Monthly Archives: August 2014

Rip Currents

Or not

 

I sit on the shore, the gentle lapping of the waves mesmerizing me. I am drawn to the water of the Gulf, warm, inviting. I float, and swim. Alternating between treading water and quick strokes to bring myself back from where the current has pulled me.

Suddenly I am grabbed by the undertow. Slammed down into the sand, my body beaten, it happens too quickly to make sense of what has happened. I fight the surf, struggle to pull myself to the surface. Each second with out a breath becomes more painful. Panic replaces rational thought. Finally my head emerges above the wave line and I suck in the precious air, filling my lungs only to find myself now being dragged along with the rip current.

Of course the easy answer is to simply let the current take you where it will. If you relax and stop fighting it you will be released and able to swim back to shore.

Not unlike the tides my life ebbs and flows with a measure of predictability.

I need to learn to accept that that rip currents will catch me off guard. But if I keep my head above water and resist flailing about the waves will carry me back to shore.

 

Be Afrayedknot

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Happy

Or not

I truly hesitated to write this, there is so much in the media lately about depression. Who am I to feel I have anything to add to the wise words that have been already written.  What is it like, living with depression?

For each of us the answer is different and complicated.

Once, when asking a young man why he cut himself I was shocked to hear him tell me “because pain is the only thing I feel”

Most days, when you are chronically depressed nothing or sadness is the only thing you feel. You begin to look forward to even pain because at last you are feeling something.

In my life depression and anxiety are interwoven, they hold hands and egg each other on.

At work, I put on my plastic smile and fake my way thru the day. It takes maximum effort to function in a public place for 8 or 9 hours and leaves me  emotionally drained. Constant interaction with others means being on the verge of a panic attack through out the day. A cranky or disgruntled customer could push me to the brink of hyperventilation and feeling like I am having a heart attack.

With my brain on overload, I settle in for the drive home. No radio, I need quiet. I don’t even have the energy to be “on” again long enough to stop for groceries, or fill my gas tank. I rarely make social plans for the evening of a work day.

There are evenings I never even turn on the TV or music. Quiet. The thoughts in my head move fast enough. Micro bursts of ideas, images, songs,  I don’t need electronic entertainment.

My days off I plan carefully. Early appointments and errands, so I can be back at home to have the maximum time to relax. Unwind. Be safe from anxiety.  Which brings on depression. 

Depressed for the life not being lived. Longing for the ability live spontaneously.

Depression doesn’t mean that there aren’t moments of happiness. Or weeks, or months or even years. Anyone knowing me by my Face Book page would think I live an exciting, active, happy life.  There are absolutely times of great joy. Grand adventures where smiles come easily for the camera.  That is the face you put forward when you live with depression.

Everything is fine. I’m okay.

You don’t post the pictures or tell the stories of sitting in your living room wringing your hands because you have to go somewhere you are unfamiliar with and you can feel the panic growing and you don’t know if you can do it.

You don’t tell people you can go zip lining with your family one day but you cant walk into a convenience store alone and buy a bottle of water the next.

Arriving at a destination hours early, because you are terrified you will miss a turn or panic trying to find an address and then if you start to run late you will panic for sure.  So you learn to wait.

When you live with depression hope becomes delayed disappointment.

Hoping that you will feel up to the party you were invited to, but disappointed when you just don’t want to go to the effort.

Hoping that the great time in Vegas, or on your girls weekend will sustain you and keep you from falling back in to the nothingness when it ends.

When getting dressed in the morning takes all that you have.

You see friends going out having fun, you hope for an invitation, but ultimately know if one is offered you will find a reason why you can’t go.

“you have a good job, a family that loves you,  what do you have to be depressed about?” 

You get tired of trying to explain, so you don’t. But worse yet, you don’t know what you have to be depressed about. It’s just there.

 

Playing House

Or not

From a sewing manual 1949

“Prepare yourself mentally for sewing. Think about what you are going to do… Never approach sewing with a sigh or lackadaisically. Good results are difficult when indifference predominates.

Never try to sew with a sink full of dirty dishes or beds unmade. When there are urgent housekeeping chores, do these first so your mind is free to enjoy your sewing. When you sew, make yourself as attractive as possible. Put on a clean dress. Keep a little bag full of French chalk near your sewing machine to dust your fingers at intervals. Have your hair in order, powder and lipstick put on. If you are constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in or your husband will come home, and you will not look neatly put together, you will not enjoy your sewing.”

 

Sure, this advice  looks pretty funny now.  I saw this floating around on Pinterest and Facebook.  I’m not really sure if it was from a sewing manual, sourcing it has been a challenge.  But I did spend  more than a little time considering the wisdom. Even in this day and age it is useful wisdom.

I don’t sew often, but I do hammer, rivet, glue, solder, paint and sculpt.

I am, not even in my wildest dreams a good housekeeper. My cleaning standard is just slightly above unsanitary. I’ve got much more important things to do. Pinterest. Facebook. Sculpting with polymer clay. Hammering things, painting brass, Shredding bits of paper and adding fibers to make more paper. Vacuuming, mopping and dusting don’t come close to making it on the list.

Lipstick? Powder? Are you kidding? If I don’t have to leave the house I don’t even put pants on.

Lately I have been trying to organize my self a bit. As I clear out the clutter in my life I am finding surfaces again. Just as soon as the surface makes it self visible, I dust it.

Often times trying to tame the chaos around me seems overwhelming. When I get overwhelmed I give up.

I recently read some advice on living with  attention deficit by Dr. Edward Hallowell.   He states, “Get organized enough”.   Enough?  Ya mean, not like spit shined tidy and everything in its place?  Just adding the “Enough” to his statement was freeing to me.  Trying to get organized was like trying to teach a fish to ride a bicycle. But organized enough?  Hey, I can give that a shot!!

That one little word gave me hope.

Annddd  it’s working. I am organized enough.

The really funny thing is, once the house is tidy I have more energy to create! I am not thinking about all the other things I should be doing instead. My mind is free to dream and wander where ever it feels like taking my creative soul.

I have been scheduling appointments or meet ups with friends first thing in the mornings on my day off from work.  I have to get dressed, and I cant linger over my coffee.

Once I am up and dressed I am more apt to go into my studio  and work.

So, excuse me please, I need to refresh my lipstick and build something.

Be knotafrayed