letting it all flow

Fused glass vase

I haven’t been writing much lately because I haven’t been spending much time with the computer, and I can’t do this much typing in my phone. I might have mentioned this, can’t remember. Anyway, I’ve been doing the whole “living a life worth living” thing here lately and I have to say, I’m seriously enjoying it.

The finally completed Old Shale Cowl

I’ve been spending most of my free time during the week knitting and then on the weekends after errands and chores are done I’ll tinker with jewelry and sometimes Lego. It’s hard to both mess with the phone and knit at the same time so… Yeah. But I’m really enjoying myself and I still have not purchased any new yarn. I’m very excited about that and about my “making stuff” goals.

Blueberry Breakfast Casserole

One of my other goals is to try at least two new recipes every month and that’s been a huge success. So far we haven’t had anything that wasn’t good enough to tweak and try again. That blueberry thing was supposed to be something else, but I didn’t read the recipe quite carefully enough and then ran out of time to get it fixed, so I massively improvised. It’s a cross between a baked French Toast and bread pudding. It was entirely delicious. And fortunately I did write down the ingredients and quantities, so one of these days I’ll write up the recipe.

Puddle of Kitty

The other “excitement” we’ve had recently is finding out that Garth has asthma. He had been doing this dry cough thing at random times, but it didn’t seem to bother him. And then it did. So the vet did some x-rays and it really looks a whole lot like human asthma. Based on how much fun it was to do the x-rays she recommended we start treatment by giving him a steroid shot. The little buddy would not do well with pills. He seems to be better now, though only time will tell.

I’m a firm believer in Art Therapy, and what that means for me is finding ways to express myself creatively, knowing that the outlet helps me to feel centered and really it just recharges my batteries. I shared a picture of a jewelry set I had made on a social media platform and added the tag of “bipolar” to it. And then someone questioned if it was about bipolar, I’m guessing because neither the image or the actual text mention the disorder and I wasn’t talking directly about medications or side effects or how awful bipolar is or any of the other thousand things people tend to talk about.

I replied with basically what I’ve just said here; the creative outlet is how I recharge and so I definitely do see this as related to bipolar. And I stand by that. But it saddens me that there are trolls in every sub-group.

makers gonna make

I’ve realized recently that I recharge my batteries by spending a sizeable portion of my weekend doing creative things. Knitting, beading, LEGO, cooking – any and all of that counts. And it’s vital. My health and well-being truly hinges on it.

Lancelot got me the pendant for my birthday. It’s resin with pieces of aquamarine and other sparkly bits. I put it on a necklace of assorted crystals and faceted aquamarine beads.
Lentil soup we had for dinner the other night that was absolutely amazing.
This is an Old Shale cowl done with Noro Tabi that I’m working on. It’s much farther along now, almost done actually. The colors are amazing.
Most importantly for me, I made an appointment and got my second COVID booster.

I hope y’all are staying safe and mostly out of trouble.

now with a side of even more random

Lots going on right now, and I can’t help but feel like that’s good. I’m getting into/back into doing some hobbies that I had put aside for years. I’m branching out more with what I cook at home. I’m really enjoying spending time with my husband. All in all, I have to think that this is what the therapists were suggesting could be my version of a Life Worth Living. (that’s a DBT concept and I think it’s pretty awesome)

Some random things I’ve noticed over the last six months or so...

I stepped away from Facebook in October 2021 because it honestly felt like a cesspool. Lots of nastiness, lots of ads, very little actual interaction among polite and respectful humans. I had a suspicion that it was impacting my mental health in negative way, and it turns out I was right. I uninstalled it from my phone and stopped opening it on the computer. I actually made sure that I can’t open it on my work laptop. The only times I got on were when Lancelot told me there were pictures of our niece.

No posts. No likes. No interaction of any kind.

It’s amazing how much more free time I found in my day, how much lighter my moods seemed overall. I didn’t miss it.

I posted something yesterday for the first time, but not until I did some major housecleaning. I ruthlessly unfriended people, removed myself from groups, and shut down notifications from pages. But after just one day I can tell you that this won’t be how it was. There’s still so much hate and trash and it’s not really worth it. So maybe I’ll post now and again, but we’ll see.

I’ve started making friends again, like real live, living and breathing humans that I can sit down with and have conversation and laugh and share food and stuff. They share interests with me, they’re respectful where it matters and brazen where it matters more.

It’s so weird making friends as an adult. Everyone is busy with their own lives, jobs and kids and being caregivers for others… But carving out time to spend with friends is part of my self-care and that’s maybe the most important lesson I’ve learned during the last six months.

These critters have helped keep me sane. They are nuttier than squirrel turds. Yesterday morning I was trying to work on troubleshooting an issue and here they all come, chasing each other up the hallway like a demon was after them, bounced across the bed to the other side, and back down the hall. I don’t even try to understand anymore, I just stay the hell out of the way.

things I am proud of

Alright, that title is just kind of goofy because in truth there are a lot of things I’m proud of. Right now though, there are some very recent and pretty specific things I’m proud of. For one, I am now done with the “hard core” portions of the dental work I needed and I was able to do these last two sessions with no sedatives, no pain killers, no numbing agents, NOTHING. The work they were doing was such that none of those were medically necessary and because I felt like I had some degree of control they weren’t psychologically necessary either. YAY!

Friday I was able to spend at the bead store re-learning a technique. I spent almost the entire day there just working and visiting. And making friends. That part was almost better than anything else. I was invited to join their official club and to participate in a class on Sunday.

One of the earrings I finished, before it was completely finished. These are about 1.5 inches long.

I made one of them at the shop with my teachers looking on and then did the other one on Saturday, swearing the whole time. But I did it and they look great and I am seriously fucking proud of them.

Not quite done, but almost!

That is from the class on Sunday. It’s a needle felted brooch that uses zipper for the outlining and is then embellished with beads and charms. I still need to sew the top to the bottom and attach the pin back. That project was so much fun that I bought a kit to be able to make more. I’ve done needle felting before but taking this class makes me feel much more confident moving forward.

I did also get a shawl finished this weekend. It’s for me and it’s one of those “non-pattern” things. The important part about this piece is that I’ve had the yarn for 16 years. It was a gift from some amazing friends as a way to encourage me to get back to feeling better after I was diagnosed.

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!

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.

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?

don’t spend time looking in the rearview mirror, that’s not where you’re going, look to your future instead

I’m feeling it more that the end of the year is fast approaching. While I firmly believe in focusing my energy on the future and only looking to the past for those important “lessons learned,” I don’t think it’s horrible to do a little self-reflection. And the closer it gets to the end of the calendar year the more I feel that tug in my brain to do just that.

I’m intending to do a slightly more formal review of the goals I had set for 2021 and a grand reveal of the ones I’m setting for 2022, but that’s a post for another day. These are more along the lines of life lessons I’ve learned this year.

  1. Not all food prep is the same, and I get bored with a lot of it real fucking quick. I would say that frozen smoothie packs have probably been the most successful, followed closely by keeping hard boiled eggs in the fridge.
  2. Whole Foods has the best produce in our area and it’s totally worth it. Because of this I also learned that I love parsnips.
  3. I really like to cook Indian food, maybe because I really like to eat Indian food.
  4. Supporting small local businesses is a wonderful thing and we should all try to do it more often.
  5. Being happy is VITALLY IMPORTANT.
  6. I can be 45 years old and still be stylish. It’s not only allowed but it’s encouraged.
  7. I still love to read.
  8. It takes a whole village to keep a human happy and healthy, and those people include the “family we choose” and should not be taken for granted. The pandemic has showed me how vital that small group of tight-knit friends really are.
  9. It took being married to three men who were not right for me to realize that Lancelot is indeed right and necessary for my happiness. If that man isn’t my soul mate then I don’t know what that really means. With everything we’ve gone through already I can’t imagine having done this with anyone else by my side.
  10. A tight hug from the right person when you really need it is amazingly restorative. It’s the very best OTC remedy to soothe the soul.

Today I love… starting to set goals for next year, wearing an old scarf with new earrings, going to a glass tonight for the first time in ages, that L is taking over more in the kitchen, and more progress on projects