Now that we're on the 2014 side of the ledger, though, things are looking up! There are positives to celebrate and stories to share, plus so much good music, writing, and other assorted whatnot to tell you about. So, here I am, posting again. A good thing, I think.
Three months is a fair span of time, and things happened while I was away. Here are some quick notes about my world since we last spoke:
As I noted above, my demons really ganged up on me as 2013 drew to a close. The panic attacks started coming fast and furious, and a few friends and family members got to experience a full-out Bryan breakdown or two - never an enjoyable thing, for me or for anyone around me. Decided to stop trying to fight alone and ask for help. Actually found the same therapist I worked with over a decade ago, the one who originally diagnosed my OCD and Social Anxiety. Getting back into regular sessions with Dr. Atkins has proven to be the right move. She has already helped me so much, and I plan to keep working with her for the immediate future, anyway.
2. I began practicing meditation.
Ties in with my return to therapy. Dr. Atkins also happens to run a two-part meditation workshop, which she recommended to me and I decided to go. I am so glad I did. I am learning how to be calmer, more mindful, and more accepting of the world around me. I wasn't seeking any religious or spiritual guidance, and the workshop was not presented as such; rather she focused on the health and relaxation benefits of meditation. I recommend it highly.
3. I grew a beard. Then I shaved it off.
I'd never worn a beard before. Well, OK, a goatee at one point for a short while, but it was the 1990s and I think it was required that everyone wear a goatee at one point. Anyway, decided to take part in No Shave November. Was kind of surprised to see how much grey came in with those whiskers. I mean, I've been going bald for some time now, but never grey! I kind of liked the look of the beard, and then I didn't. Then it itched like all get out, and after a few more days it didn't. I liked it again at that point, and then later on I didn't like it. I figured if I'm waffling that much, it's not meant to be kept. I suppose I'll never be a mountain man.
4. This blog passed the five-year mark.
Yep. Half a decade. December 13th was the anniversary, which passed unnoticed this year. I'm proud this li'l ol' corner of the Internets is still around - five years is an eon in cyber years, you know. With luck, it'll be here another five...
5. Briefly, I considered shutting the blog down altogether.
I wondered if, after five years, I wasn't writing because I had no more to say. Had the blog run its course? Was it time to just say thank you and goodbye, everyone? I came damn close to archiving everything and pulling the plug, but at the last minute decided to wait and see if the muse came back. Glad I did!
6. Amadeus' nose changed colors.
I've written before about how my one cat, Edison, has had his coat change color as he has grown, from a snowy white Siamese kitten powder puff to a dark brown and golden tiger-stripe. Not to be outdone, his brother has had his nose change color. No, really. Took the cats to the vet for their annual rabies and distemper vaccinations. The distemper vaccine was given nasally, with an eyedropper. Edison tolerated it well, but Amadeus developed a very severe reaction to it. He would sneeze so hard his whole body convulsed, and he had rubbed his nose so raw it was bright red. After he got better and his nose healed, it had gone from pink to black. The vet says it's hyperpigmentation, much like when we get freckles or darker scars. It may go back to pink over time, or it may not. Either way, Amadeus is fine. Oh, and he's not getting the nasal vaccine ever again.
7. I celebrated another lap around the sun.
47 as of January 6th. How did I get so old? Good celebrations with family and friends, and even had "Happy Birthday" sung to me by the CEO, President and Vice President of the company I work for. So it was a pretty good birthday, I must say. (And I am still promised a sushi dinner or two!)
8. I'M BACK, BABY!
In the immortal words of George Costanza...