Becoming Jill: Adventures in Adulthood

Chapter 10: In Which I Re-Learn a Lesson I Should Have Learned Several Years Ago
June 29, 2010, 7:56 am
Filed under: Updates

In what I (not so) fondly refer to the Great Technology Crash of 2008, my hard drive was wiped and my cell phone died in the same day. I think something else crashed, too, but I may have blocked the memory…

Anyway, I lost nearly everything that was on my computer. I had a bunch of older documents backed up on a flash drive, but I lost an entire semester of doctoral coursework, ALL my music, photos, videos, etc. It was pretty brutal…

In the aftermath of the disaster, I bought an external hard drive, and resolved to back up my new computer religiously… True to form, my good intentions suffered somewhat in the implementation. The good news is that I did back up several times! The bad news is that I hadn’t done it since January.

Jeremy was unable to resurrect my hard drive yesterday, and once again, I lost 6 months worth of documents, photos, video, etc. Luckily I managed to salvage most of my music files this time, between the January back up and what was on my iPod already.

Since I’m no longer in school, I didn’t have as many essential documents lost in the purge, but the real kicker is that I lost the resume and cover letter I spent countless hours over in the past few months. I don’t have copies of them anywhere. Yes, I have older resumes, and I am trying to reconstruct my work, but I am really pissed. I worked hard making that resume as good as I could, and now that I have found a job posting that is the most promising I have seen, I have to do it all over again before I can apply!

Of course, like most things in life, it’s all my own fault. So, lesson learned FOR REAL THIS TIME. Full backups every month. Online backups for documents. Got it.

In other news, we are having a series of gorgeous days here in the Twin Cities. Maybe I’ll work on my resume in the yard!


Odds and Ends
June 28, 2010, 10:19 am
Filed under: Updates | Tags: ,

Instead of the articulate, well-thought-out post you’ve come to expect (I kid), today I shall be providing you with an assortment of random thoughts. Fasten your seatbelts!


– I am giving myself an extra week on the dishwashing thing. I was sick for most of the past week, and while I did really well on the first few days, once I started feeling really bad, the dishes began to pile up. I got them all washed yesterday, though, so a fresh start this week! I’m considering giving myself a sticker each time I wash the dishes… whatever works, right? 😉

-We had some pretty severe weather here over the weekend. Pip and I enjoyed watching the quarter-sized hail bounce around in the yard, but Kitten hid under the bed. He’s brave like that! Luckily, Boris the Blue seems to have escaped serious hail-damage. I am sure that the vibrancy of his Blue aura acted as a protective shield.

-My laptop died! Cause of death is yet-to-be determined, but Karen’s wonderful husband Jeremy is coming over this afternoon to take a look at the damages. I haven’t backed the thing up since January (oops) so I am hoping he’ll be able to get my data off the hard drive.

-Due to above laptop death, I now have a new laptop. I am pretty pissed about the whole thing, because a new laptop definitely wasn’t worked into my shoestring budget. However, I really have to have a computer to find a job. Grr. The dead one is too old to be worth paying to repair, so in the sense of long-term finances, a sensibly priced new computer makes more sense, but I am too annoyed by the unexpected expense to have much excitement over the shiny new laptop I got on Saturday.

-I know I said this the last time I had a computer die, but this time I mean it—BACKUPS EVERY MONTH FROM NOW ON. Sigh.

-I am really looking forward to having a Real Job some day so I can build up an emergency fund for just such occasions. Ah, dreams…

-Speaking of which, I found a great job opportunity that I feel I might actually have a shot at getting! Cross your fingers and toes, please! As soon as Jeremy retrieves my files, I’ll be sending in my resume.

-I successfully re-lit the pilot light in my oven for the second time ALL BY MYSELF. If you’ve ever seen me try to do anything at all involving tools, you will understand my sense of accomplishment. You really CAN learn how to do anything on YouTube!

-I am generally unhappy with my genetic heritage these days. Not only did I get a double-dose of depression, but each side of my family also lovingly gifted me with arthritis, too! With all our bizarre weather this month, I have spent a lot of time with sore joints.  Feeling better today, though, hooray!

-My fluffy cats generate a LOT of hair. Seriously. It’s taking over the apartment.

-Since I can’t work on my resume, I guess I’ll clean up cat hair in case my parents get to visit next week.


There, that wasn’t too bad, was it? Happy Monday!

Chapter 9: In Which I Make Discoveries that Others Find Completely Obvious. Enlightenment is Achieved.
June 20, 2010, 6:42 pm
Filed under: Depression

CHANGE has always been a four-letter word in my vocabulary. There’s not a thing about CHANGE that I like. I hate to admit it, because it sounds so boring, but I really like routine; knowing on Monday what I will be doing on Friday makes me happy. Once I figure out a good way to drive to a certain location, I use that route each and every time. Detours make me crabby. They have sometimes involved panicked phone calls to my mother, trying to walk her through using Google Maps to figure out where the hell and I am, and how to get where I am going. Usually, these conversations devolve into screaming on both sides. Fun!

So when I read this article last night, it all became clear to me! In my quest for adulthood, I CHANGED pretty much every aspect of my life overnight. As a person already predisposed to depression, the huge amount of CHANGE simply overloaded my coping mechanisms. No wonder everything fell to pieces and I got depressed! I am not sure why it took so long for this to make sense. Surely the best way to go about CHANGE is in small, manageable increments? But in my black/white existence, small and manageable increments rarely make appearances. If I can’t CHANGE everything all at once and be perfect overnight, I feel like a failure!

So, this is my goal: pick one thing to focus on each week, and give myself a chance to grow and evolve over time. Notice how I avoided the use of the evil word! Perhaps if I think of “growth” and “evolving” it won’t be as scary…

I’ve managed to do a pretty good job sticking to my financial goals, but some of the household ones have fallen by the wayside, so this week, I am focusing on having all the dishes washed before bed each and every day. Dishwater hands await!

Next time: In Which I Discover the Meaning of Life. Ha! Just kidding…

Chapter 8: In which I deal with an old, unwelcome foe, Depression. Medicine is taken.
June 15, 2010, 6:18 pm
Filed under: Depression | Tags:

Depression runs in both sides of my family. It’s something I have struggled with since my freshman year of college, and at this point, it seems like something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life.

I started feeling down shortly after Christmas, but, true to pattern, tried to pretend nothing was wrong. Every morning it was a little harder to get out of bed and get to work on time. The effort I had to expend to get through the workday exhausted me so much that I would just come home and sack out on the couch for the rest of the evening, avoiding most social interactions so I would be able to get up and do it all again the next day.

Why didn’t I call my doctor and have my meds boosted, you might ask? Why didn’t I tell my family and friends what was happening? Well, extreme stubbornness runs in both sides of my family, as well, and I hate to admit that I need help. With anything, really. No matter how many times I go through this cycle, I am always too ashamed to reach out until it’s too late.

Eventually things came to a head, as they always do. I finally reached the point where I couldn’t get out of bed, no matter how much I knew that I needed to. In a way, that was a good thing, because I was finally forced to face up to what was happening, tell someone I needed help, and try to get a handle on things.

Unfortunately, I waited too long. Although my VISTA supervisor was extremely understanding, his hands were tied—I had violated my contract, and the state office told me I had to resign. Luckily, I was allowed to take a medical withdrawal, which is much better than simply resigning or being fired. I was upset that I wouldn’t be allowed to finish the last few months of my VISTA year, but I am grateful that I was able to leave on fairly good terms.

Since then, I have been slowly getting better. My doctor boosted my meds, which has helped, and just being honest with myself and others about what was happening made me feel more in-control of my life. I have been searching for a new job, and hope to find something soon!

They say that every cloud has a silver lining, and I guess it must be true. Since I didn’t have a job, I was able to go home for 3 weeks to help my family through a difficult time. In the space of a week, my grandfather had a full hip-replacement, and my mom had knee surgery. Mom and Larry are the full-time caretakers for my 97yr old Grandma Denzel, and with mom’s knee out of commission, Larry wouldn’t be able to take care of everything alone. It was a long 3 weeks, but we all made it through! Although cleaning up another person’s bodily fluids is not high on my list of favorite things to do, I was glad that I could be useful. Of course, if I had still been working, I would not have been able to get away. Paychecks are nice, but family is important, too!

I’ve been back in Minnesota for about a week and a half now, and back into the swing of my job search. I am trying to treat it like a regular job, so I get up at a decent time and spend normal working hours sending out resumes and such. Some days that plan works out better than others!

In general, the depression is better, although by no means gone. I still feel the need to isolate myself a bit just to get by, and it’s still a struggle to do the things that need doing. However, I am ABLE to do them, which is the difference.

Depression is difficult for me to wrap my head around… Even though I have been through this cycle again and again, I often feel that if I just tried harder, it wouldn’t keep happening. My brain knows that it’s about brain chemistry, not willpower, but it’s hard to accept that when you feel like a perpetual loser. On the upside, each time I get depressed, I seem to handle it slightly better, and reach out for help a little earlier. Still not early enough to prevent a crisis, but I do know that I am making a bit of progress, which is encouraging.

I am enjoying being back in my own little shoebox, and seeing my friends fairly often. My friends Karen and Sarah are training to do a triathlon at the end of the summer (they are superstars!) and I am joining Karen on the days she goes swimming! Swimming is my most favorite form of exercise, and I know that it should also help with the depression. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the water, so my muscles are sore, but my brain is happier.

Now that I am feeling more human, I plan to return to blogging! I am sure you are all thrilled, ha! I do have some funny stories stored up to share, so be on the lookout!

Thanks to everyone who has supported me through this, and if I have been out of touch with anyone, please don’t take it personally. I’m back, and hopefully soon I’ll be better than ever!