Boredom

Today’s weight: 90.4kg

I ruined my streak with ice cream. Pretty disappointed with myself. I was feeling depressed yesterday after I finished my blog entry and was faced with boredom and the stress of continuing my library studies. I felt like everything in the world was too hard, including my diet. I felt that me failing my diet was inevitable, so I went to a store near my work and loaded up with ice cream and chocolate. I didn’t eat everything I bought though, which is reflected in the fact that I at least did lose a little bit of weight.

For the rest of this week I am working from home in the hopes that I can stay holed up in my house for the next few days and avoid buying ice cream. I’ve just rescheduled my appointment with my lap band surgeon which was originally for tomorrow, so hopefully I will find no reason to leave my house. I still need to buy Easter presents for my parents for Sunday, so I will try venturing out first thing Saturday morning and just hope it won’t be hellishly busy.

I slept a lot yesterday. As in, I went to bed sometime around 3pm, set my alarm for 7pm to take my drugs, then went back to sleep. I woke up this morning after 7am. This is a result of tiredness and boredom. The tiredness is like a constant companion. I feel like my sleep quota is huge and I never meet it during the week, which usually leaves weekends for me to top it up by sleeping until a ridiculous hour.

The boredom is a whole issue of its own. Honestly, the only times that I am not bored are when I am eating and when I am writing my daily blog entry. Once the entry is done, restlessness sets in. I try to occupy myself with small things like checking the credit card and budget and doing work, but the boredom seems to be as inevitable as me failing my diet.

I feel like the morning is the best part of my day. I get up early (most days), weigh myself (which is always a positive thing when I’m dieting well), shower (most days), take my morning drugs with my breakfast shake (which feels like a positive thing to me since I know that the morning drugs benefit me), drive myself to work (most days), and write my daily blog entry. I drink lots of water, I happily consider my future, I write out thoughts as they pass through my brain. I feel positive when my day starts.

After the blog entry, I am faced with reality. The reality of my job which results in boredom due to the nature of the work I do. The reality of my weight and my struggle to diet. The reality of my inability to focus on anything for any period of time. Reality sobers my optimism. Boredom sets in. The day is ruined and all I can do is look forward to the next morning when I will feel good again.

If I am assigning blame to anything, I do so to my job. It started off interesting and challenging when I began six months ago, but now it just bores me. I have thirty odd service desk tickets assigned to me, a few sitting on “Waiting for an external third party,” a few more sitting on “Feedback requested” and the rest awaiting my assessment. None of them have any urgency however, so I work through them at a slow pace while I do non-work related things like check Facebook and pin things on Pinterest. It just doesn’t occupy me enough.

I don’t remember boredom in my old library job (although I am well aware that I may have a selective memory about this). There were desk shifts, which would keep me occupied for about two hours at a time. Then there was work to do in the side room, scanning documents and fetching books and doing some minor cataloguing. There were also meetings for me to attend: regular meetings for the Enquiry and Lending Services team (which I was part of), the Library Emerging Technologies group I volunteered for, the Podcasting Group I volunteered for, and the Staff Development Committee which I also volunteered for. I really enjoyed being part of all these groups.

I was told off once for not doing enough work. I got into the bad habit of having my MSN Messenger (which I used back then, but not now) signed in and had many conversations going throughout the day. I don’t remember what else I did, but I know that I got relaxed with doing non-work related things at work. This was an issue around the time that I left the job. I’d like to think that I wouldn’t have this problem now. But who knows? I guess I will never be certain until I am in a library role again.

So ideally, I’d be looking for a library role capable of keeping me busy throughout the work day. If I don’t have the opportunity during the day to write my blog entry, check Facebook and pin things on Pinterest, maybe I would do those things in the evening instead and thus be busy and productive until the end of the day. I can’t remember which job it was, but there was one recently which kept me occupied and I remember looking forward to the end of the day. That’s what I want in a job: something that will make me look forward to work being over, although not in a bad way like, “OMG this job sucks” or anything.

Continuing on with the ideal, arriving home should be a positive thing. The chance to relax from a long day, filled with interesting things to do like browse the Internet, read a story, do the laundry and dishes. It should be my opportunity to do non-work related things, rather than arriving home from a day of doing just that and being faced with more of it.

I think that my healthy routine relies a little too heavily on my job. If my job bores me, so does everything else. I guess it’s like work prepares my brain for the day, and if boredom sets in early, it’s hard to shake off with anything productive. I’m not capable of focusing on anything productive when I get home or when I am at work really. It’s really difficult.

I can’t tell if this is a symptom of depression. It certainly felt depressing yesterday, making me feel like everything was too hard and there was no brightness in my future. The emotional pang felt unbearable and that the only thing that would help it would be ice cream, one of the two things that relieve my boredom.

I want to be productive and happy. Why is that so hard?

I feel so positive when I write these blog entries, it sucks that it doesn’t follow me after these entries are posted. When I’m writing for my blog, I’m looking toward the future mostly and looking forward to certain things like reaching my goal weight and getting a library job. Then comes reality: the suffering of addiction to get through in order to lose weight and the hopelessness of actually obtaining a library job that I can afford.

Okay, I put off finishing this post because I didn’t want to become unproductive, but I think that’s happened anyway. Stuff happened, I have a job interview next week and I’m looking at doing postgraduate library studies. No idea what will happen with anything at this stage. So I’m just going to end this post here. Bye!

Libraries

Today’s weight: 90.5kg

Hooray for weight loss! I did pretty well yesterday. No ice cream or candy of any kind. Unless you count peanut butter. I heard that peanuts are the candy of nuts. Plus I had a little bit of cheese. But otherwise I did really well! I finished my whole one litre water bottle, drank a bit more, had my shakes and my drugs, and had some peanut butter and cheese.

The end of the day is hard. I can’t watch TV without wanting ice cream, probably because I used to always eat it in front of the TV. And especially during certain TV shows. So yeah, it still sucks a little, but I think it’s getting easier.

My husband says that eating is my hobby. He mentioned this specifically last night because I was standing in the kitchen eating peanut butter and ignoring the TV. He says that I give eating my full attention, and when I’m not eating, I’m bored no matter what I’m doing.

I don’t really know what my feeling is regarding this. I have always read that you should give eating your full attention so that you fill your “emotional belly” as well as your physical one. Eating does bring me a kind of calm and happiness. Is that really so different from other people?

I’m pretty pleased with this morning’s weight loss. It’s a good motivator to keep going. I just need to go for another two or three months (depending on when we go on holiday) and should see some significant results. Due to these holidays, I’m guessing it will take me about five months to reach my goal weight. Maybe a little longer. But I’m really looking forward to it.

Yesterday I added some stuff to Pinterest. I actually linked it and My Fitness Pal in my previous post and then quickly realised that they both contained my real name, so I deleted them. Silly me! But yeah, I started a few new boards on Pinterest: clothes (for all the stuff I would like to wear when I reach my goal weight), shoes (again, goal weight), and “Stuff [my name] Likes” (for all the things I find funny on the Internet, or just like).

I feel like I’m moving forward in some way. On one hand I’m facing the dreaded “routine” (because people suffering from complex PTSD hate routine), but on the other hand I actually feel like I’m headed somewhere. I’m losing weight, I’m applying for library jobs, I’m writing… I’m picking out clothes to wear and things to like. I feel like I’m actually doing something, which is always awesome.

I still don’t know how I feel about tracking everything on My Fitness Pal. I think I kind of wish for something simpler. Using websites to track my food and exercise usually feels very messy for me. On Fitocracy I could handle it because I was levelling up and getting points. I don’t see the motivation on My Fitness Pal. Maybe if I were actually doing it with someone I would enjoy it more. I have a friend that I would like to join, but I don’t think she’ll be interested.

There are four casual positions going at the university library I applied to. This makes six jobs in total: an ongoing role three days per week, a role of four days per week until December, and four casual jobs with a weekend day and a half day during the week. Ideally, I’d like the ongoing role and one of the casual roles. I can’t accept the fixed term position because I know that it terminates in December and won’t be renewed.

What I’m currently considering is if I can handle just doing a casual role while I continue to work here. I would need to drop some hours, obviously, so it all depends on how my boss feels about that. But I think it might be a good step forward, assuming I don’t get the ongoing position or the public library role. It will get me back into a library which will get me more recent experience which will help me when applying for other library jobs.

Another consideration is library studies. The majority of library jobs are for librarians, which requires a university degree (I only have a TAFE diploma in library studies). Plus librarians get paid more. The downside is that I’m pretty sure I’d be expected to do reference desk work, which I’m really not confident with. I’m not great at thinking on my feet and reference work requires you to be “switched on” so you can search for stuff that will help the customer. It also requires knowledge of the services available to you.

I’m actually really scared that I’m not cut out to be a librarian. The last time I was enrolled in library studies, I actually failed an assignment. As in, I actually tried and got less than fifty percent. It’s the height of embarrassment for me to admit that. In my computer science studies, I barely tried and got Ds and HDs (Distinctions and High Distinctions). And I always did really well at library studies in TAFE. But there is a chance that post graduate library studies are a bit out of my league.

Truth be told, I feel that I’ve wasted years of my life. I left my happy university library job at the start of 2008 and have been on the wrong path ever since. I changed out of my library degree at university into a computer science degree, I started heading towards IT jobs, and I even briefly attempted Honours, all because that was what the people around me were doing. I lost my identity and have been lost ever since.

If I can get back into a library role and study my Masters in library studies, I feel that I would be righting a terrible wrong. I belong to the library world, that community, that environment. I had passion back then that I have been lacking in recent years. I was involved in my job and the people I worked alongside. I was happy, damnit.

So I guess my fingers are well and truly crossed for these library jobs. I honestly can’t tell at this stage which I want more: the university library or the public library. University libraries make me happiest, but the public library seems nice. It looks like a good area, so hopefully the clientele would be good. At the university I’d have to deal with dumb students, but I’d be part of a bigger whole. Honestly, I think the public library position is more realistic for me to obtain. Eek – I don’t know! I just want a library job.

The hard part will be the customer service. That was what ruined the State Library for me. I had to serve on the reference desks in the library, which, as I mentioned above, I’m just not good at. Anywhere else, I’d be considered a junior and would refer customers to the reference desk if they have bigger questions than I could solve, but at the State Library, library technicians (which is what I am) and librarians were both treated equally, although paid differently.

I like university libraries because the customers are usually not just the general public; they’re students and lecturers. I also get a sense of being somewhere where education happens and where knowledge is sought after. Public libraries get the general public which means that you get people who really just want free entertainment, to use the computers, or homeless people who just want to be indoors for the day. This is a huge problem in troubled suburbs, but I wonder if the public library I applied to will have the same problem given that it’s in such a nice area.

I should probably stop rambling about libraries. I really just want to convey how important this is to me right now. I know I’m in danger of putting all my hopes and dreams into something that may not pan out or may end up disappointing me. Am I looking for libraries to “save” me? Probably. I really want to be happy in my job again, to be able to reach midday without feeling so tired and bored that I really just want to go home.

Boredom is a huge problem for me. Like my husband mentioned last night, I’m bored no matter what I’m doing (except eating). I did a little bit of reading yesterday. Maybe a couple of pages. Then I watched some TV. But all of it was boring. I’ve had people tell me that if I’m not finishing the books that I started reading then I’m obviously picking the wrong books. Could this be true of TV shows as well? Probably. I think I’ve determined that I’m not really interested in The Walking Dead, but I started it so I feel like I have to finish it. The same is true of the nine books I currently have in progress.

So how do I find things that do interest me? Do I start more books that I will never finish? More TV shows that I will never watch? Do I continue searching for something to make me happy? I feel a bit at a loss here. How does everyone else find stuff that interests them? Is this because I’m not in tune with myself? I have to admit, I’m not sure what my own interests are.

Maybe I should start listing things that I know about myself. I could start with my demographics and journey into my interests and opinions. I might find that I know more about myself than I thought I did, and I may learn even more. It’d be like writing up a profile about a fictional character.

Completely unrelated: I have a fly bothering me at work. It’s really annoying. Like, even more annoying than my attention-hungry cat. It’ll die soon though, right? Stupid fly…

Okay, that’s all from me today. Moving forward, losing weight, focusing on libraries. Thanks for reading.

My Career

Today’s weight: 91.1kg

Okay, so yesterday I was relaxed with food again. I had a fried egg, a little bit of bacon and half a slice of buttered toast for breakfast. Lunch was just my shake, but I decided I wanted candy on the way home, so I went to KFC and got an Iced Mocha Krusher and a chocolate caramel mousse. All in all, it wasn’t a terrible day.

I think today is day five of going without that particular brand of ice cream. I took the precaution of removing my payment methods from my purse this morning so I can’t buy any on the way home. If I can just get through a couple of days of work without getting ice cream, I think I will have beaten this habit.

I didn’t wind up introducing exercise this morning. I was really tired when my alarm went off, so I set it for 5:30am again and just did the normal weigh-in and shower. Maybe next week I will introduce exercise. I don’t want to push myself too hard and wind up throwing in the towel on everything like I tend to do.

I got sunburnt at the beach the other day, but not too badly. It’s pretty much gone now, but the burning seems to have helped my psoriasis a little. Hooray for UV light! My psoriasis should continue to improve now that I am no longer having ice cream every day. My water consumption over the weekend was nil, but I’m back to it again today which again will help the psoriasis.

For those that don’t know psoriasis is an immune disease which manifests in red scaly patches on the skin. Sometimes it can be itchy, but it rarely is for me. I’ve probably had it for about five years now. I have a cream at home that I apply to most of it every night and most of it seems to be going away. I hope soon I can be free of it. Or at least most of it.

The next two weeks at work should be interesting. My boss is away, so no relying on him if I can’t solve something. This also means that I don’t have anyone behind me looking at my screen. I’m free – FREE! Haha.

This week looks good. I have an appointment with my lap band surgeon on Thursday to get my band tightened again. Then Friday is Good Friday, so long weekend ahoy! Plus Easter Monday, makes it a long, long weekend. But otherwise I have nothing in the way of appointments or anything, which is kind of rare. I believe my husband has role-playing tomorrow night.

The weekend just been was good. For those that didn’t read my weekend posts, the weekend was spent in a house in Mandurah along with twelve/thirteen others. Two of my friends are turning thirty this year and their birthdays are close, so it was a joint birthday thing. We had a good time, going for a late breakfast on Saturday, swimming at the beach, playing board games, going to a pub for dinner and drinking cocktails. I had a good time with minimal mood disturbances.

I did forget to take my medication on Saturday night. Well, I didn’t forget, but I fell asleep before I’d gotten myself back out of bed to take them. It doesn’t seem to have had a terrible effect on me though. I got a bit sad playing a board game before my husband and I left, but nothing more than that.

I am a little concerned about having eating dessert stuff yesterday. I’m wondering if the sugar means that I will be craving more today. I’m no longer concerned with wanting the ice cream that I have been eating lately, but I might end up just wanting sugar in any format. I had some chocolate on the weekend that ended up being not bad. I hope this doesn’t mean that I will start wanting chocolate again. I already beat that habit, damnit!

I did a little bit of writing on the weekend. My two blog entries and I started writing notes for yet another story that I likely will never finish. I decided to just start writing down whatever is in my head when I feel like writing but lack motivation or inspiration. I figure I’ll just wind up with a whole bunch of documents full of notes which may eventually lead to stories or be included in my existing stories.

I didn’t end up reading, as expected. I almost tried on Sunday morning, but I ended up writing a blog post instead. I didn’t think I would manage it as I find it hard enough to concentrate if I’m on my own, let alone in a house full of friends doing stuff. Maybe I will try reading after work today. I don’t have much else to do these days.

I’m not sure what I’m doing career-wise at the moment. It seems to be coming down between libraries and nutrition. I applied for another library job last week, this one a full time role in a public library. I am a bit hesitant about that one because I’ve heard horror stories about people working in public libraries and trying desperately to get out. But who knows? Maybe it would be good for me. It’s north of the river, so good to drive to. There’s free parking. I’d get to do behind-the-scenes library stuff like accessioning new materials. The only scary part is the customer service. But I will be a junior, so I at least know that I can go to the librarian on duty if I don’t know something.

I’m still interested in nutrition and I’m a bit scared about not doing it. If I want to be an accredited dietician, it will take me ten years of part time study to achieve. I’m scared that I’ll choose not to do it next year, then change my mind midway through the year, having wasted a year of not studying. Like I’ve said before, it would be cool to do laboratory studies and have an actual Bachelor of Science (rather than my current Bachelor of Computer Science).

Maybe I should aim to work in a library and study nutrition as well? Except that the nutrition stuff is mostly on-campus, so I’d have to wind up in a job where I can work less hours. I won’t be able to afford to do that as a Library Technician, because I’d already be taking a pay cut from where I am at the moment.

So then I think that maybe I should do my Masters in library studies and become a Librarian in order to get higher pay. But that would take me another two years, I believe. Maybe more. And who knows? Maybe by the time I am ready to study nutrition, I will have moved. My husband might be getting a job offer in Canberra, or we might end up moving to Norway. In fact, it seems silly to even start a degree in nutrition knowing that it will take ten years and I likely won’t be living in Perth for that long.

In any case, the writing is definitely a hobby and not a career, and I just am not passionate about IT. The only thing I like about IT – building a system from scratch – is like my writing: a hobby. It’s very unlikely that I could find a job which would let me just make systems from scratch. Like my husband said to me, that kind of thing would be a research grant or something.

There is a software developer job going at a university which looks interesting. I am considering applying for it since I know that I like university environments and the pay is significantly more than I get now, but I’m not sure. I may as well probably, because I doubt I’d get it. They’d probably want someone with more experience than I have.

So, libraries. My husband asks me what it is about libraries that I like so much. My response was:

13:18 <me> I like the environment and the work.
13:18 <me> I like cataloguing.
13:18 <me> And doing loans and returns.
13:18 <me> And participating in other fun stuff like planning a Staff Development Day.

I love being surrounded by books, knowing that the building I work in contains so much knowledge. I love library-specific things like Dewey Decimal, Library of Congress Subject Headings, the AACR2 cataloguing manual. I like getting to know a Library Management System and attaching things like call numbers to books. I am passionate about the freedom of information, using current technologies to improve library services, and working with other library staff. I just really like libraries.

At the moment I have two potential paths: the university library I could only afford to do if they give me the ongoing role (three days per week) and the casual position (weekends with possible occasional weekdays), and the public library would just be a bit of a pay cut, but nothing too serious. I did also consider a school library job, but since they don’t get paid during the school holidays, I wouldn’t have been able to afford that one either. Plus my husband says that I wouldn’t function well in that environment anyway. That may be true. I have no idea how to treat children.

Children are a strange concept for me. I suffer from social anxiety which is only made worse by the presence of children because, as I mentioned above, I have no idea how to treat them. Do I talk to them like I would any other adult? Do I feign interest in whatever they pass under my nose? They’re like little people… so do I treat them like they are just little people?

When I visited my sister the other week, her oldest came up to me and was like, “Are you my Aunty [my name]?” I was like, “Yeah, I guess I am.” And he hugged me. He did the same with my husband, “Are you my Uncle [my husband’s name]?” My husband hates children, so I can imagine that it must have been even worse for him. My sister’s eldest is apparently a smart kid though, around ten or eleven years old. He seemed interested in getting to know me and my husband when we were over there. It was interesting.

I’m reaching the age now where people around me are starting to have children. I have a couple of acquaintances with a daughter who is a few years old and they’ve just had another child, a son this time. A good friend of mine has just had a son. This one makes my husband a bit sad because it means we don’t get to see this friend as often as we used to. We were going to see about visiting them on the way home from Mandurah, but I think we just wanted to get home. And I have another friend (or acquaintance, I haven’t seen her in years) who is pregnant. It’s all very interesting.

My husband is dead opposed to having children. He apparently did consider having a child with me at one point, but it was no more than a passing thought. I have thought about having children a few times. I still am not sure if I will ever want one. I definitely wouldn’t want to while I am suffering from depression and complex PTSD, because I don’t want to screw my own child up as much as I am. Plus I just wouldn’t be able to handle the responsibility. Feeding and cleaning… Children get really dirty, don’t they? Plus the whole nappies thing… Yeah, I don’t know if I’m ever going to want a child. Maybe I’ll just admire my friends’ children from afar or something, haha.

My poor husband gets unhappy when friends of ours becomes married or has children, because to him that means that we don’t get to see them anymore. He was sad because of this at a wedding we went to recently. I had to assure him that we will still see our friends after they get married. Not sure about if they’re going to have children, but marriage itself usually doesn’t change social interactions I think.

So back to weight, I’m using My Fitness Pal at the moment. I’m not a huge fan of the weighing in component of the website, but otherwise it’s okay. I’m still logging my weight in my calendar and in Fat Secret. I’ve moved all of my weight loss goals down another week since I obviously didn’t reach my goal of 90kg today.

Shakes diet, that’s ongoing. No candy! No ice cream! I don’t have any social things coming up (unless you include visiting my family for Easter, which I don’t) so I should be able to get into ketosis for the first time in forever. Then I want to add exercise in on top of that. If I can just stick with it for four months, everything will be sweet. FOUR MONTHS!

I’m looking forward to getting back under 90kg, and from there, it’s not far until I’ll be at my lightest in so many years. If I manage to stick with this, it looks like I should be in the 70kg range by the time my husband and I go on holiday to Norway and Germany, so that should make travelling a bit easier. Plus all the touristy stuff we’ll be doing.

So that’s all from me today. Crossing my fingers that I get some job interviews this week and looking forward to weighing in tomorrow morning for some weight loss. Career paths to consider and all. Should be an interesting week. Bye!

Longer Update

Today’s weight: Unknown

Writing some of this entry the day before posting, so apologies if it gets confusing! This morning (Saturday) we went out for breakfast. All… (counts) thirteen of us I think? I got a banana smoothie and a caramel slice. Afterwards, I kind of figured that I should have done without the caramel slice. It wasn’t as good as a friend of mine makes and I really didn’t enjoy it or need it. I also got a coke when we went for a wander among the shops down here.

I accessed my old profile on My Fitness Pal. My husband mentioned it to me yesterday as a site that he knows lots of people use and really like, and another friend mentioned it to us at breakfast, so I accessed it again. I don’t know how I feel about it yet. I was previously using Fat Secret to track my weight because I like the graph it makes. I’m going to try tracking my food and exercise for a while on this one and see how it goes.

We went swimming after breakfast/lunch (it was a late breakfast) at the beach just down the road from the house we’re staying in. It was my first time at a beach since an evening in the summer of 2005 and I enjoyed it. It was refreshingly cool after our walk earlier.

Oh good, I just found a weight graph on My Fitness Pal. This may work out well after all. I have a couple of friends on it as well, which is cool. I wish more of my friends used it so I could see how everyone else manages their food and exercise.

Okay, now today is Sunday. I had a good time yesterday and was very relaxed with food. At dinner I had a prawn, some chips, a salmon fillet and some potato salad. Then we went and got ice cream from Baskin Robbins. When we got back there were cocktails and some chocolate was passed around. Lots of food.

I played pool a few times with people. I was so bad with sinking the white ball in my first game, but the friend I played against was just as bad. It was fun. Towards the last game I actually started managing to sink my own balls on purpose. Hooray for learning new life skills!

I haven’t managed to get any reading done this weekend, but I didn’t think I would really. I have the time to read now, but I just don’t have the motivation for it.

So this weekend has been pretty good. I’ve managed to socialise a couple of days in a row now without any dramas. I’ve done okay at sharing the shower and toilet with people. I had one sad patch when we played board games before dinner because no one really seemed interested in the game that I brought out to play, but I got over it.

I’m betting that my weight will be adversely affected by all the food I’ve been eating. I recorded most things in My Fitness Pal and it tells me that I did pretty well with all I ate, but I don’t trust it. Obviously I don’t know the exact calories in last night’s dinner or anything, so it’s all just guess work.

Today we’re going to spend some time hanging out with people before we head home to do laundry and such. Not sure if we’re all going to go out again or just hang here for the day.

I don’t have anything useful to say and I haven’t taken my morning medication yet (or last night’s – oops) so I’m going to end this post here. Tomorrow I will hopefully be getting up earlier and introducing exercise to my morning. And we’ll see what the scale has to say. Toodle-oo!

Quick Update

Today’s weight: Unknown

I didn’t completely stick with my diet last night. I had some cheese and crackers, some gingerbread, and some crackers with peanut butter. Plus two drinks of vodka and Pepsi Next. But at least I didn’t get any ice cream. So here goes day three without ice cream!

This house is pretty cool. At the moment most of us are sitting in the living room area upstairs. There’s an aircon blowing on me, but it’s not too cold at the moment. People got mega drunk last night and stayed up until about 4am, including my husband. Joke’s on them because they’ll have to do it all again tonight!

We’re waiting for one friend to finish up in the shower and then we’re all going to a café to get breakfast. Later we’re going to the beach, then we’re going out to dinner, then we come back to do cocktails. Today should be a good day and all ice cream free.

I went to sleep early last night, as I always do. About 9pm I think. I woke up naturally around 9am which is huge improvement for me. Normally I’d sleep much later. I felt uncomfortable and bored when first getting up, but I feel much better now. I’m a little anxious about finishing this blog entry before we’re all ready to go.

I guess I don’t really have much to say anyway. Most of my blog readers are all in this house with me and are unlikely to read this. I am doing much better today than I was doing yesterday.

Gotta go!

Hair and Misery

Today’s weight: 90.7kg

Well, I did it. I made it through a day without ice cream or any junk food. If I don’t sound excited, it’s because I’m not. I’m pretty fucking miserable today, just like I was miserable last night. I am also full of hate towards myself. Wish I could just blow my brains out.

I don’t know what started it, or caused it. I got home from getting my hair done yesterday and I was just… completely devastated. I just hate myself so much right now. I’m so fucking ugly and useless, how could I not hate myself?

Okay, I need to identify the source of this, obviously. I wish I knew more about my own thoughts and feelings. I have a heap of reasons to feel miserable, but I don’t know what actually started it.

I got my hair done yesterday. It’s black and pink now, and I feel more like myself. Unfortunately, the part that sucks about getting my hair done is the bloody mirror. My face is so fat and covered in psoriasis, I had to look at my ugly mug the whole fucking time I was there. I’m so sick of being fat, and all I can do about it is torture myself with a lack of ice cream so I can slowly lose all of this excess baggage.

Then there was the drive home. Nothing special happened, it was just really busy and shit. Then I got home. My husband was sleeping off his throat infection and the windows were open with the lights on so everyone could see into the house. Then I had to do laundry and pack shit for the weekend.

There has to be something more to this. How can this be the entire reason that I’m so upset? Come on, I’m almost crying and I can’t pinpoint a legitimate fucking reason for this. I’m so fucking sick of this. How am I ever supposed to get better if I can’t work out why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling?

I have no idea how I’m going to make it through today. Work is hard enough without me being a stupid big mess for no apparent fucking reason, and I’ve got to somehow stick it out until 3pm. Then I have to magically avoid buying ice cream on the way home and go home to finish packing. Somehow I’m going to have to cheer myself up so I don’t infect all my friends with my misery.

I guess getting no ice cream yesterday is somewhat a win. I’m supposed to work on congratulating myself for doing shit, right? So yeah, I made it without any junk food. It was only mildly torture. Like any of my previous addictions, it culminates in this feeling of emptiness in my chest. I think when it was cigarettes that I attributed that to the lack of nicotine in my lungs, but I get the same feeling with ice cream now. It’s like I have this sad little void inside of me that only ice cream can fill. And only one particular type of ice cream too. It’s so stupid how addictions work.

I don’t know how I’ll manage today. Stupidly, I brought my credit card and bank card into work with me. I’m faced with a day of boredom (I don’t know why, but my job is beginning to bore me) and an afternoon of packing. How in hell am I going to avoid ice cream? It seems like an impossible task. There’s just too many reasons for me to fail.

Reasons to fail:

  1. I’m fucking miserable.
  2. I have money on me.
  3. I could potentially leave work early to fetch said ice cream.
  4. I’m faced with the stress of packing shit when I get home.

My only hope regarding leaving work early is that I can somehow stick it out until our team meeting at 1:30pm. If I can last until then, I’ll be less likely to go to the shop on the way home. I think my husband might also be home today, in which case again I am less likely to buy ice cream because I feel like he judges me when I eat it in front of him.

This weekend should also be ice cream free. This will only fall apart if I find a nearby shop that sells these particular ice creams. But then I’m also surrounded by friends who I don’t want to see me eating ice cream.

I guess that’s another huge part of it for me: the shame. I’m embarrassed because I’m a fat person eating ice cream. A lot of ice cream. It makes me a huge, disgusting failure.

So, work. That’s a thing. I feel like even when I’m busy focusing on a task, I’m not busy enough to not be bored. I wish so hard for a library job, though not so deep down I’m afraid that no job will ever make me happy again. Potentially each role has its own downsides, so maybe I won’t find what I’m looking for in a library job. I can hope though, and cross my fingers and my toes. I called someone about the jobs I applied for and need to call her again this morning to ask about the hours. I’m hoping that the part time positions have enough hours that I can afford to take one. I’ll have to do the math on it.

As I mentioned, today we have a team meeting, which is a good way for me to end my day. I like meetings because they’re a break from normal work. I always really liked meetings in my old library job and participated in lots of groups for that reason, like the Staff Development Committee, whose role it is to plan the Staff Development Day. I really do miss that job.

I have to do most of my packing for the weekend when I get home. Need to remember my clothes, drugs and toiletries. Maybe also a couple of board games and my shakes, can’t forget my shakes! And my phone charger and Kindle. Maybe I will get some reading done this weekend. I plan to take up reading A Feast for Crows again. I struggled to get into it because of all the new characters it introduces, but I do want to finish reading the series again.

I don’t know if I’ll be blogging this weekend. I should probably take my netbook with me, and my husband will be setting up WiFi for everyone. So maybe I will get some time to recount the past day’s activities, although I won’t be doing my weight over this weekend. There might be some scales to weight myself, but I prefer to use the Wii Fit board for more accurate measurements.

I have no idea how my weight is going to go this weekend. In theory, today will only be shakes, so I should lose some weight, but then tomorrow night we’re all going out to dinner. There may also be drinking games at some point during the weekend. So yeah, dinner and liquor, not sure if I will reach Monday’s goal of 90kg.

I really want to lose this damn weight. I know I focus on it a bit too much, but it pervades everything I do and everything I am. I start getting comfortable in my skin and then I see my fat face in the mirror of the hairdresser’s and feel horrible again. I just want to be comfortable in my skin, completely. I know who I want to be, I just have trouble with the arduous task of getting there. I’m not giving up hope, however. I just need to stick to my guns and pull myself through this task. Once I’ve reached my goal weight, my next journey will be to establish healthy eating habits.

Next week I start my exercise in the mornings. I don’t want to push myself too hard, but I do want to go hard enough to get the release of endorphins that I remember so fondly from a previous period where I exercised regularly. As I’ve mentioned, exercise has an anti-depressant effect, so it’s good for me for lots of reasons.

I’m so, so close to being “good.” I have my healthy routine. I’m getting over my addiction to ice cream. I’m doing my best to get a handle on my emotions. And yet I’m so far from being “complete.” I still struggle to comprehend why I think and feel the way I do. I feel things without knowing it… Hell, I’m pretty sure I didn’t even realise I was so upset last night until my husband told me that I was. And then he wanted to know why, and I couldn’t come up with a reason.

Maybe it was the reasons I listed above. I’ve had situations before where someone has done something terrible to me (like my last hairdresser putting layers into my hair without asking me) and it isn’t until I get home that the anger sets in. So maybe that’s what happened last night as well. I had to see my face in the mirror which made me feel bad about who I am, and it wasn’t until I reached home that the misery from this set in. That’s my theory anyway.

Oh yeah, and the cost for my hair? $345. Seriously. I had no idea it was going to be anywhere near that much! I thought maybe close to $200 at the most. So, I’ll also be looking for another hairdresser who does funky colours. Not sure how easy that task will be and if I’ll really save money doing this. But I have to at least try, because there’s no way that we can afford to spend that much on my hair every couple of months.

I asked the hairdresser when she thinks I’d need to come back and she said I can probably go about twelve weeks before I’d need to get my hair dyed and cut again. So that’s good. Three months, works well for me. I’m usually pretty bad at just letting all the dye wash out and taking my sweet time to see a hairdresser again.

But, as I mentioned above, it’s good because I feel like me again! I think I may be prejudiced against short red hair because that used to be my style back when I was dating the abusive ex. The black and funky colours I started doing around the time that I started to become independent of him and really settling into my own skin. I sure hope the library I applied to doesn’t have a problem with whacky colours. I’m pretty sure my current boss is fine with it. He had no problem with me being purple the last time I worked for him.

Anyway, fingers crossed that today goes well for me. While writing this, I’ve calmed down from how upset I was and am now looking forward to getting through my work day without ice cream. I am happy with my hair and hoping to do some good writing this morning, although I seem to be struggling with what to write. I’ve been finishing my 1 litre bottle of water before lunch these days, so my water intake is doing fairly well, although I struggle to drink water after lunch.

That’s all from me today. Here’s to hoping for a good weekend and hopefully a library job on the horizon.

Identity Disturbance

Today’s weight: 90.9kg

So I ate the entire tub of sorbet/frozen yogurt. Then I decided to go to KFC and got a mini BLT Twister (I only ate half of it), decided to get some petrol, and bought another ice cream. And I had some chocolate milk drink with my drugs. Needless to say, I made myself pretty sick.

Today I’m putting on my serious face. My husband spoke to me about “future [my name]” and “current [my name]” and how I really need to be making the right decisions for “current [my name]” because planning it for “future [my name]” just means that I’m not doing it. So I am going to do my absolute best today to not buy ice cream. I’m going to suffer and it’s going to suck, but giving in sucks too.

I have a hair appointment today. Several months ago, when I was working in a library, I got it into my head that I wanted to look different, so I cut my hair, dyed it red, and bought a dress. It took a couple of months, but I eventually regretted cutting my hair. Now it is finally long enough to tie up again, I am going back to my old colours: black on top and random colours underneath (today’s colour is pink). I won’t be happy with my hair until it is a fair bit longer, but I’m getting there.

This appointment also means that I don’t really have an opportunity to go and buy ice cream. For the start of the day anyway. There’s a chance I might buy ice cream on the way home from my hair appointment (whenever that will be), but I really hope I can stick it out. I am getting really sick of the ice cream. I don’t enjoy it anymore, I just wind up feeling yucky.

This weekend should give me a break at least. I plan to stick mostly to my shakes for the weekend, with the exception of dinner on Saturday night with my friends. It should be easy enough, I hope.

I sent an email to someone about the library job I applied for to ask what the hours are. I haven’t heard back yet. I’m super impatient about it because I really just want to know if I can afford to take the job, provided I ever get offered one. My husband thinks that I am still not in the right frame of mind to change my job again. I don’t know if he’s right.

What I’m really wanting out of a job right now is something that will keep me busy for several hours a day. The problem with my current job is that if I don’t have anything pressing to tend to, it’s too easy for me to just zone out and not be able to concentrate on my code, which just leaves me feeling bored.

A part of me worries that I wouldn’t be happy in any job. Last year I spent months searching for a job that I would enjoy doing, only to come back to where I started. I think I could have been happy in the library job if it weren’t for the customer service. But I’ll never really know. Anyway, my fingers are crossed and in the meantime I’m sticking with my current job as best I can.

Today’s characteristic of complex PTSD is identity disturbance. This used to be a huge problem for me, believing that I was evil and inhuman. Identity disturbance means having a distorted or inconsistent self-view. Even today I am not capable of seeing myself the way that others see me. Sometimes I want to know what they see, but it feels like it would be conceited to ask.

This characteristic in me led to me feeling as though I were permanently damaged in some way, and also lead to excessive guilt and shame. My psychologist told me on Tuesday that he could see the shame in me when I was talking. Shame about what? I guess just shame about my existence. While I don’t hate myself anymore, I do still struggle to like myself and see anything about me in a positive light.

People who suffer from complex PTSD may see their strengths in a negative light. I guess an example of this for me would be intelligence. I know that I am intelligent, but I still believe that I am not intelligent enough. Sufferers may also have low self-esteem and feel that they are unworthy of success.

Another interesting part of identity disturbance is hate, not only of the self, but also of their own demographics. As I’ve mentioned a few times, I am heavily prejudiced against my own demographics from my past and usually do my best to avoid places and people who may remind me of that. For example, there’s a funny Australian TV show called Housos, which my husband loves. It follows the lives of people living on welfare and their adventures as they steal, get drunk and get stoned. My husband finds it hilarious while I don’t like it because it reminds me too much of my past and where I could have ended up.

I suppose it’s also possible for sufferers of complex PTSD to hate other parts of their demographics, such as their gender or their age. I think I struggled with my gender growing up, but now can’t imagine ever wanting to be anything other than female. I also tried too hard to be a grown up as a teenager. My teachers were always telling me to stop acting like an adult.

Sometimes I do still hate myself. I’ve felt a few times that I am infected with darkness and destruction and that I might damage the people around me. I have memories of people warning me against dating certain people because I would break them in some way. I guess I am lucky that I haven’t damaged my husband (I hope). I still believe that I might hurt people if I got too close to them though.

Another commonly held belief in identity disturbance is that no one will ever understand you. I was always attracted to guys who would attempt to psycho-analyse me, but always still felt unknowable, to others and myself. It wasn’t until my psychiatrist told me that I suffered from complex PTSD that I ever felt like I could be understood. I guess that’s why I trust him. He knows me, even when he claims that he doesn’t.

Each of us has an internal voice. That voice is quite often of our parents as we grow up to internalise the things that they have told us and taught us. The ability to self-soothe usually comes from this voice. Of course, this means that people may internalise a voice that only criticises them, like me. In depression, this can also be a huge factor on our actions.

There is an article on depression in complex PTSD and about the four Fs: fight, flight, freeze and fawn. Each of these four Fs relate to a personality type and a type of action that typically follows from what the inner voice has said. The person who fights is narcissistic and lashes out, becoming irritable, controlling and pushy. The person who goes into flight mode tends to be obsessive-compulsive, becoming extremely busy and productive, driven by negative, perfectionistic and catastrophic thinking. The freeze type is me: dissociation. The common action here would be zoning out in front of the TV. The last one is fawn, where the person lurches into co-dependent behaviour, trying to solve someone else’s problems.

While I associate myself mostly with the freeze component of the four Fs, I can identify with each of them at some point. I can be irritable and controlling. I can force myself into periods of high productivity with perfectionist thinking. I can zone out in front of the TV in order to avoid doing anything productive. Although the last one isn’t me so much. I don’t often find the desire to solve other people’s problems or to try and look after them.

The inner voice for sufferers of complex PTSD and especially depression can be very critical and pushy. I remember once I accidentally said something to my husband that I would normally only say to myself. He had pulled into the wrong lane for traffic at one point and upon realising what had happened, I told him, “Yeah, that was stupid.” He was understandably shocked that I would say something so mean to him, and I realised, this is what I was always saying to myself. What slipped out between me and my husband was the perfect example of what my inner voice said to me all the time.

If you live with an endless barrage of criticism from your internal voice, it’s no wonder you get identity disturbance. Your inner voice is always telling you that you’re stupid, you stuffed up, you can’t do anything right, no one really cares about you, etc. So you believe that you are stupid, that you will never do anything right, and no one will ever care about you. Your self-esteem is non-existent when you go through this every day. I’m still shocked about how much I used to hate myself.

Here’s a perfect example, a snippet from a journal entry I wrote on the 16th of September, 2012:

I feel so uncomfortable in my own skin. I’m so filled with disgust at my existence. So terrified I will do something wrong/embarrassing, like cry at negative feedback over the phone or fall over on the train or bus. Or have the wind blow my shirt up enough to expose my stomach.

I try to avoid talking about things like my weight and self-disgust in case I draw attention to it and everyone else feels the same way about me. Like somehow people don’t see how fat and disgusting I am. Even though I’m sure that it’s all they see.

I ended this entry with “I really hope that one day I will read this and not be able to believe that I once felt this way.” I am happy to say that this is now true. Obviously I still struggle with my weight, but I no longer feel as terrified about doing something wrong, and I don’t worry as much about how people see me. I have a good group of friends, so there must be something about me that’s likeable.

As you can see identity disturbance was once a huge part of my life. I hated myself with a passion, criticised myself continuously, and had terrible self-esteem. While I have grown in this respect, the part of identity disturbance that still haunts me is the feeling of infection. I still hold a darkness inside of me that I’m worried will infect the people around me. I still believe that if I open up to someone as gentle and pure as, say, my psychiatrist, that I would wind up damaging him/them.

It’s like there’s something bad about me. Something harsh and cruel. I probably damaged every boy I dated in some way. But somehow I found my husband and he’s been resilient enough to stay with me through all the bad times and my harsh attitudes and learned helplessness. He weathered terrible times at the start of my healing journey. I am the luckiest depressed person in the world.

I’ll probably end this post here. I’ve talked enough about identity disturbance and how it has affected me. I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but there is actually a junk food allowance in our budget. After having it shared for a month or two, my husband and I split it in half so I wouldn’t keep taking away from his share of the junk food fund. I also have an education fund where most of my pay goes. Unfortunately, the education fund suffers when I overdraw my junk food allowance, so every time I spend above the amount allocated to me monthly, it has to come out of my education allowance.

In order to make this more fair, the same amount that I spent on junk food also goes into our savings, so my education fund loses double the amount that I spend. My husband has just made the adjustments this morning to cover my junk food expenditure and I commented to him that hopefully this will be the last time we need to do this. And this got me thinking about my education fund and what it will be used for.

A few posts ago, I listed four potential options for my career. They were: nutrition, libraries, writing, and IT. Well, I feel like I can scratch out writing since I doubt I’ll ever earn enough to make it my full time job. And I’ve decided that IT just isn’t for me, unless it’s building a new system from scratch because I love shit like that. So, I now have two paths ahead of me: either nutrition, or libraries.

Libraries is a very attainable goal, provided I have the patience to wait out my perfect role. If I manage to get back into an academic library and enjoy it, then I will probably do a Masters in library studies so I can become a librarian (at present I can only be a library technician). If I am lucky, I may be able to do this as soon as next month, provided everything goes well with the jobs I applied for.

Nutrition is almost like a fantasy. It seems like an unreal goal to me. I like the idea of studying an actual science and doing labs and stuff like that, but I’m honestly not sure I’ll ever be able to manage it. Do I honestly care about nutrition enough to spend ten years studying it? (Yes, it will actually take ten whole years before I can become an accredited dietician) Will I be able to do all of the on-campus courses and earn enough money to continue paying the mortgage?

As far as writing is concerned, I did briefly consider doing a Bachelor of Arts with some writing majors and minors, but I’m sure there are better ways to perfect my art of writing. I can always just borrow the books prescribed to people studying it. Like I did with nutrition! Geez, there I go, adding more things to my list of reading materials. I was going to try reading last night, but didn’t succeed. Maybe tonight I will be able to do it. Hmmm… maybe not. I will have to do some packing for the weekend.

Oh well, there’s my fork in the road for now. Fingers crossed I hear about this library job and whether or not it’s possible. And then I’ll cross some more fingers that I will actually get one of the jobs on offer and find my happiness in libraries again.

Thanks for reading!

Dissociation and Reading

Today’s weight: 90.6kg

Totally went off track yesterday. I got two ice creams as I left work early, then got a third ice cream while out shopping for a diet ice cream for future stuff ups. Then I ate three bars of a sorbet/ice cream and drank some chocolate milk drink.

In good news though, I bought a 95% fat free sorbet and yogurt to keep in the freezer in case I go off track again. This means that yesterday was the last time of eating this particular ice cream, which is the one that I’m “addicted” to. I’m hoping that the new ice cream won’t be tempting enough to steer me off course, but I don’t know.

I mentioned this problem to my psychologist who said that this ice cream habit is the last vestige of the “bad” part of me. He says that it’s a simplistic and non-demanding way of celebrating the last remaining part of me that doesn’t conform to this “clean” lifestyle I’ve been building.

He also mentioned that I don’t yet have a category in my mind for people who love me and criticise me. Love to me is this pure and clean thing with no edges. The edges are kept separate. He said that he believes my old psychologist and my psychiatrist are both very clean people whereas my new psychologist is an edgy person who thinks that sanitisation is crap, which may explain why I don’t yet feel comfortable with him. When I see this new psychologist, I feel like I’m a very different person: repressed and anxious.

I don’t know. I feel like my old psychologist did exactly what she promised me she would do: she saw me through the hardest parts of my depression to this relatively stable person that I am now. Okay, maybe not stable, but I’m very far from being depressed. I feel that now, what’s left is the complex PTSD, i.e. the rest of what’s wrong with me. I still feel so far removed from my own thoughts and feelings that it’s hard to imagine ever reaching a point where my psychologist can ask me what I was feeling and I can give a clear answer.

He mentioned to me that he could see occasional excitement when he spoke of some things which would immediately disappear and be replaced by fear. Taking the context of excitement into any state of arousal, my past experiences with “excitement” involved things like my father becoming angry. Essentially, I learnt that excitement always leads to bad things and therefore quickly suppress it before I’m even aware that this is what I’ve felt. I trust this psychologist far enough to believe what he says about this excitement showing itself, but from my perspective, I felt nothing. I can’t imagine connecting with that part of me.

Towards the end of my relationship with my old psychologist, I reached a point where I was really looking forward to each session, because they essentially just became an hour of me talking about what was going well in my life and feeling happy about how far I’d come. These sessions with my new psychologist are hard and disappointing. I feel like I’m barely able to contribute in any way because I am so disconnected from myself.

I also finally told him that I stopped seeing my old psychologist. He expressed pleasure in the fact that we would now be able to spend our sessions going over my original reason for seeing him, and expanding into the territory of “finding” me. This gives me hope that maybe one day I will be found and I can be a whole three-dimensional character, rather than the two-dimensional that I show him currently.

So, to recap, I now feel like I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on the depression aspect of me. Thanks to my drugs, I have been establishing a positive lifestyle, which itself will continue to contribute to the fight against depression and now I’m mired in this battle against complex PTSD, very specifically, the dissociation aspect of it. Let’s explore that now.

Dissociation and depersonalisation is another characteristic of complex PTSD (following on from rage which we looked at yesterday). When I began seeing my old psychologist, I used to dissociate a lot. She would ask me a tricky question and I would become blank. It was like I knew that I was thinking and feeling something, but I had no way of determining what that was. My brain felt disconnected from the rest of me, like trying to see my mind through a fog. I knew that my mind wasn’t empty, but I couldn’t read what was there.

I don’t dissociate anymore, but I still struggle with emotional regulation: identifying and expressing wants and needs. Very similar to dissociating, I know that I am feeling something, but I don’t have a word for that feeling. Learning about feelings is supposed to happen in childhood. A child expresses that they feel something like butterflies in their stomach and the parent teaches them that this is anxiety. Except I never learnt about feelings from my parents. So I have a whole array of emotions that I can’t put into words.

My thoughts also become a jumble. Like the feelings, I know that I am thinking something, but I can’t reach it. When I am talking to my psychologist and this happens I find myself frantically trying to scratch around in my brain to get hold of something but instead wind up with thoughts like, “Damn, what the hell am I thinking? I need to come up with something so I can respond to him.”

I know mindfulness is something that should help me in this regard, but for some reason I am just so against trying it. I don’t know what it is. I know logically that mindfulness is supposed to be good and helpful and I know that it has been studied and confirmed as a valuable tool in mental health, but I can’t stand the thought of trying to meditate and calm down my mind and focus on the present moment. With my husband encouraging me to try it and me reading a book on mindfulness that I got for Christmas, I just wind up feeling angry because I feel like I’m being forced in to something that I just don’t want to do. I don’t know what to do about this.

Oh, I just remembered something else that I discussed with my psychologist yesterday: rage! I mentioned my blog to him and the topic of rage and how it’s a key component of complex PTSD and he asked me where the rage goes. I said into the ice cream, obviously, and told him about the other components about this rage that I used to practice like theft and self-harm. He told me that my rage is better out than in and that I used these methods of self-destruction to protect the people around me. Again, this is another aspect of that “edgy” part of me that I can’t mesh with the perfect ideal of who I’m supposed to be.

I feel a little torn when trying to ascertain my feelings at present. On one hand, I feel like I know where I’m headed because I understand this whole aspect of me trying to keep things pure and clean, and that I need to let the edges in, I need to learn to mesh these different aspects of me together. But then I also feel like I have no idea what to do because I can’t even feel my own feelings. How do I make myself aware of this sense of excitement when it disappears so quickly that I don’t recognise its passing?

Obviously, I need to try something. And like always, I believe that something lives in a book or a website somewhere. It seems at the moment as though I have a million different things to read, but lack the ability to concentrate on the words. At present, I have nine books in progress. Nine! And I can’t force myself to bloody read any of them.

There’s the Song of Ice and Fire series (Game of Thrones) that I haven’t touched in ages. There’s the first Discworld novel that I’m supposed to be reading with my husband. There’s World War Z that I don’t have the patience for. Mindfulness Made Easy, obvious reasons for why I haven’t been reading it. Women’s Stuff, which is an encyclopaedia of women-specific knowledge that I want to pick apart. Understanding Nutrition, which I’m supposed to be reading so I can work out if I really want to be a dietician. The Zombie Survival Guide, research for my own zombie apocalypse novel. The Living Dead, an anthology of short zombie stories. And The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression, which I have been reading for a non-fiction work.

There’s a book on complex PTSD that I want to read, From Surviving to Thriving, but I don’t want to add another book to the stuff that I’ll never read. I am really disappointed with this inability to read. I thought that this new drug would help with that, but apparently not. I feel like I don’t have time to read. I’m either at work or I’m in front of the TV zoned out from my day of work. Plus my husband always has the TV going because he can’t stand silence, and TV easily distracts me from reading. I guess I could always read in the bedroom on the weekend or something. Or in my office. I don’t know. I really do want to read all of these books, I just struggle so much to concentrate!

Maybe I will give this new book a try. At present it seems like it would be the most likely to succeed since I am intensely interested in its topic. I’ll give it a try reading in my office, away from the TV and near a screen where I can type notes as I go. I guess I have the mentality that reading takes so much time and is therefore a waste of that time. Like reading takes away from time that I could be spending doing something else. Maybe. I don’t know.

I know that I can’t go the rest of my life without reading. There’s only so much writing you can do with only the knowledge in your own head. Eventually I would need to read for research and story ideas. There’s a huge world of learning out there in written format. Knowledge is so close, ignorance shouldn’t be an excuse.

Well, I hope that was rambly enough for you. Do you have trouble focusing on things like reading? I’m sure everyone must at some point, although they’re probably more logically at times of the day when you’re exhausted or something.

Anyway, thanks for reading!

Rage

Today’s weight: 90.2kg

At my husband’s suggestion, I tried a cheaper but higher quality ice cream. I didn’t like it though and won’t be trying it again. A friend who has beaten ice cream told me about her journey through to diet ice cream, then through to sugar free ice cream or sorbet. I’m wondering if I should try doing the same. I really, really want to beat this ice cream thing. I guess I’ll just try no ice cream again, and if I feel the need to give in, I’ll go for a diet one.

So yesterday was one ice cream and a mini BLT Twister from KFC. For the latter, I was really disappointed with the ice cream I ate and wanted something savoury to make me feel better.

Today is my appointment with my psychologist. I have a couple of things to talk to him about due to this post, so hopefully I will have interesting stuff to say tomorrow.

Today, let’s talk about… rage. Rage is a key component of complex PTSD as briefly mentioned in my blog post about this condition. A few years ago my psychiatrist switched me off my SSRI (which was beginning to lose its effectiveness after a couple of years) and put me on to an SNRI which just made me angry all the time. And by angry, I mean that I was throwing shit and screaming and slamming doors. I was pretty damn angry.

Rage is one of the things that I am exploring at present as part of my writing hobby. I’ve been learning about how this rage manifests itself when turned inward and when turned outward. Here’s some of the things it causes:

Eating disorders: Rage turned inward can lead to eating disorders. I’ve never been clinically diagnosed with any eating disorders, but I’ve never eaten healthily. I avoided my vegetables as a kid (I think we all did that though, didn’t we?), starved myself as a teenager, and started eating purely candy as an adult. I don’t yet have a good relationship with food, and this is something I will need to work on when I reach my healthy weight.

Depression: This is an obvious one for me, but my depression is its own illness, separate from complex PTSD. Depression can be a symptom of complex PTSD, and it can also be a mood experienced in the short term. I’m not sure at the moment how depression in me identifies as a separate illness. I should ask my psychiatrist about it.

Substance abuse: What haven’t I abused, honestly? I’ve never done anything harder than marijuana and alcohol, but I definitely had a pot problem as a teenager. I was always skipping school and smoking pot with my adult friends. One of my exes at the time mentioned to me that I was doing it pretty heavily as well. I stopped though, mostly due to lack of access. I’ve tried it again since then, as an adult, and had to struggle with stopping it again. Seriously, I get addicted to just about everything.

Truancy: Like I mentioned, I skipped school a lot. I started it in high school, travelling to beaches and train stations, parks and shopping centres. I shoplifted a lot back then as well. Essentially, I went from being a really good and smart kid to being a bad egg. This grew especially when I made friends with people outside of school.

Dropping out of school: I had initially planned to drop out of school in year ten, which is when it is legal to do so. I knew I wanted to work in libraries and that TAFE had a library course that only required the completion of year ten. My deputy principal, however, convinced me that TAFE wouldn’t accept me because they’d be looking at people with years eleven and twelve first. So I went on to the upper school. I dropped out during year twelve because I’d moved out of home and didn’t see the point in school anymore. Unfortunately, that library course had now changed to requiring year twelve completion. Bummer. So I spent about a year being a complete bum on welfare.

Promiscuity: This is an uncomfortable topic because, honestly, who wants to hear about my sex life? So I’ll be brief. I was promiscuous growing up, using sex to try and win men over. My mother used sex as a currency for companionship and to have someone look after her, so I learned to do the same. Shortly before I met my husband, I was getting pretty bummed out that the guys I was sleeping with didn’t want to be in a relationship with me. Then I met a boy who didn’t believe in sex before marriage and, lo and behold, he liked me! It ended soon after, but it was enough to boost my ego a little bit, then I started dating my husband and the rest is history.

Co-dependence: I don’t have much to say on this topic that I haven’t already said. I am dependent on my husband and like it when my husband is dependent on me. It’s something that I will continue to work on.

Doormat syndrome: I’m not sure I really have this. I may have displayed some aspects of this characteristic when I was younger and prone to fall into abusive relationships, but I don’t believe I act like a doormat for anyone.

The above are all examples of rage turned inward. For rage turned outward:

Theft: As I mentioned, I was a bit of a shoplifter as a teenager. I stole jewellery and clothes and candy, mostly. Unfortunately, I also stole from friends. I have a necklace at home somewhere that I stole from a good friend of mine as a teenager. I hope one day I will have the chance to return it.

Destruction of property: I used to throw stuff when I got mad. Actually, I still do. I’ve put marks in our walls and broken my office door from slamming it too hard. When I was a teenager I also used to throw things and had my record player confiscated for this reason. I’m not sure that this is ever something I will “outgrow.”

Violence: Unfortunately, yes, I did become violent. As a teenager, this was mostly towards my father, who first turned violent towards me. I threw a brick at his head once and he caught it. I also remember trying to slap a house mate of mine once, which didn’t work out so well. This is one of those things that make me cringe when I remember instances of it. I don’t like violence in any way, shape or form. I believe I have definitely outgrown this one.

Becoming a control freak: I’m probably still a control freak to an extent, although I’m a lot better at letting things slide. If given the opportunity, I would plan out things to every detail and get very upset if things don’t go to plan. I believe it is probably this which leads my father to calling me a “spoilt brat.” I don’t like it when things don’t go my way.

So that’s the rage component of complex PTSD. One of my current drugs is an anti-psychotic called olanzapine which my psychiatrist has prescribed for the purpose of calming me down. In a few days, I will be halving my dosage of this drug, which should be good since hopefully it will make me less sleepy.

I wonder though, if the rage is still in there. If we stripped away my drugs, would I become an angry person again, or would I be so depressed that I can’t manage something as strong as anger? Actually, I don’t think the rage is very far away from me at all. Recently I’ve had a couple of instances when driving where the person behind me honks impatiently to get me moving. Both times I have responded incredibly angry to both vehicles. So I guess there’s my answer.

What I really wonder is where this anger comes from. Is it a sense of injustice from being raised so shittily as a child? Was anger safer than fear? Am I angry at my mother? My psychologists say that I should be. I guess this is a question for my psychologist and/or psychiatrist. It will be interesting thing to know and would greatly help my writing.

Today I am planning to have no ice cream. I am somehow going to get through my work day with only my water and my lunch shake, see my psychologist, then go home without getting ice cream on the way. I really want to succeed at this. It’s been so long now since I’ve had a day without ice cream of some kind. I just want to be free of this addiction and losing weight. And I know that I can do it. I just need to be strong.

Support from friends is always welcome. There is board games tonight, but I don’t think that I’ll be attending since I’d be seeing my psychologist first. If the psychologist is going to become a regular Tuesday thing, I’ll switch him over to the other Tuesday when my husband is playing Deadlands with friends.

Tomorrow will be a tougher day I think. Not only because it is the now notorious day two, but also because I have no plans for after work. Theoretically, this means that I might leave work early and get ice cream. I hope I don’t though. Maybe I will leave my methods of payment at home tomorrow so I at least would have to go home first. I considered doing the same today but I honestly just don’t want to make things harder on myself if I do give in.

Yesterday’s appointment with my Cambridge consultant went well. According to her scales, I’ve put on 400 grams in the last week. She also measured me for the first time since February and says I’ve put on a bit everywhere. I told her about my plans to introduce exercise though, and she was pleased with that. Hopefully I will be well and truly out of the 90s by the time I see her next.

I’m thinking of moving my goals down another week again. I don’t like my chances of hitting 88kg next Monday, especially given the upcoming weekend which will probably be filled with food and drinking. I’ll be bringing my shakes to the house with me (we’re staying in a house in Mandurah with friends because two of them are turning thirty this year) with the idea that I will stick to the shakes as much as possible, but there’s a dinner I’ll be attending and potentially a drinking game that I will be interested in playing. It should be fun anyway, so I’ll just be nice to myself.

I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before, but I applied for a university library job on the weekend. I’m trying not to get my hopes up… but yeah, my hopes are up. Since applying for it, I’ve been finding my current job harder to get through. All of the tickets I have at the moment are difficult ones and, as always, I wind up feeling like I’m too stupid to do this. I’m honestly not sure about having a future in IT given how little I care for it. I’m a PHP developer, which sounds ideal for me because I love coding, but I don’t love troubleshooting bugs. I wish for a role like my old one where I was responsible for designing and creating a Disaster Victim Identification system. I love creating brand new systems from scratch. Why can’t I do that for a living?

Anyway, that’s enough complaining out of me. The library jobs are all part-time or casual, so I’ve emailed and asked about the hours. It may be that the pay just won’t be enough for me to even consider changing jobs, which would make me sad. But I’ll do my best to stick out my current job, even if I find it hard.

Long post today! Tomorrow I will hopefully have stuff to say about my appointment with my psychologist, and if not, I can just pick another characteristic of complex PTSD to explore. Thanks for reading!

A Healthy Routine

Today’s weight: 90.4kg

I gave in again yesterday. Two ice creams, but one of them was small. I was reaching about 5pm and I had just finished watching a show that I used to watch while eating ice cream. For the remainder of my day, all I had to look forward to was water, and eventually my dinner shake which I always take late with my drugs. So I decided to have my last ice cream.

Thing is, I can say last all I want. But if I don’t stop eating them, there won’t be a last. To say it now is meaningless. How many times have I said it? I can be as determined now as I want to be, but there will be that other version of me who says, “Meh, I can try again tomorrow.” It’s like a battle with myself. I just can’t trust the other me to do the right thing.

I’ve decided that my weight loss goals should be moveable. My calendar has a goal weight for every Monday. Today’s was supposed to be 90kg – oops. I figure that if I have a bad week or plateau that I can just move them all down a week. It’s helpful to see those goals in my calendar and to try and imagine meeting them. Looking at them throughout my day makes me feel better. It makes me feel like I’m actually doing something about it.

Today is my last Cambridge appointment for about four weeks. My husband and I will both be attending and stocking up on enough supplies to get us through the holiday that our consultant is going on. I’m not looking forward to talking to her about the ice cream habit again. I was really hoping to have gotten a handle on it by now. All I can hope is that I do well before I see her next. Hopefully I can beat this habit now and lose a whole bunch of weight before my next appointment with her.

The disparity between different versions of myself really sucks. The morning is always a great time for me on work days. I get here super early, I’m full of concentration goo (my morning drug), and I feel strong and in control. Then, after lunch, the concentration goes away. My lunch shake has been had. All I have for the rest of the day is water and my dinner shake. So I want ice cream. And I convince myself that it’s not a big deal, I can try to diet again tomorrow.

Before I started taking this new drug, I had a lot of problems with waking up in the mornings. I would snooze several times, not have enough time to shower, generally just feel like crap. I always wanted to get up on time and exercise and shower and have a good start to my day. Again, there was the disparity. The version of me who wanted to get up on time and set the alarm was different from the version of me who actually woke up in the morning. The first version could set the alarm for any time she wanted, but the second version was always going to hit snooze.

I’m glad I don’t have that problem anymore. I snoozed once today; set my alarm for 5:30am because I just didn’t feel like getting up at 5am. But I got myself out of bed at 5:30am, weighed myself, showered. It was good. I’m now capable of getting myself out of bed when I actually want to. Next week I’ll set my alarm for 5am again and start exercising in the mornings. And I know now that I can actually do this. I’m not going to fail like I’ve done so many times before.

So here’s my ideal day:

  1. Wake up at 5am. Go to the toilet and weigh myself.
  2. Put on my exercise clothes, put down the exercise mat (it’s pretty cool – big thing that comes in small parts you put together), do a five minute warm up on the treadmill.
  3. Depending on the day, either do my beginner body weight workout, or interval sprints.
  4. Stretch to cool down, put away the exercise mat, throw my clothes in the laundry, shower.
  5. Have my breakfast shake and morning drug, prepare my bag for the day (fill up my water bottle and pack my lunch shake), record my workout on Fitocracy, record my weight in various places.
  6. Get dressed, go to work.
  7. Work (obviously), including having my lunch shake. Need to do something at lunch time to take a break from my computer. I’ve never been good at this.
  8. Miscellaneous. Monday is usually a Cambridge day. Tuesday might be my psychologist or playing board games (something I haven’t done in ages but would love to start doing if I can just force myself to be a social person). Wednesday would probably just be going straight home from work. Thursday might be movie night, again if I can force myself to be social. And Friday, who knows?
  9. Relax in front of the TV, have my dinner shake with my night time drugs, watch some more TV.
  10. Brush and floss my teeth, clean out my ears, apply cream for my psoriasis.
  11. Sleep!

Sounds pretty perfect to me. A real, workable routine. A healthy routine! If I can stick to this I will be losing weight, keeping healthy habits, and fighting off my depression. It’s almost so unlike me to be so attracted to this routine. As I’ve mentioned before, routine is very hard for those who suffer from complex PTSD. I want to chase shiny objects all the time, change my diet, my job, my career. I think that I just need to be consistent, just for a little while, so that my routine becomes embedded in me. Besides, I should be able to follow the above even if I did change my diet, my job, or my career. The only thing that will throw this routine off is by me doing something silly like snoozing in the morning or leaving work early to buy ice cream.

I’m pretty thrilled, knowing how close I am to achieving this routine. If I ignore the ice cream problem, the only thing I am currently missing from the above is the exercise, which I will be introducing slowly from next week. Everything else is pretty much set. This is a huge step forward from the person I used to be. I can barely even remember what life was like during my last major depressive episode. I know that I struggled to get out of bed, often didn’t go to work, cried a lot, had no hobbies. Not so long ago, I was a mess.

Today I don’t struggle to get up in the mornings. I attend work fairly consistently, although I could do better in that regard; I still have about one day a week where I don’t make it into work or I leave early. I haven’t cried in ages. And I have a hobby now which has enriched my life. I don’t think I hate myself anymore. I don’t necessarily like myself, but I’m getting there. I’m finally at a point in my life where I am choosing what is good for me.

In terms of my longer term goals, I plan to grow my hair back out and go back to my old colours. I plan to continue writing, possibly self-publishing or trying to seek literary agency representation if I think that my novel is good enough. I need to choose my career out of the four paths I mentioned in an earlier post. I plan to read more about depression and complex PTSD, partly for my own benefit, but also for a book I am writing. I plan to get down to my healthy weight. In a few months I will be visiting Norway and Germany with my husband. I may even be moving to Canberra!

Ice cream habit aside, life is pretty wonderful at the moment. The only strain that continues for me is money. I need to sit down with my husband, hopefully tonight, and go over my recent evaluation of the budget. I think I’m going to need to cut money out of my education budget and use it to cover the gaps in our existing budget. Plus we have rising costs, like health insurance, council rates, license registrations… everything continues to go up in costs and so our budget must do so as well. I am confident that we can reach a comfortable point, however. We just need to ensure that everything is covered and not left to be over-budgeted continuously.

So my theme for today is “hooray for life!” and for healthy routines. It’s amazing to consider how far I’ve come, just in the last few months let alone the last five years. I was a mess not so long ago, and hated myself with a passion. Now I am relatively stable and growing to appreciate myself as a person.

Do you have a healthy routine? Are there areas in your life that you feel could be done better? I’d love to hear from you.

Like always, thanks for reading.

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INFORMATION

I am an Australian female in her mid twenties who would like to stay anonymous. If you have come to this site and know who I am, I simply ask that you do not mention me by my real name anywhere here.

I am currently engaged in warfare with Major Depression and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is the place where my progress is kept.

This blog was initially locked out but I want other sufferers to be able to find me, in the hope that my battle can help them to feel that they are not alone. Reading about my condition has helped me immensely, so I'd like to pass it on.