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Posts Tagged ‘bipolar disorder’

Hi, folks. It’s been a few months since I’ve gotten in here, and I’m sorry. Crazy abounds around here, particularly lately, and it makes keeping up the way I’d like difficult.

We’ve been very lucky (knock on wood) to have avoided contracting the virus, which is all to the good, but quarantine is definitely taking a toll. Because of underlying health conditions, even though restrictions have been lifted somewhat, we haven’t been taking advantage of that fact. The kids are still streaming their classes, despite school having reopened part time, and they probably won’t be going back this year at all. The lack of social contact seems to be very much affecting Bryony, and last month we had to admit her to inpatient care at the hospital. My ten year old child had several plans in her mind for committing suicide, and had been cutting herself as a coping mechanism.

Ten years old.

My heart broke. There is no other phrase for it.

As a family, we sat down and discussed it with her. We told her that the fact that she had made actual plans meant that we were officially over our heads. We could no longer deal with things on our own, and she would have to go to the hospital. She agreed; she wanted to go. She wanted to get well. And her mama just fell apart at that point.

Bryony told me to think of it as a really long sleepover at a friend’s house. And she told me that no matter how close or how far she was from me, she would always be with me. My youngest child, my baby, so brave. I was a wreck.

And so, I drove her to the emergency room, where she was admitted, and we were told that she would be there until such time as a facility opened up that could take her. Until then, they acted as a holding facility, keeping her physically safe, but not doing any actual treatment. I would be the only point of contact because of Covid rules.

There has been a distinct division in the family lately. On top of everything else, Aneira had come out as trans, feeling more comfortable identifying as male and pansexual, something that I am struggling to reconcile within myself. Understand: I love my children. There is nothing they could do to change that. And I am not phobic in regard to the LGBTQ community. I want to be supportive of my child, but where he says he has been thinking about this for years, this is an entirely new concept for the woman who gave birth to two daughters, and now has a son and a daughter. Loving him and supporting him does not mean that I don’t mourn the daughter I no longer have, and I hope that makes more sense to someone than it currently does to me. I have a son who is a stranger to me in many ways, who has the face and form of the daughter I bore, and it’s very hard for me to wrap my head around. And because she is now he, I am no longer the go-to parent. He and the hubby have become very close, where he and I have lost that closeness. He feels more in common with my husband, particularly in light of my husband’s own preferences. So there is a division right down the midline of the family, with Bryony and I on one side, and Aneira and the hubby on the other.

With Bryony in the hospital, and the buddy-buddy closeness of the other two, I felt very alone, and I pulled back. I spent all of my time either in the studio or the bedroom catching up on tv shows I hadn’t watched in awhile. And though both of them professed to be missing Bryony as well, I couldn’t feel that they did. They had each other, while the child that remained close to me wasn’t there. I was depressed and scared and sad, and it didn’t feel as though anyone else was, so I withdrew more and more.

Bryony stayed at the hospital for two long weeks, with me visiting as often as I could. She wasn’t the only child there, and in fact the doctor said that they are seeing a spike in the number of children in the pediatric behavioral health ward, believing that parents are seeing more behavior issues because of the quarantine. Because of that spike, beds were in short supply at treatment facilities, and Bryony was released to outpatient care after two weeks because a facility never opened up for her, and it was decided that it would be worse to continue her exposure to those who had worse mental health issues than she did, so home she came. In addition to ADHD/ODD, she has been diagnosed as borderline bipolar, something we feared happening because we had our own issues.

But the familial division has made itself felt. I haven’t quite come back all the way from my own withdrawal, and I still feel very much in the middle. Bryony is still acting out, though a bit less than before, and her brother and father have very little patience with her, so I am acting as a buffer between one child and the rest of the household, while struggling to maintain my own equilibrium and failing. It doesn’t help that I can see both sides of the problem, because I can’t seem to find a way to fix the problem.

I’ve continued working on different projects in weaving and crocheting, and even cooking, and I’ve posted on Instagram (@sibelabmom, if anyone is interested in following me there), and I’ve begun therapy myself, but this is the first time I’ve felt settled enough to blog in awhile. So, sorry for the long ramble!!

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Things are rough. My BPD is starting on a downward spiral like I haven’t seen in awhile, I think because so much is going on, and I don’t really have access to my normal space that keeps me sane.

More and more, what we are seeing is that our children are having mental health issues, and we had hoped that it wouldn’t happen, but this world we’re living in…I don’t really know how anyone manages to stay sane.

Bryony is ADHD and ODD. ADHD is a common acronym nowadays, but I’d never heard of ODD before. Oppositional Defiance Disorder. The title pretty much describes it to a “T”. She argues with every word out of everyone’s mouth. It doesn’t matter if she’s right or wrong, and you can prove it. She can’t help but fight you on it.

I’ve always said that with her argumentative nature, she should go to law school, but as the years have passed, the arguments are less cute and less amusing and more frequent. It’s a near constant situation now. I don’t know if it’s the months of quarantine or a natural progression, but everything is a battle now.

Because she has to be supervised nearly constantly, her own room is not an option for virtual school. Because of an open concept main floor and four loud, rambunctious dogs, the dining room table wasn’t an option either. The only room left was my studio. And really, if my choices are risking my kid’s life by putting her back into a brick-and-mortar school or protecting her by giving up my studio for the majority of each day, well, the choice is pretty obvious to me: she gets the studio.

Of course, the situation is less than ideal. The studio is my area, my retreat, and I don’t have access at need. And I’ve been needing it.

Tempers are fraying all over the place in the house. The kids both being home day in and day out means that there is a lot more fighting and no breaks from it. Hubby not being home so much of the time means that everything is shouldered by me, which in turn means that I spend an inordinate amount of time arguing compliance issues with a ten year old for whom argument is a lifeblood. By the time hubby gets home, I’m so worn down I dump the whole mess on him, which means that he ends up yelling at her almost as soon as he walks through the door. Resentments are simmering across the board, with no outlets anywhere in sight. We haven’t made a lot of friends since moving here, which contributes to how much we miss Colorado and the community of framily we had built there, and missing those things adds to the general downward spiral we’re on.

And I joined a group for parents of ADHD children, and I’ve got to be honest here: I’m not sure it helps.  On one hand, reading so many stories that sound like your own situation makes you feel less alone. On the other, it makes you wonder about the light at the end of the tunnel. Is that sunlight streaming in from the end? Or are we simply approaching a light bulb and returning to more dark tunnel once we pass it?

My own negative mindset makes me think the latter. Negativity breeds more negativity, so I’m trying very hard to avoid it, but I’m struggling. Part of the recent addiction to the more portable fiber arts is because my studio access is so limited. I thought that still being able to engage would help — and it does, to an extent — but I guess environment has something to do with it too.

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As this shelter-in-place saga continues, I find myself in an almost surreal place, and it is playing merry hell with my head.

To begin with, everything is different since we moved, and almost a year later, it’s all still new to us. It’s a different environment, climate, populace. So completely not Colorado. I don’t say that as a complaint, simply an observation of fact. We left pine forests for magnolias and sweetgums. We left cold for hot. It is different here, and we have yet to really become comfortable here.

Another difference is that hubby is working now. It’s been seventeen years since he was last in the workforce, so that feels odd too. And now the kids are home, and homeschooling, and we are all forced to stay in. And that has suddenly become an issue.

You might say, “Yes, but you’ve been home for the last year”, and you would be right. But I didn’t realize until now, when I’m not doing it, how much running around I did on a daily basis that made being home less of a problem. Between taking kids to school, going for groceries, picking kids up, various little errands here or there, I was actually out of the house almost as much as I was in it.

Now, however, I find my focus eroding. I. Don’t. Have. It. I am bouncing from project to television to book to different project to sleeping. I can’t stay with any one thing for much time. I started the blanket, and I have been working on it. I crocheted masks yesterday. I pulled out my tablet weaving loom and managed to do that for only one full repeat. For two days, I have been completely unable to play Animal Crossing, and I love that game. But it’s too slow for a brain that is bouncing off the walls. Even blogging is affected. I can’t get through a whole post in one shot. I’ve already had to go outside in my driveway, on a windy, rainy day, just to breathe. Twice.

I don’t know if this is my BPD manifesting a manic episode, or if it’s just being forced to stay still, or both.

Then you add in life’s normal little annoyances, and there’s an extreme desire to either scream, or just sit in a corner and cry.

My tooth started to ache two days ago, as if infected. Naturally, this happens in the middle of a pandemic, just when you don’t want to go near anyone, particularly a dentist, who has to get really up close and personal with your mouth. There’s no telehealth appointments with a dentist. If he can’t get his hands in your mouth, he can’t help you.

I know there are people who have it worse. We are lucky that none of us have contracted the virus yet. We’re lucky to have a home with a backyard that we can go to when we need air. Rationally speaking, you know when you’ve been lucky. You know you’re playing Russian roulette, and you’re going to keep playing until the virus is stopped or your luck runs out, whichever comes first. And you pray, every night, that you and yours will be spared. And you sit in your house and quietly lose your gorram mind.

I can’t focus. And if this is what my ADHD child’s brain is like, then I need to be more sympathetic.

How are you coping with sheltering in place? What things are keeping you from losing your mind?

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I haven’t done any crafting, of any kind, in days. It’s been too insane around here. Way too much stress. There’s so much going on, and I’m feeling more than a little edgy. We’ve finally had people coming in to fix things on the house warranty, which is good. The PIP has finally gotten to his car so he can get it ready for a show, which means at long last it will be done…or at least it had better be. If he finds one more thing he wants to add to it, I may just blow the thing up. It’s been his only topic of conversation for the last year: what’s wrong with it, what needs to be done to it, what he’s already done to it, what he wants to do to it…I’m very much over this car, and this is coming from someone who loves old hot rods.

Then the kids have been fighting nonstop for at least a week. Housetraining the puppy. PIP not feeling well. A ridiculous tax debt owed to the IRS due to what we spent building the house and staying in hotels until it was done. Trading in my beautiful truck for an equally beautiful older one because registration on the Sierra was way too high. Trying to cut out unnecessary bills or lower necessary ones in order to make ends meet. Aneira’s problems and therapy. The PIP’s schizo-affective disorder. My own bipolar disorder. The discovery that I’m diabetic. Fighting with the PIP. A visit from the police because that fight got a bit too loud. School nearing its end for the girls. Trying to get the housework under some type of control. Trying to get the girls to do chores. Finding out there is structural damage to one of the vehicles that wasn’t disclosed to us on purchase. The replaced hip giving me trouble. The knee on that side joining the party. I’m sure there are things I’ve forgotten to add to this list.

Sometimes you just have those days where you’re totally overwhelmed and you don’t even know where to start trying to unravel the knot of stress you’re carrying with you. There are a billion ends in this ball, and if you pull the wrong one, you tighten the knot further, and it makes you nervous about trying another end to see if maybe that one will loosen things up enough for you to breathe for just a couple of minutes.

It’s times like this that adulting really sucks. You don’t know what to do, you don’t know where to start, you want someone to tell you what to do, but you’re it. You’re the boss here. And you’re so overwhelmed you’re standing still because it’s the only thing you know to do to keep things from spiraling even further out of control.

That’s where I’ve been the last few days. Falling apart when no one is looking, like in the shower, so no one can tell I’ve been crying. I don’t want to worry the kids, and telling the PIP what my headspace is like right now is something that might set him off, and that would circle right back around to me as another item I’d have to handle, and I just don’t think I can.

And the worst of it is, is that there’s no running away from it. Where do you go? I know that there are people who escape into drugs and drinking, but that’s not my style. I’ve never been a big drinker, I don’t like drugs, and, let’s face it, those things are far more likely to make things worse rather than better. So at this point I’m fighting my own depression and anxiety, as well as everything else. I’m one of those people who would rather worry something to death and have it turn out that I didn’t need to, than be that person who doesn’t worry and then finds out they should have. Of course, the downside to that is that you’re always stressed.

Sigh. I’ve pulled out both yarn and weaving thread several times over the last few days, but just can’t find the creativity to do anything but stare at the thread. If I had the money right now, I’d go on vacation. I don’t even need to leave town, just hole up somewhere that no one can find me!

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Tonight, my relief and joy know no bounds: Aneira is home! We weren’t expecting her to be discharged until tomorrow;  they told us we would have 24 hours notice prior to her discharge. She called us at noon and said “Where are you?”

My response was, “What do you mean, where am I? Your dad and I are running errands!”

“I’m being discharged today!”

What???”

“I’m being discharged today.”

“Now?!”

“Yes!”

So much for 24 hour’s notice! So I dragged the PIP out of the auto parts store and drove straight to the hospital. I wasn’t going to leave her there one more moment than absolutely necessary.

She seems different, and yet the same. I don’t know if it’s that she’s changed, or that my perception of her has, but she seems more confident, more assertive than she was before, and that’s good. And we have a mantra that I occasionally insist upon hearing her say: “I am beautiful, I am gorgeous, and my family loves me.”

I got great video of Bryony’s reaction to seeing her sister again, and later of Bryony’s best friend’s reaction. Heartwarming, tear-jerking moments. This poor kid–we’ll call her Nadia–had bawled when her mother told her where Aneira was, which had surprised both of us. We hadn’t thought she’d had enough interaction with Aneira to be upset to that degree. But Bryony and Nadia spend a lot of time together, as do both sets of parents, so apparently that was enough.

The peace and harmony didn’t last long, however. I thought it would take at least a day before the girls were fighting again. Boy, was I wrong: two hours was all it took to go from rib-cracking hugs to yelling at each other. Amazing. But they’re sisters, so I suppose I should have expected it.

We spent the evening cleaning out her room. All sharp objects are now off limits. And we won’t send her back to school until Wednesday, giving her a day to normalize. Of course, there are also prescriptions to fill, and appointments to make. And she and I had a moment, just hugging each other, where I begged her not to do this again and told her that it would break me if something happened to her. She pinky-promised, and we just stood there, hugging.

I think…I pray…I hope she will be all right. We’ll do everything the doctor recommends, and she seems to have a brand new appreciation for home. It’s not going to be a short journey, but she won’t be alone on it. We’ll be right there with her.

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Same band as previously, now done correctly!

As it turns out, I still had the band wrong. Yup, the back was showing, not the front, which was also still incorrect. The band pictured in this post is what it’s supposed to look like.

I had a great bit of luck: I ordered three tablet weaving books written by Claudia Wollny, who lives in Germany. She then sent me a friend request on Facebook, I accepted, and we got to talking on Messenger. I sent her a picture of the band, found out that it was wrong, and we spent several hours back and forth until I learned what it was I wasn’t doing right. The next morning, I cut off the band, rethreaded the cards according to the chart she had sent, and started over. Ta-da!!!! Voila, a proper tablet woven band! I can’t wait for her books to get here. I have got to study. One book is more than 700 pages. I have a feeling that’s going to be my tablet weaving bible! She’s woven some seriously beautiful bands, and I cannot wait to be able to weave some of those, and maybe create some of my own. That will be incredible.

I’ve missed weaving. It’s been awhile since I’ve done it. Part of that was just trying to recover from the hip replacement, and an inability to sit to spin or weave. Now that we’ve moved, my craft area is simultaneously larger and smaller. The length of the room has increased, but I’ve lost the wall space I had before, so I’ve had to be creative in how things got organized in here.

Another part is that warping a loom is a daunting job. The larger the loom, the more terrifying the job. Thus far, the easiest warping job is an inkle loom. Next in line would be the tablet weaving loom, then the table looms. I have yet to try warping the big floor loom. Not only is she much larger, but she also has an additional piece that I’ve never used before: a sectional warp beam. I admit it, I’m chicken. It’s going to take some external encouragement–and probably help–to get me to attempt it. I’m sure there will be less fear after I’ve done it once. I hope.

Anyway, once I had the band going well, I decided to play a little, since I had a really long warp on the loom. One of the coolest things about weaving in general is the ability to change the pattern without actually changing the pattern. The band has a charted pattern, and that chart doesn’t get changed. But if you change how you’re turning the tablets, that will change the pattern appearing on the band. I split my 14 tablets into three sections. The two outside sections were being turned backwards first, while the middle section was being turned forward first. After four rows, the outside sections started to go forward, while the middle turned backward. The result is the change in the picture. How cool is that? And that’s a symmetrical sequence of turns: four forward, four back. I’m a complete novice; I wasn’t about to try anything more complex just yet. And in fact, I went back and un-wove what I’d done, and went back to the pattern I’d been working in the first place.

Tablets split to change the pattern

Changing the pattern works the same way on multishaft looms, like my table looms and the floor loom. If you change the way in which you lift or drop the shafts, you change the way the pattern looks on the fabric.

I haven’t yet learned how to chart any but the simplest of patterns yet, on any type of loom, but I’m looking forward to learning. Claudia said that I don’t need to label my cards. I should be able to look at them and know what position they’re in and which way I should turn them to complete the pattern sequence. I can’t do that yet. I need the labels so I know when I’m in the home position, and I currently can’t leave the loom without completing the sequence, or I won’t know where I am in the pattern.

The PIP and I also added apron rods to my other tablet weaving loom, on the advice of the maker. Drilling through the beams was painful to watch, especially when one of my measurement mistakes caused the PIP to have to drill one hole twice, resulting in a much larger hole than was needed on one side. But the apron rods have been added. They don’t match the loom, but I don’t care. I can tie on now. That means more to me than the mistake or whether or not the rods match.

In other news, much more painful to write about, Aneira has been in the hospital for the last few days. The PIP and I have always worried about our issues cropping up in the children, and it seems that they have. Aneira has been self-harming and having suicidal thoughts. This came to the attention of the school counselor, who called us, and she can’t return to school until she is medically cleared.

We knew about the self-harm, and had thought she had stopped. She’s seemed happy. And we didn’t know about the suicidal thoughts at all. The things she confided in the counselor were, to be blunt, scary as hell. She’s thought about hanging herself, drowning herself, any number of things that no parent wants to hear about their child, so after the meeting with the counselor, we immediately took her to the hospital he recommended. She herself made the decision to stay, and we supported her.

To say it’s been difficult is an understatement. Bryony and I both cried our eyes out. Bryony hadn’t at first realized her sister wasn’t coming home with us, and was devastated when she did. As much as the two of them fight, they do love each other.

The house has felt very empty with only one child in it. I actually miss screaming at them to stop fighting.

One of us has visited Aneira every day. Bryony is too young to be allowed to visit, so one parent stays with her while the other is at the hospital. Aneira seems to be doing well, and they have started her on three medications at a low dose. They’re hoping she can come home Monday or Tuesday.

They haven’t given a name to the diagnosis as yet. The PIP, we discovered, was misdiagnosed as bipolar. He is, in fact, schizo-affective, which, for lack of a better description, is like a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and is commonly misdiagnosed as bipolar only. I am praying that that doesn’t carry over. I have some hope that it won’t. When researching it, we found that it isn’t necessarily something one is born with. It can be created by an abusive situation, which is, unfortunately, something the PIP grew up in. It can also be created by drug use, something else he also used to do. He’s been clean, but for one relapse, since Aneira was born. Considering the extremely low recovery rate from his poison of choice, one relapse in fifteen years is a damned fine accomplishment. So there’s a good chance that his disorder won’t carry over to the children.

Not that being bipolar is any great fun either, but I would rather that than any schizophrenia-related problems.

Aneira has been learning coping skills while at the hospital, and we will need to continue some type of therapy when she comes home, and she seems to be okay with the concept of talking to me whenever she needs to talk, which is all to the good.

I haven’t been able to write about this until today. It’s much easier to keep the blog on lighthearted crafting subjects, but I’ve learned, with my own problems, that ignoring them is no answer, and they don’t go away when you do. I grew up in a family who lived by “If you don’t talk about it, don’t acknowledge it, it’s not happening” type of mindset, so I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 35, when a suicide attempt brought everything out in the open.

So I’m glad that we caught it early with Aneira, although I wish there had been nothing there to catch. So many children, nowadays, have chosen killing themselves to avoid bullying and such. It’s a permanent solution to a temporary situation. Aneira has a huge support system of adults, and I hope she chooses to utilize it instead of the alternative.

For me, I’ve seen several friends dealing with their children in similar situations, and I’m wondering how they do it. I wondered before Aneira ended up in the hospital, and I’m wondering now. I guess I’m about to learn.

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Well, it might be a bit premature to call myself a spinner just yet, but I’ve managed to almost fill a bobbin with a single that I’ve spun, and the yarn only came apart once because I had it too loosely secured when I added on. I took Anansi to the guild meeting Thursday night and got help from other spinners. Our guild president had spun on Kromskis before, so she was familiar with the Sonata and helped me with the tensioning, and two other guild mates helped me with drafting out the roving. I spent the next three hours firmly with my butt in the chair and my feet on the treadles. My yarn is far from perfect, but I’m spinning, and it’s so much fun!! And last night my guild mate came over to give me a knitting and spinning lesson. We had dinner, and were up gossiping, knitting, and spinning until after 2 a.m. Hubby was less than thrilled, but resigned. We had a ball. I learned the difference between knits and purls, and put them to use in the basket weave design, which was fun, and I didn’t expect that. Knitting was my mom’s bailiwick, never mine, yet I find myself picking up the needles more often than I expected. But I haven’t touched any of my looms this week, and I’m starting to go through weaving withdrawal. I’m going to have to warp somebody up soon.

It has been a very busy week! That seems to be the trend lately. My best friend back home has finally gotten sick and tired of New York and is coming here next month in preparation for moving here the following month. She’s going to come down and set up doctors and the like, and possibly look at apartments, but hubby said that if everyone gets along all right, he’s willing to entertain the idea of her moving in with us on a permanent basis. I’m so excited. She and I couldn’t be more different, but we’re like sisters, and we’ve missed each other. Her children are my godchildren, and I had a large hand in raising them, up until I moved to Arizona. Her children are grown and gone now, but I’m still “Auntie” to every one of them.

I also had the “time to make a lifestyle change” talk with my doctor this week. Yesterday, in fact. My resting or fasting blood sugar is fine, but otherwise it is elevated, and while I don’t yet have diabetes, I am headed that way. As my mother died of complications of Type II diabetes, I have a fear of it. Mom was on dialysis three times a week. I don’t want that. So my diet has to change. Unfortunately, everything I like is on the “avoid” list. When I muttered about it, the doctor said my best bet was to not cut everything out, but cut it back. Smaller portions, etc., and keep an eye on it.

And there was more. My vitamin D level is apparently a 7, when it should be about 45. She said in her entire career, she’s only seen one other person with a level that low, so I’ll have to take a prescription strength vitamin D once weekly for three months. And, I’m to start getting injections for my left hip, which is arthritic.

I was not a happy camper after this visit. It made me feel old, and I’m only 44. Hubby didn’t make me feel any better when I got back, because he’s still in his early thirties, and, well, let’s face it, he’s male. He doesn’t understand how traumatic it was. I was headed for a downward spiral at that point, but I think the knit and spinfest stopped that. I have to keep telling myself that things could be a lot worse, though. I don’t have diabetes yet, and if I can scale back on everything, not only might I dodge that particular bullet, I might finally manage to lose some weight, which could only be good for me. I keep saying that (it’s becoming a mantra), but I feel the need for some weave therapy now. I don’t want to hit that downward spiral. All that will do is result in a messy house and crying jags. So, to slow down my BPD, I’m going to go warp something, or pick up one of my new weaving books and go hang out in the mancave with hubby. G’night, everyone!

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Yes, I’m on pins and needles here, waiting for UPS to get here with Anansi, which probably won’t happen until this afternoon. Grrr. Arrgh. I’m so excited to finally have a spinning wheel! I received some wool cards from a giveaway at the last guild meeting, and I’ve been dying to give spinning a shot on a wheel. I still don’t understand the spindle, though, so I’ll be bringing both with me to the next guild meeting!

I ordered Anansi and accessories in a mahogany finish, and can’t wait to see it. It looked so pretty in the picture!

The loom I ordered from Mirrix hasn’t shipped yet, nor has the Flip. When I called the Woolery to check on the Flip, they said that they were going to have it drop-shipped directly from Schacht, because they were out, and because Schacht is located right here in Boulder. It didn’t make sense for Schacht to ship it from Colorado to Kentucky, just to have to send it back to Colorado. Which really is logical. Unfortunately, Schacht says that they don’t make the loom until they receive an order for it, so I won’t have it until mid-April. Same goes for Mirrix. And Ampstrike is in Estonia, so even though that order has shipped, it will probably take a couple of weeks to get here too. Sigh. But in the meantime, I can play with Anansi and Talyn. So all is not lost. Although I haven’t found a home for Talyn yet in my studio. He’s still on the floor. I really need a sturdy table for both him and Zoe.

Things have improved a bit on the manic side of BPD since I started with fiber arts. It’s weird, and yet not, because when I’m manic I tend to jump from project to project very rapidly. With all the different types of fiber arts I now have, with projects on almost all of them, the jumping isn’t so bad. I can leave a project indefinitely, and it doesn’t do any  harm, unlike, say, leaving dishes undone to go do laundry, then leaving the wet clothes in the washer to go do yet another thing. So my fiber obsession is helping that aspect of things. The depressive side pretty much remains the same. When I swing that way, the children and the dogs are taken care of, but not much else gets done. And I’m not fond of the drugs that have been prescribed. The doctors have yet to find one that really works for me. This drug makes me a zombie, that one makes me feel like I’m on speed, and the other one makes me suicidal. I wonder if there is something natural I can use. I’m not someone that likes taking man-made chemicals and putting them in my body. I don’t trust pharmaceutical companies. I believe every one of them is out for their financial bottom line and don’t give a damn about the people actually using their product. That may be an overgeneralization, but I tend to doubt it. And I can’t afford to be a zombie, on speed, or suicidal: I have two children in my house whose well-being I’m responsible for, and who I love very much. Most of the time, the girls and the dogs do more to keep me level than any drug ever could anyway, just by being who they all are. They drive me crazy more often than not, but that’s what kids and furkids do. That’s their job, and they’re very good at it!

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Making friends when you move to a new place is hard, harder when you’re an adult, and even harder when you’re an adult with BPD. Does that seem ridiculous? It really isn’t. When you move to a new place,

Front of second pouch

the people around you already have their friendships in place, probably for years before you came along. They already have their “in” jokes, their clique, their regular hangouts. They know and trust one another. Finding that type of footing with new people is hard. For kids, it’s fairly easy. They’re in school together. From grade to grade, the mix of students in the classroom changes, so they have to work a little bit to keep the friendship they made the grade before, and if they like each other enough, they do. They’re not worried about their friends’ political, religious, or economic status. They are all pretty much on the same level, doing the same things: get up, eat breakfast, go to school, muddle through classes, go home, do homework, and play. Their interests are fairly similar. Things roll along pretty smoothly until junior high or high school, when everyone’s interests begin to really diverge, but even then, if they’ve been friends since grade school, that friendship will usually stay intact, if on the back burner. And let’s face it, kids are a lot more open and accepting than the average adult. By adulthood, we have learned entirely too much about betrayal and the folly of trust. No wonder it’s so hard to make new friends! Then you add in something like bipolar disorder, and suddenly everything is twice as hard. It’s hard to find the motivation to even get out of bed some mornings, much less meet new people. A large part of BPD, at least for me, is self-esteem issues. I don’t necessarily see a fantastic person when I look in the mirror, and that carries over to meeting new people. If I don’t think I’m wonderful, why should they? And if they aren’t going to see someone wonderful, why put myself in the way of rejection?

Back of second pouch

I have, though, for the sake of my kids. I want them to have friends over, and to feel comfortable doing so. Sadly, however, none of the mothers to whom I have given my number in the hopes of a playdate for my children have ever called. Not one, no matter how friendly and open to the idea they seemed at the time. They may have lost the number. They may be just that busy. But BPD rears its ugly head and says, “They don’t like you. Why should they? Look at you!” And the next time, I don’t even try. It’s easier to stay home, focus on my family, and not try to make friends. When my kids need to be around other kids, I take them to the playground, and I keep to myself and simply play with my girls. My closest friends are my six year old and two year old, and the hubby. Getting out of the house without them to have interactions with other people has become very hard. This is why I joined one guild, and why I will probably join the other. This is why I have gone to some of the local knitting meetups, even though I’m not a knitter, although I’m thinking about giving it another try. I know I need to keep putting myself out there, and that doing it is a step in the right direction in dealing with BPD, but it’s a hard step, a scary step. Sometimes, as I leave my house to go to one of these things, I find myself humming the song from Santa Claus is Coming to Town “Put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be walking out the door…”  Sad that it’s a kid’s show that has the right of it.

I made another pouch on Moya, and with what was left over, I also made a bookmark. A sewing class is definitely in order. I did better on the band itself this time. My selvedges were much better, although I still have some problems with drawing in from pulling just a hair too much on the weft. Still, the weaving itself is much better. I also had much less loss this time, because I learned from the last pouch. The last time, I tried to finish the raw edges of each panel before sewing it to the next panel, which resulted in panels of different sizes and cutting off the finished edges so that I could put the panels together first and thenfinish the edges. By joining the panels first this time, I kept enough of the band that there was enough for five panels to be joined, instead of the four I had last time. I had also widened the border this time, so I had a little more wiggle room when it came to sewing. Not much, but there are no gaps between panels this time!

Bookmark

This is not to say that there are no mistakes! There are plenty of mistakes, but most of them took place during the sewing stage of this project. Several mistakes were in joining the panels together…one of them is really overlapped badly, but I couldn’t get the thread out without pulling on the weaving itself, so it stayed. And my finished edges are not very pretty either. But I don’t think I repeated any mistakes betweeen the two pouches, at least not in the weaving. The sewing, well, that’s another story. I’m pretty sure I repeated mistakes there. But as this is only my second attempt at this, I’m not going to kick myself too hard just yet.

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Today is slightly overcast here in Colorado. To me, it’s a bit chilly, but the dogs are loving it and are sprawled out in various parts of the backyard, lazing Sunday away as they do Monday through Saturday. The back deck is small, more of a landing than a deck, really, but it’s high enough up, and the yard slopes enough, that they can watch the cars going by on the main

First inkle band off Moya

drag below. They seem to be taking turns doing this, as there is only enough room for two fur balls to lounge comfortably. Occasionally, they manage to pack in a third, but not often, and never all four. But they’re all happy. The weather here is so different from Arizona, and my Labs are still unsure what to make of snow. Mac, my German Shepherd, is pretty easygoing with all of the weather so far, and Thor, the Siberian, generally has to be chased around the yard before he will come in no matter how cold it is. No surprises there! And none of them appreciate having their paws wiped off before they can track dirt onto my carpet.  Nor do they appreciate their banishment from the sofas inside, but life is full of unfairness, and the sofas are upholstered in fabric that catches and keeps dog hair forever, even when one vacuums with a Dyson. I knew I should have held out for leather.

But today it’s dry, and not too cold, so they’re enjoying the backyard and people watching. Me, I’m watching them laze away the morning and playing with a weaving app that I finally broke down and bought. My studio, at the moment, is a mess of empty floss cards that need to be put away, and snarled up warp that needs to be thrown away. I’m not looking forward to cleaning it up, which I need to do sooner rather than later. My kids are in the playroom screaming at each other over a cardboard castle playhouse that I’m beginning to regret buying for them. Or rather, Bryony is screaming, and Aneira is quietly egging her on. I quit smoking during my pregnancies in order to make sure that my children would have healthy lungs. I forgot to make sure I had heavy duty ear plugs. I have come to the conclusion that most children make it to adulthood primarily because of divine intervention. That, and the parents’ desire to levy the mother’s curse on them and watch it work. It does work. And the parents who have become grandparents are sitting back, watching the curse do its job, and laughing themselves sick. Revenge. It’s the only thing that makes sense. There are animals that eat their young. I firmly believe it’s because they were partially deafened one time too many by one sibling yelling at another, and they snapped.

Anyway. I mentioned a snarled warp earlier. Yup. It was the second practice warp on Moya. I didn’t like how I had warped her the first time, thought I had done it wrong, so I tried it a little bit differently the second time. It was going well for a bit, and then, every time I tried to advance the warp, strings were pulling out. Trying to figure out and fix what I’d done wrong only made it worse, and eventually I cut it off. I hated to do it; I had finally figured out the pick-up weave and it had come out beautifully! I saved some of it. The rest doesn’t bear looking at. To give you an idea of the scope of the mess, the finished band would have been a little over five feet long. What I managed to save was less than two feet. The remaining four feet and change of thirty plus ends of warp are a huge snarled up knot. I also learned, on the first band, what happens when you just use any old thing you have as weft. The warp was embroidery floss. The weft was cotton, one of the cones I had gotten from Craigslist. I have no idea what the actual size is, other than the fact that it is bigger than the embroidery floss, by quite a bit, apparently. I also hadn’t checked the sett on either warp or weft. That was a huge mistake. Somewhere in the middle, I changed the weft to embroidery floss, and things went a great deal more smoothly after that. My selvedges are still awful, but if you ignore those, the rest of the band was beautiful!

Second inkle band, with pick-up weave

Warp number two was also embroidery floss. The first one was only about twenty-two ends, but this one was thirty-three, making it significantly larger in width. Having that one go south pained me a bit, because the pick-up weave really was going very well, and I was having fun with it. Not to mention the fact that I had spent all of yesterday doing housework, up until about ten pm, so I was happy to finally sit down at a loom, which I had forced myself to ignore all day.

After cutting off warp number two, I decided to warp Moya again, this time for cardweaving. It’s on there, but I feel confident in saying that it was done completely wrong. This is what happens when you have more excitement than patience. I didn’t pull out any of my books, look at the computer, nothing. I made a quick draft, cut the appropriate threads, threaded the cards, and tied them on Moya. There was a complete lack of grace here. Then, once I started weaving, I noticed that the design I had drafted wasn’t appearing on the facing side of the band. The design portion of our program is on the underside…but it isn’t the design I drafted, exactly. What I drafted was a diamond design. What I got was two triangles, point-to-point. So, yes, it’s a version of my draft, but not the one I wanted. Further proof that I should have been more patient and done more reading before embarking on this one.

I’ve discovered that weaving–in addition to having my own “get away from everybody” space–is helping me cope with the BPD a little bit better. I don’t know why. But each loom, each style of weaving, keeps me a little bit more level in different ways. Chiana, Aeryn, and River are my tv looms. I can cart them downstairs, kick back in the recliner, and watch Castle or Grimm or Once Upon a Time or whatever, and I’m fairly level. Moya is just pure fun. Really. Everything is manual with her. There are no treadles, no levers, no harnesses, everything is done by hand, including opening and closing the shed, and I enjoy beating with the belt shuttle. Moya is just fun, and if I’m having fun, I’m relaxed. Zoe is my exercise loom. She works the shoulders and back like none of the others do, and I can be a little more aggressive with her beater. Even raising and lowering her shafts (a noisy, slightly jarring experience to begin with) is soothing, especially when you have a need to throw something. Start working those levers, and you can work out any aggression. Cathartic is the word I’m looking for, I think.

So, I’m learning not only weaving, but new coping techniques, and new things about myself. I think that’s what therapy is all about, isn’t it? Why pay for a psychiatrist or a therapist? Pick up a loom!

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