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  1. I've been working from home since last March. It's been an interesting experience to say the least, but I've actually come to enjoy it. Not only saving $ on gas & food, but being able to wear whatever the hell I want & burning scented candles have been nice bonuses. (Plus not having to drive in shite weather was nice, too.) To be honest, though, I have missed seeing my coworker friends, but my immediate circle & I have been in communication via text/phone calls, or via an im thing for work purposes, so it's not like we've been completely cut off. I've also been into the office a total of three times since this craziness started, but mainly for technical issues (plus to pick up a box of crap from my desk that I didn't bring home). Just got an email tonight from HR, & it basically stated that towards the end of this month, people are being asked to come back to the office (but on a volunteer basis). Needless to say, this has given me a great deal of agita. I know it's only a matter of time that it'll be mandatory, & I really don't want to go back. If you've been working from home, have you been "asked" to go back? If you had a choice to continue to work from home, would you stay home (or would you choose to go back)?
  2. clueliss

    The Holding Pattern

    While I sit here and wait for a massive spreadsheet to recalculate because I'm trying to delete lines, a blog subject popped into my head. So here we are. Back in 2014 my life went sideways. And at the time, I was already battling a depression and anxiety slide that was the result of my spreading myself too thin at work and in my personal life in 2011 through into early 2013. I can see that now. At the time, I didn't. I did know I went into a slide from the scale. I was a WW lifetime member at goal and began crawling up the scale. I now know the connections between my mental health issues and compulsive eating. I didn't then. But that isn't what this is about. February 2014 I went to visit my mom. I walked in, she had been sleeping. She asked me 'which one I was.' And I knew and didn't want to admit what was going on. Actually, I knew back in November 2012 or 2013 (they sort of blur together) because Mom had an car accident and was in Kansas City Mo at the time of the accident - a good 45 minutes from her small town Kansas home. My sister was all up in my grill that Thanksgiving because she thought I was upsetting Mom. I can tell you now, it was because I knew Mom was 'off' and not behaving normal. Mom was trying to hide her issues. But I could see it and the more she tried to hide, the more I noticed and worried. May 2014 a Deputy from the county sheriff's office where Mom lived called because Mom was in a part of the county she never went to. And seemed, to him, to be having a dementia/Alzheimer's episode. I will be forever grateful to this officer for taking the time to alert me. It was what prompted me, after some coaching from one of my cousins, to haul my mother to her doctor and begin the process of getting her diagnosed. And it began a period of over a year of my driving back and forth (~3 hours one way) every weekend, no matter the weather. At that same time, I was told that my name was brought up for a project at work. And my boss told them no, without consulting me. Because my stress level was off the chart. A very small part of me was annoyed because I wanted to make the decision myself and how dare he. The larger, slightly saner, part of me remains eternally grateful because it saved me from me. I probably would have say sure, I'll do it and tried to kill myself even more than I already was. The whole "Mom Thing" put my career into a holding pattern. Because even after I put her in memory care in June 2015 and dealt with her estate and such for a few months after, I still had the responsibility of handling her finances and making reports to the county. I had to become my mother's legal guardian and conservator. And I did it mostly alone because my sister had crawled into a hole and was non responsive. Mom died in early February 2019. It has been two years. I spent the last 11 months of pandemic world extremely grateful that she wasn't around for covid. That I didn't have to handle the worry and issues that would have meant. Her passing also meant more relief than grief to me. Because it meant the beginning of the end of the holding pattern I was in. Sure, Covid slowed progress down. As did the departure of a coworker and her replacement coming in from outside so time was spent on boarding someone new to the plant/organization. And we're in 2021, still dealing with covid. But I'm feeling a bit more invigorated. And something has popped up in the last few weeks at work that is allowing me to shine. The Controller handling a transition of something to a new system left in January. And, as I actually suspected partway through last year, he hadn't dotted all the i's or crossed all the t's. He didn't understand all the stupid audit requirements. He didn't ask either. A reconciliation process for the new system wasn't picked up. My boss tried and delegated it to me to work on. And I had to dig out someone's sketchy instructions for the old system and try to make it work. While I couldn't get it completely tied out, I came within $2k and considering the total inventory value I thought that rather kicked butt. Made the boss happy too. Yesterday I began to ask questions to my Boss's boss because, well, there's on particular issue that I know, because I'm the person that for the last 4 years has gotten the question, that our external auditors ARE going to ask. So, it was - so, how the heck do we audit column Q. And first I had to make them understand, no no, not that tie out. That one I've done and it's under control. Nope, the stupid one we can't do and old system we had to keep reminding them about. But they will ask so how do we handle? Then yesterday afternoon Boss's boss sends everyone an email. Use the old system (even though we had been moving forward with new) because my questions brought to light validation issues with the new system. So now I've faced with redoing the reconciliation process to the old system (because Controller who left did that before - he picked it up after my coworker left and knowing what I know now, I should have been in the room for that little bit of training) So don't mind me. I'm using this as a way of reminding everyone who I am. I'm out of the holding pattern. I WANT to work on this. I makes me happy. And while yes, it would be nice if other locations took stuff on, I'm grabbing this one and making it mine. Bye Holding Pattern.
  3. HerNameIsBuffy

    Self Soothe Fail

    I hate flooding the blog list with consecutive posts, but I need to purge a little and I don't want to put it in a thread where people may feel obligated to respond. I've always been pretty good at self-soothing, and still am sometimes...but other times like tonight nothing works. Hormones are attacking my brain...had long ugly cry and through part of it i wasn't even upset...so weird. And couldn't shake the crappy feeling so I gathered together my comfort things, set up my nightstand with everything I need in my pink basket...I know it sounds silly but the act of getting ready to comfort myself is comforting in and of itself. It wasn't this time. I am now in bed, under my favorite covers....snuggled next to the two most cuddly dogs in the world...watching some cool vids of Great British Ghosts. I have some juice and am slathered in moisturizer, my hair freshly brushed. The window cracked open making the room the perfect kind of chilly. It's not helping. All my failures (and there are many) keep running through my head on a loop, punctuated only by those who I have loved but lost...and all the ways I failed them. There is no point in trying to make sense of it or address it...it's as if my hormones found a key to the self-loathing room in my mind-palace and unleashed all the fucking demons I keep locked in there. All I can do it ride it out. I keep remembering the part of a video I saw where it said anxiety is an experience people go through, it's not who they are. It will end, it always does. I don't have panic attacks...I don't have the severe reactions, I just feel like shit. Like I'll never be able to turn off the negative loop in my head...and my body hurts all of a sudden. I'm achy all over and I wasn't before - I know it's some kind of physiological response to stress. I am typing because it helps. Putting it in black and white takes some of the power away from my nagging thoughts. A kitty joined us on the bed. If just the other cat would hop up we'd hit our cuteness quotient. I am acutely aware of how soft my blanket is and how deeply big dog is breathing. My boys in their rooms down the hall...sound asleep. Healthy and safe...focusing on my gratitude for having truly wonderful kids who...so proud of them. I'm lucky...three for three I don't just love them, I like them as people. A lot. I'll get through this but I swear sometimes this feels less like a life change than a life hijacking.
  4. HerNameIsBuffy

    My Dog the Therapist

    The TLDR of exposition is I've never struggled with anxiety until this year, so this is a new adventure in hell for me. The combination of my life falling to shit at the same time peri-menopause decided to commandeer my hormones to attack me emotionally...let's just say I'm not the happiest I've ever been lately. I got a few hours of broken sleep last night and woke up feeling unrested and full on anxious. The kind of anxiety you can feel in your skin...that sickening tingly feeling that goes along with the fear. Then the super fun cycle of my head telling me I needed to eat to stave off a migraine while my stomach was telling me in no uncertain terms to not even think about it. Nothing soothes anxiety like violent dry heaves! So I brush my face and wash my teeth and go back to bed. I put on a guided meditation type video and followed along with the deep breathing as I snuggled against my big dog. (Smaller dog was also in bed, but at the foot and out of cuddle range.) He is part mastiff, part rot and is a good 135 lbs. So you see I was not exaggerating, big dog is indeed accurate. I was buried deep under a sheet, down duvet, soft fleece blanket, and a light quilt because that sometimes helps. I was focused on the video and my breathing and the closeness of my pup when he decided to help... He got up and changed positions and lay across me. I have often wished I had one of those heavy anxiety blankets, but I don't...apparently he decided to be that for me. It really helped. I didn't move as I didn't want him to shift off me...he was comfy and I felt safer somehow....and I continued to breathe and meditate along with the video. The plan was to calm down and get to some level of functionality but I fell asleep. Woke up a few hours later grateful for the needed sleep, annoyed I'd slept away most of the morning, and feeling marginally better. I ate, so the threatening migraine clouds seemed to have moved on leaving only a normal headache, but my digestive system is punishing me for daring to eat. I would really like the various parts of my body to get together and work out some kind of feasible plan for functionality. I am so uncooperative with myself. As bad as things are at times the hero of the story this particular day is my gentle giant. He knew exactly what I needed and just quietly gave it to me without fanfare...for the price of reciprocal cuddles. (It is almost time to start dinner and I have done nothing all day except meditate while trying to set the world record for vomiting in a day.
  5. Video is very relaxing, her vids help me a lot these days. 22:14 to 22:58 is something I really needed to hear tonight.
  6. So another rough day yesterday, what else is new? I had an all canine nursing team at the beginning of the evening ...I swear these guys are having meetings and setting shift schedules. I think I'm on some kind of watch. I have been making a concerted effort to isolate less, so against character I picked up when one of my sisters called. Normally I'd have ignored it making a mental note to call her when I was in a better place, and on a good day text her to tell her that. But pick up I did. A lot of crying and a couple hours later I felt a little better for a while. Maybe there is something to this letting people love you thing. There were parts of that call, and there have been times here on FJ last few weeks, where I've felt like myself again. It was nice...I really liked the old me and I miss her. A lot. The person I've become is a hot mess and I don't like her. I feel sorry for her, but she's not someone I'd choose to spend time with. Unfortunately she's moved into my head and lives here now. Who knows, maybe the healthy part of me that flits in and out will get stronger and kick her out. (FYI this is an analogy and not a mental break. Also I know this is self-indulgent and of interest to no one but me, but as we can't delete on FJ perhaps my descendants will enjoy reading about my decline as captured in real time.)
  7. HerNameIsBuffy

    A Nightmare and a Not So Random Aftermath

    I had a bad day and into the evening anxiety wise so it would seem like going to sleep early was a good thing. Well, I didn't so much 'go to sleep' as 'crash while reading on top of the covers' but I'll take what I can get these days. And it might have been a good thing if I didn't have a nightmare from hell, worse than any I've had in years. It was as if my individual worries and anxieties all came to be in lifelike powerful manifestations and attacked me at once. I literally felt viciously attacked by my own fears. Unfortunately it wasn't a lucid dream, which I do have from time to time...there was no escape button on this one. I sat up bolt upright and it took me a second to realize the dogs were barking at something outside the living room window. I ran to them, tripping over my dresser (ow) sure I needed to try to protect up and knowing I couldn't. I was ugly crying, struggling to breathe, and my heart was pounding so hard it was scaring me on top of everything else. During those first few seconds I was aware that I had had a nightmare, but it all felt so real it took me a minute or so to realize I was safe in my home. Watching my neighbor leave for work which was the only activity on the street and the dogs never bark at that ...so weird. I went back to bed but couldn't sleep...the nightmare just kept playing over and over in my head ...like I was surrounded by fear and I couldn't clear it. I put on a reiki video that always soothes me and then my phone dings... I got a message from my friend in the UK ...due to the time difference he never expects to talk to me in what is to me the wee hours, but decided to see if I was up. I told him I was in nightmare aftermath but he kept me talking. While this was happening my new nursing team jumped up on the bed gently demanding scritches and cuddles so I got under the covers and obliged my canine and feline caregivers. (Bossy!) Slowly my breathing went back to normal and my heart stopped trying to escape my chest. After an hour or so I was able to go back to sleep. Just so strange...the dogs barking when they never bark and my friend messaging when he never messages just when I needed it. I don't know how ....I'm just grateful.
  8. HerNameIsBuffy

    I should have named him Carnac

    I've been struggling. I've been going through a massive upheaval both in my life and internally the last year or so and every day I do the best I can to manage my stress. One of the things that helps when I can engage is mindfulness. So tonight I was doing dishes and strong in the mindfulness zone. I had one of my favorite soothing videos playing in the background and I was very conscious of the warmth of the water, the pretty scent of what my British friend calls fairy liquid...the opalescence of the bubbles. And I was filled with sense of gratitude...for the meal I was cleaning after, for my ability to feed my family nutritious foods they enjoy, for living in a place with an abundance of instantly available clean water, for my kitchen which I love. Peace of mind doesn't come naturally to me. I am a worrier. I have spent my life managing my anxiety by channeling it into avenues that don't work anymore, so while it's rather late in the game I have no choice but to learn new methods. As I was lost in mindfulness (which I'd been trying to achieve unsuccessfully for days) I felt this flood of certainty that came out of nowhere. Not hope, but certainty that the parts of my life I am rebuilding will not only be okay, but will be better than what I had. That I won't just survive, but will heal and that this collapse of certain parts of my life had to happen so I could eliminate the parts that were hurting me so I could be who I am supposed to be. The fear and pain is still there...but it's okay. It feels like when I had surgery, even though the pain during recovery was intense I knew it healing pain and I'd be okay. It was much more manageable than the pain pre-surgery when I was afraid of the worst. This has happened a few times - this feeling of confidence and certainty breaking through and flooding me with emotional strength; unfortunately I know it will pass. Hence why I'm still awake - I want to enjoy the much needed respite while it lasts. After I finished the kitchen and prepped the coffee pot for morning I returned to my bedroom. As I laid down I was thinking, "I need to keep focusing on what is most important" and just as I had that thought one of my cats jumped on my tummy and let out the loudest meow that sounded just like "MEEEEEEEE!" Like he could read my mind and wanted to make sure I knew that his noms and scritches are top priority no matter what human matters I insist on worrying about. I don't know why I'm writing this...it just struck me as funny.
  9. I adore my cats. (I know this is news.) All four of the current overlords were adopted as adults from shelters, which means they each came with foibles. When I lost my Lacey (who predated Mr. Spoon and was 17) in 2013, we *immediately* set about adopting a new princess. (At the time, we also had the long-haired overlord and Prince Canine.) I was looking on petfinder (dot com) and I found a most striking calico about four hours away. Distance being no object, I insisted I wanted *that* cat. We went to the shelter. She was actually bonded with another kitty. No problem. I wanted them both - I would never separate a bonded pair, and my heart was set. So we came home with the two girls, Savannah (the calico) and Darryl (who looks tabby mostly but is a dilute calico.) I knew that the shelter had described them as shyhearts, but I didn't realize they were essentially feral. They had never lived in a home - they had lived their entire lives in the shelter - and they were not really socialized to humans. For about the first month, they stayed in only one room, and I would go and sit with them and just let them get accustomed to us. One of the funniest things that happened is the closet in that room had sliding doors. I would close them. Then I would go back in and find the door ajar and the cats in the closet. DH and I peeked in and found the two of them tag-teaming to get the door open just enough to sneak in. Mister Spoon correctly observed that they had a future as cat burglars! A closed door is definitely just a challenge to be overcome for Darryl. The first veterinary visit was traumatic for all of us. Just getting them into the carrier was an absolute circus. Then, the vet said he thought they were both older than we had been told. (We thought they were four - he estimated maybe double that.) They needed dental care. A few weeks later when we took Savannah back for her dental procedure - we got the worst news of all. Her blood levels were seriously elevated and she had kidney disease. Nine months after we adopted her, we lost Savannah. I was heartbroken - not just for myself, but for Darryl. They were so closely bonded - they slept together, snuggled together . . . I was afraid Darryl would die of a broken heart. We adopted two more kitties (the Hunter and the elusive Fourth.) Part of my reasoning was that other cats acclimated to each other might be more accepting of a cat accustomed to cat life, not family life. And we loved on Darryl (on her terms, of course.) I'm pretty good at kitty headbutts - her favorite greeting. She is pretty tolerant of pets now, and likes to sit and snuggle alongside, but she is still relatively unwilling to be held. In fact, we have used heavy duty gloves (like the gloves for raptor handling) to catch her several times. Orally medicating her is pretty much out of the question. She hasn't really bonded with any of the other kitties the way she did Savannah. But a couple times I've seen her backing into a spot so that she is near or against a sister. And I think she's decided I am a big, hopeless, hairless cat. She's been losing weight this year. She's seen the vet a number of times. She *does* have trouble getting food into her mouth, but I'm not sure that's the only problem. So in the morning, she will go have dental work done. And, even though we did labs on her a couple months ago, my anxiety is sky high. This is the second time she's had teeth removed - most of them came out last time - but I want a good outcome for her. So here I sit - worrying and fretting - wanting her to be healthy and content, but recognizing I don't get to control that. *sighs* Sometimes, things are hard.
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