Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Epic Fails

Epic fail numero uno: My Halloween costume being sent through the US Postal Service? STILL. NOT. HERE. Let's recap things, shall we?

Monday 9/15: Day it was supposed to get here. When it still wasn't by the time I knew post offices quit delivering, I checked the tracking online. It said they attempted to deliver at about 4:00 (and the kicker is I was upstairs) and left a notice. They did NOT leave a notice, but I figured there just wasn't space in the box because Holly's costume was there (and she ordered hers two days after me, go figure). I called the customer service people and she told me to call the post office carrier and see what is up...and then gave me the wrong phone number.  I filled out a redelivery request for the next day, got a confirmation number sent to my email and everything.

Tuesday 9/16: Redelivery day #1. What's in my box? THE NOTICE THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO LEAVE ON MONDAY. Like, it had Monday's date on it. No package. So I go upstairs, look at the notice, and the only phone number is the general 1-800 number for all of USPS, so I call and finally get through to that customer service. They have no info of a second delivery, so all they can tell me is to do another redelivery request, which I have the customer service person do for me. I tell her to put that if it doesn't fit in the box, to leave it on the floor underneath my mailbox. There's a main locked door, then the mailboxes, then another locked door before you can get up to the apartments, so I figured who in my building would want to steal a size 3X halloween costume? (Why would ANYONE want to steal a size 3X halloween costume?) I also give her the confirmation number from the first redelivery request, so she knows that I really did try already. I get another email with a new confirmation number of a redelivery request stating that it will be delivered today.

Wednesday 9/17: Redelivery day #2. No package. No notice. I call customer service AGAIN, admittedly this time more than a little irritated because this package with tax and everything cost me more than $50. They have no record of any delivery attempt being made after either redelivery request. Luckily this woman was very nice and apologetic, and instead of just filling out another redelivery request, she filed a complaint because she said two redelivery requests with not so much as a notice left is ridiculous.  She also gave me the name of the manager of the carrier and two CORRECT phone numbers to call tomorrow. Because seriously, this is ridiculous. I get having to make one redelivery since the mailbox was packed, but three? When my box has been basically empty the past two days? And nobody has any clue where my package is? Yeah, that's an epic fail.

Epic fail numero dos: Remember that deli I talk about all the time? The one we found just around the corner the day we first got here (which I cannot believe was almost six weeks ago, but that's another story)? Yeah, well, I got on my online banking tonight to check my balance just for curiosity's sake, and as I scrolled down to look at all of what was still processing and any charges Mom may have made on my account, I see a charge for 99 dollars. NINETY-NINE DOLLARS. At a deli? Not a snowball's chance in you-know-where. So I march straight over to the deli, and since the guys there know and love me, one of them straight up went and pulled out the receipts from Monday after noon, since I knew it would have to be after then since I had class Monday morning. They don't even have a receipt for 99 dollars. So it's not like they're trying to rip me off. Because what I initially thought was I had a charge for 9 dollars because I'm pretty sure I spent 9 dollars there on Monday, but no, that transaction is also in my bank activity, separate from this one, so I thought maybe whoever was there mistyped 99 instead of 9.  So now I have to call the bank in the morning to figure out what the heck that is about, and since I couldn't get a specific time off my banking app, will probably have to go back to the deli to check their receipts from whatever time this specific action went down.  If it were something small, I probably honestly wouldn't worry about it, but I mean, that's basically $100, and I don't have $100 to spare!

So two epic fails. USPS and Bank of America,


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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I have anxiety and depression. Here are my words.

I wanted to write this post right after the news of Robin Williams' suicide came out, but there was such a whirlwind of everyone wanting to have their opinion heard that I decided to wait.

Various members of my family often say that they wish they had my brain. I know why they do it, and what they mean. This IQ does come in handy. But with that, comes the side of my brain that I wouldn't wish on anyone.

It's the part where I stay awake all night in utter panic about things that I can't control or are far in the future.  It's the part where I break down crying and can't even talk about why because I don't know how to put into words the tornado of bad thoughts running through my head like a news reel going at warp speed. My brain goes so fast that I can't even keep up with it; all I know is that I'm scared and I don't know how to make it stop.

There's a big stigma about people with mental illnesses.  A lot of people I've met think mental illness is one of two things: act like a complete psychopath in a violent rage or be mentally handicapped, and if it's not one of those two, you're lying or exaggerating.  Those people don't understand what it's like to have to physically will yourself out of bed in the morning, not because you don't want to go to school or work, but because your mind is telling you to stay where it's safe.  Those people don't understand that when you get so stressed out you start sobbing, it doesn't mean that you're dramatic or, for girls, hormonal; it means that you're so overwhelmed and totally terrified that crying is the only thing your body knows how to do besides shut down.

A lot of people say that suicide is a choice.  Yes, in the literal sense, you do have to make the choice to do the action that will end your life, but just saying that it's a choice completely discounts the fact that people who have hit the point where they "make that choice" can't even see themselves or the situation they're in because the fog of their depression (and possibly also anxiety) is so thick.  People in that dark place need help.  They need someone to walk alongside them and get them the help they need.  My mom getting me on my medication and Matt being the friend that he was SAVED MY LIFE.  I am 100% certain of that.  My medication helps me not have issues with my depression and keeps my anxiety attacks mostly under control, but they still come up every now and then.

After Robin Williams' suicide, there was an avalanche of Christians, a few of whom I greatly respected, who came out and talked about how joy is the only thing that will beat depression, and if you just pray for joy and look for God, everything will get better.  As someone who heard that countless times when I was at my lowest point, I can tell you that hearing that does nothing.  You can't tell someone surrounded by darkness that they just need to look for the good in life, or pray for God to take their pain away.  Telling them things like that does nothing but add to the emotional wounds they carry.  They can't even see themselves for who they are, let alone the situation in front of them.  And telling a suicidal person that if they go through with it, they'll do nothing but hurt the people who love them?  That's manipulation at its finest.  That needs to stop.  Like, yesterday.  These people are desperate for their pain to end, they don't need another person telling them how screwed up they are.

Jesus didn't just walk around telling people how wrong they were, He showed them the light and helped them.  One is judgment, the other is love.

Anxiety and depression are two very real, very dangerous, life-crippling problems.  I've experienced both much more strongly than I ever would have liked, and so yes, I get angry and more than a bit defensive when people make assumptions about what they are or how they should be dealt with and try to simplify the answers so they fit in this neat little box.  No one deserves to have their story glossed over with a "oh just pray about it" brush, and no one's life story can be simplified down to fit into some box modeled on others' expectations.  I have too many people that I know and love who have their own stories with anxiety or depression that I stand up for them just as much as (if not more than) I do for myself.  I'm lucky to have a few friends who also suffer with these issues so we are there to support each other through it.

At the times when I've felt most alone in my life, one of those two diseases was at the root.  Every single time.  And so please, I beg you, if someone you have any kind of relationship with at all is suffering from an anxiety disorder or depression, don't kick them when they're down.  Love them, in whatever way you know how.  Just love them.  That has a heck of a lot better chance of showing them the light and a way out than telling them what they should be doing.  Sit with them in the darkness so they know they're not alone, and then reach out your hand and help them walk forward.

Because even one small step can save a life.  You'd be surprised.

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Monday, September 15, 2014

And then I blinked and it was almost midnight.

This is going to be brief because I have SO much work to do and about 21 hours to do it in on top of, ya know, managing to get a little bit of sleep.

Apparently sharing an apartment means Holly and I are going to be on a constant cycle of getting each other sick because this is the second time in the past month we've both felt like crap at the same time.

I say that to say that I laid down after I ate lunch after class today, having doped myself up on meds and planning to get about 90 minutes of rest and then get up and work...And I didn't wake up until 6:00. Somehow I turned off my alarm in my sleep because I have absolutely no recollection of doing so.

I had to get dinner, find a place to order a delivery of cases of drinks online, and then spent the next several hours doing laundry at a new place that is way better than the place we were going to before but is more of a walk. And then we came back and I rested for a bit because my body was aching, ate a small snack, went to the deli to get some drinks to last until our delivery tomorrow because we don't even have enough water for all of us until then, put up all my laundry and took a shower.

And now it's almost midnight and I'm just sitting down to start on the 163 pages of reading I have to do to create discussion questions and write a response paper that is totally different than what I did last week (thankfully I got some pointers from the instructor, and she also said that several students had this problem, which made me feel better). And they have to be in by 9 pm tomorrow.

Did I mention I'm sick? Yeah, stellar timing. I hate that I'm feeling overwhelmed this early in the semester.

Lord, sustain me to get through this.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Well, this was bound to happen sooner or later.

(Warning. This is just meant to state how things were, not to sound cocky. I know it might come off that way and that is not my intention.)

Okay so here's the thing.

Grade school? Piece of cake. I graduated 6th in my class despite the fact that I was pretty much never there. I did the minimal amount of reading library books required, barely read textbooks, and never studied for anything. Ever. I got two Cs in high school, one because I didn't read enough library books to get my "points" for 10th grade English and the other was .6 from being a B and was in my senior year when I didn't have a single healthy day ever...and was an AP class. So like really, it was easy.

College? I had to work, but the assignments were easy. I was always one of the smartest people in class, usually THE smartest, and never once worried about getting less than a B by the time a semester was up. There were very few textbooks that I had a hard time understanding, and it wasn't until senior year that I really ever stressed about understanding material. Professors always loved my writings (save for one awful English professor) so I never worried about comments on my technique or style.  Once I got past the initial first-week panic, the only stress I had was really honestly centered around time-management (and that was my own fault).

Grad school? This is a totally different world. Now, I have classrooms full of people who are at least as smart as I am, if not smarter. Several of them have multiple master's degrees already. The work is miles above anything I've ever done requiring work and effort I'm not used to needing to put in. It's a complete shock to my system and is scaring the crap out of me.

I got my first response paper back for my History class today. I got a check minus (that's the system they're graded on, check plus check or check minus). I didn't expect that at all. Apparently I completely misunderstood the directions and wrote a reflection instead of a response paper. It took about 4.7 seconds for me to dial my mom and start crying.

Thankfully she is quite used to my panic attacks over school, so she knew exactly what to say to get me to calm down in about 10-15 minutes. This paper is only 1.5% of my grade, absolutely NOTHING to warrant the freakout I had. But I think it was just the first in-my-face proof that I am in for two years of work way beyond anything I've ever seen. And that's a hard thing to deal with for someone who's never had to truly worry about academic success before. But that doesn't mean I'm not capable of doing this program and doing well. It just means I'm going to have to get used to the major change.

But I can't change the past, can I? So I emailed both the course assistant who grades these and the professor and asked for tips/pointers on how to make my paper a reflection instead of response, and hopefully I can do better for the next one.

Tomorrow is the start of a new week. Let's hope it's better than this past one, because the universe was SO not working in my favor.

And also I am not one of those girls who can cry pretty. Just saying.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Too much.

Too much sleep today because of my migraine.

And too much reading per class. Like really, 200 pages a week for one class is just nuts.

Will be working late and then have to finish it tomorrow after church since it has to be ready Monday morning. At least this professor gives us until class time instead of 9 pm the night before.

And then get straight into the stuff for Wednesday. And then Thursday. My life will be one big reading cycle until Christmas.

It's quite frustrating to constantly have pain getting in the way of things I need to do.

Just saying.

Okay, back to work.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

At least there's some answer.

I have a small tear in my labrum, the main ligament around my shoulder joint. Also some piece of it that's supposed to have a pointy end now has a rather flat and blunted end. So you know, I'm not a hypochondriac.

The doctor says he thinks that the tear is not big enough for the orthopedic surgeon that comes to NYU twice a month to want to go straight to surgery.  So on the 25th, I'm getting cortisone injections and will see if that helps, and if I'm still in pain by October 14th, I'll have a meeting with the surgeon.

So the good news is that there is an answer to the cause of my pain (though the doctor acted like he thinks I should be better by now) and there is a plan to deal with it.  The bad news is there is a lot of wait time involved, and the doctor is so obsessed with the dangers of narcotics that he won't give me enough to last through the waiting. So I'm gonna have to deal with that later if the pain doesn't go away on its own.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

I'm ready for t-shirt and jeans weather.

Well, the CT was awful. First they did several injections, first of lidocaine which did not work very well and then the iodine contrast injections. Then they twisted my arm in a way that an arm does not normally turn, so that hurt muscles all the way up my upper arm. And then they weighed my hand down with a sandbag to keep it all still.  And they actually did X-rays and a CT scan, so it took an hour and a half. Ninety minutes of feeling like someone was punching me in the arm, twisting my already injured joint, and having to bear through it. My jaw was clenched for most of it.

The good news is that  I have an appointment for 5:00 tomorrow to get the results. Hopefully answers and a plan of healing will be coming.

Anyway, I went to get lunch after that and got a burger and fries at a pub, and then googled a place to get dessert. My period has got my sweet tooth out of control this week. I found this French cafe that was about six blocks from where I was, on the other side of where I had to go for class.  Totally worth the walk.

I got a chocolate tart and chocolate eclair and it was worth every penny. Crazy good. The only downside was that by the time I got there, my legs were locking up on me pretty bad, and I had to walk four blocks to get to class. I made it, though. Barely.

God bless my professor. She sent me home halfway through class because she said I looked like hell. And between the even worse arm and shoulder pain from going through the scans this morning, and then the extra walking, and the heat, I felt like hell, too. I almost called a cab, but decided I needed to save the money and get the walking in if it was at all possible.

So I dragged myself home. Thankfully, I was so overheated by the time I got to my block that I didn't know how I was going to make it up the stairs, and the waiter I know at the cafe next door served me several glasses of ice water so I could cool down. I was absolutely drenched with sweat, which is hilarious because the high today was 10 degrees lower than it's been for the past week.

And then I made it. I got up here, took off my socks and shoes and laid directly in front of my air conditioning unit and fell asleep.

I got up in time to follow along live for the boys' soccer game.

I'd say that was good. :) The boys are 3-0 so far this season, first time since 1988. Yay!

Hands down, the best part of my day, possibly my week, was this.

I finally got to FaceTime with my brother and favorite hippie. Aka Austin. :) He is the best. Like seriously, we can talk about serious, deep stuff or absolutely nothing, it doesn't matter, every conversation leaves me grinning. He just has that effect on me. I'm so glad I know him.

I've been too mentally drained and in pain to do anything else the rest of the night except complete crossword puzzles on my phone and watch Criminal Minds. I'm going to get a good night's rest, though, because tomorrow I am going to have to buckle down and read a lot. Ah, school.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Some days just call for ice cream.

And days that include waiting 20 minutes for a metro to show up

and then it being so packed you can't even try to force yourself to smash in there,

spending the next 20 minutes trying to hail a cab with one bad arm and another that you can't hold up for very long,

finding out your brand new ID doesn't work,

almost being late to class,

having a seizure,

spending the rest of the day with a killer migraine,

and your mother insisting on taking $300 out of your account so she can buy herself a birthday present even though you're barely going to have enough to make it to the end of January when your next set of loans comes in

are pretty much the prime example of ice cream kind of days.

This was really not my day.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Well, I got my work done.

But that's all I got done today.

Well, that and shaving, which I was very much in need of.

My shoulder is so messed up. And the painkillers are making me tired but not really doing anything for the pain. But the doctor already said he won't give me anything else until we get the results from the CT scan, so I just have to suck it up and deal with it.

At least my only work for Thursday is reading, and it's online so I don't have to hold a book or anything like that.

And now I'm going to bed because yeah, I was up until 3 reading last night and made myself get up at 10:15 so I didn't sleep all day and totally ruin myself for tonight, but yeah, exhaustion from the painkillers and muscle relaxers and nausea meds is making me almost fall asleep at the computer.

Gnight. Hopefully I make it to class and back tomorrow okay. Even walking is harder with my arm in this sling because I have to hold my purse with my right arm, which I don't normally do, and so it throws off the alignment of my spine and thus hurts my whole lower back and hips thanks to all my stupid nerve damage. Ugh. If this had happened to my right arm, it wouldn't be nearly as big of a deal.

Okay, enough whining. Help is coming, and for that I am grateful.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Five days in and I'm already behind.

Because when the first week of graduate school classes coincides with your period (even though it was supposed to be here a week and a half before this) and a bad shoulder injury, the period leaves you curled up on the bathroom floor for hours with a fan blowing directly on you praying to God you don't start throwing up, and the shoulder injury is to the shoulder of your good arm aka the arm that doesn't have severe nerve damage aka the arm you do everything with and it leaves you taking painkillers around the clock to cope, reading boring textbooks for a class you're not all that excited about to begin with is not really high on your list of things to remember.

I have approximately 182 pages to read, two discussion questions to think of, and a 250-600 word response to write by 9 pm tomorrow. Technically, I'm allowed to skip 3 of the weekly response papers, so I could take that off my list, but it'd be good if I could skip the last 3 at the end of the semester when all my big papers are due.

I better just suck it up and get to reading.  Hopefully I can get about half of it done before I crash. I read pretty quickly so it's possible.

It would help if I didn't get sucked into Criminal Minds, huh?  Ha!

Today I went to class, took a nap because I felt nauseous and was exhausted, and went to Kmart in the grocery store with Holly, and yeah, yeah, watched Criminal Minds.

Okay, here we go. I need to not be behind this early on in the semester.

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