I finally got the letter

It’s official, it’s done. I finally got the offer letter.

Hallelujah, praise the FSM. No more of this shuttling from store to store. I now have the ability to rely on where I’m going to be from week to week.

The whole process has been very anxiety-laden. I was told that all of this was supposed to happen a month ago. But the finality doesn’t mean that things are going to be easy.

I’m going to a non-traditional store, which means that there’s a lot of things that are done differently from the way I learned. It also means that there’s a lot of extra things I have to do and learn. And I really have to hit the ground running. I’m hoping to get some quality one-on-one time with my GM next week and really find out what my responsibilities are, what I’m in charge of, and what I need to do every day. I’m going to say it – this is going to be hard. But I can do it. I know I can. Mike has faith in me. My family has faith in me. And my friends are great at pumping me up whether it’s job related, or going to the gym, or whatever I need. I really have an amazing support system.

Someone asked me recently how I managed my anxiety day to day. While I’m not on a typical anti-anxiety med, the Zyprexa really takes an edge off of things. But there isn’t a magic pill that makes anxiety go away entirely. It just makes it easier so all of the things that I have in my mental health tool box can work.

One of the first things that I ask myself is: is this something really to be anxious about? Is this something that a “normal” person would be anxious about? Or am I blowing things out of proportion?

Next: are these rational thoughts? Are my thoughts in reaction to the situation normal? Or are they skewed by negative thinking? For example: you forget to do something. Your boss tells you it’s totally fine, but you immediately think “do I need to look for a new job? Am I going to be fired?” Those aren’t normal thoughts that should follow what was ultimately a positive conversation and a teaching moment. There is no indication that you’re in trouble. But yet, those thoughts come.

And yes, sometimes they reveal legitimate worries. But more often than not, you have to recognize that these thoughts aren’t true. They aren’t real. And they have no power.

Fuck anxiety. It’s the asshole that lives inside of your brain, telling you things that are wrong. Making you worry. Making you shake. Making you believe things that aren’t true. Impacting your life in a grossly negative fashion.

I’m trying to say that I’m done with all of that. I’m using everything I can – twisting the thought and asking myself why I believe that, asking if that thought makes sense or if it is an overreaction, asking if I truly believe that or is that just what the negative thought pattern is trying to make me believe.

You have to take control back. You have to learn to minimize those thoughts – acknowledge them, yes, but understand that they don’t represent reality.

I try, every day. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose, but the important part is that I try. And tomorrow, I will fight another day.

Making progress

Went to the gym for the fourth time today after work. It was a tough one, but I did it. And then I came home and ate hot dogs (and no, I’m not kidding). I cheated a little today and went 50cal over my budget for the day, but I’ve been good all week. And 50cal isn’t all that much. I think I’ve got myself planned for Thursday to jump on the scale. We’ll see if there’s any progress.

Work dragged today. When I was doing the schedule first thing in the morning and in the late afternoon when I was doing paperwork it wasn’t too bad. But man, those middle hours dragged on forever. It was actually painful to be at work. I hate days like this. It’s so hard to stay motivated and focused when you want to be anywhere but where you are. On the upside, I’m now halfway through my 8 day stretch. Too bad the hardest part (Monday into Tuesday) is going to be the worst as I close-open between those two days.

As of right now my transfer for next week is still on. But tomorrow is Monday, so who the hell knows what’s going to happen over the next four days. For all I know I’ll be going to Kentucky by Thursday. (For the record, this is not a possibility, but it sure as hell feels like it could be, at this point. I just want to know where I’m going to be, without the Wednesday Hail Mary of “we’re just going to give you a schedule here since we haven’t heard anything else.” I’m over it. I don’t even care where I go or if I stay where I am. I just want some permanence so I can go back to planning my life and having some sense of being grounded and stable. Honestly? With all of this going on, I can’t believe that I haven’t had any kind of even mini-episode. Thank God for meds, I guess. I haven’t even seen my therapist since November, or my shrink since December. For me, this is a miracle. With all of the uncertainty and doubt, the stress of not knowing what’s happening, I’ve managed to stay stable. I’ve managed to stay sane. Even with quitting smoking and going back to vaping, changing my diet, etc.

It’s been a hell of a year so far, filled with ups, downs, and even some sideways, and there’s still 11 months and 5 days left.

Day one and done

I made it to the gym today. And yes, I went in, but that was a struggle. It took a friend giving me a bit of motivation to actually get out of the car. And for that, I’m thankful.

Sometimes I don’t realize how much of my life is controlled by anxiety. Something as stupid as going to the gym for the first time I’ve put off for a week stating, oh I still don’t feel 100%. And I didn’t today, but I’m not going to start feeling better unless I push myself. So I took a half an hour brisk walk at a slight incline. I’m exhausted. But I did it. And now I can convince my brain that going to the gym isn’t something that I need to be anxious about. I figure even if I’m just going in and taking a walk, I’m still doing something. And that’s better than nothing.

The kick in the ass I needed came this morning when I did my weekly measurements and realized that I actually gained two pounds from last week from all of the snacking I was doing. And I wanted all of the snacks. I couldn’t stop eating. I’m tempted to think that it was hormonal as it’s not nearly as bad this week. I’ve had an IUD for five and a half years, and while they’re good for seven I’ve read that it’s believed that the hormone level can drop off a bit after year 5 and you’ll get some period-week symptoms. And that was eating all of the things and an acne breakout. I don’t see my gyno until March, but I think I can soldier on for a month and a half until I can get her opinion. She wanted to IUD to be changed last year, but the doc that does it said there was no reason to at that point and to call her when I actually got a period. She’d change it then. She knows best, I guess.

I volunteer every week for a local cat rescue. This pretty much means that I go in and play with cats for an hour or two a week. Honestly? This is one of the best parts of my week. I get to give all of the pets and I give all of the kisses and headbutts and face rubs. But one of the things that we do is try to socialize cats that aren’t used to humans. The big win this week was a cat that came from a hoarding situation that was pretty people-wary came right up and sat in my lap to get the pets. My cold little heart grew three sizes.

So I’m back on the diet plan, I’m back on the workout plan, and I’m back to working on me, and being the best me that I can be. New Year, new you? I got this.

The balancing act

What a lot of people don’t realize, well those that don’t suffer with mental illness, is that every day is a balancing act. A little teeter one way or the other could have disastrous effects. And if you fall, you better hope to all hell that you have a good safety net to catch you.

I’ve asked people in the past how much time they spend every day managing their mood. Most of them just looked at me like I was nuts. Apparently very little. I swear, I spend most of my day managing my mood and emotions. If not managing, then monitoring. Mental check-ins every so often, gauging how and where my emotions are running, etc.

This is sometimes made hard by the fact that at work I have to remain upbeat, personable, and friendly, even if I’m everything and anything but those things. Some days it can be exhausting. Some days I pull it off with no problem. Others… it’s not quite so easy. Those are the days that I need to come home and do some R&R. Those are the days that I look forward to my days off.

It really is a battleground sometimes in my mindscape.

So how do you do it? We all wear masks, even we don’t realize that we’re wearing one. There are times when I can’t deal with what is going on in my head right that second, so I have to put in a “For Later” file to be dealt with when I get home, while I’m working out at the gym, hell even when I’m driving home.

I hate this.

On a side note, we’re watching Evil. And this show is horrible. I’m really not sure why we’re still watching.

In other news, the new routine is going well. I’m having a hell of a time with calorie counting right now because I want to snack on all of the things. And I mean ALL OF THE THINGS.

New year, new you and all that jazz

I’m not a big fan of resolutions. At least not in the way that most people associate with New Years. Saying “I want to lose 40 pounds” is all well and good, but how are you going to do it. I think that making a plan and having it in place before the 1st is the only way you’re really going to succeed.

And I’m not really a fan of the word “resolutions.” I prefer goals. Goals are attainable. A resolution, to me, sounds like something that’s talked about in the House of Lords.

So let’s talk about some of my goals. (And for the first time in three years “find a new job” is not on them. Score.)

  1. Lose 40-45 pounds through diet and exercise.
    This isn’t going to be easy. I lost 25 last year, and then gained 8 back in the months since starting the new job just because I couldn’t figure out how to balance my time to do things like workout and meal prep. There was always something in my field of vision that seemed to require my attention. And to be fair, a lot of the time I was just too stinking tired. So I’m recommitting to tracking what I eat/portion control using the LoseIt app, and working out both at home and I joined a gym that just opened. At home, I like the workouts by The Body Project on YouTube. They have their own site that you can join and pay for more videos, but I’ve found the ones on YouTube are more than sufficient for me. They get me moving and sweating, and I’m that glorious just-worked-out-sore in the morning.
  2. Save at least $1000.
    This is going to mean being frugal. I’ve already signed up for a program through my bank that if you use your debit card however times in a day on a specific account, they transfer that same number from that account to the savings. I’ve also set up direct deposit of $25 every week when I get paid into the savings account. I am choosing not to count my personal portfolio or IRA through Stash as part of this savings goal. Those are longer term projects. This $1000 is just to have a cushion.
  3. Run a 5k, even if it’s on a treadmill.
    I used to run in high school. I mean really run. I feel like this would give me a great cardio burn in terms of training as well as giving me a solid goal to shoot for. I’m going to use the C25k (Couch to 5k) app to help me in this endeavor. Ultimately, I’d like to do something like the Tough Mudder this summer, but I don’t know if I’m going to be totally ready for something like that. I’m trying to be realistic, here.
  4. Blog consistently.
    Up until recently I’ve been managing to do this. But up until recently, it seemed there was always something on my mind that I wouldn’t mind committing to paper, even if it was just to help me through my thoughts. I’m going to be looking at other blogs and see what they’re writing about for inspiration. So far this blog has been very heavily about my mental health, and it will stay that at it’s core, but I want to branch out and talk about books that I’m reading, things that I’ve seen in the news, the progress on these goals, etc. I’ve set a task on a habit tracker I use called Productive (too bad this isn’t a sponsored post – I’ve mentioned, what, three apps already?). It will remind me to update three times a week.
  5. Read at least 30 books.
    I managed 34 last year, and I think I can do at least that. This is easily attainable so long as I manage my time. I’ve found that if I primarily read on my lunch break I can move pretty quickly through books, but I don’t know with this new position how much of a “lunch break” I’m going to get rather than more of a working lunch. So this is going to mean carving out some time in the mornings or evenings when I’m not working, as well as days off. I’m shooting for at least a half an hour 5 times a week (thank you, again, Productive). Sometimes this means I’m going to have to make the hard choice and put down Reddit and pick up a book, but this is important enough to me to sacrifice mindless scrolling.
  6. Take time to relax
    This is going to be hard. I’m not a sit and relax kind of person. So I sat down and thought about it – what relaxes me? Reading! Yes, that does it. Crocheting! Cross-stitching! Baking! Gardening! Getting caught up on movies/shows! Skin care! Ok, maybe this won’t be that hard.
  7. Take the certification exam for the Six Sigma Green Belt.
    The stupid prep book has been sitting under the coffee table for six months. It’s time I do something about it. I have the educational background, and this could be a big feather in the cap for career progression. Time to get serious and do it.
  8. Get and stay organized.
    I tend to be organized. I can be very type A about it, to be honest. And by that I mean aggressive. But I’m retaking that bull by the horns this year. I bought an 18 month Erin Condren Life Planner last July and have been keeping track of schedules and to do lists and what not, but I haven’t been utilizing it to it’s fullest potential. So I spent a few evening last week making trackers, charts, lists, etc. to help keep me on track and organized. I’m still playing with some ways to do things in the meat of the pages, but that’s going to be trial and error until I find something I like and that works. Another thing I did this week was buy a nice 4-tier wire cart from Walmart to keep my crocheting stuff, my cross-stitch stuff, my study books for the Six Sigma exam, and all of my stationary stuff (mostly for the planner, if we’re being honest), to get everything off of the coffee table and couch and into something that I can easily put away if company is coming over, but helps keep everything together. I plan on tackling the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom, the laundry room, the bonus room in the basement, and the garage, in that order over the next few months. I want to get everything cleaned up, put everything in a specific place and get this house the hell in order. Our longer than expected but still temporary roommate should be moving out this year, so I’ll be utilizing the space in his closet to keep everything in the upstairs tidy.

So that’s it. My year in advance. I’m hoping things like actually utilizing all of the functionality of this planner will help keep me on track for a lot of things. Making visuals that show how much weight I’ve lost, how much money I’ve saved, what books I’ve read, etc. will help keep me motivated.

I’ve got this.

So what are your plans for the new year?