it’s a process, you know this…

It’s been awhile since I’ve dealt with the mania thing. I can’t remember how long because, let’s face it, I couldn’t reliably tell you what I ate for dinner last night. The last suicide attempt turned portions of my brains into scrambled eggs. But I digress.

I remember enough to know what I’m up against. This is a slippery slope I’m on right now. If I come down too fast I’ll go down too far and that, in and of itself, is just as dangerous.

Control and balance are the names of this game. Slow and steady will win the race and save my life. But holy fuckballs do I hate to slow down.

I’m trying to focus what little brain power I have right now on taking care of myself. I’m eating, listening to music, trying to knit, and giving myself permission to have down-time. In that vein I will not be posting again until Monday. Tomorrow will be spent taking a Mental Health Holiday. I plan to come back with pictures.

mania sucks

I kind of alluded to it yesterday but the brutal honesty is that the anxiety I’ve been dealing with for the last, six?, months has prevented me from sleeping right and that’s brought on a manic episode.

Mania is The Suck.

I’m working with a massive fucking sleep deficit which means I need to try to get as much as I can, at night, until I’m back to firing on all 8 cylinders. It’s going to take awhile. Fortunately the med the psych doc gave me yesterday worked quite well last night. I got roughly 8 hours of sleep that was pretty decent quality.

YAY!!!

As things start to return to normal with the sleep the rest of the world will go back to where it should be. It all just takes time.

Fortunately, in spite of my massive irritability, no permanent damage was done. I managed to keep just enough of my shit together just long enough and that was the key.

in the light of the morning sun

Therapy yesterday was good. Amazing, really. I was able to recognize some patterns, in my behavior and his, and put words with a few of the intangible concepts that have been plaguing me.

I feel vulnerable because I don’t think my feelings are being validated. This is feeding into the Borderline tendency towards unstable behavior in relationships. It appears to me that he was shutting down yesterday because he may have been uncomfortable with my approach to information gathering. We should continue to work on keeping the lines of communication both open and honest.

I also need to acknowledge that there is more going on in my life than just this relationship. I’m working on my own health issues, Mom is dealing with one of her own, I am trying to get into grad school, work has been a bit odd, and then there is the whole overseas trip thing. All of these influence the others as well as the way I function as a person. I need to cut myself a bit of slack.

But here’s the good news – I have made significant progress in the way I work to control my anxiety, believe it or not.

There was a time in my life, prior to the last husband, where a day like yesterday would have been the end of the relationship. I’d have lost my shit and done all manner of pushy and ineffective things to try to force validation. And it would have backfired in a horrific way.

But I didn’t do any of that. Every coping mechanism I tried helped a little and wasn’t destructive. I am learning. You probably can’t grasp how proud I am of myself because of this.

Why is it different this time? She asked me that. What makes this guy so special? So I started listing all of the things that I love about Lancelot…

  • his smile lights up his whole face
  • the way he always tries to make me smile, even if he has to push up a corner of my mouth with his finger
  • his hugs
  • he’s smart and we have some of the most interesting conversations
  • his sense of humor
  • I feel safe with him, physically and emotionally
  • those kisses
  • he’s polite
  • in spite of what he would have you believe he really is a big teddy bear, a gentle giant
  • he treats me like a person, not an object

I could probably keep going like that for awhile, but hopefully you get the idea. I didn’t make it near that far with my therapist before the tears started.

He’s incredibly special to me and I love him, so this whole feeling vulnerable thing is harder than ever because I’m more invested in him than I’ve been in anyone in a ridiculously long time.

Bottom line – I want this to work and I am willing to put in the work to make that happen. And I believe in my heart of hearts that he is, too.

I’m feeling more optimistic this morning about my coping skills and about how things are going. I was referred to as “me darlin” last night, which was something I had very much hoped to hear since that usually seems to be a good indication of “all systems go.” Plus it makes me blush and smile at the same time. The only thing better is when he puts on his Irish accent and says my name and also adds “me darlin dear.” That melts my heart. Anyway, I also snuck in a very brief phone call and heard his voice which always helps settle me.

Needy? Yes, it was. Did it help? Most certainly. Worth the risk? Yes, it was.

I’m feeling much better today than I was yesterday, which is always good. Part of the feeling better is that I have my Visa for the India trip, which was another piece I was waiting for. Yay! Now to start looking at the luggage restrictions and current TSA information so I know what I’m dealing with.

I also took a little time to knit this morning which always helps. That’s part of what I know I need to reintroduce into my life is more time to engage in my creative outlets. I’m not sure how that will work once grad school starts, it’s been so long since I’ve done that, but I know it’s possible.

On a sort of related note – any knitters out there have a recommendation for an easy to deal with project to take on the plane, preferably that uses sock/fingering weight yarn?

an update – mostly in pictures

It’s Monday morning and I’m back at work. My laundry is caught up, the cleaning bits at the house got done, and some knitting was accomplished yesterday. And I slept. Sleep is good.

The vacation last week was also good. We had some rough patches, but I expected that. This was the longest stretch of time we’ve spent together. We were bound to realize that the other is not, in fact, perfect. No surprise there. All in all I would say we worked through it all fairly well. I think Lancelot would agree. I hope he would.

I realized this morning that I don’t really have a ton of pictures to share, mostly because I was too busy enjoying what we were doing to take time to get out my phone. I’m going to call that a serious win.

Not quite lost on a beautiful back road in Weston, MO
My handsome breakfast companion
All dressed up for a special dinner
These purple roses were right outside our room at the B&B. When I commented on them he told me that he requested them special, just for me. I almost cried.

I’m not going to lie and say that my anxiety isn’t still trying to get the best of me or that I always acted like an adult. I will say that I learned a lot about myself this last week, things I would imagine he doesn’t realize even, and that growth is always good.

I have yet to hear anything about my grad school application other than two of the three people I asked to write letters of recommendation have either done it or are in the process of doing it. That’s making me a bit nervous that I haven’t heard yet.

The knitting is coming along. I had thought I would have finished the hat by now but I was too busy having fun last week. I’m going to guess that he’ll forgive me.

One last picture…

It’s not often that I like the way I look or like pictures taken of myself. I take selfies regularly but usually hate them. But I love this shirt and I actually think my hair is behaving today. And this is probably the most true-to-life picture I’ve taken of myself in a long fucking time.

fun, games, and injections

How can you not love that smile? Seriously? And those gorgeous blue eyes? He’s amazing. And he’s posing with Yorick. If you recall, Yorick was temporarily my boyfriend. He has since taken up residence with Lancelot.

So it’s maybe silly but since he works 3rd shift and I work during the day we typically only see each other on the weekend, so we frequently send each other silly selfies like this. It helps. Don’t ask me to explain it, it just does.

In other news, I sported a big ol’ purple silk flower yesterday that got a lot more attention than I thought it would. I need to figure out how to make these things.

The dermatologist even commented on it. Speaking of which, I’m doing great. My bloodwork was perfect, symptoms are improving, he’s very pleased. I’m backing down to every other week for the injections. It has also been suggested that I modify my diet some and begin exercising. I can do that.

Have I mentioned going back to school for a second Master’s degree? Yeah, I need a 40 page writing sample to submit by October 1st. No pressure.

ch-ch-ch-changes!!!

So I’m happy to report that being 42 is every bit as awesome as I hoped it would be. I got to spend time with some friends last week, my work-husband brought me donuts, I completely blew the whole healthy eating thing, my Panda Princess Partner is back from maternity leave, and I’ve decided that my world is well and truly a drama free zone.

There has been some “moving on” because of that, namely with the guy scene. I just have no desire to be anyone’s second choice and I’m implementing some standards. Who’d have thunk?

I’m also taking a stab at round two of making a shawl that turned out to be a heinous disaster the first time. Did y’all know that actually reading the damn instructions makes a huge difference? I meant to bring it with me today since I have a hair appointment tonight and then I could have taken a pic, but alas, I’m forgetful.

In other super exciting news, I turned in my final project for an online professional development course I’ve been taking and I got great feedback from the woman who was facilitating. My #1 Strength according to the Clifton Strengths Finder assessment is Learner and boy do I ever love to be learning new things. That’s one of the perks of working in higher education; there’s always something new to learn and lots of opportunities to do so.

Anyway, what I just finished was considered a certificate. I have a B.S., an M.A., a graduate certificate from the university where I work, and now two professional certificates from other universities. One of these days I should think about a doctorate degree but I’m not ready to commit yet.

Now for some visual distractions…

the fifty-cent garter stitch scarf

That’s the scarf that resulted from my fabulous yarn score at the artist garage sale. The length is good, not obnoxiously long, and the colors are really interesting. It was a nice, relaxing knit.

hanging violet (click for bigger pic)

I absolutely love African violets, and so do the boys. I haven’t had any for awhile because, well, they killed the ones I did have and I hadn’t figured out how to keep one safe. So I got a tiny 2″ potted violet, a plastic cup, some pebbles, soil, and leftover sock yarn. I crocheted a solid base and then did the netting around the sides. It’s lovely.

a friend at work crocheted me a lovely purple blanket which the boys promptly claimed… this one is Eric (click for bigger pic)

month one – official wrap up

Sorry y’all, this is likely going to be a shorter than usual post. I’m not feeling so fabulous today and so sitting in this desk chair is not a good thing. But, accountability is a good thing, so here goes.

  1. Weight – I have lost exactly 5lbs since I started tracking this on January 1st. Yay!
  2. Money – I stuck to my budget last month. I ate out exactly 3x, I kept every receipt, and I didn’t even suffer for it.
  3. Eating better – I paid much more attention to what I was eating. Part of that is because of the food prepping I do. (hopefully more on that in a future post)

All in all, I’m counting January as a very good month and I’m proud of the progress I’ve made.

week four

Coming at you a day early this week, but hey, I’ve got good stuff to share.

Easy one first, the weight. In spite of making the decision to have dinner out last night, and eat a large order of french fries, I managed to lose another 3/4 of a pound. My guess is that it could have been even more if we’d had something healthier for dinner but I honestly don’t feel bad. This was only the THIRD time this month that I’ve eaten out and a girl needs some fries now and then. I’m still considering it a win. I’m down 4lbs for the month. My goal was 5 and I still consider next week part of January. I’m seeing a victory in my future.

On the financial front, I’m doing awesome. I still have cash left in my wallet and in the bank. I recreated my budget spreadsheet (it got lost when the laptop tanked) and then started adding up my receipts and I’m actually in really good shape. Assuming the government does eventually let me file my taxes, my returns are good enough that I’ll be able to pay off one credit card entirely and then start working on the others. My plan is to pay off the highest balance, because it would require the highest monthly payment to eliminate this year, and then put that payment amount with the next highest balance. This should result in all of the cards being paid off well before the end of the year.

I’ve decided that the next step is going to be increasing what I pay on my vehicle loan. I moved that to my credit union, where I do all of my banking, late last year so it’s ridiculously easy to pay extra on it via their website. Once that’s paid off I’ll start putting money aside for the down payment on the next vehicle.

I totally sound like a grown up.

there’s a really funny story with this pic but all you really need to know is that no, it was not my birthday, but it’s stuff like this that makes it hard for me to think of myself as a grown up

I am starting to use my Google Assistant more often. I even figured out how to have it set reminders for me, and then promptly felt foolish because it’s stupid easy. I am quite enjoying it though.

And last but not least, the “bigger than a washcloth” craft project to be completed. I am probably 95% done crocheting the pieces and parts for the kitty cocoon/bunting thing for K’s bambino. Next comes assembly. Lots of little parts that will make for an adorable baby kitty. My plan is to get that finished this evening.

So YAY! I feel like I’m making really good progress with everything and because I’m not focusing all of my attention on just one thing it seems to be easier. It’s lots of baby steps that are all taking me in the direction I want to go.

gratuitous cute kitty picture

week two

I am delighted, and entirely amazed, to be able to report that I lost another pound this week. That puts me down 2.5 for the month so far. WOOT! The amazed part comes from the brutal attack I made on some leftover Christmas cookies last night, but I digress. Life is all about balance.

I’m still trying to work on my eating habits. I haven’t yet started on the extra activity component, which is funny because as I’m writing this my mom is on the treadmill on the other side of the room. I don’t lack in opportunity, I lack in motivation. It happens.

Finances were also one of the things I identified as a goal and I’m pushing that hard. I’ll be calling Netflix this morning and cancelling because after a long hard look at our entertainment habits we realized that we almost never use it. Yes, only $15/month but still. I’ve been taking a long, hard look at everything and deciding if I really need it or not.

So I’m keeping all of my receipts, writing unusual things down in my planner, and making myself stop and think twice about each and every purchase. Yesterday when we ran errands it was a game to see if I could get out of each store for $10 or less. The only time I tipped the scale was Target and that was because my total was $11.57.

I feel like I’m off to a good start, and that feels really GOOD.

week one

This was my first week back to work after having been out on medical leave for a month. It was exciting and exhausting at the same time. But this wasn’t my first rodeo so I knew pretty well what to expect. And I planned accordingly.

I decided that my eating habits would be the best place to start with my goals, in part because I know that you get out of your body what you put into it.

One thing you should know about me is that I am a heavy drinker, but I seldom drink alcohol. I take Lithium Carbonate to control some of the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder and, since it’s an elemental salt, it makes me perpetually dehydrated. It’s pretty rare to find me without a beverage by my side. To make things even more interesting, I pretty well detest plain water. Time to get creative.

I often use Crystal Lite Peach Tea mix, or a Cherry Pomegranate flavor, or packets of True Orange crystallized orange powder. I’m also fond of fruit flavored seltzer waters. Lately I’ve been wanting drinks that are a little more sweet but still not totally unhealthy.

I’m not typically one to drink hot beverages but the high temps here have been negative numbers lately. Desperate times and all that. So my latest obsession is this…

Plus a nice fat teaspoon of this…

with a splash of cream.

Yes, honey is added sugar, but it’s not a refined sugar and honey has good stuff in it. The fact that this is both local and chocolate flavored makes it even better.

The other beverage tip I want to share with you has to do with coffee. Lots of us have a coffee addiction, be honest with yourself about it, there’s no judgement here. My biggest issue is the expense. If you stop at a coffee shop every day, even if just to get a regular cup of hot coffee, that’s likely going to set you back at least $2. No bueno.

Again, I’m not a fan of hot beverages but I love iced coffee. And I’m cheap. So here’s what I do.

Instead of shelling out sheckels every day I buy a quality bag of flavored coffee grounds. My current fav is Pear’s Chocolate Raspberry. I brew a nice strong 12C pot of that, add about 3/4C Splenda, and then let it cool. I typically brew two pots like that because that’s what my designated Coffee Jug will hold. I stash that in the fridge and it lasts at least a week.

I’m not one to drink black coffee so I have to dress that shit up. I have a 24oz insulated cup that I fill half with the cold coffee. I add a splash of cream and then top it with milk. Voila! Delicious iced coffee with far fewer calories and significantly less expensive.

What are your favorite money saving tips and tricks?