Tag Archives: stress

Go away anxiety! I’m busy(-ish)!

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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.

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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….

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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”?

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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!

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

 

In which a voicemail is enough to ruin two days’worth of good vibes

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I HATE phone calls. I don’t just find them inconvenient or stressful (though both are true too), I loathe them. For better or worse phones calls almost never yield good news for me, and not just because I somehow always end up with a person with really thick accent on the other end of the line. Yes I am bilingual. No, that is of no help if I need to hear the voicemail you left me twice and still be uncertain about a key point of it. Also, who the dickens rattles off a phone number in lightning speed and does not even bother to repeat it more slowly. Oh, and douche coworker, I could hear you giggling over the line. You think your English is clearer, fucking. Man. The. Phones.  Anyway, it would seem that I need to compose a very long and very tense (read passive aggressive bordering to aggressive aggressive) e-mail to the lumps of carbon responsible or my high blood pressure these past few months and see if I can’t get this mess sorted finally. And this friends, is why all my good mood from the past few days (I’m nearly not sick anymore, yay!) plus the endorphins from my earlier swimming session went up in figurative flames.

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On the bright side (and mum, if you’re reading this put the Holy Water down, we were mostly joking) this also the sort of situation on which friendships are built. Basically I was ranting to a friend about the whole mess, pretty much prefacing it with “fancy helping me curse someone?” There are few things quite as comforting as an answer of “who?” rather than “what?” or “why?” for this sort of question. I mean yeah, we are planning of talking the ears of everyone slightly relevant to the recruitment process as soon as we clear the pre-employment stage because frankly this whole song and dance started in August and I know for a fact that not nearly enough has happened to me in the past five years to justify a background check still going on. I’m not even kidding! If I wasn’t losing sleep over high school finals or uni, then I was at my parents’ pretty much catching up on sleep, sun and homemade meals. I don’t have a criminal record (obviously) so what in the name of Elizabeth Bennett’s mud-stained petticoat is taking them so frigging long?  Everything we’ve been able to find online suggests that it’s a company issue, that they are just that disorganised. But then again that raises another very serious question. If it’s widely known that they are that bad at their job then why would anyone hire them? Mr. Trickster is having a laugh on my behalf methinks, but I am too stubborn to just no do anything about it. Besides, if I learnt one think in public school is how to loudly complain about things happening that I don’t like.

And with that I shall be off. I have an angry e-mail to write and a story about an inept Russian prince being saved by his girlfriend to continue. Toodles!

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In which I’ve had a weird day

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How weird? Well, it was a perfect balance between good and bad…and it’s still not over so who knows what the final verdict will be. I mean, I slept really bad. Like really bad; nightmares, jumping awake for no reason, trouble falling back to sleep, the whole nine yards. Which is nothing new for me. Whenever I’m out of a particularly stressful situation it takes my mind a week or three to re-adjust. It’s not helped by the fact that I’m now moving on from the stress that is the dissertation to the stress that is putting a roof over my head for the next year. House hunting itself, I do not mind so much. The phone calls that come with it though? Helloooooo mild anxiety attack! I’m not joking. Three months’ worth of intensive research and writing did not leave as mentally exhausted as an afternoon of phone calls. It could be that I rely on body language to quite a large extent in conversations with strangers, it could be the whole not-my-mother-tongue deal, could be that I always end up somehow having to deal with people with heavy accents (and the phone reception in my building leaves much to be desired). Let’s just say I did four phone calls yesterday, one after the other, and then spent a couple of hours trying to convince myself that gorging in chocolate would only change my dress size and not much else.

On the other hand, the weather today was lovely for the most part, which meant I could go for a long walk and actually enjoy it. There was a big sale in one of the stores and I got me a pair of shoes for 10 quid. Pumpkin Spice Latte is back! (Yes, that deserves a separate mention, this drink is freaking awesome!) And…. huh! I just realised I didn’t do as much today as I thought! Or perhaps it’s harder to talk about stuff you enjoy -or at least it is for me-. Ok, something else… Hm…I’ve only had to swallow down my anxiety twice today and was mostly successful? I don’t know, I still have a phone call to make so we’ll see about that. Oh! And I  need to prep my bag and outfit for the house viewings tomorrow! It might sound like I’m going on a field trip, but honestly, I  kind of am. It’s a nearly five hour coach ride (which will hopefully be shorter since we leave at what-the-hell o’clock in the morning so there shouldn’t be any traffic) and then a shorter train ride to the actual town. No, I won’t give specifics until I have concrete results. Call me superstitious but I fear I’d jinx it if I did.

Alright! Let’s try that call now. Hopefully they’ll pick up this time… 😛

“I’ll call you later.”

Sure man, whatever! I mean, I only offered to rent from you. Ya know? Offered to provide you with a bit more income?

I’m being mean. For all I know the  guy was in the middle of something serious. It’s just, ugh! I just want this to be over! Never mind historically weird ceremonies! The rites of passage to adulthood that late 20th century-early 21st century youngster have to go through are pretty much the reason we’ll all be suffering from an early onset of heart diseases in a couple of  decades. It won’t be pollution, bad eating habits or aliens. It’ll be too much stress early on.

This is the future folks! Gaze at it and invest in  a good frying pan to knock yourself out with when the time comes.

 

 

 

P.S. Halleluja! They called me back! Three house viewings confirmed tomorrow and I’ll still have some time to explore the town! What do yo think internet? Should I make a travel post about it?

Few more pages left

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My dissertation deadline is coming and I am proud to say I will be able to submit and be done with it early. All the panic and sleepless nights (and future back problems from all the books I’ve been carrying around) and I am actually looking at the almost complete result. Almost because a few entries in my bibliography need some additional information (page numbers mostly) and I need to check my word count again, just in case. I’m not entirely happy with that. I managed to hit just over 13600 when to upper limit is 14000. But hey, I’m gonna read through the entire thing again tonight, hunt for any pesky typos, so maybe I’ll find a few places to add a little something. Everyone’s telling me that I’m over exaggerating with my paranoia, but dammit this is major! (and a major part of my final grade too). I think I’m entitled to act a little crazy now that we’re a breath from the print-and-bind stage. Speaking of…I need to find somewhere to do the binding part. Hm…

In other news I’m also house hunting again, which I left to a lamentably late this year (and, oh, how I long for the time when moving will not be an annual event!). In my defence until very recently I had no clue what I’d be doing, much less where. But I do have a few viewings lined up for the end of the week, so here’s to hoping I drew the golden ticket. All in all my check list right now looks something like this:

  • print/bind/submit dissertation
  • find house-sign contract-arrange move-in date
  • hire van for the move
  • PACK!!!!!!!! (you never know how much stuff you have until you need to put it in a finite number of boxes…)
  • pray the gods are merciful and I get my start date sometime soon

And no! I will not calm down until all these little hotspots of stress are crossed out. On the bright side, once at least the dissertation is out of the way I will have more time for writing again. I have a few ideas I wanna try here but it’s really a matter of finding the time/energy to get started on them. We’ll see how it goes. Until then,

Peace out! 🙂

In which I found the one thing scarier than interviews

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Filling out forms. Have you ever noticed how scary these things are? Passive aggressive language, legal jargon, pretty big consequences if you make a mistake, (in my case) tight submission deadlines….-shudder- It’s an anxiety attack waiting to happen. Of course all this not-so-internalised drama could be just me craving chips and being too busy to pop by the kitchen and heat some on the microwave… Or me being new to the whole “adult” scene (which is rather sad coming from a freshly-minted 23-year old…).

Regardless! Remember how I used to moan and gripe about my dissertation? I’d like to humbly apologise for that. Compare to my day today, the dissertation is more than relaxing, it’s soothing! And I am at the re-drafting stage! Also affectionately called the bizarro stage where I need to be my own hardest critic if I’m to get any editing done BUT I also need to be my number one fan in order to not convince myself that my baby isn’t going anywhere. Still! With this fine gentleman as my main topic it’s so worth it!

Alright, hold your horses, I’m not just doing Marvel Comics, I do have a degree in Viking (and other stuff) studies to prove my competence on. But modern adaptations play an important role to the overall result.

I’ve also discovered that I can make some damn fine connections and arguments between midnight and 4, dosed up on coffee and chewing dried prunes. If your stomach just rolled a little at the prospect, good! Your lifestyle is probably much healthier than mine. I don’t get it. I’m not a night owl, not by choice. There was this one very memorable instance when I was awake for close to 48 hours, but it was a special case. Maybe my mind goes to sleep and I write whatever my subconscious fancies? It would certainly explain some of my more bizarre grammar choices. Apparently I don’t like the definite article when I’m sleepy. Go figure.

Anyway, I am seriously getting hungry for those cheeps now, so I’ll leave y’all to your own devices.

Peace out-

In which I made an ill-adviced bet

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With none other than myself at that! What new madness did I talk myself into this time you ask? Nothing much. Just writing my entire thesis in a week. All 14,000 words of it. Yes, yes, how silly of me! The line to slap some sense into me is to the left. 

I do have some rational reasons behind it though. For one I needed something to distract me from another source of stress that was, at the time, hovering over me like a stormcloud. Nothing distracts quite like speed reading the Best of Karl Jung. For another, I need short term deadlines if I’m to get anything done. The ones my supervisor gave me are way lenient! Also that means I have the entirety to August to redraft and make my writing all pretty-like. 🙂

As I’m sure you can imagine this has resulted in late nights and hard-to-get-out-of-bed mornings. Still worth it. As of right now I’m two and a half chapters away from a complete first draft (and a conclusion but who wants to think about that!)

So there you have it. Hopefully I will be much closer to the finish line next time I ramble here, but until then,

Peace out!

In which I jump rope

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The rope in question being that beautifully thin line between self-delusion and compartmentalising (and try saying that three times fast!). Those who know me in any capacity know that I can panic easily. Not in the ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh hyperventilating kind but rather in the twenty-scenarios-imagined-in-under-10-seconds kind. Bless my writer’s mind! Of course, on a good day, that means I am pretty much prepared for any eventuality up to and including the zombie apocalypse. On a bad day my inner conversation makes the Everything Wrong video series sound like a panegyric. Add to that my ever-present underlying conviction that just because I think something is a good idea, doesn’t mean other people will think so too (and no, telling me otherwise will do nothing. To paraphrase Dr. Banner; “This one’s brain is  like a bag of cats.”). The result? A compulsive need to drown myself in tears (and I’m not adding Bailey’s to that because that shit is expensive!) whenever the words “covering letter” are mentioned. I can argue till Kingdom Come on Chaucer and Aristotelian philosophy, I can play Devil’s advocate for just about any Dark Side character but ask me to tell why you should hire me and all my words desert me.

I’m at my best when you shove me off the deep end and tell me to swim.   Throw me a Code Red and I’ll deliver. Ask me to explain it well in advance and I’ll sound like a bumbling idiot. Hence, one of the most terrifying questions for me (right up there with “Why should we hire you?” and “How do you feel about x/y/z?”) is “What are your plans?”

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Gal in my case but yeah. Homicidal Lunatic from Gotham has a point. I just kind of do things. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Some things I like/enjoy/revel in more than others. But the point is, there is no plan. No, no, no! When other people make plans, God laughs, is that not the saying? When I make plans (and declare them) it’s an automatic jinx. I kid you not, it’s happened waaaaaay often to be a coincidence.

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So, until I have a divine revelation where some sort of deity swears on themselves that no, they’re not messing with me because they’re bored, please world stop asking about my plans. I’ve no plans, alright? I’ve vague ideas of possibly-good things to do. And then there’s the pile of things I should/must/am expect to do. And I try to make them coincide. Somehow. Compromise, compromise, compromise.

It’s not that I want to avoid responsibility or that I wanna stay a kid forever. I’m not bleeding Peter Pan. It’s that most of the time I’m stuck in this weird Limbo where I know all of the above, heck I even acknowledge it, but don’t know how to get out. Why? Partially because I just suck. Partially because when they taught us Home Economics at school they felt it was more important to teach us the difference between “nuclear” and “extended” family instead of, I don’t know, how to adult! stitch

In which I angst over unwarranted anxiousness

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Ever have one of those days? Days when nothing in particular is going wrong, yet your stomach has the size, consistency and standard velocity of a ping-pong ball during a high-stakes game? No? Lucky you! So yeah, I’ve been in a bit of a Mood today. Don’t know why. Unfortunately for me  my subconscious has a mind -and occasionally voices- of its own. Which means that sometimes I feel things and I’m not particularly certain why. Not much that can be done about it, hence my occasional bouts of obsessive cleaning and/or cooking (much to my flatmates’ chagrin, I imagine). What am I going to do about it? Clean first. It doesn’t pay to argue with your compulsions and anyway I can’t think in a cluttered house. Then I’m going to give  myself a holiday! Have a bubble bath, open a bag of popcorn I’ve been saving, guilt-trip whoever’s closer into sitting through my latest favourite movie.

And then tomorrow I’m going to do something slightly different. I used to have trouble falling asleep when I was younger, which led to some very extensive and very complicated daydreams (is that the word? I was basically telling myself stories, trying to fall asleep). Lately though this has been happening less and less, what with me going to bed already half asleep…Now that I’m on spring break though I don’t need to wake up at any particular time. So, like some people do movie marathons, I will do a daydream marathon! I’ll stay in bed and do nothing but nap and peruse my mental library until I’m bored (or the next day comes, whichever happens first). Not sure for how long I’ll keep it up, my self-set time limit is twenty-four hours, but I’ll keep you posted.

Anyone else have any good down-time activities to suggest?

In which there is something in the air

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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.