princessofburundi: (Default)
I have figured out why I'm not depressed or anxious. I can also explain the extreme lack of sleep, the racing thoughts, and the high-dose enthusiasms....I'm manic. It's been so long since my last mania (years) that I'd forgotten what it feels like. This is only hypomania, when I'm fully manic I have tons of energy despite lack of sleep, and I don't have even a drop of energy now. It's 4:45 a.m. I'm wide awake and pissed off about it.

Then there's Olive, the older of my two cats. She's approximately three, and Roo is around two. Olive is driving me nutso. She's whiny, demanding, annoying, and I can usually put up with her, but right now I feel like putting her in a shoebox, taping it up, poking some breathing holes in it, and FedEx-ing her somewhere. I don't know where. Olive is my son's cat, and he's abandoned her for his fiancee's cat in Vancouver, and I just have to put up with her. I've never disliked a cat before, I love the whole species, but she is really, really not my cup of tea.

Grrr. I want sleep and for my cat to stop climbing the fucking curtains and scratching the walls.
princessofburundi: (Default)
I just posted an entire post about what's up with me without mentioning my mental health: because it's not an issue. How cool is that??????????

Forgetting

May. 17th, 2017 01:12 am
princessofburundi: (Default)
I keep forgetting that Dreamwidth is a thing, so I don't post or comment because I've forgotten about it. I will catch up with people's journals this weekend, I promise!

here's what's going on with me )

Worries

May. 9th, 2017 03:17 am
princessofburundi: (Default)
This is the third night in a row that I've been unable to get to sleep at night. I have so many worries. These past couple of months, where I've been able to fall asleep practically the moment that my head hits the pillow have been glorious months, but it seems that the insomnia that has pervaded my adult life is back.

So I'm going to write about the things that worry me, and maybe that will help. Maybe it won't. But, it is better than lying in the dark worrying, whether it helps me or not.

Worries. This is not required reading, but a list for my own use. It is mildly triggery for talking about past suicidal thoughts. )
princessofburundi: (Default)
Does anyone know if and how I can switch out my list of tags and make it a tag cloud instead?

Another question - am buying a new web cam tomorrow. Does anyone know how I disable the computer's built-in webcam so that I'm using the new one instead?
princessofburundi: (Default)
Potentially exciting news! I talked with a man named David (probably not his real name) in Seoul, South Korea about half an hour ago, and as long as I purchase a better web cam than the one that I have now, I have an online teaching job starting next week. I would be teaching English to Korean elementary school students. The contract is verbal, so I am not 100% sure that it's going to pan out, but I'm going to buy that webcam anyway and hope that I really do get to teach these kids. I'm going to be starting my TESOL (Teaching English to Students of Other Languages) coursework this week, and a few months down the road I'm hoping to take the English teaching gig on the road, somewhere interesting and exciting.

I know I'm planning WAY ahead, but I've been looking at job postings for ESL teaching and thinking about where I'd like to go. For the first time in ages I'm daydreaming again, imagining myself in a teaching job somewhere in the world, and going exploring around the country on my days off. Mostly, I'd like to go somewhere where Spanish is spoken so that I have a chance of making myself understood, but the Latin American countries don't pay as well as Asian countries do. My most frequently-visited thought is that I'd love to teach in Cusco, Peru, which is in the high Andes, and which is only 75 km. from Machu Picchu, which is one of my dream destinations. And Cusco is a *gorgeous* city.

I don't want to teach in mainland China, and that's that. Nor does Japan interest me very much. But Hong Kong looks interesting, and isn't on the mainland, or I could go to Ulaanbator in Mongolia, or somewhere in Vietnam near Halong Bay. Halong Bay and the steppe of Mongolia are also on my must-see list.

It is lovely to have goals and daydreams again. This is the sort of thing that keeps the black dogs of depression off my back. I feel anxious - what if I can't do this? - but mostly I'm excited and trying not to second-guess myself.

The Spanish lessons and readings I'm doing are coming along well. I really really want to put my Spanish to the test somewhere! Pity that there's not job openings in Puerto Rico, which I love unreservedly.
princessofburundi: (Default)
I slept for eight hours last night, stayed awake for 3 1/2 hours then took a six hour nap. Now I'm almost ready for bed again. An hour or so ago I drove to the corner store - one minute away - picked up apple juice, Fresca, and cat food, and came home so exhausted that I was shaking. I'm still feverish. It really sucks when you're alone in the world and there's no one to take care of you when you're sick.

I read in bed last night until I was struggling to keep my eyes open, but finished the second in Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo's Martin Beck series. This was The Man who went up in Smoke, from 1966. Sjowall and her partner Wahloo are often credited as the forerunners in Scandinavian noir crime fiction, and I am inclined to agree. I love the immense amount of detail and character development in these books, the dreary mind of their protagonist, his search for meaning when life and his job seem pointless. Martin Beck is a very flawed character - an early Kurt Wallander or Harry Hole. He never feels well, he has a low boredom threshold, his marriage and his relationship with his children are both tenuous, his co-workers irritate him, he smokes too much. One of the things that makes the Martin Beck novels as unusual as they are is that whole chapters go by with no plot development because absolutely nothing is happening in the case, but yet Sjowall and Wahloo manage to keep the reader's attention by their descriptive paragraphs, and by having their protagonist suffer the pangs of wondering if anything is ever going to happen, just as the reader is doing. All in all it was an excellent mystery with an unforeseen conclusion. I am planning to continue reading the series bit by bit.

I've only read about thirty pages today; I started Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind. I don't know what to make of it yet. It seems an odd tale, but I'm interested to see where it's going.

Good night, all.

Damn

May. 5th, 2017 02:39 pm
princessofburundi: (Default)
I have the flu or something or other. Fever, laryngitis, earache, headache, have slept for 14 out of the last 18 hours. I answered two comments on a post from the other day and just that tired me out and I had to stop. Heading back to sleep soon. Damn, I feel ill.
princessofburundi: (books and candle)
I didn't do a ton of reading in April, but I did manage six books:

books read in April )

Scary Stuff

May. 1st, 2017 02:40 pm
princessofburundi: (Default)
I wake up every morning in the midst of an enormous panic attack. My heart races so quickly that I can feel my blood coursing through my veins. It's scary, but I've learned that it's actually panic and that my heart is just fine.

Until today. Apparently my panic attacks with racing heart are actually my heart racing. My diastolic is 130, which is far above the "less than 90" that it's supposed to be. My blood pressure was 138/130 which is simply not good.

I need to pop down to the pharmacy daily and check my blood pressure. If my diastolic isn't below 90 I'm to call the doctor. She is arranging for me to use a portable heart monitor for a 48-hour period; I will get electrodes stuck to my chest area and have a monitor around my waist.

Dr. S. has advised me to do no heavy lifting nor exercise for more than 10 minutes at a time.

I'm very worried. Without using scare tactics, Dr. S. did impress upon me that I need to be very careful, and she did mention that I'm at risk for a heart attack should I push myself.

The only positive note in all of this is that I'm going to have to get my roommate to mow the lawn.

Saturday

Apr. 29th, 2017 08:58 pm
princessofburundi: (Default)
It is entirely possible that I've caught up with the backlog in my inbox. That is a satisfying feeling, but so is coming to Dreamwidth to an inbox full of messages!

Today has been a dreary day and I have nothing of interest to pass along. The only things I've done are grocery shopping and some Spanish practice at Duolinguo. For the rest of the day I plan to read, although to be fair, some of what I read is going to be in Spanish - I have a graded Spanish reader with questions after each chapter. I am looking forward to the day when once again I start thinking in Spanish half the time.
princessofburundi: (Default)
I have had such a good day. Yes, I woke up with the panic attack from hell and had to pop an Ativan just to get me moving, and I was so afraid to go out of the house that I nearly cancelled coffee with my mother. But I didn't....I went and had a pleasant time seeing her.

Throwing myself back into things that I like has helped so much. It took so much energy to take that first step into old pleasures, but it was worth that fearful first step. I've had a nice long phone conversation with my daughter, the 18 year old. I've spent hours studying Spanish, and it's been a lot of fun. I'd forgotten how much I love language study. I've been reading.....I have three books on the go right now. Using my brain and learning new things really get my mind off my problems. Also, I've eaten healthy foods, which I'm sure is part of the temporary lull in the depression.

It's so nice not to feel terrified of my own shadow.

Decisions

Apr. 28th, 2017 04:04 pm
princessofburundi: (Default)
So I've decided to go forward and take a series of online courses that will qualify me to teach English as a Second Language. I've been thinking about it for weeks, and I can't see any downside to it. It all sounds great, especially the part where I might get to travel to someone wonderful and teach English there. I'm starting to brush up on my Spanish (at this moment I could order a beer but not say much else), so that my hopes of working in a Latin American country could be more easily facilitated. I would really like to use Spanish on a daily basis, so going somewhere like Peru or Chile or somewhere in Central America would be ideal. I'm actually getting a bit excited at the possibilities of teaching abroad. South America would be my first choice.

My elder daughter taught English in Ecuador for a few months some years back and loved her immersion into Latin American life, especially the weddings to which her entire Andean village was invited, including her, and which lasted for days. She also loved being able to pick fresh fruit for her breakfast from her host family's yard. Imagine waking up to fresh mangoes! On the way to her classroom in the morning she would always be approached by friendly alpacas, which she hand fed with fruit and sugar, and which sometimes followed her to school. D. was 9,000 feet up in the Andes, and the scenery was unbelievable. I would love an experience like hers. Of course, she was 18 and highly adaptable and very healthy, whereas I'm 53, diabetic, with mental health issues, and more set in my ways, but I think I could find myself a safe place in a new environment.

When I say "safe place", what I mean is my bed. When life gets rough I have the world's comfiest bed, and just sitting on it for a few minutes calms me down. Obviously I can't take my bed with me if I travel, but I can take elements of it - my snuggly blanket or one of my teddy bears, and be reminded of the safety of my cosy bedroom. I'd need that if I were working overseas, and I'll even need it when I go to the UK this September. I'm sure if I were living for three months in a foreign country that I could establish for myself a safe place to which I could retreat when panic threatens.

It's been another beautiful day, sun shining, blue sky, not too warm, and I had a nice time having coffee with my mother, which is something we do every Friday afternoon.
princessofburundi: (Default)
I had no idea how much I would love having an online journal again. It feels so good to be here at Dreamwidth. I am making new friends, have a place to share my life, and have the great privilege of being able to share the lives of others. For a woman who is decidedly lonely, this place is a godsend.

It's gotten hot all of a sudden - it's 23 here at the moment (that's 76) and rather humid so that it feels hotter. I mowed the lawn for the first time all on my own. The result reminds me very much of the time my elder daughter, age approx. three, took her safety scissors to the curls at the front of her hair, kind of jagged and sloppy and frayed. (And it was heartbreaking to see her lovely curls on the floor.) I console myself with the fact that my neighbours have obviously been mowing for years and know how, whereas I simply don't have a clue....yet. Someday I will be a jedi master at lawns.

Saw my caseworker at Canadian Mental Health today....such a nice woman. I am so fortunate to have really excellent community help for my poor addled brain. Psychiatrist, therapist, case worker, doctor: I am so lucky to live in Canada and in this city.

The thing I'm working on now is learning to be gentler with myself. I need to get rid of the self talk that says "you're stupid" or "you're a failure" and replace it with "you're learning" and "look at all of the things you've accomplished today". I need to learn to look in the mirror and instead of seeing ugly and fat, and old, see a woman who has survived a lot of grief and turmoil and has the battle scars to prove it. Maybe, if I'm really lucky, some day I will see beauty.
princessofburundi: (Default)
So I've given up on reading The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly. It's awful. And you know a book is awful when you're avoiding all reading in order to escape from a bad book. This book was a bad rip-off of Jurassic Park, but set in China, and using dragons instead of dinosaurs. I remember how tightly written Crichton's Jurassic Park was and how bad this is in comparison. The dialogue is so bad. I hate not finishing books, but I'm going to pass on completing this one.

Instead, I'm going to read A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, which is the first in a series of urban fantasy novels set in London. I don't always like urban fantasy, but the back of the book really intrigued me, and the clerk in the bookstore was very positive about it; she was reading the second in the series at the time.

I'm continuing to make my slow way forward in The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukerjee. It's fascinating reading. I'm only reading a bit at a time because my brain can only process a little science in one go, but it is excellent, terribly informative without being incomprehensible. I highly recommend it.

My reading trend is to be reading something fictional, with short bursts of non-fiction a few days a week. I'd like to start reading Les Miserables bit by bit in the same way I do with non-fiction, but it's still sitting there on the coffee table gathering dust. I think I might try The Hunchback of Notre Dame instead; I am determined to read all the big fat classics before my eventual death. Hopefully that's decades away because there is so much left to read!

Touch

Apr. 26th, 2017 05:11 pm
princessofburundi: (Default)
Every day I go to odb.org - Our Daily Bread - it is a Christian website that gives daily short articles that prompt the reader to think about their relationship with God. Today's article was about the healing power of touch, focusing on Jesus healing the leper, and I was surprised as touch has been on my mind a lot lately.

Today my therapist hugged me at the close of our session, and I realized that it was the first hug I'd had in a couple of weeks. My mother doesn't hug, neither does anyone else I see, and being bereft of physical contact is something I'm finding very challenging. I'm not sure what the solution is. One of the reasons I miss my son as much as I do is that he is a very physical human being, and I got hugs all day long. I took them for granted; one thing this past six months of my life has taught me is that one should never take any aspect of any relationship for granted.

It's a beautiful day today. The weather is hovering around 20 degrees (70 degrees F), the sun is shining, trees are sprouting blossoms and leaves, and gardens are full of daffodils and tulips and other spring flowers. My little plot out front is bright and cheerful. It's lovely to have the windows open; the cats like that as well. I love spring.

Speaking of cats, I had to lock them in the kitchen last night. Both of them decided that my desire to sleep was unacceptable, and they kept sitting on my pillow and meowing me into consciousness. I don't like barring them from my room, but egads, they were annoying.

Tomorrow I have to mow the lawn. My brother has been over to show me how to use the lawnmower and put gas in it. I am nervous, I've never cut grass before!
princessofburundi: (Default)
I called a crisis line tonight when my thoughts got really dark, and one of the things that the excellent counsellor made me realize is that although I am at a very low point in my life, that I have a lot to be grateful for. I don't think about that enough. He suggested making a gratitude list, and I'm going to do so here; no one needs to read it, although you're welcome to as well.

Grateful )
princessofburundi: (Default)
This has been a hard fucking day. I've been dancing with emotional pain for the entirety of it; I can't believe it's only 6:40 p.m. and that's there's still hours before bedtime; it feels endless.

The root of all my struggles is grief over my son moving far away. He moved out from my home in 2011, but moved back in 2013, and we shared a home until last fall, at which point he moved to a city 4,500 km. away to be with his fiancee. I'm not coping well with his absence. We were very close; he is not good at keeping in touch and in many ways I feel like he's a stranger to me these days as I know so little about his life. In March he told me that he would pay my way to come out and visit him this spring; today he told me that he couldn't afford to do that, but that I should come out for Christmas. I am devastated. I thought I'd be seeing him soon, and seven months and more seems a lifetime away.

Money is a very scary thing right now. I have enough to live on, just. I was working as a freelance writer, but I've been too mentally ill to take writing contracts, so I have no extra cash flow. My mum is taking me on a cruise around the British Isles this September, but honestly, the costs involved with it are causing me so much stress that I wish I weren't going. Somehow I need to scrape together cash for a passport photo, a passport, evening clothes as the cruiseline is expensive and formal, and for spending money. I simply do not know how I'm going to manage to do this.

To add to the joy, Revenue Canada (tax people) sent me a note today informing me that I owe them $8349.50. Obviously this is a mistake - I don't even earn that much in a year - but it has added to my list a lot of stress and a good solid kick in the solar plexus.

I demand a rewind of the day, one in which I wake up in Puerto Rico on an ocean beach, with a hot Latino hombre feeding me tropical fruits, and a bunch of puppies playing by my side.

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