Monday, December 03, 2012

Writing stuff down so then I can't get locked in an argument with myself again

Potentially, that sounds a smidgen odd as title but I've just reread Carpe Jugulum and I can kind of understand Agnes and Mightily Oats arguing with Perdita and "Bad" Oats.

You see, the thing is, when you're single and don't live with close friends or family and also lack close friends and have apparently acquired a whole host of trust issues along the way which don't combine well to make making close friends an easy task, you end up having to be ridiculously aware of what sort of mood you're in and you also have to be your own cheerleader to talk yourself out of one of those moods.  And that, quite frankly, is frigging hard work!  You end up stuck in this awful, horrible vicious circle where you try to talk yourself out of it; nearly succeed and so relax for a bit; decide that you're going to have a tantrum and sulk about whatever anyway; attempt to talk yourself out of it again; realise that you're bored and fed up of being your own cheerleader; sulk about (apparently) having no-one apart from your mum to offload onto; sulk and whine again because this is a stupid situation for a 31-year old to be in and generally exhaust yourself like an overtired child.  And you know what was probably at the root of tonight's pity party?  I had a busy day in what is still a new job.  I forgot to factor in the usual crunch of mental gears when swapping from admin to kids' club. A minor thing really, and one I can easily learn from but for any number of reasons, I instead chose to make it the focus of a “you're crap, why are you doing this?" moment which lasted for about 5 hours, on and off this evening.

FIVE HOURS?!?!?!?!

This is where the being alone thing is a complete liability because there's no one to call you out on such a silly waste of time and mental energy.

I'm not a perfectionist.  Things don't generally have to be "just so". However, I am competitive and generally still guilty of holding myself to impossibly high standards at the same time ("I must be top of the class").

Moral of tonight's story?  I need to learn to be much gentler on myself at times!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Small steps and leaps and bounds

Oddly, despite posting this at dark o'clock, this isn't an insomnia-fueled post.  It's possibly still (even 8 hours later) a wine & cocktail infused post, but it's not insomnia based!

Yesterday was a bit of a big day for me for various reasons.  It was the last day of one of our annual week-long events which, while it represents the culmination of a lot of hard work on behalf of a lot of people, is also bloody hard work and we do celebrate a bit when it's all over.  It was my last day at work before my 4½ month long career break.  It was also nearly, but not quite, the day I asked a guy I like out.

I've had a bit of a soft spot for him pretty much ever since I started work in the admin department five years ago.  We've shared a goodly few laughs and moans over tea in the office kitchen or drinks in the pub and via email when we don't get chance to speak to each other that often.  I really enjoy the time I spend with him and so I decided that my last night before career break was the perfect time to get, well, drunk and flirtatious and to see what happened.  The trouble is that suddenly turning all touchy and huggy with him pretty much got lost in the noise of our colleagues being drunk and the hug-fest that ensued.  Somehow, in the ensuing madness of sorting out lifts and taxis and buses at the end of the night, he disappeared before I could could say anything outright.  So, what's a modern girl to do in these circumstances?  Why, when she gets home, she send the guy in question a message on Facebook, "I'm sorry I didn't get to say goodbye properly.  Keep in touch. Oh, by the way, I really like you but don't know if this is mutual".  Long story short, he likes me too but he's got stuff he wants to sort out in his head before getting into a relationship.  Which, from my point of view, is actually a fair comment to make.  While I was just using my career break as a fairly safe point to find our if he is interested, on the basis that, if I made a fool of myself, I wouldn't be in the office on Monday morning, in all honesty, I'm really not far enough away from losing Gavin to male it worth starting a new relationship.  If it was someone who'd just be up for a bit of fun then I'd risk it but he's not that type (which'll be why I like him in the first place ;o) )

So, still single but we'll see what happens over the coming months.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

So, my brain is still moderately elsewhere

I'm not exactly sure quite what I mean by elsewhere but that's definitely where my brain is.  Stuff with friend-who-I-had-an-unsuitable-crush-on is definitely and finally at a good solid point where nothing is wrong or just plain weird any more.  M from work is quite lovely but I feel it would be forcing things to make anything more out of a good friendship.  I say I'm not ready for a relationship at this point  and I don't think I'm wrong there but, on the other hand, I do feel that I could certainly cope with someone who I could like be being interested in me.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

The latest update

Do you want to know what I miss the most?  Lazy weekends when nothing's been planned and you just randomly decide to go out and do something or to stay in and watch DVDs.  Being able to walk into a place and to leave it again with someone else rather than always walking in by yourself, even when you know you're meeting friends whereever it is that you're off to.  Not having to come up with plans to amuse yourself all the time.  Being able to have more than a superficial conversation with someone.  Oh, being able to have more than a superficial conversation with someone!  I don't know whether it's because I'm an INTP, whether it's because I'm a Gemini, whether it's because I'm generally crap at chit-chat, whether it's because I'm a squiggle, a Plant or a Specialist (I can't remember which I'm supposed to be), a Dreamer or any other of a hundred and one personality types or definitions depending on which criteria you use but this is a big one for me.  I love silly conversations with everyone in the pub but I prefer talking to only a couple of people at a time.  I miss my two best friends.  One of them lives locally and is married with a 15 month old son and the other lives in London and is married with a 1 month old daughter.  Strangely enough, family time always comes first for them these days and old friends end up on the outskirts.

The thing is, I'm kind of stuck.  I know that an "easy" solution would be just to pick up my phone and ring or text people to make plans of the sort that I can deal with but I can come up with so many reasons why that won't work, a major one being that I know that I'm generally never free at the same time as anyone else.  (There are others but there's a limit to the amount of soul-baring I'm going to do in one post! ;o) )

And you know what?  This "writing to clear my head" thing really does work.  Yes, there're times when I'm bitterly lonely but I do have friends who I should be at least texting when that happens.  Yes, I really miss being in a relationship but my heart's not yet mended enough to cope with getting into a relationship again and I *know* this without even testing the idea.  Yes, I'm scared stiff of ending up absolutely exhausted again as the autumn term ramps up but I'm now aware of how much spare time I've got and we're changing a lot of stuff at work so this season shouldn't be so manic.  Yes, I'm also scared about the huge step of faith that is my 4 1/2 month career break to work-shadow our Children & Families Worker at church but it is going to be oh so EXCITING as well!  And if it all goes wrong, I still get my job back at the end of it.  When it comes down to it, my living arrangements are secure, I can pay all the bills, I have a job that I really enjoy on a good day and have the freedom to change the way I deal with the boring stuff, I have my family and my friends.  I have a lot which I am very thankful for and, perhaps, I should think about this stuff more when the gloom comes down.  In the past, I've used Nina Simone's "Ain't Got No/I Got Life" as a kind of checklist of all the things that I do have in my life that I'm thankful for, perhaps I should listen to it a bit more often!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hugs are tanglesome things

When is a gentle hug just a hug and when does it turn into a cuddle?  That last hug felt so sad and gentle and I only broke it off because everyone else could see and I didn't want them to start wondering.  Which is a pretty pants reason now I come to think of it.

Oh, I'm all caught up on a tide of nostalgia now.  The campfire in my friends' garden led on to talk of camps we have known and loved which, for me, was definitely Camp Eagle Owl/Camp No Name in Sweden in July 1997.  I was 16, I'd just done my GCSEs and my Ranger unit went off on an international trip to Sweden to visit a Scout troop we were friends with in Sundsvall.  It was amazing.  For several years after, I kept in touch with some of them and we met at several more camps over the years.  I frequently wished one of them, Daniel, lived closer to home but it was never to be.  Neither of us were ever single and on camp together at the same time.  I often wondered whether we would ever had gone out with each other had life been completely different.  Thinking about it, long hugs good-night were a feature of that non-relationship too but I don't remember thinking that they were odd, just that Danne was silly when it came to hugs.

It's slightly odd to think that I could have stood there all night holding him. It was that sort of slow, companionable night which sitting around a fire often results in.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

All confusticated

I'm not 100% sure why I'm in quite such an odd mood today. Part of the reason will certainly be because I was up late last night reading instead of getting the early night that I desperately needed. Part of it will be because my new favourite songs are distinctly wistful and haunting and somewhat melancholy and I've been listening to them on repeat and their atmosphere has affected my brain. Part of it will also be because I'm unbearably lonely at times. People do live in the flat with me but I sometimes (and all to frequently recently) feel that I'm just the flat's owner rather than being a real person who lives there too. I have plenty of old friends at the moment but none that I could describe as a best friend. All of the people who have been best friends have moved away or moved on or both.

Wow. Those are some cheerful thoughts. Never mind, they're where my head currently is and I'm just going to have to deal with them. I don't have a clue how but I'll save that as a problem for another day.

Today, all I want to do is hibernate and pretend that the world doesn't exist.

I may be more tired than I thought. I'm sure that normal service will return after a good night's sleep!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sending emails to myself

So back in November, I found FutureMe and decided to write myself an email to be delivered today.  By the time I logged onto my email today, I'd completely forgotten all about it so it was a nice surprise for me.  Here's what I wrote to myself late one night in late November...

Dear FutureMe,
I'm sending this because, dear God!, is today likely to be an awful day.
Remember the joy of doing the LPA course.
Remember drinking champagne after working at Graduation and pointing A (and B!!) in the direction of food or champagne.
Remember dancing in 60 at R's b'day and thinking that you'd actually walked into a Questionable Content strip.
Remember the taste of that fine, fine mincemeat (I hope! It's still in the cupboard maturing at the moment).
Remember the solid bed rock of love and support that comes from home group.
Remember to go and get prayer if you hide yourself behind your barbed wire fence again.
Remember sitting drinking tea with M, D and An, keeping the chiminea going.
Remember the times spent talking rubbish with Mt and S.
Remember the one, truly unconstrained worship session at Soul Survivor.
Remember to feel ze burn!
Remember Tribute and the Day of Hugs.
Remember the feel of the dog's ears.
Remember the buzz from correctly anticipating worship team and the minister when you're trying to run AVP.
Remember gossiping with C while waiting for the Dominos order.
Remember the odd things like finally having cushions that match the rest of your bedroom.
Please do remember that if you're feeling physically rough, it constructively interferes with an mental rough feeling and it all spirals out of control. Take a couple of paracetamol, one large mug of tea or hot chocolate and go and watch the waves for a bit.
Remember that you're allowed to ask for help from others. Make sure you do. Work will almost certainly not be expecting you in today (although that'll depend on whether or not I chose to take some A/L around then). Even if you were silly and thought you could work through it all, K is sure to let you text in rather than phone, today of all days.
Remember to read psalm 116.
Please don't get stuck listening to any one song on repeat, pick a selection of songs and use shuffle.

Well, as it's turned out, today's been pretty much okay.  Sunday was rough for a bit after the Rainbow sleepover just because of the timing of everything but, apart from that, all has been pretty good.  The lovely weather and the fact that I've got a few days off of work have definitely helped.  It has to be said, some of my advice to myself has definitely made me giggle!  (To understand "feeling ze burn", go onto YouTube and look up Johannes von Lycra, he's a bit of an in joke from Soul Survivor)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Quick update

I'm still here :o)  I'm still functioning.  I didn't get the job (poo!) but learnt quite a bit from the application process so that's all good.  I might be posting properly again this week, it depends on how it all goes.  I've got through the first hurdle this week (this Sunday last year was when I had to dial 999 for the first time in my life) and found that it was all a lot easier than I expected when I asked for help to deal with it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Eeek! (Not my normal posting topic)

I've been in my current job for 4 years now.  It's what I refer to as a "specialist administrator job".  Filing and typing and stuff is minimal and much of my time is spent either setting up and auditing parts of our database or else providing helpdesk-type support for our users.  It doesn't stretch me any more (and hasn't done for some time now) but it pays much more than anywhere else locally would pay me for a similar level of ability.  I also happen to work in a fairly unique field and working anywhere else which actually needs my expertise would require a 50 mile round-trip commute every day just to get to the office.  I do quite like my job though; it also pays the bills and the people I work with are amazing so it's really much better than it sounds.  Coming up for two years ago, I went on secondment to another team but ended up returning earlier than expected to my normal role.  With hindsight, it was a very silly idea to start a new job while Gav was still in ICU and only two weeks after my nan had passed away.  I could have done with staying put in my normal job that summer!  Anyway, stuff happened that I couldn't cope with, I was making mistakes left, right and centre and became convinced that I was a complete failure.  After Gav got discharged from hospital and then promptly readmitted with an infection only a week or two later, I ended up going on sick leave with "low mood" for 3 1/2 weeks and HR recommended that I go back to my old job.  People were surprised that I was willing to go back at the busiest time of year but I'd started in the office as a temp at that time 3 years earlier and the chaos was what I was used to!  I knew that I could do all those dull and repetitive admin jobs (like alphabetising 12,000 labelled envelopes) without a problem.  I've tried my hardest to work on my confidence since then but it hasn't always been easy.  One of the biggest helps has been to completely ignore things like Failblog and all the other places on the internet where the word "fail" is horribly misused.  I've decided that failure should only be used of measurable outcomes.  I could fail an exam; I could fail to pot the red in pool and instead pot the black; I could fail to cook the meat enough.  Putting cheese in the omelette that I'm cooking for myself instead of the ham that I wanted isn't a failure.  It might not be a ham omelette but is it still a tasty dinner?  If the answer's yes then I've succeeded, not failed.

So, we've established what happened the last time I tried to apply for a new job.  I've also been told by our section leader that I "could go far".  I think the rough idea was that my secondment would go amazingly well and it'd allow me to start zigzagging up our job ladder and the one where I did my secondment and I'd eventually end up pretty much at her level.  A fantastic idea, had everything worked out as we expected!  But I came back sorely lacking in confidence and with far too much going on at home to cope with more than the normal routine of audits and set-up.  Recently though, I've been starting to get bored with my usual work, particularly when I found out that the requested promotion to a senior administrator wasn't going to happen.  I fully admit to having kept an eye out for other jobs locally but those that I could do didn't pay me enough and those that I could afford to do required a completely different skill set.

There's been a draft job advert sat in our printing tray for most of the week so far but I hadn't really read it.  It looked halfway interesting but the pay grade was "TBC" as was the duration of the contract.  I happened to check our intranet this afternoon and saw that the jobs page had just been updated.  Oddly enough, I scrolled through the whole list today.  Normally, I just scroll through the ones at the top until I find one I remember being posted earlier on in the week as I've always assumed that they're sorted by date posted.  It turns out that they've changed the system and now sort them by closing date and one of the jobs in the middle of the list was for this post where I'd seen the draft advert.  Unlike the others posted today which all have a month until the closing date, this one only has 1 1/2 weeks so appears in the middle of the list.  Essentially, it's for a data analyst post.  It's got a complicated job title to it but that's perfectly standard with public sector posts.  It's two grades up from where I am now but everything listed in the job description and person specification is all stuff that I've done before.  Perhaps I haven't worked on some of the stuff listed for nearly 10 years but, even so, it's something that I've always been pretty good at and it shouldn't take me to long to get back in the swing of things.  It's not going to be easy to work out which examples I'm going to be using to prove that I meet the person specification as they're all going to be scattered between just about every single job or voluntary position I've ever held in my entire adult life.  The other good thing about the job is that it's internal applicants only.  Certainly from our office, there's only likely to be one other applicant and, should I lose out to him, I'd consider that perfectly fair.  I suspect that I'd win in comparison to him on the intrapersonal stuff although he'd easily win on database queries.  The only trouble is that I have absolutely no idea who else across our entire organisation would also be interested in applying for it.  I think that everyone I know who'd be a likely suspect is already grade 5 or above but I have no idea whether there's anyone else out there.  I can't be the only person who's working in a completely different area at the moment who wants to change so I haven't got a chance of guessing who else I might be up against.  That is, if anyone else noticed that it was on the jobs page!

Monday, February 13, 2012

My head's clearer today

Despite saying that the mood had lifted just by talking about it, it pretty much settled for the rest of the weekend.  There were some random and scattered good moments and I've discovered that one of the ladies from church is actually worse than I am at having days where dealing with People is just plain impossible.  I was supposed to sit with her at lunch yesterday but, by the time I came back to sit at the table with her, another family who I don't know so well were also there and I just couldn't face putting on a any sort of mask, even though I know that they're all lovely people.  Instead, I ended up sitting with our placement student and one of his friends who's in my home group and listened to a highly improvised little ditty in praise of Mississippi mud pie and then joined in a highly geeky conversation about measuring the speed of light by taking the turntable out of a microwave and putting a large block of chocolate in there instead.  Much more fun to talk about nothing in particular than to have polite conversation and people asking how I'm doing.  According to some random scale of conversation topics, technically, speed-of-light and chocolate would be a Level 0 conversation and "How are you coping with stuff?" would be something like a Level 3.  Lower level conversations aren't supposed to be any good for useful human interaction (I may be wildly over-simplifying things here though).  However, I honestly feel that, in terms of "team" bonding and stuff, random conversations like that are just as important in their own way as anything supposedly more meaningful.

So yeah, spent much of the weekend feeling crap.  The birthday party on Saturday was good but I do need to explaing to my mum to stop pestering me with questions at times!  I'm both shy and an introvert at heart (although the world should probably be forgiven for thinking that I'm neither of these things!) and it can take me a little while to assemble the right mask to use at each individual social event.  Unfortunately, Mum can generally see straight through the mask-building process, pesters me with questions that I'm trying not to think about the answers to and generally, winds me up so much that it takes me forever to be able to reassemble the mask again.  I knew enough people there that I didn't need much of a mask and didn't need to wear it for that long but I still needed time to work that out.  "Normal" people would probably just use alcohol but a) I couldn't because I was driving and b) I wouldn't because of the promise to myself that I'm sure I've mentioned earlier.

And so to the evening service on Sunday.  I went because I knew that I needed prayer which I hadn't been able to receive in the morning because it was a big baptism service which was being run with people from our sister church.  Worship and communion were both okay and then it came to the talk.  The focus for the past three weeks has been on healing.  Part of me has been really quite impressed that I'd kept going through all the services so far without a problem but last night was different.  The woman who was speaking used an example of a miraculous healing that involved someone who was in ICU and was brain-dead.  I'm guessing that the story turned out well but I didn't get to hear that bit of the talk.  I got to the point where the husband and random-friend-who-happened-to-work-at-the-hospital were praying for her and stuff happened at which point, I just couldn't sit there any more and ran out of the room in complete and utter floods of tears and shouting, "It doesn't work like that!". I'm not entirely sure if I went cannoning through the double doors into the foyer or whether my friend who was on the sound desk opened them for me.  I'm not sure that I could see properly at that point.  I know I sank to the floor sobbing for ages (by my standards) and there were three people sat with me, praying, when I "surfaced".  It had just all hit far too close to home.  I've stood in ICU with my hand on a leg because it was the only part without any tubes or wires attached.  I've both stood and sat in ICU praying that mad, desperate prayer, "Just heal him, Lord".  I know that feeling of nothing whatsoever happening.  I really didn't need to hear a story where the prayer was answered.  Our minister had said something about giving all our burdens to the Lord at the start of the service and I realised that my heart was too heavy to lift everything to the Lord so I told Him that He'd have to pick them up from where they were.  In doing so, it looks like He made me deal with some of them at the same time.

Anyway, the main outcome of the biggest sobbing fit that I've had in ages is that I feel quite a bit better for it.  I'm still going to keep an eye on how I'm feeling generally, just in case, but I think I really will be all right.

(ps. For those who may be mildly curious as to why I only seem to cry at church.  It feels safe.  There's always someone around to help me and throw boxes of tissues my way.  There's always someone to dispense hugs as required.  The flat frequently lacks all of those (although it does contain a bearded dragon who's clearly been put on this Earth for comedy purposes only).  I've spent too long in previous lives crying by myself in my bedroom and outright avoiding walking into my room if at all possible because all that will greet me is tears and insomnia.  I'm not at uni now though so I can't sleep late and struggle to get up in the same way that I did back then.  I still do both of those but I generally still make it into work before 9am whereas in my uni days, I'd have been skipping lectures left, right and centre at various points by now!)

(pps. Ow!  Tension headache approaching!  Right, I'm definitely calling it a night now.  Redbush tea, paracetamol, ibuprofen and a Bagpuss heatpack on my shoulder and I'll hopefully feel fine in the morning.)

(ppps.  There was something else I was going to say, now what was it????  Ah yes!  I can't remember what the last update was on friend-who-I-have-an-unsuitable-crush-on but everything seems to be a lot more ... suitable at the moment.  Hugs are in pure friendship, there's no warning signs flashing wildly any more.  I think we might be okay there now.)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Good days and bad days

And that's all that there really is to the matter.

Last weekend was a good weekend, this one isn't shaping up to be so yet.  The answer is to go out and be sociable but when I feel like this, it's the last thing that I want to do.

Don't even want to write a blog post at the moment even though I'm sure that it'll help me sort my brain out.

I'm fed up of always ending up on my own again.  Our icebreaker at home group was to think of one memory that we would like to preserve forever.  Most of mine have turned bittersweet over the years as life has moved on and relationships have ended and stuff.  I had to go back to when I broke my leg to find one that time could never turn bittersweet.  (God, please don't ever put me in a situation where even that one could turn bittersweet!).  I'm fed up of having to grab moments of happiness where I find them.  I'm fed up of always having to look for the silver lining in every storm cloud because it's the only way I can stay sane.  Is it really too much to ask for my life to stay stable and sane for more than three years at a time?

I feel better now I've said all of that! :o)

Wednesday evening was when I started feeling rough like this and I put it down to having done far too much work during my week "off".  Given that it seems to be lingering for much longer than I expected, I'm going to give myself a deadline of Wednesday 22nd February.  If I'm still feeling particularly bleugh by then with no major let-up in between, then first thing on Thursday morning, I'll be ringing up either my doctor's surgery or the local self-referral mental health team.  I strongly suspect that I'll be okay in the end and won't need any extra help of any shape or form but I also remember from that first summer & autumn that it's very easy to not realise just how bad you've been feeling and for just how long you've been feeling that way.  Setting myself a deadline in public like this is probably going to be the only way that works for me at the moment.  If you're wondering why I've given myself a fortnight before doing anything, it's because this sort of feeling rough only starts counting as a problem when it's lasted for more than 2 weeks.  As it hasn't yet, but I can see that I wouldn't be aware of how long it'd dragged on for, I'm trying to be proactive about making sure I sort myself out properly if I need to.

With all that said and a plan in place, I already feel distinctly less bleugh about things and can already cope with the idea of going out to my friends' mum's birthday tonight.  (That was a difficult sentence to write, it had too many apostrophes to keep track of! :o) )  Earlier on this morning, I was all ready to wuss out and hide at home.  I really am my own worst enemy at times.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Slowly starting to feel more normal

Well, that's pretty much it at the moment.  I'm slowly getting back to a normal that I'd forgotten was my normal state.  I'm not feeling constantly worn out.  I have energy to do stuff in the evenings.  I have the brain power to be creative at work even when I'm bored stiff and working on audits.  I can go out socialising 4 nights in a row.  I will confess to having a completely switched off day on the Sunday immediately after all this but that's not bad given that it wasn't that long ago when I struggled to leave the house to be sociable more than once a week!

At least, that's what today's been like.  I don't know what tomorrow may bring.  I have even less idea what I might think of life in the next few weeks when I start getting thoroughly fed up of January and darkness and stuff.  Quite what it's going to be like by the time I get to February and then March, I really don't have a clue.  I've booked lots of time off work around then so I've got plenty of space to do my own thing, whatever that may be.  It won't all be time for wallowing either as I've volunteered to help at the church kids' week before Easter so there will be lots of stuff going on as well.

I want to say that time's making everything look brighter but I might be horribly wrong.  I'm really not sure yet where I've currently got to in the whole grieving process.  I'm pretty sure I'm through with anger which is a very good thing.  I don't think I'm depressed although that might have much more to do with me trying my hardest not to be completely flattened by the normal greyness and darkness of January.  Meh, I'm just in a fairly bland sort of mood.  Life is blissfully normal in most ways and what more could I ask for?

(Yes, if you read this post last night, it did end completely differently.  In the cold light of day, I decided to edit it all!)