Categories
Diary Health

CHF Recovery: Days 37, 38, and 39

October 20, 2016

Still depressed, but I managed to shower and get dressed at least. I took all my meds and supplements and weighed myself, but I did not track my food intake. I also wrote a story based on a prompt. It was okay.

I took a brief nap in the afternoon, then called Kathryn. I felt better after the phone call.

Lunch was Starbucks. Dinner was a lighter take meal from Maggiano’s.

I wore my new Star Wars t-shirt, a light blue one with a print of the circus-style poster from the 1978 re-release. I love it. Kathryn helped me find it online :)

October 21, 2016

  • Got up at 9:30
  • Drank protein shake and had morning meds
  • Showered and got dressed
  • My period started like clockwork at 11:30
  • Went to the grocery store and bought a ton of snacks, as well as stuff I actually needed

When I was at the store I became upset when I saw an endcap display of fire logs, because fireplaces mean home to me and Sean and I don’t have one. Then I thought about making pumpkin pie and that made me sad too, because I do not have a big family to eat it.

I am, at time of writing, upset over a picture of a 47-year-old man who until I saw this picture I did not think much about other than “yeah, he’s a good-looking fellow.” The picture in question shows his hand, raised flat to his lips with a cigarette between two fingers. His hand is large and his fingers are thick and I was instantly struck with two thoughts: 1) This man is extraordinarily attractive; 2) His hands are like Dad’s.

Do I suddenly want a man like Dad? Do I want to replace Dad? What am I supposed to do about this Dad-shaped hole in my life?

  • Brought in groceries and put them away, feeling self-piteous
  • I don’t remember the rest of this day to be quite honest but I know I did not go for a walk or anything
  • Oh that’s right we went to AJ’s for dinner and I had the grilled grouper salad
  • We also had key lime pie
  • I stayed up until 1:45 am but I wasn’t doing anything productive
  • I also did not track my food intake, and I ate lots of the snacks that I got from the store

October 22, 2016

I got up and had my protein shake and meds and messed around online until it was time to go to therapy. I did not shower.

Therapy was good. I think I learned something about myself and how I communicate (or, rather, don’t communicate).

After therapy I came home and made myself lunch: PB&J, yogurt, and strawberries. Then Sean and I went to Alpharetta to meet William for a one-day-only screening of Shin Godzilla. It was actually the first Godzilla movie I had ever seen, so I don’t know how it compares to the old ones, but it was pretty interesting. The pacing and the focus on people doing things in conference rooms would probably bore a broader western audience. (To be honest, I was in danger of falling asleep a few times, but I wasn’t feeling well.)

After that we ate at a restaurant right next to the theater called Kona Grill. I thought it might have Hawaiian food but it was more like Japanese-American fusion. I had their fish of the day, grilled sea bass with white rice and mixed vegetables. Sean started with edamame and then had clam chowder and a Cuban sandwich. William had a chicken caprese sandwich. Their sandwiches came with sweet potato fries, so I nicked a couple of Sean’s. For dessert I had a huge passionfruit creme brulee and Sean and William watched me eat it ;P (It was amazing.) After that we all went home.

I was feeling pretty good by this point, so I solicited prompts from people to combine into a single story. While I was waiting for prompts I called Kathryn and we talked for about half an hour, and it was really nice. Then I worked on writing the story until bedtime (while eating an entire sleeve of Oreos >_<). I went to sleep at around 11:45.

This was the third day in a row that I did not track my food intake.

Categories
Writing

Stuff

Sometimes I come out of my depression enough to think about all the stuff I’m not accomplishing, and why that might be (gee, maybe depression? But also: I’m a lazy fuck).

This morning a friend was mentioning that they have fallen behind on their word count for the year, but that they’re not too far behind and they’re impressed they made it this far into the year without falling behind until now. I literally had nothing to say to that. Back at the beginning of the year I worked with them on creating spreadsheets that track word counts in a variety of ways, and I was really proud of my version of it, but I haven’t actually used that spreadsheet since February.

2015’s spreadsheet was broken up by month and required me to create blocks for each week and take up a ton of space:

my 2015 writing spreadsheet

2016’s spreadsheet was designed so I could simply enter anything I wrote into rows on the same tab:

my 2016 writing spreadsheet - data tab

and then the other tabs would track whether I was meeting certain goals. The second tab just checks to see if I have written anything at all in a given week.

my 2016 writing spreadsheet, tab 2

Then the third tab tracks monthly goals. My baseline was 10k words per month, and 15k was a stretch goal. (Obviously I never met either of these.)

my 2016 writing spreadsheet, tab 3

And finally, on the last tab, I just wanted to tally what kind of writing I was doing. There were no goals for this tab. I was just thinking it would be neat to see what projects ended up getting the most word count. I separated “ficlets” from “fanfic” because I wanted to differentiate between tiny stories (200-word drabbles, five-sentence ficlets) and short stories, even though my short stories tend to be so short that other people might call them ficlets as well (under 4000 words).

my 2016 writing spreadsheet, tab 4

So yeah, the spreadsheet is pretty cool, and I get a certain amount of pride looking at it now, even though I barely used it for its actual purpose.

But the point is, I haven’t met any word count goals this year. I have written things beyond what I’ve tracked, but not much. Maybe I’ll go through and fill in this spreadsheet with everything I’ve written since February, but I’m not sure I want to see how little I’ve been writing.

I realize this is an extremely rough time for me and I shouldn’t expect myself to be perfect and shit, but I just feel like a failure. Most times when I try to start writing something I am filled with extreme reluctance. Occasionally I’m not, and something comes out. But I feel like I should just push through that reluctance and force myself to write things, and that because I’m not, I’m weak and lazy.

Categories
Diary

fucking

why did he die?

life was just happening like normal

and then suddenly it’s like

okay your dad’s dying

okay your dad’s dead

(you watched him die)

seeing a picture of a backyard, not even your backyard but close enough, makes you want to cry

mother’s day makes you want to cry

you think about father’s day coming up and making some sort of happy father’s day post with a picture of his cremains because that’s all that’s left, right? that’s funny, right?

all these plans, all these what-ifs, they weren’t supposed to be needed so soon

mom planning to move

no more backyard, no more basement, no more house

it’s all gone anyway, everything’s gone, everything’s changed

you said things you can’t take back and ruined it all

you want to erase this entire year, almost

no, you do, you want to erase it all, even the good stuff, because it’s overwhelmed by all the bad stuff

you’re so selfish

and everything’s about you anyway isn’t it

everything that happens to anyone else, you make it about you

specifically, about how you are Wrong and Different and a Failure

how you don’t fit in and never will

how you should disappear

but it’s not even about you, it’s about them, even when you’re hating yourself you’re fucking self-centered

and you think about how you are when you drive

and how arrogant you are with other things

and how you’ve been blaming it on inheritance, but it’s yours, those are you, you’re the one doing them

every day you choose to be pathetic.

Categories
Diary

Drowning

For months now I’ve sort of let myself be carried by the rapids, buffeted by surging waves of work and family and personal changes, and dragged below the surface by a relentless undertow of depression. I’ve felt more and more helpless and more and more incapable, barely managing to function some days. The occasions that I’ve felt energetic and powerful have been fleetingly rare. I spend much of my time trying to distract myself, and the rest of the time hating how little I’m accomplishing.

My life doesn’t seem all that difficult. I am so lucky in so many ways. I have so many wonderful people who love me. I have a nice home. I have a good job. My unhappiness stems from feeling that I could be more than I am, and my apparent inability to do anything about it. My impatience to get there fast, and the trouble I have with planning and executing long-term strategies for personal growth.

The world feels like a blur around me; I see snatches of information here and there but I can’t seem to grasp things the way I used to. I don’t do anything, but I feel like I have no time.

Then I lost a lifelong friend, very suddenly, to cancer.

And then my mother told me, “If you have anything you want to say to your dad, you should come home soon,” because he’s got cancer too. It’s not the throat cancer again; this time it’s small cell lung cancer, and he’s in stage 4.

I am trying to allow myself to feel this hurt. I am trying not to discount the things I am going through. I am trying to accept that I can’t just handle everything. I’m trying, and it’s really hard. Because I feel like I should just be able to deal with it. Like I should be stronger somehow. Like I am being lazy.

I need to step back, and breathe, and feel, and forgive myself, somehow.

Categories
Diary

Meaningless

I’m thinking about how meaningless those 175,809 words I wrote in 2015 were. And how I have barely written anything this year (5146 words in January). And how I don’t feel like writing anything. How everything I think of sounds boring, or like too much trouble. And how much I hate that I am like this, and wish I was someone who Did Things.

Categories
Diary

Managing myself

One big thing that changed for me in 2015 is that I started really chatting again.

Much of my online life, starting with BBSes back in 1993, had been chatting. Talking directly to people. Making friends. With the advent of social media, my chatting, just like my blogging, declined. I started saying a lot of the stuff I’d say in private chats on Twitter instead. I liked the idea that I had a lasting record—my chat logs up until 2005 were lost in the fire. When I started using Facebook, a place where I could specify who was allowed to see my posts, I chatted even less. For a long time—years—I would chat with people here and there, but never regularly. Mom was the sole exception.

That changed early last year when I started meeting people in the Welcome to Night Vale fandom on Tumblr. At the time, Tumblr didn’t have their Messaging system, and Asks and Fanmail were too clunky for the kind of natural conversations I enjoy. So I started asking people if they wanted to chat with me on an actual chat service. At first I had several people on Google Talk, but then, when it became apparent that the majority were on Skype, we all shifted over there. Eventually a group chat formed, something I hadn’t really done since I stopped using IRC many years ago.

I don’t think I realized how disconnected I’d felt until I started chatting again. I only have a few local friends other than people I interact with at work. So I wasn’t really talking much with anyone. Suddenly I have this circle of wonderful friends who I care deeply about. It’s been quite a change.

I’ve made some big mistakes. I haven’t been as sensitive as I could have been. I can be extremely hurtful when I’m depressed. I say things I would never otherwise say. I don’t drink, but I imagine it’s similar to that, having my inhibitions lowered to the point that I’ll just spew whatever garbage I’m feeling. In one incident that I still haven’t quite recovered from, I really hurt a friend’s feelings. She suggested wisely that when I am feeling depressed, I should just stop typing. In another, more recent incident, I was feeling overwhelmed by the dynamics of a relationship and acted out, and upon rereading I was horrified to see what a bully I had been.

All of this is context for the following. Last night, I started feeling horrible again. I felt disconnected, down on myself, and angry that people did not care in the exact way I wanted them to care. Everything people said—stuff that had absolutely nothing to do with me—made me mad. And so instead of staying in that environment and possibly saying something awful, I politely excused myself for the evening.

It felt odd. Unnatural. I tend to just get online and stay online. But taking a break is what I needed to do. I’m happy that I recognized that and did it and did not say something cruel to people I love.

I’m pretty scared of my potential to hurt other people. I will continue to be mindful of my moods and the effect they have on my behavior.

Categories
Diary

Here’s some stuff

I haven’t updated my 2015 Daily Writing tally in a couple months, but the gist is, I have not been writing daily. Or even weekly. The last thing I wrote was a tiny fanfic on November 1. Before that I was writing somewhat regularly, but not every day.

Sometimes when I think about writing, it seems like too much effort. Sometimes I can’t think of anything I want to write. Sometimes I just feel too tired.

Lately I’ve started to think that maybe I might be ready to write again, but I haven’t done it yet.

I have an appointment on Thursday to talk with someone about what I assume is depression. We’ll see how that goes.

Categories
Diary

I don’t know what happened

I have had bouts of severe unhappiness in the past few months. I haven’t kept track of them or anything, so I don’t know how frequent they are or when they started. I just know that I’ll have one or two days where I feel fine, and then I’ll sink into this horrible depression. I’m filled with self-loathing all the time, thinking about all the ways in which I have failed and continue to fail.

I feel like I don’t have the energy to do anything. I also don’t feel like I want to do anything. A book I’ve been waiting to read for months finally came out a couple weeks ago, but I still haven’t finished reading it. It’s like I don’t care at all.

There have been bright moments. My trip to New York City, from October 1 to 8, was fantastic. I was happy the whole time I was there, riding a travel high. Even when plans didn’t work out or when my feet were killing me from wearing uncomfortable shoes, I felt great. (I’m sure a lot of that had to do with the company.)

And the weekend before last, I went to Gibbs Gardens on Saturday by myself and Sunday with Charles and Heidi, and the fall leaves were beautiful, and the Japanese Culture Festival was going on and it was a lot of fun.

But those happy feelings never seem to last, and in an instant I can be sobbing over how uncreative I am or how I can’t seem to actually do anything or how I fail at human relationships. I feel like lately all I’ve done is bring my friends down, which makes it worse. I feel like I shouldn’t be around people. I’m so negative, I keep saying awful things and making people feel bad.

I just want to enjoy things again, and not hate myself.

Categories
Diary

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?

Categories
Diary Health

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.

Categories
Diary Writing

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.

Categories
Diary

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.

Categories
Diary Health

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.

Categories
Diary

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.

Categories
Diary Health

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.