Cards of Life and CBT

The cards I’m dealt with… (Disney’s Alice in Wonderland is one of my favourite cartoons…)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Call it laziness. I haven’t been sitting idly though. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about life in general and tried to find some way to explain it to people and finally came up with an explanation. Life’s like a never-ending game of cards.

Sometimes people get good hands, and sometimes people get bad hands. The good thing about the bad hand is that I think it’s possible to discard some of the “cards” and hopefully get better ones. For example, one of my “cards” has been that I am getting weaker, strength-wise. Well, should I hold on to that card? No. I should replace it with another that will make me stronger and that’s what I’ve done (or rather, in the process of doing). Instead of holding on to the more negative “cards” in my life, I have tried to replace them so that I am a better “me” in future.

What seems like a terrible card or hand, doesn’t really have to be so terrible. I really believe in finding the good from the bad (and sometimes, I go in the opposite direction). I think that it’s good to come up with something positive to replace a negative. If that’s not possible, I try to replace a negative with a neutral. Focusing on negative aspects in my life won’t do any good, and sometimes that’s easier said than done. I am one of my own harshest critics. Sometimes I am absolutely brutal, but as long as I develop that kind of thinking where I am replacing bad thoughts with good thoughts about myself, I think I will be all right.

I think that my life is as miserable as I allow it to be and this kind of thinking has saved me many times getting myself really down. My depressive episodes have gone down a lot and generally, I am a happier person from it. I’m not insanely happy or anything, but I am much, much better. It’s a huge improvement from where I was ten years ago.

It’s still close to impossible for me to take compliments or really understand that I am appreciated in people’s lives though. I’m getting a little better though. I do feel like I mean something to many people and when you get to that point, it’s a really good feeling. Even when I thought no one really cared about me, I know that people do care. It might not come from the direction you want or expect it to, but I really think it’s there floating around or something.

What I have been talking about is actually called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT – don’t giggle). For me, it’s worked like a charm. If you’re interested, there’s a little program I have done a while back that helped. It made me sit back and think: “Yeah, I could try to stop thinking so negatively about myself. It’s not doing any good.” It’s called Moodgym.

I’ve been pretty big on mental health lately because I’ve seen what being in poor mental health can be like and looking back, I really wouldn’t want someone to suffer the same way that I have. I think that it’s really important to nip this stuff in the bud as quickly as possible so it doesn’t become a huge problem later.

The process of feeling better about yourself isn’t an easy one, but I really feel like it’s important to start as soon as possible. If you’re feeling miserable, try out the CBT stuff. It really helped me out.

My “Lonely” Childhood

The other day, I wrote something about how ageing (spelled correctly, btw. It’s a British/Australian English thing.) is starting to scare me a little bit. I also started thinking about my birthdays growing up.

When I was a kid, a lot of my friends/classmates would have these parties at restaurants and skating rinks. I’d get invited to go, but I wouldn’t actually go. My parents never (except once or twice) let me go anyway, but you know something? That was okay for me. I never really liked big gatherings of people and that’s true up to now. I never really liked being the centre of attention or have that feeling that everybody’s looking at me.

At the same time, my birthday parties were usually family only. There were only a few times when my friends would come by and that was when I was an adult. I just didn’t really see a need because as I said, I hated the attention.

You’d think that I would be mad, upset, or regretful that I didn’t do any of that. My childhood was quite lonely except I had a sister and we’d basically just hang out with each other. What bothered me though is when she grew up and moved on from wanting to hang around her little brother. After that, I was a bit alone, but as I’ve said, that was okay. Now this is going to sound pretty shitty, but I wished that my dad had done more with me. He was always too busy hanging out with his best friend. He’d go over there after work, drink, then come back home (usually drunk). I think that he knew more about his best friend’s son than me, which is sad. He did more with his best friend’s son than me which yeah, didn’t feel that great. That’s why I was more of a momma’s boy. My mom seemed to stay in this depression. I’m not really sure how you describe it, but I’m sure she felt the same way where she was tired of my dad being away all the time and more or less, being unsupportive. Looking back at it now and the way she is today, no wonder I am not more social than I am. I just thought that being by yourself and doing your own thing all the time was normal behaviour. It’s come to haunt me a lot in my adult life. (And I don’t want to paint my dad as a monster either. He actually got a LOT better when I was in my late teens, but the damage had already been done.)

I think that’s why I am contemplating my age right now because I think that if I had been more social, outgoing, and all, life would be so much different. My jobs require me to be extremely social and it’s extremely hard for me. I have to really struggle to not let my stunted social upbringing bother me. It takes a huge amount of energy just to get through some days because it’s hard for me to actually TALK to people. Does that make sense?

I find myself getting jealous that people can be so social with other people. I really wish that I could somehow be them and be less shy, closed, and quiet.

But you know something else? I am quite a caring guy. I’m nice and kind (mostly). I do actually care about people’s feelings. I like to see the good in all people (until they severely fuck that up). I don’t hate any person, people in general, or hate being around people. I do need some social interaction. But… it’s hard sometimes. Hopefully, this makes a bit of sense.

I know lately I have been talking a lot about this sort of thing, but I do use this weblog as a type of therapy. I think it’s a good thing for me to do. I had started this as a post about my childhood and not going to or having parties and how I’m okay with that, but it kinda morphed into something else. Oops! Reflecting on bits and pieces of my childhood and adult life is really helping me understand who I am and why I am. I think that’s a really good result!

NOW! I need to go out and do something for myself which consist of me getting off my rump, going to the gym, and then going shopping for food. Gotta utilise these days off to their full potential!

Growing Up

Another start of the week and a new month. Exciting stuff, isn’t it?

In a few more months, I will turn another year older. For some reason lately, that’s been bothering me a little bit. I know that it’s going to happen and no amount of skin cream, magic pills, diets, or anything can stop it. So, like with my baldness, I have no choice but to let it happen as gracefully or ungracefully as it wants. What I can do though is to take better care of myself in the meantime. (You know, like cut out more KFC from my life.)

 

There are times that I think about my life if I didn’t take the risks that I took. What if I never left Texas and was happy living in my hometown? What if I found love there instead of somewhere else? What if I never moved to New York and NYC? Where would I be if I never moved to Australia? Would any of this make me a better person? How about a worse person?

It’s really hard to say and I guess it’s not very healthy to think about it. One of the things that I think about is how my relationship improved with my parents when I moved away. I don’t think either one of them thought that I would move across the world. Hell, I didn’t think I would either, but I did.

But having moved, I’ve missed out on a lot of things. I have missed being around my family as they got older and I’ve missed out on a lot of major life-changing events for them (like the last hurricane). Not only that, I feel like I’ve abandoned my best friend that I’ve had since I was 13 or 14. I miss her a lot and miss the late nights we’ve had playing games and stuff. I still need that sometimes because as far as games go, here, I’m doing on my own. It’s not fun when everybody around you sees gaming as a colossal waste of time and money. (And yes, I’m this old and still love playing video games.)

Also, I think about my refusal to grow up. I still think like someone who’s 20 years younger. I still want to hide in the clothes racks in clothing stores. I still run from place to place while people who are younger than me probably think “what a weirdo”. I still don’t like paying bills, having most of my day taken up by working, and just being responsible. I think out of my weaknesses, that has to be the worse. I can be responsible though. I can save money. I can work 3 jobs at one time. There’s a lot that I have done and can do.

There are things that I feel like I’m missing out on, but that’s a completely different post. I probably make myself look a little crazy here. I probably am though. Anyway, if I stikc around I will just ramble more–so I’m outta here!

Itching to Recharge

I’m back. I’d love to say that I am refreshed after getting some time to myself, but I’m feeling a bit drowsy today. Yesterday, I had an allergic reaction to something that I put on my hands. They started swelling, getting bumpy, and was very itchy. It happened to be the day that I didn’t have any Benadryl with me too, so I had burning, itchy hands all day. I do know that my hands look like they’ve aged 20 years from yesterday and it’s really sad because I have nice skin on my hands. Oh well, first world problems, right?

Magic medicine that I can’t get in Australia, so I have to bring it with me from the USA.

A few of you have reached out to me over my last post, and I really thank you for that. It was a rough week that week. It was a little bit better after that thankfully. I think that’s because I slept at home instead. I think the feeling of being in your own space with someone you care about makes things a lot better. The going to bed at 8 pm so I can wake up at 4 am thing really sucked though. I did get to sleep in today though. I woke up at 6 this morning, even with Benadryl.

It’s unfortunate that I don’t want to can’t say what I was up to over the past few weeks but I will say this: if you’re teaching people new to the field to do something, and they make small mistakes, huffing and puffing isn’t a good way to motivate them. I worked with someone like this and it was really irritating. It wasn’t directed at me, but it’s really hard to see someone try to train someone when they get so pissy over the smallest things. I had to get out of my passiveness and have a little chat with this person. I basically said that they needed an attitude adjustment and they’re supposed to mentor other students, not scare them off. (Hopefully this all makes a little sense. I have to be careful about what I say.)

That’s what infuriated me most this week. Impatience when patience is what’s needed. Oh, and the moodiness. Not a good combination.

Regardless, I chug ahead.

This week marked 8 years that my dad passed away. I try not to think of it much because I don’t think it’s necessarily good to acknowledge anniversaries of deaths. I think about my dad every day. I think about how difficult it is not being able to chat with him when I want. He was always really good at giving practical advice. I miss that. I wished he would have looked after his health a lot better though. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll “see” him again sometime. How, when, where? Who knows? (My dreams about him keep me from getting too sad about it. His memory is still alive. That’s the important thing.)

I hope you all are doing well. As I said, it feels good to recharge my battery. It’s good not to have to set an alarm. It’s nice to be able to drink coffee without the fear of rushing to a bathroom suddenly. It was nice playing with my XBox. It’s also good to have time to be in front of a computer too. I missed the little things!

Lately Things Suck

I think I failed to mention that my posts will be sporadic for a while. Or maybe I mentioned it somewhere… I can’t really be bothered looking for it. That’s the problem. I can’t be bothered. The last week for me hasn’t been that great for me.

Sometimes I mention that I don’t always look after myself the best I can. I can be quite abusive towards myself and what I mean by that is that I really have a problem telling myself that I am doing a good job, that I’m a good person, that the lasagna I made a few weeks ago was really good, or that I am a good partner. That’s what I mean when I say that I abuse myself. I’m not harming myself physically, it’s just all done mentally and emotionally.

All of this self-doubt really has a huge toll on my overall health. When your brain is telling you that you suck at everything you do, sometimes it’s hard getting up in the mornings. Sometimes, it’s just really hard to function and I’ve experienced that over the last week. It seemed to be a lot worse than it has been, and that’s mostly because I’m in the middle of a two week training session. That’s probably the best way to put it since I want my main career to remain private. I’ve had to spend a lot of time away from home and my partner because I’m having to stay closer to where I am training. It takes about 2 hours travelling one-way going from home, and I just can’t see myself spending 4 hours a day travelling on top of an 8 hour workday. I’ve been staying with friends, but I still really miss my partner a lot.

I have said that I like our time apart, but I think I just need really small doses of that. A day is good. Weeks aren’t.

Going back to my health, if you can imagine seeing someone after they give up smoking in one day after they’ve smoked for 25 years, that’s what I am like. Four or five days of the week, my gut is upset. Let’s just say that I stay in a dehydrated state. My blood pressure is going higher. I feel like I am 30 years older than I really am. When things are really bad, I get migraines. This usually happens before assessments, exams, job interviews, work shifts, when I know I’m going to have to be in front of a large group of people, when I have to go to the store to get groceries, you name it.

Mid-week, one of my contacts tore and silly me didn’t bring a replacement, so my partner brought me some replacements. It doesn’t end there, but he wasn’t feeling well, yet he still spent the time to travel more than 3 hours to bring me what I needed. Then, he got me pizza. I really have a great guy and I’m lucky to have him. I’m even happier because I got to spend some of my weekend with him. I really needed that. By Friday, my mood was just abysmal. I missed a day, went to the doctor to explain how I’m feeling and how sick and tired I am being so anxious all the time because it’s not a good fit for what I’m doing. It really makes me sad. I like what I do but the anxiety really gets in my way of doing my job well (or more often).

I stop myself a lot from posting things like this because I don’t want to be one of those people online who list and brag about all their medical diagnoses, issues and problems. I don’t do this for attention. Sometimes I just need to get this stuff out, and if someone happens to come across something that I write that helps them understand what’s going on with them, I think that’s a good thing.

I choose not to smoke, drink (much), or do any drugs though I know they can have a calming effect. I just need to find another way to get my brain to relax. I haven’t found that yet though. (Actually, I think I have, but it’s extremely temporary.)

I guess that’s what’s happening. It’s why I’ve been in hiding… some of it is because I refuse to write these on a tablet since it takes me 10 times longer, but yeah, the mental bit has turned me off completely from wanting to do much. I’ll be back once this week is done. This is my last training thing for the rest of the year (except two days).

Bye for now.

Sensing Fear and Homesickness

It’s a Sunday post that I am actually writing on a Sunday! Wow!

I’m just going to talk about something real quick that my partner told me today. He said he read somewhere on my blog that I need regular breaks from him. Recently, I also befriended an international student who’s here studying. I am not sure how that came about, but he’s young, and extremely homesick. He’s also a bit of a loner by choice, is really new to the area, doesn’t have much confidence in his English skills, and is really struggling to accept the way he is (aka gay but it’s a huge issue where he’s from). I’ve been trying to make him feel a bit better so that he’s not lonely and not afraid to go out there and socialize with people who speak English. In so many ways, I understand how he’s feeling because I’ve been through all of that (except I didn’t struggle with English. Australian English, yes). I just think sometimes people need some support. Homesickness is a horrible, horrible feeling when you feel like you don’t know anybody around. So, I am acting as a bit of support so he can become more confident in himself. I really don’t want him to turn into me!

Feeling homesick is awful, so if I can help someone else overcome this feeling, then I will.

My partner knows that I’ve been talking to him and I think that he’s starting to feel a bit uneasy that I am putting a lot of time into making this person I don’t know very well feel better. I had to explain that I am not interested in other guys (I’m not) and especially not this guy because he’s 15 years younger than me and even if I was single, that age wouldn’t and doesn’t interest me. (Fun fact: The age range I would seriously date is about 5 years younger to 10 years older.)

I just had to remind my partner that everything’s okay between us and I’m still as interested as I was from the beginning. I’m not looking to do any replacing because I am looked after really well and feel really loved. I struggle to show that love or return it, but it’s there. The international student also knows that I have a partner and I am sure they’ll meet one day.

This little situation makes me think that I must be doing some really annoying things so that J feels like I am trying to distance myself. Yes, I enjoy my time by myself (and I always have) and have a bit of a soft spot for people who get homesick. It doesn’t mean I am no longer interested. I’m still thinking about when our wedding will be. I haven’t been planning well lately!

That’s all for now. Still feeling a big heartache for the people near my hometown.

Harvey Aftermath

I know it’s been a while. If you’ve read my last post, you’ll know that my family and friends back in Texas were about to get affected by Hurricane Harvey. Well, they did and it was a lot worse than I expected. The flooding is absolutely horrible. I don’t want to sound overly dramatic but everybody there was affected. Most of the people I know have had their houses and cars flooded. It’s really hard to be across the world and watch this unfold.

rain

Most of the week, I spent reading news reports and the Facebook posts from people trapped in that mess. I didn’t want to leave the house. I didn’t want to go work. I didn’t want to do anything, and when I tried, I’d end up getting extremely anxious or depressed because there’s not a lot that I can do. Feeling helpless and powerless at a time like this is really difficult. I mean, really difficult and I let my brain take over. Ā I don’t really do very well when that happens because my stomach goes crazy and it’s so hard for me to concentrate. So, I’d slip into playing Starbound for a while to just get my head into a better place. (Hey, games are a much better alternative than anything else I could, but wouldn’t, do.)

flood

I’m still sad. Even today, more water is flooding my home town… even after the storm has left, the rivers area flooded and all that water has to go somewhere. Unfortunately, it’s heading into people’s houses, and lives really.

shelter

This is one of the negatives about living here. I love my family and friends over there and since I’ve moved here, I still think about them daily. I do shit on my home town a lot but that’s where many of the people I knew grew up and they’re used to being there. It’s hard to move from a place when you’re whole life is there. It’s extremely hard when nature forces that move.

Anyway, that’s where my brain is and that’s where I’ve been hiding… in a bubble (with Internet access). My partner and his family were the ones responsible for getting me out of that bubble. My sister also helped by telling me to stop beating myself up over something that I can’t do much about… and she’s right. I just wish there was SOMETHING I could do. (Do you know how tempted I was to try to fly there???)

If you were affected by the hurricane, I am truly sorry for what happened. I’m not much of a praying guy, but if that’s what you believe in, then I hope you do get as much love and support from that, seriously. Everybody needs something to believe in and if that’s what you use to get yourself through tough situations, I really hope that you’re blessed with the strength you need to move past this.

Hurricane Harvey

Evidence shows that hurricanes suck.

I’m still quite busy, but I said I’d post something this weekend. Right now, there’s a lot on my mind but one of the major things on my mind is the hurricane that’s about to hit Texas. In case you’ve stumbled into this web blog for the first time, that’s where I’m originally from and unfortunately, it’s not uncommon that we’d get a handful of hurricanes and tropical storms. I’ve been through a couple of bad ones and know that it isn’t fun, especially when you’re an adult. It scares me quite a lot because my family lives there and there hasn’t been a really bad storm since my dad passed away. So that means that my mom and sister are basically on their own (and my grandparents). There’s nothing worse than to be so far away and feel so helpless to do anything. That’s what’s bugging me right now.

I think this is one of the reasons why I halfway want to return to the USA. I mean, if I could move them all here, that would be awesome but I know that’s never going to happen. Not because of the problem of lack of money, but that they’re pretty much happy over there. They’re okay living in an area that has its share of bad storms and I guess they know what they’re in for or they would have probably left a long time ago. Maybe I’m just not giving them enough credit and underestimate how strong they really are.

I’m monitoring how things are going over there and I am really scared of the potential problems that may arise. I really hope that the president will do something to help them after the destruction, but I guess we’ll see what kind of “wonderful” guy these people voted for after it’s all done. I don’t have any respect for him, but if he handles this emergency situation well, then I might have a little bit for him. But I don’t know, he’ll probably just blame the people who live in Texas for living in Texas and say that it’s everybody’s fault. You know, it’s like those super ultra holy men who blame homosexual men for hurricanes? Hopefully he’s got more sense than that, but we’ll see.

OK, I went off there a little bit. I really hope that everything turns out okay for my family and friends over there. It worries me a lot and I think that’s where my brain will be over the weekend. It’s just the feeling helpless stuff. I’d tell my family just to move here where you can live on the coast and not have to worry about any storms whatsoever. I love that about living here. The worst it does here is flood, and that’s not often, and it’s not so bad.

Anyway, if you’re in the storm path or know people in the storm’s path, I sincerely hope that everything’s good. (Sorry, I’m not the praying type of guy.) My thoughts are with you. Stay safe!

Calm to Busy

There isn’t much to say today since I posted yesterday (but I feel like I need to post every Sunday).

What I do know is that this week is going to be crazy. I have a LOT to do, so I suspect my next post won’t be until next weekend.

The problem with this week is that I have a few important deadlines to meet and in a few weeks, I’m going off to do another few weeks of on-the-job training. I thought I should try to get a majority of my work done by then since I’ll basically be swamped with work-related junk the whole time.

So, until we meet again, or until either the US government or Australian government fuck up (for the billionth time), I’ll see you later.

Reshuffling This Wedding Kerfuffle

Since the US presidential election and the politicians of Texas’s need to protect the state from things that aren’t godly, I’ve done a lot of thinking about how I am going to handle my wedding plans. The main reason why I wanted it to happen in Texas is so that my relatives and friends could be there for it, assuming I made a firm plan to do the whole marriage ritual thing. I haven’t made up my mind whether I wanted to do the marriage ceremony thing, or a celebratory thing afterwards. I’ve said before that I usually don’t like being the centre of attention unless I’ve got a dangerously high blood alcohol level. I don’t want to be that drunk on the day.

Lately, there have been talk about a stupid, unnecessary opinion poll about whether two adults of the same sex can get married or not here in Australia. To save you time from reading it, I said I don’t like this poll, but if I actually happens, marriage equality has my full support, obviously.

Assuming that passes and the government in power start to do the job they’re elected to do (still bitter), and marriage equality happens, I’m thinking to do it here–the first chance we get. Then, next year, I’ll do a small celebratory thing in the USA. I probably will have to talk this over with my immediate family first. I probably should talk about this with my partner as well! Haha.

As I said, these are just thoughts floating around in my head. I still don’t have dates. In fact, the dates have been scattered even more than before. This isn’t really good when you’re a planner.

I was also looking for a reason to use the word kerfuffle too. šŸ˜‰