Tag Archive | mental health

I get knocked down, but I get up again

A couple of days ago the girl sent me a snapchat asking if I was okay, because I hadn’t blogged in like three weeks. I confess, I teared up a bit because it was really perceptive and sweet and I miss her. As I told her, the answer is yes. But also no. And all the gray area in between. One of our dogs, Grace, got really sick last weekend and she’s still not quite 100% so I’ve been worried about her, plus a little stressed about how much we spent on vet bills because of it. Work hasn’t been what I want it to be lately, and I’m at the point in my life where I think about things like what are my long-term goals, how can I have multiple, competing goals, how do I want to spend the rest of my working life, is it okay to do something that fulfills you even if it’s not “A CAREER”? And I haven’t found any answers yet. I’m knitting, but I haven’t felt the call to write about it lately. Every time I think about it, it seems like a lot of work, so I don’t bother. But, here I am, doing the thing, because maybe if I push myself a little bit, I can get back in the groove.

My most recent FO is a hat commission I just finished this morning. It’s not quite done because it needs a pompom, but I’m debating between pink, silver or both. What do you think? It’s for a 10yo girl, if that makes a difference.

img_5840I used Caron Simply Soft Party Sparkle. I do like their acrylics, and I do love some sparkle! The pattern is Zayo Bayo Hat, which says it was written for 4-7yo kids, so I bumped up the stitch count by a few stitches.

Over the last few weeks, I also finished the Cersei hat for my former boss’s birthday, and I cast on for a new cowl for myself and a scarf for a friend’s birthday coming up. Plus I’ve been working on my Spring Rain shawl and my Boxy (not that much on the Boxy, to be honest). Oh, and I cast on a new pair of socks for a nephew, but I haven’t gotten a photo of those yet.

The Spring Rain shawl has its own little story, so I’ll share that soon. It will be a tale of why one should use lifelines when knitting lace shawls!

Happy weekend, friends. Hope it’s a good one for you!

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Stress = a new project

Yesterday was Not a Good Day. Not as bad as Car Accident Day on Sunday, but not great. It was more stress piled on to to all the other things we’ve dealt with this summer, and my nerves are just about at their breaking point. I needed some serious comfort knitting, so I pulled out some colorful worsted and cast on for a new cowl.

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The pattern is simple and easily memorized, so I can just sit and knit without having to think too hard. The needles are bigger, so I’m not gripping them as tightly as I’ve been doing with my fingering weight WIPs. And the yarn, oh, it’s so pretty! It’s mystery yarn from a destash, so I have no idea of the brand. But it makes me happy to knit with it, and it’ll make me happy to wear it!

Happy Friday, friends. Hope your week’s been better than mine!

A Tale of Two Socks

I always have a sock on my needles. Ever since I started sock knitting two years ago, I have at least one sock going. They’re great travel knitting, they’re useful, they’re small, I don’t need a pattern for my favorites, and I get to use fun sock yarn. But I’ve discovered that the yarn is a key part of this equation. Maybe not surprising to you — I mean, yarn is one of the best parts of this knitting obsession, right? — but it always surprises me. I have this sock I’ve been working on for a while. I don’t even know how long because I didn’t start a project in Ravelry, but maybe a couple of months? And this is what I have so far:

IMG_4777It’s not very much, given my usual sock-knitting rate. And I realized it’s because I don’t love the yarn. It’s a Zauberball and while I think the colors are fun, I don’t like how it feels. It’s a rougher yarn than I prefer, and I’m afraid it will be scratchy on my feet. (Yes, I know feet aren’t as sensitive as necks or foreheads or arms, but believe me, I’ve had some problem socks.) The girl has asked for a reprieve from new socks for a while. Who else would want possibly itchy purple-ish socks? I don’t know. So while I’m tempted to frog, I’ve set them aside into hibernation and last night I cast on a new, fun sock.

IMG_4776Much better: fun colors and SOFT yarn! This is Apothefaery Fabrications Middle of the Road Sock yarn that I got at my LYS and it’s going to be Beautiful Socks. Yes, capitals!

I just need my knitting to get back to bringing me comfort again. I’ve struggled with my knitting mojo this summer, my everything mojo if I’m being honest, and I need my knitting to be where I succeed and do what feels good for me. After the big Fade project and then the dog sweater test knit, I need selfish knitting. And not even just knitting for me; I need knitting that is driven by my creativity and my inspiration and my ideas. I have one more review project on my needles that’s almost done, and after that I might take a little break. We’ll see. There’s been a lot on my mind this summer and I’m looking ahead to taking the girl back to college and our looming house renovation project, so I might not have the mental energy for much more than comfort knitting.

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Happy things

Let’s focus on the bright side today, shall we? I’ll start with the best happy thing: the girl came home last night! She’d been saying all along that she couldn’t come home until Wednesday because of Tuesday classes. Well, apparently those were cancelled and she’s been planning this surprise for weeks! The dogs went nuts, Grace especially, and the boy was excited and thrilled to have her home, and it just feels good to have everyone under one roof again. So I’m thankful to have my girl back, at least for a few days!

Here’s another happy thing, a little story: when I started working at this company, there was one person who was always so helpful and kind and fun, and I appreciated her endless patience while I figured everything out. So that first Christmas, two years ago, I made her a gray cowl, and she seemed happy with it and it was fun. Then yesterday I saw a group photo with her in it, and she was wearing the cowl!! I asked her about it and she said she loves it so much and wears it all the time and thinks of me whenever she wears it. Yarn friends, I don’t have to tell you about the warm heart and tear in my eye her words gave me. I’m thankful for the support I’ve gotten at work, thankful for kind people in the world, thankful for people who recognize the love in my knitting gifts.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving for us, and I’ll be going to the brother’s house for a big family dinner. I’m thankful I don’t have to do all the cooking and cleaning this year, and I’m thankful that we can all be together and that we enjoy each other’s company.

I got lovely supportive comments on my post yesterday and each one really was like a balm, as cheesy as that sounds. I’m thankful for this blog, for those of you who listen to me and offer support. I hope you all have a happy and peaceful weekend, whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving or not!

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It’s okay to not be okay

Okay, buckle up, kids, because shit’s about to get real.

I cried in front of my boss yesterday. It was horrible and awkward and super embarrassing. There’s a lot going on in my life and in my head, and most days I’m able to paddle along and stay afloat. But yesterday morning I was feeling overwhelmed and I had an argument with my husband and then I came to work and someone said something that felt critical of my efforts, and when I went in to talk to my boss about something else, it just kind of came out. That’s one of the unfortunate side effects of my depression: I cry super easily and sometimes I’m not able to prevent it.

So, yes, let’s start with the logical and factual and reasonable: my boss is wonderful and supportive. She was kind and said all the right things. In my head I know that what happened was not a disaster.

And yet, here I am, cringing because I don’t want her to think that I’m weak or that I can’t handle my job or my life. I’m embarrassed because I feel like I’m supposed to be strong and capable and competent, and most days I am. What I did left me vulnerable, and in my head that means vulnerable to her thinking less of me.

This morning I chose something purple to wear, and I put on eye makeup that I rarely wear, because I needed those things as a shield. War paint, right? I needed them to help me feel like yesterday was an aberration, not the norm. Then she stopped at my desk and asked how I was doing, and I felt embarrassed again, self-conscious because I don’t want to be on her radar for this kind of reason. I want to be on her radar because I’m awesome at my job. Period.

Why do we do this? Why do we think it’s shameful to be overwhelmed or sad or anxious? Why do we expect so much of ourselves? Why do we think we have to be strong all the time and unaffected by what’s going on around us? Why should we think we have to keep work life and personal life completely separate? They aren’t separate.

I don’t have the answers, obviously. I just have these feelings at war inside me, the one side arguing that what happened was fine, and that we need to be more aware and accepting of those unpleasant emotions. The other side says no, those outbursts are somehow shameful, and I need to project an image of strength and perfection. Yep. I can know it’s wrong and still feel it.

But do you want to know the funny thing? I woke up feeling better today. Part of it was taking care of a nagging home repair, part of it was making up with my husband, and part of it was probably just time and sleep. But I’m wondering if part of it was the release of letting go, because I so rarely get that. I hate to lose control like that, so I hold a lot in, but I also have very few people I feel safe losing control in front of, being that vulnerable in front of.

Plus, if you’re the one always asking people if they’re okay, who’s asking you?

So yesterday was about my body/mind/heart finally saying, “You know what? I know you didn’t ask but I’m actually not okay right now, and I need to let it out.”

I want to support my friends and family, I want to be there for them when they need me. I don’t ever want them to feel like they can’t talk to me. But in doing that, I absorb some of their negative energy that stacks up on top of my own anxieties and worries, and I need to allow myself to release it sometimes, in some way. And I’d like to be able to pick the time and place, rather than emotionally vomit on my boss, you know?

What does that look like? Not sure yet. I’d like to start with regular journaling because writing out my problems helps me so much. I’m not opposed to therapy again, but the therapist I liked is in a very inconvenient location, so I’d have to break in someone new. I probably need to remind myself that it’s okay to be honest with people sometimes, to pick a sympathetic ear and unload occasionally.

These posts are the easiest to write and the hardest to publish, because I know some people in my real life read my blog and this is really painfully honest. But maybe some of them are putting up the same shield. Maybe some of them will realize now that depression can wear a mask much of the time. So for them, I will say what I keep telling myself: It’s okay to not be okay sometimes.

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Brighter days ahead

Can I tell you a secret? I’m almost afraid to write it in case I jinx myself but…guys, I feel optimistic, for the first time in a long time. We’ve had such a stressful year, mostly due to way too many big financial emergencies, and things were just getting stretched way too thin. I’m sure most of you have been there, or are there. It sucks a lot. But we made a plan to work forward, and we cut back our spending, which wasn’t fun, and suddenly I can see progress. I can see that our changes are working, are helping, and we might be close to pulling ourselves out of the pit of despair. We are still facing a big, expensive rehab project on the house, but if we can make it wait until early spring next year, it’ll be okay. I feel like we can handle it now. It helped a lot that I had a car repair done over the weekend that I’ve been putting off for months, afraid it would be super expensive, and it wasn’t that bad at all. That’s apparently been weighing on me more than I realized. It’s just been a really dark year in my head, so it’s lovely to feel even this small sliver of hope. (I’m knocking on all the wood that nothing else falls apart in my house or my car!)

Something that never fails to brighten my day is yarn. Last week I got these two beautiful skeins of Manos Del Uruguay in the mail. It’s their new Feliz yarn, a blend of merino and modal, and I can’t wait to find the perfect shawl pattern.

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Thank goodness for yarn and dogs!

 

Waving the white flag

Can I whine just a little bit? You can skip this post if you like, it’s fine.

We had the A/C repairman out this week. Again. We might have been their best customer this year: I believe we saw them four times between May and now. We have two units, so it was two visits per unit, but still, I find that excessive, don’t you? And thanks to one of those visits, we had to replace a heat pump with a furnace and do some other expensive crap. It was great. (Can you hear the sarcasm?)

It’s just been a stupid expensive year. We started off with some insulation to try to keep the winter temperature in the house above 62. My car needed body work, and then new brakes a couple of months later. The girl’s car needed some repair. We had our own A/C issues, plus a repair at our rental property. We had to redo two sets of wooden stairs outside once one rotted and broke, as well as redo the concrete work and build a new retaining wall. A dog got sick and along with vet bills, we added an expensive monthly medication to our vet expenses. We had to replace two tires on the husband’s car.

It just keeps coming and coming. We try to plan for projects that need to get done, but then something else falls apart and the other stuff never happens. I keep thinking things are looking up and we might get to turn this ship around, and then bam, something breaks and we have to pay for it. And this is all on top of all the senior year/off to college expenses.

I’m tired, friends. And just a little frazzled.

I know it will be okay, and we’ll muddle through just fine. I keep telling myself all the “cheer up” things I can think of, and in my head I know they’re true and sometimes they help. And yet, I worry, and it’s been hard at times to manage my depression/anxiety crap. It ebbs and flows, and I really do think I might be on the upswing, as long as I can keep the house from falling down around me!

Plus that’s what I have my knitting for, right? (Well, and meds too, thankfully.) My knitting has definitely been therapy for me the last several months and right now my Dotted Rays shawl is my favorite. It’s so soft and squishy and soothing, garter stitch over and over…

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When it’s done, it’s going to be the coziest shawl ever, I do believe. Yarn is Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20, which only seems appropriate. I need some zen in my life!

You know, every time I write posts like this, I worry that they’re too honest, that I’m sharing too much, and maybe I should just journal. But…whatever. It helps me to write them. And maybe it helps others to know they’re not alone, or to show those who haven’t experienced it that depression isn’t always a “cure it and it goes away” kind of thing.