The Thing I Don’t Talk About the Most

This is (less and less, admittedly) a knitting and handspinning blog. I’ve had a different blog for some other things, but this is something I would like to use to write about all of me and how what I do for fun and art affects that. Vice versa as well.

It’s tough to talk about this, so I’ll just come out and say it. This is not a shock to some of my Ravelry friends – not all, but some – or my Twitter friends. I have been battling depression for all my adult life. It started in my Happy Teenage Years, and wasn’t helped by our move the summer before 10th grade. Depression appears to be hereditary in my family, but I can’t be certain. Some days/weeks/months are better than others. I appear to be affected by the lack of light in our Northern Hemisphere winters, but sometimes that doesn’t have anything to do with it either. It just feels like…Like nothing. Like I’ve fallen into a void that is impossible to leave, and the only thing there is to do is nothing. On a bad day, I celebrate getting out of bed. On a good day, I’m just like normal-ish people. Frankly, I’ve given up on normal a long time ago, so normal-ish will do nicely.

I will also say that this has NOTHING AT ALL IN ANY WAY TO DO WITH MY BEING A GOTH. Nope. Looking back, I’ve always been attracted to the macabre since I was a child. When I feel happy and confident, I wear black and/or my favorite band T-shirts. If I’m feeling awful, I reach for red, blue and purple.

If I’m feeling bad enough, I really don’t want to do anything. At all. No social media, no blogging, nothing. At my worst I don’t even pick up a drop spindle (which really is the end of the world). By that time I should probably be steered away from sharp objects and the pill drawer. Sort of a joke.

What helps? For me – and only me, I don’t presume to tell anybody else how to deal – meds help. Sometimes they don’t help completely, but that doesn’t mean they do nothing. Exercise helps, preferably outside. Of course, when I need it the most I find all sorts of reasons to stay inside. Music helps. It’s the one thing that always helps, if even a little bit. Music has quite literally kept me alive when I didn’t have any other reason to keep going. At my worst, though, it’s not always enough.

The reason I’m writing about this now? I think I’m starting to slip backwards. It’s nothing dire, today. If you feel like you too might have a problem with depression, please go find somebody to talk to. Something that’s also helping me is Twitter. Since I found “The Bloggess Tribe”, a bunch of regular readers/commenters at The Bloggess/Jenny Lawson, it’s helped a lot. Just knowing that somebody else is struggling too makes things a little less awful.


BatFit2016: Checking In

It’s been roughly 5 months since I started BatFit 2016. So far, I have lost…well…5 pounds.

On the other hand, I have been eating better. A lot better – more plant-based meals, usually at breakfast and lunch because that’s where I have the most control over my own food choices. It’s been easier than I thought. Shopping and meal planning is a priority for me, though. When I don’t, bad things happen. Even with birthdays last month, I managed okay.

I’ve been exercising too. Since September I’ve been using Zombies, Run!, first the 5k training app and now the full game. I’m still the world’s slowest runner, but I’ve been hanging in there. My goal is to hike the first big section of the Colorado Trail; the first section is less than 2 miles from my house, and the whole thing goes about 12 miles into the foothills. The trail has been closed during the week and won’t be open full time until mid-May. Which gives me some time.

I’ve hung with this longer than just about any other exercise program I’ve tried. The story is really great; it’s kept me going all this time, and I’m almost up to the end of Season 1. Which seems kind of sad, but there have been some times when I really couldn’t run outside. 12″ of snow and ice tends to have that effect. But it’s been nice to get back out there. When I was in junior high/middle school I discovered that I could run and was okay at long distances. Then we moved and discovered that the cross-country team was for boys only. Which put an end to my running until recently. I didn’t think I would miss it, but I have. And I feel better mentally when I run or walk as well. Bonus!

I’ve only lost 5 pounds, but I have started to notice a difference in the way my clothes fit. The mental benefits have been what keeps me going (well, along with the story).

I’ve been doing some knitting and spinning, but I’ll talk about that next time. Promise.

BatFit 2016: One More Shot

Well, yesterday was the first of November, and the beginning of a new round of BatFit. BatFit is a health and wellness support program started by the lovely Franny at The Curious Professor Z. There’s a Facebook group (where I found them), and she has different challenges on her blog as well. She posted her goals yesterday. Here are mine:

1) Get a job. Preferably a job doing what I went back to school and got a hideously expensive certification for, but I’m getting more flexible at this point. I love teaching piano, but it’s not paying the bills any more. I did meet my goals from last year to finish school and get certified. Now for the big one.

2) Eat better. That’s a surprisingly tough one. Dad Goth likes to cook, and fortunately he is a mostly healthy cook (the exception being the insane amounts of red meat he eats/cooks). The only exceptions are his whining whenever I try to make a plant-based meal. Unless I cook for myself, that’s not happening. We have had “meat-free Mondays” in the past, but it usually winds up being some sort of veggie burger and oven fries. Meal planning, beyond “hey, I’m going to the store. What do you want for dinner?”, is going to have to happen. Especially if I hit Goal #1 soon.

3) Exercise. I would like to lose some weight. Realistically speaking, I am very, very old. I don’t think that’s going to happen. On the other hand, I still would like to be stronger. This fall I started Zombies, Run!; first the 5k training, which was going just fine until the game started glitching (it’s probably just on Androids), then I started the “big” game. I even treated myself to a membership for my birthday. I can get out every other day right up until something happens. Like a disastrous job interview, say a couple of weeks ago. Then my depression gets worse and not much will get me out of it. This time, Halloween happened. It was a fun evening “watching” our trick-or-treaters, who are almost too old to have anyone supervising them. Just ask them…
But today I went out and ran our dog for half an hour. Something happened to the program again, and most of the mission didn’t play. But I got 30 minutes in, so that’s a start.

4) Practicing every day; either piano, flute or both. Even though I’m not going to be teaching to make a living, I can’t seem to give up music. It really does help mentally, and piano especially is as good as lifting weights for my arm strength.

5) Spinning at least 5 days a week. Once I go back to work, every day may not be an option. But I can get an hour in at least 5 days a week. Giftmas is on its way, and I’m not ready quite yet.

So there they are. My goals for the year ahead. I see there’s a challenge up already, but I’ll talk about that tomorrow.

I Survived Spinzilla 2015

Yep, I did. My family did too, surprisingly – and I got very little pushback this year. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that I spun less than last year. I decided to go as a Rogue spinner this time. Last year, I made it to exactly 0% of all the events our team held. We live in the middle of nowhere, and it’s a big ol’ deal to leave here to get to anything except some hiking trails and a state park. So Rogue looked pretty good to me.

This is what I did:

Spinzilla 2015: the aftermath
Spinzilla 2015: the aftermath

Not nearly as much as last year, unfortunately. I think I did 1700+ yards last year; this year it was 1,448 yards. Some of it was 3-ply this time, and roughly 1/3 of it was spindle spun. I did make a modest dent in my stash: 6 oz of “mystery wool” and 2 oz of alpaca/CVM-cross blended roving.

It was a shite week, honestly. I’ve never been more grateful to have spinning as a distraction. There was a miserable job interview last Friday and not hearing back until this past Friday didn’t help much. This gave me something to focus on, and it helped me mentally. This year I had a goal of spinning every day, and I did that. Some days were only for an hour or two. But I did spin every day.

Now for what to do with all this. It’s Baby Goth’s fall break, so I think we might do some dyeing.

BatFit Update: Taking Care of Myself

I’ve been doing BatFit for the past 3+ months.  So far, I’ve gone on and off my “diet” and on and off my exercise plan for various odd and assorted reasons…

  • Holidays: Valentine’s Day, A’s birthday, wedding anniversary.
  • Illness: 2 rounds of the icks, including this current infestation of bronchitis.
  • Stress Eating for School: Yep. It’s almost over, too; so by this time next month, I won’t have that excuse.

On the other hand, I have been generally eating better: a greater amount of vegetarian/vegan meals than we’ve been used to eating, smaller portions, and fewer junk food trips.  We have Junk Food Heaven a short walk from the house, but it’s a bit expensive, so that keeps our trips there few.

I can also get through a beginning bodyweight workout one time through without stops in between the exercises: squats, walking lunges, pushups, planks, rows, and jumping jacks.  Just easy enough now to think about doing a second set, just hard enough to collapse into a coughing fit the second time through (at least this past week.)

As for taking care of myself mentally, well…

I take my meds. Every day.

I try to get outside at least once a day – this ick, though.

But. Some days are better than others; they always have been, and always will be.  It seems that the closer I get to finishing my classwork and maybe possibly getting a decent job, the easier it is to go down the depression hole. Which leads to one of my other goals for this year…

Cutting out negative influences. Some days, my biggest negative influence is myself. Other days, it’s other people who don’t (mercifully) live close by. I did make a sampler out of an online .sig last year. Maybe it’s time to start living that again.


BatFit 2015 – Goals for next year

Yes, I’m doing BatFit again this year. This past year I lost a little weight, then gained it all back and then some. Thank you, stress eating. I did get closer to some of my goals – one more semester of school, a practicum and a certification exam to go; cutting out some of the more negative influences in my life where I could, and not paying quite as much attention to the ones I can’t exactly cut out; and I spent some more time spinning. For this year, I have some goals:

  • Finish school and my practicum, and get certification. One more semester to go.
  • Find a job, preferably one that will allow me to work on my certification while on the job if need be. It would be nice if my practicum lead to a job, but I’m not getting my hopes up.
  • Eat more vegetarian meals each week, even if it means fixing something different for myself than the rest of the family.
  • Talking to my PT about the feasibility of getting back on my bike with the neck problems I’ve had/still have – and then doing as much as I can. It’s not going to be my only form of exercise. But I really have missed getting out on a bike.
  • Getting outside, even during the winter. Once again, we’ll see. That might be a little more challenging once my practicum starts and I’m working again.
  • Concentrate more on the people who mean the most to me and ignore the ones who aren’t. Especially after this summer, I’ve got a lot of thinking to do; certainly about what friends are and what they do to/for each other.
  • Doing some more sewing for myself. It was fun making A’s costume this Halloween; I’d like to do more of that too.
  • carving out some alone time that doesn’t necessarily involve being in a car either driving or waiting for somebody.

That’s the only things I can think of right now, but I’m sure I’ll find more. Probably. We’ll see how this year goes.