College Capstone (8/27/16)

On Thursday, my Capstone class professor happily informed us that as we collect all the work we’ve ever done for our major, we’d be going through “your best work and best years of your lives so far.” Almost the entirety of university has been the worst years of my life so far, ever.

The only (past) times I felt smart, got decent grades, and had self-motivation during uni were Fall 2012-Spring 2013, and Spring 2016.

In Fall 2014, I lost 22 pounds and my eyebrows due to sheer academic stress, caused by a single professor and her “teaching”. At the end of that 3-month span, I was 5 feet 3 inches tall and only 98 pounds.

I made wonderful friends during Fall 2014, but during Spring 2015, the following semester, we met the Perfect Disaster. He and I aggravated each other’s problems, and jeopardized my relationship with these friends, but miraculously I managed to salvage those friendships. I allow the Perfect Disaster to stay in my life only as a scar upon my memory, a reminder not to repeat those mistakes.

In April 2014, I confessed to my family how I was. How I could feel myself being a burden and nuisance and self-pitying, but couldn’t stop myself. How I often felt sad or empty or out-of-body for no reason at all. They took me to a doctor and I was officially diagnosed with Depression, Anxiety, and also borderline for Thyroid problems. My parents DO try, but one has the same issues as me, diagnosis-wise, so whenever my issues arise they make both of ours worse. My parent had been getting better before I confessed that I had problems. So they were getting worse and couldn’t be around me and my problems, feeling my illness is their fault. Family guilt complexes.

I took meds for a while, but they didn’t really work for me. The doctor’s solution to this snafu was to increase my intake level as soon as minimum waiting time was met, and just safe enough not to cause toxicity. Even after, I spent summer 2015 crying myself into excessive sleep, and crying myself awake. Another 3-month span. I honestly cannot recall anything else I did that whole period of time.

I didn’t do anything all summer, but I didn’t feel ready for school. Yet I also didn’t feel able to do a job. But I justify (as an M.O.)  my not having a job for now as long as I am concentrating on school. I reconciled with myself to try school part-time, but parents pushed for full-time, and I was trying to turn pretending into being better, so I went with it.

By Fall 2015, I was all too much for everyone, especially me. As a result, I had a breakup with my bestie #2 about a week before my 21st birthday, as well as my longtime mentee, and my “sis-in-law”. I truly didn’t want any celebrations, but my mom had been trying to arrange a surprise party for me. I appreciated the gesture, but because my mom doesn’t know how to plan things, she gave up the surprise and made me plan the party, which I really didn’t want right then. But it was too late, because she’d already told my friends about it. A best friend breakup is just as, if not harder, than a romantic breakup, let me say.

I started skipping some classes and attending but not doing the HW in others. My own fault. One day while I was skipping class, I had the thought that since I felt like I needed to hide issues in order to allow myself to continue living with my family (since I have no job and am financially dependent for shelter and school costs) and couldn’t go see a pro (b/c parents would have to pay, and then be reminded of my issues, a problem that literally is just mine and comes from me), that I’d go to my university’s psych counsel.

My Shakespeare professor was the only one I managed to tell about any of this, while it was going on. She tried really hard to help me. She suggested that I should probably get a note from my doctor to explain the situation, so I could drop her class and re-take it once I was better, without her having to give me an F for super-late withdrawal. She gave me tissues and patted my non-snotty hand. But with the counseling, I was feeling better and motivated and I thought “I’d rather go down swinging than give in, and I’m ready to fight.”

That DID help, but it was too late to save my academics. After that, I felt ashamed because I overestimated myself, and really stupid, so I stopped going to class again. The worst part of it is, all my Shakespeare professor asked of me was that I keep her posted on how I was doing. I was so ashamed, I didn’t even do that. Someone so kind, such a simple request, and I just didn’t. I failed 3/5 classes, and was just shy of the borderline for academic probation.

I did still keep seeing my counselor, though. My counselor was a really cool dude and talking to him DID make me feel better. I decided that the following semester, I’d really just do things part-time, to make sure I do well in all classes, so as not to waste more money and another semester. It’s more important to do something well the first time than to rush through shoddily just to get something done.

However, while the part-time plan was solid for getting myself back into a safe range of academic standing, I had to risk my little recovered sense of security and sanity, in exchange for uncertainty, self-doubt, and academics, because “Counseling services are only provided for full-time students”–Including psychological counseling, unless you’re suicidal.

(Not being sarcastic here): Thankfully, while I’ve had suicidal thoughts and in general contemplated death (IMO it’s foolish and narcissistic not to, at least once in your life, contemplate death) I have never seriously considered acting upon any suicidal thoughts.

I understand that the school has limited time/money/resources, and it’s the system I’m upset at, not my counselor. He was a student himself, he didn’t make the rules. But I think it’s real shitty that only full-time or suicidal students can get psychological counseling.

I also had been continuing to visit the doctor. And I felt somewhat better, until the panic about my classes for Fall 2015 semester. So, upon advice of Shakespeare professor, well before the end of the semester, I set up an appointment with my doctor. She had to cancel on me, due to family reasons. That’s fine, I’m not suicidal, I wasn’t having a life-threatening crisis, and these things happen. But she was booked for another 3 ½ weeks. That was cutting it really close to my timeline. Again, that’s on me for not doing better, and for overestimating myself. I knew the school might not accept a note at that point anyway, but as long as I had one before finals, they would at least know that I wasn’t trying to come up with a retroactive excuse for bad grades on my finals. I’m not a cheat. Honor is in my top 3 values. So, I took a reschedule for 8pm, the night before a 7:15am final. (Again, I decided that even though I was guaranteed to fail, I would fail having put in some effort.) However, the doctor canceled on me AGAIN, this time with the explanation that it was kind of late in the day for an appointment. Which I knew. WHY HAVE SUCH AN OPTION IN THE FIRST PLACE, THEN?

When I finally got to see the doctor, two weeks after the second canceled appointment, my appointment started late because she continued small talk with the previous patient (I know because I was sent in to the exam room, then sat there waiting). When she actually came over to me, she gave me the standard physical, which took about 5 minutes, went through a checklist on her computer with me for 3 minutes, then spent 2 minutes trying to set up a follow-up appointment with me, for the next month. That was it. A whole month trying to see her, for 10 minutes, to result in seeing her the following month. (Being sarcastic here:) What kind of healthCARE is that?!

After that appointment, I lost all faith in my doctor. In between the time I was waiting for and finally got to see the doctor, I entered a romantic relationship. The Big Cheese was lovely and motivating and understanding. He helped me concentrate and make goals, but also helped me re-learn good distractions, like playing and laughing and having hobbies, and to take care of myself as well as others. Also during this time, the increased dosage of my meds was giving me severe, consistent headaches every time I took it. So I decided to quit both my meds and my doctor cold turkey. Amazingly, I didn’t have any medical problems* after that, what do you know!

[*Wordplay. I am still dealing presently with my lack of eyebrows and healthy weight. Also, going cold turkey on meds is usually a BAD IDEA. DO RESEARCH FIRST. Most of the time your body needs you to build up, and go back down, GRADUALLY.]

The Big Cheese officially broke up with me in January, a week before the start of the Spring 2016 semester. After that we had an unofficial relationship that was pretty similar, just with reduced time together. Then that all stopped, seemingly for good so far, since late May. But we ended on understanding, good terms. I consider this to have been my first healthy romantic relationship, so I don’t regret it and hope that he doesn’t either, and that he’ll be ready to be friends again sometime soon.

Even though I miss him tons, at the time of break-up I think I had a reasonable amount of sadness that people experience at the end of a meaningful relationship. But in the meantime, I still had those same wonderful friends I’d made during my initial decline semester, and some new ones in the class I’d just started post-breakup.

My bestie #2 and I reconciled in early June. I think the time apart was actually helpful for both of us. We have better understandings of human psyche, and are carefully re-building our relationship.

So when my Capstone professor says “best years” and it’s my turn for her to stare me down to try and reject my silent refusal to submit to saying a falsehood– she’s not going to win the siege. But when she claims we’ve done our best work so far during our time in college–although she’s referring to growth in writing essays and reading only–I may not entirely disagree.

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Thanksgiving

My friend Suki-chan challenged me to five days where I list the things I am most thankful for. So in no particular order, here they are in a collective list:

  • My family, by blood & friendship
  • music
  • nature
  • books
  • children
  • peanut butter
  • my various concert wingmen
  • animanga
  • the regenerative abilities of the body
  • Hank & John Green
  • the Internet (most of the time, but definitely excluding certain aspects)
  • living in a country where abuse is abhorrent
  • living in financial stability
  • medical and technological advancements
  • inventors and explorers

I Am a Sentimental Sap (10/16/14)

Yesterday was gloriously windy, or was it Tuesday that was so? Whichever day it was, I enjoyed it immensely. Windy weather is my favorite kind of weather, followed by the thunderstorms of Chicago, though I must only enjoy those from indoors. Whenever the weather is windy I think of Alexander Rybak’s “Roll with the Wind” and the Norwegian version, the one I allow myself to sing aloud around others, “Vanda Med Vinden”. It was almost as windy as the one time that it was so windy, I was literally picked up and carried a few feet by the wind. Glorious.

Actually, I think that was on Tuesday. I finished all the homework that was due today, minus watching a short documentary that to be honest wasn’t that important for the class. I got back a midterm and I did quite well on it, though I did not entirely finish it. At lunch I got to hear about amazing WIP stories from two of my friends that sound absolutely fantabulous and I have one from another sent a few weeks ago (I’m terrible, I know, but forgive me because I have no free days in this month until Halloween) and I hope to read them soon.
Once my classes were done for the day I went to the theatre department’s costume sale and I bought a very cute handkerchief/bandana thing. It make me very happy because I had a pink one I was given in elementary school that I was very fond of, but I misplaced it years ago. I still wish I could find it, but something is very comforting about this small scrap of red cloth.

I was invited by a friend to hang out and swim at her apartment along with her and our other friends who could come, and that was lovely. I didn’t go all the way in because I hadn’t brought nor bought a swimsuit but I did stick in my legs. We chatted and shared food and fooled around for several hours.

At the pool today specifically I was hit with the thought while the event was occurring, but also in general a little over a month ago I met some of those new people along with others, whom I now hang out with in a group based on books and other fun and enlightening things.
At the pool and at the mezzanine we discuss endless interesting things and I don’t feel invalidated as a person at all. I feel the stirs of humanity, positive stirs, and they are nice and warm and lovely, just like the people whose company I am privileged to be in. Today’s event was poignantly bittersweet, because I was so purely happy, without underlying ever-present gloom mist, and I haven’t felt this human for so long, I don’t remember having truly let myself be this human for so long, (there may be a few exceptions, but I cannot recall them) that I wasn’t sure if I remembered what it was like, or if I was capable of finding out. It made me want to cry a little, except even when I was regularly human, (aside from the period of time when I was a stuck-up wimp, around elementary school age) I didn’t cry very much. But I had the sentiment, especially today. The scenes are just so normal, and cheerful, and wonderful. Attention and appreciation and today hugs- genuine, and natural. This is the mode of things for normal humans, and it is wonderful to feel something positive again.

Now I just must learn how to take this patched-up wariness and turn it into a sieve; for having reached a breaking point before, I know what my limit is- or rather, hope that was my lowest limit- and know I likely will never get completely rid of my guard (though it is possibly a teeny bit rational to keep one). I just need/want to learn how to keep the wall low, but strong; and make it out of something permeable, flexible, while not porous to all (because I also think that’s the way to prevent myself from that terrible implosion/explosion of before). For ultimately, complete shutout means shutting out goodness as well as the things that tear you apart. By letting myself be permeable, starting from scratch and taking in positive things-so long as they truly are that- then in that way, being more open to emotion and feeling will, through the positive ones, hopefully become the substance of the wall- the liquid protection behind and around; strengthening and fortifying against the things that tear me apart, the positivity of humanity, will hopefully be diminished in power such that they can no longer do that to me.

I think it would be good for me to let humanity in. Since I will only ever be this specific being once, and I can only be sure of this life and what I know of this soul in this body, which is a human body, then for the me that is indisputably here, I think that I should be human. It would be good for me to be human, and the best part is because of these people, I want to be human. I want to be.

Crying & Laughing & Smiling (5/5/15)

Last Thursday, April 30th, is the most recent time (and last time) I can remember laughing, and laughing because I couldn’t help it. I haven’t really since then and I can’t remember the last time I did before that, specifically. Of course I had before, and within the last few months, but honestly I can’t remember.

Anyway, the 30th was the last rehearsal for choir and the director was helping us learn the difference and importance of pronouncing the “z” sound for words like “trees.” Because, as he told us, say you take the line from the famous song/musical “Footloose,” “take me off of my knees.” If you pronounce it with the “s” rather than the “z” sound, what you are singing is… “take me off of my niece”. Thank you for making me laugh, Dr. B.

On May 2nd, I was on a crying jag and sort-of watching Taylor Swift music videos whilst it was happening. I can’t tell if that is helpful or not yet, I’m hoping helpful.

Yesterday I had two more. The first (I think) started while I was listening to the radio whilst driving to school. Whatever the stations were, I sang along to Gavin DeGraw’s “Not Over You”, and I was alright, then Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” came on and while I was listening (didn’t feel like singing anymore) I started crying a little.

Still not sure if her music is triggering a helpful/hurtful process for me (in NO WAY blaming T-Swizzle, I do like her music, truly). I just know I wanted to listen to some of her music yesterday so I put on the album “Fearless” while I was driving to school and then I know for sure from that point ‘til I opened the door to get on the shuttle that was certainly a crying jag.
I didn’t know if I could handle going to class, or did I want to see a friend of mine more, but I did end up going to my first class. And the friend I wanted to see was in the class right after. But when I was in the restroom before the second class I share with my friend, I started crying again a little, but I stopped it somehow and got through the class, although I’m anxious about it because I’m supposed to talk my head off in there (for participation points) but I just couldn’t. Anxiety sucks, yo.

Then my classes were over and I put the CD on again (b/c nothing I felt like listening to on the radio) and I cried all the drive home again. Stopped when I got out and kept my sunglasses on while I let my sister in the house (she forgot her key) so she wouldn’t see. I ached but didn’t cry, made brownies for the choir concert, did the dishes, and went to my room to take a nap before I had to get ready.

Instead I cried again for 40 minutes ‘til I put on Utada Hikaru’s “Simple & Clean” on repeat. Listened to it until finally my brain started to shut off so I could sleep. Except, 10 minutes later my “You should be driving to concert in 10 further minutes” alarm went off. So no sleep. And I was late to the dress rehearsal and my skirt and my shoes didn’t fit and I had to stuff paper towels in the shoes, which then pinched me the whole night. But my shoes would’ve fallen off otherwise.

I was cranky toward my mother because of it. And probably going to drive either just frustrated or crying or both maybe, I dunno, except my dad ran out w/o having put his shoes on first because he wanted to carpool to the concert with me, ‘cause he wanted to see it. So I was slightly anxious because I couldn’t drive as fast as I usually do (which isn’t too horrible I think, max 5 over limit, but then again, y’know, anything over IS over) and so I thought I’d be even more late. But it was very nice of him to come, and although I couldn’t spot him in the audience, I did feel glad he was there by the middle of the concert.

However, our director just makes me smile. I don’t know how, but I’m so glad for it. And once we switched to the other choirs singing, I started to feel better. Some of their songs pained me because I have heartache and of course the general depression, but they were all beautiful. And most of the songs were upbeat with entertaining acting so I did feel enjoyment.

After the concert I met my friend’s mother and brother, and a classmate of mine recognized me and tried to talk to me, but underneath everything I’m sad, and also as a general fact I don’t know how to talk to people. He’s very nice and I was startled, but pleasantly so ‘cause he seemed very pleased for whatever reason, probably because he was able to recognize me, it seemed. I think he’s just a very nice sociable person by nature, but now since I’m anxious and afraid of my own judgement, I’m not going to presume he is. But if you ask my other friends probably they might have that opinion. I’m not usually aware of my facial expressions (because I tend to lack any) but I did appreciate that, so thank you classmate whose name I should but cannot remember.

Between dress rehearsal and the start of the concert  I sent a text apologizing to my mother. And she saved and heated up some chicken and homemade potato fries for me for when I got home. I really have wonderful parents and I love them very much. They are too nice for me I think sometimes, I don’t deserve such nice family and friends but I am so so glad I have them.

Post-dinner, I went on Facebook and scrolled past an article whose title was “What’s the nicest thing a stranger’s ever done for you?” and you know, for once it made me remember something without thinking too hard and it WAS very nice. Last year I went to a book sale at the library without my phone, and I parked across the street and apparently my headlights were on, for several hours (because it’s a book sale, dang nabbit!) so the car battery died. The lady whose house I was in front of told me she noticed it earlier but didn’t know who the driver was or where they had gone, so she was waiting until the time of her party anyway, she waited for the driver (me) to come back. And then she had her sons restart my car and all I had was my thanks but they all said that that was more than enough and it was and still is just a reminder I needed that humans can be kind and I need to be less afraid of them, and of becoming one.

So today I’ve been really sad, and frustrated, but the concert itself and post-concert socializing and remembrance of kind strangers has, for now at least, calmed me a little and I hope my mind blanks out earlier tonight. It’d be such a relief, as it’s been rare for the last month or so, and I’d be very grateful and due to its rarity, would feel like the most blessed top to redeem the day a bit. Although considering the day altogether, I should be content with what I had, so that’s all right.
Sov gott to all!
<3, N

Thoughts from 4/27/14

Today I got a new cell phone! My old one hadn’t been working for more than a week. But then, right in the middle of looking for new phones online, suddenly the old one started working again! I’m a little annoyed because it’s too late and now I have the new phone, but even though the old one was very temperamental, it’s still nicer overall than this new phone. And I’m stuck with this new phone for the next 2 years…>>sigh<<

But also, exactly a month ago, I was in Vancouver, taking a tour of the city in the day and spending the night at the Rio Theatre for a concert of Matt Webb, Fake Shark Real Zombie, Jessica Lee, and Halfway to Hollywood! It was an ultimate day of fun!
I remember my trip in such detail that it doesn’t seem like very long ago,especially because I’ve been longing to go back to Vancouver ever since I left. In fact, even more so than Hawaii, I felt so perfectly at home right from the get-go, it was almost excruciating on a soulmate level to leave. In fact I might put Canada as my #1 settling place, except I do want to at least travel to Italy and England first just to make sure of my preference order, but it’s likely Canada will stay at the top.

In addition, yesterday I was feeling really lonely, even after a short time where I got to socialize with a camp friend and see my sister and her classmates all fancied up for prom. So I’d asked a friend to come over when I got back from taking pics for my sister. But he fell asleep, and later said he kinda felt like being alone that evening. I can respect that at any time, but also especially in his case given certain circumstances, but it did make me feel lonelier than ever.

Thus I instead convinced my parents to (somewhat reluctantly) consent to let me go see the new Captain America movie by myself last night. I understand their concern as legitimate since the theater was a bit far from our house and the movie wouldn’t end until midnight, so it was nice of them to allow me to go. It was interesting because apparently that theater is being remodeled, but staying half open for business during this time— literally, half of it was blocked off behind plastic covering and caution tape, and five screens were running. You had to pay for tickets at the food register. Another interesting thing is that there were quite a few other people seeing the movie with me, and they had rather young children. I wonder how they managed to stay awake!

And I’m not sure about this because I can never tell what my own facial expressions are—as I usually cannot feel them on my face, even physical movements— but I guess I looked either shy, sad, or both, because Louie (or it may have been Louis), the clerk that evening, was smiling at me, in an oddly encouraging manner. Or perhaps it was just amusement? I could imagine that being the case, because if I were in that position I might wonder “Why would this girl come by herself and see a movie this late?” Or be amused because I was asking for a ticket to see Captain America but I happened to be wearing my UK flag sweater.
It may be because of how desperately lonely I’d been feeling but he seemed especially nice. Putting whatever bias my loneliness might contribute, as well as whatever Louie’s intentions were (unless he was just being his natural self, only he would know), he did have a pretty cute smile.

I went off on a tangent a little though. The last time I was experiencing this kind of loneliness, it wasn’t quite as intense, but I still wanted to go do something, so I decided to go roller skating at the rink in town. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that recently in that neighborhood they’d had to set up a DUI checkpoint on the way, every weekend, and since I’d already left an hour later than the session start, another 45 minutes of EXTREMELY slow going gave me only about an hour left of time to skate. So I was going to go in, ask about the DUI thing (because I didn’t know about the above details while I was experiencing the traffic), and then turn around and go home because it wouldn’t be worth it at that point to go skating.
I rang the buzzer and the clerk there came and told me the above stuff, because I told him I hadn’t been to the rink in a while and I’d never driven there myself so I didn’t think about that when I decided to come skate, and I was gonna leave but then he asked if I still wanted to skate. And I said yes, but I should probably come back next weekend. But he offered to let me in to skate for free, and I asked “Well that’s very nice, but you don’t have to, you’d lose some business” but he was adamant about it, and so I insisted I’d pay for skate rental at least. But according to the clerk unless you’re going to use in-lines (which I don’t have the capability to control on a rink), the skate rental is included in admission.

Thus I was led inside and given skates and it was really very very nice of that clerk. I had a nice time skating although I did fall twice, which means I must be terribly rusty. Ah, but I do wonder, I mean— I do attribute it in that I think of course these people are just nice-natured in the first place, but I also wonder—do my moods show up on my face? Did I look super downtrodden or something? Because I never think I have expressions other than indifference on, even when I don’t mean to. But in both instances I perceived these unrelated people being quite nice to me (or maybe that was my desperate mood analysis) and was genuinely surprised, and even now very appreciative, but also thinking that maybe I’m somehow being pitied? Yet I’m such a shameful person that I somewhat don’t mind in this reflection because their kindnesses were a helpful distraction. I don’t really know. But sometimes strangers, even (and maybe especially) those whom you’ll likely only encounter the one time, can be supremely nice people.

Brain Radio

Usually people are concerned when they start hearing voices in their heads. Not me! The beautiful voices…I know I’ve said it before, but I’d seriously marry voices if it was possible. Thank you, BrainRadio! ^.^