November 25th, 2016

dreams, insomnia, sleep

Bad dreams

I had terrible dreams last night that woke me up repeatedly. The worst one was when I found a tiny kitten that had been disemboweled, and I was trying to push its internal organs back into its body and figure out how to sew it up. I knew the kitten would be okay if I just did it right, but I didn't really know what I was doing, and the sight of the suffering kitten with its guts all showing was very traumatic. I woke up and was really afraid to go back to sleep, because I was afraid the dream would pick up where it left off.

I've been having health troubles of the physical and emotional variety. I caught a not-terrible-but-very-persistent cold that has had my nose stuffed up & my head very muzzy for more than a week. I've been feeling a bit better the past 2 days, so I'm hoping to have enough brain power to be able to tackle some computer issues today (problems that arose resulting from using Time Machine after my hard drive had to be replaced a couple weeks ago, like Photoshop no longer working, the Google Drive folder disappearing, etc.).

Anxiety has been a serious issue, and it looks like I've swung back up into hypomania, or at least Shannon and my therapist both think so & I've seen some symptoms myself, such as irrational spending urges. I considered spending $25 to commission a piece of "phan" art ("phan" refers to the Phil/Dan relationship, as regards the two YouTubers I've been obsessed with lately) for someone I've never met, because I received their name in a Secret Santa exchange. In the end, the artist said she would prefer that I write a piece of fanfiction for her, which I did happily and easily (since I've been writing prolifically while hypomanic) and so did not, in fact, spend a bunch of money on some ephemeral gift for an unknown person. I've also been considering subscribing to the new Photoshop (since mine stopped working and I keep feeling overwhelmed by the recommended process to try to get it working again), even though it costs a bazillion dollars a year (well, $240, but that feels like a bazillion when it's a continuing cost instead of a one-time purchase fee). I've tested it out with the free trial, and I like it fine. I don't know. Maybe I'll pay for one month with my own money, then pay for a year with Christmas money or something.

For a little while, it looked like our move to Hawaii might be less certain as a result of the election results, because Shannon might lose his health insurance if the ACA goes away, and that contributed to my anxiety a lot, because awareness of this upcoming move to Hawaii has been really shoring me up emotionally for the past few months. But then he did a bunch of research, and it looks like even if the ACA disappears, insurance won't be a problem, so that helped my mood tremendously. I hadn't realized how much the prospect of not getting to move to Hawaii was getting me down until it lifted.

I've also been thinking (and discussing with my new CWC intern, Laya) that my fear of water and swimming is fine when we visit Hawaii one week a year, but that I might want to work on it in advance if we're actually going to be living there. So I'm thinking about joining the local YMCA and doing a number of things to help become more comfortable in water: taking some water aerobics classes, taking their aqua tai chi class, working up to being comfortable with the deep water aerobics class (where they use floats to keep you at the surface), and practicing putting my face in the water while I have my feet on the ground and one hand on the side of the pool. I think just jumping right into attempts to snorkel in the ocean waves was maybe not the best way to do it, and I'll try a more gradual approach instead. I'm even thinking about paying for individual swim lessons with someone who can help me work with my fear resulting from my two near-drowning experiences (one when I was a small child and one just a few years ago). I'd like to become more comfortable in the water if I'm going to live on a small island surrounded by warm ocean, living with a husband who loves to swim, and living near two relatives who swim regularly.

In other news, I've finished a self-portrait that I love madly. It's my favorite thing I've done in a long time, and it's been a while since I said that about any of my art work. And I've started a big new project (on a 20"x24" canvas, which is much larger than I usually use), which is a sort of multi-colored night sky—sort of the colors of my hair, in blues, greens, and purples—which will have a silhouette of a tree in the foreground. My art tends to include a lot of night skies and trees, along with the numerous self-portraits. And this one is mostly painting with acrylics, with little or no collage, which is new to me, but I'm using it as an opportunity to play around with something unfamiliar. I've already learned a lot, like the fact that canvas is "thirsty" (it soaks up a lot more paint than paper), and so I have to use a lot more paint than I'm used to. It's fun to play around and learn new things!

My most recent self-portrait pleases me so much because it's largely about childhood trauma, but from a perspective of now being protected and safe, so it didn't feel scary or upsetting. It was just like looking at the past as an explanation of why this new feeling of safety is so important and precious to me. I'll try to get a good picture of it to post here.

Yesterday we got to spend a nice Thanksgiving with Shannon's mom's side of the family (Bev, Bob, Robby, Jason, and Lisa), though the very tasty turkey put me into a coma for a while and then the pumpkin pie triggered my egg sensitivity. My egg sensitivity seems to have become much worse over the past couple years, to the point where I mostly need to just avoid it as much as possible. Very upsetting, because I love eggs and eggy things like custards. Recent experimentation indicates that I can have french toast or fried rice if I haven't had any other egg recently, but I think that's sort of the limit. No more omelets for me, unless I want to feel very sick. Sadness.

Well, I think that's all for now. My Dan and Phil obsession continues unabated. I've written a fair amount of "phanfic" now and have even tried my hand at "podfic," which is when you record yourself reading a fanfiction story aloud so people can listen to fic while doing housework or going for walks, instead of only being able to read actual fic text. I love podfics, myself, and have listened to many of them in the Sherlock fandom, so I got the idea a few weeks ago to give it a try. I can't do it right now, because I'm still sort of congested and sound funny, but I've finished one short one (20 minutes) and plan to try a longer one when my voice gets back to normal. It's fun to try new things.

All this interest in trying new things is probably also indicative of hypomania. Well, at least I'm not depressed.