I’m settling into the new work location well. I am doing my best to keep things light and not let myself get pulled into gossip or other topics. I’ve used those as rapport builders in the past, sad to say, but I don’t think it’s good for the workplace culture overall or for my own mental health. I’m trying to be diplomatic in the ways I approach people that I find socially frustrating, too. It all seems to be working well so far. The new location is significantly less overstimulating, which is helping me stay calmer, more focused, and more present with my clients.

I have missed a handful of meditations so far, but I’ve been doing my best to get close to 30 minutes in almost every day. Sometimes it’s too late or I’m too tired to do it properly, so I do an unguided one laying in bed before I fall asleep. I don’t know that I want to count those yet because the guided ones are much more beneficial to me right now. I haven’t strengthened my ability to come back from my attention straying enough to successfully guide myself internally.

In general, I have been more relaxed—even with the supreme disruption of moving tasks and starting work at a new location. In addition to the mindfulness meditations, I’ve been working on disrupting any rumination I notice I’m engaging in. Some particular topics I find difficult to admit are unhelpful—these ones I want to journal about so that I can actually chew through them to figure out what I can learn from whatever it is I’m fixating on. It’s worked with a few so far, and now they’re easy for me to dismiss.

I am noticing that it is becoming easier for me to identify physical experiences properly, as well. I have alexithymia—trouble identifying my emotions. I’ve definitely gotten better over the years at determining them more accurately, but it’s still easy to incorrectly attribute physical sensations to emotions I’m not really feeling. Sometimes, a sensation just is, and it has nothing to do with feelings.

For example, I have a habit of attributing my heart beating harder or faster to “oh, I must be experiencing anxiety or panic right now”, and I then immediately start behaving as though that was how I was feeling and induce a panic. What I’ve been realizing, though, is that my heart beats hard and fast when I am dehydrated, if my blood sugar is low (like I haven’t eaten enough, or haven’t eaten “properly”), and if I don’t do enough maintenance exercise to be able to do basic things (like walking, using stairs, etc).

I think this is something that should be taken into account for people that receive counseling and/or therapy for alexithymia (often, but not always, fellow spectrum dwellers!!). Usually, people who struggle to identify their emotions are told to look to their bodies for clues, and some of them come up with the idea on their own. It’s a strategy I stumbled upon as a kid, or maybe as a tween. I think it’s important to teach that method of emotions identification alongside some form of bodily mindfulness. I think it’s also important to deeply explain some basic reasons why a human body might experience particular sensations that are not related to emotion, and remind people often as they grow to consider whether anything has happened to evoke a feeling. Otherwise, simply telling someone to look to their racing heart, sweaty palms, tremors, faintness, numbness, stomach pain, lumps in throats, eyes watering, etc. may deepen underlying anxiety by teaching the person to falsely attribute those sensations to a feeling they aren’t having, or keep them from discovering something else that is going on with them.

That’s just my armchair therapist thoughts about it though, of course. No training or schooling beyond 101 college courses; just personal experience and lots of forums consumption.

Anyway. We’re almost all packed. We reserved the truck we’ll need to use. Our cat seems to be feeling disrupted by all the boxes in the way. I know I am. Hopefully she adjusts to the new place ok. I feel bad, but it’ll be better for her in the long run because she’ll have better windows to sit in and more places to nap.

I don’t have any fun food stories, unfortunately. I won’t be cooking for another two weeks, probably. But the kitchen where we are moving is much easier to cook in, so I’m looking forward to making fall comfort foods soon. Squash, potatoes, cabbages, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts. I’m looking forward to fall veggies and making apple cider.

Thanks for reading. I hope you’re doing well and finding moments of peace admist the unending chaos and bustle of the world. See you again soon.