For the last few days I’ve been feeling anxious and having an elevated heart rate. That’s not just subjective, that’s what my heckin' Apple Watch has recorded. I keep on waking up in the middle of the night with a pounding heart, too. It’s hard to tell if it’s anxiety raising my heart rate or the other way around, but either way, something’s got to change.
The last few months I’ve been particularly sedentary due to a bunch of things (mostly chronic pain but also generally just feeling Meh and not wanting to do anything) and time has been slipping away from me very quickly.
But things got particularly bad Wednesday night. That’s when I had my audition with STANCE. The audition itself went well (and I got in, by the way! Rehearsals start next week) but I had pretty bad anxiety on the drive over (it being dark and rainy and the route being… not-ideal under those conditions) and I still felt some carryover anxiety during it. And it never really, y'know, went away.
I’ve tried my usual anxiety mitigations and I’ve taken large amounts of CBD trying to calm down, and nothing’s really helped, which has me worried that there might be something medically-wrong, beyond simply being out of shape. I’m probably still having issues with my estradiol dosing; taking an extra 1mg dose today did help somewhat, at least, and I’m still working with my doctor to figure out the ideal dosing regimen for patches. That’s definitely not helping, anyway.
But I’m definitely out of shape, and I have the data to prove it. For example, here’s how my VO₂ Max has changed over the last four years:
It was remarkable in 2019, when I still walked for 1-2 hours a day, nearly every day. In 2020 it cratered because I was, y'know, stuck inside all the time, and even though I started playing DDR again at the end of the year, by the middle of 2021 (when I’d moved out to White Center and was only getting DDR for exercise) my gains were lost. And then over the course of 2022 they dropped down to borderline average.
Similarly, my Apple Watch tells me that throughout 2019 my daily active exertion was 590 calories, 2020 was 479, 2021 was 471, and 2022 was 398, with an extreme downward trend (497 in January but only 456 in December). And that’s not even all that much.
A lot of that has been because DDR has been very hard on my knees and ankles, so I haven’t been playing it much, opting instead to play Beat Saber, which is still a workout but not nearly as much of one. But really I need to start walking regularly again.
I’ve also spent most of my days just living in a haze (ooh, there’s an opening line to a song) and a lot of that is because I’m not sure what to do with my time right now. All of the projects I want to work on feel out of reach due to pain. I have something like a dozen games I want to be working on right now but certainly no ability to work on them myself. In an ideal world I’d be, like, a game designer with a studio of a bunch of folks who want to work with me on them. But I couldn’t pay folks enough to do it and I certainly don’t think I’d be able to get external funding (nor would I want to accept money from a publisher for a bunch of reasons anyway).
I feel pretty good while I’m doing something that feels like activity, like playing Beat Saber of banging on the drums. But when that ends, the encroaching dread comes back (and my heart rate takes forever to go down after any form of exertion anyway).
I wish the current state of healthcare for cardiac health weren’t so abysmal. Things have definitely gotten way worse since I got COVID last year, and COVID has put a big monkey wrench in all of the healthcare stuff to begin with, both in terms of availability of medical attention and what people know about the long-term effects of it on health. But also, even without that, heart health is pretty awful; the only proper diagnostic procedures such as angiograms are invasive and risky, and things like calcium scans can only tell you if you’ve had a heart attack or are on the verge of one. Everything else is just predictive models based on cholesterol levels and BMI, and is more population-level indicators than anything diagnostic for the individual.
But yeah I’ve decided to go back to scheduling a 2-hour walk for several days of the week, and I should probably use that as an opportunity to catch up on podcasts and listen to music and so on. This town doesn’t have as much exciting stuff to just, like, wander around than Capitol Hill did, but I’m sure I can still find places to go. And of course, I could drive to any number of nearby parks and beaches to explore.
Something definitely has to change and I hope it isn’t too late to turn things around.