Tag Archives: anxiety

This is a catharsis post. Rants ahoy

Standard

Let me preface this by saying that I genuinely love my job. I love the travelling, the fast pace, the strange customers, even the weird cravings you get around hour nine of the flight. That being said, there certain parts of it that my anxiety-ridden self loathes like the Grinch loathes Christmas….
Specifically the increased automation of certain parts of the operation. Call me an old-soul but there are many times when the phrase “just press the button and let the machine do it” is not as reassuring as some people might think. I’m the kind of person who (had I be born a couple of decades earlier) would be fixing the TV with a mallet. Bottom line, I don’t trust machines. And machines don’t like me either. Files mysteriously disappearing and reappearing in random folders, gadgets sorting out because I looked them wrong, if it’s any type of computer it comes to my hands for the sole purpose of dying.  I’m not going to discuss here what electronic device is currently antagonising me but suffice to say I’m not at fault and this whole problem wouldn’t exist if I had interacted with a being made out of organic carbon instead of plastic and microchips.

But here’s the thing. I’m paranoid. I have backup plans for my backup plans because I know I get anxious when things spiral out of my control. But for all I wish I either had all the responsibility or none at all, I have to acknowledge (to others if not myself) that when I am running on two hours of sleep, caffeine fumes and the hope of a bed I cannot be expected to perform my best. It’s the reality of the job and I say that as someone who permanently ruined her sleep schedule when she was sixteen.

I suppose the first sacrificial victim of having a large company is personal contact. And by personal contact I don’t mean feedback forms (the subject of another rant eventually, but not now. One cause of sleeplessness at a time). Automation is all well and good but does not account for the human factor. And dear gods, this would be so much easier to rant about if I didn’t feel the need to keep it as vague as possible. I swear, the next job I happen upon (once the paperwork chasing that is disturbingly inherent in being cabin crew becomes to much for me) will have a lot less forms. Screw salary raises and benefits, I’m hardly likely to settle down anyway (that is not a dare PTB, I do want a family in the somewhat near future). I just want a job that pays my bills and doesn’t drive me to insomnia, drink and/or anxiety attacks. But I suppose that is too much to ask for all things considered.

Sometimes I wonder if my life would be easier if I could actually talk about my problems. For someone whose main strength during academia was writing, it can be remarkably hard at times to find the correct words. There are concepts I only know in one language (which might not be the language I’m using in the discourse I’m having). There are concepts I perceive in the relative safety of my mind as feelings and colours and shapes, with not corresponding words that I can find, especially in such a difficult conversation. And it is difficult. I’m aware enough of my self and my mental state to know that poking that particular hornets’ nest, while therapeutic and something I should probably do at some point, would not be pleasant for anyone involved. Too much compartmentalising and shoving things in the Narnia-sized broom closet that is my subconscious. And even as a child I preferred listening because a. human interactions are stressful and confusing, b. 95% of the people I meet/spend time with I would not care whether I saw again or not so why bother, c. my temper is too violent to risk igniting since hitting someone over the head with my leatherback Divina Comedia is sadly not socially acceptable. What this all boils down to is an underlying sentiment of “I’ve observed that references to this subject are met with frustration and/or indifference so trying to communication my perception of it, based on personal experience or not, will be likely not met favourably”. Or, more laconically, “you guys ain’t listening so why bother”? And yes, that includes trying to talk it through with someone and then them dismissing your perception/opinion/stance are non-valid because it doesn’t fitting with perception of the subject. Oh yeah. That happened. Repeatedly. From people I didn’t expect it from. Fun times. Not.

On a slight tangent, I was having a discussion earlier about diversity and PC culture and whether or not it is meaningful or limiting at this point. I hardly belong to a marginalised group so I felt it would be hypocritical to preach from a proverbial soapbox on the subject. But personally, I feel it’s about removing stigma and misconception. It’s just both can be so deeply embedded that that they are considered normal. But here’s the thing. I would very much like to wear shorts or miniskirts when I go out. So why is it that the same people who with one breath encourage me to do so because I’m apparently at the proper age for it, warm me off doing it with the next breath because “it’s not safe” or so that I can avoid catcalls. And for the matter I have nothing against a guy complimenting me on the street (in fact I am very flattered, but for the love of all you hold holy, leave it at that). What I am against is guys honking at me or whistling from the cars or ogling on the street like they got dropped off to the 21st century from the Victorian times by a very inconsiderable time-traveller. It’s not flattering, it’s not sincere and it is certainly doing nothing to cool off the hotter heads of the feminism vs sexism debate (and I include reverse sexism on that too, it’s just I’ve never had a woman make to make some of the comments I’ve heard from men). Or I would like not to have to think and hesitate about going to the doctor to verify something I suspect because having it in my medical history might affect my chances of employment, or because my symptoms are not “loud” enough to be considered legitimate. For the record I would very much like to be able to make a phone call without having to prepare myself for it in advance or have a conversation with a coworker and not obsessively dissect it afterwards for everything I may have done wrong because have I mentioned how hard it is to talk to someone when you suck at reading body language? And no, I very much do not believe in the idea that best intentions are communicated somehow.

I’m gonna cut this off rather abruptly but it’s getting late and I am famished. At least my head feels a little emtier right now so hopefully I’ll be able to sleep properly (and promptly) tonight.

Go away anxiety! I’m busy(-ish)!

Standard

I remember back in high school when my friends would ask me how on earth I stayed calm before tests or exams. The answer, unfortunately, was not magic. Rather, it was a curious of acknowledging the inevitable, compartmentalising and just good, ol’ plain not caring. That last bit especially has helped me through quite a lot of would-be panic inducing scenarios. See, the trick is, that if deep-down you are indifferent to the result then why should you stress over it. I invite students of psychology to tell me how many different levels of self-manipulation, denial and repression are involved in this.

Image result for sailor moon gif

Ironically that also means that when I’m truly invested in something I…well….I over-prepare. And by that I mean, read every single scrap of information that I can find on the subject. Which eventually will lead me older and older stuff (posts, articles, book extracts… I don’t have a big library at my beck and call anymore, so it’s the terrifying depths of the internet that I turn to). Of course, anything older than two years needs to be take with a big, heaping tablespoon of salt, especially if it’s regulations-related. Doesn’t stop me from reading it. And then privately freaking out about contradicting sources.

But what is the current cause of the anxiety I bemoan up at the title line? Well, to put it briefly, paperwork. Tomorrow is my appointment at the US Consular Office to sort out my visa (and liven up, my so-far boring passport…). Here’s the problem, if it might be called so: I’ve done the prepwork that’s required (application, picture, payment, la-di-da…) and even crosschecked it with a fellow candidate AND the (not quite clear) instructions BA has provided us with. Everything that needs printing has been printed, all the papers I need to have with me are in their neat little folder, heck I’ve even picked out an outfit and worked out train timings! Explain to me then why for the past eight hours my brain has been kinda like….

Related image

Rei on the outside, Usagi on the inside…

-sigh- This is finals all over again. To the best of my knowledge I’m perfectly prepared and (knowing me) will there way ahead of schedule…. There are zero things at my application that might lead to me being denied the visa. So why? What possible cause would my brain have to go down the Apocalypse Now route of scenarios? I sometimes joke that I panic over insignificant things so that when an actual crisis comes up, I’m all paniced-out and therefore able to focus. So maybe my subconscious has delegated this whole shebang under “not Earth-shatteringly important”?

Related image

On top of that there is always the ever-present dilemma of buying the cabin bag I’ll need to get eventually now (when Debenhams has an absolutely beautiful sale going on…) and wreak further havoc to my budget or leave it for later and risk missing the sale and paying three times the amount. And of course some paperwork I need to complete for my medical exam on the 31st which I’ve been putting off solely because I despise filling out forms. They have a magical way of making me feel fifteen years younger than I actually am, and I am hardly old enough for that to mean “charmingly young”. (It’s more like “toddler”).

So yeah…unloading online it is. And probably working out until my joints feel like they made out of half-cooked dough… But on the bright side Infinity Wars’ trailer should be coming out soonish and all things Black Panther and Thor 3 so far look bloody gorgeous. Thank you Marvel for continuing to fire up my little fangirl heart!

Image result for sailor moon gif

There’s no reason for this gif. I just find it hilarious!

 

In which the old adage about glittering stuff and gold is back in fashion

Standard

So I moved to Hounslow. Which of itself was an adventure that I would much rather not repeat. I’d talk about it here but the last few days have been really trying for the concave that is my head. I don’t think repeating everything that happened here will help much. Let’s talk about my new house instead (I don’t see myself giving it “home” status. It’s more of a somewhere-to-stay-until-I-start-being-paid-decently case.) The building itself is lovely and my new room spacious and with big windows (always a good thing). Unfortunately it came with some MAJOR turn-offs that I’ll have to grin and bear for a year. What are these griefs I face you ask? Well, for one the walls are pretty thin, which I’ve noticed seems to be the norm in England. Personally I detest them. They do next to nothing to keep the sound from other rooms out which means that working without headphones will be impossible, unless, by some happy coincidence, I’m home alone. Also, for the record, dear whoever is playing music in the living room right now, if you need to raise your voice to be heard over the song, then perhaps you should turn the volume down. Since we’re practically at Heathrow’s doorstep, you’d think soundproofing would be the first thing on the list…

The next thing is more of a personal preference thing. One of the first things you notice when entering my room is this lovely, inviting, double bed. If you are anything like me, your first instinct would be to throw yourself on the mattress and enjoy an impromptu cat nap. If you did this in this bed you’d end up with bruises. I’m not kidding! Let me make an honest-to-Chuck comparison: on one particular family holiday we ended up having more people than beds in the house, so us kids ended up in the living room with a carpet and a couple of folded blankets between us and the floor. That was more comfortable than what I currently have to sleep in. I’m not exaggerating at all. The mattress feels like lying on the floor. I know some people prefer to sleep on a firm surface (apparently it’s good for your back?) but there is a difference, I think, between firm and unyielding. And this bed is categorically on the latter part of the spectrum.

The kitchen! Oh how do I weep for that kitchen! I cook when I’m happy. I cook when I’m stressed. I cook when I’m angry. Basically, cooking is one of my coping mechanisms. One of the things I was most looking forward to while moving out of student accommodation was a functional kitchen. This is not the case. Partially that is because I haven’t had time to get used to it. But a very, very large part is due to the lack of space. Not only are the counters covered in stuff (that needs washing or -I suspect- has nowhere else to be) from what I understand each tenant is assigned one cupboard. To put this in perspective, I came here with two boxes worth of kitchen stuff, from crockery, to cutlery, to spices or foodstuff that was still good and I didn’t want to throw out. I’m used to limited storage space but this is ridiculous! Half my stuff is still in the cardboard boxes and it will need to remain there because I’ve filled the cupboard as much as I safely can. You want a constant source of stress? Try having to work from storage boxes. It will drive you crazy, I promise.

But by far the biggest problem in this scenario (and the one from which quite a few others will stem, I just know) is that my landlord (live-in at that) speaks really bad English and on top of that he talks really fast. That means that out of every ten words that come out of his mouth  I’m lucky if I can make sense of four. Mercifully one of the other tenants can act as a translator (and I’m kinda hoping she comes home soon today because there’s some financial matters I need to discuss with him and that is not a subject I’m willing to talk about in a pray-we-understand-each-other level). I was hoping I’d have a chance to allow my anxiety to recede a bit now that I’m out of uni. Doesn’t look like it, judging by the knot that my stomach has turned to…

You’re probably wondering why I chose to move in in a house that is clearly problematic. The answer is simple: I was in a time-crunch and with an incredibly limited budget. I hoped I was making the best out of a bad situation. Maybe that will be the case in a few weeks. Then again, I can’t even ask that guy whether the post has come yet so I’m not holding out. Heh! Remember when we were kids and thought that having our own house would be as easy as acing a spelling test? And for the record, the next person above the age of 30 that tells me starting out in life is easy and I panic over nothing will be treated to the kind of tongue-lashing I’d give someone my age. Colourful language included. Telling me to keep calm with do nothing for my anxiety-induced headaches, the insomnia, the lack of appetite or the fact that I am officially at the stage where a ten minute discussion is enough to reduce me to the kind of exhaustion not even allnighters can achieve, And I would know…

-awkward wave-

Standard

Um…hey everyone. I’m back. Um…not sure how long I’ll be able to keep the three-a-week schedule this time, but I’ll try. I mean, my load is a little lighter this semester, so I should be fine? We’ll see. At least I’m no longer in constant panic/too tired to function mode. Sure I’m not much better, but small steps, right?

At any case I have a few ideas on what to post here for the next few weeks  so it’s not like there’s going to be zero content-just rambles. (Or more accurately, I have the ideas but whether they will spawn an avalanche of text or barely a post each is up for debate. After my most recent essay marathon just looking at a keyboard blocks my willingness to type…) But on the subject of rambles and generally stream-of-consciousness posts, there’s definitely going to be more of those. Mostly because I’ve been recently told that dammit I need to talk to somebody before I explode (again. Long story.) and since anyone who has ever met me in person can attest to the fact that my ability to communicate verbally leaves much to be desired (partially because my default mode is “people have their own shit to deal with, I don’t need to add”), I’ll just have to get it out on (virtual) paper. No, I’m not going to go all Dear Diary to you. Just rant every now and then here so that I can continue to fool people in real life into thinking I’m a calm and collected adult. Usually. Hopefully. If there is literature involved. I’m not building a good case, am I?

While I’m writing this post, I’m also trying to sync my account on Bloglovin with zero success. According to them, my blog does not exist. Since I have 2+ years worth of posts that say otherwise, I will respectfully disagree. And according to Google and WordPress Support I’m not the only one with this problem. Unfortunately, the few solutions that don’t go along the “follow the instructions on the bloglovin website” line involve coding, htmls and other scary things that I only recognise as things to stay away from. Considering the love-hate relationship I have with all things computer, if I tried my hand on coding I’d break the internet. And I happen to like a lot of people online so I wouldn’t do this to them…. I don’t know… If anyone reads this and can give me idiot-proof instructions on how to deal with the problem, I will love you forever!

But Lia, you might say, your blog is tiny (and hardly active lately). Maybe bloglovin just couldn’t find you in the tangle mess of the interwebs. Yes, thank you snarky voice in my head and/or comment section. As a matter of fact I thought of that. And so I went of the main search bar of the site and looked myself up. And I did not exist. What did exist was a handy add-a-blog button which I used. And I still can’t find me. I don’t know, maybe it takes a few hours for the thing to go through? I’ll probably check again tomorrow, see if the gods of internet have decided to show mercy. Or call my, by far more, tech-savy brother. And the problem is not my RSS feed because I checked it and it’s valid. So there!

But isn’t this a great metaphor for my life currently? I have all these plans, all these good intentions (Hell has paved a whole new lane thanks to me…), all the willingness to work for my (largely unspecific) dreams and all I ask for is a chance. And a damn guidebook because gods now I’m taking shots in the dark here and hoping the bullets will not come back to be. Yes, I know I’m neither the first not the last to be in this position and you know what? NO! I’m not going to grin, nod and accept that as an answer. I will happily acknowledge that this yet another part of the whole growing up charade but that doesn’t mean I’m just going to sit here and accept that just because my age group doesn’t (mostly) have a frigging clue on where they are going, we cannot have any help. Screw being independent! If I want somebody to take me by the hand and show me the ropes then maybe I should have one.

Universities like to wax poetic on their student support schemes and career development plans and what have you and while I applaud the initiative, I can’t help feeling I’m not the only one finishing their degree and not knowing where to find a paycheck. I chose an undergraduate and postgraduate degree on a subject I love because even as an eighteen-year-old I knew myself well enough to know that I wouldn’t make it long in a career path I was indifferent to (even if it meant a certain job). So here I am with an English degree under my belt and one on the making and next to zero tangible job experience because let me tell you (and I’m not joking now), literature is mentally exhausting. You know all those things you read and wonder, “How do they do that?” I’ll tell you how: hours pouring other people’s work on top of your own writing and world building and scenario exploring. Even my silly little fanfics have an insane amount of backstage work. For every scene or line committed to paper there’s three variants rejected or altered or even saved for future reference. If you want to write good, you need to know everything there is to know about the world you’re playing with, and the same goes to analysing someone else’s work. When I’ve spent seven hours at the library doing background reading on top of my coursework, I don’t have the mental fortitude (or the energy really, library marathons mean less cooking time means less of a chance to eat properly on a regular basis) to go out job hunting. Still, I would GLADLY scrounge the energy to pull a shift or five if someone. would. just. give. me. a. chance. When even the simplest retail job demands experience (even in-university or placements that supposedly are there to help us gain experience) and you know for a fact that you only have to show a measly CV and a shy smile…well, you sorta know your chances are next to nil. Of course they will prefer the experienced person because, come on! Who can be bothered with showing the ropes to a newbie?

I used to joke with some of my friends that when we all inevitably fail to find jobs we should just open a coffee shop together. If I had the capital, that would be my Plan A. As it is, what I do have is a very uncertain future, the understanding that my passions lie on the oft-marginalised Humanities and a terrible case of panic. There are things you cannot study for, cannot possibly prepare for and really would it be so hard if someone, just once, bothered to tell us when we are little that it’s ok to not know what you’re doing, it’s no shame to want to study what you love just because you want to learn more, not in order to get a job. I wish I could be paid to read, write and talk about mythology and the sagas and the Arthurian stories and medieval romances and poetry and all those things that most disregard as useless or irrelevant without even realising how much they have affected the “modern” way of thinking. I wish I could just find a job so that I didn’t lose sleep over how I’m going to support myself from the summer on. I wish it would be more than nominally accepted that not everyone works on the same speed and the fact that I didn’t feel ready to dive right in the job market when I was twenty doesn’t mean that I’m lazy or out of touch with reality or immature or whatever it is that employers think they skim through a two-page CV with little in terms of references and plenty in terms of hopeful willingness to help. I wish….I wish…I wish….

Most of all I wish someone would give me a chance.

In which there is something in the air

Standard

And it’s neither the scent of my favourite candle nor a flesh-consuming virus. Actually I’m not quite sure WHAT it is. So, like the good scholar I pretend to be upon occasion, I will try to write myself to a conclusion.

Therefore, first things first! What are the symptoms? So far they include an even shorter temper that usual, exhaustion, tension in my back, all-around bad mood and insane chocolate cravings. And before you ask it, no, I am not pregnant. I am however very tired of feeling like I’ve boarded the proverbial roller coaster and forgot to get off. And besides…. hold on… Oh, damn! Yup, I know what the issues is here. Ladies and gentlemen I have managed to make exactly the same, soul-sucking mistake for the second time exactly ten years after my first monumental stupidity. I have forced myself to be social. No, I am neither a hermit nor an absolute misanthrope. I have simply always found the company of the written word much less stressful and infinitely more attractive. What happened ten years ago was that I changed schools just as I was beginning to go through puberty. Yeah, you know what they say: Never make life-altering decisions whilst under the influence of mind-altering substances. Never mind if these are secreted by your own brain. So in her unquestionable  wisdom 12-year-old me decided that a new school (tabula rasa and all) called for a new attitude towards humanity in general. (And it is at this point that every single little voice that ever rented space in my head felt the need for a collective facepalm.) But I tried. Like, earnestly tried to be more social, to navigate that horrifying setting that is middle school. The end result can be summed up in a few poignant words: I don’t want to remember 95% of those four years. I’m not exaggerating or being over-dramatic. That couple of years when I was eleven and twelve especially I would happily ignore in any flashback-inducing activity. Mercifully I realised what I was doing to myself and went back to my semi-lone wolf ways. And gods, I loved it!

And then uni came. And with it came tabula rasa round two. (On a side note, wouldn’t that be a wicked title for a crime film?) Only this time around I thought I knew better. For nearly three years I was fairly convinced (some might say deluded) that in terms of social obligations I did not exceed my -admittedly- limited skills. Yeah, this pretty much sums it up. The truly obnoxious thing about bad habits is that they sneak up on you just when you thought you’d escaped them. And this is how I find myself now, saddled with way too many social obligations which I am unable to drop because…well… I hate it when people say that’ll do something and then drop out the last second. Honestly, a large part of this unloading has had to do with background stressing over other things (about which I will be probably ranting at some point in the near future…) but it has also got me thinking. It’s not like I’ve been forced into any of the situations I find myself in. I was aware of what I was doing when I signed up for all these different groups and societies and what have you. I don’t even have the puberty excuse anymore or that of inexperience either.

So what is it? I am self-aware enough to know that being around people for more than a few hours (or days, depending how comfortable with/close to them I am) is just not good. I try to be optimistic about life in general but I know what will happen if I exceed my social interaction limits. It’s not pretty and it might even been damaging in the long term. I’d rather avoid becoming the neurotic one at any given setting. There’s more than enough drama queens to go around without me adding to the GSA (Global Stupidity Average). Maybe part of me is still that hopeful 12-year-old that wants to believe things will be different next time. And who knows, maybe they will be. Unfortunately this is here and now and things are not different yet. So, I suppose, until little-me’s wish comes true, I’ll just have to do what I do best: grit my teeth and bear it with what little social grace and understanding I have.