Monday, June 23, 2014

20th Birthday

It's weird finally being 20 years-old. I guess. Or actually, I don't know. It really doesn't feel any different from being 19 years-old, or even 18, I suppose. And that's how time gets you. It slips by in such a way that you don't even notice you're old until you are.

I don't believe I'm scared of getting old any more than I'm scared of death, but I'm scared that I'll age extremely ungracefully, with a lot of issues, both psychological and physical. I don't ever want to have loose folds of skin or have dementia. I'd like to be small, sweet, and petite even as I grow up. Hopefully I'll stay fairly attractive too and will have accomplished some great things. I'd like to have a loving husband without a trail of sticky divorces, bring in a steady flow of money with a job I can respect, and be able to travel the world.

I spent the first half of my birthday feeling extremely touched by the messages I received from close friends and family. In lab, J overheard something that made him realize it was my birthday, and he passed the word to K, L, and M. That was how I ended up with a banana, half a sandwich, and a cupcake - I'm sure they all pitied me and were half-amused that I was still naive enough to care about getting older. Still, the gesture was very sweet, and I was glad to have made some new friends in Austin.

R was extremely sweet to me and had bought an incredibly thoughtful gift. It was a lovely, sun-shaped necklace from a Texan brand. I had the most peculiar feeling when I opened up the case - it was such a nice necklace, and for a second, I felt almost as if I betrayed myself. I've been trying to remain so markedly unsentimental about leaving behind something that means a lot to me, but now I'm reminded every time I see it that somebody once loved and cared about me so much.

It's sort of hard. But at the same time, I'm so happy in this relationship... I don't want to forget things, I just don't want to be pathetic about my resolve to leave, you know? It's a difficult thing to think about, especially when you're young and uncertain about things... I don't know. I can't really talk about it just yet, and maybe I won't ever be able to, but I'm grateful for being with him for now.

We ate dinner together at California Pizza Kitchen, watched the bats at Congress Avenue Bridge (totally a weird idea, but it was my weird idea), and had ice cream. It was a wonderful day, and I got a good reminder that no matter how stressed out I am, I should always make time for the people and things I love.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Typical Friday Night

My mom called to tell me she was coming back from NC - but just where the hell am I going to live in Austin for the last two weeks of summer school, how am I going to make my way towards orientation when my finals (for those prereqs to get into pharm school, ironically) are supposed to be on the same week, and would I be comfortable living in a huge apartment with two girls and a guy?

Nothing was quite working out the way I wanted it to, and I was already feeling really tired and stressed, especially since the week before I had just resolved a huge annoying dilemma (asked special permission from the professor and advising office to switch Bio lab out from session 1 to session 2 so I can make it to that class without becoming late to all my other classes in turn). So right there, on the phone with my mom, I began hyperventilating.

I love her though, she's a great mom. She told me to just slow down and breathe deeply (which is not as easy as one might think, especially when your chest hurts and you're shaking and can't control your breathing, so that sort of annoyed me), but then she said:

"Hey, the whole housing situation in North Carolina, I'll deal with it. You, just focus on your studies, and don't stress out too much, okay?"

I really owe her one. I feel so alone in everything right now, and it really sucks because everything else is sort of weighing me down. Nothing seems to be fitting in my schedule, you know? The timing is just wrong.

I spent my Friday switching between feeling sick and lonely and desperate and crying, which is really pathetic, to studying stoically. It was the most awful feeling in the world. I had a sequential panic attack later on that night, triggered by my thoughts and not anything anybody said, and it was worse because when you're done with the first one, you already feel so drained and tired, but then you feel the second one coming on and you think to yourself, "Oh no, you can't let this happen, no, no," and then it happens. And the second one is usually harder to control. The whole thing took about 30 minutes before I stopped shaking and my chest stopped hurting and I could breathe properly again, but the recovery time took much longer. I don't know how others recover, and I wish I knew an easy way. All I can do is hold myself together and cry like a child, and it feels so pathetic.

I ended up calling R while crying during recovery time, and he was comforting, in a possibly humoring me sort of way, but still, it was nice. I haven't been able to hang out with him a lot because my schedule is so horrible, and every time I've seen him this week, it always concerns my Physics homework. So I was really grateful for that.

After we hung up, I then spent the rest of my Friday drinking the remainder of my roommate's vodka out on the patio and feeling so alone. It's funny how I used to laugh about her doing that - I always thought of drinking as a social activity, not as something to do on your own. Maybe it's because I miss them - my roommates, I mean. After a long day at school, I would come home to find D sitting on the couch, watching Big Bang Theory. I'd come and join her and we'd chat and laugh a little bit during the commercial breaks, and then Y would call to order pizza and come sit with us, and it was nice having support at home, not quite like a family, but a good substitute. But now I have no one to vent to. All of my closest friends are in Dallas or Korea or India, and in any case, I don't want to be a Debbie Downer and ruin their vacation time.

And I'm also so scared of being a whiny, clingy, needy little thing, just another one of life's burdens, and worse is the thought that I can't do what I thought I could do.

I feel depressed and miserable, and I can't tell anyone about it. I want to, but then it's also so embarrassing. They all think of me as the go-getter, the one who applies for everything and gets everything done with efficiently, but right now I'm just a mess and my motivational energy is at an all-time low. All I can do is vent in my blog, and feel a little better about how irrational my thoughts are.

(Wow, angst much? I think I'm going to stop right here. It already sounds ridiculous.)

I have support. My family and friends love me. I'll just have to stop thinking depressing thoughts and bite the bullet. In the end, it'll all be worth it.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Little Bits of Crazy

It really sucks because recently, I've been getting panic attacks again, one or two times every week. Before that, I haven't had a panic attack since I was maybe 16 years-old, and so I went ahead and consulted Google to find out how I could minimize this frequency.

It turns out they're usually caused by major transitional life changes, stress (perhaps a shit load of summer classes and preparing for pharmacy school..?), and are maintained by a person with a temperament "more susceptible to stress." So naturally, I guess who I am makes me more vulnerable to panic attacks then, if those episodes are really what they are.

And if you've never had a panic attack before, consider it a blessing. They're really awful... You sound awful and irrational, even to yourself, and then you feel like there's absolutely no hope for whatever it is that triggered the reaction, and your chest hurts and you can't breathe properly and you can't get away because gosh, how do you escape your own body?

Anyway, I looked up other solutions, and here's what I plan to do now:

  • Take in less caffeine. Apparently, substances with a lot of caffeine can trigger panic attacks, so I should probably lay off the coffee.
  • Avoid alcohol. I've been drinking a little more recently (not outside my house, of course), just because it's so accessible now. But it makes me even more depressed now, so I'll stop.
  • Get more sleep. I think I'd be a lot more productive if I maybe slept for more than five hours. I used to be really good about sleeping, but now it's all out of whack and I feel so unmotivated.
  • Exercise. I'm thinking of taking up running again, since it used to always cheer me up. I'll clear up some time over the weekend.

I'm so glad that panic attacks are more common than I thought they were... I really thought I was just composed of little bits of crazy, you know? Because wow, it's not really a big deal, so what, I'm taking on a little more stress than I usually do, and my thoracic cavity goes into full-on freak out mode.

But I think it's just a temporary thing due to some minor lifestyle changes, and maybe I can get it fixed. Until next time!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A List of Things That Define Me

The topic was "Who Are You?" but I felt like that angle was sort of cliche and way too boring. Although a list probably isn't the most practical format to define something, I thought that it would do a better job of conveying my personal characteristics better. (The idea was conceived while grouping body parts in different lists for Anatomy class.)
  • Perfectly round money ears
  • Virgin black hair
  • A love for thought-provoking books and documentaries
  • Cold heart (according to my mom)
  • Hard head (according to my dad)
  • Existentialist philosophy
  • Buddhist lifestyle
  • "Early bird catches the worm" attitude
  • Permanently awkward skitterish-ness
  • Constant "anxiarrhea" (characterized by a tendency to feel sick and fill my ass up with worries)
  • A miserly temperament
  • High expectations and crushing disappointments
  • Strange and sudden obsessions
  • Petite frame
  • Truck loads of restless ambition and misguided pride
  • An aversion to being looked at while eating
  • Independent, strong sassy woman who "don't need no man"
Every now and then, I get these typical girl insecurities or interpersonal relationship problems or doubts about myself, but I feel like everyone hits these small little bumps down the road anyway, and in any case, those don't really define people. Maybe the big things do though, like the death of somebody I really looked up to or the decision to pursue pharmacy school.