Share Your World – Week 45

share your world

Share Your World is hosted every week by Cee at Cee’s Photography. This is week 45. Thanks for the great questions Cee!

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “fun”?

Something exhilarating, like a roller coaster, zip lining or jumping into cold water. There are simpler things that are fun too, but these are the things that jump to my mind first.

Here is a picture of the waterfall on a volcano Hubby and I got to swim in while we were in Costa Rica. The water was cold, but it was so blue and beautiful. The blue is created from the sun’s reflection off the silicon in the volcanic rock. I’ve never seen anything like it. The photo is from the park website. Our photos didn’t give the brilliant blue justice.

catarata_aguilar_sensoria01

What is your favorite time of day?

My favourite time of day is evening, sometime 8pm or later. I feel like after 8pm I can say my day is done, it is too late to work, do chores or justify worrying about things. It’s time to wind down and relax without feeling guilty.

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want have a evening with?

I would want to have an evening with my husband. An evening without stress, work, grading or report cards. We have been in survival mode for a while now. It would just be nice to have some time off, together, even if it is just an evening.

Complete this sentence: Something that anyone can do that will guarantee my smile is… 

…give me a genuine smile. None of these sarcastic smirks or pity smiles. A genuine smile will always get one in return.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last Week: I am grateful for getting through last week. It was a rough one for me. I am also grateful that my sister visited. It was nice to see her. She lives far away now.

This Week: I am looking forward to seeing old friends. I will be visiting with friends that I’ve known since the 6th grade. It will be nice to catch up. I’ll also get to visit with my aunt, whom I haven’t seen since May.

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Trying NaBloPoMo

NaBloPoMo_2015

Why not right? So many of you are doing NaNoWriMo, I’m feeling like I am missing out. I can’t handle a novel at this point in time. I’ve got a grant deadline in early December, so that is where all my writing should be going. I don’t think I could write a novel anyway. Blog posts are more my speed and what better way to get back into the habit of writing, right?

Actually, I should have been a little less impulsive in signing up yesterday. Considering this is the 4th post since I went MIA 7 months ago, this may be too big a commitment. I want to be writing again, but I am still having trouble managing depression. I was really looking forward to doing A-Z last April. I even prepared ahead of time! It didn’t matter though. Depression took over and it was a spectacular flop. At least it was spectacular right?! Glass half full. 🙂

Since this whole thing started yesterday, Halloween (I must have been possessed), I have no idea what I am doing. I did sign up at BlogHer, so I will probably be using the prompts over there most of the time. Outside of that, I’ll babble about depression, grad school and life in general. Sometimes the scientist in me just has to share something cool I learned. That has been rare in the last while since I am mad at my Ph.D. and everything related to it. Maybe I’ll try to doodle again, no promises though!

NaBloPoMo is really hard to write without typos. Does anybody say that out loud? I keep messing it up when I try to say it.

I will leave you with Ewok’s discovery of the Lego Express.

Happy NaBloPoMo everybody!

A is for Anger

Happy April Fool’s Day! Today kicks off the A to Z Challenge and the first of my posts on mental health. I’m no good with introductions, so let’s just jump right in.

A is for…

2015-01-15 16.13.30

Anger is a basic, healthy human emotion. It is a signal telling you there is a situation that needs your attention. It is meant to motivate you into action. As with any emotion, there is an element of perception, but generally anger is a response to being treated unfairly, hurt or not having our expectations met. Anger exists on a spectrum from irritation all the way to rage. Frustration is probably the most common point people experience on the spectrum. A lot of people deal with their anger by talking about it, writing about it or exercising it out. These are all healthy ways to deal with anger. Other ways to discharge anger that are also common, but more destructive include shouting, fighting, breaking things or dumping on whoever is near by.

How do you express your anger?

When I am angry, I don’t do any of the things I just mentioned. I wouldn’t describe myself as an angry person. “Angry” is probably the last word most would use to describe me. I just recently discovered that I do in fact, have a lot of anger. So how do I express it? I don’t. Most of the time, I don’t even know I am angry. I suppress my anger and I have been doing it for so long that I no longer recognize the emotion.

Depression and anger have a long history together. Studies have shown that the degree of anger correlates with the severity of depression. Those suffering from depression often have trouble experiencing and expressing anger. It creates inner conflict, triggering guilt, self-criticism and fear of disrupting relationships. Freud even described depression as anger towards the self. I agree with Freud, that is definitely part of it.

In retrospect, I have come up with two reasons for why I started repressing my anger in the first place. One being I am a “people pleaser”. I want to be a good person and I want others to see me that way too. “Good” and “anger” aren’t usually thought of together. That leaves little room for getting angry, let alone expressing it. The second reason is my need for control. If I am in control of my emotions, I am safe. No one can hurt me because they don’t know what affects me. This probably had something to do with those stereotypical mean girls while growing up. Being older and wiser, I know this is unhealthy thinking and it was only a means of self-preservation, but the damage is already done. Suppressing my anger has become a reflex that needs to be undone.

If I don’t get angry, what happens when I am being treated unfairly or my expectations are not met? I blame myself. If I am being treated unfairly it is because I must have done something to make people think they can treat me that way. If my expectations are not met, it is because of my own inadequacy. I don’t go through this reasoning like this in my head. It is automatic. This anger towards myself is turned into hatred. I think What is wrong with you? Everyone else can manage that, why can’t you?

When angry with other people, there is a fear of compromising the relationship or guilt of hurting their feelings. This is enough reason for many to hold back. There is nothing to keep my attacks on myself in check. There are no parallel restraints. Anger turned inwards is vicious. Self-loathing can get so intense that it becomes paralyzing. This paralysis makes you more angry at yourself causing more self-loathing, perpetuating depression. It’s a cycle…… Lovely.

The first step towards breaking a cycle is being aware of it. I can check that off my list.

Share Your World 2015 – Week 5

Share Your World is hosted every week by Cee’s Photography. Here are this week’s questions….

Do you prefer shopping or going to a park?

I would say going to a park. Living is a metropolitan city, shopping is so accessible. The mall is a ten minute drive away. There is a little shopping village at the end of my street. I go to school downtown and can go shopping on breaks. I pass shops everyday. Going to a park is more of a treat, especially if it’s the type of park with walking trails, water, gardens and what not.

If you were a shoe, what kind would you be and why?

I would be a black lace ballet flat. Those are my favourite pair of shoes I currently own and I think they say “Me” quite well. The fact that they don’t have a heel make them practical and functional. Black shoes usually aren’t showy and blend in, just like me. The lace makes them a bit girly, but also versatile. You can dress them up or down. Unfortunately, I probably wont own these shoes much longer. I wore them to death and they are kinda of falling apart (kind of like me! haha).

black lace flats

What’s the story behind a time when you got locked out?

Oh brother! This is a classic story in my family.

During undergrad, I would babysit my cousin’s kids one afternoon a week. It was a great arrangement. She would get a break to go out and run some errands. I’d get some pocket money and I’d get to spend some time with the little guys. At the time, my cousin just had her two oldest boys. She might have had the third boy, but she would take him with her, so I would stay with the older two, R and S. These two are about 18 months apart and at the time, they must have been almost 2 and almost 4. They were truly a hand full!!

It was winter, the three of us were playing out in the front yard with the family golden retriever. S was entering the terrible twos early and was prone to tantrums. The problem with his tantrums was that he was a runner! I don’t know what we were playing, but S didn’t get his way and a tantrum ensued. I was ready for him to bolt down the driveway, like usual, but this time he didn’t. He ran into the house, slammed the door and turned the lock.

AGH!! A toddler has just locked me out of the house and he is in there alone with my phone and my keys! I was standing out in the yard completely dumb-founded, not quite believing what had just happened. I knew that he was a pro at locking the door. He always liked to do that himself when we came in from playing, but he hadn’t quite gotten the unlock part, so there was no hope there. I was thankful that my cousin leaves her doors unlocked most of the time. I grabbed R by the hand and ran around the back of the house to check the backdoor. Locked. Rotten Irish luck! The ones time disaster strikes, nothing is as it usually is!

We run back around the front where I’ve left the dog tied up. I can see S still throwing his fit through the frosted glass by the front door. He’s ok. Now, think! They don’t hide an extra key outside, so that wont help. I could go to a neighbour, but they wouldn’t have a key either. I could use a neighbour’s phone though. Who could I call? My aunt. She would have a key to her daughter’s house. What’s her number? Of course, I have no idea because this is the age of cell phones and no one memorizes phone numbers anymore….argh!!

Now that panic is starting to rise. R is starting to feel my worry too. My mind goes back to the normally unlocked doors. They have a door that leads from the house into the garage. My cousin wouldn’t lock that. The second fridge is in there and the garage door is always locked, so she wouldn’t need to. R and I dash over to the garage. The only way to open it is via key pad. What’s the code? My cousin never told me. It’s guess time! What could the code be? R’s birthday came to mind first, so I type it in: 2-0-0-1. I hear the rumble of the motor start to lift the garage door. Thank God! I run to the inner door. It’s unlocked!

Crisis averted.

Do you prefer eating foods with nuts or no nuts? 

I guess it depends entirely on my mood. There is nothing I would refuse to eat because it has nuts in it. Sometimes it’s nice to have chocolate without nuts because it just melts in your mouth, same with fudgey brownies. My husband prefers not to have crunch, so we usually buy things without nuts. I do like crunchy peanut butter though. That’s always a treat.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last Week: I am grateful whatever stomach bug I had last week didn’t get scary. It was truly awful, but I didn’t get dehydrated and have to go to the hospital. That was something I was afraid of.

This Week: I am looking forward to driving to Toronto with my mom. We are going to meet my sister there and shop for her wedding dress. We’ll be staying with my aunt and I’ll get a chance to see some of my friends. It’ll be nice.

If We Were Having Coffee….

If we were having coffee, this week, I would be having tea and it would probably be at home. I haven’t had any coffee in almost a week. I miss it so much, but I don’t think I’m ready for it yet. I’ve been plagued by the stomach flu (I think) this week. 😦 I’ve been feeling awful for so long that I’m pretty sure it’s not contagious. Would you have tea this week with me instead?

If we were having coffee tea, I’d probably be having something of the green or peppermint variety. I hear those are good for your stomach. I would pass on any of the goodies that typically accompany tea. I’d recommend birthday cake tea for you. It’s my favourite. It tastes like freshly baked vanilla cake and the tea even has rainbow sprinkles in it. I can’t help but smile every time I fill the tea ball. I’d also offer you a scone. We get them from a bakery in Ottawa, The Scone Witch. They are scrumptious! I have a variety of their sweet ones; lemon poppy seed, orange cranberry, vanilla and oatmeal. Take your pick!

Scone Witch batch

If we were having tea, I’d ask how you week went and how you were feeling. I’m hoping to hear that you, unlike me, have avoided the stomach bug that I’ve heard has been going around. I’ve been unwell since Monday. I attempted to have a somewhat normal meal last night. It was a mistake. Although I haven’t been sick yet, I feel a lot worse! As a result of this bug, a lot of things have gotten messed up. I had a pretty long To-Do list for this past week and nothing got done. It all has to be jammed into the beginning of next week before I leave for Toronto on Thursday. My sleep is all out of whack too. Not that my sleep patterns are ever that good, but I haven’t been using my happy light and I’ve been napping a lot. What else can you do when you feel so unwell? Even worse, my medication is all messed up. I wasn’t able to keep it down most of the week. Now, I am in a state of semi-withdrawal. I’m on antidepressants, a SNRI with an atypical. SNRI withdrawal can get pretty bad for me. I know I am in withdrawal and that’s why I am overly emotional, irrational and feeling like a worthless human being, but that logic is bringing little comfort. I still feel the way I feel, whether it makes sense or not.

monster shadow

If we were having tea, I’d show you my art journal. Since we’re here (my home) this week, it’s probably sitting right in front of you on the coffee table anyway. I haven’t done any of the prompts for this week (#4). I just haven’t been well enough. The prompts for week#5 are already out. I hope I’ll find the time to catch up. I’d also ask about your artistic endeavors. Drawing? Collage? Music? Verses? Fiction? There are a few people in my family with artistic talents, but few of my friends or colleagues have any interest. My coworkers were pretty much shell-shocked to find me drawing in my sketchbook one day. It’s funny the parts of ourselves we elect to share with certain groups of people. I never really though about it before. I’m all about my doodles and what not here. To them, I’m a research scientist with a background in genomics. Now, you’re thinking “g-what?!!?” Yea, that’s what I mean. Don’t worry, I wont get into it.

If we were having tea, I’d tell you that the Blog for Mental Health Project has relaunched. I plan to pledge again this year, but I’m not sure about what to say yet. I did start blogging with the thought that it might help with my mental health. My head is just in such a different place from where it was at this time last year.

If we were having tea, I’d also mention that the A to Z Blogging Challenge is gearing up too. You write a post every weekday in April starting with a letter of the alphabet (going in alphabetical order of course). Some people have a theme to their posts, other talk about whatever they feel like. Last year, I stuck to a mental health theme. I shared some of the research I read about and some personal experiences. I’m debating if I should do that again, with new material, or if I should pick random things for each letter. What do you think?

If we were having tea, I’d probably let you get back to life about now. I’ve sure babbled on for someone who hasn’t done anything all week. I hope you’ve enjoyed your tea and scones. See you net week for coffee!! Hopefully coffee.

(This conversational coffee post is part of a weekend link-up hosted by Part-Time Monster. Join in the fun!)

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