seventhe: (Quistis: Bad Day)

I had a friend staying with me for the last two weeks (well - the last four days I've been on my ass with flu - the two weeks before that) as I'd hired them to do some document control work for me. It was -- interesting: of course they're one of my closest friends and we did fun friend things I love doing with them; but the older I get the more I confirm that I don't like living with folks very much. There are some benefits, like when you get a partner who does your dishes when you cook, but -- spending every night in a week hanging out with someone exhausts me so much that by the end, no matter if they're someone incredible, I can't wait for them to go the hell away and leave me the hell alone.

I am a horrible person! \o/

The thing is, this time, I've learnt something very interesting, almost by accident.

The two weeks my friend happened to be here - and coming on-site, for training and introductory work - ended up being two very rough weeks for the site, operationally, and for me, as Operations Manager. Almost every day wore me out - some days I had to go home and take naps before I could even really be coherent. I tried to explain to my friend that this just happened, on rough days, and that I thought it was the infamous "fibro fog" in my head *, and I just needed a break.

But it kept happening, over and over, almost every freaking day while they were here.

Then, one of their last days in my house, I went and took a Vicodin before collapsing on the couch and ordering something brainless. We got a drink apiece, and put on Criminal Minds (which I of course have memorized at this point so brainless really is the key answer here) and when I got up to refill my drink and get some food, I noticed that in the 30-or-so min it took for the Vic to really kick in, I suddenly felt enormously better. I mentioned this recovery to my friend and said, "Huh, I guess all I needed was a break and a pain pill."

They then mentioned that they could tell when I was having the fibro fog problems. They said my voice changed - all the energy dropped out of it; sometimes it slurred - and, my sentences were all out of order, I was using the wrong words in some places. I couldn't stay focused. A couple times I wasn't focusing on driving. They said the difference between normal-me and fog-me was so obvious to an external observer - hugely noticeable.

I was actually kind of floored, and it made me think: because I feel fibro fog all the time, right, but when it hits, but I thought ... I thought it was in my head? I thought I was ... working through it? Hiding it? I didn't think it was that big of a deal. Really, I didn't; so what if I'm a little tired and having some trouble concentrating. That happens to everyone.

Apparently, not really; not really like this, not really at all.

So that's lesson one from the two-week stay: pay more attention to fibro fog, because it is real and you aren't hiding it.

The second step came when I finally made a link between a fibro flareup / fibro fog and what causes it: I am, apparently, hypersensitive to overstimulation. It made everything click - made it all make sense. This particular friend lands high on the stimulation scale - more interaction required, for example, than settling / relaxation - which was obviously contributing to my discomfort; it also makes sense as a portion of the reason I don't like people in my house, even when I don't "have" to entertain them or feed them or care for them: they are still there; they are stimulation. When I am alone, I control my stimulation, and if I need to rewatch Criminal Minds for the three-dozenth time: well, that's pretty low stimulation.

It also explains why the fucking revolving door of my office irritates me so: I do great on days I have mainly to myself and can focus on cranking out one or two things, or on days where there's a big disaster (some stimulation!) but my entire day becomes focused only on solving that one problem. On days where I'm in my office trying to plug through my responsibilities and someone different comes in every 15 minutes ** with a new question, or problem, or even just update on something that could have waited, or whatever ... that's overstimulation kicking in.

It's why days of my job are so hard on me when I feel like they maybe shouldn't be. It's why cons always exhaust me (to the point where, while I love seeing my friends, I'm not sure they're much worth the brain fog). It's why travel is so distasteful. It's why weekends with my family feel like chores even as I enjoy them: I am - my fibro is - sensitive to overstimulation.

I've been testing and applying this finding since I realized it, in small ways, and I'm actually hoping that it's the first step in finding the work/health balance point I so desperately need to find.

SO, yeah. I'm going to be focusing on reducing stimulation at work, for the next few weeks, to see if that helps me bring any more of my energy back home. Door closed for part of every day. Soothing music, maybe. Reduce clutter in my office. And - if I start feeling fibro fog coming on - it's time to go home. I do not need anyone at work seeing me like that anymore. Apparently my sentences barely make sense.

*: [http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/basics/symptoms/con-20019243] || [http://www.nfra.net/fibromyalgia-fibro-fog.htm] || [http://www.fmnetnews.com/free-articles/enews-alert-samples/fibro-fog] || [http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/fibromyalgia-fog] || [http://www.health.com/health/condition-article/0,,20326433,00.html] || quick google search to illustrate

**: I have actually gathered data on this. My average over a 40-hr week is one interruption every 17 minutes.

confusing

Nov. 14th, 2014 01:18 pm
seventhe: (Edge/Rydia: no return)
It is probably a side effect of the drugs, the stress, or the combination of both, but for the last few weeks I've been living in a state where my dreams contain very real things to the point where I wake up and go about my day and find myself unable to remember or differentiate which things I dreamed and which actually happened.

It's stuff that rides the edge of real and possible: the costume-armor I put on to become a dragon, probably not; the confession that a semi-distant online friend had a crush on me, though: real or dream? Conversations at work, communication exchanges. These days, I dream in email, in text messages, in tumblr and phone calls.

It's a very strange feeling to be struck by a recollection or a deja-vu only to then be sidelined by the question of whether or not what I'm remembering is a dream-image or a real-one.
seventhe: (Quistis: Bad Day)
I am fighting a losing battle to make this entry about something other than work.

I had a tiny, tiny bit of a breather in October in which I realized I have forgotten what it's like to have hobbies. I consider hobbies something I'm actively involved in, even if it's minimal: things like sewing, knitting, writing, those are hobbies; watching Netflix, reading Tumblr, browsing Pinterest, those are not. (Gaming is an interesting crossover, because sometimes it actively involves me like a hobby and sometimes it tunes my brain out like a relaxing non-hobby - depends on the evening, my mood, and what I'm doing in the game.) I have - or I had - many things I considered hobbies: writing, knitting, and sewing being the ones I've been attempting to pick back up, but one can also toss in drawing, photography, blogging, house projects, even running and swimming in some lights.

I've forgotten how to have hobbies. I've lost the ability - the energy - to come home and relax via activity: my relaxing time comes strictly from inactivity, ie watching Criminal Minds reruns on Netflix, or lying on the floor. Part of this is the chronic pain, the exhaustion, the fibro fog -- when playing a video game feels like a chore, I'm pretty sure that's rock bottom. But part of it is just being so overwhelmed and overstimulated by my job that I don't have even 1% of battery left to engage in any kind of creative pursuit.

The realization came, as they do, right on the back of a mental epiphany for the future universe I have planned in which I write a series of horribly trash novels about lesbian werewolves in space. I was driving home from the seminar I gave at OU and my brain just randomly decided to figure out how the magic works in the universe, which was the push I needed to sit down at my desktop for something other than Dragon Age.

It was a very confusing feeling. I have the memory of wanting to write, of having an idea, of sitting down and generating notes and plot outlines and sometimes just spilling words, sentences, strings of thoughts and ideas filling up the screen (in abundance, sometimes, because let's face it, I can be the tl;dr of abundant wordcount) --but I had forgotten how to - saying "how to write" isn't exactly it, because sentences and ideas were still coming to mind. I had forgotten how to reach the mindset of "hobby".

I've since then been trying to reclaim it, in the interest of the genderqueer vampires who want to fly spaceships, but it's a slow process. The weirdest bit has been realizing I lost it in the first place.

When you forget how to have a hobby, I think that's a pretty good sign you need to reevaluate your life choices.
seventhe: (chocobo: hey bb)
I come home from work every day with the intention of working more. I realize this sounds dangerously pathetic or pathetically dangerous - choose one! - but it's the way I get myself out the door: go home, just bring this one thing, NOT EVERYTHING, just this one thing; working from home is much more comfortable and productive than being in the office anyway, you can have no pants on and cats get in your lap and there is always wine and music and more comfortable chairs and your wife the hot pad! don't you love your wife? DON'T YOU LOVE YOUR WIFE SEVENTHE DON'T YOU

it's a fine compromise that I am actually more than willing to make: the workload never stops, but it's much nicer working from home, PLUS it's much nicer to come home and be able to focus and do a much better job on something. it's nice to come home to an hour of catching up on email, or 45 minutes of pulling data into a report: I don't work all night; it's just small individual tasks I can get done in a low-key and helpful way.

But lately. BUT LATELY: lately, I come home and my brain just won't focus on the work. I have this report about all of the kerfuddlefuckery that has taken my plant down for four weeks already that the CEO asked me to write and I am all yes sir please let me hand-deliver this horrible news to your office, shall I seal it in my blood now or later like I actually do want to write this report and show what we are doing, what we are fixing, what we are facing - what the dumb godsbefucked people before me left to us, what I have sacrificed the last fucking six weeks to defeating which is like running a thousand goddamn marathons all at once on three hours of shitty sleep because I have been up at night worrying about my plant and my people because everything is goddamn fucked right now and -- and anyway, I want to write this report. But I get home and I open it and my brain gives this long-ass, horrible groan-sigh noise just like : reeeeeeeally, Sev, we are going to do this?

I am not going that way. No.


I'm trying, I want to, I'm in a comfy chair with the laptop on my lap right now. Come on, fucker. I just need an hour of your energy and we'll be ok.

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