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Wrestling with Sass

Sassy commentary from a failed journalist

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Anxiety Is Bullshit and So Are You

Content warning: I wrote this blog when I was having sensory overload I think so, therefore, it is rambly nonsense.

“OVERSTIMULATED” I messaged my boyfriend after finding the perfect word to describe how I was feeling at that moment.

“Like your socks don’t fit right?” My boyfriend replied, harking back to a conversation we had when he described a feeling he gets sometimes when he feels ‘unnecessary’ and we both kind of childishly roll around and play fight until we get rid of the ‘unnecessary’ energy.

“Yes but it’s making me tense and angry and I can’t concentrate” I replied frustratingly.

Whereas his unnecessary energy could always be counteracted by a laughing fit at this picture or us attempting to chokeholds until both of were exhausted. Mine has always manifested into anxiety and irritation.

Overstimulation is for dogs and babies, not adults

Overstimulation is the perfect word to describe the feeling that too much is going on, not in the bigger picture kind of way. In the way your brain is going 100 miles a second going – ‘oh my god stop clicking your pen, oh it’s too hot in here, fuck I’m tired, I should be doing this, do I need more water, oh my stomach hurts why does it always hurt’.

It’s when you have too many tabs open on your computer or every tiny action is taking too long, you’re trying to start a piece of work and your furious that it’s not done yet but you’ve not even started. It’s the feeling when you stretch out your legs and it feels amazing but they go back to feeling like normal boring legs immediately after the stretch and you curse yourself for letting yourself taste the good life for a second.

It feels me with dread and anxiety and it’s incredibly annoying when you’re just having a standard day and all of a sudden you’re unable to concentrate on anything but yet feel the need to do everything.

I might possibly have anxiety but doesn’t everyone

At my last job I was bollocked a few times for taking too many sick days, 16 in 12 months if I remember rightly. My boss was very jovial about it, very ‘we all understand but come on now, you can’t keep calling in sick’ and made a comment that I typically called in sick on a Thursday and was there anything happening on the Wednesday night that caused me suddenly be ill.

Of course, I didn’t have the nerve to tell me boss ‘Actually I’m deeply unhappy in this job and feel stressed all the time so I’ve mostly taken days off because I literally cannot face another day here in this hostile hell hole’ Because, at the time, I don’t think I realised my mysterious ailments all stemmed from anxiety. I’m a giant hypochondriac so think constantly about illness and how I’m probably dying at this very moment, so I just assume ‘Oh I just have some awful disease’

Because my anxiety was very subtle for me, I just assumed everyone was filled with terror on a daily basis because why wouldn’t you be? The world is scary, people are assholes and everyone who really truly loves and cares about is faking it because you can never trust anyone because people are essentially self-motivated. Everyone thinks that right? Sane, logical thinking right there.

Ah, so this is what feeling normal feels like

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago I realised that I hadn’t been feeling anxious at all. Sure I’d moved to a country where I didn’t speak the language and everything was different and people here are very blunt when they speak. But that was understandable, logical anxiety – I could explain that to other human beings and they wouldn’t be like ‘dude what the fuck are talking about it.’

Mostly it’s down to the fact that I’m happier in my job than I’ve ever been, in the fact the idea of my job and the word ‘happy’ has never been particularly close to each other in the past.

So it was a surprise today when all of a sudden the familiar knot in the pit of my stomach arose, I started feeling warm, my heart rate quickened and all of a sudden I was stuck with the feeling like the world was being too loud, too much and I couldn’t breathe as well as I could usually. Not like I couldn’t breathe, but more like I had got my head trapped in the arm of a wolly jumper and I was struggling to get it off.

It was only then I realised:

‘oh no, I have anxiety, nothing is going on, this makes no sense, oh fuck.’ It’s almost like being given a prize late in life ‘Congratulations on the Mental Health Issues. You’re Now Like Everyone Else’

Anyway, still feeling breathless, still feeling like I want to stretch my legs until the end of time, still feel irritable and am trying to figure out how to reduce this feeling with my ole’ friend in hypochondria – Wikipedia.

So Sensory Overload is a thing that can happen to people with anxiety and having looked at this Wikipedia page it’s actually crazy how many things I described without ever having heard of this before.

++++++++++++

I went to a meeting and had to stop freaking out and I’m fine now, what the fuck is my life and what the fuck is the blog and who the fuck are you Brenda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to get Cider in Berlin

Cider is amazing. However, Germany has been slow to catch on to its amazingness. Which makes sense, the beer-drinking country of the world isn’t going to give up its best asset easy. However, in the past few years, cider has become more prominent. That’s not me saying that I’ve only lived here for two months after leaving the cider-drinking capital of the world – Bristol. But long-term Berliners have noticed a sizable increase in cider availability in bars, supermarkets and spätis. So here’s a list of bars I’ve managed to get that sweet, sweet nectar.

  1. Das Gift

das-gift_new@sigrid-malmgren

Literally meaning “what’s your poison?” in German. Obviously, a Scottish themed bar is going to have UK exports, as well as Buckfast and an excellent Scottish breakfast Das Gift also stocks Aspall in bottles. A bit pricey (well for Berlin) but hey, the bottle looks fancy as hell so you won’t feel too ripped off.
Donaustraße 119, 12043 Berlin

2. Tristeza

Image result for tristeza berlin

Sporting a queer punk collective vibe Tristeza has rad outdoor seating and is somehow as dark in the day as it is in the night thanks to its moody lighting. Best of all, they serve Strongbow on tap in Steins, now if you’ve gone without cider in a while then it’s likely you’re not going to turn up your nose at a full pint of the cold stuff.
Pannierstr.5, 12047 Berlin 

3. Ä

Image result for ae bar neukolln

Weserstraße is full of rad bars but A is fairly unpretentious apart from its affinity with being pitch black apart from a few precariously positioned candles. It’s another place that has obviously been sold the fancy Aspall in a fancy bottle by a travelling cider salesman, again a tad overpriced but it’s served ice cold.
Weserstraße 40, 12045 Berlin

4. UnterRock 

Image result for unterrock berlin

A nice little spot where I saw Non-Canon play some acoustic jams also serves the Berlin made, OBC Berliner cider which comes in three times Classic, Rose and Strong (it’s only 5%) The bartender also serves you your drinks and you pay a tab at the end, something that seemed to be standard in every bar I went to a few years ago but seems to have fallen out of fashion – or I’m going to less classy places.
Fürbringerstraße 20A, 10961 Berlin

5. Banja Luka

Image result for banja luka berlin

Just opposite Music & Peace which is a rad music venue is Banja Luka. A great hidden beer garden for those who don’t like a more rowdy crowd Banja Luka is a great place to take people on a sunny day. Serving another Berlin brewed cider Ostmost, which comes in two styles Wild and Dry.

Falckensteinstraße 1-2, 10997 Berlin

6. Monster Ronson’s Ichiban Karaoke

Image result for monster ronsons

Ignore their terrible website Monster Ronson’s is really awesome. Just opposite Warschauer Strasse, you’ll find a whole host of events going on, I’ve only ever been on their drag nights on a Tuesday hosted by PANSY but I’ve heard from others that their hosted Karaoke nights are pretty spectacular. They serve cocktails and bottles of ‘Golden Apple’ Strongbow which isn’t dry like regular Strongbow but pretty sweet, so prepare for that sugar headache.
Warschauer Str. 34, 10243 Berlin

7. HOME

Image result for home bar berlin

Full disclosure I haven’t been here but someone told me they serve Aspall on tap and their menu appears to back it up. They also have a full range of craft beer and other ales on offer so you won’t feel bad when you drag your friends here so you can have a pint ‘o apples. They also do pub quizzes, DJ nights, the lot in the heart of Fredrichstein.
Neue Bahnhofstraße 23, 10245 Berlin

This is an ongoing list, so if you have any suggestions then comment below!

May the Road Rise with You

Six weeks in Berlin

So still here, haven’t fucked off back to England weeping about accidentally buying raw sausage meat instead of pate.

Okay, that did happen once and it was delicious but it fuck up my stomach for a good four days. Yeah, raw pork meat is a thing here.

After a few weeks and with the help with a much more capable flatmate I’ve managed to find supermarkets that sell cider, different types of shampoo and conditioner, bacon and vegetables that don’t cost a small fortune.

New supermarket rankings:

  1. Netto
  2. Bio Company
  3. Eurogida
  4. REWE

The job is going great, almost too great, sometimes getting wild imposter syndrome where I assume at some point a scary higher-up figure will come to my desk and go ‘Lol no one does this for a job, this was an elaborate practical joke, we will now hunt you and other confused expats for food.’

However, I have gotten lazy with my new friendship making, in Bristol I think I could say I had five solid friends I could rely on to come to the pub and have a pint with me and a few outside of Bristol where I know I jump on a train and hang with in case everything got a bit much. So I think I went ‘Okay I have maybe three people outside of work, five if I made a lot of effort’

I don’t know the etiquette of asking random people in work for a drink, especially since the people I’ve chatted to for a long period of time have been dudes. Do I send a message going ‘hello we have a conversation that was fine but a bit awkward cause I can’t be my real self at work for like six months cause if my personality was a word cloud it would spell out RUDE AGGY FUNCTIONING ALCOHOLIC PRETENDS SHE KNOWS JIU JITSU – oh and I have a boyfriend so I’m not trying to fuck you also lol you are way out of my league anyway’

I’m going to try and go to a board game night tomorrow, maybe a meet-up on Friday and I may try and speak to others at the drag viewing I usually go to on a Tuesday. Perhaps I should make a badge ‘I want to hang out pls help me’

I imagine when I get my jiu jitsu stuff maybe I can rope some people into the office into coming, or make friends with some big burly MMA lads.

There are almost too many cool events happening to keep up, I also want to scope out some indie bars/punk bars so I can potentially pitch a DJ night, I miss playing music to people who were annoyed by it.

Speaking of, in typical expat wanker nonsense since I’ve moved to Berlin I’ve listened to nothing but Alternative 80’s bangers (clock the title, comment below with the answer to win nothing!).

I’ve also discovered I can wear sunglasses without feeling nauseous or wandering into the street without my normal glasses – something I never did in the UK even though I spoke the language and I knew what side of the street cars drove on. I also got out my legs for the first time in like five years, again something I did less in a city where there were ‘generally’ less men hanging around on street corners to letch at me. Odd how I seem to be a bit more fearless cause when I get shouted at I can go ‘EH YOU FUCKING WHAT M8’ in my most scary British accent.

I really, really miss my cat. I have a tattoo of her on my leg and it’s basically made me realise that I should never get anyone I care about tattooed on me in any way – you know unless I can’t see it. I keep looking at how long cats live for and trying to work out if whether I’ll be over here and she’ll die. Urgh what a bummer right?

Anyway,  things are going okay:

I have fuck loads of paperwork I should be doing (cause Germany amirite)

I need to write letters to my family but I can’t find stamps.

I want to go swimming but I need to build up the courage.

I need to take out my camera more, I have crazy good insurance on it.

It’s too hot all the time.

I keep waking up with swollen eyes, apparently, it’s cause I’m eating too much salt.

Green Giant gave me a shitty answering about bulk buying heart of palm to Germany, I’m going to call them so stay tuned for that

 

 

Friday List #11

We’re back!

  • Did you know the Hellfire Club isn’t just an evil organisation in X-Men, it was also a club organised by socially and economically well-off types to look at porn, get wasted and practise occult magic. Sounds cool, you can visit their meeting place as well. Read more about it here. 
  • My favourite part of the Hellfire Club is the organiser Sir Francis Dashwood.

“The downfall of Dashwood’s Club was more drawn-out and complicated. In 1762 the Earl of Bute appointed Dashwood his Chancellor of the Exchequer, despite Dashwood being widely held to be incapable of understanding “a bar bill of five figures”. (Dashwood resigned the post the next year, having raised a tax on cider which caused near-riots).”

  • On the 29th of June the small town of Reus, Catalan hosts a festival of St. Peter where the let off fireworks in the street and have people dressed as giants who dance in the town square. The Wikipedia makes it sound like a mental acid trip. Read more here.

“During the procession, from the bell-tower, the Toc General de Festa (an event in which people ring a big bell) is performed. Afterwards, the Seguici returns to St. Peter’s Priory and at the time the Image enters the church, all festive elements burst into dance at the same time. As a culmination to the festivities, the gegants bicentenaris (“bicentennial giants”) and the Águila (“The eagle”) return to the Square to perform the last dances, followed by a bunch of demons who are in charge of closing the festivity.”

  • It’s Black Lives Matter month in Berlin in June, there’s a lot of awesome things going on, I’m going to try and go see I Am Not Your Negro and Hidden Figures at Freiluftkino Kreuzberg. Full programme here. 
  • In my old apartment on Opplenerstrasse, for some reason when I walked through the courtyard it made the exact same noise of the walking sound in Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines – one of my favourite video games. Felt like my brain was melting but it was a weirdly enjoyable experience every time I noticed it.

 

Sandra Can Fuck Off

You can always say you’re having a tough time when you’ve moved somewhere new. I’ve read that many times in Guardian long-reads or in a start of a memoir. “Sandra found it difficult to adjust to her new home in Vienna.” That’s the sort of shit you read all the time right? However, it’s always in a retrospective, it usually leads to Sandra finding herself in the vibrant fruit market, or in arms of an exotic lover who showed her the wonders of the city she didn’t speak the mother tongue of.

You don’t read many articles that start with “I just moved somewhere and I knew it was going to be tough, challenging and lonely for a bit, but I know myself and I know I will stay indoors drinking wine all the time if left to my own devices.”

However, that’s just how this ramble is going to start because I just moved to Berlin and I have to fight my anxiety everytime I go out the door because I don’t like looking stupid. And that’s what I think of someone who lives in a country where they don’t know the language or is surprised by differences at the local shop. I seem to keep making myself look stupid by not even attempting to speak German even though I know some phrases that I need to get by. No matter how much I think ‘danke’ ‘bitte’ – I just go THANK YOU in the Queens.

Here are some observations in my first five days from the local REWE and BioCompany:

  • Bread is weirdly packaged if you just want normal bread, not like a baked rye, it’s called butter toast or in the packing has an American flag.
  • All booze is fucking obscenely cheap.
  • Germans and Brazilians buy a lot of bottled water.
  • There isn’t a wide selection of meat and poultry unless you want cured meat or German sausage in which case there’s fucking loads mate.

Fresh meat and produce generally is a bit more expensive than the UK, but in Berlin, it’s so cheap to eat out it makes sense why so many people just do that instead of cook at home. The amount of places I’ve walked past selling amazing looking food is crazy and people have got it in little bags, ready to take home for dinner instead of going to the shop.

I miss my cat.

The woman I’m renting the Air BnB from seems to be a little crazy, or perhaps crazy from my British sensibilities where she seems overly friendly, overly sharing and just overly everything. She came to the flat tonight to pick up some things she had forgotten and was horrified I wasn’t going out on a Friday night – she even went as far to invite me to go out with her and her friends. My British response to this was annoyance. Why are you being so inviting, why are you still here, please go and leave me to my bolognese and my 3 euro bottle of wine that I have bought and finished four nights in a row.

It’s slowly dawning on me that perhaps like London when I lived there, I loved the ‘idea’ of it. You know like Japanese tourists who go to Paris and freak out because Paris is actually a bit of a shithole. I’m not cool at all, I also don’t Instagram enough, I should be going to markets and cute bookstores and taking photos and shoving all happiness into the likes I get. People tell me the art here is great, cool any specific galleries? No, just all of it? Fuck, that’s a lot of pressure to get it right.

I also keep not speaking German out of fear that they’ll know, I mean, they know anyway.

I’m just having trouble functioning as a human being as well. I couldn’t find pans when I first got here, so assumed frying things wasn’t a German thing, they don’t really have bacon so I was like ‘okay then boiled eggs it is’. So now I have 12 boiled eggs in the fridge, I’m not a fucking bodybuilder, I have no need for 12 boiled eggs. I came back from a gig at a punk venue five minutes down the road and ate an egg drunkingly, confused at why I couldn’t just email the woman asking if she had a frying pan.

I found the frying pan and a few other pans. They were in the oven.

Food seems to be my main issue, I’m a picky eater in the sense that I eat food like a 18th century french nobleman. I like shellfish, cured meats, good cuts of meat and vegetables on occasion but they aren’t a main staple to my diet. Last time I was in Berlin I used a Google Translate camera app that let’s you translate things through your camera. As I was having anxiety about which tomato sauce to buy in an ailse fucking dedicated to it, I held it up to one and it flickered between thinking a German word said either ‘Humiliation’ or ‘Strangler’ – so a good omen.

I bought the one that said bolognese and it was delicious.

I’ll probably be better next week, but this was just random sporadic thoughts I needed to get out. Mum if you’re reading this, I’m fine, I’ll skype you tomorrow.

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