Life

A Whirlwind

Hello peoples. Let me just preface this by saying that life has been crazy these past couple of months. Emotionally, mostly, as is with everything, but also just living. I don’t mean suicidal, I mean like living in a house with bills to pay and somehow everything in your possession start to break at once. This thing needs fixing which leads to this other thing needs fixing and before you know it you’re out thousands and thousands of savings, and in a time like this even if you can weather it you’re afraid of ‘what else is going to go wrong’ scenarios, and you psych yourself up for failure.

I also don’t have a psychologist at this moment. My usual one is, well, I think we’re not jiving anymore, so I’m in the market for a new one. Except of course everyone needs mental health help right now so there’s a giant waitlist for every single option. I am journaling and trying to manage everything myself, and it’s to limited success. It doesn’t help that I haven’t worked on my novel one lick since I finished the outline, and I’m getting really cold feet about the whole process again. It’s a work in progress, always, and I’m going to try to pull through this week. The first week of calmness I’ve had in a while.

I’ll talk more about my life later. Right now I just want to have a small update. Even writing this one took me forever because I’m out of practice, so to speak. Who knew you can get rusty with personal blogging? Yeah, that’s it from me for now.

Life · Writing

No NaNo November

For the first time in a long while, I am NOT doing NaNoWriMo this November. So much had happened in the past couple of months that I’m still slowly recovering emotionally, there’s no way I can try to focus on writing anything even semi-literate right now. I have been seeing my therapist, and he said that I had a major depressive episode due to outside sources (so it’s not just a general depressive state caused by my own mind, but actual events that had happened), and it looks like I’m clawing my way out of it, but it’ll take time. I suppose that’s good news. Anyway, I’m sure for the rest of the year my productivity will be crap on top of these past horrible two years. Pandemic really messes with people, huh?

As part of me slowly trying for normal, I’m going to blog here again. I’m sorry I was gone for so long, but really, it’s unavoidable, IMO. So much crappy things had happened that I would love to recount every horrible detail, because if I could do that without crying it means I’m getting over them. Well, maybe getting over is too harsh a word – more like moving past them slowly so I can go back to being a functional adult. And isn’t that all we want? Trying to be a functional adult? Nobody told me it’d be this hard when I was a kid. I don’t really miss my childhood, but I gotta say at least things had definitive goals and I had definitive steps to get there. Now? It’s all a haze.

(Off topic, but I’m not a big fan of WordPress’s new interface. What they had before was better. It was cleaner and the text less cramped and is there a way for me to make it so everything isn’t so compact? It’s not the text size’s problem but more about its spacing. Geez, gone for two months and even your blogging UI decides to change on you.)

Anyway, I’m not doing NaNo and it feels kind of weird. The community aspect had always been my favorite, and this year I’m just completely ignoring the whole thing. I won’t even have a temporary icon with the badge on it! It’s a small thing but that always made me very happy, like I’m part of something cool and greater (yeah only writers think NaNoWriMo is cool, right? I mean not even all of us – I’ve met folks in my MFA who thought the whole thing’s kind of absurd haha). I think ever since the site rebranding it’s less, I don’t know, distinct? In that you can basically do your own NaNo anytime with your own trackers and stuff. So does it really have to be in November? I could probably have a “make-up” NaNo in January if I want. I might do that.

I’m going to stop here. When I’m more up for it I will tell you what happened to me in the past few months. It’s not pretty, but it needs to be said, by me, so I can maybe count that as a way to cope and move past them.

Life

Every Time I Break My Own Rules, I Pay!

Yeah, so remember a while ago I said I’m doing a complete media blackout so I don’t spend time on social media? Especially reddit? Yeah I’ve basically kept up with that on my desktop, but I allowed myself to check reddit when I’m done with work or just relaxing at the end of the day. Well, today I broke the rule, because it’s Saturday and I’ve already gone shopping before noon (a rarity because I can’t get up in the mornings), so I figure I’d relax a bit after lunch before I start work. Uh-huh, guess what happened? I totally got depressed because all of reddit is just filled with negativity. All the posts about how women are always discriminated against and will never make more than men in STEM and business fields. How women writers are usually passed over for male writers when it came to traditional publishing. All the excuses that Asians aren’t discriminated against when in fact, we totally are discriminated against just nobody gave a single shit (media didn’t report on it, no one talked about it on social, etc.) until recently, after Asians folks have been spit on, stomped on, stabbed, murdered, and scapegoated by everyone starting at the very, very top.

Of course, these are reddit posts, filled with astroturfing and people venting and all in all, not exactly the most nuanced place to talk about issues. So yeah, if those statements seem a bit absolute well because on reddit it is. But as an Asian-American woman writer being constantly exposed to these posts it’s very, very depressing. Which is why I told myself to stop going on reddit before I work, because it NEVER puts me in the mood to work. It just makes me go “why bother you’re going to fail always because every aspect of yourself is a negative in this culture!” People say surround yourself with positivity. I never bought that, though, but I think it would do well if I stop surrounding myself with negativity, at least. I made this rule for myself for a reason, you know! Like, I know that breaking the rule is bad, but I did it anyway. It’s like an alcoholic knows alcohol is bad for them but they still are driven toward it. I don’t know why I’m driven toward things that hurt me. It’s better if I run the other way, yeah?

Work

Be Gentle, Be Kind

I had a terrible day yesterday. And the day before, but more so yesterday. No, nothing significant happened, just that I woke up anxious and therefore couldn’t really concentrate on work. And then because I couldn’t concentrate, I got more anxious, and the spiral of anxiety just went on until I basically stayed in bed all day and didn’t do anything. And then one of my packages from USPS didn’t get delivered due to a mistake. Totally understandable, since they’re so overwhelmed right now, but that seemed to be just the straw that broke the camel’s back and I burst out ugly crying on my husband’s shoulder while talking about how this completely non-essential delivery is going to be a few days late. I guess it really was just one of those days.

I woke up today still feeling horrible, still worrying about that super stupid package, and when my husband asked me if I could make some rice I burst out crying again. Yeah… He then was like, um, are you okay? Is something else bothering you that’s not just this package being late because it seems a little dramatic, and of course I said “I don’t know whatever” when of course I knew exactly why. In fact, I could just say that “I’m terrified I’ll never finish my novel why is it going so slowly omg???” and “I’ll never make money and I’ll be broke and homeless when I’m old due to no social security payments” and “I might as well kill myself and end it right here the future is so bleak.” And of course that’ll only get everyone more upset so I didn’t say anything.

So we ate lunch and after that I forced myself to just follow a routine. Not even a good routine, just a routine, just so I can stop moping around in bed. I played some games, put on my usual skincare that I’ve been neglecting, cleaned up the dishes, listened to a podcast, and then took out my bullet journal and started my usual checklists and other planning that I always do before starting work. I’m writing this entry now also as part of the routine. After this I’ll start on my novel again. (I did call the post office before lunch and everything seems okay – I just have to wait for the delivery for a few more days.) I still don’t feel that much better, but keep working seems to be the cure for, well, I think all of my woes. So I guess no matter what happens I just need to keep working until I’m done. Easier said by a wide margin, for realz.

Life

Back to Normal

I slept for a full 10 hours yesterday. Granted I went to bed super late, as I have been for the past week because of stupid reasons, but I woke up today at almost noon and felt more rested than I’ve had for a long, long time. Note to self: stop keeping crazy, inconsistent sleep schedules. This is what happens when your body gets confused and therefore, needs much more rest than you realize.

I’ve also washed my face, used a face mask at night, and painted my nails. Why is this significant? Well, considering I haven’t done any of these things for the past, oh, 8 weeks at least? Probably longer than that, really, and yes, it does sound absolutely disgusting that I haven’t washed my face for more than 2 months. It’s not that bad, though, in that I still showered and I still splashed my face with water, just not with the full routine (you know the crazy 11-step thing Korean beauties do? I don’t have to that extreme but there’s at least 6 or 7 steps in mine). And with nail polish I absolutely could use them while pregnant. All of my stash are at least 5-free, so there are no iffy chemicals that may or may not have some effect on pregnancy (the verdict is still out on that one, but better be as safe as possible). Anyway, the reason I haven’t done any of that is simple: stress. I’ve been stressed about everything involving my pregnancy that I basically fell into a mini-depression when it comes to some areas of my life. They say that estrogen might contribute to depression, add on the miscarriage and all the IVF problems (not to mention Covid), yeah I barely had energy to get out of bed, let alone doing extra things like painting my nails.

But that’s all behind me now. Mostly. (Not Covid, but, well, the earliest we can expect a difference I suppose is January 2021). I feel hormonally normal. I painted my nails for the first time with a new color last night (just because I wasn’t painting doesn’t mean I wasn’t buying polishes) – a Halloween themed Frankenstein green. My nails are super short because I pick at them when I’m stressed, and I’ve been neglecting moisturizing so they break off all the damn time. I’ve always enjoyed the process of painting my nails, just like I enjoyed the process of going through all the steps of washing/moisturizing my face before bedtime. I did that for the first time last night, too, and you know, it just makes me feel so normal for the first time in ages. I didn’t even realize I’ve stopped doing things I liked until I resumed doing them and realized I missed them. It’s progress, and I’m glad I’ve moved on emotionally enough to have non-crackly skin and an ugly-pretty color on my short stubby nails again.

I will try to go to bed at a reasonable hour tonight, and start exercising properly again. And work, god, the amount of work piling up is getting out of hand. I am a functioning adult once more, and you know, it really makes me wonder about my miscarriage as a blessing in disguise. At least until I start the whole pregnancy thing again, and I’m hoping next time I’d have enough experience that I am prepared for anything.

Work · Writing

How Would You Know If You Don’t Try?

I am having some serious issues concentrating on work these past few days. I don’t know if it’s fatigue or anxiety or what have you, but I’ve got no motivation to do work. I mean, so what else is new, but instead of pure panic I just feel demotivated and drained. I’m not fearful of my work, at least I don’t think, but regardless I’m still not working due to… depression? Boredom? Fatigue? I really don’t know.

It doesn’t help that I’m submitting some chapters for my writer’s group’s upcoming April meeting. (Don’t worry, it’ll be via digital means; we’re not going to someone’s house like we usually do.) I was hoping to submit 2-3 chapters but at the rate I’m writing them now it might not even be one. I’ve half a heart to cancel my submission already because I’m afraid I won’t have enough time to make it “good enough.” But you know, I still have two solid weeks to drum out a single chapter, at the most, and since I haven’t even started, how do I know I won’t have enough time? My fear of that deadline is creeping on me. Maybe that’s why I’m dragging my feet? Kind of like giving up before I fail rather than trying to win and then fall short. Ugh, yeah, I think that’s it. Well, the only solution is to stop scaring myself silly or give in to depression, but instead pick up my busted ass and try.

Didn’t mean to turn this into a semi random peptalk. On another unrelated, much lighter note, Amazon delayed my Animal Crossing: New Horizon copy by a week, so I just canceled it and opted for digital instead. It’s all ready and pre-loaded for release day (midnight tonight), which makes me happy, although I’m not going to actually start playing until tomorrow. Why? Because it’s in real time, so all the stores and other things are closed at night. (Yes, they have an overnight box but it’s not quite the same feel). I rather just play it 10 hours later when I wake up and am refreshed, and it’s beautiful daylight in the game, too.

Work · Writing

Depression Comes in All Different Sizes

I took a look at my bullet journal work log yesterday, and found out that I worked so little that I should be ashamed of myself. Granted, I had a few other things on my mind this past month but the amount of work I didn’t do was atrocious. I’m glad I looked, though, because it basically gave me a kick in the teeth about how much I’m not getting done, so now I know to get down and do it. Seriously. Sometimes I really hate the way I don’t operate correctly, like a robot stuck on a loop of non-productivity.

Depression is a crazy thing, eh? I know there are folks are so depressed that they don’t feel like doing ANYTHING, like not even getting out of bed. I don’t think that’s how depression ever manifested in me except for like a very short period of time. My depression seems to manifest so that I struggle to do creative work, which is devastating for someone who writes fiction for a living. I’m functioning in life, but not functioning at work, and I don’t know how to deal with that. They say that insanity is the process of doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results. Well, I want different results certainly, but I also feel like I’ve tried different tactics and none are giving me that. I guess the best way now is just to pick the one that works the best, even if it’s like at 25% instead of 100%, but hey, it’s better than 0%, and go from there. For me personally it’s setting a time (like 3 hrs every day or something like that) and stick to schedule. (And also avoid all procrastination websites like Reddit, which I actually did alright on.) It worked for at least a few days in the past, so maybe this time I just need to keep it going every day, like a recovering alcoholic who’s struggling to stay sober, one day at a time.

If I have a 3D printer I might just print some imitation AA tokens but for writer’s block. Or rather, working block – and see if I can get myself to not fall off the wagon. Because hell I’ve tried everything else.