Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Sassy Cat Chronicles

Pretty: Psst! Black you want to blog today?

Black Cat: No. I want to nap.

Pretty: But last week you said that you wanted to blog for me this week.

Black Cat: Noooo. Naaapppp!

White Cat: I could blog...

Pretty: Hmmm...I'm not sure. You sometimes get a little sassy...

White Cat: I don't know what you're talking about!

Pretty: Well, remember that time I went out to water the flowers, and you just sat in the window yelling for me to come back in? 

Pretty: And, while I re-filled the watering can, you just looked at me with disgust from the back door?

White Cat: Well, why were you doing that? You should have been providing a warm lap for us!!!

Pretty: It is summer. Warm laps will be harder and harder to come by until the weather cools down a bit...that's just the facts, Cat!

White Cat: Fine. We'll just sit at the top of the stairs and trip you. Then, when you fall and break a hip, we will have a lap. 

Pretty: And you're NOT sassy?

White Cat: Well, the least you could do is leave some shoes for me.

Pretty: I suppose I could do that...

White Cat: Shoeees!!! Mmmm, Shoooeees!

Black Cat: Naaaaaapppppppp-ping!!! Can you two keep it down??? Wait. What? Is this cold soda can for me to lick? Sa-weet!

Pretty: Sorry about the sass, readers. But thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health! (Even if you have sassy cats underfoot!) 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Coming Back and Knitting

Well, here I am again! Still on this side of the pavement, both physically and figuratively, and I am glad of that! When I wrote that long post about my troubles last Saturday, I wondered if that might do me in for another month. Was I ready to come back to the blog twice a week? Was I ready for even once a week, just on Saturdays? The truth is that I don't really know, so I've decided to let myself off the hook about it. I mean, I am here today, and I do plan to blog on Saturdays for now...but if life gets in the way, I am not going to add to my stress load by worrying about it. 

The truth is that blogging is pretty therapeutic for me. I know, I know...blogging is on the edge of over-sharing at times, but I really like to write it all out. Your comments tell me that you may be enjoying what I write, so I keep putting it out there. Sometimes this causes Mr. Pretty dismay..."But, how did he/she know about that?," he would sometimes ask in the early days of the blog. I'd answer with a simple, "Well, I blogged it." Since he is more of an under-sharer, it was something to get used to, for sure. These days, 7 years into the blog, he is pretty used to it. 

The other thing I really like about blogging is that I can show off a little. Putting a knitting or craft project up is just like shouting, "Look at me, Mom! Look at me! Look over here! Look what I can do!" I know that no one likes a bragger, which is why I don't carry finished knitting around all the time, showing it to everyone I meet. That gets pretty old, pretty fast. It helps if you have the wearer of the item wearing it when you show it off, but even my good friends may be growing weary of me snatching their children to show off my knits... So I blog. It's a pretty fair compromise, I think. I can show off a little, and you can just walk away if you like. I won't even notice if you roll your eyes and sigh, "Really? More knitting???," as you do, so it's good for everyone, right?!?

With that said, would you like to see some knitting? Because I have been knitting! There are some things I can't show you right now, as they are gifties. But I can show you the latest sweater I knit for Peanut...

With kitty cat buttons!

The last time I asked what color her next sweater should be, she said red. Of course, after I finished the red sweater and told her about it via FaceTime, she said, "No, Gwamma. Black and white, black and white!" Sooooo, I suppose that will be next on my needles. Well, maybe after I finish the lavender sweater I'm working on for her sister! I've also finished a couple Wallaby sweaters, and I'd like to knit a little toy for each's quite awhile until fall, so there's time for all the sweaters and things!

Well, there you go. A little truth, a little knitting, a little therapeutic blogging for Pretty. Maybe I'll see if the cats want to blog next week. That would probably be a nice change for everyone. :) Until then, thanks for stopping by and thanks for all of your kind and loving comments. I hope your week is good and that you are taking care of yourself.

Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Just Breathe...

Forgive me me, friends, for I have not blogged. It has been 4 weeks since my last post. You may have noticed the unintentional break, or not. I know that I am not the center of your universe, and I'm ok with that. But there has been a break, and I'm sorry if you missed me. 

First the backstory: I have a history of postponing my own emotional processes when difficulties come. I thrive on supporting others, and I am the first one in line to tell a friend (or all of blogdom) that there are no wrong feelings, and the key is to just let yourself feel it to get through the hard times, to just take a moment to breathe and feel. I get busy helping others feel their feelings while putting mine high up on a shelf, where I am not distracted by them. Later, when there is a lull in the things-to-be-done department, I retreat to a quiet place to feel...and I am pretty good at feeling both the highs and the lows. 

The highs are easy to feel right away. A new baby? Let's all celebrate together! Your last scan came back clean? Hoorayyyy! You got the house? won the lottery? became engaged? Let's have cake! and dance! and sing! Let's all share the happiness, wish each other well, hug and celebrate!!! Then we take time to breathe, and to figure out how much the baby (wedding/house/taxes) will cost in the long run. God has a plan for every life, and we are especially aware of this when we are in the high times. 

The lows are a different story. In the lows, we often don't know what to do or say, and we are prone to feel alone and perhaps abandoned by even God. Sometimes the feelings surprise us...especially when angry encroaches upon sad, which happens more often than one might expect. But it's ok to be angry as a part of the grieving process, and it's absolutely normal. Yet anger that overtakes sadness is commonly confusing. Why did he/she die now? I'm too young to have to deal with this! This is not fair, and I am angry! Where do I direct that anger? At God? At a dead person? At myself?

My defense, rather than dealing with my own low feelings right away, is to put them on that shelf and get busy doing the things that need to be done. I hand out the tissues, and I let others cry or yell, as their grief directs them...or I tackle that job that no one else can quite muster the energy for in their grief. Later, I find that quiet place, all by myself, and I weep and gnash my teeth. I cry out to God and beg him to bring back that person...that change the outcome somehow. I blame myself for things that are not my fault. I yell and I cry some more, and I pray. When my dad passed away suddenly, just after Christmas 1994, it took me about 4 months to get to that place. The process took some time, and it was not pretty. But when the season was over, I had felt the feelings. I was ready to move on. 

Jumping back into the present tense here, if you have noticed my absence recently around the internet, you probably know something about my current season. If not, you can look back through some of my past posts for an overview. In a nutshell, there has been much loss in my life (and in Sweetie's) over the past 18 months or so. Broken relationships, serious illnesses, deaths, family turmoil, job uncertainty, and just kept coming, fast and furious. Through it all, there were things to do, balls to keep juggling, and other people also dealing with hurt, frustration, sadness and anger. If I had a nickel for every time I said, "Just take a minute, and breathe. Feel it, it's ok to feel it," with a tissue at the ready and tears in my eyes, I would have a lot of nickels! 

But, in order to do that, I kept putting my own feelings on that shelf, waiting for a quiet time to breathe. When a co-worker left our office under less-than-perfect circumstances, I listened to many who couldn't understand what had happened. I took a deep breath and encouraged them to see that God has a plan, and this must be part of it. When the senior minister was diagnosed with cancer, I took a deep breath and coached many in the church to pray and to feel, and to help us all find God's plan through Tim's cancer. When he died, I took a deep breath and did my best to comfort members of the church and pray for members of his family, looking for God's plan and encouraging them to let themselves feel. When we welcomed new staff into our office, and people came to me with concerns about changes at the church, I took a deep breath and cheered for the change, assuring them that this was all part of God's plan. When my brother-in-law took the lives of two siblings, Sweetie and I took deep breaths and grieved with the family, as we as we took on some of the details that the official next of kin were unable to deal with immediately. We grieved, and we loved the family and friends of his brother and sister who were gone too soon, and struggled to make sense of the crime.

Finally, when it became apparent that my job at the church was changing, and that I was having difficulty changing with it, I took a deep breath and accepted a job offer with a lot of promise at a new company. Unfortunately, somewhere in the first few weeks of the new job, all that inhaling ran out of places to go, and my shelf collapsed. I had failed to exhale, to find that quiet place to finally cope and deal with my growing depression. One Saturday, I started crying...and I didn't stop. I kept going to work, and I could keep it together at my desk for an hour or two before I went to the ladies' room to vent a few tears (as quietly as possible) wash my face and try again. I went to the doctor, and to a psychologist, and to the pharmacy, and I took a few days off. I set up an appointment with a therapist, and I tried to go back to work. 

Two Saturdays later, I started crying again...and I didn't stop, again. I quit my shiny, new job on May 17 with no plan. I cried on the sofa for three weeks, while binge watching Downton Abbey...I took my meds...I went to therapy...I practiced breathing techniques for relaxation and relief from the constant anxiety. In short, I let myself feel it. I recognized that I needed help to let myself feel it, and I sought out that help...then I just felt it.

About two weeks into the process, I started to feel a little more like myself. I was three seasons into Downton, I had seen the therapist twice and made plans for a day with my daughter at the zoo. As the fog of depression started to lift, I was finally able to start looking for God's plan in it all. I really cried out to him, and sought answers from his Word. I started putting pants on again, every day even, and I was happy to finally be starting the process of recovery. I am far from finished with the process, but I am glad to be starting the journey to wellness, and it feels like the time to come back to the blog. 

I am also glad for friends who have been so supportive, inviting me to lunch, to go for walks in the neighborhood, to talk, even sending small gifts of encouragement to "just keep swimming":

And I am thankful to one friend in particular, who offered me a new, new job this week. His office gal is leaving to have a baby, so it may be a temporary gig, but it feels like God has given me a little stepping stone to get back up again. I took the job, I started on Tuesday, and it is good. God is good. God has had a plan all along, even when I felt alone and abandoned, unable to reach out to anyone. I knew that he did, and I am glad that I can see a little more of the plan now. 

Thank you, friends, for your support. Thank you for walks, talks, lunches, dinners, kindness, encouragement, new jobs and for letting God use you to help me. Thank you for helping me to start feeling like Pretty again...and for your continued understanding. Recovery from depression is a process, just like recovery from the flu, or a hip replacement. I have lots of work to do still, and I will do what I need to do...I am so very grateful to know that you are there to cheer me on. 

If you ever find yourself stuck in the pit of despair, the fog of depression, please get help. Please call or email me. I promise to never tell you to "get over it" or "just deal with it," because I know it is not that easy. Depression stinks...but recovery is entirely possible. Don't do anything un-doable if you are an 800 number if you don't have a friend or pastor to call. Go to the doctor, or call 911 before you act out of desperation. Make a plan for your recovery. You can recover, just like I can, and I will help you if you want me to.

One more thing. Seek God. I know that some of you may think that's hooey, but "I sought the Lord and He answered me. He delivered me from all my fears." (Psalm 34:4) That's from the Bible, and it's also from my life. Seek Him. He is always there. That is His promise, and He is always faithful to His promises. 

Thanks for stopping by. I should be around more often now, and I am getting back to the knitting, too. I hope that your day is good, and that you will Knit in Good (mental and physical) Health!