Category Archives: unexpected results

I May Hex Myself

But I have to say this: the PTSD hasn’t gotten up in arms about what I’ve been doing. I’m amazed, really I am. For DECADES I couldn’t do this, make a list of 5 things and then do them without feeling vulnerable, targeted, panicked, and weepy.

Not there this time!

As I said, the tacit acknowledgement of what I’m doing may be the thing which ends this, Gawd knows it has 100s of times before. But, it doesn’t feel that way this time.

Maybe that’s why I’ve felt compelled to write this post? It’s a sort of emotional running your tongue over the hole where your tooth used to be.

We’ll see!

J

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Thursday’s Five, no Eleven

Here’s what’s outstanding from earlier in the week: (I had forgotten the last two when I made this list, but did the vacuuming and couldn’t find it on the list, and searched til I tracked it down. I had dropped two items from Monday’s list, the last two just below.)

  1. Deal with mail
  2. Work on the wood piles (also on the to do list).
  3. Update grain storage: review/cull, clean containers, etc. A tiny piece of this was done as part of clearing the kitchen counter. Weds. 10 a.m.
  4. Prep for the Christmas ornaments I’m making. Started Friday 10:15, requires more work than I thought!
  5. Finish the cull/storage of food from last week’s farm trip.  Finished: onions and tomatoes Wednesday. Peppers and tomatillos finished Thursday a.m.
  6. Vac. under the bed. Done Thursday 8:11 p.m.
  7. Dust the stained glass.

Of these, the most time-sensitive is dealing with the food. If I start a large batch of green salsa, that will take care of most of it. Three small bowls of tomatillos salted, first step for salsa as of 10:30 a.m. 

The fastest will be do deal with the mail. There’s not a lot hanging around, as I tend to do it as soon as it comes in the door. What I do have is the backlog from days gone by. . . .

Here’s Thursdays’ new five, well four. (There’s a reason this isn’t a cheat, but I’m not going to explain just now.)

  1. Clear/clean a dish cabinet shelf Friday 9:40 a.m.
  2. Clear/clean a freezer shelf  Done! 9:40 a.m.
  3. Work on the house notebook
  4. Clear/clean a silverware tray or drawer Friday 9:50 a.m.

Hopefully, this will give me a chance to get maybe one more of the back items finished.

My experience earlier this week has affected how I designated today’s work. Instead of mandating that I clean the dish cabinet, I’ve limited it to one shelf. Same with the freezer and silverware trays/drawers. Hopefully, this will cut the chore time to the 15 minutes or less it’s supposed to be, instead of starting chores which require hours to finish, as I did at the beginning of the week!

That said, this is farm day. The farm is 1.75 hours away. The work there takes about 2 hours, and it’s 1.75 hours back. In other words, farm day from start to finish (the cloth bags I use are in the laundry now) takes about 8 hours: prepping, transportation, food gather and storage. And of course, none of it includes cleaning shelves, drawers or working on a notebook!

So, I expect to be even more behind, even with only 4 items to do tonight, because farm day wipes me out.

Other news: the book rack sold — hurrah! On the not so great side: they’re working on the street in front of the antique store, my sales will be accordingly much smaller — rats!

 

 

The One-Trick Pony Lost Its Trick…

There are days when I wonder wtf I’m doing on the planet, except wasting resources?

I haven’t changed the world, I doubt that there are more than a few lives which are better for my having been here, and I wonder, seriously at times, why I’m here?

I used to feel heroic, challenged, and as if the challenge mattered. I had to feel that way or I would’ve quit. I didn’t quit and I made it through.

So what?

My last insight isn’t mind-shattering, but obvious, if you’re not me. For years decades I thought if when I beat the PTSD/pain I’d be invulnerable, super-powered!!! Then when I did get to where I could really cope, I felt like a wimp and tissue paper.

I think I finally know why: after fighting for approx. 50 years, I was emotionally exhausted. Sounds obvious, right? Much of my life I thought of myself as an “emotional heat sink.”  Throw trauma at me, I’d “hug” it and push it down into my gut. I’d get up again and keep going, over and over, like the stupid Eveready bunny.

Suddenly, I couldn’t cope — I became someone who was weepy at nearly any challenge — and I’ve been that way for years now.

So instead of ending a 50 year challenge with strength, I became a quivering nerve. I’ve just wanted to nest: stay isolated in these woods, this house, my marriage. I’ve wanted to cook and garden and read and hide from almost anyone and everything. There was a part of me, a small part —  it was the old voice — that just couldn’t understand it? I had never been like this!

I spent 5 decades fighting myself, the terror that I was a homicidal maniac, really f’n crazy, actually damned or flawed in some awful molecular way, only to win against that and see that I wasn’t crazy, or a murdering maniac, or damned — and I became a weepy raw nerve???

Talk about unexpected consequences! And no wonder I wasn’t interested in being an advocate for anyone or anything!

I have had to grant myself grace. I have to understand that yes, I’ve been exhausted, and that’s okay. I also have to let myself move on.

I’ve been afraid, as much as I let myself get involved with anything, that there was nothing else, I was a match, I’d burned myself out, and now it was my time to die. Seemed pretty stupid and it’s the damned Ibsen play I always wanted to avoid being. But. Maybe there’s more? I don’t know.

I have passed a magic marker, somewhere. I can feel strong now for short periods. I can and have been making small lines in the sand and I’m doing whatever it is. Things are getting done, finished. I don’t feel like a dandelion floating in the breeze all the time any more. The anchor maybe very thin and long, but it’s still there.

For the last 3 years or so of my therapy I’d just get overwhelmed by the idea of something and say I couldn’t cope. My therapist would reply, “You’ve weathered so much. Why wouldn’t you think you’ll be able to cope with this?”

I never had an answer: I had no strength. More, I had no belief in my strength. Maybe that is (finally) turning around?

Rather like this blog — this is NOT the topic I intended to write about!

The human brain is bizarre and wonderful.

 

A new favorite word

It seems I’m living like this, these days.

See here: Definition of zugzwang

atomic-bomb-test

Amazing! Much more concise than “between a rock and a hard place.”

I love adding to my vocabulary when it’s pertinent to what’s going on in my life!

J

More Different

light out of darkness

There’s still WAAAY too much stuff here and it’s still too disorganized and we still have BAD habits. That said? There’s stuff getting disposed of here, daily. Areas which are being culled and cleaned, daily. It isn’t huge, but nibbling at the sides, every day. DH is finishing various projects, I’m culling a box or more . . . every day and cleaning some place new, every day.

We may, eventually, dig our lives out from under all the stuff.

Maybe.

J

3 rules of work

 

Going Down for the 3rd Time

I can’t do this.

No matter how much stuff I get rid of, there’s more. No matter how many books I get rid of (and I’ve been doing that for 13 years now, ‘eh?) there are still more.

It will never end.

I have (literally) gotten rid of 1,000s of items. And I’ve done it for years. I’m still drowning in stuff.

See? I can’t do this. It will never end.

The old storage unit still has stuff in it. I don’t have anywhere to put it. I don’t know what to do, donate boxes to Salvation Army tomorrow I guess. I have a bookcase in the old unit which came from S.A., I can donate it back. The library is taking books again. But that’s one piece of furniture, there’s at least 3. One of which has to come home (no room for it either). There’s about 25 boxes of books, maybe more still in the old unit. I have given away books every-single-day for the past 3 weeks. EVERY day. As few as 3 and as many as 3 boxes at once.

drowning

This isn’t quite as bad as figuring out I couldn’t beat the PTSD (or whatever it was, before I •knew* what it was) by just being stubborn and being willing to work at it, for 42 years to diagnosis, 50+ for most of the rest of it. So, the last piece, the very last piece is this stupid, neverending purge o’ crap, which believe it or not hurts on occasion, and is terrifying on occasion too. I do better and worse and I’ve kept going. I have been determined that I’d win — at least this battle.

But I think the abuser won instead? Can I just blow my brains out? (No gun.) You can bury me under a pile of books and papers and put on the headstone: she never actually accomplished anything and couldn’t finish anything, except her life. I really have no desire to commit suicide, but if suicide is the absence of pain, yes, that I DO want! How squishy does your brain have to be from beating it into the wall before you just give up?

Maybe the abuser was right after all? There just is something “not right” about me. I can’t do things.

Or maybe I’m just discouraged? I wonder why! And I suppose that tomorrow will be different. One of my largest life lessons was that I learned to “skate” when things are bad. Just let it go and don’t do anything permanent or dramatic: don’t break up a relationship, don’t hurt yourself, don’t drink & drive. Just find an emotional rabbit hole (for me that’s a book) and jump in, and hope you keep falling — at least until tomorrow. And tomorrow? Tomorrow you may find your life is completely different?

It usually is.

Let’s see, tomorrow starts in three hours. Can’t be here soon enough!

J

Note: Tomorrow, having come, isn’t perfect, but I’m not as overwhelmed as I was yesterday. Of course I didn’t sleep well, which never helps, but it is what it is.

Trying to Avoid Becoming a Clean-Freak Minimalist

I have a tendency, and have since I was a kid. I go from one extreme to the other, then find the happy medium. I’m trying to avoid that with transforming from being a hoarder.

book hoarder

I worked more on the cleaning plan today and “discovered” some new ideas: mostly, that the more often you use something, the more frequently it needs to be cleaned and/or maintained. Seems obvious, doesn’t it?

But because I’ve never seriously “let” myself think about cleaning up except as an intellectual exercise (It was dangerous. Remember the reason I became a hoarder wasn’t to keep things, complete collections, or perceived value — it was the safety I felt in the mess, and the panic I felt when my space was neat.) this is a newish concept.

Accordingly, floors need to be cleaned more than anything else. Even if you only walk through a space, like in a model home at a real estate development say, the floor gets used more often than anything else. So, they need cleaning more often. The other thing which needs to be dealt with every day is stuff, things you can pick up in your hand: food, books, papers, clothing, bedding, towels, etc. It’s stuff which makes up clutter. (The notion that clutter is made up of things we pick up and put down — was the last big AHA! I found.)

So, I modified my ideas about what has to be dealt with/how often. I’d figured the kitchen floor needed daily maintenance, but not other floors. I changed that.

Now I have a mental list of the areas in my home which need routine maintenance. Maybe not “deep cleaning” but maintenance seven days a week, or Monday – Friday. Some chores can be put off over the weekends, others can’t.

I swept from the entry to the hall this morning because of this. And then the stairs. [I kept finding more to do.] I swept the hearth, [twice]. I started to go into the kitchen, [but did the hall, again] — and made myself stop.

Then I cleaned the dustpan and the brushes (didn’t wax them, had done that last weekend) and the broom. [And started again, made myself stop.] Put everything away, twice.

See the flip side of the hoarding peeking out? Definitely one of the first times the idea that hoarding/OCD is a spectrum really became obvious in me. Intellectually, I’ve known this for a long time, but I always thought, “I’ll never have that problem!”

Sigh.

empty room

In my old age I  will need to monitor not only my stress levels (because of the PTSD) but keep myself from tipping over the edge from hoarder to OCD/minimalist/clean-freak.

Oh joy.

J