Tag Archive | low mood

Week 3-“hiding”

It’s too easy to hide.

I need to make more of an effort to get out and meet people, communicate and take in some of the Spring sunshine. Sadly, I had enough to keep me busy indoors last week to provide my semi-guilty conscience with sufficient excuses to avoid people and continue my isolation indoors. Naughty.

Too peoply

So what did I do?

Quilting of course- I finished my scrappy mug-rugs. Another sign of a restless mind is focussing on smaller projects which can be completed quickly and without too much concentration involved. I enjoyed putting together these mats with scraps from previous projects and it gave me a chance to practice a new quilting pattern (braiding) and to use my freebie quilting templates which I’ve had for a few weeks-see, I’m pretty good at justifying my lack of socialising by making something 1) out of scraps which otherwise wouldn’t be used; music to my frugal husband’s ears and 2) something practical.

I spent two days during the week sorting out my sewing kit and stash and my office so that everything is now in its place ready to use without rummaging through countless plastic boxes for just the right piece of fabric. Now I am not the tidiest person around, preferring to keep moving and leaving a trail of destruction behind me instead of being organised and tidy. This again is a sign that sitting on my bed folding small pieces of fabric into colour-coded bags was far more appealing than venturing outdoors.

I may have had to speak to someone. Horrors!

Whilst scouring Pinterest for mini-quilt ideas however, I did stumble across a fantastic Yahoo Group called “Smallquilttalk.” This is a mini-quilting group run and moderated by the “Sentimental Quilter” Kath Tracy. I found some of her free patterns on Pinterest, loved them and followed the links so that I finally came to the group. Most members are based in the US, but there are international quilters too. Kath’s blog describes the group as somewhere where you can “meet new quilting friends from around the world, share tips and show off your quilts.” All without leaving home- Perfect!

Being very self-critical it’s an easy option and a bit of a cheat but it’s a start. I have only been a contributing and active member of this group for two days but I have already found a new “tribe” of like-minded fellow-quilters who all seem incredibly friendly and helpful. It all seems so easy online. Why can’t I feel this comfortable in the actual presence of people? Strange and as yet, unexplained for me.

I’m trying to be kind to myself and am sure that this low-mood will lift in due course. In the meantime, I am participating in the “Mystery Quilt” challenge and the “Small-quilt 2017 swap.”

For the Mystery challenge, Kath gives the group instructions for a patchwork quilt Block every few weeks. The finished quilt won’t be complete and the mystery revealed until the last Block is made. This is good fun and although the challenge has been running for a few weeks now, I have managed to catch up;

 

IMG_4866

Mystery Quilt 2017-Block 1

IMG_4864

Mystery Quilt challenge- “square-in-a-square” blocks for later on

The quilt swap hasn’t been sorted out yet but I have listed my interest and am waiting for my “swap partner” to be allocated to me. I understand that we then correspond with each other regarding the quilts in order to find out favourite colours and patterns in the hope that the quilt I make for my swap partner and the quilt I receive is, at least, something that will be treasured.

Interestingly this is when the differences between quilts produced in the US and my quilts come to the fore. I have had a good look through the photos on the group pages and the different preferences and fabrics used are a lot more muted (in general). I understand that, having done some research, many of the fabrics and quilt patterns used relate back to the American Civil War  which clearly doesn’t impact us in the UK in the same way as in the US. I find this very interesting and with a passion for social history, I am already interested in finding out more of the history behind quilting both in the US and the UK.

Am I a nerd? (rhetorical)

So the end of week 3 leaves me with a new tribe, some interesting quilting tasks and an intention to make more of an effort to get out and about.

Let’s hope I can force myself past the front door and into the big wide-world.

happiness outside

 

 

Advertisements

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.

 

 

 

Making and creating

My oasis of calm is definitely when I am making and creating.

I find myself looking round the shops and instead of thinking ” I like that, I’ll buy one” I think, “Mmmm, I like that, how do I make one?”

That’s fine from an expense point of view but I am fast running out of space in the house and garage.

My latest addition to my furniture barn is a very heavy, low wooden table I bought for just £5 from a charity shop. It was so heavy I struggled to carry it back to my car but the effort was worth it (I think)

Painted with Annie Sloan chalk paint in French Linen (grey) and Old White, I then used a stencil to finish it off. This is the fist time I have stencilled a piece of furniture but it won’t be the last!

 

 

One year on….

from my last devastating relapse into a severe depression and how am I doing?

Quite well actually.

This time last year I was suicidal, hopeless, uncommunicative and emotionally numb. Fluctuating between tears and staring into blank space, spending 16-20 hours asleep too exhausted and uninterested to get out of bed I knew I was in trouble and with my reactions to this illness  honed from previous episodes of depression I switched to auto-pilot and found myself at the GP surgery seeking help.

The good thing about recovering from bouts of depression is that you know you can do it. It gives you hope. It keeps you from buying THAT bottle of vodka which you want to mix with the Valium/Tramadol tablets stored in the drawer upstairs for just these desperate times. When asked by the Doctor if I would consider killing myself my answer is unequivocally “Yes.” Why would I want to live my life feeling (or not feeling) like this? What do I have to live for? I have failed in everything I have done. I have no skills. My husband could look after himself without me.  My son is now 18 and can live independently. Who would miss me anyway?

These were hard times yet I had done so well being off my antidepressants for 18 months. But the sudden and unpredicted spiral into a major depression convinced me that it was just too hard to carry on without the support they give me. I’m not ashamed of taking them. They work for me and if they enable me to enjoy a certain quality of life, continue working and stay alive then bring them on.

Thankfully I have a great GP service. I have a Clinical psychologist who has known me for more than 20 years who understands me and my illness. They work together and come up with the best treatment for me. My medication was changed to suit my symptoms, which now include anxiety as well as depression, and the dose was adjusted until I reached a stable mood level. Sadly, I am one of the lucky ones who have this support. Everyone should have this expertise and care but the funds just are not available. This is appalling and condemns too many people to an existence that need not be.

More funding; more understanding of the complexity of mental illness; more mental health professionals; a review of the police reaction to suicide attempts and those with mental illness; respite facilities; talking therapies and counselling; regular drug reviews; support for families etc etc etc; I could go on and on but there is so much work that needs to be done in the treatment of mental illness I would be here for a year trying to explain.

We have made a great start by encouraging people to talk openly and honestly about their experiences whether good or bad. Everyone has their own experience of mental illness which should be respected. One size does not fit all but there are basic things we can all do to help those with mental illness- being kind and understanding is top of the list.

 

Blue Monday

Tomorrow is Blue Monday. The third Monday in January is considered by many to be the most depressing day of the year. A combination of too much month left at the end of your money, dreary winter weather, no sign of Spring springing yet and abandoned New Year Resolutions and good intentions leaves people fighting against low mood. So well done MHRUK (Mental Health Research UK) for one of their major campaigns of the year.

Make Blue Monday, Blooming Monday!

Blooming Monday!

Blooming Monday!

Out with the head-to-toe drab black and grey traditional office attire and in with the bright colours which have been shown to lift mood. So, shall I wear the pink, orange or red-spotty cardigan tomorrow?

I think the red spotty cardigan and Dorothy ruby-red shoes will be just the thing to brighten up my day and maybe even make a few people smile along the way.

I will also be taking some specially made Blue Monday cakes to work tomorrow….more about those later when I have finished baking.

In the meantime, go and visit your wardrobe and make an effort to wear something bright and cheery tomorrow! Let me know how it goes 🙂

ATC Saturday

I woke up this morning feeling very tired, frazzled and unrested which led me to I think that the past few weeks have finally caught up with me just as I knew they would. My mood is grumpy and wavers between teary and angry. I am generally unsettled and frustrated with feeling out of sorts.

I know that it will pass and that I need to be patient. I have to rest and ensure that I sleep well and not fret about things that I have no control over. Easier said than done but needs must.

Today I have therefore abandoned the mountain of ironing, consigned the Hoover to the corner and left the washing in the basket. Instead, I have swapped being a “Domestic Goddess” for being an “Artiste”. I have been making ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) mainly because these take no time at all to complete and they are perfect for me to do in my current state of flux. Flux for me means that my concentration levels are poor and as I can’t face starting any bigger projects I now have more ATCs to add to my collection.

I laugh at myself as the point of ATCs is to trade them with other craft-bunnies but I haven’t got round to that yet and so they are accumulating in piles around my workspace.

Here are today’s efforts….

Can a leopard change it’s spots?

After some deliberation I have come to the conclusion that metaphorically speaking, although it would be amazing to think that leopards could change their spots, tigers their stripes, and Ethiopians the colour of their skin, fundamental change will only happen if the  leopard/tiger/Ethiopian really wants to change their ways. There has to be huge effort on their part to achieve change and no amount of persuasion, comfort or reassurance by others can overcome a lack of desire to change permanently if comfort can still be found in the normality of sadness, frustration, anxiety or depression.

Do some people “chose” to be sad, depressed, or anxious? Consciously I think not. Who would go through  the misery and upset that negative and low mood brings to a person, their friends and family? Subconsciously however, it may be a little more tricky to be so sure. There is often some comfort to be found in retreating into familiar negative territory of low mood, anxiety, depression and general malaise. It feels normal. It’s a good excuse to “duck out” of certain situations and there is always the back-up of “some people just don’t get IT” when you need to justify anti-social behaviour.

Can people change? Really change?

Depression, anxiety and fluctuating moods can be overcome and yes, I believe that once you come to terms with this and believe that you can change, it can happen. It takes a lot of hard work. It takes courage and it takes humility and trust in others.

You may need to change your lifestyle choices, your attitude and your routine.

You will certainly need the help of your family, friends and colleagues so don’t be afraid to ask.

Be yourself. Even if at heart you are a leopard with no spots to change.

A lion.