Well, this is bad

It’s after 4am, and I haven’t been to bed yet.

I’m pretty sure I’m exhausted, but it’s hard to tell.

I had a frustrating conversation that lasted until about 1:30am. It didn’t really have a conclusion; I just said I needed to go to bed. But I didn’t do that; instead, I got on the computer and listened to the new episode of Welcome to Night Vale. The episode was pretty lighthearted, up until the end, so I thought I’d be able to go to sleep after that, but then the ending hit. And then I made the mistake of reading other people’s reactions to the episode.

My brain feels numb, or overexerted. Like it wants to do something, but is in no shape to do anything.

I am constantly struggling to prove or believe that my feelings are valid. That my choices are valid. That my life is valid.

It’s after 4am, and Dad just got up and offered to make me breakfast. Fried eggs and hash browns. Dad’s breakfast is another of my favorite things about visiting home. I accepted his offer immediately.

I wonder if I’ll sleep tonight? Or today, I suppose I should say?

Time to reboot

I’m home in Kentucky at my parents’ house for a long weekend. I wanted to get away. Do something different. See something different. At first I thought about going away somewhere. I considered Savannah, or New Orleans, or Charleston, or Orlando. But I’d be making such a trip alone, and I’m starting to think alone isn’t really what I need.

On the drive up here, I listened to two-thirds of a book called The Depression Cure by Stephan Ilardi. It discusses lifestyle changes you can make to combat depression. I think the recommendations make sense and might be able to help me with the mood swings I’ve been having. The book cites six key strategies: “dietary omega-3 fatty acids, engaging activity, physical exercise, sunlight exposure, social support, and sleep.”

Of those six items, I think I’m okay on at least one: sleep. Other than a couple times that I’ve let writing interfere with going to bed on time (like right now), I usually sleep well. I suppose you could also argue that I’ve done engaging activities (writing).

But my diet has been pretty terrible in recent months—takeout and fast food—so I’m sure my balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (ideally 1:2) is completely out of whack. While I do take the stairs, in the parking garage at work and to get from our garden level apartment to street level, I don’t get any other exercise. I haven’t been outdoors much this winter, so I haven’t had the benefit of sun exposure. And lastly, perhaps due to the writing, I’ve been spending a lot of time alone, even on my lunch breaks at work. (A week or so ago I actually had lunch with three other coworkers, and I felt amazing afterwards.)

I’ll finish the book on my drive back home—I’m just about to get into the part with actionable steps. When I get home, I’ll try to start making some healthy changes.

But here, now, at my parents’ house surrounded by family, I’m going to relax and listen and talk and hug. I’m going to let this little break rejuvenate me.

Writing myself raw

It seems that writing every day puts me even more inside my head than I usually already am, and that has resulted in some pretty dramatic mood shifts. Either that, or my moods have always shifted like this, and I just wasn’t paying attention.

There will be days when I feel absolutely wonderful, days when words flow like water and joy bubbles up at everything. There will be days when I’m fine, not great, not terrible, just fine, and things can make me smile even as dark thoughts creep at the edges of my consciousness. And then there will be days when I think that my writing is terrible, that I am terrible, that everything I do is pointless.

Those are not good days.

Being aware of what type of day I’m having has helped me to start developing appropriate responses. On the good days, I just enjoy it. I indulge in thinking about how great everything is and pat myself on the back and pat other people on the back and engage in many conversations–those are the days I feel the most sociable. On the lukewarm days, I often have trouble focusing, so I set out tasks and plow through them with the help of music. When I think something disparaging about myself, I reject the thought as quickly as possible, and remind myself that I am doing something, that I am learning and growing, and that there is no such thing as perfect, just a path of improvement. As long as I stay on that path, I have no reason to hate myself. And staying on that path doesn’t mean writing thousands of words every day…it just means writing something every day.

On the horrible days, I just take care of myself as best I can. If I don’t feel like going anywhere, I don’t go anywhere. I generally don’t talk to anyone. I read things I enjoy and eat good food and go to sleep. Sleeping helps. But no matter what, I make sure that I write something, even on those days.

I’m not sure what kind of day today is yet. I feel like it has the potential to be good, if not great. Wednesday was awful, but I figured something out on Wednesday, a new way of thinking about things, and Thursday was an absolutely wonderful day. I did a lot of work-related writing, which of course doesn’t go toward my word count, but I also went back to a story I haven’t written on in awhile, and it was good. I was cheerful and chatty and smiling all day. Yesterday I sort of coasted along on Thursday’s momentum; it was a nice day, but quiet, subdued, like I wanted to just plug happily away at things by myself. I wrote a few sentences in the morning, spent the day working and reading, then went to dinner with Sean and our friends Charles and Heidi. Finally, late last night, I wrote and wrote and wrote, and yesterday’s total word count ended up being 1175. Not amazing, but good, and I was happy with what I’d written. It’s not beautiful–I really hope someday I can write something beautiful–but it’s interesting.

I like writing at night before bed. I’m typically a morning person, but if I stay up past my bedtime I get this strange, fresh burst of energy. And late at night it’s quiet; there are few distractions, and there’s nothing else to do. It’s not chore time or work time or socializing time. It’s my time.

Another nice thing about writing before bed is that I wake up thinking about my stories. If I don’t let myself get distracted by social media and news articles, I can jump right back into it.

I have decided that today will be good. It looks like the weather will be nice, clear and cool. Maybe I’ll go somewhere, let nature or art or some other kind of beauty rejuvenate me. And I’ll write, of course. Of course, I’ll write.

Managing myself

As of yesterday, I’ve successfully written something every day in 2015. Sometimes it’s been a little, sometimes it’s been a lot, but it’s always been something. I’m pleased to be able to say that.

Unfortunately, all this sitting at my desk writing has resulted in a side effect: back pain. Something about the way I sit causes a soreness in my middle back on the right side. It almost feels like getting a stitch in my side, but on my back instead of my front. I’ve had this pain before. It makes it hurt to bend over or twist or carry things. When the pain suddenly flared up when I came home for lunch on Wednesday, I made two changes in response: I switched desk chairs at home, and I changed my desk at work to standing mode.

I worked the rest of Wednesday and then all of yesterday standing up, a day and a half, and it has in fact helped my back. It also made me feel very energetic for most of the workday yesterday. I told my coworkers that I felt “powerful”. I even did 20 standing pushups against the part of the desk that wasn’t raised, because why not?

I came home at lunch and wrote a tiny story, which is good, because I hadn’t written anything that morning. And then, when I got home last night, I was completely exhausted. I don’t know if standing up all day sapped me mentally, or if this week’s work, which has involved a lot of editing and providing feedback, has been more of a drain than usual. In any case, my brain didn’t seem to want to do anything. I couldn’t figure out what to do for dinner, let alone write. Worse, I kept feeling discouraging thoughts creeping in–that everything I have written and everything I’m trying to write is terrible, and that there’s no point to any of it. At about 6:30 I gave up on everything and went to bed, still wearing all my clothes.

Sean came in eventually and asked if I wanted to go to Sushi Huku, which I would normally love to do, but “I don’t feel like going anywhere,” I mumbled. He kissed me and left me alone, and I slept until midnight.

When I awoke, I got up, took a shower, and got into a t-shirt and yoga pants, my typical pajamas. Sean was asleep. I opened the fridge and discovered that he’d ordered pizza, which was a relief; I’d worried he hadn’t eaten anything. Then I teared up at the thought of having to feed both of us every day. It occurred to me that I probably hadn’t had enough rest yet. But I was still pretty awake, and I knew I probably needed protein too, so I made myself some hot dogs and got online to read for a couple hours. I didn’t try to write anything. I did try not to feel bad about that.

Around 3:30, I climbed back into bed and put on an episode of Welcome to Night Vale. Eventually I fell asleep, I guess around 4, meaning I got two more hours of sleep before my alarm went off at 6.

I think, I hope, that I am rested enough to get through today. At least I am able to recognize that the bad feelings I was having were due to being completely drained, and that I don’t have to feel that way.

It seems that after each sleep, I have a certain amount of energy. I’m not sure if I get the same amount each time. But I can certainly run out of it too soon if I’m not careful, and running out tends to plunge me into depression. I’m glad I recognize this and know what to do (go to bed, basically) when it happens.

久しぶりのRAMBLE

I’m in a share-y mood, so I’m going to go all stream-of-consciousness like I used to back in the halcyon days of this blog. No real topic, no defined start and end, no “point”. Just what I’m thinking.

The post title, if you’re interested, just means something like “A ramble, for the first time in awhile.”

I wrote this morning on Facebook that I wished I was better at humor. I’m extremely serious, and I tend to react badly when someone throws a discussion off-topic in a humorous way. Basically, I don’t understand and can’t really put up with trolls. This is why I never read forums. I also hate practical jokes. I love laughing, and I enjoy funny things very much, but I hate it when serious discussions are derailed for a laugh (or even to make a point, because I often have trouble figuring out what point is being made). I’d like people to just respond respectfully and openly rather than being what I interpret as summarily dismissive.

Other people don’t seem to have this problem, though, so I can’t help but feel deficient.

Abrupt topic shift! I started using the WaniKani beta yesterday. WaniKani is a kanji learning system that incorporates SRS and fun. I’ve really enjoyed it so far, and I hope I can stick it out. Other than watching lots of anime, I haven’t really been doing much with my Japanese study lately, so I’m really wanting to get back on track (or on a track in general).

Speaking of anime, I’m finding myself infinitely perplexed by anime genres. Polar Bear’s Cafe, which I adore, is apparently shoujo. I’m not sure what genre I would put it in if I had to choose, but when I think shoujo I think Sailor Moon, so obviously there’s a disconnect somewhere. I’m also confounded by the shounen genre, as evidenced by this post and comments. Either Japan is cool with young kids watching really violent and sexual stuff, or there are subgenres I’m unaware of…or something. I guess knowing what genre something is doesn’t really matter in terms of enjoying it, but I would like to find a good way to identify anime that I have a high chance of enjoying, and to know what to expect from it. The best I’ve come up with so far is that I generally like “sports” anime, where characters work towards a goal and compete with each other, and “slice of life” anime, especially high school. I generally dislike “harem” anime, where one male character is surrounded by a bunch of girls drawn in an oversexed way. But anime isn’t always labeled this way, especially on Crunchyroll; their “slice of life” genre includes surreal comedies, for example. I usually have to read a show’s description and watch the first episode before I know if I’ll enjoy it. Unfortunately for me, I watched School Days all the way through without knowing what I was in for, and that was just traumatic.

I recently watched the first season of Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion on Crunchyroll. (Season 2 isn’t available.) The show isn’t what I would normally go for. It is intensely tragic. But somehow, it felt like it was what I needed to see at that moment. It was a reminder that we can become blinded by our own goals and ambitions, and of how much our pasts can define us if we let them. As you might imagine, I identified most strongly with Suzaku (voiced by my beloved Sakurai Takahiro). But there’s no way I could argue that Suzaku always did the right thing or made the right choices. You can’t say that for anyone in the show. That’s what makes it so compelling and real and, again, tragic. As the audience, you can see how everyone’s decisions come together to impact the entire country, and you wish so-and-so knew such-and-such or hadn’t made a certain decision. None of the decisions themselves feel fated, like there was nothing else the characters could have done. Instead, it’s kind of like in a video game where the choices you make build up to determine your character’s “alignment”. But as things progress, the options diminish, and the ones that could right a character’s path become more and more dangerous.

The story reminds me a bit of Song of Ice and Fire. No one has the full picture but the audience, who is left simply watching as horror after horror unfolds. Unlike Song of Ice and Fire, though, I feel like there is an actual purpose behind the story in Code Geass. Song of Ice and Fire just feels like a laundry list of bad things happening.

Health-wise, I’m doing okay. I feel like I spend most of my day either trying to figure out what to eat or actually eating something. It’s pretty annoying. I have found a new, delicious Atkins bar, the Peanut Butter Granola. It is awesome and I’m very happy to add it to my arsenal. In terms of real food, I’ve found my George Foreman electric grill to be invaluable in easily cooking chicken, burgers, and tilapia, and I’m still relying on yogurt, cottage cheese, and cheese snacks to supplement my protein. I also eat a lot of peas. I’ve added other vegetables and fruits to my diet, in moderation. My biggest problem is carbs; I eat too many potatoes and noodles and too much bread, and I haven’t been as careful about choosing wheat over white. Sweets aren’t really an issue for me anymore, as I rarely find them all that delicious, though I do wish I did, sometimes.

Personal training is also okay. The worst part about it is having to deal with another person, but that is kind of the point. They’re there to motivate me and to give me something new to do. So I endure.

Actually, I am feeling better about personal training right now than I was when I wrote the previous paragraph, because in the intervening time I went to a personal training session, and while I was utterly depressed going in, I actually feel fairly good after having worked out. So there’s that.

I’ve been depressed off and on for awhile now. I feel immense pressure, mostly from myself, to do something, but I can’t seem to figure out what, exactly. I’ve been trying various things without success. I’ve also been running away from various things. I want to feel in control, to have a plan. It’s killing me not to.

I’ve also had a lot of time to think these past few months…perhaps too much time. I spent a long while trapped in misery, thinking of all the pain in the world and in my own personal circles that I am powerless to do anything about. It took an incident of extreme thoughtlessness on my part–an event in which I tried to help, but had no resources to do so, and ended up adding to other people’s burdens–that helped me realize I could prioritize, and that sometimes I have to say no. I’m happy to say that I have at least pulled myself out of that murky hellhole of guilt. I seem to keep finding other things to worry about, but I don’t think I will fall into that same chasm again.

I have, however, been increasingly down on myself lately, and I’m even finding myself resentful of others where I don’t want to be resentful. I’m projecting my own confusion and helplessness on them, judging them for the things I self-judge, and it’s not fair to them or to myself. Intellectually I realize that I am partially crippled by circumstance, and while I can’t use that as an excuse per se, I can at least be more understanding of myself and allow myself to make mistakes and learn from them rather than simply hating myself and spinning my wheels in frustration. But it’s so very hard not to blame myself for everything.

I’ve even found myself thinking despairingly, “I’m so fat,” when that is hardly true. It was always my old internal mantra, and I guess it just naturally comes out when I despise myself. I’ve been trying to remind myself that no, actually, I’m not fat, but that’s hard, too. My inner voice argues back, What about all that flab?

Further, when I think about all the things I want and can’t have–children, frequent world travel, a piano, even just eating out–all I can think is that it’s my own fault, that I should have done something differently, or I should be doing something differently now. I don’t know what, though. It makes me miserable.

I’m tempted to round out this post with an uplifting “I’ll just have to do my best!” paragraph, like usual. But I promised not to have a point or a real ending. So I won’t. I’m not really feeling that emotion right now, anyway.

Instead, I’ll just mention that I’ve been watching Glass Mask again, and I am so jealous of the heroine, Maya. Her life is hell, but she knows what she wants to do and she’s willing to fight for it. I wish I had that kind of commitment to something. Something profitable, that is. Of course I have that commitment in spades when it comes to my husband and family.

Maya gives up her family to pursue her dream. I don’t think I could do that. I think that sort of sacrifice is easier when you’re young; you want to escape and find something new. I felt that way in my early 20s. I don’t feel like that now, or at least not in the same way. I still want adventure, I still want passion, I still want to learn and explore. But I can’t abandon my family.

It’s hard to explain what I mean by that. I don’t mean I wouldn’t move to another city or country, for example. I just mean that I could no longer make that decision on my own, without considering other people’s needs. My life isn’t just about me.

Oh hey, I have another topic. It’s kind of weird, and I’m actually kind of afraid to talk about it. It’s men.

For much of my life, the story heroes I identified with most were men. I wished I could be like Anne of Green Gables, but I knew I never could (she was slender with slim fingers; I was shaped more like her friend Diana, of whom Anne was jealous but I was not). I also liked Pippi Longstocking. But for the most part, I always felt like being a girl was too complicated, and it would just be easier if I was a boy. (I know; the grass is always greener.) I don’t believe I am gender-queer or anything, just that I didn’t know what to make of myself, and I was trying to figure out what role I played in life. As a child I pretended to be boys plenty of times: Simon of The Chipmunks, Donatello of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I didn’t want to be one of the Chipettes; they weren’t in all the stories and when they were they were often annoying. I didn’t want to be April O’Neil, because while she was cool in some ways, she wasn’t one of the core group, really. She wasn’t a ninja. She wasn’t a turtle. I certainly didn’t want to be Venus de Milo, the token female turtle, named not after an artist but after a work of art. Even as a kid that offended me. (I did pretend to be Smurfette when I was very young, but I didn’t particularly like it, because she was everyone’s love interest, and that seemed weird.)

It always seemed like there was a group of cool, interesting guys, and then one girl who was put in to have a girl there. I wanted to be one of the interesting people. And, to be frank, I didn’t usually find the shows with lots of girls in them, or centered around girls, to be all that interesting. I didn’t care about hair and makeup and clothes. I wanted to see adventure stories.

One exception was Clarissa Explains It All; I adored that show and wanted to be Clarissa with all my might. She was very much like me; she programmed on her computer (though she did far more advanced things, like building video games in which she threw things at her little brother) and she wore the clothes she felt like wearing, which in retrospect were “cool”, but I felt like they expressed her personality rather than following trends. She also liked Star Wars, which to me was the epitome of awesome (in the hoary pre-prequel days).

As I got older I started wishing I was a boy not as much because there were few cool stories about girls, but because I started watching USA and Lifetime movies and seeing how often women were victimized by men. I thought if I was a man, I would have less to fear. It occurred to me only this morning that I spent a great deal of my life being afraid of men. To be honest, I’m still afraid of them. I spend a lot of time thinking about how to protect myself–maybe more than the average woman? I don’t know. It always felt like even saying the wrong thing could result in violence against me. There are things I still fear to do or say.

Intellectually (I like to evaluate things intellectually, apparently!) I realize that this is sexism on my part. The actual percentage of men who would respond to an offense violently is small, at least here in the US. I do all my male friends a disservice by thinking this way, though I can at least say I don’t think any of them would be violent. I just have this creeping fear inside. Seeing some of the online comments against women, all the legislation aimed at women recently, and all the violence against women around the world only makes me more paranoid. I don’t like living with this fear, but it’s been a part of me for so long I’m not sure how to get rid of it.

I hate when the strong hurt the weak. I have always hated it. As a kid I couldn’t stand seeing it on TV, even in cartoons. I still don’t like it; I won’t watch shows like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. And I hate how casually people threaten violence against one another, especially online. I hate…hate.

Non-sequiturs to escape the previous topic:

Nichijou‘s first opening theme song, “Hyadain no Kakakata Kataomoi-C”, is awesome.

What is up with SKET Dance adding five million female characters with ever-increasing busts?

Natsuyuki Rendezvous is a weird-ass show.

I need to find a new place to explore.

Chobani’s plain Greek yogurt is the best.

The battle within

Lately I have been struggling with things I want to do, things I need to do, things I absolutely have to do, and things I think I should do. I’ve been stressed and unhappy for most of this week, a striking contrast to last week, when I felt like I could do anything. I ended up burning out and crashing hard and it sucked.

I feel like I go through cycles of mood and competence. Normally it doesn’t flip so fast from week to week, though.

I’m reevaluating lots of things. What do I definitely want, and how can I get it? What things do I have to do every day to make those goals happen? Is there anything I can cut out to save time and energy?

Moving to North Augusta would help–I would be able to walk or bike to work, maximizing my commute by combining it with exercise. But I doubt it will solve all my problems.

So here I am at Boll Weevil, seeking comfort in warm familiarity, settling in with a Curious George, chips, and tea.

I hope I can figure this out.

I hate this

I’ve fallen out of all my good habits. It only took a couple of weeks to destroy several months’ work. I’m not exercising much at all and I’m eating crap. I feel like I’m stuck in a cycle of unhealthiness and depression. Whenever I try to start fresh, whether using Weight Watchers or something else, I find myself slipping up almost immediately.

I hate this.

Reboot

Lately I have had a hard time maintaining healthy habits. I’ve been crushed by a need to lose more weight now, and that has locked me into a cycle of disappointment and bad choices. I tried to stay positive, but each day my weigh-in has made me more and more depressed. This last week, to avoid that feeling, I decided to only weigh in on Mondays…but I ended up making very poor food choices this week, including lots of chocolate and grease. I haven’t weighed in and I’m not looking forward to it.

I’ve decided that the only way to get out of this self-destructive pattern is a hard reboot. I need to just start over. I need to throw out the weight loss of 2008 as if it never happened, and start from zero. I need to eliminate the pressure of past success and focus on being healthy.

To that end, I am downloading an iPhone application called “Dietician”. I can enter my current weight, my goal weight, and what type of diet I want, and this application will generate recipes, a meal schedule, and shopping lists for me. Rather than feeling bad that I never have the time or motivation to create my own meal plan system, I can simply follow this application’s advice and start shopping and cooking smarter. Here’s a review of the app where you can get more information.

I am also going to start thinking about how to vary my workout routine more. For the past two weeks I’ve been trying to ride my bike every morning, but on days when it was too cold or I had muscle strain I ended up not doing anything. My plan now is to start working with a personal trainer at the Y and get a varied, targeted workout schedule set up.

I can’t just keep doing the same things, and I can’t let myself continue to be discouraged. It’s time for proaction. It’s time to reboot.

A day of recovery

I’m enjoying a quiet morning, waiting for the Advil to eliminate the pain of the neckache I developed in my sleep. It’s diminished a little, but boy does it ever hurt when I sneeze!

At around 11 I’m supposed to meet up with Brooke and Mari (and others?) at the Olive Garden, which will be nice. I hardly ever go there, since Sean isn’t big into Italian, but I really like it. Should be fun.

One thing I am really happy about right now is that Mom is coming to visit me. She has been so wonderful online and on the phone, but I really want to see her in person, and I can’t take any time off since I’ve already put my vacation days on the week of Christmas. So she’s going to come here, which is great because she hasn’t seen this apartment in person. She really hasn’t seen a whole lot of Augusta. Hopefully I will feel well enough to show her around all my favorite places.

Yesterday I could have spent a fair amount of time with Brooke, but my sleep schedule was messed up and I was depressed and I didn’t want to go anywhere, so I just stayed home and read/watched Detective Conan. I think I needed a day to just do nothing. I feel better today.

Brooke wants me to go to Columbia with her this afternoon to visit her brother’s family, which I may just do. Apparently there will be barbecue, yum.

A whiny ramble–feel free to skip

So, I’m pretty miserable.

Aside from being horribly depressed, I keep coughing, and my left foot is huge and swollen and purple from where I kept it crammed into a dress shoe all day. I also started having abdominal pain again on my way home (early; my boss said I could finish up remotely). This morning I coughed up snot for the first time in awhile; last night I forgot to Flonase, but I’m not sure if that’s related.

I had a bad dream right before I woke up this morning, in which Sean basically informed me that I existed to amuse him, and when I tried to leave, he threatened violence, so I headbutted him and then grabbed him hard in a very sensitive place. But as this was happening, dream-me thought that maybe this was all pretend, so I shouldn’t hurt him too badly.

Then I woke up.

When I told Sean about the pregnancy test last night I had already been asleep for awhile, and I woke up when I heard him settling in in the living room. He said the same thing AJ did: “Don’t get your hopes up.” And like I said before, I really thought I wasn’t. But apparently I did a lousy job.

The nurse said that false positives hardly ever happen; it’s usually false negatives. I looked up false positives online and it said they are usually due to taking fertility drug shots, which I have not done recently. I guess the test was just defective.

Pretty lame. Oh well, yet another bad memory to add to the pile. I’ve been thinking about writing a timeline of all the bad things that have happened in my life, but I’m pretty sure that would be counterproductive. Not to mention whiny.

I should be thankful I’m alive, and have such a great family, and a cute and sweet husband who loves me, and a job I enjoy, and enough money to be able to save and eat out and have fun.

It’s funny, I had decided recently that I was just going to assume I couldn’t have children, because I figured that would be easier. But I guess I never fully embraced that path, because I was so susceptible to the idea when the nurse (who apparently knew nothing of my situation) asked, “Do you think you might be pregnant?” It took a week or two, but then, like a moron, I looked into it.

And then, like a moron, I posted about stat labs on Twitter, and that made Mom wonder why I needed stat labs, and so I ended up telling her, and she was at the farm with Dad and Ben and Manda so they all found out, and so I called AJ because everyone else knew…and I originally wasn’t going to tell anyone until I’d had a blood test. I’d had one that morning but it turned out the lab couldn’t do them stat, so those results will actually be in tomorrow, and it was too late to get them done by the time I found out, so I had to wait and do them this morning. And I guess I just got upset and frustrated and nervous from all the waiting and ended up blowing it, and I got Mom’s hopes up.

Damn it.

When the nurse called to tell me, I didn’t want to talk to anyone, so I just sent Sean and Mom a text message about it. Mom called back and I may have been rude. I just tried not to think about it for as long as I could for the rest of the day. But of course, eventually it overwhelmed me, because I’m a stupid wuss, so here I am, sitting at home gushing in stream of consciousness on my blog when I should still be at work. That frustrates me too, because I’ve been sick so much lately, and I was just getting back to being the kind of employee I strive to be. And now this.

I think life likes to let me rise up before it kicks me back down. Maybe it’s more amusing that way. This time I feel like I was crouched on wobbly legs when it hit.

Whine, whine, whine. Let’s take a step back. What have we learned here? I was told years ago when I first went to an endocrinologist that my chances of being fertile were low, especially if I couldn’t have my own periods. I started out taking hormones, but after awhile I decided I was tired of pills and wanted to be normal, so I just stopped taking them. (Good job.) Five years later, I have a period out of the blue, which is likely a menopausal flushing of all the lining that had built up for those years. I take this as a sign that my body is curing itself, instead. My doctors tell me otherwise but I am apparently incapable of comprehension. I start back on hormones religiously and take pregnancy tests anytime I start to feel “weird”. They are all, of course, negative. I get frustrated. After my doctor leaves her practice, I let everything slide again. But after awhile I decide I want to get back on track with my health, so I find a new doctor. She tells me that the chances of someone who’s had chemotherapy regaining ovarian function after this long are practically zero. I feel like I can maybe move on. Then she adds, “But miracles do happen.” I have grown to hate this phrase because it gives me hope.

That brings us to now. I have weird symptoms where I get overly tired just walking from my office to my car. I have chest pains. I seem to not be breathing properly at night, and sometimes during the day. Flonase, saline spray, and elevating my head seems to help with sleeping, but does nothing for the weird day breathing. Eventually I started getting bloated in my legs and hips. I also occasionally experience abdominal pain, at one point so bad I threw up. I am often so hot that the only thing that helps is sticking my head and arms into the freezer.

Of course I think the hotness is a menopausal symptom, but I have put off starting my hormones because I thought I had a drug interaction one day when I threw up. I’m still not sure what happened there.

In discussing my various symptoms with my various doctors, the nurse at the endocrinologist’s office asks the fatal question, the question I’ve been asking myself. “That’s supposed to be impossible,” I say, keeping my voice level. “But I suppose I could check.” And eventually I do. And for some fucked up reason it says “Pregnant”.

Why would you do this to me? I mean really. What is the point?

Maybe the point is that I should just have a hysterectomy so I can stop worrying about it. (Or I could stop having sex, but I doubt Sean will get on board for that.)

I fail at life

Warning: Emo Alert Level 9.

Once again I’m reminded how I fail to measure up. Once again I’m reminded that no one can help me but me. Once again I feel powerless and insecure and depressed and afraid and gut-wrenchingly sad, and no one knows how to stop it.

Sitting around watching DVDs only helps me escape for a little while, but it’s all I’m apparently capable of doing.

Bleh

I’m feeling depressed and tired. I don’t know if the depression is fed by the tiredness or vice versa or if they’re just coexisting phenomena.

Regardless, bleh.

I had some strange dreams last night. In the first one, I was really upset about how much weight I’ve gained, and I was thinking that I would never be able to lose it without surgery. But I didn’t know if I would ever be able to afford it. When I said this aloud, my mother immediately sliced open my belly and started cutting away parts of my organs. At this point I could see inside there, and it looked like how it looks when you cut fat away from chicken with kitchen scissors.

I was thinking, I know you were a nurse, and I know you witnessed this sort of procedure before, but do you really know what you’re doing? But I didn’t say it.

Then she was done, and I said, “This wasn’t an official surgery, so I won’t be covered if something goes wrong.” I must have been so traumatized by the thought that I could die that that part of the dream became a dream, and I was telling Mom about it.

“And so I thought to myself that I would never be able to lose the weight without that surgery,” I said.

“Well, duh,” Mom responded, and pulled out my flat metal spatula. She promptly split me open with it and did the surgery, and I watched it happen the exact same way.

This last bothered me so much that I woke up for real.

Somewhere in there I also dreamed that my workplace was on fire. It wasn’t my office as it is now; it was a narrower room. I ran into the smoke and started grabbing stuff.

“I don’t want to lose everything again,” I explained, coughing. I managed to save several toys–all toys that I used to have at the old apartment, that were of course lost in the fire. One was my Darkwing Duck bank, and one was my Sailor Moon figure.

It’s kind of funny; I have never obsessed about losing those toys.

2006

I’ve been thinking about what I’ve accomplished in the past 365 days for a few weeks now, and the list seems rather small.

One big thing is getting a job that has been amazingly perfect for me. It was sheer luck; I happened to see the job opening, so I applied and got it. Initially I didn’t know what the job would really entail. I wasn’t sure I would like it, but I figured I could do it for awhile, and try to figure out what I did want to do in the meantime.

Over time I have taken ownership of the position and used my role to expand and improve the station’s website. I work with sales and promotions as well as news. I’ve learned so much about the television industry, and I’ve expanded my knowledge of what’s possible on the web. And there’s still so much to learn.

But working full time for the first time in years has really changed other aspects of my life. I get up in time to get ready for work, and I get home at night tired and unwilling to cook. I just watch anime or DVDs all night and then go to bed. In recent months I’ve even stopped packing my lunches, going out for fast food instead.

I was so much more active in 2005, before the fire. I went biking often. I think I only took my bike to the Canal once in 2006, and other than that I rode my bike twice around my neighborhood–once down to the Y, and once just back in the neighborhoods. Both times I ended up entirely too winded.

So I’ve deteriorated physically, and I haven’t really done anything else, either. I haven’t done more to improve my knowledge of Japanese. I haven’t read hardly anything. Pretty much all the learning I’ve done has been in the course of my job. I haven’t gone exploring–I’ve been wanting to see the dam, and Mystery Photo Guy has turned me on to another place to check out, but it seems all I do on the weekend is sit around. I’ve fallen into a rut; I do only what I need to do, and nothing more.

And it’s driving me crazy.

I think part of this has just been recovery time from the fire. I dealt with it and moved on, in general–I was able to function. But was I really living?

There were so many things I planned to do and then backed out of. Baking Christmas cookies. Going to Wes’ church for a Halloween mystery dinner. Having a party. And I still haven’t bought the lining Brooke needs to make the curtains she said she’d make for Sean and my bedroom.

Some of these can be attributed to procrastination and laziness, but I feel like there’s something more. Even when I feel totally motivated to accomplish something, I ultimately don’t do it.

I wonder: was I afraid to live, in 2006?

Ever since the fire, I have wondered what it taught me. I wondered if I was supposed to learn not to be so attached to material possessions. I wondered if I was supposed to give up on my obsessive-compulsive self-archiving.

Have I spent my time wondering this, in lieu of doing anything else?

Do I analyze myself too much? Was the lesson really to just get over it and live?

I feel like I’ve been trying to learn that one for years.

Ultimately, there are some things I want, and I didn’t make any progress on any of it in 2006.

I want to lose weight. But in 2006, I gained it.

I want to learn Japanese. But in 2006, I didn’t even crack a book. My “studying” consisted of occasionally trying to read katakana on websites, and watching anime.

I want to play the piano again. But in 2006, I didn’t even try to figure out how to get back into it.

I want to join a choir or chorus. But in 2006, I didn’t look for one.

I want to be more sociable. But in 2006, I avoided social occasions and really only spent time with Brooke–essentially clinging unfairly to someone who will be moving soon.

I want to cook dinner and pack lunches. But in 2006, I ate out for the majority of my meals.

I want to write blog posts–and hell, maybe even other things–that are interesting for people to read. But in 2006, every time I thought of writing something, I just felt tired…so usually I didn’t even bother to try.

In fact, pretty much everything in 2006 made me feel tired.

I remember being so happy when 2005 ended. I was so excited to leave the year of the fire behind me. But what did I do with the new year? Nothing.

“Why don’t you want anymore?” AJ asked. “Straight up. Is it because you just don’t like it, or are you afraid of what might happen?”

“I’m not afraid of anything happening,” I said. “I just don’t see the point.”

“Fair enough,” AJ said.

“There really isn’t a point,” Dan added.

Later, AJ said, “I really wonder what you’d be like drunk.”

“I know, you really want to know,” I said.

“It’s because you’re different–not in a bad way, but just different–normally. So what would you be like when you’re not normal?”

“Probably depressed,” I said.

“Depressed? Why? Do you feel depressed right now?”

“Yeah.”

“…okay, yeah, you’d probably be depressed. Or pissed.”

Happy New Year.

Unhappiness strikes again

Blogger keeps claiming that I can switch to Beta now, but when I go to do it it says I can’t. That’s what I get for having 2801 posts.

I don’t know how Beta is going to work with remote hosting, anyway.

I watched three Full Metal Panic! DVDs last night. I really enjoy the original series. It’s got just enough serious and just enough comedy.

At some point last night I was dreaming about FMP, though I can’t remember what the plot was, exactly. There was an explosion in the dream and I woke up, and my first thought was something like, “We can’t let anyone know this list of children’s names.” What list? I wondered as I staggered to the bathroom. A list of Whispered? (Maybe it was Santa’s Naughty and Nice list.)

I had a hard time getting to sleep last night. For some reason I just kept thinking about our old apartment and the fire and everything we lost. Whenever I do that I get upset and fret about what I might have been able to save if I had thought and acted more quickly. Really, if I had tried to save my computer or purse or anything in the office, I might not be here today. I need to just be happy that I survived. And even if I had managed to grab something, I wouldn’t have been able to save all the things I miss now, and I would just be fretting about them instead.

Then this morning when I went to the bathroom I was looking at our bed through the door and imagining myself crunching through fire rubble and finding just the metal parts of the frame, blackened and twisted.

I don’t know where all that came from. It’s been a year and a half.

My biggest source of depression lately is the slowly dawning realization that I will never live in Japan.

Also, I’m almost 30, and I’m nowhere near a stable household or career. I’m not really doing anything with my life. I do have a job I love and I am learning things there, but when I’m not at work all I do is watch shows on my computer. I still haven’t gotten to where I cook frequently, which means we eat out a lot, which is unhealthy and expensive. And I feel like if I want anything to be different, I’m going to have to do it, and no one will help me, and that’s just overwhelming.

It’s unfair to do this, because everyone’s situation is different, but I look at the people around me and am so jealous of their lives sometimes.