How are you doing?
I ask people this all the time, especially lately to check in with them, and everybody says they're fine. I get it, because I say the same thing to everyone who asks me that too. It's just "what you do" with that question, especially over text.
So, here's a chance to let someone know how you're doing beyond "I'm fine", even if it just us random internet strangers here on the site. I'd love to hear where you're honestly at: good or bad, up or down, stable or unstable, happy or sad, or anywhere in between or outside any of those.
Honestly, I'm terrible right now. Sunday was one of the worst days of my life as my wife and I had to check our 6 year old son into a psychiatric facility. Things had finally gotten that bad. I don't think I've ever cried that much in my whole life.
My wife and I are foster parents (in the US) in the process of adopting right now. Our boys have lived with us since October 2019. They had been in foster care for about a year before that but at that point hadn't disclosed much about the abuse (they were removed from the home after their two older sisters disclosed abuse). We really clicked well with them and they started talking about the horrific things that happened to them.
Once they started working through it their behavior got a lot worse. Back in February our oldest son (5 at the time) has already punched a hole in a door and tried to set our house on fire by shorting out an electrical outlet. He nearly succeeded. When asked about the fire he replied he wanted everyone in the house to die. We've been working hard to get them more treatment and resources but the COVID19 pandemic has put a freeze on many important services. It's also been challenging since they are now home 24/7. Due to the extent of their severe behavioral needs my wife and I are exhausted. They act out sexually towards each other (a result of the abuse they suffered) so we have to have our eyes on them every second of every day. We've literally had to install security cameras in our house, since walking out of the living room for even five seconds is enough for them to start touching each other inappropriately.
Everything came to a head on Sunday. He screamed for over six hours. We couldn't calm him down no matter what we tried. He was violent with us and was starting to hurt himself as well. We called his therapist and she told us it was time for him to get some inpatient care. The facility we checked him into has a good reputation, but is over an hour and a half from our home, and we aren't allowed to visit because of the pandemic.
I'm sorry for going on so long. We love our sons so much and seeing them hurt is the greatest pain we've ever felt. The last several months have been hard, and this last weekend has us feeling utterly defeated. We are hoping and praying that the facility can help him and that he can come home soon and feeling better.
Thank you for sharing this. Working with traumatized youth, much less parenting them, is one of the most difficult tasks there is. Seeing and dealing with a child acting out, especially one you love, in dangerous or frightening ways, is harrowing in ways words cannot describe. Sexual trauma in particular is doubly difficult given the stigma that surrounds it and widespread misunderstandings about the nature of its effects, particularly in re-enacting it. Furthermore, this is a situation in which there are no easy solutions -- only very difficult attempts at them.
As difficult as the decision was, you made the right choice in checking your son in. And I know it's probably hard to see this right now through the difficulty and the pain, but remember that you are providing your children with a care and love they have likely never known in their lives. Furthermore, it's a care and love they definitely would not have if it were not for you and your wife selflessly choosing to take them in and put their needs, their very difficult and draining needs, ahead of your own. You are providing opportunity to those that have never had it, and you are attempting to heal one of the worst wrongs that exists in the world. This is challenging, difficult, and extremely emotionally taxing work. What you are going through right now is genuinely one of the most difficult things someone can face, and that you continue to love your sons through it requires such incredible fortitude and says so much about the integrity of your character that it leaves me speechless.
Even though things might not feel this way right now, you and your wife are amazing people doing amazing things. Even in the best of circumstances your situation would be extremely difficult, but it's even more so now that you are cut off from connections, resources, and relief. You are fighting a battle few can relate to or understand, and I'm sure right now you feel more alone in that than ever. I wish I could do something more for you than type this out, but hopefully it lets you know that, at the very least, you're not alone, and what you are going through is not in vain.
Thank you so much. I really appreciate your kind words and most of all your validation. People in our family seem horrified that we would voluntarily check him in there and it feels like there is no way to make them understand that it's for his safety and benefit.
Your kindness and understanding is encouraging and has helped me to feel a little better today.
I'm sorry that you're going through such a difficult time. I know for me, sometimes just getting it all out is extremely helpful. Hopefully putting all this down has helped to lessen the load.
Just know you're not writing into the void and that people listening.
My grandmother passed from Covid, my mom got it and has been in the hospital since Wednesday, my local brother is showing flu symptoms and was tested today, and I'm not feeling so hot myself. My other brother dropped by yesterday and while we took best practices, and he was out on the porch while we were inside more than 6 feet away, we didn't know the local brother had symptoms until halfway through the visit. If he doesn't get it from us, he'll probably get it from work, and there is nothing I can do right now. Picked a good week to take Bereavement time, I suppose.
On the other hand, I watched an episode of Penn Ward's new show, The Midnight Gospel on Netflix. It's set up as the main character is a podcaster, interviewing people in fantastic universes, in the middle of strange circumstances, the interview being tangentially related to the circumstances. I'm been told it's going somewhere, but it didn't grab me in the first episode, and if it wasn't for Penn Ward's name, I would have dropped it half way through.
Yeah, if I had my Wisdom teeth removed again, I would probably like this on in the background. Not sure if I want to go out of my way to watch it.
You are in an incredibly difficult situation right now. I hope for the best for you and your family.
I'm doing better, Mom's fever is down and she says she's probably going to get out of the hospital today.
Also, I got the wrong GrubHub order and they refunded me, so I got 4 club sandwiches for free. It's the little things.
Update, she is out, with at home oxygen as needed.
Honestly, I'm doing pretty good. It sounds weird to say that during a pandemic but this whole situation has really made me realize just how truly lucky my wife and I are. We are still gainfully employed and have not lost our main sources of income.
All in all, it's actually strengthened our relationship. Being stuck in our house for nearly six weeks straight has just proved to me that I ended up with the right person.
This is a genuinely beautiful post and sentiment! I'm very happy for you and your wife.
"I'm fine" honestly encapsulates my current being, right now. Been reading a whole lot, exercising consistently and shedding some weight, eating my vitamins, spending less money, hardly drinking (just a couple of glasses of whiskey since 04/21)... y'know, all that good stuff you're supposed to do for yourself. And it's fine!
Of course "fine" isn't "fucking fantastic!" and there are a few points of insecurity in my life. Currently unemployed and I'm having issues getting paid (California) for some reason. I qualified for unemployment, the unemployment website shows that I have benefits, but the last two times I certified (each certification would give me 2 weeks worth of payments) it simply says "not paid" for those weeks. No reason given. Can't reach anyone, of course...
Well, that's really my only area of grief. So, "I'm fine" pretty much works.
I’ll echo what ohryan said about it being a US thing (or maybe a Western thing, I don’t know), but yeah, “I’m fine” definitely says more than those two (technically three) words.
Before the pandemic hit, I was a resident assistant at my university. During one of our trainings, the Dean of Students was talking to us. I don’t remember the context or who told them this, but they said that “fine” is an acronym. I’ll censor it, but it basically stands for effed up, insecure, neurotic, and emotional.
A couple of weeks ago, I was supposed to put on a production of A Very Potter Musical at my university, being my first time to act in a musical since I was 10. My resident assistant job was terminated. My theatre society didn’t get to have its initiation. My mom thought she had the virus and when she went to get tested, the other cars in the line were all screaming “that’s a covid test.” I had wanted to record an EP of original music while at university. I have a video to edit for a class by tomorrow (that I haven’t started on yet) and a digital effects scene to composite and stuff also by tomorrow (that I also haven’t started yet).
So yeah, I’m “fine.”
Thats a pretty US thing though: going you're fine when someone asks that - and the first time I worked with people from the US it got really awkward quick when I started telling them about my worries and my at the time roiling stomach. (pro-tip: if someone from the US asks you how you are, its ment as a polite way of greeting or starting another conversation, and if you're someone like me who tend to ask how people are - they need a LOT of prodding to answer honestly. They can be on fire in a ditch and claim their "fine" or "great" or "awesome". Oh and they get REALLY giggly and weird about talking about sex and that is NOT a good icebreaker in companies - I've learned.)
As for me right now: Confused.
After a long period of depression etc (after a major burnout, third in a row), I have found myself stabilizing out with some new medication with few drawbacks (for those who know - they come with a sleugh of drawbacks and finding one with a minimum of them is part of the task. When you do, it makes shit sooo much easier) so these last months have been ok.
At the same time as I intended to wrap up my one-person-company for freelance work suddenly the entire world wanted to employ me. So kinda confused about that. I was sorta looking forward going back to the "doing your taxes by pressing a single button on your phone" state of affairs instead of having to fill shit out - now I can't because... people give... me money? I mean I can't complain, at the same time I had sort of grieved the whole "stopping being a freelancer" thing already so it feels kinda disjointed.
It's three in the morning now. I just finished a storyboard for a client, now I intend to sleep.
EDIT: (for possible amusement of how dumb I am, probably OT)
Other US woes (I mean its not just the US I have issues in, I am an international disaster zone and can get things awkward ANYWHERE, you should see me in Germany. So many inappropriate jokes, so little time. In fact I am starting to think I may be the problem here) -
when people call you "sir" and to your Swedish ears it sounds like they are sarcastically going "my lieeeege" don't introduce yourself and ask for their name as a way to avoid it. If they work in a service profession they use tips for everything, and it seems to be some rule, that if they know your name, they expect more tips.
The phrases "thank you for your service" (aimed at soldiers) and "God Bless our Troops" (like a sign in LaGuardia Airport says) - are not as extreme as they sound. Also the first one is for US troops only but can get confusing.
Do not back away if you are from a place with large distances between people who don't know each other who's talking (more than one and a half armslength). It just makes them follow you. At the end of a conversation you can, like me, find yourself standing in the flowerbed outside of the conference center after unsuccesfully trying to back away from them to a more comfortable distance with someone from the staff passively-aggressively calling you "sir" as they berate you WHILE standing really close.
Yes they DO talk loudly. Do not, I repeat do NOT try to lower your talking volume further to compensate. They think there is something wrong with you as you are whispering to them. Or that you are trying to tell them a secret.
If you're from a country without swearwords and where sexual words are not taboo - do not assume one set of non-severe swear words translate easily to another. Telling someone that "that dinner was fucking fantastic" is not suitable unless you know the elderly parent of a friend who invited you to dinner very closely.
Your experiences with erectile dysfunctions is not a suitable elevator conversation in an office building.
They can be oddly self-deprecating about their own home. Do not try to balance it by praising their home. In the end you sound like you're about to wrap yourself in an American flag and nothing else and punch a communist or something. It gets weird.
Finally: they call toilets "rest rooms" instead of "toilet" - if you can't remember what their codeword for it is, do NOT, I repeat do not go through your entire repertoire of possible words for it starting with "the shithole"
I haven’t been through this myself but I have watched as my wife struggled to find the right medication to help her. The side effects for some of these medications can be almost as bad as what they are treating.
Glad you’re finding something that works for you.
Yeah its an effort - tbh I also spent equal amount of time worrying about my husband since he was affected by the side effects and the mental state of me (I am sure your wife found the same issue - where anxiety and depression can rise since you notice that you're treating your partner differently).
Some of them lessen with time OR are things you can soldier through and sort of work around. At the same time its tricky and sort of paradoxal since you are being told to "think about you" in times of mental health issues - while at the same time you know that "You" is not just you the person, but the people around you and your relations to them. So its not very helpful advice.
For me, thinking about it like a broken bone, or a busted car, helped to get that pragmatic feel for it. Like "Oh so from now on I have to double tap the clutch to switch gears - thats annoying, but I guess that works".
It's worth it though (or was for me) - I hope you and your wife are doing good now.
Its also amazing how fast people NOT in your relationship are willing to sacrifice your sex life. Having a doctor go "Oh this will tank your libido" as an aside and then be kinda shocked that you consider the negative impact of that with the fallacy of "Well if your husband loves you he wont mind never having sex again" (Can we PLEASE kill the myth that Love and Sex are two different things of different worth in a partnered relationship?).
What helped me was talking to a close childhood friend (who's a straight dude) about how he and his wife handled it after their first kids where born. The way these medications can screw with your libido or body's reactions to sex is not identical but it has some close relationships - and being able to bridge the first shaky months of it relationship wise is sort of similar and helped me have that conversation with my husband without guilting him for NOT having the same issues. To look at his needs and wants and try to figure out how to we could make sure they where met too. (A mix of really boring planning "Tuesday is sexy times day according to the calendar, be home at six" and a sort of pragmatic attitude "You will probably have to do more instigation. How can we make that fun?")
I appreciate the candor in your response. I think talking about these types of issues is a major way to remove the stigma from mental health issues.
As someone on the other side of this, I can't speak to how it feels internally, but I always just remind my wife that sometimes one person in a relationship needs more help than the other. If, sometimes, she needs 60% of the "caring" in a relationship instead of things being split evenly, that's fine. I hope that makes sense.
She actually came to me and asked me if I had noticed any changes in her treatment of me because her new medication was causing her some anxiety about that. Luckily it hadn't, but it was one more stressor to add to the pile that always starts growing when you adjust medication of this nature.
Sometimes the medication can impact my wife's sex drive, but as you pointed out, it just means that I have to take the initiative and start things more often than we used to. I've also gone out of my way to make sure that she understands that if she's not in the mood, she shouldn't feel guilty or think I'm disappointed.
Luckily, we've found ways to make all of this work and managed to keep a relatively normal and stress free relationship during the rocky times when she is trying new medication.
Oh absolutely. If you, like me, have agoraphobia - telling people around you "Oh I have agoraphobia and I may vomit at any point out of pure stress" while smiling, really takes the edge of it amazingly. Part of the stress and anxiety (and acute depression) is the sense of shame, of necessary secrecy. That is also why so many depressed people can slide under the radar. Like many other issues - they become experts in covering up for their own illness.
Thats brilliant to hear - just remember that you TOO have a right to feel cared for, and a need for self-care. Many in relationships where one partner is suffering from a mental health issue can burn out, or themselves start getting those symptoms and the only way to avoid that is to, as a couple, acknowledge the need of the other partner too. That they too need rest, and care. That its not just "buckling down" for a bit, but can be very stressful and overpowering.
This is so critical and relevant. Awesome. Communication, honest, open, awkward communication is so important with things like this. Even though we all have a sort of hidden communication because thats part the charm with being human, in crisis and troubles being able to just plainly ask that and talk about it is golden.
Mental health issues should be treated like any medical issue - no one tries to hide a broken bone or pretend they are going somewhere else when they are in fact doing physical therapy or something for the broken bone. And no one would ever dream of not openly asking a friend, a family member or a partner "can you please help me reach the top shelf? My leg is broken"
When someone uses "sir" it means they are being formal, and it implies that this is about some kind of important business, so try to understand what they want and stick to business.
Yeah. I mean I know that NOW. (My tipping method was for the longest time asking them "So I come from a place where we don't usually tip - how much tip is it that you want?" since that cut down on the time needed to figure it out)
Seems like it in some bits; just sharing sexual stuff in the elevator is pretty damn awkward.
I think you may be right, my brain-to-mouth distance is basically non-existing - in my defence these are my worst case examples. :)
Most of the time I am on my best behaviour. And sometimes people seem to enjoy having a buffoon around who can walk in to the social minefield and clear a path.
(Also why I decided to write this up, I have no idea - it was three in the morning and I thought it was fun)
For the record if you're not friends with people and you do that, people will generally not like it.
I think it depends on the situation tbh. But yeah I tend to make sure not to make it worse by intention. (I know it sounds like I have brain damage and go around screaming swear words at people, I really don't 99% of the time)
The issue is ... ok so for me (or this is MY experience from working with people from around the world in different cultures) the awkwardness is not the problem, its the lack of acknowledgement that makes social relations crack and crumble.
People avoid the awkward, the culture shock, thinking THAT is the problem - but in my experience it really isn't - its when people try to hard not to break the social tension that things go to crap, and hard. When the awkward is out there, when the culture shock is acknowledged in a "positive", out there, way (like having a French dude at work who didn't get the three o'clock coffee break and then was mercilessly ribbed for six months for pissing off for half an hour) it becomes or CAN become a bridging moment.
When that shock, that difference, is hidden or sort of I dunno... "middleclass foot scrapingly pretended to not exist" that shit really breaks down as the two parties will always be alienated from each other and never capable of meeting allowing hatred and dislike to fester.
I mean that means a lot of really... strange questions that can be hard for those different to bear, and the trick is to have them out quickly and with a smile to deflect the social weight any minority can feel in those scenarios - being asked "Wait are you a faggot?" by a coworker is a pain in the neck. Having to answer really dumb questions by the same person because he is from a place where homosexuality is illegal and he only have the internet for reference is also awkward ("So do you really eat shit?" was one for example). But it beats the hell out of having that long drawn out scepticism, attempts at reading the other person and worry that comes otherwise.
Any culture shock, any awkward moment due to it, can be bridged by laughing at it - pointing at it and making fun of it. To allow yourself to be the buffoon really really helps.
You have absolutely no obligation to respond to these bigots. In fact, I'm sorry that you think this is just how "Americans" are. I can assure you, they are not, and this is a function of both where in the US you live and the specific assholes you're interacting with. Even in extremely conservative parts of the country you will not be asked "So do you really eat shit?" by people who aren't complete assholes.
Frankly, I'd suggest moving to one of the coasts to avoid this special kind of stupidity. Because out here even our assholes are smart enough to know you don't ask those kind of questions because they'll get shamed into oblivion by people they know and strangers, fired from their job, etc.
No no this dude was from Uganda :) and I don’t live in the US AND I have no issue getting the weird questions since mostly it means someone is else who isn’t as comfortable with them won’t have to.
Not so well.
I will be completing my 4 year bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering degree in a couple of months. I don't like it, I don't like designing machines, I don't like designing HVAC systems, I don't like sitting in hour long lectures about material science. My parents made me take this course, Indian parents do that. So in past couple of months I started teaching myself to code I started with Harvard uni's CS50, overall I dig it, I like the feeling after completing each sections. It's not easy like problem sets can be really off putting, but I like it. From the popular suggestions I also started a side project as well, a personal finance management app or something similar, its in its early stages but I like working on it.
The issue is, I just found out here in India its really hard for someone to land on a programming job if you don't have a bachelor's in CS. Due to my severe social anxiety issues I also don't have much friends who can recommend me. I don't know what to do.. I just wish I could just sit around and die without going through these soul sucking experiences.
I don't know anything about jobs in India or how to make this work, but having engineering knowledge along with computer science sounds like it might be a good combination? It seems like mechanical engineering would be good for building more interesting things than HVAC systems? Maybe embedded systems (working with microcontrollers) would be fun?
I agree with @skybrian. You actually have a great set of skill that will only be enhanced by any programming knowledge you acquire.
Don’t beat yourself too hard!
Oh.. I never thought of that angle. I was never interested in Mechanical Engineering, I always thought I would switch careers, so I don't know much about the job prospects of the stream. Also only thing I have a better understanding in this whole stream is in HVAC, the professor was really good. Is there a career option for someone with programming knowledge in HVAC systems? I'll looking it thank you so much...
I don't know, but I would guess there is a microcontroller in the thermostat and maybe in other HVAC machines too? And whichever company made them had to write programs for them.
I feel so overwhelmed by the making friends advice, I tried to use LinkedIn I feel anxious just scrolling through the news feed. I wish I've been more social, but I'm not, I have a very closely knitted friend group most them are in entirely different areas career wise. I recently started working on my social skills.. I'm trying, I am just not ready to start making new friends. Please dont feel bad for advising, I was just venting .. Thanks anyway :)
It's not the same, but at least you can hang out here :)
l interned for a development company and R&D usually does a lot of testing requiring sensor and data logging stuff, as well as data analysis. Lots of electronics in there just for testing things.
It has not been a good year. I know bad things tend to clump up, but honestly it's just been so full of death and problems that it's unreal. Around two months ago, I lost my grandfather. A week later, my "grampy" (really my aunt's husband's father, whom I often met) also passed away.
Two weeks ago, a friend of mine from high school & college was murdered. We had grown a bit distant in the last couple years but it was an utter shock. His body was discovered in a park, he was killed on his way to work. We have no answers at all and this is not normally a dangerous area in the least.
Last week, a family friend, who had terminal cancer already, had a stroke and is now in palliative care. He has also gone blind.
Emotionally... I don't know. I mean, I'm dealing with it - I'm still taking care of myself, at least, like I'm showering and eating and working. If I were still in my 20s I definitely would not be functional at all. This would be hard enough were there not also an international health crisis... I can't visit people, I can't go to funerals, I can't go to memorials. Some days I'm so, so angry. I feel like time with my loved ones is just being stolen from me. Some days I'm so anxious for the future I'm almost manic with "fight-or-flight" energy that I can't channel productively. Some days I'm so tired I don't really feel any way. Some days are at least OK, though, still.
I am still working, at least, which is more than what I can say for many of my friends. I work in video conferencing and as you can imagine things are crazy. I am for sure under-performing but I just can't keep up right now, especially working from home. My fiancée works for the federal government getting money to people who need it, so she's also doing insane overtime. We're both really worn out and the house is a mess.
My birthday is coming up this week and I'm hoping it'll be one of the "OK" days. I miss my friends and family a lot.
I'm really not doing that well, but most of the issues are not related to the coronavirus. I'm just gonna list them out, mostly as ranting to myself.
Looking at most of these things, I should definitely go to therapy, but I went to therapy like 8 years ago and it made all this so much worse. I have tried like 3 anti-depressants and none of them seemed to have worked. I also have a tendency to forget the past, so I am probably blowing things out of proportion with myself, but who knows. I just turned 20 so logically I know I have time but I feel like I am wasting what everybody says should be the best time of my life, but if this is the best it gets what is the point.
I think it would be unusual for the best part of anyone's life to be the middle of a pandemic? Things legitimately suck for a lot of people, and in particular, it's a terrible time to be going to college, so it seems unrealistic and weird for someone to say it "should" be the best part of your life.
I don't know your financial situation so maybe it makes sense to power through and get that degree, but consider that maybe it wouldn't be a bad thing to change majors even if it takes longer, since it's not a great time to be looking for a job either.
It seems like the question is, okay, so what is a good use of your time during a pandemic, if travel, college, and a lot of kinds of work are difficult? Let's not pretend this is supposed to be easy. When society's conventional wisdom isn't working then you need to figure out your own path, and that's not going to be easy since it probably requires creativity and lateral thinking.
And how are you doing, @kfwyre? I notice you haven't shared your situation. 'Fess up!
Yesterday was a relative low point for me. A program I started and poured my heart into at work -- genuinely the only work I've done in the past few years that's genuinely excited and enriched me -- is getting unceremoniously canned. Nothing related to closures or the coronavirus, mind you -- it's just not happening next year or whenever it is that we actually reopen. The upside to this is that it's a lot of work off my plate, so my job just got much easier, but really I'm pretty heartbroken about it, especially given what it was. I really wish I could get into more specifics about it without it getting too personally identifying or breaching confidentiality rules for students, but suffice it to say that it was very enriching to both me and the kids involved.
I think the sting has less to do with its actual cancellation/restructuring and more to do with how the message was delivered: in passing, as an aside, with no fanfare, appreciation, or acknowledgement that my efforts in setting up the program, developing its resources, collaborating with the other teachers who also helped run it, and navigating its fundamentally difficult terrain actually meant anything to anyone. There was also no appreciation of the fact that nearly all of this took place while I continued to do the rest of my job as well as taking on additional duties from someone unable to pull their own weight. I don't do what I do because I'm dependent on the praise of others, but this was yet again another example of my genuine efforts being all in vain. It's happened enough that I've entered into the type of "fool me
twiceevery other year or so; shame on me" type of thinking that's very fertile ground for burnout. I'm tired of working for naught, and I'm especially tired of, every so often, letting my festering cynicism give way to a genuine idealism that I actually can make a difference, do good things, and find some satisfaction in what I do, because it just means that the stars in my eyes keep me from seeing the hand that's coming to slap my face. Anyone remember that library I created being dismantled and dumped for office space? Consider this another moment like that.
Outside of yesterday's low, however, I'm actually doing remarkably okay. I began this pandemic with the highest anxieties I've ever felt, but those have tapered off now. Later on, I had some pretty strong feelings of guilt that many others have shared about being okay in a time of crisis. I've processed those too. I'm much more comfortable and at peace now, and I consider my ongoing role in this to stay the fuck home as much as possible, which I am happy to abide. Aside from walking my dog around the neighborhood, I have only gone to public places twice since mid-March, each only out of necessity and each with necessary precautions (e.g. mask, hand sanitizer, social distancing). I realize I'm only one person, but given that the virus requires people to spread it in the first place, that's one less potential vector out there.
In a broader context, I consider myself incredibly lucky. I've kept my job, the demands of which have decreased significantly due to school closures. My husband's salary was cut, but he kept his job too. Due to decreased expenses (no gas, no eating out, no events, etc.) and the stimulus checks from our government, we're actually better than normal. We had recently bought a house and have been slowly replacing old appliances and buying a lot of comfort items to make it our own. At the beginning of this year, before we had any inkling of how bad this was going to be, we bought a big, beautiful, and wonderfully comfortable sectional for our living area -- pretty much the ideal move before a stay-at-home lockdown. We put in a lot of time and effort to make our house a pleasant, livable place that we enjoy spending time in, and this moment is an unprecedented chance for us to get to do so. We have a back porch we can sit out on, a backyard for our dog to run around in, and a neighborhood we can comfortably walk around in without coming too close to anyone. These are all luxuries that many do not have. I am so incredibly lucky.
Personality-wise, my husband and I are both pretty introverted, and we're both complete homebodies. Plus, we get along effortlessly. The quarantine has increased the frequency and intensity of the whole cultural narrative of hating your significant other or feeling "trapped" with them, which I can't relate to at all. I feel, again, very lucky to get to spend every day with someone with whom I have so little friction. Add to that our dog, who is a constant source of joy in my life. He's loving that we're home all the time, and I'm loving that I get to be home with him all the time. He's comfortably curled up, asleep under a blanket on my lap as I write this.
Meanwhile, group chats and video chats have brought us "closer" to our friends and family than we previously were. The lack of ability to see each other in person has driven us to meet up online, where we now chat and hang out much more frequently than we did before. It's something that I hope continues even after lockdowns are lifted, as it's so easy and convenient. Sure, you have to deal with the tech issues, bad connections, sometimes sketchy audio quality, and the constant issue of people talking over one another or overlapping words, but the simplicity and accessibility of it is unmatched. Even though we're separated by, at times, thousands of miles, we can all get together without leaving our living rooms, spend an evening laughing and talking with one another, and then retire just by closing the lids of our laptops. Technology is an amazing, modern miracle that I don't do enough to appreciate.
So, all things considered, I'm doing well. Fine, even. The lowpoint of yesterday will assuredly pass, and I need to remember that I have so much in my life to be thankful for.
That does sound very discouraging.
It sounds like getting support by the school's leadership is pretty important for any initiative to last there? Support by parents too, probably?
Yeah, they definitely have final say. Although to be clear, the library incident and my current disappointment have happened in different schools under different administrations (I don't know if that was clear from my writeups). Part of my disillusionment is that this has been a consistent pattern across all the various schools in which I've worked. Sometimes these things happen more because of higher level policy, and sometimes it's more on the administrators themselves. In this current instance the administrators actually have less say than other people, concepts, and laws higher up, so I don't really hold it against them so much as I'm frustrated that it has to be this way. Also I realize this is all really vague and I wish I could be more specific, but unfortunately my hands are tied in that regard.
Wow. Sounds you're set up really well for this lockdown, and getting through it well (work issues notwithstanding). Good for you!
It's important to count our blessing sometimes.
I'm fine. "As OK as usual, I suppose" if we're gonna be wordy.
I didn't have any real relatioships to lose/struggle with before this (there was a comment where someone asked if they had friends and someone said they have acquaintances, not friends and its pretty accurate to my 'social circle' as well) so this just feels like an unexpected vacation period, but due to it being unexpected I still need to follow along with a student 'work'load, which is kinda hard to do when the amount of trust I have in school to educate me about something is inversely proportional to how much I feel I know about it. One of the things that dawned on me recently is that if the pandemic lasts for the whole year then this is the last time I have seen a lot of people in person since this year I transition from 'fundamental II' (Analogous to middle school) to "Middle school/teachings" (Analogous to high school), which are taught in diferent schools and since people move a lot and are sometimes pretty far from school they will probably go to another school, which is kind of one of the first big inflection points in my life. (Also is a good deadline set for me to reach out to them.)
As for me right now, I'm mostly waiting for US politics to budge. Also found this cool site and made this.
Overall, I'm fine.
I have stable employment. My company is in a strong financial situation, and can weather this storm. And it's keeping all employees employed (although, most people had to drop their hours by about 20%).
Because of the Australian government's JobKeeper payment, I'm actually getting more money than usual: the legislation behind this payment makes it compulsory for employers to pass the $1,500/fortnight payment on in full to their employees, even to employees (like me) who normally earn less than this. So, for the duration, I'm rich (relatively speaking).
My housemate also has stable employment.
Our housing is stable. Coincidentally, just before this all started, we signed a two-year lease on the house we've been in for the past year, and the Australian state governments are making it illegal to evict anyone for the next 6 months.
I'm comfortable working from home. I already did it 2 or 3 days out of 4, before lockdown. Now I'm doing it 4 out of 4 days. And I'm loving the lack of a commute!
I miss my weekly boardgames group. I didn't go out much, but this was a highlight of my week. However, some people have found an online alternative, so last week we had our first official gathering with 8 people across two virtual "tables". It worked well. We're rolling it out to more people this week.
Externally, everything's better than fine. Life is great, all things considered.
I'm having occasional issues with my mental health. I have sleeping problems (which I'm not going to detail here; suffice to say I've been living with this for nearly a decade). This means my mood and health varies from day to day, depending on each night's sleep. On my good days, I'm fine with lockdown and isolation. On the bad days... not so much. There are phobias and stresses and other bad thoughts to deal with. Luckily, the good days outnumber the bad days. And I've got strategies in place to deal with the bad days. (Today's a bad-ish day. Rating: 4/10.)
And lockdown restrictions are starting to be lifted slightly. We're getting a bit more freedom to go out & about.
Overall, I'm better than fine. But the occasional daily exceptions are sometimes hard to deal with.
Thank you for asking.
Being without my computer and bedroom TV (both broke day 1 of the quarantine) is a challenge, especially because this kinda forces me to be closer to those stuck in the house with me. They spend the vast majority of the day talking about politics and COVID related news, in the most morbid and negative way possible.
I was quite depressed even before the epidemic, wondering if my life would ever cease to be a never-ending succession of failures. In the last 3 years, I invested in the field of Computer Science, something I always loved as a hobby but never had the guts to try for real.
The first semester on my software engineering course was pretty awesome, I got good grades and even won an award on a hackathon. The second was a complete disaster, I flunked more courses than I passed. After being the best in the class in algorithms, Object-Oriented Programming (Java, and the professor was beyond awful....) made me feel like the dumbest person on Earth. Many colleagues simply downloaded their assignments from GitHub and similar places, but I have this annoying habit of being honest.
I ended up leaving the course (for now), but not only because of that. Money is tight and private education is not cheap. There are at least three 100% free options in my city that actually offer a better education. I just need to take a test, and the required score is inferior to the one I got 2 years ago.
I brought this story because in the past few weeks I decided to give programming another shot, with a different attitude. I do enjoy it, there's no doubt about that. But anxiety is frequently harder to deal with than a lack of intelligence. In order to do more, I must start by doing less, without a rush. ADHD, bad teachers and learning materials played a part in this, but I was also arrogant, always trying to learn things in one go.
For the past few weeks, I'm not skipping steps. I'm also meditating, breathing, taking regular breaks, and quitting before I'm burnt out. I can already see the progress. Two days were enough to get the basics of OOP, something I dreaded like the plague before. When I finish this book, I'll probably make a personal project.
So I have this to look forward to.
To answer your question: yes, I'm quite alright, thank you for asking.
Not well. It has been more than two months, and things are barely starting to re-open - but not schools, and I'm not sure if I'll even get another contract next year. I doubt it: there has been talk of making the students work "in shifts". I have no idea how it'll work, or if it could even work, but I know that lab teachers can't exactly work from home.
I had plans for this year. I had contacted a law firm to start my name/gender change process in late February, but then... everything got derailed. I'm still going ahead with that, but it'll probably take at least six months for me to get anywhere, probably around a year - the tribunals have been closed since March, and will stay that way for at least another week - and I'll be sinking some €3k on it.
My mood took a turn for the worse, my anxiety is back with a vengeance, and - complicit the coming summer - I'm sleeping like shit. The house is a mess, I am a mess, and I bought way too much stuff in the last two months. Some of that couldn't be avoided (I needed a printer), some of that was on my wishlist for years (an e-reader), but I probably didn't need a bunch of knives and fountain pens. At least they are sharp knives and smooth pens.
My wife and I went for our second bike ride in the hills above Berkeley. It's about 14 miles round trip, beautiful views, and the path itself isn't very hilly but the short uphills leave me out of breath strangely quickly. Apparently I have a wimpy cardiovascular system or something, not that I noticed on hikes where I'm usually the one who is walking ahead on the uphill. Hopefully it will get better as I get used to it.
Afterwards, on r/accordion someone was asking about Mexican songs for Cinco de Mayo, and I know little about Mexican music, but I found one whose intro I like (Tragos Amargo) and started transcribing the intro. If anyone knows more about the various kinds of Mexican music, I'd be happy to hear some recommendations.
Been doing alright. My mom’s having a quite severe depressive episode right now and I’m trying my best to help her stay Intact during these hard times, and personally I am quite bored and have no idea what to do. Though I am taking my time to learn a little more about cooking and being able to organise myself personally more... never really been the organized type. I do feel super tired though, more than usual. With the constant staying at home and being left with basically nothing to do it gets quite tiring sometimes. Oh well, what can I do about it? At least I have animal crossing and my weekly curry tradition to keep me afloat :)
Good sometimes, bad sometimes, introspective all the time.
I'm definitely getting more irritable lately as I see more people out and about. The more people there are in a place that I have to be, the more irritable I seem to get due to the constant lookout for social distancing. Part of it is it seems like each time I step outside, there seem to be more people than the last.
But I also have my relaxing moments where I get some peace and quiet. When those pop up in my day, I feel fantastic for a good long while.
I've got to say this quarantine has me on an emotional roller coaster like I've never experienced.... and it's had me wondering whether estrogen has fundamentally changed the way I feel emotions on a level I haven't fully understood until now? Maybe I was more stable than I thought? Or is this all a byproduct of an extreme circumstance and is reflective of how many others are feeling right now?
Either way I'm doing surprisingly fine right now. I mentioned about 3 weeks ago that I had a partner break up with me via text on behalf of the pandemic. That one hurt a lot. It was one of the first times in my life where I truly felt like I was experiencing multiple emotions at the same time rather than oscillating very frequently. At the time I decided after some short questions that I was going to leave it alone for awhile (since I wasn't getting practically anything but one sentence deflecting responses that simply left me more confused than I originally was) and to revisit it later. I'm at a point now where as much as I would like proper closure, I don't think it's ever going to happen. I sent a short "hope you're doing well" kind of text a few days ago and got no response. I believe there's something going on in her life, but she's simply unwilling to share it with me. Anyhow... this is just a long way of saying that I think I decided that I should just let it go
I feel like I understand now what it means when they say that you grow up too fast on the Internet. I guess I feel burnt out. Not a lot of things feel interesting and I simply visit the same sites over and over again, not participating. I feel physically great, am in great shape and get exercise constantly, yet mentally bored and not getting excited. Not living to the potential.
As a side note, finally the gyms are open in my country, so being able to return to exercising is gonna be very refreshing.
But most importantly I feel like I'm bad at relationships. It works in a very strange way when sometimes I want to talk to someone obsessively for a long time, and at other times (like now), I simply don't have any motivation to call or meet anyone. I wonder if I have some drastic mood changes from time to time.
Just rambling, so pardon me if it reads unstructured. I haven't written much on the net as of last few years, so it feels like an actual novel experience to write this comment now.
I hope you all doing well. And if you don't, then it's just very temporary and will resolve itself quickly.
It seems like the pandemic might be a good time to explore more independent ways of learning new stuff that's more meaningful to you? Formal class is just one way to learn and it's not doing so hot right now. What are you curious about?
Is the coasting and the perception of teachers not bothering an acute thing based on school closures and the pandemic, or is this more of a long-term trend unrelated to the current goings on?
Something to keep in mind is that this situation is difficult for teachers too, and that there's probably a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that your teachers are having to balance and manage, and unfortunately that can come across to students as not caring or giving up. It's different state-by-state and district-by-district, but in my district, we teachers were limited in the types of content we could give to students. Furthermore, privacy laws and equity concerns limit how we can interact and connect with students. Additionally, a lot of teachers, myself included, have reduced the challenging content we're putting out because we know this is a difficult time for many families and students and we don't want to be an additional pressure on them. Unfortunately, this leaves students like you, who are easily able to complete assignments, wanting more.
If you're wanting more to do, I recommend reaching out to your teachers and asking them if they have anything else you could do. I'm sure many of them have additional or extension assignments they could give you. The downside to this is that it'll likely be hard to get one-on-one help or instruction from them, so they'd be things that you'd have to tackle largely independently. This, however, can actually be a good thing! The ability to learn on your own is one of the most important skills you can have in life. It sounds like you're already well-equipped for this to happen given that you're already effortless acing all your other assignments.
Another option is to engage in some self-study. You're likely at the point where you have a good grasp of what you like and don't like subject wise, and you're probably ready to go "off-road" and explore areas of interest on your own. With schools closed, there has never been a better time for this! A big difficulty is knowing where to start. A great resource I like to point my higher-level students towards is Schaum's Outlines. They're not flashy or exciting by any means, but what they lack in fanfare they make up for in simplicity and organization. They're easy to follow and great ways to engage in self-teaching (I should qualify here that I'm mostly familiar with their math books, so I don't know how well they tackle other subject areas). Plus, compared to textbooks, they are very affordable!