Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resolutions

Hmm. I typed the title of this blog and then looked at it and said out loud, "RE - solutions." Since lately I feel a lack of resolve for anything other than my own personal pity party, I think I'll look at January 1st a bit differently this year.

I won't have any New Year's Resolutions. I will just try to think of new solutions for my past problems - I'll re-solute.

For instance, I'll start with my mp3 player. It's been driving me nuts. My computer died and I bought a lap-top. I tried to re-install and re-subscribe to Rhapsody, as my account with them had expired. That worked fine; I've logged in and listened to songs and they've certainly debited my bank account every month, but... I can only listen to songs while I'm sitting at my lap top. When I try to listen to songs using my little, cheap, piece-of-shit device, this error message comes up that says I need to "synchronize my device."

I don't know how to do this; thus, I haven't solved this problem. However, effective tomorrow, I am going to call customer service and find out how to do whatever needs to be done.

I will re-solve this problem.

Then, I will re-solve elsewhere. Be on the lookout. I'm an '09 problem solver getting ready to take care of business.

Happy New Year. Don't fear. Hold loved ones dear. Drink more beer, but spread more cheer. Try not to sneer.... or leer. No tears.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Procrastinator's Life

Lately I find I procrastinate more than ever.

This life is difficult to lead. I used to claim I worked well on a deadline. However, older and wiser, I know now that I work well on someone else's deadline: self-imposed deadlines are harder to meet, and its easy to give oneself an extension.

I procrastinate daily. I wait until THE very last minute to get in the shower and start getting ready for work. I wait until THE very last minute to Christmas shop, assemble and wrap gifts. I wait until THE very last minute to do dishes. (That only means that I do dishes when the sink is full and starting to smell a bit off, and my husband is making snide remarks about not being able to cook in our dirty kitchen.)

Let me be fair to myself: I don't procrastinate at work. I have been deemed a workaholic, but I don't take actual work home with me. I'm paid hourly; I don't work for free. The only work I bring home is the mental and emotional baggage of the work day. That's even more unhealthy. Oops, I was trying to be fair to myself in this paragraph. Damn.

As a procrastinator, I love to make spur of the moment plans. This allows me to put off whatever I should actually be doing during those hours. For instance, last night I decided to go and watch my horrible but favorite basketball team (as well as the Packers/Bears game) at a local sports bar. What "should" I have done? I should have come home, assembled and wrapped gifts - and loaded the dishwasher - and gotten to bed before midnight. Then, I wouldn't be sitting here at my laptop right now, avoiding the gift wrapping. ("Ohh... I'll just blog and drink a cup of coffee, then I'll start the wrapping..." These are the conversations I have with myself in my free time.)

Let's give Amber some gold stars:

This morning I did dishes. I paid a bill online. I went and got gifts out of my car, which I will now assemble and begin to wrap. I'll get a shower and get ready just in time to get to the bank at 1:30. (It's a half day for me; I work this Saturday - and God forbid overtime.)

However, I'll rush around. I'll skip lunch. I'll be hungry and grumpy until the work day ends. Then, I'll come home, sit on the couch and think about what I "should" get accomplished. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. The gifts will need to be ready to go.

I have procrastinated away this holiday season. I'm ready for New Year's Day. Hmm. What should be my resolution? I'll decide that later. I have too much else to do right this minute.

Friday, December 5, 2008

December blues and blahs

Some years ago, almost four years ago, people including doctors thought I might suffer from bipolar disorder. I'll leave out the gory details, but I kid you not - for more than a week I could not sleep, eat, or really function at all. The wheels in my head were turning. I felt a creative genius, that I could conquer all my fears and start a fulfilling career. I sought information. I talked to anyone who wanted to give me advice or was willing to listen. I thought I could become an advertising exec or an event planner. I wanted to use my college degree in English, my minor in communication. I did a ton of reading, writing, and talking.

I ended up in the hospital. I was diagnosed with a chemical imbalance. I took an ungodly amount of doctor prescribed medication. I crumbled.

I couldn't go back to work for months - well, a couple of months. I had to reintegrate myself back into my job as a waitress. I was embarrassed. I was groggy. I was done with ambition.

This happened almost four years ago. I've spent the last four years beating myself up for what I felt was a sign of personal weakness. I wasn't the girl who had it all together; I wasn't even close. I wasn't the girl who had the world wrapped around her little finger. I felt so guilty. What had I done to deserve such a fate?

Now, four years later, I've gone through a recent similar situation. Around Halloween and the time of the presidential election I started having panic attacks, over-spending, tossing and turning, and feeling uneasy all night long. I had so many stressors in my life. I'd just gotten married, I landed a great job promotion, and I was overwhelmed. I wanted to pursue my dreams. I felt on top of the world. I felt that, finally, my life was going to go in the direction I'd always dreamed. I told myself I was on the cusp of inner peace, maturity, being a married adult and having a "normal" life. I knew I deserved it, though a little evil voice in the back of my head said, "no, you can't have it all."

Again, I fell apart. This time it only cost me one month off work. My husband didn't bail on me; my employer didn't either. I have better insurance now and received the health care I needed and got the rest my little brain so badly craved. I cried. I talked and talked and talked. I confessed my sins to both my parents and my husband, in round about ways.

Whether or not I suffer from it, "bipolar disorder," the label itself, is super offensive. I mean, it's manic depression. It's a condition that causes human beings to feel waaay too happy and then waay too sad, sometimes even in the same day, or in the same moment, perhaps... and when you break them down, those words... manic depression... doesn't it just mean greatly depressed?

I ask, are we not ALL, as people, a little bit bipolar? What do YOU do when you feel such a euphoria that it moves you to tears? What do you do when you're scared and can't sleep at night? What do you do when you feel so sad that you think you'll never smile again?

Do you, those of you without a mental health care issue, not tap in to your emotions? Do you push them away? Do you just move on from the good and bad and not sit and dwell? Perhaps a bipolar issue is an emotional or spiritual one.

They tell me I have a chemical imbalance in my brain, that maybe it's "just" an anxiety disorder. I've been called, by friends, an "over-sharer." I like to believe I'm also an over-thinker. Maybe I allow my brain to work hard, and allow my heart to feel too much. I don't mean to do it; it comes naturally to me.

It's my own little vicious cycle, and I have to stay a step ahead of it. If I don't, months or years from now I'll have to take more time off work, feel embarrassed... and feel that I have a character flaw... all over again.