Apologies. But... the town just across the river, the Twin of my Twin Cities is on fire. The neighborhood where my kids went to preschool... where a number of F/friends live is being torched and looted. Peaceful protests giving way to violent mobs.
It's not about me. I have nothing to say. No right to say anything. Except effing thoughts and prayers.
But... I guess I want this nothing post as a placeholder. When I look back over my blog and I'm wondering what happened... like if my mental health takes a big hit... I can be aware that this was an inciting factor?
Not gonna get into discussions of the reasons or the causes or the rights and the wrongs. Everything about this sucks. Every Thing. For everyone. For some more than others.
This puts acute trauma on top of the chronic trauma we were already experiencing.
Again, much much worse for some than others.
can close my eyes and turn away from the news and be blissful ignorant. I am privilege. I know.
I gotta remember this. A mantra. Things don't stay the same. So when everything feels like it sucks, that is temporary.
But when you are in the suckage, it doesn't feel temporary, you know?
And this morning, my brain is focused on all the should-haves. I should have done a better job of...
Mostly helping my offspring. Elderboy is experiencing a lot of the same symptoms I am. The Depression kind. And I feel like I should have recognized earlier. And the symptoms for him of not completing work or being overwhelmed or staring off into space instead of... doing things.
We have so much time. We have all the time in the world. Why aren't we doing things? Why haven't I written the great American novel? (Well, the LGBT teen-fiction Great American Novel because that's where my focus is lately.) Why haven't I done a better job of tracking down students? Why haven't I been funnier. More enthusiastic. More innovative.
I'm boring as hell.
Why hasn't he been able to follow through on... any of the things I haven't bothered him to follow through on? We are all in our own little worlds. In the same house. Things that shouldn't be hard... are hard.
Or chasing down my students. Or reaching out to friends and family either to support them or to be supported.
Making mental-health care appointments. See, this should be top of my radar. It has been on the bottom. Not until last week did I schedule anything for elderboy.
And I still haven't scheduled anything for me. As if mental health has not been affected by any of this. I mean, I left the one message for my Psych NP and got my meds changed. But that isn't the same as actually talking to someone.
But: what is the point?
What are they going to say?
I don't even know my therapist. Plus I always figure that in all this, they have better things to do. They have bigger fires to put out. They must be stressed too. I don't need to add to that. I mean, their job has to be even more nightmarish than mine, right?
I am just watching my students slowly drop off the radar. Becoming less interested. Turning more nocturnal.
At the start of this 18 of my 19 kids checked in with me in-person every morning. Now it is 2. And they come because they are the caretakers of my class. They are checking on me. Making sure I'm okay. That me and my co-teacher are still healthy.
SYep. Everyone is officially sick of this. My students have largely stopped showing up to check in at the beginning of the day. It was never mandatory. But it was nice to talk to them. I had a reason to readjust my crappy attitude.
Now only one or two students (of my 19) show up. And they type little text messages while I talk to them. Hoping that this will end soon. Looking forward to seeing each other again. Wondering if there will be soccer in the fall.
Elderboy and I are both not doing well depression-wise. This too is predictable. We recognize this. I swore with actual curse words about this three times today. We both laughed a lot. It's something we do when the Depression kinda sucks.
Someone asked me recently if I thought I was better after getting my diagnosis of bipolar. I think because I seem worse now than I used to. Probably a lot.
And I probably am. But that's because I had been on a long, gradual slide toward worse. That was kind of invisible to most people. Since I hid.
So, am I better now than I was fifteen years ago? Probably not? I don't know. Am I better now than I was six years ago? Yes.
But better is a relative thing. I'm not better all the time. I do remember a time not long ago when I couldn't remember having been in a Depressed Mood State. I had been flying along at cruising altitude for some time. So much that I was ineligible for a study that required me to be in a Depressed mood state for six weeks.
Pretty sure I would TOTALLY qualify now.
I'm down today. Kind of blah. I just can't be arsed. This is my favorite non-American-English saying. It fits. I can't be arsed to do anything.
I so badly did NOT want to go on my #mandatorycovidwalk today.
So of course I walked for one hour and fifteen minutes. Now I am TIRED.
And people say "It is so good for your mental health and your physical health." I'm just going on them so I know it is possible to keep going.
I walk mechanically. I walk powered by music. But I do take note of my surroundings.
When I plan on going for a shorter, more reasonable walk, I walk to a specific album. When I plan on walking more or less to exhaustion I put on something random. Always BTS.
Can't smile today. So of course I was hysterically funny at dinner. I just want school year to be over. And then I want to lie flat on my back in my room, never leaving, and staring at the ceiling until someone tells me that the world is normal again.
Sleeping beauty. If only I had a spindle. And had been cursed by a wicked fairy.
Imma go watch socially unredeeming shows on Netflix now. Whatever Spouse and I can agree on.
11 more days of school. But who's counting.
I miss my kids like hell. I hope they miss me. That's selfish, I know. But it's never fun to be the bearer of unreciprocated, unrequieted love.
Grateful for these things: Not sick. Have job. Have family. Spouse. Live in safe neighborhood. Good weather. Shoes with orthotics. BTS. New friends. Old F/friends (who I am grateful for even though I will not connect with you now-- sorry). Language. Chiropractic. Governor Walz. Lack of bronchitis. Ceiling fans. Glasses with progressive lenses. Not being pregnant. Short fingernails. Blue hair. Family. Netflix. Memrise. Wattpad. Good meds. Even though they are not magic. Curse words-- judiciously applied.
See. I was gonna list all the things that suck. I bet you're grateful I didn't do that.
hate not knowing. Everyone hates not knowing.
I'm a planner. Kind of. I mean I am a chaotic planner. Day to day I can switch course. But I need to know the big plan. Where is the river headed? It can meander, but the course should be fairly set.
And now I can't plan.
I mean, I DESPERATELY want to know what will happen in the fall. How will we eventually go back to school? How will we/can we undo the damage that this has caused to students? Especially those who are most vulnerable economically/educationally.
How do we protect the well-being of students and staff? What about medically vulnerable staff? Will they even return in the fall? In the winter? In the spring? How?
What will any of this mean for magnet schools and charter schools that draw from all over the Twin Cities?
We get our money from the state. And per-pupil funding. If our numbers go down... and if the state just doesn't have the money... but class sizes need to be smaller?
I can't know.
So, the other thing I am brilliant at is worrying. I can worry about things far far far into the future. I can worry about seven different outcomes simultaneously. And I am unable to see a good outcome. So all futures are bad.
It's one of my many crappy superpowers.
Nothing about this is fun. Particularly because I am taking this whole global pandemic pretty damn seriously. And I know some people think I am being paranoid. And maybe I am. But I don't think so.
I mentioned before maybe... Daughter was hospitalized twice with pneumonia one spring. I've had severe bronchitis several times. And "walking pneumonia." We both have asthmatic lungs that are more prone to freaking out with any regular old upper respiratory infection.
So I'd rather avoid any possibility of this novel thing.
Some of my coworkers are meeting in the same place to work on stuff. Some family members on both sides of our family are getting together in smallish groups.
I just can't.
It kind of reminds me of how I deal with alcohol. I am way more strict about it than anyone I know. I mean, if I have had a drink, I will not drive. Even if the drink was hours earlier. Is this an overabundance of caution? Sure. But what the hell.
Also, my doctor told me to just say that I don't drink. Because this is functionally true.
As an aside: I feel like I need to have all of the flashy jackets worn by BTS in their live concerts. Except then I remember that I do not have the same body shape as a young Korean man. So there would need to be some pretty significant modifications.
Still, if I ever return to working for a living instead of sitting on my a$$ for a living, I think I'd like to wear more jackets.
I am watching BTS videos at the moment. This is not shocking to my children. Daughter is not so fond of the music (yet), but she will watch commentary and making-of videos with me and likes the individual members. Particularly V and Suga.
Elderboy will listen to the music with me while doing dishes or making dinner.
Spouse humors me.
I continue to learn Korean. The Hangul alphabet system is pretty awesome. Anything beats English spelling, ngl.
It's raining all day today. Imma get wet on my #mandatorycovidwalk.
I'm doing grey rainy day today. Which is pretty good, all things considered. This whole effing thing is so ridiculously stressful. To so damn many people. But I don't see a way that it could be less stressful.
All I see are bad outcomes.
Crappy superpowers suck. Send thoughts, prayers, and flashy blazers.
(Everything does not always suck. Trying to remember all that stupid cognitive behavioral therapy stuff about staying in the present and not looking at things in black and white.
Basically whatever comes naturally to me... I need to do the opposite.
I continue to walk about 1 hour each day.
Here are the amusing things about my walk:
I used to never be able to just "go for a walk." I had to go SOMEWHERE.
Now I can meander. But I MUST be listening to BTS on my headphones.
Without this, I cannot move my legs. It's my battery.
I exaggerate. But while I am listening I could go on and on and on. I am inside the music and not in whatever crap I'm overthinking.
I even have a method of knowing when I need to turn to go back home. On the one album (You Never Walk Alone) it's when they sing MAMA it's time to turn around. On the other album (Map Of The Soul: 7) it's when they sing Zero o'Clock.
Have I mentioned that I do better with rigid structure? This makes no sense to people who know how chaotic I am. But there must be an underlying rigidity to support all that chaos.
I am reluctant to put a number on things or say that I've lost weight... but my clothes fit better now than they have in a long time. I'm tracking the time that I walk daily. I'm tracking my weight weekly. Eventually I will track my food and make sure I'm getting enough vegetables. There is only so much self-care I'm willing to put in at once.
I take my meds.
I go for walks.
I eat regular meals.
I get enough water and don't have too much caffeine
I scare the crap out of friends and family by posting scary things.
But here's the thing: if I'm with it enough to post, I am probably not in the middle of a mental health crisis. Pro tip.
It's like the light that you're seeing from a star. By the time it reaches you... the light is old news.
I'm still worried about my students. But not in a cripplingly horrible way at the moment. There are only 5 weeks left in the school year, I think.
And then (I say this every year) I will make a plan for some structure in my summer. Ha.
I'm learning Korean in my spare time. I really like the writing system. My student asked me how to say "hello" in Korean. I haven't gotten that far yet...
But I do know how to say, "Let's go to the karaoke room." Because (for those of you who know me) that is a SUPER useful phrase in my personal life even when there isn't any stay-at-home order.
I have been engaging in some retail-from-home therapy. Mostly just stuff that we need.
But I did splurge (kinda?) and got myself a four-pack of (quite reasonably priced) plain, black cotton masks... from South Korea.
Don't tell me this was unnecessary and there are masks available here. I KNOW this.
But if I have to wear a mask, I feel better at this joke I have with myself. That my mask is connected with my musical obsession of the moment. It makes it feel more like weirdly-obsessive fandom and less like frightening pandemic-dom.
And really, it's just a plain, black mask. Not with any kind of logo. Just a regular one like regular people have worn in Korea for years to protect their voices from dust and smog and pollen. And to keep other people from getting sick.
I HATE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS.
But I can pretend that I like wearing my black mask from South Korea. Because it is a secret joke. And it is comfortable-- as masks go.
Psych NP has changed my meds.
3 pills lamotrigine at night.
2 pills fluoxetine in the morning.
So far, so good. I mean, it's not magic. But I'm not in the clutches of despair.
End of transmission.
Fine, just kidding. I am having a VERY hard time working from home. I cry about my students all the damn time. I miss them like hell. My co teacher and I don't have the same dynamic when we aren't working in the same physical space. I don't get to have lunch with my teacher friends.
Whine whine whine.
And I shouldn't feel any of these things because I am hardly in a unique situation. So I have no right to talk about feeling bad. I have no right to feel bad. Only other people do.
My Depression wasn't great before All This Happened.
I have had to add on latuda (my emergency "holy crap I'm way more depressed than I thought medicine that I keep in handy). I have been mildly suicidal.
Remember I talked about this before. MILD. No plans. Not gonna do anything. But idly thinking that it might be nice not to have to deal with all the things that make me overwhelmed and anxious and SAD.
This was also what prompted the add-on of latuda. I will call Psych NP tomorrow. No, Monday.
Teaching has royally sucked. I teach from my bedroom on a tiny desk. My students don't turn their webcams on, which is fine, but makes it eerie as I'm teaching to a list of names on the left side of my computer.
I thought my asthma was twice as bad as it's ever been. Turns out I had bronchitis and probably had it for months. I can finally take a breath after just 2 days on antibiotics.
I don't go anywhere but on a walk every day. EVERY DAMN DAY doesn't matter if I want to or not. It is my #mandatorycovidwalk.
Sometimes I walk away from my house until I can stop crying and then I come back home. I live in a small house. Crying when my children are here seems like a Bad Plan. Also, I'm not sure if I cry here that I will be able to stop.
Just because SAD.
I still have a job. I am not sick. No one I know or love is sick. We are All Fine.
And still, this sucks. It is tanking my mental health, and I sometimes am barely hanging on.
I am so glad I am not doing this alone. My kids are doing pretty well, all things considered. I think it is hardest on my oldest. Next year he'll be starting his senior year.
My school admin is awesome. I told her I needed to meet with her and she set aside a good chunk of time for us to talk. I didn't even have an agenda really. I just wanted her to know how anxious I was feeling about everything. It's what I would have done if we were in the building. And it was good to see her face.
I am the only one who has an awesome haircut. And a dye job. I did both for myself the first week of isolation. I'll show you later. Unless I already did. Anyway.
I am continuing to write. I'm working on a 4th book (2 are finished, 2 are in progress) on Wattpad. I have disconnected entirely from Facebook because no matter how my friends and family are reacting to this crisis, I don't think I can watch.
But I have made some very good and supportive imaginary friends from all over the world. One of my bestest buddies is a Sami person from Lapland in the far north part of Finland beyond the arctic circle. They got me interested in K-Pop because of the books they are writing that I really love. I'm gonna be the beta reader for the final book. Super excited.
Anyway, on February 22 I asked them what I should listen to if I wanted to be a fan of BTS. Now that's what I am. As you may know, I do nothing by halves. I am now full-on ARMY.
BTS broke in as a hip-hop boyband. But their style has broadened and it's exactly what I need to listen to. The one at the end here is my anthem for covid. I'm learning it so I can sing it to my class when Things Go Back. (not to normal, but to something else)
About 80% of my students are also fans. The other 20% pretend that they have never heard of BTS but are secretly fans anyway.
I'm too tired to tell you the dosages of my meds. There are too many.
Oh-- I did/do have ulnar neuropathy from typing frantically seven hours a day for 10 days straight at a desk that was too tall. As a result I've been doing hand therapy (well, on my elbow, so I guess elbow therapy?) once a week AND taking
Quaker, teacher, parent,