Archive for September, 2011
I'm sure the title of this post is something that caught you totally off-guard. Stressful? It's not like you're all alone with a tiny human!
Anyway...if you've been following my, erm, activites for the past couple of years, then you should know that I am currently unemployed and that 'free time' is pretty much equal to 'all time' for me. While it certainly has helped me, it's, in the long run, not a very gratifying life.
I won't get into details of my lifestyle since I moved into this flat with my sister, her partner and their daughter. Recently, though, they offered to have me babysit (baby! She's 3.) her, in exchange for getting free suppers with them (homemade, naturally). A very agreeable arrangement!
As I'm already at home with them, I don't need to do any commuting beyond crawling out of bed. Her father works from home (although he seems to work much less now that he has so little time to himself) and my sister works 5 days per week at a different place, plus she has a class on Wednesdays.
My schedule is really not busy, just enough to give them some relief. Taking care of a 3-year-old kid all on your own five days per week drives you crazy.
- Monday: from around 5 to the beginning of supper. My brother-in-law prepares the supper around that time, then leaves for his tai chi before my sister comes back from work.
- Tuesday: 10am to noon
- Wednesday: from around 4 or 5 until supper is ready. This is usually the day where they invite friends over or go visit them, so my help isn't needed during the day
- Thursday: same as Monday
- Friday: 10am to noon
- Weekends: off, though on any day I'm available at their request
My niece is in a wonderful mood in the mornings, which makes it a very pleasant time for me to be with her, all while allowing her father to do errands and whatnot without an attention-seeking child.
Naturally, while it is fun, it also brings a lot of stress. We were playing in the sandbox in the backyard the other day, and WOAAAAH! There were two centipedes. My niece actually loves them, but I had to struggle to stay calm. I can't run off and leave her alone because of a stupid bug.
Anyway, I know this has stressed me. Since then, every time I see a speck, some lint or whatever on the floor, I immediately think it's a bug, and even convince myself that it's moving. Neither are true.
First, let me make this clear: I believe science is wonderful. There are many different fields, and each one has numerous applications (and even fun). But...well, but. There's always a
My Google Reader account is enormous. I wouldn't be surprised if there were 1000 entries per day, at least on some days. Naturally, I don't read every single entry, some are things that don't interest me. My feed is divided into categories, one of which is Science and one of which is Health (there are many others, but I'll be talking about those two here).
Sciency stuff can be roughly broken down into four types:
- Interesting things I want to read. For example, I like reading about mental health.
- Things I can't fucking understand. For example, "Single–Base Pair Unwinding and Asynchronous RNA Release by the Hepatitis C Virus NS3 Helicase". Well, I'm sure it's of interest to Hepatitis C research, but that doesn't mean much to me. Neither does "Disentangling the Drivers of β Diversity Along Latitudinal and Elevational Gradients".
- Things that I'm sure can be of interest to some people who aren't experts, but which I skip reading because I can.
- Most fascinating studies with un-be-lie-va-ble! results.
This post concerns the latter category.
For example, there recently was a study demonstrating that, hold to your chair, bisexual men exist for realz. I was absolutely flabbergasted! FOR REALZ, I said! In the name of all those men, I would like to thank the scientists who took the time and money to demonstrate in a science-methody way that those men's feelings are teh realz.
Even more recently, WebMD informs us that Obesity Puts Young Kids at Risk of Social Isolation. REALLY? You mean that, in a society where Weight Loss is put on a pedestal, where the slight bit of fat is seen as horrifying, where we even call disgusting other animals and things that could possibly resemble parts of a naked fat person, obesity can lead to social isolation? NO MOTHERFUCKING WAY!
The very worse part of the article, however, comes at the end:
"My advice to parents would be to work hard to help their children achieve the best quality nutrition standards, participate in activities which have the potential to improve fitness levels, and to seek out activities in the community where children's peer relationships can be fostered and supported," he says.
Ballas says there are some concrete steps parents can take to help their children overcome the stigma of being obese.
"If there's a TV in their bedroom, just get it out," says Ballas. "If there's a TV in their bedroom it substantially increases the chance for obesity and sleep problems, and getting the TV out of the room reduces those chances."
Also encourage exercise, but maybe not competitive sports, which can heighten an overweight or obese child's sense of stigma and failure, according to Ballas. "A lot of kids have a great interest in learning and academics that are not necessarily sports related."
Those damn parents who just can't do a thing good! Clearly we mustn't teach children to treat their obese peers properly, we must rather teach those obese kids to not be obese.
I know that, because the aforementioned Health category covers a wide range of topics (chronic non-transmittable illnesses such as diabetes, seasonal stuff like the flu, delicious foods, etc.), but in spite of this, roughly half of the entries are about how you must lose weight RIGHT NOW.
Our attitude towards thin people isn't better, of course. I'm sure sites like Demotivational Posters putting up pictures of very thin celebrities to comment on how "gross" it is and how it makes "us want to puke" are very good for people with body dismorphic disorder.
I had an appointment with my psychiatrist last week. I didn't go, blaming anxiety. I took another appointment, for yesterday. I did go this time, still feeling about equally anxious, but knowing I had to go.
Sitting in his office, I had to answer the question of just why I hadn't shown up. I babbled about stress and muttered the beginning of incomplete sentences, until ultimately I managed to form the truth in a clear, straight-to-the-point way: I knew that, by going to that appointment, I would need to reflect on my current state of being, looking at myself in a metaphorical mirror and say "This is how I am right now". And, shit, how far am I from the way I wish things were.
I keep imagining that I'm a published author, that I help out charities, that I travel the world...but when I get up in the morning (I did manage to stabilise my sleeping schedule), I don't go out into the world. I go down into the basement, sit at my computer and read news, play games and generally get nothing valuable done.
I do not need psychiatrist help at the moment (I have, in the past, been in need of therapy, for depression or something very similar to it, and for phobias). I just need to think really hard about exactly what I want to do with my life, and then proceed to do it. No one can do it for me and, to paraphrase my psychiatrist, it would be a pity to wake up in 40 years and realise "Fuck. I haven't done anything yet." (My psychiatrist didn't say fuck. Or any expletives.)
As I walked from the office towards Mario's home (Mario! Awesome!), there was only one thing I knew for sure: I want it to be FUN.