. Peace Out,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-07-01 Change is Sometimes Neither Fast Nor Easy

About 16 days ago I decided I had enough of feeling shitty every freaking day and set out on a mission to figure it out and turn things around. i decided the first step was to do a substance cleanse and get my body free of chemicals that alter my mood, help me sleep or calm my anxiety. I was all-in and knew it was what needed to happen.

I vowed that I would cut that shit out for 15 days and then re-evaluate to see how I was feeling and add other mods into my routine. Give myself an uptick in good behaviors like hydration and eating more fruits and veg. But I found out pretty quickly that i couldn’t just make a declaration and it would magically come to pass.

Day 2 I felt like garbage and by day 3 I was throwing my hands up in the air in despair. I honestly didn’t know I was suffering withdrawal until I saw a physician and heard his assessment. That day was one of the worst I’ve ever had. And the relief I felt when I gave in and took a Xanax and went back to bed was all the proof I needed that he was right.

So instead of cold turkey, I’m taking it slow and reducing my dose in small increments. The prescribed plan is like 12 weeks but I’ve been working the numbers and charting my dose and symptoms and think I can do it it 8. That’s still a lot longer than the 2 weeks I was originally hoping for.

I’ve also not been able to cut out caffeine. But I’ve been charting my headaches too and have minimized my daily intake quite a bit. Like I said, it’s been about 16 days since I stomped my foot and declared these changes, and I have successfully reduced the caffeine to about 1 cup of coffee a day. It feels like a win to me.

Of course the third part of my substance trifecta was alcohol. I haven’t had a sip since June 13. It’s been the easiest part of my plan by far. I think the first time I really missed it was when I returned from Colorado and Jim suggested we have a few drinks while I fill him in on the details of my trip. I declined (but still spent a fair bit of talking about everything Z and I saw and did).

Despite the change-up In the master plan and slowing some things down considerably, I can still feel an improvement in my health. I feel better waking up in the morning and am not dreading the day like I was. I’m starting to be excited again about the things going on in my life instead of feeling so burdened by responsibility.

And I am actually sleeping better even though I’m not taking as much of the Lorazepam as I was. That’s freaking incredible. I’m just now rolling into week 3 of my 8 week plan but already looking forward to the day when I’m done-done with that shit!

All of this validates that change is sometimes neither fast or easy. But it’s always good to have goals and measures so you can keep track of how it’s going.

Also not to be dismissed is the need for a llama in the story. Something interesting, something to look forward to, something that’s providing internal satisfaction.. feeding the soul.

The llama in my “Take Back the City Tour” was the road trip I took with my daughter. It was very restorative to disconnect from work and get a change in scenery for a few days. The mental health variable in the grand equation of overall health is so important. Everything is connected!

Today is the first day of the second half of 2020. We are half a year into what will probably go down in history as one of the most trying years of the century. No human can escape the impact of the pandemic. No person in America is isolated from events that are changing the climate of our country.. politically, socially, economically.

There too, change is painful and a struggle. It’s a large scale example of what neither fast nor easy looks like. But as I have hope that I can find peace and health for myself, so too do I have hope that we as a society can take steps toward positive change.

I don’t have any answers but I know that “cold turkey” is not the Way.

I digress. I’m officially calling today the end of my “Tour” and will return now, somewhat, to my regularly scheduled programming. I’ll still be on the lookout for the next Llama or Ostrich. Everyone should make time for that!

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-07-01 Change is Sometimes Neither Fast Nor Easy

About 16 days ago I decided I had enough of feeling shitty every freaking day and set out on a mission to figure it out and turn things around. i decided the first step was to do a substance cleanse and get my body free of chemicals that alter my mood, help me sleep or calm my anxiety. I was all-in and knew it was what needed to happen.

I vowed that I would cut that shit out for 15 days and then re-evaluate to see how I was feeling and add other mods into my routine. Give myself an uptick in good behaviors like hydration and eating more fruits and veg. But I found out pretty quickly that i couldn’t just make a declaration and it would magically come to pass.

Day 2 I felt like garbage and by day 3 I was throwing my hands up in the air in despair. I honestly didn’t know I was suffering withdrawal until I saw a physician and heard his assessment. That day was one of the worst I’ve ever had. And the relief I felt when I gave in and took a Xanax and went back to bed was all the proof I needed that he was right.

So instead of cold turkey, I’m taking it slow and reducing my dose in small increments. The prescribed plan is like 12 weeks but I’ve been working the numbers and charting my dose and symptoms and think I can do it it 8. That’s still a lot longer than the 2 weeks I was originally hoping for.

I’ve also not been able to cut out caffeine. But I’ve been charting my headaches too and have minimized my daily intake quite a bit. Like I said, it’s been about 16 days since I stomped my foot and declared these changes, and I have successfully reduced the caffeine to about 1 cup of coffee a day. It feels like a win to me.

Of course the third part of my substance trifecta was alcohol. I haven’t had a sip since June 13. It’s been the easiest part of my plan by far. I think the first time I really missed it was when I returned from Colorado and Jim suggested we have a few drinks while I fill him in on the details of my trip. I declined (but still spent a fair bit of talking about everything Z and I saw and did).

Despite the change-up In the master plan and slowing some things down considerably, I can still feel an improvement in my health. I feel better waking up in the morning and am not dreading the day like I was. I’m starting to be excited again about the things going on in my life instead of feeling so burdened by responsibility.

And I am actually sleeping better even though I’m not taking as much of the Lorazepam as I was. That’s freaking incredible. I’m just now rolling into week 3 of my 8 week plan but already looking forward to the day when I’m done-done with that shit!

All of this validates that change is sometimes neither fast or easy. But it’s always good to have goals and measures so you can keep track of how it’s going.

Also not to be dismissed is the need for a llama in the story. Something interesting, something to look forward to, something that’s providing internal satisfaction.. feeding the soul.

The llama in my “Take Back the City Tour” was the road trip I took with my daughter. It was very restorative to disconnect from work and get a change in scenery for a few days. The mental health variable in the grand equation of overall health is so important. Everything is connected!

Today is the first day of the second half of 2020. We are half a year into what will probably go down in history as one of the most trying years of the century. No human can escape the impact of the pandemic. No person in America is isolated from events that are changing the climate of our country.. politically, socially, economically.

There too, change is painful and a struggle. It’s a large scale example of what neither fast nor easy looks like. But as I have hope that I can find peace and health for myself, so too do I have hope that we as a society can take steps toward positive change.

I don’t have any answers but I know that “cold turkey” is not the Way.

I digress. I’m officially calling today the end of my “Tour” and will return now, somewhat, to my regularly scheduled programming. I’ll still be on the lookout for the next Llama or Ostrich. Everyone should make time for that!

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2020-06-27 Take Back the City Tour: Day 🤷‍♀️ Health Check

Somewhere along the way I’ve gotten messed up on what day it is. That happens when you miss accounting some days and double up on others. What I have been keeping track of on my handy-dandy paper calendar is the following:

  • What my Lorazepam dose is
  • What week it is in my plan to come down off that evil drug
  • How much caffeine I’m having
  • What time my nasty head symptoms present each day
  • And if I wake with a headache

As always, my sleep and my steps get recorded by my FitBit but I’m not watching that too closely for any connections. Perhaps I should, given the inherent connections, but I’m just focusing on how I feel, mind and body, and the chemicals I’m ingesting.

The abstinence from alcohol has been easy-peasy. I don’t really miss it. I think that when I’m done with this initial cleanse, I can just keep that up, except for the occasional happy hour. I’m also wearing my reading glasses more reliably than I was before and that’s probably helping too.

My original plan was to go for 15 days cutting the benzodiazepines, caffeine, and alcohol. My plan was thwarted on like day or 3 when I experienced a crash from withdrawal. At that point i saw a physician, had some tests, and got put on a better plan. Now it’s been another week and a few days and I’m following the prescribed plan as best as I can.

Even with the change in plans, I’m already feeling a ton better than I was two weeks ago. I’d go so far as to say I’m rediscovering what healthy feels like. I’ve been here before so I know what healthy feels like.

The strange thing is, I don’t know when I lost it (the healthy feeling) or why. In 2017 I was a wreck and had to take drastic action to put myself right again. So when did it slip out of my grasp again?

I mean, I’m in a great relationship. My kids are doing well, I get regular exercise and do several things for myself to feed my need for interaction and to flex the creative part of my brain.

Was it just too much change too fast? Moving, marriage, integration of households? Is it my job.. Too much stress? Could it be the pandemic and all the chaos and uncertainty in the world? Could it be politics and the divided shambles America has become? The constant dose of insanity and stupidity from our president. Can we get a step down plan for that hot mess too?

And how is it that in 2020, cops are still killing black people? And that the vicious cycle only perpetuates itself. And then here we are again, nearing the end of June and the daily news is waxing once again with the pandemic and politics. These serious and impactful events that shape our lives get swept under other news du-jour.

Sometimes I say everything is connected. Most of the time I’m talking about internally. Like the body and mind and soul. But it’s bigger than me. It’s all the external stimulus too. The ecosystem of the earth, the economy of the world, social and political constructs of civilization. It’s everything from the dwindling numbers of honeybees and the escalating conflicts between north and South Korea.

It’s a person making a choice to not to wear a mask in public.

It’s a parent who doesn’t teach their child about what’s right and wrong, or talk to them about current events, or lay down the law when they make mistakes. Or worse yet, teach them through their bad behaviors that lack compassion and sensibility. It’s kinda hard to witness. It’s also hard to hold inside and hold my tongue. But it’s complicated.

I’m not perfect and I’ve made mistakes and part of my angst, which I am sure contributes to my health, is the worry that I’m not doing all I should be.

This is probably enough wandering for one Saturday. I’ve got my sweet daughter sleeping in a room three floors above me in this hotel in the middle of Colorado and it’s time to make my words meet my own actions. We’ve got a fairly solid plan for today and my goal is to satisfy the thrill seeker inside her. So it’s off to the Royal Gorge we go!

Until Next Time,
~Miss SugarCookie