Zelda-ed Out

Sorry for not posting much in the past few weeks. It’s been kind of chaotic here.

So, for the past two weeks, my friend Jerad has been spending the night here and playing (almost) every Legend of Zelda game he owns. He recently bought the last three he didn’t have previously, but they were not included in his marathon. He had estimated his gaming marathon at taking 10, maybe 11 days. Today is day 13 and he’s still working on the last one. Sounds like a long vacation of sorts, right?

To be honest, I haven’t minded having him here for that long. I’ve actually been enjoying his company and watching all the different Zelda games, some of which I’ve never played before, and I’m going to be a little sad when he leaves. On the other hand, I haven’t really been on my usual schedule for those two weeks and haven’t had much alone time to decompress so I’m looking forward to having that back tomorrow. But having him here for so long got me thinking on how he’s been a good influence on me and how I’m not completely drained physically or mentally.

Since he’s been here, I’ve had several days where I went over my step goal of 6,000 steps (and yes I know it’s supposed to be 10K a day, but I needed to work up to that from sitting all the time) because I went for walks with him while he went Pokemon hunting and we chatted during those walks, which was nice. I haven’t been stress eating because I’m not all that stressed, despite not having a great deal of work this week, which also means I haven’t touched my chocolate stash in several days. And on top of my lack of stress eating, I’ve been eating healthier foods and snacks all around, from grapes and apple slices to cherries, carrots, and asparagus. It hasn’t all been healthy (like the ice cream bars and the hot dogs and chips) but it’s been pretty balanced overall, which I haven’t really been able to do by myself.

I think the most important thing he’s done while he’s been here is not leave me feeling completely drained and overwhelmed, which is difficult in itself because we’ve also had extra company over the past two weekends that I wasn’t expecting. But he hasn’t made me feel frantic or panicked or anything like that. He knows about my anxiety and has been taking it into account, even going so far as to help with my impromptu babysitting needs. When a discussion about Gia came up (while I was still babysitting), I heard him mention something about trying to coax an apology from me to her (since she had told him she would not apologize to me until I did and maybe then she would admit she overreacted). But my dad told him something, I didn’t quite hear the details because I was in the other room with the four year old girl I was watching, but what I did catch was that after all the stuff Gia had said about me and my family, I was the one deserving of an apology and Jerad said that he hadn’t known about whatever it was my dad told him. Since then, there has been no discussion whatsoever about an apology or about Gia.

I appreciate that he still has faith the friendship will resume after we’ve both had some time to cool off and be apart, but we’ve been “apart” for four years now and I’ve just started to see how toxic she really is. After two years I’ve finally found my voice again, my own personality, and I’m no longer a needy, dependent little girl looking for any friends that’ll have me. I am a strong, independent woman who doesn’t have time for anyone else’s drama or issues. I decide which friends to keep and which friends aren’t worth the effort. Being in a one-sided relationship is never worth it, especially if you’re the only one putting in any effort.

A Little Self Reflection

I am a sucky friend. Some days I’m not even sure why people want to be friends with me. I tell myself and others that I’m delightful and fun to be around, but right now, I’m not so sure. I’m needy, and a bit clingy and selfish. I don’t always pick up on subtle clues that something’s wrong with someone else or I do/say something that I think is innocent but sometimes comes off hurtful or snarky, and I can’t take it back or apologize enough.

And I’m not saying this for pity’s sake or attention or anything like that. Nor am I doing it to upset anyone for making me feel bad. As the title suggests, I’m doing a little self reflection and acknowledging some of my flaws. That’s how we get better and grow as people, right?

Yesterday my best friend needed me, and I let her down. I was so absorbed in my game that I didn’t recognize her not talking to me was because she was upset with me. I only thought it was because she was focusing on her homework with a migraine, which is hard enough without having to focus on a side conversation. So I ignored it, and that was wrong on my part.

On the other hand, part of my brain was also stressing about cleaning house this week for having Jerad over for a long “vacation” of sorts and possibly next weekend (Father’s Day) having another mutual friend over for the weekend. Are these friends any more important than my best friend? Hell no. These three people are the most important friends I have and quite frankly, the only ones I think I’ll ever need. So why did two take priority over one?

The only honest to goodness answer I can come up with is because I wasn’t consciously in the moment. I was too wrapped up in my game and focused on future events that I wasn’t focused on the here and now.  I know my anxiety plays a role in that, especially since that whole Gia debacle, I feel that my need to clean house this week is not only for Jerad’s and my sake, but quite possibly an overcompensation on my part to not appear like Gia in resisting the need to clean. (Plus my allergies on top of that; however my new air purifier seems to be working like a charm!)

That being said, I’m going to try to work extra hard today and all future days to put my friends first, and make it up to my best friend so hopefully she can forgive me for letting her down when she needed me.

Lost and Found

Now that things have calmed down a little and I’m more level headed, allow me to give you a little context for my recent explosion.

Monday morning I was sent a group text by Gia about getting together for a summer hangout time, since all four of us were home/in the state (we have a mutual friend who’s going to school in Arizona right now). Along the way of deciding dates and such, I made a simple, polite request for Gia to clean her apartment because of my health issues (allergies, mostly). I even included a remark that my allergies had been getting worse and that anything from animal hair to dust to pollen was aggravating my sinuses. And I knew firsthand that I wouldn’t enjoy myself if I had to spend most of the weekend with an ice pack to my face. Here’s where the first of the sparks fly.

Gia’s first response was half-heartedly sincere, but she had to point out that she ALWAYS tries to clean her place before guests arrive. Note the key word “tries.” Then she added that she’ll shave her cats and hire a maid service, and not to be surprised if her cats magically had all their hair back come the weekend we had settled on. If you can’t tell, this was heavy sarcasm. First off, the fact that she had to point out that she always tries to clean her place annoyed me because it’s a lie, unless cleaning house doesn’t include dishes or taking out the recyclables. Second, I can take a joke, but the sarcasm regarding her cats and a maid service was not only unnecessary but also showed me her true unwillingness to take my request seriously. For those of you who’ve had sinus infections or have allergies and no medication seems to offer relief, it’s no fun having your face hurt and not being able to do anything about it.

In any case, I ignored the sarcasm because I know that’s how her personality is. Next came the discussion of who would pick up who, what routes to take, etc. and after much discussion and a period of silence, I decided to make an executive decision: to have Jerad pick me up late afternoon that Friday so we could go up to Gia’s, and Gia could pick up our other friend around the time he was done with work. Well, earlier Gia had mentioned that she could get off work at noon and in my executive decision, I mentioned that she could use that extra time to clean her apartment before getting our other friend, not in a mean sort of way. I just know she’s busy with a full time job and she’s very tired after work and I understand that sometimes you just don’t have the energy to do something. Plus I’ve heard her mention to me several times she “ran out of time” or “didn’t have the energy” to clean the place up. So my suggestion to use the afternoon to clean was meant to be helpful, not hurtful.

Gia takes it as hurtful and responds with a photo that said, “Bitch, don’t tell me what to do,” and that I am not ok with her place and if the other two can think of a better place to meet, that would be great. To which I responded that I just wouldn’t come if she was going to be that way about a simple request. It should also be noted that I’ve been having an anxiety attack for about an hour and both of my parents have seen it and been trying to council and console me.

The next day Gia sends a message to all of us to “disregard and cancel all plans made yesterday. I forgot I had babysitting duties that weekend.” My first thought: Are you fucking kidding me? You triggered an anxiety attack on me for nothing?! And of course, this is where I snapped and deleted her from all my emails, my phone, and my social media. And then the narcissistic manipulator comes out and sends me a long text the following morning with this great sob story about how I’m immature for taking her off my social media and that I’m not the only one with medical issues; how this could’ve been resolved by a little self awareness and we could’ve talked it out like mature adults. But the way she wrote it makes it sound like she’s the victim, the only one with hurt feelings, and she pulled Jerad into it by saying something along the lines of having to mention her own health issues because “a little birdy whom apparently speaks for you had to lecture me since you apparently do not comprehend sarcasm anymore.”

I mentioned before that I recognized her sarcasm and ignored it. However, the fact that she blatantly attacked Jerad for no reason really irritated me. First of all I’m sure he wasn’t actually lecturing her. He’s too nice a guy for that. And second, I didn’t ask him to speak for me. He did that all himself, for which I thanked him in genuine appreciation for because sometimes it’s hard for me to speak at all, especially during an attack. I’m glad he wanted to be an advocate for me.

Since receiving this long text, I have not responded or risen to meet her challenge. I’ve had several long internal thoughts of writing a revenge letter or something about karma being a bitch, but up until now, I haven’t written anything down. It should also be noted that she pulled this same kind of thing when we were living together and having all the tension. She messaged me a big long spiel about everything we were both feeling at the time and when I responded via the messenger that I felt the exact same way, her retort, in all caps, was “And yet no words!” I don’t remember what else she put with that but I was hysterical and bawling my eyes out because I was desperate to end the fighting and once I calmed myself down enough, I managed to go out to the living room by her and apologize, even though I wasn’t the only one at fault. (I never got an apology from her.)

So I know where this trap goes and although I may have lost a 10 year friendship, I’ve found something more important. Confidence, self respect, and freedom from my tormentor. Being that this year is meant to be about taking care of myself and finding new things about myself, letting go of this abusive friendship is refreshing and freeing, and I feel so much lighter now that it’s finally over. It might’ve been messy and volatile, but it’s done and over with, and that’s what matters. No one has the right to bring you down and make you out to be the bad guy when you’ve done nothing wrong, though I will admit I wasn’t perfect either and things could’ve been handled better. But your reaction to a situation shows what kind of person you are, and if you need to walk away before things explode, to avoid getting burned, then don’t be afraid to walk away. Some things just aren’t worth it.

Life of an Adult

Whatever happened to making simple, uncomplicated plans?

Oh that’s right. We became adults with jobs, and with that great responsibility came an inability to decide on anything without first thinking and overthinking all the possible outcomes. Plus having to ask off the necessary time just to be able to even plan something.

My “circle” of friends used to be able to make easy decisions and plans regarding a meet-up time. We would meet at someone’s dorm at a specific time, do something like go out to eat, and then come back and veg out or play video games or whatever. Even on days when some of us were working, we would go hang out where the person was working.

Now, we can’t even agree on a mode of transportation for how to get to the “central” hangout spot (which is Gia’s apartment and is generally disgusting), or a time to be there. We’ve been going back and forth for half an hour about when to leave, which route to take, who’s driving, how many vehicles will be taken, etc., etc. and all this going in circles is making me sick and tense and just downright annoyed. Why does being an adult make you so wishy-washy? At least when I’m contemplating and overthinking a situation, it’s because of my anxiety and fear is beating out reason with a hammer. Plus the weekend suggested was supposed to be the start of a two week endeavor with Jared, who wanted to hang out with me and do a Legend of Zelda series run by chronology (play all the Zelda games in his possession in the order they were first released), and now that’s been pushed back by those two weekend days.

And on top of that, when I asked politely if Gia could clean her apartment because of my allergies (which is more or less true and a genuine concern for me), I received a semi-genuine response (I think) and two sarcastic ones indicating she would shave her cats and hire a maid service, and to not be surprised if her cats magically had all their fur back by the time we visited. Not only is this an unnecessary response to someone who has been having some serious and constant issues with their sinuses this year, but it’s also not even funny. You think I would’ve asked if I wasn’t genuinely concerned about spending the weekend with an ice pack on my face because my sinuses hurt so much I can’t focus on anything but getting relief?

Now I’ve been told that this is what a narcissist would do/say, and I’m really starting to believe it. Every time Gia says she’s going to clean the apartment, she doesn’t and I end up grossed out by the stack of dirty dishes, scattering of cat toys, and pile of laundry that’s visible from the bathroom, but still disgusting nonetheless. I’m feeling like I need to take a shower already and this “gathering” isn’t for another two weeks. I was actually “done” with the conversation 10 minutes in because I was so exhausted. I’m the youngest of the group and right now, I’m feeling like the only adult here.

Undeniable Proof…Plus an Announcement!

Remember a few posts back when I mentioned I got an unexpected text from Gia wanting to get together and hang out when she came home next? Well, turns out she didn’t want it all that badly because the day she came home has come and gone, and I didn’t get a single text from her. The only reason I know that is because I glanced at her Facebook page, having hidden her from my news feed, and she had already left this morning on her family vacation.

Looks like I was right to abandon this sinking ship.

This little event has given me undeniable proof that I had clearly been putting more effort into this friendship than she was and that the only time she wanted to, or claimed she wanted to see me was when she was already in the area for something else. I mean I get it, it’s a long drive from here to there, but that’s beside the point. Jared is still a ways away and he made time to come visit me just because he wanted to. This friendship street works two ways.

Needless to say, I’m glad I didn’t get a text. I went on an adventure this morning just to avoid her because I couldn’t remember what day she said she was coming home and yes, I may have been expecting a text, but I was also planning on ways to make myself unavailable. Clearly this friendship has run its course.

**

Now for the announcement: As I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I stumbled upon a post by one of the literary agents I follow and it said she was looking for interns to commit 10 hours a month for six months, ideally. I read through the specifications of what she was looking for and after discussing it with my best friend, I decided to make the leap and apply for it. Now I know interns don’t get paid usually, but I see this as an opportunity to learn more about the publishing world and also potentially get hands-on coaching lessons from the agent to better my writing. I’m both nervous and excited, because I don’t know what the future holds for me with regards to this internship, but I’m hoping and praying I get it. I’m hoping it’s a stepping stone to the career I’ve always wanted.

Back to Normal

**Possible Trigger Warning. Please read with caution.**

This past week has been a bit nightmarish for me, partly because both of my parents were home on vacation, there wasn’t a lot to do at work, and I wasn’t feeling all that great from Thursday through today (I’m still a little under the weather, but functioning more normally). One of the oh so fun advantages of having a dust allergy is when you play in the dust for spring cleaning, your sinuses flare up for several days. And in my case, literally nothing helps the pain in my face go away, and the one time I tried to take painkillers, I ended up throwing them back up five minutes later because the nausea was so bad. Though I did feel better after that…On top of all this, I’ve been overly lethargic and sleepy and lacking all energy to do much of anything, and I haven’t been able to figure out why, though right now I’m feeling more like myself. It’s possible it was the disruption in my usual schedule, which is the most likely trigger, and this past week got me really thinking on what my unique anxiety related triggers are.

First and foremost, as much as I love them to death, my parents can both be triggers, especially if they are together. For me, their energies can clash, which puts a lot of strain on my mental state. Dad is generally more laidback, calm, and likes to watch tv a lot, but at a volume that is louder than I usually prefer. Mom can be kind of all over the place and chaotic, trying to do half a dozen things all at once and then getting more agitated when she hasn’t gotten any of them done. Having them both together can be like standing in a hurricane of energy with no protection and I found myself more often than not looking for solitude to refocus and re-energize myself. That being said, on any given day, I can be either one of those similar energies. I’ll have days where I want to be super productive and get lots of things done, and then I’ll have days where I just want to lay down and catch up on whatever shows I have recorded.

Second has got to be work, and sometimes lack thereof. For a work from home job, you wouldn’t think it would be all that stressful, but at times it really is. We have deadlines to meet, quality standards to meet in specific time limits, etc.  And when there’s a lack of work, it really upsets my schedule, because I can’t just assume nothing is going to come in during the day. I have to leave my schedule open so I can check periodically through the day for any work that comes through. Like today. I’ll be checking periodically throughout the day. And last July, work was the cause of my two worst anxiety attacks, because they happened within 12 hours of each other, which had never happened before, and has not happened since. The only thing that really helps here is, when there’s no work, to find something to occupy my time, like crocheting, video games, reading, writing, etc. And when there’s a lot of work, it helps to take mini breaks throughout the day not only to give my eyes a rest, but also my mind.

The rest of my triggers are more situational and less all-encompassing. Like large crowds, which I tend to avoid if I can, though doing chores like grocery shopping can be a bit overwhelming if I don’t have a plan for it (like listening to music while I shop). Other triggers can include loud noises (especially if I’ve been sitting in silence or quiet music all day), being around people I don’t know, being around loud and extremely abrasive people, any kind of change to my schedule (not just work related, but things like an impromptu lunch date or unexpected visitors), being around a former abuser (Gia), making phone calls, doctor visits, and pretty much anything that makes me feel pressured to do something or be someone I’m not.

The calming “antidotes” for each of these situations are as varied as the situations themselves. Stuff like phone calls and doctor visits, the best way to get over the anxiety is just to go through with it, which I know doesn’t always work for everyone. However, with phone calls, I generally keep them under three minutes. Journaling and listening to music are my biggest forms of therapy, because I can listen to my soothing (or not so soothing) music and write down everything I’m thinking, just to get it out of my head and stop myself from circling back on it and obsessing over it. Video games are another great form of stress relief for me, as is having my best friend to talk to.

So as this week starts with my parents going back to work, I’m looking forward to going back to a more normal daily routine and less stress on this happy hermit. ❤

An Odd Moment

Yesterday I had an odd experience. I can’t really call it a moment because it lasted about 2ish hours, maybe 2 and a half. Now, I’ve had this happen before and it never really bothers me, other than the fact that I don’t get anything done, but this is usually from lack of energy rather than lack of desire or will.

So, yesterday was a slow work day. I think in total, I only had about an hour’s worth of work, which isn’t too big a deal. It happens from time to time. I decided to enjoy some of my downtime playing video games. Well, that lasted for a couple hours before my head started hurting and I came upstairs to lay down for a bit and check for work again. However, when I checked, and did the two things in that were available for me to do, then everything in me just kind of shut down. All I wanted to do was sleep. Ok, that’s not entirely true. I did have things I wanted to get done, like cut out patterns, maybe write, maybe go play more games, but it was like I lacked the will to do any of that. Not necessarily the desire. I did want to get something done, anything, really. But I couldn’t be bothered to move except to maybe roll over onto my other side while I was trying to nap.

Now I wasn’t really all that tired. I would say instead that I was “resting my eyes,” like my grandma always used to say she was doing. I finally get it, that that’s a legitimate thing. And since I work on a computer all day, resting my eyes is sometimes a huge relief. But what was most noticeable was that I had the desire to do things, since generally, during the day, I tend to keep busy with work. I even brought up some patterns to cut out. But I didn’t have the urge to get up out of the chair I was resting in to do any of the things I had wanted to do. I just sat and stared for a while, at the wall, at the floor, in the kitchen at mom…

I don’t know for sure what triggered this feeling of nothingness, but I do believe it had to do with the disruption of my work schedule and not having any work to do. I think it also could have been something related to Jared, who had texted me that morning asking whether anxiety attacks were different for everyone or if there was some kind of telltale sign of one, and I explained what I knew, using myself and Arabella as examples, especially since we have very different symptoms and triggers. He seemed to be ok when I texted him last night so that’s good, but now I have one more person to worry about.