Up, Down, Up, Down, …

I guess that’s the way of this messed-up world. What goes up, must come crashing down; this seems to apply to my mental health too.

I feel overwhelmed. Someone came over to check the fusebox; just a standard check. I didn’t know, because I never went out to check my post in order to see the letter telling me about it! Oh, and by the way, missing an appointment, even one made without my knowledge, now constitutes a fine. Yay.

When the doorbell rang, I froze; panicked. I was going to ignore it like I’ve done before, but I could hear what sounded like a van outside the block of flats. The van was running and its radio could be heard. I thought maybe I best at least see who it was.

When I got to the living room window to peek through the curtains, that’s when I saw, as expected, a van, with the branding of what is essentially my landlord. I panicked further, now realising I actually might have to do the unthinkable.

Go outside and interact with a stranger.

I didn’t exactly leap at the chance to stumble through impersonal, weather chats, all while trying to muffle the screams of panic within. If I were going to leap anywhere, it would be far away! Unfortunately, I’m not on the ground floor, so I’d have to leap out of the window; not my thing.

I finally, somewhat frantically, got dressed into something halfway decent, “bottoms”, as they call them, and some random clean t-shirt. I feel almost naked without jeans on. I don’t go out without wearing jeans. Shorts, for example, are absolutely out of the question. I don’t know why. Perhaps it was the prudish, eccentric nature of my oh-so-wonderful mother who screwed with my brain as a kid.

I hesitated some more, wondering if I could just — not — go see whether it was for me, which was highly likely to be the case. Decided I had to “man up”, as they say.

I opened the front door then quickly went down the stairs, hoping nobody would see me. I opened the main door to the relentless, unforgiving world outside, then walked towards the van, the size of which I felt grew exponentially. The stress of the impending doom interaction and expectation bubbling away under the surface of social protocol.

After all that stress, the friendly chap was in for 5 minutes checking the fusebox; that’s it. Now I’m trying to unwind, because I’m all stressed. Printing these words out on the screen somehow helps. Maybe I can just pretend it’s a stupid story I’m writing and not actually the stupid stupidity of my stupidly stupid morning.

Funnily enough, I then get a text from my dad right after this happened, asking if I’d like to go to the town he’s in, to visit him. What do you suppose I thought to that?

‘Hell no!’


Independent Living #5

Have a bad dream? Too damn bad. You’re alone now. Oh, what’s that, you don’t feel well? Tough titties. Granted, this isn’t so much about independence as it is going solo.

I’ve been depressed lately, which I suppose is to be expected when you disconnect from someone you’ve spent half a year getting very close to. I don’t think it’s just that, either. I’m alone. I never fully appreciated that I’m alone, because I had her, but everything seemed to have changed in a blink of an eye. Now I have to figure this out.

Likely as a coping mechanism, I seem to have taken to my old habit of overdoing the resistance workouts. My neck and shoulders are pretty achy, especially the left of my neck which is very stiff. I put some Deep Heat on it this morning, so hopefully that’ll help.

No pain, no gain, … right?

A bit over 2 years ago, I started really working out again, on a mission to lose weight depression put on, and to gain more muscle mass than I ever did is a young lad. I lost the weight and gained a fair bit of mass for someone who was once such a lanky git. Unfortunately, I realised I had crap form for some of the exercises I was doing, but I realised it too late.

I did something to my neck which essentially makes it uncomfortable and stiff. I think it comes down to inadvertently working muscles probably best left alone. It surely doesn’t help that I have anxiety issues, so I already have a problem there as it is!

It mainly started around the time I got the pullup bar. I would thrust my neck forward as I pulled (or ‘chinned’) myself up, not realising it was damaging my neck each and every time. An amateur mistake. My own stupid fault. You don’t think about these things much when you’re so obsessed with improving your own body.

I’m still endeavoring to lose more body fat as I want to get lean, but I don’t look too bad, at least in my eyes. Sometimes I hate looking at myself, feeling as though I look like crap; weak, ugly, and overweight. Other times I look at myself and think I actually look okay, maybe even pretty good.

How do I keep my bad habits in check, if the only person to prevent them is me?

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Independent Living #4

One of the things about living alone, and independently, is that you may quickly find cooking to be a worthwhile activity. Not only is it healthier, but it can be fun!

I’ve been really getting into frying, or as some people call it, sautéing. I invested in a decent, stainless steel, non-stick frying pan and have to say, it rocks! Before today, I was experimenting with frying using a regular pan, which was pretty dire, but needs must.

I’m very pleased with how my cooking has turned out. The meal I made today was delicious, and as always, very spicy. I’m gradually getting a feel as to how much stuff to put into the mix. I’m developing a sense of when I’ve under-, or overcooked something.

Today, using a dribble of extra virgin olive oil, I fried up plum tomatoes, olives, chilli-flavored gherkins, jalopeno peppers, sweetcorn, and spinach. I added some salt, hot curry powder, and a lil bit of Worcestershire sauce for some extra spice and flavor.

I liked the gherkins but found them to be too crunchy alongside everything else, so I’ll leave them out next time, or try frying them for longer in-case I didn’t give them enough love and care.

Cooking nice meals is something I’ve always wanted to get into, but for whatever reason, I couldn’t, or didn’t. Now that I have the money, my own flat, and time, I figure I might as well learn!

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Independent Living #3

I feel proud of myself. Why? Well, I had enough balls to ring the council in order to pay for and arrange a pickup of “bulky waste”. I can’t say I’m too happy with the £25 cost for just a sofa, plus a single bed and its mattress, but hey, I live alone so I kinda have to deal with it.

The council will make the pick-up this Friday. I do have to drag it all to the front of the block of flats by 6am that day, which will be a pain to do on my own, but I should be able. I tell you what, all that weight-lifting is certainly paying off!

I feel like things are coming together again. Today, I paid my last fee to Mind (service charge, for their flat I lived in) so that’s £18 a week I can keep to myself! Between going to the shops, buying household stuff, calling people, and organising my finances, I feel like I have my “ducks in a row”, as a friend of mine says.

Stomp—the heavy-footed guy upstairs to whom I gave that nickname—is bothering me less, which is great. I think I’m just learning to live with the noises. Of course, dealing with new sounds in a different property is something we all go through, but when you have anxiety problems, those sounds can be a hindrance to someone’s wellbeing.

Although I’m managing my finances well, I have noticed that I’m spending too much lately. I’m spending an awful lot on food, £25 just came out for the collection, and then there are bus journies at about £5 a pop. I need to knuckle down and save harder than I ever have before if I want to undo the damage of the move.

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Independent Living #2

Dealing with somewhat of a breakup is no blast, but dealing with that while living alone seems entirely different to me. I’m stuck alone, at home, with my own thoughts and feelings; I don’t like it.

Thankfully, I now have that EE broadband connection I mentioned in the previous entry. It’s good, at least for the money I’m paying. I’m getting up to roughly 900KBps download and 120KBps upload. As before, all I’m paying is £18 a month, which includes both the phone line and the broadband—pretty nifty, me thinks.

I’m very proud of myself for sorting out the gas and electric bills all by myself. I rang up Southern Electric and talked to a Scottish guy who walked me through everything. Wiki says: “Southern Electric is one of the biggest energy companies in the UK” If you’re curious.

My gas bill is £24 a month, and my electricity bill is £16 a month. That’s £480 a year, which definitely floats my boat. In time, I might be able to lower that, but I’m not too fussed because apparently I can get back any amount I overpay, or stay in credit for those colder days.

I finally got a cooker, fridge-freezer combo, and washing machine for just £540, but due to a grant I was lucky enough to get, all I really had to pay was the £40. They were delivered and installed for me, so I didn’t have to do anything but wait.

I have had one problem with the washing machine, but it’s really just the noise. The walls and floors here aren’t too grand, so if I run the washing machine at full RPM (rotations per minute) it goes ballistic, as though it’s trying to take off!

The first time I used the washing machine at 1600RPM, it rumbled the whole damn place so badly I was genuinely concerned about the woman living below me. Not too surprisingly, the same issue goes for upstairs.

Luckily, I tried a “mixed” setting today, which goes at 50 degrees, at 800RPM as opposed to 1600RPM for 60 degrees. Although it was still noisy, it was absolutely quieter and not that rumbly, so I consider that a success.

It’s an absolute joy having the whole fridge to myself, and not having to worry about someone stealing my food. I don’t have to cram my shopping into one sodding shelf; it’s such a relief.

I’ll get there eventually, it’s just going to take a little while longer.

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Independent Living #1

This post was typed up a few days ago, when I had no Internet connection:

In the first 3 days I blew what was for me a sizeable chunk of dosh in getting sorted for the new place, buying carpets, household necessities, including some other handy bits and bobs. I have the money, thanks to liberal saving, so it could of course be worse.

I’ve had an issue getting to the bank to sort out some finance issues, because I haven’t the foggiest how to GET there within this new town. I believe I’m quite a bit away from the town center.

Each and every time I go to get things sorted, I get distracted by other things or I just end up getting there too late, like today! So frustrating. Dubstep, however, is mending my wounds.

Another issue is getting the Internet sorted so I can manage the address change and my bank accounts from that angle, which is very, very preferable regarding my social anxiety. I struggle going to the bank, most likely because I have to actually interact with other human beings—gosh!

I looked online and found EE are still doing their £18 or so Internet via phone line deal (up to 18Mb, I believe) so I went into my old town with my dad today and got a confirmation on this deal, plus I was told I likely wouldn’t have to pay any installation fee since this place already has a phone line. If they decide to charge for the router, I just so happen to have my old EE router as well! Bonus.

Now that the old place is sorted, cleared out and cleaned up for the next person, I have slightly more things over in this place. I have all my exercise equipment except what’s still sitting in my old bedroom at my dad’s house, but that will come in due time.

I’m still awaiting a charity organisation to freely find and deliver a black, leather, 3-seater sofa. I’m looking forward to having somewhere comfortable to sit aside from this damn computer chair, fine and dandy as it may be. I intend in getting a “throw” for the sofa so it’ll be a little more inviting than just the leather itself.

This flat is on the first floor (just above ground level) so I have to be mindful of downstairs should I workout, or whenever I do just about anything, for that matter. Unfortunately, I do hear the odd stomp from upstairs, but it’s mostly pretty quiet here. The only real issue I have, is that the stomping tends to get my anxiety up; I’m just trying to ignore it, but it’s very distracting.

Overwhelmed by everything, I decided to just walk towards my old town, remembering from looking at Google Maps that the journey is between 1 and 2 hours on foot. I was relying on road signs to get me about, otherwise I wouldn’t have had a clue!

It was actually nice to go on a walk again, even if I was only out for an hour, I was pleased to have done it once I got back home. The sun was out and I was walking past a lot of nice fields, which warranted a good few pictures. England isn’t overly spectacular for its countryside, but I’ll take what I can get!

I think, all things considered, I’ve taken the move relatively well and I’m starting to feel like I’m once again getting a grip on things, but it is still quite overwhelming.

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