So many lesbians

Friday I got a text from a friend that I see occasionally but am always happy to spend time with. “What are you doing tonight?” As it turned out, the answer was nothing and boom – I had an invite to Pride Night at the local hockey rink. It was a blast. Then Saturday, a slightly larger group of the same women had a game night, and I was invited to that as well. So – guess who had a social life this weekend? THIS GIRL.

Today I cleaned my bedroom (probably need to vacuum again and then hit it with the carpet cleaner). I looked at it and thought – girl, you are a grown-ass adult, you are fucking MIDDLE-AGED, why does your bedroom look like a teenager’s?

Honestly, it’s a good thing no one reads this but me, haha. It is the most boring journal ever. But hey, last year I couldn’t even write it. Every day a little better. Every day a step towards mental and physical health (except for the crap food I ate this weekend, I can literally feel my stomach resting on my legs and it is pretty fucking gross).

Work and gym tomorrow. Hell yeah.

Thwarted intentions but it is ok

It’s just past 10pm on Sunday night, and I’m in bed with a lidocaine patch on my back and three Tylenol PMs making their way through my system with a fourth to come when I’m done writing this. I had a whole plan for the weekend with some built-in lazy time, some errands, some family time and a lot of time cleaning and organizing the second floor of my not-large condo. (Two floors! But only 1200 square feet, so it really isn’t as big as it sounds. Bigger than some of my apartments, smaller than others.)

What happened is I woke up this morning mentally raring to go, curled up on the couch to eat breakfast, and when I stood up – OUCH. A dull ache right where my bulging disk hurt last year. I usually have some minor back pain due to poor posture and a body physiology that carries all my weight in my belly, which also throws my posture awry. But this was concerning and it didn’t go away all day. I took four ibuprofen and decided I would be best served by being very gentle to my back. Which means not a lot of bending, which means not a lot of cleaning got done.

I did go visit my grandmother, which was lovely. And I got a couple of errands done on the way home, which was good. But my benefits at the new job don’t kick in until March, thanks to a ridiculous probationary period, so until then, I am basically terrified of my back hurting me again. I can’t afford to pay for all the uncovered treatment, and I don’t really want to have to get COBRA because it’s crazy expensive – but I will if I have to.

So today was intended to be a HOME post, which it’s still going to be! I am going to sound like the biggest slob but here are the habits I need to get ingrained in my soul, and will be focusing on first:

Really cleaning the kitchen every night. Normally I’ll pile all the dishes in the sink and call it done, but there’s no reason for that when I have a perfectly functional dishwasher and also I AM ONLY ONE PERSON. So far I’m batting .1000 on going to bed with a clean kitchen. But some nights I have gotten out of bed and gone downstairs to clean because I slipped back into my lazy ways.

Getting all the crap off of my couch nightly. This one is a little harder because I live on my couch. Probably why my back hates me. Definitely why my cats love me, though. So I’ll have dishes, Xbox controller, a quilt or blanket, books, knitting supplies, all of that just piled up around me. I also kind of hate my couch these days but am stuck with it for the time being, so it would behoove me to take better care of it.

Taking better care of my clothes. I am The Worst about this. I swear, some days I don’t even feel like an adult, and I am a flipping middle-aged woman who can’t be bothered not to undress to the floor. Why am I like this? It’s ridiculous.

Three small steps that fell by the wayside during my two-year depression. Slowly, slowly, I am regaining who I was.

MENTAL HEALTH MOMENT
My grandmother and I talked today about my new job. I told her that I’d given up a lot of things for this new job – things like 100% paid for health insurance, and more vacation days than I could use, and a fully-funded HSA. But that what I got back was worth it. And her response? She said that it was wonderful having the “old” me back. She could tell that I was happier without the stress of that job, without the constant travel and worry. And I do feel more like myself. It’s a good thing. I still have moments of dread, and I had to tell my old paralegal not to ask me questions about my old cases; it stressed me out and was an anxiety trigger because there was nothing I could do about them anymore. But they’re less frequent and I can mostly handle them without needing an anti-anxiety pill. I still carry those with me, but I haven’t taken one in days, and before that, weeks.

Things are looking up.

On the go post

January 3. I have made no big resolutions but I do have a short-term goal for the month: Low-Spend January – with some rules as follows:

  • Friday: I eat lunch out.
  • If Mom wants to do something, I do it.
  • New jeans. I need them and have clothing money set aside in the budget.
  • Makeup maybe. Would come out of the same budget.

Honestly if I just stop eating out all the time, I’ll save a lot. I have BW bills coming up (note to self check SW balance for flight) so I need to be prepared.

The nice thing is, and this is new for me, I’m actually ahead on my budget with about $6000 in the bank.

January is fully budgeted.

February is budgeted except for $400 for my mortgage – which will come out of the 1/17 paycheck. That check will also start funding March, and pay down a chunk of Buddy’s vet bill, add to the BW bank and the maintenance bank.

If I don’t think of my budget as paychecks but as a month as a whole, I think I’ll stay ahead of everything.

Mental-health wise, I think I’m okay with all of this. It’s on my mind but not in an obsessive way. I’m just aware of what I’m spending and changing my perspective on my discretionary funds – I don’t have to spend it all in the next two weeks!

This is positive movement. Next post: all about the living situation.

Christmas, 2019

So I got billed for a year of this site and I thought – well, time to commit, woman. Things have changed a lot since I last poked at this site. First and foremost, I’m at a new firm. It’s personal injury, mostly pre-litigation, and a world away from my previous firm. There are lots of management differences (exponentially less vacation time, definitely not as spoiled as far as office supplies go) but here’s the biggest thing.

I spent eight years at a job that essentially defined and took over my life. It impacted every area – I traveled all the time, I thought of work all the time, and while I loved it for a long time, the last two years were a mix of depression and panic attacks. Now? This job? It is just a job. I go to work, I advocate for my clients (or I will beginning next week, as training is effectively over), and then I go home and don’t think about the office again until the next morning. It is a world of difference.

I was talking to a friend about everything, and she asked if I took a pay cut for it, then said “you know what, your mental and emotional health is worth whatever pay cut you took.” And she is RIGHT.

So, onward from there. I’ve been there a month, I’ve been away from the old job for five weeks, and it’s time to start getting the rest of my life in order. To wit: body. Mind. Home. Friends. Family.

Fresh Start

Today is November 2. In sixteen days I will be starting a new job, without having been fired from the old job. It’s been eight years at that firm, and I loved working there for a really long time. The past couple of days have been a storm of emotions – nerves about the new job (but not as much as you would think), relief that the things that trigger my anxiety spirals at the old job are no longer my concern, and also, not a little sadness at leaving people I really like working with. When I left work to go to law school, I had no regrets and no plans to miss anyone. And I didn’t. Onwards and upwards etc. But I’m going to miss my paralegal immensely.

2019, the year that wasn’t

The fact that there’s nothing here since January 2019 isn’t because I was lazy or dropped this like any other journal. 2019 SUCKED. The whole year was just terrible, and I think I need to talk about it here, on a site that no one knows about, and no one I know will read it, but where it exists outside of my battered yellow journal that G wants me to keep using.

So what happened in 2019? Depression like I’ve never had before. Intense work burnout. It turns out that even when you know that’s what is going on, it’s still really hard to kick or to see the other side of. Poor choices about food and socializing (nothing salacious, more that I didn’t do any and spent a lot more time at home alone with my brain than I needed). A back injury that laid me out for two weeks, and slowed me down for four more, the repercussions of which I’m still dealing with vis-a-vis wrecked schedule, numb legs, and occasional instability. An annual friend weekend where I ended up sobbing in bed one night, while the friend I was sharing the room with tried her best to comfort me. A vacation that was sorely needed, one day of which I barely left the hotel room and utterly wasted. And then The Conversation with my bosses, where I was basically given three months to wrap up my work, free rein to job hunt from the office no questions asked, but absolutely 100% I’m not going to be working here anymore because – well, all of the above and because my bosses don’t know how to manage people or address concerns beyond just “having them”.

Truthfully, leaving is the right thing to do. Had I been able to see clearly two years ago, I would have started job hunting, but I was drowning and didn’t know it.

MOVING ON. 2019 sucked, it is still sucking although marginally better. I’m still in therapy, which helps. I have an Ativan prescription which really helps for when I get that DOOOOOM feeling. I’m not suicidal or self-harming, but some mornings I wake up and it’s just DOOM in the back of my brain, coloring everything I do.

So an even keel isn’t the goal in life?

I don’t like feeling BIG emotions. It’s not that I don’t like emotions at all, or fear them, but I like my life to be pretty even. Nothing too high, nothing too low.

I’ve been in therapy for a few weeks now. I started it to help me deal with the work burnout that I’ve mentioned here before, but APPARENTLY other stuff crops up. I promise this isn’t going to turn into a therapy blog, but also maybe it will a little bit. So I’ll tag that shit.

a. I minimize my accomplishments. I don’t know – do I? My friends say I do, but I feel like it’s more that I’m being realistic about what they are.

b. G asked me if other people were “safe”. Obviously not everyone! (she jotted down a note at that.) But people don’t need to know what’s going on inside my head or my heart. That’s MY stuff.

c. I got the impression that G believes control is a big thing for me. I don’t feel like I have a lot of control over most of my life, or the dumb decisions I make. So… maybe what’s going on is similar to those who develop eating disorders because that’s something they can control? I control my emotions because I can? But that doesn’t make sense – I cry all the time, super easily, I flush, and I’m blindsided by emotion.

Emotions sneak up on me. I’m running along just fine and then boom – someone says something nice about me TO me and I’m sobbing in my car. I don’t ever seem to be blindsided by happiness or excitement. Anxiety, sure. Negative emotions feel like they come out of nowhere, and I can’t stop them, and then my eyes well up and my skin flushes, and it’s embarrassing and yes, it feels shameful in a way, and I hate it. So I guess I’m also a hypocrite because of all the times I’ve fussed at BFF for not showing emotions and called her a robot, but here I am fighting to preserve my shallow emotional sine wave – or at least better regulate the outward expression of it. (Granted, what I mostly wanted from her was hugs, but the comparison feels valid.)

“Even keeled – characterized by stability or consistency.” See, that’s nice! Thanks, Merriam-Webster.