Recap 2017

On the last day of the year I like to reflect over what the past year have brought. This is a way for me to remember what have happened, both good and bad, but also work through emotions that might be laying around. I usually do this privately for my own sake only but this year I thought I’d post it here.

The way I do it is by going through my calendar and sum up whatever happened during that specific month. The theme for this year is obviously the new apartment and our upcoming move.

January

In January I came to realize that soon it would be less then a year left until it was time for our move. I made a rough plan for the coming year which included packing, sorting, throwing away and donating large parts of our furniture and chattels.

In the middle of the month I had my annual colonoscopy which showed that there was no new cell changes and there were no indications that there was something wrong. But as per usual, this examination is always heavily taxing on my energy both physical and mentally. I also had a meeting with my psych doctor and she introduced the idea of putting me on disability pension instead of sick leave.

This also was the first month that A really got into her thesis, something I was heavily involved in. This was both because I had written a thesis myself and because I’ve been her mentor from before so she asked for my help and I saw her through the whole process.

February

The 2nd of February is our anniversary day both for becoming a couple (2002) and getting married (2008), this is usually celebrated with a nice dinner and some quality time together. This year though we did something that we will most probably never do again – we went to Vedum Kök och Bad (Vedum Kitchen and Bath) to check out all the different options we could make for our new apartment. We botanised among kitchen cabinets, door handles and accessories for hours on end until we both felt so tired that we had to take a nap before driving home.

I also went to work with the cleaning of old stuff we didn’t want to bring with us once it’s time to pack up. I remember feeling very exhausted but still determined to get started so I didn’t have to force myself later in the year to do something I could have started with long ago.

March

In March I went to have my mammography done. I was a bit concerned over a small hole shaped thing I had located straight above both my breasts but got my worries sated quickly. The nurse who took the pictures did an extra examination and said it was nothing to worry about. But she did add it to my file, just in case.

At the very end of the month we went to meet the interior planner to place the order on the additions we wanted for the apartment.

April

The 10th of April was the first time I went live with anything and I played Cluckles’ Adventure. My computer kicked the bucket in the end of the month and Sweden saw it’s first terrorist attack. I had my hearth in my throat when I heard about it because I have large parts of my family in or around Stockholm. I was especially worried about my dad who often work in Stockholm City.

April was a hectic month if you’re to believe my calendar. We went to a cocktail party and celebrated a friend who turned 35 only a week after that. I was also invited to my first convention, a small one true, but still arranged by a game studio.

I also drove across one forth of Sweden to help and support A for her thesis. She was to interview a bunch of businessmen in a town much further south and since it took so many hours to get there, any other kind of transportation then car was out of the question. She did pay for the gas though, so the price was as if she had taken the train but with the additional luxury of having a personal driver and had times that was adjusted to her needs.

May

The big thing for this month was when T’s sifu (master) came to visit their club all the way from Hong Kong. Both T and his Wing Tsun brother’s had taken a few days off for his visit so that they could spend all the time absorbing as much knowledge as possible for the few days he was here.

The 22nd this month was the stop time for any adjustments to be done in the apartment. But since we had had a personal meeting with the interior decorator a month in advance we had already put the order down and paid for it.

And on the 28th (the day before Mothers’ day) I was invited to another special event, the IFFIOL-day. I felt touched by the girls effort and took pride in knowing I had made a difference in their life. I can have a rather icy heart when it comes to kids (which is why I don’t want to be a parent) but this gesture in particular made it melt.

Somewhere in between the very end of May and the beginning of June, A sent me the happy news that she had passed on her thesis on the very first try! I was so insanely proud of her that I found myself smiling to no one in particular.

June

The 15th of June is my birthday, an event that I rather skip. But this year was special. Since I had been streaming for roughly 2 months by now T had arranged a surprise birthday party for me. All my friends had pooled money so I could get a new web camera. Not the cheap one I’ve been planning on buying, no, it was enough to get the fancy one I’ve been longing for.

June is also the month Swede’s celebrate Midsummer. We always want warmth and sunshine this day but most often we get frigid temperatures and rain. But we seldom let that stop us, we have our herring with snaps and carry on. In later years though we’ve switched out the herring for BBQ, which in my opinion is the only correct thing to do. I can force down herring but I rather not..

We also learned that one of our friends and his girlfriend was expecting. I was genuinely happy for him, I know how much he have longed for this and I think he’ll be a great father. But I was saddened to learn that he thought I would react in such a way that we no longer could be friends because of my personal stance of being a parent.

July

The 11th of July I was offered to become affiliated with Twitch, roughly three month’s after I started! I remember having to wait a day or two for the mail to arrive and I was so nervous that someone would unfollow so I didn’t qualify any more. But everything worked out and when writing this I’m closing in on 200 followers which means that I can soon apply for partnership!

During July I also started getting headaches after my hormone patches had to be switched out for a hormone gel. There had been some issues with the patches for almost a whole year but I had always managed to find them somewhere else, even if it meant having to drive quite far to get them. The headaches appeared only two or three days after I had switched so the connection wasn’t that hard to make even if I did miss it in the beginning.

August

This month we went to yet another cocktail party, this time for my little sister (not the blood bound kind though, it was one of the IFFIOL-girls) who had just turned 18. The main reason for this party though was not to get as wasted as possible but to help lil sis find her limit so she wouldn’t end up in the ER, get roofied or taken advantage of. It might sound a bit strange but this was a controlled environment where all of us was there to help her through this first experience with alcohol.

Most of my energy for this month though went to managing my migraine attacks and trying to keep up my regular stream. After about 5 weeks with the migraines I contacted the general healthcare and got an appointment with a doctor to see what could be done. I was prescribed a beta-blocker, prescription strength painkillers and a nasal spray to help me in the battle. Eventually the migraine lost.

We got a broken window, which made me reflect over the fact that I had never had a broken window before. We also joined a RPG-campaign, Pathfinder, in addition to the Age-campaign we already had going. At the very last day of August I held my bi-annual lecture on bipolarity for nurse student at the local University.

September

In September I got a new student. This time it wasn’t for a thesis but the person in question had tried to finish this University course for years without any success. K had heard how well it had went for A and asked me if I could help her get going with her course. I was flattered and agreed to help her as best as I could. This was somewhat over my head though, the study she was going to conduct was in advance medicine so I couldn’t be of much help in the subject. But since I’ve mentored for others in everything from programming, Swedish, English, chemistry, law & order and information systems I was sure that we would get through it anyway.

In the middle of the month I went for one of my last laser treatment to have my neck tattoo removed. At this point I had been doing this for about 1½ year and I felt more then ready to be rid of it.

I was also invited to join A on a field trip to Gothenburg. The main reason for this was to attend the Chocolate, Licorice and Delicacies Fair. We overloaded on chocolate and spend the day giggling like teens. The best part of it though? I felt like a teenager but had the credit card of an adult. Everything that I wanted to get I could buy without having to worry too much of the sum.

October

I learned of Anders retirement this month. I was saddened and had a hard time coming to terms with it in the beginning, but Anders being in the profession he was had planned this out in a good way and I was told a couple of months in advance.

I held my my annual bipolar lecture for medical personell and fellow patients and went to an information meeting about the apartment. I booted up my own Mage-campaign and we celebrated T’s birthday. I also participated in my first LevelWithACause (LWAC) campaign.

I noticed my depression going into a downward spiral and I started to pay more attention to the signs that I might be getting worse. I reflected upon crying more often, easily being offended and have my feelings hurt more often.

We also went to very last meeting regarding our apartment in the middle of the month. After this date it was time to get going with all the “last” things regarding the move as it’s roughly 3½ month left until it’s time.

November

I “came out” as bipolar and talked a bit about what it meant to me as I was participating in the LWAC-campaign. I got vaccinated for this season’s flu virus and I’m seriously questioning if I should be GM:ing at all.

We hand in the papers for ending the lease on the apartment and our landlord showcases it less then a week after that. I’m not taking it especially well since I’m not prepared for it yet and feel like my privacy is violated.

I booked the moving company after having had met a few colorful and interesting individuals. I also learned that I had much to high cholesterol and to my dismay I was prescribed yet another pill to take.

T told me he wanted to get his hair cut. I was very saddened about this and cried for many days like I had lost my own hair.

December

K finished her course! We saw the new Star Wars movie and I constantly cried for the last 30-40 minutes because of Carrie Fisher. Carrie have meant a lot to me in terms of accepting my bipolar diagnose as she was bipolar herself. Here’s to a princess who doesn’t need rescuing!

We cut T’s hair before the annual Christmas party. The reaction on this change was huge from basically everyone. It took me a a few weeks to get used to the change and for a long time I preferred to see him with his winter hat on as he looked “normal” then.

We celebrate Christmas with T’s family, my Janssons was complemented this year as well and as usual we’re celebrating the new year with our friends. It’s a non-party for anyone who doesn’t want to celebrate with the regular stale new years dinners and you’re prompted to come in whatever clothing you wish. Most often we are there in our onesies, sweat pants or other comfortable clothing. We do toast in champagne and watch the fireworks on the TV though, but that’s about it.

I wish all my readers a Happy New Year and hope to see you around for 2018!

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My broken mind

originalIn January 2018 I will have been on sick leave for 3 years. In the beginning this was caused by the crisis reaction I had to the hysterectomy but lately is has been because of my mental state. But I’m lucky, in Sweden you can still live a decent life even if you are a nutcase like me. Around the two year mark my psych doctor suggested that it might be time to start looking at the possibility of putting me on disability pension instead of sick leave since after almost six years I’m still not getting better.

I have been constantly depressed from 2012 with only a handful of spikes bordering on mania. But the years between 2012 and 2015 was still manageable, I could still work at almost full capacity regardless. Come to think of it, depression have always been the default state of mind for me, but I’ve always been able to handle it and move forwards. But not any longer.. so, a few weeks ago in October, I handed in my disability pension application to Försäkringskassan (Swedish social security government). Apart from regular pension, disability pension can be given to anyone who will probably never be able to work a full time job in their lifetime.

This is usually a long and winding process that takes everywhere from 6 to 18 months and it doesn’t look like it will go any faster in my case (I mean.. it took them near 2 months to just open my file). But I’m backed by my doctor and have a solid base from her as she was the one who suggested this. She was very quick with handing in the medical documentation she had on me once Försäkringskassan had sent an inquiry to her.

As for my opinion? It feels weird. This is something I want, I made that clear once I handed in the application for it. I’ve thought about it ever since it was suggested by my doctor, so almost a year, which is rare for someone like me who wants things to be solved before they even began. I know how I react in stressful situations and when I have to socialize more then one day in a row. My recovery and startup times gets longer and longer, forcing myself to things aren’t something I can just shake off any longer.

Still, when I was contacted by my second administrator from Försäkringskassan, I felt like a raving madman. She asked me if there was something she needed to know about me and so I told her about my troubles with answering the phone and other things that she might notice. Her hesitant reaction and answers made me question her astute and bouncy approach.

But I’ll let my brain rest for now. I’m having one of those days when I can’t make heads or tails of anything. It’s like trying to run through syrup.. I better go grab something caffeinated to drink and hope that I’ll wake up from this haziness.

Stream temp. pause

It’s been quite intense with Christmas, streams and an RPG-session so I need to take a few days off to reload and recover from the past days activities. I really wish I didn’t have to, but I’ve been pushing it to manage everything and it just haven’t been working out at all. I’ll take until new years have passed and come back fresh as a daisy.

I’m sorry for any inconvenience this causes and thank you for understanding.

A Swedish Christmas (and a little bit of a normal Sunday)

And since it is Christmas, I’ll share the only Christmas song that I honestly can say I like.

Trivia: I’ve sung this song in a duet together with a male counterpart in front of my whole school. This was the year I was elected to be Lucia for the traditional Feast of Saint Lucia on the 13th December. And yes, I had real candles on my head.

Reigniting my love for cooking (?)

For some time now I’ve been watching Gordon Ramsay’s YouTube channel, getting inspired to get my hands into cooking again. My very first year at the gymnasium I chose to get into the Hotel and Restaurant program, but my interest for computers was always bigger. I switched schools (and towns) and went on to study as a programmer, thinking that I must have been insane to try and become a chef.

Now, I know I won’t be the next Gordon Ramsay, but just by watching his videos I’ve felt that old spark ignite again. He has a certain, very positive energy when cooking himself and the love he has for his craft are hard to deny. Cooking is something I used to enjoy, whatever happened? For a long time I’ve felt like food was bothersome, a weight on my shoulders that I just didn’t want to have there.

I’ve looked into powder and liquid based food replacement but never really successfully stayed there for a longer period of time. I keep going back to solid food because of one simple reason: Good food are so very rewarding to eat. Me and T both love to try new things, especially when we’re travelling and really can immerse ourselves into a new  food culture.

I’ve already begun with cooking a bit more at home. I have a few selected ingredients in my kitchen for a few recipes that I know well and I plan on making them during the holidays. I’m thinking I can practise with something I know well before I move on to new, strange lands.

I know there will be hard work remastering this. It’s like playing a new game, you need to practise before you get good/remember how to play. But just a small thing like chopping the onions today for the Christmas dish I’m cooking was something I found enjoyable rather then tiresome.

My hopes are that I will remember my love for cooking, gain momentum and start cooking at home again. It would help immensely if I started to cook more, I would get better control over what ends up on my plate as I want to stop with pre-cooked or semi-finished meals.

The best to the best

I’ve been trying to write something coherent for days now but without any success. Its about what happened earlier this week when I had my very last session with Anders (more about that here and here). I wanted to say something since Anders have meant so much to me. Like I’ve written before, he has seen me through a lot of big things in life. He always felt genuine and warm, like he really cared.

He told me that he was fascinated because he felt like he had learned to much from me over the years. Coming from someone at the end of their career, someone who has studied and learnt so much about the human mind long before my existence was even contemplated, felt huge. But I didn’t cry this time. I had already worked through my emotions and caught up with my logic by this point. It did get a bit emotional in the end anyway, like always when you have to say good bye.

We ended that last session with a few laughs, that I honestly think he needed more then me, and then a big hug before I left his office. I will miss him but I hope retirement treats him well, if he have given all his patients the same kind of commitment he’s given me, he definitely deserve it!

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Uphill battle

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Getting up today was a uphill battle. The phone rang, waking me up. It was T’s grandmother, no doubt with questions about Sunday or something similar. I couldn’t make myself answer so I just stared at the phone until it fell silent. I was awake but no where near getting out of bed. For a long time I just laid on my side, staring into the wall until the cat came and sprawled herself on top of me. Eventually, I managed to get up but it still felt like I was asleep.

I usually boot up my computer and then hit the kitchen right away for some breakfast. I’m usually hungry during mornings so it’s easy for me to eat at this time of day. But today I sat down in my computer chair for some reason and got stuck there for almost a whole hour. I didn’t feel hungry and I had something on my mind that I deemed could not wait. I don’t even remember what that was..

I had to get a hold of myself since T’s grandmother had called, directly after I had eaten my breakfast I made sure to call her back. I also had a meeting with my student today. She’s so close to finalizing her work I felt forced to give myself a few mental punches to get my act together. She needs support, not some drowsy zombie.

But I’m slow. Really, really slow. My mind is sluggish and thoughts come slowly to me. Actions take far longer then they usually do, both to perform and get started on. My whole body hurts and I’m just longing to be able to get to sleep today. I’m also very saddened that the depression seem to have taken my taste buds in an iron grip, this time it has made chicken disgusting. Chicken of all things! It’s one of my go-to foods when I can’t eat red meat. I love chicken! Bah.

Hopefully I can take some me time and recharge the batteries before Christmas on Sunday*. I know socializing takes energy from me, I expected to be tired after the party this weekend. It just.. gets harder then it needs to be when I don’t have the opportunity to recover properly. Maybe I could do with a nice walk in the forest, even though snow covers most of the ground by now. Maybe I could go swimming and go to the relax area afterwards and spend some time in the sauna’s. Mmm.. it’s been a long time since I visited a sauna.

I could go on for a long long time about this, but I’ll give it a rest for now. I’ll hit the hay early tonight and see what I feel like doing tomorrow, if I feel like doing anything at all.

*Swede’s celebrate Christmas on the 24th of December.