9 Steps to Happy or… A Festival of Links

After a harrowing few days I decided I should really be taking my mental health as seriously as my work, and devoting the same energy, pigheaded stubbornness, and drive to improving it that I do to Getting Work Done (apart from lately). So I made a list, and starting yesterday I tried to act on it.

Step 1: Go get a bagel.
Specifically, I wanted a “volcano” bagel tomato-basil tofu burger sandwich. They had these in Bagel & Bagel’s lovely Ikebukuro location, but apparently not in the Shinjuku shop– I’d have known that if I’d read the site more carefully. Really, once I saw the afore-linked sandwich was still on the menu, and hadn’t been killed like all of the veggie burger options at that emporium of bastardry Freshness Burger, I was already out the door.

Step 2: American magazines. These have always been my “turn off my brain” fodder, but I cancelled my subscriptions before moving to Japan and declined to go digital because I thought magazines were making me lust after things I can’t afford, and generally keeping me from being a content grad student. All well and good, but when under this much stress their fluffiness also feels soothing to my nervous system. So I resubbed to BUST, discovered that Whole Living had gone under, and am thinking I’ll nab an issue or two of Natural Health, even if they’re not actually hippie enough for me… Yoga Journal is still blacklisted for serving more to inspire my discontentment (expensive yoga clothes! Expensive yoga retreats!) than to enhance my yoga practice.

Step 3: Go somewhere that makes me happy….. I had to think about this one, which I have plenty of time to do these days because I cannot sleep. Typically I am up until after the sun has lit up my room around 4:30 (never thought I’d miss daylight savings time), and generally I don’t conk out until 7– at which point I am so comatose that I sleep through any alarm I try to set. This is one of the outcomes of tinkering with my medication…

But I digress…

I hit on my first ever Tokyo neighborhood, Azabu Juban, and my favorite restaurant in the whole city: Eat More Greens. I hope every vegan and vegetarian who visits Tokyo ends up here. I found this place early on during my first summer in the city, and spent a lot of time working from its patio, eating vegetarian taco rice. I am writing this post from their shop right now, and I was dead right about coming back to this neighborhood. It having not changed in 2 years is one of the most reassuring things I have experienced recently. It’s also not as overwhelming as the major hubs of Tokyo, but has many, many cute little shops to poke around in.

Next up is going back to my second former neighborhood, Ikebukuro, because I have a list of great restaurants in that area at which I must eat before I leave Tokyo this time.

Step 4: Foods that cheer me up…. Visiting Kats the other day reminded me that I can get comfort foods here, and that I should. He made me Amy’s soup and crunchy bread. Off to National Azabu supermarket soon.

Step 5: Movies. I have a monthly subscription to Tsutaya, but their mail service alone is not going to get me through this tough period. I’m going there and renting some crap films. That’s right, it’s time to see Hunger Games.

Step 6: (I think I was supposed to make a joke about “profit” somewhere in here.)
Read things like this: 25 Quick and Easy Smoothie Recipies Right now copying down smoothie recipes means focusing on a future where I can go home and use my Blendtec. Also, I adore making smoothies. It’s a hobby.

Step 7: J, who is actually my principle support because I keep fearfully and depressively cutting people off, is treating me to a massage at the LUSH spa. Kind of a dream fulfilled for me.

Step 8: Yoga and meditation. These tools have gotten me through more crises than I can count, and I need them now. It annoys me that I could have easily taken classes in Ikebukuro, had I not moved. I was honestly temporarily insane when I moved in with T, and if I could afford it, and hadn’t paid him the rent for July and August already, would move into an extended stay hotel in a heartbeat. Due to my current state of mind, I need space..

Step 9: The only reason I could even write this entry…. Get back on the meds that work. Having my meds changed turned out to be not only dangerous at this high stress period in my life, but physically grueling. The daily brain zaps, heart palpitations, and dizziness… the insomnia, the lack of control over my emotions…. I haven’t talked to my American doctor yet, but simply made the executive decision to go back on my old medication. I know what I’m doing with this stuff, and I trust my instincts. I’ve had 18 years (gah!) of trial and error to quickly recognize when I’m in trouble, and need to immediately correct it.

Well, this got long and I’m sure the Eat More Greens staff are wondering what I’m doing here on my iPad, so I’ll stop one-finger typing and finish my damned iced coffee.


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