I am sure most of you have read a version of this article, entitled “40 Words For Emotions You’ve Felt, But Couldn’t Explain.” While the words are made up, the article perfectly catalogs the complex and confusing emotional life that we lead but can’t explain.

This week, as I was searching for a word to explain what was happening to me, I re-read this article and this word (made up or not) hit the nail on the head.

Pâro: The feeling that no matter what you do, it is always somehow wrong—that any attempt to make your way comfortably through the world will only end up crossing some invisible taboo—as if there’s some obvious way forward that everybody else can see but you; each of them leaning back in their chair and calling out helpfully, “Colder… colder… colder.”

Wednesday I hit maximum… whatever.  I posted this image with the caption: “Accurate representation of my feelings today.”Getting through the day was no small feat, and when I got home, it was all over. I mean ALL OVER. I took Thursday as a sick day and went up to see my therapist. Note: It was so bad that I overrode the little voice in my head that said this is some kind of hookie and told the voice, in a firm tone, “Taking a day as sick day to go see your therapist and breathe is the DEFINITION of caring for yourself. And that’s what sick leave is for.”

I took the dogs on a nice long walk in the morning, then on my way up to see my therapist, I did some retail therapy. Then I got stuck in traffic (when did Portland traffic get like this?) and ended up being late which sort of undid the good work of the day. But, I did get to see Dr. P and she pointed out some of the usual obvious truths about standing up for myself, being compassionate, and that everyone is CRAZY!

Friday was my normally scheduled day off and after taking care of the dogs, I spent the day in the studio. Now, don’t get excited. Part of my retail therapy was purchasing this at Ikea:

By the time I got it assembled and used my label maker to get it filled up, 8 hours had passed. My studio has never looked better, but no new artwork happened.

This weekend, I was supposed to take Key down to Grants Pass for a nose work trial. But by mid-day on Friday, I had decompressed enough to realize that taking my challenging dog (and the scared foster dog) to a site four hours away to do something that may or may not be successful, staying in a hotel over night, doing the same thing the next day, and then driving back home (4 hours of driving after the end of the trial (probably not until at least 4)) to get up and work the next day without doing laundry, food prep, or anything else MIGHT not be the best idea in my current state. I wished the entry money farewell (a friend suggests that when you write a check for a dog show, you just consider it a donation), cancelled my hotel reservation, and felt a lot better for it.

This morning (Saturday) I took two pieces to my critique group and then took Toby (have I mentioned my foster dog Toby?) to outreach to see if we can find him a permanent home. Two hours of that and I needed a nap, and that basically takes us up to now.

Later, the phrase “Toby’s dead again” came into play.

So, what’s wrong?

Frankly, I’m not all together sure. Wednesday was an exceptionally stressful day, but lately I’ve been feeling… “dystopian” is the world I used at the therapist’s. Like EVERYTHING is wrong. I’ve been trying to sort it all out, and here’s my list.

  1. I have a foster dog. Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t like Toby. It just means it’s a stressor.
  2. I have had to get more allergy shots the last few weeks because I was at the end of the bottle. This means that I have been scratchier and just more “blah” than when I’m at maintenance and can get my shots only every 6 weeks (instead of once a week.)
  3. My other knee (right) has been hurting quite a bit (though the left that was hurting seems to be doing better.)
  4. My foot (right) with plantar fasciitis still hurts (after almost 2 years of this injury)
  5. My left foot has what I think is either a bone spur in the “ball” of the foot or I am just developing arthristis.
  6. I have PMS / my back hurts / everyone SUCKS.
  7. It’s the beginning of summer (ugggh) (and pollen season).
  8. I am on a board of directors (why can’t I learn not to do this?)
  9. I am managing three websites (again, why can’t I learn?)
  10. Chronically, I work with a… challenging co-worker who requires a lot of compassion.
  11. At work, I am “leading” two projects.
  12. It’s summer and high-painting season and I feel like I’m completely hopeless. (I’m taking this one off because that’s a whole other blog.)
  13. Salem is having a water crisis. It’s ALL FREAKING SORTS of fun.

When I go to this website, those items rate the following score:

Life event – Life change units

  • Personal injury or illness – 53
  • Gain a new family member – 39
  • Change in responsibilities at work – 29
  • Volunteering on a board (I added this one) – 28
  • Revision of personal habits – 24

Total Score: 173

Score of 300+: At risk of illness.
Score of 150-299+: Risk of illness is moderate (reduced by 30% from the above risk).
Score 150-: Only has a slight risk of illness.

In other words… I’m in the category where doctors would look for a chronic reason for things.

I’m a little concerned that my new depression medication is not working correctly; I’m in that “six month” window where we’ll see. But I’m feeling a little more that it’s about plain old stress. I’ve taken on too much, I have too much going on, I’m taking on too much.

Taking this four day weekend won’t solve the problem, but it certainly didn’t hurt. Moving forward… well, right now, I don’t really have a strategy. But I will go back to work. I will keep tackling my challenges. I will endeavor to be kinder to myself and others. I will keep moving forward.