Mid-week check-in

Clever Manka, · Categories: Check-In

This is the weekly post for those of us who are traversing together this hellscape called Personal Growth. Brag about this week’s accomplishments, ask for support, talk about what worked, what didn’t. Tell us how things are going for you.

99 Responses to “Mid-week check-in”

  1. burningupasun says:

    So, I went to a therapist for the first time ever yesterday. (Well, minus a horrible experience with a family therapist as a kid that is pretty much at least 65% of why I never went to one as an adult.) I've been anxious for months now, especially intensely for the last week or so (to the point of constant physical symptoms) and I finally bit down and found someone and went. It was great and I loooooove her. She's open-minded and a bit hippie!witchy and she curses occasionally and it's awesome. Even the first appointment was eye-opening so I'm happy about the decision tbh.

    ALSO, um, I have a new girlfriend now so THAT'S A THING, hee.

  2. Doc_Paradise says:

    I'm learning about disassociation and how that might be a thing in my life. At least it might explain why I'm feeling rather blank emotionally right now even as my hands are sweating, my heart is racing, my shoulders are tense, and I'm entirely the wrong temperature.

    But hey… productivity. Lots of writing.

  3. CleverManka says:

    The past two nights I only woke three times each, and was able to fall back asleep quickly. FANTASTIC! I felt like crap over my three-day weekend, but I had the house to myself for five whole days and that was FANTASTIC.

    It's been a crap week emotionally. I feel disconnected and lethargic from everything, including writing. I'm working on an essay about Goals and it's a fucking slog. I hope it'll be helpful and informative because I can't make it anything but tediously dry. Ugh. I'm also constantly freezing or sweating and can't regulate my body temperature to save my soul.

    Brooklyn Nine-Nine came out on DVD yesterday, so the Burgomaster and I are binge-watching that this week, but I feel like the writing so far is spotty. I didn't like Terry in the fatsuit and thought the new captain(s) plot was disjointed (they should've stuck with either The Vulture or Bill Hader's character until Holt returned). Maybe that's just my brain being overly picky/grumpy right now because I tend to do that when I'm feeling off.

  4. FriendOfDaja says:

    My accomplishments this week: buying new furniture and curtains (so that I can stop using scarves like a college kid).

    And I've realized that buying furniture from the Ikea website feels like playing the Sims, only without the infinite money cheat :/

  5. Heathered says:

    I'm coming out of a disastrous few days and hope things are turning around. The effort and energy required to try and make friends is often more than I can summon, and on Sunday I had a minor panic attack (and my whole mouth broke out in cold sores) because I was invited to a party to see about membership in an organization that MIGHT lead to friends but costs $85 a year. It felt like so much was hanging on this one event–if it was good the expense was going to be a strain, if it was bad, well, I've really exhausted the possibilities here. I was too freaked out to deal so I stayed home, then felt bad about chickening out, and made the fatal error of mentioning as much on Facebook, which led to three days of being interrogated about the situation and pounding it further into my brain. I really do feel okay now–I did laundry and rotated my mattress, which are not things Sad Me would have completed by 9:15 am, but the isolation/loneliness thing is still really hard to work with. I go to things and meet people and we just don't reconnect beyond that. Nobody comes to me, and nothing happens outside of an Event. I don't know if it's fixable, or if I just need to learn to accept it.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      I think skipping the panic inducing $85 event was wise. Doing laundry soothes me, too.

      Let's describe your Ideal Recurring Interaction, an exercise in creative fiction.

      Is there an activity you would enjoy doing predictably at a given interval? Say, a slow, drawn out game of dominoes every Sunday? Or a 3-hour hike the first and third Saturday of every month? Or a leisurely, multi-course dinner the first Friday of every month? Or a book club monthly? Or a bike ride every Tuesday?

      Then decide the ideal location for this Ideal Recurring Interaction. Do you have a favorite cafe that would allow you to take over the back table every Sunday morning? (You and your friends would order coffee & snacks appropriately to make it a good thing for the cafe.) Do you have a favorite hiking trail? Is there a local map of bike routes you want to explore?

      Spend some time with this concept. Eventually you will find something you can experiment with *hosting*. You don't announce it as a weekly or monthly event. You invite strangers to the first event. See how it goes. If you enjoyed it, invite them to do it again. Invite new strangers. Unpleasant participants get assigned unpleasant chores until they stop returning.

      Email me about this if you want.

    • MuseKray says:

      Just want to say I completely sympathize. I have a lot going on in my life, some of it involving being pretty social, and I still feel like it's not enough. Like if I decide to get some badly needed rest instead of going to an event, I am plagued with thoughts like "What if I missed out on meeting some future friends!"

    • damngoodcoffee says:

      The effort and energy required to try and make friends is often more than I can summon

      I know these feels so well. I was signed up for a horror movie meetup that it would require 4 hours of travel total, but I don't have more local meetup options, and I was going to go until they moved the time for later, and that's just too much for me, I wouldn't get back 'til really late before work the next day. You're definitely right that when there are fewer options it's like more rides on each decision. I'm starting to realize I actually do like to spend the majority of my time outside or work by myself, but it's hard either way, because I do want to socialize sometimes.

      • RoseCamelia says:

        I once responded to an invitation to go out with, "Thanks, but I can't. That's the only time I can do yard work this week. Wanna do yard work with me? Or watch me do yard work?"

        And they did! They came to my place with giant carryout cups of iced tea and held the bags while I raked leaves into them.

        That was a small epiphany for me. I started looking at my *chores* as opportunities to socialize. I just make sure invited guests have something easy to do while I do the heavy work.

        Sometimes I beg. "Just come and talk to me while I work. I hate [chore] and it will be so much better if you talk to me while I'm doing it."

        After finishing the chore I reward us both with a card game, a walk in the park, a bottle of wine, etc.

        • Fancy_Pants says:

          This is genius! It's always kind of bothered me that the typical "social" hangouts are either (1) eating and/or drinking outside of the house, which is expensive, or (2) eating and/or drinking inside someone's house, which sets off a weird "host/guest" relationship, which feels kind of awkward for me. And kind of boring? I'd rather be doing stuff.

          NO, let's all just do chores together, it will be fun because we're hanging out, and we won't feel like we have to make it work with our busy lives because it's stuff we have to do anyways.

          Love. it.

        • damngoodcoffee says:

          This is really good, and if the opportunity arises, I will definitely make use of it. This is the type of stuff I do with the people I'm already close to, anyway (one of my fave pics I own is one of me, my sister, and my cousin, from a few years ago, all attempting to shovel snow, with varying degrees of success. My sister is bossing my cousin and me around, and I appear to be confused by my scarf).

          • RoseCamelia says:

            "confused by my scarf"

            You are a delight. You are definitely my kind of people. Because you constructed that phrase and because you are capable of connecting with your scarf in a whimsical way. And because I like scarves. I may have a stack of scarves filling 2 cubic feet of box.

          • damngoodcoffee says:

            Thank you! Whimsy is not something I usually associate with myself, but it's a good thing to remember to experience from time to time. 🙂

        • Heathered says:

          My best friend in college would run by my window and yell, "Come over! We need to go to the hardware store! I have to make a reproduction of the Ten Commandments!" That approach definitely works.

        • sbcardinal says:

          Brilliant! Somehow other people's chores are never as onerous as my own. We could remake the universe if we all get working on this.

  6. vladazhael says:

    Since the Breakup That Lacks Conviction officially did not take, now I get to concentrate on things other than romantic crisis, such as:
    – sustainable improvements to said relationship – e.g. greater generosity of spirit with each other's differing communication styles, him working through old hangups, me lightening the fuck up
    – supporting parental medical/emotional crises from afar (Dad's heart is fine, Mom is not blind *yet*, both are just mired in the usual excessive and highly unhealthy levels of stress)
    – explaining to parents that they can either ask brother for support or accept what he offers on his own, but can only be a small amount of upset when he does not intuitively know if and when to visit hospitals and/or homes
    – shaking off job apathy and studying for certifications anyway
    – BUT also shaking off the trap of the "do what you love" Steve Jobs bullshit
    – finishing DragonCon costumes (I am told that my Poe jacket will arrive on time… but I am still concerned)
    – mentally preparing for Silmarillion book club in September
    – mentally preparing for Silmarillion fanfic/biography projects at same time
    – mentally preparing for seasons other than summer (it's nice not having much if any snow, but winter is still gloomy and awful and a drain on my soul)
    – so much reading
    – read ALL THE THINGS

    • meat lord says:

      It sounds like you are going to be very busy. GODSPEED.

    • CleverManka says:

      Holy wow, bb, that is a lot of stuff going on.

      greater generosity of spirit with each other's differing communication styles
      That is a huge thing–best wishes! Even after ten years, the Burgomaster and I occasionally hit a wall with that because we experience the world so very differently. Occasionally I tell him to just stop talking about a subject because I'm not understanding what he's saying and he's not understanding what I'm saying (although of course he claims he is when he is so obviously not getting it at all and he needs to STFU or I'll get Very Very Angry). I hope you and yours can come to an agreement over what to do when communication fails.

      Crossing my fingers for you about the Poe jacket!

    • Heathered says:

      That's such a big list, but I'm impressed at how you've quantified and prioritized it, jeez! A+ in project managing the project of life, and I hope these pieces all come together in manageable increments for you.

    • Fancy_Pants says:

      "Silmarillion fanfic/biography projects"

      You'll let us all know when that happens, right? 😀

  7. Frumiosa says:

    This week went by in a blur, so I don't really know where I stand with anything. Funny how that sometimes is. I completed a huge deadline at work, so that's good. Finally felt on top of my shit in this (relatively) new job. I got a bonus at work (yaaay!), and used some of it for some much-needed retail therapy to get work clothes from somewhere other than Savers, which I haven't done in awhile. That used my my precious weekly writing night, but maybe I'll get some done tonight. The three kids are home all day everyday with the husband during the summer, so every night I clean the house to restore some sense of order which they then gleefully destroy the next day. Sisyphus has got nothing on parenthood. I'm starting a women's group with some friends next week, just getting together regularly to help each other process life shit. I'm really looking forward to that.

  8. meat lord says:

    So far, this has been a very rocky week for me in terms of mental health–a lot of things that I didn't think were a problem for me, or usually don't bother me much, suddenly WERE A PROBLEM.

    I keep typing and then deleting further details, so let's just leave it at that. Would love to be someone else for a bit, thanks.

  9. LaxMom says:

    Well. We have a few bumps in the "back to school" road. Teenboy started HS this week, but not college till next week, so he is enjoying not getting to school until 1 pm. Girl still has to hit the bus to MS by 6:30 am. My mother or I have to drive teenboy back and forth.
    Me? my school starts next week and I'm short a class to be full time, because my two classes conflict. And you can't get a parking pass until you're full time registered, which fucking sucks, because I end up begging to get any pass at all because all the other "traditional" path grad students (the ones who aren't spanning three different departments for their specialty and need approval from each) bought their passes a month ago.

    I am so confused about the pill. I have endo, horribly, that hurts most of the month. I have 3 day puking migraines when I ovulate and when I get my period. I also have premenstrual mood shifts to the point where getting my period makes me suicidal, and it's all chemical (with sometimes PTSD thrown in their for fun).
    So being female really costs me a lot. So I've been trying to go on the "take a pill all the time every day" plan. I'm on my third try, from low dose to slightly higher back to low dose and …my skin is clear, my abdomen doesn't hurt, and I have only had 2 migraines in the past 5 months. The only problem is that I may as well be taking sleeping pills. I have literally no drive, fall asleep the second I sit down (even in my office), can't focus my brain (I have turned into a ditz who screws up my schedule right and left, and I feel like my brain doesn't work fast enough to hold an intelligent conversation without long pauses where I search for words.
    It's pretty much destroying any benefit I get from the antidepressants, because I'm a zombie. I haven't accomplished anything I wanted to this summer and part of it is my not being able to focus on writing without falling asleep.
    But, no pain and no suicidal thoughts, which is great. Also no cooking dinner, organizing meals, folding laundry, cleaning…because I just don't care.

    So what do I do now? There are two lower dose pills I can take–the lowest combo pill and the mini-pill progesterone only. But my brain is mush and I dont' feel like I can risk starting the semester that way, so I'm going off the one for right now, so that if I get a migraine it's over by monday. I like not having pain though. But I feel like I have to sell all my ambition to get relief.

    • meat lord says:

      I don't have any solutions for your pill situation, but I do have a lot of sympathy : Yeesh, that sucks. I hope you can find something that leaves both your brain and body feeling okay.

    • vladazhael says:

      How long have you been on the pill regimen that causes the brain mush? Is it a recent thing, or something where you can be fairly certain that those side effects are here to stay? If it were me, I might try to wait it out and see if that part gets better, because sometimes side effects will calm down and the alternative sounds like a wide awake nightmare. (I am officially rescinding my complaints from this morning about having cramps.)

      Just my initial thought, though – mileage may vary. I do hope you're able to find a good balance of non-pain and non-zombie.

      • LaxMom says:

        I did two months on the lower dose, had a month straight of bleeding, took a week off, did two months on the higher dose, went straight back to the lower dose for three months. This is month 4. I'm pretty sure it's just me. This is what happened 3 years ago when I tried it, too.
        I can't increase my antidepressant meds to cope because I'm already at the max dose. (actually above slightly).

    • jan_ette says:

      Hi LaxMom
      I'm pretty much an expert on extreme fatigue, unfortunately, and it sounds like that may be what's going on, even though you aren't identifying it as such. I take Effexor (an SNRI/antidepressant) as a medication FOR fatigue. It definitely promotes daytime wakefulness for me (no more zombie!). I've heard that Cymbalta is used for this as well. Perhaps your doctor would consider a trial of one of those medications?

      • LaxMom says:

        The antidepressant I'm on was doing really well at that, until I started the birth control. That's what's so frustrating–I solve one problem, get three more!

  10. MuseKray says:

    I am seriously considering applying for a school for women learning to code, which could lead to better paying jobs (so I can focus and afford my passions outside of work), but would require six months of intense schooling after I had sworn off after library school killed my love for academia.

    I had a serious attack of the sads yesterday before a bjj class and nearly went home so I could cry instead. However, I rallied myself up, did the class and felt a little better.

    I'm also trying to fit in some writing and working on a art project with a long distant friend, so my life is pretty busy in a good way. My only problem is myself where my ambitions are in danger of me burning out and trying to balance taking rest days without feeling guilty over it.

  11. damngoodcoffee says:


    1. I'm in the middle of orientation week at work, so things at work have been pretty all over the place, but mostly in a good way. I've had too much sugar recently, definitely.

    2. I'm feeling a bit better overall now that summer is winding down a little bit. Summer is not my season. I get that reverse seasonal affective disorder, so all summer I have continuous nervous energy, don't sleep enough (routinely wake up at 2-3am and stay up, hands shaking at random intervals, fun stuff), and suffer an increase in general anxiety. So I'm pretty pumped that whole thing's on its way out, at least this year.

    3. Also, this means my favorite season, fall, is coming, and I am excite! Halloween and witchy aesthetic things are all over my tumblr dash, and I'm starting to think about what kind of creepy movie list to compile.

    4. I still feel a bit isolated, but I've been talking to so many people at work that it's hard to sustain. We also hired someone recently who I really get along with socially, even if she doesn't live near here and v. much has her own life, but it's just nice to have someone to chat with and not feel so much like I'm forcing it (which I often feel with my other coworkers, nice as they are). It's also hard b/c a lot of the anxiety/bad feels I get about being lonely/isolated are because I feel like I should be getting out more/being more social, and it's really hard to separate the 'should's from what I actually want, even now.

    5. I'm getting a new tattoo of a snake from the Wild Unknown Tarot deck on 9/15 and will definitely post pics once that's done. 🙂

    • CleverManka says:

      Your point #3 reminds me that I still haven't seen The Babadook and I want to rectify that sooner rather than later.

    • Theo_Winterwood says:

      I'm also looking forward to fall way more than I usually am.

      I mean, I am usually pretty excited about fall coming, but this year it's hitting harder than usual. I think somehow the summer itself felt rough and long this year.

      (Sometimes I wonder why I look forward to fall so much since I'm one of the winter seasonal depression people, so there's always a chance that I'm gonna wake up on about November 1st and feel like someone flipped a sadness switch in me.)

      • damngoodcoffee says:

        For me I think it's partly nostalgia, or a lot nostalgia, for my childhood and adolescence (mostly on the Halloween-front, but something about fall in general and sense-memories).

        But either way, post-Halloween can be hard, because yes the rest of the holidays are coming up but it's also going to get darker. I hope that you are able to mitigate the effects (I didn't do too well with summer this year, but that's because I didn't really consciously try to mitigate anything; next year I plan to be more prepared on that front, if I can).

        • CleverManka says:

          Yep. Halloween to Easter is usually rough for me, too.

        • Theo_Winterwood says:

          I feel like my feelings about autumn and nostalgia for the idea of autumn/Halloween are probably almost perfectly described by making someone watch the first ten minutes of Something Wicked This Way Comes.I feel like I mitigate better some years than others, but I hope to do better this year. I think part of the problem I had last winter is that my dude (who also gets seasonal depression, though less so than me) and I had a game plan: Based on the terrible depressing coldness of the couple winters previous, we were really gonna embrace the winteriness and go for big cozy sweaters and being wrapped in blankets and drinking hot cocoa, etc, etc. But then the winter weather ended up being kind of warm (for winter) and gray, so it just felt like we were stuck inside some long rainy day in maybe the last week of February, and I never quite managed to figure out what to do with that feeling.So this year, I think I'm gonna have to think of an approach that isn't weather-dependent, I guess 🙂

  12. Lynn says:

    I *think* I am getting a sinus infection but it is developing weirdly and my boyfriend is also not feeling well so maybe it is just a virus? But it's a super bad time for me to not be in the office because this is the two weeks a year people actually call me on the phone and need answers right that second, and the one person who can sort of cover for me is on vacation.

    Also I had a very contentious conversation this morning about a project that hits right in the middle of my knowledge deficit at work (I work for a medical research non profit with no background in either scientific research or medicine – 95% of my job can be done well without it, but this tiny little bit when it pops up always ramps up my imposter syndrome), and that has aggravated all of my symptoms. I haven't been able to talk to my boss about it yet (she needs to know there's an issue) because I keep wanting to cry which I *know* is primarily because I don't feel well but I really don't want to make it seem like I'm taking this personally and/or make my boss think the other party has upset me to a degree that she needs to step in.

  13. Theo_Winterwood says:

    I had been telling myself that I was going to make a better effort to work on my writing–specifically on the novel I've been very bad at making progress on for pretty much all of 2016 so far.

    Instead, somehow, I've been writing more, but it's turned into me starting to write fanfic for the first time in literal years. I've been trying to convince myself not to give in and actually start writing something detailed and fully plotted and multi-part, because Lord knows I don't need to add another unfinishable writing project to my life, but I dunno, man.

    • CleverManka says:

      Write where your heart leads you, bb! What fandom, may I ask?

      • Theo_Winterwood says:

        DC Comics, which is weird as heck in a lot of ways, because I haven't actively read any of their comics since about 2010, maybe six months before the whole New 52 reboot, and I didn't think I had any particularly strong lingering Feelings going on with that whole universe, but then somehow in the past couple of weeks, a bunch of small little things have conspired together to make me resurrect a whole lot of previously forgotten enthusiasm and fondness.. . . I mean, everyone wants to read a pre-New 52 DCU story about managing the criminal underworld of Gotham with pretty close to zero screentime for Batman and a probably side of making out with dudes, right?(I have realized one thing about me: When I am suddenly going through a period of extreme fandom nostalgia, the thing I'm suddenly dying to write is never the fandom I'm actively experiencing strong nostalgia for as a reader–Because 9 times out of 10, “nostalgic for the abstract concept of fandom” for me is basically code for “I miss due South.”)

    • Onymous says:

      I feel like writing anything is probably (in the long run) way more effective at eventually finishing A Thing than trying to write A Thing that you're just not feeling right now (even if 'right now' is a very long now)

    • meat lord says:

      As I constantly tell myself, any writing is good writing! High five o/

      (Seriously though, if I limited myself to working on only what I was "supposed" to be working on, I would barely write. I have zero focus when it comes to writing, but I'm trying to make that work for me.)

  14. fiddlergirl says:

    + STARTED ANTIDEPRESSANTS and not slammed with yucky physical side effects so far, unlike last time!
    + painted our guest room last night!
    + I'm trying a thing where I don't check social media etc. for at least the first hour after arriving at my office and it has improved my productivity and focus!

    – have noticed some things that make me think I'm holding back my thoughts/opinions too much at work. I've become VERY selective about what I say, because so much of what I say gets dismissed out of hand and I'm sick of it. Also my coworkers always seem to have to have SOMETHING to say, even if it's not relevant or particularly informed, and I don't want to do that myself. But I think I may have wandered too far in the opposite direction. I need to re-evaluate this and I don't really trust my own judgement about when it's worth speaking up.

  15. Onymous says:

    School started Monday. Still feeling it out a bit. Tentatively I'm… exactly the same? I don't really think it's realistic to expect it to have some significant emotional impact but I expected a little more than nothing. It's so far just a different place.
    Also I added a small monthly donation to RAINN in addition to PP. And I sort of tricked my brothers into charitable giving under the guise of spiting our stepfather.

    • RoseCamelia says:

      PP & RAINN: You are a hero. Getting your brothers to give as well: You are a superhero.

      • Onymous says:

        Hero might be overselling it a bit. I'm entry level retail so they're only getting $5 a month each, still I am definitely considering it an excellent life choice.

        We'll see about my brothers. For now it's going to be a Christmas 'gift' to the Shriners Hospital in our stepfathers name.
        My stepfather is a racist fox news loving etc… my brothers consider disliking him to be a moral stance*. My particular combination of apathy/empathy, privileged/perspective means I don't think being a passive aggressive dick to him helps anything.
        This A) tricks my brothers into giving to charity B) side steps any drama I might have to listen to about them not giving him a present as some moral stance C) is pretty much above reproach because they did sooo much for his grandson/my nephew (he was born with out his right tibia and several fingers) D) opens a wedge for me to start dropping hints that "hey guys you know how we've been talking a good game for a decade? maybe lets start walking it a bit too"

        *not that that stopped them from playing with his guns, drinking his beer, spending his money and eating his food when we were there in May.

  16. Fancy_Pants says:

    Progress: I have finally started really, concretely thinking about what I want to do career-wise. At some nebulous point during my PhD, I became completely unable to think about what I wanted my future job (slash *Contribution to Society* gahhh) to look like. But that mental barrier just…evaporated this week. I'm not entirely sure why, but it might have had something to do with realizing:

    (1) The question is not what I *should* do, but what I would *like* to do
    (2) It's more important for me to be happy than to be successful by traditional metrics
    (3) It's okay to just plan out the next step. It doesn't have to be the rest of my life

    So my goals for the next couple of weeks are to actually start working on applications, and do some reading to learn more about the research that I think I might be interested in.

  17. LaxMom says:

    1. having horrible imposter syndrome, still haven't been able to write paper I wanted to have done last week. Am limiting my social life (such as it is) and my karate classes to supposedly work on it. It is going very slowly, which is so not ok.
    2. there were entire weeks with nothing to do this summer. This week: A free swing dance tomorrow (which I can't go to because I haven't made it to karate yet this week), friday: Geography picnic, Grad student festival, singles mixer at the art museum, and a night market. Saturday: canoeing Sunday: potluck.

    • Heathered says:

      That feast or famine thing is a bruiser. I ran myself ragged in July and then August was a ghost town (except one event that I weaseled out of). Are there Calendar Balance gods somewhere we can make a sacrifice to?

  18. CheddarBiscuit says:

    I have less than two weeks before I am due to turn in my dissertation and I am handling this strangely well? I feel like I should be working much harder, but I'm kind of just making a bit of tangible progress on editing each day and am trying to leave myself the last week to deal with citations and formatting. And other than that I'm prioritizing taking care of myself by exercising, getting enough sleep, and taking a few hours to disconnect and relax every night. I'm usually a very anxious person, especially about academic things, so I'm surprised that I'm not more panicked, but I'm also very happy about it.

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