Quick hello

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Sometimes I miss the days I blogged all the time about nothing in particular. Now there are so many ways to talk about nothing, it feels like I have to have something special to say on the blog.

 

I may try rambling more. I am cutting back on Facebook, so that may help. I’m not quitting Facebook again, because as much as I loved being off it, no one called me or invited me to parties. So I’m just doing quick check-ins now, and making great effort to not post or comment, because that’s how I get sucked in and lose hours.

 

I signed up to make preemie hats with a Supernatural fan group, for Misha Collins’ Random Acts charity fundraiser AMOK.

 

And realized I’m out of any kind of appropriate yarn for that, and broke until Friday. So I’ll make lots of wee hats in a week or two on behalf of the Wayward Daughters. And mail them to Justin Guarini.

 

Yeah, life is weird when you’re on the outskirts of a fandom. It’s all very enthusiastic and I love the good causes, but I’m not really sure what’s going on half the time.

 

I’ve been dealing with a flare the last four days, just really achy and fatigued. Each flare seems a little less awful, though, so I guess treatment is working. Sometimes I almost forget I have RA. Depression and anxiety are pretty manageable, too.

 

What else? Loving the X-Files mini-series. The first one was weird and wobbly, but the rest I’ve liked a lot.

 

Well, rambling has been fun. Will have to do this again soon!

Not arguing about The Force Awakens

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imagesI am having such a hard time not arguing about Star Wars.

It is not helping anything or anyone, and it just isn’t healthy.

So here’s what I’m going to do:

1) Practice my yoga and release judgment. After all, it was letting go of judgment and expectations that allowed me to enjoy the movie so much. I’m sure if I had already determined what I wanted the movie to be like, I would have found something to be dissatisfied with, too, or even disappointed.

a. Let go of my own judgment of the movie. Which is 100 % positive, but also brings out an obsessive part of me I don’t much like. And it puts me at odds with people I disagree with, which doesn’t really help anything.

It gets ugly when fandom turns to hate mail. I haven’t gone that far yet, but I came very close this morning to commenting on an author’s review (and one of the worst I’ve seen, by someone who is highly respected in the fantasy writers community) that his books aren’t even close to as entertaining as this movie.

I barely resisted. But I did make a slightly rude comment and defriend him. Yeah….

b) Let go of judgment of others opinions. This pretty much means I need to stop reading all opinion pieces at this point, but that’s okay.

2) Focus on my own creativity.

This joy I feel, at purely enjoying the magic of a movie, is something I really missed, and it reminds me what is possible when a story is told with heart, a sense of fun and delight, and without fear.

That’s what I want to do.

Random updates

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Has it really been since Gishwhes that I posted? Wow. Well, Gishwhes was fun. I made Princess Leia out of bread, and crocheted a My Little Pony of Rowena from Supernatural. There are pictures… somewhere. But I’ll leave it to your imagination.

Pain has been manageable. Everything, in general, has been more manageable. I sleep on a regular schedule, and part-time work agrees with me. I have a very boring, but healthy, routine, and that seems to help my health and condition (rheumatoid arthritis) quite a lot.

I’ve been obsessed with Star Wars: The Force Awakens the last week, and have seen it twice.

I met my Goodreads challenge goal for 2015 of reading 65 books, plus some.

I have been trying to get consistent about my own writing. I’ve been lost in the swamp of the middle of the book for a long time, and am starting to wade my way out. I keep reminding myself I just need to finish the first draft. That the real story will come out in editing. That helps, sometimes, but it’s hard not to see everything that’s wrong with it.

Scout has been a fabulous canine addition to my home. He is a great dog, and has really enjoyed training classes at the SPCA.

I guess that’s it! TTFN.

GISHWHES: Don’t panic.

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So, I’m seeing a lot of concern about GISHWHES on Twitter today. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go here or read my post about last year’s hunt.)

Here’s my advice:

1) Don’t panic. What’s the worst that can happen? Perhaps you go into fight-or-flight mode, or freeze, overwhelmed by the tasks. You don’t talk to your team. You don’t leave the house. You don’t create anything. It’s sad, but not the end of the world. Your team will continue to do their thing, and you will go on with your life. No one loses anything.

On the other hand, if you make even one beautiful item or complete one act of kindness, you will have been a successful Gisher. Be brave.

2) Gishwhes isn’t about winning. I know, I know. I want to go on vacation with Misha, too. (Who doesn’t?!) And honestly, I had to learn this lesson the hard way. I really thought our team had a chance last year. We did so many cool things. We got so many things on the list, and they were mostly beautiful things and actions. Did we win? No. We were not even runners up.

And you know what? It was fine. Seriously. I had such a great week, with so many fun and revitalizing experiences, on top of the joy of collaboration with people around the world. Totally worth 18 bucks.

3) Be true to yourself. There is a lot of talk about not sleeping during Gishwhes. That isn’t me. I am almost 40 and have a chronic illness. And a Monday- Thursday job. (And a dog and two cats, if anyone’s counting.) I need my sleep, and I am going to sleep. For me, Gishwhes is about enjoying life, not making it harder. I will go to work. I will sleep. I will walk my dog. AND I’ll do the hunt.

Finally, here’s a little self-help tip (or lifehack, for you hipsters): set your intention. And no, it can’t be “to win GISHWHES” – that is an external reward. Your intention must be something for your inner well-being. Are you trying to be more creative in your life? To have more fun? To overcome social anxiety? Set your intention: that is your reward.

Now, write it out in bright marker. Or type it in large font. Paste it up all over your home/bedroom/car so you remember why you are really doing this.

And enjoy the hunt. :)

 

Make a contribution to a depression scrapbook project

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Make a contribution to a depression scrapbook project

This is such a lovely idea. Spread the word!

Sound familiar?

So how many of you are currently sat in bed or inside isolating yourself? Suffering inthiss the black hole that is depression. Not wanting to spread your current mood to people around you because it’s not their responsibility to take care of you or you feel like they wouldn’t care anyway. Or even understand. It would be unfair to be in this mood around ‘happy’ people because you’ll just bring them down, and in turn they’ll slowly reject you. So you have two choices. Sit in alone, or go out and put on your positive mask and pretend to be someone you’re not in order to feel normal, accepted or you physically need too because you can’t stand to be inside another day. So let’s say you choose the latter, you need to get up, shower, sort your hair, pick an outfit, get a bus, see strangers, perhaps…

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Coping with pain and isolation

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Chronic Pain

I’m starting to understand why people say chronic pain is isolating. I see so many people supported by strong communities and families through their hardships, so I figured it was only isolating for people (like me) who don’t have strong support systems in place. But I don’t think that’s really the case now. I think, even those people who are supported by the most loving people possible, ultimately feel completely alone in what they’re going through.

Living with chronic pain sucks. Mine – Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) – is invisible, for the most part. My rheumatoid symptoms are: depression,  getting sick often, hand pain (this was probably the most obvious symptom I ignored the longest – don’t ignore it!!!), leg pain, mid-back pain and neck pain. I started to have a strange pulling and tingling sensation last week in the front of my shin, which was baffling until I remembered my pain will show up in weird ways. Other symptoms include deep fatigue, and when it’s really bad, flu-like symptoms: generalized pain, can’t-get-up fatigue, low-grade fever.

I don’t limp or shuffle (except early in the morning). So this is a good thing and a bad thing: good, because I don’t get a lot of pity and can focus on my work; bad, because no one knows how much I’m hurting and it makes me feel pretty alone sometimes. When I’m feeling completely awful and like I need to go home, I push through, because I get strange looks when I say I’m hurting, or feeling tired.

I work in fitness, so people make assumptions. Or I perceive they do.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like my job hurts me. I can look back and see that it hurt me pretty badly when I was full time, how it conspired with RA to make me feel terrible most of the time. But even part-time, I can tell some aspects of my job hurt me more than others. I really enjoy Spinning, but those are the days I go home from work and feel like I’m coming down with the flu.

But it’s manageable, I guess. I’m not thriving, but I’m doing a lot better than I was six months ago. Everything seemed so hopeless then. Now I have a plan to manage everything, and that includes lots of sleep and rest. And it’s mostly working.

Well-meaning or something like it

I do get seriously annoyed by the things people suggest, sometimes. They tell me, either directly or indirectly, that I should lose weight, cut out sugar, cut out gluten, meditate, do yoga and exercise. I have a hard time not getting defensive about this. Hello, I’m a fitness professional. I’ve been meditating since I was sixteen, have been teaching yoga for years. I may not have mastered Clean Living, but I’m at least well-versed in its benefits and I do the best I can.

I also get really annoyed at all the sites on the Internet that promise an arthritis diet or say there is special arthritis food. There is no such evidence of this, none!

Just don’t give advice to people about a disease you know nothing about, okay? I’m going to follow this advice from now on, too. I think about how many overweight people must deal with this every single day and it makes me feel so sad. Everyone has an opinion, but even professionals have a hard time focusing on the facts sometimes.

Mornings

Starting every day is a struggle. I am tired and achy and nothing feels like it matters. I remind myself that I can’t be complacent about depression, even though that, too, has been manageable of late. So I buck up and go through my routine: Morning Pages and coffee, exercise, shower, meds.

By then things are beginning to look up.

I know people who have RA who feel bad all day and through the night. I guess that might be me down the line, but I just can’t think about it right now. I am told that starting medications in this early phase can prevent the worst long-term damage, and I hope that’s true.

In some ways, this makes me feel worse. Like I’m stuck in my life and I can’t really plan to do anything because I don’t know what I’ll feel like tomorrow or what my future will be like. I can’t plan to travel, to go backpacking, or to be a foster parent. (I know people do all of these things with RA, so there must be a way, but the unpredictability of being able to function at all leaves me confused. I can’t imagine trying to do these high-level things.)

I feel stuck in my job, because I can’t afford the rheumatologist on my own, not to mention all the lab work and prescriptions. Not that I was planning to quit. I just hate the feeling that I couldn’t if I wanted to.

Alone

So I feel pretty alone. I don’t feel like anyone understands what I’m going through. I haven’t been a very good friend because I’ve been so focused on trying to get through each day, and my recent attempts to reach out have largely been ignored. I guess I’m not a lot of fun to be around, though I try not to complain. (Which, yes, makes me feel even more isolated.)

Loneliness and depression are not a great combination.

I’ve been thinking about getting a dog to deal with loneliness. I have to admit that it’s not a great idea, and I can’t really afford it, but it might overcome loneliness more than my cats do.

Or maybe I should just try to appreciate my cats more.