Friday, January 18, 2013

Finding Something to Relate To

I've been watching a lot of Star Trek: The Next Generation lately, from the very beginning, because I never watched the whole series through (unlike Voyager, which I marathoned in college).  Now, if you've been following along, I tend to like villains more than good guys because ultimately I find it easier to relate to them.

Of the modern series of Star Trek, there are a myriad of races presented, some only appearing for one episode, others, more established. I have always had an affinity for the Betazoid race, and tonight, watching the episode "Tin Man," I think I figured out why. Aside from being telepaths, Betazoids are also empaths, highly sensitive to the emotional state of those around them. While I put up the mask of  a cold and uncaring person, I'm actually pretty sensitive to the emotions of others. It's something that makes me exceptionally good at customer service, because not only can I absorb and understand, but at some point, project back to another person.

Back to the mask of the cold, uncaring person-- I really don't care about other people, or rather people that I don't know, but reading a text from an old friend that her brother is losing a battle with cancer had me close to tears. I have never met her brother, but her sorrow was so palpable, even through text, that I wanted to cry for her. With her. It's not the first time that's happened, and surely not the last.

Perhaps this grinch's heart does have the capacity to grow.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Making Necessary Changes

Today came the fruition of a very difficult decision that I made over the weekend: after one week at my new job, I quit. I realized that, after having the biggest panic attack in over a year and weighing my finances that the company would not be a good fit for me both mental health-wise and financially. I put a lot of thought into it and started putting out applications and my resume right away, but having just gotten back from making my resignation in person (I feel it's always best for an amicable split) I  feel as if a weight has lifted. My stomach is no longer in knots, the migraine is gone, and I no longer feel like I want to cry at the drop of a hat. I know this can be damning for me, because it potentially leaves me without an income, but I can be squirrely. I've already called the department of labor and found out what needs to happen going forward to collect unemployment still and there will be their standard fact-finding interview. In the mean time, I have one paycheck coming from my (now former) employer and partial unemployment for this week. If I have to, I'll dip into my retirement again. I could not have done this without the support of my family and of John, who let me freak out at him on the phone for a half hour when the initial panic attack struck. My Mom, who I have sometimes felt scared to go to with situations like this was so supportive and understanding, and this morning I woke up to an email from her with a job listing for what is essentially my dream job. I just need to reach out to colleagues and my alma mater to get the ball rolling. Uncertainty is scary, but I will persevere.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Panic Attack

Yesterday I had one of the biggest panic attacks I've had in over a year. I'm not going into details about it because it could be, at this point, damning for me, but it's something that is causing me to think about some life changes.

The scary thing about the panic attack is not only the racing thoughts and the panic over the initial thing that caused it in the first place, but the snowball effect that it can have on everything else. I panic about one thing, which leads to another, and when I don't feel like I'm getting the support I need, I panic about relationships. I cried a lot and didn't eat anything until very late at night. I was very low-functioning and wallowing in my own despair all day. Because I thought that panic attacks weren't going to be an issue, I never really discussed them with my therapist back when I could still afford to go, so I don't have any coping mechanisms for them. No self-therapy I can use, no rescue meds. I tried to distract myself to my best ability. I watched a lot of Star Trek late into the night.

I my more lucid times, when I could utilize my racing mind, I researched the life changes I may need to make. Hopefully soon I will be able to update this blog with less vagarity and more clarity, and hopefully someday my mental health will be where I want it to be.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Cell Phone is Everything

The Samsung Galaxy S 2, the machine I wield
Tonight as I watched an Ebay listing I had put up 7 days ago expire with no bids (dammit) from my phone, I thought I really do do everything on my phone now. When setting up a new phone, one of the first things I do is set up both of my email accounts and my Facebook. I use Amazon, Ebay, Blogger (yes, sometimes I write posts from my phone-- I did several this summer), Goodreads, Yelp, I access my banking on the browser, I read Cracked, Jezebel, and Buzzfeed when I get bored. I take notes, use the camera too much (but my cats are so cute!) and have a shortcut to the Kindle app handy when I've forgotten to bring a book with me somewhere. Anyone that ever needs to get ahold of me will always get me via my phone, it's just that the medium may differ.

When I first started working for my former employer, phones couldn't do these things. Correction: consumer phones couldn't. In 2005 the newer, sleeker (still a brick) models of BlackBerry came out but they were still aimed toward business users, and still didn't have a color screen. No, back then, the high-tech cell phone was the Motorola RAZR, and everyone and their mother had one (I did, and so did my mother). Smart phones evolved slowly, then bam! there was this iPhone thing. Then Android. I think Android was really the "holy shit" moment for cell phone technology. With the release of the Android-powered G1 in 2008, the rise in popularity of smartphones snowballed. In a very short period of time we went from a phone that had very little internal memory to the device I hold now-- the Samsung Galaxy S 2-- that has 16GB of internal memory and a high-definition screen. When I left my telecommunications job in 2011, there was a multitude of smartphones for consumers to choose from, from low-end to high-tech, and talking to the customers and learning their needs, they were becoming dependent on the technology, at times even eschewing home computers in favor of their smartphones.

Now, I'm not getting rid of my laptop. I can't game on my phone, and there are still limitations to mobile browsers that frustrate me. Also, what's up with mobile YouTube? There's almost nothing there. But if I go out the door without my phone you had better know I'm turning around for it. There's no way I'm going without. How else am I going to provide on-the-fly commentary about the human condition whilst grocery shopping or send pictures of funny license plates to my friends? I will honestly say that maybe I'm a little dependent on my phone because I sit and think "Jesus, how did I cope before?" although I know I did just fine. But man, I have become accustomed to my conveniences.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Pre-Work Freakout

I start a new job tomorrow (technically, today) and instead of taking a shower before bed, which I had intended to do, I'm up, watching Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix and generally freaking out about everything.

I have no money and have additional paperwork to fill out for the state (barf).
My new job doesn't pay that great, and when do I get paid?
It's fucking snowing out
I have no money so now I'm going into panic-mode over food (again, paperwork for the state for food stamps)
I'm in debt and want to get a loan but can't until I've worked/gotten paid for at least a month
Have I mentioned I have no money?

So I've been filling out paperwork to lower my phone bill/defer  my student loan/continue unemployment benefits until my first check/continue my meager food stamp stipend and have just now found the time to relax and digest the dinner I ate about an hour ago. At least in between the paperwork and panic I found time to do my nails.

I feel so ill-prepared. Gah!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Effective Acting

I'm a bit in my cups and am rewatching What's Eating Gilbert Grape which has always been a favorite of mine. It's a film I bring up constantly when people try to trash Leonardo DiCaprio as an actor. Of all his roles, his portrayal of Arnie Grape is the most honest and believable role of most movies I've ever seen. In my senior year of high school, I used to hand out announcements every other day with a boy with mental retardation (mental handicap? cognitively challenged?) and I also have a cousin that is rather high-functioning. DiCaprio's portrayal of Arnie reminds me of the boy from high school: not able to live independently, developmentally stuck at a very young age. The squeals, physical tics, picking and scratching at hair, the little things, down to the almost spasm-like gestures of hands is so effective, it's almost like watching an actual person with MR on the screen. It had to be an incredibly challenging role to play, and I respect his attention to detail immensely (especially for someone who was only 19 at the time the film was made). So yeah, he's done some movies that were shitty, but he sorry, folks, he's got his acting chops, and this is proof.