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September 27, 1999
a year ago

Good Ending to a Bad Day

Really, truly awful day at work today.

Or at least it felt that way. If I were truly conscious and really looked at things closely for their reality, I did a lot of good things today at work. I got a real agenda out for the Usability group that did exactly the hour's worth of stuff and we figured out some things that needed testing directly. I did a few things that really helped make things work better.

The emotional setback was a fix that I'd been really proud of was also showing some regressive behavior, i.e. breaking things that hadn't been broken before. That wasn't good, at all. The problem was that, by being in a depressive state, I was beating myself up about it so badly I wasn't getting *anything* done, at all. Just mentally knocking myself up badly enough that all I wanted to do was hide in a closet, at home, pull a blanket over my head and just stay there for a few weeks.

Realized that Mark used to think I could just stop that kind of thing. He saw no point to it, and, honestly, I know there's no real point to it. It's just something that happens with me. Both Cera and John seem to know or have figured out that sometimes I am just like this and that they just let me ride it through and support me when I'll accept it, know that I'm fighting it in the ways that I can; but that I get beat up, emotionally, when all this happens, internally. That it really isn't something I can immediately turn off or on or, in some cases, even help at all. Some of it is simply the voice of my past that have told me this often enough I can't shut them off.

Carl often reminds me, at these times, that David Filippi once said that when he got into depressive states he'd play vid games, concentrate on them completely simply to get out of the brain rut, theorizing that depressive states are basically ruts the mind gets into by habit, worn deep, that it just gets hard to get out of because they were so deeply worn and emphasized and strong as pathways. Maybe it says something that now when I get into this kind of state, it seems to trigger remembering what Carl said and, by it, digging some way out. So maybe I'm remembering this fact often enough that it's wearing its way in so that I can take this channel out of the old ruts.

John knows I'll get out if I'm sufficiently distracted. Cera gets it. At a point where she just says something and I usually have a lever out to at least a smile.

Maybe I should just read Fillippi's journal more frequently to just remember how easy my life really is.

It took a conscious effort of will to realize that this is likely caused by three other factors. I'm in PMS mode, I haven't had a moment just to myself for about six days, and I'd just gotten through a situation where I was beating someone else up for not having tested everything after their changes and that made me feel extra guilty. Though, as a point for reality, their changes had actually caused the application to crash. Mine just makes it act funny.

I wish I didn't beat myself up so much.

So it is. I'll get better at it.

So, as John and I are driving home, I'm half-planning on staying all by myself up in the study for a bit to write journal stuff and get some things done all by myself. But the moment we walk in the house I realize that it just isn't going to be so; but it's not going to be at all bad either.

Isabel had baked the chocolate zucchini cake!! And she'd also made one of our favorites, the artichoke heart casserole and I could smell the curry scents filling the air in the kitchen and there was the steady rustle of wrapping paper upstairs. So, instead of doing anything, I just sat down at the dinner table and read a bit and waited and hugged folks when they came by and just relaxed and tried to let myself just be for a bit.

It was so very, very good, after such an awful day, to come home to dinner already made. No decisions about where to go out to, or what to make or what to do. I was so beat up it was just very comforting to come in and just be taken care of, in so many ways. Isabel did the salad, and I helped set the table and soon we were sitting down to an excellent, hot dinner with great food and I felt so much better after the food, I realized that was likely a fourth source for my feelings.

After dinner they threw me a surprise birthday party! My birthday isn't until Saturday, but then we'd be mixed up with all the New Mexico folks. So they decided to do it then and there. That was very nice. The chocolate cake was excellent, John put on candles that wouldn't blow out, and they all gave me my presents! Isabel and George gave me a lot of cool things at once. There were three pads of Chinese calligraphy paper, two ink stones one of which had a beautifully painted lid, a set of brushes, a bamboo brush holder, three pillar candles, three pads of watercolor post cards, a cute bear in a bag, and a kitchen magnet with bikes and a picnic on it that looked really nice. Lots of things for painting and Chinese calligraphy, it gave me the incentive to go downstairs, into the basement, and unearth all my other calligraphy and watercolor stuff and bring it up to the one workspace I could probably use in the study, upstairs.

I should probably bring the postcards and my pocket paint set with me to the balloon fiesta. Then I could actually just paint while I'm there.

John's present got me really, really happy. He bought me the full set of Two Fat Ladies' video tapes. I'm going to have a lot of them to watch! This is going to be really, really nice. They are all episodes that I don't think I've seen, as it's the old series rather than the latest season. So I'm going to savor those slowly.

It's also Brother David's birthday today or soon or something, so the four of us called his answering machine and sang Happy Birthday to him. That was funny and fun.

As we were partying the weather outside changed. First just the darkness, then the rain started pattering and then pelting on all the windows and doors and the roof. We lit the fire. Then I brought out all my old Chinese calligraphy books to show Isabel, and by the time 10 rolled around we were all exhausted. Just as we were about to go to bed John ran outside to drain a last waterpipe, outside, so that there would be no chance of it freezing in the night. He dashed back in and shook all over, like Fezzik does. He said it was to get warmer, and I would believe he did... but I also turned on the little space heater in the bathroom so that he'd have some external source of heat as well as the internal.

I guess the party chased away all the internal demons. That was a good thing to find out. Or maybe it was just the sound of the rain, pattering and sliding along the roof. In any case, I slept deeply and well.

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