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Posts tagged “insomnia

Darwin, Depression, and Dark Days

It’s just past 11:00 a.m.  and already 82 degrees. Josh is getting ready for work (I seem to have kidnapped him again) and I’m up with the chickens (hey, 11:00 a.m. is early for me!) and have decided to reset my sleep cycle once again. For the past few months, I’ve been up all night an sleeping during the days. I love my nights! Night time is dark, cool, and it feels like all the world is dead and I’m on a little island to myself. I can come and go as I please- do my shopping (you’d be surprised how man people shop at Walmart at 3 a.m.) and just really connect with my nocturnal surroundings. I really can’t stand mornings or getting up early and I’m used to getting things done at night. So it’s a sacrifice for me, to say the least, to flip my script entirely and give up my nights. Even my dream environments are night time- I haven’t dreamed of daylight (or day time) in years, except for once or twice.

I’ve noticed, though, that I’ve becomes increasingly depressed over the past few weeks- and that’s just not normal for me. I lead a pretty fearless life. I don’t stress out about things- I’m literally never anxious- and I stay consistently level and upbeat, for the most part. But lately, I’ve felt a few complex fears pressing in and feelings that I might not succeed. (Again, highly unusual for me. I’m a serious go-getter.) I’ve learned to section off and compartmentalize my “layers of self” to discern just where my problematic sources might be. Are they economic? Spiritual? Emotional? Environmental? Nutritional? And so, after much seeking, I’ve realized that my depression has been a combination of artificial sleep (Ambien) + a lack of exercise and sunshine. I’ve decided to cut Ambien out of my life, because although it does help in getting a person to sleep, it does little to assist in REM sleep and allowing a person to have the full benefits of natural sleep. Last night, I slept naturally and woke up refreshed at 8:30 a.m. (or thereabouts). Today, I have 50 pages to absorb (Darwin in Chapter 1- Pavlov- Chapter 2), 3 quizzes (two psychology quizzes and one statistics quiz) and 40 or so Statistics problems to work out. This is not necessarily a heavy workload.

I’ve been missing my mother and my kids but keep telling myself that I’ll see them just as soon as I catch up. Life has a funny way of choking the living &^%$ out of you, doesn’t it?

My kitchen sink has been defunct for a month now, and I’m sure that has lent a hand in my acute depression. Thankfully, Josh is going to help me fix it today. I haven’t been able to update my blog regularly for some time now, but I haven’t been in a good head space lately. Studying psychology is sort of like being under a self-reflecting microscope 24/7. At first, it’s easy to see how psychological applications apply to everybody you know, but theories and perspectives about the mind can easily be compared to certain Scriptures in the Bible about and such. At first, you can see everyone else’s ailments and how best they might be helped, etc. but at some point, you really have to apply all of that stuff to yourself. So, in an interesting way, I’ve been my pwn therapist and patient for several years now.

I could use a good vacation from myself. :0/

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Another Sleepless Night

It’s 4:27 a.m. and I’m wide awake. There’re only three weeks left in the semester and I’m running out of time fast. I still have 4 major research papers to write (APA, of course), 30 hours of practicum/intern/volunteering at the psych ward and youth shelter, a diagnostic interview to videotape, and an oral presentation on Autism to prepare and record. (Not to mention 6 more exams.) My accumulative GPA is 3.65: not too shabby.

I tried sleeping but darn it, I have a career to plan! Besides, I have an executive decision to make: transfer immediately over to Indiana University Bloomington to begin working on my B.S. in Criminal Justice, or stick it out for the summer semester at my current university, Vincennes, and receive my 2nd degree- an A.S. in Social Work. I’m 97% finished, according to my audit, which means if I take only 3 more social work courses this summer- I’ll have my 2nd degree.

Granted, little can be done with an A.S. in Social Work (apart from residential counseling, youth director, case manager in a group home or Substance Abuse facility, etc.) but I do also have the degree in Behavioral Sciences too, along with the CPC in Substance Abuse. Technically, it’s 5 academic years combined.

My short term primary objective is to become a probation officer, and possibly, parole- ultimately. (Perhaps 3 years in probation working with juveniles, then a transition over to parole so I can take a few years experience with me.) I’m really wanting to stay in the area of juvenile work: I’d rather work with impressionable, responsive, and “workable” adolescents who haven’t already been hardened by poor choices and criminal deviance. However, my dilemma is that most probation office facilities require a bachelor’s degree. I have the equivalency, and I’m sure I could sell myself in the area if I tried, but I really think I do need the Criminal Justice training. I’m not entirely loving “Social Work”, and so I’m tempted to simply transfer over to IU Bloomington so I can begin working on my Criminal Justice degree over the summer. But that means tossing my A.S. in Social Work when I’m 97% finished!

I suppose I’ve ramble-typed enough to have worked this out: I’ll remain at Vincennes for the duration of the summer and complete my Social Work degree. In the meantime, I’ll have registered at IU Bloomington and will be ready to go this fall.

I still have my heart set on Forensic Psychology, but for now, a B.S. in Criminal Justice is what I need to focus on. I’m hoping to be able to integrate photo therapy into my work (down the road) and do more school readings with my children’s book, but I have to keep my irons in the fire down to, oh…say FIVE or so.

I’m considering taking my Abnormal Psychology chapter test on Theories, Perspectives, and Models but I s’pose that can wait until the morning. I’m so super excited these days! I’ve waited 20 long years to be able to go back to college, get a few degrees under my belt, and start my career. My kids are mostly grown (17-24), so I’m allowing myself the luxury to focus on ME now. This has all been carefully planned for a very long time and it’s exciting that I’m finally actually doing it.

Only two more years!

Along the way I’m going to join and pick up certification in IAAP (Indiana Association for Addiction Professionals ) & ICAADA (Indiana Counselors Association on Alcohol and Drug Abuse). My Substance Abuse professor suggested that I join these two organizations. I’m not necessarily going into the Substance Abuse/Intervention field, but I think more than a Criminal Justice degree is necessary if one wants to be an effective probation officer. Many juveniles will have already experienced drugs and alcohol by the time they’re 13. Juveniles that are sent to the probation department? Their experiential substance abuse percentage is closer to 100%. I want to have a few extra tools in my belt: a solid substance abuse education and credentials are essential when working with juveniles.

Juveniles + substance abuse = probation
adults + substance abuse = parole

substance abuse – college education = homelessness, jail, criminal behavior, etc.

It’s only a matter of time before a juvenile experimenting with substance abuse ends up homeless, in prison, or on parole. There’s a very strong correlation between juveniles who are on probation and substance abuse.  I want to do what I can so that he or she doesn’t end up going down that road.

And now I’m off to bed.

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering what a cell looks like during its anaphase cycle of mitosis, this is it:

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Cell during anaphase cycle of mitosis: created by Josh and me for my Biology: Life Sciences class.

Ingredients used:

Centromeres: whole black peppercorn
Spindle Fibers: uncooked pasta
Chromosomes: Ramen noodles soaked in Srirracha sauce
Microtubules: whole green tea

Grade received: A


Best Salad Ever: Southwestern Asian with Green Curry Dressing

It’s 4:56 a.m. and I just made the best salad I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve been watching Chopped for years now, and must say, I’m a much better cook for it.

Here are the ingredients:

Salad:

Marinated skirt steak/cooked medium rare/cut into thin strips
Baby Spring Mix (greens) which include: green leaf, mizuna, green romaine, tango, green oak, green chard, baby spinach, arugula, frisee, tatsoi, mache, red chard, red leaf, lolla rosa, red romaine, red mustard, radicchio, red oak, and beet tops
Sliced scallions + white onion heads
Yellow corn
Portabella mushrooms/sliced
Red and yellow peppers/sliced
Dried cranberries
Toasted pumpkin seeds
Avocadoes/thickly sliced
Vine ripe tomatoes/quartered (6 small ones)
Fresh Gorgonzola cheese

Dressing

Vanilla yogurt (preferably, Greek)
Mayonnaise
Green Curry paste
Fresh lime juice
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper

Since I created this salad, there’s no actual name for it. I suppose I’ll call it a Southwestern, Asian salad, with green curry dressing. It’s unbelievably delicious with an abundance of freshness and various layers and depths of flavour.

After grilling the skirt steak (medium rare), I let it rest for about six minutes. That locks all of the juices in. I then broke apart the fresh portabella mushrooms- I like my food rustic. No measuring is necessary. (I eyeball everything and it’s always just the right amount.)

Start cooking the mushrooms over medium-high heat with extra virgin olive oil. Throw in the sliced scallions, along with the white onion heads. I like my scallions to be fairly large- in fact, everything is cut or broken up into liberal pieces. It’s prettier that way, and you can savor what you’re eating- it’s not all mangled up like a chopped salad.

Slice up some red and yellow peppers and throw them in with the mushrooms and onions- again, big, generous pieces of everything. Toss in some fresh, yellow corn and braise the veggies until they carmelize and get a good roasted colour on them. Slice up some vine ripe tomatoes, along with some avocadoes- mix them up with the greens. Add some dried cranberries along with some toasted pumpkin seeds. Add some fresh gorgonzola cheese. Next, mix some mayo up with vanilla yogurt- about 1/4th of a cup each. Add a squirt of lime juice, some kosher (or sea) salt, three teaspoons of green curry paste, and some cracked black pepper. Mix.

Mix it gently together, the salad with the dressing. Voila.
(This goes well with a toasted baguette, thinly slice, flash-fried in olive oil, finished off with fresh rosemary and cracked black pepper.)

We topped off our late night feast with a fresh Au Jus pear and a blood orange.

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Josh and I had tried to sleep earlier, but I was lying there thinking about food. I was going to snack on green grapes and fresh mozarella balls, but ended up making this salad on the fly instead. I can’t begin to describe how delicious it is: it’s all so juicy and fresh.

Is it really 5:27 a.m.?
Good grief. Time to hit the hay.
School is kicking my butt.

Au revoir…


Interval Notations and Honey Brandy

Good golly what have I gone and gotten myself into?

It’s 2:24 a.m. and typical as ever, the house is alive and buzzing as if it were 3 p.m. Brian and Brianna (sorry Brian…) -Brianna and “Bob” are in their room doing God knows what- I hear occasional screams, back and forth- I have no idea what they’re going on about in there…

[Enter Brian]

“Lotus Flower” (Radiohead) plays on my speakers and Brian…I mean, Bob is dancing around the kitchen-head poking in and out of the fridge. It’s possibly the coolest chill song ever. You really should give it a listen- it always puts me in a super good mood, no matter what:

I’m quite sure he’s higher than a kite- Mr. Yorke.
You know I love you, Tom. My kids think you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread.
(I do too.)

Bob puts his hand on his head, shakes his hips and tries to moonwalk.

“Dude, you did not just do that…” I say to him.

He smiles at me deviously, revealing more of his gnarley socks.

Tomorrow is a full day and I have no idea what I’m doing up at 2:30 a.m. I’m supposed to wake up at 7:00 a.m. and hit the prayer closet, then read a few chapters from the KJV. I have sadly slackened off lately.

Consider this. We take care of our bodies- we bathe, we try to eat good so we can live longer. But why do we want to live longer? Especially those that hate to live. I’m not one of them- I love life- and think there’s something to be gained from pain.

But we do what the television tells us to do. It says work out- we work out. It says “be pretty- feel sexy”- we are pretty and sexy. And so on.

But what do we do for our spirits? Our souls? I scratch my head and search for an answer. It’s been too long. I’m not uneducated in spiritual matters. I’ve just gotten lazy. So, I’ve decided that tomorrow I will wake up exceptionally early and pray. This clashes with my honey brandy tonight though, and I’m feeling particularly stressed out, so I’m having a few shots.

I just know this. Whenever I rise up early in the morning and pray, I feel directed. I feel stronger and my day has purpose. I need to get that back.

“Reckoner” rolls out of the speakers now…

“You are not to blame for bittersweet distractions…dedicated to all human beings…”

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Beautiful Creatures

We can’t sleep.

J and I decided to get all gussied up tonight. We used Oil of Olay’s Regenerist microderm abrasion-in-a-bottle facial scrub- it’s $28 bucks per bottle but man is it good stuff. It’s like a fine sand grain that heats up with added water; makes your face nice and warm.

Afterwards, we applied our facials; imported English clay for J- Mint Julip Eucolyptus clay for myself. We bleached our teeth using a home-bleaching kit while our clay faces dried.

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We tried to sleep but were both restless. I think we’re both excited that we’ll soon be getting a long and necessary break from our classes. Only a few more weeks!

I cannot wait…………..

Although I have two assignments due in Substance Abuse Treatment Centers- and a final exam in Nutrition to study for- I’m going to be deliciously irresponsible and download an adventure game and play ’til the sun comes up.

Tomorrow I have an appointment at the salon. I’ll be getting dimensional colouring and a slight cut. The hairdresser is a pro- she’s had her pic taken with several guys from the Bravo channel and she’s very hard to secure an appointment with so I’m pretty darn excited. It’ll cost an arm and a leg (as in- $200 ish/ballpark) but given that I’ve only been to a salon once in my life- I’m going to frikking pamper myself. I think it’s long overdue.

So I’m off to game!

[insert big, cheesy, HAPPY emoticon here]