Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Everybody Mask

Statewide mandate came out today that everyone, everywhere across Oregon must wear masks. There's a lot of anger. I'm sure there must be others, like us, who are relived.

Saw my doctor online today. We backed off the plan to begin tapering off my antidepressant medication. 2020 is not the year to change that since I'm having days where it feels physically difficult to move.

Aside from bouts of depression and anxiety in response to the times were living in, my mental health feels better. My health is better than it has been in a long while; sheltering in place has curative powers.


Cleaning Up

Today began when Obie woke me up at 6:14. That was after a chilly night because I’d discovered our elder dog had peed on our bed and stripped off all the blankets at 2:20.

I got a lot of chores done today after yesterday’s gardening efforts. I have many moments where I feel like such a failure when it comes to the house. We’re getting better, but it still feels terrible sometimes and I really dislike not being able to physically push myself to go all out.

There’s Sunday lull in the death rate from COVID, only 504 since Saturday. We’re well over 125,000 people who have died, over 2.5 million infected, and so many Republicans are still fighting to get get rid of the Affordable Care Act.


Common Good

I ventured out to find a propane tank exchange today after running out Wednesday. I ended up at the local Lowe’s.

After paying inside, where I was relieved to see people wearing masks and adhering to Governor Kate Brown’s mandate, I picked up my 2 tanks and headed to our car.

Some middle-aged, beefy, white men had parked an enormous pickup truck next to me. Seeing me with my mask on, the driver of the truck said this loudly while staring at me.

“Let me grab a mask. We're in one of those counties where that bitch says we have to wear 'em."

I found myself wanting to scream at them about the casual misogyny and blatant disregard for other people. I didn’t have the resources left to do anything other than take care to get home safely.



I realized that I often am experiencing my depression as a somatic effect. Not surprising, given how much I do that with other emotions. It wasn't safe for me to express a range of emotions in my family.

Yesterday I felt so down that it felt physically difficult, even painful to move my body. Trying to focus to make art left me wanting to cry and I had to give up on doing all the dishes. I felt so useless.

Today I taught a subdued class, no kirtan. I made us each chili and a fresh fruit crisp with all the over ripe produce! All that helped, I feel more grounded even if its almost 1am.

I stayed up to do the dishes and take a hot shower. Lost power as I was soaping, conditioner in my hair! Total darkness and shower for a disconcerting moment. It came back on quickly, thank goodness, but off long enough to reset the dishwasher and a free clocks.


Distracting White Women

Today was a day where I felt tired all day. A nap didn't lift my energy or spirits. I've felt sad at the edges all day long.

I'm noodling over the conversation I had yesterday with my friendly peer. Part of this is anxiety, the Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria is really bothered by telling someone they're using racist language.

I'm angry at all the misinformation she kept sharing. Especially correlating COVID infections rising with protestors, I called her on that too, pulling her to the facts about incubation. Her pulling out some 17% tie to a First Nations community!!

I'm thinking how I need to take care of myself when I'm confronting racism like this with peers. If it means I'm angry for a day as I integrate it all, I just need to plan for that energy shift.



I’m tired and my pain has been higher, tonight everything feels too irritating to do for more than a moment. Reading. Standing. Playing my game.

Usually I can push through being tired and in pain and do the dishes. Folding laundry is a soothing task usually, good to ground me at bedtime. Tonight I want to throw things, only it’s too much effort.

My pain has slowly improved, but tonight I’m exhausted by it and feel pathetic, mostly worthless. I know logically this isn’t true, but increased physical pain exacerbates mental pain and hater I am tonight.

Tomorrow I’m teaching art online again despite feeling uncertain.



At this mourning’s yoga class we talked about depression, how heavy and slow people are feeling. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I didn’t ask it this way, but I suspect there’s a heaviness spiritually as well, for folks who resonate in that way.

I shared how hard things are. I feel like I’m wading through tar to try and do anything. It isn’t that I can’t write emails back or do the dishes, or just takes so much effort to get there.

This is normal. This heavy fugue state that hangs over the world is not an indicator that something is wrong with you, exactly. Something is wrong with the world. It’s the trauma of these times.



I have a hard time feeling proud of my accomplishments. I'm sure it's part of the deep feeling that I'm not worthy of care, but in the case of teaching related accomplishments it really hits hard.

I could be happy about bonuses and raises when I was in the tech industry. There were trackable evidence that I worked my ass off. This monetary reward for good behavior didn't flip me into shame and misery.

Teaching though, humans telling me that what I'm doing is life changing is hard. Hardest still, people giving me money and wanting to support me. It creates cognitive dissonance between the evidence of my value and worth against the message that I’m not worthy of care or protection, my needs are potentially dangerous, and my opinions are subject to derision.


In Retrospect

After feeling so terrible yesterday I had some insights I’m still integrating.

Trauma Brain "works" according to Childhood Logic. Here is what seems to happen:

Students send me beautiful notes and donations for teaching online and keeping community going. Related: contribute money for my training.

I meltdown in anxiety, shame, despair, and feeling like I’m a failure and a terrible person until I'm nauseous, can't eat, & get weepy.

Further compounding the misery, I can’t ask for help. Trauma Brain is constantly reminding me that asking for what I need is A) Dangerous physically or mentally or both, B) No One Will Help, because C) You’re not worthy of having you needs met.

And then comes despair.

Today was better. I discovered a great photo I got of a bee butt in the garden and I did a hard thing successfully, I even felt successful!


Terrible Tuesday

Today felt hard.

It didn't matter that I taught and it made people feel better. They sent me money and I began worrying; will I have to give back unemployment because people give me $2.50 a class?

Food felt hard and then I burned my dinner and CK's was dry.

I felt so weepy and despairing. I'm less so now, now I just feel angry.

It wasn't even like I read or watched any news. I didn't do any errands. No anniversaries that trip me up. Nothing other than living during a pandemic with a Federal government that keeps gaslighting us while behaving creully.