Noise notes

Yesterday was a bad day for noise exposure and I’m still feeling its impact today – in higher tinnitus and grinding of teeth. The silver lining is that the social event I was dreading went way better than expected, but I did suffer more than usual at the cafe later.

We had a party at friends’ house. 4 families, one sleepy dogs, and some young kids. It was noisy at times. However, I don’t remember being irritated or hurting from noise most of the time. Even when I was with the kids in their room, or when one of them was playing the piano (for me, and really well!), and another trying his hand on drums (badly). I was happy, and a bit drunk. I guess the alcohol dulled my senses, and happiness kept the anxiety levels low despite the noise.

Later I walked to town for my Sunday evening coffee and reading break. The cafe (Nero) had more people than a usual Sunday evening. I found a comfortable seat but with noisy tables around – chatty teenager girls, and louder-than-usual talkative couples. I tried using my earphones, without anything playing, to reduce the sound. It didn’t help. After a while, I was able to ignore the noise and continue with the reading. But I think the noise stress accumulated below the surface. I was stressed out for rest of the evening.

Finally, before sleeping, I was reading (and wildly nodding my head to) this article about noise in restaurants and cafes. The pain from the noise in the cafe, combined with recurring visual (and aural) memories of several such experiences came rushing back. I got a headache, and the ears started hurting again. I could feel, and not stop much, my teeth grinding and anxiety flooding in.

I had to take a paracetamol (for headache), and use a Calm sleep story (Shipping forecast) to help me sleep. They worked.

I have been awake for an hour, trying to work. The tinnitus is louder than usual. The room is awfully quiet too, as expected at 6:30 AM, so that may be a factor. I’m still occasionally grinding my teeth, and stopping myself when I notice myself doing it. Anxiety levels are a bit higher than usual, but better than last night.

Not calm. Calm.

Woke up 3 hours after I’d slept. Clothes, pillow cover, bed sheet – all were wet from sweat. Heavy breathing. Heart racing away. Head overflowing with anxiety. No cause, just anxiety.

I usually remember all my dreams. The good ones, the bad ones, and the weird, confusing ones. I didn’t remember anything. The memory was blank. Head was just … black.

Sat up. Took off the duvet. Waited a few minutes to let the heart rate recover. Tried reading something on the phone to distract the head. Nothing worked.

Got up, opened the window, and put my head out into the cool night air. It helped a bit.
Left the window open.

Opened the Calm app. Took a few deep breaths. Then started a sleep story – the Stephen Fry one. Kept the phone on the side table, and lay down on the dry side of the bed.

Heard some of the story – something about lavendar fields in Italy, IIRC. The light breeze from the open window was cooling the room. Slipped my feet inside the duvet.I could hear Stephen Fry softly talking in the distance. I didn’t gather much of what he was saying. I pulled the duvet over my legs and waist.

Next thing I remember is the alarm waking me up at 5:30.

Thank you, Calm. Thank you, cool wind.

 

Not a happy chappy, again

I haven’t run. More importantly, I haven’t stretched and mediated.

I’ve been eating all sorts of crap – sweet crap.

And I’ve been trying to drown the anxiety with TV and sleep.

Someone somewhere said that sometimes we need to break things down before we can repair/rebuild them. I wonder how far further down that breakdown point is.

Getting stronger…

It didn’t rain today. Mostly. There were passing showers throughout the day, but nothing stuck around long enough.

Spoke to Ma. It was a long chat, and a generally happy one. It was nice to hear her sound cheerful, after 5+ years of sleep deprivation & tiredness, and a few weeks of crying, loss and loneliness.

We went for a run. I ran 7K on the road – to the cathedral and back up – and then took the boys for a lap on the ridge (~3K). It was better than yesterday’s run – legs felt better, faster. Felt a tiny bit stronger.

Continue reading Getting stronger…

30 mins of 📈 anxiety

Lost my wallet. Looked all over the house, in the car, amongst the clothes, and anywhere else I could think of. Nothing.

Panic 😓

Drove to the cafe to get coffee. Tried to pay by contactless on mobile. Credit card declined.

More panic 😧

Drove to the sports park (Gym) – the last place I’d been with the wallet. Checked if anyone had returned a lost wallet. Nada.

😨

Drove back home.

One last check – between the cushions of the sofa.

And there it is. Hidden tight between the cushions.

*breathing again* 😌

Continue reading 30 mins of 📈 anxiety

Money. Shame… Death?

Money may change everything, as Cyndi Lauper sang. But lack of money definitely ruins everything.

Financial impotence casts a pall of misery. It keeps you up at night and makes you not want to get up in the morning. It forces you to recede from the world. It eats at your sense of self-worth, your confidence, your energy, and, worst of all, your hope. It is ruinous to relationships, turning spouses against each other in tirades of calumny and recrimination, and even children against parents…

Financial insecurity is associated with depression, anxiety, and a loss of personal control that leads to marital difficulties…

My Secret Shame, in The New Yorker

Continue reading Money. Shame… Death?

We rescued a cow

Yesterday, Chewie and I rescued a cow.

While walking on the mount, we noticed the cows were congregated around one of the bottom gates, and there were a couple of ladies on the other side of the gates. Initial suspicion was that the ladies wanted to get on the mount, but the cows were blocking them. Soon, it became clear – as the walkers had exited the mount, one of the greedy cows had followed them through the first trap gate to get to the vegetation in the middle. As the gate closed behind her, the cow got trapped between the twin gates – meadow on one side, the heavy traffic of A31 on the other.

On realising its predicament, the cow started getting agitated – not letting the walkers back in to release the inner gate. Other cows too congregated around the gate out of concern.

Once the situation was clear, I put Chewie on lead, and we calmly walked down to the gate. As the other cows saw us approach, they quietly dispersed, leaving the gate access free. I stood on far side of the gate, Chewie calmly stood next to me, and opened the gate. The trapped cow, quickly scampered through – to the meadow, to other cows, to freedom!

The ladies thanked us, the cows gave us a grateful smile (I’d like to believe), and we walked back up the mount. Halfway up, I released Chewie off lead. He found the ball that he’d dropped earlier, and we merrily carried on home, happy1,2.


  1. I was happy at having helped a cow, but more so at Chewie’s composure – he stayed calm all through, acting mature, never showing any concern towards or against the herd of cows, let alone bark or growl.
    Chewie was happy because he had the ball, and we were headed home to his food – the two loves of his life :) 
  2. The scenario as it’d have happened if Raghs were with us: I put Chewie on lead, to go rescue the cows. She starts protesting, getting concerned at how he’ll behave, and how the cows will react to us. Chewie senses the anxiety in her body language and tone, and starts getting anxious himself. His anxiety passes on to the cows – through body language or barking. Unsure if we’re friendly or not, we get charged by a dozen, heavy cows. My remains may right now be splattered, mixed with cow dung, on the mount