Like a circle in a spiral…

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“90% of the public I think now understands depression. But anxiety disorders are never just cottoned on to. Anxiety still has the hangover of ‘pull yourself together’.” – Gary McDonald

I don’t know that they understand depression so much as an acceptance that it is more than just feeling a bit sad all the time. I certainly wouldn’t wish the gaping maw of smothering emptiness on anyone. It’s not just sadness. It’s melancholy deep into your bones like coming in from the cold and feeling like you’ll never bee warm again. It’s hopelessness. It’s a lack of joy or interest in your most favourite things in the world. It’s not caring that your hair is plastered to your head with natural oils, or that you stink from not washing yourself or your clothes in weeks. It’s looking at the dishes in the sink and thinking that eating is too much effort anyway.
You’ve got a good life – happy marriage and family, your own home, a good income, cuddly pets, plenty of food – so you’re left wondering ‘why do I feel like this?’

Trust me, it is far more frustrating for the person with depression than it is to know someone with it. You might look at them and think ‘you’re *still* sad? Why?!’. But they’re thinking the same thing with the added bonus of blaming themselves and knowing they’re making everyone else sad/worried/angry/annoyed and that some people will just walk away from them because they’ve had enough (‘why can’t you just cheer up?!’) and just get over it all ready.

Cause no one with depression has ever thought of that before. We enjoy wallowing in a pit of despair.

That last paragraph was sarcasm by the way. Of course we’ve thought of it. No one with depression wants to feel that way. Well, maybe some do but I’ve never met anyone who enjoys staring unfocused at the wall for hours. I most certainly don’t.

But the general population is starting to understand this. We don’t want it. We aren’t just ‘sad’. We can’t just ‘get over it’.

Anxiety is the real bitch. It’s random. It’s pointless. It’s sudden but sometimes it creeps and you don’t know you’re feeling it until it’s too late to do anything but wait it out.

It’s like that buzz you get before performing on stage but it’s the bad sort of buzz – when you’re going out there unexpectedly and unprepared, and you’re pretty sure they aren’t going to ask you to do something you’re good at, like singing, and you know there will be unkind laughter and taunting from the audience and you‘re blindfolded so you don’t know what you’re wearing but it’s uncomfortable and noisy so you’re pretty sure it’s unflattering and cringeworthy and meant to make you look ridiculous.

The worst part though is that what you are actually doing is sitting on the sofa at home eating breakfast and watching silly cartoons with your kids on a beautiful, sunny day with nothing in your schedule but to enjoy it, so you’re left wondering what’s triggered these feelings and when you can’t think of anything from today, yesterday or tomorrow, you begin to wonder what the hell is wrong with you and then you start feeling anxious with a side order of mild panic because you can’t work out how it started or how to stop it, and maybe a bit sick because your gut is starting to respond to all of this so you can’t eat anymore but you still have to think about your family and looking after them and it all just winds tighter and tighter no matter how many breathing exercises or meditation techniques you try.

And still you spiral more tightly but now you’re getting angry with yourself on top of the anxiety and fear and helplessness because this is ridiculous! You’re an intelligent being, capable of logic and reasoning but this defies all of that and that leaves you clenching your teeth in irritation. And you’re starting to get a tension headache and your jaw is aching along with your tightened gut which is now starting to hurt because you’re taxing the muscles and you’ve put your breakfast aside but now just seeing the bowl is making you feel ill.

And the worry sets in – what are my kids seeing? How are they experiencing this? Am I hurting them in someway? What about my husband? My family? My friends? My pets? So many people you’re dragging along with you and you don’t want this for them because you like them, you love them and you want them to be happy and comfortable and you want to be a positive influence in their lives…

And on and on and on until you can’t tell up from down any more and your vision is starting to tunnel into nothing but you aren’t hyperventilating and it’s all trapped in your head, trapping you in your head and you *still* don’t know why it’s happening and that’s the thing that gets you more than anything else.

How do you stop the cycle when you can’t identify the beginning?

“Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning on an ever spinning reel
As the images unwind, like the circles that you find in
The windmills of your mind!”

Songwriters: BERGMAN, MARILYN / LEGRAND, MICHEL / BERGMAN, ALAN
The Windmills Of Your Mind lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Switching gears….

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My focus lately has been more on colouring than wool but with winter here, my feet are cold! I made house socks.

housesocks1

I based them on a pattern by DROPS (with edits on the ankle and toes) and will likely make more edits on the next pair. I might even change the cable pattern. The yarn is Magic+ by Bergere de France – 50% wool, 50% acrylic, aran weight and very warm. I think I would also like them to be a little longer. The warmer my feet are the colder my ankles and lower legs get. The human body is weird. Or, at least, mine is.

This doesn’t mean I haven’t been colouring.

My husband spoils me. I can’t remember if I asked for a surprise or for something specific from CassArt but he came home with a set of Chameleon markers. I have been wanting a set of these markers since I first saw them and had them on my Christmas list so I was delighted to get them.

The Chameleon Color Tone markers are an alcohol-based, twin-tip marker with a bullet nib at one end and a brush nib at the other. Each of the 20 colours comes with a mixing chamber that feeds a colourless toner into the coloured nib so that you can use one pen to colour from the palest hint of colour to the original colour of the marker. The longer you have the nib in contact with the mixing chamber, the larger the area you can shade in.

writhing chameleon
Today I finally did a full design test page. I missed out using a couple of the palest colours in the set of 20 and didn’t use the black but I like how it’s all come together. Well, I say ‘come together’. I wasn’t as careful with colour placement as I would usually be because it is just a practice piece.

The markers take a little getting used to because markers don’t normally change colours like these do. They’re fun though and the colours are good.

 

The Trouble With Scribbles

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I’ve been very busily not colouring lately because I’ve been very busily drawing. I’m still tweaking most of these but this is what I’ve ‘finished’ so far –

book beginnings

I’m trying to decide if I should continue and perhaps self-publish an eBook. I’ll need at least 20 for that I think so I’m doing well in that regard.

The first one I finished was the paisley one on the top row, second from the right and you can print your own copy to colour. Please share photos if you do.

They are all hand drawn and without any computer editting and the last time I had any tuition in drawing was back in high school so I’m feeling pretty pleased with my efforts so far.

Conversations with my husband….. (#1)

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wax dinosaur

Me – Russell, why is there a wax dinosaur on our (bedroom) light switch?
Russell – ‘Cause I couldn’t leave it on the ladder.
Me – Why was it on the ladder?
Russell – ‘Cause I couldn’t leave it on the floor.
Me – Why was it on the floor?
Russell – I don’t think it was. Ever. Cause I wouldn’t do that.
Me – …..

Russell is my 40 year old husband, not my 13 year old son. You are forgiven for being confused.

A couple of weeks ago, he (my husband) was tinkering with one of his many skateboards. In amongst his equipment for said tinkering are several sticks of wax. I don’t know why he had them and I don’t know what prompted the bout of creativity but he made several figures with the wax, including an Asian style dragon and the above mentioned wax dinosaur.

The Great Cataloguing Adventure 2015 – Colouring Pencils Edition

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In case my absence hasn’t made it obvious, I’m struggling at the moment. My head is not a happy place right now and my son has just gone back to his grandmothers after the summer holidays. I miss him. It’s lonely here after 6 weeks with his constant company.

My husband took him on the coash (no car!) yesterday so I decided to finally sort out a final, expandable version of the Big Book Of Colour (BBoC) for my pencils. This is the third version because I keep adding to the collection and the book isn’t big enough to hold everything anymore. Also, I want to record the colours in their brand groups as well as in their colour groups.

There are many swatch books/colour charts available online but they all either have space for colouring but not for colour names or are for ‘grown-up’ pencils and I don’t have any of those so I had to make my own. I used an Open Office document to create a simple table with squares for colour and space for colour names and numbers beneath. As I’ve said before, I flit between crafts which means I have a lot of things that can be repurposed and this time was no different. I knew I had an A5 folder on a shelf and was preparing to cut some printer paper down to size when I found some A5 sized card and A5 plastic sleeves, which was perfect because pens won’t bleed through card and watercolours won’t warp it either.

Print your own blank pencil swatch chart – A5. Check that your printer is set for A5 sized paper (half an A4 page) and that your borders are at 1.50cm for top, left and right and at 1.3cm for the bottom. You can also print this 2 to a page.

It took me about a day to finish but with a total of 492 colours (336 coloured pencils, 83 watercolour pencils and 73 markers & pens), it was a big job (set up the printer, print 50 double sided pages, sort pencils that aren’t already sorted, label and colour as appropriate).

Faber-CastellWant to see more?

This is the third version of the BBoC I have made but because this one is expandable and easily added to, I am unlikely to need to make another version.

I have pages for each of the brands/lines that I have and will be making a section for the coloured pencils that shows the colour groups. When I have more watercolours and more pens/markers, I will do sections for them too.

I’m also going to make laminated, oversized pages as dividers but I want to make them pretty so they won’t be done quickly.

And of course, I hadn’t finished this post before my husband got home so I get to tell you how awesome he is – he brought home a set of 12 Inktense watercolours and 24 Polychromos. So very very delighted! I have a few Inktense already but there are only 2 repeats so I now have 16 individual colours. And Polychromos… sooooo beautiful! They are my first set of proper ‘grown-up’ colouring pencils and they are even more gorgeous to use than I thought they would be.

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There is a lot of hype about Prismacolours and Polychromos, and there are many of each but they are also prohibitively expensive. And you know what? I love my Crayola pencils so as much as I wanted to try the fancy pencils (and they are fancy) I was ok to wait for them. But now I don’t have to!

I am very very spoiled. My husband will say I am very very loved. He’s awesome and I love him regardless of the fancy pencils.

Today is my birthday (Well, Sunday was)…

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Since I last wrote, I have been tweaking the Lilia design so all that typing made me think I’d already blogged this week. Obviously, I hadn’t. Oops.

But I finished version 2 of Lilia today and thought I’d share.

Veronica-Lilia2 - collageI’ve named this particular doll Veronica. No particular reason, she just looks like a Veronica.

I made a couple of minor shaping changes and added ears with this version. I doubt anyone else will notice the changes (except for the ears) and that’s good. I’ll make another doll to check that I’ve recorded everything that is needed in the pattern and that my maths works.

Bad maths in patterns is a pet peeve so I make an extra effort to be sure it’s right, no matter how simple the pattern. Having worked with a friend on a knitting project recently, I realised that not everyone even bothers with the numbers. I don’t get that. I don’t want to rip back so I count to make sure I have the right number of stitches as per the instructions. I am grateful that I have enough experience with patterns to be able to make corrections when things don’t add up.

It’s been a peculiar week, emotionally. Sunday was my birthday and for the first time I can remember, I spent most of the day asleep. I love my birthday – it’s the one day in the year I can justify insisting everyone pay flattering attention to me. Husband and Son were here and there was yummy breakfast and a roast for dinner and presents (one of which was delayed and only arrived today).

I got a Derwent Carry-All and a pair of extra leaves taking the potential capacity from 132 pencils to 220. Because some of my pencils are extra thick I have fewer than that but all my favourites are in there.

derwentcarryall3Well, they were until my delayed present arrived today.

I lovelovelove Crayola pencils. The colours are vibrant, the coverage is good, they sharpen well, the ‘lead’ can take a lot of abuse before shattering in the pencil, and they aren’t expensive. I already have a set of 36 but several of the colours are more rapidly shrinking than the others (red, green, pine green and black in particular). So today Hubby brings home a set of 50 new Crayola pencils!!! Sooooooo happy!!

crayola50

Of course, now I have to reshuffle the pencils in my case. It’s such a chore to play with organise my colouring pencils.

So, emotionally peculiar week. 6 years ago, our dogs produced a litter of puppies. All but one of them went to friends and family. Late last week I was told that one of them had been taken to a shelter because his family couldn’t keep him anymore. Then on Monday I was told that he had been put down because it had been decided that they wouldn’t be able to rehome him. He was only 6 and there was nothing wrong with him and I’m struggling with irrational guilt. He was one of my fur-babies.

My human son is 13 nearly 14 now. It’s starting to show. I don’t do shouting but trying to get him to wash or eat or go out… well, I’d rather have teeth pulled. It’s emotionally taxing. He’s awesome and the worst I can say about him is that he’s stubborn. It’d be nice if he could be stubborn about things I don’t ask him to do though😉

It may not seem like much but it’s been an unpleasant rollercoaster. For example, finishing the doll feels awesome, but then I crash hard because it’s done and now I have to choose a new project. Birthday = high, no phone calls = low. This is among the worst I’ve been. The highs are so short, and the lows are so deep. I’m ok and I can get through each ‘episode’ but it wears me out. I’m doing the things that help – colouring, meditation, crocheting – and they do help so I’m doing something right.

On the subject of things that help me feel better, this week I coloured one of my most favourite pages in the ‘One Year Wiser’ book.

the mountains are calling