Still in Recovery

That could have two meanings, I suppose, couldn’t it! I’m a recovering alcoholic and I’m a recovering nosebleed savant. Technically I wrote my previous post at 12:03am so I was going to count it as today’s contribution to my 30 days of blogging, especially since I’ve been writing a thesis paper for the past 2 hours, but I need a break to write something that doesn’t involve reading academic journals and trying not to plagiarize.

For those of you who don’t know, which may very well be all of you, I attend classes at University of Phoenix. UoP is a college in the same way a Big Mac is a hamburger. Sure, they look the same, there’s meat on it, and it professes to be food, but they’re not in the same league! I don’t necessarily regret my decision to go here… it’s very convenient for adults who work full-time jobs and can’t afford the time to drive to a physical university every day. It’s just that the classes are so insanely easy and thoughtless that I’m not really receiving an education. Most of my fellow students don’t use punctuation of any sort and I receive straight A’s simply by putting periods in the correct place.

But, I will get a degree. That’s all I care about. I have the skills and knowledge to start working in my field (cyber security) today, but the bachelor’s degree is gatekeeper to that career. It may be a bit jarring to hear that I’m going into cyber security as I never talk about anything tech-related on this blog… that’s purely because I don’t want to bore everybody. Hacking and data security aren’t nearly as interesting as television makes them look.

So, just taking a break. Gotta get back to it. I’ll leave you with a song that I love and have been listening to a lot lately. Hope you enjoy it. Some of you won’t. That is okay.

Strange Days

Although I’m keeping up with my 30 day blog challenge through my illness, I’m obviously way off schedule! It’s also difficult to stay in a positive, cheery mood when it feels like your nose is on fire and I don’t like posting anything when I’m feeling down or angry. It’s not a good idea for anyone, and I definitely indulged in that way too often in my drinking days. So I’m going to keep this one short because I’m still in a somewhat negative mood today.

I took the day off of work because I don’t want to move around too much. I am very paranoid about opening this scab up and bleeding all over the place again. It’s happened once already but that wasn’t after a cauterization, so realistically I’m probably okay now. My “friends” (social media folks) are really irritating me today and I don’t know if they’re doing it on purpose or if I’m just overly sensitive because of how I feel. Probably a mix of both. I still have a lot of people in my online life left-over from my addiction. I thought it would be okay to stay in touch with them because they aren’t in my actual personal life and they aren’t addicts themselves. I’m thinking I might have been wrong because old Brian wasn’t very good at choosing friends.

Phew, almost went on a rant here about those people but I deleted it! See, don’t post when you’re not feeling well! I’m off for now. Hope everyone has a great Friday!

Hospital Part Two

This morning I reopened the cut in my nose by sniffing and inhaling the scab off of it. My nose bled for 7 hours and I went to two different doctor’s offices. At least now I know if this happens again to go to the ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor right away. He couldn’t get it to cauterize with the nearly-painless chemicals so he used a device that burned it shut with electricity! I had to wear a metal cuff around my arm to ground me. Scary stuff.

When the doctor finished, he told me that sometimes they have to do this twice. Ugh! So now I’m paranoid that it’s going to open up again at work or while I’m grocery shopping and I’m going to bleed everywhere. Needless to say I’m carrying gauze with me wherever I go for the next week!

It hurt, and it still stings, but it should be more secure than just letting it clot on its own. It was also a fairly quick process, once he knew what he had to do I was done in about 45 seconds. Way cheaper than going to the emergency room, too!

So that’s why I’m posting way late and I haven’t responded to any comments this morning. I got home about three hours ago and fell asleep immediately. I might take tomorrow off of work as well just to not put any stress on my body. Now I’m off to catch up on your posts!

Films That Shaped My Youth

Bonus post day: I wrote a guest post that is now available over at Rinse Before Use on dating in sobriety. If you have a moment, have a look! It’s a subject dear to me as it’s something I’m dealing with quite a lot at the present season of my life.

I’m no film expert, but I’ve seen a lot of movies in my life. While I do enjoy every genre, cerebral stories and visually-stunning cinematography have always drawn me in far more easily than explosive action and romantic comedy. As with the books I read, I prefer films that make you think. There’s no one genre or region that does this better, each having their own stars. To kick off a new, presumptuously sporadic, series on film, here is a list of my favorite films from my youth which developed my film tastes. Note: there are spoilers in this list so if you haven’t seen one of the movies below, and intend to, skip it!

run lola run

Run Lola Run, or Lola Rennt, was not only the first self-chosen foreign-language film I was exposed to, it was also the first movie I’ve ever purchased. It’s perfect for someone like me, an obsessive music snob with extreme ADHD. The soundtrack and pacing of the movie are both blistering and accompany one another perfectly. The plot, at least back then, was unique to me. Run Lola Run was the first film I’d watched that was split into corresponding parts… Without giving too much away, Lola is a German girl whose boyfriend, Manny, loses a bag of money belonging to his drug dealer boss. Both Lola and Manny need to find $100,000 (well, marks not dollars) before the end of the day. That story is not unique, of course, where the film shines is in how the story is told. Lola dies several times throughout the movie, each death starting her at the beginning of the day in a Groundhogs Day situation, only she doesn’t recall her previous lives the way Bill Murray does in that film. It’s been a long time since I’ve last watched it and I think a viewing this weekend is in order.

requiem for a dream

Requiem for a Dream punctuates a theme throughout my film world in which great soundtracks really draw me in. The Kronos Quartet absolutely kill it on this soundtrack and it is to this day one of the only film scores that I own. Requiem follows three friends and their acquaintances through the ups and (mostly) downs of heroin addiction. It’s not a nice movie and will probably leave you feeling slightly depressed upon its conclusion, but the thing about great art is that it isn’t all supposed to make you giddy. Requiem starts on a high note and gets more and more melancholy until the conclusion in which everyone’s lives have been shattered by drug addiction.

memento

Memento blew my mind the first time I saw it as a youth. The story is told backwards through the point of view of a man who has sustained a brain injury which makes him incapable of making new memories. His body is covered in tattoos meant to remind him of things that happened recently and he can never be sure who he’s met before or how he knows them. At the center of this story is a criminal plot to manipulate his condition that is slowly revealed as he backtracks through recent history. You never know who to trust and, rare in film, the main character is a very unreliable narrator as he himself has no clue what is going on.

pi

I won’t lie to you, but Pi gave me a headache the first time I watched it. The movie tells the tale of a conspiracy centered around a semi-insane mathematician who may or may not have developed an algorithm based on the Qabalah that can predict world events. He’s attacked by several factions who all desire control of his technology and are willing to kill to get it. It’s dry. All of Darren Arenofsky’s films are. Even so, it was the first “art” film I’d ever seen and holds a special place in my heart. The special effects, what little there are, are extremely dated and the dialogue is delivered like a high school calculus lecture, but it’s worth a watch.

alien

Alien might stand out on this list as it’s more mainstream than the others, perhaps slightly less so in 2019. The first two films of the franchise were two of my favorite sci-fi films for a good portion of my life. Unfortunately, the sequel Aliens doesn’t stand the test of time the way the original does. While the sequel is a cheesy (at some points embarrassing) action movie, the original is the epitome of 80s sci-fi horror which countless movies have tried to emulate. I’d be hard to convince that all of you don’t know the plot to Alien already but just in case, it’s a movie about an alien organism that infests an interstellar star ship and slowly massacres the crew. Like Run Lola Run, the story isn’t what makes the film unique; the cinematography, sound design, and overall atmosphere evoke dread and terror better than many horror films, although many have tried to replicate the formula.

kikujiro

Kikujiro is only one of the Beat Takeshi films I’ve seen but it’s the one that stands out in my mind the most. Kikujiro is an older man who lives with his wife next door to a young boy and the boy’s grandmother. Upon finding a photo and address of his mother, the boy decides to search for her and Kikujiro reluctantly accompanies him on the long trip across the country. At its core it’s a road-trip comedy, but it’s unlike any other I’ve seen. The main character is entirely unlikable from the outset and slowly grows on you as he grows closer to the boy. Along their path they meet several interesting characters who add some flavor and comedic relief to the sometimes tragic and sad film.

road warrior

I’ve probably seen The Road Warrior over fifty times. In middle school, I used to come home and watch parts of it every day. Obsession is, after all, a character trait of addicts! Friends would come over, see me watching the movie, sigh and turn right back around! The Road Warrior is peak post-apocalyptic action. If it seems tired, that’s only because every post-apocalyptic movie since has stolen some part of its design or lore from this story. Loosely a sequel to Mad Max (all the films in this universe are only very loosely related, in fact) it is an improvement in every way upon the original. It’s the story of a world ravaged by resource wars, where survivors scavenge for food and gasoline to keep on moving for one more day. The terrain is plagued by raiders and cannibals, with the “good guys” being a tiny minority. Max returns as the anti-hero and reluctantly agrees to lead a group of said good guys across the desert to a legendary paradise which may or may not actually exist. The film culminates in an automotive battle scene that is legendary and rarely topped.

I’ve seen hundreds of movies in my life, as I’m sure many of us have! This is just a short introduction for my readers to some of the films which have defined my youth. By no means is the list exhaustive, and I could easily add another hundred to this list if you or I had the time for such a compendium (The Wong Kar-Wai films for example are easily some of my favorite films of all time)! In the future, I’ll delve deeper into these films and others as I intend to watch them all again. Hopefully you’ve spotted something here that you’re interested in watching this weekend; I highly recommend every one of these!

Clarity for the First Time

My glasses finally arrived yesterday! I look rather handsome, I must say. I’d show you all, but I haven’t even put on pants yet. How many of you wear them? My glasses are a little loose on my face and when I scrunch my nose to get rid of an itch (can’t use my fingers because of that blasted bleed) they slide down my nose. It’s a bit annoying; I might have to take them in to be adjusted already. The world looks completely different, though! One doesn’t notice how bad their eyes are until they have clarity for the first time. I even find myself sitting further back from my computer as I type this… it should help my posture out.

Speaking of posture, my back is feeling well enough to return to the gym this morning. I went to bed kind of early yesterday so I’m up at 3:00am instead of 4:30. Plenty of time to put in a workout. I’m excited to get back into my routine; I already look better than I ever have before thanks to my sobriety and subsequent weight loss, putting some muscle on top of that will make me downright irresistible. Kidding.

Yesterday felt a lot better, partly due to having an appointment with my therapist and partly due to the start of the workweek. I love therapy, it’s one of the bi-weekly events I look forward to. He asked me in our appointment if I wanted to start going once a month instead of every two weeks because, as far as my sobriety goes, everything is going well. I’m happy to hear that, of course, but I don’t know… I feel like I am still getting something out of it even if we don’t talk about problems that I’m having. Just having someone listen to how your week went helps a lot when you don’t have many genuine friends. Plus, the one perk of working for the government is that our health insurance is pretty spectacular and I don’t pay a dime for mental health services.

Writing a post a day for a month is going so well that I don’t even know how many days into it I am! I could easily find out, of course, but this is something that I could see myself doing permanently. Daily check-ins are basically stream-of-consciousness writing for me and the more focused posts I write give me a great opportunity to flex my thinkin’ muscles. I have a few of those in the works, two related to sobriety and one about further thoughts on blogging and marketing my writing in general. I find that the blogs I enjoy reading have to do with this latter subject, such as Lifesfinewhine and The Art of Blogging (just to name a couple, I read literally a dozen) so it might be something I enjoy getting more into.

My stats kind of exploded yesterday and are continuing that trend today, but I don’t think they’re genuine. 130 views on my index page before 3am? Yeah… probably not human beings. Sucks, but what can ya do? I guess the data-mining robots finally found my blog. Due to this, I’d encourage my friends here to not share their email address or any other contact information in my comment section, use the contact form instead if that ever comes up! Unless you love spam.

I uninstalled Grammarly so if you notice some errors in my post, forgive me! I’ll be writing in a word processor moving forward instead of through the browser. Grammarly is trash. Most of the edits it suggested were obviously wrong.

No photos today! I’ll make it a point to get some this afternoon… I actually have (supposedly) my first portrait shoot today but the person who’s volunteered might back out. I hope not, because taking pictures of my mother is starting to make me look like I live at the Bates Motel.

Thank God it’s Monday

Sincerely. Sunday is the worst day of the week for me. By Sunday, I’ve done everything that needs to be done and I am genuinely bored. When I get bored, I get extremely unhappy. Wellbutrin masks a lot of the feelings but I was dejected enough yesterday for some to come through.

Superficially, I know that I need to learn to be okay with just being. It’s very difficult for me to not be bored, though. Gaming used to be my primary hobby and now I’ve almost no interest in it. Losing interest in things you used to find joy in is a sure sign of depression but I’ve also found joy in new things. My new hobbies simply don’t take up enough time! They could. If I let them. I digress.

Part of the problem could also be that I’ve been unable to go to the gym for the last four weeks and that’s making me feel incredibly lazy. I injured my back even further past the four weeks and it’s taking a very long time to recover. I’m on two different medications for that, an anti-inflammatory and a steroid… my morning pill regimen has become almost a fist full!

I look forward to the work week, every week. Sadly, my only face-to-face friends are coworkers. Are those even friends? We never see each other outside of work. Perhaps we could if I asked. I’ve always been terrible at asking for what I want. That should be a goal for September: find somebody to spend time with. People think that dating is hard, try finding a male friend!

Reading back over this, it sounds like I’m depressed. I’m not, I swear. I have a lot to be grateful for and I am grateful. But people like me always want more. It turns out that while in addiction I was very much a codependent B-type, in sobriety I am a major A-type personality! Well, nothing is that black and white… personality is a spectrum, like anything else. Every week that passes while sober, I get better at living a normal, healthy life. When I look in the mirror, I look even better than I did when I was a track athlete in high school. I always had a gut because of all the sugary drinks I consumed as a kid. That’s gone. I lose about a pound every two days. Once I can get back to the gym I’ll feel even more confident in myself.

It’s just those Sundays…

Also, I just got an odd spike in traffic. Has anybody else experienced that? Normally at this time (5am for me), I have about 12-20 views. I have 90 right now! Very disproportionate to the number of visitors, too. If it’s genuine, I’ll take it…

 

Getting Back to Basics

So, yesterday was a horrible day but I’m glad to be healing and starting to get back into my routine. I’m using this opportunity, though, to reset. Today I’m not going to use my planner or do anything that isn’t absolutely necessary! My biggest character defect in sobriety is doing too much and burning myself out. Hell, who knows, maybe that caused the nose bleed? (probably not.)

I have a good bit of homework to finish that I was going to do yesterday but was too drained after getting out of the E.R. I have a pretty good schedule for schoolwork every week so I’m not that behind, I just need to finish filling out a worksheet for the thesis paper I’m writing. It’s a study of the effects of social media and texting on students’ academic writing. My position in the paper is that the language and grammar used in social media spills over into academic writing and has a negative effect over-all on language. There’s also plenty of evidence that this isn’t true, but I had to choose a position and that one had more research to work with.

Doing whatever I want, whenever I want, is going to feel a little strange today! I’m used to having a to-do list to check off but I just want to take it easy and recover. I’m still terrified of touching my face for fear of breaking the scab in my nose and starting the whole process over again. I keep tasting blood in the back of my throat but I know that’s all in my head because if my nose was bleeding, it’d be pouring out of my face. Hopefully, by Tuesday I’ll be back in the swing of trying to write blog posts that have more substance than “me, me, me” and back on schedule with the rest of my life.

Might go to the park today. I’m running out of things to photograph around my house and really am trying to advance my skill in composition every day. I’d like to photograph people more, but I’m too shy to ask people if I can do that right now. That’ll improve over time. I tried some “light drawing” the other night and it didn’t turn out at all, so I’ll have to work more with that. I probably just wasn’t using a decent flashlight. I’ve heard those toy lightsabers work really well for it so I could see if the local Target has a cheap one!

Ta for now!

Hospital and Lots of Sleep Today

Normally, I post early in the morning and throughout the day I comment on friends’ posts as they come in. Today I’ve been absent until now because I woke up this morning with my nose pouring blood like a faucet. Nose bleeds are usually no big deal; pinching them and putting some ice over the bridge of your nose will get them to stop after a couple of minutes. Not this one! When I pinched my nose, the blood merely diverted down my throat. I’ve probably had about a liter of blood to drink today when all was said and done.

iStock_11978861_XLARGE-27cd81e.jpg

I wish I was this sexy

I was really starting to panic when I couldn’t get it to stop after two hours. I remember thinking “so if you got a bloody nose 200 years ago… did you just die?” because it would not stop no matter what I tried. Eventually, I asked my mother to take me to the nearest Urgent Care center and the doctor there stuffed a tampon so far up my nose that it went behind my eye. Let me tell you, it was the most excruciating pain I’ve felt in a very long time and it did nothing. I think the reason that it didn’t work is it was way too high. The bleed was closer to the end of my nose, I found out later.

So that doctor sent me to the hospital because he didn’t have any other tools with which to help me. He wanted to cauterize the bleed but it was bleeding so badly he couldn’t see where it was coming from. By this point, there was a clot hanging down the back of my throat causing me great distress, choking me every time I swallowed.

When we got to the hospital the nurse thankfully pulled the tampon (it’s not an actual tampon but it’s the same design) out of my nose which hurt but afterward all of the pressure was gone and I felt much better. Then she had me hack out the blood clot which was the size of my fist! I almost threw up when it was coming out, it was so large. She stuffed some gauze soaked in lidocaine up my nose for about ten minutes and then checked and the bleeding had slowed big time. She packed it once more and, after checking that it wasn’t bleeding through, sent me home.

I slept most of the afternoon. We got home around 1:00pm and it’s not 6:00. I didn’t take my medication today because of all this so my brain has that electric-zap feeling you get when you’re withdrawing from SSRIs. But all in all I feel better, a little weak from the blood loss and I’m famished but I’ll eat in a moment. Not the way I wanted to spend my Saturday but at least it’s over. I have to take the gauze out in a couple of hours and I’m praying it doesn’t bleed again when I do that because I’ll have to go back to the hospital. I don’t see any blood on the gauze though and it’s definitely not going down my throat.

So… I’m alive. Haha. I’ll be catching up on all your blogs while I eat.