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Monthly Archives: August 2012

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Getting Away With Life (Tumblr)

I now have a Tumblr. If this is your sort of thing, please feel free to follow me if you are interested 🙂

 

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Posted by on August 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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What To Do – Travel, College, Career?

The problem with this quitting your job business is that you have to figure out what you want to do next.

It has become  very clear I can not stay at my current job. I told my therapist yesterday about all the reasons I wanted to quit. After listening to me she told me that it sounded like my company was taking advantage of me and my codependent nature (my newest label!) by paying me to little, not recognizing how important I am, and wanting me to take on managerial responsibilities without any of the perks. She has advised me to start searching for a new job or to make another plan for my future because it will be extremely difficult for me to continue to heal mentally if I stay in my current workplace.

This has made me feel a lot better about my feelings toward my job. I feel more justified in my frustrations and desire to quit. I feel less guilty about about giving up “such a good job” and moving on with my life.

I have come to the conclusion that I have three real options if I quit my current job:  Travel/Volunteer Bum, Nontraditional Student, or getting a New Job.

Travel/Volunteer Bum

My therapist seems to like my idea of going to volunteer in Thailand teaching computer skills to middle school students (through uvolunteer.org). I want to do this for at least two months so I can feel like I really had the experience of living there. This should also give me enough time to adapt and shake off a lot of my social anxiety about being in a strange place with new people and a completely different culture.

After that I would either move on to the Nontraditional Student path or see what opportunities I can find in the volunteer/travel field. If I could become a world travelling bum I’d very happy, I think. The thing is I’ve never traveled outside of North America so there is a chance I won’t like it. Plus, while I do have some money in the bank to support myself once I quit my job, travelling plus helping pay half the bills related to my significant other and I’s apartment would probably deplete them within a year easily. I would have to find away to make money while travelling, or find a job in the travel/volunteerism field back home.

Nontraditional Student

The last two years or so I’ve also been thinking about going back to school. Really, the only major that has really stuck out to me is one in Classics. For those of you that don’t know what that is, here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:

Classics (sometimes encompassing Classical Studies or Classical Civilization) is the branch of the Humanities comprising the languages, literature, philosophy, history, art, archaeology and other culture of the ancient Mediterranean world (Bronze Age ca. BC 3000 – Late Antiquity ca. AD 300–600); especially Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome during Classical Antiquity (ca. BC 600 – AD 600). Initially, the study of the Classics (the period’s literature) was the principal study in the humanities.

It just sounds like it covers so much, and I am interested in ancient history and think it would be fun to learn Latin. Not to mention it’s the type of degree that teaches you thinking  and communication skills, which I believe are really lacking in today’s society.

But university costs money.. lots of money. Plus, chances are I would have to relocate to attend a university that has this as a major. While I would love to travel around the world, for some reason moving somewhere else bothers me. I like the idea of being able to come home and be in my home town, even if I’m overseas for months at a time. Moving away for college to live doesn’t sit well though. It’s very weird.

A New Job

Of course, I could always look for another job in my current field. Right now I’m an IT person and will have 5 years of experience in June 2013. I could probably get another job somewhere else fixing computers or doing help desk work. Plus, if I don’t jump on to the next job then my current skill set will very quickly become out of date. IT people have to stay current or risk falling behind and becoming obsolete in their career track.

However, IT people are notoriously used, abused and under paid. We work nights and weekends along with our 40 hour a week day shifts.  We are expected to know everything there is to know about all things computer related, when really it takes a team of several people who specialize in specific parts of IT to run a department effectively. Plus, end users are usually horrible people who think they know more than you and know you could get things fixed quicker if you were really doing your job. Overall it’s a lot of stress, very little reward, and completely mind numbing, unimaginative work.

Decisions

I know, at the very least, I will most likely take two months to go to Thailand to volunteer as a teacher. My therapist is very on board with this and it sounds like an amazing thing to me, if a little to much like a dream that can’t possibly happen (even though it easily could). Since I was a kid and started making friends with people from different countries on the internet my goal has always been to travel the world, so this seems like a logical step to take. I’m not sure what I will do after that, it probably just depends on how things go there and if any opportunities make themselves known in the months before, during, and after it. But it is a first step, which I’ve always heard is the hardest part of change.

What are your plans for the future?

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2012 in Life, Mental Health, Travel, Work

 

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Being Me – The Pixie Cut!

Thursday night I did something that was entirely for me. Not the day to day me that I have become over the years.  No, this was the me I started to grow into as I left high school only to get through college and force it back down into the depths of my soul. I took a risk and did something I always wanted to do, that a lot of people thought I was crazy for. Something that would draw attention to me and make me self conscious. Something that others might judge and maybe even hate me for.

I got a pixie cut :]

Before: Long blonde hair.
After: Short copper hair!

My parents hate it, my coworkers have mixed reviews, my sister loves it, and my boyfriend thinks it’s cute 🙂

But none of them matter! I love it and I am having so much fun with it! It’s been styled four different ways in the last two days, something I could have never done with my longer hair! My inner child has always been a tomboy so what better way to express that then with a sexy, short cut?

So, yes, this was my big change! It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time and never had the guts to do. It was all my decision, no social/peer/cultural pressure to do it. I am dealing with the fact that a lot of people think it looks terrible and the cultural bias that women should have longer hair. All the negativity doesn’t bother me, and neither does all the attention, because I am very happy I did it. My only regret is that I did not do it sooner! I mean, less than 2 minutes to wash and condition your hair? Come on ladies, you can’t beat that!! ^_^

So, let me hear your opinions on pixie cuts! The good, the bad, and the biased 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2012 in Creativity, Mental Health, Therapy

 

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Yeah, I Can Do That!

I love this video. Not because it’s hilarious that this random guy off the street was able to fool hundreds of people into believing he was a celebrity, but because it’s such a great example of being able to be whoever you want to be in this day in age.

A lot of us are working very hard to become the healthy, well-adjusted people who are true to who we are and we are struggling. We are trying to work through the way we perceive ourselves and the way we believe others perceive us. Most days all we can see is a person who has trouble functioning in normal situations and who is a failure.

But this guy here, while he may not suffer from anything other than an over inflated ego at this point, went out there and became what he wanted to be with very little effort. Of course, this was temporary and cost him some money, but it’s just an example of how easily we can remake ourselves in this (slightly gullible) world.

My dad and I had a discussion the other night that really made me think about what I could do with my life. He said to me, “River, all you have to do is want to do something. You just have to be the person that says ‘Yeah, I can do that.’ and you will be able to do it.” My dad currently runs his own business doing conservation work for farmers and runs tile (plastic tubing for drainage) for water ways. He informed me that the first time he laid tile for a customer he had never done it before, he just knew if he applied himself he could do it. Why? Because other people were doing it and he was capable of doing anything any other human being could do.

This is probably one of the most valuable things my dad has ever told me and I don’t think it would have hit as hard if it had been my therapist that had told it to me.

Still a big change coming tonight, still freaking out a little. But I’m excited! Can’t wait to share it with you all tomorrow ^_^

 

 

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Never A Right Time For Change

I am going to do something crazy (for me) tomorrow that I’m hoping will be another step toward my independence from my social anxiety. I’m hoping I don’t chicken out, but I’m definitely freaking out a little bit! It’s not something so drastic as quitting my job, but it’s a major step in expressing my real self and bringing me out of hiding. If I go through with it, you will find out what it was in a post on Friday. If I don’t, the post on Friday will be something lame and you should all tell me what a chicken I am!! 🙂

Hope everyone is having a good week! Don’t forget to breathe deep!

 

 

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Don’t Settle

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2012 in Creativity, Mental Health, Therapy, Work

 

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Building a Support Network

A healthy support network is something that everyone needs in their lives.  This network should consist of people who love you, believe in you, and who are willing to let you lean on them occasionally.  It should consist mostly of positive people who are mentally healthy, and possibly people who realize they have issues and are actively seeking help and getting better. People who rely on you as their personal therapist, who are not actively trying to get better, and who are just all around negative people should be interacted with on a minimal basis.

Part of my problem up until this point in my life is that I clustered together with people with issues in my social network. My support came from people with severe depression, social anxiety, low self esteem, etc. This was not healthy, and over the last year or two I started realizing I couldn’t pull myself up when my support network kept pulling me back down into what I was trying to escape. Amy told me that this is very true and that it makes it much easier to help yourself get healthy if you surround yourself with healthy people. I still have a lot of my friends who have issues, but I am no longer their go-to person nor do I spend a lot of time with them on a regular basis.

Right now I am working on rebuilding my support system. This is hard, as I find it difficult to seek out mentally healthy people to be friends with. I feel like I am a person most healthy people would not want to deal with due to my own issues. However, the more I get to know healthy people the more I find that this is not the case. They seem to be very supportive, positive, and want to help encourage me to get better and it’s great! Naturally, you don’t want to overwhelm these people all the time with how you are feeling (that is what your therapist is for!) but talking with them occasionally about stuff is definitely helpful!

Currently, my Healthy Support Network includes:

My Therapist – Amy is wonderful! She has an amazing sense of humor and we click really well. The first therapist I had was very serious and I just don’t mesh well with serious people on an emotional level. I think this is proof that if you don’t connect with your therapist that it might be time to find a new one!

My Yoga Instructor – Though my Yoga instructor is very new to my life, so far she is awesome!  I had a private class with her Saturday so she could show me poses that would help lessen my anxiety and help with my breathing and she was so positive and supportive! She told me I was a very bright individual for going to seek help and for considering Yoga as a way to lessen anxiety and help with my mental health. Just like when Amy says I’m bright I felt a sharp pang of disbelief, but it’s definitely helping with my self esteem issues to hear multiple people who haven’t known me for years say it 🙂

My Work Friend – This person has been really eye opening, because she’s my first local mentally healthy friend. With the few times we have hung out outside of work and the card she sent me she has blown my mind on how caring someone can be without being emotionally connected from having similar mental health issues. The only people I’ve really connected with in my life have all suffered from depression and that’s what made me feel close to them. My work friend has had issues with depression, but only in stressful situations like the near death of her father, and is otherwise a mentally healthy person. Er… well.. she is a bit OCD, but that’s completely different then any of my problems, so I don’t count it 🙂

My Significant Other – Though my SO does deal with depression and low self esteem, he admits to this being an issue and is actively working to help himself get better. He does not rely on me to fix it, it is not the main topic of conversation every time we talk, and I think it helps us both stay encouraged seeing each other making progress and feeling better about ourselves.

My Sister – My sister has a few issues similar to mine. I know she has mild social anxiety and does suffer from occasional bouts with depression, just not on the same scale as I do. She is very independent and is doing what she wants to do with her life and right now is a very happy person. She is also great at listening and knows what to say to make me feel better or diffuse my social anxiety.

My Parents – Though originally my parents were suprised that I was seeking help for my mental health, they have been very supportive of it. As time has gone by and I’ve let them in to see how truely unhappy I am, they have grown more and more supportive of me switching jobs and doing what I need to to be happy. This has taken a lot of stress off of me, as I am very much someone who has a strong desire to make my parents proud.

My Online Friends – Though I don’t talk to them as much as I used to, the online friends I have had for a decade have all been very supportive. Not all of these friends are mentally healthy, but they are all very supportive. One of them in particular has found this blog via Twitter, and has sent me very positive texts when he notices a negative post.  Another has told me he refuses to talk about his problems anymore with me while I seek help, because he knows I get very emotionally invested in other people’s problems. They are all great in their own right, but I try not to over utilize them as I need to work on building a better real life support network.

As you can see, I need to make more local friends to add to my support network. I have several friends around it’s just the ones I currently have are the ones that still hold on to depression and other issues and are not actively seeking help so I can not count them as part of a healthy support network. I am working on making more friends, and have a couple of specific people I think it would be easy to become friends with. It’s just difficult for me to find a healthy route to become friends with someone. Friendships usually spring from someone having a really bad day and me listening, and then we are friends!  So this is a new experience o.o

I am very happy that my healthy support network is growing, and I can honestly say I can see the difference having healthy people in my life has had on me. It’s harder to find negatives in life when you are surrounded by people who are positive. It’s harder to not believe in yourself when the people around you keep reminding you that they believe in you. It’s hard to fear the world when you have people willing to help you meet it head on.

I think my life is definitely heading in the right direction, now it’s just up to me to get enough courage to steer it where  I want it to go 🙂

 

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