Karaoke, Brunch, and Shenanigans

Not necessarily in that order. This weekend was a repeat of the best kind of weird humanly possible, with an added factor that made it all the more unbelievable that I actually enjoyed the outing. Same story – my coworker (Tony; names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty), our new kid (Emmett), and a few of our other corpsman buddies (Nico and Liz) all went out – but this time the shenanigans were slightly more legen – wait for it – dary. During dinner and drinks at Brixton’s (tied with Dardo’s for my favorite bar in Rota), we bumped into an old friend of mine who I hadn’t seen in ages, Katharine. She informed us that she’d recently started working at the karaoke bar next door and told us that if we came and sang karaoke with her, she’d buy us a round of shots, so we headed over after dinner. We spent a few hours singing, drinking, and generally just goofing off before Tony expressed interest in going dancing. I informed the group that I was entirely too sober to dance, so Liz suggested we migrate to the next bar and change that by the time we got to Diamonds. We hit most of the other bars on what we call The Rota Crawl (Los Arcos, Pier 5, O’Grady’s) and, finally, made it down the strip to Diamonds.

I am not, nor have I ever been, a club person. That being said… holy crap we had fun. Emmett had informed the entire group that he didn’t dance, so I told him we could stand awkwardly beside the dance floor holding drinks while our friends danced but, by the time we got to Diamonds, I was tipsy enough that being wallflowers together turned into me teaching Emmett to dance. The poor kid is an unapologetically tall, skinny, lanky white boy, but he did his best and it was adorable. My best friend CJ wound up being there, too, so he and I demonstrated the appropriate method of club dancing/bump n grinding and Emmett wound up sort of figuring it out. We danced for at least an hour before I decided that I needed fresh air and, recalling that Emmett had expressed interest in seeing the beach, I asked him if he wanted to go to the small beach inlet right up the road from Diamonds. We bailed on the club, went wading while singing country songs, and talked about life for a while before finally heading back to meet up with the squad so we could taxi home together.

It was an amazing night, and it just got better when we rolled into Sunday morning and everyone (Tony, Emmett, Nico, Liz, and Katharine) came over to the house I’m currently watching for some friends and we made epic breakfast burritos for brunch, accompanied by Bloody Marys, Irish coffees, and screwdrivers. We listened to music, played with the dog, ate good food, and just generally enjoyed each others’ company before we all scattered and went our separate ways, but not before we decided that brunch was going to become a weekly thing for the squad.

I’m also pleased to report that I’ve finally gotten my ass in gear with the whole going-to-the-gym-and-getting-fit thing. I’ve resumed my walk to run program (I got up at 0500 Monday and 0445 today) and of course I’m dog sitting, so I’ve taken to taking Luna on long evening walks after work. I’m planning on a some time at the pool and maybe a bodyweight workout after work today, and of course one of my nightly walks with Luna. I probably won’t slay the PRT, but at least I should pass (not that it matters, grumble grumble grouch grouch.) The thing is, though, I’m more interested in building a healthy lifestyle than just training to pass my PRT. I’m working on making bigger life changes now, largely due to the realization that I am, as of this year, closer to thirty than I am to twenty. It is officially time for me to get my shit together. MY goals for this year are to get a handle on my finances, get myself back in shape, and focus on improving my overall health – mental, spiritual, emotional, physical, etc. I’ve only got one life and I need to take care of myself as best I can.

 

Well, that’s all she wrote for today. Until next time, stay frosty, nerds! Excelsior

Another Tuesday Morning

I didn’t get a chance to write yesterday partly due to a busy workday and partly (okay, mostly) due to I forgot. I’m working on it, I swear.

It’s been a weird mixed bag these past couple of months for me. The ups have been ups and the downs have been downs, but… I don’t know. It’s just been weird. I’m starting to feel better overall, but some of the downs have still been pretty disconcertingly low. I’m seeing my therapist today and my psychiatrist tomorrow so hopefully, between the two of them, we’ll figure something out.

In other, happier news, I had an actual event horizon/miracle go down this past weekend. I am an introvert, by all accounts, so typically when I go out, I only enjoy about half the evening and then I kind of just want to die/go home and crawl into bed and never come back out. This weekend, the other corpsman from my clinic and I took our new corpsman out in town for drinks and tour of Rota with a few friends and, much to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire evening. I socialized with a bunch of other corpsman from the hospital, hung out with my kiddos and smoked hookah, swung by Donor Kebab for the best “it’s two AM and I’m drunk” food on the planet, and generally just had a really good time. It was the best kind of weird, possibly ever.

I may or may not have discussed this previously on this blog (I honestly can’t remember) but I am a survivor of sexual assault. Due to the circumstances surrounding the assault coupled with my introverted leanings, I have a habit of getting extremely anxious and unhappy in the types of social situations like the one I just described, so the fact that I was able to enjoy the entire night is actually a huge breakthrough for me. I’m hoping that this trend continues and that I start being able to function normally in social situations and actually enjoy going out as opposed to spending the entire time feeling paranoid and uncomfortable.

The whole assault was harder for me to process than it probably should have been, largely due to the fact that I didn’t tell anyone about it for over two years. I had rationalized the assault, telling myself that I’d wanted it and any number of other lies to justify it and, in retrospect, I can’t help wondering if I did this because I subconsciously knew that I couldn’t handle the reality of the situation at that point. It wasn’t until, several years later, I heard a young woman I was friends with relate the story of her own sexual assault and it started to sound eerily familiar that I came face to face with the ugly truth. It was still even longer before I started to talk about it, and it took me a long time to come to terms with having been a victim. Moving forward, I’ve done my best to work alongside the SAPR (Sexual Assault Prevention and Response) teams in the Navy and I’m hoping at my next command to be able to be a victim advocate. All that being said, this past weekend does look like progress and hopefully it continues.

More updates on this front as events warrant!

 

It is Taco Tuesday. That just dawned on me. Oh, man, I’m gettin’ tacos tonight! And the best part is that I have the totally valid excuse of needing to take my new corpsman to Cream’s for the first time. I need to make sure I do my Spanish homework today, though, because the waitresses and bartenders there are trying to help me buff up on Spanish, so they don’t speak to me in English anymore!

On that note, I suppose I should go do my Spanish homework. Until next time, stay frosty, nerds!

Tactical Combat Casualty Care

I have a valid excuse for not updating this Monday! I got (unexpectedly) enrolled in TCCC, which is apparently a mandatory class that all corpsmen have to take every three years. It’s basically FMTB (Field Medical Training Battalion, which is where corpsmen get sent to learn how to be Marines) Lite, cramming the months of training received at FMTB into one week, and it was more fun than I’ve had at work in a long, long time. We did three days of class room instruction, broken up with labs and practical applications (or prac apps), then took a written test and prepped for the FINEX (final exam). The didactic portion covered the basics of care under fire, tactical field care, and tactical evacuation care, while the prac apps were more “how to carry a Marine without hurting yourself or them” and how to run a rugged field IV. When the test-out day rolled around, I was slated to be one of the casualties. I spent three and a half hours being tourniquetted, soaked in fake blood, and man-handled before it was finally my turn to be the corpsman. We geared up – flak, Kevlar, “rifles” (duct taped and spray painted super soakers), and med bags – did a light PT, and then approached the kill house. We charged into the tunnel, dropped knees, and returned fire while having fake blood rained down on us from above to the tune of machine gun and AK fire and one of our HM2s yelling abuse at us. We then moved into the kill house, kicked doors in, and located our casualties. My patient was “unconscious,” so I dropped a tourniquet on her and grabbed her in a Hawes (or backpack) carry and charged out of the room and down the hall to adequate “cover and concealment.” From there, I did my full tactical field care trauma assessment, then hauled her outside and recited my 9Line, proving that I knew how to call for a tactical evacuation, should the situation arise.

My proctor, one of my favorite HM2s in the hospital, told me that I scored on the slow side of instructor times, and that he’d been particularly impressed with how quickly I’d secured my casualty’s airway. My absolute favorite HM2 in the hospital and former mentor had been shouting abuse at me during the entirety of my run-through, and he made a point of finding me outside after I was done and apologizing, hugging me, and telling me that he loved my face even if he’d been mean to me. To be perfectly honest, I don’t really remember half of what was said during my FINEX. All I really remember was that he did, at one point, yell at me for a mistake I’d made and follow it up with “oh, fuck, I forgot how to corpsman!” which I really found more humorous than anything else.

The class was amazing, and I almost didn’t want this week to end. But, unfortunately, woven in with the awesomeness that was TCCC, there was a lot of shitty stuff that went down, too. I failed my weigh-in for the PRT by a half inch, screwed up in my college class and lost a bunch of credit/got a few failing grades because I forgot about deadlines, and found out that my old clinic is trying to get my back from my current clinic, which is really not cool.

I actually took a minute out of my morning to talk to my therapist about it, because when I worked in my old clinic, I cried in the bathroom at work literally every single day and was depressed with suicidal ideation almost all the time. If my officers can’t succeed in keeping me in my current clinic, my therapist and my psychiatrist can weigh in and warn them about the potential dangers to my mental health, should I be forced to return to work in my old clinic. Hopefully all of this will work out, but it’s difficult to be optimistic when my old ALPO is already talking about it like it’s a done deal.

Not to mention that fact that I – still worn out from the FINEX, mind you – am on duty today, so I’m extra tired and oh-so-salty right now. I have a normal workday that I have to struggle through, and then I have over a week’s worth of homework to do, not to mention trying to bullshit my way through a 5-7 page paper, plus I need to find time to squeeze in a fam run, since that’s apparently something I have to do every single duty day now, which isn’t inconvenient or annoying at all, she said sarcastically. All this and the only thing I WANT to do is go home, crawl in bed, and stay there until Monday. Sigh.

 

Well, until next time, stay frosty, nerds!

The Norm (And Departures From It)

It’s nice when I have almost a whole week without a breakdown or any sort of even somewhat serious mental health issue. Last week was one of those decent sort of weeks, and this one seems to be off to an even better start. I’ve always considered Sunday to be the first day of the week rather than Monday and, that being said, my week started off on the best possible foot. My best friend’s ship finally came back from patrol last week, so she and I spent Sunday grocery and kitchenware shopping, cooking, playing video games, and hanging out with her awesome new roommate. It was glorious and much needed, and got me addicted to not one but TWO new video games! Speaking of which, I so highly recommend you get on playing The Last Guardian and Horizon: Zero Dawn. Both games are absolutely exquisite and I am rapidly becoming a huge fangirl of both.

I think I can safely say that I’m finally stable on my meds, and I’m looking forward to my meeting with my psychiatrist on the 19th to discuss our next steps in trying to fix my brain. I think the next step we’ll be talking over is potentially putting me on some kind of ADHD med, which I really never wanted, but my increasing inability to focus on damn near anything seems to be making it a necessary evil. Plus, it is supposedly a great appetite suppressant, which means it should definitely help me lose weight.

On that note, I have GOT to start getting to the gym on a regular basis! But it’s so difficult to go after work because I’m always so tired and getting up at 0500 just sucks and I feel like I can’t win. I may just start working out in my room again, thus saving myself some time. I can just get up, crank some PVRIS, do some Freeletics bodyweight workouts or calisthenics or whatever, and then shower and go to work. Or do it right when I get home so that I can then shower, eat some dinner, do my homework, and then go to bed. This should be getting progressively easier, though, as Amy is going to start working out with me again, I think. Of course, she leaves in June or July, but by then it should already be a habit. … right?

Either way, my PRT is right around the corner and I need to get my shit together before then on the push-ups and sit-ups front. I’m already signed up for the swim PRT, so that’s one less thing for me to worry about. I’ll kill that portion just like I always do. It’s just a matter of bringing my score up, because I kind of want to. I’m shooting for good-medium this time around, maybe even a good-high depending on how things go. Of course, this all assuming I manage to pass the weigh-ins, which is still questionable… I guess we’ll find out. Further updates as events warrant. In the meantime, I’m out. I’ve got too much to do to write as long a blog post as I would like today, unfortunately.

 

Until next time, stay frosty, nerds!

Bravery

Okay, so this post probably isn’t going to make me sound very brave. It’s probably going to make me sound like a wimp who wound up being an asshole for a minute. But I feel brave, dammit, so I’m going to share this.

When my ex-fiancé and I called it quits, he insisted that we stay friends and refused to give me any buffer time. This made moving on excruciatingly difficult, bordering on impossible, for me, because every time I thought I’d made some progress, he would text me and I would find myself right back to square one, questioning if breaking things off had been the right decision and second-guessing myself until I wound up crying myself to sleep over him. Again. And the worst part was, I can’t help feeling (in retrospect) that he was manipulating me because he knew about my mental health issues and knew how to use them against me. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am.

Now, mind you, all of my fabulous girl power friends were telling me that I needed to cut him off – block him on all social medias, delete and block his number, and give myself a chance to reboot, if you will. But I hesitated. At the time, I would have told you it was because he had apologized to me (sincerely this time) and seemed like he was changing and I was wondering if things were going to work out for us after all, in the end. But the honest to God truth was, I was scared. I was so, so scared to let go of someone who loved me, because what if no one else ever loved me again? What if this was my one chance and, if I blew it, I’d die alone?

This all came to a head over the weekend during a conversation with an old friend, who was fortunate enough to leave this duty station in her dust last year. We were talking, and something she said struck a chord with me. She and I have a lot in common, and we have a really great understanding of each other, because of that. She gave me some advice about how to survive my last eight months here, but she also told me this:

“… make space. This is why that Charles Bukowski poem is my favorite goddamn thing. ‘Isolation is the gift. All the others are just a test of how much you really want it.'”

And for some reason, that was it. That dropped the coin. I still didn’t act on it right away, but the final catalyst – the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back – came today, when my ex started texting me and immediately started being passive aggressive and acting like a dick. It suddenly just hit me. I didn’t have to take that. I didn’t have to allow him access to me. And if I needed to take some time to heal before I attempted to be friends with him, that was my goddamn prerogative.

… I may or may not be listening to Britney right now.

 

So, I removed him as a friend on Snapchat and Facebook, deleted his phone number, and blocked him on WhatsApp and Facebook messenger. I’m starting over. He’s not going to be a part of my life again until I decide to let him in. I’ve deleted all the dating apps off my phone and I’m focusing 100% on myself right now – going to the gym on the daily, trying to eat better, studying up on my future career and focusing up on my college classwork, trying to accelerate my degree as best I can. It will be interesting to see what I can accomplish in the next eight months!

 

Until next time, stay frosty, nerds. ❤

Heeeeere’s Monday!

There has already been a weird start to this week, and it’s only Monday. It is time, ladies and gentlemen, for me to tell you all about The One That Got Away.

I met Him on Tinder (yes, I know, eye roll, etc.) in I want to say either October or November of 2015, and we hit it off instantly. I wound up asking him if he’d like to get a beer and hang out, and he said he would, but he was going TAD the very next day to Virginia for a few weeks. He said he’d hit me up when he got back, and I took that as a gentle brush-off, chalked it up to a loss, and moved on. Well, on December 29th, 2015, I got a message. All it said was, “I’m flying back in tomorrow. Still down to get that beer this weekend?” I was absolutely floored. After we’d sorted out his duty schedule, we ended up making plans to meet up on New Year’s Day. I spent that entire 96 with him and we’ve been together off and on ever since. We both have our share of depression and mental health issues, and we’ve always been there for each other, no matter what. To give a few examples, he’s literally told his Chief to fuck off and walked off his ship to come find me before, because I told him I was having a panic attack. When he was struggling with some suicidal ideations, I stayed up with him until three in the morning on a work night to make sure he would be okay. Without going into too much detail, suffice to say that I’ve never met anyone else like him, and that applies to all aspects of our relationship. It had been so long since I’d been with a guy who treated me well that it almost made me slightly nervous at first. But, the more time we spent together, the more I came to realize that he was just a genuinely good person. He had my back and I had his, and it was sort of us against the world, for a while there. Because he was on one of the ships that calls Rota home port, he’d be gone on patrol for four months and then back in port for four months, but the four months apart never really seemed to affect things. It was like he went on a short business trip, and when he came back and we picked up right where we’d left off, like he’d only been gone a few days rather than a few months.

He left for the States on the 10th of this month, and we didn’t get to say goodbye. Nothing I can recall has ever fucked me up quite so badly as that fact, especially since we didn’t talk at all after that until recently. I thought I’d lost him – I really did – and on Saint Patrick’s Day, I drunkenly messaged him, telling him that I missed him. I never expected to hear back from him but, about a week later, he messaged me back. “Pick orders to Portsmouth.” I was floored. He still wanted me in his life, at least in some way. I couldn’t believe it. We haven’t talked much since – we’re both pretty busy right now – but knowing that he cares enough to tell me that I should pick orders to where he’s stationed means the world to me.

 

All that to explain the fact that I nearly smashed my phone when my alarm went off this morning, because it woke me from a dream about him that was one of the best and happiest dreams I’ve had in… well, ever. I spent the morning listening to music that reminded me of him while I went about my day-to day life (i.e.: gym, shower, galley, work, etc.) and, who knows? Maybe I still have a chance. I kind of doubt it, but a girl can dream, right?

In other news, the advancement exam is finally in the past, meaning that I can now relax (at least a little bit) and stop studying. I have so much free time now I almost don’t know what to do with myself. It’s weird. Hopefully by the end of April/beginning of May, I’ll find out that I picked up Petty Officer Third Class and I can celebrate with my other friends who will be getting frocked with me.

It’s been a pretty happenin’ month, March has. My best friend and the (possible) love of my life left for the States, I took my advancement exam, my hair is finally getting long enough to be able to be put up for work, and I’m getting my life back on track, slowly but surely. We’ll see how things go, I guess!

 

Until next time, stay frosty, nerds. Excelsior!

Hello, Darkness…

My old friend, my ass. Two posts in one week!? It’s like CHRISTMAS. But seriously, folks…

I’ve been battling depression since my early teens, with ebb and flow in terms of severity. It tends to run in my family as well, with my father and middle sister struggling with depression as well. As far as I know, my father has never attempted suicide or self-harmed; my middle sister has definitely self-harmed before, but I’ve never asked about any actual suicide attempts. As for me, I’ve made multiple suicide attempts, but only self-harmed for the first time a few weeks ago. My mental health has always been in kind of a flux and flow state, though I do feel there’s been some significant improvement since I’ve been in the Navy.

It’s ironic, given that the military lifestyle is one of such intense stress, but the healthcare – and, more specifically, the mental health care – that is available to military members is leaps and bounds beyond what I had at my disposal prior to enlisting. The doctors I have now and the knowledge that I’ve gained in my time as a corpsman have all contributed to my current state of… not sure I’d call it well-being, per se, but definitely better-than-it-was-being. I seem to be stable on my current meds, I follow up with my shrink in a few weeks, and my therapist and I are back on a seeing each other every two weeks kind of schedule.

 

I’ve wavered back and forth in terms of my intentions for my military career – whether I wanted to get out or stay in, and if I were to stay in for how long – but more and more lately I feel like I’ll probably stay in for quite a while. My current career path has me re-enlisting and commissioning as soon as I finish my Bachelor’s, and I like where I see that taking me. I try to balance the amount of time I spend in the present and the future, but the idea of a brighter future ahead of me is what has kept me going here lately, especially with the amount of complete and utter bullshit the Universe has been throwing my way lately.

For me, the biggest determining factor in whether I stay in or get out is going to be my next duty station. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed my time at my current duty station, to a certain degree, but the command that I’m with here isn’t exactly the best and I’m looking forward to getting a taste of what the Navy is like elsewhere. In roughly a week or two I should be finding out if I got selected for orders during this last pick, and I’m torn between hoping I did and hoping I didn’t, as some personal things have come up lately that would change some of the billets I chose, but – at the end of the day – I’m just ready to move on with my life. It’s time.

 

For the next eight months or so (which is about how long I have before I PCS), I need to start making a concerted effort to schedule my self care. I need to work on telling people “no” and taking me time when I need it and not letting others strong-arm me into things I don’t want to do. I need to set aside time for myself to read with a cup of tea or do yoga or just sit quietly alone somewhere and meditate or whatever it is on any given day that I feel is the best self care option for me. My therapist has been telling me this ever since the first time I saw her, but more and more now I’m seeing the actual need to do it, something which I’m sure will have her rolling her eyes at me. She knows that I’m exceedingly stubborn and does her best to be patient with me anyway. She is an excellent human being. Most people don’t put up with me like she does unless they’re related to me or I’m paying them.

 

Well, I guess that’s all for now. Just a reminder to all of you out there struggling with your own mental health issues: you are not alone. Always keep fighting. There are people who are here for you. There are people who need you here, alive and well. And remember that suicide doesn’t end the pain. It just passes it on to someone else.

 

Until next time, stay frosty, nerds. Excelsior!