Happy First Day of Autumn (September 2018 Personal Updates)

It’s September 22nd and officially autumn so I’m currently decorating for Halloween, weighing different costume options, and realizing that next month is gonna go by like a whirlwind. Ah, well. At least I finally finished my Goodreads reading challenge!

Some brief updates on my life:

  • Grad school is busy, busy, busy, and even more so with student org obligations and work, but I’m gonna make it through this year if it kills me, dammit.
  • I’m getting better at giving vaccinations!
  • I think I mentioned this in a previous post, but I’ve been working with a new therapist since before summer started on some mental health things I’ve referenced on this blog in the past, and it’s helping loads with managing grad school + life stress and setting healthy boundaries. I just need to be better about the “homework” I’ve been assigned to do. (Mental health apps are a literal lifesaver.)
  • I did read way more books this year than expected (granted, a fair few were poetry books, short stories, graphic novels, and DNFs that I dropped like a hot tamale), but I’ve been better about slowing down with my reading now that classes have begun. It doesn’t feel that way sometimes, but I’m in a much better place than I was last semester.
  • I’m still not sure how I feel about alcohol since people generally assume that if you’re going to college and you’re in your 20s, you should be drinking like a fish in your free time. But since I have family members who have since passed on from their chemical addictions and because I lost a friend earlier this year to alcohol poisoning, I’m rather wary of it nowadays. I’ve been better about setting boundaries on how much I drink and when I drink and overall I’ve become that mythical person who can stop after one drink at social outings. I prefer myself much better this way, especially because it means I can still think, function, and get work done. Anyone who doesn’t respect my drinking choices probably isn’t healthy for me to be around, anyway.
  • Since I had a blood test about a year and a half ago that indicated I was pre-diabetic, it’s been a wakeup call to make healthier eating choices (even on the most stressful days) and to exercise more. Hence the renewed interest in cooking and the recipes I’ve been posting here. Many Americans are pre-diabetic and don’t know it, so I’m considering it a gift to have this knowledge early so that I can protect my good health as long as possible.
  • Word of advice: If you know you have diabetic or pre-diabetic family members, try to get your A1C checked at some point because it never hurts to know and lifestyle changes are so much cheaper than dealing with the cost of diabetic healthcare in the USA. I deal with diabetic patients every day at my job and the costs (and stress on my patients because of the costs) are horrifying.
  • Mormonism and leaving Mormonism has been on my mind lately with the Protect LDS Children initiative (and Sam Young’s subsequent excommunication over it), plus the various abuse scandals with missionaries and so on. I try not to let being an ExMormon take over my identity too much, but when a lot is on my mind, it feels like a shield, if that makes sense. Plus, I’m now more involved with the local queer/LGBTQ+ community, so I’m reminded of it since my sexuality (and gender) was a major factor in wanting to get out when I was 13/14. Someday I hope the baggage I carry will feel less heavy and the PTSD will be easier to manage.
  • Related to this blog is the writing blog I started when I was not in a good place in my life and then carried on with as a way to document my writing hobby and the recovery process. I haven’t been writing too much in the past month aside from things related to school and book reviews (mea culpa), but it’s one of the things I’m hoping to do more of instead of wasting time on social media.
  • Goals for next month/autumn (since I may not have time to post again until November): be better about socializing and keeping in touch with people because grad school makes it far too easy to become a recluse, keep my living space as organized and as clean as possible so that it doesn’t become hot chaos, and then less time on social media (I say as I refresh social media yet again lol) and more time on physical exercise and writing as much healthier coping mechanisms for anxiety.

Good luck to y’all with your goals and plans and have a lovely autumn!

 

 

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July 2018 Updates

It’s been quite a while since I posted anything to this blog beyond the irregular shared post on personal or writing advice (or both!), so I thought I’d make a post today instead of continuing to overthink my unplanned hiatus.

So, here are some personal happenings over the past year or so (well, since this blog was more active):

  • I’ve made new blogs and writing accounts elsewhere, which are a lot more free-spirited and good for making casual friends or acquaintances who share a lot of my interests. I won’t say where or link them (but those of you who can guess enough to know how to PM me are welcome to ask me privately). There are definite downsides to juggling different styles of blogging, but I’m not giving up on WordPress because even though the writing community here is smaller and less active, I do enjoy its simplicity and peacefulness that is relatively free of drama compared to other places.
  • I’m also writing 3 WIPs: two novel-length ones that have been stuck in my head for at least a couple years (if not much longer) and one short story just because. They’re hobbies for the time being; I’m not seriously planning to publish them within the next few years, but instead study the process of writing and have a place to creatively vent with words.
  • I’ve started grad school in the past year which, for multiple professional, financial, and personal reasons, has felt somewhat like throwing myself repeatedly into an MMA ring after having only a week of beginner’s boxing lessons. And then sometimes I manage to win a match and I go, “Huh, I guess I know more than I feel like I do.”
  • Some parts of grad school have been rather difficult because I was rather starry-eyed about being surrounded by lots of grad school friends and dropped the ball a bit on the work needed to make friendship happen. I’ll have to do better. While I have dozens of nice enough classmate acquaintances, I’ll need to think more about how I might be a better friend to them, as well as choose my friends more wisely.
  • I’ve started a new part-time job after a year of doing odd jobs and mostly having too much time for a brain as anxious as mine is. The work can be stressful, but I like that it challenges my brain and keeps me moving and focused on my schoolwork and adulting skills. I hope I can stay on with this one, no matter how busy I get, at least until I earn my degree in a few years if not longer. It’s not the sort of work I planned to be doing 6 months ago, but I’ve changed my mind about what I’m interested in since then.
  • On that note, I started up one-on-one therapy again. It’s not perfect (therapists who have expertise in spiritual abuse and cults are unfortunately rare), but my therapist does know a fair bit about PTSD and so I have hopes that I can improve my patterns of thinking and make them healthier, since now I’m not only responsible for my own health, but also the patients I encounter when working or volunteering. I often have this image of myself as having to be strong and capable for the others who rely on me, but that’s not possible if any aspect of my health (mental or physical) is teetering off a cliff.
  • I’ve also started doing my own spiritual practices again. Last year, I was expecting to have joined a UU congregation by now, but I’ve concluded that going to a church building every Sunday might be more triggering than I originally thought. So, I can do my own thing instead, something I do for myself and keep fairly private, and can return to on my own terms and whenever I have time, considering how chaotic my schedule can be.
  • I would also be lying if I didn’t mention here that I am very worried for the future of my country and trying to do what I can to preserve the interests of future generations while picking my battles wisely and trying not to fight all of them alone, given that allies and potential allies are everywhere. There are many ways I can help, more than what one might see on the nightly news. I’ve always wielded my sense of politeness (even reservation) and easy ability to get on with those much older than me like armor, as if to protect myself from the things I experienced in my childhood and prevent them from ever harming me again. However, it occurs to me that the things I’m learning and the skills I’ve developed over the years can extend that armor to others, and I really ought to do that when I have the spoons.

Anyway, that’s it for now. I hope everyone is having a nice start to their July so far, and if not, I hope you have easier days soon.

If you’re currently working on a summer project or anything, I’d be happy to hear about that, too!

Captain Awkward: Reminder to Vote

Content note: There are mentions of suicide later in this post and also some very US-specific political stuff. I promise not to turn this blog into an all politics, all US health-care policy all the time site, but this couldn’t be more important or personal to me. I could not in good conscience neglect the […]

via How To Help People You Love Who Have Depression, Revisited — Captain Awkward

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Solid advice from Captain Awkward on social missteps

Dear Captain, Thank you so much for your blog! This might be banal and is probably a case of Overthinking It. But it is something that I repeatedly seem to worry about recently. Do you have any tips/guidelines on how to deal with the situation where you have said something that could be taken the […]

via #1066: “About That Awkward Thing I said earlier…” — Captain Awkward

(Happy new year, y’all! I’m still not entirely back to regularly blogging since I have yet to build up a backlog of scheduled posts. However, this particular advice post from Captain Awkward spoke to me a lot and I thought I’d share. – Cinnia)

Best things of 2016

Tonight starts the final countdown to this long and complex and difficult year, but instead of adding to the general negativity, I thought I’d reflect on the good things that have happened to me.

I don’t intend to diminish the bad things that have happened to people, but I do want to ring in 2017 by celebrating what made this past year a little brighter. If you have something of your own to celebrate or if you want someone to talk to about 2016, feel free to leave a comment below.

  1. I got into my professional program of choice. This was by far the greatest thing that has happened to me in a long time because it meant the years of work and choices all the way back to when I was a wee one finally meant something tangible. I still have a long way to go before I start, but I am so happy that I can pursue a career I love.
  2. My family got a puppy! (Picture included below as a gift to my followers.) It was exhausting at first since she was much like a needy newborn for a month or so, but she’s been the light of all of our lives since then. I can’t imagine my family without her anymore; she is a blessing and a joy.
  3. I started reading more books again. Maybe that would sound strange to some people who know me as an insatiable bookworm, but I stopped really reading books, even those useful for classes, for about a year and a half or so. I read maybe one or two at most during that time when normally I’d read at least one a week. Something clicked this past summer and I started to read books for fun instead of viewing them as a chore or something not worth the time investment. I’ve enjoyed so many books since then. It’s made me a better reader, writer, and thinker these past few months.
  4. I finally sought out a therapist when I really needed help instead of pretending I could continue to fight on my own. Without going into too many details, having a therapist has helped me because I had an objective outsider advising me on my behaviors and mental health. It made all the difference for my motivation. (It also helped me to see that I am very much an unreliable narrator of my own life, something I will try to work on in the future.)
  5. Through a combination of seeking out support groups and different communities, I have realized and accepted some important things about myself and others. I enjoyed the countless stories, the great entertainment, developing friendships, attending events, and feeling more comfortable in my own skin.

As for 2017, I intend to keep working on myself and to try to be a source of support and lightness in others’ lives. I want to be more comfortable with both accepting and giving. I want to read more books, listen to great music, rock the dance floor, walk the dog, and enter my career program with a spectacular start.

I wish all of you strength, happiness, and good health in 2017 as well.

puppy_may2016

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Thoughts on Skating and Failure

I grew up in the Southwest, so ice skating is still a bit of a novelty for me. Out there, you could rollerblade or skateboard, but winter sports were out of the question unless you had enough money to travel.

On the other hand, I’ve always had a soft spot for winter sports, dating all the way back to when I first tuned into the Winter Olympics on our family’s fuzzy television (Salt Lake City, 2002).

It wasn’t until I got the chance to try winter sports for myself that I realized how strongly I loved it. I love feeling the cold chill in the air and being bundled up against it in a much-too-bright athletic jacket and gloves. I love that feeling of my feet flying beneath me across the ice or the snow. I love arriving indoors, breathless and rosy-cheeked, and brewing a cup of tea or coffee or cocoa after a long workout. I’m not great, but I look forward to all of my little wintertime adventures as the days grow colder.

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