July has been a rough month for me. The problem started in early July, after attending a Dungeons and Dragons game in person at my local game shop for the first time in over a year. Not long after, I started feeling ill, my head was stuffy, and breathing was sometimes difficult. My heart was pounding a lot, and sometimes I wondered if I should go to the hospital.
I took a COVID test (which is thankfully very easy and convenient around here), and the tests came back negative. Phew. Given that I am fully vaccinated, and still wear masks every time I go out, the likelihood was low, but better safe than sorry. Nevertheless, I was still ill and have been ever since. I am feeling much better than I did two weeks ago, but still not 100%.
Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I had three unrelated, but overlapping issues going on:
- Work stress – a big deadline was coming up, and that was definitely giving me prolonged anxiety. I noticed my heart pounding + breathing issues tended to drop off on the weekends, but pick up on the weekdays. Definitely could have been palpitations. The project deadline was met, and since then things got easier. This week I haven’t had any palpitations at all and I can take walks around the neighborhood again without feeling constantly winded.
- The other issue is either a head-cold (as in the mundane common cold) or allergies. I haven’t decided which one, but seems more likely a head cold. I had an unusual experience where 10 days into the cold, my wife gave me some Chinese medicinal herbal tea to help with the cold, and that night, I woke up drenched in sweat. Like, as if someone threw a bucket of water on me. Gross, but since then, I started recovering. Chinese medicinal herbs can really kick your ass sometimes. 😝
- Finally, I cut back greatly on coffee after I started palpitations. I figured it would help, but then again the caffeine withdrawal really hit me hard by the 3rd and 4th day: headaches, irritability, sleepiness, etc. Today is my 14th day cutting back on coffee and while the physical withdrawal symptoms are gone, the mental craving is still strong. Habit energy, perhaps.
Anyhow, all this is to say that life for me kind of shut down for most of July. I still worked of course, and helped with parenting where I could, but everything else just dropped off: D&D, writing projects, games, reading, other hobbies, etc.
In a way, getting ill and being in recovery so long was a chance to take stock in what really matters, versus needless distractions. I’ve shelved some of my projects for the foreseeable future. This is to focus on things that are more meaningful, and conducive to well being and recovery.
The blog is going nowhere, but the focus may change a bit for the near term. As life picks up again, maybe I’ll pick those hobbies back up, but time will tell.
Thanks all for your understanding and well-wishes. 😄