One of These Days I’ll Learn Consistency: A Depression Story

So. I’m still alive.

The only surprise here is how bad I am at keeping up with this thing. When I started the new blog, I had all kinds of lofty ideas about keeping up with it. I’d do my Doctor Who reviews. I’d talk about movies. I do all KINDS of things. But here we are, nearly halfway through the year, and I can about count the number of entries I’ve made this year on two hands. At least that’s how it feels.

There aren’t any really acceptable excuses. Especially since I’ve been out of work for three months. And I can’t make time to write a blog post every week? Really? It makes me feel kind of pathetic, but I’m trying to work on not beating myself up about things anymore. Specifically, about not doing All the Things. It’s okay to not do everything you set out to do.

And yet I continue to hold myself to impossible, lofty standards. I wish I knew where to stop.

I feel like I should just give up. No more blog, no more nothing. Just sit around like a lump, because you’re not good for anything else.

Which is a lie depression tells me. I have to remind myself of that. It’s hard, though.

I have all the time in the world, but I don’t use it wisely. I just sit around refreshing the internet so I can consume more content, instead of making something for a change. This is something I say to myself a lot, but don’t do anything about. I could make things, but I choose to just consume them. But at the same time, I’m not acknowledging that making stuff can be hard sometimes, and that it’s okay to take things in. That’s what books and movies are all about, and I can’t imagine my life without those.

I just wish I could make more than I take in. I wish I could post here more often without feeling like an awkward cad. But it’s all a matter of consistency, which is something I’ve proven to be very, very bad at.

Oh well.

Forget it, Jake. It’s the internet.

General Life Update No. 2

Hello. Been a while, hasn’t it? I assure you that I haven’t evaporated, but my life has been in a slight upheaval the last couple of weeks, hence the not-posting.

I quit my job last week, for one. It was changing to something I wasn’t comfortable with (something more high-stress and thus probably panic-attack-inducing), so. Yeah. Hopefully the temp agency will find me another placement soon.

I haven’t been writing. I haven’t been doing a lot of stuff, because my life has (once again) been taken over by a new video game. This time it’s the latest in the Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons series, Trio of Towns. I’ve already made it to year 2 in-game and I’m having a lot of fun. There are goals to meet and so on so it’s keeping me entertained. I think I’m probably playing it a little too much, but oh well. At least I’m having fun.

I haven’t been doing a lot of things, to be honest. I almost don’t want to do a mid-month report on my goals because I feel like I’ve done next to none of them. At first it was because I didn’t have time due to my job and its weird hours, and now it’s just because I’m lazy.

…I’m probably being too hard on myself.

Things: I have seen one and a half movies this month. Half because I got too disgusted with the new Beauty and the Beast to sit through it to the end. You might want to expect a rant on that subject in the near future. If I can convince myself that being angry for the hour or so needed to bang it out is worth the stress.

Nevertheless, I am still here. I will be posting again soon. I hope.

Bullet Journal Beginnings

This past weekend I bought, as I am wont to do, a notebook. The notebook turned out to be unlined, dashing my hopes of making it a gaming diary. And then I had a thought, and that thought was, “Why don’t I try my hand at a bullet journal?”

This is not the place to come if you want an explanation of what a bullet journal is, and how to make one. For that I recommend bulletjournal.com and maybe also this Buzzfeed article, and Boho Berry’s Bullet Journal 101 series. I think I’ve got a handle on what it is and what I can do with it, but only just. It’s basically a journal-slash-planner thing. You create yearly, monthly, and even weekly overviews, which you use fill in with tasks and events and appointments. Then you keep a daily log, which you use bullets of different styles to fill in so you know what you’re looking at with a glance. The daily log can be a to-do list, but it’s also where you can record notes and thoughts and quotes and basically anything you can think of. I’ve fiddled with the format for a few days and I’m really enjoying it.

What I’m really drawn to is the customizability of the bullet journal. It doesn’t have to be a straight planner/journal. You can use it to track all kinds of things. In my soon to be personal bujo (the popular abbreviation for it), I’m planning pages to track my daily habits, my spending, and even a little self-esteem log suggested by my therapist. I’m excited to get started on my bullet journal journey, even if I don’t half know what I’m doing.

I will own I’m also attracted to the pretty touches people add to their journals, which you can see if you take a traipse through the #bulletjournal tag on Instagram. I like the colored pens and markers, and the washi tape and fancy lettering. (I’ve even started doing some handwriting drills to make my lettering neater.) I’m not a very artistic person, but I’ve been told I have a decent design sense, so that’s something, isn’t it? At least I think it is. I’m willing to try anything out, and if I make a mistake, oh well. It happens.

All that said, what I’m really hoping to get out of the bullet journal system is consistency. I used to write journal entries every day. I did it for about seven years straight, almost never missing, and then my depression got the better of me and I stopped. I’ve tried to get back into it, but never been able to. The bullet journal seems to me a way to journal without worrying too much about time commitments; it only takes about ten minutes to fill out bullets of what I did today, and what I plan to do tomorrow, plus any notes along the way. More than anything, I hope my bullet journal journey gets me back in the habit of recording my days, so I don’t lose the memories of the fun stuff that happened.

Do you journal at all? Have you tried bullet journaling, or wanted to? Let me know in the comments below.

(Note: I start my proper bullet journal this coming Monday; I’ll be sure to share pictures after I’ve made it through my first week!)

General Life Update No. 1

So what have I been up to since posting my February goals? I know you’re all dying to know. On impulse I want to say “a whole lot of nothing,” but that’s 1. being too hard on myself; and 2. not true.

I have been working towards the completion of my goals, for a start. I’ve been practicing ukulele. I’m working on the Disney puzzle. I’m still reading The Name of the Wind and I started rereading Robin McKinley’s Beauty so I can actually finish some books this month. I’ve even managed to watch a couple of movies, and I’m planning on seeing another this weekend.

Perhaps the biggest thing going on in my life right now is my retry of Holly Lisle’s flash fiction course. When I tried the course back in December, I was taking it week by week. I quit sometime in the middle, when I lost faith that my ideas were any good, and also in my ability to find my way to endings I couldn’t yet predict. (I had just joined Holly’s site, so the lessons were only available at one per week.)

Now that I’ve started over, I’ve got access to everything, and I’ve gone over all three lessons before starting. I’ve reused some of my ideas from the first go round, and I’m trying not to let myself fall into the trap of not believing in myself. I have beginnings written for all five fics, and while they need work, they’re decent starts. Some of them need tightening up to bring down the word count (I’ve only got 500 words total to work with), and others need a little more detail added to establish things. Nevertheless, it’s a start. And it’s more than I had when I started, which was nothing.

I have also been playing video games, though not necessarily the ones I listed in my goals. I’m doing dailies in Animal Crossing, at least in one of my towns, anyway. I also started playing the copy of Ocarina of Time 3D I bought a couplefew weeks ago. I haven’t even entered the first dungeon yet, so I don’t know how it’s going to go. I have internet guides to help me, at least.

I can’t think of much else to update you on, so I’ll leave things off here. What have you been up to lately? Feel free to share in the comments!

Today’s Monster: Perfectionism

I read something somewhere (probably on Tumblr) about perfectionism, or maybe impostor syndrome. It said that perfectionism came about when you told kids that their talents were innate rather than because of their hard work. This makes them believe that everything (or certain things, or whatever) should come easily to them, and if it didn’t, that meant there was something wrong with them personally. Failure was a fatal flaw, not just a result of not working hard enough. …And come to think of it, this is probably more about impostor syndrome than perfectionism. Damn.

Still, the point stands that perfectionists often tie their self-worth to their successes and failures. I’m a perfectionist  myself, I should know. I don’t remember if I was often told how smart I was when I was young, but I remember always wanting things just so. Usually arts and crafts type stuff, but it didn’t take much to extend that to academic performance as well. I was a straight-A student all the way from elementary to high school, and I was always devastated when I didn’t understand something right away, or when I didn’t poorly on a test or a paper. If I couldn’t do well in school, what good was I?

In college I learned not to put quite so much stock in my grades (and yet still graduated summa cum laude?), but now that I’m out in the world I have another perfectionism bugbear: productivity. Especially before I got a job, I tended to measure each day by how much work I got done, whether it was writing or reading or some other arbitrary activity. Even now that I’m working for pay, I still think the success/fail of a day is measured by what I did with my free time. It’s like I’m not allowed to relax or have fun anymore, and as a result I’m as stressed out as I’ve ever been.

I have a multitude of other problems on top of this. I’m a pessimist with (occasional) double depression. I have anxiety that often keeps me from trying things outside my comfort zone. I don’t believe in myself, or have any hopes about my future that I haven’t already dismissed as far-fetched (see the pessimist thing above). I don’t know what to do with my life, because I feel like I’ve already messed it up beyond repair.

This is perhaps information best shared with my therapist. But what is the internet for if not oversharing? (And hey, if this makes one person feel less alone, maybe it’ll be worth it?)

The fact of the matter is, I don’t know how to fix myself. (See again therapist, need to talk to.) I don’t know how to be okay with myself, and okay with how little or how much I accomplish. I really don’t know how to be okay with failure, because that has always been The End for me as far as a lot of things are concerned. I need to be able to work through things in therapy. Maybe I need a mantra or something.

It’s Okay to not do All the Things.
It’s Okay to fail.
Failing does not make you The Worst.

It’s Okay.
It’s Okay.
It’s Okay.