For the betterment of my mind

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Three months is a long time to spend in hospital and it messes with your head. Since coming home in January, I have faced a deeper type of depression than ever before as I try to reestablish myself. I will likely always be susceptible to pain in my abdomen from the damage my pancreas took. I will likely always live with the fear of the return of the indescribable pain that sent me back to the hospital. But in the more immediate future I am dealing with the frustration of waiting for my gall bladder to be removed. I have heard nothing from the doctors since February, despite my efforts to the contrary and this is amping up the fear that I will end up in hospital again with the same problem. It also means that despite increasing discomfort in my back, I won’t be going to the osteopath to get it sorted (it was immediately after my last appointment that this all started and though I’m not saying the treatment was the cause, I do worry that it shifted something that acted as a catalyst).

Logically, I know that I’m giving this all too much space in my head but emotionally… well, it’s not great. I find myself staring for hours at blank walls on bad days and there are more of those than ever. I find that often, any positive event is followed by a disproportionately low period. My ability to focus and concentrate is sporadic and very short. And worst of all, I find it difficult to enjoy my crafting in the same way which takes away most of my personal productivity.

I’m working with a therapist on CBT but I’m not sure, in fact I’m fairly certain that now is not the best time for this. I am already vulnerable and unsettled, and the trigger is something that I cannot resolve on my own.

I don’t know where I’m going with all of this, or even what it all means but I’m hoping that venting here will help me some.

I have a new long-term project. A friend in my knitting group showed us a crocheted blanket she was working on and my friend G and I decided to get the kit and make our own. She’ll need some crochet lessons but it’s a simple pattern repeated several times on every row so the paper pattern is really only needed for the colour order. It’s this pattern/kit by Attic24 (I have no affiliation with Wool Warehouse but can tell you that my order with them was a smooth transaction and arrived quickly).

I’m 2 rows in but have crocheted as much as three – I missed a stitch at the beginning of the first row but didn’t notice until I’d reached the end and I’m enjoying it a lot more than I expected to. 200 stitches is a lot more than I usually work with.

Things I’m trying to do to regain some control over my scatter brain :

* daily journal/planner that allows me to record mood, craft/education, tasks, cleaning and eating/medication.

* limiting the number of projects I work on for any given craft. For example, in my work bag I have 1 knitted shawl (Solar Flare), 1 knitting design (a headband and it’s variations), 1 art therapy colouring page, 1 large crochet project (ripple blanket). This is enough to keep me entertained and give me some choices but doesn’t overwhelm me (and some days, just choosing which coloured pencil to use is too much).

* going to therapy

* going to my knitting groups

* spending time with my friends outside those groups.

It probably looks like a pretty regular sort of plan to most of you. It’s a lot of hard work for me. Trying to rein in my attention is exhausting.

Day 118

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I am rocking some awesome false nails today. They’re only press-on’s but I’m considering gluing them on properly cause I love them!

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Went to knitting at Waterstones cafe today, dragging my son along with me. He lasted an hour before declaring ultimate boredom, though he did agree that he ought to have brought with him more things to do like I’d suggested so score one for mum I guess.

Today it was just us and my friend G so we began yarn spinning lessons. This is one of those crafts in which I am entirely self-taught. This makes teaching tricky because I have no experience of learning from someone else, and trying to convey my instinctive understanding of how to work with the materials is tricky. Apparently I don’t suck at it because G was doing well for a first attempt.

I have had yet another day of being unable to settle on one thing for any useful period of time. Not a stitch of knitting, and only demonstration amounts of yarn spinning. I will catch up on blanket knitting in the morning. Tomorrow afternoon there are plans to tidy up/clean out the craft corner of our living room. It’s the first step to regaining some control over my scattered brain. Wish me luck.

Today is the original version of ‘Tainted Love’ by Soft Cell. There’s no fancy reason. Just that in my head it is linked to yesterday’s song ‘Take On Me’. I think they must have been on a cassette tape together when I was growing up…
http://youtu.be/d9TKu6HVQrU

Day 117

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Didn’t feel like knitting today. Has been a weird day that ended with a 3 hour panic attack for no apparent reason.

I did spend time doing the creative thing though. I’m going to try my hand at teaching my friend G to spin yarn so today I made a couple of handspindles which included doodling some designs to go on spindle whorls.

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Which then led to more doodling including this lopsided portrait…

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I was working absently, with the paper at an odd angle so  I’m blaming that but she’s cross-eyed on purpose.

There were other scribbles but these are the most complete.

Along these lines (pun intended) – the fantastic video for A-ha’s ‘Take On Me’

Day 61

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It’s a bit ironic that on the day I actually go to a knitting group, I get almost no knitting done. I have eaten breakfast in a cafe, wound yarn for friends, eaten lunch at Wagamama’s with Hubby and my friend G, shopped for food, bleached the hubby’s hair, used a mortar and pestle to grind durum flour for hubby who made pasta (tagliatelle, ravioli, and tortellini) from scratch just because he could, knit about 6 rows on the current sweater, knit today’s trapezoid and now I’m blogging. Much busier than I anticipated….
My Hubby, the pretty pretty princess 😉 We bleached out all colour in preparation of dyeing it purple. Should be fun. He’s suggested I dye mine turquoise. I asked him why he wanted us to look like a couple from Japanese animation. He asked why we wouldn’t which is a difficult argument to maintain cause it would be pretty cool…

pretty pretty princess

pretty pretty blonde princess

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s song is one that I apparently sang *alot* when I was growing up. You can imagine my embarrassment/horror when I realised in my late teens that the song I had sung so much as a 6 year old was actually about…. I still know all the words to ‘Physical’ by Olivia Newton-John.

I struggled with which song to share today. My friend J suggested ‘something goofy and fun’. ‘Cheesy’ is the same thing, right? And it was either this or something from Xanadu so you weren’t going to get anything less cringeworthy.

Ah, what the heck. Gene Kelly on rollerskates, people! (I adore Gene Kelly)

To close my busy day, here is a stripy trapezoid…

day 61

Day 54

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So one of the things about mental health is that whether you have a diagnosis or not, mood swings happen and more often than not we can figure out what triggered it – an argument, a random comment on the tv, worries for family or friends, paying your bills. But sometimes there isn’t anything in particular. It can be a series of ridiculously meaningless trivialities, things that don’t matter but that gather in a hidden corner of your thoughts and one day the light shines on them or there are to many to remain hidden so they spill out into your conciousness. You can’t differentiate or separate one tangle of nonsense from another but it smothers everything good and positive with the mess it makes of our mind and you find yourself staring at the wall and unable to move in any direction or muster interest in anything.

It’s a vexing state to be in. It’s like finding yourself locked on the other side of the looking glass, watching some shadow of yourself and not having anyway to influence a change.

Eventually the mess does untangle, or devours itself and you can break through the looking glass but the time it takes for that to happen varies so much it becomes an inconsequential eventuality.

I want to smash the mirror. I don’t wan to be on the other side of the mirror any more but at the same time, I just don’t care. Certainly not enough to effect any change.

I’m so tired all the time. No, it’s no tired. I am weary. Weary and cold to the very marrow of my bones.

t’s odd to thin that all of these thoughts come at the end of what has been a really great day.

We had our WWKiP day today at a different cafe to the one we normally meet in on Wednesdays. After informing everyone about a local yarn shop closing and it’s subsequent yarn sale, my friend M decided to make a trip to the shop this afternoon and she would be happy to take my friend G and myself with her. She freely admits that her sense of direction is non existent and that she’d never go any where without a navigator and a person is much better tan a satnav. I came home with the knit pro needles and cables I needed and 2 balls of Noro Sekku which I didn’t but the were nearly half price and so very very pretty. I think that I will become a cropped cardigan to be worn with my maxi dresses – I don’t like being without sleeves on my clothes. Also, summer here is exceedingly fickle. I never leave home without at least a shawl and an umbrella.

With that in mind, please enjoy Ella Fitzgerald singing ‘A Foggy Day’.

Day 54 is a boring old triangle in my favourite turquoise coloured yarn. Yesterday saw me adding the rectangle today’s piece is attached to.

Day 54

 

Yes, his did show up late ad has been backdated. It was written on time but our internet connection has been dropping out and though I waited for an hour, it was not back up when I was ready for sleep.

 

Day 49

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I’m in between projects in many ways and while designing may seem like a project in itself, I don’t consider it that way. It is a process that may not result in anything and an opportunity to explore texture or stitches or shape and the combination of these design elements. Calling it a ‘project’ puts too much expectation and pressure on it. Having said all of that, I am beyond the halfway point (length not width measurement) of the shawl I am designing. I had hoped I could make it using only one ball of yarn but alas it was not meant to be. The Husband will be venturing into the loft for yarn once again.

By the way, it’s World Wide Knit in Public Day next week. Well, I say ‘day’ but it’s expanded to encompass the entire week to allow as many people/groups to participate. It’s awesome and our ‘event’ 2 years ago brought my friend G into my life.

So, who doesn’t love The Muppets? Some of my favourite movies and tv shows owe their thank to Jim Henson and his brainchild. The Muppets (movies and tv), Farscape, Labyrinth, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal…There’s a lot of viewing hours involved, and most of them were not during my childhood… nor my son’s.

Other than the frequent crazy involved with them, one of my favourite thing about The Muppets is the music. Whether they were interpreting an old standard or putting their stamp on modern pop (Elton John’s ‘Crocodile Rock’ is brilliant!), I love it. So, here is a Frog and a Bear at the beginning of a roadtrip.

And just because I love this one…. stick with it. It’s ridiculous and perfect.

Seriously, so many Muppets clips on YouTube that I want to share with you all (there’s one of Tom Hiddleston that you need to see for no other reason that it’s Tom Hiddleston, who just may be flawless.)

day 49Anyway, knitting. You’re getting a new pattern today. It’s another triangle and the pattern is based heavily on the pattern we use for the squares with a 3-into-1 decrease up the centre but it also has a decrease along each edge to flatten what would be the other 2 sides into just one. This pattern of decreasing will take 4 stitches from your total at the end of each right side row. Decreases that require a series of steps to complete have been placed into parentheses “( )” for simplicity.

Abbreviations I’ve used (and I am so sorry for not including this sooner) :

k – knit

s – slip a stitch from the left hand needle to the right hand needle as if you were knitting it

psso – pass slipped stitch over the stitch/es just knitted

k2tog – knit 2 stitches together

sts – stitches

Start by picking up 31 stitches along one side, 1 in the corner and 31 along the second side, at a right angle to the first. I am working along the rectangle from day 43 for the first side. The second side is made from working across the small square of day 38 and the first half of the rectangle from yesterday (day 48). This gives me a total of 63 stitches.

Row 1 – k1, (s1, k1, psso), k27, (s2, k1, psso), k27, k2tog, k1 – 59sts

Row 2 – knit

Row 3 – k1, (s1, k1, psso), k25, (s2, k1, psso), k25, k2tog, k1 – 55sts

Row 4 – knit

Row 5 – k1, (s1, k1, psso), k23, (s2, k1, psso), k23, k2tog, k1 – 51sts

Row 6 – knit

Row 7 – k1, (s1, k1, psso), k21, (s2, k1, psso), k21, k2tog, k1 – 47sts

Row 8 – knit

Row 9 – k1, (s1, k1, psso), k19, (s2, k1, psso), k19, k2tog, k1 – 43sts

Row 10 – knit

Row 11 – k1, (s1, k1, psso), k17, (s2, k1, psso), k17, k2tog, k1 – 39sts

Row 12 – knit

Row 13 – k1, (s1, k1, psso), k15, (s2, k1, psso), k15, k2tog, k1 – 35sts

Row 14 – knit

Row 15 – k1, (s1, k1, psso), k13, (s2, k1, psso), k13, k2tog, k1 – 31sts

Row 16 – knit

Row 17 – k1, (s1, k1, psso), k11, (s2, k1, psso), k11, k2tog, k1 – 27sts

Row 18 – knit

Row 19 – k1, (s1, k1, psso), k9, (s2, k1, psso), k9, k2tog, k1 – 23sts

Row 20 – knit

Row 21 – k1, (s1, k1, psso), k7, (s2, k1, psso), k7, k2tog, k1 – 19sts

Row 22 – knit

Row 23 – k1, (s1, k1, psso), k5, (s2, k1, psso), k5, k2tog, k1 – 15sts

Row 24 – knit

Row 25 – k1, (s1, k1, psso), k3, (s2, k1, psso), k3, k2tog, k1 – 11sts

Row 26 – knit

Row 27 – k1, (s1, k1, psso), k1, (s2, k1, psso), k1, k2tog, k1 – 7sts

Row 28 – k2tog, (s1, k2, psso), (s1, k1, psso) – 3sts

Row 29 – s2, k1, psso – 1sts

 

Day 40

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Tomorrow promises to be highly stressful and exceedingly unpleasant (far too many government employees are idiots with absolutely no connection to either reality or reason, and a much too high opinion of themselves). My stomach started acting up yesterday. Today has been so much worse. Prayers and positive thoughts for my sanity and temper would be greatly appreciated.

After discovering that an American friend had no idea what the Wombles are, my Scottish friend G and I found ourselves singing the theme song for her while walking through the market in town today. Welcome to todays earworm. I make no apologies.

Day 40 added a small grey-blue square to my blanket.

day 40