When It’s Out of Your Hands, What Can You Do?

Decay. It’s a generally awful emotional and physically sour feeling that’s only offset by the new LED (color changing) tea candles I placed in glass holders I got from the dollar store yesterday that are illuminating my dark room. Since I started working full-time this has become a routine feeling on Sunday nights. Usually Sunday’s are when I sit down with myself and rage about the big depressing offenders in my life whether I want to think about these things or not.

Tonight’s reasons why I feel like I’m decaying are as follows:

1. Finances. Two weeks ago I slipped and sprained my spine and neck. I’m healing, though slowly, and I missed out on a week’s pay as well as gotten written up for poor attendance even though I had three doctor’s notes. You know 9/10 times a co-worker who sees something drop will not pick it up for me even if I’m wearing a back brace and knows I’m not allowed to bend? For example, a client in a walker’s hat fell to the floor. The co-teacher subbing for my regular partner saw this, and passed both of us by.

2. Work. I wish the state would make their yearly visit to check up on the facility I work at already and catch-all the sons of b’ches (TEACHERS! STAFF!) who are sitting around on their phones or leaving their assigned rooms to socialize in other rooms OR EVEN SLEEPING DURING CLASS TIMES and teach them a lesson. Also, I’d like them to see how in the lowest functioning room all of the activities are missing pieces or the pieces are all mixed up in different activities to sort which don’t belong together and the only reason those two things are occurring is because of the laziness of the staff. Even the fact that staff see marker’s are sitting there uncapped, they don’t even say anything to the capable clients to cap them OR to take matters into their own hands. When I had to sub for a half hour twice last week in that room I was so disgusted I felt like throwing a HUGE fit. But if I do? Nothing will happen. None of my concerns to my immediate supervisors/boss are addressed. If anything, I’m just set to be made to feel uncomfortable.

You know that in my three-month review I was told that because I told my co-workers we couldn’t go through a client’s bag without their permission because it was against client rights that I have to work on my communication skills with them? No ******* joke. It’s going down in my file as a mark against me. I’m SO glad to be working with “A” in the class I’m in right now. She’s like a trustworthy aunt who shares my work ethic. We’re about to lose some staff when the small group homes open and we’re starting two new male staff in the coming weeks. We had one new female staff start when I was out that week with my spinal injury and my impression of her thus far is that she’ll fit right in. That being said there is nothing positive I have to say about her. Get a job prostitution is my suggestion to more than half the staff. They already suck **** at their jobs. These are intellectually and developmentally DISABLED people that we, the staff are RESPONSIBLE for. It’s unfair.

3. General Health. Following up on the fact that my back still hurts, I also feel that centipedes under your skin hypersensitivity that only Lyme Disease can give you and I’m just straight up physically uncomfortable in my own skin. My sleep is poor and my fatigue is out of control. I’ll likely need a change of…

4. Medication. I need to call the community mental health center and get an intake appointment scheduled. I’m scared about doing it, but I need a psychiatrist I can see at only hours that they can provide. I likely need a little medication tweaking, as well as I’d like to get back on ADD meds which I could benefit from so much right now, and my thyroid may be the source of my fatigue which gives me anxiety because finding an endocrinologist I can see at convenient hours will also be difficult. Especially one that takes public aid.

5. Travel and Punctuality. It’s nearing the 10 days in which I get to dogsit and though I’m THRILLED for the little mini-vacation, I’m going to be doing a LOT of driving to and from work and the apartment, then to school, all places that aren’t very close to each other. The driving doesn’t concern me, but the “Oh god I hope I get there on time.” dread is already getting to me. The days I won’t need to travel and stalk the city streets for parking will be welcomed with open arms.

School. After finding out that my adviser was going to be leaving the university he passed me off to two candidates he felt would be able to help me get my independent study underway. One said she’d be taking a leave of absence in the fall and wouldn’t be able to help me either, the other passed me off to someone else who pretty much stopped communicating altogether and very obviously did not want any part of it. So I sent an e-mail earlier today to the original advisor, letting him know that now I’m an extra semester behind in doing the last thing I need to do so I can graduate. It’s not my job to know exactly what I’m supposed to do without any guidance. If it was, and I did know, I’d be done yesterday. I feel like ALL my confidence I had at the beginning of the semester has been pulverized, and even the anxiety I wasn’t feeling at the beginning of my lab class is catching up with me.

So yeah. By the end of every day since we’ve last spoke WordPress, I’ve pretty much felt pretty hopeless. I hope all of you guys out there are staying strong and kicking ass. I’ll catch up with you folk shortly.

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A Whole Bunch of Really Crunchy Thoughts

My to-do list is like decomposing matter. Something that’s new on the list only just begins to decompose, while something that’s been on the list for a week is in a much later state of decomposition. Now imagine all of this matter neatly organized into a basket and left in your stomach. The stomach acids only add to the deconstruction of the matter and because the materials don’t agree, this poisonous gas and slimey ooze starts to fill up the cavity it’s in. When there’s nowhere else for it to go, it crawls through the rest of your body and makes you sick. The pain swelling inside of you makes it even harder to face your to-do list and finally you’re so sick that you want to cry. That’s pretty much been my situation the past couple of weeks. Tonight I can feel the noxious gasses stuck inside of me and trying to push their way out if it kills me.

On a positive note, getting a blog post out of the way will be a good removal of one of the old to-do list items, which should clear up some of the gunk in my system.

I’ve been depressed. I’m working myself to the max in school and at work to do the best job I can do. At work I now have the complication of being treated like crap, because of the whole reporting mistreatment incident. That gives me anxiety while I’m there that I brush off the best I can, but it effects me. Taking care of people for a living effects me too. Every day I go out there, mask my depression or irritation and make sure I’m tending to everyone in the classroom and encouraging them to challenge themselves whilst helping them face those challenges and praising their good work. I sat with one of our clients whose two decades older than I am on Friday and helped him get through word problems on a math sheet. I was SO PROUD of him and he was so proud of himself. It feels good, that’s what gets you through the day, making a difference. A lot of our clients call me mommy. Most all of them are considerably older than me. I feel like Wendy to the Lost Boys some days. But everybody needs a mother.

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After work, if there’s school I need to mask my mood further to interact with my peers, particularly the ones on my research team. Then I go home, and do a few things to help out (laundry, garbage, putting non perishable groceries that have been sitting out away, etc.). Finally by the time I’m showered and in bed I just want to cuddle up with my stuffed Pusheen, play a few casual games on my tablet, and knock out. I probably won’t even get 8 hours of sleep. I’ll remind myself that I’m getting a B in my class, and for how hard I’m working, it breaks my heart and makes me want to hibernate forever. So does the fact that I have no time or energy to go to the gym and shed some pounds. My relationship though is going really amazingly at the moment, and I’m terrified to say that and jinx it, but that’s one of the few happy thoughts that helps me fly.

There are other tender situations. The other night I was already in bed when I heard my dad and sister get home. He had brought her home from school and my mom got up to help make her dinner. I heard their soft voices in the kitchen, everyone calm. We’re a family who takes care of each other. My parents are getting older, and they still baby my Asperger’s sister, which is fine I suppose, but what’s going to happen when they can’t do it anymore? (i.e. when they pass away). Already there’s two things that make me want to throw up at this thought.

First, I can’t deal with the idea of my parents dying. I don’t deal well with change. I don’t even deal well with having an abnormal schedule. I’m not as bad as the clients we have at work who will completely become hulk versions of themselves, but I crumble easy. Even the loss of one of my parents. God. It makes me sick to think about. And when they do pass who will take care of my sister? She literally does not know how to function as an adult in the world. I don’t even know what kind of job she could get. Will it fall to me to support her? Will she let me? She’s insistent she’s normal and can do x, y and z but I don’t think it’s hit her yet that life is going to be a lot harder when she doesn’t have that overflow of support and help to sail through it.

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Fear. Fear is getting to me. I’m having obsessions about these sorts of things on a daily basis. Getting a medication change might help a little. I haven’t had my medicine adjusted in over a year. I need a new doctor though. My GP can keep the refills coming, but can’t adjust any milligrams. Therapy would help too. But can I afford that? Can I afford the TIME even? I need to do something though to assist my mental health, because though I’m functioning well enough, I’m a wreck on the inside and it’s wasting precious seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks and MONTHS of my life. And for what?

I began reading a book called Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. There are some serious laugh out loud moments, and also some very real passages about what it’s like to deal with depression. I’m not finished with it, but I recommend what I’ve so far read of it. Sometimes I get real angry that I didn’t write a charming and funny book about my life yet and get jealous someone else did, but this one I enjoy without the resentment.

On page 132, there was a particular passage that struck home, and I thought I’d share it with you.

“And that’s the most frustrating thing about depression. It isn’t always something you can fight back against with hope. It isn’t even something–it’s nothing. And you can’t combat nothing. You can’t fill it up. You can’t cover it. It’s just there, pulling the meaning out of everything. That being the case, all the hopeful, proactive solutions start to sound completely insane in contrast to the scope of the problem.

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It would be like having a bunch of dead fish, but no one around you will acknowledge that the fish are dead. Instead, they offer to help you look for the fish or try to help you figure out why they disappeared.

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The problem might not even HAVE a solution. But you aren’t necessarily looking for solutions. You’re maybe just looking for someone to say ‘Sorry about how dead your fish are,’ or ‘Wow, those are super dead. I still like you, though.’”

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In conclusion, I’m struggling right now. And to all of you out there who are reading this and struggling too, I’m sorry about how dead your fish are.

Walkin’ the Rocky Road (Not the Ice Cream Though)

I feel like working with the intellectually and developmentally disabled has helped out my patience tenfold, but when it comes to my Asperger’s younger sister, it’s another story. Give me silent autistic people who want to push away their activities and shove me because I’m physically blocking them from going into drawers they’re restricted from accessing. Give me incontinence, give me someone who I need to sit with and prompt to take a bite until they finish their meal…Not this seemingly one-sided love relationship from the person whose going to be all I’ve got one day. It makes it all the worse for wondering what the future will hold for Christmas’ to come when my folks aren’t around anymore, and believe you me I’ve come a long way but I am still a very vulnerable sugar paper when it comes to emotions and Christmas and tradition and change.

Christmas this year was better than it was last year at least. And I’m texting with my male cousins who I care about a lot and seem to give more of a F about me than all of my female ones combined. I’m thankful that I’m mending some connections that were prior voids the past several years.

Today my feelings were so hurt by my sister that I wanted to be emotional and yell and scream and throw a fit…but I swallowed it and numbed my mind and went out to do some light shopping. (I decided since I have income now I would splurge a little and spend some of my Christmas money on Christmas presents I would have loved to receive to begin with). This is one of those days I really detest whatever the reason is that she’s the way she is. The argument was stupid. She never speaks to me but had no problem spitting venom when I asked her if she could PLEASE at the LEAST if she MUST have her box of shoes which she doesn’t even wear and has had for years now out of the closet, that she could put it with the shoes by the door and not in (practically) the middle of the living room. (I know that was a long-winded thought).

Absolutely not, how dare I even F-ing think of such a GD horrible thing to ask. She literally thinks I treat her like “trash” or “garbage” when I make requests of her like that. She doesn’t swear so that’s about as low as she can kick me when I’m down using words like that. My blood boils from feeling so trapped. I thought to myself, “Thank GOD I’m on such a good level of mood stabilizers right now or I’d be in the hospital from an emotional breakdown.” Can’t say I haven’t wound up in the hospital before from mental breakdowns.

I, personally “love the hospital”. I’ve been in and out of them since before I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease at age 16. I like the overwhelmingly calming feeling I get when a nurse takes my blood pressure or hooks me up to an IV. People are there to take care of me at hospitals. People are supportive and nurturing and I like being touched by stethoscopes or those goofy things they bonk your knees with. Hell, go ahead and smoosh my ankles and legs to see if I’m retaining water. It’s relaxing. There are some days I’d prefer to be in the hospital. There are also some days I’d prefer not have to have been born so don’t take it the wrong way, it’s just one of those emotional reactionary thoughts.

Ah, hospitals. I’m sure if I was in one long-term I’d be miserable and want to go home, but I guess the point is that I’m not one of those people who cringe thinking about going. I may be a mess in the waiting room at the doctor’s but once you get me in the exam room I’m calm as a clam. This paragraph is making me seem more bizarre than I actually am about hospitals. Oh well. I just like being taken care of and not having to worry about things. When you’re tense and worried about one thing or another 24/7 (even in your dreams!!) you’ll sound bizarre too when you think about what few things actually make you feel relaxed.

If you think I should go get a massage if I like that sensation of being touched in a therapeutic way, then let me tell you that getting a massage is one of the most anxiety provoking freaking stupid things in the world for me. Not only am I worried that I’m doing something wrong (my body is too stiff, I’m not positioned right, etc.) but I’m always wondering if time is going to be up and when and will I have actually relaxed by then?! It’s awful! I could use a backrub right now though.

Aside from spending the weekend anxious about how the clock is ticking away until I have to go back to work, I’ve made myself feel alright by keeping busy with games. Something I haven’t done in a while. I love games, I’m awful at a ton of them but they’re still a hobby. I don’t make enough time for them, so here I am and that feels good. I also started my stamp collection officially and that’s kind of nice too. I’m really trying hard to do self-care to balance out my stress. School starts the first week of January. Twice a week at night. The change is going to make me feel super gross like most changes do, and add another layer of anxiety, but in the end I’m working hard and turning things around in my life by an incredible amount.

I’m scared at some point or another I won’t be able to keep it up…And I’m well aware I’m wasting precious moments of my life being scared.

You go ahead and PUNCH that wall!

I’m livid with how bad my memory is this year. The more I realize it when something happens and makes it apparent the more I just want to punch a wall. I should dig in on the school library database and see if there’s any claim to my particular Bipolar or OCD meds screwing with people’s memories as a side effect when they’re on them long term. I’ll probably forget to do that too though, HA!

I’m trying to embrace the fact that I can’t sleep. Mainly it’s because I’m worried about tomorrow. Obsessive Compulsive people don’t like change in their routine. I can handle changes a lot better than I used to be able to now that I’m well medicated. However, it’s safe to say I have a habit of not being able to sleep the night before something out of the ordinary is going on.

I’ve been dogsitting since Wednesday at an apartment I’ve dogsat at twice before. I’ve been struggling with missing my well established sleep, cleaning, and swimming schedule which I keep up at home and keeps me feeling accomplished and well. I also feel cleaner at home regardless of showering here. On the other hand, it’s a bit of a vacation.  I haven’t had an opportunity to dogsit in months, and I’m grateful for the extra money most of all.

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The man whom the dogs belong to is very nice and I keep in contact with twice a day via a text to send him updates. Mostly they’re just a quick ‘things are fine’ sort of thing. I’ve gotten less anxious now that I’ve found a good sense of when I should take the dogs out and become re-aquainted with their querks. Tomorrow (today rather) is my sisters birthday. I told the dog’s papa before I said I could take the job, that on the 19th I wouldn’t be available mid-day and he was fine with that. He’s got a neighbor coming over to walk the dogs. What worries me, is that she won’t put the walking collar on tight enough on one of the dogs (he’s got no regular collar because it was giving him allergies) and he’ll get free, or that she’ll tinker with things in the house she shouldn’t causing me problems later.

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I wrote her a lengthy note ‘reminding’ her things I assume the owner told her. I also worry about what time she’s coming. I asked her to text me after she’s finished. That will make a huge difference in my schedule and how much time I’ll have to spend with my family celebrating. It’s not a big deal kind of celebration, just an immediate family dinner, cake and gifts really. Maybe rent a movie on Amazon or Redbox. Regardless, I want to be there and make my sister feel loved.

She’s a bit more open on holidays, which is to say she speaks a little more, has better hygene, and is in a little better mood (For those of you new to the blog, she’s 24 today with Asperger’s). This is my chance to interact a little more with her since she’ll be open to it. With my bit of extra cash I’m going to get her an extra gift before I head home in the morning. I got her a My Little Pony card game the both of us could enjoy together, and plan on getting her one of those Funko POP! vinyl My Little Pony figures. We may even watch the ‘new’ My Little Pony movie together tomorrow on Netflix. She was asking if there were any Barbie movies on Netflix a few nights ago, so we have a few things we could watch.

I suppose the last thing I need is to be devoid of sleep when I have a busy day, but perhaps it’ll throw my sleep schedule back into a ‘normal’ pattern. I take more naps than I normally would when I’m dogsitting, stay up much later than usual, and barely eat anything.

I hope to enjoy the day and the last of my dogsitting adventure without a hitch. Cross your fingers for me!

Forever Young

My sister has been 12 years old for just shy of 13 years. Indeed she’s a 24 year old young lady with Asperger’s Syndrome. She was developmentally normal once, but now there’s only evidence of that in pictures and cloudy memories.

I live at home with her, so it’s not something I sit around thinking about regularly, but last month she went out four times with a couple friends she’s had since junior high school. Once to a barbecue and the other times to the mall by the house, something teens and preteens in the area do.

I never heard many of the details. The most I got out of her was a nod when I asked if she had a good time. She barely speaks to me, or speaks much at all for that matter to any of us in the house. When she does its in a tiny voice. The loudest she ever gets is a “normal” inside voice tone when she’s really mad at me. So mad her brooding silence isn’t enough. I hear about the things I do that piss her off from my dad on occasion. Never from her personally.

She doesn’t often look at me, or respond if we’re talking to her, or asking questions. It used to bother me a lot more than it does now. Now I just feel sad that I may never have a normal relationship with my sister, whose going to be all I’ve got when my parents pass away one day.

Will she be able to take care of herself without them? She’s babied at home, and reminded to do everyday things like eat and shower. She spends her days on the computer or sleeping. She’s not often bothered to help out around the house. She doesn’t like swearing or drinking, she’s a vegetarian, dresses VERY conservatively and she watches mostly reality TV and kids movies.

That last part is pretty much the perk (not the reality TV). I get to have a longer feeling childhood living with a childlike sister. For instance, I trick or treated into my 20s with her until my mom insisted we were too old. She was dressed as an angel for years. One year I got her a pair of light up wings to go with her costume.

She doesn’t often smile and never with teeth. Her laughs are muffled, like she’s trying to hide them. I should have cherished those experiences more, because being an adult sucks.

Mostly I’m frustrated though. She’s not easy to live with, and though most of the things she does drive me crazy (and our parents pretty much let her do her thing so she’ll be content) she really is important to me. She’s my little sister.

Back to her seeing friends, I wonder often why they’re friends with her. Do they feel bad for her or genuinely like her and just excuse her odd behavior? Historically, she’s gone out about once a year during the summer with those friends to the mall. She doesn’t drive, so we give her rides and made sure she’s met up with whoever it is before leaving.

My mom refuses to let her take public transportation because she worries something will happen to her, so we take turns driving her pretty much anywhere she needs to go, mostly school.

It pisses me off thinking her friends may not genuinely care for her. I worry about them taking advantage of her or talking about her behind her back. It brings out a protective side of me. Oddly enough, it also gave me conflicting emotions on how I feel about her “growing up” and being social. She hasn’t seen her friends again for the last month, and I wonder if that makes her sad.

The thing that made me want to write this post was how angry I was a few days ago when she and I were shopping at the grocery store with my dad. We were picking up bagels and she saw her friend who works in the bakery. My dad happily encouraged her to say hi. She stood there awkwardly for a minute, a smile on her face without saying a word, then had a 60 second exchange with this girl whose face expressed that she wanted nothing to do with my sister. Maybe she was having a rough day at work, but it both enraged me and made me very sad. It didn’t seem to phase my sister.

Having a family member with Asperger’s is hard. I’ve often felt bad for my parents, who have two abnormal children (myself being bipolar), but we’re well loved, and our mom and dad are grateful to have us as we are to have them.

The Chronicles of Barbie-a

There are few times my chemically unstable behaviors cause me to feel embarrassed because I seem crazy, but when I have a manic laughing fit, that’s damn well one of them. It’s like touching a cursed object. Maybe rubbing your hand against a crooked chicken foot or being subject to a centuries old witches toenail having dissolved in your Diet Coke. It was a couple weeks ago it last happened, and I wasn’t in a full blown manic episode either, I was just having a spike of imbalance I guess you could say. I was laughing so hysterically and I couldn’t put an end to it. I ended up feeling so out of control that I left the room I was lounging with Chris in and stuffed a pillow over my face. I wasn’t gasping for breath because I was suffocating myself with that pillow, I was gasping for breath because I couldn’t stop laughing. I spent time trying to put my mind in static mode, not think of anything and calm my body down, but the hint of any thought triggered more laughter. When it wore out its course I was relieved, but frustrated.

It’s another night where I held down the power button for my brain and the mind-computer didn’t shut off. My sleep schedule continues to suffer from irregularity without the added Seroquel to my chemical diet. I may use the Ritalin I use sparingly to keep myself up tomorrow so I can tire out in the evening and sleep at a regular time. Hopefully this month I should be able to get back on the dose I was on, and perhaps bump it up for the next month if need be. It may help aid me in mending my social life as well. It took a major toll when I dropped the drug. In fact, I isolated so hard without meaning to, that one of my best friends blew up at me a few days ago when I apologized for being absent. I’ve clammed up this past two months more so than ever in my distress about where life has landed me. Even when I feel I should speak up for myself I just swallow it down to the pit of my stomach and after a few hours or a nights rest it disappears. Metabolizes or something. Who knows, but I’m getting good at it, and that’s not a positive thing. We nearly ended our friendship right then and there, and if I hadn’t have said “I’m sorry” later that night out of guilt for going into a defensive stance and raging back at her, we’d probably have cut ties entirely. It’s easy to cut ties. Even children’s scissors could slice those ribbons.

The OCD is kicking up a little too lately, it’s the stress. Whenever I’m overwhelmed with things my obsessive thoughts take the stage. The reoccurring one I’ve had for years has resurfaced, which is that I’m terrified there will be a spark from an outlet like in a Final Destination movie and my house will go down in flames. Even repeating it for you now makes me uneasy. I also imagine myself losing all of my teeth one by one in a single sitting. I’ve also been obsessively cleaning and utterly disgusted when I come home and find something out of place, a shopping bag plopped down by the door, the shoes out of their neat line…

On the job front, I’m frustrated, but working hard at it. I’m sick of feeling like a bum. I have an opportunity to work as a Behavioral Therapist for an autistic child(ren) 10 hours a week, the woman I spoke with over the phone was interested in me, in fact she said the only thing that’ll be rough to do to get me going in this position is to find a family that would be a good match. I don’t have a ton of experience with low functioning children on the spectrum, so looking for high functioning kids may be a bit of a search, and hopefully for my own sake they find someone soon, because I really want this job. Always room to move up and take on other cases with more experience as well. What more could you ask for working in your field, and with children? That’s what I love to do.

It feels good to blog. It really does. If I wasn’t such a clam I’d be doing it more often.

Time Warp

I’m watching the old Goosebumps TV Show on Netflix and it’s tripping me out. I loved the 1990’s so damn much and had such a radical childhood. Now life is full of Bipolar Disorder and College (stress). Relationships that span years of complication and cleaning. I remember once playing outside in the sprinkler and then rushing in to watch Stick Stickly. Nickelodeon was the Eden of TV lands. I read every Goosebumps book in the R. L. Stine prime age. We had kiddie pool’s in the backyard. I ate Disney ice cream with sweet tarts, once in a while I’d sneak one while my mom was cleaning. I never went to summer camp, I enjoyed school and got good grades, I never imagined I’d be a pet care provider and always asked Santa for a dog. I opened up Pound Puppies and Littlest Pet Shop Christmas morning. I loved life to the fullest.

Now I’m a scared, anxious person who has trouble getting myself to see friends and struggles in school. My best friend is not the same. I have trouble keeping up with my best friend now because I spend so much time isolating. I don’t have the patience to sit there and finish a video game. My family doesn’t gather round to watch when we start up a video game. We spend most of the time in separate rooms. My sister is a completely different person. Likely she turned autistic because of a vaccination.

So who can blame me if I’d like to re-live some of the 90’s? Here are some shows I’d like to re-watch that are hopefully on Netflix. Hey Arnold! Hey Dude. Ahhh!!! Real Monsters. The Adventures of Pete & Pete. All That. Animorphs. Are you Afraid of the Dark? Double Dare. Doug. KaBlam! Rocko’s Modern Life. Salute Your Shorts. Rugrats. The Secret World of Alex Mack. What Would You Do? Legends of the Hidden Temple.

Maybe this’ll help bring me out of my slump.