Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: anxiety

The worst of both parents

I talk often about my parents and my difficulties with them; I’ve written countless posts on the topic. What I don’t talk about as often is how I’ve incorporated both the worst and the best of my parents. In this post, I want to focus on the former. Why? Because that’s’ how I roll. And because I’ want to work on myself and not just sit on my laurels.

By the way, I was wondering how much time I would be given before the ‘what are you doing with your future?’ questions started in again from my parents (mostly my mom). It was two months. I was hoping for being freed of that discussion this visit, but I wasn’t. And we’ll probably have another. Add to that the underlying anxiety of me dying plus just general family dysfunction, and, yeah, the next week-and-a-half cannot go fast enough.

I talked yesterday about how family dysfunction is so intricate. It’s hard to focus on one aspect of it because it leads to another aspect. I feel the same here. I can talk about the traits, but then I need to give so much backstory about it. Oh well. That’s how we’re going to do it. My anger. I’m the Hulk when it comes to anger–I’m always angry. I just try to hide it from the world at large. Both my mother and K told me to fight while I was unconscious. They told me I was a fighter and that I needed to fight. I woke up ready to fight someone. I didn’t know who I was fighting, but I was ready.

It was good for my recent experience to be angry, but it’s not good on a regular basis. It’s exhausting and it makes me tense. I feel like I’m on tenterhooks and I’m ready to snap at any moment. Right now, I’m defensive around my mom because I know she’s just looking for reasons to be worried about me being alone. She can’t accept that what happened to me was a freak accident that I couldn’t have predicted. I asked my brain doc if I could have prevented it and he said no. Which was comforting, oddly enough.


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The meaning of life

I’ve always had a weird view on life. Whereas most people have goals that they want to reach at certain points of their life, milestones, if you will, I never have. Partly, it’s because I don’t have the same goals as the normies. Marriage, kids, promotions, etc. I never wanted kids and was relieved to realize that I didn’t have to have them, despite the pressure from society (and my mother. So much pressure from my mother. She spent fifteen years trying to knock me up. I’m not kidding that every time we talked, she had to bring it up. That was fine when we talked every few weeks. Not so fine when she was visiting and she mentioned it every day. Her desperate gambit: “You can adopt a black baby to match your cats.” Which is horrifying in several ways, but not the least in that she said it in a kidding tone when she was clearly not kidding.

Side note: It took me a really long time to realize that my mother is an unreliable narrator. She is very uncomfortable with anything negative so she rewrites history by forgetting unpleasant things. So the summer when she visited and mentioned me having kids every day? Which was a private hell on my part and led to many arguments? In her memory, it was a nice summer we spent together. It’s crazy-making. Literally. I feel like I’m going crazy when I talk to her sometimes because she’ll deny to my face something I knew had happened.

My go-to example is when I graduated from college. I graduated Phi Beta and Magna Cum Laude. After the ceremony, my mother said if I hadn’t gotten a B in Intro Psych, I would have graduated Summa Cum Laude. Up until that moment, I was pretty pleased with graduating Magna, but upon hearing that, I was crushed. I confronted her about it years later and she denied ever having said it. And not in the “Oh, I said it, but prove it” way. She honestly looked puzzled. She said she didn’t remember saying that and that she was pretty sure she hadn’t said it. When I insisted she had, she said, “If I did say it, I probably wanted to reassure you in case you felt bad about not getting Summa Cum Laude.” Which, is obvious bullshit, but it also indicates another of my mother’s flaws–she can create a worry out of nothing. That’s her specialty! Worrying all the time. You would think as a psychologist, she would know that worry is useless without action and even with it, sometimes. But she’s a psychologist who says one thing and does another. Worse, she always has a rationalization for her behavior that she can ground in psych-speak.


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Wasting your life on regrets

I come from a long line of worriers. Or rather, one great big worrier–my mother. She is a champion worrier who can turn anything into a chance to fret. It doesn’t matter how big or small a problem is–she can inflate it into a catastrophe. For example. She and my father were at Fresh and Natural, a nearby co-op that has mostly local/organic food. They also have a variety of gluten-free/dairy-free food, which is good for me. Anyway, she called me to ask if there was anything I wanted. I said if she could find some gf/hf backed goods in the same place she got salmon and chicken, I’d be happy. Cupcakes and/or brownies. She called back saying she couldn’t find them and she sounded stress. I said it was no big deal and not to worry about it. But, of course, she had to continue to worry about it. More to the point, she had to voice her worry to me. Now I w as stressed over something that previously had no meaning to me. I told her to forget about it, but she kept ruminating over it.

The incident in and of itself is no big deal. The problem comes because she does this with every decision, big or small. K once marveled as she was taking me to the airport that I had packed for every occasion. I apparently had a roll of quarters and an umbrella and a bunch of other things I probably wouldn’t need for a short trip. I said it was the legacy of my mother. We compared our mothers’ attitudes towards life. Her mother believes that whatever you chose to do, you would be fine. My mother believes that whatever you chose to do, you’ll be fucked. There are pros and cons to both viewpoints, obviously, but growing up with a mother like mine means I’m constantly second-guessing myself. Especially around her.

She can’t just relax and take things as they come. I know it’s in part because of my father. He’s very judgmental and rigid in his view of how things should be. If you don’t follow his unspoken expectations, well , there will be hell to pay. Most of the time. Once in a while, he’ll not care, but that’s very rare. An example. One time, he was mad at my mother and wouldn’t tell her why. I think that’s bullshit in general, but especially when the reason can be as capricious as you didn’t say hi in the right tone of voice. Or more to the point, he didn’t hear you say hi because he refuses to wear his expensive hearing aids. In case he loses one. But, they run out if you don’t use them (just the same as you do) and it’s a waste, anyway. He can’t  see that.


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When mental health issues collide with reality

In the best of times, I have to push myself to do what needs to be done. This is not the best of times, and it’s even worse now. Add to that the fact that my sleep has completely reverted, and I’m a hot(ter) mess right now. I’m discouraged because it’s a vicious cycle. I’m going to bed around four-thirty in the morning, which is not good. More to the point, it’s a rather sudden change which makes it even more difficult to deal with. It took me several months, probably half a year or so, to go from going to bed at five/six in the morning to two. now, in the course of maybe two weeks, I’ve reverted back to almost five.

Logically, there’s no reason I can’t follow that timetable. I t’s not like I have to be anywhere at any specific time (except for my taiji Zoom classes–and most of them are in the afternoon). But, I wanted to be on a more normal schedule. That seems to be but a dream now. And I’m discouraged by it. There is little I can do about sleep that I haven’t done before.

Ugh. I am so not feeling it today.

Slipping away

I’m done. My sleep has been a hot mess, and how the hell did I ever deal with this in the past? I can’t believe I used to get by on four hours of sleep and that I used to go to bed at eight in the morning. One thing I was working on before the pandemic started was getting my sleep on track. I wanted to be more like normal people because…I don’t even know why. I think because while I like being awake when other people are sleeping, I do feel like even more of a freak for being on the opposite side of sleep for most people. In addition, normal life was hard to navigate when I was on the late night tip. If I had any appointments, I tried to make them as late in the afternoon as possible, but it was still hard to make it to them. And it would throw me off my game for the rest of the day.

It’s not a matter of restfulness, either, because I’m always tired. It’s just a fact of life. Much like I used to always have headaches. They were lowkey and I was able to ignore them most of the time, but they were there. It’s the same with sleep. I’m always tired. It doesn’t matter how much or how little I get. There are days when it’s worse than others, obviously, but it’s always there.

Anyway, I was making strides in my sleep pattern before the pandemic hit. I started pushing my sleep time…back? Forward? Earlier. Since I was consistently going to bed around five-ish, I pushed it back to four. After a week or so, I pushed it back again to three. In this fashion, I managed to get it to one/one-thirty. My goal was midnight, but I was ok with where I was at. Then, during the pandemic, it began to become a bit more elastic. It was one-thirty to two, which, while not great, was fine. Then, the phone call. My meltdown. The immediate panic.

Side note: Briefly, my mom called, and I knew immediately that she wanted to say something she knew I wasn’t going to like. I could tell because when I asked how she was, her voice got that tone that it gets when she has something unpleasant to say and she added a little laugh, which is also a tell. Of course, that put me on guard, and I was predisposed to dismiss whatever she had to say. I tried to be patient, but let’s face it. Things were tense between us whenever we talked, and I was not in the mood for difficult.


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To not be or not to be

I’m struggling. The reasons are long and complicated (and, yes, family-related), which I’m saving for another post. I will note that I had an actual meltdown while last talking to my mother. The result was my sleep immediately going to hell (had my first four-hour night sleep in a while, and how the hell did I EVER used to live on that? Regularly?), my brain fragmenting, and my energy completely dissipating. But,  again, not the focus of this post.

In this post, I’m musing about all the ways I’m just…not. It’s hard to explain, but I’ll do my best.

Every since I was a wee little Taiwanese American girl (well, not so wee and not so little) growing up in the lily white suburbs in Minnesota in the 1970s, I was different. Some of it can be seen in the previous sentence. Hell, a lot of it. I was fat, unhappy (difficult childhood), Taiwanese American, super smart, and just…weird. I didn’t watch much TV and we rarely went to the movies. I didn’t listen to pop music until much later. I have an apocryphal story about how the first pop song I ever heard was Electric Avenue by Eddy Grant when I was in the sixth grade.

Side note: I just spent a ridiculous amount of time Googling exactly when the song came out and discovered it charted in America in April of 1983, so my apocryphal story could theoretically be true. In the end, it doesn’t really matter. It’s just a way of underling my otherness.

My mom made my clothes including dresses which I hated. Still hate them. Skirts are fine-ish, but not my first choice. I wore one to my nieces wedding, but honestly, if I had some really swish (both literal and metaphorical), I probably would have worn them instead. I don’t wear makeup or use beauty products of any kind. There’s a reason I’m mentioning this, which I’ll come to later.  I got fun of for bringing Taiwanese food because this was waaaaaaaay before ‘ethnic’ food became so popular.


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Slip, slip, slipping away

So as the pandemic drags on and we all begin to eat each other, I’m slowly sliding into apathy. There’s still the fury, but it’s buried deep. It’s not sustainable to be continually angry; it just isn’t. I’m also finally over my migraine, knock wood, but I still feel the ramifications. Like total exhaustion. I’m also having a bit of a (wet) cough, so there’s that. I know I’m getting sick because I slept for nine hours the other night. That’s unheard of if I’m healthy. Ish. Healthy-ish. I’m never healthy.

I’m just blah. Everything is meh. What does any of it matter when America is doing her level best to drag everyone down? The one chance we had to avert a large-scale tragedy was to take drastic measures back in February/March. Because we didn’t do that, we’re playing catch-up with no hopes of actually doing it. Not only that, we’re actively working against eradicating the coronavirus. I’m talking about the collective we, by the way.

I’m also reading more people saying we have to ‘get back to normal’ and try to achieve herd immunity. That for most people who aren’t at risk who get it, it will be like getting a ‘bad cold’. First of all, herd immunity seems to be far-fetched as we don’t yet know that you can’t get the coronavirus again. In addition, in order to reach herd immunity, if, indeed it’s possible, that’s millions of death. The person writing about it was talking about schools (on the board of a school I think? Very distressing) and how reopening was the best because bullshit, lies, and bullshit. They said those at risk should stay home, of course, but kids were not carriers.

Which, I mean….Sigh. First of all, kids can get it. Kids can be asymptomatic carriers. That’s not even mentioning that we’re shoving all the teachers on the frontlines now, too (not that they already weren’t in the line of danger, what with school shootings being what they are), and this person was distressingly cavalier about it. Not even acknowledging that the road to herd immunity (if possible) was littered with at least a million deaths. As I said before, I know my life is expendable, but it’s sobering to hear it out loud and read it over and over again.


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Consent is hot as hell

I’ve been struggling with anger in the past week, and now it’s come crashing down around me and has settled into a thick goo of depression. i have a hard time finding motivation for anything, and I have a fatalistic viewpoint. I mean, I do in general, but it’s especially bad right now. I have the tendency to be negative, and the pandemic sure isn’t helping.

Side note: My right eye has been twitching for no reason. This has happened in the past, but not to the extent it’s happening now. In addition, my sleep has been really fucked over the days. Not unusual for me, but it’s reverting back to early days sleep, which is discouraging. I don’t sleep enough, and then I’m drowsy all day. Then, when I try to sleep, I’m suddenly wide awake.

As my readers know, I am a big fan of advice columns. I call them my stories, and I have a loop I do every morning. One of them is, was, Doctor Nerdlove, and I need to talk about it. I want to say before getting into the controversy that while I enjoyed reading his column, I did not like his podcasts or his videos. It was puzzling to me how someone who could write a good column with solid advice could not do videos/podcasts well (in my opinion, of course). In addition, while I agreed with his general advice, his specific tips in dating were borderline cringe-worthy to me. His idea of flirting was aggressive and skewed cliched, and if he were to his tricks on me in real life, I would be very turned off. That said, his general advice was sound, and I allowed it to overcome the grimace I always had when I read his specific advice. This is relevant to the rest of the post, I promise.

So, there has been a spate of stories about sexual harassment in different branches of geek culture. Games and comic to be more specific. Doctor NL wrote a post about a mentor of his who was accused of…not exactly sexual harassment, but of sexualizing the attractive young women in his forum in a way that would assume de facto pressure. He had a lot of clout in the industry (comics), and a leg up from him would do a lot for someone’s career. Add to that the fact that comics are still largely white dudes, and it’s easy to see how he could use his power for evil.

In the comments, there were people who didn’t understand why it was such a big deal. Distressing, but common. There was one dude who ‘just wanted to understand’ and kept asking questions. It was clear that he really did want to understand, but he was coming at it from the wrong angle. I had a Twitter interaction with an Asian friend that was crashed by a rando who was ‘just asking questions’ about a racial issue, but it became quickly clear that he wasn’t arguing in good faith. I muted him and moved along with my life. In the above case, however, it didn’t really matter that the guy was arguing in good faith because the starting point was so different for him and for the actual situation. He didn’t think the behavior was bad enough to classify as damaging, which was pretty myopic of him. But, it’s sadly common in that people often feel that they are the standard of norm. I’ll delve more into that in the future.

A few days after this, the doc then penned a post about his own situation. He was at a con in 2017 and was flirting with a woman at a bar. He’s in an open marriage, so there’s nothing there (unless he didn’t mention it to the woman involved). By his own recount, they flirted and had chemistry. He thought it was going well, so he reached over, gently wove his fingers through her hair, and lightly tugged.


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Bruce Banner adapted for every situation

I’m sick. No, not with Covid-19. I’m fairly sure it’s not that. How? Because I don’t have any of the symptoms for it besides exhaustion. As I tweeted:

It’s a VERY wet cough, meaning there’s gunk clogging up my throat. My throat is also raw and sore. My nose feels as if there are tiny needles pricking it, and my head hurts. It’s not migraine-level, but I’m keeping an eye on it. I don’t have a temperature because I just checked. 97.5 per yooz. Also, I am pretty much a hermit these days, so my chances of catching it are minimal. Our state did a loosening of the Stay-At-Home orders (sigh), and my brother said, “Let’s do lunch!” I said hell no, and he said we could bring the food back to my house. I said and sit ten feet away from each other? Yeah, no. Not going to happen. Nothing magically got better because ‘Stay-At-Home’ became ‘Stay Safe’.

I’m not happy to be dealing with sinus problems, but I will say that it’s the first of the year, and I haven’t had any issues in the past two months–which is a first for me in quite some time.


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