Sunday Round Up #19: Mini ‘Up Close and Personal’

Hey guys,

unfortunatly I will have to integrate some Up Close and Personal in this Sunday Round Up because the realization that I am going through stuff (again -.- ) is overshadowing everything right now. I tried to ignore it for weeks, I just pushed on, thinking that if I pretend it’s not there it will just go away. Today or actually last night, I reached the point where I just couldn’t overlook it anymore. I think it’s some sort of depression/anxiety combination, because actually I don’t feel completely numb and broken like I normally do when I’m under, this time it’s more as if someone has been sucking all the energy out of me. I am constantly stressed, I sleep in weird patterns, I am heartily exhausted, especially of myself. I overthink everything, I keep on falling short of the expectations that I have of myself as a human being. You know I am not fishing for sympathy or compliments here, that is not how UpCloseAndPersonal works. I am merely showing you where I’m at at the moment and where I want to go.

So, at the moment I feel like I am not a good friend at all. I am self-involved, easily distracted and unable to show feelings properly. Like how grateful I am for the friends that I have, and how wonderful people they are.
I know that this will blow over, that I will get a grip on myself and be a better person again, but right now 9:05pm in Germany I am down, I am exhausted and I don’t like myself.

I built myself a cocoon today, cranked up the heating, hid in bed (2 duvets, 2 sheepskins, roughly 10 pillows) and watched silly rom-coms ( I Give It a Year: pretty decent; The Sweetest Thing: complete shit, no nicer way to put it). I haven’t done this out of sheer need for a while. Actually I haven’t done that ever since I returned from Bayreuth. Not like that. I am not desperate or hurting, like I said, I am just exhausted and I feel like my caffeine overdose earlier this week ties in with that. Apparently I operated under the assumption that when I just cram enough caffeine into my body I will feel better. Nope. Just gives me headache, nausea and severe dehydration.

Where to go from here? Accepting that something is wrong is the first step, I think. This coming week is going to be stressful. I am catholic and this is the week leading up to Easter. As stressful as this week is I normally love it. I love Palm Sunday with its celebration but also the first shadows of what is to come on Good Friday, I love Maundy Thursday, where my whole parish gets together after mass to have a meal and then Good Friday. There is something so bleak and miserable about this day, no organ, no flowers and the crosses are covered up and for a little over 24 hrs the world seems to come to a standstill. My family fasts this day, so no meat, no jam, no candy basically just butter and bread and some fish for lunch, and one heck of a lot of easter preparations. On saturday then the Easter Night celebrations, my favorite part: Arriving at a completely dark church, then bringing in the Easter fire from the yard in a procession and then the church is slowly lit by candles, no artificial light until the big Gloria where all the bells are rung. And after mass more eating and drinking with the whole parish. Man, I love this week 🙂

Either way I’ll try to cut myself some slack, I won’t put too much pressure on myself, one step at a time and be them baby steps. And I will try to do things that are good for me. Catch some sun, rest, eat right, drink enough and re-focus. I guess I’ll try to just survive. I have the week after Easter off, that should help me to get better.

If you got this far and you are interested to get into the normal Sunday Round Up stuff let’s do that.

Photo 13-04-2014 22 24 10

1. Make Up Shizz
I don’t like my make up at the moment. It is never quite like I want it to be and even though my skin is as clear and as healthy as it will probably ever be, I feel like no matter what foundation I wear, it is blotchy and weird and don’t get me started on my eye make up. I’m still trying to find a way to make it all work. I am currently wearing my Catrice All Matt Plus again. It is slightly too dark at the moment but it’s not too bad. I actually started to apply this with my fingers (yep, weirded me out, too). I’m still no fan of getting make up all over my fingers but, the outcome is actually nicer and the coverage is better than with a brush (whysoever).
On my desperate search for a blush that was not too in your face, didn’t piss me off and was no bronzer I dug out my MAC The Perfect Cheek. It is probably the nudest most natural blush color there is. It saves me from looking like a ghost without making me look like a clown.

2.Media Shizz
Music-wise I am still listening to the new Delain and Subway to Sally albums and Epica has actually released a new song from their upcoming album which is called Unchain Utopia and it is just about as awesome as Essence of Silence. If all the songs on The Quantum Enigma are like this we have found ourselves a new all-time favorite album. And as per usual the lyrics are brilliant!
I have been catching up on Hart of Dixie, which is a testament to the state I am in at the moment and I am about to start season 4 of Friday Night Lights. Both are total pick-me-up shows for me (borrowed that expression from Snowhoney and find that it is perfect).
Book-wise I am about to finish Dark Secrets by Hjorth&Rosenfeldt and I have the second one in the Sebastian Bergman- series sitting here. So far it is a good solid murder mystery but not spectecularly awesome (Man, A Song of Ice and Fire has ruined me -.- or at least set the bar ridiculously high for what a good book is).

Other than that there was not much going on this week other than that I have worked five days (which also didn’t help much with my exhaustion)


Blogmas Day #7: [Up Close and Personal] I’m Okay

It’s been a while since I last posted an Up Close and Personal. I don’t even know why it was so hard for me to put this into words since it is actually a good thing.

The other day I stumbled across some songs that have been a life saver for me in all those months when I was pretty far gone. From when I was very little music has been a very important in my life. I can’t go a day listening to music and I can’t go a week without singing. Music is an outlet for my feelings, for my joy for my pain, for my frustration. I have found bands that speak my mind. Like Saltatio Mortis right now with their angry songs criticizing politics and society as I am screaming mad about the goings on in my country (I am aware I am yammering on a very high level here).

Either way I stumbled upon those songs and the most important of them goes something like this:

Ich versinke, ich ertrinke, ich will kein Schmerzen mehr
Ich will dort sein, wo es still ist
2000 Meilen unter’m Meer.

(I’m sinking, I’m drowning, I don’t want to hurt anymore
I want to be where it is quiet
2000 miles beneath the sea)

In this world that was moving in on me, that was tearing at me, stripping me of all my defenses , slowly and painfully ripping me apart, I craved nothing more than this silence, this peace and quiet mentioned in the song. Another line goes:

Ich kann nicht weiter schwimmen, bitte lass mich gehen.

(I can’t swim anymore, please let me go.)

How many times have I felt like this. Like just letting go. Like just giving in. Letting them roll over me, crushing me.
Listening to this song would bring this feeling back every time and it would feel true. It would feel like this was the essence of me, this desperate feeling of barely hanging on.

When I listened to this song again a couple of weeks ago, it didn’t bring the feeling back. It reminded me of the feeling, yes, but it didn’t bring it back to my doorstep. Instead there was something in me that said ‘I can’t die just yet, I still have so much to do.’ God knows I may fall in love, get married and have children someday. Maybe I will be successful at my job, find a job that makes me truly happy. Maybe that will happen. Maybe I will be truly happy one day. I guess in a way I already am. I have a great family. We may not always like each other but we always love each other. My parents saved my life when they let me move home again, when they gave me shelter when I needed it the most.
I have the greatest two best friends. I may sometimes drive them up the wall and exasperate them but deep down we deeply care about each other, we watch out for each other and we would go miles for each other, I love them very much.
I have a job that I don’t hate and I study something that I enjoy. So yeah. I am happy all things considered.
Saying it out loud is scary though, as if I would jinx it.  But I guess this superstition is something that I have to kick out.

Bottom line of this post is, I’m okay. The dark days, the anxiety will come back and in a way I am grateful for that. You can’t see the light without the dark. But I am okay. And I will go back to being okay.

Up Close and Personal: Letting Myself Feel or They Say Change is Good but it Really Really Isn’t

As you may have noticed I was MIA last week and I apologize. There has been a lot going on, a lot of work that exhausted my body, a lot of internal matters that exhausted my soul.

A good thing that happened is that I realized that I am able to let myself feel again. If you suffer from depression or you know a little bit about it you may know that a common side effect is that the soul just shuts off much like the US government, to protect yourself from losing your mind, your soul quits feeling. You feel nothing at all. No joy, no grief just emptiness. And even though I have been doing a lot better for quite a lot of time, but this ability to feel something, like vibrating with happiness or crying over sorrow, that took a while to come back.

In retrospect I think my Grandpa’s death at the very end of last year helped a lot to crack me open. My Grandpa was a very old, sick man, so his death didn’t come unexpected and I believe that dying was a relief for him. Still it hurt that he was gone. It hurt that the last nights before his death he had to dream about his WWII experience, I wish he could have dreamed of unicorns and rainbows instead of tanks and poison gas. It just hurt. Period. And I let it hurt. I was strong enough for the first time to let myself hurt, knowing I would recover from it, knowing it wouldn’t be my undoing.

Strangely these feelings were triggered again when I watched the Tudors series finale last week. Maybe because old Charles Brandon reminds me so much of my Grandpa. It took me two days to get over it. But I got over it. I let my protective shell crack open, I let my pain flow out and the wound closed again and I lived to tell the tale.

While I can deal with grief now, abrupt changes still pose a problem. I had a big shake up at work the other day and I responded with a massive anxiety attack. I feel like I’m still recovering from this one.

I have moments (not only work-related) where I feel like I can’t make ends meet. No matter how hard I work no matter how much effort I put in, no matter how much I think ahead, something throws itself in my way and makes me trip. Minor bumps in the road I can deal with but at the moment it seems to pile up. I hate the feeling of helplessness when I have to rely on other people to get things right for me, when I have done my part and it’s out of my hands now. Exhausting, I tell ya!

So yeah, that’s me at the moment: Still reeling from that anxiety attack.

I’m trying to get my shit together, though. I’m cleaning and washing and organizing in the attempt to give me a cozy environment, a place where I can relax and lick my wounds. And I’m trying not to let the work pile up but to slowly and steadily reduce the amount. I guess the parole is to not give in to the fear and let her paralyze me.

I’m sorry that I still have nothing uplifting to tell you, I’m working on it though. I’ll be fine. Just give me a minute.

Brief Life Update

So, what’s been going on? I had a busy week end, exactly nothing of what I wanted to do got done, especially that new ‘Up Close and Personal’ post I’ve been planning is still in the tube. My question now is whether I should post during the week or wait until the week end and turn this into sort of a series (feel free to weigh in on this). I’ve been spending a lot of time to come to terms with my chronic ailment and to find ways to push through when it is trying to de-rail my life again. Would you like to come on this journey with me? I would love to have you!

My YouTube Made Me Do It post went through the roof last week. The traffic was very unexpected. This was always planned as a series and I am going to continue it. I’m thinking about doing one every thursday (ish).

Life-wise there has been going on so much recently and positive things they were too, I am already terrified of the inevitable down swing. Hello Anxiety, nice to see you again! How idiotic is it to go all fidgety because life is kind of working out too smoothly. What IS too smoothly anyway? This is something I struggle with: the fear that when something good happens to me I will pay a terrible price for it. Jeez, gonna stop thinking and typing about this because this is making me positively superstitious and this is exactly NOT where I want to go. Gonna slap out of it now. (If you caught that reference you are awesome and I love you 🙂 )

Insomnia came to town again and I am afraid she’s not going anywhere anytime soon. I’m determined to have a good time with her, though. I have a couple of great books that need reading and a couple of awesome tv shows that need watching. So there. Take that, b*tch!

I will now resort to painting my nails and catching up on my youTube sub-box, like a good girl. Have a good night/morning/afternoon everyone! Don’t let life kick your ass, fight back, you are loved.

(Go on, find the hidden message in the tags! I keep on forgetting that wordpress sorts ’em by alphabet. #fail)

Up close and personal: How I deal with my depression

I’ve been thinking about writing an update for a while. If you know me or you’ve known this blog for a while, you know that I occasionally wrote about my ‘condition’. Writing about things always helps me to clear my mind and form my opinion or just, you know, deal with things. I rarely do that publicly, though.

In the past couple of weeks a lot bigger and smaller things happened that have urged me to confront this topic again, to reevaluate my situation.

What happened and what has changed?

You may or may not know, that about 2 years ago I quit my old college and moved home. I keep on telling people that my mother was in the hospital and that I was really sick. People usually assume then that I was physically sick. I wasn’t. I was suicidal. Again. And I was as far gone as I hadn’t been in years. I’ve been dealing with depression, anxiety attacks since the age of twelve, when you don’t have a name for what is going on with you. All you know is that it is dark and you’re hurting. Along with that I had low self-esteem for as long as I can think. I’m not entirely sure why but I did.

This is the perfect concoction to make people bully you. So that happened for the entirety of highschool and most of elementary school. Bullying doesn’t help low self-esteem one bit.

The problem with bullying and low self-esteem is that you push people away for fear they could turn on you and hurt you even more than you already do. And to drive that home you act like a complete bitch with a little arrogance on the side. To this day this experience with bullying and people picking on me is poisoning the relationships with the people in my life. I still keep people at arms length, I still test every relationship with the equivalence of an h-bomb to make sure people actually do like me. And I fall back into old habits when I meet people from school again. My brain just goes out the window even if they are people that never hurt me and never were amongst those that bullied me. On my worse days there’s a little voice inside my head that goes: ‘They never did anything, they just stood by.’ followed up by ‘You know, bitch, you never did anything either’ and then the self-loathing is in full swing. It’s nice inside my head, isn’t it?

I guess this is a blanket apology to everyone I acted a complete asshole towards after meeting them again years after graduation: I’m sorry and I have no excuse, but I’ll try to be nicer should we meet again.

So, this first round of college experience was bad and I was clinging on to this for way too long and after whole heartedly considering to pull my car in front of a tree at full speed or eating all the pills I could find in my appartement to see what would happen, I realized I had to change something. I organized my move home, quit college and for three months I did nothing but breathe, sleep, eat and maybe read a little. I was exhausted to the core of my very being. I felt raw. Stripped of all the defences I had. I had nothing to give anymore. Some would say I lost half a year, I would say I needed it.

After those three months of compensating I crawled from the rubble of my life and started to rebuild. I found a job. A menial job where all I had to do was function, where I would come home at night completely wiped from lifting heavy boxes unto shelves but with the satisfying feeling of actually earning my living, being a productive member of society.

I also enrolled at my current university with the wish to get my degree and bolt. Certain professors at my old university had taken the last thing I banked on from me. The bullies at school had taught me that I was fat and ugly but my intelligence had rarely been questioned. I may not be the ever sharpest tool in the shed but I’m not completely braindead either. Either way certain professors suggested that I was probably wrong at universty because I wasn’t smart enough to keep up. I started to question my brain. The one thing I always held on to was ripped out from under my feet (or out of my head so to speak). So when I left there I was a broken shell: fat, ugly AND stupid.

At my new university, however, and at my job I started to become a high achiever. I did have a rocky start but especially at my new school I wasn’t ridiculed for making mistakes and asking questions so I started to trust people there. And imagine my surprise when I realized that at work I put away the same amount of stuff the guys did who had been working there for over a year.

I started to heal. I made the experience that my family was there for me unconditionally. That my friends cared about me no matter what, that school mates and colleagues respected me and my opinions, that they listened to me.

I am much better now.

But to this day I have dark moments, where the world around me goes grey and I know I should be happy but I don’t feel anything at all. Sometimes these dark moments last for weeks on end. I struggle with getting up in the morning (’cause what’s the point really?), I take everything overly personally, I get scared and aggressive, I push people away again and in my worst moments I become a bully myself.

On my better days I pity those who bullied me, poor little souls who didn’t know how to deal with their own problems but by hurting others. On my worse days I want to line them up against the wall and pull the trigger. Thank God this is Germany and I don’t have access to a gun whatsoever and even if I did I wouldn’t do it, but I want them to hurt mentally the way they hurt me. Petty, I know, but I am not ready to forgive just yet. I will come around eventually, I know that, but it may take me a little while longer.

I have enough experience by now to know that those dark moments don’t last. I realize now that they are no dark pits, no bottomless abyss but a dark tunnel and after a while the sun will peek in around the corner. I keep on breathing. ‘This too will pass’ has become something I hold on to very tightly. It works both ways but most of all it reminds me to keep going.

What I have learned is that it is okay to hurt, it is okay to panic and be paralyzed for a moment, but you have to step back, break through the flailing after a while and take control of your life again. When bad news hit, that send me into a panic I usually never react on the very same day but the day after. I allow myself to freak out but then I take a deep breath and try to look at things very carefully and rationally and then I outline a strategy. After I got my strategy in place I am normally ready to sleep. Insomnia is another thing I struggle with but that is a story for a whole different post. In the morning after the bad news have hit I write the e-mail or make the phone call or whatever else is required of me to fix the problem. I have found that people are perfectly willing to help you if you ask nicely (it doesn’t hurt to play the damsel in distress-card either especially if you are a girl, but most of all it helps to be honest and to show the willingness to work on the situation) Never forget that the people on the other side of the line are human too and humans are capable of great kindness if you let them but be kind and honest in turn, too. You are in this situation together and you both want to make it work.

But never let a problem build up to the point where it is looming over your head and you feel like you can’t deal with it anymore! Combat it one or two days after you found out about it and trust me the feeling after you solved a problem that seemed huge and unsolvable is the best thing in the world. Also, treat yourself to something after you solved a problem. I usually allow myself a massive marathon of my current tv-show of choice.

All this seems so commonplace to say but it is something that I needed to learn, so maybe it helps somebody out there, too, who knows.

Mind you I am no psychiatrist, I have only been living with this for a while and I thought I’d share what I have learned.

When I am in the dark tunnel I cut myself some slack, not overly much, but some. I allow myself bad food, bad movies and I allow myself to be misanthropic. Thankfully my family and friends usually know how to take that.

I am healing. It will take me probably my entire lifespan to heal up. My ideal is to be understanding, loving and forgiving, just all around kind. I am far from there yet, but at least I know where I want to go. I will overcome this or at least learn how to live with depression and anxiety and I know it gets better and I will have a good life.

Oh, and I am neither dumb nor ugly. I have nice eyes and nice hair and if sarcasm is a sign for intelligence I’m friggin’ Einstein. I may be a little chummy but that’s okay, nobody’s perfect.

I am loved.

And so are you, the one reading this. Trust me!