A Special Day and a Special Gift for You!

Today is a special day for two reasons!

First, it is my little sister’s birthday.  Happy Birthday, Heidi!

Second…

This is my 100th blog post!

Happy 100th blog post to me!

To celebrate writing 100 on-line letters,  I want to give you all a special gift. I’d like you to close your office door, or go into a quiet room with no distractions. Take a glass of wine or cup of tea with you.  Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and simply listen to what is, in my  opinion, the most lovely and moving song ever written or sung. Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s Turando. Maestro Pavarotti did not sing these words, he sang the music. He WAS the music. When I listen to nessun dorma, my heart fills to bursting and I forget to breathe. It inspires me to create. I hope it inspires you, too.

Please close your eyes and listen, and leave a comment if you also feel inspired by this beautiful music!

Luciano Pavarotti, 12 October 1935 – 6 September 2007. Rest in Peace, Maestro.

 

Another WIP Wednesday!

I’m having fun reviewing what I’ve done in my sewing room each week! I expect things will slow down once I return to work next Monday. What a luxury it has been to have had this time to heal, contemplate and create. In some ways, one could say that I have been quilting my way to wellness.

So…last week I made four new squares for Nora’s Constellation quilt. I am really enjoying putting this quilt together. I’m not following a pattern, simply making a variety of 12″ star blocks in fun colours entirely out of my stash. I have fun browsing the internet and my books looking for ideas and tutorials for the different stars. Here are the newest ones:

And today I finally made the March block for the Treasure Chest BOM (block of the month)! I have been putting this one off because it looked so intimidating, and I couldn’t really visualize it from reading the directions. However, March is nearly over, and I couldn’t procrastinate any longer. So I bit the bullet and dug in. It turned out not to be as difficult as I anticipated. In only took me 3 hours (in contrast to the entire day the January & February blocks took!). I learned a valuable lesson….follow the directions! Har!

Here’s what it looked like after I made the cuts:

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And the finished product (Mexican Star):

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Over the weekend I got started on my summer lake project (or multi-summer project, more likely!) – appliquing an orange peel quilt using the needle turn method. Each biscuit is appliqued onto a 5″ Bella Solids charm square. The biscuits are cut randomly from my stash. I will need to make over 300 of them to complete the quilt. It’s going to be gorgeous!Here’s my start:

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Interested in seeing what other Canadian quilters are up to today? Check out WIP Wednesday at The Needle and Thread Network and Freshly Pieced!

Happy creating!

 

Turning Left

An amazing thing happened while walking Sammy this morning. I set out to walk our usual 5km route, which takes about an hour when you factor in the P-mail and canine message board checking along the way.  It was a beautiful morning, not a cloud in the sky, not a breath of wind, and a deliciously crunchy minus 6 degrees. But I was feeling the slight edges of “broken-ness” creeping into my day. I don’t know why. I could just feel it encroaching – my balance beam was narrow this morning. Recognizing the signs and determined to turn it around, I grabbed the leash, put on my gear and out we went. I tried to puzzle out the why & how as we walked along, but the feeling only got worse. Finally I gave up and mentally called on my balance checklist for help. “What have I done on my checklist today”, I asked myself? Well, I haven’t done anything for the house. I haven’t taken my supplements. I haven’t taken a bath. I haven’t told my husband how I am feeling…wait, wait! Stop!

Let me try that again (standing in the middle of Falcon Street.)

“What have I done on my checklist today?” I asked myself. “I did something creative (I spent about an hour working out a new square for Nora’s quilt), I had a piece of fruit (a healthy food choice) for breakfast, I communicated with someone (made an inquiry about a depression skills workshop that was recommended for me called Changeways). I am getting some exercise. I recognized my beam was narrow and took action by going out for a walk in the fresh air and sunshine. I reframed negative thoughts.

Much better! Okay, now I will continue my story!

An amazing thing happened while walking Sammy this morning. Instead of walking our usual route, we turned left part way along and explored some new streets. There is only one reason that this is amazing. And that reason is…time. Usually when I go for a walk, it is for a pre-determined amount of time or distance. I will walk 5K, for example, or for 30 minutes.

Why? Because, like most people, I always have something else to do, and going for a walk has to fit around everything else. For example, I can only walk the dog for 20 minutes and then I have to make dinner because we have band practice right after that. Or, I can only walk the dog for 30 minutes in the morning, and then I must be home to get ready to go to work. Or, I cannot walk the dog at all because I just got home from work and I am hungry, and after dinner I cannot walk the dog because I have to leave to teach a class. Sometimes there are legitimate reasons that determine how long I can walk for. It is true that I have to be home in time to make dinner because one or both of us have band practice/dance class/ground school/pool league as soon as dinner is over. Because of that, I have created an artificial need to put boundaries around the amount of time I can give/spare for taking a walk, even if (as happened today) there is no reason.

“I can only walk the dog for an hour and then I must go home and… and… finish the quilt square?” (Really? Is that the best you can come up with, Nita?)

The amazing thing is that for the first time, I realized that I did not have to be home at any time in particular, for any reason in particular. I could just walk. And so I did. We turned left and explored a whole new neighbourhood. As we walked along, my mind wandered and wandered. How luxurious!

I realized how tightly I hold control over time, how everything has always been so scheduled in my life in order to fit it all in. For all of these 5 weeks that I have been away from work, I have walked the dog almost every single day. For only 30 minutes. For only 60 minutes. For only 5K.  Only because of that artificially self-imposed sense of urgency around not having enough time. How glad I am that after (only!) 5 weeks it has finally clicked into place for me! And oh, how I enjoyed that walk! In fact, as we were walking down one particularly lovely street, we passed a house that had the most beautiful quilt airing over the railing. I stopped and admired it for the longest time. It was a hearts & checkerboard pattern in red prints on a white background. I had the biggest smile on my face and felt utterly delighted at discovering this treasure. It seemed to be waiting just for me to walk past. It was A Sign of Good Things to Come.

Walking for pure pleasure is definitely going to the top of my priority list (as soon as I find time to make one – just kidding!)

Anyway, I feel like things finally have the potential to start coming together for me. Like I am standing right on the edge of something truly awesome and immense and GOOD. Today, walking along, I had the sense that I will be whole again, that I am well on the road to getting there. Like bones slowly knitting together, it all takes time and I don’t really have any control over that, it just is what it is and that’s okay.

I feel sorry that I am returning to work next Monday, because the luxury of having the time to embark on this (very slow) journey of discovery and healing will be over. I’m a bit worried about that.

Here is an example of only one small thing that I am afraid will happen: I will find myself saying, “I can only walk for 30 minutes and then I have to make a quilt square.”  When that happens, both the joy of the walk and the joy of sewing both become chores.

Forewarned is forearmed, so let me see if I can reframe that into a positive:

“With all of my evening obligations currently off of my plate, I will have the evening after work (and after supper) to take a walk or do something creative such as writing a new blog post or sewing.”

I would like my next task to be getting rid of that mindless urgency and guilt around time and never having enough of it. I can give myself permission to do only one thing each evening and let the rest go where it will.

Wish me luck!

All Better Yet? random thoughts related to recovery

Over the weekend I asked Kelly if I seemed “better” to him. By “better” I meant “all better”. He said yes, I seemed better but not “all better” from his perspective. He then asked me what my definition of being all better was. I immediately said that it meant being back the way I was before I got sick. After all, isn’t that usually the case? You are recovered from a broken leg when the leg is healed and back to the way it was before? I’ve been thinking about that a lot, though, and I don’t believe that definition is true anymore. After all, if I break my leg, do I then go back and repeat the activity that caused it to break in the first place? I mean, maybe I slipped on the ice. After my leg is healed, aren’t I going to be sure to be more careful next time? Or maybe I broke my leg trying to jump over the coffee table. I don’t think I would try that again! LOL! So… I got sick for a lot of reasons; menopausal hormones, traumatic life event, insane amount of obligations on my plate (meaning a work ethic set at over-achieve.) Some of those things just “are”. Others, though, I have some control over. Will I consider myself to be “all better” when I’m once again working 6 days per week, with no time to spare for anything other than work? That’s the way I was before I got sick. According to my definition, that’s what being well would mean.

Guess what. It’s not.  It’s not what I want to go back to.

Questions running around in my mind…what do any of us want out of life? Who am I trying to impress by working myself into the ground? I have a great day job, but I don’t love it the way I used to. And also, when did teaching dance start to become work, too? And isn’t that a sign?

Work ethic overdrive. Where does that come from? It’s okay to be proud of the work we do. How many vegetables we planted and canned, how we painted the house, how we sewed a quilt. But where does it cross the line into being unhealthy? How many days a week can I work and still be alive? How many hours each day without collapsing? If I can’t add up what only I can judge to be a “sufficient amount of X”, have I failed?

Time has always been an issue for me. Often, my broken times and panic attacks center around the feeling that I don’t have enough time.

Time for what? Ah…there’s the question! (and the answer).

I think I will call up my future self and ask her. I’ll let you know if she calls back.

 

Weekend

Well we were finally able to spend a weekend at the lake. It feels like forever since we were able to get out there, but has probably only been a month, really.  Our sweet little cabin, where stress is unknown and peaceful relaxation a given.

  The 11am nap. Of course, nobody is awake to take my picture! We both nap at least once (often twice) a day while there – can’t beat that!

 

 

 

 

 

What a beautiful day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And what a beautiful night!

 

 

 

 

 

Terrific amenities…

 

 

 

 

 

How was Your weekend?

 

 

 

W.I.P. Wednesday!

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Work in Progress (WIP) Wednesday. This is the day I post an update on the crafty things I’ve been up to! I’ve been pretty busy in the sewing room these last few weeks.  Here we go!

The first thing I did was to  finish Amber’s quilt and send it down with Kelly. She loved it! It is now doing its job brightening up that hospital room and keeping her cozy at night. I loved doing the hand work on it. Hand quilting is so relaxing and rewarding to do, and while you are stitching, you are thinking about the person the quilt will be going to. The quilt becomes filled with thoughts and good wishes that its new owner can touch and see. I love that! Here is a photo of sewing the binding on, and you can see some of the hand work (along with my pretty new nail polish colour!) Once the binding is machine stitched onto one side, I then flip it over and hand stitch it down to the other.  I really like working with the needle and thread in my hands.

Last week I made the March We Be Learning Bee block for Tara in Indiana. I really love this block…so bright and colorful! I actually made two – one to go to Tara and one to go into Noras quilt.

 

I also made the March In Color Order block of the month last week. Each month a new block is posted, so its fun and virtually zero pressure. I will be making the blocks out of batik fabrics (which I adore), and it will be going to my sister, Heidi when finished. (Hi, Heidi!) Each block will be made from half-triangle squares. This will be good for me as I need practice making nice points.

Here are all three blocks together (January, February & March). the final quilt will probably need more than 12 squares, so I’ll be supplementing with extras as I go along. I love sampler quilts. They’re interesting to look at and interesting to make. And I love that you can use traditional patterns with modern fabrics (such as batik), for a contemporary twist.

I’ve also finally started making a quilt for Nora! Remember Jade’s Quilt (that was originally started for Nora about 10 years ago?) – well, I figure it’s about time Nora got her quilt. She is the youngest daughter of my dear friend Paula and will be 17 at the end of May. Paula and I have been best friends since we were assigned to be roommates at university in 1979. That’s a long time! Nora’s quilt will be a “constellation quilt” – made entirely of stars, each star different from the next. Here are the first 9 blocks, which I’ve made over the last couple of weeks.

I have been away from fabric for so long…over 10 years, and it’s only in these last few months that I’ve gotten back to it. I realize how much I’ve missed it! I have a lot of quilts to make; a lot of catching up to do. I just never had the time with the busyness of my life, and quilting fell off the plate. Rediscovering my love of fabric and sewing has been part of my recovery process, for sure! One thing that I have always loved, though, and never got away from, is browsing quilting books and magazines. I have a small collection of my own, and also enjoy checking books out of the library. I love to curl up on the couch in my jammies and a cup of tea with a stack of quilting books to browse and dream my way through. So you can imagine how exciting it was to get my recent Amazon order in the mail today! Yay! Now you know what I’ll be doing this weekend! I sense a jammies day in my future! I ordered Sunday Morning Quilts, Modern Minimal and Jelly Roll Quilts. I haven’t even cracked them open to peek inside yet. Don’t you just love a fresh unopened book? All that potential…I’m savoring the moment!

On another topic, I met my friend Pam downtown today for a walk along the Yukon River. It was such a beautiful morning, -10c and blue sky with only a few clouds. I’m glad that I thought to take my camera. It was a lovely day to take pictures of the
S.S. Klondike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along the banks of the Yukon River, enjoying the sound of the water and the singing of the birds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a wonderful day!

 

Christmas in March!

Kelly got home today from nearly 2 weeks in Vancouver & the Fraser Valley, and he came bearing gifts! I had sent him with a shopping list for Hamels Fabrics in Chilliwack along with a quilt top that I wanted him to pick border & binding fabric for. He has a great colour sense and I knew he would make good choices. Here’s what he brought back with him:

The fabric is gorgeous and his choices for borders and binding were brilliant… exactly what I was hoping for. But did you notice that cutie-pie of a sewing machine?

It’s called a Sew Cute. It sews only straight stitches, comes with a foot control, has a see-thru bobbin case, runs on four AA batteries and comes with an AC/DC adapter, is 8″ tall and weighs 826 grams. And it’s yellow! It will be absolutely perfect for using out at the cabin. I can’t wait to try it out! Yay! Kelly did  GOOD!

But wait! Kelly did even better than that! I had sent him down with the shopping list for fabric, but he came home with one thing that I totally didn’t expect.

He bought me….wait for it! … purple Fluevogs!!! YES! Yesyesyes! Whoop! OMG, I can’t contain myself!

Thank you Kelly!  You are the absolute bestest husband EVER!!! Here is my reaction when I opened them:

Wa hoo!

A Darned Good Best

I went out to a pub on St. Patrick’s Day. A friend was providing the live entertainment for the evening with his guitar and a fun selection of Irish songs. I went with three friends and met up with other friends once we got there. The place was packed. I was really enjoying myself. It was nice to get out of the house, socialize, have a glass (or two) of wine, listen to good music. You know, all that normal stuff people do when they get together. I felt happy and relaxed. Then I noticed that there were an awful lot of people there from my workplace, sprinkled throughout the crowd. My supervisor was there. An HR person was there. I started to feel uncomfortable, and I wondered if they were thinking, “Hey, she’s on sick leave but she sure doesn’t look sick.” It started to bother me. Were they judging me? Did they think I was lying? Should I not be laughing? Should I not be drinking wine and having fun? Should I not be there at all? I had been so pleased to be invited, but maybe I should not have come.

But then I recognized these thoughts for what they were: negative, broken thoughts. And I know what to do about those. Reframe, reframe, reframe. Turn that frown upside down.

First of all, the people from my workplace were also there to listen to the music, socialize and have fun. They weren’t thinking about me at all, and if they were, they shouldn’t have been. And, if they did wonder about me being there while on sick leave, what did they actually see? They saw a person on the road to good health, actively working on recovery. Hopefully they would have been pleased to see me out and about as opposed to sitting at home, alone.

That’s the trouble with your brain being sick as opposed to your visible body – or any illness that doesn’t show. People do judge. Of course they do, it’s human nature. So in addition to dealing with your invisible illness (whatever it may be), you also have to deal with the crazy-making comments and judgemental looks that come your way from people who don’t know what’s going on. And of course you have to deal with your own perceptions, assumptions and self-judgement, too. You have to develop a surety of self at a time when you are least able to do so. That’s part of what makes you stronger. You heal stronger because you are forced to develop (or re-learn) a healthy sense of self-awareness and self-confidence as part of the healing process. You learn to re-frame the negative.

I saw a quote on Facebook today, taken from “The Four Agreements” by M. Dasek-Larcher: Always do you best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and regret.

Its important to remember that phrase: “your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick.”

On broken days, I have my balance checklist to keep me on track. On broken days, I am doing my best by following that simple plan and checking a few things off of the list. Even if it is one thing, it is doing my best, and I cannot judge myself poorly for that. As I recover and regain my health, energy and vitality, doing my best may be going out to the pub with my friends. Or having a busy day like I did on Sunday, baking a batch of muffins, helping my kids unpack their new house and then taking them out for dinner.

Under any circumstance, simply do your best and give yourself credit for it. Isn’t that what balance is all about?

An Island Chain for Amber

I felt an urgent need to make this quilt after meeting Kelly’s cousin, Amber, for the first time in January. Kelly and I had gone to Vancouver for a week of holidays, and while there he took me to meet her . She is temporarily living at GF Strong Rehabilitation Center. This wonderful place is for people with spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, those who need assistive technologies, and so on. An entire blog could be dedicated to the wonderful work they do here, giving people back their lives.

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailAbout a year apart in age, Kelly and Amber had been buddies as young children, as cousins often are. As they grew up, though, the families moved apart and they lost touch. After his mother’s death in 2006, Kelly searched for and reconnected with the other half of his family – his uncle and cousin. They picked up where they had left off, as though no time had passed at all.

March 12 050In November, his uncle phoned him with the devastating news that Amber had suffered a stroke. Kelly flew down and joined the rotation of friends and family at the hospital. After Christmas, she was stable enough to be transferred to GF Strong, which is where I met her in mid-January.

March 12 044When I walked into the hospital room, I met a strong and vibrant woman with a wicked and powerful sense of humour. A woman who celebrates every single success…the first time she was stood up and took a step with  the assistance of the therapist, walking 40 steps (and only stopping because a wall got in the way), when she finally was allowed to sip water. A woman who gets frustrated and angry and cries when people, things or circumstances seem to stand in her way, but who has the ability to shake it off and laugh and look forward again. A woman who worries about the people around her and takes care of them the best she can, but who also allows them to take care of her.  One who loves shoes as much as I do! In fact, I introduced her to my love of ‘vogs, and one of her first big window shopping outings was a visit to the Granville Street Fluevog store, wheelchair and all! Don’t you wish you could meet her, too?

March 12 046I was really struck by how “hospital-ish” and impersonally functional her room was. It didn’t match the woman sitting in front of me at all. And I thought that that is the one thing I can do. I can make something beautiful to add some colour and cheer into the room. Something functional to help keep her warm (she is always cold). Something with an interesting pattern  to look at. Something I could stitch all of my best wishes into.

March 12 034I chose a pattern called “Island Chain” from Scrap Basket Sensations by Kim Brackett.  I liked this pattern for a number of reasons. I liked the name – Amber and her husband love to go diving in tropical places, so it seemed appropriate.

010I loved the interlocking chains of the pattern because they made me think about how each of us is linked together, sometimes in ways we don’t expect.

 Lastly, I chose the pattern because it looked like it would be a good challenge for me, something I felt ready for in my quilting adventures.  Kelly picked out the fabric: a Tonga Treats packet of batiks.

(at this point the font changes and I don’t seem able to do anything about it – sorry!)

Each piece had to be numbered. There were 41 different colours that had to be kept in a precise order. Cut and ready to sew – doesn’t look like much, does it? lol!
It was assembled on the pool table (an absolutely perfect design board) by Kelly. My brain just does NOT do puzzles and I needed a logical brain to follow the pattern and lay the pieces out. That was Kelly’s job.

Feb 12 017
The Quilt was sewn together on the diagonal, starting with the upper left corner, one strip at a time. You can see why I needed to keep it all in order with little numbered sticky notes on each piece.

Feb 12 001 (2)

This entire quilt was hand quilted and then bound in about 6 weeks. An no, that’s not “usual”! I was in a hurry because I wanted the quilt down with Kelly when he returned for another visit in March (where he is at right now!)

I hope it brings a little bit of brightness into her world. ♥

March 12 051

Mending a Broken Heart

I have been doing a lot of thinking. Sometimes I’ve needed to keep very busy to avoid thinking, but the thoughts move around on their in the background and eventually push themselves to the front. Like a sliver in your finger. Takes time. Lots of time.

I used to tell a story to my students about posture and self-confidence; about how you can change your mood and your self-image simply by changing your posture. Walk like you are confident and eventually you will start to feel confident,” I would say. “If you don’t feel confident, then pretend to feel confident; hold a confident posture.” So much power we have over ourselves. So much power the mind has over the body.

Today as I walked through the woods with Samson, the thought pushed itself forward that it can work both ways. Events can happen to you that cause your brain chemistry to change so drastically that you become physically ill, causing PTSD, or major depression – what they used to call a nervous breakdown – a term I actually prefer.

The heart is indeed a fragile thing. Fragile and resilient at the same time. But it can break. And it does mend. I’ve been thinking, and it seems too much of a coincidence that the depths of the depression followed on the heels of heartbreaking events in my personal life last Fall.

The beautiful song “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart” has been playing in my head. Poor Andy Gibb. Andy suffered bouts of depression most of his life. In the last year of his life he went through a severe depression caused by a broken heart from his break up with the love of his life, Victoria Principal. He died in March, 1988 from myocarditis, a virus that attacked his heart. He was only 30 years old.

How can you mend a broken heart? How can you recover from depression? Time. Time and the guts to move forward. Andy knew it, and so do I.

Here’s to you, Andy.

The Balance List (coping with a broken day)

I woke up feeling panicky and anxious today. I’ve learned to accept that this is not stupidity or weakness. There is always a reason for the panic, I just have to sit for a minute and figure it out. It usually isn’t a world-shaking reason. It’s usually something that might seem quite trivial to someone else, which is why I had been calling it stupid. But really, and obviously, it isn’t stupid or trivial because it throws me off balance and affects me physically.

I think of it as walking a balance beam, which is something that we all navigate throughout our lives.  When I am not ill, my balance beam is very wide. When I am not ill, I’m a natural multi-tasker who thrives in a busy environment and always has lots of things on her plate and on the go at the same time. My balance beam is generally very wide and I can walk around on it from side to side without fear of falling off.

Everyone walks this balance beam, and everyone’s beam is a different width. Sometimes stress builds up and the balance beam gets narrower. We don’t have the latitude to walk around from side to side. We have to walk carefully to keep our balance. We have to work harder to juggle everything in our lives. Sometimes, we have to take things off our plate in order to deal with the stresses (whatever they may be) until our balance beam gets wider again and we can navigate safely. We all do this.

Depression narrows the beam until you are literally teetering on it. Flailing arms and grim determination is all that keeps you from falling off.  When it gets really bad, the beam disappears altogether and you do fall off. However, when you start to recover, the beam gets a little wider and after awile you find that you can stand on it without constantly windmilling your arms. Eventually you can take a step forward. Sometimes a little stress will blow you off balance and you find yourself flailing as the beam turns into a tightrope again.

In the beginning of recovery this happenes several times a day. Then only once or twice a day. Then you notice you had an entire good day. And then several great days in a row. And then wham! you’re flailing agian.  It doesn’t take much to overwhelm you ME.

So why did I wake up this morning to a broken day after two full days of feeling relatively normal?  Friday and Saturday were great days. Energy filled, productive, happy days. What happened to narrow my balance beam and cause this panic and anxiety today? Are you ready? Here it is: the time change. The clocks sprang ahead last night. I got up at 8am, but it wasn’t 8am, it was 9am. And now, as I write this, it isn’t 9:30, its 10:30.  The negative thought in my head is that I don’t have time. That’s it. I don’t have enough time. This is the thought that has completely immobilized me this morning.

I recognize this morning that I have time issues. More blogging on that later!

When my balance beam gets this narrow, my strategy is to recognize, identify, and accept it. Then I take everything off my plate and go back to the basics. Early on, I made a plan to get me through these broken days. On a broken day, I check things off of this very simple list:

  1. take a bath (for some reason, having a shower is overwhelming but a bath is do-able),
  2. get dressed,
  3. take my supplements,
  4. get some exercise (which can be as simple as walking on the treadmill while watching a TV show or taking Sammy around the block, or as complicated as taking Sammy downtown to walk the river loop),
  5. do one thing creative to use my brain (which can be as simple as playing scrabble on-line or as complicated as sewing something),
  6. eat some fruit (healthy food = right eating)
  7. do one thing for the house (which can be as simple as scooping the cat box or as complicated a cleaning the floors)
  8. identify one thing I am proud of or like about myself (usually this is being able to identify the stressor – I am proud of my ability to do that)
  9. connect with a friend or put myself out there in the world somehow (as simple as writing comments on Facebook or as complicated as writing an email to a friend or doing a blog post – attempting to initiate personal contact is not on the list on a broken day) or else go to town and be around people in general (grocery store, main street etc.),
  10. tell my husband how I am feeling.

Having this plan automatically widens my balance beam. By the time I’ve checked off several things I will feel much better, stronger and happier. I am feeling lighter already. See? It works!

 

The Doctor Saga

For the last couple of Wednesdays I’ve been blogging a WIP (work in progress) Wednesday. However, I didn’t do any new craft projects this week because I’ve been working non-stop to finish that quilt in time (which I did!) and which I will write about later this week. Today I’m going to tell you the rest of the story that I started last Thursday, and also about my doctor odyssey.

My regular doctor had a baby a few months ago (good news!) but apparently was not able to find anyone to replace her while on mat leave. This means that there have been a variety of doctors filling in for her at the clinic, each coming in for one to two months at a time. It’s been a revolving door of fill-in doctors, and I haven’t actually seen my own doctor through any of this as she has been away the entire time.

I was first diagnosed and given medication by Doctor #1 on December 22nd. This doctor was very kind and also very matter-of-fact, explaining that I had major depression, probably related to menopause, explaining all the brain chemistry, and ending by saying that sometimes people need a bit of help with medication, and that I should also consider taking a bit of time from work. At the same time, I went to a therapist who also urged me to take some leave from work. Then I had the next two follow up appointments with Doctor #2 who disagreed with the therapist & Doctor #1 about leave, but instead repeatedly urged me to increase me medication dosage (which I refused to do), and who eventually (reluctantly) agreed to giving me a maximum of two weeks off work.

Last Friday I went back for another follow-up, fully expecting to return to work on Monday, and (surprise, surprise!), met Doctor #3. Doctor #3 asked me a lot of questions, and then completely blew me away by saying that she is very pleased with the direction I am going and very pleased with my recovery plan and what I have been doing to get better. She said she did not want me to return to work just yet, but instead to continue as I have been doing through the month of March. She then wrote me a letter for my employer and renewed my prescription. She also said she did not recommend increasing the dosage! At the end of the month, I’m to go back for another follow-up (with an as-yet-unknown Doctor #4) and a re-evaluation on whether I can return to work in April.

So, in the end, I did not have to go back to work last Monday after all, and none more surprised than me!

I want to say that despite the frustration of not having my own doctor to guide me through this illness & recovery (which is not her fault), and despite the absolute crazy-making and anxiety-ridden situation of having to introduce myself to a different doctor each time, I am so grateful to live in an area of the world that provides me with excellent (and free!) health care. It is simply a matter of bad timing and circumstances that has brought depression into my life at a time when my doctor needed to be away and a matter of poor circumstances that a full time doctor could not be found to replace her.

I am also very grateful to have found employment in a job that I love, and at a place that provides me the opportunity to accumulate (and use) sick days. You don’t think you will ever need your sick days until you do. I have worked without benefits in the past. My husband receives no benefits, no sick days, and no pension plan. So I know how lucky I am and I count my blessings.

Just sayin…