Thursday, May 29, 2014

Melatonin Dream #36

Warm sun baked the lake shore while a cool breeze ruffled skirts and teased sun hats. The crowded shore could hardly be called a beach, more clumps of thick grass than sand, but the cheery people were perfectly content with nature's creation. Tall trees shaded the mounds of grass, each lump of earth just big enough for a small group of five to seven people. They rested on picnic blankets and wandered in pairs and gaggles, chatting and laughing, some playing in the water.

The husband and I rested under a tree, smiling at each other. No words. My sundress was white with large yellow and purple flower shapes, splashes of green leaves, and slashes of black outlining the abstract floral designs. He wore khaki pants and a button up with the sleeves rolled up, as if he'd come to the beach right after work. The sun pulled freckles to the surface of our faces and arms and we relished every cool breeze's relief from the heat. Our shoes were in a heap and sand was between our toes.

Then a gloomy pressure weighed on my eyes. My eyes welled with tears and my breath came shallow and fast. Something in my chest clenched and panic rose in my throat as my mind's eye saw the sandy ground collapsing in massive sinkholes around the beach. I leaped up.

"The ground is going to collapse! It's all going to fall in! We have to move. You have to move!" I yelled at my husband. Backing away from the beach area, clenching my fists and blinking back tears. I nearly hyperventilated.

He didn't believe me. Smiling and dipping his head to one side in a pitying motion. He shook his head, still smiling, slowly rising, grabbing his shoes and following me past the crowds to a path in the trees. He extended a hand. Our shoes in one hand and each other's hand in the other we walked toward a nearby building. The entrance down a few stairs in a dim trench, wood planks layered into long slats built into the earth. Sand heaped in the creases of the stairs, heavy wood and glass doors opening into the public space of a dormitory. 

The inside of the dorm was a massive space. Three stories down into the ground and four more up, staircases and ladders stacked in a giant column through all the levels, like a giant jungle gym. Balconies lined the common space, students watching other students crawling up the wooden maze in the center of the building, following platforms from the center structure out to the balconies and down hallways to dorm rooms, kitchenettes, and bathrooms.

I released his hand and began walking fast down a hallway at the far end of the room. Crowds of people stood in the halls, like soldiers in a trench. Panic still lingered in my body. I kept my head down and charged through the crowd, my hair was short and in curls, an awkward misshapen bob. I sensed my husband behind me, not quite keeping pace but keeping me within eyesight. 

I suddenly sensed someone I knew to my right. Tall. T-shirt and gym shorts. Dark eyes and buzzed brown hair, a heavy brow and bulky torso. My ex. 

I kept my head down. He said something. I ignored it and kept walking quickly forward. I didn't get far. He followed, my steps seeming three to his one, grabbing up my arm and turning me to look at him.

"I knew it was you."

He turned down another hallway and led me to a dorm room. Bright florescent lights, shiny white walls littered with posters and sketches. A cluttered desk to the right beside the doorway, a queen-sized bed centered against the back wall with a storage headboard, the various pockets and drawers stuffed full with books, clothes, papers, paintbrushes, figurines, and trash. The bed was unmade, the closet to the left crowded with clothes and shoes, the doors left open. There was a feminine presence, despite the mess. I realized he must share the room with his girlfriend.

He shut and locked the door behind us. Pushing me to the bed as he flopped on his front down the center of the bed, he ruffled through the crowded headboard. I laid across the bed parallel to the headboard, squeezing closer to the cluttered furniture piece as he inched closer and closer to me. 

"You owe me a painting. You said you would paint this figurine and you never did." He never made eye contact but shoved a cluster of toys into my hands. 

The plastic miniature knight was smaller than a fifty cent piece. Molded to ride a horse my ex seemed to have temporarily stuck the figure to a toy horse of a different variety. What looked like some 80s girl's toy with gnarled fake hair hanging down to the horse's knees. The horse was much too big for the knight. The knight perched on its back like some sort of tumor. Also attached to the horse was a larger action figurine. A Robin Hood with screws showing at his joints. The cheap, poorly kept toys made me sad. 

"Paint it. Like you said you would." He thrust a tiny bristled brush into my hands, setting a torn piece of cardboard with paint on it on a limp pillow beside me.

I felt my breath become shallow, trying to steady my heartbeat as if I were stuck in a caged enclosure with a tiger. I avoided his eyes and kept my mouth shut, layering thin coats of metallic orange and red paint down the knight's cloak. 

Outside I hear my husband calling my name, opening and closing doors, stomping down the hall. Despite my anxiety I call out to him. My ex spins around on the bed as my husband bangs on the door with a fist. Realizing the door is locked and no one is about to open it, my husband kicks it open. He bursts in and my ex tenses for combat. The man on the bed had fifty pounds and three inches on my husband but was not himself. I knew my husband could subdue my captor but it wouldn't be pretty. I calm them.

"It's okay. I'm just painting a miniature." Locking eyes with my husband I bob my head in a small nod and motion him to a chair in front of the closet.

The men calm down, everyone settling into their posts as I return to painting. As I finish the cloak I notice the poorly painted face of the knight. Blobs of light blue cover the pupil, iris, and sclera of both eyes. One shade of bright orange smeared around the textured hair of the knight. A horrible paint job reminiscent of Chuckie. It doesn't make any sense. This man is a better painter of miniatures than I am, how could he paint this figurine so poorly?

My ex inches closer and closer to me as I paint. He lays an arm over my back, mindlessly, like setting a coffee cup down on a pile of paper to prevent them from blowing away. My husband flinches. We exchange a glance and I steady my breathing, trying not to react. We remain outwardly calm but tensed for action, unsure of the hulking man's intention. I set down my brush and try to return the figurine to him.

"No. The face. You have to pain the face. Like this." He presents a crumbled sketch, sliding it onto the bed before me. 

The sketch is familiar. A man with reddish, dirty blonde short hair just long enough to begin curling, hazel eyes, freckles and red stubble. It's my husband. I look up at the hubster and catch his eyes. He recognizes the sketch but is calm. He nods and points with is chin at the miniature. I paint the face in my husband's image.

As I'm painting someone enters the room through the ajar door. It is his girlfriend. She jumps a little at the door, keys in her hand, a messenger bag hanging from her shoulder. Taking in the scene she is alarmed for mere seconds. She drops her bad beside the desk and sits down, twisting the office chair to face the bed and watching the painting. She smiles at me. A little shake of her head and a glance at my ex. Everyone seems to know that he needs this miniature painted except me. I assumed he'd forgotten all about it.

The closer I come to completing the miniature the more oppressive my ex becomes. Edging closer and closer to me I feel his torso and legs pressing against me, his head leaning in next to mine, breath on my neck as he observes the painting.

I finish the knight's face and hand the glued clump of toes back to my ex. He brings it close to his face and inspects the painting. I slowly slide off the bed, setting the paintbrush on the crowded headboard. He remains fixated on the figurine, mumbling something about a horse.

My husband rises from his chair and slowly creeps toward the door.

"For the next part I'll need a container for water. Maybe a yogurt container? That'd be good." I edge around the bed and toward the door. Slipping into my sandals as I find them discarded near the door, my hands leveled in front of me in a calming slow motion bounce.

My ex nods to himself and his fiance nods and smiles to us as we leave. Somehow we understand that I won't be coming back. 

My husband and I shut the door as we leave the dorm. Walking briskly down the hallway we reenter the large main room and crawl up the center jungle gym to a different exit, a sunny exit above us. On the jungle gym a girls asks if I would like to play volleyball and get drunk in a hour and a half. I turn her down and mention my family's volleyball games and how they get drunk in only forty-five minutes! 

We exchange a few more words about her odd hair, dark brunette roots with the rest of her hair deep auburn to her shoulders. She claims to be a bright yellow blonde and to be concerned about her next few month's dye jobs as the factory for her dye will be closed down for a couple months. My husband chuckles and grins at me as he climbs past. I smile and shrug at the girl, climbing away on the jungle gym and realizing that everyone below me can see my underwear.

I don't particularly care. 




Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Square One

Rough, dark day. One of those "back to the drawing board" sort of days. Back to "square one." The hubster comforted me, saying that even though it feels like I'm starting all over that I'm starting all over in a different place. Each and every time I've given up on my life I've restarted in a different place, sort of like how it's impossible to step into the same river twice.

So, I've bottomed out. Hit bottom again. Amazed that yet again I'm still here despite those blackest moments. Despite feeling the eerie calm of deciding to die and being comforted by the logic of my diseased brain. That broken brain tell me "I wasn't meant to live," "their lives will be better without me," and "it's better to end it than continue living this half-life."

Here again at square one. Facing a familiar decision to chose life for myself and start again at building my little house of cards.

Before I even got out of bed today I was thinking about dying. I became fixated on creating an inventory of my belongings and determining how they would be dealt with after I passed. I even composed an email to send to the hubby but did not send it. I managed to eat an apple and do laundry.

Midday I spoke the hubster on the phone and was still out of it. He convinced me to eat some lunch, saying something about doing small things to see if they made me feel any better instead of giving up and simply feeling crappy. I had a tuna melt. Did the catboxes and kept the laundry moving.

When he got home I was still wonky. His simple suggestion to go for a hike brought me to the floor, staring into the carpet with my head in my hands. I couldn't talk. He phoned the insurance company and discussed our counseling coverage. I refused to consider "wasting more money."

Somehow I ended up at the computer, showing him the email I didn't send earlier and the inventory I wanted to establish. That got the ball rolling, he was disturbed and concerned and we talked it out. Not that I gave up wanting to kill myself, quite the opposite. During our talk I solidified a plan and was convinced that it was better for me to end my life than allow so much suffering to continue.

At some point things settled enough that we showered and went out to dinner. Big transition, right? Guess suicidal break downs are par for the course at our house. The hubster lead me through an impromptu date night. Him trying to help me "enjoy the moment" and I savoring what I saw as the "last time" we'd visit these places together.

Looking at him across the dinner table from me I felt my heart ache. I saw him listening, looking, being with me and realized that I do mean a lot to him. Saw for a moment how lonely he could be without me, felt with my heart instead of being misled by my diseased thoughts and was saddened to think of us parting, instead of relieved to end my suffering. In that simple moment, looking at my husband with a goofy grin on his face as we discussed menu items, I felt the veil of darkness lifting. I could see a reason for living.

Over the course of the evening I felt more and more clarity coming back as the hangover symptoms settled into my body; the aches and pains of such an emotional overload that I'm all too familiar with. I still feel desperate, that something needs to change and needs to change very, very soon, but I'm not sure what, or how. I feel lost and weak and durn near hopeless, but somehow I'm here.

Back at square one.

The Big 300!

Okay. I'm not sure "The Big 300" is anything. The only thing I can think of is an unhealthy weight milestone... Or those scary Spartans in leather underpants. I digress.

In this case I'm referring to 300 blog posts! Yay me!

I started this blog in April 2011 without much expectation or preparation. Now it's been 3 years and 300 posts, so the ticker tells me. I started the blog with the intention of focusing on depression but instead my theme seems to simply be ME.

I've written about my depression, bipolar, pets, camping trips, family drama, birth control options, doula work, unemployment, self-worth, my marriage, my husband, recipes, restaurants, movies, books, news, and just plain "nothin." Somehow I've kept it up for 300 posts!

No idea where things will go from here, but I plan to keep typing and posting, even if it's just for kicks. If nothing else, this blog gives me a voice. A little bit of validation that I seem to have trouble finding in day-to-day life.

Onward I shall trudge. More posts I shall write; whether or not they be cohesive :)


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Not Knowing

Today has been a slow day.

Stayed in bed until after 10:00 am. Bumbled around to feed the animals, munch some cereal and an apple before bumbling around the internet. All very slow.

Eventually I made my way to the bathtub for a soak. Fio snoozing on the memory foam bathmat while I picked up a Judith Orloff book. Usually I have some set intention, even if it's a simple bubble bath, but today I simply bumbled. No schedule, no goals, no musts.

Laying in the tub, my mind wandering away from the words on the book's pages, I found myself recalling the darkest point of my episode a couple days ago. My suicidal ideations tend to be low-octane. Feeling distant and murky, a cloudy image of a suicide without the step-by-step plotting or realistic how-to, just a dream of escape, dark, but not too dark.

This weekend things were different. A small step in the wrong direction. I had an ideation about a specific knife and my bathtub and my wrists. A classic image of suicide, one that I haven't entertained before even with my history of suicidal episodes.

I was able to tell my husband about the ideas. Shedding light on those dark thoughts helps create distance, sending the dark thoughts skittering away like roaches in a hovel when a light is introduced. Of course, I'm still infested but the thoughts aren't quite as imminent a threat.

The self-injury on my arm is healing. Scabbed over and pulling at the healthy skin around it, aching and warm and sometimes itchy. Annoying and shameful but grounding at times, helping me to remember that I'm not quite "okay," despite what I may say.

So today I'm bumbling. Thankfully not dragged under by dark thoughts but straddling a line, sitting in a place of non-action, not knowing. I don't quite have the buoyancy to move forward in a positive fashion but I'm skeptical enough of my disease's mean nothings to resist the pull downward.

And for now, that's good enough. Not knowing.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Stupid Movies

Sometimes, movies help me stay outta the deep-deep. Putting on "Kiki's Delivery Service" or "Beauty Shop" or another cheer-me-up classic can get me through a rough time and prevent a slide further down, into the deep-deep.

But sometimes movies are a pain in the brain.

Sometimes, when I'm in a downward spiral, thinking about movies I've seen can make things worse. I'm not talking about the really dark stuff or even the mildly dark stuff (like "Country Strong" throwing me into a mood) I'm referring to the extraordinary "change your life in a day" stuff.

It can be enjoyable and uplifting to watch someone change their life and suddenly become a better person with a brighter outlook in less than 2 hours. But that ain't how life works. Real change is excruciatingly slow. So slow is this day-to-day change that very often we don't even comprehend the changes, so watching a quickie life reversal take place in a movie can make real life seem pretty crappy.

Sure, often these movies frame the change to take place over months or day but my brain takes in that information rather quickly and the artistic time warp is lost in the translation. Combine that mental process with the negativity of a depressed mind and you've got a Grade-A "You Suck and Here's Why" formula comparing me to a thousand movie stars that have transformed themselves for better in less time than a trip to the DMV.

All those movies make me want to uproot my life and run away. Part of me thinking that if I leave the country or move to a charming, magical town somewhere else that my life will suddenly begin improving by leaps and bounds like all those starlets on the big screen. But that isn't real life.

I've run away before, gone to Iceland for 2 weeks, and while it was magical and uplifting and I felt deliciously happy, life caught up with me and that credit card balance is still chasing me as well.

In moments like these, when I can't stand my life, I struggle to find escape. Mindless computer games, easy to read novels, Golden Girls on loop, even unwarranted baking projects as attempts to distract myself. None of these solve anything, but it's less harmful than self-harm or running up the credit cards running away from myself from continent to continent.

Still, part of me that believes in fairy tales keeps beckoning me to run away, leave behind as much as myself as possible and run away to a new life far away.

Just like in those stupid movies.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Poor Mood

The last few days, or off and on the last few weeks, have been rocky for me. I think the worst part is the self-harming. Troubling thoughts cloud my mind as well, but the wrist banging and scratching and pinching and hair pulling have dragged me to a low I haven't seen in a while.

This weekend the hubster, dog, and I went south for my brother's graduation party. I was feeling out of sorts before we left the house-even took a nap as some sort of delaying tactic-maybe my subconscious knew that I wasn't quite up to the challenge. I don't believe anything specific caused me to crack but the strain of being out of my comfort zone in a social situation got me feeling pretty low by dinner time Friday.

Friday night the hubster and I settled in to sleep on some cots in the garage/rec room and while I wasn't full-on suicidal I was wanting to peel away my life and be anything, anyone rather than myself. Instead of sleeping I began scratching my in upper arm.

I imagined myself covered in algae and barnacles and visualized my scratching chipping away the unattractive, destructive layers of growth from my head to my toes. Sometimes I would feel relief as my skin burned under my nails and I imagined chunks of barnacle falling from my body but these images were challenged by negative thoughts, memories, and projections, for each layer I scratched off I encountered more hopeless flaws.

I kept my scratching slow and quiet. Evading detection from my sleepy husband by trying to cultivate a white noise sound with my rhythmic scraping. Five minutes quickly passed. Ten minutes and I was in the zone. Soon 15 minutes had elapsed and my husband's breathing had deepened. He hadn't noticed. My sense of isolation increased, my pain driving my nails deeper to fight fire with fire. Physical pain numbing emotional pain.

Soon over 20 minutes had passed and a large sand dollar sized section of my upper arm burned with agitation, two patches of skin worn down by my scratching, not bleeding but oozing as skin peeled away. I quickened my pace. Scratching more furiously, forgetting my white noise technique and blatantly digging into my arm, wanting someone to catch me.

My husband awoke. Took a few groggy seconds to orient himself and then grabbed my arm.

We didn't say much. What much is there to say? It's nothing new. Earlier that day he had seen me bash my wrist across the counter in a serious of harsh bounces, watched me clench my fists and pinch my fingers until deep purple welts were left behind. A couple days before I had dragged a scissor blade across my arm, leaving a cat-scratch like line, never too deep just enough to burn.

This turn in my mood has happened before. A bad sign. A familiar turn of events. Accompanied by a knot in my stomach, a gaping emptiness in my chest, and jaw grinding tension. I feel worthless. I believe I don't belong and will not be missed when my existence here ends. The darkest parts of my mind campaign for my demise and the small hope I had gathered around me cannot contend with the twisted logic.

So here we are. How quickly I return to these lows.

My family sees something but says nothing. Stares. Any questions like "You okay?" are easily dismissed with "Yeah." Random hugs from my father supply some sort of ambiguous recognition, a fleeting touch of the arm conveying support, but my darkened mind quickly brushes them off. Like they're throwing cobwebs instead of life preservers.

In other news, despite my horrible mood I had a decent week. Cleaned the house quite thoroughly. Cooked various delightful meals. Even exercised a few times. Was planning on moving on to bigger and better things but it seems like I may be on a bit of detour for the new few days... I did apply for one job (first time in a long time I've applied for anything) and plan to apply for more.

One hour at a time. Here's to 1 day mark-free, trying to go for 2.

Monday, May 19, 2014

PA-WA

The trip home from PA went a little differently than the journey to PA. Namely, shoving my brother's belongings and an extra adult into the sedan made traveling much more like riding economy class on an airplane! But despite the decrease in elbow room we increased our site seeing and pit stops while maintaining our general timeline, making the trek within 5 days.

Sunday involved some last minute errands around the college dwelling but we got on the road at a decent hour. Instead of the PA Turnpike we opted for a highway to Hershey and a chocolate scented factory tour ride. The rest of the day we drove through PA and to Canton, OH, where we obtained a steeply taxed hotel room close the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame was pretty awesome. I'm a relatively new and uneducated football fan (Seahawks bandwagoneer) but even so I appreciated the history and lore. It was a very well done museum with interactive exhibits, lots of great relics, and a nice layout.

After the Hall of Fame we drove through the rest of OH through Gary, Indiana and around Chicago, through Illinois to just north of Madison, WI, stopping in Lodi for the night. It was a bit crazy. Mom drew the short straw and drove around Chicago (my haphazard navigation brought us a little close the suburbs and we caught quite a few red lights but also managed to drive through the town she was born in, so it worked out!) and if that wasn't enough a huge lightning storm rolled in when we were driving around northern Illinois. It seemed to calm down once we hit Madison but it was pretty crazy.

The next day we drove from Lodi, WI through MN and SD to Rapid City (our favorite Ramada in Black Hills). Eating at a Culver's was a highlight as was watching for pheasants and pronghorns alongside the interstate.

Wednesday we woke at a reasonable hour to visit Mt. Rushmore. It was impressive. Not just the huge heads carved into a mountain, but the memorial itself! My dad said that when he had visited decades ago it was just a little trail and now it's a full blown memorial with stone stair cases and multiple buildings. We were tempted to visit Crazy Horse, even drove to the gate, but the $28 fee didn't seem worth it.

After our sightseeing we switched into drive mode. Leaving I-90 for an alternate route, cutting a corner of WY on our way to MT. After swapping through drivers we managed to reach Missoula by midnight putting us right where we wanted to be in order to stop by my sister's college for lunch the next day.

Thursday morning in Missoula my brother and parents ate brekkie at Taco Bell (I opted for the hotel grab and go) and we saw a sparrow picking bugs out of the grill of the car for his breakfast. Ha! We had a pit stop at St. Regis right before hitting ID (I bought some earrings and saw trout in an aquarium). With the last time zone change in order we rolled into Cheney right around noon for a nice visit, dorm tour, and lunch with the sis and to pick up more of my brother's stuff. Needless to say the rest of the drive across WA was really cozy.

All in all the trip went better than I expected. I bottomed out the Friday and Saturday we spent in PA (suicidal/self harming) but texting and talking with the hubby got me through it. Thankfully I was able to bounce back all right and for the most part was in good spirits throughout the trip.

By the last few days nerves were a bit frayed but we never lost our senses of humor. It was a little rough being around my brother's caustic wit and sarcasm again but when I started to frame it as a defense mechanism it became easier to let go and (maybe it was my imagination) with a little time he seemed to back off a bit. Maybe he was nervous being near the family again after so long too?

Coming home on I-90 we arranged to meet the hubster at Snoqualmie Casino to pick me and my stuff up. I didn't think I was going to be so excited to see him but when we rolled into the parking lot and I caught sight of him-I could hardly get my seat belt off quick enough!

Turns out he had chopped his beard off while I was away (having sent a bearded selfie to throw me off his trail a few days prior) and in my shock and excitement I battered him with my wallet like a little old granny warding off a pick pocket. Yes. I am like a toddler, sometimes I just don't know how to handle my emotions!

In other news, we're rearranging the apartment and doing some spring cleaning. We visited with one of the hubster's sisters and another is visiting later this week! He's also made plans to do a hiking mini-vacay with his brother next month. Busy busy.

Oh! My FAM charting, while crazy over the road trip, turned out accurate. A few false peaks but then I hit my luteal phase and conveniently didn't start until I was back at home! Thank you nature! A perfectly delayed ovulation in my book ;)

Well. If my fingertips could sweat they would be. I'm done typing! Will blog on other thoughts later, just wanted to get down some road trip commentary before I neglected to all together :) Goodnight!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fin

Road trip accomplished. Home again with the hubbo and furbabies.

Let the decomp begin! (Decompression not decomposition)

Reflections and the last leg of the trip soon...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

On The Road-PA Road Trip

Cinco de Mayo marked the first day of a cross country excursion for me, my mom, and my dad as we are driving to PA for my brother's graduation. We drove from WA to Missoula, MT (stopping for a flat tire and tribal chant along a dark, chilly stretch of MT interstate).

Tuesday we visited the local Les Schwab for new tires (yes, plural, as in all 4) and that day we made it through MT to just before Rapid City, SD. A very nice Ramada was welcome respite after driving rain and lightning in WY.

Yesterday we drove hard and long. Mom drove the rest of SD to Sioux Falls where I picked up the reins and drove through IA to Waterloo (yes, I singing Abba in my head all the way). Dad drove through IL and then nearing the next time zone warp I drove again, getting us into Greenfield, IN around 3am.

I credit our last leg through Indianapolis to my case of hypomania that came on sometime Wednesday evening. As such, I had a hard time sleeping despite getting to the hotel around 3am and now Im feeling abnormally chipper for someone with less than 3 hours sleep.... Guess we shall see when the crash happens!

Oh. And It was in the 90s yesterday. 70s after dark. Woo-freakin-hoo.

In other news, the spring cold I had after the Leavenworth trip threw a wrench in my temperature tracking for FAM. I think it delayed my ovulation and since then I seem to have had another false peak, maybe related to travel stress? Basically, I'm back to guesstimation and not sure if I can trust my temperatures with all the time changes and bad sleep and stress. Hoping I dont get caught by surprise when my period starts! A wonderful addition to any travel adventure....

We are on track to reach PA this evening and while I'm missing the hubbo and my furbabies I haven't been super sad or upset by it. Texting certainly seems to close the divide!

Looking forward to "settling" in PA for a couple days before the return journey and seeing the sibs. Hoping for some good times! And maybe some nice whiskey.... I think I've earned it ;)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dental Relief and Seasonal Anxiety

Had my dental appointment today with the new dentist (the hubby has been raving) and I really liked her. It certainly didn't hurt to hear that my mouth isn't as in as much peril as my last dentist would've liked me to believe.

Sure, I need two fillings repaired (replaced) but only because they are old and have little holes. She didn't find any broken fillings and was very communicative about what she found and thought of my teeth. While she recommends a mouth guard she also gave me some tips to reduce stress and jaw grinding/clenching naturally because she knows insurance doesn't cover night guards for healthy mouths!

Apparently my insurance will only cover the guard if I'm a perio patient. While I wish they would cover the $400 hardware I'm glad I'm not a perio patient! Keep you money, I'll keep my healthy teeth and gums!

So I'm on the schedule for a couple fillings and a cleaning in the fall and quite relieved to have a dentist that is conservative, communicative, and enjoyable! While the night guard is something I am interested in (especially since it can function as a retainer as well as a guard, which I haven't been wearing for several years...), it's going to have to wait til Christmas and ornament money.

In other news, the heat has jumped up the last few days. Seems like nature is slapping me upside the face with SPRING. I enjoy the sun and the warmth but the sensations of summer also carry lots of anxiety.

For most of my life I've been overweight and as an overweight person I use clothes to hide. Summer makes that difficult! Wearing sleeveless or short sleeved shirts, skirts, or shorts is difficult for me. I can't wear my usual hidey-clothes or I'll be sweating like a pig, but wearing temperature appropriate clothes saddles me with massive anxiety and self-consciousness.

The warmer weather is invigorating and exciting but I find myself grappling with anxiety over my wardrobe instead of looking forward to summer adventures. No wonder fall is my favorite season!

The pets are handling the weather well so far by gulping lots of water and laying out like slabs of bacon all over the floor. Fio got shaved down (at home, so he looks like a raggamuffin) and we're spending the day with windows open and lights off!