Saturday, January 31, 2015

Return of the Butterflies

Feeling really overwhelmed and scattered right now. An early semester episode of the jitters seems to be a trend for me—I went through this when I first started graduate school, again last January, and again this past September. My stomach is full of butterflies and my sleep is all messed up. I'm actually sleeping through the night okay, but then wake up super early tossing and turning while my stomach does somersaults until the sun starts to creep up.

A not-insignificant portion of the stress for me comes from logistics; I generally have to be in multiple different places throughout the day, no two days look the same, and I have very little control over my own schedule. I am constantly running through the details in my head: If I get out of here by 7:55 I can make the 8:12 train which will get me downtown by 8:36 which will put my at the office at 8:42 which gives me 18 minutes to shoot off e-mails and pay my electric bill before Supervisor gets there... Another big portion of stress comes from the actual content and volume of my workload. My research is really taking off, which is exciting and engaging but also TIME-CONSUMING. And finally, a huge chunk of stress comes from balancing an eating disorder and various other iterations of my brain's fucked-up-ness.

These PhD interviews and campus visits are turning my life upside down. I will be traveling three out of the next four weekends, with two other trips in the works. It's all super exciting and I am mostly over the moon thrilled about all the positive feedback, but I'm also stressed to the max thinking about all the traveling, plus having to perform for so many hours on end, for so many different important people, with so much at stake. = run-on sentence.

I'm stressed about my weight, although that seems to have receded in my brain a little...mostly because I don't have time or energy to spend on it. Which is a viable recovery strategy, but also comes at a cost. I'm not really building skills or resilience or peace with my body, you know? I'm just putting it out of my mind until it inevitably rears its ugly head at an inopportune moment—which will probably be at some point when I am exhausted and worn down and feeling vulnerable. A weird aside is that my appetite has been OUT OF CONTROL recently. Yesterday I ate an unplanned morning snack for the first time in probably ever because I was so hungry and knew I wouldn't make it until lunch. Of course I sort of adjusted for the calories later, but it still bumped up my total intake a tad, and the fact alone that I added an extra snack because of hunger was pretty remarkable. The hyperactive, over-analytical side of my brain is demanding to get to the bottom of why my stomach has suddenly because an insatiable roaring beast. Maybe anxiety burns a lot of calories. Maybe those butterflies in my stomach are little calorie-churning machines. Or maybe it's that I've started lifting weights again in the past couple weeks, after a long hiatus.

Um. I'm not sure how I got started on that tangent. What was I even talking about? Can ya tell my brain is feeling a little scattered? On the plus side I have been super productive the past couple days and got several projects off my plate, thank goodness. I am trying to get myself ahead before the traveling starts, because I anticipate it being REALLY hard to concentrate and stay motivated when I have one foot out the door. My first interview is in two weeks and I want to be on my game, not stressing about homework.

Happy Saturday friends, hope it's a fantastic weekend.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Coding Woes and Schedule Insanity

I'm tempted to give you the bullets version of the past few days because my brain is too tired to attempt cohesion, but I'll refrain. On Saturday morning I worked at College City Food Bank for a few hours, then met up with my friend H to work on our lab homework. We spent about three hours on Saturday and another four hours on Sunday trying to write code that would make our data usable, and failed MISERABLY. Tech geek, I am not.

So true.

Yesterday was stressful. I had a phone interview in the morning with a Potential PhD Advisor at a Potential PhD School, then rushed to class, then rushed to the subway station, caught a train downtown to my office, worked until 6, rushed home, and spent several hours trying to analyze my data open my data, gave up, watched The Bachelor, went to bed.

So dreamy......but SO boring.

And now that that's over, today is stressful. I'm at work 9am-3pm, then have meetings at 3:30 and 4:30, class at 5:30, home by 9, more work, more Bachelor, bed.

I've been vacillating between OMG TOTALLY ECSTATIC and HOLY SHIT FREAKING OUT about all the stuff I have going on. Things are looking good on the PhD front - I got another interview at Wow Big Fancy School, but scheduling my trip out there is becoming a nightmare. It's an all-day-Friday deal, which means I need to get into town Thursday night....unfortunately I can't really miss my Thursday class two weeks in a row (because I'll be traveling for another interview the weekend before), so I can't leave College City until about 6 or 7 p.m., which means I won't make it to Wow Big Fancy School until after midnight. So I'll be sleeping on someone's couch Thursday and Friday nights, doing the Friday Interview Day all cranky and bleary-eyed, and flying home Saturday just in time to cram in all my homework before my interview at Current University on Monday morning.

So expensive

Exciting yes, but I'm tired just thinking about it.

It's kind of crazy to think that I have no idea where I'll be at this time next year; whether I'll be in a new city, a new apartment, a new school, have a new set of friends, a new lifestyle, a new therapist, a new commute home for Christmas... Insane. I've been in College City my whole "grown-up" life (since I was 18), so I've never had to function anywhere else. How does one find a mechanic? A hairdresser? The nearest Apple Store? The best coffeeshop? WHAT IF THEY DON'T HAVE STARBUCKS?

Now I'm all panicked again. All I can do is focus on now, do my work, keep my head above water, trust my gut, and things will work out.

Much love to all - K

Friday, January 23, 2015

Week in Bullet Points

  • Second week of spring semester classes, and things are getting into full swing. My Tuesday night class is kinda of ehh blah but that's partly because of the timing—5:30-8:30 p.m.—which totally SUCKS, but at least I have two besties in class with me and we text/make fun of the dumb girl who sits in front of us the whole time. (I can't help myself. She is SO dumb.) But my Thursday class is, so far, turning out better than I expected! The professor is super funny and cute and he brings chocolate to class—like, the fun size candies that I will actually eat. Go Prof!

  • My advisor and I got a manuscript back today that was totally torn apart by reviewers and apparently, according to the editor, "substantial work remains to be done before we can consider publication." Uh, condescending much? I was tempted to write back OH YEAH? SUBSTANTIAL WORK NEEDS TO BE DONE TO YOUR FACE, YA FREAK! but I suspect Big Man J would not approve. He's great and all, but sometimes he can be kinda meek, ya know? But still. Editors are losers.

  • I have new neighbors and literally all they do is watch TV.

  • I got two more PhD interviews scheduled, putting me at three-for-three! I AM VERY EXCITED ABOUT THIS! Question for the PhDs out there: interview dress code—suit? Yay or nay? I am getting mixed messages about this. I had been planning on dress pants, (comfortable, not stilletto) heels, and a blouse/sweater/scarf deal, but then someone told me I should probably wear a suit and it's better to be overdressed than underdressed, so now I don't know. Help!

  • Today my boss let me off about 20 minutes early, but my train broke down and I ended up waiting on the platform for 45 minutes. The mathematicians out there would call that a net loss

  • I think I need to have a conversation with Dr. P about some concrete therapy goals. I worry that when things are going well, I don't take therapy seriously and we just kind of shoot the breeze for an this week, therapy was fine, we had a nice conversation, but that was about it, you know? And then when things aren't going well, I just cry through my sessions and it isn't very productive. I think I'm going to write a more substantial post on this topic soon, but Dr. P is the first therapist I've really loved and connected with, and I want to make sure I'm getting the most out of it that I can.

  • And your Kaylee Fun Fact of the Day: You know how men always complain about their balls? Well, I have no sympathy. Getting kicked in the V would hurt JUST AS MUCH, amiright ladies?? And that is why I used to wear a cup in co-ed Little League out of principle. True story. I was eight.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

ED Status Update

Haven't really done a big juicy ED update in a while, have I? Maybe because it's not on my mind as much - although by that, I mean the ED isn't on my mind as much in terms of the crisis mode disease/treatment/recovery rollercoaster. My health is very stable in that regard; no weight loss, no starvation-induced blackouts or dizzy spells, regular periods, etc. But that's not to say my mind is a little utopian, ED-free zone, either. Food, calories, weight, and exercise are still on my mind CONSTANTLY, although it feels a little less explicitly disordered, if that makes sense. I wouldn't really identify myself as "eating disordered" right now; more just as someone who's weird about food.

Big Issue #1 right now is rigidity. I count calories like a fiend. This has been one of the defining characteristics of my eating disorder for as long as I can remember, and shows zero signs of abating anytime soon. It has been a useful tool at some points in my recovery, by helping me to stay on track and make sure I got enough in...but that was more of a useful little side effect, not the true motivation. Because the true motivation has always been: I can't stop. There have been times when I've gotten more lax about counting - e.g. not writing everything down, rounding liberally, or not counting certain fruits/veggies other minor stuff... but calorie-counting has never been optional to me; it is inextricably ingrained in the process of eating to me. I literally don't know how to eat without counting calories - as in, I simply cannot look at a food, much less put it in my mouth, without thinking of it in terms of caloric content. Add I have a whole host of calorie-related rituals and rules that are so entrenched I wouldn't know the first thing about breaking them. I eat according to a very structured schedule with prescribed amounts of calories at prescribed time intervals. Hunger cues mean almost nothing to me. That's not to say I don't feel or recognize hunger, because I do. I mean that hunger still does not determine what, how much, or when I eat in any discernible way.

Restaurants still stress me out, though I'm better about that. It's more the unknown/change-of-routine thing than the calories/fear food thing. Though, I still do have major fear foods and major issues with overshooting my calories. Exercise is moderate, mostly because other health-related issues have forced me to be moderate about it, and the temptation to run for hours every day (as both a calorie-burner and an anxiety-reducer) is incredibly powerful. I still usually feel the need to "justify" my eating in a way that I suspect normal people don't.

Areas where I've improved:
- Better overall calorie intake
- More variety (still not great, but better than it used to be)
- High fat intake - gonna use a number here, which I rarely do: I aim to hit at least 40% calories from fat, which was a target my eye doctor (of all people) set for me when I was suffering from severe, amenorrhea-induced dry eye. It seems high in a low-fat-obsessed world, but it's not at all hard to meet when nuts/peanut butter are daily staples, and natural fat sources have all sorts of wonderful health benefits, plus they help with regulating hormones and appetite and all that.
- Not dipping below a healthy weight (BMI-wise) in over two years. I gripe about my weight constantly and still haven't quite figured out my metabolism or needs, but staying in the healthy range for this long is huge for me after several years of my weight being so low and unstable.
- Motivation/recovery mindset, whatever you want to call it - but I have zero desire whatsoever to go relapse, which has literally never been the case throughout my entire history of anorexia. I am really proud and in awe of myself for this one.

Areas that still need improvement:
- Still tweaking the exercise balance. I love running more than is healthy, which suggests to me that it's not necessarily all love, but partly compulsion.
- Variety. It's better than it used to be, but I am still incredibly limited in what/when/how much I eat. This is just a handful of foods in a very long list that are still total no-gos: white bread, pasta, potatoes, pastries, ice cream, most grainy sides (rice, cous cous, quinoa), chips, candy, I could go on...
- Flexibility. My eating schedule is unbelievably rigid, which I don't always realize until something disrupts it and I fall apart. Just a handful of my ED-related hang-ups: no breakfast before working out, no less than X hours between meals/snacks, no more than X,XXX calories per day, no driving to my office (it's a not-super-long-but-not-insignificant distance walk), and on and on and on.
- Body image. Not totally sure how to go about doing this, but after some improvement as I shifted from Underweight to Healthy Weight, my body image has since plummeted and is a major, major barrier to making further changes to my diet/exercise plans

A lot of this is probably not exactly surprising to many of you, but it helps me to take stock periodically. Because no matter how much I obsess and freak about stuff, I have come a long way.

Monday, January 19, 2015

MLK Weekend Recap

Well, it's been a strange long weekend. Since I've only been in class for a week so far, it feels a little bit surreal that the semester has actually started, and that I'm not still on vacation. Anyway, brief recap of the past few days: Thursday night I took advantage of not having much work yet and went out with a friend. Friday was spent in various meetings/in my advisor J's office. We worked our way through a problem that had been stumping me for a while, and now I feel way better and more capable of finishing it up myself. Exciting/cute: J was also super jazzed about my interview invite next month—probably equally if not more excited than me! And since I basically worship J, it gave me a major ego boost to see him all psyched about that. Another plus is that this school is in the same city where my brother lives, and within an hour of where my parents live. The prospect of being that close to my family again is extremely appealing. So, we'll see. It's kind of amazing how one interview (not even an offer; this just basically means I made it to the second round of the admissions process) has gotten me all cocky about the whole thing. I'm like "uh you want me? GET IN LINE." Everybody keep your fingers and toes and all other crossables crossed that I get offers from lots and lots of schools and have plenty of options!

Sorry, back to my recap: Saturday I worked at the food bank in the morning, which was interesting/inspiring/sad—and not because of the clients this time. There was a group of extended family members volunteering (a few middle-aged couple and a few of their kids). One of the women introduced herself, her husband, and her teenage daughter and told me that her son had passed away a few months ago...Saturday would have been his birthday, so they had decided to honor his memory by volunteering and giving back. Another of the women later told me privately that the son had committed suicide. I didn't expect that to hit me so hard, but it almost took my breath away. It seemed crazy—surreal, almost—to see his parents walking and talking and going on, although I suppose that is what you have to do. Really makes you step back and take stock, you know? Anyway, they were all absolutely lovely and even went out and bought lunch for everyone (including me and a couple other non-family volunteers) later that afternoon! Of course I crashed my car on the way home, which put a slight damper on the whole experience, but otherwise it was very emotional and inspiring and clarifying. I hung out with another friend of mine later that evening; this is the first semester we haven't had class together, so we are definitely making an effort to stay in touch because she is awesome and one of my closest grad school friends.

Yesterday UGH. You guys remember Ex New Dude? Who I dated very briefly, and who seemed to lack boundaries a little once I cut it off? He had been texting me a lot throughout the first I responded, then just stopped. Well, he texted me around New Year's saying something very sweet like "wishing you the best, I really liked hanging out with you, hope you and your family are having a great holiday" etc. and because I am a SUCKER, I broke my silence and we got into a conversation, and then he asked me out to coffee once I got back to College City, and I couldn't say no. I KNOW. So after stalling for a couple weeks, I finally agreed to meet up with him yesterday. It was.......slightly awkward, but also clarifying, in a lot of ways. Part of me had accepted the invite because I hadn't seen him in person in a while, and was doubting my feelings and my decision to abruptly end things, so I sort of wanted to see whether any of that initial spark was still there. And um, no. Not even a little bit. Not sure how to sugarcoat this: he was SO FUCKING BORING. I forced myself to sit there and chat for barely and hour, and then made up some excuse and bolted. So, that's that.

Today was spent on random chores. I took my car to get an oil change and had my mechanic take a look at the front bumper to make sure I didn't do any real damage on Saturday. Oh, and also I discovered that my 60-year-old mechanic makes short films about superheroes in his spare time. It makes more sense if you've met him. Then I spent some time playing phone tag with my car insurance company, did some work, and went for a run. Now I'm hanging out at home, listening to a podcast, roasting veggies, and debating whether I want wine or tea.

Happy MLK Day to all, hope it's a great week!

Saturday, January 17, 2015


Oops, may have spoken too soon about how everything is working so swimmingly for guys remember how my pipes froze, my laptop broke, and my car broke down all within about 36 hours of each other? And I was all like "It's okay because these are NORMAL PERSON problems and I can totally handle those! Anxiety, what anxiety? I'm cool as a cucumber! I LAUGH in the face of normal person problems!" Well the universe is really testing me on that one, because I just got into my first ever car accident today. UGH. Luckily the other driver was super nice about it, we exchanged info, and I held it together until getting home and calling Mama Bear. My poor car Samuel has a scraped up bumper and his license plate got totally squished in, but otherwise he seems to be driving fine. So, fingers crossed I've survived this crisis too? And hey, Universe? Enough testing me for a while, k? THANKS.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

What's Working Today

Just seems like one of those days where shit is going right. Aren't those the best?

What's working:

- My laptop. After a night in the Apple Hospital, he (yes, he's a he and his name is DeShawn) seems to be doing much better and I am OMG SO GRATEFUL to have him back.

- My new wallet. I love her more and more every day. (Yes, I think she is a she. Name suggestions are welcome.) We are basically taking on the world together, flashing plastic, making it rain. After extensive Googling to make sure this wouldn't give her skin cancer, I polished her with the same leather cleaner I use on my boots so now she is extra shiny and fly and fresh.

- My nail polish, which is the color of toasted almonds. No seriously, the color is called "Toasted Almond." And I think it's working for me.

My fingertips are red because my body lacks the ability to circulate blood
all the way to the ends of my weirdly long digits. Don't judge. I was born this way.

- My schedule. After losing a few rounds of that Tetris game, I finally managed to fit everything in and now it seems to be running smoothly. Of course there is no room for the instant something unexpected hits (car trouble, doctor's appointment, whatever) it will probably all come crashing down around me, but for now I'm gonna go with it.

- Therapy. Just had another great session with my beloved Dr. P. Things seem to go better when I'm actually engaged and participating, who woulda thunk? We talked about the pattern my moods seem to follow, and found some ways to deal. If I end up moving away from College City this summer, I will be SO sorry to leave Dr. P.

- My future, maybe? I just got invited to interview with one of the PhD programs I applied to! I am SO excited! This place is probably not one of my tippy top choices, but it's still up there. This feels like a good omen.


- The weather. Sun is shining + temperature above freezing = not too shabby for mid-January in College City.

- Knock on wood, things are still going pretty well in the health arena. Little-to-no nerve pain, eyes are fine, jeans don't seem any tighter than last week.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Life Updates and Love is Complicated

Back to the school-work-research-more work-more school grind. Spring semester - let's do this. Yesterday was not actually anything new, since my only class was the research seminar that continued from last semester, plus a shift at my job, where I've worked since May 2013. I'm having my first new class tonight....for THREE hours. Pray for me. While it makes life complicated, I do actually enjoy having a different schedule every day. Keeps things interesting, ya know?

Speaking of "keeping things interesting," as soon as my washing machine and car got fixed - my laptop broke. It spent the night in the Apple Computer Hospital and thankfully I can pick it up today after just 24 hours of no computer. I was seriously panicked when I realized I'd be without a computer for a day, although this was probably the most convenient time to have it happen, because I don't really have any schoolwork yet.


Also in the vein of "keeping things interesting"....there's this guy. He used to live in College City and we were good friends, and kinda sorta flirted for a while, he bought me a few dinners, took me to a couple movies, etc etc etc but it never really went anywhere. Mostly because I kept my foot pressed so hard on the brakes that the poor guy didn't really have a chance. He has since graduated with his PhD and moved many states away and we didn't really keep in touch. But.....recently we've started talking again, and suddenly I've been wondering Did I miss out on something? I am about 85% sure this is a case of just wanting what I can't have...because when he was here and completely available, I was not interested. And now suddenly that he's gone and not really available (I mean he's "available" as in single, just not easily accessible like when we lived in the same city and went to the same school), I'm scratching my head like Huh. What if...? He now lives in a city semi-close to where my parents live, and I thought about driving out to visit him when I was home for winter break, but never got the guts to actually initiate and follow through on that. Now I'm kind of wishing I had, so that I would at least have something more concrete to go on. Anyways, he's super lovely and sweet and adorable and a SMARTY PANTS because he has a PhD in something involving biology and medicine and engineering. So, quite a catch. I hate this sense of not being able to trust my own, do I like him? Maybe? Maybe not? He's nice but do I like him? Am I remembering him correctly? Why didn't I give this more thought for the several years he was here and I saw him all the time? LOVE IS SO COMPLICATED.


Anyways, I'm at work and probably should start, you know, doing some work. I've been putting in a lot of hours the past couple weeks so my paycheck is gonna be big and juicy (well, as big and juicy as you can get from part-time, hourly wages....I have low standards).

Peace, friends.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Spastic Before the Storm

First things first: both my car and my washing machine are back in working order, and I have clean clothes to wear for the next week. And thank you to Ruby for reminding me that once upon a time, I used to pray for normal problems like car trouble, instead of horrible, mysterious, life-diminishing problems like undiagnosed nerve pain and mental illness. So, in the grand scheme of things, I'm in a relatively good place. Although I realized that contrary to the title of my last post, between the malfunctioning car AND washing machine, the score is technically Polar Vortex: 2, Kaylee: 0. If we're being technical about that sort of thing.

I bought a new wallet today. You guys like? It's from Fossil. Well, technically it's from the clearance rack at Macy's, which is how I could afford a Fossil wallet. But again, that's only if we're being technical tonight.


The inside is a lovely pink, but I'm not showing you that because it's already full of all my credit cards and insurance cards and my Panera rewards card and Starbucks gift cards (I got FOUR for coffee-loving reputation stretches far and wide) and IDs and such, so just take my word for it.

UGH YOU GUYS I HAVE SCHOOL TOMORROW. And somehow already managed to double-book myself twice next week, so now I have to send awkward "Oops actually I'm not available at that time!" e-mails to multiple people. My b.

Um, sorry. This is spastic. Maybe because I've been writing in my journal (like, real pen-to-paper writing) more regularly lately, so I've gotten a lot of the deep dark musings out of my system and have only the loose odds and ends left over. SORRY. I am super inconsistent with journaling—I go through phases where I get really into it and write every day, and then phases where I leave off and don't pick it up for months. But I will say that once I get going, I find old-fashioned writing to be extremely calming and therapeutic, so maybe I should be doing more of it.

I actually do have lots on my mind in terms of ED stuff, friends, relationships, depression....but I'm not in the mood to hash it all out just yet. I will say that I am still feeling way better than I was for a couple weeks in early December, and then a couple days early last week when I first got back to College City and was feeling very adrift and frustrated and alone. So, that's a huge relief, and maybe not-so-coincidentally coinciding with the start of the semester....I complain all day long about how busy and stressful it is to be in school, and I have a feeling the start of school is going to blow me over like a hurricane, but when it comes to free time, I.can'

So, here goes kicking off the last semester! Better check if I ever filled out my Intent to Graduate that was due a month ago....

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Polar Vortex: 1, Kaylee: 0

Totally bizarre day. First, it was frigid, which made the pipes to my washing machine freeze. I actually noticed this last night, but the maintenance guy came this morning in the middle of my breakfast (and I do NOT enjoy being interrupted/watched while eating). So I had to get ready for work with a stranger in my apartment. Then I went to therapy, kicked it with Dr. P for an hour, and came outside to find my car wouldn't start. Called AAA, waited (ahem made my mother entertain me on the phone) for over an hour until the tow truck came. Then I had to leave my car at the mechanic, walk home (about 2 miles), get my stuff, walk to work (another mile-ish), then walk BACK to the mechanic. Did I mention it was FRIGID? So I got my car and drove home, where I found that the maintenance man had ripped a hole in my laundry room wall and was blasting a space heater into it to thaw the pipes. Plus he had traipsed mud everywhere.

But the weird thing is, I'm fine. Remember how I sank into a pretty gloomy mood for a couple weeks last month, then seemed to sort of shake it off (SHAKE IT OFF!) for the couple weeks I was at my parents' house? Well, it seemed like the gloominess had rolled back in pretty much as soon as I got back to College City; there were a couple days earlier this week where I was basically on the verge of losing it every second, like I could've burst into tears and cried for hours if I'd let myself. But then, somehow, that gloominess seemed to lift. Yesterday I got home from work, made dinner, called my mom, read my book, watched TV, and didn't feel like crying. Today I got hit with one crisis after another, trekked through the brutal cold, had a boring shift at work, and didn't feel like crying. Got home tonight to a huge mess in my apartment, a slight headache, and a boring/stressful project for my advisor, and I still don't feel like crying. Weird, but I'll take it!

Anyway. My pipes are still frozen and my car may or may not start tomorrow morning, depending on how low the temperature gets overnight. I think the universe is telling me to head south.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Gearing Up

I got back to College City last night after a relatively uneventful flight, aside from sitting next to this uber hipster guy (black skinny jeans, plaid shirt, shaggy beard, wool cap, big glasses, and writing a PLAY in a moleskin notebook) who kind of smelled and got Nature Valley crunchy bar crumbs everywhere, plus airplane seats now make my back hurt because I am old and fat and on my period. Other than that, I had a grand time listening to podcasts (Radiolab is a new fav) and reading my Debbie Downer book about the Dust Bowl. My friend gave me a ride home, where I found my kitchen in a state of disarray (probably because I left in a hurry two weeks ago at 4:00 AM). I sort of cleaned (a.k.a. dumped all the rotten food from my fridge into the dumpsters out back), paid some bills, and made a grocery run/bought a new sweater (what, there's an Old Navy next to the grocery store).

Today I'm back at work - lots to do but I'm totally bored and don't feel like doing any of it. I'm having lots of thoughts - about parents, growing up, food/exercise/ED stuff, therapy, doctors, school, work, life....but I don't know how to organize it all. Things are kind of hard right now; it's mostly because of my weight, but I don't think I can be articulate about it today. So I'll spare you for the time being. Instead, I'm trying to get myself back into the School/Work mindset. I'm working at one job today and Thursday, my other job Wednesday and Friday, and doing work for my advisor in the evenings. After two works of accomplishing basically nothing, I'm still not feeling quite up to it.

This semester should be a little less intense in terms of coursework (famous last words....) but my research is really going to ramp up, and I'll being putting in more hours at my internship. So the balance of tasks will shift a little, but overall I will probably be swamped to a similar degree as last semester. On the plus side, I won't be working on PhD apps, which turned into this enormous beast of a project...instead, I'll be getting admissions decisions and (assuming I get into anywhere, much less more than one place....) visiting schools. Not sure how that's going to fit into the Tetris game that is my schedule, but no use worrying now.

Anyways, just popping in/killing time at work. Happy Tuesday to all, hope everyone's settling back into post-holiday real life well.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Lazy Vacation

I have just a couple of days at my parents' house until I head back to College City for my LAST SEMESTER OF MY MASTER'S DEGREE, HALLELUJAH. Can you guys answer me a question: are all Master's programs life-sucking vortices of stress and misery? 
(a) Yes
(b) No
(c) Not sure, I've never done a Master's
(d) Leave me alone, I'm currently being enveloped by a life-sucking vortex of stress and misery
(e) Can't hear you over the roar of this life-sucking vortex of stress and misery
(f) You think this is bad? Wait until you try a PhD.
(g) I found my Master's program to be a breeze.

If you chose option (g), please stop reading my blog. Your company is no longer desired.

To be fair, I actually have really enjoyed parts of my program and overall it has been a valuable experience. Without it, I never would have met my kick-ass advisor or developed a passion for my current area of research. Gotta take the good with the bad, I suppose.

It seems like the change of scenery and family time has been good for my mindset—pulling me out of that scary depression that had been descending in the couple weeks before I left. It's always nice to have parents spoiling you and no responsibilities. I swear, I have never felt so lazy in my life. There is some work hanging over my head, but I haven't felt like doing a durn thing. I spent a couple hours one afternoon working on a paper my advisor and I hope to get out soon, but the ratio of work to Facebooking/blogging/news-checking/dicking around on the Internet was about 10:90. So the paper is not done. Do I care? A teensy bit, but not really. It'll get done when it gets done, right?

feelin' lazy

I have been trying to just relax, take some pressure off, and enjoy myself. My hometown is kind of woodsy and quiet, so I've been exploring some of the parks and trails around here, just soaking up the peacefulness and appreciating nature. We went to see Unbroken last weekend, which was amazing but super intense and violent. Oh and of course, I've been reading like a fiend. I finished that epic biography of cancer, plus The Devil in the White City, which is this ridiculous true crime story about a serial killer who stalked the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago—definitely one of those "stranger than fiction" thingies...dude was CRAZY. Now I'm starting The Worst Hard Time about the Dust Bowl during the Depression. No, I don't know why I only seem to be interested in dark, disturbing, depressing historical events.

I don't think it has a happy ending.

No real plans tomorrow; my mom and I were hoping to go on a hike, but the weather is supposed to be bad. This time last year we were engulfed in the polar vortex, so I suppose I shouldn't complain too much about one icky day.

Hope everyone had a great holiday, my best to all.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Year in Review

If you guys are sick of hearing from me every day, just wait until my semester starts up again on January 12 when I will actually have a schedule and responsibilities and no Mama Bear around to provide meals and laundry. At the moment I have tons of free time and am loving it, but it's also giving me a lot of brain space to mull and reflect, and I have no where to let it out except here. Anyway, I wrote a lame, half-hearted "end of year" post yesterday, but I really feel like I should take the time to spruce it up a bit. I have a tendency to focus on the small and the immediate rather than the big picture; I get totally hung up on one teensy tiny, minuscule, meaningless detail (e.g. that muffin was HOW MANY CALORIES!?!?!?) rather than stepping back and appreciating the full landscape. What better opportunity than New Year's to exercise my reflection skillz? So, you don't have to read this but I'm writing it anyway.

This year was a doozy in a lot of ways, but in general a much better one than the last few. I started off in January feeling OMG FANTASTIC because my beloved Dr. A finally found the miracle cure for my neuropathy and I was pain-free for the first time since November 2011. HALLELUJAH. Things were going swimmingly in that regard, though I was stressed to the max with school and work, and my running (which started as a joyful appreciation of having a functional body again) got excessive and dangerous fast. By late spring I was having some pain again; nothing like it had been before, but still devastating after thinking I was cured. Summer was pretty rough, since I cut most exercise and was having major anxiety and frustration over the pain and my weight with no outlet. Starting school again in the fall was almost a relief, since it gave me more direction and purpose and left little room for the old obsessions. It turned out to be almost too much: four classes, two labs, 40 hours/week of work between three jobs, therapy, friends, volunteering, and 10 doctoral applications. I don't think I've ever been as stressed out or overwhelmed as I was this past semester, but ultimately I kept trucking and made it through, and generally maintained my sanity in the process. And then the semester ended, the odometer went from a million miles a minute to zero, and I promptly fell apart. Still digging myself out a bit, but the change of scenery and family time has definitely helped. My biggest challenges right now are body image and exercise related, but I won't get into it all now. I keep trying to remind myself what a luxury it is to be free of the nerve pain and eye issues that were so terribly and unbearable for so long. All the rest, I can manage.

There is also a lot I'm proud of from 2014:

I made it through some of the most stressful weeks of my life, school- and work-wise, and managed to not relapse or otherwise lose my mind.

Though I take no credit for this and fully blame my body's bizarre, fucked up metabolic gymnastics, I reached a new high weight and have continued to eat (relatively) normally in spite of it.

I made the decision to come off my anti-depressant, which may or may not turn out to have been the right decision, but it was something I needed to do.

I dated and broke up with a guy who was not right for me, which was incredibly hard and uncomfortable—although it did remind me that I can handle tough situations, and am not a hideous troll incapable of relationships.

I got over my insecurity and asked two bigwigs to write me recommendation letters.

I am now reasonably proficient in four new software systems, none of which I had used before the start of the semester. (Anyone need some mapping done? Holla at me.)

I made some new friends.

I became obsessed with podcasts.

All in all, I guess my main takeaway, after this little exercise in reflection, is that I've changed. I think this is the first year in a while that I can really honestly say, wow, I'm different. I've grown and learned and become a different person. In many ways, I think about things differently. I approach situations differently. I have different goals and aspirations and priorities. Not a bad way to head into 2015, no?