Team Nerd

Originally posted 11-1-12 and moved here for mobile viewing.

I am determined more than ever to enjoy my burrito. I hit a brick wall full face on this last week and slid like a bug down a windshield. I had been coasting on this new ‘energy’ I’ve been having ever since I made up my determination to suck it up and get into physical therapy and then migrate upstairs to the fitness center over the last couple of months. My pain level was coming down a bit, I was actually moving around doing real things with my life, and all the words you think are for other people were starting to filter their way into my mind- sweet, awesome, this is cool. (And getting nearly 500 views on my post The Nerdist Way is blowing me away, too.)

But you know how it is, what goes up must come down, and all it took was a spectacular autumn peak like we haven’t seen in years, and the allergies and benadryl turned into getting dehydrated again, and that spiked my fibro spasms till all the muscles across my back and butt felt like live snakes got loose under my skin, and that made it harder to drive and walk and work out…

I’m not back to square one, thank goodness, but I’m definitely back in the wimp corner. I made it into the fitness center yesterday after missing about 10 days (time to pay, that’ll get a person going), and decided I could handle a workout if I just dial it back a bit, like when I was so wimpy getting started with the physical therapy at the end of August. To my surprise, I didn’t have to dial back much at *all*.  Just kept it real slow and easy and actually pulled a 20 minute workout with severe fibromyalgia, which I could never have done in the past, but it’s like Chris says in his book, just keeping up the routine, however wimpy, gave me muscle memory that apparently I am able to fall back on and not be as big a loser as I felt like I’d be. I was able to keep my workload and weights up where I had them, I just moved s-l-o-w-l-y so my muscles wouldn’t freak out and had plenty of time to keep up with the activity. And you know what? I left feeling better than when I walked in. Worn out, but certainly not worse.  (I guess I ultimately owe Trainer Tom a great big thanx for that.)

That was so inspiring that I decided it’s time to seriously tackle part 3 of Chris Hardwick’s book- The Nerdist Way– *TIME*. As in time management. The first time I read through the book (many months ago), I couldn’t handle that part. If Chris had started his book with that section, I would never have made it, but he was a genius and small stepped me to gradual successes in other areas first, so I really do feel more mentally and physically prepared. I was inspired by part one to take my favorite stuff seriously and not see it as a waste of time, like so many people have told me all through my life. I was inspired by part two to get my poor mangled body into physical therapy for some real one on one with a professional who actually cares whether I feel gross and if I’m moving around correctly. It feels good to have someone pay a little attention to you when life sucks, you know? So I’m taking myself seriously, I’m getting out of the house, now I have this time management stuff I’m ready to look at.

I have Asperger’s, I do not have a real sense of time. While I was in college and holding jobs, I had structure and I loved it. When I have a plan laid out, I know how to fill in the free time with other stuff I need to do. But when I finally ground to a halt and couldn’t work and my brain fell out (which I’ve briefly touched on at spaz: blinking in the light), that structure was gone and time became a void. I realized as days and months went by that I need a Plan, and even more, I have to make a daily plan every single morning. You would think adapting to this over several years would become a habit, but when you deal with as much physical and mental loss as I have (and even less, it really doesn’t take much), depression swoops in and finishes you off. People who have never had anxiety and depression don’t have a *clue*. But Chris does, and now I’m getting back on a track I never dreamed I’d see again, because that man is blessed with words. I won’t repeat a lot of them , but I certainly can’t complain at all.

I know it is REALLY really hard when life sux. I once wrote a post about how I logically deduced that suicide wouldn’t actually relieve me of any pain and anguish Synchronicity, Suicide, and The Eyes, and then I pulled it into protected posting while I went through the very worst of it because I really didn’t see how I could live through everything I was dealing with. I’m making it public again, because this is important. Chris’s words were important enough to help me change my life, and I believe the rest of us have that same power. It’s important to TALK, to share, to use the words we have for other people to hang onto when life sux for them, too.

So here’s the hard part for me now, and I think it is for some of you, too. Time. I have written reams of stuff about time, I’m a cosmology nut obsessed with time travel paradoxes (and working on a story!  ), but in my own life, the paradox is that I can barely feel time passing at all. I’m one of those people who not only looks up and wonders where the last 8 hours just went, but also shows up to appointments on the wrong day, and Scott has actually had to correct me (he’s gentle and kind, bless him) about what is coming on tv any given night, because I so easily mash Tuesday and Thursday together and it’s really Wednesday. Or I’ll ask when the Vikes are playing and Scott will remind me it’s not Sunday. I really am lost without a class or work schedule structuring me through days, weeks, and months. One of my biggest challenges through the brain fog (that really is a medical term) has been following a calendar every day, and sometimes I’m off by a week or two and don’t discover till after I’ve screwed up my whole day. Other people blow this off when I bring it up, saying everyone does that, but this is a very serious problem for me. Do you know anyone else who suddenly panics about missing the fourth of July and forgetting all about shooting off the fireworks, but the 4th is really still two weeks away? I’ve done that two years in a row. Just lately I let my driver’s license expire because I couldn’t get it straight in my head which actual day of the week was my birthday, even though I posted about it on Xanga ON my birthday. And, as always, Scott takes me under his wing and gets me back on track.

But guess what- setting up a schedule for physical therapy and then the fitness center seems to be breaking through all that. I have structure now! And I’m realizing I can set up this structure for myself by setting up goals through the fitness center, mapping out my whole month, and then filling up the free time with other things I want to get done. It’s been incredible, except that, yeah, I hit the wall lately and slid like a bug yada yada.

Yeah, so I’m reading part 3 in The Nerdist Way these last couple of weeks and realizing Hey, I’m kinda getting this stuff… can I apply it to my own life? Might be tricky. The first thing I did, thank you Chris, was use my natural inclinations to compartmentalize my email into several accounts I already had set up and wasn’t using, and I can’t tell you how much this has already destressed me. Spam and junk that I can’t seem to get turned off all go to one place (seems like every new app I try with Facebook and Twitter suddenly sends more my way), and doing business online goes to another. I won’t rewrite his book, but I’ll add that I know just even doing that much looks like a mountain of work to some of you, because it sure did to me. And then the other sections on finances and stuff, I mean, yeah, I’m a nerd, I *get* that the process will work, but the sheer brain fog I have to get through was so daunting that I had to put the book down, multiple times. But you know what? It’s sinking in, line by line, week by week, and I’m actually doing it, bit by bit, and I’m THRILLED with the results. I truly am.

Get this- 4 months ago I was practically nonexistent on the internet. I had wiped out nearly everything I ever created, including my Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace accounts, most of my Xanga accounts, half my Photobucket (I still can’t bear to think of the screams coming from Lexx fans around the world), and I barely logged on once a week even to email my own family. Where am I now? Lexx is coming back up, I have all new accounts all over the place, I’m not only able to keep track but I’m also producing material like crazy with brain fog and getting way more traffic than I ever expected or projected in only 4 months, and everyone around me is dizzy. We’re ALL wondering how I’m doing it! TIME MANAGEMENT! Go Chris, you ~rock~! I started using some of those cool spirals I bought (your suggestion!) to keep lists of what I was getting done so I could see that every day I really was getting real work done. Even if all I do is fix a broken link, that is real work that I accomplished. Even if all I do is write down an idea I have for something later, that is real work that I accomplished. It’s getting to where every time a little thought hits my brain, a few cells go Oh, that would only take a couple of minutes, let’s go do that. I feel like I drag through my days doing tiny little things that don’t mean much, but then I step back and look at the whole thing, like a post I wrote or a website I built or photos I got loaded into Photobucket, and I go wow, I really did get a LOT done. I feel like I muddle through my day, but it’s more of a directioned muddling now, a sort of listed and inventoried muddling, and I’ve gotta tell you, I’m blowing my psychologist away. Five years with the guy, and he is watching Chris Hardwick change my life. I may not be able to sit or stand an hour straight on a job or function mentally well enough to follow directions, but I am still a very useful person doing what I love most on the internet.

My very favorite part of the Time section is “Become an Evil Genius”. >=) heh heh. Oh, that Chris, we had brain sex right there, and it was really good for me. ”Granted, some can be a pain in the ass- what with their carelessly snuffing out innocent lives in the selfish pursuit of their desires and all- but when you dissect their mental DNA, you find an EXCELLENT time manager that is willing to stop at nothing to achieve greatness.” My personal skill set includes a severe sleep disorder. I have done meds and sleep hygiene and all that crap, but in the end, why not just get up and piddle around on the computer? I can sleep later! (I never do.) But instead of wasting all those wee hours popping awake at the crack of dawn on London time, why not just obsess over code wrangling? Which I *love*. Let other fans make the art manipulations, let other bloggers go on about politics and relationships, I’m busy mangling one of my blogs with html I swiped out of someone’s source code, and omg I really did screw up the internal frames and tables on my blog andIcan’tfixit aaaahhhhh… I get my little thrills going. 

Depression totally wasn’t letting me do that, so Chris has somehow helped me break through the depression, too. My psychologist says it’s because I have something to focus on and keep me busy now, which, again, circles back around to Chris. He says it’s cool if I’m an evil genius.

Apologies, I got rambly, and some of you who stuck through this far are grumbling for me and Chris to get a room by now, but seriously, it’s still working. About the time I think I’m sinking back to having only half a burrito left (love you too, Jonah Ray!), even when I feel stalled out, I notice I’m still going forward in a progressive kind of way, even if I have to get the magnifying glass out to measure micrometers. (Yes, I know, I’d really need a microscope.) I can only imagine where I’ll be in another 4 months if I can keep this believing in myself momentum up!

This story continues at The Nerdist Wimp.

Click pic to see the book!

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