Sunday Self-Love: Sept-Oct 2016

I told myself I would be doing these and I AM DOING THESE! I wanted to make them a once-a-month thing but I forgot to do it for a while, so here are some self-proclaimed Nikita Excellence™ and various ways I’ve been showing myself kindness.

  1. Cleaning my space. My head has been feeling cluttered and unclear so I took a couple of days to really clean and organize my space so I can feel like a grown woman in charge of my own life. I played “The Desired Effect” by Brandon Flowers on vinyl twice. It’s so happy and 80s-sounding and makes me feel like dancing and making my life better. I realize I put this on my last SSL post but at least you know I clean my room once a month.
  2. Forgiving myself for being imperfect in an imperfect body. You may have seen my previous post My Internal Monologue of Weight Gain (and Loss) that I’ve been fluctuating in my weight because FEELINGS. My body image and sense of comfort in my body has suffered but I’ve made the decision to let myself feel the feelings and cope with feelings. I shouldn’t beat myself up over something to temporary.
  3. I started using my agenda again to get shit done. I also bought a Passion Planner to REALLY get shit done.
  4. Attending Queen’s 2016 Homecoming! It has been 5 years since I graduated and I have a lot of feelings about Queen’s University, my growth, and the people I’ve crossed paths with. It was really great going back! (Longer post about this pending.)
  5. I listened to the Hamilton soundtrack and it has healed me.
  6. I made an active real effort to read more. I haven’t finished a book yet because I haven’t fallen into any that I love, but it feels sooooo nice to curl up in a blanket and read something for a few hours. I began Daughters Who Walk This Path by Yejide Kilanko and I’ve been sitting halfway through Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for a while now. Mostly it’s been listening to M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman on audiobook as I drift off to sleep.

Sunday Self-Love

Anna over at NerdyAlerty began this lovely series on her blog and encouraged others to participate. Sunday Self-Love is about acknowledging the things you love about yourself; the things you have done to be good to yourself, and the things you are proud of accomplishing. Her series will be monthly, but I’m not sure if I will follow the same schedule.

I have therapy sessions every two weeks to help manage my anxiety (which has become more troublesome since moving back in with my dad), and she would like to see me being kinder to myself. Most of my thoughts are self-deprecating and very focused on what I didn’t do well/enough. When I make a mistake I immediately beat myself up over it. I’m bad at taking a step back to forgive myself and allow myself to be a flawed human. I like the idea of taking the time to acknowledge my strengths; my accomplishments; my attempts to be good to myself.

These posts won’t always contain extravagant things. As I said I’m not good at taking care of myself, so there may not always be spa nights or workouts. I’m trying to pull myself out of a rut and I can’t think of anything substantial that I’ve done for myself lately, but here goes nothing:

  1. I did my makeup on Friday. Putting on makeup always feels like I’m taking care of myself, and it gives me something creative to do with brushes and colours. I had gone bare-faced for a long time and it was nice to look like I was ready to socialize, even if I wasn’t. I even put my hair in a little braid!
  2. I cleaned my room. It took two days because I drag my feet and didn’t do a very productive job of it (it’s still not at 100%), but de-cluttering my space helped me de-clutter my mind.
  3. I stopped eating so shittily. I flip-flop between a healthy lifestyle and a total slobfest. I’m currently sort of a slobfest. I haven’t worked out in over a month even though I said this week would be the week I get back to it, but beginning to eat healthy is a good way for me to ease myself back into treating my body well.
  4. I started blogging again! I got the email that my domain renewal was coming up and I thought “shit, if I’m paying for this I should use it.” I work part time and need productive hobbies for my time off.
  5. I had coffee with a friend from high school. We haven’t talked in a long time but we live close by so we thought it’d be nice to reconnect. We talked a lot about jobs, relationships, life, etc. It was super refreshing and really nice to socialize and have a #PSL.

This Bout of Depression

So the thing about mental health, I’m learning, is that it’s very much a spectrum. Just because I have been diagnosed with anxiety doesn’t mean symptoms of depression don’t seep in every now and again. Likewise, my best friend who was diagnosed with depression began suffering from panic attacks. Both of us believe the other to have it worse, but I suppose we’re just used to the demons we know.

I am at least self-aware enough to know that this is just a bout of mental illness that will wash over me, and be over. I thought maybe writing would help me out. I forget to write here, I just don’t know how personal I want to get. It was much easier when I was nobody and aspired to be nobody. It was much more of a hiding place. Now that I’ve seen how the Internet works, any little thing can come back to fuck you over and it’s made me timid.

But that’s beside the point.

Today I just wanted to express my deepest and most sincere appreciation for my mom. She never really “got” mental illness, but she tries. She still says things like “cheer up” and “don’t worry” which is about as useful as telling someone who’s drowning to “just swim.” What I love about how she goes about talking to me about being sick is that she never faults me. She knows I don’t want this. My bad days are met with empathy and kindness rather than scorn for being lazy. She makes sure I get some food in  me, even if she has to bring it up to my room and give it to me in bed. She asks if I need a hug (always, yes).

I’m just really really glad I have her.

When Depression Takes Hold

A bout of depression hit me hard and I can’t really feel feelings. I have no want or desire for anything. I only ate lunch because I forced myself to. I’m only writing this because I tell myself writing is good for me.

I don’t usually get depressed; my problem is mostly with anxiety, guilt, and panic. In recent years my anxiety symptoms began to mesh with depression symptoms (but my anxiety medication is antidepressants so I’m not really surprised by this overlap). It’s a jarring change to go from constantly thinking and planning to not wanting to engage in anything.

I can feel my mind struggling with the depression like it’s trying to Houdini its way out of a water chamber in a straitjacket. But a part of me is thinking when I get out of this water chamber, what will I do then? I don’t even want to do anything.

Luckily for me this doesn’t last very long. I will figure it out when I’m alive and breathing once more.

Skip Combat Option Would Quell My Gaming Anxiety

I saw an interesting post floating around my Tumblr dashboard about introducing skippable combat in video games. There were understandably a lot of opposing viewpoints. Most people just think it’s lazy or defeats the purpose of playing a game. I mean, if you’re not going to play the game you should just watch a lets play, no?

Not necessarily.

I would love skippable combat, and acting like combat is the only important part of the game is fallacious. (Quests? Puzzles? Decision-making? Hm?) I haven’t touched Bioshock in over a year because last time I picked it up I got ambushed in the game and suffered a panic attack. I tried to play through it but I ended up losing most of my dexterity and wasted bullets until I turned off my Playstation and curled up into a ball and cried because my disease won’t let me play games. I think a lot of people like me would appreciate an option to enjoy a game without triggering a debilitating episode.

Big Daddy fight? FUCK THAT.

Typically when I play games I want a cool story and interesting character design, impressive graphics and to have fun. If a percent of gamers would have fun skipping combat, where is the harm in providing a way? All that does is create a more hospitable and customizable gaming experience. Nobody’s forcing you to skip combat, or to even play on easy mode. If you want to beat Fallout 4 playing upside-down on hard mode then more power to you but a “skip combat” button will not impede your dream of overachieving in video games.

I used to be a huge gamer, playing for hours every day (even combat ones, but low-level gore like Street Fighter). Eventually games and consoles got hella expensive and I stopped playing. When I was ready to return to the gaming world, most of the games catered towards my age group were violent and scary and made me uncomfortable. It’s not that I don’t want to play them; games these days have the most intricate story lines and well-written characters. Of course I want to play them! I have all the Bioshocks, all the Borderlands, The Last of Us, and Fallout 3, none of which I have completed because I can’t muster the courage to get through the combative game play. I’ve gotten kids games with fantasy violence for some low-stress options but let me tell you, a LBP sack person is not a replacement for Tiny Tina.

A skip combat option would be a dream to get me through some of the more triggering episodes in a game (lulz punny). And it’s not just great for mentally ill people; any gamer with a physical disability who may not be able to push all the buttons for successful combat could skip and continue on with the game. It would make gaming much more accessible without hindering or affecting regular game play at all.

The End of Things

With the dawn of November 1st, all the ghosts recede back to their realms and leave us with the impression that all things must end: a life; a relationship; a grudge. October has been a particularly difficult month for me and I know a difficult month for others in my life. I knew it would be a busy month and taxing on my mental health but I didn’t expect some of these curve balls.

It was quite a month to decide to do Vlogtober. Once things started going downhill I decided my mental health was more important; plus I haven’t been in any condition to be on camera. If I were able to keep up it would have been a very interesting month of life updates. I’m even dreading calling my mom to tell her everything that’s been going on. I don’t know how I’d be getting through this without the company of two hyperactive kittens at home.

Eleanor/Ellie (left) and Pepper (right) have been house explorers lately

If there’s anything I can say after the last month is that all things end, except those that endure. And those that endure do so until they ultimately one day, don’t. Plot twist: death and darkness made Nikita a depressing nihilist.


(but I’m being very calm about it)