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Broken Routine

I should really try to remember that I am capable of breaking myself.

I am, sad to say, a creature of intense routine. I don't mind traveling and doing Other Stuff, but then I want to come home and have everything be exactly like it should be and do normal things that don't change for a stretch of time. I thrive on novelty, provided it occurs when I want it to and that I don't have to do it all the time.

Between Kevin traveling, Brandon passing, a week trip (a good trip!) two bouts of illness and dog auditions, I've managed to pretty much knock myself out of my home routine, though, (some of which was my fault and some of which was just life) and now I am wandering around in an anxious haze, going "This is not my beautiful house...this is not my beautiful beagle..."

I suppose if we were getting technical, it's something like a mild transient dissociative episode in response to stress. Which basically just means that everything's a little off. The house seems weird and small and lit wrong. I know where everything IS, it's not like I don't live there, but it seems like I'm about a half-step back from where I ought to be, and, most unsettling, days are passing too quickly and I am in imminent danger of lose track of my schedule.

This isn't that unusual--about thirty percent of the population reports that this happens to them now and again, so I'm not running off to a psychiatrist or try to get a CAT scan for the brain tumor that I could convince myself it lurking--but it's not all that fun. I know it's a stress response. I just need to get back in the routine for a week or two and things will gradually smooth back into normal and the world will cease to be weird and out of order. (I am not actually that far behind, truth be told--I have like one project that I need to finish, but everything else is on track. Except for weeding the garden. The weeding is dismal. I am mostly hoping that our bitter cold snap this weekend will take care of some of it for me.)

(Actually, if the garden wasn't all dead brown leaves and chickweed, I'd probably feel better, come to that. Winter's always off.)

Anyway, Kevin says that I am not acting weird, and he'd be the first one to notice. I am a more anxious person than I generally let on, but the occasional spike won't kill me.

Now, I'm older and wiser than I used to be (har) and so I will actually try to DO the correct thing instead of going "An emotionally healthy person could deal with this! ONWARD!" It's sort of the mental equivalent of feeling my back twinge--if I keep going, I'm gonna throw my brain out, but presumably if I am sensible and take it easy, it will settle. (Have thrown brain out once or twice. Ends badly every time.)

So I am going to stick to my Normal Schedule Of Normal Things That I Do Normally and hope I relax a bit. Woo! Normalcy.

I used to think it was overrated, but the older I get, the more I think there's something to be said for it...


I hear you.

I like my normality... but I think it's built on sand.

Have you tried meditation? I mean the kind where you empty your mind completely for 2-3 minutes. It's really hard to do, but it will help de-stress you.

(Have thrown brain out once or twice. Ends badly every time.)

I have referred to "spraining my brain" before as well.

I think part of 'growing up' is learning to listen to your body/brain because sometimes the stuff it's telling you is important!

I love novelty and adventures, too... on my terms.

Having a safe, stable home and routine is essential for me to function properly -- I'm pretty laissez-faire about things like "What time do I get up in the morning?", but it's important that when I *do* get up, my tea and sugar and cereal and milk are all where they're supposed to be.

Breaks in routine are awful when they do things like "Urgent phone call wakes me up, need to go in living room to look stuff up on computer or get insurance card out of purse"... because they lead to issues like "forgot to take morning meds," because the meds are in plain sight in the master bath, but if I'm in another part of the house and wind up making breakfast after a call or doorbell, I can wind up making myself quite ill by skipping my morning doses.

You're also both grieving for Brandon and worried about Gir and the cats and picking a new dog who is going to work well in your household and not endanger your other pets -- don't sell yourself short on Ability To Cope, that's a lot for anyone to be stressed about.

*hugs and sympathy*

Hope things get easier and more safe/familiar/comfortable for you soon.


Everything you said.

I handled stress better when I could come home and sink into My Space and just do the things that *I* needed to do.
Caregiving and being on the road… not so much anymore.

Thank you.

I am feeling that way too. It's nice to know that I'm not alone.

I hear you. I tell myself it's just a tempest in the teapot.

Routine does help get us through those periods of brain tizzy. Stress or exhaustion, for whatever reason, even a low-grade virus or the flu will do that. All four of us have been having some bug that's knocked us out, some days I've been like, "doh"...

Take care, Ursula!

I was going to gently note w/r/t dog stress that you've had a hell of a few weeks, between everyone being sick and all the traveling and losing Brandon and and and and... okay, owls aren't really negative, but trekking around finding owls can be a kind of eustress thing. ;) You have been doing an awful lot of Stuff for an introvert. Glad to hear you're taking care of yourself. Tea, books, blankets, cats, Vin Diesel, whatever. As my favorite undergraduate mentor always said to me, "This too shall pass." And hopefully a "new" year with increased garden species and an awesome rescue dog lies on the other side.

I've been working through that sort of thing lately. I went to visit my mother (she's in Texas, I'm near Seattle) last month. She was in the hospital, then rehab/nursing home for a month or so, and has just "graduated" into assisted living (with the help of my sister, who lives near her). What's weird is that even though I'm here and she's there, knowing that her world is different there is messing my brain up here.

Thing is, this one's a neverending story until she's gone altogether, which is not something I want to think about in the least because I don't want her gone, so it's no good to try to look forward to "when this is over and I can get my life back to normal again."

It does make me wonder what my brain's going to be like for the forseeable future. Not pretty, I suspect.

And when I think about how this is affecting me, I feel so selfish...

Oh, don't. Stress isn't a zero-sum game--just because somebody has a terrible upheaval doesn't mean that the people around them don't feel aftershocks.

Oh my god! I didn't realize this was a thing that happened to other people! Like light looks dimmer or wrongly colored or I can't find things that are right in front of me when I'm stressed. But then, I don't deal well with a certain level of stress either. For me it happens more often when I haven't had enough introvert time.
Which is really frickin' difficult when you're a high school teacher, an academic coach, and have a new boyfriend.


Yeah, I always feel like I'm wearing a hat that shades my eyes or something--nothing is bright enough and it's a little too far away. It was strange today because it was clear for the first time in weeks and I kept thinking it was cloudy out.

This is the reason I practice Chanoyu (Japanese Tea Ceremony).  My "cave" has tatami,  and there all is exactly arranged.   An oasis of order.  You're always welcome to come have tea :)

I have Aspergers Syndrome, and I have REAL issues with breaking routines. I can do it, as long as I'm prepared for it, and I do better if it's still a familiar environment. I don't deal well with unexpected changes in plans. I tend to melt down. It's not pretty.

All this is to say that I know about your brain throwing the toys out of the crib because something it doesn't like just occurred. *hugs* Like the Little Nash Rambler, this too shall pass.

http://imgur.com/gallery/LLVbdPz <- that.

*hugs* you've been through a lot of upheaval, and this is probably normal. That doesn't make getting through it any easier, i know, but keep at it. Best Wishes.

I love you, tiny potato!

Umm, yeah. Missed seeing you in Redmond last-but-one weekend because spent last 3 weeks trying to get Seattle house ready for movers and realtors. Packers came last Wednesday. Movers showed up Friday with 50-foot trailer. Loaded (I kid you not) 18 TONS of stuff into trailer. (Yes, our Stuff weighed 36,000 lbs. Record for van driver in 30 years of residential moves. That's what happens when you collect large quantities of a) books and b) old electronic test equipment.)

Movers arrived at new house in San Jose yesterday and *filled* house and garage and rented storage space with boxes. Now I'm wandering around in complete daze, preparing to head to airport at 0-dark-30 tomorrow to fly across the country for an SF convention. But after *that* we get to recover for at least a week...

Never. Moving. House. Again!

Redmond to San Jose? That puts you down in my neck of the woods. If you don't already know people down there and want info on where things are and how to find the good stuff, don't hesitate to ask.

I'm a mental health professional and do a lot of work with people who are stressed and/or anxious.

Ursula, you are eminently sensible. ROUTINE IS GREAT. Especially if that routine involves things like nature, getting up at the same time every day, and being around the right amount of people - not too many, and not too few.

Stress does all sorts of things to people. I have hallucinated from stress before, and am currently, I suspect, mildly dissociated. And I'm getting nightmares (thanks, loss of tender and massive job losses at work!!!). And chest pain. Gotta love stress responses. The best thing to do is maintain as normal a routine as possible, and slowly but surely even with lots going on, the world starts to make sense again. Go easy on yourself :)