I know that’s a weird topic title. I’m actually pretty healthy. I spend a lot of time in my own head and so perhaps I am more aware of when I don’t feel my best. I get migraines as much as nine times a month. If I sense it coming on early enough, I can medicate and mostly feel okay but not great. Fortunately I don’t get glutened very often. That makes me really sick so I guess a gift of the pandemic is that I don’t eat out very much.
I guess a better blog heading would be: I’m glad I appreciate how often I feel good. I can work on that. Maybe that will be a future blog post.
In the meantime, I’m doing pretty well with my beginning -of-year activities that I am not calling resolutions. I’ve decided it’s my year of self-compassion. Or maybe my first year of self-compassion. I hear self-compassion will make me nicer to other people too. I don’t think I’m not nice, but sometimes I don’t feel nice.
I’ll just be home, or driving, and get gripped out of the blue with an anxiety that makes me breathe shallow and look for some way to soothe. Sometimes my chest hurts. Sometimes I feel like I might cry. Sometimes I feel like I need to run and run.
When I’m not in the middle of it, I know the solution is to regulate my breathing. When I am in the middle of it, remembering to slow my breath is much harder. I’m more likely to eat something, which helps for about a nanosecond. Gulping seltzer kinda helps, but also for not very long. Better than eating though. Distraction helps too, sometimes. I know mindfulness will be a better long term approach. Focusing on nature helps too.
I never really had issues with anxiety that I can recall. This is giving me empathy.
[This story is second hand. Jenn, if you read this and want to make corrections to the actual facts, I'm good with that.]
Several years before Jenn and I had even met, she stopped by Morris Animal Refuge and adopted an adorable polydactyl fuzzy gray kitten, whom she named Pulitzer, in honor of the award her workplace, the Philadelphia Inquirer, had recieved earlier that day. My guess is it was 1989 for the Bartlett and Steele series that prompted tax reform? Ah, thouse were the day, Inky!
Kittens are adorable. And this one was especially so because of his giant ears and even gianter-six-toed feet. But by that night, something was wrong and Pulitzer was decidedly not well.
Jenn was an urban 20-something living in South Philadelphia and she didn't have a car. She found a vet who did HOUSE CALLS. Dr. Diane Eigner, the founder of the Cat Doctor (still in practice today, but without Dr. Diane and I suspect without house calls), came to Jenn's apartment. As is the case with rescue kitties, there could have been a variety of reasons for the diarrhea and vomiting. Dr. Diane had a hunch that there was not enough time to sort out exactly what was going on, so she treated him with everything she had -- antibiotics, antiparasiticals (Is that a thing?), fluids for dehydration and probably other stuff, but since I'm neither a vet nor was I there, just know that this is what Dr. Eigner told Jenn:
We are going to throw everything at it and hope one of the treatments is the right one. Otherwise, this kitten won't make it 'til morning. Keep him warm and hydrated as best you can.
Thankfully, he recovered. This would have been a terrible story otherwise! He grew up, helped Jenn through her relationship transitions, and became a really enormous, kinda moody omnipresent alphacat in our future merged household of pets. He lived a good life, and my memory is that he passed from cancer in the late '90s.
Sometimes when I'm not sure what's going on with me, I remember this story and I just start doing stuff I know can't hurt. Eat better. Move more. Breathe deeper. Meditate. Take vitamins. Play and listen to music. Write. Do a project. Hydrate. Stay warm.