Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Guided meditations by Tara Brach.

A lot going on, busy and exhausted. Nervous about my new job, starting Monday.

Here are some guided meditations by Tara Brach.

I know I should be doing them - but all I want to do is sleep. It's all I can think of.

I need a vacation. I just want to do little to nothing for a week.

I just want to sleep sleep sleep.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A weekend away.

Spent a weekend away in the eastern townships, which was nice. It was different. There's a lot going on these days - it was nice to get away and change the space, change the mood. The trip was a gift for my mother, we went back to her hometown, stayed in a B&B and ate at local spots.
Learn to know yourself. To search realistically and regularly, the processes of your own mind and feelings. 
– Nelson Mandela
We stopped by my brother's house on the way home. It was nice seeing everyone. It's brought up a lot in terms of knowing people, change, and reflection, which was once again poked by the above quote by Nelson Mandela, which was in a newsletter this morning. 

You can't force others into that search, and you can always escape your own, or turn it off. 

What do I know, really? I'm not very good at my life.

It was a long weekend, but it still feels like a Monday. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Chris Cornell.

Woke up to the news today that Chris Cornell died at the age of 52.

Hours later, it's now come to light that he committed suicide by hanging himself in a hotel room.

When someone dies by suicide, I always get a chill of recognition. As if we're known to one another, not through life, but through the method of death.

I'm sorry Chris. It's over.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

New news.

Well, it's been a time.

It's been busy. I had a Mother's Day brunch and mani/pedi planned and volunteering this past weekend, and the weekend before was movies and housework. Sunday I had a ton of dogs, a lot of pit-bulls and large dogs, a few traumatized dogs, and that takes a lot of energy.

Over a week ago I got an e-mail from one of the pools I'd applied on and was testing for, saying I was now officially in the pool. This past Friday I got a call and was offered a job. I said I was interested and now they're doing the security clearance check on me. I actually went in just this morning for fingerprinting and paperwork.

Now I wait.

I need an official offer, with a contract, and a start date for me to actually feel like this is happening.

Some key points:

  • It's legit in the building where my bus drops me off downtown in the morning, so it's still in Montreal and it's not in some random location.
  • The starting salary will boost my income right out the gate by five thousand dollars.
  • They're filling 4 jobs, and I was offered the Archivist role - which matches up with my organisation and information management strengths. 
  • It's a one year contract - but that's to make sure I'm not cuckoo - nobody gets a full time permanent job with the government right away, it's too hard to get fired.
  • This pool I applied to in April 2016. So It's been over a year, S's whole process took 14 months. Depending on the next few weeks, it seems like my experience is lining up with her timeline.
The timeline so far:
2016-04-24 - Application
2016-11-28 - Questions to me by e-mail
2017-02-03 - Invite to exam
2017-03-09 - Invite to interview (3 person panel exam, reference request)
2017-03-14 - Exam results
2017-04-18 - Follow-up on references (boss didn’t call back)
2017-05-09 - Confirmation I'm in the hiring pool
2017-05-12 - Phone call of offer
2017-05-15 - Security forms and request for fingerprints
2017-05-16 - Appointment for fingerprints

Knowing my current workplace, I wanted to speak with the principal, and my manager ASAP. I reached out to the principal first, since he was my reference, and since I've worked with him longest. 

He ended up calling me into his office teary-eyed, which I did not expect. Thankfully both times he and I got teary-eyed he changed the topic so we both avoided full-on crying. 

He then announced it to my manager, who met with me, and that also went really well. I told them both I know this place well enough to know it will take longer than 2 weeks for everyone to get their shit together, so they both appreciated that. They basically need to write a new job description. They don't need a graphic designer, they need a marketing assistant or maybe an administrative assistant with basic InDesign skills. 

So, that was a huge weight off. I don't like secrets and I don't like games. I don't want to make plans with my current employer knowing full-well I'm on my way out.

It's also an ongoing process, and both the hiring employer and my current employer are open to being flexible, which I really appreciate and which is ideal. 

My new manager said she's like me to start June 1st - but that doesn't really match up with the 10 days it takes HR to send me a contract after I get my security check, I think it'll take longer than that. Which is fine by my current employer, since they'll keep me for as long as they can. 

I mean, it's not like I'm busy here, I just think they like me. 

It's ups and downs. 

So that's my news. It was great Friday afternoon news, but it's still kind of out in the ether, since there are a lot of unknowns. 

Other updates:
  • Things are still cold between my brother and I - I haven't seen my nephews in ages.
  • No news from the Neuro hospital regarding TMS.
  • This upcoming weekend I'm heading to the Eastern Townships with my mom for her Mother's Day/Birthday gift. We're staying in a Bed & Breakfast and going for dinner, I'm looking forward to the change of scene.
That's it for now. Ideally I'd get a later start-date with the new job so I could take a week off between jobs - but I'll take it any way I can get it. 

With love,

Monday, May 8, 2017

Old Baby.

I watched Old Baby this weekend. I love Maria Bamford so much. 

It's like her comedy exists just for me.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Admission by Stacy Torres.

Longreads has a great piece up by Stacy Torres called The Admission. Torres recounts her admission to a psych department at the age of 20. 

The section on how she needs to "perform" her illness in order to be taken seriously was especially poignant to me:
“We’re looking for psychiatric emergency,” Jeanne said. 
“Outpatient services are down the block.” 
“What about inpatient services?” she asked. 
“Well, that’s in here,” he motioned to the door behind him. 
Well, then what are you waiting for? Let us in. I didn’t understand the confusion. Why the hesitation? Then a thought occurred. The week before Jeanne had half-joked about how one of her colleagues suggested they might not admit me unless I slit my wrists in front of them. I clenched my teeth and slowly inhaled before getting down to business. If they wanted a wreck, I’d show them one. In seconds, liquid was spilling down the side of my face. I didn’t bother wiping the fat telenovela tears that pooled on my cheeks. The man looked embarrassed, tugging on his eyebrow, and hustled us into the room from where he first came.
This has always been difficult for me since I'm so despondent when really depressed. A friend of mine cries incessantly when suffering, and I told her once that in a way it's a blessing because it's physical "proof" of how you're feeling, whereas I just look like I'm a sleepy bitch.

Read the essay here.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Looking to TMS, for now.

I'm having a lot of trouble focusing these days. I have resting-anxiety that’s higher than normal, and I can’t get enough sleep. I’ve changed my commute to work in order to walk more, and also to cut from a bus and two metro rides to just one long bus ride. This means I’m on a bus for about 45 minutes to an hour, so I nap twice a day nearly daily. It’s still not enough sleep. It also allows me to read or just sit quietly. Then, once in the city, I have a longer walk uphill so it's a nice start to the day.

Right now my mind is on TMS. I’m considering TMS, and I hope I’m a viable candidate for it. I need a change. I’m afraid and worried, but I’m also at a low point right now and I’m all out of ideas.

So right now, the focus is on TMS. If it’s a yes or a no, I can then move to the next thing, which may be microdosing.

I have an appointment tomorrow with my family doctor, Dr. Rishi. I sent him a letter last week (they don’t have an office e-mail, so I mail him things like a war-time bride) asking him to look up TMS and microdosing before my visit. TMS is offered at the neurology department of the McGill University Health Centre, so it’s an option.

A piece on NPR mentioned TMS being used for "treatment-refractory depression" - which is depression that does not respond to common treatment methods. That sounds like me. I am on a pretty high dosage of anti-depressants and I'm barely functional nonetheless.

I also read a piece in a psychology journal about recent findings:
A recent study presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in Atlanta, Georgia, investigated the effects of TMS on depressive symptoms in a private practice setting.3 The sample included 123 patients (67.5% female) with MDD who had not responded to an average of 3.9 treatment attempts with antidepressants. The mean number of TMS sessions that patients received was 40.8. 
Following the acute phase of treatment, patients demonstrated a 76.4 to 78.8 response to treatment as indicated by their Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) and Patient Health Questionnaire PHQ-9) depression scale scores, and no notable adverse effects occurred during or after treatment. Remission rates were between 52.5 and 72.4, and of these patients, an 80% long-term remission rate was observed among those available for follow-up assessments over a period of more than 4 years. “These findings further establish TMS as a safe, effective and durable treatment option, both acutely and on a continued basis, for those who suffer from a high degree of symptom severity and/or do not gain relief from antidepressant medications,” concluded the authors.
Those are encouraging findings, the article, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Effective for Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, ends by saying that 60% claimed remission and that 70% showed significant remission. Those numbers aren't nothing.

For now, I just have to wait until tomorrow, where I can talk to Dr. Rishi about it.

Until then.


Musician streams TMS treatment live on Facebook.

Also, there's this bit on gut health and the brain and TMS. They seem to correlate TMS with gut-health and weight-loss, but I'd argue if you're less depressed shit gets better in general.

What Happens When One Fat Patient Sees A Doctor.

Check out What Happens When One Fat Patient Sees A Doctor over on The Establishment. 

Written by Your Fat Friend (snap), it's pretty dead on.

I happen to be seeing a doctor right now who has had weight struggles himself, so he's understanding and kind, but he is not the norm. 

If you have someone who is shitty about your weight, and then also shitty about your mental health, it's really the most dehumanising shit to wade through. 

A common theme amongst friends of varying degrees of fatness is not being believed. There's no way we eat vegetables, or walk as much as we day we do, or don't eat junk food three times a day. We must be lying because we're ashamed of our fat-people-choices. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

♥ Alex Norris ♥ "Oh no!" ♥

Sometimes you come across art and just think, "YES."

These web-comics are housed oved at web comic name dot com (lol) and are all by Alex Norris.

I actually love these so much they're my phone wallpaper and lock screen. Well, I edited "oh no" and flying baby (lol) in photoshop so I could use them that way.

A floating "oh no" is pretty much my experience of life.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Chris Gethard: Career Suicide.

The links seem to only link to the American version of HBO - so I don't know if this will be available in Canada. Womp womp.

Diana Athill.

From Write, Never Marry, and Other Love Advice from Simone de Beauvoir's Editor: An interview with acclaimed writer and editor Diana Athill shortly after her 99th birthday.
I really began to write entirely as a healing exercise. I didn't realize that, but that first book I wrote came out of the blue, a good many years after my unhappiness. I had been living carefully enough, working at a very interesting job, having lots of friends. But all during that time, I do know that if I stopped and looked at myself and said, "What is my life?," I would have said to myself, "It is a life of failure." Simply because I'd grown up in a family and at a time when my job was to get married and have children, and I had failed. There was this underlying thing of failure deeply buried. I didn't sit down and say, "I'm going to write that book." It happened. It was a very uncanny experience, and it came easily. And when it was finished, I was healed.
The interview is by Anya Raza, check it out. Athill is 99 and sharp as shit. Goals!