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I went inside a gym for the very first time yesterday. No, I hadn't lost my way/mistaken it for a cake shop (mmmm cake shop). I went there to do exercise, namely bouldering. It's way more fun than more conventional gym exercise. I wasn't that good at it. I got to the top a couple of times, but only on the really easy routes. Still, I want to learn to get better at it, so I will be returning next week. If my arms ever feel like they'll work again. They're not aching quite as badly as I expected, but pain is there. I can't wait till I get really good at climbing and can hang from the ceiling etc.
So things are all good on the surface. Trollbrain

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I misplaced my debit card today. It was fine in the end- I'd just left it in the supermarket yesterday, and it was returned to me by kindly Geordies (98% of Geordies are kindly, I've decided).
A year ago I'd have been in a panic. My stomach would have been churning all the way to the supermarket once I'd realised that I'd lost the card. I'd have been struggling to breath, quite possibly, and entirely unable to focus on anything other than the fact that I'd lost something crucially important and needed to find it again.
This, of course, would have been an extreme reaction, but it gets worse when you consider that the above set of symptoms, together with several others, didn't just apply to relatively serious situations like this, but to almost every situation I found myself in, from going to work each day to meeting up with friends. Having anxiety means that you have a constant litany of potential disasters running through your mind at any given moment, and there's no real way of logicing yourself out of them. So when I used to get up and go to work, it'd be 'OhnoIhavetogotoworkbybikeI'llprobablycrashorgetrunoverandifIgettoworkpeoplewillshoutatmeandI'llmakeanidiotofmyself'. Telling me not to worry in that scenario (while well-meaning) was about as useful as telling me to grow an extra leg.
Anxiety often comes with a side helping of depression, but I've found several major differences between the two, an important one being that anxiety is caring lots and lots, and depression is caring hardly at all. Another one is that in terms of social stigma, people tend to understand that a person and their depression can be entirely different things. Anyone can be hit by depression, and I think this is something that's increasingly accepted. Anxiety's a different matter, though- it's seen generally as something that mainly affects very reserved young women. As a very reserved young woman, this is problematic for me. I sometimes don't know where the anxiety stops and the Katie begins, because I've had anxiety for longer than I've had depression. For most of my childhood years, I didn't even realise it. Anxiety was hugely useful to me in my early teens. I never worked hard at school because I wanted to do well- I worked hard because I didn't want to fail, or rather because I was terrified of failure. This subtle distinction didn't make any difference to anyone but me, because the results (a collections of GCSEs and A-levels at A and B grades) were the same. But then I got a job where I was put under a lot of pressure to succeed, but where I didn't have control over all the elements that were essential to said success. Translator delivers late? Not my fault, but still my problem. And thus I had a bundle of anxiety with nowhere to go, and nothing to show for it, and thus insanity ensued.
This brings me fairly neatly onto my main point of why it's so important to get help for anxiety. If I'd have got help sooner, I wouldn't have had to have pretty much written off my late teens. I'd have developed some kind of interesting personality in this time, rather than reaching 24 and being all like 'O lol who am I again? I forgot'. It's a bit of a milestone once you've realised that no, you can't really go on this way, and the years you lose to untreated mental illness aren't somehow magically returned to you.
Obviously pills don't automatically make everything better, but they help, a lot. When I lost this debit card, I had one of those logical thought processes that sane people keep talking about. 'I'll check the supermarket, and if it's not there, I'll contact my bank and ask them to cancel the old one and send me a new one. In the meantime, I can ask someone to lend me money', No drama, no anxiety.

NB- this is a (shoddy?) attempt at grown-up proper blogging. It was going to be more of my usual 'o lol I lost my debit card, I so stupid lol', but I decided to risk writing something a bit different.

I didn't sleep so well last night after a visit from the anxiety pigeon, which is a much less frequent visitor these days, but which is by no means out of my life (anxiety pigeon is a way better figure of speech that I've just made up than any other figure of speech in the world). I know there's nowt to be scared of, OBVS, it's just that I kind of want to press fast forward for the next two or three weeks and get myself settled. IF ONLY I KNEW A TIMELORD. It's hard to believe that this is my last week of 'normality' before I leave The Shack. I'm handing the keys back on Monday. I won't miss the shack itself, but I'll miss knowing where stuff is. It's stupid, but it's things like the fact that I'll have to rearrange my cutlery drawer that bother me, not things like not actually having a house yet (with cutlery drawer or otherwise).
It was always going to be a tricky week, really, I'd booked Friday off ages ago, as there are some days when you don't really want to be fretting about whether you've booked in a PO because you want to focus on the more important things in life. I'd had the vague idea of going back home and spending some time with my family, but as it's turned out, this weekend's turned into Moving Weekend, so I'm using the day to pack.
Everything seems to be coming together though, practically speaking (it's just my fragile mind that's unravelling, but it's by no means the first time. It'd be weird if I wasn't freaking out a bit). And the Dubliners are coming to my home town in March! If I can get the time off work I shall go and see them for a FIFTH time, and all will be well.

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The 'kick self up backside' plan hasn't been working as well as I'd hoped. I've been feeling kind of weirdly low, not 'Germany I'm going crazy' kind of low, more slightly numbed than anything. Poor EmoKatie. I've been finding work really tiring lately. I'm glad I've got a job, obviously, but cleaning's way more tiring than any of my previous jobs (teaching, manufacturing coasters, delivering post…I have lived a varied life). I mostly just want to curl up and sleep at weekends. Even though I'm only working part-time throughout the week. PERHAPS I HAVE BECOME OLD. Also, the thought of going back to Germany usually brings about some kind of panic attack, especially if I think about it late at night. If somebody innocently asks when I go back, I feel irrationally angry with them for bringing it up, even though it's a perfectly reasonable question. How I wish I had a healthy relationship with the country I've accidentally emigrated to.
Here is a picture drawn by Dylan, my woodlouse from IKEA:

He hates it when he's put in the washing machine. I think I need new things to draw. Maybe I shall hold a contest! GUESS MY FAVOURITE BRAND OF HOOVER and you get to choose what I draw on my next post! This is easily the best idea I've ever had.
P.S Dylan's on Twitter. I'm very tired and am using that as an excuse.

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