Friday, January 31, 2014

Mirror, mirror on the wall (and my first picture-y post!)

    I'm going to start this by saying that I don't really have artistic skill. Not to put myself down, it just isn't something I do much of. But when I have a project I wanna do, for the most part, I do it anyway. Just keep in mind that this idea would probably come out better with someone who picks up a paint brush more than maybe once a year. XD

     Anyway. It's a common suggestion to do affirmations or write a note for yourself to see every day, things of that sort. Things that to me generally seem like cheesy bullshit buuut then I'm having to change my mind about the bullshit-ness of a lot of things lately. I've equally been thinking about how I literally look at myself, and how often times I hate my reflection. It's not just a matter of how I perceive my physical self; sometimes what shows on my face seems to be how ugly I am inside. I've had a thing for mirrors recently. Wanting to see myself more as I try to look deeper.

      So I had this thought of decorating a mirror with the specific purpose of reminding myself of what I want to see. Either positive traits that I should see, or traits that I want to develop.

       Step 1: Think About What You Want To Say and Get Supplies
       I used a 12 inch circular mirror. Glittery seemed like a good idea, so I got extreme glitter acrylic from Folkart (including a clear one... a proper sealer may have worked better in places). I also used dried roses to symbolize love - especially the self-love I'm trying to cultivate -  and ground up voice tea since I associate it with free expression. I also tried to be a little symbolic with colors: green for growth, purple just because that's kind of my color, red for energy and love.
       I cleaned off the mirror (gloves may be good for this project, so the mirror stays clean), and brainstormed words on paper to describe what I wanted to see in my mirror.


        Step 2: Decorate Your Mirror
        This is really several steps in one, I suppose. Starting with my name at the top, I painted my words around the edge in alternating colors with a lining paint brush. It took a couple coats to get bold enough color for my taste. I took apart a couple of roses and set individual petals in dots of clear paint between adjectives, and tried to do the same with whole flowers next to my name. This worked on the petals, not so much for the roses. I ended up removing the whole roses and putting new ones on using super glue.
          Not pictured, but I also did a red heart over my name and a little green sprout. On the sprout, I used clear paint first, sprinkled on ground tea, let it dry, blew off the excess, and then painted over the plant-matter with green.

        Step 2.5: Glitter-fy (or at least protect)
        I painted clear glitter paint over the petals and roses to add glitter and add a bit of protection. This is where an actual sealant might be good. After I was done with the words and such, I did a coat of clear on the edge for both decoration and trying to add an extra bit of durability (since the paint only kinda likes sticking to glass).

        Step 3 (which should have much much earlier): Apply hanging
        Oh, I felt so stupid when I realized that I'd put myself in the position of having to deal with adhesive and ribbon on the back when I couldn't let much touch the front. But oh well. I used roughly half a yard of dark red wired ribbon and super-glued the ends to the back of the mirror. I then reinforced this with duct tape because, well, a bit of ugly on the back beats a broken mirror. 

        Step 4: Hang and use! =D
        I figured this mirror should be placed in a spot where I'd pass close to it, comfortably framing the face. For me this meant behind my bedroom door. I held my new mirror by the ribbon to find the proper placement, and pushed a nail slightly in to mark my place. I nailed about an inch of leftover ribbon to the wall, hung my mirror, and clipped my butterfly (for change, and it's just pretty) to the inch of ribbon.
        So this is my take on the affirmation-type ritual. Look into the mirror, morning and night. Look at my words, the words that I want to see in myself, surrounding my reflection.


         So this has been my first how-to post (kinda) and my first picture post! Yay! I'd love to hear if anyone else tries this, and if you want more of this type of thing. ^_^

Thursday, January 30, 2014

It's so cliche...

     I may have to come off my pedestal a little bit. I'm not that exceptional. I'm not that complex. Somehow I seem to have this subconscious belief that I may be a horribly broken person, but I'm broken in an interesting way, dammit. At least, I can't think of many other reasons why the idea of my issues stemming from low self-worth/self-loathing/whatever bothers me so much. Well, that and calling my beliefs "insecurities" implies that they are false.

   So I don't know. It's so simple. On an emotional level, it's easy to go "there's no way it's that simple." But then, you go into science, you hear over and over again about the idea that the simplest explanation is usually the right one (Occam's razor). Not that it being the simplest answer is proof of veracity, but then, emotional response is hardly proof by itself either.

    The other thing that occurred to me is that this is markedly different from the past. I'm starting to consider the kinds of ideas and approaches that I used to automatically label as optimistic/denial-ish bullshit. Very bitterly and dragging my heels and still with a high degree of skepticism, but nonetheless.
     This is actual change. This is evidence that it's not just like last time.

      I'm moving towards somewhere new.

      There is hope.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Relationships on low esteem

    I have a hard time believing that my loneliness is simply a matter of self-loathing, but I can't justify that by any means that don't just circle back anyway. At least potentially. In my mind, I'm a worthless person who doesn't deserve to be loved. On some level, anyway. Am I right, or is it simply self-fulfilling?

    It's frustrating because I know that I was different before I learned to hide away. I can see the spiral, and how it started. At least, I imagine that I can... I seemed to take a turn for the worse when I got bullied when I started school, and the more I hide, the more rejected I became. I'd say that, well, this means that there's no inherent reason for me to be where I am... but almost two decades later, I feel like I've been broken. I developed wrong.

      I don't know. This wasn't supposed to be such a downer.

      Once again, the best plan seems to be a pseudo-scientific approach. I am in no way convinced that I'd be a better person if I convinced myself that I was a better person... but let's test that hypothesis. Let's see what happens if I try to force a nicer self image, just change that one variable...

      Because what I'm doing sure as fuck isn't working.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


    I've been told often enough that I complain about life/the world/whatever, which at least to me, implies that I blame the world for sucking. I'd find this hilarious if it didn't piss me off so much. I keep hearing that depressives have an "external locus of control;" that is, they feel like their lives/selves are controlled by external forces. I can't be the only depressive who feels like this is wrong.
    I don't believe that the power to control my life is in external forces. I believe that the power is in my hands... however (from my depressive thinking), they are too weak to actually wield it. Moreover, every failure hits as proof of inherent worthlessness. For example, if I procrastinated on a major assignment yet again, my thinking hasn't been "oh, I need to figure out a system so I get better about how I do large assignments," it's "I'm such a horrible person, I fail at everything, *commence self-loathing word vomit.*"

    I don't externalize, I internalize. I take things too personally and too deeply.

    What got me thinking about this initially was it being pointed out to me that I legitimately have situational matters that would drag me down. I work a job that I have to work at to stay half-way positive, I don't have much in the way of emotional support (or even just human interaction), I'm broke enough that I can't do what I want to do, including having to keep scaling back the scale of my travels this semester off, I'm out of shape, I lack a lot of the skills I wanna have... these are all largely things I have control over changing, but at the same time, this is where I am here and now. And aspects of it suck.
     Point being: I see myself get down, and calling it failure to get past depression, and feeling like I'm a hopeless person because I'll never actually break out of it. But there are forces that I haven't stopped yet (though I potentially could, in theory) that keep trying to pull me down. So of course I'm not going to suddenly become a ray of sunshine. And yes, I need to keep working on things like neutralizing self-loathing thoughts... but  I also need to keep things in perspective. I need to keep certain flaws and negative situations as more surface issues instead of reflecting major character flaws, and start working on them.

    Flaws like the fact that I really need to work on how I organize these posts. .... It's meant to be stream of consciousness! That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it! Until I get better and I can point back and laugh at myself.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The fear of not being good enough

    I have a couple bits of fabric waiting to be turned into a hip scarf. One in particular, my main piece, is a bit of bright red that flows absolutely beautifully. It's light enough that I'll definitely want to add coins or something to weigh it down, so it doesn't end up just bunched around my waist while dancing, but still. Beautiful.
    And I'm afraid I'll ruin it. Especially because it was on clearance and I took the rest of it, so I likely couldn't replace it. So it's just been sitting there, with me claiming to still be planning when in reality I'm just scared to actually start cutting. I have almost no experience with sewing.

    I started reading a book called Art and Fear. One of the things that it mentioned was a class where the professor at random split his ceramics class in two: one half would be graded on quantity only, while the other only had to do one piece but it would be graded on quality. The group that was focused on creating a large body of work actually came out with better pieces than the group that was worried about creating one perfect piece.

    It's far too easy to let a need to be perfect ruin all chance to actually do any good. Especially as a beginner, when many attempts - or too far-reaching attempts - will inevitably turn out badly. That's just part of the process. I guess this is all fairly obvious, but I think sometimes it's an important thing to be reminded of.  Not doing something because you're afraid it might turn out worse than you'd like doesn't make sense. It doesn't help you in the long run. You don't get better by not doing anything, and the materials are more worthless in the bottom of a drawer, never to be used, than as a failed project.

     So I'm looking at the sewing machine I've yet to use. Perhaps I will hold off a little on my scarf, because it feels like a little too far-reaching a project right now. But I think, if I say that, I need to get to work on a tea cozy or a cushion or something... something to break in my machine where I care a little bit less about things like slightly skewed seams. But I have to do something.

      This is yet another place where I need to stop letting my fear take control.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

    It's a bad evening. It's been a bad few days. I drag myself out of bed, I make tea, I go walk in the sun... and I'm happy for a moment. Crash. Make myself get back up, maybe do a tiny bit of cleaning. Crash. Make myself dance. Crash. Constantly. It's an improvement over just spending all day watching television shows in bed, but it is nonetheless extremely frustrating.

   I don't know how to turn this around. How to actually get myself to a point where I can be secure and productive. I suppose that all I know is that I have to keep at it. I need to look at what's going on, and try to change accordingly, but I can't give up. I keep failing, but am I at least failing better? Perhaps.

    I'm just tired. It takes less energy to just be stable than to crash, recover, crash, recover, crash, recover. Even if being stable means being miserable. It's worth the energy if those are my choices, but... fuck, I only have so much energy. What if I burn out before I get to actually happy-stable?

    I don't know. Um. I'm trying to come up with some positive note I can put in. I'd like to think that I'm being resilient. I'm acting like a fighter more. Something. I don't know. It's late. This may be one that gets deleted, and if not, we will hopefully soon return to your regularly scheduled cheesy positivity.

Friday, January 24, 2014

     I had a somewhat thought-provoking conversation with the psychiatrist a few days ago, and I felt like going off on some of that. I had to go in because I'd hit the 6 week mark taking sertraline. I went in thinking that either everything was good, it was doing it's job, or it was doing nothing but everything was good anyway and I didn't particularly care to test which it is. Because honestly. I've had my issues, I certainly have stuff I need to address, but to me the past month or so I've been in a healthy patch. Or, at least, a not-ill patch, which isn't really the same thing. I'd crossed over from suffering of acute depression to trying to deal with other things and habits that might tend to invite it back and hold me back in general.
     Well, not as she saw it. She saw my "this is about as good as it gets" as only a partial response. I guess I can't argue the point, I am still tired, I still don't really *want* to do things (is there a word for that? I enjoy things I just don't have will to do them). I'm certainly not free of wanting to stay in bed and a level of self-hate. But this is my happy. If truly this is only partial remission, that implies that I've truly been suffering from depression for years on end with differing severity. This is the kind of state I was in during those periods I had thought of as a break from depression....

     This also implies that if I ever when I truly break free of depression, it will be decidedly different from all those other times. 

     So there's that possible shift in how I frame my experience. She also waved off the possibility that I was getting better from depression for reasons other than the medication because it was too soon. She said that the course of depression was often five years without treatment. Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but to me this implies that long-term depression does in fact abate. It wouldn't take a miracle. Five years is a long time, but a) I've already passed that and b) it isn't a life sentence. And I guess I'm moving in the direction of hope, that just hit me weirdly. If treatment speeds things up, great. I'm certainly not about to ditch it. But to me there's somehow hope in the idea that I don't need it to be better someday. Or maybe it's just me. 

    I also found it interesting that she talked about herbal medication as if it's a blanket statement. And I guess I know I'm supposed to talk to her, but of course western medicine would put itself as the authority. That seems wrong here. The interaction between western/modern/whatever medicines and folk/herbal remedies seems like something that herbalists would have more reason to know than doctors. Besides which, the difference between medicine and flavorant/food is often only context, which adds another layer of weirdness. It makes more sense to me to mention to the herbalist that I'm also taking a certain pill than to ask the psychiatrist about relatively unknown herbs. At least that's how I see it. I'm not going to make any claim that I'm right and you should listen to me. In fact, that might be a bad thing. The only claim I'd make is that the thoughts I present here are my honest thoughts. 


Thursday, January 23, 2014

    I'm thinking about creating an embarrassing beginner video next week to put up. At least, I assume it'd be rather laughable. I know my skill level here. I'd like to think I have a certain bit of talent, but I'm not skilled in the slightest just yet. But I'd like there to be a time soon when I have to let it be seen, and better to start here than when I'm actually with the people and would half expect to get hit with rotten tomatoes. Yes, I am being purposefully vague. Sorry. I'm not sure the term "spoiler" entirely applies here, but... yeah. If I do this, I want there to be a level of surprise! So there. :p

Dance (physical activity 2)

    It also seems goofy to me that we live in a society where, in order to dance, many people feel they either must be skilled or drunk. Perhaps I'm making an incorrect assumption about how my own experience applies to others, but then, it seems to me that dancing is pretty primal and universal. I guess this is true of a lot of things.

    We have specialized, and in some ways maybe that's good. It certainly makes sense for healthcare. But I feel like we've also given up a good deal. Most people leave sewing and clothing design up to manufacturing, and for many people style is decided by media. Music has been largely been given up to those who make it their life. But dance, expression and enjoying the movement of one's body and raising energy... I don't know, to me this is what stands out the most as something that we've given up. Something that's been given to a select few that shouldn't have been.

    I have to wonder if all those people who "don't dance" are really just influenced by a society where dancing without being good at it seems to be looked down on. Or am I the only one who feels like that's the case? Especially when a number of people seem to enjoy dancing but need to be intoxicated to do so. I don't think alcohol in itself is dance-encouraging, it lowers inhibition but it's a depressant.

    I don't really have a specific point today, I'm just musing. If I have a point, it's that maybe we should be striving to take some of these things back. Just because we have a professionally-artistic class (or whatever you wanna call it) that might better serve the observer, that doesn't mean we shouldn't indulge in creating art.

    And I guess that's why I'm here. If people gain something from this, or any of my art for that matter... yay! Bonus! But... honestly, that's not the whole point. Even if it's garbage to everyone else, it still serves a purpose.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

On physical activity...

    I weight lift, and nine times out of ten I leave feeling pumped up and awesome and - if it was in the morning - ready to take on the day. It's better than coffee.
    I go on a hike, and feel refreshed and happy.
    Go to yoga, I leave feeling all peaceful and content.
    Most forms of physical activity  leave me feeling positive, although each carries it's own flavor so to speak... so it seems rather goofy that I have to push myself to do them.

    Am I the only one who gets this feeling? It's like not eating your vegetables after figuring out that there are ways to prepare them that are quite tasty (oh wait, I do that too -_-). It's rather silly, is my point. I can somewhat understand, but it still feels rather odd.

    I sometimes wonder if we'd be better served by focusing on the joy aspect rather than "results." At least, that's one answer I've come up with... the joy of movement gets buried under guilt and self-consciousness and health concerns and such. Our mind frames it as work instead of fun, which sets us up to want to avoid/procrastinate/etc. Or maybe that's just me.

    So I guess that's one hypothesis I'm going to try to test (although, I guess trying to apply scientific terms to this is a little goofy in itself): Focusing on the joy of exercising will have a better impact on my actually doing it than trying to force myself to do things to make me healthy.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Keep moving...

     It hit me again. Now I get to work. I get to fight... except fighting sounds wrong. The answer seems to be, rather than willing it away, saying "fuck you" and going off on another path. Kind of a passive-aggressive approach to dealing with depression..

    I got hit with depression again a couple nights ago. With the "it doesn't matter"s and low energy and generally feeling run down and wanting to just crawl into bed. With not wanting to do things that I'd like to do, and almost choosing to miss belly dancing class even though it was my first one after wanting to do it for years.

     Which is really annoying, and scary. Because this also came with the "I'll never really get better, crashing is inevitable and always will be."

     So I don't know. I'm feeling more and more like actions are important. Saying "fuck you" to depression, but letting it exist, rather than trying to kill it. Go out into the sun instead of back into bed, you weaken it. Try that new class you wanted to learn instead of killing those dreams, you weaken it.
     Making yourself suffer more over the fact that you suffer... that's something it's rather immune to, at best.

     So here I am, drinking awesome tea, holding a rat, and writing this even though part of me still feels like I shouldn't. I'm still feeling it. But I am through wasting my life hiding in my mind.


Monday, January 20, 2014

    I am weak. I am broken. And I've somehow come this far without making a solid mask.

    I keep half expecting you to leave. I believe in my relationships only enough to believe that they exist, but I see them as fragile. Every extended pause in conversation, every break of not being able to see you, every bit that seems not perfect I worry that I went and fucked it all up for good. Or, perhaps, I simply showed the mess I really am.

    So I get frantic. My actions then tend to be split between trying to make sure everything is okay and saying things to provoke reassurance. I know it's not okay, but I've not learned how to keep the relatively sane and calm part of my mind in control. Not yet.

     I don't know why I think that any of this would matter. I guess I just feel like, maybe, it helps to at least understand. Part of me doesn't believe that anyone could care for me. I don't understand what good anyone could see in me. I couldn't tell you if I'm clinging or if on some level I'm rejecting the love I don't think I deserve.

    I'm sorry. I hope that soon, I'll prove to have been worth putting up with.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

     I went to my first formal meditation yesterday. It seemed rather shallow, but then, I suppose that worrying about that is hardly productive. The only other things that really stands out about my experience are that I lacked any sense of time and my legs fell painfully asleep, to the point that when we got up for walking meditation I kept almost falling over at first. I don't know how to talk much about something where the whole concept is to sit doing nothing.
    But something hit me a little bit after and kept ringing in my ears for a little while: a feeling of absolute freedom. I don't know what was said that somehow made that click, because the talk at the time was simply about the practice of meditation. But I just got hit with this feeling of being free. Being unchained.

    I don't know what my point is supposed to be.

    It's really easy to break down. To get scared. To convince myself that any progress I make couldn't possibly stick. But here I am.

     I am looking for opportunities. I am opening up. I am fighting, and I am learning. This is not just a respite from acute depression. This is me making actual change.

     I am not free of my past... it's impacted my mind and my situation. But it doesn't have me chained. I am free to change my path. The power is in my hands... and they are getting stronger.

Friday, January 17, 2014

"Enchant," and I need music suggestions!

    Occasionally my affinity for certain music really underlines how I have changed. Or at least how my mood has changed, or a certain relationship. Suddenly a song will seem to fit really well, or it will completely cease to.
     A couple days ago I realized that I had pretty much no desire to listen to most songs by Emilie Autumn, who, if you don't know me, has been my favorite artist for the past few years. A lot of her music is rather negative though, which just doesn't work for me right now. Which is kind of sad, but I suppose it says good things about my mental state. Hopefully in time I'll go back to being able to enjoy more of her music without dropping back down. There are certain songs from "Enchant" though, which are less dark and more fairy-ish, that I am enjoying more than I had been.
    Which I'm sure either doesn't make sense or means nothing to most people reading, if anyone is. I'm a little tired of writing for no one, but I'll admit, there's a certain freedom to it. XD I'd be happy to trade, but hey, silver linings.

     A lot of my music collection is like this. I've been drawn largely to more negative music for much of my time collecting it, and now I only have a few songs I actually feel like listening to. I still like dark music, but less negative, if that makes sense. Dark in sound rather than perspective? So I need suggestions, or music if anyone feels like it. I've been listening to VNV Nation quite a bit, because a number of their songs seem realistically optimistic. But. Yeah, I don't know. If anyone is reading this and feels like giving me song suggestions, let me know! I'm open.

      "If you sing loud and clear, someone passing by will surely hear you. No you can't be afraid, if you ever want somebody near you." - "Rapunzel" by Emilie Autumn

Thursday, January 16, 2014


 ".... It’s all stuff you can’t see.  It’s underground.  It’s like that seed being stuck in the dirt, taking root, growing, getting fed and trying to push through the soil.
It’s not there yet.
It’s in the struggle.
But it hurls itself to break through the soil….it’s going to be a gorgeous bloom.
I need water.
I need sunshine.
I need to grow into something wild and beautiful." - Veronica Varlow  (You can read the whole post here: Which I would suggest, but then, I would suggest bookmarking her blog because it is awesome)
    I'm a step deeper... slowly rehydrating, soaking up a little light that filters through. I suppose I needed winter first, or at least, I'm going to hope that I did... but my trying to frame depression as somehow something that had to happen is another post. Anyway. 
    I haven't been getting a lot of tangible things done, but that's not always what it's about. I am constantly trying to alter my thinking, or at least question it, and that takes energy. I'd like to think that I'm getting somewhere in my self-therapy. I'm giving my physical self more of what it needs, and less poison. I'm reading more and staring at my computer less. All of this looks like nothing, but are still beneficial things that require a level of energy. At least or especially when you're looking at change. 
    It's a lot of work under the surface. 
   I know that I need to work on breaking out of my seed coat. I'm not about to accept where I currently am. But at the same time, I'm not about to beat myself up over not doing much. I'm not going to scold myself for not pushing myself when what I do manage to do takes a fairly high level of initiative energy right now. 
    I am still under the soil, but I won't stay there. I am on the right track. All plants, no matter how big or complex, start out at this phase. I'm breaking out of dormancy.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


     For the past couple months or so, I've been planning on travelling this semester. This has already changed form quite a bit... Mostly in terms of time, and taking sleeping in my car out of the equation because otherwise my mom wouldn't let me go. But anyway. The idea was that I need to get out and explore, go get myself lost, and hopefully find myself a little better in the process. I seriously don't think things have been any bleaker for me than they were when my thoughts started going in that direction., and I guess I was a little desperate for something to trigger change. I felt like I needed to go on some grand adventure to trigger some kind of profound change.

    So here I am, frustrated because I can't figure out how to make this work. I would've been fine if work actually gave me decent hours, but... ha. Apparently they are incapable of that. So my trip keeps shrinking, and I'm still trying to figure out where the perfect point would be in terms of efficiency.

    Here's the thing though... my adventure keeps shrinking, but I keep realizing more and more that I don't really need to go off exploring for months. I still really want to make this trip happen in some form of other, I still believe that it would have benefits. But it is not as though I need to escape home to change who I am; I am getting better already. I think, anyway.  I'm not waiting on travel for my period of figuring things out, I'm already there.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Health rant

   Okay, I'm aiming for a post or so a day to balance between actually doing this and just rambling, but I feel like writing, so meh.

   I grew up with a fitness professional as a dad, so naturally, I've heard a fair amount of ideas. I've also heard what school etc has to say, because I grew up in a generation of having health stuff shoved down my throat, and of course there's just taking biology and the assertions that seem to be inherent there (teachers and textbooks seem incapable of not mentioning the evils of saturated fat when going over macro nutrients). So by now, I have developed a list of things which are pet peeves and tempt me to go on a rant... especially when stated as fact. I mean don't get me wrong, I'm not going to claim that I know I'm right, but I feel pretty damn sure that the mainstream has no business claiming certainty.

    So I tried going to a new gym, and their intake process involved telling me things that are on that list of pet peeves. I held in my desire to go off on the person trying to tell me how to take care of my body at the time, but now I feel like going on a little bit of a rant.

    Health pet peeve #1: Cardio Cardio Cardio I'm not going to sit here and tell people that they shouldn't do cardio, if they enjoy than great, do what you enjoy. But best case it's not time effective, far as I can tell. You can increase cardiovascular health more effectively with interval training, and things like heavy lifting more effectively increase basal metabolic rate after. It certainly doesn't seem like it ought to be the corner stone of a fitness program.
    Health pet peeve #2: Eat as many meals as possible. I'll allow that possibly this is different for people who run on glucose. But when intermittent fasting seems to have a more positive impact on body composition than just calorie restriction... nope, sorry, don't buy it.
   Health pet peeve #3: Fat bad, grains good. Perhaps the one most likely to send me on a rant. Our bodies seem to like running on fat more than sugar... and eating a bunch of whole grain still comes out to running on sugar.
   Health pet peeve #4: Focus on weight loss. No, no, a thousand times no. Which granted is more a mentality thing, but really. Focus on being healthy, if you're getting more able to do what you want to do, you're succeeding. Fuck the number on the scale.
   Health pet peeve #5: Calories in vs calories out. Technically accurate, but useless. Far as I can tell, weight loss largely depends on convincing your body to run effectively (looking at basal metabolic rate), not just cutting dietary calories and increasing calories spent on activity).
   (Slightly tangent-y peeve: I seem to have forgotten some of my specific arguments. -_-)

   I know that I may not know the answers. I believe that the best thing for me to do is a variety of activities, of which cardio would only be a small portion, and a diet revolving around fats and protein and no grain, and potentially a good bit of intermittent fasting. This is what to me makes the most sense, but I can't absolutely prove it. And I could go off on that more, and perhaps I will down the road. Right now, my biggest pet peeve is this: the certainty of people who try to tell others how to be healthy. Except, I don't think that qualifies as a peeve, it potentially hurts people too much. These people talk like they have the answers, most people seem to think that there is no debate. I respectfully admit that I might be wrong, and maybe mainstream is right, or vegans (for health reasons) are right, or whatever. But fucking think about. Especially when you're a trainer. I mean seriously. Don't fucking sit me down and tell me the simplest and most accepted ideas like I'm a kid in grade school. Do they think we're not capable of actual thought and contemplating what option to test, or do they not get that there are different ideas anymore than the general population?? And if it's the latter, they can't have looked into it much, what the fuck are they doing trying to advise people in the first place?? Fuck!!

   *deep breath* Okay, rant over.


    It feels weird having this as a goal. I used to write on livejournal constantly, but then, back then I really didn't give a damn about actually writing something clever or useful or otherwise more than just me whining. I still do that more than I should, I suppose. I'm still accused a lot of being negative, even though I think all things considered I'm rather optimistic.

    I don't entirely know how I should interpret that. I suppose that on some level I know that venting isn't really useful past a certain point. Maybe on some level when I do that I'm really just looking for someone to knock me out of it and give me a reason to be less depressed or self-loathing. I really should know better.
    But I guess I didn't really understand it. Dwelling on emotions doesn't do anything to improve them, and yet that comes so easily. Suffering because I suffer. Beating myself up for being depressed when in reality I should just let it be and go try to do something that might make me happier. Much more efficient energy use. I guess I've heard that in various forms before, but it didn't really mean much. I wish I knew what the difference was. Maybe I just finally had the right combination of experience and being broken down and certain supportive people around me and just everything for it to click.

    So I don't know. At the moment I'm happy that I don't care overly much if this comes out as more than stream of consciousness.

    And right now, I am feeling tired, and I am feeling sad, and I really just want to fall back into bed. And that's okay. But the question of right now is"What am I going to do about it?" And trying to make the answer something besides "collapse in a worthless heap of despair." I've been there, it's really a rather boring way to be. It also leads to having nothing I like to do, which is laaaame. Which is another key to changing how negative I seem, I suppose, I need awesome things to talk about, instead of my life feeling defined by being a depressive worthless heap whenever I'm not at my shitty job. I need to cultivate said awesome things in my life. Oh, where to start...

   Perhaps a bit of walking outside with a book. That may be a decent way to get out of the depressed, apathetic stage of my morning. =D

Monday, January 13, 2014

A "break"

    I don't know how else to describe this, but the word that other people like to jump to doesn't feel right. A break sounds like rest like in bed or being a couch potato. That's not at all the idea, although some days might seem like it.
    In a sense I'm resting, but it's meant to be a very active break. Even on days when externally it looks like I'm doing nothing, I'm spending a good deal of time in my head trying to work with it... and I'm moving towards finding more things to do outside that are awesome and enriching. Or at least helpful, like going out and looking for a job that may or may not replace my current one.

    So I don't know. Maybe I'm creating drama where there isn't none, because in reality I know that what I'm doing is right. I'm certainly lucky to have the ability to step back and figure out my path and put a lot of energy into reprogramming my mind, but given the fact that I am so fortunate... I think it's the right choice. I worry that I'll fail, I guess. I don't know. Summer vacation have never done me much good.

    I'd feel bad for a waste of post, but no one is reading anyway, so ha.

    But for now, it's getting into the afternoon on the first day of my officially missing school. My mental health semester, I suppose. I feel like I ought to do something to make it feel separate from the hell of last semester and the very easy going recovery of the post holiday break. Maybe I'll just go get my hair cut and other traditionally New Years-y things I didn't get to. Same kind of idea, right? Leave the past behind, move on to something better, granted that's every day of my life.

    I don't know how to simply state why I'm doing this. My goal is to make myself better, ready to take on the world instead of cowering in the shadows. That and figure out what exactly I should be going after. But see, that sounds broad enough to not mean anything! Ugh.
   But yes. I am here because I reached a point where pushing forward seemed foolhardy and painful. No going back now. Time to make the most of it!!


Sunday, January 12, 2014

And so it doesn't begin.

     Tomorrow is the first first day of a semester that I will have missed since I was four years old.

      Last semester, I severely struggled. I got hit over the head with depression worse than ever during a semester that would have been difficult anyway. It left me questioning my academic path, because I was utterly miserable during a very major-focused semester. I was weary. And I felt broken. And I realized a few weeks before semester ended that I just couldn't imagine going back. I had finally reached a point where I had to accept that maybe I'm just not functioning well enough for that kind of thing to be a good idea.
     It's sad, and I feel like I should be ashamed. Or at least, society think I should be. The fact that I was working towards a degree used to seem like my one redeeming feature at times. "Oh, you're doing something with you're life, you're in school!" But I can't do anything with my life from the place I'm at now. I feel like I've gotten a little better since finals, but I still think I'm making the right choice. I don't want to force myself through a path that may or may not be right for me in the first place.

    I don't know. I feel like I had something profound to say, but now it's not coming out.

    All I know is that I am taking a break from making academic/career-ish progress, but that's okay. It will be a semester of making progress in working with my mind and figuring things out, so that when I go back I can hit the ground running and actually be happy.

    So I don't know. I think I may have to delete this later when I figure out what my major profound point was supposed to be. It just feels amazing, because while on the surface I guess it looks like I'm taking a slacker-y path... this is me taking control of my life. Departing from the school-until-college-degree path willfully so that I can take control instead of floating with the current to a place that is less than pleasant. And so this semester is starting, and I'm setting off on my own path of learning.

    Oh I so hope this turns out well.

7 ways I don't hate my job.... even though almost everyone else seems to find it hateable.

     So I work a low level retail job. It's the kind of job where a majority of my coworkers like to complain about how crappy it is, which is only partially explained by human nature. I try to keep my head up, and focus on positive things, because let's face it... I'm super negative about certain things, I may as well attempt to stay positive in the areas where it doesn't feel impossible. I was actually rather excited closer to when I started.
   But now I'm six months in. Those in leadership seem to trust me enough to try to have me running everywhere, so I feel like I'm getting nothing done because my efforts are spread quite thin. I'm growing weary, and I'm not sure if it's just the daily grind, or frustration with hours (I get very few), or just because I've risen enough within the lower ranks to feel pressure. But regardless. THAT'S NOT WHAT I'M HERE FOR.
      Reason #1 that my shitty retail job isn't worthless: I get to help people. Okay, I know that this is cheesy as all hell, but honestly... it feels good to be able to help customers. Especially when I'm doing something beyond just daily tasks. I love helping people figure things out. I know it may not be anything significant most of the time, but nonetheless, it's nice to feel helpful.
     It's also nice helping my coworkers, although that's relatively rare. These are the people I work for though, really. I don't care about whoever is getting the money from being stupidly stingy about "human resources." I care about customers who are at least decent, and I care about some of my coworkers not having to be stressed.

      Reason # 2: Customers occasionally teach me things... or are at least interesting. I'm not much of a crafty person, but I want to be, which makes talking to people who are into those things rather awesome at times. Just small talk, naturally, but occasionally nice things come out of it. Ideas, or learning a little more about fabric and such, or sometimes it's just fun to hear what they're doing.

      Reaon #3: It's good practice. This one is more personal. I'm very shy, to the point that people often think I'm just antisocial. Occasionally I feel like I'm just incapable of human interaction, and I was rather scared going into this job that I was going to fail miserably because how can I give good customer service when I can't even properly interact with people? So I got a little boost of confidence from the fact that, well, I didn't fail. I'm probably not the best still, but I do get practice in a sense. I have to interact with quite a few people every time I go to work... which isn't a bad thing for getting better at it.
     It's also good acting practice, in the sense that I have to fake being happy-ish even though I've often not. Especially during these past few months, I've come to understand a little better how faking a decent mood is not only not impossible for me, but can in fact help my mood (it's worth noting, however, that reminders of this can still be rather annoying).

    Reason #4: There are probably worse things for my health than lifting boxes and running all over the place. It'd still be good to get back into power lifting and stuff like that, but this can't hurt.

   Reason #5: It's helped keep me relatively sane. Only getting to talk to people at work sucks, but it's a lot better than not talking to anyone at all. This is important when you're too depressed and self-loathing to really reach out and make friends, and the few friends you have are busy or just out of touch for months and you are not really so extreme an introvert that being totally alone is considered a good thing.

  Reason #6: I do get paid. It's probably less than I deserve, certainly less than I'd like, but it's still something in any case. It's also job experience, with putting up with shit if nothing else valuable.

   Reason #7: Variety. This is more a specific aspect... They are making me run around everywhere, I never really know what I'm gonna do in a given day, but variety is fun. I dunno, I think it beats what I had at my last job where it was the same routine every night.

   So that's what I've got for now. It's not a good job, I have no intention of staying there longer than I need to. But for now, I'm there. May as well pay attention to the bright side, right? :)

Friday, January 10, 2014

The shadows are creeping back in

    It's hard to stand tall when the world seems scary and I'm so used to cowering but now that's scary too and I want so badly to live boldly but I don't know if I have it in me and....

   *deep breath*

   I still hate myself. I still think I have a ton of unfulfilled potential that feels permanently locked away. I'm still scared. But I do believe that something has changed. Maybe a certain person helped me see things differently, actually understand some of the cheesy messages that I've had floating around for ages. Maybe I just broke enough last semester that I can more easily rebuild. Maybe it was just time. But regardless, for once, I feel like I'm gaining power over my mind. I've been at the mercy of my biology and events around me for way too long.

   So here I am, feeling down, and scared, and tired, and all kinds of negatives. And the truth is, I still hate much of the present when it really comes down to it. But something new has come in to play, something that makes all the rest of that hardly seem to matter...

I will tame the demons in my mind. Though perhaps not tonight.

Stuttering and Herbal Medicine

     A few days ago, I went to an herbal shop. I am still torn on how I feel about it. It makes perfect sense to me that we should view plants as medicine. What's "alternative" about using the medicinal methods that have worked for centuries?? It shouldn't be. The problem, as I see it, is that because of its place as less mainstream medicine, it's been mixed with pseudoscience instead of being well investigated by modern science. Instead of doctors prescribing, say, St John's wort for mild depression, the same plant might sit next to flower essences, and the herbalist might suggest that putting it in a pouch on your person may do the trick because that still gives you that plants "energy."
    But regardless. I feel like there's at least some degree to which traditional uses may have some poor explanations for observed effects, but those effects are nonetheless real. So, I thought that it might be worth exploring what an herbalist might be able to do for me in regards to my stuttering. The woman I talked to made me a blend of plants after a talked a little about what I felt like the cause might be, and despite my skepticism, I went ahead and tried it. 
    I know full well that there may just be a placebo effect going on, or observation bias, but... even if that's the case, I hardly care. It feels like it's working. My voice seems more fluid, more usable, and it is amazing. 

   I'm extremely quiet. I don't think I can entirely blame this on my stutter, but I think that part of it is that I feel like any word I say has to be worth a lot. It's a lot of energy to say anything, it can be hard on the other person, it certainly takes more time... a lot of the time it just doesn't seem worth it. And when I do speak, I feel like I have to cut down what I say to the bare essentials. Like on the telephone, when I'm supposed to be professional, what I'd like to say is the standard "Hello, this is (name) in (location), how may I help you?" Instead I just force out a "hello" because otherwise the other person tends to get frustrated and/or thinks the call is cracking up. That bit is painful enough, and that's just trying to get by in my crappy retail job. 
   So the possibility that this may help me regain control of my voice, and therefore my expression, and let me actually participate and say what I need to say... that I can cut down that particular block to showing who I am to the world... it feels very freeing and happy-making. And maybe this particular herbal cure is bullshit, and it's all in my head. But maybe it's not. For the time being, I'm going to stick with the hypothesis that it's helping; there is a lot more to gain that way than assuming that it couldn't possibly be real. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Is Anyone Out There?

    A good deal of my life has been wasted on depression, which of course doesn't make for a good story. I've been withering away in near isolation and reflection for really the past decade... quite a long time when you're in your early twenties. It's a horribly boring story, and certainly not uplifting or interesting. I've had blogs running through bits of that, which I imagine no one cared to read much. I'm rather sick of it myself.

   It's time for a different story.

   I don't know how to describe where I am right now, because I feel so many things at once. Hopeful and free and tied down and run down and part of me is certain that I'll just crash and burn in the end while another is sure that I will rise above this. The best I can say is that this is me, not in denial but not drowning. I am learning how to face my demons without being consumed by them.

   And as I write this, I can't help but feel like it's a load of drivel. Hopefully by the time anyone sees this, there will be better things before it. The thing is, I have to believe that I am worth more to the world than I feel like I am. That's my working hypothesis, anyway. Which means that while this may all feel like garbage for a while, I can't pay attention. Because hopefully I'm wrong, and I'll never know if I remain in a shell as I feel I should.