[Rowing Machine] 2020: Week 05 {221.5} “Save Your Eyes”

If there’s anything I’ve learned through all these concerns over headaches and eye strain and vision problems and limiting exercise, it’s the lesson we’ve all heard before: protect your health. Now that I’m practicing more eye “care,” I figured I’d write about some of my experiences, the differences I’ve seen, and what modifications I’m making to my life to avoid having regressions in my health, whether from eye health or, broadly, physical or mental health.

Let’s start with eye care.

My biggest change going forward is that I’ll be wearing sunglasses more often throughout my day, especially when I’ll be spending the majority of my day inside. The lights that we use indoors are simulacrums, recreations, or in most cases actually significantly brighter than the sun that the lights try to recreate. The bright LED lights emitted from the newer trucks are probably great for seeing everything at night, but also terrible to stare at for more than necessary.

Most of us stare at bright computer screens and smartphones constantly.

I’ve set the brightness on my work computer’s screens to 0% brightness. I’m doing as much as I can to reduce any sort of superfluous light that might be causing eye strain. The headaches I get related to eye strain are always the same. They start from overexposure to light over long periods of time, where when I close my eyes it looks like fireworks. That’s because I seem to so rarely blink or close my eyes that when they do get their precious seconds of rest they’re overjoyed from being overexerted. If I let this fester, I’ll start to see cigarette burns across my vision. That’s when I know a migraine will be forcing my body to slow down. I can prevent these headaches through better eye care.

But how about the tension headaches?

I can’t do much in terms of physical fitness over the next few weeks until I see a headache-neurologist-specialist. I’m going to try to see a regular primary care physician, PCP-number-three and Doctor-Number-Seven perhaps, to establish some long-term care situations as well as figuring out short-term solutions that will get me back into my regular fitness routines. When I exercise currently, there is an overwhelming percentage of chance that I’ll develop a headache I might consider related to blood pressure. I’m not sure what it is, but I’ve been considering reading through all of Gray’s Anatomy as it relates to the brain, so will, by the time I see this headache doctor, know much more than when I could barely describe my specific headache sensations to Doctor-Number-One.

Exercising should help with parts of my physical stress levels.

Although writing can be a great way to frame reality to tolerate with edge cases, exercising has always helped with those sorts of superfluous energy bouts that can cause certain bits of anxiety that linger until they crash. Since I can’t go back into full-blown exercise mode currently, I’m trying to do what I can. There won’t be much that I can do currently because I don’t want to aggravate whatever’s wrong in my head that’s causing these aches, even now, that are preventing me from thinking at my clearest. I will write as I can when I can, of course, but this also means taking it easier, too. If I can actually take the time to rest, why not do it? When I get my new glasses and sunglasses, the vision components of my headaches should go away. I’ll still have the physical and mental stresses.

Physical stress is almost always easier to treat than mental stress, in my experiences.

You can put an ice pack on a hurt arm, but you can’t put an ice pack over the pain felt from an argument. My line of work requires me to deal with arguments constantly. Nearly daily, I’ll have people calling up that will be mad about something not working and I’ll have to, through a smile, accept their rude attitudes. I would say that only one-fourth of my callers are polite. Of the remaining three-fourths, two-fourths/one-half-overall are just there, nothing special, but the remaining one-fourth are rude and just terrible to deal with overall.

I’ve gotten used to fixing people’s mental problems before their computer problems.

The biggest approach I’ve learned from wearing sunglasses is that there is a literal separation between me and the other person now. I’ve worn glasses basically all my life, but when the other person can’t see your eyes, there’s a sense of otherness between us that can either divide us or all me the space to pick up on non-verbal cues. The way I look at most social interactions is that I understand everything, and I can pick up on things quickly, but most of the time I just need an extra second to make sure everything registers. When I’m thinking too much in the moment, I can’t respond well.

Closing my eyes more might actually help with my anxiety.

Anxiety, for me, is where we all have stress in our lives. We all deal with minor amounts of stress, then occasionally, major amounts of stress. My line of work has more instances of major stress than other fields, but not as much as others. How do those fighting fires, dealing with emergency situations, or otherwise constantly expose themselves to stressful situations handle them? If I knew, I’d be practicing that. My biggest helper in this regard, since for me – anxiety is where those major amounts of stress aren’t decompressed using physical fitness or writing or whatever – is physically putting up a barrier between me and the stressor-aggressor.

Closing my eyes more often should help with that.

The more often I close my eyes throughout the day, now, the more I realize just how tired my eyes have always been. I’ve done well to take care of my body and mind by exercising my body and mind frequently enough.

I haven’t done much to take care of my eyes, until now.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My fitness experiences.
This week’s weight: 221.5
Last week’s weight: 220.5
Difference: I am not doing well. I’m just OK. My health and my weight seem spiraling out of control. I’m just doing everything I can to feel alright. If I didn’t like writing, I would have put this website’s publishing schedule on hiatus while I focused on my health, but there’s something nice about writing like this, still, I can’t even exercise right now. It feels terrible. Also, my left eye has been red for about two days now, but I don’t need to wear sunglasses as often. I should probably try to rest my eyes more often.
Inspirations: I was originally aiming this as more of a Wednesday evening Sober Living Meets Fitness entry, however, the more I wrote, the more I realized that this was more of a straight-forward Rowing entry. I’m still figuring out the nuances there. But I wanted to add one last thought to kind of tie it all together. When I talked with Doctor-Number-Six/Eye-Doctor-Number-Two, we didn’t talk about eye exercises, but I think I may start to do them, since I have noticed a decrease in my overall eye strain and eye-related migraine-headaches, so I am seeing improvements. That doesn’t fix everything, but it’s a start.
Related: Past weekly column entries.
Picture: If I can save five minutes of screentime for writing, editing, or publishing, why not?
Written On: 2020 January 11 [25 minutes. From 2:02am to 227am. Gdocs.]
Last Edited: 2020 January 11 [Possible edits adapting from Gdocs to WordPress. Would this be the second draft, then?]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.