Feast or a famine.

Everything seems to be happening at once in my usually stale life! It is enough to make any girls head spin!

After what seemed like months and months of ‘it’s ages away!’ all of a sudden October is here! Which means in two weeks I leave the family nest to live in Sale for four weeks, AND I find out if any hospital is willing to employ me next year. Major EEPS!

I am ridiculously excited about Sale. I have travelled before, but have never had to worry about my next meal or even where I am going to sleep at night. While I do have accommodation sorted for Sale, I do not know how to cook to save myself, so this is going to be a rapid and steep learning curve for missy moo here! I am quite determined to cook my own dinner every night, no takeaway, no microwave meals. I am 23 years old, it is time I learn to fend for myself. Obviously I will have to get to know a washing machine as well. I have used plenty of laundromats so hopefully this one shouldn’t be tooooo bad! It is all good preparation for next year, when I intend to permanently move out.

In the meantime though, now that October has hit, I feel like I have a million things I need to do in the next two weeks, and a million things distracting me from doing any of them! I seem to spend my days sitting around doing nothing but play a very stupid but very addictive game on my iPhone, then talking to people on Facebook way past my bedtime, and therefore getting up late and repeating the cycle! Argh! I have also had a recent social life explosion, and seem to be going out sooo much (to other people’s standards it is probably pretty average!). At least I am dragging myself of to the gym, so that is something, although todays effort was a bit lacklustre due to severe sciatic evilness.

I still have to finish my last assignment, organise all the stuff I need to take with me, not to mention complete a never-ending to do list of stuff, including sending off my application for registration as a nurse. MAJOR ARGHHHHHH!

I suppose I should stop complaining about it and just get on with it, and also remember, that it is not going to get any easier next year when I add full-time work to my schedule! Woo!

Over and out, hombres!

xx

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That old black dog.

This old black dog is hounding me

It waits ’round the corner and hides in the trees

I feel the chill of something blown in on a breeze…

I love Andy Bull‘s song ‘Dog’. It uses the image of a sneaky black dog to describe depression, something I can completely identify with. It has been 10 years since I became acquainted with the dirty D word, so I feel it is kind of fitting to have a little ramble on about it, especially because at the moment, I feel pretty crappy.

When I was in my first year of highschool, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. And not just a Joe Blow cancer (not that any cancers are Joe Blow, really), but a highly aggressive form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma that had spread from his bowel to his spine, and that they could only identify when they sent pathology samples to America, because no doctors in Australia had ever seen it before. Dad was given 3 months to live in the March of 2001, he told them to hit him with the hardest treatment they had, and he was in remission in December of the same year. We Egan’s don’t do anything by halves, that’s for sure. We have always had a tendency to be dramatic.

So as you can imagine, for a 12/13-year-old, such a fucking shithouse journey is not the easiest thing to go through. Not only was I starting a new school, not only had I left my friends behind, not only did I feel like a social outcast, but I also had to watch my dad wither away to a skeleton, vomit and cry, lose his hair, get so close to the brink so many times, and somehow also adjust to the demands of secondary education. I snapped. I bullied other students, I didn’t do my work, I failed at least one class, and I spent a good portion of the year on the school counsellors couch. It was a foggy mess of a year, but somewhere in about October as I sat on Vivian’s couch and we looked at each other, the realisation came that I didn’t need to be there anymore. I had made it through to the other side, and probably gained a helluva lot of maturity and perspective along the way. The universe dishes out shit for a reason, so that year wasn’t for nothing.

So I came out of 2001 with a fresh start, applied myself to my studies, and started to enjoy my life at highschool. I thought feelings such as the ones I experienced in 2001, the despair, the loneliness, the apathy, the mind crushing numbness, I thought they were behind me for good. Now I know better. I think once you have depression, it always lurks there in the recesses of your mind. The only way I can describe this is to compare it to fat. When you put on weight, your body generates new fat cells. When you lose weight, the fat cells empty of the fat, but the outer casing of the cell remains. This is why it is so easy to put on weight again. Only liposuction can get rid of that outer casing. I feel it is the same as depression. I feel I now have depression cells. I may spend 98% of the rest of my life happy, but every now and then, those depression cells will fill with the blackness and despair and I will have to crawl my way out again.

And the worst part is trying to explain it to you

And the worst part is knowing there’s nothing to do

Explaining depression to other people, friends and family alike, is quite difficult. In fact, with my family, the subject is not one that has been broached at all, although I am sure my mother at the very least has been aware of it over the years, particularly during my latter high school career. I went through a particularly rough stage when I was about 16 that involved spending endless days sitting listlessly in my bedroom doing absolutely nothing, a brief foray into self harm (I still have the stupid scars on my wrist, including, very faintly now, the word DIE), and at least one intentional suicide attempt. In a way it was almost an unfortunate time to be a teenager suffering depression, in the early 2000’s, as the rise of Emo’s was huge, and so I think a lot of teenagers were not taken seriously. You weren’t depressed, you were emo. Like a gigantic wholesale sweeping under the rug of a problem that society didn’t really want to deal with, and still doesn’t. But back to the point. Aside from realising that I was a gigantic sack of malcontent sitting on my bed, I don’t think my parents clued onto too much during that period. My friends were a little more cluey, and expended a lot of energy forcing me out of the house on numerous occasions. Bless their hearts. That is what true friendship is all about, people!

In 2007, after I had graduated from highschool, I got a tattoo on my lower back, the obligatory tramp stamp. It is an excerpt from a song by My Chemical Romance, who to this day are still my favourite band. The song is called ‘The Sharpest Lives’ and the quote in question goes like this: ‘If it looks like I’m laughing, I’m really just asking to leave.’ Here is a picture of the tattoo:

Please excuse many things, including my butt crack, copious amounts of fat, and the general shitness of the photo. It is super hard to take a photo of your own back. To me, this quote typifies how depression feels to at least me. It screams ‘See this fucking smile, this laughter? It is a LIE! Don’t believe it! I am not really happy, I am just pretending because I don’t know how to tell you how I feel, I am afraid you won’t understand, and I fear your rejection!’ All very dramatic and what not, but that is how it feels to me. Which is probably why I identify with ‘Dog’ so much as well, it is like exactly what I would tell someone if they asked me how it feels to be depressed. I would just send them a link to Andy’s MySpace page and leave it at that.

I try to outsmart him but somehow he knows

Wherever I am, that fucking dog goes

I’ll kill him the next time I swear I won’t fail

I’ll kick in his ribs and rip off his tail

I have personally given up on the idea of ‘killing’ my depression. I have accepted it as a part of me, that will always be one of the facets of my personality. I recognize the signs of when it is creeping back in, and I know what to do to send it slinking off with its tail between its legs. I am proud to say I have never taken medication for my depression. Having said that, I don’t think less of people who do have to take medication for whatever type of mental illness they suffer. Every journey and every person is individual, and you have to do what you have to do to get to the other side without losing it altogether. I guess I never went on medication because as a teenager I relied on my mother to take care of my healthcare, and there was no way I was going to admit to her I needed that sort of help. So by the time I graduated highschool and took over my own healthcare, I had realised that I could beat it off on my own. So that is what I have continued to do, with the bout that caught me after I dropped out of uni and worked full-time, and then last years horrible blur. I will just continue to inflict enough injuries to my black dog to get him to go back into whatever cave he hides in, and then enjoy my life until he cames out again for another round in the boxing rink.

Last year was particularly nasty. I spent the whole year in a funk. I hated living at home, I was fighting with my mum a lot, I couldn’t be bothered with my course, and I just generally didn’t want to play. I was over my friends (sorry guys! I do love you!), and had a brief ‘relationship’ that in hindsight was a stupid stupid idea. I was messed up and in no fit state to date anyone, and I guess used the whole thing as some sort of emotional escape. Mind you, the whole thing falling apart did rouse me out of my apathy a bit, and I got my indignant rage on and felt some good healthy hatred. In about September an opportunity came up to do an exchange to Mexico over the summer for my degree, so I jumped at it. I needed to escape, and I was so glad I did.

Mexico taught me many things. It taught me how to make friends even though it is terrifying. It taught me a degree of independence. It taught me I couldn’t be petulant with people who haven’t known me for a long time (Sorry, Kate!). It taught me that friendship can transcend state and country borders and that you don’t have to see people or even talk to them on the phone to think of them often and fondly (I miss you Ash!). It also brought to my attention a few home truths about myself. Like the fact that the Year of the Fog had manifested some pretty poor habits. Looking at photos of myself in Mexico and LA, I realise how much weight I put on in 2010. My depression and my eating habits are intrinsically linked. I get depressed, I eat. I then get depressed because I ate. Then because I am depressed because I ate, I then eat more. It is a stupid vicious circle that allows me attach all sorts of silly emotional messages and meanings to food. It also allowed me to stack on 10 kilos and realise how close I was to the dreaded triple number on the scale. When I got back from Mexico and saw how close I was to hitting 100kg I knew it was time to stop letting my emotions dictate my eating habits. It was also time to stop putting off my goals to not be a fatty any longer. So I have embarked on a very slow health and fitness journey (A big shout out to Luka, Ann and Victtoria for spurring me on!), and have so far lost almost 5 kilos. I have realised what an awesome part exercise can play in controlling my depression as well. I feel amazing when I exercise, and depressed when I don’t. Pretty simple really.

Anyway, that was a whole lot of ramble, but I guess I almost felt it was time to come clean. Like this weight loss mission, this fitness obsession, the purge of my body, can only work if I purge my mind also, and be honest about how I feel and how it affects me. I don’t know, but maybe it will also strike a chord with other people who feel the same way, and give them a warm fuzzy feeling that they are not alone. And so we shouldn’t be. It is time the stigma of mental illness gets destroyed once and for all, so that people can be honest about their problems and don’t feel like lesser people because they suffer something they never asked for.

I will leave you with Andy Bull’s song, purely because it is awesome, and it was the fact that I felt like listening to it randomly this morning that spurred the writing of this entire post.

And the worst part is thinking it’s something it’s not

Yeah the worst part is thinking it might never stop

Oh if I can pull myself together I’ll try

Oh but I can’t explain the tear that sits in my eye

If I can pull myself together I’ll try

Oh if I can’t pull myself together I’ll die

xx

Decisions.

I was snooping around on The Daily Post contemplating whether or not to participate in post of the day/week, when yesterdays topic caught my eye:

‘How do you decide how to decide?’

 

Unggggg

 

I think this is a ridiculously valid question for today’s society, given the high levels of choice we are presented with on a day-to-day basis. We live in a highly consumeristic society. You have to choose what fillings go in your sandwich; which colour out of about 100 you want that pair of jeans in, after you have decided what cut you prefer; you can choose to change doctors/dentists/degrees/homes/cars/cities in a blink of an eye. Everything is readily available, and we thrive on the joy of instant gratification. But has this actually helped or hindered our decision-making process?

Sarah Wilson wrote this interesting little piece for the Sunday Life supplement magazine that comes with the Sunday Age in Melbourne, and also posted it on her blog. It goes into a little bit of detail about how as a society we are suffering decision fatigue, and are unnecessarily burdening our children with decisions they are not really capable of understanding. I personally don’t remember being asked as a child what I wanted for lunch at school, I just ate whatever was put in my lunchbox, then went and played, whereas I have seen younger cousins being quizzed at every possible moment on what they would like to do. They want to roll in the mud, that’s what.

 

I just want bread, fuckin'!

 

The major problem with decision fatigue is because we can no longer be bothered making new choices, we just stick to the default ones, which may not be in our best interests. Can’t decide between having the caesar salad with or without chicken? Oh fuck it, I will just get a parma instead. The wardrobe is so bursting full of clothing that it takes you at least half an hour to decide what to wear, and when you eventually clean it out you find clothes you thought you sent to the op shop years ago? Get rid of most of it.

Sarah details three ways you can make decision-making in your life easier, and thereby reduce your chance of decision fatigue:

  1. Set up your life to make less decisions.
  2. Do whatever grabs you.
  3. Spend an hour making choices.

By simplifying your life in such a way that leaves you with a tolerable amount of choices (everyone will be different on what is tolerable), you will be less likely to make default choices. Sarah uses the example of how she is currently living out of a suitcase and therefore rotates between three outfits. One dirty, one clean, one being worn. Simple. That wouldn’t work for me unless I was travelling, but I can use her analogy to take a good hard look at my wardrobe. I take FOREVER to decide what to wear every day, simply because I have soooo many clothes. It is completely unneccessary, as I wear the same ones over and over. While I am not quite ready to tackle the wardrobe, I have been cleaning out my space and preparing in general for life as a full-time worker next year, by de-cluttering and thereby limiting my choice of distractions.

Sarah also promotes the idea of doing tasks which appeal to you the most. Instead of sitting there with your to-do-list ho humming over what should have priority, just do all the things first that most appeal to you, or that won’t seem like a chore. This idea may not appeal to some people as it means you could be leaving the most onerous task to last, but it also means that you won’t have any excuses because it is the only thing you have left to do…so just get on with it!

Lastly, Sarah advocates the idea of just sitting down, and getting a whole lot of stuff over and done with in a short space of time. Things like emails, bills, letters, and all those other little annoying things that require our attention and a decision on. Instead of deliberating over them and making a mountain out of a molehill, just make snap decisions, get it over and done with, and move on with life.

By reducing the stress decisions cause in your life, not only are you getting the decision-making over and done with, you are also leaving yourself a lot of free time to do whatever the hell you want with!

 

Chill, like this super awesome sloth.

 

So in my maiden voyage into the art of quick and effective decision-making I made a snap decision (well after about a week) to move out next year. My friend Creepy Krystal had already asked me a few times to be her roommate but I had never really taken the idea too seriously. I always made excuses to myself about saving money, living close to the hospital I want to work at, being able to travel, being reluctant to leave my parents and brother and the very unique family life we live. However. I will be 23 next year. My parents have supported me through five years of tertiary education. They have paid for all my food, the majority of my bills, and for all my living expenses in this last year that I have been unemployed. We are also starting to get cabin fever. I am fighting more with my mum, becoming more intolerant of some of my brothers usually cute but often annoying mannerisms and quirks. Dad is probably the only person I stay constant with, he tends to be like a leveler between us all. The decision to move out also ties in, believe it or not, with my desire to lose weight. My mother is fiercely protective of her kitchen, and as yet I have not had the opportunity (or one could say the permission!) to learn how to cook. As a result I eat my mothers, while excellent, delicious and nutritious, cooking, I also eat her ridiculously oversized portions that are often laden with carb dense foods. I feel moving out with give me the freedom to cook what I want and change to a clean eating lifestyle. But most of all? It is just time. Time for me to become a real adult, to become independent, to make my own home. I can’t wait. 🙂

 

A wee cottage...such a shame I live in the city!

 

Hopefully I will make many more good decisions to come. Like finishing my last assignment, which I decide to do right now!

xx

There was a moth crawling in my sleeve…

So I was sitting here getting ready to formulate another smashing blog post, and kept feeling that creepy crawly feeling on my left arm. I thought I was delusional, as I get the creepy crawly feeling at least once a day for whatever reason, but upon further investigation, I discovered a moth had somehow gotten in there. Silly little moth.

🙂

Today I helped my favourite whorebag Victtoria ‘run’ the op shop her mum, ‘Queen Dyke’, works at while she nipped out for a while. I love op shops. I love the eclectic bunch of crap, discarded clothing, and former loved items. I love rifling through all of this stuff to find my newest treasure. I love that musty op shop smell. Possibly the best part of op shops though? The clientele.

The op shop in question is in the lovely suburb of Flemington (*insert mild sarcasm here*). As a result, it attracts a wide variety of Asian, African, slightly left/right/up/down of the centre people, and a lot of people who frequent op shops because their socio-economic status prevents their affordability from being sufficient to buy new clothing/crockery/books etc. You get your lovely grandmas pinching pennies, your hipsters buying out ALL the cool clothes in one fell swoop, and your usual riff raff and down-and-outers trying to scam you down to the last cent. Which is annoying considering this op shop is considerably cheaper than the big warehouse varieties like Savers.

My favourite people are the ones who tell you their life story. All about their mother/father/sister/brother/daughter/son/friend/dog/elephant/giraffe. Whether or not you care. You get it anyway. I just love getting that micro slice of another persons life. It is what I loved about working in retail for four years. I hated the paperwork and the hoopla that came with the job, but I loved chatting to my regulars.

The next best part of spending a day working in an op shop? When customers are scarce, you can scour the racks for finds. I got a (I suspect) never/rarely worn black dress with white polka dots that fits like it was custom-made, and an adorable little tan leather purse (made in italy) that is in terrible condition but that I am going to inject a bit of love into to try to spruce it up a bit. If it doesn’t work, well who cares, it is cute as anyway, perfect for a night out!

You never know what you might find at the op shop... or how stupid alcohol will make you act and look!

I will definitely be heading back to the op shop for some more days of fun.

And to buy clothes. Lots and lots of clothes.

🙂 xx