Overdue

I went in for my interview today (not actually but I started this post days ago). I was very nervous as you can well imagine given my social anxiety. I am surprised at how many people don’t understand social anxiety. People often think that if they are nice my anxiety will magically disappear and while I obviously prefer the company of nice people, my anxiety never goes away. I keep thinking if I get to know someone well enough it will but it doesn’t. Because the anxiety never subsides people start to feel that I don’t trust them or that I have a bad opinion of them/don’t want to spend together. I am really only capable of being comfortable with one or two people at a time. Growing up I was comfortable with my grandmother and my best friend. Now I am comfortable with my husband and daughter. My anxiety is demanding and exhausting.

Anyways going to these interviews is pure terror but I did it. I don’t really know how to explain this job. I’ll be working with widgets, basically. Putting little bits with other little bits. I am nervous about working with numbers. We need 55 of widget A and 230 of widget B and the bookcases are all organized by numerical codes. I have Dyscalculia. I have trouble even with simple math. I have trouble reading numbers and saying them out loud. I turn numbers around when I write them down so I can’t even copy numbers from one paper to the next. I have a little book with my exercise schedules and the dates are always wrong, always and I don’t understand it because I am looking at the bloody calendar while I am writing it down. I have enormous trouble with time. I don’t understand the way people say the time it is ½ past blah. I have to say the time exactly and even then I am never really sure I have said it properly. I can’t really read a clock either. I do not think I need to tell you how embarrassing this problem is for a 35 year old! People always ask me why don’t you train? Well I have done. I have had so many tutors over the years! I have taken so many courses! I once had a math teacher experienced with Dyscalculia and I did improve a little which gave me hope but then I had seizures. After the seizures my issue got much worse. I now have to carry my phone number on a paper (that has been written by my husband) and hand it to people when they ask me what my phone number is. I hate when people speak their phone number to me because I don’t understand it and I have to explain that I can’t understand it. During the interview my caseworker asked me the hours I work at my cleaning job. I could not say them. She wanted me to pick times to begin on the spot and she had the bus schedule but I honestly can’t read the bus schedule so I told her I must wait and arrange it with child care. She wanted me to write the date on my contract but I never know the date and I can never remember how to write the date anyhow. I am going to have to start carrying my work schedule on a piece of paper. While it is embarrassing pulling out my little papers at least the info is correct (if someone else has written it).

I am upset with my caseworker. While trying to sort my schedule she asked me to move my therapy sessions. I asked her when exactly since I am set to work all week. I asked her if I should move them to the weekend for her convenience (I was that sarcastic). She looked a bit flabbergasted. She would cancel my therapy herself if she could do it. Therapy isn’t something I am doing for shits and giggles. She doesn’t like that I won’t work on therapy days. Again my therapy sessions aren’t about day to day annoyances. I don’t walk out feeling refreshed and validated. I am talking about some heavy shit in there and I am in a very vulnerable state afterwards. I am barely functional afterwards. Just getting myself home after is difficult, ask hubby who has had to rush out of work to pick up a very emotional confused wife. I am tired of having to fight and explain myself for going to therapy.

I got the internship btw. I just have to settle on some hours. It will be M T W and every other F for 4 hours a day. I am trying not to stress but I am. I am not sure if this will turn into a job because I am worried about the numbers issue. I am also worried because the lovely ladies I met there said it can be quite stressful. I am worried because I hate change and this changes everything. I am worried because if they offer the job I am supposed to accept it (The Unemployment Agency does not care if the job is awful). Maybe the job is just what I need and maybe I will enjoy it. Maybe the monotony of it, makes it safe. I am feeling negative at the moment though, about everything.

I also have some family issues. My mom is in a very bad mental state right now, I am extremely worried. I am also facing some very challenging parenting issues that I won’t go into here. Oh yes and my daughter had her birthday so I have had to arrange and participate in 2 parties.

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Updates (long-winded)

This week could prove a challenge for me on many levels. Until Thursday my week is more or less the same as any other but from Thursday on the chaos starts. On Thursday when I would usually be heading into my cleaning job my caseworker has scheduled a job interview. For some inexplicable reason she schedules all meetings for my work hours. Since I work only 1 day a week and am otherwise available I have a hard time believing this is coincidental but at the same time it makes no sense for her to be doing it on purpose.

I am not really sure what the job entails. From what I gather I would be working in a plastics factory examining bits for flaws. I have a very cartoonish idea of working in a factory. I just imagine standing in front of a conveyor belt for hours on end placing the odd item into a box marked defective. Is this a thing? If I impress at the interview I could land an internship. The employer seems to be willing to let me work Monday Tuesday Wednesday and alternate Fridays so as not to interfere with therapy. That would cover all the hours I need and I could finally end my job search. The company is also within acceptable commuting distance. I just don’t know if I am qualified for the job or if it is something I would want to do day after day.

I am nervous not just about the interview but about going from being so disabled I couldn’t work to working part-time. That is a huge step and it will require readjusting my life (and my family’s life) in some ways. I am terrible with change (which is putting it euphemistically and mildly).

In some ways I am doing better but in others I am doing worse. My social anxiety has actually gotten significantly worse (it has been getting progressively worse for years). Aside from Sam and Isadora I am now speaking gibberish almost full-time. I simply cannot talk to people, I completely shut down mentally and physically. I still go outside sometimes (not as much as one should mind you) but I don’t interact anymore. I can’t answer the phone, just the sound of it sets me into a full blown panic attack. I dread when people talk to me at work but at the same time I care so little to talk to people that I prefer the awkward silence of not responding to the awkwardness of attempting to engage in conversation. Aside from saying hello I am more or less mute when I step outside of my house (well I do talk to myself). I am even struggling with my relatives (aside from Sam and Isadora). So my social anxiety is at an all time high and I am having panic attacks which I have been in denial about for years.

I am prone to normalization. So lets say I have a serious panic attack on Monday if you asked me on Friday how my week was I would say it went okay more or less. At most I might report some mild anxiety. I also normalize others. I was watching a documentary on Bipolar. My grandmother and mother both had/have it. I couldn’t remember the disorganized speech bit so I asked Sam since he also lived with them and he was just like are you kidding me??? They definitely did that but then again everyone I ever lived with has been seriously mentally ill (so far not Isadora) so I guess I just can’t tell. It also means, however, that I probably am not reporting everything to my therapist.

On Friday I have to go into work to make up for Thursday and I am worried there might be more customers.

Also on Friday we have a family dinner for my daughter’s birthday. So basically I need to get home eat, exercise, shower, clean, and help the hubster set up.

Saturday we will likely be setting up for the party on Sunday where Isadora will have her classmates over. I have no idea how many will actually show up but a house full of kids is very stressful. The party will be 2 hours and then I imagine a lot of cleaning.

Today I had an hour long workout but the rest of the week I have decided to go with short workouts because I just think it will fit better with all that is going on. I have decided to tailor my workouts more with my actual life. Before I just made the world stop for my workouts. I would even work out on days where I knew I had a lot of difficult physical tasks to do. The result? I became too sore and tired to be of much use. So while I do view my workouts as an integral part of my daily life I need to be a little more flexible about it. Next year when I paint the house, that will be counted as my exercise because that is going to be tough.

If you recall I had a recovery week and decided after that to readjust my workouts. Basically I was pushing my body so hard that I was breaking the muscles down and stalling my progress. I practice moderation in my diet so why not in my exercise routine? So far I haven’t put on any weight or gained any inches like I feared. I don’t want to go into any details about measures now because it is still early days with this and when you are dealing with the little numbers I am dealing with fluctuations are all too possible. What I mean is I don’t have a lot of weight to lose, not even 10 lbs so the figures are just so small.

What have I been doing lately? In my yoga I like to work on my weaknesses. If in a workout I notice I am not performing well at a certain move, I will build up the stabilizer muscles required to better execute that move. Lately I have been working on my thighs from every angle and you know it is helping! I also started working on my core flexibility. I have very low flexibility in my lower back and the muscles in my abs are so tight I can’t even perform cobra properly. I feel like the skin itself it going to split. Yesterday I actually managed Camel Pose for a brief spell. For years I could not do this move at all because it caused so much pain (the bad sort) and while it was challenging, it did not hurt. Progress. I have increased my hip flexibility as well and I am quite pleased with the results.

I think I have this week and next planned in a similar fashion but then I decided to go over to this style for bit and see how I do. There should be at least 2 days between every HIIT routine. I have been stressing and stressing about how to make that work in a 7 day week but then I realized it is better to look at the big picture. I might not be able to squeeze in 3 HIIT workouts into one week because of my schedule (my job on Thursday is very physical and I just can’t do HIIT that day) but if you think about it from a wider perspective I am still doing HIIT regularly. I also wanted to just weight train. I used to weight train quite a bit but when I discovered HIIT I started to neglect it. Not that you don’t work on your strength in HIIT but it’s not quite the same focus. I don’t have core days specifically because the Pilates day will certainly have core strength components. Also you can’t do HIIT without using your core and the yoga I do requires core strength as well.

Monday- Yoga

Tuesday- Hiit

Wednesday- Upper Body

Thursday- Yoga

Friday- Hiit

Saturday- Lower Body

Sunday- Pilates or similar

First workout after my recovery week

Today I had a HIIT workout (coming off my recovery week). So how did it go? I felt I was a bit slower particularly to start. The first jump I did was a total omg what the hell is my body doing moment. The jumps proceeding that one I actually felt I achieved a bit more height than normal. There is also an exercise where I have to use the equalizer to lift my whole body off the floor. Today was actually the first day I succeeded and I managed the whole way through. Pushups were hard because one of my elbows locked up and kept popping. In the burn out section I did quite well I definitely feel my outer hip strengthening exercises are working.

So how was my recovery week?

Today is officially the last day of my recovery week but since Monday is my designated yoga day, tomorrow will basically be the same. So how’s it been going? The first day or two I was feeling very anxious. I had a hard time convincing myself to take a break (the video really helped) and I was worried about regaining the weight (not that I have lost much). Day 3-5 I was feeling great and enjoying my recovery program. Day 6 was fun because I went to the park (this particular park is located in our old neighborhood and we haven’t been for years) with Sam and Isadora. The park has a lot of outdoor training equipment, all sorts of climbing and balance stuff (what the hell is the term for this style of training???!) which they didn’t have previously. We all had a blast climbing, balancing, and exploring. Day 7 aka today I am feeling antsy. I really can’t wait to get back into it and see where I am. I wonder if the time off has set me back or if it is just the recharge I needed? My fear of gaining didn’t come true and I kept my diet normal except for the protein shake which I only ever drink when doing an intense workout session. I hope the lighter training schedule I have planned will be more balanced and effective. I have also added some new exercises to me yoga routine based on physical therapy and I am hopeful that they will help be achieve more joint stability and improve my over all performance. I have already seen an increase in my flexibility/mobility.

Bad Hair

hair

I need a haircut. My hair is quite damaged, a lot of breakage, heavy shedding, coarse as an old broom. In the image it is unbrushed but covered in oil. I am not sure why it looks like I have stripes though. I have been thinking of cutting it shoulder length for a while but Sam and I are both too shy to make hair appointments. Sam likes it shoulder length and while part of me likes long hair, the lower maintenance shorter hair works better for me. I am absolutely hopeless with hair which is probably why it is so damaged. I don’t do anything to it offensive like blow dry it, dye it, or straiten it but I am lax about oiling it and it needs a lot of oil because I don’t seem to make any oil. I have tried everything to get my scalp to make its own oil but it just doesn’t, could be my glitchy thyroid.

Recovery is a scary word

The last few days? weeks? I have been really struggling with my moods and my workouts. It started with exhaustion. I’d wake up feeling completely drained even though I’d slept through the night (full 8 hours). No focus. No energy. A constant feeling of sleepiness and a sense of general malaise. At first I thought I might be getting a cold because Sam had a cold. Then I thought the fatigue might be related to seasonal changes so I started going outside more. Then I found myself getting really frustrated during my workouts and with my total lack of progress. I feel heavy and my muscles are getting sore more easily than usual. Now I am having trouble sleeping even though I feel utterly exhausted when I get into bed. The other day I was doing a workout video and the woman was saying that no matter how sore, tired, sick she is she always pushes through and gets her daily workout in. For a lot of people working out hard daily and persevering through injury and illness is a source of great pride. But it got me wondering are we abusing our bodies? By the end of her video I was convinced that she was over-training. I then had to ask myself if I might also be over-training since I was right there with her feeling totally deflated. I looked into it and some things stood out. I often do HIIT back to back but really you aren’t meant to do it more than 3 times a week. Even on my rest day when I do just yoga I tend to pick very challenging yoga routines. I tried to build balance into my schedule by alternating intense workouts with recovery-style workouts but each week I found myself reducing the lower intensity workouts and adding in more HIIT routines. I was also increasing the length of my workouts.

I tried increasing my workout intensity and duration. I tried cutting calories. I tried adding calories/ snacks encase I was undereating (I experienced a small loss from this) but really nothing has worked. The only thing I haven’t tried is giving my body time to recover from my workouts. I am absolutely terrified by this prospect. While I might not lose weight easily, I gain very easily. I am terrified that if I give myself a week to recover I will have gained 10 lbs by the end of it. Losing 10 lbs would literally take years. In the past my solution has always been push through, work harder until the body is broken down to such a point that it absolutely cannot hold onto the weight. Well I did this a few years ago and I was literally sick for an entire year as a result. Pneumonia, chronic diarrhea, bacterial infections, seizures, severe Depression etc. etc. Eventually I became unable to exercise much less operate in a normal day to day fashion. So while the words “rest” and “recovery” fill me with terror and could result in me falling off the wagon altogether given my extreme personality, this week I think I need to take a step back.

Now I am not going to not exercise but I have formulated a recovery routine for this week which I hope will restore my energy/health. I do need to do yoga because without it I literally end up looking like Quasimodo and the pain is unbearable. I am an extremely sedentary person outside of exercise. I mean I clean the house but as a writer I spend a lot of time hunched up over a screen hence scheduling in walks and midday stretching. I am thinking of doing this routine once every 2 months as a counter balance for my craziness. The week following my recovery week will hopefully be more balanced as well. There will be 3 days of HIIT spaced out, 1 day of Pilates or the like, and 3 recovery-style workouts. If all goes well in these 2 weeks and I have not ballooned up in weight and I am feeling better I will redo the format of my other workouts in a similar fashion. If I do this who knows I might even have the energy to do the gardening I never do. I am scared but watching this video helped put things in perspective.

My Recovery Week

Monday- 45 minutes of yoga (by yoga I mean the gentle stretching Hatha-style yoga), 15 minute walk

Tuesday- 30 minutes yoga, calm 30 minute walk

Wednesday- 30 minutes yoga, Fitness Blender 3 Day Flexibility Challenge Day 1 (I did this one before and thought the gentle flow movements were very soothing)

Thursday- 30 minutes yoga, 30 minutes yoga/simple mobility exercises

Friday- 30 minutes yoga, Dynamix (P90X3 stretching/mobility)

Saturday- 30 minutes yoga (balance focus), 30 minute walk

Sunday- 30 minute yoga. Fitness Blender’s Relaxing Stretching Workout for Flexibility and Stress Relief

Ab Day

Today was Ab Day! Sam is sick with a bad cold and a fever. I am feeling a little under the weather myself probably trying to fight off his germs. I got to test out my Equalizer in a new move which appears at around 49 minutes. That was tricky and I think I am dipping too much, not sure if it is my proportions or if it is a strength issue. I have short arms and a long body and I found it awkward. Also ankles and feet are bony and I don’t wear shoes so it was a bit uncomfortable propping my feet up. Ab pikes confuse me as you will see there in the beginning. Some exercises on the other hand I was pleased with my performance.