Taking a break

I’m just taking a moment right now to unwind from work. Amazingly, things weren’t too bad — this is the first time I’ve been back in two weeks. And…oddly enough, I’m not feeling bad about it. It helped that I got an ice cream afterwards. 🙂

The major issue I’m dealing with now is switching back to a work/school schedule, as versus just a school schedule–!

Also, I’m a bit off because, outside of my Reference Shadowing opportunity, I haven’t been dealing with people outside my family, for about two weeks (and I was socially “off” while I was shadowing, as well). In particular, when signing people up for library cards, I’m having a harder time accessing my, “Welcome to the Library,” speech.

I also received a bit of ease in my assignments: my last professor has now been contacted about my Disability accommodations, so I don’t have to worry about that, anymore. I might want to go ahead and try contacting my Vocational program again…we just never met, before the beginning of this semester. Things are just now starting to look doable, for me.

I have been advised that there is a Trainee program in my County which allows me to enter what is in effect a junior-type Librarian position in my last semester, or shortly after graduation. This will likely be a good experience, if I can either drive or arrange transportation for the period (I really need to learn how to drive!).

It looks like the Reference assignment that I’ve got isn’t going to be as easy as I’d hoped: our Reference section at my library has just been massively downsized, and the same is about to happen at the library at which I shadowed the Reference staff. I have a week to get all of that work done, though I think most of it, I can do online.

And I should expect next week’s work to start up shortly, meaning I should get on it.


Just typing through some stress.

I have an assignment to complete for Instructional Design, but to be honest, I am not really into it and am not sure at this point how exactly I will do it. I think that I need to work alongside Steps 1-4 (which I still have to edit and resubmit) with Step 5, rather than trying to draw things out of that flawed document. I’m writing now in order to give myself some space.

The last week has been taken up with trying to catch up on things I didn’t do, before…and I think there’s something about staying up after midnight studying for at least two days in a row that…makes one not want to get out of bed in the morning. Especially when one knows that there are multiple walls of study waiting for them.

I didn’t go to a movie last night and didn’t go to breakfast this morning, to give myself some time. The problem is, I can’t schedule everything else around my waking hours when I stay up after midnight: sometimes I actually do need to get up at 7 AM. Most of the time last night was spent hardcore studying. Most of the time this morning and early afternoon, was spent sleeping.

At this point, I’m kind of wondering how people who have multiple interests outside of their field of study, and a job, and maybe (!) are taking care of themselves, make it through a Master’s program. (Without, you know, gaining weight and losing sleep and needing to see a counselor regularly.)

I did, however, submit my Candidacy (to graduate) form, yesterday, so at least that is out of the way. I have realized that I’m actually 7 units beyond the minimum that I would need to graduate, and as I’ve been planning on taking more classes during the Summer and Fall semesters…well, yeah.

I think at the end of my degree, I’ll be 15 units above the minimum.

And then there is the entire issue of my ePortfolio. I’m thinking that I will need to start working on this in Summer at the latest, meaning that I should likely only take Cybersecurity (1 unit) and Intro to Programming (1 unit). This is as versus taking a MySQL course, which I can do at any time on the wider Web.

I suppose that’s not to mention that this will all be over in 9 months, if things go well.

AND…I did actually make the time to shower and wash my hair last night. That was a good thing. It’s also a good thing I didn’t go out to breakfast, because I wasn’t that hungry.

Okay, I think I’m about ready to start working on Step 5 of my Instructional Design thing (–! seriously, I don’t want to be doing Instructional Design, but it’s a competency I have to fulfill).


But I guess you can see why I majored in Creative Writing the first time around: writing actually calms me down and helps me get my thoughts together, most of the time. When I was younger, I felt like that was the only constant in my life (though that wasn’t entirely true: family was the other constant).

Right now I’m looking at my bookshelf/personal library, and…there are so many books I want to read, but I don’t have time to read them now.

I should probably make some time to consolidate this stuff, so it’s all in one case (or reasonably close to it)…

Photo of last night’s fern frond:

All right,

I have three things to finish reading and then research after that, which would be easier if I were going in to work (but I’m off until the middle of next week). I just don’t think it’s going to get done: the deadline is in less than eight hours and I have dinner and family things to attend to.

I will do the readings, but all of that…is a bit much. Especially when I’m socially inhibited and have trouble even talking to people I like, let alone ask them for free help.

So below, is what I did last night:

embroidered fern frond
Not the best focus, but you get the idea. 🙂

I started out trying to use stem stitch for the main stem, but a regular backstitch worked just fine for the rest of it. Though the stem stitch looks a little better, if I can control its path (each stitch slants diagonally, and this gives the path a tendency to curve)…

I had been wanting to try this variation with petal stitch (that’s what each of the little leaves are), as versus fly stitch, which looks more like a pine frond:

fly stitch sample
Fly stitch sample, done December of last year.

Heh. Kind of nice to have a media library on WordPress. 🙂

Anyhow, I’m doing this instead of frantically reading right now because I think it’s what’s best for me in the moment. That is…I need to give myself a break. It’s possible that missing this Discussion will lower my grade to a B automatically, but I can’t be sure at this moment.

My GPA is fine, though. It’s enough to get me into an Honors society, meaning that I’m in the top 10% of my class. (Who knew.) Right now I’m just not sure exactly how long my GPA will be high enough to stay in that society…

But maybe they aren’t, you know, evil. 😉

As regards the little fern thing…I know that I could do this on a larger scale with more fronds, but I’d have to be sure of where the light and shadows are coming from. It would make more sense to put the lighter green at the top, yeah? 🙂 unless this is very dappled light, which in the natural world, it would be. (Fern under conifer?)

I will get back to studying now. 🙂 Thank you all for your support!

What if (things had gone differently)? Math and Design:

I know I was told to stop blogging late at night, but it’s hard when you feel like you didn’t wake up too long ago. I did finally accomplish that shower, though, and I have taken medication already; so I should have a limited amount of time between now and the point where I can’t think in words, anymore.

Right now, I’m wondering how my proficiencies might have been different if I had continued within the Graphic Arts program, as versus the (Fine) Arts program, in community college. I am aware that the Master’s program I’m in now features various Design possibilities, but this is high-level stuff, and not all of it is related to Graphic Design.

For example: Instructional Design, Database Design, Web Design, Interface Design, Interaction Design, Design Thinking…

That’s much broader than I think they would have taught me at the place where I first started looking into Graphic Arts. There were three things that discouraged me from following through with it:

  • A comment from a teacher stating she thought I, “could do more,” than being a Graphic Designer. (I believe she meant Fine Arts or something along that line; by the time I was in her class, I already had a BA in Creative Writing.)
  • My then-dislike of dealing with people; I was told that what people ask you to do is generally not what they actually want done, and it would be my job to find out what they actually needed (much like the premise of a Reference Interview, but I wouldn’t know that until later).
  • The fact that I was told I would either need an apprenticeship or a graduate degree in order to be successful as a Graphic Designer.

And then, there was this bit:

  • Being harangued off of a (supposed) Graphic Design email list for not using my legal name.

At the time, I was not thinking about graduate degrees at all. My prior undergraduate experience (in Creative Writing) had been so stressful — mostly due to the fact that I had a disability that I was only beginning to realize the scope of, and treat — that I didn’t want to deal with the stress of assignments, grades, and tests, again.

Of course, though, work was a scarier prospect, especially as I knew I was starting out from a (theoretically) compromised position. (I have a bunch of intersecting minority statuses that together, well, they work out in the form of my being underemployed, now. Statistically, it’s not surprising.)

I did end up going back to school, but that was to community college. Initially it was to a bunch of art and computer-related classes. Then I got into a Vocational program because I wanted to be employed. I started the Master’s program in Library and Information Science, got culture-shocked, and withdrew for three years (it’s also likely that my symptoms flared because of the stress, now that I think about it).

During that time, I completed an Art degree from the aforementioned community college district, and made decent headway into a General Business certificate (which I decided to pull out of, after Microeconomics and Intro to Marketing caused me to wonder if my business model was actually viable, and what I was actually selling, if I was selling jewelry. At the time, I hadn’t done the introspection on the latter, and as for whether the jeweling angle was viable…it might have been, for someone who didn’t need health insurance, and was working in metal).

With support and about ten years down the line, I did go back to the Master’s program. I’m hoping to graduate this December. This is expressly for my own financial independence, leading to my physical independence. But I am finding that I like the, “Information Science,” portion of this, more than I expected. At this point, I’m wondering whether I will want or need further skills, and if so, in what?

Web Design? Information Science? Computer Science?

When I was younger, I did well in Math until doing well in Math contributed to making me a target of harassment and group exclusion. Because my experience was so horrible (it was: I would literally dissociate staring at my homework), I really didn’t want to take Math again in undergrad work (this is why I didn’t major in a Hard Science). I have dealt with Math four times since high school:

  • In Statistics (completed)
  • In Accounting (dropped)
  • In Calculus (dropped)
  • In Database Design and Implementation (in process)

…And I’m wondering whether to go back, in order to further work with computers.

As I’ve mentioned before, I only dropped Accounting because I got seriously ill during the class (I’m pretty sure it was the flu, and that I was not only sick but contagious) and did not feel I could catch up. I dropped Calculus because I had no idea if I was doing things right (and was too shy to engage the instructor for help during Office Hours).

It doesn’t help that I’ve been used to having so much Math homework that it was impossible to complete and check it all, within a night’s timeframe; so for a number of years when I was in Math, I just didn’t check my calculations. I’m also not certain I remember how to, anymore. (In addition, the utility of what we were being taught was never divulged; and I learned to play before working because the work would never end, otherwise. Not a great program.)

At this point I can see the usefulness of taking a gamble with one’s GPA in order to actually learn new things. But it feels easier to play it safe than to risk a poor grade. Of course, though, risking a poor grade also means that I might surprise myself with a spectacular performance, and I’d learn something I didn’t think I could.

I do suppose it depends on what I really want to do (or who I really want to be or become). Or what blocks I want or need to burst through.

I did just remember that there are a couple of places online where I can brush up on my Math skills. Plus, I work in the Library field: we have resources. If I want to enter a program on Information Science alone, I can see that I would need to work on this before taking a graduate entry exam. But what would I do with those skills? I can see being a Full-Stack Developer or something, but…

Hmm. I haven’t thought about it…

Psychological changes due to medication

I did get some homework done at work, today, which is why I feel I can take some time and post here. It’s now the night of the 24th, meaning that I have three days left to complete all the work for Political Advocacy. That’s the nearest deadline I have, thankfully.

I am feeling some relief. I’m also feeling that maybe I am where I’m supposed to be. I do like art, but I didn’t like it enough to take the first giant leap in undergrad and do a BFA. And given no restrictions on my time or money (which, counter-intuitively, may not actually be the best thing for an artist), I tend to struggle with continuing to make art: especially now that I’m out of art classes and haven’t spoken to my artsy friends in a while.

M wanted me to get a degree in Library Science so that I would have the free time and extra money to be able to work on my own creative projects, on my own. It would be for support, until (and if) I became successful enough as an artist that I wouldn’t have to work in a Library setting. But we’ve always kept my being creative as part of the plan. This is, I think, partially because creativity is an emotional regulator for me.

The tough part about all of this is, I think, mental. Specifically, psychiatric. I feel like a different person when I’m on medication, as versus when I’m not. And so, for example, while I was viscerally driven to write or make art on a daily basis when I wasn’t being treated for psychosis (which involuntarily lights up the same areas of the brain as are used in creative activity), this isn’t as much the case, now. (By the way, “psychosis” just describes a state of disattachment from “reality.” It doesn’t mean wanting to harm or kill people or being a psychopath [which is an entirely different thing], but the general public doesn’t know the distinction.)

While I couldn’t control my creativity when I was not on proper medication, at this point — even though I’m trying to find a way to keep my life revolving around creativity, which was what kept me alive as a youth — I’m just finding there’s a lot more to life than just creation. And it’s hard to output creativity without taking in other peoples’ creativity.

I’m probably an easier person to deal with, now; but my strengths on medication aren’t the same as my strengths off of it. It changes the way my brain functions.

I’m probably 15 years into being treated with an antipsychotic drug. My early experience with it showed me that I was more likely to be spiritual and mystical without it, and at higher doses (though I’m still on a relatively low dose), I had more of a tendency to slide to an agnostic or materialist position. I don’t go all the way Scientific Materialist (or haven’t had to, yet), but I can see that what I think isn’t right just because I’m the one thinking it.

In turn, I’ve also pretty much stopped looking to religious authorities to give me comfort about the nature of the world and of myself. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve absorbed enough, if it’s because I know I could study my entire life and still not grasp everything, or if it’s because I feel like I’m wasting my precious time dealing with people who don’t espouse truth.

Of course, there’s the question of whether truth is the point, and I would say it isn’t. But that then gives one an insight to the purpose of religion…and to whether one can value it even if it is not truthful. The latter is something that my American upbringing is probably interjecting: one of my parents was raised Catholic, and so I was raised with an intense valuation on truth (though I don’t particularly see any organized religion as necessarily true, and I’m not Catholic myself).

But back to the medication topic: I’ve reached the point where I can see that I probably am not the only person alive in this world, just because I only experience it from this position. You can see from the default in that example how far gone I was, though. I still don’t like the “fantasy/reality” duality, because things aren’t that clear-cut for me, and never have been. Things can be indistinguishable from reality for someone, and still not correspond with what’s happening objectively. Then we get into a question over whose subjective truth is closer to objectivity.

The thing is that it’s incredibly easier to be creative when you believe what you think, as versus when you’ve got a meta-cognitive layer acting on top of that which regulates what of your brain function actually gets translated into action. (This is called executive function and it’s associated with the forebrain…)

Being able to be an actually trustworthy person is the high point. It’s just difficult for me to deal with creative imaginings about the nature of spirit and life now, though, because I wonder if I’m wasting my time. Because nobody has the answers I’m looking for; and if they do, I’ve got to check my own bias to see if it matches theirs.

Anyhow…I have one more day of work before I’ll have to not go in, for a bit. I can do this.

I’m just not entirely certain why the creativity has fallen back so much, except that I am (now) mentally healthier and more stable than I used to be (at least when I’m on all my medications). Or, it’s possible that the creativity was part of my symptomatic profile.

I don’t know where that leaves me now, though, except in a Library Science program…and on my way to becoming some sort of Librarian…

I mean, do I make a mental shift where I focus all my energy on my Master’s program and my employment, or do I continue to (attempt to) split my time between creative production and becoming a Librarian? Noting, of course, that I went into Library Science in part because I wanted to work in Publishing and possibly as a writer?


Then there’s that whole psychological-thriller category that I still enjoy writing within… 🙂

Yes, I made it!

A lot of hard work, starting at 7:30 this morning, and…I’m done with everything due tonight (with about two hours to spare), except for a reading with statistics I don’t understand. Luckily, I don’t think I’m expected to — at least, not now.

Right now I’m sitting here in a fleece throw blanket. The blanket allows me to sit on the couch and read instead of laying in bed and reading (which will apparently inevitably lead to me falling asleep). Or, as I’m doing now, sit at the computer and actually have some semblance of warmth.

What’s next is a paper on an interview and a discussion topic, due Wednesday; so I have about 2.5 days to work on this. After that, I’ll need to wrap up my advocacy class: I have about 8 days to do so.

After that, I should have more time to get into my readings, including the back reading for my database class. And…then I have about two weeks forced vacation (they’re updating some stuff at my library). It will likely be horrific when I get back, but I hope to be caught up (or ahead) with my schoolwork.

I’m still unsure as to what I should take during Summer and Fall semesters. Ultimately, the big choice is between a MySQL class and an Academic Libraries class, but I’ve also been thinking about Marketing (which could become a big part of my job, if I work in a Public Library). I had been putting off Marketing because I’ve already taken an Intro to Marketing course, at a different college.

…but, I just checked, and it’s a moot point: Marketing won’t be given again, before my graduation. It wasn’t given this semester, either. Hmm…

Regardless, I’ve been told not to worry about these decisions until I’ve stabilized.

And I also did, on a quick search, find a SQL tutorial; it’s just not specifically, MySQL. I’ve seen that MariaDB has replaced MySQL in some places, online.

I think maybe I’ve just gotta remember that I want to work online…not on the front lines. Even though databases are hard (they are!), at least at first.

It could be cool to be a tech-oriented librarian publishing cool resources online, though, no? (I have the urge to take 5 units during Summer, but don’t know if I’d be shooting myself in the foot [like I did with taking 10 units this semester]. It’s possible, though, just to take the Programming and Cybersecurity courses, and only deal with a couple of units.)

I’ve also got to remember that no matter how awesome Reference Librarians are, that doesn’t mean I in particular would have the temperament for it, and I might be better in a database/web design/web development role. That actually is where I had been pointing, until, “database design and implementation,” got real. With maths!

And actually, that’s where I’ve been pointing for years. I shouldn’t forget that.


I just looked over at my bookcase…I have some unread Graphic Design texts that I really do want to get to, including one from Builders Booksource…my sibling took me there, once: it’s a bookstore for architecture and design. I mention it by name because I don’t want to forget the name — like I just did — and have to look it up by location.

Also, there’s that whole Barnes & Noble layoff thing. I just looked at the TechCrunch article and got sick of seeing all the junk loading in my tray along with the desired information (I left because it’s anxiety-producing, even with high security), but…yeah, it doesn’t look good for B&N. The bright side of being a specialist bookstore is that you probably have regular clientele who might prefer to sponsor local business, rather than Amazon.

I don’t remember having mentioned this, but Oakland actually has a hidden but thriving art and design scene. Having Builder’s Booksource nearby is probably a great community resource…and they’ll only stay there as long as the money comes in.

Of course, I’m probably going to be busy for a while. I think I’m only on my fourth week of classes.

And maybe one of these days I’ll try and dip back into the maths. (I just like calling it, “maths.”) There are places around where I could build and/or rebuild my skill…

A psychiatry post

I’m writing this now instead of trying to map out a diagram for homework, because I seriously doubt I have the cognitive function to do the latter, at the moment.

It’s become apparent to the people around me that I’m experiencing the beginning of symptom relapse (obsessive thoughts + paranoia), so I’m going to start taking the Prozac again, starting tomorrow. At this point I’m not sure what is worse, the anxiety and obsessive thoughts, or the cognitive distortions, or the mood distortions, or the withdrawal (or the oversleeping…but that’s minor, compared to everything else). The trouble is that I can’t tell what’s normal.

In any case, I see my prescribing doctor again, shortly. The idea is to go back on the Prozac until I complete my degree. Then I’ll have the opportunity to go off of it again, after the stress of school is over. I estimate that if I don’t exercise, I’ll likely only gain 10 lbs. by December (putting me at 175), but there are plans to start up a fitness regimen that I’ll be doing with family (as we all basically need to be exercising for health).

The biggest stressor I’m under is the grad-school workload, but there is also chaos going on in both sides of my family right now, and I’m apparently blowing things way out of proportion at my job (which I didn’t know, because I can’t tell what’s normal). D also saw that I was in a pattern of confiding in people and then not trusting them anymore.

And yeah, I didn’t notify Psych of the anger I was dealing with before because I was afraid they were going to tell me to restart the Prozac. What I know is that the abdominal fat will fall off next time I go off of this medication, but apparently the vast majority of drugs that I could take for my symptoms cause weight gain.

Anyhow, my mood’s down now that I know I’m back on the pills. I don’t like having a paunch, and I had just started to have a relatively flat belly and to go down in weight.

So I’m feeling depressed, right about now. I’m pretty sure the pain is just chemicals.

I’ve got to get through tomorrow, though, then through the 18th, though the teacher in my Instructional Design class (with the 2-18 due dates) says it’s better to turn in good late work than poor on-time work…and I think all of my professors know I’m technically disabled. I’ve only been able to find a private contact avenue with one of them.

I should get some rest. Staying up isn’t helping things. I can try doing the diagram in the morning.