Our afternoon was spent playing cards at Andrew's house in Vauxhall. We mostly played whist and euchre. I learned about three different ways to lose spectacularly and wound up very last, but I'm a much more competent player than I was. Andrew made a nice cake (as ever) and he and Neil were great company. We're set to go back in two weeks and cook dinner for A and watch a movie: I'm thinking Xanadu.
When we got home, our housemate was making us dinner (cottage pie). We sat down on our computers to do "stuff" and I realized, looking at my calendar, that I had a huge gap with nothing planned (thanks to the tap class falling through). And, I thought, kind of idly, I could go to visit Katie in Australia then - it was shoulder season so it might not be too expensive.
And I looked. And, well, it wasn't "affordable," but it was about the same price as going to San Diego. And I'd have a free place to stay. And I could do lots of writing. Plus it would be warm and sunny and seriously improve my chances of not getting a nasty cold early on (not that we don't need to buy a dehumidifier as well). And it would be very relaxing. I couldn't afford to do a lot of the things I'd like to do, but it would still be cool. And I have no idea when I'll have this much time to do things again.
I talked about it with J. He said he'd miss me but he thought it would be fun for me. Then we had dome cottage pie and played Chtulu Fluxx for a while.
Monday our housemate was at home, as was I in anticipation of getting my smaller new phone. No luck: at noon they admitted it hadn't made it on the truck and I had to wait for yet another day (after wasting half of my day waiting already!). I thought I'd get a lot of writing in, but that didn't happen - I talked to the recruiter for the Maidstone job, walked down to Tooting Broadway with the housemate for lunch, picked up ingredients for dinner (including having a rant about how Sainsburys had stopped selling containers of baking powder and soda and was now selling it in a package of six, one teaspoon sachets for one pound - meaning baking soda was 32 quid a kilo - outrageous!), came home, went for a run, then talked to another recruiter about being a test manager working as a consultant for government jobs. We agreed to do a full interview next week.
J came home, I made us all dinner, and shortly afterwards I finally got Katie on FB messenger. She said she and her mom would be delighted to have me as their guest. So: I bought the ticket. Whee!
Anxiety wise I'm in the latter third of the sertraline reduction program, and I should be fully off of it by next week. I'm not sure if I'm having problems managing stress (or having problems with having bursts of "false stress" caused by my body getting confused about the change in chemistry) - nothing seems much different than usual other than being down. The good news is that, while I can tell the urticaria is still active, I haven't started breaking out again on a daily basis like I was before I started taking the sertraline. So it looks like the summer of taking it easy and trying to keep my stress levels down so my adrenaline gland could actually start closing down into pre-high panic mode levels has happened. This is really, really good, because it means 1) I'm actually better :-) 2) my head is probably going to be feeling better than it has for the last three and a half months, while I've been taking the sertraline 3) I'm going to be way more employable. I just need to be aware of still being possibly set off by stress and make sure I consider potential stress levels heavily when looking at possible jobs: just because I've got it dialled down enough that I'm not likely to run and hide under my desk on a daily basis (how I've felt on sertraline) doesn't mean that I'm well enough that having people shout at me on a daily basis won't have me laid up in bed, swollen face and body, drunk on histamine overload (how I was at my last job).
And ... if I can keep the stress down for another months or two ... I might finally crack it, I might have broken the back of the bane of my existence, I might feel really normal again, in my skin, and not be living in fear that an extreme nightmare - or running into someone who doesn't like me - or being told off - might put me in the hospital with anaphylaxis. It's just wrecked my life. And I really don't want to have it for six more years.
Rest of today: running, writing, cleaning, kayaking. Tomorrow: kayaking, writing, plays. Thursday and Friday: test conference. And of course dragon hunting on a daily basis.