May 2019
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where has all my energy gone? / focus time / Kylei's wonderful conversations / stresses stressesssss

icon: "overwhelmed (the character Keenan from "Playing By Heart," with hands over their face covering their eyes and head tilted back)"

I've had a strange few weeks as I've been working at my new job and finding that I don't have the energy to do much besides work and maybe one outing a week. I got out and about more often than this when I was working at the awful job where I was harassed by my boss and that really perplexes me. Talking about it in Intimacy Practice last Sunday made me realize that even though I don't have a lot of actively or significantly negative things in my life, most of the things in my life are equaling out to neutral or slightly negative. Like hanging out with friends - if I go see someone, that takes effort and money stress, and then the interaction starts out already at a deficit. So I need the interaction to actively nourish me or else I spent too much energy. I talked with Topaz and realized it would be helpful if I figured out what would make me feel back in balance, energy-wise, and asked ahead of time if people would be willing to give that to me. I think eye contact and foot rubs (not at the same time) would do a lot. My friends are already good about trading off who drives to who, but that doesn't help in the moment. And probably I need to only meet halfway if we're not having focus time.

It was weird realizing that I needed to spend more time with Kylei that was in a house, because when we are in nature or in public there are so many distractions. We definitely can have focus time in those places but it is very difficult. And with Topaz it is the opposite -- we have gotten in a habit of watching netflix all the time and so being at home usually means we don't get focus time. We need to remember to set that time aside in the middle of the day, instead of waiting until we are exhausted and finally going to bed and then talking for an hour because we have hardly had a conversation all day. I don't think I have ever had deliberate focus time with any of my other local close friends. I want to change that.

Spending time with Kylei this week was so, so, so wonderful and nourishing. I went to their house, which was a VERY long drive, and I arrived frazzled and overheated. They gave me some orange juice and bread and sat with me while I took it in and settled, and then we went to their room and we had a short nap and then we hung out, just cuddling and talking and making lots of eye contact. Oh Godde, that was a relief. Lengthy eye contact that felt balanced in its flow, not interrupted or pushed or pulled. And talking with them I realized something I love so so so much about them -- that they reflect on things I say and take them further, and then share that with me. I can't think of an actual example, but what I mean is I'll say something like "I think you are happier now that XYZ is true" and they'll either ponder on that out loud with why they agree or disagree, or they'll reflect silently and then when I ask what they are thinking they'll tell me. I'd say most people are not responsive in that way. Most people will take in what I say, but not turn it over and play with it to see what new thing they could realize from it like Kylei does. It feels so good, it feels like a kind of affirmation that they value my thoughts and my sharing. And I love it the more because it's not for my sake, it's just how Kylei works.

I can't remember what it was I used to get out of going and spending time with people -- am I getting less or is there something wrong with me now? I feel like it's both. Like, I used to get more out of going to spend time with people because they gave more focused time because usually I was dating them. I hate that people just don't have a habit of doing that with those they aren't dating. Or really, with anyone. I mean, I don't even think of it myself except with people I already have that habit with.

Why on earth don't I have more energy?? I don't think I'm depressed. I worry that I'm developing or starting to exhibit some kind of anxiety issue because I never used to be so weighed down with the billion tiny stresses. I don't feel like I'm dealing with more than average, I'm just dealing badly with the average amount of stress. There are so many tiny stresses that are just bothering me SO MUCH. It my reaction is out of proportion, it's ridiculous. [a pile of stresses]The refrigerator isn't working properly and is leaking and is making my food go bad quicker than it should (this just started and has ruined my smoothie streak) which makes me not want to buy anything that will go bad which means I eat stuff that isn't as healthy which means I feel worse. My upstairs bathroom is all wrecked and two of my indoor plants are dying despite my best efforts. My cat is being picky and I'm worried they're going to not eat the rest of the great big multi-pack of wet food I just got to help them not end up with bladder infections. So I'm worried I'll have to get more and then if they don't eat that then they might get seriously ill. The living room is covered in my last half-finished crafting project. I really want to finish that project but I really don't want to finish it and have it go nowhere just like all my other art. I have two giant piles of laundry in the hallway because I am putting off doing laundry because the dryer is not working properly and everything has to go through twice to get dry. There's a bunch of recycling I need to take out. I'm not finished setting up the cuddle room and I want to have it ready by this weekend because I'm having a gather in it. Also Topaz is dealing with a ton of actually bad shit and I can't do a damn thing about it and it makes me feel helpless and full of dread. Also my car needs to go to the shop but I don't have the money to take it. And I need to go to the dentist (I haven't been in 15 years) but I don't have the money. And I need to go to the dermatologist about what might be skin cancer but I don't have the money. And I need new bras (some are too small and some are too worn out) but I don't have the money. And I need new shoes (I only have one pair and they're over a year old now) but I don't have the money. And I realized that my camera takes blurry photos most of the time and I want to replace it with an older model that actually allows me to set things but that feels like a huge risk (I think I could trade it in for an older one for no extra cost but it would need to be old and unused as the inside parts die over even the most gentle use). Also my shoulder/neck has been hurting for like five days now, slowly getting a little better but ugh, it's awful. Also I'm planning to go on vacation in late August with my biofamily and just found out my grandmother is going -- I find it very hard to be relaxed around them because I feel so much judgement and just massive lack of understanding. I was looking forward to it before I found that out. Also I'm past due for an eye exam but have to put it off because I know I won't be able to pay a random hundred before my second job starts in September. I have several things I have promised to ship but I haven't had money and memory and time all at the same time and that makes me feel like the WORST PERSON. So fucking many of these stresses could be fixed with money. It makes me want to scream and cry.

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hardigrin ══╣╠══
That's a shitty pile of stresses. You're right that none of them are huge, but *all* of them affect your ability to recharge and/or function. It seems entirely unmysterious to me that you're drained. *hugs if you want them*

Good luck. Maybe there will be a positive snowball and if you fix one thing, all the others will get easier? *optimismmm?*

Also, omigod yes I like the way Kylei's brain plays with ideas like they were shiny toys.
queerbychoice ══╣╠══
Here, maybe I can sort through your pile of stresses for you and make it a little easier to deal with.

Top priorities: dermatologist and taking your car to the shop. Prioritize because you won't be able to do anything else without being alive and you won't be able to do much else without your car working.

Middle priorities: your cat's health, your refrigerator, and the dentist. These problems could end up costing additional money the longer you put them off, and also causing additional stress to your cat and therefore to you. (The eye exam is also important, but putting it off isn't likely to make it become more expensive. If you don't actually perceive yourself to be having vision problems, you can probably put the other expenses I've listed above ahead of this one.)

Everything else seems like a lower priority: it creates emotional stress but can probably stand to go unaddressed for a while. You might want to consider not going on that trip with your biofamily after all, though: a vacation is not supposed to be something that you dread.

Does that help?
stray_infinity ══╣╠══

I like your contribution by prioritizing the things on Bel's to-do list. I agree with how you've sorted them for the most part, but I'd argue that taking care of the refrigerator is a Top Priority. When shit hits the fan, you want to preserve not only having the means to perform important duties outside of the home (as in, having a car and the funds) but also maintaining good health and feeling physically capable.

The human body doesn't take kindly to not having what it needs and then being required to handle stress :).

belenen ══╣progressing╠══
This list didn't help because I can't prioritize things over food and gas and necessary bills to live, which is taking all my money right now. BUT the idea was very helpful. Listing out all my stresses and sorting them is a coping method I hadn't used before and it works, so I'm going to keep it in mind.
delicatexflower ══╣MISC-girl-bluebutterflyface╠══

oh bel! in my opinion that is A LOT going on. food is the fuel for the brain and if your food is going back and you have to rely on "other foods" to get you back, it can really affect your thinking and feeling. :( i'm sorry you have to deal with that. i hope your fridge can be fixed soon!

it can be devastating seeing plants wither away :( i don't think it's anything you are doing. i blame climate change. a lot of my plants are dying or not growing either. the only ones that are growing is a desert kind of plant i have. i can link it to you if you want some green and not see dying plants :(

keep notes on your cat. if you find out findings to be concerning, then you may need to act on it. it's not here or there, so just keep an eye for now.

my living room is in the same shape. it can feel crowded and overwhelming, but as you say, lack of space is a problem. do you have a storage closet? i am trying to get the money together to get one for my crafts. you can see where everything is and it's useful. hope that helps!

aw, your dryer isn't working? is it possible for you to buy laundry rope and pins for you to hang either in your house or outside? it's summer so you can at least use that sun to your advantage!

you are not a super hero. the best thing you can do for topaz is comfort, love and support them.sometimes even a hug and a "i love you" is good enough. <3

cars are so expensive :( i don't know how americans afford everything! it must be why most people are in debt with credit cards :(

if you can't afford dentist, look into dentist schools. they are 50% off since a dentist student is working on your teeth (they already passed all of their exams) a DDS looks on, so you aren't left alone with someone who doesn't know what they are doing.

the dermatologist thing is serious :( check this outthey offer free skin cancer screenings. <3

do you have any second hand stores? i don't know how you feel about buying bras there, but there's that. if not, tell me your size and i can see if i find anything of me i can mail to you. <3

i will write more in my reply when i have time but *super big hugs* i read this all and you are in my thoughts.
bunnika ══╣╠══
darkestgarden ══╣╠══
I feel you on all the little stresses that having money would fix. People say money can't buy happiness but it would certainly make me feel better to have the financial opportunity to take care of my basic needs. It sucks and I think it has been a major contributor to the development and perpetuation of my own anxiety disorder.

How hot and humid does it get in your home? If you're not running the AC most of the time then it can really take a toll on your fridge. Like the temp differences are drastic. Also, if you haven't cleaned the coils on your fridge that can help a lot. It's quick and easy to do, just make sure you don't electrocute yourself in the process. I would happily do it for you if I were local.
kiwi ══╣╠══
That's a lot of stress. :(

I don't have anything helpful to say but am sending you hugs and positive thoughts in hopes that things settle down soon for you.
call_me_katya ══╣╠══
I had a smiliar realisation recently, that although I was scheduling 'positive' outings and hangouts, that if I scheduled too many it was lessening the significance of the really important ones and turning all of them into a chore. I ended up worse off than if I had just sat at home and not tried to arrange anything as arranging drains me. I now only arrange hangouts on days when I am doing NOTHING else so I can give them full attention and I have the energy. This means each encounter will have me at my best and both I and the other person will benefit.

As for your stresses, I agree with Queerbychoice. Your skin is the highest priority with the car next. Not that I'm discounting the others, but often putting things in some sort of list order helps. I can't help with the money though, and I wish I had some suggestions in that area. Would the money you save if you skipped the [possibly stressful] vacation be enough for these things?

I'm so sorry for all these things happening though. I hope your weekend gather is nourishing and that you find strength to do the things that it is within your capabilities to do. I hope you also get the rest you need, and that Topaz's situation improves. x
callmebee ══╣╠══
Stress is a nasty beast that sticks its head into things that are better left alone.

I find that when someone I love or care about is experiencing major stress, I often absorb and project that onto the little stresses that build up as part of normal life. It's subconscious and makes everything seem impossible. Perhaps your worry and feelings of helplessness concerning Topaz's "actually bad shit" is leaking into the other things and making them seem bigger than life. Sort of like, "If I can't fix THIS, I must not be able to fix anything."

And if we're talking about priorities, this would be my list:

1. Scream and cry. Screaming is therapeutic and crying is magic.

2. Do your laundry. Yes, you have to run it twice and it's going to be a pain, but it is something you can do right this instant that will make you feel better. Maybe just a load a day or something if it takes just TOO long to dry. Or air dry some things in the bathroom to help speed it up. ALSO, it could just be a clogged dryer vent. That's a pretty easy fix that you might want to check into and costs little to no money.

The rest. . . The rest needs some careful financial planning. Not fun, and sometimes impossible to make work. The fridge is probably important. I don't have any useful suggestions for that unless you rent, then just make your landlord fix it or get you a new one.

*sending love and good vibes*
koyaaniisqatsi ══╣╠══
Sorry to hear that all the stress has been piling up. It's always the accumulation of little things that frazzle me the most.

One of the things I love the most about my partner is that we can have reflective talks. I find that I learn more and more about myself as well as him when we talk. :)
raidingparty ══╣╠══
Would it help to have a work-buddy? When I'm stuck on something, I've found it much easier to get going again when someone's coaching me along and (sometimes literally) holding my hand.
Another notorious way of doing things is by finding an even more odious task, and doing the other stuff as a way of delaying the odium. ;9
belenen ══╣garrulous╠══
oh, it really helps to have company to do things, when they are things I can do. Unfortunately living a tedious drive from everyone means I can't use that option very often :-p
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.