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Let’s Start Over (Again)

I’ve been noticeably slipping in my mental health maintenance the past few months.  I just continuously keep getting more and more frustrated with myself and my inability to manage my anxiety and depression.  The worse I feel, the less effort I put into making time for myself to do things that make me feel good.  From there it snowballs worse and worse until I break.  Then I start the downward spiral all over again because I feel like I deserve the misery.  Yeah, I know that’s the noisy asshole part of my brain talking, and I need to get back to being able to decipher what thoughts are my disorders and which are true.

I don’t want to feel like crap anymore.  I don’t want to hate myself.  I don’t want to be so negative.  I’m beyond exhausted and I never feel good, mentally or physically.  I just want to feel like I felt when I had finally learned to cope with my disorders with therapy.  I’ve been telling myself I can’t do it on my own.  Well, that’s a load of bs.  Truth is while in therapy I talked my way through the rough stuff and discovered my own solutions with the support of someone who was there to guide me.  More often than not, I was doing things on my own and then was reassured that I was drawing the right conclusions and getting myself back on track.  I need to get back on that track on my own now.  I’ve had plenty of time to feel sorry for myself and throw myself into taking care of my family to pretend I don’t have time for me.

Starting tomorrow I’m making more time to work on my mental health.  And it’s a bit weird for me to proclaim that publicly like this.  Granted, I know this blog has minimal exposure so it’s not highly public.  But I need a place to work this out and hold myself a bit more accountable.  I feel so awful I’m desperate for this.  I’m straining all my relationships at this point and I need change.

Things to improve on:

  • eating real meals
  • meditating
  • yoga
  • drink more water
  • more music
  • more journaling
  • less pressure to do everything under the sun and do it perfectly
  • read more
  • stop and breathe when I feel overwhelmed and try a different approach
  • communicate!!

I know this post isn’t well laid out and coherent, but it is what it is.  Part of what I wanted to share with this blog is truthfulness.  That includes the good and the bad, so here it is.  Here’s where I’m at and my plans to improve my situation in all their raw, honest glory.

Hard Work

Hi all!

I didn’t forget about my blogging, I’ve just had a LOT going on.

So real talk.  If I left myself unchecked, I’m fairly certain my pack rat tendencies could turn full on hoarder status.  SO, with the Vermont homestead dream visible in the distance, I’ve been on a mission to downsize our “stuff” because let’s face it, we don’t need to haul useless/excess crap 200 miles north.  Now I’m talking huge tag sale, about a dozen very very full car loads of donations, along with garbage and recycling in the mix.  AND IT STILL DOESN’T LOOK LIKE I’VE PUT A DAMN DENT IN ANYTHING!  Well, that last statement isn’t entirely true, but it sure does feel that way some days.  Today especially.

This past week New England unpredictability blessed me with Spring-like weather and some newfound uplifted spirit and motivation.  Which turned into some amazing progress in the downsizing mission, but a fairly large setback in my mental health progress.  Here is also where I should mention that I slipped on some ice (butt, meet concrete step) and hurt my tailbone pretty bad about two and a half weeks ago and am still in fairly constant, but tolerable, pain.  So I’ve absolutely had plenty of frustration because of that situation as well.

Today I was a yo-yo of emotions and finally cracked.  So here I am, trying to forgive myself and use my writing as therapy to just get it out and see the bigger picture.  You know, the one where this day is just a rough day, not the epic failure that it felt like all day.  I just needed some perspective I wasn’t allowing myself to see.  If you ever need this, I highly suggest great music and great people.  Alkaline Trio’s album Agony & Irony is playing in the background right now and I’m having a lovely conversation with an incredible new friend.  She’s one of those people you hit it off with right off the bat and it feels like you’ve always been friends.  I’m still very much struggling with my anxiety and depression tonight.  However, I can see that there’s light over the horizon, and I know that things will get better.  That I can get better.

New Craft Space!!!

I’ve been a crafter for as long as I can remember, since I was a small child.  Trying out all sorts of ventures from drawing, to scrap-booking, to jewelry, to crocheting, and everything in between.  So naturally I’ve always had elaborate visions of one day having my own incredible space to let my creativity take the forefront.  Well, I am elated to announce that this past week I decided to make that dream a reality!

I suppose, as is most often the case, this blog post requires a bit of background information.  My house is by no means large or elaborate, and we fill up the main area quite completely.  However, me and my pack rat self have been imagining endless possibilities for the unfinished basement since we moved in over five years ago.  It’s damp, there’s a giant crater in the floor full of water because we need a sump pump or we flood; it’s musty, but getting less so with a dehumidifier running; the coating on the concrete floor turns everything that touches it a strange orange color; and it’s loaded practically to the brim with… stuff!  Partially because I’m a pack rat and partially because I don’t know how to say “no” to acquiring things from others.  So one of my major goals for the new year was to organize the basement, donate a ton of stuff we no longer need nor want, and clean it up.  I legitimately thought this task was going to take me well beyond the end of 2017.  That’s how bad it was.  Fast forward to a week after the new year and I’ve been down there for hours each day, doing my best to chip away at the mountain of work without triggering my anxiety.  I swear I could be a hoarder, you know, one that doesn’t keep literal garbage and filth.  I’m honestly shocked that I’ve been able to get so much done without a mental overload and meltdown.  I’ve gotten most of the bins and boxes organized and sectioned off into their own areas.  I’ve also gotten everything that was in boxes organized into the plastic bins I’ve been able to empty throughout this process.  Finally, I won’t have to contend with so much mouse damage and grossness now that they have no cardboard boxes to nest in!  I still have a TON of work in front of me, don’t get me wrong, but I have made an insane amount of progress thus far.  Just a handful more bins to go through before I can officially say that my initial sort and purge is completed!

So here’s where the craft room comes in!  I realized the sheer volume of crafting materials I had on hand.  Not only squirreled away in various bins and boxes in the basement, but also shoved in every free nook and cranny in our main living areas!  So I decided on the goal of clearing out a corner of the basement for art.  It made the whole organizing and cleaning process much more worthwhile with an incredible prize at the end of the road.  I had a blast finding and exploring through all the supplies that came into my possession from both of my grandmothers.  I miss them dearly and it was nice to think of fond memories as I came across specific items.

It was amazing to rediscover items of my own that I could finally put back into use! I had endless amounts of decorations that were no longer on display or just never had a home in the rest of the house; yeah, I’m looking at you union jack bunting and the brick from my elementary school!  I even had two gorgeous shower curtains on hand that I picked up from IKEA on clearance a few years back that I could use to pretend my new space has more than just the framing for walls, plus another unused curtain from that same IKEA trip for the other wall.  I had two extra desks that needed use, and that’s not including the other two desks in our home that are already being used, haha.  I found a super old picture of my late kitty Cocopuff who gave me almost 20 years of companionship that I knew I needed to display.  A half painted blue bench now has a home.  And there truly is so much more that went into this space.  I am so proud of it, it feels like an extension of myself in that dark dingy corner that’s all dressed up in bright colors and full of misfit items.

 

craft-room-1-overviewcraft-room-2-wallcraft-room-3-cornercraft-room-4-deskcraft-room-5-bench

 

Holidays & Struggles

With the holiday season comes good food and extra family time, but it all comes at the expense of my mental health stability. Plus, my dominant hand/arm has been having some issues and I can’t really craft without pain which is definitely not helping matters.

Disclaimer: this will not be a crafty post, but a bit of real talk about mental health and how it plays into everyday life of someone who is struggling.

Now, I honestly don’t remember how much I shared about my own personal struggles in my intro and such and I’m already in my writing groove so I won’t go check.  Quick overview time!  I struggle with depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and a bit of social anxiety.  I’ve had them for as long as I can remember, and officially was diagnosed with GAD as a teen because I knew I needed help.  I opened up just enough that they sent some meds my way.  I felt numb.  I went from constant crying to having no emotion for almost a year.  I hated it, I mean, the relief was welcome, but I didn’t want to live an emotionless life either and I ended up stopping the meds on my own.  So fast forward almost 10 years of being medication free and barely managing my disorders.  This past summer I hit my rock bottom of struggling.  Anxiety attacks were happening pretty much every other day and I was not even close to functioning.  So I signed up with TalkSpace (not an ad) merely minutes after finding out of its existence.  I didn’t talk it over with anyone, I had to go with my impulse or I knew I wouldn’t follow through.  And I wasn’t sure how much longer I’d make it without help, so I just had to dive in full force and turn myself around.  So I talked with my therapist for four months before I thought I had enough of a handle on myself to try to manage my disorders on my own with my newfound confidence and tools.  In that four month span I went from having anxiety attacks every other day, to having one a month…  That is HUGE!  And in the few months I’ve been on my own, I’ve managed to keep up with my mental health fairly well, although it was a bit of an adjustment to lose my sounding board for figuring out what was my disorders and what wasn’t.

And then the holiday season hit, and it’s filled with birthdays, and my husband and I FINALLY were able to purchase our dream property in Vermont after a six month roller coaster with a nonsensical and difficult seller.  The past few days have been rough.  And it’s difficult to be open about it.  I am trying so damn hard to not be ashamed, and to own my disorders.  I want people to know that if you are struggling, you aren’t doing it alone.  There are so many people that truly get it.  Mental health is so so important and I’m sick of all the stigma; so I’m stepping out of my comfort level to help end it.  I am wholeheartedly struggling today.  I’m tired from all the socializing and haven’t had time to recharge.  I’m stressed about plans that fall through.  I feel like I’m not holding up my end of the bargain of the mom and wife roles when I’m not able to pull it together and function.  I feel like I’m failing at my own mental health recovery.  And it just snowballs from there.  Multiple times today I broke down crying from all the emotions going through my mind and all the pressure I was putting on myself to be all the things I think I should be.  I had to lay down and hide from the world multiple times to recover.  Not so fun.

It feels good to get this off my mind.  I’m feeling a little better than before I started this blog post.  Maybe because I was used to typing out all the crappy thoughts to my therapist and just releasing all the pressure I put on myself…  I need to remember that healing isn’t linear, and it’s a constant battle.  And tomorrow I shall try again.

Meanwhile, on a positive note: I found an online group (a secret facebook group to be specific) that’s a spinoff of another group I’m a part of for those of us with chronic and mental illness.  I think I’ve found my people!  My social anxiety often gets the best of me and I have a very hard time maintaining friends and such.  So it feels incredible to have found them.  Perhaps at some point I’ll work up the courage to share my blog there.

Apologies if this post isn’t laid out all that well.  Saying I’m a bit scatterbrained at the moment would be a vast understatement.  I may come back and edit at some point, but tonight is not the night for that.  Tonight is for snacks, jammies, snuggles, and vegetating.

 

Heartskulls Galore

My first venture into wire jewelry making meets my love for Alkaline Trio.

First post!!!  This is the project that was the catalyst for me to join the blogging world.  I asked my fellow Trio fans for feedback and was greeted with more compliments, love, and empowerment than I ever imagined I would.  Thank you guys!

I’ve had it set in my head that I’ve wanted an Alkaline Trio related necklace but just never really found what I was looking for anywhere.  My solution: make my own!  I’ve done hours upon hours of research looking for wire jewelry techniques and endlessly searching for tips and tricks to make the idea in my head a reality.  Thanks to my lack of internet searching skills I came up mostly empty handed in regards to figuring out my design.  However, I learned enough that I thought I could at least give it a go.

So off to the craft store I went!  Now, this doesn’t appear to be a huge moment in my process, but guys, I went to Michael’s… A L O N E!  As a stay at home mom to a 2 year old and an almost 7 year old that was a major deal.  I’d also like to add here that my husband and I share a car that he takes to work almost always, so I really really don’t go out ever on my own.  I spent what felt like an eternity (it was 30 minutes) scouring the beads, wire, and I’ll admit it, the yarn section that I didn’t need anything from.  Nevertheless, I snagged a few skeins for a newly planned scarf for someone amazing as a thank you for helping me through rough mental health patches.  I digress, back to the jewelry task at hand!  I ended up snagging some cheap aluminum wire to practice my technique, a cheap set of jewelry making tools, and two different types of skull beads.  One bead had the look I loved (see picture) and the other was the size I’d originally thought I’d wanted, but looked a little like a strange shoe.  The different skulls also had varying bead hole direction, one vertical, one horizontal, I thought it would help my learning process and filter through my options more extensively.  Did you sense my theme there?  Cheap and lots of options.  Armed with knowledge of the sales and two different coupons, I made out like a bandit.  I was prepared for having my plan turn out awful and didn’t want to invest too much just in case.

As for trying out my (lack of) skill, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly and easily wire bending came.  Now, I’m absolutely sure that when I invest in some quality wire that’s a bit more sturdy I’ll have a little more trouble.  But I’m doing a lot of practicing and it’s most definitely getting easier.  The consistency is the hardest part to nail down.  The photo that goes along with this post is my first attempt, and my fourth.  BIG difference.  Although I need to combine the two to get my ideal pendant.  The arrow and smooth curves of the fourth attempt, but the plump heart shape of the first.  To tell you the truth, I’m actually so in love with my first one, despite its wonky wire ways.

Originally I planned this project as a necklace pendant for myself.  But I’m also very excited to look into ways of making this a pin.  Either way, I’ll be practicing my metal bending (yes an Avatar reference) and broadening my crafting horizons.  Perhaps someday in the not so far off future I can make these available to my fellow Trio fans and go on a mission to get some to Derek, Matt, and Dan.

 

I hope this first post was coherent enough, and if you’ve made it this far, THANKS!

Feel free to put some feedback in the comments!  I’d love to hear what you have to say.