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Wobbegong Cautiously Returns


Wobbegong

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It's no easy task to feel those thoughts and feelings, let alone identify and process them. It seems like a very cathartic exercise to write it all out, I hope it has helped. 

 

2 hours ago, juliebarkley said:

My only add, and I could be totally out of line but I sensed something in there - just because your parents are like they are, does not mean that you will end up like them.

Seconded. I have a very superficial relationship with my parents; I know it's not easy realising that you don't want to grow up to be like the people who raised you.

 

On 8/10/2020 at 1:49 PM, Countess D'If said:

There's a funny part in the book Corelli's Mandolin where a British officer parachutes in and is wandering the Greek country-side speaking ancient Greek. Everyone thinks he's insane.

I know I'm a few days late to the classics chat, but I just want to say I did that exact thing and it was indeed brilliant fun.

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I can't believe you guys all read all of that even though I posted a tl;dr at the top. You're amazing. I owe individual responses, but the cascade of love and support you've shown me is too generous for me to handle right just now so those'll have to wait. You're all great and I'm so happy to be part of this community, though.

 

Haven't been doing much with my challenge, but for once I'm not gonna beat myself up about it. The point was to do real work towards emotional healing and I'm doing that, even if not exactly in the form I outlined for myself. Right now I'm feeling proud of myself and of my progress -- I have no failure to be ashamed of here.

 

I'm also feeling really good physically, which is somewhat unexpected but very nice. I know I'm not feeling as good as I could be if I was exercising more, but exercise brings up all the circumstantial roadblocks that I can't do anything about (too hot to do it outside, too cramped to do it inside, etc) so I'm not worrying about it right now. I do have the bedroom-that-was set up for bikram yoga (it's too hot in there right now to use it as anything else, except maybe a sauna, although I doubt the tatami would appreciate that) but even there I have to watch my head because the ceilings in here are so low I can't stand up under the (enormous) overhead light fixture. Makes "standing tall" kind of impossible. Anyway.

 

Exercise aside, my eating is going very well! I always forget what a joy vacations are purely for the fact that I don't have to engage in performative eating. (Jeez, is there anything about my life here that doesn't make me feel like a dancing bear?) I wake up around the same time as I would to go to work, but I'm not hungry and I'm not stressed about the work day, so I don't eat or drink anything until I get hungry. At "lunch time" (12:10 or 12:40 depending on the school) I'm usually still not hungry, so I don't eat anything. At 2 or 3 in the afternoon, I start to think about my first meal. Or sometimes, I'm hungry at 11, so I eat at 11! I eat whatever I want without having to worry about explaining it to someone or defending my choices or discussing anything about it at all, really. I eat it slowly, usually over the course of two or three hours. I know you're "supposed" to treat eating time as sacred and focus solely on eating and nothing else but when I try that I take two bites and then I'm not hungry anymore and it feels wasteful, either of the food if I don't sit there and finish it or of my time if I remain focused. My preferred way is less forceful, it works for me. And then usually come dinner time, I've just finished lunch, so I'm not hungry and I skip it. Or if I really want to eat for some reason, I can do that too!

 

Perhaps it's unsurprising that I've broken through a weight plateau, and I wake up every morning feeling light and nourished, and even when I am stressed I don't binge eat candy (I've tried! I used up my challenge limit when I was feeling super overwhelmed and there's still chocolate left, it's been sitting next to me for days and I know all about it and I haven't touched it or even thought much about it). It's honest amazing, I feel great.

 

So please be reassured, I'm quietly -- or sometimes not so quietly, as the case may be -- sorting through a lot of emotional and mental and social bs, but I'm eating well and happy physically, at least.

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19 minutes ago, Wobbegong said:

Jeez, is there anything about my life here that doesn't make me feel like a dancing bear?

I know these feelz. 

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4 hours ago, Wobbegong said:

Haven't been doing much with my challenge, but for once I'm not gonna beat myself up about it. The point was to do real work towards emotional healing and I'm doing that, even if not exactly in the form I outlined for myself. Right now I'm feeling proud of myself and of my progress -- I have no failure to be ashamed of here.

 

You're doing some really heavy lifting this challenge; you've got nothing at all to be ashamed of.

 

Sounds like your currently in a better space, and that makes me happy. 

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On 8/14/2020 at 6:22 AM, Wobbegong said:

Haven't been doing much with my challenge, but for once I'm not gonna beat myself up about it. The point was to do real work towards emotional healing and I'm doing that, even if not exactly in the form I outlined for myself. Right now I'm feeling proud of myself and of my progress -- I have no failure to be ashamed of here.

Good, you should be proud - doing emotional work on yourself is a lot of very hard, but often hard to see work.

 

On 8/14/2020 at 6:22 AM, Wobbegong said:

So please be reassured, I'm quietly -- or sometimes not so quietly, as the case may be -- sorting through a lot of emotional and mental and social bs, but I'm eating well and happy physically, at least.

Yay! Also, performative eating sounds extremely unpleasant and awkward

 

edited to add:

Echoing all the hugs in here, you're dealing with a L O T

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On 8/8/2020 at 9:09 AM, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

What if you think of it this way? You're out of practice feeling things. You've finally started noticing your emotions again, so they're going to be more intense. It's like being in a dark room for a couple of days then walking out into blaring sunlight. It's going to be overwhelming.

It was overwhelming and probably will be again (and again, and again, because this kind of healing isn't linear) and you were absolutely right about this. It's even the kind of advice I'd give myself. But because you are a professional Encourager I do want to say, at the time, reading this somehow felt a little invalidating. Like I was drowning* and you were saying "I can see you're stressed about this, that's valid, take a deep breath." Literally breathing was the source of the problem -- or in my case, feeling. It's absolutely true that I just have to sit with it and learn to have emotions and experience them fully, but in the moment of greatest overwhelm and feeling like I can't possibly do it being told it's natural to feel overwhelmed didn't make the overwhelm any more bearable.

 

Unfortunately, I can't think of anything that would have been better that you would actually have been able to deliver online. If you know of any exercises for people in my situation to sort through what they're feeling and get kind of a handle on it, something like that might have been helpful, but I don't honestly know. And of course, you're not my therapist and it's tough to know how people will respond to being given suggestions like that in those kinds of situations. There's no easy solution.

 

I will say that once I felt less overwhelmed, your advice and words resonated much better. I do need practice and it is an issue of "finally starting to notice" at a point far beyond when I should have developmentally, and you're absolutely right that it will take some adjusting.

 

*I say this not only as an apt analogy but also as a person who has actually very nearly drowned. I know exactly what it feels like. It was very scary and I could have died. The emotional overwhelm was every bit as scary, went on longer, and I didn't have any training or local support to help (which I did with the drowning situation -- it was a SCUBA incident, so I had prior training and a diving buddy and a dive master with me). Of course, with the dive incident, I was able to help myself by relying on my training, and my dive buddy was able to tow me back to shore while I coughed and vomited Sound water and practiced breathing atmosphere again. With the feelings thing, there was nothing I could do but keep feeling.

 

On 8/8/2020 at 8:38 PM, Chesire said:

^^ was going to say the same as Tank, but not as beautifully concise.

Thanks ^^

 

On 8/8/2020 at 10:39 PM, Waanie said:

-hugs- I agree with @Tanktimus the Encourager and @Chesire about the framing. For me, light exercise dampens the emotions to a manageable level without shutting them off when I'm "negative". Different things work for different people though, so YMMV.

Thank you. I'm sure more exercise would definitely help me -- there are a lot of roadblocks in the way of it right now, but not infinite roadblocks. I could (and really should) be doing something.

 

On 8/9/2020 at 5:16 AM, Jupiter said:

Agree with everyone above. *hugs*

Thank you

 

On 8/10/2020 at 12:49 PM, Countess D'If said:

I know that. After I was medicated for anxiety, the first time I got actually angry was extremely confusing. I had no idea what emotions even felt like any more, so having a real one was like being in Wonderland and everything was upside-down. Everything had been so filtered through the anxiety and depression that I had to re learn feelings. It's weird. But you're allowed to feel things. Just like you are allowed to exist and take up physical space, you're allowed to take up emotional space and you're allowed to take time to process feelings. But yeah - it's still weird.

Thank you so much for writing this. This comment really touched me when I was freaking out -- I felt very seen and understood. I'm so sorry you had to go through this, but also glad it sounds like you found some medication that works for you and were able to make some progress. Thanks for the permission also, it does help to be told those things sometimes.

 

On 8/10/2020 at 8:52 PM, Bean Sidhe said:

Right now, I am doing the "I can still be here even if I am hurt and can't do anything right?" Moment (More details in my thread, but we think I sprained my knee pretty good).

I haven't been by your thread in way too long but I hope your ankle is recovering! You are always welcome here.

 

On 8/10/2020 at 11:52 PM, Whisper said:

So, I have a theory on the "attract weirdos" front; my guess is that both you and Wobbegong actually listen to people and while it might just be "being polite" on your part, it is in fact incredibly rare. I used to be stunned at what people would be willing to tell me and attract all sorts of people, but eventually concluded that it wasn't as much me attracting more than my fair share of weirdos, as me listening to people and them sharing things they normally wouldn't. Being out of school and a near total homebody has cut back on it massively, but for a long time I wondered if I was walking around with "Confessor" sign or something.

 

Basically, you run into a perfectly normal number of weirdos, you just get to know about it, and because they feel heard, they're a bit more likely to stick.

Yeah, I think this is the growing consensus. It's kind of funny, because in a way it is me (and all of the rest of us who experience this) -- not so much "attracting" weirdos as just "noticing" weirdos. There are so many people out there who are so desperate for any kind of connection.

 

On 8/12/2020 at 12:15 AM, WhiteGhost said:

That is a very impressive amount of awareness about your feelings.  I don't know that I have ever been that thoughtful about the way different things I am thinking about affect various emotions.  I know they do, but I have never tried to identify them like that.  It sounds like a very useful exercise 

It's interesting to see where emotions manifest physically. I think probably most people are not as divorced from their feelings as me but could still stand to be a little more aware of how everything ties together. Now that you mention it, it might be helpful for me also to do a bit more "scanning" to check in on all aspects of my current state, physical, emotional, and mental, because there are so many things from the latter two that I'm only able to express right now through the former.  

 

On 8/12/2020 at 1:11 AM, Waanie said:

Wow, your parents are rough. It's not okay how your mom behaves right now, and I'm glad that you have other family members to talk to as well. Living abroad is hard and lonely already, and then this type of behaviour of your parents makes it even harder.

 

On a slightly different note; are you seeing a therapist? If not, you should if you can afford it and find an English-speaking one. If you feel like you're not making progress, it might be time to switch approaches and a therapist can help you find something that works for you. Being aware of emotions might be helpful for some people, but for others (like me, and possibly you) it can throw them in a negativity spiral which is hard to get out of. 

 

Anyway, do you have anything fun planned for the last weeks before your classes start again?

My parents make me nuts and it feels so validating to hear that others agree that their behaviors are not ok. I took it for granted that that's just how my relationship with my parents is for so many years, it's great to finally be able to say "this is wrong" and have people nod and agree. So thank you.

 

I'm not currently seeing a therapist. I know I should be, but the thought of finding one under my present circumstances is so exhausting. There's a counseling service offered through the JET program with English-speaking support but I think it's mostly geared towards culture shock, homesickness, and work problems... plus I have to go through my supervisor to get at it, which also makes me very uncomfortable. For right now, I do feel like I'm making progress, and like finding a therapist will be too much effort if I'm gonna leave in less than a year anyway, but I will absolutely seek one out when I return to the States.

 

As for fun stuff, I've been playing Stardew Valley as a co-op with a close friend all weekend, so that's been fun. There's one week left of vacation and I don't have any other fun things planned, although I have a few books I'd like to read... I kind of think I should be spending my time figuring out how to not lose all of my progress once I go back to work, but I have no idea how to go about doing such a thing.

 

On 8/12/2020 at 3:37 AM, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

You instinctively did some good self-awareness while writing that post. Writing down how your body was reacting is a tool often used by therapists to help people connect with their emotions. Watching how the body responds to certain stimuli is a good way to learn how you are reacting emotionally. I encourage you to stick with it, whether here or some other way. I'm not surprised it was exhausting to write; again you are working a new emotional muscle and you're gonna have some mental DOMS for a while. 

 

I do want to offer a resource for you. It's for Adult Children of Alcoholics. Here is the website:
https://adultchildren.org/

Part instinct and part memory. I had heard about this technique before, just never used it myself. But my physical reactions were so strong and so intense it seemed like the only way forward was to acknowledge them, so if I had to keep interrupting my writing to do that I might as well write them down, too. Re-reading that post now feels a bit disorienting. I'll try to stick with it.

 

I'm aware of Adult Children, and also AlAnon. I've been to a few Al Anon meetings, but it never really resonated with me. I had pretty bad timing and started going just before we lost a very famous actor/comedian from the area to suicide. He had been a fixture at those meetings (anonymously, but) for years. I never met him myself, and for like my first month pretty much every meeting would have someone sharing a story about him (until whoever was organizing in our area made a rule about it) and it felt like I was butting in to a friend group I didn't belong in at a time of tremendous grief. Also I went with a particular aunt who tends to be really manipulative about turning younger family members against not-yet-recovered alcoholics in the family and that was not great for me since I was still living with my mom at the time.

 

All of that is to say, I could probably stand to give it another shot, and I know AC is different from AlAnon, so it might be better. I dunno. Thanks.

 

On 8/12/2020 at 5:04 AM, Athaclena said:

I second and third all of this. Being the child (or close family member) of an alcoholic is not easy.

I cut the toxic family members out of my life. I realize that's not for everyone - but I can say once I did - I was happier in general. That may not be right for you - but realize it is an option - or to even take a break. I left home at 16 and really never looked back. I keep in touch with literally 2 people (my mother and her best friend) - and go home Thanksgiving ONLY to limit my contact with everyone else. Every time I go home - I'm reminded of why I left (sadly) - and get very angry whenever I'm dragged back into the family BS.

So {{{hugs}}} for dealing with everything and getting in touch with YOU.

Thank you for the hugs and the understanding. Right back atcha -- I'm so sorry to hear you've got such a maddening family situation. I'm glad you've got some distance. I've definitely considered cutting my own contact with my parents, especially my mother, but I actually like most of the rest of the family. We've had family feuds before, so I know the whole "we go to family events together but do not speak to each other or make eye contact" option is possible, but it just seems like a huge pain in the ass. So far it's been easier to just live far away and manage when I talk to them, but there's also a lot of pain from little things every time we do talk.

 

I would like to be in a closer timezone so I have the option of refusing to speak to them except in the morning, when my mom is more likely to be sober, but I can't really change that now. Someday.

 

On 8/12/2020 at 11:49 AM, Jupiter said:

I have nothing to add, just *hugs*

 

Big Hug GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

I am very fond of hugs and very touch-starved right now so even internet hugs are gratefully welcomed. *hugs back*

 

On 8/13/2020 at 10:56 AM, juliebarkley said:

My only add, and I could be totally out of line but I sensed something in there - just because your parents are like they are, does not mean that you will end up like them.

You're not out of line. This is definitely something I kind of alluded to in that post but honestly didn't even realize until you pointed it out. Thank you.

 

Long before I even understood my mom was an alcoholic, I had sworn off ever drinking. Like when I was ten or eleven, maybe? I didn't uphold that vow, I drank a little in college just to try it, but I always hated the flavor of alcohol and I always hated the feeling of being drunk, so I felt like I would never have to worry about following my mother's footsteps there, at least. But there are so many other things about the way she acts and the way she views the world that she has absolutely passed on to me and I hate a lot of those things in myself as vehemently as in her. And I'm afraid of them. It's good to be aware of that, so thank you.

 

On 8/13/2020 at 12:59 PM, Lateral Planet said:

It's no easy task to feel those thoughts and feelings, let alone identify and process them. It seems like a very cathartic exercise to write it all out, I hope it has helped. 

 

Seconded. I have a very superficial relationship with my parents; I know it's not easy realising that you don't want to grow up to be like the people who raised you.

I haven't been feeling as overwhelmed since I wrote it all out, so it does seem to have helped. I'm not sure if I'm back to suppressing things, though, and that has me a little worried. It's difficult to know, though, especially without professional guidance. @Waanie is right, I do need to be in therapy, but it's just not in the cards right now.

 

In some ways I do want to grow up to be like them... I'd like to be wealthy and stable and successful, have a nice house on a nice plot of land, a good secure job that pays decently and has good benefits. Is the price of that all the other shit, though...?

 

On 8/14/2020 at 4:43 AM, Tateman said:

That takes a lot to write out that. Internet hugs 

egIUcNc.gif

 

Hugs! And thank you for the sweet gif! Even as a child I always really hated Misty's treatment of Caterpie and I thought Ash did a really good job of standing up to her about it. I too cannot change what I am and don't deserve to be made to feel like shit about it, even if I'm usually the one making myself feel like shit about it.

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9 hours ago, Wobbegong said:

t was overwhelming and probably will be again (and again, and again, because this kind of healing isn't linear) and you were absolutely right about this. It's even the kind of advice I'd give myself. But because you are a professional Encourager I do want to say, at the time, reading this somehow felt a little invalidating. Like I was drowning* and you were saying "I can see you're stressed about this, that's valid, take a deep breath." Literally breathing was the source of the problem -- or in my case, feeling. It's absolutely true that I just have to sit with it and learn to have emotions and experience them fully, but in the moment of greatest overwhelm and feeling like I can't possibly do it being told it's natural to feel overwhelmed didn't make the overwhelm any more bearable.

I apologize for invalidating you, that was the opposite of what I was trying to do. My hope was to offer a re-frame in the attempts of saying it's normal for you to feel overwhelmed. I was not wanting it to come across as advice, rather as a way of looking at the situation that confirms it was normal for you to feel what you felt. With the drowning analogy, my intent was to convey something along the lines of, "I can see you feel like you are drowning, those feelings are valid." My intent was not to communicate anything along the lines of the "Take a deep breath" part, and for that especially I apologize, because if I understand you correctly  it's that part that felt invalidating. Since you say what I wrote seemed more helpful once you calmed down, it's possible it was a question of timing; I said something helpful at an unhelpful time. Again, I accept responsibility for that. All that to say, your feelings of being invalidated are valid.

 

9 hours ago, Wobbegong said:

I'm aware of Adult Children, and also AlAnon. I've been to a few Al Anon meetings, but it never really resonated with me. I had pretty bad timing and started going just before we lost a very famous actor/comedian from the area to suicide. He had been a fixture at those meetings (anonymously, but) for years. I never met him myself, and for like my first month pretty much every meeting would have someone sharing a story about him (until whoever was organizing in our area made a rule about it) and it felt like I was butting in to a friend group I didn't belong in at a time of tremendous grief. Also I went with a particular aunt who tends to be really manipulative about turning younger family members against not-yet-recovered alcoholics in the family and that was not great for me since I was still living with my mom at the time.

 

All of that is to say, I could probably stand to give it another shot, and I know AC is different from AlAnon, so it might be better. I dunno. Thanks.

 

I don't know what I don't know, so I'm never sure if resources like the one I offered are something someone has already tried before. I am working to develop a way to offer resources like that while acknowledging they may be something someone has tried.

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@Tanktimus the Encourager you're doing a great job and I really appreciate having you hear and getting your advice. I do think it was a timing issue and of course I don't expect you to know everything. I know that helping and encouraging is part of who you are, and that's the only reason I told you honestly how I felt -- not to say you did something wrong, but because I think what you do is vital and want to help you be the best at it you can be, which I think is something that's only possible with honest feedback about how you're being received.

 

It's impossible to do it perfectly every time and I hope I didn't hurt you or make you question yourself by telling you. I'm sorry if I came across as chiding or defensive. Again, I really do appreciate your support.

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1 hour ago, Wobbegong said:

@Tanktimus the Encourager you're doing a great job and I really appreciate having you hear and getting your advice. I do think it was a timing issue and of course I don't expect you to know everything. I know that helping and encouraging is part of who you are, and that's the only reason I told you honestly how I felt -- not to say you did something wrong, but because I think what you do is vital and want to help you be the best at it you can be, which I think is something that's only possible with honest feedback about how you're being received.

 

It's impossible to do it perfectly every time and I hope I didn't hurt you or make you question yourself by telling you. I'm sorry if I came across as chiding or defensive. Again, I really do appreciate your support.

You did not come across as chiding or defensive. You came across as telling me what you felt so I would know what happened. I simply wanted to respond and acknowledge what you said with respect.

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Since you asked for exercises that might help... I once got a worksheet from my psychologist that basically said "judge your neighbour", I think it's based on this one (mine was translated and 4 A4). It was too much work for me at the time, but it can be very helpful as an extension on cognitive behavioural therapy. Don't look too closely at the website this is coming from, it's very New Age-y. My psychologist did assure me though that it is scientifically validated, although I don't know any sources that show that.

 

Another tip is to try to do some more fun, or at least neutral, activities if you're working with negative emotions a lot. It's exhausting, and you have to make sure you keep the doses low, especially if you're feeling really bad. I don't know exactly what you like, but something like gaming, reading or drawing sounds like a good counter for the negativity spiral. 

 

Lastly, tiny amounts of exercise are better than no exercise. Start with 5 minutes per day, something like a walk or a few strength exercises on low intensity. If you feel like it, you can go on, but if not, stop. After a month, make it 10 minutes, etc. It's a marathon, not a sprint ;).

 

Anyway, enjoy your last week off, and stay safe :).

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On 8/14/2020 at 7:43 PM, WhiteGhost said:

I know these feelz. 

I'm very sorry to hear that. Then again, with your handle I guess it'd be pretty much impossible for you not to know what it feels like to be singled out as an outsider in your country. How is the culture of social homogeneity in China? I know demographically it's something like 98% Han Chinese but I don't know much about the way they react to and treat outsiders. Although I guess from your comment "dancing bear" pretty much... 😕

 

On 8/15/2020 at 12:14 AM, Whisper said:

You're doing some really heavy lifting this challenge; you've got nothing at all to be ashamed of.

 

Sounds like your currently in a better space, and that makes me happy. 

Thanks. Me too, honestly. But I also feel like I've maybe been hiding a little, because coming back here and posting is bringing up (physical) feelings again, which I haven't really been experiencing while I kept my head down. Right now there's some tightness in my chest and I'm not sure there's a word for it... I'm happy and scared and loving and sad all at once, but I feel supported. Hopefully it won't get overwhelming again.

 

On 8/17/2020 at 2:00 AM, NightWatcher13 said:

Good, you should be proud - doing emotional work on yourself is a lot of very hard, but often hard to see work.

 

Yay! Also, performative eating sounds extremely unpleasant and awkward

 

edited to add:

Echoing all the hugs in here, you're dealing with a L O T

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Hugs always welcome and thank you for a cute gif! And also for your support. I'm trying.

 

Performative eating is among my least favorite things at work. These past couple of days I've been trying to think of how I can maintain the positive progress I've made recently when I return to school and that one is one of the most difficult. School lunch is SO regimented and there is ALWAYS someone there to make sure I'm eating and ask what I'm eating, and someone else to make some comment about it. They'll say, "wow, a knife and fork? fancy!" or "you're so good with chopsticks!" or "it's so impressive that you cook all your own meals" or "you're eating that? impressive" -- always judging me well, but the commentary is unwanted and after working there for years and getting some variation on one of those comments every day they feel really trite and formulaic. I can tell they're trying to be friendly and they just don't know me well enough to say anything else, but no one else in the staff room receives this kind of commentary, so I mostly just feel singled out.

 

I feel like I always have to both prepare a lunch and prepare some light conversation about my lunch. It drives me nuts and I want to not be driven nuts by it but I don't know how. Telling myself 'they're being kind/curious" instead of "they're being xenophobic" is its own very intentional effort, especially when I'm the only one every time. And it happens every single day! But I worry that if I ask them to stop, they won't understand why I'm offended and then they'll just never talk to me at all, and I don't want that either. So my lunch remains on display.

 

8 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

You did not come across as chiding or defensive. You came across as telling me what you felt so I would know what happened. I simply wanted to respond and acknowledge what you said with respect.

Ok, good! I get so nervous offering critique online, it's so easy to read things the wrong way (I know I do it all the time). Good talk.

 

3 hours ago, Waanie said:

Since you asked for exercises that might help... I once got a worksheet from my psychologist that basically said "judge your neighbour", I think it's based on this one (mine was translated and 4 A4). It was too much work for me at the time, but it can be very helpful as an extension on cognitive behavioural therapy. Don't look too closely at the website this is coming from, it's very New Age-y. My psychologist did assure me though that it is scientifically validated, although I don't know any sources that show that.

 

Another tip is to try to do some more fun, or at least neutral, activities if you're working with negative emotions a lot. It's exhausting, and you have to make sure you keep the doses low, especially if you're feeling really bad. I don't know exactly what you like, but something like gaming, reading or drawing sounds like a good counter for the negativity spiral. 

 

Lastly, tiny amounts of exercise are better than no exercise. Start with 5 minutes per day, something like a walk or a few strength exercises on low intensity. If you feel like it, you can go on, but if not, stop. After a month, make it 10 minutes, etc. It's a marathon, not a sprint ;).

 

Anyway, enjoy your last week off, and stay safe :).

Thank you for the exercise! It looks perfect for the part of my challenge I haven't even attempted yet, the "sorting through difficult experiences" thing. I'm not sure I fully understand the four questions/turn the thought around stuff, I'll look up the theory there first to get a better sense of it. I can appreciate the validity of interrogating what you're feeling, but it seems weird to ask if your feelings are true or not and if you can ever know they're true. But thank you, I'll give it a try.

 

I've been doing a lot of video gaming! I've just started playing Stardew Valley, and then a few days ago I realized I wished I'd started on a different farm layout and the friend that suggested SV to me commiserated with the issue of starting over, and we ended up deciding to start a new game together. So we've been doing that, and it turns out we're perfect farm partners. She loves dungeon diving and I love fishing and foraging. She takes care of the animals and I take care of the crops. We both do farm maintenance together. It's been really fun to hang out with her in such a laid back and cooperative way. I kind of felt like I was maybe hiding from dealing with my shit, but it was absolutely overwhelming, and you're right that I was exhausted. As soon as I felt I had recovered enough to come back, I came right back and got back to work. So even I can see I'm growing, and it will take time, and it's ok to go slow and take care of myself along the way. I might need to be reminded of that as I go, but I'm doing my best to keep it in mind.

 

Yeah, you're right. I easily get a few minutes of walking in most days just going to the grocery store (it's about a five minute walk away) but it's important to move on days when I don't go out too. I really like your idea of one month at a time for increasing time spent, I never know how much to start with and when to increase, your idea sounds great.

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6 hours ago, Wobbegong said:

Thank you for the exercise! It looks perfect for the part of my challenge I haven't even attempted yet, the "sorting through difficult experiences" thing. I'm not sure I fully understand the four questions/turn the thought around stuff, I'll look up the theory there first to get a better sense of it. I can appreciate the validity of interrogating what you're feeling, but it seems weird to ask if your feelings are true or not and if you can ever know they're true. But thank you, I'll give it a try.

 

No problem! I saw this mentioned lately in a self-help book as well, so I will look up tonight what it is called officially. If you take the example of being angry at your mother because she came on the phone drunk, then you could question whether you're really angry at her, or more disappointed or sad, or whether the reason that you're angry is if she's drunk, or if it's something else. Inversions could be that you're happy with your mom, your mom is angry at you, you're angry with yourself (e.g. if you think you should have done something about it).

 

I'm glad you're enjoying your gaming, and you've got someone to game together with :)

 

6 hours ago, Wobbegong said:

I never know how much to start with and when to increase

Me neither, but I think it depends on the person. 5-week challenges are that length for a reason, but for the small things I like to go a little faster. I wouldn't go for every week if your life is otherwise (emotionally) busy, and since it's a difficult thing, I would build up slowly.

 

Good luck with the food!

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16 hours ago, Wobbegong said:

or "you're eating that? impressive"

 

I'm not entirely sure what they're meaning to imply by this, but reading it makes me want to sit with them while they watch me eat an entire 14" pizza, just to see how'd they react to it.  (For science 😗.)

 

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You haven't seen my Final Form

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7 hours ago, Hazard said:
23 hours ago, Wobbegong said:

"you're eating that? impressive"

I'm not entirely sure what they're meaning to imply by this, but reading it makes me want to sit with them while they watch me eat an entire 14" pizza, just to see how'd they react to it.  (For science 😗.)

I kind of translated awkwardly, what they mean is more 'you made that??' because I don't eat school lunch so I have to make my own, so whatever I'm eating is something I made. I get this reaction for a huge variety of things that seem simple to me but are apparently "classy" in Japan for some reason -- meatloaf, salad, mashed potatoes, stir-fry, hot and sour soup, twice-baked potatoes (easier for me to eat on the go since the toppings are all mixed in, dunno how they'd react to a regular baked potato), Thai curry, deviled eggs, etc. If it was a comment about the variety of things I make that would make more sense, but I only get variety comments from two specific coworkers who are significantly friendlier and with whom I'm significantly closer than the others. What most people mean generally is closer to, "I've seen that on TV and didn't know people actually ate it, wow. How exotic!"

 

If I brought in and ate a 14" pizza that would certainly elicit some reaction, but I imagine it would be more along the lines of "how can you eat that?" (celiac), "how did you make that?" (my toaster oven isn't large enough to fit) or "where did you buy that?" (there is no pizzeria serving 14" pizzas in this town), and "are you eating all of that?" (I get this question a lot and don't know if it's judgement about me eating too much or if it's judgement about me eating too little -- I absolutely get scolded if I don't finish my own goddamn lunch, so)

 

4 hours ago, Waanie said:

It's called "Inquiry Based Stress Reduction". Funnily enough, if I google that, I get mostly Dutch and scientific websites. It doesn't seem to live in the English-speaking self-help world yet. Anyway, good luck!

Yeah, looks like it's considered quite new-fangled in English-speaking psychology circles. It does look promising though, I'll give it a whirl! Thank you!

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PSA to all of you in the States: usually, you can request your credit report from each of the three main reporting companies for free once a year. Right now and through April 2021, due to COVID-19, you can request a free report from each company weekly. If you haven't checked your credit recently, you should do so as soon as you can, as reports of scams and identity fraud are really high right now. https://www.annualcreditreport.com/

 

I requested all three of mine today and was locked out. I called the number to confirm my info and try to get a report mailed to me, and the name they had on file for my parent's place (my US address while I'm in Japan) was suuuuuuper fake. Alarmingly so. So I'm working on sorting that out now, but everyone else, please check your info and stay safe.

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6 hours ago, Wobbegong said:

PSA to all of you in the States: usually, you can request your credit report from each of the three main reporting companies for free once a year. Right now and through April 2021, due to COVID-19, you can request a free report from each company weekly. If you haven't checked your credit recently, you should do so as soon as you can, as reports of scams and identity fraud are really high right now. https://www.annualcreditreport.com/

 

I requested all three of mine today and was locked out. I called the number to confirm my info and try to get a report mailed to me, and the name they had on file for my parent's place (my US address while I'm in Japan) was suuuuuuper fake. Alarmingly so. So I'm working on sorting that out now, but everyone else, please check your info and stay safe.

Yeah, I got a statement for a new credit card I had not ordered. Fortunately, it went to my old address that still was forwarded to the new place. I canceled it, made an identity theft report with the FTC, and froze my credit.

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Current Challenge Original 1,2,3, R 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,47,48,49,50,51

52

"By the Most-Righteous-and-Blessed Beard of Sir Tanktimus the Encourager!" - Jarl Rurik Harrgath

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8 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Yeah, I got a statement for a new credit card I had not ordered. Fortunately, it went to my old address that still was forwarded to the new place. I canceled it, made an identity theft report with the FTC, and froze my credit.

Identity theft and fraud is scary shit, it can really mess up your whole life. I'm glad you caught it!

 

I was able to access my reports by going to the three reporting bureaus directly and making accounts with each instead of going through annualcreditreport.com and there's no unusual activity on my record. Parents were also able to check and say nothing strange on their end either, so the superfakename mystery will go unresolved I guess. I froze my credit just in case, since I'm not applying for any new cards or loans while I'm in Japan anyway.

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On 8/17/2020 at 7:37 PM, Wobbegong said:

But I also feel like I've maybe been hiding a little, because coming back here and posting is bringing up (physical) feelings again, which I haven't really been experiencing while I kept my head down. Right now there's some tightness in my chest and I'm not sure there's a word for it... I'm happy and scared and loving and sad all at once, but I feel supported. Hopefully it won't get overwhelming again.

We're all here to support you again if it does get overwhelming. I've had some emotional overwhelm myself in the last couple of challenges now, which I have shared in spite of my strong instincts not to, because I had nowhere else to go and didn't know what else to do. Everyone here has been nothing but supportive and kind. Please don't ever worry that you're being a burden or driving people away.

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On 8/20/2020 at 10:51 AM, juliebarkley said:

We're all here to support you again if it does get overwhelming. I've had some emotional overwhelm myself in the last couple of challenges now, which I have shared in spite of my strong instincts not to, because I had nowhere else to go and didn't know what else to do. Everyone here has been nothing but supportive and kind. Please don't ever worry that you're being a burden or driving people away.

Thanks. I worry less the more I'm here, it's just when I'm away for a long time that the barrier to reentry starts to seem insurmountable. I'm glad you've been able to find support here, too.

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Tomorrow I go back to work. So that's cool.

c713ee807d52d489aa91706a5cff9707.gif

 

I've been thinking it might be helpful (or at least cathartic) to make a list of all the things that are bothering me, but I'm also concerned it will end up making me hyper-focused on bad stuff. On the one hand, I think it's better to be aware, and with my current level of emotional self-awareness, it might be easier to start practicing pinning down how I feel with negative emotions, since they tend to be easier for me to access. Plus, I tend to be very harsh with myself about partaking in behaviors I see as "complaining," so it might be good to give myself room to express those thoughts and feelings. On the other hand, whenever I consider why it's important to be in touch with my emotional state, the road always ends up at "so I can act on my emotions and thereby express my true self," and honestly, there's not a lot of guarantee that identifying things I'm struggling with will help me figure out how to act. I can't do anything to make summer less humid, for example.

 

Speaking of summer, a couple of days ago I watched [insect content, no images]

Spoiler

a huge black cockroach crawl out of my air conditioning unit, so THAT was great. After witnessing this I immediately hunted the beast down and killed it, but shit man, that thing was as long as my index finger! Due to the nature of my apartment furniture the roach was in a difficult-to-access spot but lucky for me had landed on its back and seemed to be in less than stellar condition after its trip through the AC, so I was able to arm up with bug spray and hose that fucker down. After a constant stream of well over thirty seconds it was still twitching so I changed tactics and attempted to smush it with the nearest heavy thing at hand. I was not able to reach and ended up just dropping said heavy thing on it, but close enough I guess.

 

Normally I go straight for crushing -- a rubber mallet works wonders, I have found -- since bug spray takes forever and makes the apartment smelly, but I couldn't reach this time. But I've been very puffy and dry since this incident so I'm wondering if I might be allergic to something in the spray. Or, like, it's literally poison, so maybe sleeping in a cloud of it is just not great generally. But yeah.

Anyway, the whole experience felt very intrusive. It was like someone had broken in, and now I don't feel as safe in my home anymore. This kind of experience would absolutely go on the list, but again I'm not really sure what I can do about it??

 

I guess I could try to make a list of things that happen that please me? My worry there is that the list would be very, very short. Off the top of my head I can think of at least fifty things that happen regularly and bother me but only a handful that make me joyous or relaxed. Even some of those come with their own side-serving of judgement and stress.

 

What do you all think?

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18 minutes ago, Wobbegong said:

What do you all think?

Spoiler

I think you should arm yourself with a squirt gun filled with high concentration dish soap.  Roaches are like 80%+ oil so the dish soap kills them faster than most bug sprays and leaves just an exoskeleton, no goey mess.  Plus it doesn't smell horrible.

 

 

On 8/18/2020 at 7:37 AM, Wobbegong said:

I'm very sorry to hear that. Then again, with your handle I guess it'd be pretty much impossible for you not to know what it feels like to be singled out as an outsider in your country. How is the culture of social homogeneity in China? I know demographically it's something like 98% Han Chinese but I don't know much about the way they react to and treat outsiders. Although I guess from your comment "dancing bear" pretty much... 😕

I just realized I forgot to answer this.  I was so sucked in your PSA and looking into that I got completely distracted...

 

The 98% is a combination of both Han and Man, but they are so intermixed at this point the difference is inconsequential.  But yeah, very homogeneous.  We get treated here pretty much the same as you do in Japan, but without the shiny veneer that you get in Japan.  Imagine how kids react when they see you there - it is like that with everybody here.  Let's just say I have a pretty good idea how animals feel in those safari parks, where I am kind kind of doing my own thing but everyone who passes by points and takes pictures 

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HUNTER OF ALL THINGS SHINY

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Strength: 13 Intelligence: 14 Wisdom: 6 Dexterity:14 Constitution: 12 Charisma: 11

 

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5 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

high concentration dish soap

Funny story, I have had enormous trouble sourcing decent dish soap here. I have no idea why, but everything they sell is super watery. It's been such a struggle to find a decent brand I recently asked a friend of mine who was sending me a care package to include some in the box, and instead she told me she was unable to because it's apparently considered "hazardous material."

 

I do have a "magic dish cleaner" spray that might work. I mostly only use it on things that are difficult to squeeze a sponge into, like water bottles, but it does a decent job. I have no idea what's in it, honestly, but next time I'll give it a try.

 

For the record, my mallet method does not typically produce an gooey mess. There is not much goo inside a cockroach. It does get shattered bits of exoskeleton all over the place, though.

 

11 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

I was so sucked in your PSA and looking into that I got completely distracted...

I hope everything is in order! A bunch of people I know have caught shady shenanigans on their reports lately.

 

14 minutes ago, WhiteGhost said:

We get treated here pretty much the same as you do in Japan, but without the shiny veneer that you get in Japan.  Imagine how kids react when they see you there - it is like that with everybody here. Let's just say I have a pretty good idea how animals feel in those safari parks, where I am kind kind of doing my own thing but everyone who passes by points and takes pictures 

Tbh the kids are nowhere near as bad as the old folks when it comes to the safari treatment. I think kids in Japan have an unfair reputation for asking foreigners to take pictures with them because when they go on school trips they're always assigned to find a foreign tourist, speak to them in English, and take a picture with them as proof they completed the assignment. Older people are much worse about just openly gawking. But there is definitely a shiny veneer here a lot of the time, and it does make a difference. Sorry to hear you have to put up with that.

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11 hours ago, Wobbegong said:

I guess I could try to make a list of things that happen that please me? My worry there is that the list would be very, very short. Off the top of my head I can think of at least fifty things that happen regularly and bother me but only a handful that make me joyous or relaxed. Even some of those come with their own side-serving of judgement and stress.

You could try making it a list of things you are grateful for maybe, to shift focus to joyful things? They wouldn't have to even be things that happen to you - you could include things like "the rustling noise of the wind in the trees" or "that I can enjoy frozen treats in the summer from the magic freezer box in my home".

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