I have plenty of good stuff to talk about, so don’t worry that it’s all doom and gloom over at the Spooky house. But, in the interest of information and education I’m gonna tell you about the hard things I have going on, since losing my service dog. The short version is regression and aggression. These are things to prepare for while you can so you can manage the shock to your system.
My biggest issue is not sleeping. I’m going to bed at midnight, waking up at 2. That’s with my bulletproof routine, melatonin, bedtime herbal tea, and being exhausted. I’m tired through the day and having trouble concentrating. I’m forgetting way more than is typical for me, and have stopped going to social stuff.
I’ve found a work around with medication that is getting me 6 to 8 hours but I’m waking up groggy and with sore muscles. This morning, I think my collar bone was partially dislocated. That’s the downside of crashing hard with pharma. My muscles get too relaxed, but I still try to flail and fight in my sleep and it doesn’t wake me up.
This leads into the other “new” issue I’m having. Everything hurts. It’s a mix of stress and anxiety that has lowered my pain tolerance. Where I was blazing new trails and pushing myself just a few weeks ago, I’m back to babying every ache and grudgingly moving around. I’m really missing that whole, “It hurts but I feel great” attitude. I keep going out and trying to reclaim that, but it’s slow going and my recovery is pretty slow.
Before I go further, I’m going to drop some science for you. Trauma changes us. Not just our brains, but our whole body on a micro cellular level. It rewrites our psyche and alters the way our body handles threats and stressors. That trauma is in our DNA now. There is no cure. Our brains are processing threats at such a degree that our body is dumping hormone after hormone, trying to survive all the emergencies that our newly rewired brain sees. We are flooded with cortisol. Cortisol is trash. I hate it.
That’s why so many of us have autoimmune disorders like diabetes, insulin resistance, PCOS, and (I am guessing) fibromyalgia. But there’s hope with nutrition management. Before I lost my dog, I was doing a fine job of eating an anti-inflammatory diet, managing my physical needs, exercising. I lost stubborn weight and was seeing those tell-tale signs of autoimmune issues fade. It was uphill, but it was getting better.
Now, I’m sliding. My diet is still as good as it was, I’m still grudgingly exercising, and burning off those anxiety fueled adrenaline dumps, but I’m super inflamed and it shows. It’s also screwing with my blood sugar and my glorious weight loss. This is that shitty guy, cortisol. The stress of white knuckling through grocery trips, leaving my house, medical appointments, and answering the phone is at an all time high and I’m a cortisol factory. I fucking hate cortisol.
Have I mentioned the aggression? I’ve never been a peach, but I’d gotten out of the habit of being so terrible that people hang up on me or told me how bad I was. I’m starting to get hung up on again. It sucks.
So. This is life after dog. It’s uphill and it’s regression. We can’t plan for everything, but knowing it’s coming gives you a chance to make an action plan now. Who will you call during an attack? Dust off those breathing exercises and grounding skills. Download a few meditation apps, or just a favorite play list. Maybe a couple simple games. Start carrying ear plugs and filtered sun glasses. Talk to your doctor about emergency meds for days that things get out of control. We have all made a TON of progress with our partners at our side. There’s no reason to back slide into our pre-dog state. It just takes planning and mindset to hold on.
Article written by: DV SpookyCat; She doesn't purr but she will tell you if you're an asshole.
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