Hello Gentle Readers. I haven’t posted since July of last year. I don’t think I’ve had much to say, really. Even my private journal over at LiveJournal hasn’t seen much action for the last few months. Life was kind of boring. I took the kid to school, went to work Tuesdays through Thursdays and on Saturdays, tried to go to karate when I wasn’t sick of being at the dojo (more on that later), and basically wasted the rest of the time on the computer or playing Skyrim. Domestic concerns were pretty far down on my list of priorities. I felt like a total slacker, and sometimes a loser, but I still have a thin veil of depression that lays on everything, so it’s hard for me to get motivated. That could probably be largely remedied by my remembering to take my damn antidepressants in the morning. *sigh*
Overall, though, I feel better mentally than I have in a while. I still have my down periods and angry spells, but I don’t think it’s happening as often. And if I am perceiving a difference, then I know everyone else probably is. Because I don’t notice change in myself unless it’s fairly significant, as evidenced by how often my family has to tell me not to be so hard on myself because I’m too busy focusing on how well I’m not doing and ignoring how well I am doing. I’ve apparently not been very successful at removing the Self Ass-Kicking Machine I seem to have permanently strapped to my back. Or at taking off the Shit-Colored Glasses I also find myself wearing more often than not. I wear those less and less often, though. When I put them on, though, hoo boy.
So what have I been doing since last July? Well let’s see here.
- fretting over my mothering skills when Zoe was much younger: I had bad post-partum depression for 3 years after she was born, and I spent a great deal of time being sad and angry. I also hadn’t been diagnosed as bipolar yet, and it was raging out of control in retrospect. My life would have been considerably easier, and my family’s more pleasant, if I had stopped breastfeeding to stop the hormone flood I was subjecting myself to (I’m a freak: oxytocin doesn’t make me feel good like everyone else on the planet, it just upsets my hormone balance and makes me completely unbalanced) and sought treatment for what was a serious problem. Actually, I did, but I was seeing a GP who was wholly unprepared to be treating someone with serious mental illness, so the treatment I did get wasn’t effective and essentially stole my memory for over a year. I was in no shape to take proper care of myself, let alone anyone else. So of course my parenting suffered. I’m struggling to make peace with all of that and the fact that those times are gone and I can never get back the time that I should have been enjoying mothering my infant and toddler daughter.
- increasingly not enjoying my job: I have to preface that by saying how much I’ve enjoyed working at my dojo and helping to get it organized and somewhat modernized. Still, it was an office job, one that I ultimately had for 4 years, and I was tired of clerical work. So in January, I put in my notice. I stayed through the end of March so that I could help organize a big training weekend that had been planned to celebrate the dojo’s 25th anniversary. That was about 3 weeks ago. I’ve applied for one job that I didn’t get, unfortunately (it was at a local meditation center), but haven’t done any other looking yet. I’m enjoying the time off and not getting up in the morning with that yucky feeling you have when you have to do something you don’t want to. Now I get to weigh all of my options, including going back to school potentially. I’d certainly make much better money with a degree, which I only need about 30 more credit hours to finish. It’s just paying for the tuition that’s problematic. I already have a significant student loan debt, so I’m not anxious to add to it. I don’t know if we would qualify for financial aid anyway. So that’s where I’m at career-wise.
- switching therapists: I’m on my fifth therapist since December of 2012. I go to a sliding scale clinic whose staff rotates out frequently since they’re graduate students also looking for permanent jobs. My first two therapists got new jobs within a month of starting with them. The third therapist was a really nice guy, but he had some whacked out theories and opinions about mental illness (he believes there’s no such thing as mental “illness” except for maybe schizophrenia: uh, yeah dude, whatever), and he was a guy, which meant he set off all my baggage about men leftover from childhood. His therapeutic technique annoyed me and I didn’t feel safe enough to open up to him. So I switched again. The new lady made me feel really uncomfortable for some reason. So I switched again. The new lady is okay. I still feel really guarded, though, and I don’t know if that’s something about her or something about me. I do know that I’m really freaking tired of being in therapy. The whole “how does that make you feel” thing really grates on my nerves. I also have an attitude of “talking doesn’t cook the rice” (a Chinese proverb) that probably doesn’t serve me very well considering talking is what you’re supposed to do in therapy. Half the time I just want to stop going: I could use that money for other things (as it is, I spend $300-400 a month on my mental health). And if I don’t feel like talking, maybe I should stop. Something to think about.
- got our daughter into a really great charter school: she was so bored at her old school, so it was with great delight that I took a phone call from the charter school in July saying there was a spot open for her. She loved it for several months. Then she went back to hating school, despite her grades being significantly improved by the new learning environment. Her social concerns are very important to her, though: if there are no friends around, she’s going to be unhappy and her grades are going to suffer, and her best friend there will actually be going to the middle school that’s walking distance from our house. So we’ll be switching schools again for the next school year. I hope it works out, because failing that, we’ll have to resort to private schools, and that’s freaking expensive.
- repeated family drama with my brother: I’ll spare you the details, but he pulled a stunt in August that almost necessitated my going to Seattle to be with him. I didn’t go, fortunately for my budget, but it highlighted what a negative presence he is in my life. I really don’t need that kind of crap anymore. I’ve done my time tending to the insane. I have my own life to worry about.
- something of a spiritual crisis regarding my Buddhist leanings: Buddhism is not a comforting religion. It’s all about acceptance and compassion, and not having expectations, because that’s clinging, and clinging leads to suffering. But as I said in my LJ, “I’m just having a really hard time wrapping my head around how cessation of desire doesn’t equate to futility.” I’m trapped in a philosophical loop of sorts. I know that “all beings desire happiness”, one of the basic tenets of Buddhism. I also know that leading a life filled with expectations typically leads to disappointment, so how does that mesh with desiring happiness? Should I stop desiring to be happy and just be surprised when it happens? That seems like a terrible way to live. Buddhism is also maddeningly simplistic and minimalist, as well. Regarding worry, Buddhism says it’s ridiculous, because you can’t do anything about the future or the past, just right now. So fix what you can right now and forget about the rest. How am I supposed to plan for the future with that kind of attitude? I don’t have anyone to talk to about these things, so I feel really stuck and frustrated with my spiritual life right now.
- start and stop exercise habit: I had a good thing going for a few months there, and then I lost the momentum. I did get myself to karate class quite a bit more frequently starting in August because I was trying to get enough classes to get a promotion. Good thing I did, too, because in November we had to stop driving the car because it needed a critical repair so it became really difficult to get to class since my husband didn’t get home until 6 or 6:30. But the daily momentum to exercise? Gone. There are deep depressions in the carpet where my hand weights have been sitting for the last several months. Now that I’m not working, I have awesome opportunities all day long to go to yoga class or to one of the classes at my gym, mostly weightlifting. Not to mention the things I can do at home: dumbbells, bodyweight exercises, and walking. I also have a bicycle. There’s really no excuse other than laziness and apathy for me not to be exercising. Which I still really need to do in order to get my slightly elevated cholesterol level down. So that’s a major goal right now. I did discover that if I use an asthma inhaler before I exercise, it’s a LOT easier, so that’s helped some. Need to see a doctor about that. Speaking of doctors…
- getting health insurance because of the ACA: my daughter and I have been without insurance since 2006. I’ve lived in fear of what would happen if she got really sick or injured. It would be devastating financially. I don’t have to worry about that anymore: we are all insured now thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Before that, it was simply too expensive to insure everyone. It would have cost more to add the two of us to my husband’s policy than it is to get insurance for all three of us. So that’s made me really happy. I have several things I want to see doctors for: my breathing problem (probably asthma), my heart issues (never had a proper followup to my hospital visit last year), my hormones (the bane of my existence), my skin (I have a few moles I’d like to be looked at), and getting basic wellness taken care of. A trip to the chiropractor would be nice. I’m looking forward to getting all of my health issues taken care of.
- expensive things: like major car repairs, and spending $1500 at the vet to get surgery for my dumbass cat who ate 2′ of ribbon one day. At least they let me spread out the cost over a few paychecks. Otherwise I shudder to think of what might have happened. That’s my daughter’s cat: she would be devastated if something happened to him. Now we make sure nothing ribbony or stringy is left out so he won’t eat it, because he’s clearly too stupid not to. Not long after the incident with the cat, a couple of my teeth started acting up. I had to have them pulled, which would have been a serious financial problem if I hadn’t been approved for a line of credit at a local dental chain. So I spent a couple of weeks in pain after having first one tooth out and then another, since it couldn’t be repaired. Which made me miss work, which pissed off my boss. Our financial situation just sucked for a few months, and in the midst of it I had to worry about…
- a corporate takeover at my husband’s job: we just didn’t know what was going to happen for weeks, and it was so incredibly stressful. To make a long story short, eventually everything got ironed out after a few negotiations (the hiring terms of the new company were very undesirable, so he managed to get a contract instead of being a permanent employee, thereby avoiding quite a bit of unpleasantness), and now he’s making more money and gets to work at home. A winning situation all around.
- got my green belt promotion: more than two years after my last promotion, I finally promoted again to green belt. I’m technically a senior student now. I haven’t been to class much since then because working at the dojo meant I really didn’t want to spend more time there (plus it was weird being both an employee and a student: I was never sure which hat to wear), but now that I’ve quit, I need to get back to class. Especially since I have to pay tuition again!
*whew* That’s a lot. And I thought my life was boring! It just hasn’t been exciting in the way I’d like it to be. Things are fairly settled at the moment, though. I do need to find a new job because we do miss the income (though working for a non-profit meant my paycheck was never huge), but I want to find something I’ll enjoy. Either that or I need to completely rework the budget so I can save enough to go back to school. Which is what I’d really like to do. I have several possibilities that I could major in, since the last 30 or so hours that I need are all major concentration classes as opposed to core classes. I’m all done with those. I’m kicking around the idea of either a psychology or a social work degree. I think the latter might be more personally satisfying, though not as well-paying probably. I could also get a science degree in either microbiology, an old love of mine, or atmospheric science, aka meteorology, an even older love. That’s a lot of math, though, which is not my strong suit. I just want something that will both make me happy and give me a relatively decent income. If I don’t start working a real job that makes real money soon, I’ll never have anything in my Social Security account for when I’m older. Getting old freaks me out.
So my current goals are re-establishing an exercise habit, getting the house and yard in order, which are in a woeful state right now, and either finding new satisfying work, or going back to school. And that’s life in my world.