Health Doesn’t Just Come From Your Doctor: The Importance of a Team Approach to Health.

I’m easily triggered. Just because someone isn’t diagnosed doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling. Do you know how many people have medical diagnoses that either aren’t discovered until years after the onset or at all? It’s not uncommon. And often times medical diagnoses have physical symptoms. Can you imagine how difficult it is to go about life with constant or extreme pain, inflammation, fever, cough, whatever it may be, and all the doctors, specialists, and medical professionals tell you nothing is wrong, when you clearly know it is? How can everyone- professionals especially- doubt what you feel so strongly every day?!

Now imagine that same negation, doubt, and being brushed off but no physical symptoms. Or the ones you do have aren’t even considered. I’m talking about undiagnosed mental disorders. I’ve gone to the doctor. Other than being overweight and having a twinge of high LDL cholesterol, I’m fine. You know, the last time I went to the doctor, the nurse asked about any signs of depression or anxiety. It’s a complicated, but simple question. I mean, the whole concept of mental illnesses are things most lay people (in my experience at least) don’t seem to understand. It was nice to be asked. I replied, “yeah, some anxiety”. I was too anxious to mention my depressive tendencies.

 My Experiences at the Doctor’s

I’ve been going to therapists/ support groups on and off for the last four years now and I can say that it’s really helped me. However, all of that was when I was in university. It was either free or really cheap, super close to where I lived, and on my own account. I remember the doctor I went to a couple years ago didn’t say a word to me about mental illness. But she sure did waive the mood screening she supposedly did. Just because I wasn’t bawling my eyes out or trembling as I spoke, I’m ruled out for anxiety and depression, not to mention all the other known disorders? I didn’t know the DSM had changed their criteria!

Mental health isn’t that easy. You can’t just look at someone and know they are mentally okay. Sometimes you can. I would argue that when I went to the doctor this winter, I was a stereotypical depressed person. I looked tired even through most of what I did during the day was sleep, I hadn’t showered in several days. I know the doctor and everyone else could tell by my greasy hair that fell slick over one side of my face. Maybe I looked better than I remember feeling, but the not having showered thing was evident.

Despite that and the fact that the nurse seemed to have written down something about my anxiety comment, the doctor didn’t mention a word about mental health. I understand doctors are much more physiologically inclined, but health is multifaceted! You couldn’t run a hospital with just cardiologists. What would people with diabetes do? Or burn patients? How about a hospital filled with dentists? No! Each medical professional has a role.

Collaborating with other Medical Professionals as a Dietetic Intern

As you guys may know if you read my weekly blogs, I am doing a nutrition internship at the moment with the end goal to become a licensed dietitian. My first rotations were mostly clinical which meant I was evaluating patients at hospitals. One thing that I got harped at for? Not referring patients to other medical professionals. At first, I assumed, well they called a nutrition specialist so I should focus on the nutrition aspect. Makes sense, right?

Yeah, well it isn’t that simple. Some patients were sedated, others had a tube down their throat, and yet others just didn’t understand their disease. I couldn’t just waltz into their hospital rooms and focus solely on nutrition. Everything was entwined. From the patient’s medical diagnosis (doctor), their ability to move (physical and/or occupational therapists), ability to swallow (speech pathologist), will to live and eat (psychologists), any damage/ deformity that could alter nutrition intake or absorption (surgeons), to when blood sugar was checked (nurses) and how much family support/ financial stability they had (social workers), it is all intertwined. If I had a patient who was hungry but was in too much pain to eat, I couldn’t do my job. Or, more like, it wouldn’t matter if I did my job because the patient still wouldn’t eat. That was doctor territory. I wasn’t about to tell a doctor what to do.

The Intertwined World of Medicine

Health is a complicated thing. It even goes beyond medical professions to each individual. It includes, yeah, any diseases, dental caries, and so on, but also diet, physical activity, sleep, stress management, and emotional balance. I knew that when I was doing nutrition evaluations at hospitals, but I didn’t want to overstep my boundaries. I didn’t want to boss around professionals with more studies than me. But that wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing. This is what I mean when I say health is simple and complex.

I don’t have to know all the inner workings of the body or mind or even that patient’s life. All I have to know is that if I see something not quite right, it’s okay to consult someone. It’s okay to take a couple minutes of someone’s time if I believe it would help. I am not a dentist, but if I have a patient who can’t eat because their dentures don’t fit right, it is my responsibility to call one. Otherwise, I’m being negligent. It’s wrong to recognize a problem (worse if you also recognize a solution and even worse if it’s a relatively simple solution) and then do nothing about it.

A medical professional shouldn’t leave a patient to figure things out if they have already figured it out. The least they can do is mention the observed problem to a patient and suggest they seek help from a specialist. Better yet would be to call in a referral. That being said, it is all health care worker’s responsibilities to be observant and help where they can. I know every profession is busy with their own work, but if you see something that’s not quite right, no matter your line of work, say something!

If Only my Doctors Read my Blog…

I’m getting better at it. I wish my doctors were better at it. I know I need some sort of mental health specialist to get out of this rut I’m falling into again. I’ve never experienced such extreme symptoms as I am right now. Yet, my doctor didn’t mention a word about mental health. She asked if I’d gone to the dentist though, so I guess that’s some positive points there.

I don’t know if I am certifiably insane. I don’t blame my doctors for the fact that I haven’t gotten up the courage to set up an appointment with a psychologist. I’m not saying people’s health is solely a doctor’s responsibility. In the end, you are in responsible for your health. What I’m saying is doctors are the gatekeepers that connect most other health professionals and a quick referral can change someone’s life for the better in a matter of weeks versus the months or years it may take that person to figure it out on their own or, as is my case, build up the courage to do something for themselves.

Oh, well, I guess that’s what natural selection is about, right? Hooray for not knowing what, if anything, is wrong with my mind!! Maybe I’ll feel like making an appointment with a psychologist next year…

Do Anything

Note: Let’s try something, every time my mind yells a swear word I’ll write “frick” and every time I zone out I’ll mention it, both in italics. Other stuff in italics will be inner thoughts. Prepare to enter my mind. Sorry.

***

Do anything. When I’m feeling extremely unmotivated, this is my only plea. Do anything. I’ve had days where I am so zoned out, it’s difficult to type “written by: Laura”. (That happened a week ago…) Frick. I’m zoning out now. I don’t know why other people annoy me so much. Zone out I feel inadequate. In comparison, I feel inadequate. Yeah, yeah, don’t compare. Moreover, my flaws are another’s dreams. Yeah! Well, same here! I don’t like me. What I do like, I feel like I can’t mention, because then people make faces and say I have a big ego. What I don’t like I can’t mention either, because then I’m told I’m exaggerating. That I don’t appreciate what I have. Frick.

When I’m in a bad place. Let’s say in a funk. (I don’t want to say depressed, because some people get uppity about the use of that word. Plus, I haven’t been to a psychologist since about half a year, so I don’t have a professional to confirm that.) Anyway, when I’m in a funk, Zone out, frick I –my mind zones out a lot and also does some not so nice things. The first is that it curses. I curse? In my head? I don’t know.

Example, Zone out if I zone out, the moment I realize I was doing something and zoned out, I’ll hear “F**K!” in my head. I don’t tell people about this or the other thing my brain does. So, often, people will think I’m exaggerating when I say I’m down, can’t concentrate, or anything negative. They’ll quote how smart I am or some accomplishment of mine. It could be grades, or how organized I seem, something along those lines

What they don’t understand, is that I have to be that “great”. I have to be super organized and a try-hard when I can, because I know how horrifying it is to sit in front of a blank computer screen with my mind just as blank. Frick *Remembering the last time this happened* I know how bad it gets, so when I am okay, I need to be better! To make up for what I know will come. Because my funks are a cycle. Zone out Or a roller coaster. Who knows?

Zone out Ummmmm But most people only see the “good” parts of me. They see when Zone out I work on assignments or give presentations (for context, I just graduated university in May and now I’m in an internship that also has a ton of assignments and grades). They don’t see when I get home from a business trip out of town and flee to the bathroom to quietly sob before wiping my eyes and pretending nothing happened.

They see me watching YouTube on the couch all afternoon for days in a row and call me lazy. They don’t know that it’s either that or stare into space. Sometimes I believe them. I think, why am I so lazy and unmotivated? Why don’t I just work on what I should? I tried this last week. In my defense, it does work sometimes. Sometimes, I don’t want to get to work on homework, but once I start, it’s okay. I get into a rhythm and I’m fine. Last week, I just succeed in getting progressively more self-loathing and blaming myself for not starting. Think: staring at a blank computer screen.

Do anything. That’s what I tell myself in those moments. Even if I should be working on an essay or a case study (*cough cough* me right now…), I allow myself to work on whatever I want or am motivated to. Doing anything, even if that anything is making a faux Christmas tree out of tissue paper (featured picture) or writing this blog post, is a million times better than last week when I started “working” at 3pm, and “worked” until 12pm because it took me that long to type up four paragraphs on lactation. Frick.

Blah. This building I’m in doesn’t have working air conditioning. An— Frick!! I was looking up the temperature where I am, but got distracted by my friend texting me. Twice. Frick. Frick! Stop it brain! Umm, so yes. It’s about 84 degrees outside, and hotter inside this non-air-conditioned building. And I’m cold.

You think my normal posts are long and rambly? Yeah, well, my mind is worse. What was I going to say? What am I doing? Yeah, do anything. That’s it. Zone out. Man! Um, so yes, do anything, guys. Doing something is better than nothing. Unless it’s harmful. Then try not to do that.

Thus, the second thing my mind does: it flashes scenes of me hurting myself. After seeing a flash like that usually I get uneasy. Other times, I feel desire. For the more gruesome ones, I tend to feel scared that one day my body will actually go through with something I’ll regret.

A common one is smashing my hand against a wall. I don’t know why. I know I’m not in the best place, but I don’t want to hurt myself. Well, maybe I do want to do that. <— Example of an intrusive thought that just popped into my head uninvited. Fine, yeah, I don’t love myself and I do want to hurt myself, but not severely! Not noticeably! That’s a good topic for other post: what I feel I deserve and how I punish myself.

I don’t want to publish this. Zone out. Zone out again. I’m afraid of getting put in an asylum for the mentally ill if I were to admit self-harm desires/behaviors. Frick. Plus, it seems personal. I’m sleepy. Don’t want to be awake. Video idea! You know how some people talk about all those things they do to stay positive and happy? How they say things like I get up and stretch, open the blinds, and feel the sun on my skin and appreciate the universe? Or some crap like that? (No hate. In my better days, it’s those hokey pokey things that really do help.) Well, what if someone made a video/tip sheet of the habits of sad people? My first one is: Daily morning ritual, wake up, realize you are now conscious, grumble, curse the world, declare you don’t want to be awake, and throw the covers over your head before falling asleep again. Do not wake before 1pm, if it can be avoided.

This post is getting out of hand. Bye.

 

Note: It’s a couple of days later and while I’m still terrified of posting this for the darker involuntary desires I mentioned, but I figure I don’t have enough people who read this blog for it to be a problem. I hope. I’m fine, guys. I don’t self harm or anything like that. I’m open to professional help. Not to being committed to a mental hospital. Got that? ‘Kay, now bye.

 

Why am I not enough? (Remembering to put on a fake face to survive in the “real” world)

I’ve had problems with depression and anxiety …also probably paranoia and anger management at least since 8th grade. Everyone has traumas. Mine happened when I was 10 years old. It was no one’s fault. Who was I to be angry at then? I think humans need to blame someone or something or else all that anger gets internalized. At least that’s what happened to me.

 

Brief Overview of my Life Growing Up

I’m not ready to write about what happened. I don’t want pity. What I want is to explore its effects. At 10 years old, I learned that loved ones aren’t a given. They can be there one day and not the next. (No one passed away, if you’re wondering.) But I learned no one is a sure thing. Not even my parents. However, through this turbulent time I still had my teachers and classmates. I learned that was my constant.

Middle school years

That’s all that I carried with me: my school friends and academic success. (More so my friends, but at the end of the day I chose academics and switched schools.) 8th grade. New school. I don’t know why since I’d always been the kid who had a friend by the end of the first day of school, but I didn’t make any friends that year. I didn’t feel the need. I wasn’t interested in talking to other people. So I didn’t. Academics. That’s all I had.

High school

I tried, but by now it wasn’t just a lack of desire. It was full-blown anxiety. I couldn’t bring myself to talk to anyone. I’d only talk when teachers called on me in class. Even then my heart worked overtime from the stress of being called on. Academics. That’s all I had. Not having friends, I dreaded school breaks. Winter break, spring break. The worst was summer break. My mind would over think. I’d get into existential crises. At 15 years old, I knew I needed a distraction. I needed a purpose. Without school, my life, I feared death. Or maybe I feared not living.

I lived (arguable choice of words) like this for 3 years. By senior year of high school, I began to wonder. What if I didn’t treat academics as my life. What if I did poorly? I felt my parents weren’t proud of me with all A’s. (My dad praised anything and everything, while my mom questioned my A+’s for not being 100’s.) Would they freak if I got C’s? So, I stopped trying. I tanked my GPA in the last year. Began failing tests. (I’d never failed an exam before then.) And. Nothing. Happened. They were disappointed, but they didn’t lecture me. Just told me to try harder.

Or maybe they did care. I don’t even know how I felt. I’d say I didn’t care, but I did because I was worried that they didn’t care. I was nervous watching my grades drop and them not bat an eye. I wanted them to care. I wanted to matter to my parents. Not that I didn’t. I knew, intellectually, that they cared about me, but at the time I needed to proof to believe it. My dad’s praise was so frequent it meant nothing and my mom’s was nonexistent. Positive wasn’t happening, so I sought negative attention.

But I didn’t get it.

Then I went to university

I’d made a friend during those last two years in high school. I’d stopped trying so hard to keep my grades up and still passed. My priorities shifted. I learned the wonders of human connection. School didn’t matter. I had friends! Maybe it was my depression or paranoia or broken trust in family stability (no one got divorced either, in case you guys are wondering). Whatever it was, I could not feel or believe that my parents loved me. I knew that as a fact. Not as a feeling.

But I knew my friends liked me! And that feeling was indescribable! A feeling! That itself was surprising! I was numb all throughout high school. The only time I felt anything was during that short-lived flirty time with the boy I snuck off to the library with (blog post on that here). Often I remember anger. But that was it. Anger or nothing. It was like I wasn’t alive. Emotionally, at least.

But in university, I made friends and felt emotions. The most important of which was happiness. I’d had that spark of nervous flirty happiness with the boy in high school, but not like this. Not from friends, and later happiness all to myself, from myself. I found freedom in university. I wasn’t always at school or at home surrounded by people. Being watched all the time. Or not, but that’s what the paranoia told me. I had my own space. It was scary at first. I still struggle to do things by myself. I don’t think I was ever allowed to be alone growing up (bedroom doors were not allowed to be closed in my household and I didn’t go out with friends, much less on my own). University was life changing.

I learned what happiness is. I learned what friends are. I learned who I am. When no one was watching, I knew who I was and amazingly, I liked myself.

What did books matter when I was learning all of this?! They didn’t. And while I was learning who I was, I had to decide on a career. (Blog post about how I came to that decision here.) And now I’m here. In Puerto Rico. A place I knew nothing about when I decided to move out here for a year. Much less did I know anyone here. All the interns in my program were strangers. Now, I wish some of them still were.

I’ve learned that people can be mean and care only about themselves. I’ve learned people can be indifferent or too interested. I’ve learned people can be angry. They can be distracted. They can be cruel. And they are hypocrites.

I knew these things as fact before. But now I know them as feeling. …It makes me wish I didn’t have emotions again. It’s an empty wish and a common one of mine, to go back to the numb high school days. But in those moments with friends, some with romantic interests, and others through my own personal accomplishments,  I’ve learned what positive emotions are and I believe they are what makes life life. Only being able to feel anger, which later morphed to sadness, is not life.

When I was in high school, it was a numb, unfeeling depression. In university, with happiness, I learned sadness. Harsh, deep sadness. The peak of which occurred in my senior year of university. This year I lived with a great friend of mine. And I hurt her. Before her, I always had a facade up. An act. It wasn’t to be cruel. It was to be kind. I didn’t want to expose others to my sadness. But with her…

Life Changing Friendship- Learning to Trust and that it’s Okay to be Myself. Flaws and All!

To Mariah I gave all of my trust. I let go completely. I let her in as far as she wanted to go. And she went far. She saw me at my worst. I’ve never been that depressed since. Even though she’ll deny it, I know I ruined (or at the very least) inconvenienced many of her days. We spent Thanksgiving (2017) angry with each other and that weekend trying to drag me out of bed, literally. I made her suffer. It wasn’t on purpose; it just goes with depression. With depression and anxiety and paranoia and anger issues and what ever other labels exist for all the not positive aspects of my personality.

But she refused to give up on me. We’re still friends. I know that woman would do almost anything for me. And I don’t know what I did to deserve her. I don’t feel like I deserve her. It’s rare, someone like that. So loyal (against their own good even). And I was spoiled.

Post Graduate Nutrition Internship- Learning to Distrust and that it’s NOT Okay to be Myself. Flaws Should be Well Hidden.

Now, I’m here in Puerto Rico working on a dietetic internship (when I doubt I want to work as a dietitian for the rest of my life) almost attached to the hip with my internship partner. I go from rotations where I’m supervised and evaluated. Hello, paranoia and anxiety! Oh, there you are anger! To an apartment where everyone has beef with at least one other person. The environment is toxic. Doesn’t help my depressive tendencies.

Sorry I can’t be positive and supportive 24/7. I still try. It hurts, but I try. Thing is, I can’t give what I don’t have. Every day I feel more paranoid, more anxious, angry, and sad. Or then I’m manically happy! But one misplaced comment and I’m underground again trying to dig myself out. Or not. Sometimes I don’t ever want to surface. (Related blog post here.)

I let myself believe, due to my experience with Mariah, that people can be trusted 100%. I can let go and be my completely flawed self and not worry about the repercussions. But I now know how truly lucky I am to have someone in my life like that, because that’s not the case with anyone else. I already had trust issues. Maybe everyone does. However, I was healing. I was learning to trust again.

But now, I feel as if there is nothing to learn. From my experiences here, no one wants the real me. No one wants my flaws. I am, as I always feared, an inconvenience. I have to pretend to be only the best parts of myself, because that’s the only parts people care to get to know. That’s understandable to me with the preceptors who supervise and evaluate us, but I mistakenly thought it wouldn’t be the case with my fellow interns. I was hopelessly optimistic. And I was wrong.

I have to learn how to fake it. Something I wasn’t 100% successful at during my customer service-y job as a cashier during university breaks (2015 to 2018). I could do it, but only for so many hours a day. Here, I share a room, I go to rotations where I am supervised and evaluated 5 days a week with my internship partner plus travel to the site and work on assignments outside of those 8 hours with her and I come home to an apartment where people aren’t happy to see each other.

 

Constant People, Constant Need to Fake It (to fake sanity/happiness)

The only saving grace is that I feel that genuine care and friendship from my roommate. But, he’s still another person I am around every day. In university, I had space. I had freedom. Now, it’s back to how it was when I lived at home. Constant people! But higher stakes! The only time I’m alone is when I go out by myself. Remember my friend anxiety? Don’t forget depression! To motivate myself to go anywhere is difficult enough. To not change my mind is another thing. Depression tells me it’s not worth it. Anxiety tells me it’s all going to go wrong anyway, so why try?

I don’t wish to blame my hard times on these mental health issues, but I know they are a big factor. And I feel like I have to keep them to myself now. My struggles and thoughts should remain my own to not affect others. Even then, there’s nothing I can do about my energy or aura. If I’m that depressed and empty inside, it doesn’t matter how big I fake smile. I’ve lost my ability to act believable. Thank you Mariah, for making that ability obsolete in me and damn you.

I’m truly going to have to fake it and hope I make it. Seven more months until the end of this internship. Wish me luck, please.

 

 

Note:

Featured image is of me last Halloween (2017). I’ve always loved goth fashion, so I enjoyed expressing myself that day through dress, hair, and makeup. I use it as the image for this post because it represents how I feel at the moment. I am in no way saying goth culture equates to sadness or anything like that, but that’s how most people seem to take it. And I feel like this is how I come off to people without make up and even when I do put on non-goth makeup. I feel like no matter what I do outwardly, all people see is my obvious sadness or negative aspects of my personality. And what can I do about that?! (Nothing overnight!) Why am I being punished for that?! Isn’t the depression, anxiety, paranoia, distrust, anger, and self loathing punishment enough??

Slipping off the Mountain of Progress

Originally Published February 23, 2018

My mind is like a switch. It can go steadily up. Reaching higher and higher heights. Doing things I never thought I would then one comment and I’m at sea level again. This used to frustrate the hell out of my ex. I can see why. It frustrates me too.

I have struggled with negative thoughts for years. Before I understood my pattern, I saw my behavior as signs of being a failure. Now I see it as me being an almost hopeless failure. I don’t know where I get all of this hope from. Let’s not dive into that today. Instead here’s an example of the pattern I was talking about.

I love learning new things. I will get obsessed about a new project or skill and will spend hours learning it. A couple of weeks later though, I’m over it. When I was in high school, and even now in college, my peers or teachers would praise me for it. Just the other day, one of my classmates said “Oh Lizzie, you have the most interesting hobbies”. I told her I was translating lyrics and was hoping to translate them in a way that they could be sung to the music in the other language. Those lyrics have been sitting on my desktop screen untouched almost since she gave me that comment. I spent a good four or five hours straight working on them. Some syllables were too long others did not make sense. I remember my roommate wanted to do something, but I was so focused on the task at hand that I made her wait.

Now, I want to buy a keyboard. I want a good one because I think I may like it and dedicate my time to becoming a master pianist. I know from experience that the more likely thing is that I will obsess about piano for a few weeks at most then drop it like a hot potato. I just am not built to stick to things. Things or people. I am other. Yeah, yeah, doom and gloom. I know I’m not special. I know others of y’all feel this same way. Yet, there is something isolating about it, isn’t there? I want to be alone so much. I feel the paranoia gnawing at my face. Yet every time I see or hear my roommates I run to them. I run to the people close to me.

I’ve always had someone. In fact, I have a blog draft dedicated to this topic. It’s dedicated to the fact that I’ve always had someone despite the fact that I’ve never sought anyone out. It’s such a big theme in my life that it is the only draft I have not outright deleted or taken the time to perfect. That’s another of my problems: perfectionism.

Now, this blog post is rambly and long. I aim to only bombard y’all with one of those nuisances, so I apologize. I do that a lot. Apologize. There are just so many things I wish I was better at. So many things I’ve tried and let go of. So many people I’ve done the same with. I’m afraid of good things. I’m afraid because I don’t believe I deserve them. I know that is subjective. I know it doesn’t really matter because the world does not take care to keep things fair. Yet, I care.

All of this to say that one wrong step, one little comment, takes me from climbing the mountain of self improvement to tumbling down the ravine of self pity.

***

That was another post from my old blog when I was a senior in university. Whenever I read things like what you just did I get the strongest urge to give past me a huge, tight hug. But, I can’t. I can’t change the past, only my future. So, while I still feel like I wrote sometimes and I still have that pattern, I choose to work on improving myself and my habits rather than dwell on them. I will keep climbing the mountain of progress regardless despite of how often or how badly I slip. 

Why Be Happy?

Originally Published February 18, 2018

Hey guys, I found a draft from a post I was working on during winter break. It’s got a tiny story moment so I figure why not post it. I’m doing better in regards to the happy issue, but that’s today. Here’s that old blog:

Y’all deserve a happy blog. But, I am not happy. I feel like I should be. Not for myself. That seems like a nice perk though. I feel the need to be happy for those around me. After all, who wants to hang out with someone who is sulking in the corner? In public, such as when I am walking around campus (background info, I’m a senior in university), I used to feel pressured to hold a light smile. Why? People in high school would periodically approach me with a concerned look on their faces and ask if I was okay. It’d baffle me every single time. First, that someone was talking to me as that was rare in those days. Second, by the question itself. “Yeah, I’m fine. Why do you ask?” was my common response. The answer? Infallibly, it would either be “You looked really sad.” or “You looked really angry.”.

This didn’t end in high school. Once, maybe a year or two ago, I was on campus looking for the electrical engineering building. There was a meeting for the software development club that afternoon. Now, I’m not an engineer or a programmer, so I gave myself ample time to find the building. By the time I did, I still had at least fifteen minutes to spare. So, I did what any sensible socially awkward person would do. I sat outside a side entrance and waited in blissful solitude. It began getting dark when a young woman exited the building and approached me with that same concerned look I’d forgotten about. She asked me if I was okay. Baffled as always, I replied I was fine. She looked at me a second longer and explained that I looked very sad. Just as quickly, she gave me a kind smile and walked away. I sat there dumbfounded under the setting sun before deciding to head inside despite the likelihood of social interaction.  (I never went to another one of those meetings.)

Why do I feel the need to be happy around co-workers, subordinates, friends, and family?

***

I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want to be the weakest link. The last resort. I want people to want to hang out with me. I want to promote friendships. I don’t want people to equate me with a boring or sad time. In high school I dedicated myself to my studies and only my studies. I was quiet and sullen. No one talked to me unless I had cupcakes, it seemed. (A strong factor in why I learned to bake, I’m sure.) 

Being positive and happy around co-workers makes people want to work with you. It makes work more fun and easier. Around subordinates, it helps to get work done because people are generally more receptive to orders given with a smile than a furrowed brow. With friends, positivity makes you a good option to have fun together. Same with family, and all the other categories.

It all comes down to this: Looking happy (even if you don’t feel it) builds relationships. It lets others know that you are receptive to fun or positive experiences and thus, encourages people to invite you to have a fun, positive time with them. Happiness is a social beacon. 

I don’t know about you guys, but I want to attract happy, positive people. Even if they are people like me who may not feel like that all the time. That’s okay. I want to be able to put aside any pain or pessimism in my life and be able to have fun and be happy despite it all. And I want to find people who can do that too. 

So, I’ll continue to smile, even as I cry, because I want people around me to know that those two things are not mutually exclusive. I hope you reading this can find a smile within you today and all your days to come (no matter how small or fleeting that smile may be). Take care, friends. 🙂

Week of June 25th 2018- Piecing Together the Week

I did nothing this past week. Well, nothing on this blog at least. I was preoccupied… Yes, let’s say that. Since I didn’t write everyday, I only remember big moments from my week. I remember being in a funk. Which is code for depressed, in my case. My therapist last year said my symptoms are consistent with persistent depression; which just means I’m always in a state of low grade depression, but I also get episodes of strong depression mixed in. Does that make sense? Well, this was another one of those. I was feeling crappy as I tend to do, but it was a worse type of crappy than usual. That’s the simplified explanation. Now that we are, hopefully, on the same page, let’s try to piece together the week, shall we?

Monday, June 25th- Let Family Spoil You

Work 7:30am- 3:30pm

My dad drove me to work. He picks me up 8.5 hours after I clock in for full shifts, but this day I had a weird 7.5 hour shift (half hour for lunch implied). I called home and then waited in the cafe area for him to arrive. Why do I have my dad drive me when I have a car that I could drive myself? My favorite book. It’s called Cut and it’s by Patricia McCormick. There’s this scene towards the end of the book that encourages the main character to let her dad go that extra mile to take care of her. “let him” So, I let my dad trouble himself. It makes him feel useful, I hope, and even if I’m grumpy in the mornings before my shift and tired after them, it’s still another 30 minutes or so a day I spend with him that I probably wouldn’t otherwise.

We ran some errands after this. Went to pick up food from my favorite Chinese restaurant, went to my doctor’s office to pick up my shot records that my internship is asking for, and (finally!) went to exchange my old phone’s sim card for the proper size for my new phone. Not sure what happened after.

Tuesday, June 26th- Who knows.

No work. Was supposed to translate a couple of old posts into Spanish, which I clearly didn’t do, because as I mentioned I did not do a single thing for this blog all week. Let’s keep investigating and come back. Really blank on this day. Don’t think I went or did anything actually. No, I didn’t. I had plans on Wednesday, so I didn’t even do laundry this day. I guess I just sulked all day.

Wednesday, June 27th- Drinking, Bowling,  Movies with Joyce and Inspiring Bloggers

I went out with Joyce today! Joyce started working at the grocery store I work at around the same time I did three years ago, but this is the first time we ever hung out outside of work. Naturally, we decided to go get drinks. Problem was the bar we met at was closed for a private event. So we roamed around the surrounding shopping area, stepped in a fancy bowling ally only to be eyed funnily by a posh guy in a suit. It was a fancy bowling ally. So, we stepped right out and decided to just catch a movie. We watched The Incredibles 2. I was very impressed with the movie. I know it’s tailored as more of a kid’s movie, but the themes hit home. Yes, technology dependence is out of control nowadays and yes, sometimes you need to be a hypocrite to improve the world. Just a couple of examples.

The best part of the outing, for me, was after the movie. I’d had my dad drive me to the bar since I preferred to have a ride back after drinking than driving myself, so Joyce and I ended up chatting in the parking lot of our workplace until my dad arrived. We talked about the usual, boys. Then moved on to our dreams and hopes for the future. Included in this, was the topic of my blog. We talked about social media and other online methods like video blogging to share our stories and I think I may have inspired the creation of another blog. Yay! One of my friends (Mariah) has already started her own blog* after hearing me babble about mine. Hee hee hee, soon I will have my own legion of bloggers to collab with!!

Thursday, June 28th- Shattering a Jar of Bay Leaves and Cathartic Singing

Work 7:30am to 4pm. Meeting at work at 7pm

The most memorable thing about this day was the cathartic episode between work and the meeting. Like I mentioned above, I was in a low grade, but worsening, funk all week. What finally broke me was me breaking a little glass jar of bay leaves. It was easy to deny my sluggishness as part of my usual low grade depression, until I broke that little jar. Sure, I always have the lingering low grade depression, but I’m the person with a small scar on her left index finger because I once, instinctively, tried to catch a carton of foil as it fell. I caught it by the jagged metal teeth. Yet, I didn’t even try to reach for the jar of bay leaves. I didn’t even register them falling until I heard the shattering glass. Slow movement sounds like a dumb, fake symptom of depression. At least, it did to me until this occurrence.

I couldn’t deny it anymore. I was not okay. There’s the usual that I was upset about (low self-esteem and body image are favorites), but what pushed it over the edge was a falling out with a friend the night before. It happened late at night (or early morning, if you prefer) around 1 or 2am. By the end of it, I was furious. I felt played. Betrayed. And I do not wish to speak to this person again. I was angry. I fumed. Told them off. But I did not cry. I didn’t yell. I sent angry texts, but otherwise did not physically react. After the bay leaf incident, I felt the belated tears. I was so angry. So devastated. I locked myself in my room as the tears streamed down my face. I told myself to get the emotions out. I tried to sing, but I probably couldn’t have spoken if I’d wanted to. My throat was so tight.

But, I pushed through that hideous knot in my throat and sang/whispered tentatively. Slowly, my voice got stronger. I picked belting songs so I could scream. One song, I couldn’t even finish. It’s an amazingly emotional song. Kitchen Sink by Twenty One Pilots. I’d never sung that line “Leave me alone. Don’t leave me alone.” with as much truth and pain. (minute 4 in the link) I surprised myself. I couldn’t get through the end vocals. They just turned into racking sobs. Something out of a movie. I couldn’t recreate it if I tried. Over an hour later, I was back to my mediocre wannabe singing voice and began to get ready for the meeting at work.

Friday, June 29th- More Blogging Buddies?

Work 12:30pm to 9pm.

At the meeting on Thursday, I announced that I have a blog, so I began giving out my business cards and trying to get people to commit to hanging out on Monday or Tuesday before I leave for Puerto Rico. Can’t remember anything eventful today except talking to Bella. I was cleaning registers and she was heading home for the day. I found out that she either has a budding blog or is thinking of starting one. What is with everyone embracing this online autonomy? It’s awesome! We both got super excited with the thought of doing a collab in the future. I don’t think anything else memorable happened.

Saturday, June 30th- Breakfast with Lyza

Work 4pm to 10pm.

I didn’t sleep well. I woke up sometime after noon. I know because my childhood friend Lyza wanted to go for breakfast or lunch this day, but I wasn’t awake until after she texted me. We ended up going to IHOP or should I say IHOB. Yes, this is when IHOP did their promotional name change stunt. Smart actually. Gutsy, but smart. They did get a ton of attention for it. Anyway!! I (finally) added her and my brother on SnapChat after eating some biscuits and gravy. Yum! I’m going to miss that and sweet tea. *sigh* Goodbye southern foods! Afterwards I went to work. It was a decent day. It was like I was wearing rose colored glasses. I was so aware I may or may not see some of my co-workers or customers again. So, I played nice.

Sunday, July 1st- Last Day Working at the Grocery Store

Finally! Today I was super aware of many lasts. My last dash upstairs to put my lunchbox in the fridge before clocking in. The last time I got mad at a manager for putting me on a register. The last time I got petty comments from customers. The last time I’d say “Hello, how are you? Did you find everything you needed?” The last time I had to call a manager for a price check. I told one of the guys who work for a grocery delivery company it was my last day. I saw him often enough and it was his last order of the day. He saluted me. X) That was sweet. I also got a few hugs and a danish from my co-workers.

I stopped myself from crying a couple of times. The last time was when I ran into an old cashiering buddy (she switched departments, so I found her next to the vitamins as I went to pick up that danish a co-worker bought me). I broke off the conversation to go get my danish because saying goodbye was getting to me. To make things worse, I ran into my ex. I met him when he worked in the same department as me two years ago. Now, I ran into him in the dairy department, which is adjacent to the bakery. It wasn’t the first time I passed him in the hall as I dashed over for a danish. I told him this would be the last time we met under these circumstances. He said I looked happy to leave. I said I had to, or else I’d cry. My eyes started to water as I turned around to find that darn danish. He knows how much I hate goodbyes, so he didn’t say anything. Just let me go.

I’m glad to be done with the phase in my life where I had to work a job due to necessity. Not skill or interest. But I am heartbroken to leave so many wonderful people behind. I can say whatever I want about the company (actually a great company to work for), but they sure know how to hire good people. Okay. I need to stop. Not about to cry now!

 

Notes:

*I will ask Mariah if she wishes me to include a link to her blog. It would break her anonymity, so I have to make sure she is okay with that.

  1. I’m rather impressed I remembered as much as I did. I really did write all of this in the last three hours Sunday night (or Monday morning, if your prefer!). It’s almost 4am Monday right now.
  2. I hope to have gained some readers with all the shameless business card shoving at work. I was a restaurant management major for a semester. I should know what I’m doing, right? :p If you are an old co-worker, welcome! Thanks for stopping by!
  3. Either way, thank you for sticking by this weird piecing together of last week. I have social plans for the next three days up until I fly out to Puerto Rico and start dealing with apartment hunting and other internship preparations (internship doesn’t officially begin until August). Wish me luck! As of yet, I have a one way plane ticket and not much else. Not even a hotel… eep!