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Been a strange, nerve-jangly sort of day.

I missed a lecture because there were no fucking buses for 40 minutes. I know I could've turned up late but I was all wound up by then, and I can catch up because the lectures and slides are recorded.

We got the orange sun around lunchtime, it's clear and sunny here now (though still with particles of dust in the air hurting my eyes) but it's gone down south where a million more people are tweeting about it, and a million freaked-out status updates on Facebook and bad-joke tweets haven't helped somehow. That we feel such a sense of impending doom at such a minor change in the quality of the light makes it easy to see why humans had to invent religion.

I didn't feel doomy but I was also pretty sure it was something to do with the hurricane, and the hurricane is because of climate change and that make terrified and so miserable. My anxious brain told me "One day we'll look back on these as the good old days, weather-wise," because my anxious brain hates me.

I slept awfully last night. Went to bed early, woke up after midnight and didnt get back to sleep until five in the morning.

Andrew emailed while I was out saying the washing machine is broken, he thinks he can fix it but I'll need to help. But when I got back home he's out, so I'm sitting here writing this instead. I hope the washing machine's okay, we can't afford it not to be. Don't know where he is, but I think he was going to buy food. And I thought of something on my way home that I wanted but I forgot to tell him to get.

The people next door are having building work done on their house, and the loud whine of the drills makes it hard to concentrate or relax.

I need a hug or a cry or a sleep or a vacation. But none of those things seem like they'd be enough really.
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Dealing with immigration bureaucracy is still exhausting. Maybe first thing in the morning wasn't the best idea. But the passport and naturalization certificate I'd sent to the student loans people arrived soon after I woke up (the certificate in one of those "do not bend" envelopes, so in better shape than they got it!) and since I had to go to the post office anyway I figured I'd ask if they had passport applications and they did. So when I got home I thought I might as well start in in it.

And it's fine, but it's occasioned a big discussion on Facebook where I said
Applying for a British passport as a foreign-born person with foreign parents is like a test in How Much Do You Love Your Family.

Not only do I need to remember what town my parents were born in (which I only know because I needed that for citizenship), I need to find out my GRANDPARENTS' place of birth, date of birth, and date of marriage?! Good thing my parents were going to Skype me today anyway because I could only guess at most of those! Three of my grandparents aren't even around to ask!

And I can't remember how to spell my mom's middle name. Worst daughter. Well, I think I do but there's nothing like a form to make you second-guess yourself!
The comments are sympathetic and thoughtful because I know good people, but also reminded me of new ways this could be fraught.

Then I had to get new passport photos taken, because none of the money I've spent on passport-size passport-style photographs in the last year or so will do for the current set of restrictions. I hate that they now require glasses wearers not to wear their glasses, because the only way to get me to be facing the right away without them ends up being to have a man, a stranger, put his hands on my face.

It wasn't too bad today, but it reminded me of the time I had to get biometric data collected for my citizenship application, when the photos were done by some horrible automated computer process in a claustrophobic booth. And I kept getting told off for the photo coming up wrong. I was there with my white cane and everything but the staff were busy and I guess just didn't notice or didn't know what to do with me. It took ages and still ended up with a man touching my face and I felt really shitty afterward.

I went to Levy market afterward, because it's near the photo shop and because I had the vague sense that I had been Good and deserved a treat. I ran into a couple of people I know which was nice but the market just seemed overpriced rubbish which is probably at least as much a reflection on me as on it! I usually enjoy it.

I went to the Asian supermarket on the way home because I wanted some halloumi but they didn't have any! I asked Andrew to see if there was a film or concert or anything we fancied going to tonight, but there really isn't.

And now I'm sitting here thinking I should make some food but needing to do dishes first and that's all I get for a treat today, it looks like!


Jul. 28th, 2017 03:06 pm
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When I mentioned not wanting to go out (again) in the torrential downpour, in a Facebook post about making plans for this evening, someone left a chirpy comment about how I chose to live in Manchester and it rains a lot in the UK, especially Manchester....

...I got so mad I wrote a comment about how picking the one where I could have healthcare didn't seem like much of a choice. But they probably won't have seen it because I deleted the whole post, without even really realizing that's what I was doing, immediately after.

Yeah, I guess I have been a bit touchy lately, particularly on the subject of not feeling like I have much control over my life.
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Acting like a stereotypical depressed person today. Still in my pajamas, spent way too much time on twitter, only eaten pizza and chocolate today. Strangely, none of that's helped!

But in the last hour or so I walked the dog, did the smallest bit of tidying, talked to Andrew about some of the stuff that's bugging me. So this evening has been slightly better than today.

(I also found that gmail is a dick: a scary e-mail I thought I sent a whole week ago (saying "I cannot continue volunteering with this thing any more because it's too stressful I need to concentrate on looking for paid work" (well, they're both true...)) didn't fucking send so I've sent it now but have to stress again for a while about every new e-mail I get. Because yay, anxiety making me avoid confrontation.)


Jul. 18th, 2017 11:48 pm
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It would be nice to have one goddam day with no nap needed in the evening, no anxiety attack in the wee hours, no debilitating headache...

Yesterday was anxiety attack in the middle of the night again. Today was blinding headache so I was in bed by eight o'clock (I'm awake again now to tell you this because somebody thought 11:30 on a Tuesday night was a good time to set off fireworks that sounded like they were right outside my bedroom window).

Something every day. Seems kind of crazy I'm trying to find work again, when these symptoms are worse than they've been in years.
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I have been really quiet here lately -- reading a lot, commenting as much as I can, but having nothing to say for myself. For the simple reason that depression has been kicking my ass.

I'd been so anxious before this that now that the anxiety's gone I have nothing sufficiently stressing me out for me to do it. I've been sleeping a lot because what's the point of being awake? I've been failing to apply for jobs either because I misremembered the deadline or because I decided a few months of badly-paid admin wasn't worth applying for, even if it is for a charity I care about.

I follow lots of things for immigrants, disability, and queer people on Twitter, and when they advertise job vacancies I sometimes apply because I care about these things, but something always goes wrong. It's not a very good process to find a job, but I'm wary of stepping into the big world of job hunting because it tends to give me panic attacks and because I know most jobs would just make me more mental in six months than I am now. And I'm at far too high a baseline of mentalness right now to risk that.

I really need a low-stress job and so many things stress me out, and it's not something you can filter for. "Are the people who work here nice? Will they yell at me for things I don't know how to do?" These questions are not easily answered; it's probably no surprise a lot of my jobs have come from knowing someone who already works there, which helps answer these kinds of questions. But that's not something I can wait around for, either.

I have lately been harboring fantasies of going back to college (university, I'd have to learn to call it), which is surprising, frankly. And no help at all.


May. 1st, 2017 07:29 am
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I'm unfollowing people on Twitter and deleting photos from my phone and it's all a proxy for what I really wish I could do, which is turn my brain off and back on again.

I got two or three hours' sleep last night. Racing, intrusive thoughts.


Apr. 6th, 2017 11:19 pm
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On Monday night I wrote
I've been so homesick and regular sick and just out of sorts generally. For weeks. Tonight I went to yoga for the first time in a whole (haven't been because I've been sick) and I'm home just in time to see my baseball team's Opening Day game.

And the combination of physical tension relieved at yoga & mental tension relieved by hearing familiar accents talk about beloved things has been SO GOOD for me. I can't even tell you.
Of course it hasn't lasted. Today things have seemed horrid on every level from ominous health news for people I love to horrible politics I don't want to talk about.

It all left my nerves jangly and everything seeming too noisy, too much, too difficult today.
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I had enough sleep, did some cleaning in preparation for in-laws descending on us (vacuumed, cleaned the bathroom, took out a lot of garbage which is hard to do when your bin has been stolen!), was sociable with them for a couple hours, did two loads of laundry, walked to Burnage and back to fetch Gary after the second half of his holiday there...

...and still feel like I've done nothing and am way behind already and need to get started.

This is the problem I have with all this New Year motivation and ambition...doing what I do never feels like enough.

Though really this problem has been going on since I got back from my parents', just because I think I felt so frustrated there and so badly missing all the things I couldn't do, from going to the gym to working on my book, that now in the evenings when the day has calmed down I just feel exhausted and overwhelmed and incapable of doing anything but waiting for it to be bedtime.

I think I'm finally caught up on sleep, which I didn't need so much for feeling-tired purposes as my-brain-needing-to-sort-things-out purposes. I don't feel like that's happened but at least I was able to do all the chores and stuff today.

And I'd have gone to the gym if they'd been open past four; I've been hampered by their reduced hours since I got back and am looking forward to it getting back to normal tomorrow. And to stores being open normally again tomorrow -- we need food, too.

Maybe I'll get back to normal tomorrow too. My normal isn't so great that I'm really looking forward to getting back to it, but it's better than this.
hollymath: (Default)
Somebody asked me how I'm doing and I said "i have no idea because I'm decoupling the things I have to do from any emotions or opinions I might have had about them."


Nov. 9th, 2016 09:42 am
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...I guess even citizenship of the rainy fascist island looks more appealing now! Because it won't take as long to fix.

But now I really don't know how I'm going to finish this damn book about it!

My mental health hasn't been this bad since my brother died. I'd be pursuing more/different/better treatment if I didn't know it'd all been defunded! The accumulation of all the micro and macro things of this year has finally completely ruined my ability to look after myself and do the sensible things that need doing.

I feel so fragile right now,
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Interviewing for it finished today.

Tonight I got an e-mail that said "colleagues were interested in your passion and campaigning experience," apparently. This is more feedback than I was led to expect and it's nice -- even if I suspect it's nice because they want to talk to me because of my new One Day Without Us hat.

I'm great at work, as long as no one else wants to do it and it doesn't pay.
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...am I supposed to write a book now about being an immigrant. About what immigration in the UK is like.

(I will -- don't fret, Kickstarter backers! But I'm so sick and sore of the subject now, I feel like I have either nothing to say or else I have to put my bleeding heart on the page and I don't want to do that. I need to find words for things there are no words for. And I just don't know yet how I can do that. But I'll try as hard as I can, I promise.)
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When I came back from Minnesota at Christmas, I was suddenly very aware that there were a lot of things I'd been meaning to do around the house that I had been ignoring, which I now felt I had a deadline for because I knew my parents were visiting late spring/early summer.

They get here on Wednesday. I've done precisely none of those things: didn't even get a quote for the front garden getting sorted out, didn't do much about the downstairs redecorating I want, didn't plant anything outside (though to be fair there was snow outside a week ago...), didn't do the million little DIY jobs or hang pictures or anything. Hell I haven't even been able to get rid of the broken computer or vacuum cleaner (though those are more recent problems as they only broke in the last month or so!).

Slightly more importantly, I haven't sorted out a better bed for my parents to sleep in: our spare room is tiny so the bed in there is tiny (not quite a normal double-bed size), and it's pretty unfair to ask old people (especially one very tall and one with a lot of health problems) to sleep on for ten days.

I'm so disappointed in myself, even angry with myself. Andrew can tell me all he wants (and he's had to; I've had more than one little meltdown about this, most spectacularly two weeks ago in the middle of the night when I couldn't stop thinking about all this stuff and then I couldn't stop crying...) that I've been busy and ill and had to do all the things he's not been doing because he's been ill...but it doesn't make me feel any less angry or upset or stressed. I can tell myself, and others can tell me, that it shouldn't matter what state my house is in, that it should just be nice to have my parents here and that's what matters...but they've never been here with so few plans before, so little to do but comment on my house.

Which I've always felt self-conscious about around them because I know they don't like the very concept of terraced houses and would never live this way. And while I know they had apartments and ilttle places to live when they were first married, too, that was a hell of a long time ago, and anyway by the time they were my age they had two kids and lived in the house they do now, which is big and sprawling and very nice (though my mom did take a long time to get rid of the seventies-colored avacado-and-brown everything in that house, so maybe she will understand about why the terrible wallpaper is still here!).

We have no plans partly because they were landed with a huge medical bill for my mom's latest terrifying health crisis a couple of months ago, yay America the greatest country in the world. So now they don't really have a lot to spend here, and the trip back to Scotland we were talking about isn't gonna happen. I'd love to pay for such things myself but of course with me already freaking out about all the home improvements we can't afford that's clearly not possible!

And they've already talked about how they want to "help out around the house." My dad's still talking about the hedge which was overgrown when they were last here but has been gone for a long time since (though trying to tear out its horrible roots is why our front garden is a pit of gravel and mud now (I don't understand the appeal of gravel in a garden!). My mom wanted the measurements for my front window so she could buy me curtains. In Minnesota! And bring them here! So not only would they stupidly take up space and weight in her suitcase (which is always crammed), she didn't show any indication of asking me what color or kind I wanted, so I probably wouldn't want them any more than the ones I have there now. And they're a bit difficult anyway because the curtain rod is a bit broken...so my dad's OCD attempts to get the two curtains to close Right In The Middle led to a bunch of the curtain hooks popping off...because another problem with this curtain rail is you can't put proper rings on it, only shitty little plastic hooks that never stay on and keep breaking, and...

...this is the kind of thing that's going on in my brain all the time. I feel so much of it is out of my control. So many of my problems are nothing I can do anything about in the few days remaining before they get here, I feel lack in skills and money and time and transport -- having a car would really help! And I just want to curl up in a ball and ignore the whole thing.

But that's what I've been doing all along; that's the problem.
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On the days when I mope and fret and hate myself because I don't have a job and I tell myself it's all because I'm lazy and afraid and weak and making excuses...

... I guess maybe I should see days like this, where I need a nap by 10:30 in the morning and I end up in a full-on hysterical anxiety attack just because I can't find something that's in the place where I put it, where even after a good day I always feel like I'm at the end of my rope...I should see days like this as some kind of an answer to what I keep asking myself: how can you not even have a job yet?
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My parents are aging.

Of course, I'm also both far further away and completely lacking in sibling support compared to what I expected. These things are responsible for many of my tears.

My mom had a hospital consultation today that seemed to leave her feeling better, but me worse. So there's nothing to worry about (well, nothing much anyway and possibly less than there was before?). I think my being inconsolable this evening says a lot more about me right now than it does about anyone or anything else.


Feb. 20th, 2016 06:50 am
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I bought an expensive train ticket to London for this weekend, and I'm not using it.

And that sucks so much. But using it would suck even more.

That's all I have to say about how tough life is right now.
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Mornings used to be the part of the day I'd thrive on. Now they're the most difficult.

I don't feel like myself myself any more. I don't recognize me.
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Ten fucking years it'll be, in a few weeks, since my brother died.

One of the things I cried about, soon after when all I did was cry, was that I knew this day would come. That a year, then two years, then five then ten...probably twenty and thirty, hopefully forty and fifty...hell with medical advances who knows how many milestone I'll live through? I knew it wouldn't always hurt as much as it did then. And it hurt all the more then, for the consciousness that it wouldn't always hurt so much.

And it doesn't. It can't. Much as it feels like it, the strength of feeling isn't the only indication of the importance of a person. At first the grief is so intense it washes out everything else -- even memory, for me -- but our bodies are not capable of keeping that intensity up indefinitely. Practicalities assert themselves, stray thoughts return, your personality starts to assert itself again after being subsumed like everything else about your life. Eventually you can even get bored.

And gradually you don't wake up crying from quite so many dreams of him. One day you are introduced to someone with his name and you don't visibly wince.

After a long time, the balance tips and it's more remarkable when you are affected by things than when you aren't. When a song on the radio makes your lower lip quiver, when you feel bad at a fleeting moment of jealousy you had about someone else talking about their adult relationships with their own siblings, when someone ask you that innocuous small-talk question "do you have brothers and sisters?" and you have to try not to make the ensuing conversation too dark.

Sometimes now I do feel bad for not feeling bad more, or more often, or in the right way, or something. Sometimes I hate that hardly anyone important to me, outside my family anyway, ever even met my brother. Sometimes I worry that he's become a story, an abstract sketch of youth and loss, rather than someone I never felt I really got to know as a person. Sometimes I feel so damn lonely, having to face my parents aging on my own with no one to call up to compare notes, seek opinion, ask questions, answer questions, fight, keep secrets from our parents with (will they ever know that I don't think they raised any heterosexual children?), wade through the legal stuff when they can't stay on the farm any more...

Anyway, all that is to digress. All I was gonna sa is that it's been ten years, and my mom wants me to write a little verse for their local paper again, and I assured her I would, but I don't have anything I can say -- to that audience. It needs small words and nothing too...demonstrative. This kind of language I'm using here would be baffling and unhelpful to my parents, and small-town Minnesota.

Hell, I couldn't even think of anything when it'd only been five years. Only half as long.


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