“You know how I’m always making those interesting comments during the game.”

tyler-nix-1699687-unsplash

I’m doing alright.  The Depression Monster is trying all sorts of tactics, and finding they don’t work so well on someone present in their body. 🙃 I’m busy fighting them off, but it’s different now.  It’s a lot easier to defend the castle when I’m in it than when I’m off floating on a cloud of code.  It doesn’t take all my resources any longer, which is wicked awesome.

Now, even while under attack, I can also work on creating, healing, and collecting moments of joy — significant flex.  Aw.  The Depression Monster must be sad.  Your dethroning after all this time hurts, eh?  I know we go way back, but we’re not friends.  I’m going to name it a Passing Acquaintance.  Thanks for helping me grow.  I’m moving on to whatever comes next.  (In heels AF1’s.)

A great deal of healing is happening in my life.  I think my subconscious is making essential connections while I sleep.  I’m sleeping differently; more productively.  I awaken feeling like I spent all night coding in my sleep, yet feel rested.  My recent changes in perspective regarding trauma while conscious seem like such small changes compared to the results I’m experiencing.  Thank goodness it’s working in my favor.

trust-tru-katsande-605017-unsplash

I can’t remember what I’m dreaming, but I do notice myself acting out briefly, then pausing to examine what is going on.  I felt like my stress tolerance level got reset back to childlike yesterday.  It was sudden and confusing.  I felt intense rage over the slightest provocation.  Um.  No.  So I converted the mysterious rage energy into music with my drums.  (I finally understand heavy metal.)

I recognized I need to go back to Azeroth (World of Warcraft) and spend some time carefully stretching my stress balloon.  It’s my safe place to get frightened and stressed out in a controlled environment.  Any time I feel super frustrated or like I’m about to cry, I hop up and walk around while calming myself and using a Night King boost.  I’m going to build a new toon from level 1 and help other players as I go.

This social aspect of the game helps me build confidence in my ability to connect with strangers (without getting punched if I make a mistake.)  I role-play with my Paladin by acting out my purpose as a protector who serves others in my faction.  I support players who go all out in PVP capture the flag scenarios by healing and reviving, instead of glory seeking.  (I probably don’t play right, but I have fun and make friends.)

ian-dooley-298771-unsplash

Video games get a bad rap, but I see them as incredible tools when used to build up stress tolerance.  It’s a shortcut, (and having a childlike stress tolerance level is hell.)  Adults who are unable to self-diffuse a potential full-blown tantrum before it happens in realtime are in crisis.  Not it.  I need to be able to think before I speak or react.  Video games allow us to work it out at home, (so long as we focus on self-soothing and calming while our brain thinks the shit is hitting the fan.)

For me, I listen to ABBA Gold quietly on repeat, aim a small fan at the back of my neck, and drink soothing tea while I play.  I set a timer for sixty minutes, and I play (as a tank) for strangers with a walking break at halfway.  I know if I mess up, everyone in my group will be disappointed, and their abilities to cope with it will be all over the place.  Some will log off, while others go off.  My job is to take it all in and reflect calmness and kindness.  I feel the stress and let it pass through me, unclaimed.

Each time, it gets easier.  Eventually, the stress and fear become just part of the excitement, not a misidentified provocation to enter the fight-freeze-flight mode.  I love healing at home.  Now that I have my cherished map, it’s inevitable, and that makes me so happy.  I have all these tools and control over how I experience my life now.  The distinction is crucial to me.  I’m off to build my new toon.  💜✌🏽

“I’m an old man! I’m confused! I thought I paid for it!”

amethyst

I’m so jazzed because my comment got read on The Friend Zone podcast, the other day.  It was a double down on the best gift ever.  It tied into my recent course correction and reaffirmed I received and understood the adjustment opportunity.  Just for listening to a favorite podcast. (!!!)  And there was a follow-up gift of custom, created just for us, tools I know how to use in my healing.  Yay!  (I ordered mine, and in 2-3 weeks, I’ll show and tell.) They even gave us a heads up to set aside some fundage. 👏🏽

Seriously, if you’re not listening to The Friend Zone, why not? They’re explaining and showing how to level up in life for free.  It’s three (or more) people who are padawans out loud.  These are creatives and influencers who are playing the long, deep, sincere game.  I, for one, am not blinking.  Be nice to yourself.  (You’re on the journey of your life, and kindness feels right.)

bridge

Jade (of Jade and X.D.) presented a special podcast this week where she interviewed three teens.  They were intelligent, but as teens, they haven’t yet linked the part of their brains that allow them to translate their thoughts into language that matches their articulation potential.  It’s super frustrating, (which is why I remember so clearly, even though I’m oldish.)  Jade was a delightful, patient bridge that allowed them to share important things.

I heard them and learned about how to do better by them as an adult.  I strongly suspect these three teens did a solid for their entire generation by stepping up.  The urgency was palpable because they pretty much have to scream to get a whisper out (figuratively) at that age, which is just one of the many reasons adolescence is so traumatic.  I’m so proud of Jade and the kids.

Here’s an update on my progress with this year’s challenge.  I chose a neighbor who wears Cult 45 t-shirts.  She’s the same age as Stevie Nicks and recently retired.  She’s from a small town in Iowa, and she used to support Ben Carson before settling for 45.  Openly.  We exchanged emails yesterday after a friendly chit-chat.  We used email like long-texting for a few minutes, and she told me a little about herself.

basketball hoop

We have plans to go to the park to play basketball when the weather cooperates.  The last time, she attempted this alone, the kids in the park wouldn’t let her play.  I told her I would mediate that situation, and she was visibly relieved.  (+10 for recognizing it.)  I think we’re going to be friends by July.  It’s headed that way without me doing anything but being myself, and taking the time to connect with someone who sees the world differently than I do.

Also, I like her.  M thinks she’s a harmless kook.  (That’s pretty much his way of letting me know this is a solo expedition.) 😂  I like that M doesn’t participate in anything I do that doesn’t interest him.  He also doesn’t invite me to places I’d want to leave after ten minutes.  Like Las Vegas.  Nothing about me says: add alcohol.  😂  (The universe already taught me my body transmutes alcohol into tears.)  But I like knowing he’s having fun there, now, while I’m in my airconditioned safe place with candy. 😆

It's a beautiful life

I watched Dead to Me through twice, recently.  They had me at Christina Applegate.  Duh.  It’s brilliant.  This weekend is all Grace and Frankie on Netflix.  It’s my favorite show now that Thrones is over and Westworld hasn’t resumed.  It’s even better the second time around.  Brianna is who Daria wanted to be when she grew up.  Love.  Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are teachers.  This show is their school.  I’m learning about aging beautifully, realistically, and joyfully.

I’m also learning about sexuality, marriage, divorce, breakups, raising multiple children as a single parent, interracial adoption (FINALLY portrayed in a manner that doesn’t offend my bullshit detector) and more.  Thank you, everyone, who made it happen.  It’s a fabulous show and such a fun way to learn about life.  I’m off to continue watching.  💜✌🏽

“You’ve got a little rage.”

child swinging over water

Welp.  I’m still sporting Distracted by Everything mode.  Instead of pouting about it, I’m going to have a ramble.  First, shout out (into the void) for the cop and theme park worker who fist-bumped Karma, recently.  Way to flex your inner superheroes.  So shiny.  I’m proud of you both.  (Hey everyone, lets copy.)

(Rips off bandaid)  I got a thorough, tailored to fit like a glove, still has me a wee bit shaken, earned, course correction, the other day.  Sofa king ow.  And after much thought, the only thing I have to say in response, is, thank you, Maryam Hasnaa.  Okay, maybe more than a wee bit.  Shook, but extraordinarily and helpfully.  (How did they do that?)

I started reading; The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. It was recommended on The Friend Zone podcast recently. World rocked. So hard.  Must read.

toy soldiers

I’ve accidentally remembered and resolved several things from childhood, just from the information presented so far. There are no cures in the book, duh. But it has resources galore, and at least three of the methods defined will undoubtedly work for me (PTSD.) I’m not even done reading it yet!

Then my VA trauma popped up and said, hey. So I burned through a shitload of rage energy with my drum kit. I’m angry there exists numerous, cheap, quickly taught, scientifically supported treatments for PTSD, and not one of them were ever offered to me by the VA, despite the fact I endured several stays in the Mental Health Ward over the years and acquired the autoimmune issues that often accompany.

I’m furious to know I lost years of my life suffering needlessly, merely because the VA only decided a few days ago to follow up on giving a shit about veterans’ health. Also, that 82% trust rating of the VA hospital system by veterans is bullshit. (You only asked the ones who still bother going there.)

That’s, How To Further Lose Our Trust 101: Lie to us about how we feel about your not holding up your end of the deal ever, VA. 🖕🏽Just legalize weed and focus on the ones coming home today. The damage exists, and greedy indifference is mostly why. Maintain for us, do better for them.

masked person flipping the bird

Train all in the Mental Health department to recognize, understand, and assist veterans learning to cope with mental illness via the useful studies and tools that have been available for decades, but have been passed over in favor of medicating us. (You bastards. Shame on you. You put government contract shenanigans ahead of our health, and we know it.)  Congress, we know your part in this.  Stop fucking us for doing what most of you wouldn’t.

Years of my life spent barely functioning, believing all I could do was battle the symptoms from hour to hour, and keep my rage in check. The few times, I managed to accomplish incredible feats, such as completing my education, were hugely expensive to my body. That’s what trusting the VA got me.  My rage is healthy. I’m learning all sorts of things that are eventually going to lead to my being a devastatingly effective bitch who will get off on making sure the VA evolves into what it should have been all along. I’ve had a lot of time and experiences to draw on. Glad I got that off my chest.  ✌🏽💜

“Well, they recognized Jerry from the Super Terrific Happy Hour.”

So, this happened.  Yep.  I squeed through tears.  It’s catchy, and I was singing along before it even ended the first time.  It’s identified as a country song, but I choose to see it as Sheryl Crow Rock.  Yep, it’s a genre.  She has country and rock roots and combines them with beautiful results.  As a student of both Stevie Nicks and Sheryl Crow, I automatically know the song includes life lessons.  Bonus.

I’ve never heard of Maren Morris, but they have a lovely voice.  Like if Dolly Parton and Kristen Chenoweth had a baby, (not sure if we’re there yet scientifically, but humor me, please.)  Add to that Stevie Nicks lending her range, edge, and harmonizing skills, and Sheryl Crow being herself, and you’ll see why I’m having one of those days that are so joyful, I can’t help but thank the universe.

The song is empowering to me.  It’s saying don’t put snarky expectations on how I will react to a breakup.  Just because it would make you feel better is no reason to assume I’m going to fall apart over you.  I know how to work with my feelings, and fluidly move on to whatever comes next.  In heels.  (No bitch for emphasis necessary because if the shoe fits, it’s implied.  So ninja.) 😂  I love songs that celebrate healthy thinking.  I’m off to listen on repeat.  I can’t wait for the video! ✌🏽💜

p.s. My janky foot is almost healed enough for open hi-hatting.  Yay, body!

“I didn’t think you could detect abnormal behavior among your own kind.”

person giving side eye

I’m on the fence about continuing to blog with WordPress.  I’m not happy with the changes they’ve made to their service.  The overall vibe is greed.  Gross.  (I reserve my loyalty for corporations that are playing the long game. Thanks, Jeff Bezos, aka Ironman IRL.)  I messed up flexed one of my features, and now my ability to focus is AWOL.  Whoops.

I started brainstorming a new project with a small group and got too excited.  It’s been two days, and if anything, it’s increasing.  Sigh.  I forgot where I left my focus controller.  Welp.  I bet I sleep well tonight, at least.  I’m burning through energy like it’s an open bag of Hi-Chews.  (My need to maintain effective spoon conservation is crying in the corner.)

person flexing balance

On top of that, I sat wrong again.  Now my left foot won’t obey commands.  It’s hella numb halfway up my shin, and I keep getting a charlie horse in my arch.  Good times.  It’s gradually self-correcting, but the slowness is astonishing.  M brought me some compression socks (and said some medical stuff that floated by.)  I remembered to thank him in real time.  Yay.

All of this is related in that it’s happening while I’m present in my body, which is a new skill.  Alison 3.0 would have fled inward at the slightest hint of body betrayal.  (Blushing, because I just glimpsed my own awesome.)  Leveling up is laden with new growth opportunities.  I understand now.  The universe had to teach me how to recognize them before they started showing up all over the place.  (I used to mistake them for overwhelming obstacles.)

person with camera

The good part of being unfocused is I think differently.  It often results in new insights.  My whiteboards are covered in notes whenever this happens.  (My foot is still janky.  My hi-hat foot!)  I’m multitasking with healing now, too.  Multitasking used to set off meltdown alarms.  Well look at that;  Anxiety is my bitch, now.  Hah!  I’m going to celebrate hard because I know this means the next step is reclaiming all the shit I’ve been avoiding over it, and it’s a lot, (she said while internally reciting fear is the mind killer.)

I compared notes with some of my autistic besties (my new favorite game,) and discovered we sleep with arms in the praying mantis position.  It wreaks havoc on our arms and shoulders when we awaken numb.  Those with EDS pay far more for the habit.  (I don’t have EDS, which is likely why I think this common thing we have is fascinating.)  I’d better go and drag my foot around until it wakes up and stops playing too much.  💜✌🏽