On My Own

So, Calla is gone, for the time being. I haven’t heard from her since she left, and hearing from her is really all in her court at the moment. It’s kinda scary, caring about a person so much and not having any way to get in touch with them. But there’s not a lot of point in worrying too much about that, I guess; there’s nothing I can do about it right now except try to be a good friend.

So, I have other things for me to work on. I have a story idea or two bouncing around in my head, though currently they are all half-formed and still coming together. I have my gaming ideas blog, which I’ll be writing in more regularly (I punched up an entry last night, if you’re interested). I have my gaming group, which currently meets every other weekend. And, outside of work, I also have some cooking to do; some of it necessary, because cooking my own meals seems like a good alternative these days, but I also have some experimental cooking to work on, to see if I can cook up certain things (like I said before, I take requests; right now, fancy s’mores and wake up cake are of interest).

Other than that, I don’t know what to do with myself. I have work, I have my friends, and I will find a way to deal with what is going on in my life. I have faith that Calla will get the help she needs, and she’ll come back. But it’s not my favorite thing in the world to be dealing with; it’ll just take some time to adjust.

Contact

This whole work things is really exhausting, but I think I’m getting used to it now. As long as I pop a couple Advil or Excedrin or Aleve, the various aches and pains are pretty minimal, and I’m getting pretty good at navigating the job. I wish my schedule was a little more regular – rotating my schedule every week is a little old, and it makes planning things with friends a lot tougher. It’s kind of nice getting to know a whole new group of people, though, and the crew at Barnes & Noble are a pretty cool bunch.

I haven’t been keeping in touch with a lot of people that I would like to, and I feel sorry about that. Friends from college, from Omaha, friends from Menninger and the stepdown, there are some of all of them that I wish I was closer to or haven’t been in contact with recently, and I am working on changing that. I’m not isolating by any means, but I think the craziness of work and adjusting to the new schedule has kept me from being as close to other people as I want to be. Some people are just hard to get in touch with, and sometimes I’m not great at scheduling (OK, most of the time, I can’t schedule my way out of a paper bag). But I want to find a way to get back in touch, because there are a lot of people I miss hearing from.

I’m still trying to understand a lot of what goes on in my own head, and things happening with other people (Calla specifically, but she’s not the only one). I know I’ve mentioned in the past that I have a lot of trouble actually talking, face-to-face, to other people, even close friends, about my feelings. I have trouble a lot of the time telling Calla how I feel, and it’s not just because we don’t have a lot of opportunity for private conversations.I’m not sure what I can do about it, though, because it’s hard to practice.I’m open to advice, though.

I sometimes get the feeling that there a lot of things that Calla doesn’t tell me because she’s worried that she’ll scare me off or drive me away. That worries me, because I don’t know how to prove to her that I’m not going anywhere. I don’t know that I can, really. I know that her fear of abandonment is probably justified, and I know that makes it hard to trust people; it took me a long time to learn how to trust people, and for me it’s still kind of an all-or-nothing thing – I either don’t trust someone, or trust them completely. But I care about her, a lot, and I just want to be someone she can count on.

Anyway, in my free time, I’ve started watching Supernatural, which is kinda all about two brothers driving around in a muscle car killing supernatural creatures and being laconic and brooding. Eventually angels and demons and things get mixed in. I bought a book called Supernatural and Philosophy, that I bet deconstructs this show and looks at deeper philosophical issues – good vs. evil, free will, Chevy vs. Ford, things like that. I don’t know how much I really want to bring philosophy into what is essentially kind of mindless, but fun, action-horror, but I find the idea intriguing. I’ve got other stuff to read before that, though, so I guess I’ll find out later.

Also, on the cooking front, I’ve cooked a lot of things involving broccoli and cauliflower, a couple types of risotto, a very tasty potato soup, and a deep-dish pizza with crust just a little too thick.. I’ve also made pumpkin butterscotch cookies, which are quite tasty, and I have my place set up to make apple pie egg rolls, complete with caramel dipping sauce, should I have the company. I’m looking for something else, though; I don’t really know what yet. I take requests, but nobody has requested anything, so I’m at a loss currently. I also take suggestions here.

Men at Work

So my blog entries for the last week or so have been a bit sporadic. As some of you may have guessed, it is because of my new job. To be honest, spending eight hours on my feet is something I am not really all that used to, and it’s been taking a toll on my body – particularly my back. My feet seem to be OK, but standing in one space, largely immobile, for several hours at a time is making my back cry for mercy.

I imagine I’ll get used to it after a bit, and so I won’t be quite as worn out – and thus my blog writing schedule will pick back up again – but it will take some time to get used to. Until then, I’ll be posting every other day or so, just because I tend to be so worn out after work that I don’t think first about writing this. It isn’t an indication that I’m not really feeling good mentally, more that I am just worn out.

On the other hand, I do seem to be getting some time to do some cooking between shifts, both because I need to eat (much like the rest of us mortals) and because it’s a relatively stress-free exercise that keeps me focused and generally end up with me eating something that is better for me, if not always as appealing, as pizza. I suppose someday soon I’ll get around to asking my friends around here, like Calla, what things are on their lists of favorite foods so I can work up to making some of those. I mean, you make someone’s favorite food, they have to come hang out with you, right? It’s like a rule.

Really, it’s just kind of a fun activity, which is odd for me to say. Between that, reading, watching TV or movies, and working on roleplaying games, I have a lot of things keeping my mind occupied these days, so it’s a good way to wind down after work, or keep myself active on my days off – I don’t want to spend all day in bed, after all.

In other news, Calla seems to be doing a bit better than she was the other day, but she’s still having a tough time, though she’s made it clear that she thinks I’m not impeding her progress at Menninger. It’s good to know, but I still wish there was something I could do to help. Just that urge to try and fix things, I guess. One of the good things about not being able to physically fix things, though, means that listening is one of the few things I can do – and while I do still occasionally try to find things to fix while in conversation, mostly what I do is listen and try to give Calla (among other people) a metaphorical shoulder to cry on, let my friends know that they have someone who is willing to listen to them.

In any case, I’m finishing this entry just before I head off to work a shift from 7 AM – 3:30 PM, so I’m going to go finish getting ready and hope that I’m not completely tired out by the time I get home.

Mr. Fix-It

Man, it is hard to fight against the way we are at times. I’ve talked a lot about Calla here, and about how much she means to me, and so it is hard to watch when she’s going through tough times. So, being me, I want to try and help, to fix things, to make her feel better. But I also find myself wondering if that is really the way to go.

I’m a guy, and I imagine most guys will admit that seeing a woman crying, basically any woman, is hard to see – we, at least in my experience, want to help, to try and fix things to make the crying stop. (I dunno if the same is true of women seeing men cry; I’ve always found watching guys cry just very awkward.) But I wonder if that impulse here is the right one. I wonder if, in my well-intentioned trying to fix things, if I’m not actually making things worse.

One of the biggest positives to my time at Menninger was in getting to know my fellow patients (or peers, as we’re told to call them while we’re there). Some people I only knew for very short periods of time, and that often wasn’t enough to really get to know them. But others, even after just a couple weeks (which is an absurdly short period of time for me), are people who I still talk to, seriously, on a regular basis. My contacts list on my phone has tripled since arriving at Menninger. The relationships I formed there have helped to get me where I am today.

I wonder if I am doing Calla any favors by remaining close by, always ready to visit if she wants me to. Maybe the safety of that relationship keeps her from forming others among her peers. While I can’t deny that there is some appeal in being such an important figure in her life, I don’t think it helps anyone if our relationship keeps her from forming new ones. I want to be there for her, but I also don’t want to impede her treatment.

It’s hard to watch her go through such a tough time. After watching her descend from a relatively good mood earlier today into what seemed to be relatively deep depression, after leaving I was just a mess of fear, anger, and sadness; it took me a couple of hours, some loud music, and hitting things repeatedly to get me back in a pretty normal state of mind. I’m not really sure what to do, whether I am helping her or hurting her, and that not knowing is really messing with my head. So, how do I fix this situation I got into by wanting to fix things? Is that too recursive?

On a more mundane note, my forays into cooking over the last few days have been stuponfucious (that is too a word, Penny Arcade says so and they’re never wrong about words they created). I made mashed cauliflower and broccoli and Stilton soup, and they were both awesome (though the soup was less soup than puree, but still super tasty).

Next Step

So, I am now employed. Well, I actually start working this coming Tuesday, but I have a job for the first time since 2011. Now, it isn’t a high-paying or long-term job – it’s just seasonal work for Barnes & Noble – but it is the next step in my road to recovery and normalcy, is there is such a thing. It’s a pretty big step, and I guess I’ll find out how well I can handle it in a few days when I start. To be honest, I'[m kind of worried about how well I’ll handle it – my first day is going to be 11-7:30, and that’s a pretty big first day for someone who hasn’t worked in a while. But I think I’ll work it out, so I can work on other things.

I’m worried about Calla, honestly; I know she’s been having a difficult week, and she hasn’t talked to me much about it. I wish I could do more for her, and be there for her more, but I can understand why she is so reluctant to let me in. I can only hope that the longer I stand by her, the more I prove that I’m worth trusting, the closer we’ll get. I know she’s got a dragon to fight, and it isn’t an easy thing to do, but maybe I’ll be able to carry part of the load to let her focus on the fight.

Aside from that, today I went shopping, and brought back a bunch of groceries that, if my college roommates saw, would make them wonder if I had been traded fro a pod person. Lots of olive oil, vegetables, fruits and other such healthy foods – probably the worst thing I bought today was bacon. Not even real bacon – turkey bacon. Which I then used to make myself some very tasty asparagus and bacon risotto for dinner.

What can I say? This cooking is kinda addictive.

Keeping Active

On of the keys to keeping myself from descending back into the depths of depression, I’ve found, is keeping myself active. Too long just sitting around watching Netflix, reading Facebook and keeping up with the news means I start getting stuck in my head, and while I’m stuck in my head I tend to go into dark places. Obviously, dark places = bad. So, in order to keep away from those dark places, I have to keep myself occupied, either physically, mentally, or emotionally. That last is a problem much of the time, but the other two can be done.

Lately, I’ve been working on cooking. Some of it is just because I see recipes that look really good; what can I say? I like food. Some of it is that if I cook my own food more often, it might be a little more healthy – homemade pizza might not taste the same as delivery, but odds are that it’ll be better for me. But really, it is something I can do to help be more self-sufficient, to have something I can do and share with friends, and something that keeps me busy. It’s not hard labor, but it does keep my mind very much in the present, which is very useful.

Oddly, I’m also working out at the same time, so I can work off all the calories I put on with my own cooking. And it’s certainly not easy, nor should it be; easy exercise isn’t really exercise, for me, anyway. Exercise doesn’t tend to keep my mind occupied, though; when I do go to the gym, usually to ride the stationary bike, I have to bring my tablet and my iPhone to listen to music to make sure I don’t get bored. So I just have to make sure that I do it in relatively short bursts so I don’t wander off-task.

To keep my mind active, I play games that keep my mind in the present – mostly on Facebook these days. I read RPGs, trying to keep the rules straight in my head, even if I don’t get nearly enough chance to play them. I read books on medieval history, or on mental illness and support for those suffering from mental illness. And I write blog posts, because it means I have to keep the language centers of my brain working relatively well. I’ve been told I have an interesting style of writing, which I choose to take as a good thing. 

It sounds like a lot, but even with all these things, I still have a lot of time that I seem to spend watching Netflix – that’s part of the reason why I want to get a job, and why I’m glad to have had the job interviews I’ve had over the last week. Having that as a regular part of my schedule will help even more to keep me active, while also helping to keep my schedule a bit more regular. Almost normal, some might say. Keeping all this going keeps me from heading back into depression, and might give me the chance to help others, so it’s all for the good. 

Oh, and if you’re interested, today I cooked both deep-dish pizza and pumpkin butterscotch cookies. Well, and I made myself a sammich.