It seems that I am struggling.

I was telling my partner yesterday how I felt like I clean the dishes all the time- several times a day even, yet the dirty dishes continue to exist. While I was trying to voice this frustration, I felt my throat get a little tighter and my eyes get a little more wet.

I would say that ever since starting therapy exactly one year ago, I have been more uncontrollably emotional. That sounds far more dramatic than it actually is. Basically, instead of bottling things up, my body just naturally releases any anxiety, fear, or frustration, and, sometimes it is in the form of crying.

In therapy I discussed my constant need to be doing something. At the time that I began seeing my therapist, I had just gotten out of a program that had my attention 24/7 with no breaks- no joke. I went from that to having ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO. It was crazy. And I felt like I was going a little crazy too.

I immediately started looking for a new place to live, a new job, and I made sure that my class schedule for the upcoming semester was desirable. In between all that I made my best efforts to visit all the family and friends I hadn’t been able to regularly see before, during my service year.

Things got overwhelming, my body panicked, and I relied on therapy to get me through it. My therapist and I hit a lot of topics and they are all documented on this blog; you’ll just need to scroll back to maybe June of 2019. It was a lot.

This quarantine has been really stressful for me in regards to my mental health. While I enjoy being inside and away from people, I also love going out with my partner and I really like going to work and feeling like I did something productive that day. I find putting on jeans exhausting, but I like the way I look in them and it boosts my self-confidence.

I haven’t had the need to put on jeans to go anywhere. I haven’t been able to see the people I care about as much as I’d like. I also haven’t been working as many hours at work and my duties have slightly changed since the lockdown. Things are different in the world, but the way I measure my success and productivity is the same as it’s always been. I think this time has shown me that that’s a possible issue.

I know that I am more than my accomplishments. I know that simply doing a load of laundry is a productive activity. I know that not all progress is immediately visible.

But it’s hard.

I have decently high standards for myself and I’ve really been working on cutting myself some slack over the last year. Sometimes, though, I do get impatient and annoyed with the lack of tangible progress.

Regarding work, my hours have been cut in half and I was supposed to start working officially full-time by this point. My upcoming summer class is a math class and I purposely chose an on-campus day/time because I learn this subject best that way (I suck at math, big time!). My partner and I had travel plans and those were, of course, cancelled. I was also looking forward to exploring Atlanta more and trying new bars and restaurants; my girlfriend and I even agreed on a weekly date night where we try out only new restaurants on a list we created.

I also don’t do well with unexpected change. I suppose I do adapt rather quickly and I always get through it okay, but the immediate effects are always scatterbrained thoughts and mild panic.

So, yeah, things have been harder than I thought they’d be. It’s all good, though. I have an amazing partner and the weather is beautiful and I still have lots of things to look forward to. I wish us all the best for the remainder of 2020 and I’m optimistic that things will take a turn for the better.

A COVID-19 Update

Atlanta, GA is in the middle of 14-day lockdown and my girlfriend and I are both working from home since a few weeks ago. My university has also moved to teach 100% online for the remainder of the semester. I’m not sure how the upcoming summer semester will go, but I’ve registered for a Corporate Finance class that I know will be a bitch. I’m due to register for fall classes in the next few days as well. Woohoo.

My girlfriend has exposed me to a variety of mobile games (Mario Cart and Words with Friends) and enlightened me to the fact that you can play Sims through your television and now we’re 2 minutes away from calling GameStop to see if they have any pre-owned PS4s.

The songs I am playing on repeat are Demi Lovato’s new song I Love Me and Ava Max’s Kings & Queens.

I have baked cookies cinnamon rolls and more cookies as well as quiche, pizza, and too-much-ginger-broccoli stir fry.

Lastly, my cohabitant and I were engaged in a 3 day monopoly game. I think I’m done with monopoly.

Honestly, I don’t go out much anyway, so this lockdown’s not that different from how I live my normal life; however, I did just recently discover the Atlanta Beltline and it is killing me not to drive there because the weather has been AMAZING (aside from the pollen that is suffocating my partner).

I need to complete my Marketing homework and maybe attempt baking a loaf of bread. I am also going to pick up my sewing hobby again and try creating a kaftan dress from a bedsheet. Pictures to come if it’s not a complete fail.

Megan’s Birthday Month!

It is my birthday month. It is the season of Pisces I am told. I’m not really into astrology, but I’m told Pisces is “a sensitive water sign”. Cool beans.

Anyway, I am currently at school trying to take a test, complete a marketing assignment, and sign up for free Taylor Swift tickets. Part 1 of the test went well; I got 100%, so I hope Part 2 goes just as well. I know I’ll complete the marketing assignment; it is not difficult, just tedious. The Taylor Swift ticket website has me in a sort of queue, so that’s super exciting. Woohoo.

Some updates:

  • I officially graduate college next May with a B.B.A. in Managerial Sciences and a completed Human Resources track. I’m not sure if that’s worded correctly, but that’s that.
  • I have all of my braces on now. I got the rest of them glued on last Thursday. The pain is finally next to none; however, I still struggle chewing crunchy foods.
  • I will be starting full-time at my job on June 8, 2020. This makes me eligible for 2 weeks of paid vacation, so that’s cool.
  • I will start summer classes on June 8, 2020 as well. I am only taking one class: Corporate Finance. I am NOT looking forward to it and I know I will struggle; this is why I have only signed up for that single class this summer.
  • My German grandmother is visiting next May (for my graduation) and Chelsea and I will fly back with her (most likely, nothing is booked yet).
  • My hair is getting quite long; we are officially at under-boob level. Woohoo.
  • My dad almost adopted a Great Dane named Dash but then he didn’t. Sad day.

Sharing My Story

My therapist recently contacted me to ask me if I would participate in an interview about my experience in therapy. He would then want to use bits of that interview in a promotional video for his practice. I said sure. That interview was last Friday at 11 am. I wore jeans, converse, and my Ellen sweater that says “kindness” on it.

When I arrived at the little studio on the westside of Atlanta, my therapist was just finishing up a photo shoot with the two other therapists he works with.

Once they were done, the helpers moved the furniture and replaced the couch with a glass table with a chair on either side that were facing each other. I was also given a microphone to clip on my sweater and on the back of my pants.

Now, days before the interview . my therapist sent me an email with a list of possible questions. I, of course, typed out answers to all of them just in case I got tongue tied during the actual interview.

Here are those questions:

Thoughts leading up to therapy. 

“Man, I hope this works.”

Why did you choose therapy? 

I was unable to “deal with it” alone anymore and I wanted another opinion. It had also been 10 years without significant progress, so I figured therapy wouldn’t make it any worse.

What were you looking for?

Initially, a cure; however, I recognized that that was unrealistic and unlikely, so I adapted it to “new ways to get through anxiety without making me stop living my life.”

What did you think about the phrase “all of you is welcome”?

It gave my “undesirable” parts an invitation to participate and be heard. I never invited them.

Do you remember me saying let’s “unbraid your narrative” or paying close attention to how the “researcher” was managing anxiety? —what changed (realization that I was capable in chaos)

I heard, “start from the beginning”. The realization that I excelled in chaotic parts of my life was validation that I could get through anything and that I would continue to get through anything.

How did kindness help/facilitate this process?

The act of being kind to myself opened many emotional doors. It made me feel more vulnerable and exposed because I think I knew exactly what parts I had been suppressing and invalidating; I didn’t want those parts to make all the parts I was so proud of look bad.

Where you afraid to talk about the parts of you? Did you think this would mean you were crazy?

I don’t think I was afraid per se, but I did have to make a conscious decision to share very personal accounts and thoughts about my life and myself with a complete stranger. I was hoping that I would be pushed to think about things differently than I had been. In the end, I think the reason therapy worked so well with Jon is because we are fundamentally very different personalities; I can’t say that I would’ve been as successful as someone who was as logical as I was. Jon challenged me to welcome and embrace the “softer” sides of myself and this was very helpful in the healing process.

There was never any concern about me being “crazy”.

What did you think about the 3 steps: Tell the Truth, Set Intention, Tell a Different Story?

I am honestly drawing a complete blank.

Being kind to self? Was that something new for you? 

Are you still using kindness today? 

Being kind to myself in the way Jon wanted me to be kind to myself was new, yes. I thought that I was kind, but I quickly discovered that the standards I held myself to were significantly higher than what I held other people to. I was also more forgiving of other people’s emotions; for my own emotions, I limited myself to an allotted slot of time for me to be sad, cry, and wallow in grief or whatever other emotion/feeling I deemed to be negative [for me].

Today, I am kind to myself. I don’t really have to think about it anymore, my body and mind now know that they are free to feel whatever they want without punishment.

Thoughts leading up to therapy. 

Man, I hope this works.

Why did you choose therapy? 

I was unable to “deal with it” alone anymore and I wanted another opinion. It had also been 10 years without significant progress, so I figured therapy wouldn’t make it any worse.

What were you looking for?

Initially, a cure; however, I recognized that that was unrealistic and unlikely, so I adapted it to “new ways to get through anxiety without making me stop living my life.”

What did you think about the phrase “all of you is welcome”?

It gave my “undesirable” parts an invitation to participate and be heard. I never invited them.

Do you remember me saying let’s “unbraid your narrative” or paying close attention to how the “researcher” was managing anxiety? —what changed (realization that I was capable in chaos)

I heard, “start from the beginning”. The realization that I excelled in chaotic parts of my life was validation that I could get through anything and that I would continue to get through anything.

How did kindness help/facilitate this process?

The act of being kind to myself opened many emotional doors. It made me feel more vulnerable and exposed because I think I knew exactly what parts I had been suppressing and invalidating; I didn’t want those parts to make all the parts I was so proud of look bad.

Where you afraid to talk about the parts of you? Did you think this would mean you were crazy?

I don’t think I was afraid per se, but I did have to make a conscious decision to share very personal accounts and thoughts about my life and myself with a complete stranger. I was hoping that I would be pushed to think about things differently than I had been. In the end, I think the reason therapy worked so well with Jon is because we are fundamentally very different personalities; I can’t say that I would’ve been as successful as someone who was as logical as I was. Jon challenged me to welcome and embrace the “softer” sides of myself and this was very helpful in the healing process.

There was never any concern about me being “crazy”.

What did you think about the 3 steps: Tell the Truth, Set Intention, Tell a Different Story?

I am honestly drawing a complete blank.

Being kind to self? Was that something new for you? Are you still using kindness today? 

Being kind to myself in the way Jon wanted me to be kind to myself was new, yes. I thought that I was kind, but I quickly discovered that the standards I held myself to were significantly higher than what I held other people to. I was also more forgiving of other people’s emotions; for my own emotions, I limited myself to an allotted slot of time for me to be sad, cry, and wallow in grief or whatever other emotion/feeling I deemed to be negative [for me].

Today, I am kind to myself. I don’t really have to think about it anymore, my body and mind now know that they are free to feel whatever they want without punishment.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about going therapy but is unsure?

It never hurts to get a second opinion. Maybe this isn’t as good as it gets- go find out. Except for the co-pay, you’ve got nothing to lose.

So, the actual interview went well; it was a lot shorter than I thought it would be. I don’t know when the final version will be completed, but I was told I’d be sent an email.

They gave me flowers, a candle, and a bottle of red wine for my time. There was also a thoughtful card from my therapist.

I guess I feel fine about the interview. I was nervous about too much personal information being released, but it was actually very surface level. Whenever it is released, I’ll put it on here or at least share my thoughts on it.

I got 4 teeth pulled yesterday.

I woke up at 6:30am and my girlfriend and I worked out for 30 minutes. I made some oatmeal, got dressed, and soon it was time to leave for the dentist.

I pushed off this appointment for an entire month due to me being sick for basically the entire month of January, so it was time.

My girlfriend, Chelsea, came with me to the dentist and I was hoping she’d be able to stay in the room with me, but the nurse said she would not be able to.

They immediately started with the nitrous oxide and that was fine…at first.

Then I got my mouth numbed up with gel so the actual shot [used to numb my entire mouth] wouldn’t hurt, but I could not feel my tongue or throat, so I might have freaked out a little bit and insisted that the mask come off and I would wait for the gel to wear off because I didn’t like not being able to feel myself swallow/breathe.

The gel wore off in about 5 minutes and I put the mask back on. The doctor came in and got ready to numb me up with the shot. She warned me that I wouldn’t be able to feel my tongue with this either and did I want to just be completely knocked out?

I had eaten breakfast that morning, so being put under was not an option. It was also more money [that I do not have] so I opted out. I said it’s fine, let’s continue, let’s get this over with.

She numbed me up with 8 shots in my mouth (she poked me in 8 areas) and I was soon very numb. To my relief, though, I could feel the back of my throat which meant I could feel myself breathe and swallow. I was still nervous beyond belief, but this was better than the gel.

The whole time I was waiting for the oral surgeon to come back I was shaking. I was vibrating a lot and I tried to breathe and count and let my body “shake itself out”, but it wouldn’t stop. It was only when the doctor started pulling my teeth that I stopped shaking.

I must say that the actual pulling of teeth was fine. No pain, just pressure. The most disturbing part of it all was the fact that I could hear right in my ear the crunch of the root being ripped out of my bone. That was freaking gross. Like REALLY gross.

She spent maybe a minute max on each tooth. It was out FAST. The hardest part for me was just getting over the fact that my mouth was numb. Everything else was fine.

I am now at home rinsing with salt water and eating soft foods. I really hope I am able to avoid dry socket. My mother said she got it about 10 years ago and it was not pleasant.

Here are photos for your viewing pleasure 😀

The Freedom of “Not Caring” (in school addition)

When I was younger (ages 10 to 14, I’d say), I had this idea that all of shirts needed to be tight. I also needed my shirts to be pulled down at least halfway over my bottom. I didn’t feel like I looked good if this wasn’t the case. I can’t really explain why I felt this way, but I did. This was only relevant to the clothes I wore when I went to school. At home, I was always in shorts and tank tops running around the backyard.

All throughout grade school and into my first 2 years of college, I would hold my pee until the end of class because I didn’t want people looking at me as I walked out the door and also when I inevitably came back.

While being early to anything is generally a good move, there might be such a thing as being too early. I am still this way today, but for different reasons. Today, I am early to all my classes so I can choose the best spot and have some quiet time before the lecture. However, in grade school I was only early to school/class so that there would be less people to look at me as I walked in.

I used to have SUPER long hair (I’m trying to grow it out again!) and when I wore it in a ponytail, for a period of time, I was convinced that I only looked good if it swung back and forth when I walked. Thinking back on that now, I laugh.

I used to not blow my nose in class because I didn’t want people looking or hearing the ungodly noises coming out of my nostrils.

Okay, so I will stop writing of all of my past insecurities to interject with this: Today, I don’t care about blowing my nose in class, getting up to pee, walking in a little later, the shape of my shirts, and whether or not my hair swings.

Between growing up a little bit and getting more comfortable with all parts of myself, I just don’t care about the general public’s opinions anymore. I figure if I don’t really pay attention to people getting up to pee in class, why the hell would they be paying any attention to me when I’m getting up? Also, I don’t care about people’s clothes- either I like them or I don’t. I don’t make any substantial assumptions about someone if their shirts aren’t tucked or shaped a certain way.

I mean this next sentence in the nicest and most reassuring way possible: The bottom line is that you and I are not of enough interest to people to be constantly judged or shamed or looked at. 99% of the time, people are thinking about themselves and if they are the ones looking weird. They don’t care about you in that way! So, please, just be yourself, look good for yourself, be nice to yourself, and give yourself a fucking break.

Go pee, ya’ll- no one cares.

A Rough Start to 2020

January 2020 has not been a great month for me. From being extremely sick and dealing with an ear infection to my grandfather dying and a new school schedule, my anxiety has been through the roof.

It all came to a head when my girlfriend drove us to the theatre to see a movie. Long story short, I had a lengthy emotional breakdown in the parking garage which ended in us driving back home where I cried more. I was physically sick, mentally stressed out and emotionally exhausted.

I am still sick- coughing my way through the day. It is getting better, though. I think I’m finally in the home stretch. My ear infection is finally gone, too. I went to the doctor to follow up about it about one week ago and they flushed it out with a syringe and water. It was extremely uncomfortable (but did not hurt) and my ear felt weird that entire day, but then it cleared up.

My mother has been in Germany for what seems like weeks. She’ll be back on the 27th of January. I hope to go to Germany in 2021 with my girlfriend and spend some time visiting with my grandmother and showing Chelsea around, of course.

I am in my second week of classes and I finally don’t feel as stressed. I have come up with a solution to my parking issue and I’ve established how each professor wants work to be done/turned in. Mostly, I just read a lot. Only two of my classes have textbooks and only one of the textbooks is interactive with built-in required quizzes and tests.

Work is still going well, but things are picking up some speed now that we are approaching conference season. This is where we meet a lot of new clients and schools, so it’s really important that all things are in order.

I shall now continue working. I hope everyone is doing well.

A Sad and Anxious First Day of School

Yesterday was day one of my Spring 2020 semester. I had only one class at 12:30pm. As per usual, I arrived an hour and a half early to make time for traffic, me getting lost, and any other emergency situations.

Turns out that I made the right decision in getting to campus ridiculously early because I spent 40 minutes trying to find parking that wasn’t full and would also accept my budget card that I just loaded $105 on. I finally found the sketchiest parking deck on campus; it also happened to be the one furthest from my class, so I got a nice walk in too.

The actual class was fine, but because of it being a new professor, new classmates, new room, new seat, etc., I was feeling a little jittery. I also hadn’t eaten enough or drank enough water- that’s on me. The whole parking situation didn’t help either, of course.

Unfortunately, my German grandfather also just died- as I was walking to class, actually, my mother texted me and my sister. So, that sucks. My mom just got back from Germany 5 days ago and now she’s going back for the funeral.

I have one of my evening classes today. I am trying to plan where to park because when I get out of my class it will be dark. I will attempt to park where I normally park because it’ll be after normal hours and the deck will hopefully not be full at that time.

Work update: work is going well, I hope they’ll ask me to be full-time soon.

So I Have Braces: Documenting My Experience With Georgia School of Orthodontics and Having Braces the Second Time Around [as an Adult]

Timeline of events:

  • 2009- Megan had full braces, top and bottom
  • 2010- Megan accidentally throws away her retainer with her lunch at school and her mother refuses to buy her another one
  • 2014-2018 Megan’s teeth begin to visibly shift, especially the top front two
  • 2019- Megan decides to get braces again because it has now become a minor insecurity and it can only go more downhill from here

Why Georgia School of Orthodontics?

So, I actually went to my dentist at the time, Dental One, to see their Orthodontist, but I didn’t like the doctor himself or the words that came out of his mouth. Dental One, in general, has given me some grief.

My mother forwarded me GSO’s info shortly thereafter and I made an appointment to get a free consultation. It was easy, straightforward, and $1000-$2000 less than what Dental One quoted me. Unfortunately, similarly to what Dental One said, GSO claimed that I would most likely need to get some teeth extracted to make room for the newly straightened ones.

I have insurance; however, there’s a certain amount available for Orthodontic treatment and younger Megan already used all of that up, so adult Megan would be paying for this out of pocket. Sad face.

The cost breakdown, for me, is down below. Please note that this can be different for everyone because of the type of braces (traditional, ceramic, invisiline), lack of insurance or not, how many teeth you’re getting pulled, if any, and will you require any other surgeries or procedures?

  • Braces: ceramic on the top and traditional on the bottom: $3,336
    • I made a downpayment of about $550 before starting treatment
    • I am choosing to make monthly payments of $99/month for about 2 years to cover the remaining balance
  • 4 extractions (not covered by overall cost from GSO): $442
    • I have dental insurance and while it won’t help with orthodontic treatment (the braces), it does still cover part of these extractions because I have a referral from the orthodontist and it’s not the orthodontist doing it (I hope that makes sense)
    • The cost of getting simple extractions done (with insurance!!) is SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper if you have it done by a dentist instead of an oral surgeon (averaging about $12-$20/tooth)
    • I wanted to have an oral surgeon do it because it’s a little more invasive than your regular cavity or teeth cleaning

Does my mouth hurt? Yes. The first week is probably the worst and you should stick to a liquid diet.

  • applesauce
  • pudding
  • soup
  • smoothies
  • yogurt
  • oatmeal

How do I relieve the pain?

  • over the counter pain killers can be effective
  • ice pack to the affected area
  • warm salt water rinse
  • Dental wax (you normally get this for free from your Ortho)
  • Orthodots
  • Gishy Goo
  • Bumpers

Vocalizing an Unfamiliar Fear

My girlfriend vocalized a fear she had last night that I’ve been pondering myself for weeks now: The simple fear of losing your partner. I suppose it doesn’t really matter in what sense- loss is loss.

I’ve confessed to this blog, as well as to my girlfriend, that I’ve never feared losing a partner. I don’t believe it’s because I didn’t have feelings for them, but I do think it’s because I didn’t let my feelings get as deep as they undeniably are now.

When previous partners talked about not knowing what they’d do if we broke up or if something tragic happened to me, I really didn’t relate. Sure, I’d be sad and mourn them/the relationship; however, I had absolutely no doubt that I’d be back doing my same old thing in no time.

I’ve always had a way of treating unfortunate events in a very logical manner and that allows me to move on very quickly. I’m not so sure that I could deal with the loss of Chelsea so logically.

Lukas Graham has a lovely song out: Love Someone. I heard it for the first time months ago- before meeting Chelsea. It’s a beautiful tune, but there were lyrics that I heard that I absolutely couldn’t relate to. I will even go as far as to say that I thought they were stupid.

“If you love someone

And you’re not afraid to lose ’em

You probably never loved someone like I do”

Fast forward many feelings later, I, for the first time in my life, am scared to lose someone in the way that this song refers.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this just feels different. It feels complete. It feels right. It feels like home. She feels like home.