Angst Girl

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Stuck

Adult

As the title of this post suggests, I’m feeling stuck. My weight has plateaued so I’m making absolutely no progress toward my biggest goal of getting into shape. And, worse yet, I’m not doing anything about it. For about the last month I haven’t been feeling up to par.

For the first couple weeks I just didn’t feel well and had no motivation or stamina. Then I entered a week in which I slept pretty much around the clock. Now I’m back to feeling weak and with no get-up-and-go. It’s terribly frustrating.

Because I’ve had a heart attack, the first thing I thought of was a problem with my heart so I called my cardiologist and he scheduled an echo of my heart. Luckily, that turned out to be okay and my heart function seems to be normal.

The next thing I thought of was my thyroid problem for which I take levothyroxine every day. A low thyroid level can cause lethargy as well as a host of other problems. So I’ve scheduled an appointment with my internist for this Wednesday. I assume she’ll want to do a battery of blood tests. Hopefully that will get to the bottom of this.

Of course I’d be a fool not to consider a psychological problem due to my history with clinical depression. But it really doesn’t feel like that’s the problem. I didn’t feel depressed when all this started. I do, however, feel a little depressed now because of my lack of ability to get anything accomplished. I sit and look around at the pit that is my house and try to convince myself to get up and start cleaning. To this point I’ve had very little success. Instead, I sit around and beat myself up for not cleaning or doing anything. And that, my dear readers, will make anyone depressed. I’m still open to the possibility that it’s psychological but I want to rule out a physical problem first because that would be easier to deal with. Plus, I can’t get in to see my shrink until April.

I have a number of projects around the house that I want to get to beyond just cleaning but nothing’s getting accomplished on those fronts either. I feel like a prisoner in my own body; like I’m disconnected from my physical self and have no control over it. I was walking three days a week on the track at a local hospital but that has fallen by the wayside. Yet another reason to beat myself up and not make any progress on my weight loss goals.

So what have I been doing with my expanse of time? Sitting around watching bad TV, that’s what. It wasn’t until I got cable TV that I realized how many terrible reality shows there are. I’ve managed to avoid most of them, flipping right past them. But I do have a few favorites (“Deadliest Catch,” “The Voice,” “NY ER,” “Long Island Medium”). I avoid the Kardashians like the plague because I can’t fucking stand them. I’ve been watching a lot of “Sex and the City” reruns and classic TV shows. Oh, and listening to my neighbor’s loud music. That’s always a joy.

Stuck. I’m feeling it in so many different ways and it sucks. I need to shake things up and get off my ass and do something. Or at least cut myself a break and quit berating myself for NOT doing things. Obviously thinking negatively about myself hasn’t helped me get moving so I may as well be more gentle with myself and see how that works. I’ll keep you posted.

Julia

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2015 Mantras

Love Yourself More

Like I said last year about this time, I don’t make actual resolutions for the new year. But, last year, I did begin selecting mantras on which to focus during the year. For 2014 my mantras were: Beauty, healthy, and decorate. Beauty and healthy are still works in progress but I did make some headway on decorate. I got my living room and hallway painted, furniture rearranged, and some things hung on the walls. I still have a little bit of decorating to do in the living room, but it certainly looks more like a home now.

So, on to 2015. I’m going to keep the mantra “health” because I have a lot of work to do in that arena and I want to keep focusing on it. I feel I can let go of “decorate” because I’m on a roll with that one. I plan to get my front bedroom painted, move my studio into the master bedroom, and turn the small bedroom into a storage area. My other mantra for 2015 is “love.” This includes loving others more kindly and loving myself. I treat myself like shit and that needs to stop. And, of course, loving myself more and taking care of my health go hand-in-hand.

I hope 2015 holds many wonders and love for you (and for me, too!).

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Suicide With Dignity

Hang on, folks; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

I am a supporter of the choice of euthanasia for people. I’ll go even farther and say that I believe people without life-threatening physical diseases should also have the choice of when to die. The only thing we truly have is ourselves and it should be our right to choose to end that life in a peaceful, mindful way. Why do we force people, who want to end their lives, to do it in such an awful way when we afford our pets a more dignified death?

If you’ve read this blog at all, you know I’ve suffered from crippling depression for most of my life. There were many times that I wished I could find a way to end it all without having to resort to a messy, secretive mode of death. It took me many years to find medication that helped even out my brain chemistry to a point where I can stand to be alive. I’m currently on medication that helps diminish the effects of the depression, but if this cocktail of medication ever ceases to be effective I would probably once again be put in a position to want to end my life.

I’d done some research in the past regarding the best way to commit suicide. There aren’t many options, people. I don’t own a gun and would hate to go out that way anyway. I have medication but not the information to know if an overdose would kill me or just make me brain dead. The best way I found was using helium because you go to sleep before you pass away. The problem, of course, is how to get it inhaled sufficiently to do the job. And I can’t ask someone to help me because I would fear they would be charged with a crime.

We still are squeamish about helping someone who is dying of an incurable disease to die. I do believe that we will come around eventually on that but I’m certain we will never give people with psychiatric ailments the same opportunities. People say that someone who isn’t in their right mind can’t possibly make a decision like that. But I firmly believe that people know if they’re enjoying life and are contributing to society.

One of the caveats that people have placed on euthanasia is that there must be someone else who makes the ultimate decision about whether the person deserves to end her life as she sees fit. Some people feel that doctors should make this important decision but why should a doctor be entrusted with that kind of decision? If someone is suffering, whether physically or mentally, it should be up to THAT PERSON to decide when her life should come to an end. We shouldn’t have to convince some gatekeeper that there is a good enough reason.

It’s my life and I should have complete control over it. Of course there are details to be ironed out, but there needs to be an option for people who no longer want to be alive.

Julia

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Depression

In addition to my other numerous acquaintances, I have one more intimate confidant…. My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known – no wonder, then, that I return the love.

– Soren Kierkegaard

It is a demon always looking over my shoulder or standing in between my life and me. It is dark and mysterious and the scariest thing I’ve ever encountered. I am in constant fear of being consumed by it and that is a rational fear because it has certainly consumed large quantities of my life and energy and spirit. Not only does it steal your life while you’re living it, it affects your ability to be able to remember your past. When it is present things literally look, smell, and sound different. What is this monster forever lurking in the shadows? My depression.

In moments of strength I realize that my depression cannot do anything to me that I do not allow. But when I am sliding down a steep slope into complete despair that is not how it feels. For most of my life I have felt completely controlled by clinical depression. It has been both a shadowy monster constantly hovering over me and a comforting friend who is always there; I have let it define me for most of my life. It has been a burden to me and those who love me but I was never quite able to shake it and chase away that monster. I have been on medication and off medication, in therapy and out of therapy and still it bedevils me. Sometimes it is content to watch me from afar and I can feel its eyes on me. Other times it inhabits my soul and rearranges my thoughts. And, oddly, at times its presence comforts me.

It is insidious and has affected every aspect of my life. It has threatened my ability to work and certainly forced all the joy out of my life. It is an illness that affects not only the person suffering from it, but also the people who love her. I am thankful that my parents were so supportive but there is only so much other people can do. I have suffered from depression since I was a little girl and it has stolen large chunks of my life.

I often look back on the little girl who I was and mourn for her. Instead of waking each morning, eager to explore the world, I would linger in bed trying to summon the desire to face the day that lay ahead. Even as a child I dreaded every day that I was alive. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been depressed. When I was little I didn’t have words for it, but as I look back I can recognize it for what it was. Although I did not have a name for it, I definitely saw the world through a curtain of gray.

(This is an excerpt from my book, A Life Less Lived. I am happy to say that this is just the beginning of my story.)

Julia

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Hiding Behind Words

A post on another blog, and the responses to that post, prompts this discussion. It’s about words. And bigotry. Oh yeah, and political correctness.

We are very concerned, these days, by the words that people use. Lately there has been a rash of famous people who have been called on the carpet for things they’ve said. Donald Sterling is an example. You know him, he’s that NBA owner who admonished his female friend for bringing black people to basketball games. Yeah, him. He has been banned FOR LIFE from the NBA for his racist attitude.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have very little sympathy for a rich white guy with bigoted ideas. But it makes me wonder about society when we are so quick to jump on the bandwagon to persecute someone for a conversation and some unsavory thoughts. We were shocked, SHOCKED!, to hear him say such things. Surely someone who doesn’t want a friend to bring black people to a game is worthy of nothing but our derision and censorship. Isn’t he? I mean, WE would NEVER say something like that. But would we think it?

Okay, so we might not be stupid enough to say something like that out loud; but what if other people were privy to our thoughts? We have been conditioned to be very careful with our words and to maintain a certain level of political correctness. Consequently you’ll find fewer people using the language of bigots. It certainly makes it appear that we live in a more civil and accepting society. But do we?

It’s a tough question. I think society is just as bigoted and exclusionary as we’ve ever been. We’ve just learned how to hide it in polite company. We even are reduced to children when we want to refer to certain words. For example, I find otherwise grown adults using the phrase “the ‘n’ word.” I understand it’s reprehensible to call someone a nigger and I never have and don’t expect I ever will. But I refuse to refer to it as “the ‘n’ word” It’s ridiculous and it gives the word so much power. Nigger, nigger, nigger. There, I’ve said it.

When famous people use the wrong words, we get on our high horses and demand apologies. It makes us very uncomfortable to hear people use such words. It makes me wonder, however, if we aren’t just hiding our bigotry behind our outrage. I think I would rather live in a society that admits it has bigotry than one that emphatically denies the obvious. We are bigots, people, let’s get it out in the open and deal with it.

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It’s Done!

One of my mantras for 2014 is beauty and a goal I had set for myself regarding that idea was to paint my living room. I’m happy to say that I’m finally done with it and have it all put back together. Special thanks to my friend Rex who did almost all of the actual painting.

When I moved in, the living room was all white with a wallpaper border at chair rail height. I removed the wallpaper and all the adhesive they used (THAT was a major project because instead of wallpaper glue they used some industrial strength adhesive). Because the walls have a sort of vinyl finish on them I decided to prime with Kilz before painting. Then Rex applied a pretty chocolate brown paint to the walls and white paint on the trim.

After the painting was done, I did a major rearrange of the furniture because previously all the furniture was arranged against the walls. I wanted to create a more cozy feel so I put one chair facing the center of the room with its back to the front door. All the rest of the furniture is against the walls but I think avoiding placing the one chair against the wall helps create a conversation area.

Here are pictures of how it looks currently:

LR Far Corner and Back Window

 

This is what you see when you first enter the house. As you can see, there is a big open space in the corner; that is where my brown leather recliner is going to go. I don’t get good television reception in the living room so I’m waiting until I get cable to move my recliner in there. Currently I have another television and the recliner in the master bedroom.

 

 

 

LR Armoir and Elephant Cabinet

 

 

Moving around the room to the left you see my armoire and display case that houses my elephant statue collection.

 

 

 

 

LR Front Door and Window

 

 

Continuing to the left there is a television in the corner, a window, and the front door. The curtains are a beautiful turquoise and have a lovely texture to them. You can also see my favorite lamp that is also a wonderful turquoise. My dog, Daisy, had to get in on the act. You can also see her bag full of toys in front of the television.

 

LR Circle Chair and Front Door

 

 

 

In this view you can see the chair that has its back to the front door.

 

 

 

I love mid-century traditional so I decorated with many pieces from that era and style. All the tables were purchased on eBay and are from the fifties. The lamps are also from eBay and are vintage from the same time period. Eventually the carpet will go and I’ll have a laminate wood floor installed. I have a gorgeous rug that will also go in the center of the room.

I can’t wait to start living in the room but, like I said, that will have to wait until I get cable TV. I hate the idea of paying for television but that’s the only way to get reception in that room.

I have a lot more painting I want to do but both Rex and I need to recover from this experience first. The front bedroom will be painted lavender with white trim and that’s where I’ll sleep, the front bathroom will be white with medium pink trim (I have a flamingo theme in there), the master bedroom will be aqua with white trim (and will be transformed into my studio where I will create greeting cards), the master bathroom will also be aqua with white trim, and the kitchen will be turquoise with white cabinets. The third bedroom will be a storage room so I’m going to leave it as is. It’s taken me seven years to get the living room painted so who knows how long it will take me to get the rest done. But I’ve started and that’s the important thing.

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Mothers’ Day

So yesterday was Mothers’ Day and I have a bone to pick with mine. She could have raised me like so many other mothers: to be inconsiderate, oblivious to others, and downright rude. But no! My mother (and father) had to raise me to think of other people and consider how my actions impact those around me. What a cruel trick.

I’m not saying I’m the most wonderful person in the world, but I am considerate of others and that is a rare trait these days. I hold the door open for people (without them acknowledging the act), I use my turn signal when I’m driving (some days I feel like I’m the only one), I don’t hold loud parties, if I had kids I wouldn’t let them run around the neighborhood screaming and carrying on, I make sure my dog doesn’t bark incessantly, when in customer service jobs I provided excellent service (unless the customer was being a jackass, then all bets were off), and in general I realize I’m not the only, or most important, person in the world and act accordingly.

Because of the way I was raised, I expect similar things from others. Ha! Consequently, I often find myself irritated by people in general. I know there are other people in the world who were raised well, but I very rarely encounter them (with the exception of my friends, of course).

So thanks a lot, Mom. You could have done a crappy job of raising me so I could go through life as oblivious as so many other people. But, no, you had to a good job and then release me into a world of inconsiderate, self-centered asses.

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Simon Says Stamp Sucks

I’ll never shop at Simon Says Stamp again.

I recently purchased one stamp set from Simon Says Stamp and paid $6.99 in shipping. I understood before placing the order that they have a flat rate shipping policy but I assumed they would send the stamp set via priority mail and I wanted the set quickly. When I received the item almost a week later, I saw that it was sent via first class mail (which probably cost them about $2.00 including the cost of the envelope) instead of priority. That means I overpaid the shipping by about $5.00. I contacted the company with my concerns and they just kept quoting the company line and refused to refund me the $5.00 or even offer a store credit.

I have spent a lot of money at Simon Says Stamp and assumed they would want to keep a good customer. Obviously I was wrong. But I promised them not only would I never shop there again, I would publish a blog post about my experiences in hopes that other people come to the same conclusion that I did. I understand there is more expense to shipping orders than just the cost of shipping; they have to pay people to prepare the orders for shipment. But choosing to send an order via first class mail when the customer has more than covered the cost of priority mail is inexcusable and I refuse to subsidize their poor business practices.

After I ordered the item from them I found the same item at another online store (Marker Pop) and it was not only about $2.00 cheaper, their shipping costs were much more reasonable. So I encourage you to shop at Marker Pop and to avoid Simon Says Stamp for your crafting needs. Let’s send the message that we’re not going to overpay for shipping anymore.

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Feeling Lucky

I’ve been feeling lucky lately. I watched the Rick Steves show on PBS the other day and he visited London and Paris. As I watched the program, I really enjoyed seeing the scenery and it was especially neat to see things that I had visited on my European vacation last fall. I felt all smug because I could say, “I’ve been there!”

IMG_1819Yes, it sucked that I had a heart attack in Germany, but the rest of the trip was wonderful. At the time I was just adjusting to my environment but in retrospect I feel very lucky that I got a chance to go to Europe. I’ve always wanted to travel there but was pretty convinced I’d never get to go. But there I was! The scenery was amazing and I still look at the pictures often and marvel at the opportunity I had.

Before I left for the trip I figured that Paris would be the best place I would visit but London was what really captured me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Paris and seeing the architecture and the Eiffel Tower, but London had a vibe that felt really good. I got to see Abby Road and in the process met a really cool cabby and rode in the most spacious cab.

We also traveled around London in a tour bus. You could get off and on at famous locations but my friend and I stayed on the bus and got some great pictures. It started raining toward the end of the day and we got chilled through, but it was worth it. We also visited Selfridges, the department store that is featured in a PBS series from England. Too rich for my blood, but beautiful to see.

Oxford was really cool, too. It is a college town and definitely had that vibe and we saw college students everywhere. The buildings are gorgeous and the hotel we stayed in was quaint. I will say, though, that the hotel rooms in Europe are much smaller than the ones in the United States. But they’re charming and comfortable and I loved it.

IMG_1671It can be really hard to live in the moment and really be present and this trip was no exception; plus I got caught up in the logistics of getting from place to place. But I’m really enjoying looking back and reminiscing about everything and just feeling lucky.

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Cry Me a River

Disclaimer: I fully agree that the paparazzi are out of control and need to be reined in somehow.

I am sick of stars moaning and groaning about the paparazzi. Probably 95% of actors in this world toil away in anonymity so if you don’t want the media to hound you, move to Omaha and act in the community theatre. I guarantee you that there will be no Hollywood photographers waiting at the stage door to snap your picture. YOU made the choice to be famous and you make a ton of money as a famous person. You have enough money to remain famous but move out of Hollywood. There are stars who live in other states and fly in to LA to work. There are certain public places that are infamous for having the paparazzi hanging out waiting to get a photo or an interview. AVOID THOSE PLACES! The fact is, in order for you to remain famous and make the ridiculous big bucks that you do, you need a certain amount of press. So move to a big ranch in Montana and only go to LA when you want to plug a movie or be seen for the publicity. It’s not that hard to figure out.

I’m even tired of them complaining about how it affects their kids. That’s right, I said it. Again, I think it’s pretty sleazy the lengths the press will go to to get a picture of a star’s beloved child. But life is all about choices and if you don’t like the results, make different choices. Move out of LA. Stop doing things that make you famous. What? You say you don’t want to move and you would whither away without the fame? Then how about not having children? Who gets everything they want in this life? Life is full of compromises and difficult decisions. Prioritize your life and quit crying to us about how terrible your life is because of some photographers.

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