Thanks, Wal-Mart

11 Jun

It all started when I went to Wal-Mart and sat down in one of their good ol’ blood pressure testing chairs.  148/99.  Great.  I have high blood pressure.

Because of that, I’ve been extremely paranoid recently about everything health related.  It’s been keeping me up at night.  I’ve often had a problem with sleep deprivation, but now I have sleep anxiety.  Everything little thing will keep me up.  My mind wanders like crazy.  I keep thinking I’ll have a heart attack any second.  I mean, I have a tendency to think too much, and then over-think it.  That’s probably how and why I’m a cartoonist.  My profession forces me to think about everything.

What makes it worse and works me up more is when I look up cures online for sleep anxiety, there’s more bad news.  Everything from I might have heart disease, diabetes, depression…all kinds of goodies could be the cause of not sleeping.  So, then what happens I start thinking about that stuff and it makes it worse.  So, now anytime I even have an ounce of chest pain or something I get paranoid about it and start thinking back to that Wal-Mart chair and it becomes a vicious cycle of over-thinking.  And I can’t hit myself in the head to knock it off because then I’ll get a headache.

I think (jeez, I mentioned ‘think’ again) what it boils down to is I am just doing it all to myself.  I try to be healthy by going to the gym frequently, eating halfway decent and so-forth.  However, I’ll really beat myself up if I fail at one of those.  Like, for example, if I go to Steak n’ Shake and have their triple-cheeseburger.  Afterwards, I think I’m on the verge of possible death.  And I think I’m right because it’s true to some regards:  eating crappy leads to a bad heart and stuff.  So, then I’ll try to eat better, however, I’ll slip again.  Now I’m a dead man walking.

The pros of myself is though I’m at a good weight for my height (actually, below a bit what I should be), I’m toned, athletic and I feel fine – I just don’t think fine, you know.

Most people would suggest medication for the sleep deprivation part.  I don’t take any drugs.  Medication tends to have too many side effect and I’ve seen one too many people on medication really lose a grasp on reality and become dependent on things.  I’m one of those crazy guys that thinks you can probably handle things naturally better.  Besides, I drink coffee.  Someone once told me that’s a drug, so apparently I’m already a coffee addict (I drink a lot in the morning, but I don’t think that’s what keeps me up).  No, I don’t go peddling coffee in the alleys.  Yet.

The good news is I can rule a lot of things out to why I’m sleep deprived.

I’m pretty certain I’m not depressed.  I get frustrated a lot and agitated with things, but I wouldn’t call it depression.  I’m a pretty laid-back person that has a pretty good sense about things.  I’m positive.  Also, I don’t think I have cooties.

It’s just a mess though some nights.  And I would go get checked out, but I already have a couple of thousands of dollars in medical things that I have to come up with the money for first.  And that’s with insurance.  (For those who don’t think the government should step in and do a health insurance program, I beg to differ.  I work well over 60 hours a week with my laughable income, and I have insurance, and I still can’t afford to get things done.  I’m not looking for a handout.  I’m just a hard working fellow who can use a hand.)

Now, before you look at this post as all murky and deeply self-inflicted about ‘Poor Nate’, don’t worry:  I don’t think I’m dying.  Quite frankly, I look at myself as a pretty healthy guy despite my high blood pressure.  And that’s what’s so upsetting about all of this sleep anxiety.  Beyond the health aspect of it, it might just be other things.  You already heard about my income, right?  That could be a subconscious thing or it could be, it just could be, that monster under my bed that won’t let me fall asleep.  Gotta blame something.

I can fix a few things.  I always try to eat mostly vegan.  Trust me though – I’m not a pro at it.  The word TRY is key here. But now, I think I’m going to really try.  (The key word in that last sentence is REALLY.  I like key words.  It keeps things interesting.).  I like vegan for the health reasons, animal reasons and so-forth.  It’s tough to do though.  Man, is it tough to do.  Ever go to a trip to Outback with your friends on this lifestyle?  Let’s just say you’re lucky if the free bread is the only option.  On top of that you have to smell that delicious flamed-broiled steak.

So – here’s to fixing myself some Zzzz’s hopefully in the near future.  I’m not sleep deprived every night, but my gosh, when I am, I am.  I guess I should avoid that machine at Wal-Mart until I’m feeling better about my diet and exercise.  Or, I just need to take some tips off Garfield.  Either way, I’m not overly worried.  I consider myself alive and well, so that’s the important part.  Just some sleep would be great.  If I don’t get it soon, I’ll start dozing off in-between projects like writing this blog po……zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.


10 Responses to “Thanks, Wal-Mart”

  1. rmhomeconsultant June 11, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    I learned something from your mom. You have got to KEEP checking your blood pressure, ESPECIALLY, EVEN MORE SO when you don’t want to. ESPECIALLY.
    Many people, no longer on the face of this earth, took a brief hiatus from reality and soon felt the big pain and now are gone. I am taking my meds AND eating better in the meantime so that I can get back off my meds soon. Yet survive the meantime.
    I had recently decided I just wanted to take a break from seeing my bad numbers and about a month later I was practically breathing my blood. The nurse, your mom and the doctor all said that the bleeding could just as easily taken place in my brain and that I would not be here now. I realized at that point HOW EASY it is to lose life. I was real lucky it started in my nose. A person can feel pretty good right up to the point they’re gone. Really weird.
    Not trying to scare you at all. Just sharing the learning experience I had a little over a month ago.
    Love you, keep practicing your better eating, you will get better at it. Talk to you soon.

  2. rmhomeconsultant June 11, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    One more comment:
    Practice life more than worry about it. You will get better at anything you practice. Keep practicing. Again, Ron.

    • w101njf June 12, 2012 at 3:48 am #

      Hey Ron! You’re probably right about checking it regularly. I’m guessing I’ll get better at laying off the crappy foods here as well as time goes on.

      Definitely things worked out the way they did with your situation!

      And I’m not a worry-wort. I really am not. I just have a wandering mind and think about a lot, but that’s probably why I’m good at my profession as well. It’s kind of a double-edged sword.

      See you soon!

  3. bearmancartoons June 11, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

    Here I am at 2AM because I can’t sleep either. I was just telling my wife, I am the most laid back person I know but I can’t shut my mind off at night…no wonder I get heart palpitations.

    • w101njf June 12, 2012 at 3:49 am #

      I hear ya! Welcome to my world. I wish minds were more like a faucet and could be turned off when it’s time to sleep.

  4. gardenfreshtomatoes June 12, 2012 at 5:38 am #

    Eating the occasional cheeseburger is NOT going to kill you, or un-do all of the good things that you do on a regular basis. (Mmmmm, Steak and Shake…the only thing I miss about Florida!)
    You DO need to check your pressure often, so that you’ll get more comfortable with the idea…Being anxious about it raises your pressure, so you’re not getting an accurate reading. It’s called White-Coat Syndrome when it happens in a doctor’s office…maybe you’ve got Arm Balloon Syndrome?

    • w101njf June 12, 2012 at 6:05 am #

      That’s funny because it’s true about being anxious raising it. Maybe that’s what’s happening! I need to do a post about how I flunked a lie detector once – and I wasn’t lying. That’s just the way I am. I tend to persuade myself to not act natural when intruded upon.

  5. Sandra June 13, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    Chalk it up partly to white coat syndrome (or in your case, walmart chair syndrome). 😦
    By the way, I work myself into a frenzy just as you describe above often, about many things. I’ve seen my dogs die dozens of times in my head and freak out until I know they’re okay. Yoga. 🙂

    • w101njf June 14, 2012 at 6:40 am #

      I want to try meditation. I hear that works pretty well, it’s just I can’t sit still for a long time. Yoga….hmmm. There’s an idea as well!

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