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Craft as Cure

It’s been a very long week.  Do you ever feel like time is speeding up but somehow there’s more stuff to deal with and fit in to every 24-hour period?  I have been trying desperately to get a grip on my worrying and anxiety and, in particular, my dermotillomania which is just driving me nutty.  Or, more likely, I am already nutty and that’s my I can’t stop destroying my fingers with the constant picking and chewing.  It’s gross.  And I hate it.  And I wish I could stop, but I can’t at the moment.  So, bandaids are my best friend – they cover things up and keep me from being able to do further damage (although, to be honest, I just move on to another finger).

The best thing is to keep busy.  And the best way to keep busy (for me) is to do something creative.  It’s hard to chew your fingers while they’re wrapped around a paintbrush or holding a pair of scissors.  I do try not to sit around doing nothing – watching TV is THE WORST.  Halfway through an episode of Masterchef and I’ve decimated several fingers on one hand and am thinking of moving on to the other.

Anyway, being creative is a good way to put those fingers to better use.  I haven’t had a lot of free time this month so my craft room has been very neglected (the painting below was done weeks ago…)  But I am determined this weekend will have a few hours set aside for me to shut myself away from the world and all the worries it contains and do some painting, collaging, drawing and making.

That’s my wish anyway – things don’t always go to plan 🙂

Thank you for reading.  Hope your weekend is wonderful and that a few special wishes come true for you x

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Breathe, Dammit!

My body has been playing some nasty tricks on me lately. By lately, I mean all of my life. But, especially lately, it seems to be really amping up the symptoms, making me imagine all sorts of diseases and physical abnormalities. I hurt my back a few weeks ago – a combination of couging, over-extending and just being a bit careless. It really scared me – the pain was horrible and I could barely stand up straight. My doctor told me it was just an acute issue and would resolve itself with rest and all the usual remedies – heat packs, anti-inflammatory gel (I can’t take the tablets) and the use of my beloved TENS machine (seriously – do you have one? They are THE BEST!). The pain did go away and I gingerly went back to my normal day-to-day routine. Until I bent over a bit weirdly and hurt it again. The pain went away much quicker this time and I thought it was all going to be ok. Until, this week, the pins and needles started in my legs and feet. Immediate meltdown from me, imagining everything from Parkinson’s disease to strokes and irreversible nerve damage. I am nothing if not a drama queen.

So, faced with these horrible imaginings, I took my doctor’s advice and went to a physio she had recommended. This morning, anxiety levels high and ability-to-cope-with-bad-news levels low, I spent an hour with said physio. She was awesome. Very thorough and kind, she talked about everything that my body is going through and how much of it is probably related to my overall anxiety and stress, combined with my really ridiculously tight muscles (brought on by stress and anxiety…you get the idea). She didn’t do the whole “it’s all in your head and you just need to relax” speech – she was very sympathetic and explained things. Because I have a history of nerve damage and neurological issues (from my meningitis), this also sets the body up to be hyper-responsive to stress and any physical sensation, especially if that sensation mirrors anything my body went through when I was really ill.

She was happy with my back and spine in general – didn’t find anything there to be concerned about (I was worrying about bulging discs) and my overall movement and range was ok. But I need to fix my breathing. This has always been an issue with me – I am a shallow breather, barely moving at all when I take a breath. The physio said she couldn’t even tell if I was actually breathing or not. So I have to learn how to breathe diaphragmatically. This is really tricky for me – I always hold my tummy in, even when supposedly relaxed – so it will take some time for me to retrain myself. I have had numerous doctors and physios tell me this. Now I HAVE to do something about it and really persevere with it (I am actually trying to do belly breathing right now as I type this). Because I don’t want to keep getting these problems.

Work has been incredibly stressful, with lots of redundancies and overall workplace anxiety.  Some days are really miserable and lonely – this does not help my mental wellbeing.  I miss my friends and the camaraderie that you get when you work together every day.  My workload has tripled and I am not always a happy camper.  Basically, I am a grumpy, stressed-out hag most days.  Having fuzzy feelings in my legs (and not just because I haven’t shaved them) is another stressor I could do without.  But I will take the pins and needles over the horrible back pain.  THAT I can live without, thank you.

I need to work on my fitness levels and stop the stress-eating (ie bingeing) that I have been doing.  My weight has crept up and that’s making me feel crummy.  I’m not exercising at all at the moment and that’s making me feel guilty AND crummy.  So I need to improve lots of things, starting with my coping mechanisms and mindfulness and the whole breathing thing.  So much work to do!

The Universe keeps telling me, in its own not-so-subtle way, that I need to chill out and calm down, stop worrying and de-stress, otherwise I will get sick or develop weird pains and other annoying bodily issues.  Pretty much every illness I’ve ever had has been stress-related, so I need to do something about it.  I don’t even know how to begin.  I don’t know HOW to stress less.  But I am going to have to learn, quick smart.

Do you have a really simple method for de-stressing?  For learning how to not worry?  All suggestions and advice gratefully received!

Thanks for dropping by – take care of yourselves x

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Fresh Slate

It’s time for a change, people!

I have been writing this blog for almost 5 years now (wow – it actually feels like much longer…not sure if that is a good or bad thing…) and there are days when I feel really pleased about what I’ve posted.  But then there are other times when I read over posts and cringe inwardly.  Because I tend to overshare.  A lot.  Also, I tend to not really think about who is reading my blog, and whether anything I say could be damaging, either professionally or personally.

I recently discovered my fourteen year old niece reads my blog.  At first, I was delighted.  My beautiful, amazing, teenage niece is reading MY blog and telling me it’s “awesome”.  I mean, for an old fart like me who has never been cool a day in her life, that’s pretty rad.

Then I thought about it a bit more and went into panic mode.  There’s stuff on here I don’t want her to read.  Not because I have lived the life of a reprobate (far from it – I am LITERALLY the most boring person in the world.  I am certain if you look in the dictionary under the word “dull”, my name is there in italics somewhere) but because I am sometimes a bit too quick to spill my emotional beans and reveal things I shouldn’t.  And there are things I am not proud of.  And there are things that I should be more careful about keeping to myself.  Not because they are things to be ashamed of, but because they are private and personal and not meant for the world at large.

I’ve always been pretty open about stuff.  And while that is a good thing in relationships, I don’t know that it is necessarily wise when you are creating a blog that could potentially be read by millions of people.  Ok, so it’s unlikely that THAT will happen, but I still have to protect those closest to me and not share stuff that is really meant for private conversations.

When I was going through my marriage breakup, I spewed forth “woe-is-me” tales of my broken heart and feelings of abandonment.  I said more about my ex-husband that was necessary.  I don’t want that to be “out there”.  I don’t want to be that bitter and twisted ex-wife.  And I was, for a long time.  I tried really hard not to be, but this blog was an outlet and I needed to be heard some days.

But that need has diminished and now I just want to move on and not dwell on the darker days.  I don’t want that to be part of my story.  And the easiest way to prevent that, is just to delete it.  So that’s what I’m going to do.  I’m going to go back over old posts and remove anything that is no longer relevant or appropriate.  I want this to be an authentic blog, but a mostly uplifting one.  I’m not going to pretend I am full of the joys of Spring all the time but I am going to try and leave the gloomy, personal stuff out, as much as I can.  Because I think it will help me.  And I need to learn to be less over-sharey.  Or, at least, learn to open up more to the people around me, rather than sharing with strangers on the internet.  Because y’all don’t need to hear it.

So, anyway, I am going to changing some stuff and removing some posts.  I’m going to focus on good things and the stuff that makes life better.  I am doing it to protect myself, but also to project a better image to the young ones who are very dear to me.  Not lying or presenting a fake face, but focusing on the lighter side of life.  The world is so dark right now, the less misery and gloom we can bring into it, the better.

Hope that is ok with you all.  Feel free to send me a cyber slap if I regress 🙂

And to my gorgeous niece, and her equally amazing sister – your Auntie loves you to the moon and beyond.  Be yourselves and be proud of who you are x

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