Mental Health Awareness Week Pt. 5: Making and Breaking Connections

This the end of the series, and it’s fitting this is the one I’ve been kicking the can down the road on all week. That’s right, we’re talking about making and breaking social connections.

This is a two-parter because it’s the good, but it’s the bad too.

Something I’ve always struggled with (and likely always will) is feeling connected to the people around me. There are a variety of reasons, I don’t know how to fully unpack them without having to pay my readers 80 dollars an hour if I turn this into a therapy session.

You could say it’s because I’ve got an independent streak the size of Texas, and I don’t want to lean on anyone (because I think people are just going to let you down eventually). You could say it’s because I’m a shy introvert who genuinely doesn’t want to spend a good deal of time around people, which naturally inhibits the ability to make and build connections with others. You could probably say it’s for a lot of reasons. No matter how you look at it, it’s true. Not much to do in changing that core trait. At least not any time soon.

But I know the core trait is dangerous. I know I’m not actually alone. Turns out, against my best efforts, that I’ve got friends across the country. I try not to argue with them too much when they tell me why they’re friends with me. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Shakey Graves has a song (and a little bit of a story to go with it) on the whole not being alone thing. Jump to about 11:50 for the story behind the song:

So what changed for me? I’m not really sure. A little and then a lot.

Truthfully, I think some of it was necessity. At some point, I needed friends and not in some abstract sense.

I’d always had friends, but I never really reached out. I never really leaned on them. When the hits would come, I’d just crawl back up and ask for another round.

It wasn’t sustainable, and it started to have some pretty significant effects. I hated going to work. I was getting sick more often. And then I managed to get an injury to my chest that pretty much decimated my ability to active at all. And we know I like to use exercise to manage stress.

Even then, I wasn’t really reaching out to friends. One or two people were kept in the loop, but that was about it. I didn’t want to seem weak. I didn’t want people to know my problems. I still don’t. I just now know that’s not a healthy way to go out and about in the world.

What was weird was I had all these friends that I hadn’t even properly realized were there.

The eureka moment happened when I invited my friends for dinner on my birthday. And then I realized I’d just invited an obscenely large group to a restaurant. And nearly all of them showed up. One person missed out of about 15 or 16 invited.

I actually felt bad because there were so many people, I wasn’t able to properly talk to all of them even though they’d taken time to come celebrate with me.

At some point, a friend of mine called me a social tesseract. I would not be around people as a general state of being, and then all of sudden invite a large crowd of people to do something, and they’d show up.

It was weird.

I think part of it was that I didn’t do it very often, so they either showed up because they knew it was rare or they felt guilty. Either way, they were there when they didn’t have to be.

And that was when I started to realize people were there for me who didn’t have to be. I don’t really count family (though I realize for some folks family members aren’t there for them) because it’s in the contract. Something you can take for granted. But with friends, that’s such a transient group of people in the full scale of your life that it’s easy to devalue it if you’re not careful.

But still, they were there for me, but I wasn’t really reaching out. I wasn’t really letting people know what was going on.

For me, reaching out has always been an act of necessity. I generally won’t let people know what’s going on until it’s too late to help. After I’ve gotten out of whatever anxiety hole I’ve fallen into, I then have someone else who’s in on the game and I know I can reach out to when I need it.

I don’t recommend this tactic. I’d recommend reaching out before falling in the hole. You know, so you don’t fall in the hole. Falling in the anxiety hole is bad. OK?

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been more intentional about maintaining friendships. I’ve been better about checking in with people if I couldn’t remember the last time we caught up. I’ve started visiting friends. The idea of going somewhere just to visit friends was completely foreign to me until a few years ago, but even then, it started as an act of necessity. Now I’ve kept doing it because I see the value it has.

There’s no magical formula to maintaining friendships. At least none that I’ve found. Mostly it’s just about being there for people when you can and not being afraid of letting them be there for you as well.

Unfortunately, as important as it is to maintain connections, sometimes you have to break them. This part is the reason I’ve been kicking the can down the road on this post.

Here’s a tongue-in-cheek farewell song for you:

Breaking connections is never fun. I’ve never happily cut someone out of my life. Not once. Even if I’m happy for them to be gone, the act of cutting them off brings some combination of sadness, anxiety, and/or anger.

Every single time.

Facebook and cell phones really just ruined this whole endeavor. I wish it was 20 years ago when you could just pretend you lost the address book. Hell, you probably wouldn’t have to pretend because how they hell would they know? People moved and got new phone numbers. You weren’t going to see or hear from them again.

Sometimes cutting people off isn’t really cutting people off. You just drifted apart. It happens. But after a couple of years, you see that number on your phone for a person you don’t really know anymore, what are you going to do? You haven’t reached out, but neither have they.

These have always just been sad for me. I’ve been collecting towns and colleges, so I can’t really justify keeping all those numbers all these years. There are people I used to see every day who I couldn’t phone up if I wanted to right now. It’s weird to think that version of me is hanging out with people who I haven’t seen in a decade.

But that’s the easy one. Sometimes you have to make an active decision to cut off contact.

There are a lot of reasons I’ve had to do this, but ultimately, it was always for my mental health. To even have their number on my phone was something I couldn’t stomach.

I’ve felt a lot of emotions doing this. I’ve been angry that it came to that. I’ve felt anxious that I’d be exposed as a bad person for cutting off contact. And of course, there’s sadness that someone who was important to you won’t be important moving forward. I suppose no one really becomes inaccessible these days, but I’ve only ever had one person re-emerge as a friend after cutting off contact with them.

And Facebook makes this a rough process. If you really want someone gone from your sphere, you gotta get rid of them on social media too, but it’s just social media, right? What’s the big deal? Why wouldn’t you want to see this person you’ve lost touch with or this person you had a falling out with? What’s so wrong with that?

In some ways, the world was better off when you couldn’t stay in touch so easily. You had to pick and choose who you stayed in touch with. You had to cultivate only the very best of your friendships. You’d have fewer connections, but at least those would be the good ones, not just a mountain of old acquaintances who don’t really know anything meaningful about you but tell you happy birthday because the computer told them to.

But I’m tired of writing. This post and this series are officially done. But I won’t leave without the summary you all want:

  1. Sometimes your mental health deserves a good soundtrack. 
  2. Don’t underestimate the mental toll physical pain can take on you. 
  3. Don’t underestimate the value of physical activity for your mental health.
  4. It’s ok to take care of yourself. 
  5. And it’s important to maintain the right connections (and end the wrong ones) in your life.

Adios, au revoir, auf wiedersehen, aloha, ciao, later gator.

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Mental Health Awareness Week Pt. 4: Treat Yo Self

If we’re going to talk about pain, we have to talk about the better side of things. Self-care, recovery, loving kindness, whatever you want to call it. I prefer treat yo self.

This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about recovery and generally treating yourself well. I talk about about yoga, stretching, foam rolling, getting a massage, and, hell, I even talk about reading.

But why? Why is this so important?

Because I don’t want to throw a brick at someone’s head.

You think I’m kidding, but I’m basically a walking, talking rage monster.

And if you’ve been following along this week, I also deal with chronic pain and self-inflicted pain of workouts to help out my mental health (the workouts, not the chronic pain).

If I didn’t do what I could to take care of myself, something would fall off.

Some of the treat yo self is pretty easy to see why it’s important (or at least valuable). I get a massage every month to help loosen up tight muscles (and even if the evidence isn’t 100% there to support this claim, it feels good, and that’s a good enough reason for me). I bought a new bed because I was having trouble sleeping in my old one. I bought refreezable compresses so I could ice achy muscles and joints when I need to (I don’t have an ice machine or trays). I currently have one sitting on my shoulder as I type.

This category is easy though. Something is wrong, and you need to do something nice for yourself to help make it better. Easy peasy.

But even in this easy category, sometimes we forget. My foam roller goes unused too often. We get too busy or money is too tight to go get a massage (I lucked out that I can walk from my office to the MT in a few minutes). And beds are expensive. Even cheap ones, and you probably don’t want the cheap ones.

And then there are the treats that don’t have as much of a one-to-one connection. Sometimes you deserve a piece a cake. You can’t live off salads forever. Well, you probably could, but what would be the point?

How do you justify treating yourself to something that doesn’t show an immediate return on investment? I think sometimes you just have to be nice to yourself. I’m not advocating eating the whole damned cake, I’m talking about a slice. Preferably a small slice.

It’s not sustainable to just deprive yourself, even if you’re depriving yourself of things that aren’t quite good for you.

Caveat: We’re not talking about meth or anything like that. Feel free to just cut yourself off completely from meth. I’m 100% for that.

What I’m talking about is basically cake. Or the occasional Coke. Or a two-hour Sunday nap.

We know these things aren’t necessary, but sometimes the bad thing is what you need in the moment. So enjoy the bad thing when you indulge occasionally (I said occasionally). Go into a mindful moment and slowly eat the cake, drink the Coke, etc. Enjoy it but know it’s temporary and you have to get back to work soon.

And sometimes treat yo self is a prize, a treat, a gift. A happy if you’re from the mid-South.

There are some things that just feel difficult to purchase. I’m cheap and I’d like to think I’m enough of an environmentalist to not want to throw things out before the well and done, but some things don’t work out that way.

I bought a new guitar after the old one just hit a point where wear and tear made it unfun to play. I broke enough pizza cutters over the years that I bought a nice one. Hell, I bought a pizza stone because I kept rusting through pizza pans. I only eat frozen pizzas, and I still have a pizza stone, but it’s made life much easier.

And sometimes that’s what you have to do. Again, I’m cheap and not a fan of buying unnecessary things, but sometimes a purchase is worth it. If you work with tools a lot, a nice toolset is worth it. I don’t. I’m remarkably lazy and have zero interest in fixing and building actual things. A good toolset would make for a nice decoration in my garage.

But I do play guitar more days than not. So having a nice (but not like price of a car nice) guitar makes sense. Something that’s more fun to play because of the craftsmanship that went into it. Man, I wish I had a car-priced guitar. Seriously, how to people afford these things?

So if you have a hobby you’ve engaged in for a long time that you know you’re not quitting or there’s something else that just gets a lot of wear and tear, buy the good stuff. It’s worth it. But don’t buy the Sham Wow or the Nutribullet. Stick to real things, not made for TV things.

It’s ok to treat yourself to these things if they give you true joy. If they make you happy or give you satisfaction, that’s good enough if you can afford it.

And the treat yo self philosophy just comes down to treating yourself well. But this was a bit rambling. Here’s your cliffnotes version:

  • Take care of your body. It’s your first and last weapon against the world.
  • Indulge occasionally. But only occasionally.
  • It’s ok to buy nice things if you’ll actually use them and they’ll bring you joy.

That’s all I have for you today. Tomorrow should see the last post of the Mental Health Awareness Week series, and then I’ll return to my usual schedule of not posting very often.

Mental Health Awareness Week Pt. 3: Productive Pain

We’re still going out of the intended order. I’m kicking the can a little on the making and breaking social connections post, but I wanted to talk about productive pain (it’s on my mind as I watch the slow, steady traffic this post gets where I recount getting brutalized by my first Ashtanga yoga class).

When I talk about productive pain, I’m not talking about the kind of pain from the last post. I’m not talking about illness, injury, etc.

I’m talking about soreness and exhaustion from exertion.

For me, this is about the importance of staying active. Soreness and exhaustion are just an indicator that I got there. I mean, you could go through a car crash and have the same feeling, but that’s not what we want.

I have a slightly masochistic goal to be exhausted every night when I got to sleep, which is for a couple of reasons. 1) I want to feel like I earned the right to rest (we’ll get to another post later this week about why that’s a little bit of a messed up approach). 2) Sometimes that’s the only way I can sleep well. My brain doesn’t like to shut up, and exhaustion is one of the few foolproof options I have left.

My affinity for this productive pain doesn’t come from nowhere. I grew up playing sports. I wasn’t any good, but I still played.

Well, when you get to high school, it’s not enough to play. You’ve got to get bigger, faster, stronger. So I was lifting. I was running. I was jumping. I was doing really weird stuff for hurdling. And it’s all in the name of getting better.

But being high school and led by high school coaches who sometimes don’t actually know all that much about safely getting bigger, faster, stronger, we got indoctrinated in the idea that soreness was always a good thing.

I’m not saying soreness is bad, but you don’t want to be in a constant state of soreness. You’ll never be in peak condition.

I know that previous sentence is true and yet I just can’t fully make myself accept it, so I still seek out soreness and exhaustion in my workouts. I like trying to sweat completely through the shirt I’m working out in. I like hitting the end of the workout and knowing that I didn’t leave anything on the table and couldn’t have given more if I wanted to.

And as much as that might not be the best state to constantly be putting my body through, sometimes it’s the best thing for my brain.

Staying active is paramount for my mental health. I deal with enough anxiety as it is, but when I can’t be up and about, it just multiplies in awful ways.

When I’m going through physical therapy for the bad variety of pain (like I am right now), I have to be careful that I don’t spiral when I’m not paying attention ’cause I don’t have as many chances to burn off extra energy that otherwise goes to my brain and suggests all the terrible things that could happen.

Going for a walk sounds like a stupid mental health plan, but I’ve done it before when I was hating work. It at least gave me something to look forward to.

And really, that’s not all that different from other activities. You train for a marathon, so you have a running schedule in place to give you a routine. If you join a yoga studio, you probably go to the same classes at the same time seeing the same people.

These things are good for mental health. They give you something productive for causing your body the good kind of pain.

Then there are times where those things don’t work. Last year as I was getting ready to move, all my yoga teachers were not teaching during the summer. As I’m getting ready for the stresses of moving, starting a new job, leaving the friend group I’d spent 3 years cultivating, and other stressors at the time, I lost the best outlet for me to have some productive pain.

I couldn’t run because of my knee, and taking a yoga class with teachers I don’t like is worse than not at all because I just become a rage monster on a 6mm mat.

But I couldn’t do nothing. I knew how that story ended, so I did what I hadn’t properly done in 8 years: I practiced yoga on my own pretty much every day.

That brutal ashtanga class led to me buying a book, and that book became my refuge. I even built a playlist.

And day after day, I was forcing myself to pour out sweat onto a yoga mat. I got better, and as I got better, I just pushed harder because complacency wasn’t going to do me any good at the time.

It was a little bit of a shame that I didn’t get to do one last ashtanga class with my regular teacher. I think she would have appreciated the progress even if she might not have liked why the progress occurred.

But that was the only choice I had. I could either let stress lead to bad decisions or I could let the stress fuel me through good decisions. I also spent that time eating entirely too many salads.

Sometimes you can make stress your friend. Sometimes you can get pain on your side. And sometimes that’s all you can do if mental health is a struggle. It’s not perfect, but it’s how I learned to get by.

Mental Health Awareness Week Pt. 2: Effects of Chronic Pain

I have a headache. That’s why I’m writing this post tonight. I’d meant to write one on making and breaking social connections, but the headache put what was supposed to be tomorrow’s topic on my mind instead.

I’m not the best person to write about this because there are people out there who’ve dealt with much worse than I have. Makes me wonder how they even function, honestly.

We’ll start with the definition of chronic pain that I’m working off of: Anything that lasts more than a few months. I don’t know anything about nerve damage, cancer, autoimmune issues, etc. But I do know pain.

For me, the primary perpetrator is my back. I’ve dealt with persistent knee, foot, neck, and shoulder issues, but they don’t compare to my back.

With the others, I feel like I can just hold still, add ice/ibuprofen, and be ok. With my back, sitting still just invites more pain.

I’m not going to talk about managing chronic pain. There’s plenty on that. I’m not sure I’m writing this for the people who deal with pain other than for them to see another person out there with it. This is mostly for those without pain to hopefully understand the impacts.

You can look up the spoon theory to get an idea of some of this, but I don’t want to speak in metaphors.

Pain has a very real, very direct effect on my life. I spend a great amount of time and energy (including stealing a friend’s back support for my office chair) just trying to avoid what follows.

At the lowest level, I can just have a dull ache that follows me around all day that I can’t stretch or work out of. It’s like having a slow draw on your car battery. You won’t notice it’s there some of the time, and then it rears its head and you can’t start your car in the morning.

I guess I’ll be speaking in metaphors after all.

To make this more concrete, you won’t realize how tired it’s making you until you hit the end of a long day and you feel like you got in a car wreck instead of putting in 8 hours in the office.

But this isn’t really that bad. You can manage this. You can caffeinate you way through this level of pain.

Let’s amp it up. Let’s make the pain sharper and more focused. Now you have a specific muscle to focus on, which is nice if you have ice, but ice is temporary. That pain could be there all day. The nice thing about this sharper pain is that it tends to disappear (for me) more quickly, but it is still more painful while it’s going on.

And let’s go one more notch. There are days (thankfully fewer now than they used to be) where I just want to lie on the ground and let my back be stretched out by the floor. And I want to do nothing else.

These are the days that are hell.

My temper is shorter and nothing feels good. No seated position, standing position, upward dog position. None of it. My back just hurts, and I want to hit the reset button and start the day over. Or fast forward and wake up tomorrow.

But that ain’t how this works.

And what does all this physical pain do? It adds a mental weight. This is mental health awareness week after all. Physical pain can lead to the psychological variety.

When I’m in pain, I have a much lower tolerance for pretty much everything. So if you add physical pain to psychological stressors, you can basically consider me screwed.

I’m more prone to arguments. I’m more prone to social isolation. All in all, I’m just more prone to being an a-hole (and between you and me, that’s saying something).

And the relationship is reciprocal.

When I’m under a lot of stress, I can usually count on my back to start hurting. I don’t know if it’s just stress causing inflammation, if it’s psychosomatic, or if the stress is just making do other things (e.g., missing workouts, having to sit at my desk more than usual) that then trigger back pain.

So we’ve got pain causing stress. We’ve got stress causing pain. How can we add another layer?

Don’t worry; I got you.

Let’s add the mental weight of trying to avoid back pain. I said I wasn’t going to talk about managing it, and I’m not. I’m going to talk about the mental load of managing it.

Because guess what? You have to now think things through.

I have to watch my posture like a hawk all the time. I’m constantly pulling my shoulders back and trying to straighten out my spine.

I have to watch how I sleep and what I sleep on. On my back is the best if there’s a firm mattress (or floor when necessary), but I sleep better on my side.

I have to make sure I get up and move every so often, so long stretches at the desk and/or computer (we’re at 837 words, and I don’t type that fast) can’t happen without paying the piper. Flying and driving are also fun.

I have to be careful in all workouts not to trigger it. Running? That’s 200 pounds hitting pavement. That’ll be an ache. Lifting? have to watch my spine whenever it’s not pressed against a bench? And yoga? This is the magic cure but not when you get overzealous and have your back seize up a bit in a wheel pose.

And I can’t read on the floor on my stomach without getting a couple of minutes good pain while my back stretches out in a way I’m not used to.

Having to pay attention to all these little things just wears on you. I can’t just slouch into a chair without mentally calculating how much I’m going to pay for that.

All in all, none of it’s all that much, but when you add all of the above together, it’s exhausting. And when my body goes, my brain tends to follow right behind. Later in the week, I’ll talk about productive pain, but this ain’t the productive variety. This is the bad kind. This is the kind that leads to a bottle of pills if you’re not careful.

It makes me tired. It makes me grouchy. It makes me distracted. You can live in those states long-term without paying a cost.

I don’t know how helpful this is, but I hope that it helps you understand.

Mental Health Awareness Week: Building the Playlist

Yesterday kicked of Mental Health Awareness Week, and had I been paying attention, you would have had a post from me yesterday. But I wasn’t paying attention. I left my computer at work, so there was a delay.

But everything has a silver lining. Because of the delay, I got to think about more about what I wanted to post, which led to me want to do a series.

Today starts a 5-part series on topics related to mental health.

We’ll kick things off with the mental health playlist. Music is an ever-present part of my life, and it’s not different when things are a bit tough, so I’m sharing songs that help out when the world’s crapping on you.

Caveat: These are not happy songs. They are not intended to cheer you up. They’re just there to help you feel something.

I’m paraphrasing, but there’s a Steve Earle quote along the lines of nothing pisses me off more than someone trying to cheer me up before I’m good and ready for it.

And so it goes with this list.

There are 10 all told, and they run a little bit of a gamut in their individual vibes, but the goal for me is that it lets me feel something. And in some cases I’m just singing along at the top of my lungs in the car.

The first two are pretty easy. In a good mood or a bad mood, they work. I’ve never wanted to skip either song when they come on my playlists.

Stand by Me

(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay

After this, things get a bit more difficult. Not in a “I don’t know what to think of,” more of a “There are so many things to think of.”

Let’s throw in a couple of the angry songs. The first seems like it shouldn’t be an angry song, but just because it makes you laugh, doesn’t mean you have to ignore the underlying current of the song (and honestly, I feel like this version has more emotion to it than the original).

Next up, a couple of Nirvana songs. One from their earlier stuff when they were still closer to a punk band than anything else, and the last one they recorded where the sound was bigger and the songs had more nuance even if the anger and frustration feels the same.

And let’s got to a straight-up punk song

And close out with a song that feels kind of punk

And let’s close this out with a trio of songs I’d put on the sadder side of the spectrum.

The first of the three is off the latest Avett Brothers record. There’s a music video for the song, but the one made from the documentary footage fits the tone better.

The next gets us in what is peak indie music right now with Waxahatchee. It’s better to see someone actually performing this one too. There’s just something about seeing the expression on someone’s face when the sing a song that appears to be pulling out a bleeding heart and showing it to people.

And we’ll close things out with Laura Jane Grace singing Harsh Realms.

Why I’m Tired All of a Sudden

Ever have one of those days where you’re just dead on your feet, trying to go to sleep at 6 or 7 in the evening?

I’m having one of those days. Couldn’t figure out what was going on. Did I eat too much? Is it stress?

Maybe. But it’s probably that I’m past 48 hours without caffeine.

Whoops.

That was a terrible idea. But it was also a necessary idea.

This isn’t the first time I’ve tried to quit drinking Cokes (my only real source of caffeine). It probably won’t be the last, but you never know. My personal best was about 6-8 weeks in 2008.

Quitting soda is a recurring game for me. It started in high school when I was drinking the most (about 5-6 cans worth a day). I was in sports and at one point doing three workouts a day, so it was fine during the year, but when the summer rolled around, workouts stopped. I knew I didn’t need the unnecessary calories, so I put in a rule to only drink sodas when I go out to eat.

The weird thing about this was I don’t remember a single caffeine headache or feeling tired. I quit cold turkey, and I wasn’t eating out enough for a daily fix to occur. The best guess I have is that I was able to sleep as much as I wanted, so I didn’t feel the effects as much.

In college, I never did a full quit. The closest I got was in my second semester, I wanted to drop a little weight, so I stopped drinking sodas at meals, switched to wheat instead of white bread, and used mustard instead of mayo on my sandwiches. I dropped 10 pounds in a month. I miss those days.

The next round was the longest round: That 6- to 8-week period where I quit cold turkey and got the most blinding headache I think I’ve ever experienced. I wasn’t expecting it because of those summer bouts of quitting sodas. This was a rough time because I was working on finishing up my thesis at the time. But I made it. When I defended my thesis, I grabbed a Coke on the way out the door.

Over the next few years, I would repeat smaller cycles of quitting. The longest I can remember was one month in 2014, which I celebrated by having a Coke.

I don’t really think these things through.

I always fall off the wagon. And I always try again.

Why do I fall off the wagon? Because I’m weak. Because willpower is a myth. Because I get headaches. Because I get stressed. Because I get tired. Because I like Cokes.

There are a lot of reasons. But all that matters is that I fall off.

Why do I try again? Because sodas are bad for me. Because caffeine is a little dangerous for me. Because I don’t like addiction. Because I’d like a different kind of six-pack. Because I’m tired of treating myself like crap.

And so the cycle continues. I’m exhausted, and I’m having to fight the habit of drinking Cokes more so than the wanting to drink Cokes, but 2 days down. I even have a calendar to mark the occasion.

Until next time, Coke heads.

Progress Report: Has It Really Been 2 Months?

Oof. Sorry loyal readers. All 12 of you. I’ve been slacking on posting.

But I have reasons. They’re not necessarily good ones, but you know, they’re still reasons.

So let’s get to the update:

Why haven’t I been posting?

Mostly it’s because I haven’t had anything good to tell you. My running has increased, so I’m a long way from returning to 5Ks. I hate to post on a running blog without being able to talk about running.

As it stands, I’m still on 1-minute run, 2-minute walk cycles. I got up to 30 minutes but then regressed back down to 20. So I’m still running, but I’m not really progressing. I hate to post when I don’t have a new achievement unlocked.

I also haven’t been posting because I’m super tired and super busy. My other blog had its own hiatus because I wasn’t reading books. When I’m tired, I don’t do the things that are fun but also require mental work. But I have been killing demons on Mars, so there is that.

So where are we at then?

Well, mostly in maintenance mode on running. Lifting has hit a snag. I hurt my shoulder two months ago, so I can’t really lift upper body stuff. I can do yoga, but I shouldn’t. 

That’s thrown a wrench in things. The nice outcome is that every day is leg day, so I’ve been consistently doing squats, and my knee hasn’t staged a revolution.

I’ve also started physical therapy (4th round of PT for a fourth injury now), so hopefully I’ll be returning to normal sooner than later.

Otherwise, I don’t have a whole lot to tell. I’m doing the best I can to maintain and make tiny, incremental progress where I can. This is getting old with injuries though. Sometimes you tweak something and it puts things off the tracks for months at a time.