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

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Student housing, room mates, and thoughts from a 5th year

I’m in my fifth year of uni studies. I moved out of my parents’ house when I started studying English, because it would have been too long of a commute, too expensive, and I wouldn’t have been able to do anything social with new friends. I spent some time looking for places to rent, and sent out a couple of applications. I didn’t hear anything from the student housing I applied for, but I did get a call from a private renter. He had converted the basement of his house into student housing and was renting out to three people, as there were three bedrooms, and a shared kitchen and bathroom. I moved there in August 2012.

I lived there for four and a half years, with 9 other girls, none of which stayed longer than a year. The landlord’s kids were loud, his wife was a yeller, and the house was on top of a hill 7 minutes from a bus stop, and the connections to the city weren’t great; if you stayed out past midnight it was expensive to get back there and the stores weren’t close enough. Everyone wanted to live walking distance from town and have to take the bus to uni, at least that’s what they said when they moved out. I enjoyed living walking distance from uni though. It was a nightmare in the winter when there’s snow, to walk the shortcut was nearly impossible, but they usually cleared the sidewalk by the main road early enough so that it wasn’t a problem. I walk a lot less since I moved, and I’m not too happy about that.

I became friends with some of my roommates. With a couple of them, we’d all go on grocery shopping trips together, getting the items on special offer from the different stores around, and watch movies, and sit in the halls and talking for hours. With others, we coexisted in total silence. Some resulted to slamming doors in my face so hard that the walls would move, because I put up a couple of notes with tape about turning off the lights and cleaning – nice notes, but I guess they were perceived as passive aggressive, or something. I have a lot of good memories at the old house, but I also have a lot of bad memories. The last semester was good, the year before it was really bad, roommate wise, but good in other ways – boyfriend wise.

All of my roommates at the old house were girls. Since I moved, I’ve lived with two guys. It’s a different experience in some ways. I put up a cleaning sheet on the fridge and a note on the door reminding everyone to lock it when they leave – but no one is slamming any doors in my face and we still sit in the kitchen and talk. Sometimes I get annoyed at dishes in the kitchen or loud screaming due to a football match, but I guess that’s always the case with roommates. But you deal with it because it’s a part of being a student.

I would love nothing more than to get a house, or at least an apartment, with a bedroom that I don’t have to be in for anything other than to sleep. I want to have a couch that I sit on when I watch TV, and to not have to sit at my desk for anything other than work that requires a desk. I don’t even like the desk as a piece of furniture, but I have this amazing desk chair. Perhaps I could get a proper computer, with Photoshop that doesn’t crash and where I can play Cities: Skylines with actual mods and assets without it taking ages to load. That would be a good use for a desk. But I hate sitting at my desk day in and day out. I want a couch and a coffee table and a TV screen that’s larger than 15″.

But that’ll have to be in the future. Slow upgrades, one at a time. I went from having a room in a basement, to a room in an apartment building. I still have 2 roommates, but I no longer live underground, and I have a personal sink in my room. In July, I’m moving again. I’ll still be in an apartment building, but on the 3rd floor this time. I’ll be living with 6 other people, so technically that’s a downgrade when it comes to the shared kitchen, but I will have my own personal bathroom, with a shower and toilet and sink that I don’t have to share with anyone, and I cannot freaking wait!

One step at a time. One dorm room at a time. The good thing about moving is you get to redecorate your living space, make it into who you are, and redo it all over again! And that, I am excited about. Room tour, anyone?

~ 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…

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

Timeout From Life

I went home to my parents’ on Friday afternoon, and I was there until this morning. Going there, spending time with my mother, and my father, and a little bit my brother, is kind of like a timeout from life for me. I don’t do uni work when I’m there. I don’t watch the TV shows I’m usually binge watching when I’m in the city. We eat dinner and watch a movie Friday night and I go to sleep; we eat breakfast together on Saturday morning and then  go for a walk, eat some lunch, do some chores, make dinner, and watch some more TV; we eat breakfast together again on Sunday morning, then visit my grandparents, make some dinner, have a nap on the couch from all the life-breaks, eat some dessert, watch some TV, go to bed. And this morning I got up early and my mom drove me down to the ferry and I went straight to uni to try and get some work done before I drag my luggage home to my apartment.

And that’s pretty much my weekend in a nut shell. I don’t suppose anyone would enjoy reading about the food we made or the new curtains we bought and put up or the 6 short stories I’ve read since Thursday night, so I’m keeping this short.

I hope everyone had a good weekend, and that you will have a good week, to, now that we’ve started February!

~ Julie

Ask yourself what you need, and make sure you get it

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a girl online who had posted about coping with anxiety and depression, and she said her therapist had told her, “every day, ask yourself what you need, and make sure you get it”. I thought this was a really good quote.

And I don’t think you need to struggle with a mental illness in order to make use of these words. I think it’s a good mantra, something everyone can do every day in order to improve their quality of life.

Take myself, for example. I don’t struggle much with my mental health, not compared to what I have done in the past anyway, not including the occasional panic attack and ever-present anxiety regarding my thesis, but that’s temporary. I started asking myself what I need several times a day. Yesterday, my needs were warm clothes and coffee. One I sorted out before I left the house, the other I fixed while I was in uni. This morning at 7am I asked myself what I needed, and I didn’t even answer it before I fell asleep and slept for another two hours.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a “good girl”. I’ve done what I was expected or supposed to do, always finished homework and assignments on time, did my chores, got up early, never ditched school (apart from that last half of a math class we never talk about)… I was a “good girl”. Which makes me feel bad now, when I’ve reached the year of my life that is supposed to be entirely about my thesis, and I don’t always get up early and I don’t always go to uni, I don’t even work on it every single day! And that makes me feel like I’m not a good girl anymore, because that’s what I’m supposed to do.

But I think that as a human being your number one task is to take care of yourself. If you’re not feeling good and living a good life, you can’t be a good influence on others and you can’t get anything done and you’ll end up walking vicious circles and nothing will ever get any better. So therefore, I encourage you all to take care of yourselves, and to ask yourselves what do YOU need today, and when you have the answer make sure you get it. And make sure others do, too.

I hope you all have a very good day!

~ Julie