sessifet: (Default)
Feel free to. I like meeting new people and reading about what they're getting up to. I would, however, consider it a kindness if you told me about it, if only to save my poor brain from trying like hell to work out who, where, why and what.

Drop a comment here, and help save a poor, overworked brain. The world will be a better place. :)
sessifet: (Default)
Feel free to. I like meeting new people and reading about what they're getting up to. I would, however, consider it a kindness if you told me about it, if only to save my poor brain from trying like hell to work out who, where, why and what.

Drop a comment here, and help save a poor, overworked brain. The world will be a better place. :)


Jul. 26th, 2014 05:03 pm
sessifet: (Bouncy!)
The wallpaper's in and the ceilings and walls have been painted. The two Alexes put in the carpet last weekend while I was in Lancaster with [ profile] the_ladylark (awesome to see her again. Get to see her again at the Con in less than two weeks!) wired up the tech and tested it. I spent the week tidying, sorting and generally making things ready. Yesterday evening the curtains went up, and today the tech went in. Various decorative items have found their way into the room and after a quick last once over, I am calling an official end to Project House.

It only took five times longer than my initial plan of three months. Could it have been done sooner? Probably. Am I doing it this way again? Probably not. Was it worth it? Erm...can I buy a vowel?

Apart from signing on on Monday and job hunting in the mornings, I'm going to take a week off. I will cook, do housework if I want, read in my garden, frolic through the garden in a cloud of buzzing things and drag Alex downstairs to actually spend time in the shiny new living room.

(Pictures are, of course, to follow.)
sessifet: (Smiling)
Hey, it's only been three months! Eep, it's already been three months!

It's as difficult to explain the difference between July me and April me as it is to explain the difference between April me and January me. Stuff(TM) has happened and a lot of it was fun. But there were also bad days and worries I'd not get to today. Yet here I am, formally discharged from therapy. There will be a follow-up call in a month to see how I'm doing and whether I am able to apply what I've learnt to the rest of my life. Of course, the biggest test will be the coming autumn and winter (and the fact that I have to think about those months already is vexing). I'm still not sure if I want to continue my medication through winter or to try it without (but with the help of a lightbox and day time walking), but at least the GP has given me the assurance he will support whichever choice I make.

The house is finally on the finishing stretch. The final large project (living room) is two weeks away from my chosen completion date and actually running three days ahead of schedule. This doesn't mean the house is ready. There's still stuff to do, but I'm ready to move on to new things. I want to be able to come home from work for a while, instead of living where I work. To that end, I've rewritten my CV (going up tomorrow morning) and I hope to have something lined up for after we get home from the Discworld Convention.

In other news, adopting my new kitten Freyja has been the best idea I have had in a very long time. She's independent and headstrong and wants to do things her way. But she also follows me around, likes to sleep in bed with me and when she sees me after waking up, she immediately starts purring and meeping. It's difficult to describe how important this tiny creature is. Suffice to say I love her dearly and will miss her a lot when I go away this weekend.

Which brings me to the following: yay, I get to go away this weekend! I will not be Person Wot Does Up The House for a bit! Instead I am driving to Lancaster to visit [ profile] the_ladylark and be Person Wot Spends Time With Friends. It'll be nice to be that person.

A Musing

Apr. 16th, 2014 06:33 pm
sessifet: (Bouncy!)
This is a fantastic article. Yes, it's an essay about essays (and one I wish I could show to some of my old uni lecturers), but the opening paragraph has a statement of general truth that I'm tempted to plaster all over the world.

"What you do need is That Thing; maybe a question, a fear or a fury. It makes your blood boil. It’s all you can talk about when you sit down with your friends over a glass of wine or two or five, or maybe you can’t talk about it with anyone, just your own heart, alone with the impossible architecture of words."

THAT. That's what I feel every time I go into the garden to plant or tidy or just admire. That's how I feel about parasites[*] and diseases and weird science. That's why I watched a video of two women dissecting a giant anteater. It's passion and drive and a need for knowledge. It's being unashamedly excited about weird animals like the Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko, because how can the existence of such a creature not be endlessly fascinating?

So, is there a point to this? Well, yes. Moving to England was great and a literal dream come true. But it's been 7 years and it's time for a new dream and a career in IT or telecomms isn't it. I'm not invested enough to put money and effort into further training. I'm not willing to do time in the trenches of 24/7 support, because I just don't care enough about the field.

But my garden? I care about my garden. I have plans for it. And when I'm 45, I'd like to stand at my window looking out over a few acres, wondering how the hell to make it into something full of flowers and trees and animals and insects. I want a large shed with a smoker. I want to know about alpaca care and whether they like living with goats. And how does one get a hold of Indian Runner Ducks? Can I use raw pig manure on the garden or would it need to stew for a while? How on earth do you shave an alpaca? How do you butcher a pig?

I can see myself working on that for the next 10 years, maybe even 20. So once the house is done, I'll go back to work and do something that occupies my time and earns me enough money to start saving in earnest.

[*]Did you know there are nematodes that naturally occur in slugs and normally, they have a balance (because killing the host is usually not in a parasite's best interest), but when you increase the nematode population in the soil and slugs, all your slugs die? This is brilliant. Safe and non-toxic pest control!
sessifet: (Default)
Mum went home again :( . But it was great to have her here for a few days. We did a lot of work in the garden together and while I was researching shed options, she did even more on her own. This means that the entire garden is now cleared. Well, except for that one bit under the small plum tree. She left that for me to remove. I'm thinking of setting fire to it, to symbolise my mastery over nature.*

It does mean I now have more space than I know what to do with and I've started casting covetous eyes on the native ground covers that are available online. Did you know that heather really likes acidic and poor soil? I do! I have a bed that'll be perfect for all things heather.

And that weird woggly corner by the hedge would be perfect for a sunny rock pile garden (well, a poor woman's approximation of one)

And there are two wooden posts next to the fence where I could install a trellis and then plant an Old Man's Beard (only clematis native to the UK).

Ohoh, the bit next to the lilac's new spot** could be turned into a small-ish wildflower area because I've got plenty of homegrown compost (and three compost heaps). And the lily-of-the-valley can go under the trees behind the juniper.

And I wonder if foxgloves would be happy in hanging planters (because I've got that lovely fence on the right side now...)


Which house renovations? Oh. Yeah. Those. Well, Project Shit Wot Needs Sorting is mostly finished. Project Stuff Wot Needs Storing was well underway but stalled out because of lack of shedness, so I spent most of this week researching sheds, shed timbers (because we might lose our minds and decide to build one) and such.

* Or my delusions of competency. Either one'll do.
** It's doing really well. All the plants Barbara gave me are flourishing, the lungwort especially.
sessifet: (Smiling)
Following my last rant on the DWP (also know as self-respect, we has it), Alex and I talked things over and after I made a detailed plan of stuff left to do, we agreed I'm going back to doing up the house. There are lists and plans and I'm now running around Sorting All The Shit Wot Needs Sorting and it's intensely satisfying.

As said elsenet day before yesterday: Update on Project Shit Wot Needs Sorting: After successful completion of Stage 1 (Sort Shit In Several Boxes) and Stage 2 (Contemplate Required Locations of Sorted Shit In Boxes), I reached Stage 3 (Store Finished Sorted Shit in Locations). This meant upstairs looked like a particularly interesting obstacle course, the spare bedroom carpet got hoovered to within an inch of its life and both cats spent most of the day hyperventilating in/under/on various boxes/chairs/beds.

Yesterday I spent some time sorting out the attic to prepare for Stuff Wot Needs Storing (after completion of Shit Wot Needs Sorting) and today I mostly spent sorting stuff for garbage, recycling etc.

In other happy and productive news: the good and okay days are starting to outnumber the bad days (current week's count is up to three), and I can start to see a time where the good days will outnumber both okay and bad days.
sessifet: (Tolerance)
I've been on JSA since January 6th and have been putting myself out there with agencies etc. No solid leads yet, but a lot of people are starting to remember my name and CV. This is good and I'm not worried. Right up until today. I had my call with a Job Centre representative this afternoon and after telling me my sign-in appointment last week shows as not attended (that's now fixed) he drops the following bombshell:

DWP considers me to have been unemployed for nearly a year by now and they feel I should be applying for every job I'm capable of doing, including customer service roles that are way under both my skill and pay grade. I explained that I have not been unemployed but self-employed.

So, being self-employed is enough to get my claim delayed until you're satisfied it's actually "merely" my partner supporting me while I "renovate the family home" but it's not enough to be counted as *real* employment? What kind of loophole's that? You know what? I've not been out of a job for a year. I am not going to go do a crappy little customer service job because the DWP thinks I've not been spending my time doing Real Work.

I'm not going to drop below 23k a year at my age, with my experience and with my skills. I'm a woman in tech, for fuck's sake. Do they have any fucking idea how fucking damaging a call centre job would be for my CV? I fucking did my time in the trenches and I'm done. If they seriously expect me to start applying for these dead-end jobs, I'm closing my claim and continuing doing up the house.

At least *I* know what I'm worth and so does Alex.

Fuck all of this. With a brick.

An update

Feb. 23rd, 2014 11:48 am
sessifet: (Working)
Still going. I'm currently on the waiting list for Let's Talk so I can start 1 on 1 CBT (social anxiety pretty much kills any option of me doing group stuff right now) and I know the walk-in hours for Turning Point, so if I need help/advice about alcohol I can go there too. I had an appointment with my GP and we're pleased with my progress (apparently I'm a textbook case of fluoxetine response, so yay). I'll see him again in two months and if I can say at that point that I'm better or good, I'll stay on the meds for another four months before coming off them.

Two months is a long time. It'll be full-on spring by then and I'll be gardening (and hopefully gainfully employed). For now I'll just take things a few days at a time.

So yes, the okay days are definitely outnumbering the bad days, which are getting less severe. I can also recognise them when I get up and unfortunately today looks like one. Getting out of bed was a chore, I'm mope-y in a non-directed way and I have limited mental spoons. Still, I can form coherent thoughts and type words on an empty screen, so this is progress as well.


Feb. 10th, 2014 02:15 pm
sessifet: (Confuzzled)
I had a reasonable day yesterday. Grumpy, but that's understandable when it feels like a band of very determined blood goblins are excavating new living quarters in your uterus*. The weekend has been good otherwise. I made good food, we watched epic movies and generally spent some much needed quality time together. So yay for relationship self-care.

Today feels productive (yeah, that's a mood) and generally positive. So of course my plan is to cut drinking completely starting today. I have like ten different teas in the house, various cordials, fizzy water and plans to get some of the Fevertree tonic water so I make virgin G&Ts (tonic water, juniper berry and cucumber) when I want to be fancy. I can do this. I'm ready.


* Anyone want mine? Good as new. No prior occupants.
sessifet: (Llama face)
Yesterday was somewhat productive, but overall, I'd have to class it as a bad day and the same goes for today. I'm not sad or angry or anything like that. I'm just overly concerned with social awkwardness (both causing and experiencing), going out and being around people (and the thought of it) is causing me anxiety. I also spent most of yesterday evening considering first causes. What was the trigger for my depression? Is there one or am I just irredeemably broken? Today that's still present and morphing into wondering if I'm I not depressed, but just a horrible person? I also keep catching myself fearing that Alex is hiding that he no longer loves me. This is a new one. Normally I just fear he's died in the night whenever he has a lie-in. *

So yeah, the brainweasels are out in force doing their obnoxious "Are you sure the meds are working? Are you sure you're depressed? You're not a doctor. You don't know this stuff. It must be cancer! People hate you!" dance.

Still, I'm functional. I'm not huddled up wanting to not exist. And about an hour ago I twigged this is hormonal and required chocolate application. Going to Tesco's to acquire said chocolate while in this state experience in itself. I don't like going to shops on Saturday because of the number of people is enough to make me anxious on a good day, so I spent the whole five minutes wanting to either scream or punch things. I didn't, so that was a win. I also didn't buy alcohol. I thought about it for a second and then consciously decided not to, and I'm giving myself props for that as well.

So yes, it's a bad day, but it's not crippling me. This, too, is progress.

* My obsessive-compulsive fears come in all kinds of exciting flavours! At least I've stopped poking him awake...
sessifet: (Default)
Not much to say about today. It was an okay day. If these are the baseline for the next months, I can live with that.
sessifet: (Default)
Just as a reminder for myself: I need to tell the doctor that I don't want to change my current prevention inhaler because I like it and it's working really well for me. Having to use my spare one over the weekend led to tiredness and feeling out of breath a lot which is now passing. I know he wants to put me on a lower dose when the higher dose works, but I'm going to ask him to leave my asthma medication alone for the next 6 months.

Today's been a good day. I got up this morning, looked outside and went "fuck that for a game of soldiers" and then spent the rest of the day reading and playing games. Not because I needed a mental health day or because I had no spoons (though the weather is hell on my joints), but because I wanted to be lazy. I gave myself permission not to care about the house, not having a job, money etc. It felt great.
sessifet: (Smiling)
Two weeks on fluoxetine and I've been doing really well. It's quieter in my head, I have fewer bad moments (but still too many), I feel more like myself and I think I talk and act more like myself as well. I suppose the real test will be when I become hormonal as that's consistently my lowest point of the month. If the meds can't level me out to functional there, I'll know to let the GP know and talk about potentially increasing the dose.

Some annoying side-effects have cropped up such as drowsiness, yawning and tremors, but I'm handling those (the tremors are mostly limited to my left hand now). The most annoying side-effect is actually suppression of appetite. I just don't feel the need to eat right up to the point where I should have had food an hour ago, by which point I'm dizzy, nauseated and starving, and yes, that is just as wretched as it sounds. I'm getting better at recognising the first twinges of being nauseous as "I should have some food", but I still occasionally miss completely.

I had a nice weekend: watched Lilo and Stitch with Arwen, made stew and had a nice call with my mum (who was very supportive about the whole thing) and I've been otherwise feeling very productive. Still not quite ready to throw myself back into finishing up the house, but I have plans for next week.

So yeah, going well.

Days 10-11

Jan. 30th, 2014 03:56 pm
sessifet: (Default)
I was very productive yesterday. I walked to and from physiotherapy (four miles in total), had my rib put back in place and various knots prodded and poked. I also did the required exercises afterwards and then applied for two jobs. That did completely empty my spoon reservoir for the day, but overall it was a good day.

Today is a bit odd. I had my blood taken earlier so now my elbow hurts and then the surgery once again screwed up my prescription for my prevention inhaler, meaning I have to go out and pick a new prescription up tomorrow. That and the grey weather pretty much leads to me being in a grumpy mood. Oddly enough, I'm not down or anything. This isn't a bad day and I'd even class this as an okay day. It's just odd to remember that I can have a normal day while being grumpy. I forgot what that was like.
sessifet: (Smiling)
Yesterday was an okay day. I had cope. I had spoons. I didn't lose my shit when the car decided not to start when I needed to leave for my blood work (yay liver function test). Instead I walked back into the house, called the GP and rescheduled for Thursday. I also booked a follow-up appointment with my GP in three weeks to see how I'm doing on the meds. And because I was on a roll, I made an appointment with the physiotherapy department as well. So I totally got two gold stars for yesterday: Did Not Burst Out Crying and Made Stressful Phonecalls.

Of course, that exhausted my spoons and I didn't do much more than play games and send an email to an agency about two jobs.

But today was good. I woke up around 7, but stayed in bed until 8 which I should stop doing as my back and hip are starting to complain. I had my breakfast and then job-searched a bit before putting the car battery back into the car. Car still didn't want to start immediately, but that was me being a berk and not tightening one connection properly so it slipped off when I shut the bonnet. Went back inside, job-searched some more and then went out to lunch with my lovely girls. Had a good few hours of talking and laughing and tea and seriousness before coming home and cleaning the kitchen (as you do).

I've also moved onto the second stage of cutting down my alcohol intake: I can now have only one small beer (1.5-1.7 units) an evening this week. From Saturday, I want to start alternating days for a week or so. After that, I want to be at the point where I can just stop altogether and stay off it for at least the duration and possibly for longer. In all honestly, it might be safer for me to just treat alcohol as a potentially dangerous animal I shouldn't ever approach unguarded again.

I wonder if I should be more pleased with or proud of how I'm doing, but I realise I've only just started and there will be more bad days in the next 6 months*. But today was A Good Day.

*Also more good days, please. I like those. I felt like myself today. I liked myself today.
sessifet: (Cthulhu Cheerleader)
I went to bed on Saturday feeling very down and tired. I spent three hours or so in a large and boisterous group of people, which is always tiring, but right now apparently drains me completely.

I woke up on Sunday feeling down (but not tired, so that's a win) and it pretty much stayed that way until I turned right into whiny territory around 15:00. By the time I went to bed, however, I'd pretty much become the cheerful me I remember 2012? That's not the normal progression for me these days. I wake up down and I go to bed worse. I wake up okay, I go to bed worse. No matter how I start the morning, I go to bed feeling worse so yesterday's reversal felt deeply odd.

I did have a moment yesterday where I could tell I would normally have been sobbing*, but I only teared up a bit and then it was over. It felt almost like calm was being imposed from the outside. Not sure how I feel about that now, but I was grateful for it yesterday.

It's also getting more difficult to brood. I can still do it if I set my mind to it, but I have to put more effort into it and I'm more easily distracted by shiny things.

It's still an effort to fall asleep and some nights it's worse than others, but I have fewer nightmares, more weird narrative dreams (last night, I took President Jed Bartlet out for an adventure) and generally wake up feeling like a human being**.

So a week on from starting the meds, I'm getting fewer side effects (only occasional dizziness and headache) and can start saying I'm feeling the benefits. Of course, knowing my luck that means this week my eyeballs will explode and the cats will start whispering to me in my sleep.

So, onwards and slightly more upwards.

* Talk about a sign something's not right - using the word "normally" and "sobbing" in that sentence.
** Albeit one with wonky brain chemistry.

Day 6

Jan. 25th, 2014 10:19 pm
sessifet: (Default)
Really much the same as yesterday for most of the day. Went out to a wine and cheese party in the evening, where I had no wine and only a little cheese. Lasted around three hours before I needed to leave due to overload and now I'm very tired and am catching myself thinking about how I must have made a fool of myself somehow. Awesome.

I'm going to enjoy my tea and then go to bed. Tomorrow might be better.

Day 5

Jan. 24th, 2014 09:06 pm
sessifet: (Confuzzled)
Mood: Eh. *handwaggle* Doing okay. Not better, not worse, but it's definitely quieter in my head.
sessifet: (Confuzzled)
I'm not sure why I missed yesterday. Possibly because I'd already mentioned how I was doing elsenet. Still, I want to keep up with this so I can show myself (and possible mental health services) how I'm progressing or not.

Yesterday was an okay day. No headache (it's back this morning) and mostly dizziness. I didn't do much, except get into a discussion about eusociality on Facebook and hung out on IRC, which was fun. At this point, I can't say how much my (perceived?) increase in spoons is the meds already doing their work and how much is my cutting drinking by something like 80%.

Either way, I feel/think I'm having fewer moments of feeling stupid and worthless and I'm definitely not shouting at myself as much. That doesn't mean the thoughts have gone away or that I'm any better at dealing with them (when they're bad enough for me to notice, I still shout at myself), so that's going to require some kind of work.

I'm also waking up in the morning way before my alarm goes off and while I, as usual, wait for Alex to get into the shower before I get up*, I'm fairly with it (as much as can be expected of me in the morning) from then on.

And, most importantly: my friends are incredibly supportive, for which I am very grateful. I love you all.

* He's the morning vanguard. If he can get up without being eaten by something horrible, it's probably safe for me to get out of bed.


sessifet: (Default)

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