I got a puppy!

On May 31, me & my mom picked up this little booger in Fayetteville, TN:

Meet Huygens the Keeshond!

From the moment we got him home that evening, he’s been such an integral part of my life I honestly can’t believe I’ve lived without him before now! He’s rambunctious, boisterous, silly, and incredibly loving.

There are a lot of things that I was only kind of prepared for as far as having a new puppy… I knew that chewing would be a thing, and that we’d have super regular potty breaks. But I didn’t know how devoted he would be to me almost immediately: for the first few days I couldn’t leave him (or even be more than 3-4 feet from him) without him spazzing! Even now, he follows me around like a duckling after their mother.

Of course, I’ve had a few stumbling blocks already. Getting him to sleep through the night (still a work in progress), encouraging him to chew on his toys instead of my feet, and sitting nicely in the car so we can go on rides to name a few. But they’re all part of the experience of raising this little fluffnugget and we’ll tackle these challenges together

Already having him at home has been such a boon to my mental health. All of my sullenness is gone; and while I’m still a bit lethargic, I’m sure that can just be attributed to how tired this little guy makes me!

All in all, this is the perfect way to start our 12-14 – and hopefully more! – year long journey through life together. I can’t wait to see what shenanigans he gets into tomorrow ♥

Sometimes It’s Hard to Give Myself Credit

Depression sucks. (Duh).

One of the hardest symptoms to deal with (for me personally) is how incredibly critical I’ve become of myself. I’ve always held myself to reasonably high standards. But it’s like depression raises the bar, while simultaneously adding an extra 50lbs to my barbell. The goal is now so high and my perceived ability to succeed is so diminished that I find myself in a constant state of self-disappointment. In an effort to remedy this I’m attempting to give myself credit; to celebrate the small everyday victories and convince myself that I’m not a disappointment.

The problem with disappointment and perceived failure is that it creates a loop. Just about every time I sit down to start to work on something I think through all the times in the past where I messed up, or didn’t do, or outright failed to perform similar tasks. It makes it impossible to get things done – after all, I’m probably just going to perform as miserably as before, right?

The idea of focusing on small victories and giving myself credit for them goes back to an old Reddit thread: No More Zero Days. The idea is simple: Do Something Every Day. The Thing you do for the day can be small or it can be big.

Examples of small simple tasks to give yourself credit for:
– Getting out of bed
– Brushing your teeth/hair
– Doing laundry

Yeah, those are small, and pretty standard. But they’re still Things You’ve Done, and it’s important to give yourself credit for them. It creates an environment in which it is now incorrect to say “I haven’t done anything today.” … that phrase is, by the way, the introduction to our negative spiral described above.

The more I’ve focused on the little things I have done, instead of ruminating on things (large or small) I haven’t done, the easier it’s been to get more things done. The final result is that I’m not only happier, but more successful.

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”
-Oprah Winfrey

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.”
-Willie Nelson

Katsucon! Solo

For those of you who don’t know, Katsucon (an anime convention) was last weekend! After skipping last year due to mental illness, I decided that this year it would be a great idea for me to attend just one day, rather than going Thu-Sun. Honestly, since I’m currently unemployed, it was a better decision for my wallet too! Hotel rooms are expensive around conventions.

As is my usual, I decided not to cosplay. I’ve tried it a few times in the past, but experience has taught me that I prefer looking at other people’s amazing costumes to the stress of creating, managing, and wearing one of my own.

The really significant thing about my trip to Katsucon this year was that I went alone. Solo. Just me, myself, and I. Plus all the other attendees, of course 😉

And honestly… (#YOLO!) I had a great time. I met with other friends who were attending, spent some awesome time with myself, met cool strangers (and ooh’ed and aah’ed over their cosplays of course!), and grabbed some awesome merch… like this:

Howl, by Christian Angel

Seriously, look at that! I still can’t believe how absolutely gorgeous fanart is.

Back to topic, going by myself was a pretty empowering experience. I’ve always been the kind of person to miss out on things I enjoy because I felt like going alone made me “less.” Our culture promotes the idea that people (especially overweight women like myself) going to things by ourselves are somehow missing out on something. So untrue.

Attending Katsucon solo was a great experience – I met up with friends, chatted with strangers, obtained some freaking incredible art, and learned a little bit more about self-love.

There’s a Difference Between “Alone” and “Lonely”

I have clinical depression. I take good meds for it so I don’t normally show major symptoms. However, every now and then I still get what I call “the sads.” Basically I become more fatigued, more irritable, and more anxious. It’s a great combination.

Yesterday I woke up with a serious case of the sads. It was about 2pm (Paris time), and my roommate was on the way out the door for a shopping excursion with a few of our classmates.

I was alone. But I wasn’t just alone: I was lonely. I felt starved for intellectual and social interaction. I felt like I was undesirable and nobody would want to be with me anyway. I felt like I didn’t matter.

None of this is new, of course, as anyone else with depression and anxiety can tell you. But that doesn’t make the feelings any less significant.

So, feeling lonely and worthless, I did something unusual: I got up and left instead of moping around. I decided I was going to go do some shopping for things I needed, and screw the buddy system because “nobody wants to be with me/would miss me anyways”

It’s fortunate that exercise – like walking – does neat things to your brain; thanks endorphins! Similarly, chatting with friendly shopkeepers diminishes feelings of isolation, worthlessness, and social deprivation. I had a genuinely good time out shopping by myself, and even found a few of the things that were on my list!

I’m still not sure what brought on my sads, and I’m not entirely sure what cured them. I’m just glad they’re gone, and I got a good adventure out of the mix.

T-minus 3 weeks!

In three weeks I’ll be getting ready to board my flight to Paris for my study abroad! That gives me three weeks to finish my pre-trip to-do list:

  • Obtain:
    • Passport
    • luggage
    • mobile blogging device
      • (I’m using a brand-new tablet right now to write this!)
    • adapter for charging stuff
  • Unlock cell phone for use overseas
  • Visit Dr
  • Make a good packing list
  • Pick up some euros from the bank
    • and (duh!) notify bank that I’ll be overseas
  • Ask my gym not to charge me for July (lol)

Before I wrote it all down, this to-do list felt a little  overwelming… But now that it’s in ink, and over halfway done? Piece of cake
ᕙ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)ᕗ

Paris, here I come!

 

edit: this was previously tagged as #HISParis. The tag has since been changed to #HISPinParis17