The Rest of My Life

50th Birthday Reflections

My 50th Birthday was in September.  I had a really good day with my partner.  I had intended to have a large celebration with as many friends as possible.  However, my depression had other ideas.  I cancelled the party and my partner took me out to an excellent dinner instead.  As I said, it was a really good day.   We went shopping and tried on clothes and giggled in the dressing room together.  Then got all dressed up and went to a fantastic place for dinner.  

Smiling brown skinned woman posing in a blue floral dress. Left hand resting on the back of a chair.
Birthday dress up!

The setting was beautiful.  The view of the city was spectacular and the food was delicious!

collage of pictures of food, view of city lights and interior of a building

A Different Pointe of View is highly recommended for special occasions. The service is fantastic!

Reflecting Back and Looking Forward

Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my life up to this point and about what is to come.  Where I am and where I want to be.  I’ve been doing a lot more crafting and working hard on my business
 http://dragonwolfcrafts.com   

I’ve been going to a lot of medical appointments, trying a new antidepressant and being more active.   And lots of planning my next steps to make my life something more. 

Somewhere along the way, I got stuck and forgot myself.   I let my depression eat away at my soul.  It’s such an insidious disease.  And this time of year is usually bad for me with the shorter days and gloomy weather (yes, even here in the desert).  

However, I did some things in spite of myself.  I got out of my way let me be me.  I attended a protest and a vigil.  I hosted Thanksgiving for friends. I went out and sang karaoke.  I’ve gone hiking on mountain trails and walking around malls.  I’ve asserted my boundaries.  I am looking at the future and setting goals.

I am still wrestling with my depression and really looking forward to the Winter Solstice and the return of the sun.  My anxiety is very high right now with my anticipation of a new year, new plans and expanding my business plus waiting to find out more about what exactly is wrong with me (I had a nerve conduction study, hoping to not need surgery to fix whatever is going on with my hands).  

I take joy, though, in creating things.  More than before.  It makes me happy to see how far I’ve come as a crafter.  I plan to keep creating and improving and hope that others will be delight in my creations as well.  

Recent creations.

Anyway, in a lot of ways I feel like my real life has just begun here at the age of 50.  I’m actually looking forward to the next half of my life.  Both of my parents died before they were 60.  I plan to follow in my great-grandma’s footsteps and see 100.

Labor Day Weekend: Musings on

I spent Labor Day Weekend working. I was a vendor at a local first time sf/f convention called CoKoCon. We did very well. Made more money than our first two outings combined. However, the hours were long and the dealer’s room was *freezing*. By Monday, I’d accumulated a sweater, a hoodie, a knitted infinity scarf, dragon scale arm warmers and heavy socks. I was still cold by the time we packed out and headed home. And this is Phoenix AZ in the summer! It was over 100F outside and I was shivering and my bones ached from the cold.

The last time we were at this location, the dealers room was in a different ballroom and it was slightly too warm. Hopefully, they’ll get it right next time.

Seeing the numbers and chatting with people makes me think this will work. I hope it’s enough to sustain through the dry periods. My Etsy shop gets lots of views but few sales. I’m hoping to up my marketing game.

I’m looking for the next place to set out my wares. It’s hard breaking in. Trying to network and gain contacts.

I am achy and still haven’t fully recovered from my post Worldcon crud. But working my table did help lift me from my depression pit. I know post con drop will happen but hopefully, it will still mean I’m no longer at the bottom of the dark well.  There’s also a drop that will happen when my wolfcub goes back home.  That one will be more profound.  But if I’m able to get us in another show later this year, that will mitigate those feelings.

Next week, I get dental work.  I also need to reschedule with the ortho.

My 50th birthday is coming.  I’ll have more thoughts about it soon.

 

NOT OKAY

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I’m really struggling with my depression.  I am in therapy every week so I have that on my side.  The unpacking is going very slowly.  The Etsy store is okay.  I need to put more into marketing and into getting quality components to make saleable goods.  I’m hoping to get an influx soon.  It’s really disheartening to see all the page hits but no sales.  I know the items up there appeal to folks because I’ve gotten feedback.  I don’t think the prices are unreasonable either.  The last show we did was a bust.  Didn’t quite make back our expenses.  But many valuable lessons were learned and there’s another convention coming up over Labor Day weekend.  Hoping that one will be a success.

I have several follow-up appointments coming up.   My pain levels have been awful.  I am on a new med prescribed my the rheumatologist for pain.  It helps but with the moving and now the unpacking,  some days I can barely get out of bed without crying.

I’m very weepy and spending a lot of time navel-gazing.  I have an app to chronicle my mood each day.  Most of mine have been “meh”.  Just feel stuck, I think.  My therapist wants me to sit down and write down a list of my need and wants.  Then I guess in our next session, we’ll figure out a strategy for getting my needs met.

My relationships are unsatisfying. I think it’s because I need more in person time with the partner who lives in Tucson and more quality time with the partner I live with.

Not having things unpacked and semi-orderly is causing me great anxiety.  I like having stuff put in some kind of order.  I love shelves and boxes and cabinets.  I want everything in its place. I’m working on it as I have the energy and when I can manage my pain.

I’m trying to remember to use my coping tools: music therapy, journaling, making pretties.  I’ve not yet successfully reincorporated exercise/movement yet.  I am a work in progress.

Worried about my kitties.  They seem okay but I’d feel better if I could get them a wellness check.

I need to write down all the things I want to bring up with my doctor (who I see at the end of the month).  Stuff keeps coming up.  I also have two more specialists to see in the near future as well as follow ups with ones I’ve already seen.

Feels like too much sometimes.  Plus all the things my partner expects me to track and take care of.  I mean, I know I have broad shoulders but dang.

Looking forward to vacation next month.

PayPal Donation link

My Etsy shop

State of my head

Finally made it to a therapy appointment this month. Had to reschedule twice and was determined to go this time. I still have little voice but we made it work. It was so good to talk and get feedback. I really feel like this therapist helps and will continue to help me sort out my stuff.

Today we talked about my panic attacks and anxiety. My realization that they started happening not too long after my rape at 9 years old. I didn’t realize those episodes were panic attacks until very recently when I learned exactly what panic attacks are.  From https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/panic-disorder-agoraphobia/symptoms#

A panic attack is the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes and includes at least four of the following symptoms:

Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
Sweating
Trembling or shaking
Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
Feelings of choking
Chest pain or discomfort
Nausea or abdominal distress
Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
Chills or heat sensations
Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations)
Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself) Listen to this podcast.
Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
Fear of dying

Of these, I most commonly got the sweating, derealization/depersonalization, light-headed/faintness, chills and pounding heart.  And I still do.  I look normal from the outside but inside I’m a mess.  It has happened at school, at work, at parties, just sitting alone at home.  It’s awful and exhausting.

My next step is to talk to my doc about getting an anti-anxiety medication.  Being able to somewhat control my anxiety will help me cope better, I think, with life in general and maybe wrestle my demons more effectively.

In better news, I will be a dealer at a local sf/f convention next month!  LepreCon is a general sf/f con with a focus on sf/f art.  The GOH is the artist Lubov

I’ve added more stuff to my Etsy shop.  Dragon & Wolf Crafts

Facing Challenges

So I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about my current load of issues.  So much has happened since I last posted anything.  I did find a therapist who is wonderful.   I am very optimistic that she’ll be a big help in my journey to better mental health.

I’ll need it because my physical health is…well, not so great.  My follow-up with the nephrologist was rescheduled by that office until next month.  My labs show a slight decrease in kidney function so I really need to consult with him.  My primary care doc continues to be my champion.  One of my labs is elevated which indicates either liver impairment or something else.  I had follow-up labs this week and it’s not my liver.   I will be seeing a hematologist next week to try to figure out what the heck is going on.  Unfortunately, I spent time consulting with Dr. Google and now I’m all freaked out.   There is a chance of bone disease of some type including perhaps, cancer.  So there’s that.

Speaking of bones, I now know why my back hurts all the time.  I have a bulging disc and degenerative disc disease.  Yay me.  I’m waiting to hear back from the neurosurgeon’s office about an appointment. disc29120100_M_0.jpg

How am I coping?   ~sigh~  Well, music therapy helps some.  Today I’ve been rearranging the house which has also helped.  I’ve asked for support from friends (go me!  actually asking) and they’ve been wonderful.   I am reminding myself to take things one step at a time.  Cope with the bits that I am able and don’t sweat the what-ifs.  I’ll have more information soon enough and can then decide how to handle things.

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Coping

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Still waiting from a decision on my disability claim.  Feeling frustrated and discouraged.  Felt myself about to drown in the dark pool of depression.  My wolfcub suggested we make real all the talk about selling our crafts.  So I have an Etsy shop!  He makes chain mail jewelry and I, as you know, make beaded stuff.   My shop is Dragon Wolf Crafts 

I am slowly adding inventory to the shop.  Taking good pictures has been a challenge but I think I have some decent ones.

Making is wonderful and each completed piece brings me fulfillment.  I have a reminder set so I can spend some time every day working on either crafting or on the shop.  It’s good to have some structure to my days. I was getting lost.

So that’s the good.  I’m still fretting about money because bills need to be paid.  I added up how much it would take to make me current and it’s over $2000 with interest adding up every day.   Each company offers help if you have some small income but they don’t have anything if you are flat ass broke like I am.  Hopefully, the shop will allow me to pay something.

I am in a weird mental state right now.  Hopeful but not.  Really discouraged by politics and what feels like lack of social change.  Discouraged by having no money and not hearing  about my disability claim.  But I make things!  Pretty things.  And I have a shop that may generate some income.  I have friends and family who love and support me.  Plus it is Secret Santa season!  And I get to send out nifty holiday cards all over the country.   But I’ve been sleeping poorly.  And I’m tired all the time. And my hands hurt.

So, yeah. Weird mental/emotional state of late.

 

Helping Hand

Tips welcome!

 

Personal things

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Haven’t updated in a long while. So, got out and skimmed the pool. Trying to do this every day but not always succeeding. So that was exercise plus time in the sun (need that vit D). It’s 9000 degrees here and the air quality sucks so I’m actually avoiding spending a lot of time outside at the moment. When monsoon season kicks in, I’ll probably go spend time on the patio post deluge when the air is clear and stuff. Hope it happens soon but the forecast for the short term is just very sunny and very hot.

I’ve also taken to dancing around the living room for exercise. The birds really don’t like my taste in music though.

Been having pretty bad pain levels in my right hand, right hip and lower back. Not sure why but hopefully, more movement will ease things. Or I resort to drugs.

I think I posted somewhere about taking classes to try to keep my brane engaged. I started with a full slate but quickly realized that I was being unrealistic and setting myself up for failure. So, I now only have Art History which I am enjoying quite a lot.

I managed to read yesterday!  I devoured an entire book in a few hours.  It was great.  My review is here: Flowers of Luna by Jennifer Linsky

Plus I’ve watched the Black Panther Teaser Trailer many, many, many times.  I’ve also watched a slew of blerd reactions videos.  I. Can. NOT. Wait!  So excited for this.  I really want to make a Dora Milaje costume.

Actually, I’ve gotten the urge to Make.  I created a crafty things wishlist on Amazon here.

Well, that’s it.  Still not sleeping well.  Still anxiously stressed about money.  Still overwhelmed by the news of the day.  Still overwhelmed by all that needs doing around the house.

But I have an adorable kitten and a wonderful, cuddly cat who purr and frolic.

Finn and Pete

 

 

https://www.youcaring.com/HelpCherylThrive