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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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Spoonfuls of Love & Kindness

Anyone else feeling the world is an icky place to be right now?  I always try really hard to focus on all the good and not dwell on the bad, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult.  I feel so anxious about what the future holds, don’t you?  Do we even have a future?

When feeling this way, I just want to curl up in a giant cookie, suck my thumb, and pretend the world’s not there.  The next best thing to doing all of that is crafting.  I can lose myself in paint and glue and paper and the chaos of my craft room.  Sucking of the thumb is not advised during this time as it will usually be covered in all manner of art mediums, but cookies are allowed, as long as they’re washed down with copious amounts of tea.  Some music on the stereo, a nice warm cardi, and I’m all set.

This weekend I worked on this collage piece.  It’s quite pink for me, but maybe I was chanelling my inner child and wanting some comfort and cuteness.  Maybe that was just the colour I grabbed first (after culling all my papers a few weeks back, I am now a bit low on supplies…might need to go shopping ,hee hee!) and it has no emotional ulterior motive at all.  Whatever, I am quite pleased with this one.  It came together so quickly (for me, Mrs Snail-Pace) and I like its sentiment and theme.  I can see there’s a couple of spots I need to touch up (not outlined or finished off completely) but I will do that before  varnishing.

I do think kindness is the most important quality a person can have.  I think it creates a foundation for everything else.  If you’re inherently kind, you won’t judge people, or be intolerant.  You will put others first and not seek to oppress or demean anyone.  You will strive for the greater good, and help others to do the same, by your example. There is strength in love, and it should never be seen as a weakness.  Love and kindness should be encouraged in schools, and in churches and in our community.  Instead of someone getting three million “likes” because they achieved the perfect duck pout or showed their boobs or bought a new handbag (the cost of which would probably feed three families for a month), we should be applauding those that do good.

We should be celebrating kindness and spreading love and compassion.

Anyway, I am getting on my “be nice” high horse again.  I had a lovely weekend – caught up with an old friend, spent time with my family and brand new baby nephew, and did lots of crafting.  I had time to myself, and time with loved ones, which is the perfect balance.  I nested and baked and slept and tried not to think about the outside world.

Hope you experience, and share in, some love and kindness today x

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