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SkyGirl

Lightbearer: Discover

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1 hour ago, SkyGirl said:

They aren't completely helping, but they're taking the edge off.

What you're dealing with isn't the kind of thing that gets wiped out in one therapy session. It's the kind of thing that gets whittled down over time. Stick with the process, and eventually the THING that's the reason you feel that way will run out of edges to be taken off.

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Today wrapped up on a really positive note, which means you guys are spared from the original "everything is awful" post I was going to write earlier.  :P  Soji strutted across the keyboard and obliterated that post and that's just as well.

 

My anxiety has been really intense this week, as I mentioned, causing a lot of GI distress and throat tightness that has kept me from eating and nightmares and restlessness that have kept me from sleeping. So, my physical and emotional reserves are very low. One of my family members is pretty sick with a mystery illness that isn't getting better, and actually seems to be getting worse; and while on the one hand I feel powerless to actually help them, on the other hand I've spent a lot of time on the phone with them this week just talking to try to alleviate their anxiety. So I'm spending a lot of time ... not doing much. One of the bad nightmares was also about them dying; and while that's a very distant possibility, it's not an impossibility either, and that was - kind of horrible.  :(  So that's been draining me a lot, and then on top of that I got fixated on that one uncomfortable conversation from Sunday, so my brain has kind of been eating itself alive a little bit.

 

That said, I have been taking walks, and trying to choke down healthy food whenever my throat will allow me, and giving myself time to read or watch movies instead of staring at the ceiling listening to the chatter in my head. Tonight I talked to Eamon about some of the things that were scaring me - the fear that we'll discover something about each other that we can't live with, the fear that we'll fight and break up, the fear that there's some red flag we're missing. He made me feel so much better - after reassuring me that my fears are valid and he shares many of them too, he reminded me that we're not trying to achieve some goal or make it to some checkpoint without failing. We're friends, living in relationship to each other and trying to serve and care for each other in much the same way as our other friendships. And ultimately, our goal, insofar as there is one, is to serve God - in our individual lives, in our relationship to each other, and in the things we do together to serve and uplift other people. The reason that helps is because it relieves the pressure of constantly asking "Is this the right thing? Is this the right thing to say? Is this the right choice? Is this even the right relationship?". Because - well, if I'm here, it's for a reason; if we're both trying to treat each other well and encourage each other's faith, then we're doing the right thing; and I can't control what happens by trying to get all the answers right. Because, you know, ultimately that's what it's all about.  :P 

 

Work is really intense right now as well, but the rest of the week looks like it will be quieter, so that's good.  ❤️  Starting next week, Eamon and I are going to go back to strict quarantine, to minimize our chances of carrying the virus to Amethyst's wedding; so this weekend we're cramming in a bunch of fun stuff, and it looks like the weather will be perfect.  :)  For now, though, it's super late and I'm going to be tired again tomorrow, so time for bed.

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I'm sorry to hear about your relative, and I hope that the mystery illness passes without any further consequence. And it's great that you've been able to express some of your fears to Eamon, and better still to know he was understanding and reassuring. It's good to hear you've got a sort of overarching goal/reason/whatever you'd like to call it to help clarify things for you. Admittedly I follow different gods, but that doesn't mean I don't believe yours is out there, and I believe this would please him. Do the right thing, take care of yourself, take care of each other. Pretty sure those thing are what he's about, after all!

 

Hope work does quiet down for you, and that the good weather holds so you can enjoy your weekend to the fullest :) 

 

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9 hours ago, SkyGirl said:

That said, I have been taking walks, and trying to choke down healthy food whenever my throat will allow me, and giving myself time to read or watch movies instead of staring at the ceiling listening to the chatter in my head. Tonight I talked to Eamon about some of the things that were scaring me - the fear that we'll discover something about each other that we can't live with, the fear that we'll fight and break up, the fear that there's some red flag we're missing. He made me feel so much better - after reassuring me that my fears are valid and he shares many of them too, he reminded me that we're not trying to achieve some goal or make it to some checkpoint without failing. We're friends, living in relationship to each other and trying to serve and care for each other in much the same way as our other friendships. And ultimately, our goal, insofar as there is one, is to serve God - in our individual lives, in our relationship to each other, and in the things we do together to serve and uplift other people. The reason that helps is because it relieves the pressure of constantly asking "Is this the right thing? Is this the right thing to say? Is this the right choice? Is this even the right relationship?". Because - well, if I'm here, it's for a reason; if we're both trying to treat each other well and encourage each other's faith, then we're doing the right thing; and I can't control what happens by trying to get all the answers right. Because, you know, ultimately that's what it's all about.  :P 

Your story reminds me so much of the early days of Sra. Tanque and I getting to know each other. :) 

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Praying for your relative. Eamon sounds like an awesome, godly, and wise  man. ( I was going to say guy but that didn't work right after I'd called him wise😉)

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14 hours ago, iatetheyeti said:

I'm sorry to hear about your relative, and I hope that the mystery illness passes without any further consequence. And it's great that you've been able to express some of your fears to Eamon, and better still to know he was understanding and reassuring. It's good to hear you've got a sort of overarching goal/reason/whatever you'd like to call it to help clarify things for you. Admittedly I follow different gods, but that doesn't mean I don't believe yours is out there, and I believe this would please him. Do the right thing, take care of yourself, take care of each other. Pretty sure those thing are what he's about, after all!

 

Hope work does quiet down for you, and that the good weather holds so you can enjoy your weekend to the fullest :) 

 

 

You're so kind, Yeti, thank you!!  ❤️  I've learned so much about honesty in relationships this year; and even though it was scary to start telling vulnerable truths to Eamon in the beginning, especially because he's quite reserved and I mostly took the lead, I know now that I can talk to him about anything without fear. And that's a pretty incredibly awesome feeling.  :) 

 

So far the forecast is holding!! Thank you for the good thoughts!!  ❤️ 

 

8 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Your story reminds me so much of the early days of Sra. Tanque and I getting to know each other. :) 

 

Tank, if we wind up half as happy and healthy as you guys are, I'll be very content.  ❤️  Also, thank you for assuring me that I'm not weird or alone in my fears. I do seem to recall some of your musings from when I first joined NF, which would have been shortly after you started dating Sra. Tanque - I hadn't thought about that phase of your life for a long time.  :) 

 

5 hours ago, Elastigirl said:

Praying for your relative. Eamon sounds like an awesome, godly, and wise  man. ( I was going to say guy but that didn't work right after I'd called him wise😉)

 

Ha ha!! He is a wise guy, too, so you wouldn't have been wrong!!  :D  But he is mature, wise, thoughtful and godly - life has not always been easy for him, but he has used his hard times to turn toward God, instead of away from Him. I'm so proud of him and I feel very blessed to be a part of his life. We make each other stronger and that's pretty incredible.  ❤️ 

 

My relative got some good news today and it looks like their condition is very manageable, if it is what the doctors think it is - thank you SO much for the prayers! That was a huge load off their mind and off of mine as well!!

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So firstly, before I talk about myself, I am very sad about Chadwick Boseman's passing. He was so much more than just Black Panther, but that's how so many geeks will remember him and he certainly put his heart into that role. I was in grad school at the time that movie came out, and many of my colleagues and peers were Black; and hearing them talk about what Wakanda meant to them, and what it felt like to see someone who reminded them of themselves and their families on screen as a king - really opened my eyes, not only to a vital and beautiful moment in their lives, but the power that inclusive, diverse superhero movies and books can have. Stories and characters are so powerful and I hope I never forget that.

 

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Today is a cool, rainy day and it's making me feel very happy.  :)  This week was really rough, from an anxiety perspective. I'm starting to become more convinced I have at least mild OCD, based on a little layperson research and conversations with people who have education or experience in psychology. As I understand it, the root of OCD is the desire to exert control over circumstances to avoid things that scare us, but carried to an irrational or unhealthy extent, like the classic "check the door no fewer than four times before leaving" or "ironing my shirt in this way will keep me from getting hit by a car" thought processes. At the moment, what that looks like for me is basically what I described last week: Spend an intensely happy weekend with Eamon, wake up Monday feeling like something is wrong, get hyperfocused on a real or imaginary concern, feel more and more distress over that as I try to ignore it, and finally seek relief in external validation of some sort, like Google or asking a mentor or a friend. (In other words, pretty much everything at the beginning of this article.) Like I said, there's a lot of untreated OCD in my family and I've recognized other obsession-compulsion patterns in myself in the past, especially in connection with relationships generally (not just romantic). My fear is that I will lose relationships that are important to me, and therefore I try to exert control over that by obsessively researching whatever latest concern comes up, in hopes of taking The Right Action to mitigate that threat. 

 

As far as obsessions and compulsions go, both of these are so close to normal on the surface that probably no one outside my head would recognize them as OCD behaviors. Of course I'm scared of losing important relationships; who isn't? Of course I need counsel and wisdom as I enter this new phase of life; who doesn't? But what makes me think there's more to it than nerves is a) the intense anxiety and mental and physical distress that surrounds this pattern, b) the preoccupation with "The Right Thing" (because if I do / think / say / feel the Right Thing, then the problems will go away), and c) the unpredictable and random nature of what brings relief. For example, one thing I got hung up on this week was the fact that Eamon says "Oh my God," while I was taught growing up that that was blasphemy; but hearing another Christian friend say that in her Instagram story yesterday, suddenly brought peace, as my brain went "Ah, she's a good Christian woman and she says that too, therefore Eamon's not a bad person for saying that". 

 

My therapist told me to try not to Google anything or ask for validation surrounding the obsessive / intrusive thoughts this week, and see what happened. I tried really hard to avoid Googling articles about the latest thing my brain was hung up on, but finally caved on Thursday because I had been in distress for four days and couldn't stand it anymore.  :(  Tomorrow is a new date day and a new chance to try again, hopefully with better awareness.

 

I did talk with Eamon a little about these thoughts last night, but it was very late and he was really tired, so I'm going to try again tomorrow when we're both more awake - just so he knows what I'm working with. One thing that is not a compulsion but always makes me feel better is simply talking to him on the phone. It grounds me in the things that are real: He is a wonderfully good person who cares about me deeply, and I care deeply about him. He is and does all the things a good partner is supposed to do; but maybe more importantly than that, if one of us does misstep, we can talk to each other about it, apologize and do better. I know with zero doubt that he respects me, values me, believes in me, and trusts me; and even when I'm stuck in a thought loop of doubt, underneath all the noise, I fully trust, value and respect him too. Hearing his voice, laughing together over shows or jokes, listening to him pray, and being with him on the weekend and seeing the respectful and thoughtful way he treats everyone he interacts with - reminds me that the frightened mental chatter isn't what's real. It's all just trying to tell me that I value him, I value our relationship, and I care deeply about protecting and investing in it.

 

(I would also like to take a moment to grin proudly at myself for how much I have grown in self-awareness since I joined NF four years ago; because holy crap, I never could have sorted through all those things when I first got here.  ❤️  I know I've had a lot of counseling / therapy and good friendships to help me grow too, but the judgment-free support, advice and wisdom I've found here have been a huge part in that.)

 

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Today I'm getting my first haircut since the beginning of the pandemic; and I am so beyond excited about that.  :D  I also need to clean the house, would like to do some yoga, and might choose to bake some cookies. I got asked to be the facilitator for my church small group's next book study, so I need to find some resources for that. And I'd like to try to find something nice to do with my hands - crochet, baking, drawing, writing a physical letter, sewing, etc. Getting out of my head was the other thing my therapist strongly encouraged me to do; but since I do that so rarely, it takes a lot of work.  :) 

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There are other Obsessive-Compulsive diagnoses beyond OCD. I also want to let you know about an occupational hazard of looking up different diagnoses trying to figure out what is going on with oneself.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-excess/201609/brief-look-medical-student-syndrome

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1 minute ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

There are other Obsessive-Compulsive diagnoses beyond OCD. I also want to let you know about an occupational hazard of looking up different diagnoses trying to figure out what is going on with oneself.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-excess/201609/brief-look-medical-student-syndrome

 

Oh yes, it's a terrible hazard!! I have fallen victim to the dread WebMD Disorder many times and am very aware the articles I'm reading are just pop psychology.  ;)  Right now understanding OCD patterns are useful for being aware of what's going on in my weekly rollercoaster of thoughts and feelings, and asking myself the difference between real/useful thoughts and scary/not-useful thoughts, but I'm not seeking or wanting a formal diagnosis.  :) 

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Hey guys! I haven't been absent because anything is wrong; it's just been a ridiculously busy week that has flown by. Seriously, I cannot believe tomorrow is already Thursday, and not in an "oh yay it's almost Friday" way, but in a "holy crap, where did the last four days of my life go?" way.  :P  

 

That said, everything is going fine. Work is insanely busy but I drank enough caffeine for four people focused hard and got a lot done today, which was good.  :P  No exercise has happened at all, partly because of after-work busyness, partly because it's been raining all week, and mostly because I honestly thought it was like Tuesday and I had just exercised, like, yesterday. Also food has not been the best as I've mostly been scrounging things as I get my hands on them, meaning a lot of weird meals at weird times - but I did whip up some easy coleslaw tonight that was delicious, and I made spicy fried rice on Monday.  :) 

 

Anxiety has been better this week. I had some really good conversations with Eamon on Sunday and Monday about some really vulnerable things, but getting them out in the open helped relieve things that had been worrying both of us. If I haven't mentioned it lately, it means a lot to me that I can talk to him about anything.  ;)  Additionally, I've been working hard to follow the advice of my therapist and my grandmother, both of whom encouraged me to actively turn toward positive, hopeful, and factual thoughts whenever negative, fearful, or hypothetical thoughts started to bother me. There are a couple of people in my life whose words or things they share with me cause me to feel fearful and anxious about dating, and instead, I'm trying to talk more with the people who are excited for me and us, who offer encouragement and affirmation, and who remind me that I am capable, strong and supported.  ❤️  

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Haven't posted this vid for a while, but it's always a good time.  :D  It's almost 3AM and I'm still wide awake because I chugged 36 ounces of sweet tea during my D&D game this evening, which felt like a good idea at the time, and definitely wasn't, from either a health perspective or a caffeine perspective.  :P 

 

The game itself was epic, though - Eamon invited me to play some one-shot games with his group, and this was the continuation of the one we began a few weeks ago: A brief foray into a school of wizardry to retrieve an enchanted statue of a tortoise. We fought our way halfway through the school last time, and this time came face-to-face with the Archmage, who was a Level 17 while we were all Level 5's and posed quite a lot of challenges. I actually played as Eldarwen, sans her ice powers - so for most of the game I hung in the back, being surly and noncommittal like she is (as well as just observing the game, since both D&D and the Roll20 platform are new to me); but toward the end of the game, I realized I could use one turn to dash around the force wall the mage had set up and take two powerful shots on the next turn with my longbow and arcane arrows. I didn't kill him, but it was still super dramatic and I dealt him a lot of damage so the paladin could wipe him out with his bow on a later turn.  :D  Like so many nerd / geek things I have discovered in adulthood, D&D feels like something I've been looking for most of my life, and I love playing even these short games. 

 

Life and schedule still feel pretty out-of-control this week. No exercise besides a couple of very short walks, food has been completely random and unpredictable, sleep schedule isn't great and I'm struggling to keep up with chores.  😕  I really do think most of it is just the introduction of the new element of dating, and that throwing off my mental equilibrium as well as my daily routine. But it's a maddening feeling because my brain has a bajillion tabs open that are all playing loud music and I can't get back to them. I did get up earlier this week because I was cat-sitting for my neighbors, and I'm going to keep trying that next week; but I didn't start work any earlier, so it didn't help my schedule. Going to keep trying - I'll figure it out eventually.  :) 

 

On the plus side, anxiety was much better this week. Part of that, like I said, was because we cleared the air on some very awkward but important topics last weekend. Part of it was because I did seek validation from a handful of my closest friends and family members, asking them if they had any concerns or worries I wasn't seeing, and gratefully welcoming their enthusiastic encouragement and affirmation. Part of it was also because I intentionally looked for positive thoughts when scary ones came - not to drown out genuine red flags, but when I listened to my thoughts and determined they weren't rational, I looked for true things to ground myself. 

 

I also get to see Eamon twice this weekend instead of just once, and I'm very excited about that.  ❤️  I'm also hoping for more exercise, since we have mainly outdoor things planned and I'm expecting a fair amount of walking - or at least fresh air. I also might get to video chat with my best friend Ayre for the first time in many months, and I have literally cried happy tears several times at that thought. 

 

... time to see if I can sleep.  :P  Definitely choosing a non-caffeinated drink for D&D next time. 

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9 hours ago, SkyGirl said:

my brain has a bajillion tabs open that are all playing loud music and I can't get back to them.

Love this analogy, I can relate to that too often. Hope your brain settles a bit though.

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Hello friends! It's a cool, sunny, beautiful early-fall / late-summer afternoon, and all my chores are done and the laundry hung, Soji is playing restlessly with her self-driving ball, and I'll be getting ready for my dinner with Eamon soon - and I feel really happy.  :)   

 

One of my favorite and most inexplicable things about the way my mind works, is the way that I will wake up in the morning, or be doing something completely unrelated, and suddenly have a Thought that beautifully synthesizes a few things I've been thinking about for a long time; and this morning, I opened my eyes in the bright sun, and had two clear and stupidly simple thoughts. The first was almost a conversation with myself: "Sky, why don't you feel fully comfortable in your relationship with Eamon yet?" "Why, it's because I still think he's going to leave. I still think I could mess up and drive him away." "Even though he assures you he's staying?" "... I guess he does, doesn't he?" "What would happen if you believed him, and allowed yourself to rest in that? What would change if you believed that you weren't going to scare him away?". 

 

The second was much simpler, and also a question: "What if, instead of your relationship being something that you had to work for and not mess up, it were a gift? What if you weren't trying to do all the 'right things' in this relationship in order to unlock some blessing down the road - what if this relationship were a gift in itself, that you were allowed to simply give thanks for and enjoy?"

 

Both of those are extremely simple, and probably patently obvious to outside viewers. (Like I texted my mom and sister this morning and said, "Is it pathetic that I literally have to convince myself it's not weak or silly to be excited to see my boyfriend?", and my mom replied "Yes, that's crazy".  😂)  But both were also very thought-provoking and helpful.

 

My housework was my exercise today, and so far my food has been healthy (coffee for breakfast, and toast with hummus and one glass of sweet tea for lunch). Dinner is Indian food and we're eating outside in one of the big parks in the city, which has got me feeling all happy on the inside.  ❤️  I should also mention I've been slowly continuing to read through one of the books on my list, since I got asked to facilitate our next church small group discussion and I successfully petitioned to discuss Gentle and Lowly. So that's good for my mind and spirit.  :) 

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3 hours ago, Elastigirl said:

Love this analogy, I can relate to that too often. Hope your brain settles a bit though.

 

Me too! Between work, church things, keeping up a social life, dating, housework, cooking, exercise, reading books, and somehow finding time to do "mindless" things to relax, I am constantly asking vaguely "Where is that sound coming from??"  :D  I'm glad you understand the feeling, but hope you aren't having it at the moment!!

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32 minutes ago, SkyGirl said:

Both of those are extremely simple, and probably patently obvious to outside viewers. (Like I texted my mom and sister this morning and said, "Is it pathetic that I literally have to convince myself it's not weak or silly to be excited to see my boyfriend?", and my mom replied "Yes, that's crazy".  😂)  But both were also very thought-provoking and helpful.

And as a total outsider....

Even if for some reason the course changed for the both of you couldn't you appreciate the gift of having someone close to you for a while and know despite that you allowed yourself to appreciate it. 

 

I could be off the mark, but I guess I personally needed a mix of these.

 

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22 hours ago, Bouncer_the_Lovable said:

And as a total outsider....

Even if for some reason the course changed for the both of you couldn't you appreciate the gift of having someone close to you for a while and know despite that you allowed yourself to appreciate it. 

 

I could be off the mark, but I guess I personally needed a mix of these.

 

 

Hey Bouncer! Firstly, there are no outsiders in the Rebellion, only family we haven't met yet - so welcome!  :)  And secondly, you're exactly right, and this is kind of what I was getting at with my mindset shift - seeing the relationship as the good thing in itself, not as a set of milestones to be achieved in the correct fashion or a task to be completed successfully. (Yes, I am an Enneagram 3, if you're into that sort of thing  :D ).

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

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Today is quite possibly the most perfect day I remember having all year, and I am absolutely eating up the sunshine, low humidity and cool temperatures.  ❤️  Eamon and I planned to drive out of town to a nearby Civil War battlefield after church today, but he has been a bit sick since Thursday, and last night after getting me home from an abbreviated dinner, he got much worse and is basically bedridden today.  :(  It's just a stomach virus, so he'll be fine, but it's distressing not to be able to do much to help him feel better. And I miss him. And it's interesting that it takes me a second to give myself permission to say, I miss him, and I miss his hugs, and I miss talking with him about anything and nothing, and I wish I could be there to rub his back or make him some tea or watch goofy movies to distract him from feeling sick.

 

(I was struggling to explain why it's hard for me to say those things, and then I blessedly remembered this passage from one of my favorite books, Little Women: "Jo couldn't even lose her heart in a decorous manner, but sternly tried to quench her feelings, and failing to do so, led a somewhat agitated life. She was mortally afraid of being laughed at for surrendering, after her many and vehement declarations of independence."  :P  It me. Books really do help so much in interpreting the world, whether the inner one or the outer one.)

 

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Anyway, since I have the afternoon to myself, I'm about to take a walk (a slow one, since I'm stuffed full of leftover Indian food from last night), then get my shower early and enjoy the cool evening breeze while I read / craft / meal plan / do other things that don't involve my phone or computer.  :)  I've been wanting to crochet for a few days but the last time I tried, Soji chewed through my yarn; so ......

 

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(Oh, and also start my new challenge thread!!  :D  I have lots of story ideas I've been sitting on for a while and I think now is a great time to pull them out of the box!)

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52 minutes ago, SkyGirl said:

was struggling to explain why it's hard for me to say those things, and then I blessedly remembered this passage from one of my favorite books, Little Women: "Jo couldn't even lose her heart in a decorous manner, but sternly tried to quench her feelings, and failing to do so, led a somewhat agitated life. She was mortally afraid of being laughed at for surrendering, after her many and vehement declarations of independence."  :P  It me. Books really do help so much in interpreting the world, whether the inner one or the outer one.)

Aww that makes a lot more sense, I'm personally someone on the other side of showing emotion (if I don't show any,  people get worried).

Sorry your plans fell through but looking forward to read your next challenge!

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