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Sciread77

Facing The Hailstorm

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To start out with, I have to talk about yesterday, my favorite holiday. Thanksgiving. 

 

I don’t celebrate the history, which is ethically messy. But I do believe in feasting and celebrating what you have. I’ve attached a picture of the delicious caramel apple pie that my wife made, which I think may actually have ousted cherry cobbler from the number one favorite pie spot. The other is of the turkey. 15.5 lbs. 225 degrees. 9.5 hours. 1.5 hours applewood smoke. Stuffed with apples, oranges, and onions, with my own dry rub and basting sauce. It’s the first year we haven’t made 2 turkeys for Thanksgiving and the first time I made all the turkey so this is a pretty big victory. It was awesome. Although I missed my wife’s amazing roasted turkey this year. 

 

 

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I am not a believer in the supernatural. This, in and of itself, has led to many (including a large chunk of my family) to label me as anti-religion. The truth is not so simple. I have a complicated history with religion that includes a rather large amount of life dedicated to studying it and reflecting on those studies. I think that often times religious communities are more valuable to people than the actual beliefs or religion of the group. I think that humans need one another. I think that religion has been used to cause untold damage throughout the years, and yet we also see the religious taking part in just about every societal improvement I can think back to. As an example, religion was used to justify and abolish slavery here. I think that perhaps the most important part of religion is providing shared stories, culture, and traditions for people so they can communicate and trust one another. Personally, I prefer to focus on our similarities rather than our differences. (Unless you’re a Nazi or a fascist, because I believe they’ve given up their humanity).

 

In keeping with the communication and symbolism, I have a long history with two runes of the elder futhark. Hagalaz the hailstorm and Jera the harvest, roughly representing destruction/radical change and rebirth/fertility, have helped me understand and communicate the cycles of life particularly well over the years. We are, as a family, currently facing the hailstorm. 

 

One of the beautiful parts of hail is that for all the destruction and pain it brings, it passes. Hailstones melt, and this water the earth. (In Norse writings hail is actually described as a type of grain or seed, even furthering the setup for the harvest).  

 

I can’t go into the specifics, but I’ll say this: most of what has kept us here instead of following opportunities elsewhere just got an expiration date. It may happen faster but it’s no longer open-ended. The situation is awful, hurtful, and right now it is incredibly isolating. I’m hardcore on the defensive, and I’m doing every single thing I can to be a supportive husband. Because ultimately, my wife is getting hit the hardest with this hailstorm. Change is in the air and ultimately I think that change will be  positive even accounting for the rest of the garbage coming along with it. We’re all still healthy. Nobody is sick or dying so in perspective, things may be rough but the important things in life are completely intact. As in my last post of the last challenge, I am 1000%  into my role as husband and father. 

 

However, it might make more sense to break that down. 

 

1.  Sleep, because that’s necessary for my long-term health and to ensure I’m mentally and emotionally capable of achieving the rest of my goals. 

 

2. Time with my wife. It’s more important than even for us to stay strong and connected, especially with the other isolation going on. 

 

3. Prep for the worst. I’m not going to put that plan on here, but it’s already in progress. 

 

4. Prep for long-term change. Evenin the best-case it looks like we’ll still be making major changes. The biggest difference between the best and worst case scenarios is how much time we have to deal with that change. 

 

5. Enjoy the holidays and plan some escapism. We saw the new Wreck-it Ralph movie and we’ll be seeing the Grinch and The Crimes of Grindelwald soon as well. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Got the call that the immediate crisis has been averted.  I’m quite glad, because it buys us some time. We’re not out of the hailstorm yet, though. Even if things return to some semblance of normal, we have already decided to make a major change. (That is, one even bigger than moving). So the plan stays in place, and there’s still a lot of stress. 

 

If you ever wonder why I feel like a leaf in the wind, this is it. 

 

But I’m taking steps, and we’re taking steps, to maintain an internal locus of control. Sometimes things suck. If I’m not fighting depression, it’s often easy for me to focus on the solutions since I feel there’s no point in getting too upset about it. Which means I need to be particularly aware of how my wife is feeling and her needs, because she has to process. Then again, maybe I do too and my hyper focus on doing leads to inevitable bouts of burnout and depression. Who knows? But in a lot of ways, I’m in my element when action is necessary. Part of the plan is continuing to diversify. Most of the plan is supporting my wife and taking care of things at home when she needs to freedom to seize opportunities by the horns. I’m here for it all, and I’m more ready for a fight than ever. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Sciread77 said:

If you ever wonder why I feel like a leaf in the wind, this is it.

 

Prayers, buddy. I'm here for you if you need to talk.

 

Side note: Have you ever listened to The Liturgists Podcast? It's hosted by Michael Gungor (1/2 of the group Gungor) and Science Mike. It's a great podcast for open-discussions for those still on a spiritual journey who question faith and miracles and the supernatural and life after death and the church and ministry. I've burned through three episodes just this week. I don't agree with everything they discuss, and that's the point since many of the guests don't agree with each other, either, but they openly and respectfully discuss their beliefs as well as their doubts and questions. It's pretty transforming.

 

Well wishes, buddy.

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2 hours ago, Wolfen said:

 

Prayers, buddy. I'm here for you if you need to talk.

 

Side note: Have you ever listened to The Liturgists Podcast? It's hosted by Michael Gungor (1/2 of the group Gungor) and Science Mike. It's a great podcast for open-discussions for those still on a spiritual journey who question faith and miracles and the supernatural and life after death and the church and ministry. I've burned through three episodes just this week. I don't agree with everything they discuss, and that's the point since many of the guests don't agree with each other, either, but they openly and respectfully discuss their beliefs as well as their doubts and questions. It's pretty transforming.

 

Well wishes, buddy.

 

I appreciate it. I haven’t listened to the podcast, though I’ll give it a listen. I enjoy respectful disagreements and debates.  One of my favorite classmates in the MBA is pretty much the political polar opposite of me but he never dehumanized me or others, and when we both agreed upon something I’m sure we landed close to the truth. 

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On 11/27/2018 at 4:50 PM, Wolfen said:

 

Prayers, buddy. I'm here for you if you need to talk.

 

Side note: Have you ever listened to The Liturgists Podcast? It's hosted by Michael Gungor (1/2 of the group Gungor) and Science Mike. It's a great podcast for open-discussions for those still on a spiritual journey who question faith and miracles and the supernatural and life after death and the church and ministry. I've burned through three episodes just this week. I don't agree with everything they discuss, and that's the point since many of the guests don't agree with each other, either, but they openly and respectfully discuss their beliefs as well as their doubts and questions. It's pretty transforming.

 

Well wishes, buddy.

 

Listened to a podcast and then some suggested videos by Science Mike. It was interesting and I can get behind a lot of what he says.

 

 

 

 

I’ve read a lot of those same studies and recognize the physiological benefits of things like prayer. My struggle is less with personal individual value and the potential for improving the world than with the tremendous amount of damage it has enabled people to do. Being that religion and religious books are terribly complicated and can be interpreted so very differently by any number of people, I question whether or not the world is better off with that (or one of the existing religions). Especially since I witnessed a relatively open and loving church go down the Christian Dominionist route. 

 

That’s a big part of my struggle, because I think it’s important to look at things from a big picture perspective too. Is humanity served well by a given thing?  

 

I spent most most of my 20s in a similar place to where I am now. Without the supernatural but seeing it as a way to relate and communicate with people. It comes down to faith being a choice, and I left church entirely for  a while.  I see a ton of value in community. I see value in many of the activities and traditions. I think knowing the stories and being able to take part in cultural conversations is a necessary skill. But since there seems to be no inherent mechanism for fixing what’s broken, I also think there could be better ways to go about these positive activities. Especially in the face of some of the awful that tends to come with it all, which an effective lack of controls in place except a fail safe after death seems insufficient and enabling.

 

Just things I think about. 

[/spoiler ]

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Hey, hope you're hanging in there and getting prepped for the big changes you have to make. I find myself in a similar state of life at the moment. Change can be difficult, but also great. There's nothing quite like starting over in a new situation.

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 There have been a lot of changes over the last year, and more are coming up. Which makes a depressive episode unsurprising. I’ve been taking better care of myself lately and I’ve been talking to my wife about it. It’s actually been quite a while since I’ve had a real episode, and I think that having kids helps since they force me to do fun things. But activity can disguise it as well. 

 

So, in preparation for the execution of our upcoming plans, and as a way of recovering from the hailstorm, we are largely taking it easy this month. Time to really regroup.

 

In other news, the storage until is finally empty and closed out. Most of the stuff is in my side of the garage and I’m working to steadily check it for water damage and move it to storage. We have far more clothing that we could ever need and some has mold/water damaged so I’m mitigating what I can and getting rid of the rest. 

 

Our Christmas decorations are out except a handful in one remaining tub buried under some others in the garage. We went full Griswold this year and I’m not sorry. It’s magical, and frankly, I think we all need it this year. 

 

The oldest is starting to encounter bullying/mean things from others. I’m trying to teach him better ways to handle it than Hulk Smashing them, as well as making sure that he’s aware and sympathetic when his words or actions hurt others. He’s a sweet boy, a lot like me when I was his age, and it sucks because I didn’t learn to deal with that crap without cracking a couple skulls until I was a teenager. (I had a handful of fights as a kid that followed months of torture and then I cried because I hurt my tormentors).  I hope he can overcome it better than me. The world is different now, and there was always a better way anyway. 

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I went to the doctor today and we pinpointed the timing of my mood shift from burnt out/bored with the job I had then to depression symptoms. Oddly enough, it was when I started the new job. And the environmental change explains it perfectly. 

 

One of my favorite parts of my last group was my building location. Yes, it was always too hot or cold. But I could see the arch from my desk. Actually, I could see a lot. My roof and two of my walls were actually windows. In contrast, I cannot see any windows from my current desk and I have regular ceiling instead of the glass one. I’ve always been sensitive to light; but usually concerned about getting too much. For the first time since my 3rd shift jobs, I’m not getting enough sunlight. 

 

So instead of a change in drugs like I expected, he prescribed a light box. It arrives Monday. And I’m already feeling better with family support and the idea of a simpler fix (changes in meds can be unpredictable). 

 

In other news, my boss asked me to be on the user experience portion of the software development team for the proprietary system we use and I’m pretty psyched that he wants me to do that already. And he’s tentatively scheduled my Spanish start for the end of January. So woooo!

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17 hours ago, Sciread77 said:

So instead of a change in drugs like I expected, he prescribed a light box. It arrives Monday. And I’m already feeling better with family support and the idea of a simpler fix (changes in meds can be unpredictable).

That's great! I got a light box several years ago and it made a huge difference to my mood in late Fall/early Winter. I don't use it regularly anymore, but I do whenever the "black dogs" of depression start nipping at me.

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One of my high school teachers had to get one of those light boxes. Her classroom was in the basement section of our school and while they did have sky lights in 75% of the rooms she sadly had one that didn't. We did have glass windows in the classrooms facing into the hall to make it less bomb shelter like though. But oooh man! The lamp in hers died one day and she had to order in a new one because the correct bulbs were not in stock anywhere in town and it was like a different teacher was in my class.

They can make a huge difference in mood for so many people! I hope it helps you as much as it did her :)

Sent from my LM-X510WM using Tapatalk

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I bet it does. I feel better today it’s because I hung out on my deck while everyone else took naps. It’s amazing how sensitive I am to the sun. I feel like I’m going to get some control back. 

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As part of my relaxation and getting a grip on life, I’m back to studying languages. My wife is studying German so I added the Duolingo course for that in Spanish and French. 

 

My wife is working on stuff for the next step. I hope she gets to take the next step in the next year. She’s talking about getting a puppy but that just seems like an unnecessary distraction and complication since we already have a dog, 2 cats, 2 bunnies, and 3 children. Don’t get me wrong. I’d love any puppy we get and love having said puppy. But I think it’ll make our already complicated life more so. I’d rather get a new pet after a move if we move again. Because as much as I detest moving (as I’ve so thoroughly documented here) it is worth doing if it’s necessary to pursue the next steps. 

 

In other news, I’m on track to put away more than 60 lbs of pulses this year. My goal from around April seems to have developed into a more permanent change and that’s fantastic. My BP is down about 10 points and my body seems to work better. Plus, they’re tasty and easy to make. 

 

On the flip side, cookies and pie are still my weaknesses and I tend to eat them until they’re gone. 

 

The lamp arrived Monday evening and the light therapy feels like it’s helping. Which makes sense but is still weird to me because I’m used to having things work the opposite way (i.e. less light is usually better for me). But it’s been a long time since I’ve experienced so little natural light during the day too. 

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So the lamp is super helpful. It doesn’t fix all the problems but it’s making life a lot easier in the cave office. 

 

Two of wife’s presents are delayed and will turn into birthday gifts so now I have to get some more stuff for Christmas. Her main gift is tickets to see Anastasia and OF COURSE she’s been bugging me nonstop about getting them since she saw an ad for them last week. So I have to carefully toe the line between keeping her from buying them herself and spoiling the surprise. She’s always had a way of obsessing over any surprises I’ve had for her as if following an almost supernatural subconscious intuition. And she hates having surprises and gifts given early or spoiled. Amazon did it several times. Thank goodness we do our exchange in three days!

 

In other news, Spanish is coming pretty well. I’m supposed to go live in it by the end of January and for our next series of quarterly calls at the latest. I’m honestly less freaked out by using it with the field teams than my jefe and coworkers  that I see day to day.  I also tracked down my high school Spanish teacher and sent her an update/thank-you/apology note telling her about the promotion, thanking her for everything she did to get me started learning language, and apologizing for being such a brat about Spanish not coming effortlessly. Fortunately, she remembered me as an eager, respectful learner and enjoyed having me and my cat phrases in class.  And my note made her day so I’m really happy about that. 

 

I’m feeling better. I’m still struggling with the depression episode but those things don’t resolve overnight. I’m an incredibly fortunate person and frankly, I think having a new series of professional challenges that requires me to seriously  work all day both producing work and learning a new language rather than being a button-pusher who’d basically automated his job is doing wonders for me. I live for that right level of challenge. I think spending 4 years in a job that was incredibly easy for me with few real challenges did a number on me. After all, I’ve always strongly believed that if you’re not learning, you’re dying. And so mentally I spent 3 years dying. 

 

It’s not that I wasted the time away. But I want something external to push me the same as I push myself internally. The forces work together. High school Spanish was almost entirely motivated by the desire to get good grades and (only slightly to amuse my friends). French was all internal but with few places other than occasional conversation with  family overseas to push me. Now I hear it all day and have uses for it all day. 

 

Anyhow, I think it’s been a good if chaotic year. Hopefully next year we  can achieve some more of our goals and experience fewer setbacks.  If not, c’est la vie. Viviremos la vida loca. 

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54 minutes ago, Sciread77 said:

So I have to carefully toe the line between keeping her from buying them herself and spoiling the surprise. She’s always had a way of obsessing over any surprises I’ve had for her as if following an almost supernatural subconscious intuition. And she hates having surprises and gifts given early or spoiled. Amazon did it several times. Thank goodness we do our exchange in three days!

 

I'm the same way, I hate having surprises spoiled. But I know it can be a real pain in the butt for my wife to try to maintain that surprise without me accidentally messing it up through ignorance (ie, buying the same item already or something like that). So you have my sympathy/apologies! xD

 

58 minutes ago, Sciread77 said:

I’m feeling better. I’m still struggling with the depression episode but those things don’t resolve overnight. I’m an incredibly fortunate person and frankly, I think having a new series of professional challenges that requires me to seriously  work all day both producing work and learning a new language rather than being a button-pusher who’d basically automated his job is doing wonders for me. I live for that right level of challenge.

 

I'm glad you're slowly moving out of the episode. I had the same type of experience earlier this year - when my previous work project was cancelled, I spent a month waiting for the next assignment, and the jarring end to the project and nothing to do left me in a surprisingly nasty depressive episode. Now that I'm 3 weeks into a new project, I'm feeling much, much better. Keeping your mind busy and producing work you can be proud of really does do a lot to pull you out of it. Of course, it can be hard to motivate yourself to do that kind of thing when you're depressed. So I definitely understand the need for the "external motivator".

 

Fantastic job with the Spanish! :) Seems like you accomplished a lot this year, despite all the chaos. Here's hoping you have a wonderful 2019.

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I don’t like to have gifts spoiled either. But I have no otherworldly gifts lol. 

 

Depression is not the full diagnosis, and it’s easy for me to dismiss it because mine usually isn’t bad enough to actually prevent me to get out of bed anymore or anything like that. It’s easy to skip over it while keeping myself busy. But it’s an insidious sucker of life and energy and happiness. And yeah, I can keep putting one foot in front of the other but it takes effort. Which is in stark contrast to the opposite energy and sense of empowerment I get from the other side!

 

But having the structured goals helps. It’d be easier to do that myself with more financial freedom. But I’m happy enough with the way we’re progressing. It’s been an amazing year altogether. 

 

Thanks, and you too!

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