Much Better

It’s amazing how much better life is when your every waking moment isn’t anxiety filled. The increased Fluoxetine dosage is finally working, so life has not been awful for about two weeks. I do experience a few anxious moments, but I’m able to brush the feeling away and move to a better place. These days I have a song in my heart and a little spring in my step.

I finished my two 10 x 10 canvases. Now I need to reopen my Etsy store and offer them for sale. The desire to make jewelry is gradually creeping in, but mixed media is still more compelling.

My new podcast fix is Spontaneanation with Paul F. Tompkins. In the show, Tompkins has a conversation with a guest. The guest then comes up with a location for a narrative improv that will be performed later by the day’s assembled actors. It’s good fun!

Today is the last rehearsal before GenCon. I’ll be glad to get my Sundays back. If you’re going to Gen Con, look for Different Drummer Belly Dancers performing in the convention center during conference weekdays and then on Saturday before the costume contest. We’re saluting Star Wars! I’m Han Solo in this one.

I’ve been listening to one audiobook after the other. I’ll post about that soon. I’m still reading Welcome to Night Vale on my Kindle.

Things are just way better for me these days. I hope to get some things accomplished now that my mind is clear.

Photo of cone flower with yellow petals.

Today’s Timehop from two years ago.

 

Woman in the Wall

Screenshot from video.

Screenshot from video.

A little PowerPoint animation and poem from 2008. The face was drawn (not by me) on a wall at work.

Is there anything in her face
that reminds you of yourself?
She’s not real
But there’s something about her
You can’t quite put your finger on it
You can’t quite get the idea to hold steady in your mind.
It phases in and out and you wonder if the thought
(your idea of who she is) was really yours in the first place.
Was it something you heard someone else say?
Was it a line from an old movie?
Are any ideas really your own anyway?
She’s not really a she
Only lines drawn in graphite
Lines that look like eyes,
lips,
a nose,
a mood, a personality
But you can’t abandon her
Now that you’ve seen her
It’s strange that you see things that way
Somehow the two of you are connected.
So you take a picture

 

Is it that bad?

If you pay attention to the news or log on to Facebook you’ll learn about horrible things going on in the world. Sometimes you hear about good things, but the bad sticks with you. It’s like when you get a new shirt, and ten people tell you how nice you look in it, but one person says “that’s not a good color on you.”  The natural tendency is to forget the compliments and latch on to the one negative comment. Why are we like this?

Illustration of blue t-shirt.

If you have a tendency experience depression and anxiety, latching onto the negative is a habit you must get out of. It’s a habit, which for me, could lead to serious health problems. As I learned in March of this year, too much stress can cause an MS flare-up (relapse). A flare-up can result in permanent nerve damage. I don’t want that to happen.

Here are 10 things I can do to stay positive and mentally healthy.

  1. Stay off of Facebook
  2. Write everyday
  3. Breathe
  4. Make art
  5. Make jewelry
  6. Escape into fiction books
  7. Meditate
  8. Exercise
  9. Experience nature
  10. Eat right

If I look back at my life I can see that everything always works out. I don’t have to worry about some disaster happening because a disaster has never happened. Even my MS diagnosis wasn’t a disaster. The Universe takes care of me. I’ve just got to trust it.

It helps to do the little things to take care of myself like going to Goodwill and buying some jeans to replace the ones with holes in them that I won’t stop wearing. Don’t I deserve to be not dressed in rags? Three of my favorite pairs of shoes have holes in them too, so I need to get those replaced.

Here’s something I made on my iPhone with Sketch Club and Reflection.

Digital drawing of butterfly

Butterfly reflected

Breathing, breathing, breathing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work work and food

I worked a fair amount of hours last week. I finished a blog post about personal digital archiving and started one on digital painting. I go to work with the mindset that I am a writer. Then I sit down and write. The topics I write about require some research, and I feel a little guilty when I’m searching the Web and not writing, but that’s part of the process.

This week, I want to finish the latest blog post. I also want to learn something that I can make a video tutorial about.   Those are my work goals.

In my personal life, I want to write more in my real paper notebook. I think this will help to alleviate my depression and anxiety. I recently read yet another article about how journaling is a good way to deal with depression. I’ve got stuff I need to say that I don’t want to share with the world.

Another personal goal is about food. I have to improve my diet. I eat vegetables most days, but I’m not getting anywhere near the recommended five per day. I think that I have to eat well so that MS doesn’t get the better of me. There are recipes I want to try, but the idea of going to the grocery store and getting the ingredients stops me. I considered trying Blue Apron, but it’s too expensive for my budget. What I think I can do is work with the food I have at home. That seems reasonable.

Illustration-Carrot, Broccoli, Red Pepper

 

A Bit of Success

Yesterday evening I sat down and listed a few of my husband’s basketball cards on eBay. I felt so productive! It’s a lot of work. I have to take good pictures of the front and back of each card and crop them in Photoshop. I name the image files and add them to an online collection on Omeka.net as I’m listing them on eBay. The majority of the cards we have don’t go for that much money, but we have sold a couple of expensive ones. Maybe someday we can get a bit of income from sports cards. My Amazon book sales are extremely slow. I would do better it I paid the professional seller fee. To make that worth it I would need a much larger inventory. I don’t have the time or energy to be a real bookseller at the moment.

I’ve wanted to write more blog posts for work. I finished one last week and started another today. My goal is to start acting like a writer. That means I will write more.

In anxiety news, I’ve been listening to an audiobook about dealing with anxiety. It’s called Self-Coaching, Completely Revised and Updated Second Edition: The Powerful Program to Beat Anxiety and Depression. I just reached the section where he starts talking about the actual self-coaching exercises. I decided to switch to listening to The Girl on the Train for a while. I think I’m going to like it. My anxiety is still with me, but it comes and goes. I’m able to eat, so things have improved.

The two canvases I’m working on look like this now.

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And my interest in making jewelry is coming back.

So basically I’m realy uneasy about the world and my place in it, but I have all of these things that I’m still interested in. Seems like a paradox, but I’m not sure if it is.

Is it PMS or the MS?

To recap, I was diagnosed with MS in March of 2016. It wasn’t a surprise because I had suspected it for years. I had the tingling, the weakness, the drop foot, etc.

I’ve had a theory that I’ve been suffering from exaggerated PMS symptoms ever since I stopped taking the birth control pill (post hysterectomy). Every month there’s about a week and a half when I feel like I have a mild flu. I need to sleep a lot, my lower back hurts, and my hip flexors tighten. I think these symptoms couple with or exaggerate my MS symptoms and generally make my life difficult.

I’m currently experiencing that phase of the month, but I think things are slightly better because I’ve been working on improving the health of my legs. I do strengh training for the leg muscles twice a week, and I try to walk 30 minutes on the treadmill on most days. The trick is to make sure I work  out during these “fluish” times of the month so I can continue to improve my fitness level. I’ve been drinking a lot more water these days which I think is making a difference too.

I’m not doing great on the diet side of the equation. I haven’t been eating enough food because of the anxiety I’ve been feeling. Thus, I haven’t been getting those five fruits and vegetables every day. The increased Fluoxetine dosage seems to be working now that three weeks has passed. I’m hoping things will continue to improve.

Making art helps ease the anxiety. I’m trying to keep my art blog going as I create. I’m starting to think of myself as an artist. I’ve got two canvases going now. The art journal work has ceased for the moment. I’m sure I’d be more productive if I cleaned off my table. That might happen someday.

Photo of 10 x 10 canvas in progress.

Canvas in progress.