Sunday, October 23, 2016

I don't look up

I'm knitting, I'm reading, I'm scrolling on my phone. Someone talks to me, someone important to me, my husband, one of my children. I don't look up. I murmur responses while focussing on what I was already doing. If I do look up at all, I don't make eye contact; I gaze to the side of the head of someone I love.

I don't mean to be disengaged. I don't mean to be rude. I don't mean to be dismissive. I don't mean to not value the interaction. I don't mean to be self-involved. I don't mean to not seem to care.

I can't risk being distracted of my focus. If my mind isn't totally focussed on what I've shoved into it, the knitting stitches, the words on the page, the images on the phone, the thoughts shove their way in.

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, if my mind isn't focussed, the thoughts are there. The thoughts deciding which would be the best way to die by suicide. Which would be the most pain-free, the least troublesome, the most accessible. The only way I can stop them, turn them off, shut them down, is to never let them in so much as a crack. The second I don't fill my head with ordered thoughts, those chaotic, destructive, and ever-tempting ones make their way right in.

I love you. I don't ever want you to think I don't care about you, that I value meaningless knitting or books or social media even nearly as much as I value you. I can barely hold on here though, and it's showing in these difficult, dissociative ways. 

Please don't top talking to me.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Marauders Shawl

I've been quiet (well, relatively) because I've been knitting up a storm. I cast on at the beginning of this month and tonight I've sewn in the last whomping willow bead. I give you:
The Marauders Shawl

That's right, it features
Owls, because everything magic begins with owls

Moony, in the form of full moons with whomping
willow branches, and crescent moons above


Staghorn cables for Prongs
 While everything begins with owls, everything is surrounded and encompassed by
Sadly it doesn't show well, but it's Lily, a lily of the valley
stitch pattern for the border of the whole shawl top and sides
It's approximately 9'x2'. I might have gotten a little carried away.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Overdoing it again

When I do little, I have a voice inside my head telling me I'm not trying hard enough and I'm using my illness as an excuse; when I do too much I collapse completely and tell myself I'm not trying enough to overcome my illness or I wouldn't be so dysfunctional. I'm trying to focus on the positive, what I've done, and trying to stop myself from doing too much, but it takes so very little for me to have done so much.

So today I'm on edge at this point at 11:30 am. I've gone grocery shopping, unpacked all the groceries, baked brownies and chocolate pastries for Shabbos, planned dinner, and finished another hat for Hats for Homeless Teens, distributed to homeless youth by Larkin Street Youth Services in the winter. This one is stranded knit work, worked in much finer wool than the last two hats.

I still have a doctor's appointment this afternoon, then the kids come home from school. I really need to be done. Jeffrey's working from home so I have his phone calls buzzing in my ears, which hurts my brain. I need to escape.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

How long since I baked?

How long has it been since I did any baking? When I went to my folder of loose recipes, the top pile was for Purim hamantaschen (which I would have been looking at in March) and right under that donuts (from Chanuka in December). It's September now, last I checked. I've really been out of it. I can only do simple recipes with just a few ingredients still, but I put some scones in the oven for the kids when they get home from school today.

The last couple of days I had to set aside the Harry Potter themed shawl I've started while I wait for more yarn to arrive, so I picked up some yarn sitting downstairs and knit a couple of hats and a scarf for the Hats for Homeless Teens project which gives out winter wear to youth accessing services at Larkin Street Youth Services.  I think last year was the first year in many that I wasn't able to donate anything. At least now I have a few things ready, even if I don't get more done (though I hope I will). I had won this yarn, about 10 balls of Universal Yarn Classic Shades, from Vogue Knitting years ago, meant to be a sweater's worth, but I hate it for a sweater, it's too fuzzy and heavy. It's perfect for warm hats though, so there may be a lot of blue-green hats in the package I send.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A healing shawl, a painful day

I finished the shawl I cast on last week. It was hand spun lace weight yarn from an art batt, knit in the simplest of triangles. All I did was knit and constantly panic over whether I had remembered the increases on each right side row, which had me second guessing myself every time no matter how conscious I was of having done what I needed. It's finished now and it's large (48"x48"x66") and soft and warm and thick, a wrap in which to hide from the world.

Today I spent three hours crying. Just sobbing, tears down my face, ugly crying. My eyes are swollen and red, and I accidentally let the heavy lid of the medication safe slam into the bridge of my nose which is now cut and swollen too, which happened in the middle of the afternoon breakdown and certainly didn't help my disposition.

I can't break this depression.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cloudy with a chance of healing

That's what I call this scarf, "Cloudy With a Chance of Healing." The yarn is from Ellen's Half-Pint Farm and the color way is unnamed, but it has the gray, purples, blues, and pinks of storm clouds. I felt compelled to attempt to return to knitting in some way, even though my mind itself is still very cloudy, so I just cast on 34 stitches and knit Old Shale until I ran out of yarn; that was 100" later it turned out.

I'm doing better; my psyche has healed a little and I'm having fewer anxiety attacks as well as less depression. The drugs are probably mostly to thank, it's just too bad they took a full 6-8 weeks to have any effect. My cobwebs are clearing out little by little too; I've been able to drive a couple of places, follow short recipes for basic things, and read a little bit of light reading.  I'm still very depressed and anxious, but more of a 3-4 on a 1-10 scale, whereas before I was a 7, which just isn't livable.

I'm still having trouble with sleep even with the medicines. Some nights I can't fall asleep, others I can't stay asleep. Last night I was fine until 5 am when I woke up fully; before 6 I gave up on staying in bed, I wasn't dozing at all, but I lazed around just checking up on Facebook and reading the newspaper until about 8:00. Then I got in gear, made an angel food cake, went shopping, put away the groceries, and baked a peach pound cake (using fresh peaches from our From the Farmer delivery last week, I can't believe I hadn't eaten all the peaches already).

My shoulder is causing a lot of pain still, especially after the knitting, shifting around some heavy boxes yesterday in a small de-clutter effort, and driving today. All the same, once I'd blocked the first scarf, I cast on another, this one in a very different color way but an equally basic stitch pattern. I'm trying to really back down on the compulsive knitting; somehow, though, my brain just craves it.

This isn't poetic nor insightful. It's just me and my thoughts today, where I'm at. I've really lost this summer. I'd like to get some living back in my life.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

I need my time and me

I need me. I'm working on it. Some of my head cobwebs have cleared out and I can now follow a simple recipe, so I've made chocolate fudge cake for the family for Sabbath dessert (well, for those who will eat chocolate, at least):

My new psychologist gave me homework for the week, to work on talking back to all the negative thoughts that fill my head all the time. Yes, it's pretty much all negative, all the time. We don't expect I'll be able to turn things positive, that's too much to ask, but I'm to work on neutralizing it at least. 

The thing is, I feel so inadequate, so much a failure, in many ways. My kids are spending the summer as couch potatoes because I can't send them to camp, can't take them out, can't even manage to take them to the pool on days I try to do any other thing(s) as simple as making a cake. I can't take them to friends'. I can't take them fruit picking. I can't take them to the farmers' market. I can't take them hiking. I can't do any of the summer things I feel I should be able to do with them to enrich their time. I feel they're losing out because of me.
The younger one is under there, just mindlessly playing on

The psychologist has emphasized how much my life is the way it is because it has had to be that way. With children with medical issues, with six children, with serious depression of my own, there is no way I was going to be a hot-shot high powered professional at this point; just being the mother who has kept all six of her children alive and surviving and mostly thriving has been more than a full-time all-encompassing job. I am struggling with letting go of the image I always had though of what I was "supposed" to look like at this point in life.

The older one isn't exactly challenging himself reading
Garfield comics. His mother should be providing more for
him, but she can't.

Meanwhile, I really can't find my own mind. I can't cope with even the smallest noises. The motion of other people likewise gets too much for me but not as badly as sound. I can't think. I couldn't find my baking pans this morning; if you know how many hours I've invested in baking over the last 25 years or so you know how absurd and disturbing that is. I'm not myself and I hate it. I want myself back. I deserve myself back. I may not claim to deserve much, I'm trying not to be an entitled brat when I'm already having to spend so much of my time sitting on my butt staring into space because my head can't handle accomplishing anything more, but I deserve my own thoughts and feelings. It's a horrible feeling to have lost them and to still not have them back.

This isn't uplifting, and it's not even positive; it's not exactly negative about myself though. I didn't cause myself to be empty. I don't want to be leaving my kids bored and uninspired. I want to be the mother they deserve, and I'm doing my best. I know I'm improving cognitively. I hope it starts to go faster. School will start in a few weeks and they'll be intellectually challenged and spending time with peers even if I haven't healed enough to accomplish anything. The kids will get by, they'll survive. It's the best I can do and I'm doing it.