depression

Stay The Fuck Home It’s Ok To Be Kind To Yourself Edition

During times like what we are currently going through, we are all trying to put on a brave face. We keep saying we are ok, even when we probably aren’t. You know what, it’s ok to not to put on a brave face all of the time. It’s ok to feel anxious, sad, confused or depressed right now. When this whole thing started, I was ok. I felt good. I already work from home and had a routine. Most people aren’t used to this. On top of my routine, I decided to give myself a more structured schedule. Get up, do yoga, blog or draw, allow myself some time on social, COVID-19 updates, admin stuff, lunch, sew a bit, write, dinner…. etc. There were days that I didn’t feel like doing anything at all, but… I told myself, you need to keep to this schedule. Then…whammo, last week, depression. This week I effed up my neck. (I hold stress in my upper back and neck)

Yup… this girl suffers from depression and anxiety. What brings depression on? A number of things, but one of the biggies…. the news. I cannot read, watch or listen to the news because it brings on anxiety and depression, yet… EVERY SINGLE FUCKING DAY I WAS LISTENING TO IT. I needed to stop, but I needed to be informed, so I found a summary newsletter that comes out everyday from CBC. When it hits my inbox, I can scan it, read it all or delete it without opening it. On social I’ve muted anyone who is constantly posting conspiracy stuff or angry news stuff. Yes, you can mute people. Do it!

Most of what is making me anxious right now is going outside and grocery shopping. I need to go out for daily walks for my health and am worried that there will be hordes of people out there too. There hasn’t been and those who are out are courteous. But grocery shopping…. eeeeeeee. The last few times my husband has been going in for the most part. Last week was especially tough for me. I now have several masks. I know they won’t stop me from catching it, but wearing them does help with anxiety. It’s ok to feel this way.

You know what else is ok. If you have a day when you feel like doing nothing or you want to binge watch Netflix all day, or read all day or stare out window all day, just fucking do it! After… what ever week this is, I’ve stopped having my overly structured schedule. I’m back to my old routine and it feels better. I’m also not beating myself up for not being productive. Mind you, that has nothing to do with Pandemic Guilt as I call it. (Will get to that in a moment.) I’ve always been that way. Keep busy, don’t be lazy, accomplish stuff. I’ve given myself permission to be a lazy fuck once in a while.

Pandemic Guilt (as I’m calling it) is feeling like you should be doing something all the time. You see all of your friends sewing masks. You see friends working out like fiends. You see friends doing, doing, doing, doing. Ahhhhhhhh! You may also have people trying to guilt you into doing one or all of those activities. If you don’t want to, don’t do it. If you do it and it will fuck up your mental health. DON’T DO IT. Also, feel free to tell people to back the fuck up (it’s ok to be nice about this) if they are harassing you about it. It’s ok to not participate!

Do something kind for yourself during these times. Watch movies, read a book, take three hour bathes, order a dozen donuts, eat pizza… order a dozen donuts. I swear we didn’t eat them all in one sitting. Shut up! But seriously, do something that makes you happy, even if that something is doing nothing. No one is the boss of you and the only one who truly knows what makes you happy is you!

Stay The Fuck Home The Canning Edition

During times like this, it is handy to have certain skills, we’ve covered breadmaking and now this post will have some links on how to can/preserve food. Many of us will have grandparents who lived through the Depression and knowing how to be creative with food staples was part of what helped them survive. One thing that helped was stretching out fresh produce, by canning them. It’s a skill we need to bring back. That way, when food hoarding begins, we will already have our own stockpile of foods we prepared ourselves.

Below are some links that will show you how easy it is to preserve your own food.

My Social Media Diet

Many years ago I discovered something. Each morning I would leave for work in a fairly decent mood. I would be freshly caffeinated and ready to take on a new day.  By the time I finished my thirty-minute commute I was angry. In the beginning… I struggled to understand how or why my mood could swing in the span of leaving my front door and arriving at my job. What event was affecting my state of emotional well being?

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Then it clicked.

My morning commutes usually had my nose deep into a novel until I discovered the free newspaper. I’m not talking about Now or Eye Magazine, I mean the mini edition of the news. It was a new phenomenon that had men and women shoving them at you as you graced the threshold of the subway station. Eventually, I was enticed and began reading them on the way to work. An unusual step for me and one I now understand I shouldn’t have taken.

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Most of my life I have avoided the six or eleven in the evening news, it has mostly been a radio droning on in the background with my ears occasionally picking up the odd important bit of news. When the paper arrived I would pull out the entertainment, fashion or Arts sections of the newspaper. Something that drove my father nuts. Why waste your time on the fluff, the real meat was in the news section he’d say. You see, my father is a bit of a newsaholic. He will read the paper cover to cover and does so every single day.

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Why was I avoiding the news part of the paper?

I have always had a dark imagination and can go down some very horrible rabbit holes and because of this hearing about the horrors of the world affected me greater than others. I’m sensitive to it. I always have been. Growing up during the 80s there was always a threat of nuclear war and that weighed heavy on me. I would go out of my way to avoid reading or talking about it. It upset me.

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Fast forward to today and the news of the of the horrors of the world still does and to the point where it will throw me into depression. I realized this one weekday as I stared down at the free newspaper that was open in my lap. That was what was making me angry. That moment the bells went off and I chucked the newspaper into the recycling and haven’t picked one up since.

Oh… but wait… welcome to our new future. Welcome to Social Media.

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When I first joined Facebook, I loved it. I was able to connect with communities, find new friends and check in on old ones. It was an actual fun place to be. Now… not so much. That fun went away when they added the newsfeed. In the beginning, it wasn’t so bad. It was generally full of horrible Meme’s and false worlds created by the user. Then… that all changed. My feed was full of fake news that people thought was real, photos of animals being tortured and many other awful, angry posts. People took on new personalities thinking that this platform was a free for all to shit out any and every thought they were having. Yes… I too was guilty of this until that moment when I realized I was doing it. I would try avoiding the feed, but it was always right there when you logged on. On a few occasions, I would deactivate my account only to realize I needed it to help promote events. I hated the fact that I relied on this social media platform to connect with audience members and communities. I hated being on a platform that wasn’t social at all.

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Then I started feeling depression creeping in again. This time I knew what the culprit was but didn’t know how to throw it in the recycling bin. I wished there was a way to promote myself, my event and run my Vintage Groups without logging on. Someday I will find a way, for now, I have a temporary solution.

Wow… that was a long way around to talk about my social media diet….

I am now limiting myself to only five minutes a day on Facebook. It can be five minutes in one shot or over a few logons. But once those five minutes are up, that is it for the day. Oh… I also don’t look at the feed. As a matter of fact, all I do is check my notifications, my events, my groups and see if there are any other events I might be interested in and then I log off.  Let me tell you, not only has it lifted that heaviness I was feeling, I realized how much of my day was wasted on there. I now have chunks of time to fill in. I’ve started drawing again. I have dedicated time to sew my own clothing. I actually feel like being social again! I’m almost to the point where I don’t even need to log on at all. There is an app for messenger, there is an app to check my pages. I believe there may be one for events, now if they would just bring back the groups app!

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This all said I do still use Instagram. The difference here is I customize what I see. I follow vintage, artists, and people I like. I am inspired by much of what I see. It is a happy place for me.

Do you also avoid Facebook? Are you willing to try the five-minute diet?

 

When one door closes…

Imagine the opening scene of Get Smart.  Agent 86, walking down that long tunnel, doors slamming down behind him.  Now imagine you’re Agent 86, this is a dream and you wake up in a cold panicked sweat, realizing it’s times to start closing doors.  Doors you are terrified to close. Dreams are a funny deal, you can either try to analyze the shit out of them or take them for what they are, your subconscious smacking you in the ass. In my case, this wasn’t so much a dream, as an epiphany, time to close doors.

My biggest issue is I’m a fixer.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a relationship, friendship or a broken object.  I refuse to give up till all avenues are exhausted, all scenario’s played out, the final straw has been broken.  In doing so, I leave doors open a crack, refusing to believe things can’t change or get better.  The morning I had that dream, I realized I need to stop leaving those doors open.  I need to shut all the partially open doors, move on, get the fuck over it!  I was stagnating myself by letting issues, people and problems hang on.  I couldn’t write, my creative juices had dried up.  I was frustrated, depressed and feeling an overwhelming despair.  I’m a writer who couldn’t write, I’d given up on love for my craft and ever finding love again in my own personal life and this terrified me.   That morning, I took a very deep breath and then I closed all the doors.  Every, last, one.  No one should give up on their dreams and no one should EVER give up on love.

Then it happened.  The awakening.  The opening of the new door. The excitement.  It’s been 6 months since I’ve actually been able to write more than just a few lines and now I can’t write fast enough. I’ve revived a project I had a huge hard on for before all this happened.  I’m finishing off odds and ends that were pushed aside because I’d lost my desire.  I’ve found my will to write again.

Since I’ve started creating again, I’ve started working on my TV series project I’d been conceptualizing.  It’s based on my own life as a single woman.  I figured much of my life is a sitcom anyway, so why not create a TV series about it. I’ve played with the idea for a few years, the Gods know I have enough fodder in my life to fill a few solid seasons, so… write what you know, know what you write. I don’t remember the last time I was this excited, exhilarated, had such a huge boner for a project.  And my boner is massive right now.

I feel like I’m in control again.  Though I don’t know what might be on the other side of the door, I’m walking through it anyway.  I’ve found the ambition that is needed to make my dreams come true and am ready to see if love comes my way.  This girl has opened the door wide and is no longer afraid to leave it all the way open!

Silent Sundays and my Charlotte moments…

Silence can be a beautiful thing for a noisy mind. 

I swing hard between needing complete silence to not being able to function without chaos.  I have never been able to find an in-between.  As a creative person, a writer,  I’m not sure I want an in-between.  I find when there is darkness and chaos in my life, I do my best work.  That said, when there is pure silence I can be efficient, thorough and accurate.  Last Sunday I took a day of silence.  No music, no television, no verbal distractions.  The only sounds I heard were those around me, outside of me.   Birds singing, people on the belt-line, the sounds of distant traffic and my own breathing.  I don’t remember the last time I heard myself breath.   I’m too busy holding my breath in anticipation of what comes next.  Part of the reason I have a hard time with the silence is the freaky circus act that is constantly running my mind has to shut down, the rides need to stop, the freakshow takes a very long lunch break. When that happens I have to face reality, the grown up stuff, bills, responsibility, life. I prefer the vaudeville act, actually most artists do.  The thing is, I like to be able to eat, be entertained and pref not to be homeless, so, I decided to deal with what needs to be done.  The silence helped clear out some of the crap building up in my brain, clogging my creative arteries with plaque.  Once I accepted what had to be done, I was able to open the gates and write.  Welcome to the new tradition of Silent Sundays!

Since last Sunday’s reawakening I’ve been seeing things in my life without the rose coloured glasses, rather with 20-20 bionic vision.  I can see people clearly now.  I’ve also been having ‘Charlotte’ moments.  Anyone who is a fan of Sex and the City will get that reference.  Ok, ok!  I have a confession, this horror, sci-fi, martial arts movie fiend, independent feminist type,  who HATES the romantic comedies of today, (but is a sucker for anything prior to the 60’s),  loves Sex and the City.  For those who don’t know the show or movies, Charlotte is a very Pollyanna type, who believes in traditional love and romantic fairy-tales.  Charlotte will also blurt out random bits of wisdom, wisdom you would never expect from her.  Very…. level headed yet progressive in many ways.  I am the un-Charlotte. I don’t believe in romantic fairy-tales, I think love should be passionate and crazy, a journey, not this neat little package that is delivered with a bow to your door.  It should be about challenging each other, growing together, and knowing that when the shit hits the fan, you can both deal and will be there for each other.  I base love on how my parents have grown and survived their life together.  They’ve been together for 46 years and even though they have lived through moments of utter hell, are still crazy about each other.  That is what I want and something I said last night to a friend made it clear to me why I don’t have it and why I have been struggling in life as a whole.  Roadblocks.

Roadblock ahead!

We have been conditioned to believe that if there is a roadblock in life, you either figure out a way around it or break the roadblock down.  I am so busy trying to figure out how to do both that I never move forward in certain aspects of my life. An aspect such as love.  I am so busy trying to figure out how to make it work, how to fix it, how to reason, causing other things suffer.  I do this with my career too.  I should be going down road x but keep choosing road y.  STUBBORN!  Last night Cate and I were chatting about a personal issue I’m dealing with right now, one that I’ve grown weary of dealing with and have decided not to pursue any longer.  She asked why and I blurted out, ‘Too many roadblocks.’  I had one of those, stop, shake you head moments.  Too many roadblocks indeed. Roadblocks I am no longer going to deal with.  Right there and then, I made a promise to myself, when I see a roadblock, go the other way.  In my life I have to stop trying to get over them, around them.  Are these challenges put in front of me to better myself or make ‘life’ worth living or are they the universe telling me that there is nothing good on the other side, to turn around and head towards a clear, open road to something amazing.  I believe it’s the latter.  The universe and I are coming to a very firm and solid understanding, when it gives me messages, I’m going to start paying attention.  No more roadblocks for this girl.

The road ahead is clear, smooth driving down the route of life.

Girl Bands… Boy Bands and Vegan Thanks Ghouling

Have you looked outside yet… it’s stunning! The entire weekend will be and after two months of suffering from depression, I’m FINALLY feeling like my evil, naughty ole self.  It took a visit with my parents, realizations about the kind of people I want in my life and the love of a couple human Kitty Kats to finally snap me out of it.  Actually, the love of a couple human Kitty Kats who never judge, love life and hell… I’m doing it… saying it…. ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!’

A bunch of amazing stuff has happened this week and a few not so amazing.  The awesome, Nuit Blanche, TT with Kat performing, and I’m now helping out with a festival project that makes me grin’n ear to ear happy!  One of my lovely Kitty Kat’s, Kat, is part of the Love & Obsession Theatre Festival.  She introduced me to the organizer and I’m now helping out with promotion. Kat will be remounting A Depper Kind Of Love and that alone makes me smile!  I’ve also been working my arse off on a column idea I have and will hopefully be submitting it soon for consideration, have met some absolutely amazing people over the last 2 weeks and made some great connections.  Things are really looking up again!  Aside from the couple things that happened in the last few days, things that caused me unnecessary stress, the dark clouds have lifted.  It all comes down to wishing people would think before they speak or text.  Words can be painful and once said or texted, can’t be undone, no matter how sincere the apology.  I’m like an elephant and remember those words.  I’m trying not to dwell and will hopefully turn the negative into the positive.  Sometimes walking away from people and situations is the best thing you can do for yourself.

Now onto girl bands.  Tonight I’m heading out for a girls night.  Though still stink ass broke, I can’t hide in my apartment.  I need to be out and participating in life.  Enjoying it, eating it up!  It was brought to my attention, that tonight, I will be hanging with Kat, Cathy and Cathy….  Joking I started coming up with band names… this had everyone else… coming up with band names.  Kat and the Cathy’s all have musical talent and if I’d get off my arse and re-learn the guitar… well…. For now, we will just go out, drink our faces off and drool over boys.  Maybe we will come up with a song about going out, drinking and drooling over boys… Oh dear… I really do feel the beginnings of a Girl Band…

Tomorrow’s gonna hurt…but really, who cares.  It’s Vegan Thanks Ghouling and I get to see some of my favourite Ghouls and my Dealing!  Tofurkey, Halloween and Booze all go hand in hand with what tomorrow stands for.

Ok.. back to it.  I have work to do… pies to bake!

The truth will set you free…

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. ~ Mark Twain

This quote says it all and reverbs loud in my head today.  It really, truly does.

Human nature.  It’s a funny thing ain’t it.

I know a lot of things that ain’t so and won’t be so.  I’ve come to realize this. But, the reasoning behind the choices, make no sense at all.  You can’t force people to do the things you want or to make them change.  You can’t help them see the light or make them understand what is good for them, what will make their lives awesome or truly happy.    You just can’t.  You can be patient till the ends of time, but it’s up to you to make a final choice.  You can look at this patience a few ways, time wasted, lessons learned or hope.  Myself, I’m the patient hopeful one.  Most of the time.  Where is that getting me?

I’ve spent a lot of time inside my own head this last week, way too much time, time I needed to spend.  Due to depression and no money, I’ve imposed a house arrest on myself.  Yes that sounds a little harsh, but I really can’t be around people right now.  I’ve decided to focus on me, get writing done, look for freelance work and other types of work to help ensure I can pay rent, bills and eat.

I know I’m not, nor will be anyone elses priority and in the fight on my own.  I guess I always have been.  As with most things, it all comes back to Zombies.  In the event of a Zombie outbreak, you actually have a larger chance of surviving if you go out on your own.  No one slowing you down, no one else to worry about.  That’s the survival instinct I keep fighting.  I tell everyone else to go with their gut, when in fact I keep trying to force another conclusion.  Time to practice what I preach.