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#design Christmas costuming Crafting Health Holiday Mental Health Sewing Social Media Stress Thoughts Work

Survival mode…deactivated?

I made it through the week! It was touch-and-go there for a while (mentally speaking), but I made it. I even learned a new thing at work. My stress hasn’t completely evaporated–there’s still a slight chance that I might end up with some of the same stress piled back on me next week–but I’m not on Red Alert all the time now. It’s more like Yellow Alert…maybe a bit less.
There are still garments to make for Yule, a whole slew of events to schedule on social media, holiday presents to make for friends and family, and Gods only know what else I’m forgetting at the moment. So yeah, work-stress is lessened, life-stress keeps on trucking.
Overall, though, I think I’m feeling better. I don’t have the panic attack hangover I had yesterday, and I feel pretty calm. Is it a calm-before-the-storm kind of calm? I hope not. But I’ll take the calm feeling while I can.

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Depression Education Friendship Health Insomnia Learning Mental Health Sleep Social Media Stress Time Work

Beatdown

I’m done. Done. Totally, completely, 1000% done.
Except I’m not. I have more to do, farther to go, deeper to dig. In other words, I’m shit out of luck.
Ok, let me back up a bit.
I’ve been covering for a co-worker who had surgery a week ago, and even though I learned how to do that position a little over a year ago, my training was quick and dirty. Basically, the only backup person for that position quit and I had to step up and dive in. Speed training.
Incomplete speed training.
Yeah. There are huge chunks of aspects of the position that are missing from my knowledge/experience base. Some of the things never came up during that speed training, and despite me pointing this out multiple times it has never been rectified. I literally am the only other person “trained” in this position, and as the past week has demonstrated I am not truly prepared.
I didn’t realize how much stress I was under this past week until this morning. My worsening insomnia, which I had been attributing to just me being me, has most likely been due to this sudden change in work duties. This afternoon, the buildup of stress and strain and pressure came to a head in the form of a massive anxiety attack. During the work day. Full-blown crying-my-eyes-out find-a-place-to-hide-from-reality anxiety attack.
It has been a long, long time since I’ve had an attack that bad while at work. I have to admit, I’m more than a bit ashamed of it. I thought I was past this kind of thing.
Guess not.
Now, work life isn’t my only stressor right now. I have other things going on that are probably not helping matters. Could I cut back on one or more of the non-work activities? Sure. I could. Will I? Probably not too much. Some of my private life things demand a certain degree of responsibility, and some of them involve dear friends who I do not want to disappoint or let down. So I’m going to plow through my off hours just like I’m plowing through the work stress. Will that mean more breakdowns? Probably… but hopefully I can keep any impending meltdowns to times when I can get away and hide my shame.
I’m not sure what I’ll do to destress aside from the date night that my wonderful husband has planned for tomorrow. Work will calm down eventually. I’ll get my personal life sorted to the point where I can function.
I just wish I could fast forward to this stress leveling off.
Soon, though, right? Please?

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Depression Insomnia Mental Health Stress Thoughts

Mixed blessings

So, like, is it a good sign or a bad sign when your insomnia leaves you conveniently awake at the right time to clean up the cat puke while it’s still fresh? I mean, on the one hand I was able to wipe it up right away and, since I heard him hacking, I was able to avoid stepping in it (because stepping in cat puke–fresh or not–is gross). On the other hand, I got maybe an hour of sleep before my brain woke the fuck up and refused to go back to sleep. This makes three out of the past four nights where my body wakes up after less than three hours, and nothing I do seems to fix it.
I’d say I’m sick and tired of it, but I’m not tired. At all. (As for the sick part, I might still be a bit queasy after cleaning up the cat puke.)
Today–or I guess I should say “last night” since it was before midnight that I woke back up–I was able to identify at least part of the problem: My damn train of thought. See, I went to bed a little … disappointed, I guess? Or maybe a bit hurt. It’s one of those things that happens to normal people and it’s not even a thing, but because I’m me it became a thing. Enough of a thing that my brain decided to blow it out of proportion and make it a huge thing that probably really isn’t even a microscopic thing. My feelings get hurt so damn easy, and often for no good fucking reason. I’m starting to annoy the snot out of myself with it. This thing-that-isn’t-a-thing shouldn’t have me up late at night crying and stewing and moping and pouting. I should be sleeping like a baby. But no, not me. I apparently decided I was going to get upset and worked up over this not-thing. So yeah. That’s why I’m here, writing this ramble of a blog post. I’m kinda hoping I bore myself back to sleep with it. (So far it’s not working.)
I guess I’ll lie here in the dark and try to not think or something. I don’t even know what else to do at this point. Definitely no thinking though. Thinking leads to things-that-aren’t-things. Things-that-aren’t-things lead to butthurt. Butthurt leads to insomnia.

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#design #nerd #publishing Art Charity Christmas costuming Crafting Geek Halloween Holiday Interview Mental Health Novel Original art SCA Sewing Social Media Stress Time Work Writing

Shuffleboard

Life is definitely a strange game lately. As if things weren’t hectic enough, I am having to cover for a co-worker who had surgery last week. It’s only for a few more days, but it has been enough of a kick in the ass that I had to finally admit defeat and give up a job that I once really enjoyed. As of this morning, I no longer am working for Talk Nerdy With Us, either as a contributor or as an editor. It was a hard decision, but I just don’t have the time anymore.
There’s the paying work. There’s the volunteer work for the SCA. There’s the writing. There’s the sewing for the SCA. There’s the holiday season coming up. I could go on, but I’m sure you get the drift. I’m exhausted, and right now I can’t afford the kind of effort it takes for what, in the end, is a nonpaying job. I’ve got enough of those, thank you very much, and the ones I’m “keeping” are more satisfying at this point in time.
Now I have a few moments of break left before I’m back into the fray. I’m hoping to get a sewing project done by tomorrow morning and then I can start knocking out this mile high list of things to do.

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#design Art Art for sale Christmas costuming Crafting Friendship Holiday Original art Sewing Stress Thoughts

Under Construction

I have no idea why I thought I’d start up my Etsy shop again at this time of year.
I thought it would be fun: creating new stuff, possibly selling a few things, having a blast with it all… Then yesterday I realized that I have quite a few personal projects to get done before I can get to creating stuff to sell. There’s the bento box, the Italian Renaissance garb for Yule (that I accidentally forgot about until now), the masks for the Yule event, and oh yeah, I suppose I should start thinking about Christmas gifts for all my friends and family. Mania, why you no pick a better time for this?
I guess the Etsy shop will have to be put on hold for a while again. I can keep the current listings active, but realistically I should be focusing on the more pressing items on the menu. *Sigh*
Good thing I have lots of materials and patterns that I can use for the above-mentioned projects. It takes a bit of a load off stress-wise, but I still wish I could work on the crafting ideas I have. Oh well. Friends and family take priority. And being clothed for Yule. Those are important things.

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#design Art Art for sale Christmas Crafting Holiday Home Novel Original art Sewing Stress Time Work Writing

Full Plate, Table 3

It’s going to be one of those weeks.
Yesterday started off with someone at work needing surgery, and, being the only other person there trained in her job, it was up to me to come to the rescue. I still had to do the position I was already scheduled for, of course, so that left me running back and forth across the office most of the day. Today I cover for my recovering coworker, and then as soon as I’m off work its up to Phoenix for my husband’s birthday weekend celebrations. On the way back Sunday we have an event, and there’s still laundry and whatnot to do at my parents’ house before I dive back into my temporary position next week.
Next week brings more work, and for some reason I am feeling like there’s something I’m forgetting when it comes to planned activities. I’ve been doing that a lot lately, and it’s getting out of hand. I forget what weekend has what plans, what weekdays have what going on, and even the things that are part of my “regularly-scheduled programming” slip my mind. It’s a lot to keep up with.
It’s almost starting to concern me. I used to keep track of dates and events without any issue; now I forget that I should be packing for a weekend trip that I mentioned two paragraphs ago. Things are muddy and sluggish, and I’m forgetting important stuff. Not 100% forgetting–I know that it’s my husband’s birthday Saturday–but more like the fact that the important event is impending slips my mind. I know that X activity is planned for Y day, but when Y day rolls around I forget that Y is the day when X occurs. This leaves me completely unprepared for X, both physically and mentally. I’ll come home from work exhausted, ready to just chill in bed (or maybe go hang out in the craft room), and my husband will remind me of the thing we’re doing that day.
I think that might be the most exhausting part of it all: not the sheer number of plans and events, but the “surprise” of learning that there’s yet another thing planned on a day when I’d thought I was otherwise free. I make my own little piddly plans for crafting or writing or lazing about and those plans get crushed by the plans that were already in place.
Will things cool down any time soon? With the holidays fast approaching, I doubt it. I have to start thinking about Christmas gifts. And some birthday gifts. All that in addition to the aforementioned plans and events. And the house prep. And…damn. I was sure there was something else…
Oh yeah. The novel. I have stuff to do for that still, too. Gotta finish the most current wave of revisions, plus write up an outline and some character bios. So that, too.
Oh, and did I mention that, during this crazy time, I decided to reopen my Etsy shop this week? Yeah. In the midst of all this madness, I thought it would be a good idea to start creating more things to sell. I plan on making fabric bento boxes (after I get my own made and perfected–I always end up tweaking the pattern), stuffed animals, more clay sculptures, clay ornaments, bags/purses, and more. Yeah. With all that imaginary free time I have lately. That should go over well.
I’ll get the hang of all this eventually. Maybe. I should bust out the calendar on my phone and set reminders for every day that something’s going on. That should be fun, with alerts and notifications going off every day.
*Sigh* Whatever happened to my quiet, unassuming life?

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#design Art Art for sale Crafting Learning Sewing Tutorial

Crafty

And, thanks to my mania, I have inadvertently agreed to make at least one “tournament prize” that’s due…this weekend? I hope not, because I’ll be out of town until Sunday, but maybe my friend meant a future tournament.
See, I found this cool link on Pinterest for a fabric bento box using scraps and leftover fabric laying around. Small pieces required, so no need to buy huge quantities–and if you have enough scraps, you don’t need to buy any, really. Bonus: I have enough of my exploding TARDIS fabric left over from my Jedi TARDIS cosplay that I can make a bento box of my own–once I get bias binding for it. The pattern/tutorial, which is really cool and so far easy enough, calls for making your own binding. No offense to the designer, but eff that mess. I am going to go out and buy more binding since I’ve run out of the color I want to use.
How does this relate to the prize I agreed to make? Well, I told a friend of mine about it, and she thought it would be cool for me to make a prize (or prizes) for fighting tournaments. Which is cool and all, but, uh, where’s the time? Where’s the time, man?
I’ll tell you where it is: Work. Work and volunteering and gaming with friends and vacations and….and and and. Yeah. I keep forgetting that I have a social life now, and I can’t just stop what I’m doing to go sew/sculpt/draw/paint something. Oops.
I’ll get something done, though, even if it’s only one thing. I might have to do some marathon cutting/sewing work, but I’ll get it done.
It’s kind of fun learning new stuff, especially crafting. Perhaps this will be a good outlet for my creativity and extra energy.

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#design Crafting Learning Sewing Tutorial

Mimicry

The sewing project that I thought last night I could do without pattern or tutorial? Woke up, started it, tried it, made one little mistake that was easily corrected, and nailed it. Observe the “inspiration” picture from the pin I found:
f692c44e74ec9fee3bf781e51ac0b084
For more experienced sewists, probably not too big of a deal. I, however, sometimes get mixed up without photos or patterns to go on, so I kinda sewed the pockets on upside down at first. However, that was, as far as I can tell, the only mistake I made. Behold:


I didn’t add a strap to hold it closed when it’s folded up (because it was like 3am & I was not quite functional enough yet to figure that bit out–next time though; next time), but basically I did the thing. A small folding desk organizer for my craft room–or for whatever I decide to stick in there. The best thing is, I didn’t spend any extra money on it. This puppy is made 100% from scraps and leftover materials I already had from previous projects.
So now Pinterest will become even more addicting. I’ve gotten it into my head that I can do probably more than I actually can, but if I can do even half the things I’ve seen that I want to do I’ll be able to use up a lot of the scraps that have been taking up tons of space in my craft room. I’ll be able to make gifts, maybe even things to sell on Etsy or eBay or something.
Just a little copycatting, and maybe I can be productive.

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#design Crafting Health Mental Health Musings Sewing

Copycat attack

I’ve been on Pinterest a little too much lately, I think. After spending a few days cranking out baby shower gifts on the sewing machine, I now have the crazy notion in my head that I can look at a thing and determine how it was constructed and make it on my own. And who knows? Maybe I can…for some simpler things, I mean. It might take some brainstorming and visualizing, but I’ve already got a few things in mind to make for myself, and I’m thinking of making gifts for some of my friends and family this year.
On one hand, it’s a good thing; I can utilize fabric scraps (that I don’t quite know what to do with) in a useful way. On the other hand, this could potentially be the early stages of a manic episode, so I had better be aware of my emotions and keep my impulses in check.
Sometimes I wonder if I can harness this manic energy that comes to me and use it to be productive…but then I remember how out of control I can get if I’m not careful, and it’s very, very hard to be careful when you’re in a manic state. Part of that mania involves a lack of…how can I put this? A lack of concern over consequences. I know that impulsive action A can potentially cause bad consequence B, but I really don’t give a rat’s ass whether B happens or not.
Then again, I might not be manic. Not every burst of creative energy is caused by an episode. It could just be that I’m in the mood to make stuff. But going off of past experiences and probability factors and all that science-y stuff, the scales are tipping heavily in the manic direction.
It’s frustrating as hell, that’s for sure. Not knowing if you’re slowly losing control or just in an unusually good mood. It sucks.
I’m probably still going to make the stuff though, if I can find the time. Whether it’s an episode or not, I’ve gotten it in my head that I can do this thing, and now I have to take on my own challenge.

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Depression Health Mental Health Poetry Stress Thoughts

Let Sleeping Demons Lie

It’s World Mental Health Day, and I thought I’d take a little bit of time to discuss mental health–largely because it is most definitely directly relevant to my life. Sometimes I joke about it, because the humor helps relieve the pressure. Other times, though, like right now, I want to be more serious about the subject of mental health. It’s a very serious thing, and one that needs more awareness.
It has been a while since I’ve mentioned this here (because, well, it shouldn’t be something worth mentioning): I’m bipolar. I don’t have it as bad as some people, and the medications keep my emotional state mostly under control, but it’s there all the same. I don’t get to take a vacation from it. I don’t get to say, “Y’know, I think I’m not going to be bipolar today.” It’s there. It’s a daily thing, regardless of whether or not it’s at the forefront of my mind.
The fates have been kind to me lately in that I have been able to almost forget that I’m bipolar–almost. My moods have been running fairly stable, and aside from the daily pill regimen to keep those moods in check I really don’t have any constant reminders these days of the horror that I used to endure. I can’t really describe it adequately in prose; poetry sometimes better conveys the roller coaster of bipolar life. I’m going to add a poem here that the narcissist in me is quite proud of: “Hostage in My Head,” a poem written during a more difficult mental state.
 

“Hostage in My Head” (from Kamikaze Butterflies by AJ Mullican)

Trapped alone

Awash in a sea of terror

No escape from my own deranged thoughts

Impossible futures scroll through my mind

Over and over on a continuous loop

My mental movie screen glows

As the macabre fantasy plays unbidden

Death and disaster overtake reality

Can’t focus on the here and now

When the “might be” looms on the horizon

Against my will my death plays out again

For the hundredth time this hour

I watch my lifeless form slide to the ground

Shot in the convenience store

Pulled from the mangled wreck

Coded mysteriously at work

At the sight of my imagined death

My heart rate soars and pounds

There’s nothing beautiful and delicate

About the kamikaze butterflies in my chest

Every single nerve

Teeters on the edge of a precipitous drop

With a nightmare at the bottom

Just one nudge

One little push

And everything will come crashing down

I tiptoe on the inside

Walking the fine line between sanity and oblivion

Pacing the padded room within my skull

Inside I scream for a reprieve, for escape

Even for sweet, sweet nothingness

But my calls go unheeded

The nightmare begins anew

I am my own personal terrorist

And I am the hostage

 
So yeah. Sometimes it’s like that. Sometimes it’s easy going. Sometimes it scares the fuck out of me. You can never tell what the next day–or minute, or second–will bring. And you know what else you sometimes can’t tell? If someone even has mental illness. That’s right, it’s sneaky shit. The stereotype is always the scruffy guy standing in the corner at the bus station, muttering to himself. That. Is. NOT. Typical of mental illness. Yes, it happens, but mental illness could be as innocuous as a slight slump to the shoulders, an unusual amount of energy, a sigh. There are infinite signs, and they can be infinitesimal.
To anyone reading this who suffers from mental illness, no matter what that illness is, I’m here. I may not be able to fully understand your personal illness, or even your own form of bipolar disorder, but I can talk. I can listen. To anyone reading this who is fortunate enough to be fairly mentally “sound,” if you know someone who is mentally ill, be that person who talks. Who listens. Sometimes just a little show of support and understanding is enough to keep the demons at bay.
For now the demons are quiet, and I think I’ll let them sleep a little longer.