Monday, July 22, 2019

Focus on my Mental Health - pt. 21 - Routines

     My week typically goes something like this...

Sunday: Have breakfast, read the paper, catch up on television shows, spend some time outside either walking or gardening, watch more TV, scroll the internet, have a big dinner, and overall just waste a lot of time.

Monday:  Realize I haven't gotten anything new done for my websites and get a bunch of painting done in order to update my Facebook sites, shop site and blogs.

Tuesday:  Clean the house because we're going to have company over that evening to play D&D.  Now that we have a big ol' table (read the previous post if you'd like more details) and since almost everyone lives on this side of town and our FLGS (friendly local gaming store) decided to up and close on us, except for on rare occasions, games are held here.  So, floors swept, kitchen and bathrooms cleaned, etc etc.  Prepare for a game if I am running it that way (which, thankfully I am not currently.)

Wednesday:  Realize I did nothing but clean house all day and return to painting and try to get as much done as possible so that I can schedule posts and can forget about Facebook for the rest of the week.

Thursday: Get burned out and start feeling lethargic and annoyed that no one has bought anything from my shop, no one is responding to my posts anymore and scroll endlessly on Facebook and Reddit.  Maybe do some other household cleaning, make dinner, grocery shop, or anything else that keeps my mind off of feeling like a jobless loser.

Friday:  Most likely I have a D&D game this night or Saturday that I have to prepare for.  Put off planning on it until the day it's due and a few hours before.  Think about it a LOT.  Throw stuff together last minute and attempt to finish painting figures for it and then get overwhelmed and give up and start typing fiercely to get it done in time for dinner and the game.

Saturday: If the game was last night, I feel burned out and just want to relax all day.  If the game is tonight, I realize I wasted all day yesterday by not getting prepared and then have to clean the house again, and don't get the game prepped until a few hours before.  Realize that I've run out of time and should have spent more time on it as when the game actually occurs it's not as engaging as I hoped it would be and disappointed in myself.


     At least, for the last few months, that's how it's been going unless we're gone somewhere for the weekend or someone else is gone and we cancel or postpone games for another time.  I personally think I'm getting a bit burned out with playing so I'm looking forward to having a good week or two to refresh with all of my other plans here in August.  I LIKE playing and have guests over, don't get me wrong, but for YEARS (literally) I never had anyone over except for the occasional family member so now that it happens twice weekly (or heck, last week three times) I feel like my life is swallowed up by this routine that I've been keeping.  And I start to wonder if I'm prepared enough for this craft show that's coming up.
      On the plus side, I know I have well over 60 items - probably onwards of 100 now - and I'll have even more by the time two weeks is up.  But I've also sold a total of 5 things the entire time I've been working this website since April/May and that's sorta depressing. other news I still haven't heard anything about the job.  My husband went in for an interview for a new job, received the offer, worried about it for three days, talked to everyone he knew and they were all split on whether he should take it or not, then he freaked himself out more by reading about jobs similar to it online, and I kept feeling like a terrible wife because I couldn't tell him that he should take it or not.  He's his own person is how I feel, and yes, he's taking care of me at present, but would less then a $100 a paycheck be worth the extra work that he was likely to take on?  I think once I finally broke down the math with him and told him straight out that if he was going to take the job that he shouldn't be having this mental anguish...he turned it down.
     It's not like he doesn't have a job like me.  I think at this point if I were offered any job I'd take it just to get my butt out of the house and learn something new.  Even if it didn't work out and I hated it, I'd have something new to talk about and possibly start looking all over again.  But, alas, no word after that interview and even though I tell myself it's probably a good thing I don't have the stress to worry about while I'm prepping for everything that's coming up in two weeks... I'm also going through the full anxiety string in my head every thing I paint and every time I stop and think about it.

Things I'm anxious about:

  • I won't receive a call which means I wasn't good enough, or didn't ask the right questions or they thought I was too stupid or they don't want me because I didn't have references or anything along those lines.
  • I WILL receive the call and they'll want me to start right away and I'll be so stressed out over having to deal with my craft show and my new job that it'll send me into hysterics.
  • I'll get the job and everyone will hate me and I'll be as miserable as I was at my previous job.
  • I'll go to the craft show and no one will come by and no one will buy anything and now I have hundreds of items that I've spent all this work on and they'll end up just becoming Christmas presents for people because I'll never sell any of it.
  • My husband will lose his job and then beat himself up over not taking this other job he's been offered because his company starts having major layoffs or the CEO decides to retire which sends the whole thing into a tailspin.
  • Another recession will kick in because of Trump and everything will just be terrible because we'll both be without jobs and struggling to make ends meet and we'll never be able to take the cats to the vet or pay off our cars or our house and....well, you take it from there.
     There's a whole lot more where that came from, but I'm sure you get the gist.  Sometimes I just write it down to get it out of my head.  Does it work?  When I'm in the process of doing it, yes.  A few days later when I start to panic that I've completely overwhelmed myself with all of these projects and won't sell a single one... yeah, so it'll come back and I'll freak out again and again.

Plans I have for the near future:

  • Get through the two D&D games for the week and try not to be anxious that everyone hates me.  (my character in one game had an in-game argument with another and it actually started to terrify me even after I realized that I was NOT my character, and this was all role was still kinda odd since I've never played into a game enough to have a discussion like this.)  Also, I keep having these worries that my friends only like me for the game and even though we hang out otherwise, I have crippling anxiety when someone cancels plans with me and I start to want to withdraw from everything.
  • Work like a beast to get as much stock done as possible because if I can do that maybe I can sell quite a few things because I'll have enough variety for everyone.
  • Try not to fret about not getting a call back after my interview because they're all ill-organized and I'm sure I'd hear from my friend if she thought something wasn't going well.
  • Also just concentrate on getting into August and getting through the long weekend and out the other side - hopefully make or break this craft thing I've been trying to hard at.
  • If I don't hear from a job by that point, start applying to all the places AGAIN, and see what happens.
  • Maybe convince my husband we need to take a short vacation before I begin the job because I think I just need to get out of this house soon before my brain explodes.
     So...that about wraps up quite a bit of what's been going on in my head lately.  I just like to please people and by putting myself out there I want to get results and when I don't it really throws my anxiety into high gear.  I know I've always suffered from these issues, but only more recently have I really paid closer attention to what triggers it.  I know my friends cancelling the meetup yesterday wasn't because they didn't want to be with me (I didn't even invite them, so why did I take it personally?!) but then I felt attacked because I read everything very curtly from those who responded the next day.  And I'm sure I was reading into it that way because I felt sad.
     I need to get out of the routine of feeling bad about myself.  But sometimes you need a little pick me up, you know?  And who better to give you that then your friends?  And I feel bad because I feel like I'm not really close friends with any of them, and I shouldn't be bothered by that but I am and I guess I just really miss having a close friend that's not my husband... I know I've talked about this before but I come back to it often enough in my thoughts.  Maybe it's because of how it always happens slowly and I try to do my best to keep in touch but the next thing I know they've all but stopped talking to me until I just give up...  I don't want to give up this set of friends, it's taken years to get this far.  Oi vey.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Focus on My Mental Health - pt. 20 - Cleavage & The Table

      Haven't written in here for a week and had really hoped to have had an update on the job situation by now.  I don't.  The only vague news that I received was that they were still doing interviews this week (over a week later) and that I might hear by Friday or by the beginning of next week.
     I keep having these anxiety moments though.  A moment of complete and utter panic when thinking about having to start a new job and all of the ins and outs of starting in a new place and what will the people think of me and what if I can't cut it and get fired?  But then I try to remind myself that I haven't even received a single email to say they're still thinking and the anxiety of dealing with that has gone down a wee bit but it's still there and poking at me from time to time.
      This past weekend we went out to a convention for a few days to do some gaming.  The first day was just fine, the second we found out how irresponsible the guy who was running our D&D games was with time management.  I was stuck in costume for over an hour past what I'd hoped and starving since I hadn't eaten dinner, and it was one of these moments that I made the decision to just get up and go to the hotel room.
     What I had already taken into account (and certainly made me uncomfortable even at the age of 40) was the fact my costume had a very vaa-vaa-voom boost to my bust and after being gawked at by a few middle-age men during the convention, I also got honked at while heading to the hotel and gawked at in the hotel waiting for the elevator and that sent me in full-on panic mode as not only was I waiting to enter an elevator with ONE guy, I had a box full of money and very little clothing on (well, sorta - I never dressed with cleavage at ALL until just recently - so I became really self-conscious of the fact all of a sudden) and with that I turned tail and climbed up to the SEVENTH floor in a leather corset of sorts.
     Believe me, I couldn't breathe and I was heaving and thought I'd die by the time I threw open the hotel room and started stripping it off as fast as I could.  All the while storming around with my hangry mood and upset that I was all alone and have never really dealt with being gawked at.  I just never dress like that and I thought now that I was older it might be okay.
     My husband mentioned last night that he knew things were different for my reactions to things because he was absolutely certain when he'd finally made it back to the room (an hour and a half later than we were supposed to be) that I'd be sitting there in my pjs refusing to go back.  I was this close to messaging him, but just hadn't quite gotten to that point and I was starting to feel a bit better after eating a slice of disgustingly cold pizza (the microwave was missing of course).  So I'd calmed down a bit.  But in the past I'm not even sure if pizza would have done it.  My mind cleared up a bit and once I had on a t-shirt and jeans we went back.
     Then the one guy we sat down next to had an anxiety attack and left with his friend - I could literally feel the young man tense up when we sat down (for whatever reason he wasn't sitting next to his friend) so the two headed out.  We never finished the game though because the guy running was of course, the same one who had no time management skills and oh well.

     So, skip forward to what... Thursday?  Yeah, so here we are, I've been making a bit of money by doing commission work for painting miniatures and attempting to look for more business that way.  But also working on my craft table stuff hoping in a couple weeks to be able to sell a good chunk of it and at least feel like I'm contributing to the family again.
      Last night my husband got an email from the job he'd applied for a few month's ago and hadn't heard anything from.  They'd contacted him again asking if he was still interested.  So now today he accepted the offer to come in and talk again so the interview is set some time tomorrow afternoon.
     I sit here beating myself up over not going into I.T. because I probably would have found a job by now.  Why was I so stupid to go into retail???  WHY?!  Because...again...I'm female and that's what was expected of me...get an easy job that I'd quit when I became pregnant and then have my husband take care of me....wut?


     And in the middle of this today a FedEx truck with music blaring backed into the driveway with our "TABLE OF ULTIMATE GAMING".

     You have to say it in all caps, you know.

     My husband had ordered this because of course we wanted a bigger table for our D&D games but honestly I had told him when he ordered it on a whim that it was going to be TOO big.  I showed him with the measuring tape.
     He wanted to put it together today, so we moved the kitchen table downstairs thinking we'd put it in the kitchen but he just didn't see how HUGE the flippin' thing was until it had all four legs (but thankfully not the topper yet) and I think at that moment he realized, yah, it fit, but you'd never be able to get around it.
     Take the legs back off, move it to the basement, move the kitchen table back... and since then he's been down there working on it.

     I was just stressing out trying not to cry.

     My mother told me once that she and my dad had bought this big living room furniture and when they finally got it into the living room she cried because it was just so big.  I didn't get it myself because it was comfortable and we had that furniture for quite a few years.  But it was a lot bigger than the stuff she had and the stuff she has now (although I think we all regret allowing her to get it replaced because that's money she'll never get back).
     But now we'll have to get more chairs for the basement and we'll have to clean up down there (which I've been wanting to do for awhile anyway since he keeps moving his stuff down there and it's a wreck most of the time).  But the table fits down there a whole lot better then in the kitchen and I'm waiting to see what it looks like completed.  I'm also looking forward to surprising the heck out of people who come over in the next few days with it.

     But I felt like utter garbage this afternoon because I kept saying it was too big and I was just so upset when he didn't see how big it was until it was eating up the entire dining room with no room for chairs or people.

     And I still feel kinda useless because I still don't have a job and I'm trying to be confident in myself but it's awfully hard.  I think if I could sell something - gain a following...something...

A brief moment today on a walk I felt happy.  I hadn't felt that way in quite awhile and it passed quickly...but maybe it will come back someday again soon?

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Focus on My Mental Health - pt. 19 - The Next Interview

     Actually all of this happened yesterday so I'm a bit behind on my keeping this updated.  But then again, things have been kind of a rollercoaster this week and it's not going to slow down for the next week or so I fear.  So, given that, I thought I'd sit down and ponder how my mental state is doing currently and what I'm hoping will happen during the rest of July.

     Firstly, I finally had another phone interview and I thought it went fairly well.  Because of the holiday (4th) happening the next week I was told not to expect any news right away and it was okay with me because I had a lot of things going.  I had some D&D campaigns to play in and run, had some 4th of July plans, although no company, which was a mixed blessing as it was nice and relaxing but also felt 'off' somehow since we were by ourselves for the first time in awhile with no parties, cook-outs or family visitors.
     Then the 4th came and went and very soon after I found out that they were going to be bringing me in for an in-person interview the following week, so I was pretty excited about it.  At least until anxiety brain kicked in off and on and I couldn't sleep that first day (it got better once it was scheduled and in place for nearly a week later).  Anxiety brain would pop up from time to time but I'd remind myself that there was no use worrying about it when I had so many other things that needed to be worked on.
     So a cookout the Saturday after the 4th, followed by a D&D game where my players literally did the thing I thought they would: abandoned the city to destruction by an unknown force that was most likely their own doing (or rather, by ignoring it, will ultimately cause it's destruction).  They simply said, "eh, not a dragon, not our problem, we're out!"  So, just as I had expected, I created their exit story and over a week later they're in a cool new city they're ready to explore next week.  I'm really looking forward to writing more of that story because I have some ideas for it - and also all of the things that will be happening elsewhere in the world as they're completely ignoring the things that are going on in the world to pursue their own selfish desires.  HA!
     Skip forward to the next day which began my trip to Michigan to visit my mother for a few days.  It got cut a bit short because of the interview on Wednesday scheduled.  Mostly because of my anxiety over interviews and traveling when there's something scheduled.  I keep thinking "what if my car breaks down on the way home?  If I leave too late I'll never get any sleep for the interview!"  And you know, all of the other things.  Plus, being home really stresses me out anyway because my Mom has no money for upkeep of the house so it's just slowly degrading year after year.  I do a few things like keep branches off the roof, leaves out of the gutters and try to drag some garbage from the basement...
     See, my mom won't admit to being a hoarder, but she's really super borderline.  And I understand she doesn't have a lot of money but being frugal and being a hoarder really are two separate things.  She's not frugal.  She buys things for decorations and then the old d├ęcor just gets thrown in a spare room, closet or basement and then stays there.  For example, I found an old bathroom curtain and rod - both had been completely replaced some two or three years ago - sitting in the basement.  The curtain was old and plastic and could never be used again, and yet, there it sat in a corner.
     Boxes were growing black mold from the multiple floods down there, and they remained untouched.  When I'd go to throw something out she'd ask, "Could that be sold?  What about donated?"  It's covered in, no.  Four garbage bags this trip before my sinuses (I'm fairly certain the dust and mold will eventually give me asthma) couldn't take it and I gave up.  She'll take them out to the road but I have yet to actually see any changes in the basement between trips to her house.  Six months will go by, I'll ask her just to take ONE bag with ONE pile... and instead it just grows worse and worse.
     And she wonders why I don't want to visit.  The house itself upstairs would fool someone as she keeps it relatively clean.  But you can see the paint peeling on the ceilings, the carpets are starting to wear down, there are bowing portions and missing shingles on the roof that I try to repair but I know at least one spot is too far gone... and I have no idea how long that house is going to remain livable.
     So usually when I'm there I want to just leave the house and go places, and that's usually what we do.  But I'm without a job (hopefully not too much longer!  I'm getting to it!) and she's in so much debt now that her credit card bounced a few times while we were out... so then I feel doubly bad that I can't help my mom out with this money problem.  But she's done it to herself and when she gets really upset she lashes out and blames my brother and myself.  First off, I paid rent once I got out of college (which she made me finish, so okay, there's that, but I had to work my way through it) and my brother didn't work and then had a bunch of student debt so she didn't really ask him to pay for much - although I guess he paid for some things while he was still at home.
     But she really never stressed how bad off we were.  I tried to quit college to work more and I tried to get her to work, but she had one episode and quit her job and it was years before she went back to working.  And mostly I just tried my best to just find a way to get out.  It wasn't exactly for selfish reasons either, it was because I thought if I wasn't contributing to the problem, things would get better and maybe my brother would start contributing more (boy was I wrong).  But, I digress, this wasn't really about me getting away, but it is about why it's so uncomfortable being at my old home any more.
     A year or so before I completed college I'd actually had the basement cleaned up.  We'd started to hold gaming meetings in the basement of my mom's house because we had large tables built (initially for a huge train set my father had put together for us and we stripped apart for table-top gaming) so we had to have a clean space.  So, around 2001 or so we had it organized, cleaned up, and ready for company.  Even after that my brother helped her clean out the garage so she could hold garage sales.  (She has never had one to my knowledge)  So between those two things, when I'm at her house I just remember how clean everything was and how all she had to do was leave it clean...

     I came home on Tuesday.  She tried to keep me longer but I headed out around 10am and got home four or five hours later after making a couple stops for lunch and driving breaks.  It was really good to get back home to stop worrying about my old house and my mother and her debt, and start back to worrying about my interview.

     Having gone shopping while I was up at my old home (again, remember not spending a lot of time AT the house) I had my clothes picked out and then proceeded to worry and clean the house while I was worrying about everything.
     But Wednesday came and I got to the interview on time - early even - the interviewer was actually late getting back from lunch which made me start to doubt myself a bit (I've been completely forgotten about for interviews in the past as I blended in...?  I don't know) but eventually we got started and the next couple hours flew by pretty quickly and only as I was walking back to my car did I realize that I'd missed a bunch of opportunities and hoped no one would think less of me for not asking certain questions...
     Anxiety brain, remember?
     But I got a whole lot of stuff done yesterday after the interview - working on the garden, watering outside, doing some cleaning, washing the bed sheets...  When anxiety brain kicks in, I find a bunch of stuff to try to keep it occupied.
     Haven't heard anything today, rather hoped I would but knew that they were doing more interviews so I remain patient since it didn't feel like I'd done anything super wrong at the job.  I thought I had a pleasant voice during the phone portion and could follow their software without much issue, so that's always a plus.  I just hope that I wasn't too unprofessional because I just don't know what people are looking for nowadays.

     So, now I wait.  And I anxiety it out and I cleaned the house (again) and I did more painting and I got all of my facebook page posts scheduled for the weekend and I'm just about to start getting ready for my weekend plans and I'm trying to just relax.  If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen... and I've got so much stuff going in July and the beginning of August I'll almost be relieved to not hear anything for a little we'll see I guess!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Focus on My Mental Health - pt. 18 - The Best Friend Equation

     Even after some forty years and a few days on this earth, I realize that there are some things that never change about me.  Maybe the way I handle them changes, but the basic, deep down issues that affected me thirty years ago, bothered me twenty, ten, and even now.  I think we all have problems that we must handle at some times in our lives over and over again, and sometimes we don't know even know they're popping up again until you can do that 20/20 look back thing and realize, "oh crap, it was THAT again".
     Today on my long ride home from the dentist (thank goodness my husband could put me on some of his insurance even though neither of us wanted him to put me on his normal healthcare, I will survive) I started thinking about the people that I talk to and the friends that I've had over the years.  
     I might be wrong, but I'm fairly certain that most humans have a need for close human relationships, and even if we get very overwhelmed by some of them (like those of us who are introverts and need to refill our emotional bank accounts from time to time) we still need that human interaction.  In order to get that interaction we look for people who are typically like us enough that they don't drain us mentally (or physically) and we can stand to be around for more than a few minutes at a time.
     Children, when they are introverted like I was, tend to be seen as "shy" around other children.  Over the years I've realized that I was never shy, I actually craved to be around people.  But I wanted to be around different people.  These friends this day, this friend this day, this group the next, and I could handle it and I fed off of that need.  But just like an extrovert, if I had too many days by myself I would spiral into depression and self-pity and misery.  The only reason I knew that I was more introverted though (as my mom would tell everyone "she never used to be this shy") I was just as likely to sit and read a book by myself in school and I could deal with being completely alone and not reaching out to anyone.  I never got bored of activities by myself, so long as I got over the hump of depression that came from having plans cancelled on me.
     So, as children, we start looking for those people who we can depend on being around on a regular basis.  We find a neighbor we can knock on a door, or see out in their backyards.  We find school friends who will always be in the class the next day and maybe they'll come to your birthday party.  We start looking for the "best friend" because those are the people you can come to depend on being there when you most need them to get over that introverted streak, and they're also those people who will sit there reading in the quiet when you need that as well.  (Unless you're outgoing and you have a different set of criteria, but you're still looking for someone who fills your check boxes.)

     When we get older, obviously our lives get in the way, but we all look for that one person (or people) who is there for you all the time, you can call your "best friend" and in the teenage years it's most likely a boyfriend/girlfriend/partner, whatever you want out of your life, they're there to fill it.  Sometimes you marry, sometimes you live together, sometimes you only talk to them online, whatever it might be, you need that emotional connection to a single person (or perhaps a few if you're really lucky) to just feel whole.

     Here's where things get tricky, and this is where the title comes in "the best friend equation" is that even after we find a lot of friends, we still think about one over everyone else.  And that person we call our "best friend" and it's usually the person you're married to, living with, etc etc.  But I think once you've been comfortable in that relationship for a long time your brain might still want another connection with someone else.  Someone you can talk to about all of the things you do with that person in your life.  After all, your husband/wife/partner/etc knows everything about you already.  They're always there experiencing the same things you do, so you don't need to tell them about what you did earlier that day while driving home.
     There's a weirdness to it, and this is why I'm bringing up the fact that even though I am happily married and I feel like my husband is indeed my best friend, I also sorta want a best friend who is a female in my life.  Someone I can talk to about girly things that might make my husband a bit uncomfortable.  Or maybe we don't need to talk about those things but sometimes I just want to share little quirks about my husband without sounding like I'm nagging about him, and for that I'd like someone (besides my mom, because that's even kind of embarrassing for me at times) to be that "best friend" as well.
     I've been this way for over thirty years, maybe longer (I'm not sure when I picked my first best friend, maybe when I was five?) and I doubt it will ever completely fade because I recognize this need and urge to have someone important in my life.

     The friends I have in my life though, even though they are all terrific and I love them all dearly, all have "best friends" of their own.  But I do feel like sometimes even they want me to be their best friend only, even as they call someone else their best friend.  I don't mind, and that's something I've had to realize about myself is that you can be friends with someone without being their only friend, and accept that they aren't telling you about their deepest, darkest secrets because someone else is getting to hear all of that - and it's OKAY.

     It's OKAY to not be someone's best friend.

     It's NOT OKAY for you to expect to be someone's best friend when you yourself consider someone else your best friend.  But it's a damn well hard thing to accomplish because you become super possessive of these friends because you love them and you want what's best for them.  And maybe you believe that YOU are what's best for them, and it's really hard to just let it go.

     And that's where the best friend equation fits in.  You most certainly can be a best friend to someone else but also not be their best friend.  You can be a really great friend to a bunch of people but when they go home at night they're not thinking about you.  You might be thinking about them non-stop (like most of us anxious types are... I still think about almost every person who called me a best friend, it's like a non-stop wheel of - what did I do wrong, why aren't we friends anymore???) but they don't have to be thinking about you.  Maybe they do, maybe they send you a message or text, maybe they send you a meme online, but the rest of the time they're busy thinking about other people.

     I thought about these things on the way home today because I have a couple of friends who were both trying to get me to work with them, and I'd love to work with either (I loved it even more when I got to work with both of them!  But we can't have everything all the time.)  And I thought about how I felt like I was betraying one by applying to one job, and then betraying the other when I didn't get that job and applied at the other one.  They both have their own sets of best friends so I've never gotten super duper close to either, but the thought crept into my head - would they feel betrayed, or sad because I worked with one and not the other?  Would they feel like I was less of a friend to them then to the other?  
     I don't know.  And then it occurred to me that this is the weirdest thing to be thinking about at forty years old.  By this age we all should be secure in our friendships enough to handle it, so why was I bothered by something that a ten year old would be obsessed over?

     Because we don't change.  We always want close relationships.

     And that's what I'm dealing with today as I cross my fingers I can get a job somewhere with someone before my birth control pills run out and I need health insurance again.

     I think I still have a long way to grow still.