More musings of a personal nature I’m afraid. You never know, I might get back to the social justice side of things one day.
As of last Tuesday’s post, my feelings had been more than a bit mixed after my trip to Cottonopolis. Monday was a positive and productive day but Tuesday was its antithesis. God, I felt so low. The day started off with another anxious dream and it went downhill from there. The only things I ticked off my list were 1/ get up, 2/ eat breakfast, 3/ take meds. I spent the rest of the day zonked out in front of the TV aka my laptop.
Wednesday was much better. It started the same as Tuesday – anxious dream, get up, breakfast, meds. Then I bathed and painted my nails. Then there was a highly stressful, upsetting phone call with the NHS IAPT service. The lady I spoke to was nice, and we talked through my answers to an assessment questionnaire, my current circumstances, what I’m doing to cope and what my support network is like. The conclusion was yes, they can help, someone will call within 28 days so I can be booked in for Behavioural Activation therapy. From my brief googling, this boils down to highly specific, timed appointments with yourself to do specific tasks, including both things you like doing to relax and some of the tasks you’ve been avoiding, in order to build up your ability to do stuff even when you don’t feel like it, or are actively anxious about it. It’s less about “working through your feelings” than “tricking yourself into working anyway, seeing as you’ll feel equally bad whether you do the dreaded task or not”. This sounds eminently helpful but that 28 day wait to speak to someone to book an appointment? That sounds like they will not get to me in time to be actually helpful, seeing as I’m working to a Christmas deadline.
Although that said, the University have approved my application for one month’s ‘suspension of studies’, which pushes my ultimate submission deadline to the end of January. The upside is that this means I don’t have to be quite so stressed about meeting the Christmas deadline, the downside is it pushes the final end further away AGAIN. Which is what I actively DO. NOT. WANT. because duh, I want my life back.
So it boils down to ‘I am attempting to push this through under my own steam with no formal mental health support, aside from my GP, phone appointments with my Uni couonselling service and Citalopram.’ Less than ideal in other words. Which basically sums up my entire PhD.
Anway, after that little tangent, back to Wednesday.
I get bonus points for brewing myself a cup of hot chocolate to calm myself after the emotionally aggravating phone call. Mum and I then went shopping, for some mother-daughter bonding time. New trainers (birthday present because I am flat broke)! New leggings (my old ones are embarrassingly holey)! Lush products! After that, we rushed home to get dolled up to celebrate my little brother’s 21st birthday!
That was a really good night. Cocktails at Be At One in Covent Garden, followed by dinner at Jamie’s Italian restaurant. I had calamari for my starter and breaded plaice with mussels and chips for my main. We had delicious cake from Patisserie Valerie for pudding and of course there were presents for the boy (I really should stop calling my brothers “boys”, they’re all growed up now!) and cards and a flashing birthday badge because Elder brother vetoed a giant balloon.
I still find it so wierd that my brothers are men these days. Strapping 6 ft plus beanpoles who are ridiculously fit (cycling and assault course-marathons like Tough Mudder and the Spartan Race) with lovely girlfriends. The Elder one is leaving home in a few weeks, moving to Brummieland, moving in with his gf, my mate since first year of secondary school, and starting a new, higher ranking job. I can still remember my brothers as annoying, blond haired rascals, way too into footie and cricket for their own good, in my humble opinion as a life-long bookworm. While those traits are still there, they are who they are, and it is much better living and interacting with them as adults than when we were all annoying teenagers.
For all that Wednesady was a generally good day, no work was done. Hence I worked all of Saturday, with Smushy cracking the metaphorical whip.
Thursday was an improvement over Tuesday. My mood was equally bad but despite that, I still got shit done. Go me! Hours and hours of cell tracker later… results. Interesting results. Results potentially disproving my boss’s high-falutin’ grand hypothesis of coupled oscillators. Breaking that news is going to be fun! And not in the sarcastic way! *rubs hands with glee* (Yes okay, I should not be quite so pleased about this, but wot yer gonna do?)
Which is why, my dears, you should not jump to conclusions before viewing the results of your carefully thought-out and executed control experiments.
My self-care on Thursday did not stretch to eating proper food but I did dance for 15 min to try and break my foul mood. Surprise of all surprises, it worked. I felt better enough to get back to work for a while. Nothing like a permanent fix, at this stage it would be foolish to expect one, but a temporary alleviation is a good thing nevertheless.
Friday was different again. Not the most productive in terms of hours worked but I wrote the first bit of my Introduction. Tricky but not horrendous, being as it was about the stuff I know best regarding JAK-STATs. I did some Excel analysis, following on from the previous day’s work and finished tracking one particular section, meaning that I had all the raw data to compile and analyse for one of the control experiments. This was a definite win.
I had another phone call, this one from my Uni counselling service and we have a follow-up booked for Tuesday. I am so happy they were willing to arrange phone counselling for me, you don’t even know. Talking over the phone is not my most favourite activity, but it is better than nothing at all, and as it’s going to take a while for the IAPT to get back to me, I am going to make the most of it.
Self-care-wise, I worked out with weights, something I am really coming to enjoy, and had a bath using the Wizard bubble bar. It did indeed turn an amazing shade of purple but the smell was very mild and not quite what I expected from the reviews online. This may be because I only used half the bar (those things are expensive, and seriously, who needs all those bubbles if they’re only gonig to go down the drain?) but whatever. It isn’t my intention to come out smelling like the Lush shops anyhow.
Another thing I’ve realised is that baths are strangely relaxing-not relaxing. Relaxing because warm and bubbly. Not relaxing because that is seemingly not enough to distract my worrisome thoughts these days. I find the time spent lying there just lets my thoughts go round and round, circling down into the depths. This is doubly annoying because our weak shower pressure, plus the london water, means it takes far too long to get my hair properly clean. This often results in me getting out, drying my hair and then finding I need to get it all wet again because it’s still greasy. This, I feel, defeats the point of the shower being quick and hassle-free compared to a bath. Consequently, I think I need to cut back on my soaking time. or take music in? Now there’s a thought.
Saturday was another good day. Thanks to Smushie being here (yay!), I got loads done. So. Much. Excel. And Prism = pretty graphs. No firm conclusions yet but definitely interesting. Also, another small mountain of cell tracker.
In the evening we watched the Lego Movie. Oh. My. Gosh. How I missed seeing it at the cinema, I have no idea, but Everything is Awesome!
Two nights spent cuddling my Darling Sweetie was good. I cried. A lot. Because depressed and anxious about ALL THE THINGS. But it was so nice to have him there. I am sad he had to go back home this evening. Stupid work, why is it even a thing?
Oh well, hopefully this week brings good things too.
*Apologies for the inordinate number of exclamation marks.