Just keep going….

Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to get out of the house. Most people take this for granted, but if you have low mood, fatigue and apathy, just getting out of bed in the morning is a trial. This is how I feel at the moment. I know that it is  temporary and that one day  I will get my enthusiasm and energy back, but for now I just need to keep going until the tide turns.

In practice this means accepting all invitations to socialise and not make excuses to avoid being with others when just getting up, showering, putting make-up on and dressing smart are a monumental effort. It’s hard. My perfect day would be to get up when I feel like it, dress in tracksuit, put hair up in a scarf and sit all day behind my sewing machine until hubby comes in from work. But I know that this is not healthy day after day after day.

Today I had arranged to have my hair cut. I was tempted to put it off again but already being 2 weeks overdue, I felt that I really needed to get up and get trimmed. Once I was in the salon I really appreciated the 45 minutes of “me- time.” Two shampoos and the slow massage conditioner treatment were really relaxing and with my hair cut, I felt so much better.

Then came the walk with the “girls” at 2pm. Four ladies plus Jasper met at the local park for a walk and 1 1/2 hours later, we returned to the park, tired but pleased that we had not succumbed to the rain and wind earlier in the day, to be rewarded with sunshine for our get-together. This is the embryonic walking group which Julie has tried to set up on our local internet page and so far we are doing well. Jasper and I enjoyed our walk and are now looking forward to organising next week’s stroll. I wasn’t looking forward to it earlier but knowing that fresh air and gentle exercise would be beneficial to my mood and general well-being, Jasper insisted that we join in.

Jasper and I arrived back home after 2 hours of walking, exhausted from the fresh air and wondering how on earth I was going to survive an evening out with the “other” girls. I ran a bath, and nearly fell asleep, but somehow managed to galvanise myself to get changed and get ready by 6.30pm when we left for the meal.

The meal was great. The company was friendly and interesting and being back home by 9.30pm means that a late night is avoided. I really enjoyed myself although if I had had the chance earlier I would have declined the invite.

I have learned over the years that even if you feel low, you need to keep on going. Keep accepting invitations from friends. Do not become isolated. Go through the motions if you have to but keep going. It’s the only way. Yes, it’s hard work and can be exhausting but don’t even think about not going. Put yourself on auto-pilot. Explain to your friends if necessary; they will understand and I guarantee that you will be pleasantly surprised.

Make the effort. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

 

 

 

114 Days of freedom-days 8-12 catch-up

I am hopeless.

All my good intentions of keeping my Blog/journal up to date thwarted by …….by….. Mmmmm. Not sure, except that I have neglected my duties for 5 days.

intentions

In my defense, Days 8 and 9 were spent celebrating my birthday:) Whilst I am not a fan of Christmas, Easter and other Public holidays when I am celebrating something totally unconnected with me, my birthday is sacrosanct. I have never worked on my birthday. Ever. I have always loved my birthday and  the work thing came about in my penultimate year at school when I sent off for retail management opportunity information from our best-loved high-street stores. Strangely, it was the Woolworths scheme which caught my eye.

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In addition to the standard holiday allocation, they gave you a day off for your birthday! Wow! That really appealed to me, and I vowed then and there, never to work on my birthday. I never have and my well-trained secretary used to book my birthday off as her first job each New Year. I think that Woolworths were years ahead of their time with my employer ony following their blazed trail 35 years later by introducing “Birthday Leave” in 2014. It may not seem much, but it meant a lot to me; Better late than never.

My birthday this year fell on a Saturday. I went to my Slimming World class as usual and the class sang “Happy Birthday” when they found out I was in group on my day. I didn’t want to do anything special on my birthday except that I got to choose the dinner menu. Steak of course! Not only do my hubby and I enjoy a good steak, Jasper has developed a liking for it too. The good thing is that today, steak is not the expensive luxury it used to be, and Jasper gets his own slab of red meat to eat with his mummy and daddy. Yes, we spoil him but he deserves it. He gives us both so much pleasure that we cannot possibly deny him a bit of sirloin.

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Jasper also likes going to the pub. He likes it because he gets lots of adoring attention and he meets his doggy friends for a get-together!

Jasper and Tess

Birthday celebrations over, I have mostly been busy making the quilts I have “on order.”

If someone wants a quilt, I am happy to make one if they choose their colour scheme. It’s very interesting to see who chooses which colours. Everyone is so different.

I currently have 4 quilts in progress.

  1. Will’s housemate (a) yellow/green/spring-like colours
  2. Will’s housemate (b) teal/grey/silver
  3. Feri’s mum in Iran- Moda Modern Neutrals
  4. My Slimming World Leader- lap quilt in random FQs

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Whilst looking at quilts on Pinterest, I have also found details for “Fidget Quilts.”

I will explain these another day.:)

Streetlife:-

About 12 months ago, I discovered a great website called “Streetlife” Streetlife is a social network website which “makes it easy to connect with local people, ask questions about your area, share news, events and recommendations with neighbours”

So far I have found a great local tiler, who did our kitchen tiles before Christmas, found free horse manure for our garden and this week, found a group of ladies who are interested in walking. Today we met for the first time in the local park and went for a walk along the canal. It was a beautiful sunny spring day and we have a lovely time. It was so successful that we will meet again next week for a walk in the fresh air and sunshine (hopefully). People bemoan the internet but I love it. It has provided some great friends and wonderful inspiration and ideas apart from being able to keep in touch with family. How did we ever do without it?

So, a quick run-down of the last few days. I am trying to keep up with myself. Now I am beginning to understand how my mum felt-she always said she always felt like she was living in the middle of a whirl-wind. If I can’t keep up with myself, I can’t possibly expect anyone else to.

Stay with me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

114 Days of freedom-day 7

Already one week down on my 16-week break from work! How quickly time flies when you are enjoying yourself so the saying goes.

I certainly enjoy having the time to indulge my favourite activities; walking Jasper, making quilts and, at the moment, sleeping.

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Jasper heping with mummy’s quilt!

One thing I have learned about chronic fatigue and how it affects me is that my body is not very good at dealing with adrenalin. It doesn’t matter whether the adrenalin -rush is the result of stress or excitement, (a) I seem to produce a lot of it and (b) it hangs around and upsets my equilibrium for some weeks afterwards.

I finished the high-intensity cycle of my seasonal work at the end of January, and am still winding down 3 weeks later. In previous years when I was much less self-aware, I would have fed off this adrenalin and continued the high-energy activities it promotes. This in turn would lead to a crash weeks if not months down the line. These days, being aware of this potential reaction I make a concerted effort to relax and not do  more than necessary so conserving my energy and protecting my equilibrium.

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The beginnings of a disappearing 16 square quilt

Since finishing work, I have been able to control what I do during the day, but my sleep pattern has been disturbed. Short periods of deep sleep for 2-3 hours are followed by hours of agitated waking, my mind racing with ideas and plans for the next day.

Going forward if my sleep doesn’t settle down soon, I will take my prescription medication to help me stay asleep for a good 6-7 hours instead of waking every few. In the meantime, I just keep trying to rest and relax in the hope that sleep returns to normal. My GP tells me that sleep patterns are the last thing to sette down after a relapse so hopefully it won’t take long.

Still mind

114 Days of freedom-Days 5 and 6

Quilting took over my life yesterday to the extent that as soon as I had finished sewing, machine smoking, I went straight to bed. Hence, no “Day 5” of my 114 days of freedom. Instead, I have combined days 5 and 6.

I’ve always thought that patchwork quilting was more appreciated by the “older” generation, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the interest shown by Will’s housemates at University, his girlfriend and, especially by some of his mates (lads). Having said that, I am aware that at least one of his friends from school would like a quilt but doesn’t “dare” ask! I’ll leave it until I have finished my current commissions then contact him direct.Boys!

I currently have three quilts on the go, all at different stages; one is ready for quilting (disappearing 9-patch), one I am hand-quilting and I have just started the third this evening. A “disappearing 16 square” pattern which I have never tried before.

Quilters quilt for many different reasons. I was originally put off quilting because I wasn’t interested in the intricate putting together of small pieces of fabric, following difficult patterns and matching every seam to perfection.

I started to patchwork quilt as a child, hand-sewing hexagons together to make bedspreads and large floor cushion covers. I loved doing that. As as adult, my primary driver for quilting is colour. I love colour. I didn’t think about this until I started scrapbooking in earnest and many people commented on my use of colour. To me it is natural to put certain colours together which quite clearly to some, would be counter-intuitive. When I think back, when I wanted to decorate my front room in brown and blue I went to the specialist paint shop to get the colours I wanted mixed specially. I knew exactly which colours I wanted and it took a while for the guy to come up with the right mix. When he handed me the two tins of paint I always remember him saying, “Brave choice but it will look fantastic.” To me, it was quite run-of-the-mill and just different from swathes of safe Magnolia.

My quilts are therefore based on very simple, easy to do but interesting patterns focussing primarily on the use of colour. I believe that if I am using strong, co-ordinating  colours and quality fabrics, the pattern needs to be simple so that the quilt shows off the colours to their full extent. Quilts which combine amazing fabric patterns with intricate quilting patterns look messy to me and neither are shown to their full beauty. Of course this is my personal opinion, but I will stick to simple patterns and amazing fabrics for my quilts. It seems to work:)

Other reasons that I quilt;

  • I love making something useful. Ok, so I have piles of quilts that I have made which are stored in bed-drawers, but they are all called into use at different times. This year, I will be taking a couple over to our house in Iran.
  • I love making quilts as presents. Many of my friends are crafty/creative and my lastest acquisition are two crocheted beanie hats to match my pink and navy dog-walking wellies. In return, I will make a quilt. I love giving presents.
  • It is relaxing. To absorb mayself in colours, numbers, patterns and piecing together is to forget everything else and focus on the present. I am hopeless at Mindfulness as explained by the experts; To me, quilt-making is my Mindfulness.

I have boxes of gorgeous fabric just waiting to be made into quilts. But which colours scheme will be next?

 

 

114 Days of freed0m-Day 4

Today I arranged to visit my friend Jenny who has a 10 week old puppy that I just have to see.  I have seen some photos and he looks adorable and I made sure that I took my camera with me.

I arrived at the house, opened the door and he came to greet me straight away; no nerves and no barking just much tail wagging. What a cutie.

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As with most pups he is all big feet and long legs which are still not quite under his control when he runs around after Jenny-mummy everywhere she goes. He bombed around playing with his toys until he flopped and although he fought to stay awake, soon he was fast asleep on Jenny-mummy’s lap.

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Nite-nite Fenn.

Sleep tight.

 

 

 

 

114 Days of freedom-Day 3

Mental Health

Any long-standing readers who still dip into my Blog  will remember that I created Poppyposts to discuss my experiences of mental illness, depression and anxiety. This was 5 years ago, when not many people spoke openly about their mental health issues. Since then I have been through a number of phases. I have been featured in the National Press, Sky News, I was my employers mental health Champion, I am now a mental health first aider and am often my friends and colleagues first “port of call” when they are struggling with their mood.

Whilst I enjoy helping others, I have to manage my chronic fatigue symptoms alongside my desire to help everyone, campaign for better mental health care and awareness, argue that medication is a vital consideration when dealing with mental illness and keep a full-time job. This has proved difficult at times and I took the decision 18 months ago to take a back seat and let others do the campaigning. It was taking too much of my emotional energy to keep up the effort and was making me ill.

I am therefore pleased that our National Institution, the BBC, has made mental illness a focus of their schedule in the next two weeks,“In The Mind” will cover a number of illnesses across its media. This is unheard of but very welcome and the BBC has already broadcast some great stuff highlighting the problems encountered by people of all ages suffering from a variety of mental illnesses.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the next two weeks brings.