Working with myself

I need to readjust my priorities and schedule to one more closely aligned with my present personal and professional goals. Now that I can see that Metadata isn’t actually that intimidating (for me), and I know that writing and beadwork are taking a backseat to technologically-enabled work in Information Science — I’ve got to reset my priorities, and follow through with that reset.

I haven’t written much, over the last week; either by hand, or online. Accordingly, I’m — now — out of practice, though to be honest, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working. It just means that I haven’t necessarily been writing here, or outside of the class that demands it. Over the last couple of days, I have also dipped back into beadwork, though this is more likely a result of my learning to work with my own brain and understand its capabilities at any one time, than anything else.

Right now I’m writing this, in an effort to write anything at all.

Reading over the last two posts has the effect of discouraging further development: anger is not an emotion I have an easy time with, or that I like to experience. I did make a post over at my beadwork blog ( spectralbeads . c o m ) last night, which may be more or less incomplete. I could have included graphics, for one (I just really don’t like to take photos, and I’m not sure whether learning to take them better, would help). On that blog, I essentially assume that my readers know what a bugle bead is, or what a certain bead stitch looks like (or they can look it up); it’s intended for intermediate-to-advanced beaders, although I sometimes do go in and just define what I’m talking about.

For most of the last week, I’ve been dealing with disturbance in my mood and sleep/wake cycles, largely (I believe) because of the irregularity of the weather. (There have been other possible causes, as I’ll go into, below.)

I suppose I need to explain that: three days of this week have been cold and dark, which has had my body acting sluggish. The positive thing is that it rained. It’s also getting warmer again, now…which is a mixed bag. What made it hard to cope was the boundary between having 100o F+ weather, and having cold, dark, and rainy weather. The switch was fairly sudden. When it was hot, I also needed to do my homework late at night in order to avoid using power during peak hours (we only barely avoided rolling blackouts, one evening). That lead to my hours shifting later into the night, and my waking later. At this point, at least it’s consistently later…

Last week I also received my flu shot, which could have contributed to the lethargy — looking back, that was probably a big part of it (even as much as I didn’t want to blame the inoculation). Then there was a massive move toward clearing out my closet…not the most enjoyable thing. I still have to go over everything in my dresser and on the shelves.

When I wasn’t asleep or trying on/getting rid of old clothes this week, I was working on XML homework. That was relatively important. I’ve found that I have a fondness for this work — enough to go into it. It’s basically like playing an educational puzzle video game that has a productive end (and compensation to go along with it).

I actually have a fondness for Cataloging as well (not helped by my first course in Cataloging: unresolved errors in introductory teaching materials do not make me happy), though I’m fairly certain that the future of this field will incorporate skills of both Metadata and Cataloging. I really didn’t expect to finish my XML homework when I did…what I did was simply enable myself to work on it, without pressure. I was then done, fairly quickly. I seem to have a knack for being able to see patterns and put things in order.

I’ve heard that XML work is essentially programming, though I’m aware that XML itself (like HTML and SGML) is a markup language, not a programming language. What XPath is, or XSLT or XQuery is, I’m unsure of, at this point. Python 3 is a programming language. Which reminds me…I should get back to my training, in that. I might be able to ease myself back into training by intending to enter the stream via the HTML review I never finished…

If I want to be a Cataloging or Metadata Librarian, I’ll also need to know how to read a second language, which I am confident I am close to, in Spanish. I will, however, have to continue with my thorough review. I didn’t work on this today because I didn’t feel like isolating-within-isolation with my headphones. This is a time that I’m glad I can move my computer. I’m really getting tired of sitting in the same position in the same place, in the quiet, alone.

In other words, there’s more to life than just the mental.

I spent a while making tabbouleh this afternoon…which at least was a break in my routine. The other day I also allowed myself to work with my beads, which is largely because I was not able to read and comprehend at that time. In turn, that was likely because of my sleep patterns being tripped up. My sleep patterns are tripped up because of everything I mentioned above, plus medication.

If I look at measures of mental health, I’m doing pretty well on everything except for weight and sleep. Medications were what got me to gain weight in the first place; they are also the main reason I sleep so much, as it is. Before I was on the main sedating medication I’m on, I would average maybe three to four hours of sleep a night: I was lucky if I got six. Now, the average is closer to 11 hours of sleep a night, and that’s factoring in the all-nighters (or close-to-all-nighters) I’ve pulled, recently.

There are only two (maybe three) major ways to deal with this that I can think of offhand:

  1. Exercise. Physical exertion might help regulate my sleep downward, and give me a better quality of sleep. Of course, if I exercise regularly, I’ll also need to bathe more frequently…
  2. Medication. A reduction in medication would sedate me less, although I would then become more vulnerable to symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, exercise may make up for the lack of chemical support.
  3. Motivation. Having something to do that is important enough for an alarm to matter, immensely helps when attempting to wake.

I had been trying to regulate my sleep, otherwise, by limiting screen time (drastically) after 7 PM, taking medication and getting ready for bed at 9 PM, and then staying up (and away from screens) until I got tired (or bored) enough to go to sleep. Then I would wake up whenever I felt like it. That does help. The thing is…it’s very difficult not to use screens after 7 PM, especially when I only become ready to work at around 1 PM.

7 PM is also an arbitrary number. I can work on the computer past 7 and still be rested the next day. The problem right now is not knowing where the real cutoff point lies.

I am also uncertain why it was that I had the problem with waking — I mean, waking to alertness — around 4 or 5 in the morning, last time I tried this. It is nice when I’m able to get up at 7 AM and begin working, then. The problem is the threat of running out of energy at 4 PM. Afternoon and evening napping is something I should not do: I end up unable to fall asleep at night, even with medication. It just throws off everything.

I had written before, here, on the possibility of essentially scheduling in time for my schoolwork — even if they are self-paced classes. I have the ability to set this up, though at first it will likely be trial-and-error (or otherwise, agile). Getting everyone on the same page (so I don’t get caught up in someone else’s arbitrary priorities: that is, asserting that I have my own priorities) is the largest impediment.


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