Tag Archives: school

Cello, crafting, and other updates

When I made my last post (August 8th, ouch) I was doing well and had some energy and… I hate medication changes.  My Trintellix dosage has been titrated to half of what it was, and I think maybe I need to go back up.

Today (technically yesterday, it’s 1:30am right now) I had my first cello lesson in a few weeks.  I hadn’t played since my last lesson.  Bad Switch, no cookie.  But it was good.  Toward the end we were doing a duet of the Jenny Lind Polka, and my conscious mind was just gone.  It was an odd feeling.  I had been lightheaded, and I just… see note, play note, no thinking.  It’s not like I was lost in the music, but rather the opposite; like autopilot.

Overall I’ve lost ground, and have to have tape for my fourth finger position again.  On the positive side, it helps me get into second position, although much to my amusement I did better at shifting once I stopped looking at my fingers.  Yay for having a good ear.  She decided that since pretty much every piece I’ve played in the Suzuki books lately has been bouncy, I get to do something more legato.  So I’m on the chorus from Handel’s “Judas Maccabaeus.”  I think I’m going to throw in some vibrato.  I haven’t practiced that in a while.

Oh, and last lesson we worked on the Peter Murphy song.  I need to finish it, still.

Crafting: I had started knitting an afghan for someone but changed my mind three balls in.  So I sent the yarn back and have been focusing on the green and black shirt.  It’s going to take a while: size six needles and a 54″ chest.  Yeah, it’s a long-haul kind of project.  Also doing some spinning.  Haven’t used the sewing machine in a couple of weeks.  Too much effort, given my emotional exhaustion.  Knitting is as easy as picking up needles. I keep my spinning wheel next to my chair in the living room, and it requires no other tools.  For sewing I have to clear the place settings off the dining table, get all the sewing gear out, make the thing(s) I want to make, pack all of it back up, and reset the table.  I understand now why people have “sewing rooms.”  I have three projects I want to do, two little ones (zippered change purses) and a big one (tote bag for my mom), and I think I can get all of it done fairly quickly if I can find the energy for setup and breakdown.  But when I spend a week trying (and failing) to get up the spoons to go to the grocery store, sewing is just too much.

Other stuff:

I’ve been disappearing into daydreams involuntarily, even more than usual.  Yesterday it was so intrusive that it was exhausting and I had to sleep just to shut my brain up for a while.  Ugh.  Hopefully I will improve soon.  I’m tired of not being able to focus on anything else.

I had signed up for a college class, like I said I would, but because of money issues I dropped it.  I’ll start putting extra in my savings account so I can try again in spring.

I’ve done the research I need for my novel, but see above re: spoons.

Okay, bedtime…

Life update: a depression edition

When last I left off, I was about to head to the local mental health event.  I went, got there late, wound up not seeing anyone I knew except for one person I used to be friends with ages ago (and was very glad to see, and we’ll be hanging out some after I move).  So all that worry was for nothing.

Since then I’ve descended into a godawful depression, caused by school stress.  I got behind on my work, started freaking out about it, and that led to a vicious cycle that wound up with me hearing things: voices laughing and whispering about how I’d lost control, music that no one could hear but me, etc.  Plus panic attacks.  I saw my psychiatrist yesterday morning.  I went in telling her “I’m just stressed so there’s no need for anything but a refill on my meds,” but then she started asking questions about symptoms and I nearly started crying two different times because holy fuck, I’m more messed up than I thought I was.  She said she’d write a letter to my school disability office telling them I need an Incomplete for the term, so when I got home I emailed the office to say, “hey, I’m in crisis and my doctor will say so,” and they contacted my professor who agreed to give me the I.  You have no idea how relieved I was.  Am.  My sister, wonderful soul that she is, has been helping me get my research done for my term project and being extra-encouraging, despite having a full-time job and a family.  I don’t know what I did to deserve her.

So I’m taking this weekend to recover a little and work on packing boxes.  The movers are coming next Saturday to take our furniture over to the new apartment, so Mom and I have to bust our asses this week getting ready for them.  Mom’s lived in this house for 25 years, and we’re throwing out more stuff than we’re taking with us.  (I have very little here, but I’m helping her go through all her shit.)

I also need to get back in touch with the nonprofit director; I had warned him I had major school shit going on last week and this week, and now that I can breathe again I need to do some stuff with moving domains and registering a new one.

My niece is finding me super-useful as Knowledgeable Adult lately.  I’m not going to get into details, but she’s trying to find herself and I’m able to give advice about some things.  I’m also babysitting for my sister whenever she needs me, and generally I’m trying to be a good family member and help everyone as much as they’ve been helping me.  I’ve been saying ever since I got sick (17 years ago) that I’m lucky to have an excellent support network.  I’m glad I can give back some.

It’s 4:15 in the morning.  I’ve been awake all night.  Being crazy sucks.  Maybe I’ll try to get some homework done…

School update

Four weeks left of my final class for my degree.  I was falling apart about it, but Sis and BFF pulled me back from the brink Sunday and I spent a good chunk of time yesterday doing homework.  Sunday night I emailed my prof asking if I could make up some work, explaining that I’m crazy and am getting divorced and had to move cities, and this is the last class I need to graduate and I only need a C (but would prefer to do better, naturally) so could he help?  My sister is actually the one who wrote the email.  She’s had to do it for her husband, who also has schizoaffective disorder and is also in school.  Prof hasn’t gotten back to me yet.  Hopefully today. bites nails anxiously

For years now I’ve said that once I graduated I want to take some classes just for fun at the community college.  Chemistry, calculus 1-3, and physics.  One class at a time, no pressure.  I’d audit, but if I ever go back for another bachelor’s (gimme 5 years first) it’ll be something science-related (or Stats!) and I’ll need those classes anyway.  Yesterday I filled out my readmission request for the CC, aiming for spring term.  That’ll give me two months off of school before I start my fun classes.  During that time I’ll be getting a math tutor.  It’s been 5 years since my last math class, and I need a refresher.

My depression has lifted quite a bit in the last 24 hours, but I’m concerned that I might be veering the other direction a little.  I’ve been awake for 22 hours and I’m not even slightly sleepy.  Annoying.  I need to get tired so I can do more homework and not sleep through my cello lesson in the afternoon!

I’m not dead, I promise!

But I am just coming out of an extended, serious depression.  It started in April.  I didn’t get online for three months except to read fanfic.  (BBC Sherlock is my imaginary boyfriend.)  Hell, I didn’t even talk to my mother for two months, and she’s one of my two favorite people in the whole world (the other being the Valkyrie).  I was a wreck.  I started feeling a bit better a couple of weeks ago, but yesterday my doctor had me add Ritalin to my daily medication cocktail and I’ve actually gotten out of bed.  Better living through modern medicine!

So this post is going to be a rather long life update…

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First session of my final class!

I went to the first meeting of my class tonight. which is huge, because I was panicking at the thought of an in-person class. Absolutely fucking terrified. I could take it online, but I usually do better on classes when I do them in person. So I sucked it up and made myself go.

It was… not bad. and the cool girl who was in my last in-person class was there. This is her last class for her degree, too. (It’s the capstone class, one everyone has to take for a psych degree at my school.) We’ve decided to do our group project together, because neither of us want to do a group project. She’s thinking about waiting on grad school because she’s also a musician and she wants to go tour with her band for a year or two before settling down for her master’s. Oh, and she’s a lesbian and knows I’m trans. So yay!

This class is kind of interesting in that it’s so unbelievably basic. It’s like a refresher for Psych 101 that we all took as freshmen. The professor even said, “this is an easy class except for the paper you have to do.” Which we have all semester to work on. I already know what I want to do it on, if Cool Girl likes my topic. (Yes, we have to write a paper together. And here I previously liked this professor!) Tonight’s class was on “philosophers who inspired psychology” (mostly ancient Greeks with some Thomas Aquinas and Rene Descartes thrown in) and it was practically high-school level. I kept myself entertained by forcing myself not to jump into the lecture and tell the professor all the stuff I know that she was leaving out. I did speak up when she didn’t know what the four humors were called, though. Her first language is Spanish and she didn’t know what word to use in English, so I wasn’t correcting her, just being helpful. I hope.

After class the girl sitting across from me was all, “can I work with you?” and, well, earlier when we went around and introduced ourselves she didn’t seem to be the brightest bulb in the bunch. Her next sentence was, “and if you want to work alone, can you maybe give me an idea for my paper? Because I can’t think of one.” Sigh. I told her I would think about it, but later I asked Cool Girl instead, for she is intelligent and actually takes notes in class (unlike half the class, WTF). Also she won’t make me do all the work, which is good.  We swapped phone numbers and I’ll text her tomorrow.

There was also this guy.  He’s a fucking moron.  He was in my last in-person class too.  How he hasn’t failed out is beyond me.  The class started at 5:30.  He came crashing in at 6:30.  The prof, who was in the middle of the lecture, looked at him with mild incredulity and asked him if he was supposed to be in the class.  He gave her a big idiotic grin and said, “Yep!  I’m gonna graduate!”  I think everyone in the room wanted to slap him upside the head.  I know I wanted to, and the prof looked tempted herself.  This is the same guy who spent 15 minutes last year asking that class’ professor how to log into the student portal.  She would tell him, and he would get confused by “click on this link and enter your student ID number” and she’d explain it to him again, and finally she told him she couldn’t help him if he didn’t understand and he should call the helpdesk.  Seriously, 90% of our classes have an online component or else are completely online.  I really don’t understand why he hasn’t failed out yet.  Is it ableist to be pissed at someone for being a dumbass?  At least he didn’t talk during the lecture.  If he had I was ready to tell him to shut it.

So yeah, I went, and I’m proud of myself for not letting anxiety win today.  I can has cookie?

Happy birthday, Isaac Newton!

Bad blogger, no cookie — ten days since my last entry.  Shame on me.  I’ve been journaling a lot, but it’s been on paper instead of online.

My family has always done Christmas stuff on Xmas Eve, and then Xmas day is for laying around in pajamas and nomming leftovers. So yesterday we ate too much and opened presents. I picked out most of the presents people gave each other as well as the ones I gave, so I really enjoyed seeing everyone open the gifts I’d chosen for them.  I was pretty much on target with all of them, assuming my family members are better at faking emotions than I think they are.  I received some cool shit.  A Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen, a sweet Golding mini spindle, some fascinating-looking books, and some little stuff, all of which I liked a lot.

I won’t list everything I chose for other people, but I had to mention that I got the Naiad a Pilot Kukuno from JetPens and I think she’s now hooked for life on fountain pens.  While I was napping earlier today she ordered herself a Metropolitan like my new one, because she likes mine so much.  (I am so happy with mine, btw.  Writes wonderfully and has instantly become a favorite.)  This weekend I’m going to ink up some of my pen collections so she can see what different styles and nibs feel like.  She’s very excited.  Makes me happy.

Random stuff:

  • Got a B+ in my class.  Must have done better on my mock therapy session than I thought!
  • The Naiad will be here permanently Jan. 6th.  Which is good, because driving to get her twice a week sucks.
  • Awesome Niece was here from Sunday to yesterday.  Goddamn I love that kid.  She’s turning into an amazing young woman.
  • I started a new medication today.  Risperdal is replacing my Invega.  Doing the titration now.  Wish me luck.
  • The pocket Moleskine I started journaling in on Nov. 11th is nearly full.  I’ll be starting a new one in a few days.  Looking forward to it.  I also treated myself to a Moleskine 2015 weekly planner, because things disappear from my iCloud calendar on a regular basis.  That’s a problem.  So the Moleskine will be a backup calendar. I need one.

I’ve been sleepy all day because of the new medication.  Bedtime soon, I think…

Semester’s done.

Saturday I turned in my final test.  Now I just have to wait for my grades.  As long as I get at least a C I’ll be happy.  A B would be even better.  I’m not holding my breath for an A, but a B would be nice.

I talked to the grad program at my desired grad school.  Turns out that, since it’s been less than a year since I last applied there, they will automatically use all my old documents and recommendations for the new application.  I just have to rewrite part of my Personal Statement to include my thoughts on diversity and my agreement to adhere by the professional code of ethics.  I suspect this is because a couple of would-be counselors (in psychology, I think, but the end result is being a counselor with either degree) sued their grad schools because the schools expected them to accept diversity.  I actually did a short paper on the subject for my last class.  The students — both Christian women — refused to see clients who didn’t match their sexual morals, and sued when they were kicked out because they felt it was religious discrimination.  In both cases, the respective judges found that students who enter a field of study that has a written code of professional ethics will be held to those ethics, and if they refuse to follow that code then it’s not discrimination against them.  They’re just being bigoted dicks.  (The judges didn’t say that last part.  That’s all me.)  If you’re interested in the cases, btw, summaries are here and here.

Anyway, rewriting my Personal Statement won’t take very long, so my goal for this week is to get that done and complete the application process.  I am nervous as fuck, but there’s no harm in trying again, right?

 

Finished my paper!

Yesterday I finished my paper.  The goal was 3-6 pages.  I wrote 5.25.  I actually got a little carried away.  Once I got into it, I got fascinated with existential therapy all over again.  Logotherapy was developed by a Nazi concentration camp survivor, and the short version is that it’s about finding meaning and purpose in life in order to cure existential depression and anxiety.  It’s quite cool.  I didn’t know what it was really about when I picked the topic, and I’m glad I chose it because I think the philosophy of it will be useful for me if I manage to become a social worker.  There’s a lot about respecting the humanity of the client and not just treating them as a problem in need of repair, and that appeals to me.

It’s funny — I read the news or check Twitter and I hate humanity all over again, but I love helping individual people.  I’m awfully caring for a misanthrope.

Related: the Valkyrie linked me to an io9 article about a psychiatrist who had to decide whether or not to council a government torturer in 1940s Algeria.  It made me think.  Being a counselor or psychiatrist is not about activism.  It is not the counselor’s role to convince someone they are doing wrong.  When I was a peer counselor I had regular meetings with a client who was in jail for sexually abusing a child.  It was not my job to make him feel judged, even if I thought he’d done wrong (which he had).  But he was severely mentally ill and wasn’t entirely sure what was going on.  There was an issue of competency, and I could empathize with his confusion and illness even if I felt awful for his victim. (He should have been in an institution, not regular jail.  That much was obvious.  But the legal system is awful for people with severe mental disorders.)  But someone neurotypical who chooses to harm others for a living, and wants help in feeling less guilty about it?  I don’t think I could do it.  I would be facilitating torture.

Anyway.  I feel better for having finished my paper.  Tomorrow I’m going to do a mock therapy session with the Naiad for my final project, and then all I have left is a test this week.  I am relieved to not having this paper hanging over me anymore.  The Valkyrie had to kick my ass to get me to work on it, but once I started it just flowed.  That’s the way it usually goes.  Starting is hard, but I love academic writing and research so if I get going I find myself having fun and getting into the zone.

By the way: I went to bed at 8:30pm, got up at 2:30am.  Argh.

Thanksgiving and after

I didn’t blog about Thanksgiving.  It was amazing.  The Valkyrie, the Naiad, my MIL, my mom, my sis, her husband and two kids,my BFF, BFF’s niece, MIL’s German friend, and the German friend’s son.  The son was an ass, but kept to himself.  The rest of us had a blast.  MIL cooked a bunch, and my mom, sis,and BFF all brought homemade food.  We had a dozen dishes plus five pies.  TONS of food.  We did it buffet style.  The only problem was that the dining room table wasn’t big enough for all of us, and the Valkyrie and the Naiad wound up alone at the kitchen table.  It made me sad, but then Awesome Niece went to join them, and other people started wandering over there once they were done eating.  At one point we were all in the living room carrying on, and then Mom, Sis, and I played a couple of hands of gin rummy (the game we used to play when Sis and I was children).  Nephew wanted to play a hand of Go Fish, so we did that too.  Can you believe I’d forgotten the rules?  But, then, I think I was nine the last time I played Go Fish.  So I think I can be forgiven.

The Naiad is here every weekend, now.  I enjoy going to pick her up.  I’ve been going alone because the cheapest (no tolls) way to get to her house is a bumpy road that would kill the Valkyrie’s back.  I don’t mind, though, because she and I get to chat for more than an hour each trip.  We’re becoming quite good friends, I think.  We have shared interests in psychology and writing instruments, and of course we have the Valkyrie in common.  Mostly we talk about trans stuff and books and psychology.  It’s awesome.  I picked her up last night and we talked mostly about HRT on the way home.  And neuroscience versus philosophy on the concept of mind.  And office supplies.  And how if I get my libido back on T we’re going to bang.  She’s awfully cute, and apparently likes oversized girly men.  Oh, myyyyy.

Because of the depression and accompanying apathy I’m 6 days late turning in my paper.  I’m trying really hard to give a fuck.  I’m hoping to finish it today so it’s not a whole week late.  Ever since I finished my last blog post I’ve been staring at my OpenOffice window, trying to figure out where to go next given what I’ve written so far.  It shouldn’t be hard.  I’m good at writing papers.  I once wrote an 8-page paper using dictation software while holding a sleeping cat, and I got an A on that.  Churning out a simple 3-6 page paper should be nothing.

My prof wants me to take my final class in person with her during the second spring semester, instead of taking it online in January.  I’m thinking about it.  Plus that would give me time to get on T and have my hysto.  I like the prof, and I really miss the classroom environment.  Online-only classes fucking suck.  I think my education has suffered because most of my 3rd and 4th year classes have been online.  I’ve learned a lot, but I prefer being in a classroom.

Okay, time to get back to my paper!