my therapy trinity

I have oddly random thoughts at weird times, and this was one of them. In my little world I have a trinity of therapies that keep me doing well, at least most of the time. And most of the time is just fine. No one is fine all of the time. If they tell you they are they’re either selling something (like snake oil) or should be wearing a large Egyptian headdress and referring to themself as Cleopatra.

There’s a lot of stuff going on for me personally right now and during my visit with my therapist yesterday I realized just how much. But, cognitive therapy is one branch of my trinity. I go see a therapist every few weeks and it’s helpful because she’s a completely neutral party that I can talk to about literally anything. I recommend a therapist to anyone who will listen.

Moving on, I get pharmacological therapy in the form of medications my psychiatrist prescribes for me that help to regulate the chemical imbalances in my brain. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder type 2 just a tiny bit more than 16 years ago. It’s been a bumpy ride at time trying to figure out the best combination of meds, but I know that I most definitely need meds. I feel no shame about this.

The third branch of my personal therapy trinity is physical therapy, but not how you might think. I take Lithium as one of two mood stabilizers for the Bipolar. It works wonders for me and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I do have hand tremors because of it. It’s a frustrating thing to be 45 years old and not always have fine motor control, but I’ll take the sanity over steady hands any fucking day. So I try to do things like knit and assemble LEGO kits to help. Lately I’ve been doing more with beadwork as an attempt to re-awaken some of my muscle memory.

No more meetings! Go nap!

Belgian waffles covered in crème anglaise, fresh fruit, and whipped cream

This may well be the most unusual title I’ve ever used, but probably not. And yes, as always, there’s a story here. Picture if you will – two adults looking for love but not sure they’ll find it. One has a “standard” schedule and the other works overnight. They want to go on a first date, but how does one accommodate such vastly different schedules?

You go for breakfast and get waffles that might as well be dessert and keep you looking over your shoulder for Wilfred Brimley to pop up and start talking about the high price of “diabeeetus” supplies.

And that’s what we did. Lancelot and I had that first date and it was the very last first date I have had. That makes me happy.

This lil guy also makes me happy

That is JB. When I told Lancelot his name I got “the eyebrow,” presumably because those are Lancelot’s real initials. But in this case it’s the initials for Junior Bear. He’s utterly precious.

We’ve already done our Valentine’s Day stuff, mostly anyway (damn you FedEx!!) because we did want to go out for a nice dinner but did not want to deal with many MANY other people who also wanted to go out. Today will hopefully be fairly laid back and chill, at least as much as is possible while working from home.

Jewelry!

Part of yesterday was spent doing creative things. L worked on some LEGO kits and I made jewelry. The flower-esque earrings were from a pattern and the skull necklace and earrings were all me. The more I do this kind of jewelry making the more I remember how much I enjoy doing it.

I am still knitting, though right now I’ve mostly been working on one of the charity scarves. Those are super important to me but do not make for the most exciting photos.

May your day be filled with enough food to nourish your body, enough sleep to nourish your brain, enough comfort to nourish your soul

it’s not my time

I don’t have many “IRL” friends (people I know in real life) which is fine, but it means that my support network isn’t very big. It’s all about quality in my world, not quantity. I would rather have one amazing friend I can call in the middle of the night than a whole stadium full of people who kinda sorta know me but don’t want me to ever call them. I would guess I’m not the only person who has ever dealt with this.

In my friend network I am one of the oldest and I’ve been diagnosed and in treatment for my mental illness longest, all to say that I tend to be the most stable and the most able to provide a shoulder to lean on. I take my Mama Hen role seriously and the majority of the time I enjoy taking care of my chicks.

Right now I’m struggling. I’m not sure why, and it’s not awful, but struggle is struggle and this struggle is real. Lancelot is helping, making sure I’m taking care of myself and doing his best to give me what I ask for. But I can’t rely just on him, that’s not fair. I will admit I’m not the best at asking for help, it’s just not my nature.

Yesterday I sent a text to a few friends saying that I wasn’t doing well. Like in those words. And got no response.

I know that they’re both struggling with their own things, and evidently they don’t need any help or they aren’t asking for any, so I’m just leaving that situation alone.

Maybe some day it will be my time? Maybe?

I’ve been trying to knit amidst taking naps. I’m still working on the Cable it Up scarf and still entirely loving it. The yarn is really nice to work with and the pattern is delightfully straightforward. The pattern is free on Ravelry.

i’m proud to be a survivor

There’s kind of a long story that goes with the title of today’s post, just bear with me.

Piece one – I am a suicide survivor. It’s been a haul to get to where I am, but I have and I’m proud of my fight to get better. I did some less than great things along the way sometimes but I’m working on making up for it.

Piece two – I am a huge Dropkick Murphys fan. One of my very favorite songs of theirs is “Paying my Way.” The lyrics and the beat, it just speaks to my experiences.

Piece three – Lancelot watches a lot of professional wrestling and MMA competitions where the competitors will have specific music playing when they walk out. It’s usually something personal to them in some way, helps get them pumped up. The wrestler I enjoy most is a guy who goes by CM Punk and he comes out to “Cult of Personality.”

Ok, so all of this to say that right now “Paying my Way” is my walk-out song for when I feel like it’s time to kick a little ass, and sometimes just when I need to give myself a little kick in the ass.

Whew!

That’s a pair of beaded earrings I made over the weekend. This is fairly straightforward bead weaving using a free pattern that I found. I’m ridiculously proud of these.

I’ve decided that I want to try to get back into doing more with beads, in part because I have a lot of supplies still. I spent a good part of the weekend reorganizing my craft area to make it easier to find things so that I can hopefully stop buying things I already had at home. Not that I’ve ever actually done that…

The current “primary” WIP

This is a kit that I purchased up in Stillwater, MN when Lancelot and I went last summer. It’s the “Cable it Up” pattern and it’s a completely reversible cabled scarf knit with chunky yarn. I love it.

when life gets better

Tomorrow ain’t looking good either, just sayin’

It’s been roughly 15 years since I was diagnosed, officially, with a mental illness. I was just shy of 30 years old and admitted to my therapist that my plan was to leave her office and OD on meds. I wish I could say that was the low point, but it wasn’t.

I’ve attempted suicide four times since then, once landing myself in the ICU. I’ve done some truly ridiculous things because my brain shouldn’t have been trusted and I almost completely lacked effective coping skills. But because my mom is stubborn as fuck, and I have an amazing psychiatric team, here I am. And here I’ll stay.

Nothing tastes better than being in control of yourself

Here are just a few things I’ve learned on my journey that might help you on yours.

Don’t stop taking your meds without talking to your doctor, please. If you don’t feel like they’re working or that the side effects suck too much, talk to your doctor. There are lots of other things you can try with their guidance.

When you hit rock bottom, put down the shovel and quit fucking digging. We all have that limit; figure out where yours is and then respect it. Reach out for help.

Try to understand that you aren’t the only one who feels this way; there are lots of us who have been there and can empathize.

Also try to understand that just because today sucks does not mean that tomorrow will also suck. Trust me on this one.

If you haven’t already, try seeing a therapist. Just like not all psych docs are created equal, not all therapists are created equal. But there is a good fit out there for you. Trust me on this one, too.

It really does get better. For me it took hitting what turned out to be Utter and Absolute rock bottom and then being helped back up by my mom, some amazing friends, and great psych support. I am very happy to say that for the past five years I’ve been in a place that scares the hell out of me because I had never known “normal” as an adult. Normal is amazing, and it’s boring, and it’s beautiful.

Normal for me is a place where I can be bouncy and giggly and energetic or I can be quiet and a little sad and I can cry, and all of those things are perfectly ok.

If you need something, ask for it. If you never ask the question the answer will always be no.

an interesting thing happened on the way to the symposium…

It’s odd, well maybe not, but I think it is. I’ve essentially quit Facebook. I still have an account but I don’t have the app on my phone, it doesn’t come up on my work computer at all, and I just don’t check it anymore. Once in a great while Lancelot will tell me about something, usually dealing with our new niece or with a close friend, and I’ll go out there just to see that single thing. But that’s it.

I’ve realized that this has freed up a remarkable about of time for other things. Like knitting. Like watching shows I enjoy. Like talking to my husband.

I am still posting photos on Instagram, and I keep up with a few people that way. But I’ve decided that I’d really rather talk to the people I care about and spend less time just randomly on the internet.

The one real downside to that is I’m spending less time with my personal laptop turned on and so less time reading blogs, and less time writing here. These are trade-offs I supposed.

I feel like an update is in order, so here goes…

I am still knitting and making progress, which is good. We’ve been working on trying new recipes and it’s been more like once a week as opposed to every other week. And I’m still working on various Lego kits that continue to arrive. I think today I’m going to make some tulips and sunflowers. The next “big” kit is a typewriter.

One of our favorite meals for Meatless Monday is Tofu and Black Bean nachos

I read the script and the costume fits, so I’ll play my part

I don’t think I got that quite right, but it’s a lyric from a song that just sort of speaks to me. I’ve taken to making notes in my phone when I hear something that just strikes me. The other one, that I’m pretty sure came from a cooking show was “we are all ancestors in training.” Talk about profound.

My newly “remodeled” office

I decided last week that I needed a Change. This happens with me sometimes, so I wasn’t all that surprised. In the past this Change has taken the shape of everything from a new haircut/color, a tattoo, embarking on a new project, or what my family affectionately refers to as Shit Shifting. I might have talked about this before, but in essence the idea is moving the furniture/accessories/artwork/etc to different places in the same room or different places in the house. It involves $0 and it taps your creative side. I ❤ Shit Shifting.

So we took the hutch off my desk and moved that down to the basement for Lancelot’s desk and then put my desk right in front of the window. I am loving it so far. I did loose some storage space so we decided to go ahead and purchase a bookcase for the office that has a very small footprint.

Amen.

I suppose part of it is that we’re all still trying to do our best to stay home and not spend so much time out and about, so I’m at home more and have time to really notice and think about the things I’d like to change. And most of those changes really are a matter of cutting down on the “things” and finding ways to make what we have work better for us. I enjoy the challenge.

I would be delighted to hear what you all are up to right now. Like, what is your favorite budget friendly tip?

life is what happens while you’re busy making plans

I’m a planner, y’all know that. I like a good amount of structure in my world, in my day, and when that doesn’t happen it takes me a bit to bounce back. And my world has been more chaotic than not lately, in good ways, but it’s taking a bit longer than normal to bounce back.

A rare photo of all three kids. This period of behaving and getting along lasted maybe 90 seconds.

I have been busy knitting and working on other creative projects. I have two scarves and an adult hat knit for the charity collection, which I think is a good way to start the year. There’s plenty of yarn for more, and I’m planning to start making baby hats as well. I had one for our new niece and realized that they’re really quick to make and don’t use much yarn, so they’re an excellent project.

Tiny baby hat for our niece

I made this hat using some Koigu I had in my stash. The color is much more of a light, tonal lilac purple. I think it’s a lovely little hat for a lovely little girl.

I’ve also been making some random jewelry, doing some small Lego kits, and planning some future projects. One of my unofficial goals is to do as many of these projects as I can without having to buy additional supplies. I have all of this stuff, I really should use it.

I was not really ready for this

It’s winter in Nebraska, so honestly, I shouldn’t be surprised that the temps have finally dropped into the zone of feeling arctic. But it doesn’t mean I’m ever ready for this point in the season and it certainly doesn’t mean I have to like it. However, since I knit, I am sort of prepared.

Aronia, in the wild

I’m trying to wear a knit item every day, a challenge I undertake periodically. It’s not like there’s any shortage of scarves, shawls, and now cowls in this house. I made them, I should wear them. The Aronia cowl yesterday looked great with a new blouse I had purchased and it was the perfect amount of extra warmth that I needed. Today is extra cold, something like a high of only 14 degrees and wicked wind chills, so I’ve got on a slightly more traditional shawl but worn around my neck. It’s delightful.

Work continues to progress on the mohair “thing” and I’m also spending a little time with a scarf that will be donated. I may have mentioned but my goal is to make at least one item for charity every month, and I’m contemplating doing some hats and mittens to go with the scarves. We shall see. But it makes me feel good to know that I’m doing something for someone else.

starting off proper

One of the goals I had set for last year was to explore vegetarian cooking and try to incorporate that into our lifestyle. I actually found that I really enjoy it. We have not switched to an entirely vegetarian diet, but we do make a point of having at least one meatless meal every week. And because it’s catchy (and I think something they did during WWII?) we go with Meatless Mondays. Tonight’s dinner will be an delish vegetarian chili made in the Instant Pot. It’s tasty, healthy, and really quite filling.

Now where is that recipe for BBQ squirrel?

On Saturday Lancelot helped me with a project that’s really needed to be done, and especially not since I’m going to be trying to expand my recipe horizons. That mess spread all over the table was the contents of my recipe box, my mother’s recipe box, and my grandmother’s recipe box. It was hard to find anything because there were duplicates, cards with very sketchy info, and names that didn’t always make sense to us. So instead of filing things in alphabetical order we decided to group them by type, like “Appetizer” or “Drink” or “Breakfast.” It’s in much better shape now and should actually be useful. And yes, there is actually a recipe for BBQ squirrel. My mom said it was pretty tasty.

Aronia cowl made with Sweet Georgia Yarns Tough Love Sock in “Tapestry”

The cowl is gorgeous. I was a little concerned about doing lace with yarn that has so much color, but I think it looks amazing. I’ll be wearing it later this week. Right now I’m focusing my attention on getting the big mohair piece done. I’m envisioning a wide, long shoulder wrap type piece that will have three large buttons and multiple ways to fasten them. Yes, this is kind of a riff on Rectangulum but I have high hopes that it’s going to be amazing.