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.

Embrace the Chaos

Chaos is part of every day life. I can’t say that right now I am enjoying the chaos I’m currently in, but for me, chaos means keeping busy and work, and I have been swamped for two whole weeks. Possibly three if this week continues the way it has been.

It’s funny that this is the theme I’m going with today because as a general rule, I hate chaos. And by that I mean I hate unstructured chaos. I tend to be a perfectionist with a touch of OCD so I like to have my chaos be a little more structured, and preferably by me. This is why I have a set routine every day, to keep the chaos in check and my anxiety in balance.

But sometimes you just have to go with the flow and embrace the chaos. Take my work for example. Last week, I was expecting to go through stuff for a specific client and be done. I ended up spending several days trying to correct someone’s mistakes and actually got a person disqualified from the project because of their massive screw-up. On top of that, there were two more with massive mistakes that I spent a majority of my time correcting and corresponding with another coworker to get things straightened out. Today and yesterday, I spent all day mostly working on this same client, typing up notes for my new trainee, and fixing a cluster of mistakes. Not exactly how I wanted to spend my day, but it kept me busy at least.

In the evenings, I’ve learned to chill out by doing some of my favorite hobbies. Lately, that’s been writing character profiles and crocheting (which in the warmer temperatures is quite the task due to all the extra sweating!), and on the weekends, I’ve been gaming. I’m up to Final Fantasy VII so yay! My crocheted blanket is at about 35 inches wide, and I’m intending to make it about 80 inches so it’s almost halfway done. And I’m close to finishing my character profiles with the template form I’ve been using (I have a few mythical creatures that wouldn’t fit the same mold as the humans).

Forgot where I was going with that…

Anyway, some days you can follow your normal routine and be just fine. And other days, you just have to roll with the punches and break free from your routine. Spontaneity can be a good thing, as long as you have a way to wind down after whatever brought you out of your routine.

Breaking Point

I’m at a very low point right now. Even though I have a lot to be grateful for, I’m feeling like parts of myself are being chipped away and it’s frightening. I’ve been an emotional wreck all day and am having to fight very hard to keep from rushing to the store to buy something I don’t even just because it’s on sale. I even took an hour and a half drive with no destination in mind just to try and calm down. It didn’t help, but I was mostly ok while I was out driving so I guess there’s that. I feel like I’ve reached my breaking point, and quite possibly my limit.

Like I told my best friend this morning, I’m sick of all the work related emails, which have doubled in the past few months. I’m sick of coming away from both emails and conference calls feeling more scolded than uplifted and encouraged. I was actually upset last night by an email that felt like a personal attack and it’s still bothering me now. I know it shouldn’t, but it read like I was being scolded for doing my fucking job. And this is happening a lot more often lately. Not because I’m doing a bad job, but because I miss one or two tiny little things. I understand they want perfection every time, but no one’s perfect no matter how hard they may try, and I’m a perfectionist so I understand and struggle with that daily.

I’ve been struggling to concentrate all day, all week, possibly all year even…that’s how bad it’s gotten. I’ve been on the verge of an anxiety attack and have even had small bursts of uninhibited crying, like releases of emotion just washing over me to give me some kind of release from all this stress. I’m caught between this vortex of opposing energies, between wanting to do everything and nothing all at once, which will lead to nothing getting done at all. I don’t even know how I’m putting together coherent thoughts right now. The only solace I have right now is my music, my best friend, and being alone.

I’m beyond exhausted. Mentally, physically, emotionally…it doesn’t help that we had relatives over last night who stayed until midnight and I was trying to sleep, having gone to bed at 11:30 to try and calm down after reading that stupid email shortly beforehand. I have such terrible eye strain that I need to alternate between my two pairs of glasses on a daily basis now, and the only way to really rest my eyes is to sleep or do absolutely nothing but stare at the ceiling. I’ve tried doing my other hobbies without my glasses and the only way that works, and it’s not a given every time, is if I haven’t already been wearing them all day for work. And even though my headaches have mostly gone away now, I still feel like I can’t catch a break. I know people say it has to get worse before it can get better, but I feel like my switch is stuck in the “worse” position and it’ll never get better.

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. ❤

Too Little, Too Late/Making Plans

I know today isn’t my usual posting day, but I have a fun story to tell from yesterday. I was visiting my cousin-in-law and her new baby with my mom, and I was texting my friend Jared, who lives in the area, but was in school. We have this thing that if we’re passing through the area, we text each other something silly like, “Waving hi from ‘x-city’, etc.” and so I texted him saying I was in the area. Anyway, as I’m sitting on the couch cuddling with my baby cousin, I get a message out of the blue from Gia saying something along the lines of, “Hey, I feel like I haven’t heard from you in ages. Just wanted to check in and see what’s up with you.”

My first thought was, “Oh, NOW you decide to message me, after we haven’t spoken directly to each other since January, and even then, I left early on New Years Day because I didn’t want to be around you.” I think I may have actually rolled my eyes too. In any case, I responded so as not to appear rude, and come to find out, the only reason she messaged me was to see if we could get together for lunch at the end of the month because she’s coming home for a family vacation. So, in all honesty, it’s not that she’s making any special effort to come and see me just for the heck of it. She’s only asking to see me because she’ll be in the area anyway. At least Jared and I make more of an effort to see each other just because. I’m actually thinking of planning a trip up there again soonish. Clearly, I was putting more effort into the former friendship with Gia than she was.

So my plan is to be busy on the day she wants to get together. Or, maybe I’ll go and rub my latest adventure in her face, since she couldn’t be bothered to give me a solid yes or no answer on the matter.

Now, for the other, happier part of this post. Wednesday night, my mother made the mistake of taking me into the store she works for in order to find a color combination of fabric I liked for a shirt they were doing as a demo for one of their education classes. We ended up getting fabric for the shirt, as well as three dresses, the pattern for which is for a different class at the same store. After we got home, she had me help her cut out the pattern for both the shirt and the dress, which actually wasn’t too bad, despite me having to use the scissors I’ve had since kindergarten. They’re literally four inches long and terrible for pattern cutting because of their size.

Anyway, we got the patterns cut and while I was actually in the store, I was very excited about picking out fabrics and thread and zippers, all that stuff to make clothes, and when I was looking for the adult Belle dress pattern, I ended up finding four cosplay patterns I really wanted. And the best part? I got the four of them (plus one other one, our own copy of the shirt pattern) for less than the price of one because they were all on sale. So super win there! I also mentioned that I would really like to learn to make my own cosplays because I’m kind of a weird shape, and a little on the larger side, and I don’t feel comfortable ordering from someone else without knowing how it’ll fit when I get it, especially since most commissioned orders like that are expensive because they’re all handmade. At least if I make it myself, I can try it on as I’m making it to see how it fits.

The problem with that is I don’t actually know how to sew…But mom told me she would be glad to start teaching me as soon as next week, since she has three days off (as of right now) and we can do little projects during my afternoon work breaks, and possibly at night when she’s home. I also got an offer from one of my new friends, Lucy from a previous post, to get together with her for a sewing day and she would help teach me how to sew. She tried to set up yesterday as our day, but I was gone most of the morning. 😀

She did mention getting together on Sunday, as that’s her usual day off, but I already have plans for Sunday as well, so I’m thinking about doing it the following Sunday, since that next Monday I’ll be helping my parents clean our mountainous Christmas collection. And I really would like to sew. Our home economics class in high school basically taught us how to handle a baby and how to cook. I’ve only hand sewn two things in my whole life and only because they were on a seam so it looked pretty easy. And to my knowledge, the sweater I sewed is still intact. So now, I would like to learn what I would consider another essential life skill, even if it takes me a little while to get the hang of it. Plus then, I can make my own cosplays and feel the same source of pride I imagine other cosplayers have after spending hours and hours of time on their own outfits. I have a deep respect for those people, and being among other cosplayers puts me in my element. Being able to make my own outfits would just add to the circle of my reinvention.

Update/Vacation Post

Hi again. Sorry it’s been a while. I’ve been enjoying some much needed time with my bestie and her daughter and I’ve been neglecting my blog.

So my doctor did not find anything wrong with my breast, which is great news. She gave me a prescription for birth control to try and ease some of the migraines I’ve been having before my period, and luckily, I did not have one this time. I had a minor headache, but I wouldn’t qualify it as being a migraine. So I’ll be taking those meds starting this weekend. And my doctor also changed my anxiety prescription from half a tablet to a full tablet, and for me to take it every day, which I’ve been doing and I feel so much better. I still don’t like the idea of being on prescription drugs every day, but if it makes me feel better, I guess I can be ok with that, especially since sometimes the anxiety springs up out of nowhere and my usual coping methods do absolutely nothing.

That being said, I still plan on using my regular coping methods of yoga, Pilates, meditation, writing, and video games to help lower my stress levels because I know they work. And maybe eventually, I can get myself off the medications again when I’m in a less stressful environment.

So my “vacation” isn’t really a vacation, as I am working while I’m here, but I enjoy the company. Watching a four year old is quite entertaining and noisy. And yes, she’s a huge ball of energy, which sometimes feels like she’s sucking the energy from us, but she’s so goofy. She always makes me laugh, and she’s a total ham when it comes to a camera. She loves having her picture taken and she loves videos of herself.

Spending time with her mommy is my favorite part. We’re like sisters and we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, so our time together is extra special. We help each other with our writing, we talk about everything in person (or via text if her mom is home), and we laugh at each other’s sometimes stupid jokes. It’s always good fun and I can’t get enough of hearing her laugh. I know she’s usually pretty stressed out and exhausted beyond reason and logic, and hearing her laugh makes me feel like I’m doing a pretty good job as a friend, that my presence helps her relax a little, even if it’s only temporary.

And with that, I’m going to try to do some more personal writing tonight as I had a few ideas last night for ways to fix a chapter I’m stuck on and I need to try and incorporate my sleepy ideas.

Taking the Plunge

I finally called and made an appointment to see my doctor about several things including my anxiety. The others include possibly getting back on birth control to help a hormonal imbalance that could be causing some painful new PMS symptoms (migraines to be exact) and a breast examination for my own peace of mind. I’m not sure whether there is something wrong but knowing that breast cancer runs in my family, I felt alarmed enough to make a call this morning to get in tomorrow morning to get it checked out. That alone is super scary for me, especially considering I’ve always been pretty healthy my whole life. And with my cousin being diagnosed with uterine cancer last year, it just feels like I’m in that particular age range to be susceptible and that scares me.

I’ll admit, I just took a couple minutes to frantically scan different sites and different symptoms to try and reassure myself, and my best friend is also trying to calm me down by telling me it’s not likely anything to worry about. And for now, at least, I now feel good enough to let go of all the worries and wait until tomorrow to see what happens. It won’t do me any good worrying about it tonight.

So with the possibility of getting diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, I copied the list of triggers for me from one of my last posts to have on my phone for when I’m asked, and also some notes about when specifically I’ve been getting these possibly hormone-related migraines. I’ve had migraines before, or possibly stress induced tension headaches, but I’ve never had the “aura” I always read about. Just when it’s really bad, I have an extreme sensitivity to light and sound, and I already have some light sensitivity most likely from the light color of my eyes (no idea whether that’s true or not). As I was making this list of dates and what seemed to provide relief, I noticed a definite pattern. That they all happened around the same days of the month, with the exception of one, but as it was the starting point and I wrote down exactly what happened, I can assume there was a slight shift in hormones that can account for the difference in the dates. Not surprising, since I’ve been monitoring them since September, but annoying nonetheless. And since I’ve also used birth control before to regulate my hormones, my hope is that getting back on it might make these migraines go away or at least a little more bearable. Especially since next week I’ll be traveling and not at home where I’m best prepared for it.

I’m a little scared about discussing my anxiety openly as well, mostly because I’ve never really done so in any great detail and I’m afraid of being told it’s nothing and to “lay off the caffeine,” which I’m not on. The only thing I usually take that has any caffeine in it is my PMS meds when my cramps are unbearable, and they’re usually not too bad. Plus I haven’t quite connected with this doctor yet like I did with my previous one, who moved to a different clinic, which forced me to have to find a new one on the fly. But so far, when I’ve gone to see her, her diagnoses have been accurate. First a sinus infection, and then the decision to send me to physical therapy to see if they could help with some minor pain in my knee, which led to the notion that it wasn’t actually my knee hurting, but something in my hip and after a week of some recommended hip exercises, I’m at a point where I barely even notice the knee pain I was having earlier. So as it stands, she’s two for two. Granted, my hip hurts a little more, but I guess when you’re trying to strengthen some muscles you didn’t know needed strengthening, a little pain is to be expected.

So yeah, tomorrow I am finally taking the plunge to see about doing what needs to be done to help me be a better me. Or to at least get some unanswered questions answered, hopefully. This being an adult sucks sometimes.