13 Reasons Why: My Honest Opinion

Hello, beautiful readers! I know it’s been a while… I was unable to finish a post a day for April, but I don’t care too much. My blog is still here, and I know I can write whenever I want to. And there’s no point in forcing oneself to post every day, or on a schedule, if one does not feel like writing. If you don’t feel like writing, anything you write will more than likely turn out like crap, so it’s better to wait until you feel like writing to write, in my opinion.

Yesterday, I watched all 13 episodes of the Netflix original series, 13 Reasons Why. It’s very likely that anything written after this sentence will contain spoilers, so you should stop reading now, if you don’t want any spoilers whatsoever (although, with the Internet being what it is, you’ve probably seen some already anyway).

I watched 13 Reasons Why in one sitting. I started it sometime in the afternoon, and I finished at 1.30am. Naturally, I had breaks to make food and get myself hot drinks and use the bathroom, but I didn’t watch anything else from the moment I started episode 1 until the moment I finished episode 13. I wanted to watch it because I’d seen people tweeting about it, how deep it is, how they couldn’t stop crying at the end of it… So I thought I’d give it a try. Now, you might think that, because I watched it all in one go and didn’t take breaks other than to make food, that I found the show to be so incredibly good.

I did not. I have mixed feelings about the show, actually. I thought it was well made; I kept watching because I needed to know what happened next, whose tape would come up next, why Clay was on the list, when it seemed like he was such a good friend to Hannah, or at least tried to be. He didn’t humiliate her by sending her picture to everyone at school, or publish her writing without her consent, or steal her compliments from her paper bag for revenge. I was glad he didn’t deserve to be on the tapes though. I said I have mixed feelings about the show – I’m not entirely sure I liked it. I don’t think I’ll be rewatching it, at least not anytime soon.

The other students kept saying that Hannah lied, that what she said isn’t what happened. Toni had a good point – she was telling her truth. Because two people can witness a situation and experience it and what is the truth in two completely different ways. That’s why eye witness’ testimonies can be unreliable, right? Every person is different, every person’s mind works in a unique way, making their experiences unique to that person. And everything that happens affects everyone differently. One of the guys, I don’t remember who, said that nothing happened to Hannah that didn’t happen to every other girl in high school, inferring that the people on the tapes can’t be responsible for Hannah killing herself. But Hannah wasn’t every other girl, Hannah was Hannah, and how she experienced these things were different from how other girls did.

I read somewhere that when people kill themselves, it’s not because of one big thing. It’s all the little things, that add up until it becomes unbearable. I know that feeling. You cry, and people ask you what’s wrong, and you say you don’t know because it’s not just this one thing that you can say, it’s many little things, it’s everything. But how people handle it varies from person to person. Clay took a really long time to listen to the tapes, longer than any of the others. Alex listened through all of them in one night, the first time he listened to them. Clay had anxiety. Skye was a cutter. Hannah slit her wrists in the bathtub and died. Alex shot himself in the head but is in critical care. And was it just me, or did Tyler have a gun in his room, at the bottom of that trunk or whatever it was? I remember thinking, “he’s gonna shoot up the school”.

Maybe, to some, this show is deep. I didn’t find it deep. I found it exploratory, in the way that it explored the different ways the mind works. But it wasn’t earth shattering-oh my god this is so deep-deep, not to me anyway. I didn’t cry at the end. I felt sick, watching the suicide scene, but I didn’t cry. The show didn’t make me realize a lot of things. I read a review posted on a Norwegian website, where the author wrote that, at its worst, the show is awkward and full of cliches, but at its best, it is truly heartbreaking. Furthermore, the author wrote that the show is more important than it is good. A little more humor would have been nice, because even at its worst, high school isn’t entirely without it. And the show deals with important topics, such as peer pressure, drinking, sex, sexuality, bullying, and, of course, suicide. But I felt that Hannah was a bit unfair. She says all these people contributed to her taking her own life, that they broke hear heart and spirit and soul. But she couldn’t have thought about what kind of damage she would be inflicting on them by making and sending out these tapes, making each and every one of them listen to them and hear not only what they did but what 12 other people did (well, 11, because Justin had two tapes), threatening that they are being watched and that all tapes will be released to the public if any one of them fails to do what she tells them to. Not her problem, right? Because she’s dead. And you can’t blame a dead girl, can you?

Anyway. I’ve probably rambled on for long enough, so I’ll stop here. Anyone else watched 13 Reasons Why? What did you think? Let’s discuss in the comments!

~ Julie

Personal Update

I wanted to write an entry a day for all of April. I’ve been using the schedule system for that, writing when I have something to write about, but I feel like I’ve hit a wall. I’ve lost the will to do things. And that goes for everything, not just blogging. I feel like I’ve gone numb.

Yesterday a friend asked me to come with her to one of our uni campuses to sit and work from around noon, and I didn’t answer her because just the thought of working on my thesis made me feel tight chested and brought tears to my eyes. I feel bad for not working, but the thought of working sends me into panic, so what am I supposed to do? For now, I’m just avoiding it. When it came down to fight or flight, I fled. And I’m not proud of that. But I don’t know what to do.

I spent a lot of Easter watching Grey’s Anatomy and going on trips with my parents, visiting my grandparents and my great-grandmother, taking our car to a service shop, driving to a place in the middle of nowhere where someone’s made an American Diner where people come from far away to eat and see. And sleeping. A lot of sleeping. 8-10 hours a night of sleeping.

Since I got back to the city I’ve been hiding in my room, when I’m not out shopping. Yesterday I went and bought some stuff and walked around town for a while. After I’m done writing this entry I’m going to do that all over again.

I’m working this weekend, at the museum. And I’ve got two weekends in May, since a girl quit. I might as well sell tickets and glasses and books, and make some money, since I’m incapable of working on my thesis, right?

My heart hurts, and I don’t know why. My parents, uncle, and grandfather put my grandmother’s urn in the ground earlier this week. That might be a contributing factor…

How are you all doing, dear readers?

~ Julie

How to Take Care of Yourself (After Crying)

I wanted to write an entry on how to take care of yourself if you’ve had the kind of day I’ve been having a few of lately – days that include a lot of crying, no appetite, no willpower to do anything. So let’s just jump into it.

Firstly, if you’ve been crying for a while, or hours, or on and off the whole day, it’s very important to hydrate. Try to fill up a bottle of water and drink that, not all at once, just focus on getting the water down. And then fill it up again so that you have it on hand for when you get thirsty. I can usually feel that my mouth is dry, which I guess is related to having to breathe through my mouth because my nose is all blocked off. Green tea is also a good way to hydrate, if/when you get tired of water. Adding essential oils to your water is also good, especially citrus oils.

Secondly, wash your face. My face gets stiff and sticky from tears, and I like to wash it, remove any makeup that might be left on my face, and apply moisturizer. It helps me feel a little more human.

Thirdly, your nose is probably sore from having to blow it a lot. I like to apply a cream called Mentholatum, it contains menthol which is cooling on the skin, and it helps relieve pain and soreness from all the harsh paper – I am the kind of person that no matter what kind of tissue I use my nose will get sore so I don’t bother spending money on expensive tissue because it doesn’t work for me. The menthol also helps open up the nose; mine tends to be blocked for a long time after I’ve stopped crying.

Brush your hair. Get all those tangles out, and feel a little more alive. The goal here is for us to move forward, yes? And feeling a bit better about yourself, regardless of the situation, helps. I also like to put on a bit of makeup – some concealer, powder, and mascara. It covers up redness without looking overdone, and makes me feel like I look a little bit less of a mess, if nothing else.

Get some fresh air. It feels cooling on the skin – I always feel I get a bit warm when crying. Open your window, or go for a walk, or do both. Moving around can help. If you have a favorite park, go for a walk. Or go visit some shops in town, buy a new book or something else that you want. Buy yourself some flowers and put them in a room – not only do they look (and potentially smell) nice; plants also help with oxygen and stuff.

It’s also important to make sure your body gets the nutrients it needs. You need to eat proper food. That is not to say that comfort food can’t be proper food – earlier this week I ate avocado and tomato on toast for dinner because I didn’t feel like eating but I know that’s something I enjoy and that’s also good for my body. That being said, I did go to the store and bought pick n mix not long after. But, as they say, everything in moderation.

Lastly, I’d like to say that there is no shame in just taking an ibuprofen and going to bed. I often get headaches after crying, and I try not to overdo it on the medication side of things, but my doctor told me there’s no need to be as careful as I’ve been, because it won’t hurt me short term. Sometimes, a painkiller is just what I need to get my body to relax enough to get me a good night’s sleep. Which should not be underestimated! A good night’s sleep is important when it comes to every aspect of life, and factors like the temperature in the room, light noise, scents etc all affect these. It’s still pretty cold in Norway, so I open the vent instead of the window and leave the heating on low, and close my blinds. There’s not much noise around me so I don’t do anything to affect that, except if I’m feeling extremely bad, then I’ll put on Harry Potter on audiobook on my phone and fall asleep to that (I recommend using an app that let’s you set a sleep timer, otherwise it’ll probably wake you up at some point, which isn’t what we want here). As for scents, I like to apply lavender essential oil on my wrists and neck; it’s calming and it smells wonderful. I also have a small tin can of broken up Yankee Candle wax melts in lemon-lavender that I open up and leave on my bedside table before bed (I like to put the lid on whenever I’m not ‘using’ this, otherwise I can’t smell it as much, because I’m smelling it all the time).

So those were my tips for making yourself feel better and taking care of yourself after a round of crying. I hope this is able to help some people, somewhere in the world. If you have any additional tips, please leave them in a comment, I would love to hear!

~ Julie

Julie Advises

Today’s entry is not a very long or interesting one, but I wanted to give you some advice.

Do you ever have those days where you feel bad because you don’t feel like you’ve done anything? I do. All the time. Especially since having this huge project hanging over me, making me feel guilty every time I do something else. But if, like me, you have something so big like a master’s or doctoral thesis, or something else huge that’s constantly hanging over you, it’s important to take time to focus on yourself.

Today has been one of those days for me. I feel like I’ve not done much, but I’ve done some things.

  • I drank coffee
  • I made and ate breakfast with a 2nd cup of coffee
  • I wrote and scheduled several blog posts
  • I ate lunch
  • I took the bus to town and I walked around playing Pokemon GO for a couple of hours
  • I made tea
  • I took a shower
  • I ate dinner
  • I colored my eyebrows
  • I wore a moisturizing sheet mask for 20 minutes
  • I talked to my mom on the phone for over an hour
  • I told my mom about my mental issues and anxiety I’m experiencing, making it harder for me to work on my thesis than it should be
  • I cut trimmed all of my roses and put them in fresh water
  • I painted my nails
  • And most of these things I did while watching a whole 9 (!) episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on my laptop

So my tip to you is, if you feel like you’ve had an unproductive day and you feel guilty about it, write down everything you’ve done. Sort of like a reversed check-list. Chances are, you feel like you’ve done nothing all day, but you’ve probably done more than you realize.

Until next time,

~ Julie

Life Update 

Hello!

This entry is a quick update to the one I wrote two days ago, that you can read here if you haven’t read it already. 

To recap quickly, I’m struggling with panic attacks and depression related to my master’s thesis being due on the 15th of May. The amount of work is what’s causing the anxiety, and the anxiety makes me unable to work, so it’s a vicious circle. Yesterday I had a meeting with a guidance counselor, and we were in her office for 30-40 minutes and talked, and decided that the best for me is to apply for an extension. I filled out a standard form yesterday, and even though she told me to ignore the fact that it says I need to provide academic reasons and all that. I was still nervous after filling it out, even though she said it would go to her and she would approve it. But this morning I got an email saying I’ve got an extension and my new deadline is November 15th.

I should feel relieved. But I don’t. I feel numb. And weird. My body is tingling. I’m thirsty. I’m sleepy. I feel weird. My boyfriend says it could just be stress, built up stress, possibly leaving my body. The counselor told me to take “a few weeks off” to relax and get some distance from the thesis. I’m going to work tonight, and tomorrow I have an Indian themed dinner party to attend. On Saturday, I’m going home to my parents. To relax. Take care of myself. But how? How do I do that? All I’ve done for 19 years is go to school. I don’t know how to relax and take care of myself… How do I do that? 

~ Julie 

Pouring My Heart Out

If you’re unsure whether to do a masters degree, my advice is don’t. Don’t do it unless you’re 100% sure that’s what you want to do. I wasn’t sure. I hadn’t even thought about it until it was time to figure out my next step towards the end of my BA. I figured I’d do it, because I wasn’t ready to be an adult and go out in the real world yet. Now it’s just over a month until my thesis is due, and I’m having panic attack after panic attack, because I don’t t think I can do it, and I don’t know what to do.

Tomorrow I have a meeting with a guidance counselor, after advice from my thesis supervisor. He says he’ll support it if they ask him his opinion on whether I should get an extension. I just decided to Google thesis extensions, and now I’m sat here panicking because I’m worried I might not qualify. And that terrifies me. Because then I have to do this in the month that is left, and I don’t think I can do that. There’s too much work. And I get terrible anxiety every time I show up in uni trying to work. My chest and stomach hurt. My vision goes blurry. I can’t breathe. My entire body aches.

The website says I need academic reasons if I want to apply for an extension. Alternatively I can get two weeks with a doctor’s note for documented health reasons. And I don’t know if there are any. I don’t know if they qualify. Because I just want to blame myself… I always do when it comes to, well, anything. I don’t want to blame anyone else. I want to blame myself. But I don’t think I can take any more blame. I’m breaking down. And I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where to go from here…

Things You Should Read

Hello, everyone! Today’s post is kind of different. I wanted to recommend some reading to all of my readers. If you’re not a book-reading kind of person, don’t fret; these aren’t book recommendations. And if that disappoints you – you should read them anyway.

The first thing you should read, is Do Nothing by Markus Almond. It’s about taking a timeout, to take care of yourself. If you like what you read, you should check out his other works, he has published a few books. At the end of last year I read his book These Are The Days, it’s a book of letters to a stranger every day for 100 days, and I really recommend it!

The second thing you should read, is Life Lessons from Mr. Boho Berry. It’s a blog entry, with 8 little things he has learned in life and that he thinks other people should know about. It’s very well written. There were things I didn’t understand or agree with when I read the headline, but after reading the text below it I completely agree with what he said (I’m talking about the no tv in the bedroom one, by the way, haha).

Thirdly, I think everyone should read You’re Allowed to Leave by Rania Naim. There’s a video below the text on that link as well. It’s kind of related to the Do Nothing post, I feel. And it hit me right in the feels right now. No one should feel guilty for leaving something that doesn’t improve their life. Leaving doesn’t necessarily mean quitting.

Lastly, here’s a tumblr blog entry called How To Grow The Fuck Up by user veux3. The link is from my tumblr profile, which I don’t use anymore. This entry contains a lot of links to things I, and many others, feel we should have learned in school but we didn’t. There are 7 categories – home, money, health, emergency, job, travel, and better you. I haven’t clicked on all the links to make sure they work, but I remember reading a few of them a couple of years ago and finding useful things, like how to take care of yourself when you’re sick, for example.

Happy reading!

~ Julie

Master Depression is Real

Good morning to you, wonderful reader!

It is Wednesday morning, nearly 11pm, and I’m sat on a couch in my parents’ living room. I was supposed to go back to the city Monday morning, but on Sunday night we heard that the wind had grown stronger and found out that we were going to have a little storm, wind-wise, and although we didn’t get any notifications about the ferries being cancelled I didn’t particularly want to go out on the water in wind that strong, and especially not after my mom told be about one ferry that had a window taken out by a big wave not long ago. So I decided to stay here a little longer. Just as well, actually, because on Sunday I ordered my new phone, which I mentioned in this entry here. It said it would arrive in 1-3 working days, so we were hoping it would arrive yesterday, but when dad came home from a work trip he said the tracking said it’s in the city and therefore he thought it’d be on the first ferry out to our town today. He’s the one who’ll get the message about it though so I just have to wait… I did get a few other things done the past couple of days as well, so my time here hasn’t just been an extension of the weekend; yesterday I had a dentist appointment (and was told everything looks great), and I went with my mom to a meeting about noise reduction/isolation of houses, because our town is right next to an air force base which is getting new F35 fighter planes which will make a lot more noise than the F16s  I grew up with.

On Monday, I felt that I did good work wise. I wrote three paragraphs on my methodology chapter, and sent it in to my supervisor (it was 6 pages long, not finished, but he’s been asking for it). Then I wrote about 600-700 words more on my literature review, which still needs about 8 more pages before it’s finished, but I’m getting there, and that one doesn’t need to be finished before the end of April when my supervisor will get my entire thesis, all chapters put together, for one final reading. So I felt good! That was until my supervisor sent back the methodology chapter with his comments yesterday.

I read the email, and then all the comments on the chapter. Then I started to cry. My 16 pages long literature review needed to be restructured (which actually means rewritten, because most of the parts had to be changed as well, not just moved around), and rewriting makes it shorter, but it needs to be about 20 pages long, so I need to write more. That should’ve taken about 2 weeks, he said, and I’m sure I could have done it if each day consisted of about 40 hours instead of 24, but it doesn’t, so I’m not finished. And now my methodology needs to be rewritten, clarified, a lot of stuff needs adding and explaining… a friend of mine told me to remember that I’d written it in a hurry so of course it wouldn’t be great, and another told me to just go into robot mode and get stuff done, and my ever-supporting boyfriend told me I always react like this, I just need to remember that I’ve always been fine in the past and I will be fine this time too, it just feels like I won’t because it’s my master’s thesis. My mom told me that it sounds like I just need to sit down and work.

And here I am, blogging. This entry has passed 600 words by now, so I know I am capable of writing lots of words fast, so how come everything on my thesis is going so slow? I think I know the answer to that. I don’t want to write it. I don’t want to do the work. I just want to get the degree so I can move on with my life. I’ve been in school for 19 years, that’s 3/4 of my life, and the 6 years before that I can barely remember, apart from some glimpses here and there. They say that university, the years spent as a student, are supposed to be some of the best of your life. But they’re also the most stressful. I constantly have the feeling that I’m not quite done for the day because there’s always something that needs doing, because you’re never done, but you can’t spend all your awake hours working, either. But when I’m not working I feel guilty. And then I struggle to work because I feel so bad about myself. And then I feel like I’m stuck in this vicious circle that I can’t get out of, I cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, everything is just black, the air is black, and it’s pushing down on me and I can’t breathe and I just want it all to end.

I never thought it was possible for me to not want to live. I’ve always been the person who looked forward to growing up, to being my own boss, in charge of myself, able to go wherever I want and do whatever I want. And at 24 I’m supposed to be able to do that. And in a way, I am. No one forced me to do this. I did this to myself. I chose to do a master’s degree because I didn’t feel adult enough to start working at 22, almost 23, when I was done with my bachelor’s degree. And I wanted to spend more time with my friends. But now I’m sat here, it’s March, spring is on its way, I have 9 weeks until I should be done with my thesis and send it to print, and everything feels so undoable. Like I’ll never be finished. Like no matter what I do, I’ll never get done, because something will always need restructuring and rewriting. There are days where I wish I could just quit, run away, but I can’t, because I have half a million of student loans to pay back because I chose to study instead of finding a job. And because of that, there are days where I just wish I could end it all…

sometimes the day just ends

Destructive Living

Sleep. Eat. Study. Repeat.

That’s how it feels, a lot of the time. That feels like what life is all about… And I know it’s temporary. I know there will come a time in my life when it’s not all about studying and getting my degree, or the next degree. But here’s the thing. I have some certain destructive tendencies, which make it to the surface despite me working on burying them as far down as humanly possible, sometimes.

Let’s start with the first one: sleep. Everyone knows the importance of sleep, right? We need REM sleep in order to process memories, to transfer knowledge from short term to long term memory… In order to recover muscles and our bodies in general. Sleep is important. Some also say that teenagers sleep the most… but when I was a teenager I could sleep 5 hours and be good to go and feel great the following day – that is not possible now. I can’t tell you how many times my day has been ruined due to lack of sleep, or bad quality sleep for one reason or another, and when I make it through that day I can sleep 8 or 10 hours the following night and still be exhausted when I wake up. But maybe that’s because I’ve slept too long. It makes no sense. Sleeping is supposed to be the easiest thing in the world – you just fall asleep, and then you sleep until you wake up. Yeah, not so much…

Next, eating. When I was younger, I didn’t eat much. I went through a period a couple of years after I stopped eating meat where I noticed I lost a lot of weight and it became an obsession to lose weight and at a point I pretty much only ate dinner with my family because that was mandatory. Going to America for a year when I was 17 helped a little. But what helped the most was starting exercising when I was 19-20. Most of the time I eat good, and a friend of mine started calling me a hobbit, because I am short and I eat very often! But sometimes I slip up. Last week I had one of those. I’d even brought lunch with me when I went to a friend’s house to work for the day, because the last time I did that I didn’t eat enough throughout the day. But I didn’t eat dinner that day. I was so hungry when I got home, but my roommate was cooking and I didn’t want to intrude so I sat down. My two roommates and I talked for a couple hours but my headache, which arrived after the gym, was getting so bad, and because I didn’t eat right away I got nauseated and couldn’t eat. So I took a shower and went to bed. My actions were very noticeable the following day, with more headaches and extreme hunger, a so-called “hollow day”.

Lastly, studying. When the sleeping and the eating get disrupted, the studying does too. Studying is pretty much all I’ve done my entire life, for nearly 20 years straight now, in one shape or form of another. In order to relate this to the headline of this entry, let’s look at procrastination, or as I like to call it: completely jeopardizing my future. Because that’s where I’m at. I have this huuuge project that I need to finish in two months now, and I don’t quite know how to do it, so I procrastinate. Or, sometimes, I have really productive days, which are usually followed by another day or two of doing little to nothing because of headaches or exhaustion or depression, all of which are difficult to separate sometimes, they’re not necessarily clear-cut…

And then I sleep. And tomorrow, I have to get up and do it all over again.

Anyone else experiencing anything like this? I’d love to hear from you!

~ Julie