Gotta be honest… looks like a sock to me

Knitting knitting knitting “ah crap”. That is basically the story of this damn sock.

So in case you’re not following, I am knitting socks right now. Knitting is a coping tool for when my brain monster is taking control, so I’ve been doing it a lot lately. I decided to try a sock again, I’ve never successfully finished one but I was feeling hopeful. Upon finishing the ribbing I noticed a mistake in one of the rows. Looks wonky but not overly noticeable so I kept going. Then I finished everything before the heel, success! Furthest I’ve ever made it! Oh wait, my repeat pattern has a mistake a few rows back. I’m really bad at ripping back and picking up stitches so I’ll let it go.

I finished the heel flap yesterday, so proud of myself! And it was done without mistakes! Yay! Started the heel turn. Got to row 9 before I realized I’d done the whole fucking heel turn wrong.

I burst into tears. Hubby was wondering what was wrong. I held up the sock and said it was all screwed up and I should just give up. He said it looked fine and asked what was wrong with it. I pointed to the mistake in the ribbing, the one in the ankle, and then to the heel turn which would fit only if my heel slanted to the left.

Hubby looked at the sock thoughtfully, examined each part I had pointed to, then calmly looked at me and said “I gotta be honest with you. It looks like a sock to me.” 😐

So I went to bed and am trying again today. I had to rip out the heel turn, but couldn’t successfully pick up the stitches in the heel flap, so had to rip back all the way to the last row before starting the heel. Now to start the damn heel again.

Round 1 goes to sock, but Round 2 shall be mine!

Socks to the rescue!

I’m breaking down, so I am knitting non-stop. I’ve never successfully made socks, and am trying again. Usually I wouldn’t try a new pattern when breaking down, but my current feeling of constant failure requires a victory. So far I’m doing well and it’s definitely helping. If nothing else I’m proud of the fact that I’ve gotten myself to a point that I can fall back on a self care technique.

The flu does not help my mental state

Can’t keep anything down, including my mood stabilizer and anti depressant. So not only did I spend all weekend sick, I spent it crazy. Between lack of meds, lack of fluids, and constant stomach and head pain I nearly had a mental break down. Luckily it’s starting to pass, but the flu really is not nice to mental illness. And I’m going back to sleep now. 😷🤧😴

You lose a loved one, then they die.

When I was a sophomore in high school we were expected to do a certain amount of volunteer hours for the year. So I reached out to a local nursing home and offered to help. They said just stopping by and spending time with the dementia patients would be wonderful. Upon getting there I was so impressed. The place was clean, friendly, and filled with safe activities. The staff were all wonderful. The place was clearly well run and didn’t need me, but hey I came to spend time with the patients so why not? So I sat down and started talking with a women. I introduced myself about 5 times, repeated the same answers to the same questions in small circles of dialog, and was surprised by just how comfortable I was talking to her despite my introverted tendencies. I came back the next day and started spending time with the people in the activity room when a nurse pointed out one gentleman who used to be a musician for a living. So he and I sat at the piano and I tried to remember tunes from childhood piano lessons and then muscle memory took over from his dementia eaten brain and he played something lovely for me. As another women began to sing I saw a few more swaying or dancing to the music. This became a regular thing. Bringing music, playing music, singing and dancing. It seemed to brighten their day, and I know it did mine. Staff always joined in when possible which was lovely to see. When my volunteer hours were up I kept going. For about two years I would go about once a month to put on a little “swing dance” night with the help of a couple nurses. It always seemed to go over well.

I remember the first time I sat near a family while they were visiting a loved one. As they answered the same circle of questions I did. As they had to explain who they were to someone they’ve known all their life. I could hear two things in their voices, love and grief. The person they knew was gone, she was different. They loved her and visited her and spent time with her, but it wasn’t her anymore and it broke their hearts. I saw this more times than I care to remember. See dementia doesn’t just steal short term memory, it eats away at the whole brain. The personality of the person is affected as much as anything else. The person you knew is gone almost entirely, but still there. That’s a hard way to lose someone, and a difficult way to grieve.

Twelve years ago I went to visit my grandmother. To anyone on the outside she would have seemed perfectly normal, but I saw something else. There were slight snags in short term memory that weren’t there the last time I saw her, but no more than the average person her age (or the average me at any age without coffee). Except she had always had a better memory than the average person. And what she forgot would be unusual, like how to change a basic setting on a tv she’d owned for 5 years. But it was more than that. She cooked differently. The women who has had the same cooking habits since before my dad was born had suddenly shifted them. Her intense focus on her daily hobbies wasn’t there, and she struggle to fill her day. She’d never had that problem before. I knew within an hour she was in the early stages of dementia. I called my father that night and told him what I noticed and to please take grandma to her doctor. Go with her. And then I curled up in bed and cried. I knew what would happen, I would lose her slowly, bit by bit. I would grieve for her for years while she still lived and I still saw her.

A few days ago my grandmother died. Twelve years of watching her slip away. She is now at peace. I have grieved for the last 3 years when she hit a stage of dementia that made her unrecognizable. But still I loved her, still do. So instead of the continued sorrow, it is time to celebrate her life.

She lived a long life filled with a great deal of joy. She helped keep her parents and siblings healthy through the Great Depression while still knowing how to enjoy life despite how little she had. She raised two children, a son and daughter, and had a wonderful and loving husband for many years. She had a great career that she worked hard at and loved, but somehow always knew how to balance work and life despite the tough hours. When she retired she was never bored. She spent time with her kids and grandkids, her and her husband took in foster children for a while, she kept her hobbies up. When her husband passed she spent her free time teaching sewing and knitting classes at the local community center.

She practiced what she preached more than anyone I’ve ever known. In fact I think she practiced far more than ever preached, simply living the example without the need to say a word. She lived a life of balance and stability, she took care of her health, she had fun, she practiced things she wanted to learn and taught things she already knew. I learned a lot from my grandmother, probably more than I ever realized. The things I struggle with I still try to pull from her example, and I always will. I haven’t lost her completely despite the disease that stole her mind and then body. I will pass what I can to my kids so they at least will get some of the blessings I got from her. I hope that will be enough to honor the amazing women that she was.

Why is your face grey?

Because I’m doing a charcoal face mask. My son literally just walked into the living room and asked “why is your face grey?” I explained I was doing a face mask and so he asked “um, is it a real mask or just paint?” Well not the type of real mask your thinking of. It’s basically a thick goop. “So paint?” Um, I guess so. Kind of.

So I’m sitting here with charcoal face paint and eating chocolate ice cream. As weird as my face seems to my child, it is cleansing. As is the ice cream. Ice cream is always cleansing. And hiding in the house is cleansing. All in all a very nice evening. I hope you all are having a nice and cleansing evening as well.

Clingy but Hidey

I’m a bit on the agoraphobic side recently. Hiding in my room, or nearly completely under a blanket on our comfy living room chair while playing video games. I would much rather fight monsters in Hyrule than go to the grocery store for the bottle of wine I desperately want. The problem, however, is that my kids need me in the outside world. I needed to be at 3 Cub Scout events recently, only one of which I called in sick to. But it was difficult to get myself to these. So I found the most comfortable parent for me to be around and clung to her. Not physically, that would be weird… I’m married. But mentally I drew from her energy, I existed in her bubble of calm, I let her overshadow me so as not to draw attention to myself. My hope is to get out of this clingy and desperate to hide phase soon. I need to get back to real life. But for now I will keep a worry stone in my pocket, an anti-anxiety pill in my purse, and a friend to cling to.

Counting down

As others have been counting down the days, hours, minutes until New Years, I have been counting down to my next therapy appointment. I’ve spent the last 2 years working my ass off to be stable, or at least to pretend I am with some amount of calm under the surface. A few months ago everything took a nose dive. Life said “fuck you!” and everything went nuts. It’s enough to add great deals of stress to the normally stable people, so you can only imagine what it’s doing to me. The biggest problem right now is that the issues are as time consuming as they are stressful. Which means that during this time of my needing the safe space of my therapists office more than anything, I haven’t been able to keep a single appointment. Every time I have scheduled one something has gone crazy that required my time and I had to reschedule.

I go on Tuesday. So far nothing has come up that can’t be handled without me or wait another day. I only need to make it until Tuesday. People have been asking me what my New Years resolution is. As I smile and make some non committal answer to move the conversation off of me, my brain screams in response “survive!” I want to survive. I want to survive this time both mentally and physically. I want to come out of this with a limited amount of new scars, no trips to the hospital, and nights with sleep. Even if that sleep is restless and filled with nightmares, at least it is a night safely asleep and not awake and lost in dangerous thoughts of “my family is better off without me” as I sit alone in the dark.

Two years ago I don’t know that I would have made it through. I have come a long way, and my ability to see that reminds me why I fight. Why I force myself to get treatment for my illness. Why I can keep getting up, even when I fall. So I will cling to this hope that snuck its way into my depression and follow it to my therapy appointment. Almost there. Just a couple more days. My countdown continues and with each day marked off brings more hope.

Happy New Year Y’All… cheers to us, and to therapy. May we all be blessed with many good and non-canceled therapy sessions this year.

I knew I would need it

I wrote a post to myself a while back. Knowing my ups and downs, I knew that I would need my own encouragement at some point. I’m trapped in a depression and getting worse each day. So I went back and read my letter to me. I don’t believe all it says, as I knew I wouldn’t. But what I do believe is that it was real to me when I wrote it, so it will be again. The strength and positivity that I felt existed then and so can exist in the future. I just need to wait. I need to continue what little self care I can manage the energy for, and make it through this time.

Hiding away

I’ve hit one of my phases where I want to disconnect completely from the outside world. I’m virtually non- existent on social media. I can barely bring myself to blog. I wear my earbuds at work, or hide in a small conference room. I simply want to hide, to disappear temporarily. These phases frighten me because they can lead to worse depressions with time. So I continue to force myself out where I feel stable enough to do so. I’m focusing on self care and distraction. But that doesn’t mean I’m succeeding at these things. I’m falling much more than I care to admit into this pit of depression, fear, and self hatred. I will continue to fight through. I am mentally awake enough to know there is a better and a worse, and that the better is truly worth fighting for. I’ll make it through. I’m a stubborn bitch, so will continue to fight the monster of my mind.

Long forgotten happy place

When I was a kid my favorite uncle worked at Home Depot. My mom and I would occasionally go visit him and pick up a plant or paint sample while we were there. I fell in love with the store. I loved walking through the kitchen section and feeling the differing types of tile, looking at the carpet samples to determine what kind will be in my home when I grow up, studying every type of door fascinated by the ones with windows or fancy knobs. But my favorite aisle was the one with wood. Nothing but boards in various sizes, all with the most spectacular smell. I could loose myself in that aisle forever.

Over time I forgot this happy place of mine. My uncle went on to another career, we bought our plants elsewhere, didn’t paint as often. And the joys of this magical place got lost somewhere in the back of my mind. Not too long ago I had to get something from Home Depot. It was late, an hour before closing, and quiet. So I decided to wander a bit. I began to remember how much I loved this store, but as I went into my magical forest aisle it wasn’t quite the same. So I continued to wander until I reached the far edge of the gardening section and became lost in a sea of half grown trees and giant bags of soil. My new aisle, my new happy place.

Today I needed a break. I needed to calm my mind of the anxiety of the week. Week? Actually no, let’s try month. So I went to Home Depot and picked up a new pack of key rings and then went into the forest in the far corner. As I wandered I found myself at the clearance rack, a metal shelf unit covered in half dead plants marked down 50-75%. As I stood there I longed for these plants. But I rent an apartment, and my tiny patio and window sills have more heat than light from the sun, so plants don’t grow for me right now. I had to leave them all behind as I knew they wouldn’t flourish with me. So I spoke quietly to them. I told these plants that they were not forgotten, that I loved them, and that when I have a house and a garden I will fill that garden with clearance plants and bring them back to life. The plants can’t hear me, but that’s okay because I needed the reminder that all living things can come back to beauty and life if cared for properly. Some day I will save those plants, they will not be forgotten, left to die on a shelf.

I loved my moments in my forest today in the back corner of Home Depot. Then of course I hit the grocery store on the way home for a giant bottle of wine cause let’s face it, it’s been a shitty few weeks. So cheers. Here’s to half dead plants, half forgotten happy places, and half empty bottles of wine.