So I have a kidney infection! Hold on, not confirmed. I have an infection. All symptoms seem to be pointing towards my kidneys with the pain under ribs and middle back. And I’m pleased. No, of course I’m not pleased to have an infection, but I am pleased to have an explanation for the chronic malaise and pain of the last few weeks, and for it to be something relatively treatable. Sure, the doctor said it was unlikely to be anything SuperBad for various reasons, but all the same. Worry creeps in.

I have to do something about the worrying. Mostly my approach is to block my ears and go “la-la-la-la”. Well, it’s not so easy to block ears against an inside voice though. And the thought of spending the rest of my life living with low-level panic over whatever has decided to creep into my panic space is a little horrifying. Because I think I basically have a space inside me, and as one anxiety issue gets resolved, something else shortly creeps in to fill it. Now that I’m not worried about this one particular health-niggle, I’m likely to have another start up in short order. Or else I’ll worry about G’s or T’s or E’s health. Or else I’ll panic about the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, or nuclear war, or …

You get the idea. A panic space. My Anxious Turtle is awake and active and on high alert. I actually think that when I’ve something legitimate to worry about, my panic space expands slightly, much like your stomach after eating a large meal. The problem is, it doesn’t shrink back down afterwards.

So. Time to make a change. I do a lot of tasks designed to help my mental health: Running, Drawing, Writing this blog, Yoga (although that’s fallen by the wayside a bit over the past month). I claim that I meditate. But I’ve really failed to instigate a regular habit of it. I can’t really figure out what’s stopping me. I enjoy the time when I’m meditating. I enjoy the effects of it after I’m done. Maybe it’s just because it’s so simple and accessible. And so I keep saying “Oh I can do it later” rather than like it with running where the narrative is more “I’d better do it now before I feel too tired. I know that ‘later’ means ‘never’.”

And actually later kind of means never with meditation too. I often think that after the boys are in bed should be the perfect time for meditation because, quiet, end of day, no rushing, no interruptions. However, it’s a false interpretation of the situation. For one thing, the interruptions can be nearly constant some nights, as they call for this that and the other excuse to put off sleep for a few more minutes. Bedtime itself is an exercise in frustration and I sometimes close the door to that bedroom experiencing an amount of anger and exhaustion in various measures. Usually my tantruming toddler is fully activated and all I want is to sit, tune out and have “treats”. Like zone-out internet time, tv watching, crunching on snacks. I don’t want to be “aware” at that time. Although, by the sounds of it, I could probably do with it. But, it’s like the bar is just set that little bit too high, and most evenings I don’t have much determination and fight left for “doing” anything that I “should” do.

Actually, if I do manage to start thinking of things I “should” be doing, I either get overwhelmed by the guilt of the mountain of unending chores and tasks (not just household things, btw) and nope! the hell out, into the oblivion of tv (and usually sugar, salt and fat) or pick something from my fourth quadrant so that I can get the feel good hit of accomplishment whilst not actually accomplishing anything.

So, look. I’ve been writing here for coming up on three months now. And one repeated piece of advice I give myself is to develop awareness. And at least one practice I need to engage in to do that is mindfulness meditation. I know it helps.

Of course it’s more than possible that there’s more going on than the frustration and “I Deserve!” mode of the evenings. It’s of course possible that some parts of me don’t even want to develop more awareness. I’m pretty sure that is the case. There are parts of me that are invested in keeping me in the fog. They think it’s vital to their survival. And it probably is vital to them continuing in their current form.

Ok. Tonight. Just tonight to begin with. Right at the peak of my cranky frustration. I’ll meet myself alone in a room. Just me and my breath.

See you later, me.

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