Cardigan stall

This meme pretty much sums up where I’m at with the cardigan. I haven’t lost any of my enthusiasm, but the pressure – put on purely by myself – has got to me.

I’m not good with pressure. Stress doesn’t just stress me, but traumas me. Interestingly, in the book I am reading currently, “The Body Keeps The Score”, it discusses how PTSD sufferers are ill equipped to dealing with any stress because of the way their bodies process what they have been through. Which is wonderful for validation; not so useful for actually dealing with stress.

So for now my cardigan is sat in its beloved project bag in the footstool on my side of the sofa, to sit and think about its behaviour, before I can start to actually deal with it again. I feel a bit disappointed in myself for it not being a blazing success, but that’s life, isn’t it? There’s no time frame, no pressure other than that I create myself.

So it’ll be fine. Sometime.

Coming Soon: The Nerdy Cardi

Can’t wait to see this project!

Two Hearts Crochet

Happy Monday, crafters!

I’m very excited to announce a new project that will be coming soon to the blog: the Nerdy Cardi!

The Nerdy Cardi will be a one-size-fits-most sleeveless cardigan (vest?) type garment. I will be providing a full pattern with photos and measurements, as well as instructions on how to tailor the pattern to make your cardi just the right size for you. Heads up: it might take a bit of trial and error to get the sizing right!

This is the first cardigan-type item I have ever designed, so I am super excited about it! My favorite part about this entire project? It’s very customizable, so you can use lots of designs with the pattern–including some of our C2C designs!

The first design shared will be Harry Potter-themed (hence the Nerdy Cardi’s name), but you will be able to choose from a selection of designs in the…

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Completed Moogly “Amelia Shawl”

Oh wow. I’m completely in love with this finished item.

It’s Moogly’s “Amelia Shawl”, in Caron Cake “Funfetiti” which, in my humble opinion, were MADE for each other. This is a free pattern, and can be found here.

One Caron Cake did up to 3/4 of the row where I finished (Row 28), so just over 200g. The result is something I can use as a scarf, shawl or wrap, and the versatility is incredibly exciting.

I’ve made a few things with a Caron Cake now and I have to say I think this is my favourite so far, though I do now feel a challenge is in order.

This project was designed for Aran and a 6mm hook, and it was also incredibly speedy; I started this on Saturday morning and barely crocheted yesterday because of evil period pains (I’m still convinced there is a Great White Shark in my uterus) so a couple of hours today and it’s done!

It certainly won’t be the last I make!

You can’t escape your trains

When my brain spins so quickly, I can’t catch my breath. I can’t think. I struggle to form words of any kind, in my head or out of it, so caught up am I, involuntarily, in what my brain is doing. It spins so fast, I can’t catch a glimpse of what is passing me, I just know I’m missing it; similar to when you’re on a train, and see something interesting out of the window, but before you can work out what it is, you’ve gone.

Depression is like moving your body and mind through thick squelching mud, whilst all this speed goes on around you. Everything is so fast and so slow, all at once, and all it leaves is you, alone, outside of it. An outsider. The one in three, except we don’t do talking about mental illness in this world, so it’s the one in one, solo, alone. That’s why I’m writing this, because I’m sure there’s another one in one reading it somewhere.

So my brain spins, and I try to grab hold of one of the speeding trains of thought, try to get on board, but they speed up and throw me off. They move around me quicker than I can follow, with my mud covered legs, unable to join them and be a part of my own functionality.

And then the noise of the trains changes; no longer just a choochoo, it is now more of a YouAreMad, YouAreCrazy, kind of sound, because some of these trains must of course be some of my fears, and they spin around me, their noise getting louder and louder, until I want to cover my ears to block them out, but they are everywhere, around me, following me, inside of me. You can’t escape your own trains. They hold your demons, and your demons will follow you on those trains until the day you die.

Is this madness? you wonder as they spin around you, quickly followed by, “what is madness anyway?”, and the trains laugh at this, laugh at you, knowing they’ve got a tight enough hold that they could pull the track up from under your feet whenever they wished. Those damn trains.

The faster they run, the louder they get, and the louder they get, the harder it is to pretend to function, to pretend your trains are all in check. It feels so hard just to know there are trains running riot. Existing is tiring, and even though you will keep on going, it gets more and more exhausting every step you take. And those trains keep on whizzing by, pulling loads full of flashbacks and memories and moments you want to hold down. They keep on going with their YouAreCrazy sounds as they pass by, making sure you’re still trying to regain your balance when their load of flashbacks hits you.

And the worst of it all is that you can’t hide from your own trains.

Those damn awful trains.

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My brain keeps getting in the way

It’s silly how much this blog means to me. What’s more silly is Howe much I close down when my PTSD escalates. I withdraw from everyone, in person and online. On top of that, all my feelings of being incapable, useless and whatever negative thing you can think of (because if you can think it, my brain probably has) come up full piwer, and I just don’t feel strong enough to override them. 

I’ve say down to write so many times since my last post, but my brain keeps getting on the way. Currently I’m reading “The Body Keeps The Score” to aid my trauma therapy, and reading some “justification” , as it feels, of how I am at the moment has given my courage to raise my head an over the duvet a tiny bit. 

I find it hugely frustrating to be like this. But what is important to remember, for myself as an individual, but also for anyone else experiencing PTSD – or any mental illness – and those supporting them, is that it is not a choice. The chronic sense of shame that goes hand in hand with PTSD haunts every movement, especially tHose trying to fight back against against it. When you can speak above the shame, if only for a moment, then that is brave. It’s hard to give myself a compliment – worse to accept them from others – but that much I can say. It might sound ridiculous to some, but fighting back against my brain is a full time job you just don’t get paid for. 

There is a chronic fear in my life about coming across as arrogant. I also fear coming across as weird but to a degree I have accepted that I do come across as weird when people encounter me; my mental illnesses present me in that manner and there is really did all I can do until I have recovered. Not that PTSD recovery is “healthy”; there isn’t going to be a well future in my life. Sometimes that requires a bit of grieving, knowing my life has been permanently damaged by people now living their lives as normal. 

 I’m allowing this rainbow to light up my evening, and hope the colours muffle the darkness tonight.

Sidar Colourwheel “Lizard Shawl”

Complete! Oh I do love the satisfaction of a finished project.

I’m very happy with the finished project. It needs blocking but I couldn’t wait until then to show this beautiful thing off.

I skipped the end block of colour, maybe the last 10g, as it was a brown shade, and quite honestly I didn’t want to finish something so pretty with what a friend recently described as “mud”.

I’ve enjoyed working with Sidar Colourwheel, on the whole. My two main criticisms would be that firstly, some of the colours were joined together by knots, and that secondly the thickness was uneven at points, being generally less thick than I would expect DK to be on average.

That said it was smooth to work with, even with the irregularities. I’m glad I made the decision to end and edge where I did, as I feel it shows the colours off the best way possible.

I was a bit concerned whether the wool and acrylic mix might make it itchy but it seems to be snuggly as possible, from wearing it around the house.

Several of the other colourways are catching my eye, and I would quite happily use them again. Being prepared next time for things like the knot join between colours will make using it again in future less stressful.

I would very much like to test Whirl out, when I have the money, and there are a few other cakes I want to review. I do think, though, I will find myself coming back to this Colourwheel again!

Managing something remarkable

On Thursday, we went to London.

Simple sentence to type, much larger when you consider the implications of going to a capital city in a wheelchair, severely ill. All the more so when only two weeks ago, I could never have considered it.

The fact I managed a 12 hour day, from door to door, is incredible. I’m paying for it now of course, but even that is less than I anticipated. I think a combination of improvement in my health, and the way we had our day set up, were factors with this. We walked – wheeled – through Hyde Park for well over an hour, and had a lovely time looking at everything, as well as catching Pokémon (yes, this was a Poké trip), chatting and putting the world to rights. Little Crafter was shocked at the behaviour of another child on the train and spent a good ten minutes on a roll about it.

After Hyde Park – and the disaster that was christened The World’s Worst Coffee EVER – we headed by bus to the Natural History Museum. I have to admit as much as I was telling Little Crafter not to worry about it, i had been really stressed about the public transport part of our trip, but the bus drivers were great, and even the passengers accepted needing to move for my chair much more readily than happens at home. It was a pleasant surprise. When we got to NHM, we found a queue almost the length of the museum. Sure that couldn’t be the entrance queue, I went to find a worker, but before I could ask, was told we could go straight in. Sometimes, I said to Little Crafter, it’s worth having a disabled mum.

We had an incredible time at the museum. I could have stayed forever in the human evolution area, being an anthropology and archaeology geek, but everywhere we went was incredible. We’ve been before but it is one of those amazing places that has an endless supply of knowledge.

The newly moved blue whale skeleton was one of my motivations for visiting this time. Little Crafter stood, mouth agape, just staring at it, and the joy that gave me was almost as much as the whale itself.

We sat in the café snacking and chatting, Little Crafter on Pokémon, me crocheting, for a really perfect period in time. If I could have bottled up that moment, I would have kept a bit for my darkest days.

Possibly something I’ll never forget was in the dinosaur area, where we were given the opportunity to hold a bone from a real dinosaur. Holding the weight of something from 170 MILLION years ago was awe inspiring, and made my love of history almost bubble over with excitement.

Later on we met up briefly with a really dear friend, a yarnie friend, and their child; we had a lovely time, them knitting, me crocheting, kids talking Pokémon together. It just needed to be three hours longer!!

Heading back to the train station I found the niggles of migraine that had been in the background earlier coming up in strength. I took a triptan and kept my smile on place because I needed to give Little Crafter a day not ruled by my health. We got on a train with ease and almost perfect timing, the same with the bus after returning to our home station.

By the time I got home I was ready to collapse but my gosh it was worth it. And I am still in awe of both myself, and the injection, allowing me to do this.

I must confess that when the doctor in London first suggested that migraine treatment was the way to go, I was slightly skeptical. Now I’m fully embracing and understanding of just how awful migraine can be. Even knowing I suffered from them, I underestimated what they were doing to my body.

I don’t know how long I will benefit from this injection, or from the ones I’m hopeful will follow on both sides, but even if life will now be planned around three month windows, I can handle that; it is by far an improvement on having no life to plan with.

Identifying Traumas

This title might sound odd, and had I thought of this a few months ago I would have raised an eyebrow at myself. But one of the most – for lack of a better word – traumatizing parts of trauma therapy thus far has been finding that things I thought weren’t issues, really really are.

Sometimes these moments are coming when I am actively thinking about therapy and trauma, willing myself open to the tidalwaves I know come with it, yet some of them are when I am doing something as simple as brushing my hair, when I am hit with it: “I can’t do X because when Y happened I felt Z, and that is what I felt when I tried to do X.” Y is a problem that I hadn’t considered. To give a horribly brutal example. Just before my breakdown in 2013, I was on a bus heading to a place that was already a bit triggering. At the bus stop was an elderly man, who reminded me of my grandad. So when he sat down next to me (I wasn’t in my chair this day, so in a normal seat, next to the window), I took out my headphones to chat to him. He was very nice – at first. He ended up sexually assaulting me. I froze and panicked and was utterly terrified. When I finally managed to get my body to work and get me off the bus, he grabbed my face and manually forced me to kill him, full on the mouth. When I got off the bus I was sick. I reported it to the police but they never tracked him down; the cameras on the buses didn’t catch enough detail of him. Now, my Grandad has what we think / know is some form of dementia. He’s been down the last two weeks, and the last time I saw him had confused me in his mind to be a girlfriend, or at least someone he was attracted to. He was being very sweet, not crude, not explicit. But the sensation of powerlessness was the same, the feeling that I couldn’t do anything to change the situation; the knowledge I was being looked at in a way that made me feel unsafe. It’s heartbreaking. And for my own mental safety, I’ve had to say I couldn’t see him again whilst he was here.

I’m sure to some that might seem selfish or awful, as this is my grandparent. But the truth of the situation is: I am not well enough. I am not well enough to be seen that way, I am not well enough to have an older man making romantic remarks, I am not well enough to be able to separate my grandad from what this other man did to me. Trauma therapy is the whole point of this, but it is not a quick fix, if it can be counted as a fix at all. It is getting to a point where I can live an average human life, rather than the over sensitized panic room I live in now.

Other traumas have become apparent too, either for the first time, or to a degree I had not anticipated before now. Things that happened years ago, decades ago. And again, maybe to an average person this would seem absurd, and that is rather the whole point; my brain does not function in an average way. The way it has been reprogrammed after being traumatized time and time and time again will take endless work to chip away at.

Identifying these ‘new’ traumas is useful but also upsetting. I suppose this is why they tell you that you need to be incredibly stable before starting. I’m certainly glad I am in this place than even a few months before hand, as I know it would have thrown me. It already is, but let’s pretend, just for a moment, that everything is fine, and that traumas have no power. What a wonderful world that would be.

Little bits of happiness

Finding joy in the normality is a thing I try to do every day. The reality is that sometimes life is just a bit crap, and the larger picture is one you don’t want to view. There’s no harm in these moments of looking away, as long as you find something else to look at.

Today my little something is the joy that comes with new pens. I tested the in the shop (after noting they were on offer) and decided that new, good pens can never be wrong. Now I’m having a coffee waiting to collect Little Crafter and watching the world to by.n

I’m feeling reflective and pained today, I know I’ll be wobbly. All the more reason for small joys. 

My Casual Life

The word “casual” has taken on a bit of a life in the last twenty years. You don’t have to go far to hear someone describing things as “casual”. I know that overused or misused words are a pet hate of some people, but personally I love it. Words are designed to be used by everyone, in different ways. How dull would life be if everyone described things the same way. And especially for comedic effect, “casually” along with “literally” are used multiple times a day. I completely confess myself to be guilty of this, and I have no shame.

Thinking of the actual word though, my life is very casual. I’m not a massive formally social person; in fact some of my favourite people to hang out with are those I can take my shoes and bra off with. I do like going to restaurants but I struggle with it health wise, and have to be in a certain place to be able to manage it. Especially in the last year being more ill than in a long time, casual arrangements and plans are the only type I can deal with.

Even when it comes to clothes, I fall in to the casual box. Because of my abdominal pain, I can’t wear anything with a non-elasticated waist, so generally am stuck with leggings and dresses, sometimes decorated leggings and t-shirts, if the leggings are not looking so awful I can get away with that. I don’t mind it so much now, but at first it really got to me, being unable to wear trousers of any description. One of my upsets then was that I would look too casual too often. My how I have changed. Bring on the leggings!!

My life changed so much when I became ill, and I became casual almost overnight with it. I’m completely okay with this now. But there is a bit of an attitude of shaming towards casual  attire, and casual attitudes towards things, whereas really, what on earth does it matter to anyone else?

And just to confirm, yes, I am typing this in my pajamas.

via Daily Prompt: Casual