Took A Day Off

So things have been more than a little crazy here. Went to a wedding with the Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend and met his dad’s side of the family. Like any family, there was drama. It followed us. It was so stressful that AAB needed to take an extra day off just to relax and deal with it all.

Things at work are…… interesting. I took a look back at my calendar from last year. Figured out that I am working more days a week, but getting fewer hours. Unless everyone calls in sick, or everyone has the day booked off, 8-hour shifts don’t exist for me anymore. I used to get one or two a week, which I loved. 8-hour shifts seem to go by faster than the shorter shifts I usually get, and I feel so much more energized throughout the shift. But all I’ve been getting lately are 4 and 5-hour shifts. I’m picking up shifts on my days off, and are working few enough hours that other stores in the district have been able to call to see if I can pick up a shift with them. I work 7-16 day stretches, getting up early in the hopes that I can get a call-in for the day on my days off. Then I get weeks where I have like 3 shifts scheduled, and I have to hope that someone gets the flu so I can work. That in itself is super stressful.

Of course, we have the usual roommate drama. One of the guys downstairs got a job in another city, so he’ll be moving out soon. And the guy we share the main floor with is getting creepier with every passing day. He seriously walks like Michael Myers and stares at walls in the middle of the night. Even the precious and all-mighty Bowser Kitten is getting creeped out by him. He won’t eat when the roommate is in the same room as him, almost as if he’s afraid to turn his back on the guy for too long.

Add to this the usual family drama, ever increasing work drama, relationship drama, and the ever-crushing existential darkness that is creeping in closer with every passing day, and I’ve been super stressed. That “speeding heart rate and fluttery chest” feeling I get when my anxiety is getting worse has been like an every morning/evening thing for me. I’ve been existing in a constant state of panic for the last week and a half basically.

The final nail in my sanity’s coffin was Monday at work. We already had three co-workers off that day, with another filling in at another store. I traded shifts with a co-worker, so I had a morning shift and he was taking my closing shift. So while we’re already short staffed, he calls in sick AND our full-day closer calls in sick. To top it off, the three girls at the bottom of the schedule are students and couldn’t come in for a closing shift. We had craft beer deliveries all day, and our regular beer load, and not enough people to cover everything. I had to stay a few hours extra, and my co-worker and manager both wound up with split-shifts to close the store short-handed. I came home from that shift and poured wine right away. I know it’s not healthy, and it’s totally not a great way to deal with my anxiety, but I drank. And I mean I DRANK! Chilean cabernet sauvignon is both cheap AND delicious, and I buy it in the big bottles (1.5L). I had half of one left from the weekend and polished that off. THEN I worked my way through a second one while I stayed up too late watching Twin Peaks and writing emotionally draining notes for a writing project I’m doing.

So yesterday, feeling hungover and emotionally drained, I finally took a day to myself. I know I’ve been preaching self-care on here a lot, but I’m horrible at practicing what I preach. I always make sure AAB takes time for himself, and lend my ear to anyone who needs it at work. But when I’m at home, “Taking time for myself” usually means sitting at the computer watching old Vines and looking at job ads while I go through my social media accounts and make to-do lists for the day. Yesterday, I did none of that.

I laid in bed for way too long, not even touching my phone. I didn’t check my email, Instagram, or Twitter until the afternoon. I just laid there with Bowser Kitten, clearing my mind and cuddling. When I finally got up, I stayed in the bathroom for more than an hour doing random beauty things that I never take the time to do for myself. Threw in a hair mask, exfoliated my face, did a face mask, and then took a long relaxing shower. Took some extra time to rub coconut oil on everything, threw on tights and fuzzy socks, and took the time to use all those weird expensive face creams and toners and eye creams and stuff that I keep getting from Ipsy.

After doing dishes and laundry, I made some buttery pasta with faux crab and threw on the 10-hour Vine compilation, and relaxed while I ate. After that, I threw on an emo playlist on Spotify and it was more kitten cuddles while I curled up with a Bathroom Reader in bed to relax and catch up on my random bits of useless knowledge. Fell asleep at some point with Bowser Kitten laying across my legs. When AAB came home, we ordered a bunch of random Chinese food. I had never had Moo Goo Guy Pan before, and it turns out I love it.

We curled up on the couch with dinner and watched some old episodes of the British version of Kitchen Nightmares. We were in bed before 10pm. Somehow all that relaxing and napping was exhausting. I spent a lot of time just trying to work through things in my mind, find ways to combat the stress at work. I have been so mentally drained lately that trying to clear my mind just left me drained.

I’m still not fully charged. I’m tired today, and if I had more hours this week to fall back on, I would’ve called in sick today to relax more. Today would be a great day to play Mario 2 on AAB’s computer for hours while eating carrots. But instead, I’m working my way through my 3rd cup of coffee trying to wake my sorry ass up. It’s almost 12:30, I haven’t eaten or showered yet, and I’m already done with today. But it seems a little easier to get through being “done” somehow. I’m willingly doing the piddly little things on my to-do list, looking forward to eating some leftovers in a bit.

I need more time though. I haven’t been properly taking care of myself, so it takes more time to recharge. Honestly, I should be taking a bit of time to myself more often. I know I need time to just lay there and think sometimes.I need time to play old video games, or just lay there and listen to music. I need time to read and cuddle Bowser Kitten, or throw on a face mask and play MahJong on my iPad while it dries. I tried to fit all of that in in one day, and it was just too much for me. If I had taken the time to do this a little bit at a time, then maybe I wouldn’t be so damn drained all the time.

As it is, I’m damn exhausted today. I want to crawl back into bed. I want to eat leftover Chinese food with my feet up on the table, watching TV shows where people ask an angry industry expert for help and then scream at them because they think they know more than them. I’ve been practicing some very harmful act in the name of “self-care”, and it’s not something I’m proud of. I’ve been self-destructive, and I need time for healing.

Don’t let yourself get this far, Sunshine. Do something for yourself to take time for you. It doesn’t matter if it’s getting out for lunch sometimes, or throwing on your headphones and ignoring the world for a bit. Find a healthy way to clear yourself. The roommate I share the main floor with seems to poop like 6 times a day and takes forever when he uses our bathroom. So one thing I like to do sometimes is grab my iPad and just take forever in the bathroom. I’ll play MahJong and Rummy, or just browse Pinterest while I poop or just relax on the bathroom floor. Passive aggressive poop is my self-care I guess.

So go do something right now. Like seriously, NOW. Go grab a chocolate bar. Do a few push-ups and squats. Drink a giant glass of water. Open up the blinds and let the sunlight in. Just do something, anything, that helps you feel a little bit better about yourself for the day. No drinking, no drugs that aren’t prescribed to you to deal with this, nothing that harms you. Hell, if you can, go take a nap or curl up with a blanket and a book. Do something that helps cleans your mind, your soul, or even your colon if pooping is what relaxes you.

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Take A Little Time When You Need It

Well Sunshine, this weekend was a busy one. The Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend’s cousin got married, so we got a hotel room out in the county and spent the weekend out there. He had to take care of the booking and transportation on Friday (we don’t have a car). I worked Friday night and had to come home to feed the Bowser Kitten afterwards, so we didn’t get in until around 11pm. Saturday was all wedding stuff, and Sunday was supposed to be a nice day out with his mom at the greenhouse so I could hug baby goats. But of course, life happens.

Without getting into too much detail, things are a little strained as far as AAB’s dad is concerned. It’s an enormous amount of stress on AAB and on his mother when we all get together. When we all get together, we can’t just make plans. Things always get majorly derailed and any plans we make get completely thrown out the window. Like this past Sunday, we had planned to leave the hotel around 11am, go his AAB’s aunt’s place to walk the dog for her, stop by his dad’s place really quick, and then head out to the Giant Greenhouse of Awesomeness for the rest of the day. Instead, AAB’s dad started calling us around 10am, asking us if he could stop by the hotel. Then he started asking if he could stop by AAB’s aunt’s place. Later, while we were at the aunt’s place, he just randomly showed up and started arguing with AAB’s mom and just wouldn’t leave. We had planned to leave his place around 1:30pm. Instead, he stuck around the aunt’s place until a little after 3pm, giving us only a few hours at the greenhouse.  I didn’t get to go to the arcade OR the candy store!

We got home Sunday night, made some snacks, and curled up in front of the tv with Bowser Kitten. AAB headed to bed a bit early, exhausted from the weekend. Even though he took Friday and Saturday off from work, he woke up early yesterday morning and called in sick from work. We have a tonne of stuff to catch up on around the house (why no one ever fucking cleans around here is a whole other post) but decided to put it off. I did a few little things, he did some laundry. Instead of getting things done. AAB spent pretty much the entire day on his computer playing Super Mario World. Every time Bowser was on the screen, he’d say “Look, Bowser Kitten, it’s a big scary Bowser!”.

And that is perfectly cool.

After an emotionally draining and physically long and tiring weekend, AAB was just done. He needed a day to just do nothing. He wasn’t sick, he was totally able to go to work. But he needed a day to process everything that had happened over the weekend, needed to recover from the lack of sleep, and needed time to clear out his mind. If he had gone to work yesterday, his head would’ve still been filled with all the weekend’s happenings. He would’ve had a miserable day, which would lead to a miserable evening while I was at work, which would lead to a miserable night once I got home. So he took a day to just have time to himself and do nothing. He needed to process everything and then needed to just blank out his mind. And because he took that extra day to himself, he let himself go blank, he’s having a great day today. He is having a good day at work, is happy and productive. He’s already planning to make a ham and potatoes for dinner and cuddling the Bowser Kitten for a bit while he plays video games for him. He’s having a better day today because he took care of himself yesterday.

I know we can’t all just call in sick when we’re super stressed. With the shifts I’m getting now, I can’t afford to take a day off when it’s not scheduled. Hell, I sometimes even have to come in on my days off to pick up more hours! But I try to find a way to take time for me before or after work. Sunday night, after AAB went to bed, I put on some music, curled up on the couch with Bowser Kitten, and read my newest Bathroom Reader and updated my day planner for about an hour. Today, I’m catching up on the I’m Sorry Day Podcast (RyDoon + Brandon Calvillo + Marlon Webb = pure magic) and getting some cleaning done. Nothing major, just scrubbing counters and sweeping. Maybe I’ll clean out the fridge, or do some Christmas shopping and craft planning (I like to start super early). This is how I take time for me. Instead of taking a whole day, I’ll take an hour or two a day.

Figure out what calms and centers you, how you can take time for you. Do something nice for yourself. As the very wise FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper once said “Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it. Don’t wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee.”

Stephen King’s IT: Chapter One, a Review

My mother and I don’t head out to the movies together very often. Pretty sure the last film we saw was Hannible back in 2001. Still, when we saw that IT was being remade into a full movie, we made plans weeks in advance to go see it my first day off.

Now, my mother and I have a long history together with Stephen King movies. When I was 7, I came home from school upset because everyone else was insisting they watched Pet Semetary the weekend before and were bragging about their favourite scenes. After I told mum about some of the scenes, she laughed and said, “They didn’t watch that movie. I’ll prove it. We’re renting it this weekend, you’re watching it with me.” And she actually did rent it, a rated R horror movie for her 7-year-old daughter.

To my credit, I made it pretty far in the movie. Mum says we made it about 3/4 of the way through. I was curled up in the recliner with the foot rest up, while an evil undead cat stalked the main character while he took a bath. Right when the cat lept out at the man’s face, our cat Wussyfur decided to jump up onto his favourite spot: the foot of the recliner. I don’t think I’ve ever jumped so high in my life. Mum turned off the movie and turned on SNL instead. But from that day forward, I could watch pretty much any horror movie I wanted as long as I told her I was going to watch it.

The original 1990 mini-series IT was my second Stephen King movie. Mum had just read the book, I had a huge crush on Jonathan Brandis, and we rented a few Nintendo games to keep my younger sister and brother busy. I made it through both parts of that one mostly unscarred, just a few minor nightmares and a fear of the bathtub.

I don’t know why we both seemed to think that if we could make it through a made-for-tv miniseries, then a full-length NC-17 feature film on the big screen would be no problem. Of course, my mother also thought that Pennywise was being played by one of the possible fathers in Mamma Mia, and still can’t wrap her head around how much they charge for food at the movie theatre.  She did seem super impressed with the big, squishy recliner seats we got in the theatre, which came in very handy when we were each curled up in a ball watching parts of the movie through our fingers.

Now, as for the movie ITself, I’ll start off with the good. The kids in that film were amazing!!!! I really found myself hating those bullies, rooting for the Losers Club, and totally creeped out by dead Georgie. I haven’t seen a very little kid be that creepy since Gage in Pet Semetary. The Losers Club was cast perfectly. You not only empathized with what made them part of the Losers Club, but you could almost feel their terror at different parts of the film. They were such endearing characters, so full of life and charisma. You found yourself screaming right along with these kids as they ran for their lives.  My only fear with these kids is that Chapter Two will befall the same fate as the original. Many people felt such a connection to the kids in the first half, that they had trouble empathizing with their adult counterparts.

The special effects for the different forms of Pennywise were terrifying. He takes the form of what scares each child the most and just does some bizarre stuff to get their attention throughout the movie. While his Georgie formation is creepy enough to make your skin crawl, his physical forms for the other kids are what got to me. Without revealing too much, the manifestation of illness for one of the kids was one of the creepiest images I’ve seen on the big screen in a very long time.  Being on the big screen, this version was able to be much gorier than the original. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean it was gory just for the sake of being gory. Georgie’s death scene in the beginning of the movie, with the full blood and gore, made his demise that much more horrifying. In the original, Georgie reaches into that sewer, and the scene ends. In this version, we see the final moments Georgie spent above ground, and what Pennywise actually did to him.

The story overall was a lot closer to the actual book. While there were some changes here and there, this seemed truer to King’s work, while still leaving out that strange-ass child orgy scene (thankfully). For the purpose of filming, certain aspects were left out of this version, much like the last one. The alien origins, the mental aspects of the final battle, and that freaking terrifying spider in the final battle are (thankfully) absent in this version. That didn’t stop the story following King’s original plan this time. WIth the restraints of television censors, certain elements of the children’s backstories were made much more evident, allowing viewers to really connect with them.

And now, for the bad.

Holy. Freakin. Jump scares. I’ve never really associated Stephen King with jump scares. Those are usually reserved for movies without a plot-line like King can develop. The scariest thing about Pennywise in the book was his psychological torture. He knew exactly what scared you the most. He preyed on your fears, drew them out. Pennywise can reach into the depths of your soul, find things you may not have even admitted to yourself, find that things hiding in darkest recesses of the mind that terrify you beyond anything else. In the book, King explains each fear, bringing forth each child’s fear manifested with Pennywise mocking them with it. Pennywise shows where each fear comes from, explains why it’s there. In this version, Pennywise just……… appears out of nowhere. Two of the kids’ fears are shown only once, and very briefly. One kid’s real fear doesn’t appear until the final battle! There’s no real explanation for any of the fears except for one, with three others being pretty obvious. One is just…… stated. Pennywise doesn’t even show up as this fear until after it’s made known to everyone. Instead of that deep, psychological fear that haunts your dreams and makes you second guess every bump in the night for years, it’s totally missing from this version. Instead of toying with your mind, this movie just jumps out and screams, “Boo!” a whole lot.

Overall, I think this was a fantastic movie. I would definitely watch it again, and would actually pay money to see it in theatres again. That is huge, considering I never get out to the movies anymore. The actor playing Pennywise was phenomenal, and he did an amazing job with the material he was given. I just feel like the material wasn’t completely up to snuff. While Pennywise is terrifying, and I did spend a good portion of the movie curled up in a ball, it wasn’t the right kind of terrifying. This was a much more raw, physical, in-your-face evil clown, as opposed to the psychological terror of the Pennywise I was expecting.

 

It’s A Beautiful Day!

This sounds strange since today comes on a different day each year, but I prepare for today all year. I can’t predict when today will happen until I wake up in the morning and it’s just here. You can’t plan for it or predict it or do anything to ensure it goes according to plan. In fact, by the end of the day, I’ll probably be miserable and exhausted from waking up too early.

After the massive storms we’ve had in the area recently, the temperatures really dropped and the humidity leveled off. It went from being in the 80s but feeling over 100, to sweater weather in a matter of days. Right now my weather app is saying it’s 48 degrees and sunny right now.

We turned off the AC a few days ago, only turning it on when it rains. I’ve been able to sleep with the windows open the last few nights as long as I keep the fan on. The precious and tiny Bowser Kitten is in his glory, sitting in every window he can, sniffing the fresh air. I keep finding his little cat toys crammed into the window pane up against the screen.

Last night I opened the window to let the slight chill in and threw on my little shorts and a tank top for bed. As much as I love my Amazingly Awesome Boyfriend, sleeping next to him is like wrapping your body around burning hot coals for eight hours. In the summer, I need a fan and tiny pj’s to make it through the night. Usually, when he wakes up for work, I steal his blanket for an hour or two to nap and cool down after sleeping with him all night.

Today, I woke up shivering a little. I was already snuggled up to AAB and starting to steal his blanket and had a very warm Bowser Kitten asleep on my feet. With the window open and the fan on full, the room was damn chilly. After AAB left for work, I curled up under his blanket with a fuzzy kitten on my feet and tried to fall back asleep. He leaves for work at 6 am, and I don’t work today until 4:15 pm, so I needed a little more sleep. I just laid there, shivering and staring at the ceiling, a big grin spreading across my face.

It’s the first day that it really, truly feels like fall.

So I got up and dug through the tea cabinet, looking for the Christmas coffees that only come out at Bulk Barn right before Christmas. I save a few for a few special days each year: one for mum’s birthday celebration (she’s the Christmas Queen), one for the day I put up the Christmas decorations, and one for the first day that feels like fall. Today was Hot Buttered Rum coffee, followed up a giant mug of cinnamon tea.

Even though it’s cold in here, I’m still wearing my little shorts and the tank top I slept in. Instead of throwing on my usual morning flannel and slipper boot combo, I stole AAB’s blanket off the bed. It’s this big, soft blue blanket my grandma kept on her couch that AAB and Bowser Kitten curl up in all the time. This morning, I just wrapped myself up in it like a giant burrito, with only my face and hands sticking out.

So here I am, curled up like a giant blue fuzzy turd, sipping cinnamon tea, listening to Halloween tunes on Spotify, and just reading. I’ve been up for like 5 hours now, and would just be making my breakfast and coffee right about now most days. But today I’ve had my coffee, ate my bagel, moved on to my tea, and read some useless random knowledge from my newest Bathroom Reader.

Every summer I look forward to this day. I’m not a huge fan of the heat and humidity here and tend to get lazy in the summer months. But autumn, that’s MY season. That’s when I take longer walks, open up all the windows and clean more, and just get really motivated to do ALL the things. I eat better, I work out more, I read more, and I’m just more focused. It’s like my body and mind are clearing themselves out and de-stressing before the clusterfuck that is the Christmas season for me.

So have a beautiful day! Treat yourself to something small. Find the beauty in the things around you. Smile a little longer at that cutie you check out at work all the time. Throw on your favourite tunes and dance around the house with your cat for a bit. Just enjoy this day Sunshine!

The World is Full of Well-Meaning People

So I’m a little lost right now, as you know. I’m working a customer service job that I absolutely love most days. Problem is, I went to university and took out a shit tonne of loans. Then, to afford basic survival right out of university, I lived on very sporadic shifts at work, my life savings (which wasn’t a whole hell of a lot, to begin with), and credit cards. I have the education, the skills, and the knowledge for a whole bunch of jobs out there that pay a hell of a lot better than Customer Service Representative wages. There’s a tonne of competition out there from other people with the education, skills, and knowledge though, so shit is rough.

I’ve talked a bit about my struggles with job hunting. I’m not too worried about it because I have a job. I’m saving up to get more permanent residence in the next year or so, and trying to focus on the things I have in my life as opposed to the things I’ve been told I SHOULD have at this point in my life. I used to focus on those things a lot, and it puts me in a very dark place. I don’t like that place, the music is depressing and no one will dance with me. I know something else will come along at some point, and I’m not about to stress myself out any more than I have to about my job hunt right now.

But there are so many well-meaning people out there who just want to help, and it’s driving me crazy right now.

I have a few people in my life who send me job ads online. They’re usually accompanied by the usual “I thought you might be interested in this jobs, it seems perfect for you” message, followed by repeated “did you apply” messages in the days to follow. I always read whatever it is they send me, and I’ll tell you that a good 95% of the jobs are things I am completely NOT qualified for. It’s not even like “well they want 5 years of experience, and I only have 4 years” or anything super close like that. I mean, if I meet around 60% of the qualifications they want in an ad, I’ll apply to that job. But the job ads I’m sent are so far off of what I’m actually qualified to do, I have to wonder if these people actually read the ads before they sent them to me.

Case in point: a relative who will remain nameless (hi mom!) keeps sending me these job ads. I’m pretty sure they just see the company name, assume it’s something I could do, and send it off. She seems to think that, because she knows a few people who work for that company who have less education than me, I should be qualified for pretty much any job there. By now, she starts pretty much every job ad message with something along the lines of “I know you don’t like when I push you like this, but I just couldn’t pass this up”, followed by a job I am in no way qualified for.

Today’s job ad was for a company whose website I check weekly for ads. I knew for a fact that there were three jobs on there, none of which I am qualified for. The one I was the most qualified for (I don’t have the necessary experience, but I can’t pass up applying for a job that actually requires a degree in Criminology), I met maybe half the qualifications. This wasn’t the one she sent me. This job required at least 5 years of call center management experience, an advanced degree in Business, knowledge of computer programs I’ve never even heard of, classes in advanced statistical analysis using software I’ve never used, and bilingualism (English and French, since this is Canada). Like, the only things in the long list of qualifications that I had were customer service experience and the ability to use Microsoft Word and Excel.

So I messaged this relative that may be my mother, and I told her all of the things in the ad that I’m not qualified in. She didn’t believe me. It didn’t seem possible to her. She knew two or three people who got jobs at this company (in their call center, not in the positions available right now) who don’t even have degrees, who had jobs that have nothing to do with the industry, who had no experience. In her mind, because these people got jobs with this company, me and my multiple degrees should have no problem getting any position at all there. It doesn’t matter what the qualifications are, or what the position is. The fact that someone without the education I have got a job somewhere in this company means that obviously, I can get any job there I apply for.

This totally pisses me off and puts me in the foulest mood. Like, I was in a pretty decent mood this morning, drinking my coffee and planning my shopping trip to the local international market. Had a cat at my feet, flannel on my back, and caffeine in my veins. I was ready to get my day going, and then that message came through. I was in such a shit mood after that.

I know she was just looking out for me, and thinking about me. But all she did was see the company name, not the ad, and decided to send it off. The way most people send me these messages, it’s almost like they’re guilting me into applying for a job I either have no interest in or am totally not qualified for. Like I said, I have a job right now. I’m not going to rush out to take just any job. I like the job I have, even if other people seem to think it’s below me (I hate that thinking, but that’s a whole other post for a whole other day). I still continue my job search, but I limit my applications now. I’m only applying for jobs that I want, that I think I would be damn good at, jobs that make me think I could really make a difference doing that job. If I’m going to find a career, I want to make sure it’s not something that will make me completely miserable until I (maybe, possibly, hopefully, someday) retire.

We all have those well meaning people in our lives. They’re the ones who, without asking you what it is you want, push you forward in the direction they think you want. They’re the ones who say things like, “But you’ve always been so smart! Why wouldn’t you go to university” when all you’ve ever wanted to do was be a mechanic. They’re the ones say things like “well hopefully soon you’ll find a real job” when you really enjoy your job. They’re the ones for whom your life is just never good enough somehow. They want you to get a better apartment, or buy a house, or change jobs, or relationships. They’re totally supportive when you’re doing something that plays into their concept of you and would bend over backward to help you. But it’s that concept of you they’re trying to push, not the real you.

I have no clue how to really handle these people, Sunshine. Like I said, I have more than a few of them in my life. None of them seem to want me living where I live, working where I work, or writing what I write. In their minds, they’re just pushing me to be a better me. But for them, nothing is good enough.

Do you have these well-meaning people in your life too? Comment below, or drop me a line at thefailedgrownup@gmail.com . We can find a way to deal with them together.

Everyone’s Favourite Customer

The security gates have been pulled halfway out and the ends locked in place. Most of the cashiers have cashed out for the night, with the last two waiting on the few stragglers wandering the store. The end-of-the-night regulars have come and gone, and the cashiers have started their countdown to the end of the night.

“Four GLORIOUS minutes!”

That’s when he walks in.

“Good evening sir, we’re just getting ready to close for the night. Is there anything I can help you find?”

Grunt is too nice a word for the noise that somehow comes out of his throat, like a dying goat choking on dry oats.

“Looks like I made it just in time then. I know exactly what I want, I’ll be quick.”

But quick, he isn’t. He wants to make sure we have enough time to properly take in his majestic presence. His asscrack peaks out every-so-slightly from his two sizes too large jeans, which have managed to drag down the pot leaf print boxers providing the only barrier between denim and bottom. Those proudly displayed boxers match his slightly too small t-shirt and the filthy crooked trucker hat crookedly perched on his head, both emblazoned with pot leafs. He can almost hear the thoughts of every girl he passes in the store, “Wow, he is such a badass. I bet you he smokes pot. I need that sloppy pile of man meat all over me!”.

He slowly slinks through the aisle, with the swagger of a real suburban gangsta. Picking up each and every bottle, he examines them closely, as if to read each and every work on the back of the bottle. After all, it’s important to know the copywrite details of a winery’s label.

“Sir, the store will be closing in three minutes. Is there anything I can help you find?”

His smell. It’s not something you forget quickly. While the unmistakable smell of weed accompanies his marijuana-themed attire, there is a certain odor about him, a manly musk. It’s a mix of three days gym sweat, Cheeto dust, and a bottle of Axe body spray, and it lingers as he moves down the aisle.

“Yeah, I had this pine nut grigarion the other night at a restaurant and I was looking for it here. Do you have it?”

“I’m sorry sir, is it a pinot grigio you’re looking for?”

“Yeah, that’s it! Pine nut grigarion! All I see here is the white. Do you have a red pine nut grigarion? The one I had was red, but it was definitely a pine nut grigarion.”

He looks at all the pinot grigios in the section, insisting they should be red. He’s shown to the pinot noirs and says they’re not the right wine. He hems and haws over every bottle in the aisle, making sure he finds the exact ‘pine nut girgarion’ he’s looking for, reading every single label. Finally, he finds it: Bodacious Smooth Red. A somewhat sweet, fruity wine, it is nothing close to a pinot anything.

“Attention shoppers. The store will be closing in two minutes. Please bring your purchases up to the front, or ask a customer service representative for assistance. Thank you.”

He wanders around the store, a bottle of red in hand. Strolling into the beer fridge, he seems to have no intention of checking out anytime soon. He carefully picks up and examines random beers, pausing every few steps to pull up his falling trousers. The line-up at the front cash grows longer with last minute shoppers hurrying to leave before the store closes. This man is not among them.

“Sir is there anything I can help you find. We’re getting ready to close up the store now.”

He wanders, seemingly unaware of the employee trying to help him, or of the growing line of people at the checkout, inching his way along the giant wall of coolers. Again, he picks up random cans and bottles, examines them, and puts them back with a sigh.

“Sir? Do you need any help?”

“I’m not really sure what I’m in the mood for. Do you have anything on sale? A sparkling wine? Or maybe a whiskey? I’m not sure what I want. Is there a sale section here?”

Inwardly cringing, you lead him to the very small clearance section in the back of the store. Again, he feels the need to pick up each and every bottle, examining it closely. You stand there, waiting to help him and answer the inevitable questions you know he’ll have for each and every product. He mumbles to himself, staring at each bottle like he’s looking for some sort of hidden message on the label.

“Now this bottle here, with the fancy looking label, what is this? Why is it on sale so much? What does it taste like? Is this anything like the pine nut grigarion here?”

“Sir, that’s whiskey. It tastes like whiskey. It’s on sale because we’re not going to carry that specific brand anymore. It tastes nothing at all like the bottle of wine you have there. Are you looking for something like it? Or is there something else I can get for you? We are trying to close up the store for the night.”

He stares at the bottle again, seemingly having not heard a single word you said. His attention went back and forth between the bottle of whiskey, a bottle of Advocaat, and a can of Four Loko. None of them is anything close to the bottle of white wine masquerading as red he has clutched in his hands.

“This orange stuff here. Is that like, watered down red? Or red mixes with that yellow wine over there?”

He stared at the Advocaat, a liqueur whose thick and creamy base separates from the rest of the liquid when left sitting for more than a minute, wondering what kind of wine it was. The automatic lights above starting turning off, indicating the store was now officially closed. By the light of the emergency light boxes in the corners, he stared at the bottles.

“Sir, it’s a liqueur. It’s not a wine. It’s meant to be mixed with other things, like Sprite. I can bring it up to the front cash if you’d like, but the store is now closed for the night. The cashier is waiting to ring you out, and then we are locking the store for the night.”

“You’re closed? Why didn’t anyone say anything? I thought you guys were open until 9:45 pm! It’s barely 9 pm! You really should’ve told me you were closing, I would’ve just gone to another store. That’s horrible customer service.”

He storms off towards the front of the store, only to be distracted by a shiny object: the foil tops on the sparkling wine bottles. Stopping only a few feet from the cash register, he pushes some bottles back on the shelf, mixing them up into the bottles next to them, and puts his bottles down in their place.  Cautiously, like the top might explode at any moment, he picks up a bottle of sparkling wine and examines it closely.

“Sir, do you want me to bring these up to the cash for you? “

“Now hold on a minute, I’m the customer here! You need me! I’m done shopping when I say I’m done shopping, not when you decide I’m done! I’ll stay here all night if I want to, I’M THE CUSTOMER! I pay your wages! Now, what the hell is is this shiny wine here?”

By now, he’s shaking the bottle violently, inches from your face. His face is a shade of red you’ve never quite seen a human turn. Sweat, emitting that ‘musk’ mixed with Axe, roll down his face and soak through the arm pits of his good marijuana-leaf shirt. Thinking quickly, you try to find a way to calm him down and get him out of the damn store.

“Sir, I don’t mean to seem like I’m rushing you. It’s just that our systems are controlled by our head office. That’s why the lights turned off at exactly 9-o-clock. As a safety precaution, if our registers are not cashed out and turned off by 9:15, our silent alarm is triggered and the police are called. The last time that happened here because a customer was a little indecisive, the police threatened to press charges against him for causing a false alarm to be triggered. I’m just trying to avoid that from happening again. I would hate for you to get yelled at simply for wanted to be sure of your purchases before you buy them.”

It’s a lie. A bold-faced lie that anyone with half a brain could see through. Yes, the lights go out automatically, but the alarm isn’t triggered by not cashing out. You’re sure he’ll see through this, yell at you even more for trying something so obvious just to get him out of the store. He can’t be that stupid that he’d actually believe it.

“Oh, well I didn’t realize that!  You really should have signs posted or something, so customers know! Here’s I’ll run up to the cash right now with my stuff, we don’t need to get the police involved. I have some stuff in my truck they may not like, heh heh.”

He grabs his bottles and scurries off to the register, his ass crack bobbing up and down as he jogs. Finally, you think, we can get him out of here and close! It’s not 8 minutes past close. The tills are normally counted by now, and all that’s left is the safe and paperwork. He puts his bottles up on the counter, finally noticing the young woman behind the counter.

“Well hello there beautiful. Is that smile just for me?”

She grabs the bottles, making idle small talk while trying to scan everything in. Somehow, the Advocaat doesn’t want to ring up.

“Not ringing up? I guess it’s free then! Ha! It’s free then, get it? Because it won’t ring up, you won’t charge me? I figured you needed some good jokes to cheer you up at the end of the night.”

Inwardly cringing at the joke she’s heard at least two dozen times in this shift alone, she smiles and finishes ringing up his purchase. She asks if he has an Aeroplan points card like the register prompts her to do.

“Nope, I’m afraid of flying. They took my plane away. Ha ha! Why? You want me to rack up those miles, take you on a nice vacation?”

She hits ‘no’ on the register, and tells him his total. Purchase bagged and paid for, she tells him to have a good night and asks if he wants his receipt.

“Why, is your phone number on there? It should be. How about I take you out sometime? I could show you a real good time. I’ll even let you pay. That’s what you enlightened bitches like these days, right? That whole pretending you’re equal thing? Come on, I’ll let you buy me a steak, we can split this fancy orange wine here, I’ll show you my sword collection. Sound good little girl?”

You can actually see the poor cashier’s skin starting to crawl. She can’t leave her till or cash out until that man is out the door, for safety reasons, so she’s stuck standing there until he finally wanders out the door. He leans in closer, trying to sweet talk her into leaving the store with him and running off into the darkness together in his 1992 Ford Tempo his mother lets him borrow. Thinking quickly, you pick up the back phone and hit the page button.

“Sarah, Mike’s on the phone. He wants to know why I haven’t let his fiance leave for the night yet.”

“Oh, you’re engaged? I didn’t see a ring. That’s false advertising! You can’t do that to a man! I’m done with this store! You guys have horrible customer service! I’m calling the manager tomorrow and filing a complaint about all of you! I know him personally, you know. We grew up together. He lived next door! He was the best man at my wedding!”

You try as hard as you can to hold your tongue. You know exactly what you want to say to this stinky, sweaty, overgrown man-child standing in front of you.

“Oh, so you grew up in Slovakia with our manager, KAREN? And somehow ended up in the same Canadian city as her, shopping at her store? I’m surprised SHE didn’t mention that! Be sure when you call tomorrow to talk to HER, you don’t get HER confused with whoever the hell you’re talking about right now! Now, sir, we are closed. We have been closed for almost 15 minutes. We told you we were closing, we helped you pick out your booze, and now we’re helping you out the damn door. You can come back during our normal store hours to shop if you want, just don’t do it when I’m here or I’m going to freakin lose it!”

You know you can’t say that though. You’ll only wind him up more, make him stand there and yell even more. So instead, you walk him to the door to let him out, handing him the manager’s card so he can call her in the morning if he really wants to.  You close and lock the doors behind him, and then turn and lean back with a sigh while telling your last cashier to finally cash out. It’s now almost 20 minutes past closing time. As you’re about to pull out the security gates for the night, a pounding on the door makes you jump and turn.

It’s him again.

“Hey, I forgot to get something while I was in there! Let me in, I’ll be real quick! I promise!”

“Sir, we’re closed. All of our registers are turned off for the night, so we can’t make any more sales for today. You can come back tomorrow at 10 am.”

“You can’t be closed, you’re still in there! C’mon, I’ll be really fast! I’ll even pay cash! Just let me in or I’m calling corporate! I’ll get you fired! I’ll have your job for this!”

‘Sure buddy, you do that’ you think, as you pull the gates closed for the night. You head into the office to get your team cashed out and get all the nightly paperwork done. With everyone’s help, you’re able to get it all done in 15 minutes. You set the alarm, grab your things, and head out as a group to the main door to leave for the night. As you open the door, the smell of old BO and Axe Body Spray invades your nostrils again.

“See, you’re not closed! The door is open, just let me in! I’ll be fast, I promise! I just need to grab some vodka, and a few beers, and maybe a gift card too. It’s my mom’s birthday tomorrow, and I didn’t get her anything yet…….”

You tune him out as your turn, lock the doors, and head out into the parking lot with your co-workers. As you roll down your car window before driving off, you can still hear him complaining to no one.

“This is horrible customer service! You’re barely closed! C’mon, just let me in! I know the president of the company, and I’ll sue you! You’re all getting fired for this!”

You drive off into the night, as his tirade fades into the night behind you. Hopefully, he won’t come back tomorrow night.

 

 

*so this is pretty much just an amalgamation of a bunch of different customers and situations I’ve had to deal with closing up the store. It’s the worst of the worst, all rolled into one Super Aweful Customer. 

Mental Health, Mental Help

 

This is the fourth time I’ve started this post in 13 hours. Woke up twice last night trying to figure out what to say. I spent years trying to ignore it or deny it. When I was younger and my symptoms first popped up (9th grade, right after I started at a new high school in a new city where I knew no one), I was made to feel like certain people wanted me to be sick because it made me wrong, and then they could laugh at my family because they had the weird little freak in high school.

During my lunch break, I would get this strange feeling. My heart would start racing and pounding like it was going to jump out of my chest and run down the hall. My breathing would get fast like I couldn’t get enough air in a regular breath so I switched to tiny micro-breaths. Sometimes I’d break out in a sweat, or I’d get too dizzy to stand. On more than one occasion I threw up in the bathroom by my locker. I went home on my lunch maybe 10 times by the middle of the semester.

I can still remember the very last time I dared to call home and have mum come pick me up. There was a full office staff, a few teachers on their spare periods, and maybe half a dozen students in the office with me that day for whatever reason. Mum came into the office to pick me up, and one of the secretaries pulled us aside where no one could hear us talk quietly. She suggested my mother have me speak to the school counsellor, and maybe get recommended to a therapist for a short time, because I appeared to be having some sort of issues with anxiety.

Well, mum was having none of that. She fucking exploded on that poor secretary, in front of everyone in that office.

“What do you MEAN she should see a counsellor? She was perfectly fine before I sent her to this school! How dare you tell me my daughter is some sort of freak! A psycho! Don’t you know what happens to people who see a therapist? They’re branded FOR LIFE as a crazy psycho! You want my daughter locked up in some NUT HOUSE for the rest of her life? Is that it? Have you seen her grades? She’s getting A’s in all her afternoon classes, could some FREAK do that? How DARE you tell me my daughter is damaged, how DARE you tell me my daughter is some sort of psycho FREAK!”

It’s been like 20 years since then, so that’s not exactly word for word, but you get the gist of it. She ranted like that for a good 5 or 6 minutes, referred to me as a freak more than a dozen times in front of a few of my classmates. The car ride home was a total joy! She ranted on even more, telling me that there was nothing wrong with me, that she couldn’t believe someone would think I’m some sort of psycho, that if I ever let myself see a therapist or psychiatrist they would just put me on meds and then no one would ever hire me because the whole world would just know I’m crazy. The rant went on even more once we got home!  I swear, that woman ranted on and on about this for a good two hours on and off that day.

After that day, I stopped telling my mother pretty much anything for many years. I made up some stupid story about a problem with the ventilation system in the hallway my locker was in, and that was why I got sick at school so much. It was the stupidest story, so totally obvious that I made it up on the spot, but she believed it. Hell, she still believes it. We saw an article about my old high school online, and she started telling people about the ‘ventilation problem’ and how it could’ve killed me. She was more willing to believe that the ventilation system in a newly built school was faulty in a way that only affected one student than helping me work through my issues.

So, for years I tried to ignore what was happening inside me. I beat myself up over things I couldn’t control. Instead of working to understand the racing heart and quick breaths, I locked myself away in my room so no one could see the panic. I did the same for the suicidal thoughts. The one time I did hurt myself and opened up to my mother, she flipped out on me again. She said that if I didn’t “cut it out and just act normal” no one would ever love me, I’d be shoved in an institution, and I’d die alone. Totally what you should say to a 16-year-old trying to deal with mental health issues, eh?

I tried to ignore all of this for years. I’d lock myself away from the world so they couldn’t see me struggle. I drank, I did a lot of drugs, I pushed myself to somehow be “normal” in the most fucked up ways. My parents were high school sweethearts who married and had three kids, for example. So, I thought if I found love early enough, I could be normal like them. But the forced isolation made it hard to meet people I could connect with, and I wound up engaged to a drumming ninja (he once put “ninja” on a job application as his current occupation), and got kicked out of my parents’ house to be with him. He treated me like shit, abused me, starved me, and burned the only copy of my first (and to date, only) novel I had written as punishment for something. But in my head, being with him made me “normal”, because…………. I don’t even know anymore.

It wasn’t until more than a decade after that first incident in the school office that I finally sought help. I had gone back to university, and the school had free counseling services. By that point, my anxiety and depressing were pretty bad, but I was still trying to cover them up. I wasn’t sleeping, I was eating like crap and chugging cheap malt liquor while I “studied”. Before a big panic attack, sometimes it feels like all my emotions drain into something deep inside my skin, where they can’t escape or be really felt. I feel this mix of heaviness and nothingness like I’m going to burst out of my skin and run ranting and screaming into the night. I stayed up for three days and finally passed out in our living room (I was living with friends near campus by that point), and rolled over on a pair of scissors in my sleep. The pain was some weird sort of release, and I started cutting myself right after that. It was the cutting that made me finally made me go to counseling services.

I wish I could tell you everything changed for me that day, that everything was magically fixed and I’m living a perfectly “normal” life like my mother wanted. That’s not how things go, though. I’m still fighting through this, learning how to handle both depression and anxiety. I’m learning the patterns they tend to follow (the depression gets bad right before or after a major panic attack usually) and am able to tell the people closest to me when I can feel my anxiety getting worse. I still don’t open up to my family about any of this, though. I tried to years ago, when I first sought help, and my mother denied everything I said. It’s healthier for me to just not tell them about any of this.

There is no magic cure for this. There is no one-way to deal with mental health issues. I’ve tried a lot of things over the years; some of them worked for me, others didn’t. That doesn’t mean those other things don’t work for other people, though. Going back to school brought out some huge stressors and triggers for my anxiety, and a lot of people I know who suffer through this have said the same thing. So, I just want to give you a little help, a little guidance. You don’t need to follow everything I say, or even try any of it. It’s just options, things to keep in mind when nothing else seems to work.

It’s not easy dealing with this shit. I still get panic attacks. The night I started posting about back-to-school help was because I was trying to work through a major panic attack that kept me up until almost 5 am, drained me of all my energy, and left me with a dark cloud over my head that made me wish I could just stop existing. I’m pulling through though, and I know you can too Sunshine.

Tip #1: Grounding

A friend recommended this to me years ago. It’s what she would do when she was living in a dorm and her anxiety would get bad around exam time. Basically, you’re distracting your brain from the inevitable overanalyzing of the ridiculousness of your panic. In my support group back in school, one thing we all agreed on was that our anxiety attacks made no sense to us. It’s like, there’s no reason for you to be panicking, but you still can’t seem to calm yourself down. You try to calm down, and you’re reminded that the fact that you’re panicking makes no sense, so there must be something wrong with you to be making you panic. And that makes you panic more. The more you try to calm yourself down, the more focused you wind up on the panic, and the worse it can get.

Anxiety Grounding.jpg

I know it says right in the little picture thingy there from Tumblr that it helps “when you feel like you have lost all control of your surroundings”. If you get that feeling in your more panicked times, then you can definitely give this a try. I don’t get that feeling, but this still works for me for other reasons.  That kind of leads me into my next tip….

Tip #2: There Is No “Right” Way to Be Have a Mental Issue

Sometimes having anxiety can mean heart palpitations and sweat. Other times, it can mean completely blocking out the outside world, staring off into space, unable to process the things going on around you. Some feel frightened, some are jittery, people get tense or worried or can’t focus on anything else except that anxious feeling bubbling up inside them.  Some of the happiest looking people suffer from depression. It’s not all locking yourself in a dark room and staring off into the nothingness around you. As a master of the Customer Service Persona, I can honestly tell you that it is entirely possible to feel hopeless and worthless like your entire life is one giant failure after another, like the world would be a much better place if you could just stop existing in it, and still slap a smile on your face and laugh about things. I mean, Robin fucking Williams suffered from depression. That man, to all outside appearances, was the exact opposite of depression.

There’s no right or wrong way to have anxiety, or a panic attack, or a depressive episode, or any form of depression in general. I check WebMD for a lot of things (even though somehow, no matter what’s wrong with me, it tells me I’m dying a slow and painful death). According to them, a panic attack should last like 10 minutes, and I should have fear of dying and a sense that I’m choking. I have NEVER had any of that. That panic, that feeling of terror, like my heart is going to burst out of my chest and the world is going to collapse around me, it can last for hours for me.

There is a tonne of different things associated with each and every mental issue out there. You don’t have to tick off every symptom or every box to have a “proper” mental disorder. You don’t have to take medication or see a therapist or psychiatrist long term to have a “proper” mental disorder. You can have the same issue as someone else, have different symptoms, handle it differently, and you can both STILL have that disorder. There is no one way to have an issue with your mental health.

Tip #3:  Regularly Practice Self-Care

I have a list of things that I consider “comfort things”. They’re things that I somehow find soothing, for whatever reason, and I fall back on when my brain starts to feel all fucky. They’re things that comfort me, that bring me to a place where I feel safe and secure, even if that place is just in my head. And the list is all over the fucking place.

  • soup
  • Vine compilations on YouTube
  • the movie Hackers
  • the movie Tank Girl
  • books about serial killers
  • books about cults
  • books about random facts
  • hugging my snuggle pillow
  • flannel
  • slipper boots
  • throwing a blanket over my head while I watch random shit on my computer so it’s like I’m watching it in a tiny blanket fort
  • painting my nails in dark colours
  • 90’s grunge music
  • 80’s new wave music
  • indie music from the 80’s and 90’s
  • Chilean red wine
  • fuzzy socks and lots of lotion

Now I don’t use all of this at the same time. I’ll throw on my slipper boots, maybe a flannel shirt or sleep pants, throw a blanket over my head, and watch a few short Vine compilations while I hug my snuggle pillow.  Or I’ll throw on a bunch of lotion and my fuzzy socks, paint my nails, and watch Tank Girl. I’ll throw on some Talk Talk and Psychedelic Furs in the background while I curl up with a good book about serial killers.

Everyone has their own little comfort things. You need to figure out what it is that is comforting to you. I doubt Charles Manson and Tank Girl will bring most of you much comfort, but it works for me.

Tip #4: Exercise, Get The Fuck Outside

I walk everywhere.

If I don’t get out of the house for a day, I make sure to at least open the blinds for a bit. The cat likes to sit in the window so I tell myself I’m doing it for him, when really just getting a little bit of sunlight can really help me some days.  If it’s nice enough out, I’ll open the window and let in some fresh air.

When I’m in mid panic attack, I completely close myself off in my room as much as possible. But when I’m not, I try to get outside at least a bit each day. I really should be exercising more, but I don’t. It really helps some people manage their mental health issues, and I know it’s helped me in the past. I have too much going on around me right now to focus on that though.

#5: Don’t Eat Like Complete Shit

Again, this is something I’m complete shit at. I have my good weeks, where I’m packing celery and carrots with me at work, and sipping tea all day. Then I have my days (or weeks even) where it’s nothing but pizza, french fries, and red wine.

Usually, the more hours I work in a week, the better I eat. If I have to pack a lunch or dinner to bring to work, I wind up with shit like veggies and hummus, soup, and mushroom meat (I also eat less meat and eat shit like “mushroom meat”, which is faux meat made out of mushrooms and soy, which I can only find at the Multifoods a little ways from my house). If I’m stuck at home, working 4-hour closing shifts every fucking day, I wind up eating a lot of frozen pizza for dinner, a lot of leftover pizza for lunch, and a pot of coffee for breakfast. This is usually when my anxiety starts to flare up a bit too.

For a lot of pizza, there’s a strong correlation between what you eat and how you feel. Eat like shit, feel like shit, basically. If you find that eating certain foods, or eating a certain way, worsens your mental state, then don’t fucking eat like that if you can help it! I know, that’s pretty fucking hypocritical of me to say, considering how I eat usually. This isn’t the easiest advice to follow, and no one is going to be perfect at it. Give it a whirl and see if it helps you out at all, though. Keep a food diary or something for a few weeks or months. No need to count calories or any shit like that. Just keep track of what you eat, what you drink, and how you feel.  If you see a pattern emerging, then fucking run with it.

#6: Stop Fucking Self-Medicating!

Again, fucking hypocritical of me to say this, considering how much wine I drink. I admit, there have been times when I could feel a panic attack coming on, and I reached for a drink. Working in a liquor store, I have constant easy access to alcohol and have to learn about it somehow. So, probably more often when I should when I feel the panic building, I grab a bottle of Chilean cabernet sauvignon, my book about wine (flavours, pairings, smart sounding shit), and curl up with a giant fucking glass or four.  Sometimes it calms me down a bit. Other times, I wind up still awake and drinking wine at 4 am, mindlessly reading through Not Always Right posts and going through old notebooks from 2003.

I’ve had friends who swear by smoking pot as a means of controlling their anxiety. Others have had a hard time controling it, using the anxiety more as an excuse to smoke than anything. I’ve known people to buy medication off the street instead of getting it prescribed. Yes, it’s a great way to get it cheap when you can’t afford your meds sometimes. But you’re playing with doses, and brain chemicals, and all sorts of stuff that can royally fuck your day up.

Don’t use substances that aren’t prescribed to you as a means of controlling your mental health. Yes, a drink or smoke from time to time can be fine. It’s a social thing, a way to calm you, a way to feel normal. But you can really easily start becoming dependant on these things just to feel normal. It’s a short fall into addiction when you let something be the only things making you feel “normal””.

#7: Find Your Fucking Triggers

I know, triggers are a joke to a lot of people. “How are you going to make it through life? There are no trigger warnings in the real world!” Except there are, fucking everywhere. Movie ratings, video game ratings, music ratings, content warnings on TV, allergen warnings on food, warning signs on the road, warning signs on heavy equipment, warning labels on medication……… The only difference between these and a trigger for mental health is that mental health isn’t always taken seriously. You can take a sick day for the flu, or for a broken leg, but most jobs and schools don’t give you mental health days.

Are there certain things that trigger certain feelings in you? No, you can’t avoid them completely, you can’t yell at people for bringing them up (unless they’re really fucked up shit and that person knows how it affects you), and you can’t hide from them for the rest of your life. One of my biggest triggers is finance. I’ve got a metric shit-tonne of student loan debt, a bunch of credit card debt, and feel like I’m going to die in debt someday. The thought of not making my bill payments sends my heart racing, more than it does for the average person. I know that when my hours at work take a drastic cut, there’s a good chance I’ll get thrown into a full-out panic attack at some point.  I can’t avoid that though.

Know your triggers can help you better prepare. Like I said, I KNOW that getting my hours cut can result in a massive-ass panic attack, which then leads to a depressive episode. I make sure I have some of my comfort items ready and waiting for me. I recently went from getting 40 hours a week at work to being scheduled for 15 hours. I know that by next pay day, I will most likely get thrown into a major case of anxiety. I have my soup stuff (powdered mix, noodles, and dried veggies from Bulk Barn), a 10 hour Vine compilation video, a new nail polish, some new murder books, a bunch of flannel ( I am Canadian after all),  and a copy of Tank Girl ready for that. No, I won’t be able to stop a panic attack. But I can help ease my way through it, or through a major anxiety episode.

 

I wish I could say that following all of this has somehow cured my mental state magically, Sunshine. I wish I could say that I’m a happy, mentally healthy, productive member of society now. I’d be lying to you though. Just today, I got so overwhelmed with my current situation (so many roommates, showing the house to prospective other roommates, hours cut at work, things with the boyfriend) that it started really getting to me. I sat there wondering what the hell would happen to this place if I just ceased to exist. Where would my Bowser Kitten be? Who would take care of this house? What kind of shape would the boyfriend be in? Have I really made a difference, or would there always be someone else could’ve stepped in and taken my place for each of these things? What’s the point of being here?

So, I made soup. I threw on some old Vines, and then a bunch of Rage Against the Machine. I typed, I read random useless facts, I played with eyeliner. I can’t fix myself completely, but I have to leave for work in 35 minutes and need to be able to fake my way through my shift. Luckily, I have the Work Bestie with me tonight. She’s one of the few people I actually open up to at all about this, so I can let her know I can feel it building again.