I’m In An Awkward Position

Anyone who reads my posts on the regular knows that I tend to bitch about Diabetes complications a lot. And with good reason; Type-1 Diabetes affects just about every system and every organ in the body, to one extent or another. Sleep is no different, with fluctuating blood sugars causing insomnia, nightmares or restless leg syndrome. There’s plenty that can go wrong during a Diabetic night’s sleep, including being woken from a drop in blood sugar. Believe me when I say that I’m grateful that I DO wake up. But for the most part, I haven’t had a full, uninterrupted eight hours of sleep in a very long time.

The focus of today’s post isn’t exactly a symptom, per se. But rather an unfortunate side effect of the current Diabetes therapy I use. I’m referring to trying to get a full night’s sleep while wearing an insulin pump and/or CGM. It stands to reason that as I sleep, I need to carefully consider how I position myself in order to avoid kinking my cannula (say THAT three times fast) or applying consistent pressure to the CGM sensor, which may cause it to fail.

There are all sorts of websites that provide some interesting (if not altogether accurate) explanations regarding different sleep positions, what they mean and apparently describe your personality. I’m not a big believer of that last one, but to each their own. My point is that for the longest time, I’ve slept on my stomach. I have no other explanation for this other than it’s always felt the most comfortable. But over the past year or so, I’ve slowly adjusted myself to remain on my back while sleeping, due in part to the pump set sitting on my abdomen and the CGM sensor embedded in my tricep.

There have been a number of times where I’ve rolled over during the night, since the average person can’t necessarily control their movements while asleep. This has caused a score of issues including but not limited to, my pump slipping out of my pocket, my infusion set being pulled out and even my pump slipping off the bed and yanking at the injection site. Wanna talk about rude awakening? That’ll do it for ya! I’ve rectified this with a silicone sleeve, which makes the pump less slippery and less prone to slipping out of my pyjama pockets. There are also neoprene belts you can purchase, if you don’t mind paying a fortune.

CGM sensors are a different bastard, since any sustained pressure against their injection site will cause them to fail. This means that if I roll to my side and my tricep is pushed against my mattress, it prevents the sensor from reading the interstitial fluid in a way that’s required for consistent CGM readings. And since the Medtronic 670G absolutely LOVES chirping at me in the middle of the night, it only takes a few minutes before the pump wakes me with an alarm to tell me that something’s wrong. Two times out of three, if I’ve kinked or blocked the sensor in this way, it won’t right itself and I find myself disposing of a sensor long before I was due for a change.

I’m likely making it sound worse than it actually is. In reality, the sensors aren’t AS delicate as the previous paragraph makes them out to be. But it’s a very real concern. The biggest concern, which has happened before, is having the pump’s infusion set pulled out of my injection site. The problem with this one is that it can take a long time before my CGM acknowledges that my blood sugars are starting to rise. And even as they do, the Auto Mode will start pumping out more insulin to compensate, which will do nothing but soak into the bedsheets.

After a long enough period of time, an alarm will start beeping on the pump to warn me that my intervention is required since the insulin isn’t working. But by then, my blood sugar level can have potentially gotten high enough to require multiple boluses, monitoring for hours and plenty of fluid intake. Something everyone LOVES to spend the overnight hours doing. Luckily, this has only happened to me a few times, and the sting from the adhesive being pulled usually wakes me anyway.

When we talk about Diabetes complications, most people associate the term with vision problems, organ failures, amputations or Ketoacidosis. But we often forget that the technology we use, although helpful in many respects, can be a hindrance in others. This is what’s led me to sleep like a poorly posed Egyptian mummy. If you’re on pump therapy, try and train yourself to sleep in a position that will prevent issues with your equipment. Store your pump in a protective silicone sleeve in case it tumbles out of bed or consider using pyjamas that have zippered pockets. It makes the sleep process more complicated, but it’s a small price to pay for decent blood sugar control. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need a nap… ☯

Excuse Me, Have You Seen My Dojo?

Most people have been adversely affected by COVID-19 over the past six to eight months. Either their finances or their jobs have been affected, people unable to pay their mortgages or rental fees, not to mention the poor souls who have contracted the virus and those who have unfortunately succumbed to it. Some areas of Canada have been doing fine, with the virus practically non-existent. Other areas haven’t been so lucky (like Ontario and Quebec).

But some of the smaller things can have a big impact on a person’s day-to-day life as well. For myself, one of the biggest losses I’ve suffered throughout the pandemic is the closing of the karate school I frequent. Although fortunate and grateful that my job, finances and home have not been affected and that no one in my family has contracted COVID-19, Tuesdays and Thursdays bring about a reminder that not only do I no longer have a dojo to train in, but the world is a long way from returning to normal.

Riding on the coat tails of yesterday’s post, the colder weather has had a profound effect on my level of motivation. Every joint in my body has started to ache every morning, thanks to 32 years of intensive training that’s caused wear and tear on almost everything. My feet are cold due to lack of circulation, thanks to Type-1 Diabetes. My sleep has always been horrible, but it’s all the worse now, with the fact that the sun doesn’t rise for almost an hour AFTER my alarm goes off.

All in all, the cold weather and pandemic have had a profound effect on my level of fitness and motivation. It’s already starting to be too cold for extended bicycle rides, even if I could sneak in a short one here and there in the afternoons. And with the renovation of our basement starting in a couple of weeks, we’ve started to move most of our belongings from the basement to the garage, thereby taking away my little “at home dojo” that I recently wrote about. I’ve also started to indulge in morning naps when my 1-year old takes his (my 5-year old is gone to school), which is a terrible habit to get into as my body has come to expect it. It’s gonna suck when I go back to regular work!

Can I train at home? Absolutely. DO I train at home? Most certainly. But there’s a lot to be said for training in the dojo environment. Not only to you get to feed off everyone’s else energy and motivation, thereby increasing your own, there’s a camaraderie that one gets to enjoy that can’t be found elsewhere. Unlike working out in a gym or by yourself, social interaction within the dojo is basically a requirement. Although not impossible, it’s quite difficult to train for an entire class without interacting with at least a few of your classmates.

The selfish side of me is disgruntled at the fact my dojo has remained closed throughout all of this. Considering the dojo runs on the school schedule and schools have let in, and the few students we have ensures a better chance at social distancing and lower percentage of contracting the virus than most classroom settings currently have, in some ways it makes little sense. The sensible side of me understands that a karate school is a far cry from being a “necessary service,” and that it would be an unnecessary risk to allow classes to resume.

There are some sources that have expressed that the world may factually never completely return to normal and that social distancing practices will become the new standard. If this is so, perhaps the dojo will never reopen. That would truly be heart-breaking, as it could mean the severe decline of modern martial arts and the possibilities that some arts may be lost. Only time will tell. In the meantime, I need to find my own motivation and continue to forge ahead, feeling that small twinge of loss every week when Tuesdays and Thursdays roll around. ☯

Cold Thoughts

If there’s one thing that’s usually consistent, it’s the changing of the seasons. Maybe not consistent in the fact that it always starts happening on the exact same date every year, but one could bet good money that autumn will follow summer and winter will follow autumn. So on and so forth. Although most people I know aren’t exactly huge fans of the cold, the seasons bring about the same process where most people complain about the heat in the summer and complain about the cold in the winter.

Personally, I’m a fan of autumn. Not only is the weather cooler so that I’m not sweating bullets when I’m outside, I’m not forced to shovel the copious amounts of snow that drift into my vehicle due to Saskatchewan winds. The autumn also brings a lot of beauty with the changing of the leaves and it almost feels like there’s a change in the atmosphere. Because there is. Even though we’re not in the swing of winter yet and there’s no snow on the ground (at least here in Saskatchewan), the weather has already started to drop and this has some measurable effects on the body and one’s mood.

First thing’s first: let’s dispel the old rumour that the cold weather causes a person’s blood to thicken. Not only is that total bullshit, your blood actually has a better chance of thickening in the hot weather, due to the dehydrating of fluids in the blood. But the colder weather does seem to bring a yearning for curling up and binge-watching a show with various pumpkin spice-flavoured snacks, compulsive napping and most importantly, lack of motivation.

That last one is rather important, especially if you have Type-1 Diabetes. Motivation is a key element in maintaining one’s eating habits, sleeping habits and fitness habits; all of which are affected by colder weather. One of the main conditions that help to make things worse is the fact that the days get shorter and darkness hangs around for longer. This causes change in our moods, appetite and sleep cycles, which brings us to the next problem: Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Yes, cold weather can bring on an actual disorder and it can play hell on your system. According to an article posted by the Mayo Clinic, Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, can cause lower levels in energy, lack of motivation or mood, difficulties concentrating and loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. There are a lot more symptoms, and I’d invite you to click the Mayo Clinic’s link to see them all.

The problem with SAD, especially during the colder seasons (the article does show that there’s a summer version as well) is that it can lead to nasty things like overeating, weight gain, lack of energy and flat out, good old fashioned laziness. As previously mentioned, all of these things are absolutely horrible for people in general, but even more so if you have Diabetes.

Although most health professionals will tell you that you can eat whatever you want so long as you take the appropriate level of insulin for it, that doesn’t protect you form the weight gain you may experience from doing so. If your sleep is affected, your blood sugar levels will be affected. If you have a lack of energy and motivation, the lack of exercise will also adversely affect your blood sugar levels and your overall health.

It can get tough to focus on routine and the status quo, when cold weather kicks in and all a person wants to do is curl up under a warm blanket and binge-watch Star Trek reruns for hours on end. No? Just me? Alrighty, then… But it’s important to maintain proper diet, sleep and exercise, Diabetic or not, in order to maintain one’s health and well-being. Especially since the winter season has the highest percentage of depression of the rest of the year. With the colder weather approaching, self-care and keeping a routine is most important. ☯

Perspective Means Everything, Even When You Occasionally Have None

We can’t always be aware of some of the help we receive. Every person has had someone in their lives that has done or said something, or perhaps even acted on their behalf, in order to help them in some way. And this often happens in the background, in such a manner that we don’t perceive it. Being helpful is not always an easy thing, as some people are pretty demanding and/or specific about the help they’d want and how it’s done.

And last but not least is the fact that if YOU are one of the people looking to help out a friend, family member or even a stranger, you should be prepared to help out with no thought of remuneration or reward. Otherwise, what’s the point? If you expect something in return, that’s not helping! That’s called a job. I’ve often heard people telling me, “You didn’t have to…” or “You shouldn’t have…” Well, of course I didn’t have to. That’s what makes it significant.

But now that I’ve rendered my opinion on the matter, which like everything else in life may not be shared by everybody, I wanted to share something I read last week that got me thinking about a people’s perspective. There was no author associated to the paragraph I read and I couldn’t find a source on the web, so if anybody knows where this comes from, feel free to let me know in the comments. Here’s what it says:

I Gave You $10,
He Gave You $20.
You Felt That He Was
Better Just Because He
Gave You More.  But He Had
$200 dollars, And All I Had
Was $10.

The verse is significant, as it demonstrates a bit of the selfishness of current society. More often than not, we tend to view more as better when we should be viewing better as more. I know some people who would do just as the verse describes; they would give their last dollar in order to help someone out. And that kind of help is invaluable. But we often lack the perspective to see it. As the saying goes, every little bit helps. And sometimes it’s the quality of the help that’s more important. ☯

Life, Uhh, Finds A Way…

Yes, I know Jurassic Park came out 27 years ago and most people from this generation may have heard of it, but have likely seen the newer, shittier iteration, Jurassic World. I love the work Chris Pratt has done on Parks & Rec, and definitely his portrayal of Starlord in the MCU universe. But there’s a special place in my heart for Steven Spielberg’s original interpretation of Michael Crichton’s book and I’m a HUGE Jeff Goldblum fan, hence the title. But movies aren’t the focus of today’s post. I mostly brought all this up so I could use Goldblum’s popular line from the movie as my title.

In fact, my flowers are the subject of conversation for today. At the start of August, I had written about how people are stepping outside their comfort zones and are undertaking a score of home projects, due to all the downtime everyone suddenly has as a result of COVID-19. My pet project was turning my backyard into something that didn’t look like the desert wasteland in Mad Max (another fantastic movie!) I wound up turning our barren dirt patch into a lush, green lawn and I planted a batch of flowers in a round, concrete planter that was there when we moved in.

The first example of one of my blooming flowers

During this last post about my backyard, I had written how excited I was about the full growth of greenage coming out of my planter, how I was starting to see a few flowers sprouting up and couldn’t wait to see how full everything would bloom. Then, a quick day-visit from my mother-in-law confirmed that most of the green in the planter was actually an invasive weed preventing the flowers from taking hold. I was pretty miffed at the time, especially since I was foolish enough to think it was all flowers. But my wife and I worked at removing as much of the weeds as we could in order to allow the flowers free reign.

Another one of my flowers in full bloom

I’ll admit that my recent focus has been on our home’s foundation and the repairs required, as well as their inherent cost. Now that the back lawn has taken proper hold and I have my garage cleared out as a dojo space, I’ve been largely ignoring the back yard. Until I noticed sometime last week that the planter seems to be in massive bloom, despite all the dead leaves floating around it. Even with the colder weather and autumn starting to set in, my flowers seem to keep on kicking.

Look at all this life, would you?

I know, flowers aren’t really everyone’s thing and many are likely thinking, “What’s the big deal? So you planted some seeds and they sprouted…” Well, first of all, to those many, shut up! Second of all, there’s a distinctive pride to undertaking something you’ve never done before and have it be successful. Especially faced with the fact that I struggled with getting it started over the summer, but once I left it alone it bloomed quite nicely on its own. Hence, Jeff Goldblum’s line about how life finds a way.

Nathan’s favourites, “Look at the blue, Daddy!”

It’s nice to have an outside hobby that can be done during the warmer season, and I’ll admit that planting flowers and tending to them is quite peaceful. And in case you don’t get the vibe behind my blog, trying to be at peace is kind of the point. One can’t help but feel joy at the sight of so much life blooming in one’s environment. With October in full swing, and snow likely to hit the ground within the next month, these flowers likely won’t survive for too very much longer. So I thought I would share them with all of you before they disappear. Granted, if they keep on blooming through the snow, I’ll be writing a different post about how I’ve grown “super flowers.” ☯

Auto-Mode 2: Electric Boogaloo

Advancing to pump therapy and including Continuous Glucose Monitoring has been something of a rough journey for me over the past five years. All things being equal, the concept of Auto-Mode is a little bit scary. If your blood sugars start to rise, your pump will start trickling some extra insulin into your system. If you begin to drop, it will taper off your basal delivery (or suspend it, depending on how low you’re going). It demands a certain level of trust in an inanimate object that most humans won’t necessarily have. Myself included.

Artificial devices are the new way to go, since transplanting an actual pancreas is more complicated than it sounds, comes with its own batch of complications and has a pretty low success rate. Therefore, finding some other way to replicate or imitate the functions of a pancreas is the next logical step. Something akin to obtaining a prosthetic limb after an amputation. My new Medtronic pump, when including CGM and on Auto-mode, is about as close to what they refer to as a “closed-loop system” as you can get. The hardware and software basically work towards controlling your highs and lows on its own.

Sounds a bit like Skynet is taking over to me, but whatevs. Given my age and the fact I’m not getting any younger or stronger means I need to be open to new therapies and methods of controlling my Diabetes. The decision was ultimately taken away from me around mid-July, when constant issues with Auto-mode and multiple faulty sensor issues caused me to scrap the whole thing and simply use my new pump manually. I got some further coaching and guidance and have now been on CGM for well over two months, with minimal problems and/or difficulties.

That’s why, after being contacted by Medtronic to ask me “how Auto-mode is going,” I thought I should take another crack at it. With a fresh vial of insulin, fresh sensor set and a bit of patience, I activated Auto-mode and have been on it for about the past two weeks. Given that the pump has had two months to accumulate data for the purposes of Auto-Mode, I would have been pretty pissed off if it didn’t take. But I have to say, its been going much smoother and my blood sugar levels have been fantastic.

I’m still a bit leery and I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop because, well… this is me, we’re talking about. But besides my pump clip breaking last week (don’t even get me started on that one), I’ve had no issues except one infusion set failure, which was mostly due to scar tissue. Auto-mode certainly includes more alerts than I’m used to on manual mode, but I’m getting used to them. Skynet seems to be working just fine.

I guess it’s still better than having an internal artificial organ that I can’t see, or have any direct control over. And as long as it continues to do its job, I guess I’ll have one less aspect of Diabetes to bitch about. As with all new technologies, all it takes is a little patience and some getting used to. ☯

Hope For The Best…

Having children is a pretty unique experience; one that can’t really be explained unless you’ve lived through it. Speaking strictly from a Diabetes standpoint, I had made my peace quite a long time ago that I would likely never father any children. Yet here I find myself with two sons. Throughout my teens and my twenties, I was led to believe by most of my health practitioners that one out of three male Diabetics end up sterile. Although the odds were greater that I’d be fine, there was a one-third chance that I wouldn’t.

My sons, Nathan (oldest) and Alexander (youngest)

Once you have children in your life, things tend to change. You surrender any and all goals and achievements you hoped to accomplish in favour of ensuring your children’s safety and well-being. This is not without its sacrifice, and that sacrifice is usually a thankless one. Children usually don’t understand or acknowledge what’s given up for them, much less show appreciation for it. And that makes sense. They’re kids! They’re supposed to enjoy their childhood without being concerned with such things.

The boys, courtesy of Lavina Wagner Photography

Everyday feels like a rough ride. I can take last Friday as an example, where something as simple as having Nathan eat supper dissolved into a meltdown and resulted in Nathan being sent to his room for the night. At time of writing this, he’s fast asleep, and will likely start his day tomorrow without any recollection of the fact that he expressed his total hate for mommy and daddy and how he would never be friends with either one of us, ever again. Parenthood can be heart-breaking.

Me and my boys, courtesy of Lavina Wagner Photography

Most people wait on baited breath, hoping their children will go on to be a leader of people, a positive influence or go on to accomplish great things, such as curing cancer, ending world hunger or becoming the next CEO of Microsoft. Personally, I just want both my boys to become good people. I want them to love and appreciate life and recognize that happiness is possible, but it sometimes needs to be accomplished and not simply a given. If they can grow to be law-abiding citizens who understand these things, I will have done my job as a father.

Life is hard and it rarely cares about one’s plans. This has certainly been proven twice, with the arrival of both my sons. In truth, they likely have just as much to teach me as I have to teach them. Hopefully, I have the wisdom to recognize those teachings and hear them when they’re given. Parenthood is an equal balance of sacrifice and reward. ☯

Can You Fight With No Hands?

When the average person hears the word “karate,” they picture kicking and punching. This stands to reason, since mainstream cinema has provided that portrayal for decades. But martial arts is so much more than just kicking and punching. There’s an entire way of life behind it; and knowing its proper application is just one piece of the puzzle.

“Before I Learned The Art, A Punch Was Just A Punch, And A Kick, Just A Kick. After I Learned The Art, A Punch Was No Longer A Punch, A Kick, No Longer A Kick. Now That I Understand The Art, A Punch Is Just A Punch, A Kick Is Just A Kick.”

– Bruce Lee

I’ve been doing Okinawan karate for over 32 years, and I’ve learned a great deal. I’m still learning. Despite that fact, my abilities within the art have limitations. Like anything else in life, there are aspects I’m quite good at and some that I’m NOT so good at. One of those aspects happens to be kicking. Kicking is a bit of a strange creature, in my opinion. Although stronger than punching and in some ways more effective, there are inherent risks involved.

My style of karate has taught me never to attempt a kick above the waistline. That may seem pretty restrictive, but why would you risk trying to put your foot that high when you have two very effective arms that can do the damage without compromising yourself. A real fight isn’t like what you see in the movies; opponents don’t spend forty minutes exchanging devastating blows to each other’s bodies and heads with only one winner declared once the penultimate strike is delivered.

In fact, any serious impact to the head will cause dizziness, nausea and disorientation. The recipient will likely be on their ass for a day or more before they’d be ready to do anything more than wipe their own backsides. That’s the difference between what you see in the movies and real life. The human body has backups and defences that prevent sustained battle when you get kicked in the head. But I digress…

A proper fight, even in the street, requires a combination of balance mixed with techniques and attacks that won’t compromise you. Your legs should be squared in such a way to maintain proper balance while allowing fluidity of movement. This is something that can really only be achieved after serious hours of intense training and development. You have multiple striking weapons on your body that allow you to effectively deliver attacks without compromising your balance and stance, including your fists, elbow, knees and forehead (a headbutt is a fantastic thing, but that’s for another post).

People see a lot of fancy, high-flying kicks in colourful styles like Tae Kwon Do. But these kicks are reasonably useless, unless you’re fighting someone who’s willing to sit there and take it. Let’s look at the illustration above. This is a free stock image of a kickboxing match. To the average spectator, this likely looks reasonably impressive. A nice high kick, poised to strike his opponent’s head.

Want to know what I see? I see an exposed groin. I see a lack of proper balance on the red guy’s part, due to the supporting foot being on its fuckin’ tippy-toes. And I see the guy in blue, ready to bob his head down and deliver a nice, devastating blow to the red guys’ groin. Obviously, this is a professional fight and a groin strike wouldn’t be permitted. But I deal with the real world, not organized fights with referees. The blue guy can take his sweet time striking anywhere on the red guy. Or better still, he can simply grab the leg and push back. This will throw the red guy completely to the floor. And as anyone who has watched an MMA match can attest, falling to the ground and having someone else come on top of you is usually the end of the match.

In Okinawan karate, we focus mainly on front kick to the abdomen, roundhouse and blade kick to the legs and knees. We let our hands do the work, if it involves the upper body. There’s just too much risk of injury, in any actual fight. And although I don’t advocate fighting, if you must fight, you must win. Anything else is simply not acceptable. ☯

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

I feel that before I start writing about today’s topic, I should throw up a quick reminder that I am not a doctor. I have no formal training in any medical field, and everything I write about has been researched and has a source, or is something I have directly experienced or have trained in personally. So if anything I’ve written feels incorrect, please feel free to reach out on the “Contact Me” link on my Home page and feel free to voice your concerns. I’m definitely not above, nor do I object, to being corrected.

I think the title speaks for itself, and this is the topic of today’s post. This topic hits close to home for me. Much like Diabetes, this condition has affected many people I know and care about and I have in fact been affected by PTSD, myself. There has been a significant increase in attention on PTSD in the past two decades, and it has started to be recognized as a genuine mental health condition and not simply a passing thought process that the sufferer has the option of ignoring. Previously known as “shell shock” during the World Wars, it was originally associated mostly to combat veterans who had seen active military service, especially during times of war, and were exposed to the traumatic aspects of said war. This is no longer the case, and research has come to show that PTSD can affect anyone, based on their specific circumstances.

I’ll start with my usual, which is to define PTSD or Post-traumatic Stress Disorder so that we can all be on the same page about what’s being discussed. According to the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD is defined as “a psychiatric disorder that may occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury.”

Although accurate, this definition is certainly a broad and generalized one. And whether or not something is traumatic is usually subjective to the sufferer. But the symptoms are generally pretty universal, which can include flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, anger and irritability, hyper vigilance and aversion to social gatherings or constant noise. According to an article posted by the Mayo Clinic, it may even be possible to develop PTSD without having personally suffered the trauma. For some people, just learning about the event can be enough to cause the damage. Like I said before, it can be pretty subjective to the sufferer.

At the outset, it can also be a condition that the sufferer isn’t even aware that he/she has. I can recall the story of a law enforcement colleague from years ago, who had been initiating a traffic stop along a busy highway. He walked towards the stopped vehicle and he saw something small sitting on the edge of the roadway. When he stopped and looked at the object, he identified it as a small child’s sneaker. He immediately threw up and went into convulsions, got vivid flashbacks of an investigation he had been working on that involved a small child who had been killed. Although he had coped well to that point, the sight of the child’s sneaker brought all the traumatic memories to the surface and he basically shut down, right on the edge of the highway.

Although it isn’t always to that extreme, I’ve heard a lot of stories like this one. And have had plenty of colleagues who have suffered in silence. The ultimate symptom of PTSD and the one that often takes hold before friends and family become aware that there’s a problem, is suicide. Because of the stigma associated with PTSD in previous decades, many people choose to stay silent about their condition and try to self-medicate or isolate from others. When that fails, many often feel the only remaining option is to end their own lives.

For myself, nightmares and insomnia have certainly been the prevalent symptoms. But hyper vigilance, irritability and anger are high on the list as well. I have difficulty being in large crowds and will often find myself with increased sense of anxiety and shaking when I’m surrounded by people, especially if it’s a room full of conversation and noise. I’m quick to anger when consistent loud noise is happening in my immediate environment, which makes my days difficult considering I have an infant in the house.

There is a lot a person can do to lessen and help treat symptoms of PTSD. I find meditation helps, although having the time and opportunity to do so has been far less in recent years. A rigorous fitness regime and plenty of fresh air. From a medical standpoint, there are many therapies and medications that can help manage and lessen, if not eliminate PTSD. I’m not a big fan of the medications route myself, but I’ve known folks that have benefited from it.

I think the big thing is to talk about it. There’s no shame and no embarrassment to having PTSD. It’s part of who you are and certainly isn’t your fault. And talking about it to family and loved ones can be a powerful means of treating PTSD, in and of itself. And if your family at least understands what’s happening, it can go a long way towards preserving those relationships in the face of the difficulties you’re facing. And if you or someone you know may be thinking of harming themselves, the Suicide Prevention Hotline is always available at 1-833-456-4566. That’s a Canadian line, of course. If you’re one of my readers from out-of-country, you’ll have to search for whatever equivalent number you may have in your country.

We’ve come a long way from the time when friends, family or employers would say, “you’re just making excuses” or “you’re just being lazy.” But there’s still a long road to travel. There’s plenty of research and articles on the diagnosis, treatment and assumed causes of PTSD. So feel free to have a read and educate yourself. And be certain that if someone you know says they have PTSD, don’t take it as a passing thing; they’re likely dealing with it as best they can. ☯

Keeping Your Cool…

Every once in a while, I find something funny or interesting online when I’m researching other posts. I like to throw these up in a post when I find them so that others can enjoy them and get a chuckle out of it. Plus it allows me to provide a short post where I don’t go on for several thousand words. Of course, despite saying I’m trying to keep it short, here I am jabbering on…

Although I get a kick out of this, it also serves to provide an important lesson. It’s important to keep your cool in daily life. After all, things would get pretty bad if one lost their proverbial shit for every little thing. But by the same token, everyone needs to cut loose and find an outlet every now and again. Fresh air, exercise and rigorous fitness routines can help to provide an outlet so that you don’t cause a shit storm of your own. ☯