Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Little Things

My recently renewed sense of stability seems to have brought with it my abnormal propensity for reflecting on the little things that I enjoy, and writing about said little things in a meandering big-worded style. It’s seldom I get a good post out without at least a handful of parenthesis and …s.

(I forget what the three periods are called, but I’m well aware I over use them… To understand why I like them, try to read my posts and pretend that it’s you speaking the words, turn the three periods into a short pause during which you allow your listener the chance to add a thought, which turns into a slightly awkward silence where they wait for you to get to the freaking point… Not sure why, but I like pauses like that. Gives me a moment to think, and who doesn’t like to irk their listeners a little, right? Anyway, I think I owe you a right-parenthesis… I think I’ll hold on to it for now. I’d make a terrible code monkey…

So like I was saying in the title, I’ve been thinking about some of the lesser appreciated little things that bring us some measure of pleasure, and thought I’d pay tribute. There are enough posts about children’s laughter or playful kittens. I’m not talking about finding $20 in your old jacket, or getting a free lunch when you don’t expect it… Those things are great, but really… What’s the sense in posting about something easy to enjoy like that?

No, I’m talking about the unsung heroes of our superficial pleasures.

I love potato chips, as any red-cholesterol-clotted-blooded American does, but even better than the potato chip, is a potato chip that’s folded over onto itself. There’s a certain crunch it gives as your teeth shatter through it, twice in one bit that can’t be paralleled, even by biting two chips at once.

I was once told by a brother of mine, that if you find a potato chip that’s folded over and it’s touching itself, and you can fit that entire potato chip into your mouth without breaking it, then you get to make a wish. I imagine he told me that at least twenty-five years ago, but to this day, I still do it, and I still make a wish.

It’s a well-known fact, that I am a serious ice cream addict. I have my favorites like anyone else, but I love ice cream in a bowl, and eating it with a metal spoon. I like to take that spoon after removing it from my mouth, and I lay it on the ice cream, and watch the wetness in the spoon slowly freeze when the spoon’s temperature drop. It reminds me of an old Tom and Jerry episode when they flood the kitchen, and open the freezer door, dip some wires from the fridge into the water, and the whole kitchen freezes over like a forest after a New England ice storm. The water slowly, magically freezes, the ice sweeping out across the floor… That’s how the left-behind slobber on the spoon freezes. I highly recommend trying it out. It’ll become your new bad habit.

I love crispy chicken skin. Naturally, it’s the worst part of the chicken, but a slab of seasoned, well crisped chicken skin is a close rival to possibly even bacon. I have a respect for vegetarians, but I can honestly say there’s absolutely no other food that even comes close to bacon or chicken skin. Were I to go the way of the herbivorous, there’d be no substitute for these things.

I haven’t done it in a while (read: over 20 years) but I always used to love smearing Elmer’s glue on my hand, waiting for it to dry, just to peel it off like a layer of dead skin… I know, it sounds sick, and perhaps it’s a little-boy thing, but honestly, it’s a good time. There were a bunch of us in grade school who used to do it, and we’d compete to see who could peel the biggest piece. I find myself looking back fondly on it lately, with school back in session there are tons of Elmer’s glue commercials. Don’t use rubber cement though, it doesn’t work the same, and takes longer to dry. Paste also doesn’t work the same, so don’t bother. Leave it for that weird kid who eats it.

I’m sure I’ve got a ton of these, and I’ll be sure to post them up as I think of them. What are you less obvious little things that bring you pleasure?? Try to keep it clean, this is a family show. ;)

Oh, and here… )

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Making Up For Lost Time


It's been quite a while. I've thought a few times on what to post when I came back, but sort of a lot's happened and I wasn't sure where to start... So I guess I'll just start where I left off and catch up. Hopefully I can make this entertaining while I go.

Last time I posted it was during a sort of depressed moment where things were irritating, but I felt the need to write, if only just to write. Shortly after that day, things continued wearing on me, and I just didn't feel like writing either.

I'd been having some anxiety issues for the last few years, and it's never really been a problem for me before... There was a time, maybe five years ago that you could have told me my something bothersome, and I'd say "Huh. Ok, well let's deal with this, what's the best course of action?" In the last couple years, things started bothering me. You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you hear horrible news, like a car crash that might have involved someone you know, or something like that? That twisting, writhing knot in your belly? I started getting that feeling frequently.

At first, I was able to just dismiss it, tell myself I was being ridiculous, and move on. Eventually, simple things like problems at work for which I had no answer... and I work in I.T., it's EVERY DAY that there are problems I have to figure out. It's always been a strength, and all of a sudden I found myself dreading being relied upon for someone's business. Still, I forged ahead, telling myself it was no big deal, I was over-reacting and being ridiculous.

In addition to this, I'd seemed to have completely lost my patience. I've always had a rather hot temper, but generally speaking, I've got a pretty long fuse. This was no longer the case. Little things would set me off in a shouting rage, and I didn't like that. I've got two young kids, and a job for which one NEEDS patience... By the time I finish with work, I only have a couple of hours to spend with the kids, and it's not fair to them for me to be frustrated and angry all the time. 

Finally, I decided to speak with my doctor about it. She asked if I had been getting sad a lot, and I wasn't sure how to answer... Which sort of made me think "yes"... I mean, I wasn't crying or anything, but there were more nights that felt like that last post of mine than there were others. She asked if I was considering self-harm, which I wasn't... Far from it. "Suicide has never crossed my mind," I said. "Homicide, on the other had has been a reoccurring notion, however." She knew I was kidding.

I was put on a low dosage of Celexa. This is an SSRI, and typically given to treat depression, but they find that in low doses it's effective for anxiety. I started taking this on a Monday following a weekend during which I worked. I'm not going to get into the specifics of the job, but suffice to say things didn't go quite well, and were very tenuous for almost two weeks before everything smoothed out.

That said, Monday I felt a difference within a couple of hours. They say you won't, but I disagree. Day two and three were also better. Day four, I woke up an hour before the alarm, and I felt like I was having a panic attack, which I've NEVER had in my life. My heart was pounding, my whole body was jittery, I got the sweats, the chills, and that knot-feeling in the pit of my stomach was present, and would not fade.

"Things are fine" I kept telling myself. "Things will work out, don't worry about it", but all I wanted to do was crawl out of my skin. I read online that this was a common side effect of Celexa after the first few days, and would go away, but it typically took around two weeks. Nice of them to give me a heads up, I thought. Then again, if I'd had any idea I probably wouldn't have stuck with it.

Over the next few weeks, I had a several instances like that, and they'd last for hours, though each was somewhat shorter and less severe than the last. I still wake up a little early, but I find it easier to snooze. Whatever slight depression I'd been feeling has gone away. My patience seems to have returned. The anxiety is by and large gone, but that knot-feeling is still present, if a little different. It's more of a chill that starts at the back of my neck, and goes down into my stomach and sits for a few minutes.

Thanks to those of you who checked back in with me over the last few weeks, the words of encouragement really meant a lot, and had a lot of impact in a time when I needed that sort of thing badly. I appreciate the kind thoughts, and hope I can return the favor some day.

Anxiety is a funny thing, that I only now have a respect for. I always took for granted that because I could just dismiss something as silly, that everyone should be able to. I've always said "you can't do anything about it now, so don't bother thinking about it." I never knew what a luxury that ability was.