reflections, week 21

skipped another week because things have been even wilder… I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, now—I’m hopeful but nervous, and I’m just trying to put one foot in front of the other until then.

write something every day (except Shabbat). really fell off the wagon for this for the month, not just this week—from an abandoned bullet journal to various works in progress that have seen no action whatsoever, and I haven’t even been updating my word count spreadsheet. and, as you can see on the blog, it hasn’t been any better here! the truth is that this has been a really difficult month for me on a personal level, and these struggles have consumed every waking moment. it looks like we might be on a path to some resolution, which I hope will allow me to take the reins of my life in the last week of the month!

be better about money. this has been so-so over the past couple of weeks—I think I’ve been doing more spending to try and fill the hole that I’m feeling because of these personal conflicts. I have tried to not buy things that are too frivolous, but the truth is that I did not need all this new baking equipment or the ingredients to test like 10 new recipes (recap coming soon, once I crack the code for the brazo de reina)… I just got them because they made me feel better. I have also replaced my laptop and I’m waiting for the new one to be delivered—but I don’t feel guilty about that because I have had my current laptop for seven years and I love her dearly but she’s ready for retirement.

self-validate more. I’ve realized that there is still a part of this which I am struggling with and which is not so much giving myself credit for the work that I have done or trusting myself to do things—but more about trusting myself and my instincts and my needs without needing anyone’s permission. I really thought that I had gotten over my issues trusting myself but honestly it’s another day, another way in which complex PTSD continues to impact my life. I think that realizing ADHD is part of my life has made it a lot easier to give myself room to struggle with staying organized at home and come up with more regimented systems to support myself in executive functioning—but now it’s time to spread that to being kind and supportive of myself regarding whatever I need for life after trauma.

throughout these dark few weeks, I have been incredibly blessed to have friends and family near and far offer their support in a myriad of ways. if nothing else, that has been a beautiful part of all of this—to know that, even if sometimes I am writing here just for myself, I am not in fact alone. 🙂

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thirty, treinta, trente.

a week ago yesterday, I headed out to afternoon tea at The Drake to celebrate my thirtieth birthday with my girls—the same amazing women who helped my wedding happen (with the exception of A, who had to work during our tea time). we had a chance to dress up and just relax with some tea and some treats, and then we went shopping and just had… a chill day, which is something I rarely have a chance to do.

I didn’t want to do anything big or flashy, you see—for a long time, I didn’t even think I would make it to 25, let alone 30.

for most of you, I don’t need to rehash what it’s like to live with mental illness, to wonder whether you’re going to make it through the next fifteen minutes, to try and figure out what the hell is wrong with you that you can’t seem to be an actual human being like everyone else. I was undiagnosed for so long that I managed to convince myself that I was just a complete disaster of a person—and trying to pretend otherwise felt really pointless.

but somehow, between therapy, my friends’ support, and sheer stubbornness? I’ve made it to my 30s, and I’m actually excited to see what happens next!

so, like any other self-respecting millennial, I came with a bucket list of sorts: my 30 for my 30s. I don’t know how this is going to go, seeing as I’m not great at long-term goals like that… but I figure, if there’s ever a time to try, it’s now. 🙂

we’ll see how it goes!

getting tasks done with adhd

something that has always bothered me about my executive dysfunction—and which preventing me from accepting that there was an issue rather than just laziness on my part—is that I do not often struggle to complete tasks, no matter how difficult… but I always struggle to start them. (this is especially the case during bipolar downswings, where motivation is at its lowest and nothing seems rewarding enough to bribe myself with.)

my struggle with task initiation is not unique among fellow ADHD peeps, I have learned; in fact, there are many articles describing it and giving tips. however, I have found that years of maladaptive behaviors on my part mean that some of those tips do not work for me—so I figured I would share what does work! while I used my personal examples for each of these, I have also seen some of my students be successful with these… but, as with everything, YMMV!

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on touch and boundaries after trauma

(cw: sexual assault, PTSD, complex PTSD, trigger responses, dissociation, emotional abuse, relationship violence)

the last couple of weeks have been, to be frank, an absolute mess. the stress at work was beyond wild because of this past Monday’s site visit, the results of which will determine whether we get funding to continue our personalized learning journey—and then I had an interesting conversation with a colleague on Thursday the 30th that left me too shaken to write about until, well, now.

it started out innocently enough. we were discussing something unrelated and I mentioned to my colleague that I missed seeing them around, as we just have not coincided in a while. they breathlessly revealed that they have been taking some time off because they were sexually assaulted and are trying to recover from the experience. they then went on to describe the situation in pretty specific detail—and, as (bad) luck would have it, it was really close to my own experiences with assault.

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reflections, week 14

I thought last week was difficult—but nothing could have prepared me for this week. I had a pretty intense PTSD episode (post incoming), did some laundry, and tried to keep my head afloat. on a bright side, the walkthrough happened this past Monday and it seems to have gone quite well!

write something every day (except Shabbat). I actually did write every day except Shabbat this past week, not even including academic work, and it was super exciting! I’ve started Camp NaNoWriMo strong—okay, it’s only three days, but I don’t usually start on the 1st so I’m giving myself credit—and I’m actually excited about this story! we’ll see how this goes!

be better about money. I got my tax refund today and I’ve never been more excited to see a deposit in my savings. I’m trying to keep at least 40% of it in savings, so we’ll see how that goes—but all I did with that money today was pay this month’s bills early (aaaaaaand buy tickets for Endgame for myself and some of my closest friends since it comes out my birthday weekend)! I’m gonna also buy some supplies for my classroom and some hair products from ULTA because I’ve been waiting forever to buy them. but overall, I feel pretty excited about making good money decisions lately, including accepting a summer job that I know will be more work but will pay way better than my other option.

self-validate more. my therapist actually remarked on this just this past Monday, as I told her about my PTSD episode and managed not just to avoid negative self-talk but also give myself props for how I handled things. I’m also sitting on that post (I’ve literally got five in the queue), but I’m trying to figure out what makes the most sense when (and what I can finish first).

until the next time, in whichever post that might be!

how to survive when your significant other (or roommate!) is an emotionally exhausted teacher

(note: as has been the case recently, I’m typing in lowercase for the aesthetic. life’s too short for grammatical prescriptivism, so just let me live.)

happy Sunday, y’all—or, as I call it, “teacher Monday.” I’ve been doing some mentoring and coaching for a first-year teacher recently, and we’ve had a lot of conversations about how much of an emotional toll the job takes on our relationships, not just ourselves. it got me to thinking about how I’m having one of the healthiest, most productive school years of my life this year—and, I have to say, I think a huge part of it has to do with the fact that I am now married and I have a wonderful and supportive partner. that made me think more about what we’ve done to make our relationship work despite the wild stress of my job (and my second job, and grad school…)

DISCLAIMER: while I have been going to therapy for eight years at this point (so, my whole teaching career), I am in no way a mental health professional and am simply speaking about my experience! Please remember that every person is different and so is every relationship, so your mileage will definitely vary… but I know I can be hard to deal with in general and my job doesn’t help, and it’s taken a lot of trial-and-error to figure out what works, so I figured I would share.

so, with aaaaaaaaall that in mind, here are my top five tips:

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reflections, week 9

running hella late this week because it’s been a really tough one… February is usually a difficult month for me emotionally, with this week being the hardest and, although I feel I am doing a lot better than I have in previous years, it still has not been a walk in the park…

write something every day (except Shabbat). I ended up writing a lot longhand this week due to starting my second playthrough of Dragon Age: Inquisition, so I have no idea what my word count is, but I think I only skipped a day this week!

be better about money. I might feel differently about this in a day or two, but right now I am loving that I got so many of my things paid today and that I’d planned properly for the start of this month. I also got a notification from Mint today that my credit score went up more than 10 points and, even though I recognize that credit scores are often bullshit, it’s still nice to get that external validation.

self-validate more. I honestly have been rocking this resolution, but today I found myself more insecure than I have so far this year, and I definitely asked for a lot of validation for my work in the awards assembly at work. Relatedly, I pushed myself way too hard with that assembly and I am now c r a s h i n g hard.

overall, I think I’m starting to hit the “I am too tired for this wall”… my habit tracker for this month was absolutely tragic despite my best intentions, and not even the bullet journaling is something I did consistently. but we’re on to a new week soon and a new month, so I’m going to take Shabbat to recharge and then hit the ground running to make next month better.

who knows? I might even actually keep up with Duolingo this time 😂