Change Can Be Good. No, really!

I know! A novel concept, right?

I am very sensitive to change. I have been especially sensitive to it in the last few months. Change brings a lot of newness and newness brings unknowns. Unknowns are stressful. The add a whole lot of “what ifs” to the mile-long list my anxious brain runs through constantly.

I admit it: I don’t like change. But I’ve experienced some changes in the last few days that have turned out to be very good ones.

Finally, a happy post!

New Apartment

I moved into a new apartment on Sunday!

This was the change I was most stressed about over the last few days. Moving my life into a new environment with new people where I’d have to develop a new routine was something I spent a lot of time worrying about. But, like most things in life, the first step was the hardest one and everything worked out very well afterward.

My new environment features a change of scenery. One that I think I really really needed. The apartment that I’ve moved into is on the top floor of an old house, so it has lots of character. I love the sloping ceilings and the vast amounts of oddly-shaped storage that comes with old houses. I also really love my tiny, narrow room that has a cut-out in the wall for my bed. Small, yes, but cozy and private. I feel very happy here.

There is also less clutter here. That probably has something to do with the fact that I haven’t yet moved all my things over from my old place but I’m still enjoying the openness of the place for now. Less visual distraction, more breathing space. It feels much like a deep breath of fresh, seaside air.

A new apartment means a new routine. I need to budget less time now for getting down to my bus stop in the morning, but possibly more time for getting ready out of consideration for my new roommates. I am also trying to be much more conscious of cleaning and doing dishes than before. It’s something I’ve wanted to get on top of for a long time but I finally feel like it’s something I can confidently expect of myself.

A brand new space feels to me like a brand new opportunity to reflect and discover more about myself. Fresh sights, fresh feelings, fresh perspectives.

New Roommates

With my new apartment came new roommates!

New people that I’ve never met before!

Scary!

Not at all.

My roommates, Rue and Miranda, are great. They are both graduating university students and so they won’t be living with me for too long but I have enjoyed spending time with them so far.

They’re both very laid back and friendly people. They made me feel welcome right away and have even shared some cake with me since I moved in!

 

I know. It’s just incredible.

We’ve bonded over Duke and tea and a weird sounding kettle (seriously, it sounds like aliens or something) and I will be very sad to see them go at the end of the month.

This experience has helped me to see strangers as friends I haven’t met yet rather than people I should fear. A few good days of getting to know new people is actually so so good for the soul. Ask me how I know.

Additionally, I now have an opportunity to get to know myself better while I’m getting to know my new roommates. We don’t have any expectations for each other and that’s a very freeing situation to be in. I can find what works best for me without feeling like I’m letting other people down. In the process of getting comfortable with them, I am allowing myself to become more comfortable with me. This was a gift I didn’t even know I was giving myself.

ADHD

I’m very excited to report that, like I said I would in my last post, I have moved past the mourning phase of dealing with my ADHD and anxiety diagnoses and have transitioned into the “let’s solve the problem and get back to being awesome” phase. Yay!

Yesterday, I saw my doctor and got a prescription for Vyvanse. Today, I took the first one. Do I feel any different? I don’t think so. Have I noticed any changes? Not that I’m aware of. Am I hopeful that this new prescription will improve my functionality and quality of life? Oh yes.

I’m full of hope and very excited to see what kinds of changes will come with this new development.

In addition to the medical side of the ADHD diagnosis, I was given a rift of new techniques to deal with the way my brain works. Everything from keeping a whiteboard current with short term and long term tasks, to working on the way I perceive myself.

In the exact same way that I had to come to terms with my depression in order to work with it and reap the benefits of treatment (and even the benefits of having depression!), I have to do that with my ADHD. I am excited to see how much better I can be once I start working with my brain instead of against it. I’m certain there is value in having ADHD. It’s time to start reaping the rewards that are buried under the struggles.

 

Duke

Quite possibly (most definitely) my favorite character to introduce in this new chapter of my life is Duke.

This sweet boy came to me via my local SPCA. I had been thinking about volunteering at the SPCA for a little while and finally decided that I should visit the shelter to talk to someone directly. When I got there, Duke was out walking with another volunteer. As soon as I saw him he took my breath away. He also struck me as “a whole lot of dog.” I remember saying out loud that I could never have him because he was just too much for me. Too big with too much energy.

Little did I know, he definitely was a “whole lot of dog” but also a whole lot of medical issues. Duke has mild hip dysplasia, spinal spondylosis in two of his lumber vertebrae, chronic ear infections, a busted tail, and a malformed right acetabulum (hip socket). Yup. Despite how awesome this dog was, he was going to have to find a very special (possibly crazy) person to look past all that and accept that he was going to be a complicated pet. Did I mention that he’s got a real hate on for other dogs? Oh yeah.

Over the next few weeks, I couldn’t get him out of my head. I kept going back to the shelter to see him, half hoping he’d found a loving home, half hoping he’d still be there. All the while, I was looking at other dogs through all the animal rescues in my area. I submitted applications for a few different dogs, all of which were good with other animals (including dogs), in brilliant health, and probably (definitely) much lower maintenance than Duke. None of those applications went anywhere. Despite my better judgment and the advice of my close friends, I decided to apply to adopt Duke in the hopes that if the adoption went through, we could work on his dog issues together and I could work on his mobility issues to keep him as healthy as possible for as long as possible. I also promised myself that I wouldn’t get too upset if someone else adopted him before me. After all, he had a lot of issues that someone else may be better equipped to deal with going forward.

My application was approved and two days before I was going to pick him up, someone from his original family learned that he’d been surrendered to the shelter and was thinking about taking him back.

At the end of the day, Duke’s medical issues warded off any other potential adopters and he ended up with me. We’re an odd pair with our extensive medical issues – his physical, mine psychological. But he’s become very attached to me in a very short time, and I’ve become very attached to him.

We’re working on his basic commands and keeping him focused on me while we’re out – hopefully, the first step towards being tolerant of other dogs. He’s a work in progress, just like me, but we’ll get there.

In adopting Duke, I knew that my lifestyle was going to have to change pretty dramatically. I haven’t been a very active person for a long while and I haven’t been great at remembering to do things or keeping track of time. Duke has definitely helped me with all that, though. I’ve been getting out several times a day for walks and romps in the yard. I’ve been better at managing my time and remembering tasks because Duke needs to be fed on a somewhat consistent schedule and, of course, taken out to pee.

Mentally, I haven’t felt so good in months. Maybe years. I’ve had a great reason to get out of bed in the morning and I actually made it to work early today. I’ve hardly noticed my anxiety because I’ve been focused on him. When we’re out, I need to make sure his leash manners are good and plan ahead if we see a dog. When we’re home, he wants to play or cuddle or just follow me around the house.

I’m also motived to budget my money better. Since I know he’s going to need a new bag of food at the end of every month (approximately) and probably new ear medication at the same time, I need to be sure to be less frivolous with my earnings so I have enough for his needs as well as mine. Goodbye, Tim Horton’s for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Seriously though, my eating habits have improved drastically.

Remember how I said that I’m working on how I perceive myself? Believe it or not, Duke has helped me with this too. After bringing him home and seeing how happy he is now I have realized that even if I accomplish nothing else in life, Duke’s life has been made better because I exist. If nothing else, my life has had purpose and I have helped another living being. Maybe, just maybe, that can be good enough for me.

Have you guys experienced any changes that have turned out to be little gifts? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear about your experiences!

All my love,

Em

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