It's Time

Tuesday, November 16, 2021



I fully believe we are always changing, but I like to back up to the point that things began to change.

For this, I can see how it started in the last half of 2019, but it kind of snapped in me in March 2020 on our Colorado vacation, which I have little photos of due to an unfortunate situation with iCloud not working and a white screen loop. I’m not over that (I had the most adorable photo of Marion on my back at Westminster Hills with the mountains in the background, running videos with Everest, photos with all four of us, ugh).

2020 was rough for most, dare I say, all of us, for various reasons. No surprise there, and also no surprise a lot of things became apparent to me. I felt so emotionally drained during all of that, and it was only in looking back that I saw how severe the depression was. But again, through that, so much clarity that basically hit me in the face around February/March of this year. Depression definitely puts you in a fog, so when I got out of that, it was a shock, and also a massive drive to make up that time and get to where I wanted to be. I started thinking differently.

In the summer, I had a very unexpected development professionally, and I feel like I’ve been kind of transitioning into that role and how it all works for me in my life and my long term goals over the past four months. (I don’t adjust to change with any sort of expediency, so I’m actually surprised at the point I’m at already.)

I know a bit more of what I want, and what I want my future to look like in the more near future. I’m good at how I want things to look in the long term and making steps towards that, but there’s so much in between, in the kind of waiting area, that I could be doing, and I’ve been starting to see that more lately and getting excited over some things.

I’m going to switch gears slightly and say I’ve done a lot of listening to other people, a lot of fearing other people, a lot of feeling less than and not good enough throughout my entire life, and it has led to not doing so many things.

But in the last few years I have learned something about doing things, and it’s that I don’t need to have all the answers and know how to do something. No one has that anyways, and I hate the amount of time I have spent feeling like everyone knows way more than me and that I am incapable. Obviously this is not a revolutionary thought, but we arrive at these things and realise how they can fit into our lives at different points, and I’m just finally here. And it feels good to be finally here.

So I’ve decided to do the scary things, and I’m starting work on a website that isn’t blogger. I used to have a really freaking cool Geocities site that I coded by myself (you know, before it was cool [if you know you know]), and I have done so much coding to my blog I lost track and have a billion copies just in case I screw up, so it’s kind of exciting to start from scratch. I have no niche, it’s going to be all the things. Which is vey fitting for me, since I have never really fit anywhere in life.

I don’t fully know what this next part is going to look like, and it will probably look like nothing for a while because I do have a lot going on in life currently, but I am also no longer content to wait, so there will be steps, however how small. I'm nervous to put myself out here in a different way, whilst not really knowing what the heck I’m doing. It’s going to be some trial and error, but I am also really excited.

A Fall Leaves Shoot
- only a year late -

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Last fall, on a warmer day between Halloween and Christmas, Marion and I headed out to clean the leaves from the front porch, and rake the front yard. I love the leaves, but the snow is more fun without them, and it helps the grass, too. I knew there was going to be leaf jumping fun, and as I finished up and she was preparing to jump in the pile, I yelled, "Wait! Let me get my camera!" She patiently waited, and then had a blast while I fired away.

We got some really fun shots!









The pure joy on her face... I can't help but smile at these. 

I guess sometimes I feel like constantly taking photos hinders me doing and being with her, but in these cases, it just made the whole thing more fun, and she often now is happy to let me do sessions with her because she recognises how much I love it. She is also starting to get to the point where she really loves looking back at photos, and is thinking about that more often, though not nearly as much as me. 
 





Forever torn between black and white or colour...sometimes you just need both. 
 





I'm so happy I ran inside and got my camera that day. I have such vivid memories of this, as simple as it is, but I know that without the photos it wouldn't be near as bold in my mind.

I wish I had gotten these edited sooner, but that's okay. Just in time to look back on some fun from last year, and be able to excitedly look to what fun we have coming in the next couple of months!

Episodes

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

After discussing a new series in life, or specifically about how I've been doing so well, I had a bipolar episode.

As usual, I didn't immediately notice it. I just woke up and didn't feel so great. 

"It's just a rough day," I thought.

But it continued.

"I'm just stressed. I need to chill," I thought.

So I chilled, but still it persisted. 

I determined it really seemed like severe anxiety, and labelled it that. 

After about a week of this, I woke up on Thursday, and it was gone. 

My episodes always go like this. Like something resets overnight, and I will wake up in this unpleasant episode, and no amount of anything will shake me out of it until I just randomly wake up better. 

I think I had realised it near the end. I felt the explosiveness rising up in me, like my body wasn't going to contain it any longer, and then...it was gone the next morning. 

It's sometimes hard to talk about feeling like I'm doing better, because then I have an episode, and I feel like a liar, or like I was being untruthful, or trying to put on a fa├žade. In reality though, this is being bipolar. You can be doing better and still have an episode, and then come out of it where you were. It took me a long time to realise that this is not linear. An episode isn't steps back that I have to catch up on when I pull out of it. I can stumble off the side, and return right back to the path. I'm just starting to learn this and fully embrace it, and I'm not sure why it's a concept, or rather a fact, that I struggle so heavily with. Perhaps it's my unrealistic expectations for myself, or maybe it's simply fear, for the times I did take a heavy step back.

I do know this was triggered by stress.

I received a promotion in July, and then took over additional responsibilities in August, and then Marion started school in October, so my time and schedule has changed drastically. It was a good time, because I was mentally and emotionally well, it was a slow season for work, so it was the perfect time to transition. School, however, threw me for a loop. I suddenly needed an extra five to six hours out of my day, and that left no time for housework, no time for fun or relaxing for me, barely time to breathe. I exhausted myself horribly, I was in tears almost daily trying to figure out how in the world I could find time for everything and fit it in, and it wasn't working. Queue the breakdown. 

I came out of my episode, though, just in time for a trip to visit family. And it kind of came at the worst time, but I couldn't have known when I planned it. Between recovering from a week and a half of severe anxiety, and a major project that popped up at work, I have not sufficiently rested. Thursday and Friday was full of work catch up and preparing and packing for our trip, Saturday was all driving, and I've been going in some capacity since we arrived. I had hoped to get some rest, be able to do some drawing or reading, some photo editing, etc. I am getting this time to sit and write, mostly because I have a headache, I'm really tired, and I can't sleep, and I was having trouble focusing on doing anything else. It's really nice though that writing this has brought me some focus. Maybe this is what I should be doing more. I always want to write, but I end up just coming up with it in my head, and once I've completed the segment, it's gone. 

But, this has brought me some focus, so maybe, just maybe, I can work on some things now, since I can't sleep anyways. I have a photo session to finish editing and post (and it's really almost done), some western sunflowers to practice for my horse drawing, more Longmire to read, and of course getting some of my work project done wouldn't be a bad idea either. 

I always feel I need to close with something thought-provoking, but it's not my style.

The Closing of a Series and Beginning of a New One
Or Something Like That

Thursday, September 2, 2021

I keep feeling like I should shove down my dreams, like I have so often, since I was a child even.

Interests.

Hopes.

It would be easy to do, it’s familiar. Like my time is over, it’s a waste, it doesn’t make sense, it’s too late, there’s no point.

It’s too hard. There are too many pieces.

But I can think of so many times where I did something I didn’t think I could do, figured out something I didn’t think I could, did something really hard.

I didn’t always do it.

I mean, I have a ton of college credit, and only one degree, so I didn’t do that.

But when you have to nail down that, “I want to be” question, and it’s supposed to end with some general career choice, well, that never set right with me, that one I just couldn’t do.

But with a lot of things, I did it. And here I am.

Something has changed in me again. It’s always hard to pinpoint when, as I back up I can mark so many places something was changing. I have been through a lot, a lot of things have changed me deeply.

I first saw a psychiatrist when I was 21. One of the first questions he asked me was, “What is your goal for treatment?”

“To not need treatment,” I answered.

He chuckled and I guess he knew what kind of patient he was accepting, then.

I have been unmedicated since three weeks before Marion was born.

I haven’t seen a psychiatrist since she was three months old. It wasn’t really by choice, but that’s just how it was.

Bipolar changes are a bit easier for me to pinpoint and nail down. It started in October of last year, but only for about a week.

Then in December, it was a slingshot. It shifted, and I knew it the moment it happened. I literally woke from sleep and could feel it.

I have been a different person since then. “More normal” is how I would put it. I haven’t had a truly depressing cycle since before October. I have, perhaps, had more mania/hypomania, but nothing beyond my control. I’m still working on the difference between simply ME and my mania, it’s a fine line a lot of times.

I kept waiting on the spring depression to come.

It didn’t.

The summer depression.

It didn’t.

As we head into fall, I’m feeling like an even more joyful and normal version of myself.

I’ve worked through some trauma (I can listen to country music now, I just don’t prefer most of it).

I’m feeling more worthy of life in general.

I feel important.

Which brings me to: why the heck would I shove down my dreams?

I feel more like jumping in with both feet.

I’m working harder for what I want, and enjoying that.

And I’m also remembering what my psychiatrist said when I answered his question, “That’s ambitious. It’s also not reasonable.”

He was totally, 100% correct, by the way. It wasn’t reasonable.

But that’s not my point.

In the past six to seven years I have constantly felt like I could be living such a better life if I was able to get back on track with my medications. If I was able to see a psychiatrist again. I thought life would be so much easier for me, because most of the time I am struggling through every moment of every day. I wonder if Marion would have a better life. If Ryan would. If Everest would. I guilt myself into thinking I’m ruining their lives, and they deserve someone more normal.

It’s false.

I have felt like a little more of that “normal” person lately. Which is a big improvement over the medicated me.

(But let’s be honest, I’m far from normal and I always will be.)

I see more of the “me in my head” in my actions.

I smile even more (and I improved on that four years ago, and recently noticed the change in my photos).

My expressions aren’t so suppressed.

It’s truly lovely.

So…

It’s been super, super hard, but after 12 years, here I am. I can check that goal off the list.

(I’ll also mention here that this goal requires continual maintenance, so it’s not a done deal.)

It was ambitious.

It wasn’t reasonable.

And now I ask myself again if I should shove aside my dreams and interests, and hopes in life.

Not a shred of me will say yes.

A resounding NO.

Sometimes it’s good to say no.

A Year of Growth and the Rest of Our Lives

Thursday, May 6, 2021

The completing of projects, saving of money for more projects, waiting to plant and the picking up of work has had me in a strange state. Not quite a full depression, but some sort of lull, in between depressed and normal. I'm not sleeping well, but not necessarily insomniatic (I don't think that's a word, but I'm making it one), and I keep experiencing a sort of sleep paralysis. I'm feeling less and less energy, and keep feeling so overwhelmed by just the little everyday things, to the extent I have a hard time figuring out how I was doing so much just a month or month and a half ago. I'm trying to feel less like I am failing at the moment, but I still have projects that need completing sooner rather than later, and I am not finding the time or energy for them.

At the same time, I have been deep in thought, which seems to go hand in hand in these periods of time. And sometimes I need these slower, more awkward stages, to take in all the thoughts. I think my mind goes so fast that everything else has to slow down for a time to take it all in.

I've been contemplating my, our, future in a way I really haven't in a very long time. I was very forward thinking as a child, however as I got older, and no doubt as my bipolar disorder and general anxiety and depression began to present, I felt very stuck and lost, and like the future was impossible to look at or plan for. Which I believe has led to a lot of poor decisions. I've honestly never looked more than about five years out before, but now I'm looking at, "what do I want the rest of my life to look like?" And I'm glad I am finally at this point, and glad I can finally see that. It feels exciting, but also daunting because I don't quite know how to get there and how it will all work, but it feels like a good future.


I came across this on Instagram from @millennial.therapist, and I realised I have been in a thoughtful state for a really long time. I put a little bit of words to it in a post here, but even since then I realised I've been undergoing a different kind of change for at least a year. That's weird to say because I've been through a lot in the past ten years, at least, and it feels like I am constantly going through something and I am constantly being changed. I know we will all experience this to a degree, but it feels like in my case it's been much more extreme and there has been much less consistency or continuity in my life. But it feels like maybe I'm in a place for that. Not that I have "arrived" or anything of the sort, but rather, maybe like I'm finally on the other side of all these horrible things. Like maybe I can step out of survival mode. There has been a lot more aloneness, my relationships have changed, I believe because I needed that aloneness, and that is not an unusual thing for me to need when something is changing, or I'm trying to figure something out for myself. But unfortunately, I didn't realise that was what was going on till the past week, which also explains why it began lifting an I was ready to talk about it, and I was ready to, kind of, return to the world.

I had a hard week though, but it's on the up. 

How To
Adding Stampede Strings to Your Hat

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

I've been doing more work in the yard lately, and as summer approaches, that is only increasing. I love it, but as a very pale-skinned individual, protection from the sun is a must. I avoid sunscreen as much as possible because even the most natural brands cause irritation if I leave it on for very long. So I'm often seen in long sleeves and hats during the summer months. 

I love hats, clearly. But I mostly wear them for fun, and unfortunately, I found the two hats I wear outside the most to be not ideal. One is thick felt, so very hot and best for cooler temps, and the other is suede, and I didn't want to damage it with water because it's my favourite hat. My dad wears straw hats for working outside, but complains they break down and need replaced so quickly, so I took some time to do some research, and read some reviews.

What I settled on is not the coolest option, it's a Mexican Palm made by Stetson, and it did not have the chin strap/stampede strings that I was hoping for. However, the reviews are incredible and it looks so nice. I was skeptical to spend $55 on a hat I will just work in, but the cheaper options don't seem to last very long, so it felt worth it.

And let me tell you, it was so worth it. I absolutely love it. I see why so many people called it an "heirloom hat" and said it's the only one you'll need to purchase. I really haven't had any trouble with it falling off my head while working, however I still wished it had the stampede strings as we get heavy winds here and I feel like they would be a nice addition. 

A little research, and I found that you can purchase strings and attach them really easily. One particular option doesn't even require any modifications to the hat, which was a plus for me, so I started looking for the strings, and I found this great pair from Knot-A-Tail on Etsy. I know there are a few tutorials out there, but thought I would add some photos here of the process.

First, you'll need to find out exactly where the strings should go. I placed my hat on my head, and made a small mark on the underside of my hat right where the front of my ear is.

Once you have the marks, it's time to insert the cotter pin between the stitches on the sweat band where the marks are. It should slide in pretty easily.

One the cotter pin is through, flip the sweat band down, and bend the pin apart so it's open and flat against the the seam. Then flip the sweat band back up, and you're done. 

The markers marks ended up being really unnoticeable, and I'm guessing they'll eventually wear off, but if not, it doesn't even show.

I love the addition of the strings, and I'm glad I didn't let the lack of them stop me from purchasing this hat, because it's truly amazing, and the strings are so easy to attach. Had I known the ease sooner, it probably would have meant way less searching.

I hope this is useful for someone! I highly recommend Stetson, and also urge you to check out Knot-A-Tail, they have some really beautiful hat accessories made from horse hair.