D is for Depression

Not quite so positive as the previous letters… but no less true.

Depression has been ever present in my life for the past 10 years, along with anxiety, and neither of them look to be going away in any hurry.

Whether I am depressed because I am sick, or sick because I am depressed is something no doctor has ever been able to really determine, but I’ll stick by the justification that I am depressed because I am sick.

A complete physical inability to get yourself out of bed, or do more than the most basic of activities will tend to do that to a person, particularly when some of your favourite activities in the past were hiking, abseiling, rock climbing, and other such pursuits.

This was around the time when I rediscovered my crafty pursuits – knitting and crochet provide a similar feeling of achievement, without the ridiculously exhausting physical exertion. Also, even if you only do a few stitches or rows a week, you can see something growing and that’s great for mitigating the feeling of failure.

I’d been dealing with anxiety ever since Grade 2 & 3, when I was mercilessly bullied by a girl in my class at school. I changed schools at the start of Grade 4, but I’ve never quite gotten back the carefree little person I was before it all happened.

It comes and goes in waves – currently, I seem to be on the way up. The good days are more common, and the bad days aren’t as bad at the moment. But I know that a drop won’t be far behind – maybe it’ll be in a day, a week, a month – but it will come back. I’ve just got to make the most of the good days so that I can get through the bad ones without completely falling on my face.

When I’m working through a rash of really bad days, I drink more than is really healthy. Normally, I barely drink at all, and when I do it’s a couple of glasses of something at a social event (recent wedding being a deviation from my normal social drinking patterns – it was good wine). But when things aren’t going well, and particularly when Hubby is not around (if he’s away for work), I’ll drink a lot. My most recent bad run, which I’m only just coming up from, has meant that we are almost out of scotch. At Easter, we had 4 almost-full bottles of scotch. Now there’s 2 bottles left, both with only a couple of drinks worth in the bottom.

I know this is a maladaptive coping mechanism. I avoid it at all costs. I avoid alcohol as much as possible, so that when I do get in this sort of place, I only need 3 or 4 drinks before I’m comfortably muzzy, and everything starts to feel a little less, well, awful.

~K

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C is for Crafts… or maybe Cats…

I love my crafting – knitting, crochet, sewing. It is my stress relief and a creative outlet, and a way of making cool presents for friends and family (rather than buying them). Making pretty things makes me happy 🙂

I learned to knit when I was about 5 years old, but only seriously picked it up again once I got to high school. It worked fantastically to help with my anxiety, as the repetitive motion is very calming. I started doing crochet once I started uni, as it is much easier to crochet on a train and not elbow your neighbours, and also granny squares are much more portable than a jumper or an afghan.

And cats are little (or not-so-little) balls of awesome. I’m not sure what else can be said on the subject of cats…

IMG_1986 IMG_1796 20140807-165122-60682381.jpgMy little shadow haha 🙂

Meow

~K

 

B is for Books

I’ve always been an avid reader – according to my Mum, I was reading by the time I started Kindy (not quite 4 years old). I really have no idea whether that is normal or not.

But it did start an ongoing love of reading. I would read under the blankets for hours after I was supposed to be asleep, and then once I got older and didn’t have a ‘set’ bedtime as such I still read until quite late at night. I walked into things A LOT because I’d always be reading instead of looking where I was going.

I particularly like sci-fi and fantasy genre books, but I’ll give anything a go at least once. ‘Brain stuff’ and other science-y topics fascinate me (e.g. Oliver Sacks – his books being a major reason behind why I want to go into psychiatry), and I also like biographies and historical fiction.

I’m currently working my way through my Terry Pratchett collection again, as some lightweight reading to help me relax from my uni work. Hubby may argue with me about the books being lightweight – he recently started reading “The Colour of Magic” and is finding it rather confusing. Which I find a bit strange considering how much he loves Douglas Adams and the weirdness that goes with HHGTTG, but you get that. I’ve directed him towards some of the ones that have slightly more straight-forward story lines (e.g. Going Postal, Guards! Guards!, and Pyramids). Hopefully once he’s got the hang of Terry Pratchett’s style he’ll enjoy the other stuff more – I really do love The Luggage 🙂

Another of my go-to easy-read favourites is LotR and The Hobbit. I’ve read both of them SOOOOOO many times I have them pretty much memorised, but they’re great for if I just want to melt into a familiar world and escape. Heck, I even taught myself to speak and write in Elvish in high school. I’ve forgotten most of it now, but I can still vaguely understand the bits they use in the movies. (NERD ALERT)

If I’m looking for an escape into another world read, I also often go back to the Wheel of Time series. It’s a huge series of seriously long books, and that’s fantastic. I’ve been thinking that I should re-read it because I was a little disappointed by the final book, but that might have been because I devoured it so quickly (I was a little impatient waiting for it to come out, and I read the book in 48hrs. I think I slept about 3 hours in that time).

I also love Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. I actually haven’t read any of his other books yet, and even this series took me several years to get to because I wasn’t sure I’d like it – HOW WRONG I WAS. The series is so up my alley it was a little bit spooky. Post-apocalyptic cowboy on a journey to save the world and avenge his past? I’ll take a double serving of that, thank you…

I’ve started reading ASOIAF twice so far, and each time I’ve gotten halfway through the second book and gotten busy with uni work and not read it for a month or so – then when I come back, I’ve forgotten what was happening with half the characters :S So I’m going to try it again over the xmas break when I won’t have Uni for 3 months.

~K

Sociable times

Just got home from a combined birthday party for my sister and her husband (S) (their birthdays are 2 weeks apart, so 1 party was easier for everyone).

I lasted 2 hours once everyone arrived, which is pretty good for me, seeing as S’s family is quite large, and rather boisterous… And I don’t do noisy crowded parties. I arrived an hour early so I could help my sister set everything up, and get in a bit of interaction time with her and S before everybody else arrived.

I was also out until 3am last night, working on a race car on the other side of town – HEHEHE oooh we got the V10, 7L engine going and GOOD LORD it sounds awesome 🙂 I can’t wait to see it race next weekend! The other car has only just had its roll cage finished, so I can only hope they’re going to be able to get it finished in time :S I ended up consuming 2 coffees and 2 cans of V in the space of 24hrs, and I think I was still pinging when I got up this morning at 7 lol…

For some weird reason, working in an extremely noisy workshop with 6 other people for 7+ hours is waaaaaaay easier than spending 2 hours at a party. I’m not really going to complain though, and I don’t think Hubby will either – he’s not big on parties himself, but he is a petrol-head. I guess I am too when it comes down to it…

I think it will be an early night for me tonight, unless Hubby wants to go over and work on the car – in other news, he’s getting home from his work trip this afternoon 🙂 YAY and hopefully they don’t send him away again for a little while. Fingers crossed anyway.

I am getting dangerously close to having a social life at this rate! It’s going to all be over after next weekend though, the cars basically get left alone until a month before the next race weekend. Hopefully the weather is nice, as much as it’s nice to play in the mud with the cars, I’d like to at least stay reasonably dry haha. It’ll be a good weekend either way though.

~K

Is being a “morning person” really that great?

It’s around everywhere – apparently, “morning people” are more productive, get better university results, are healthier, are less depressed… the list goes on.

Sure, maybe this is true. But is going against your biology really going to give you all the benefits that “morning people” apparently experience?

I am attempting to ‘reset’ my sleeping habits back from being nocturnal, and after 3 weeks of actually being awake during normal daylight hours, I am not having much luck. Everything that follows is personal and anecdotal – this is what I’ve discovered, please don’t try and tell me that I am wrong and why. I already know that this isn’t how the research says this works.

I drink more coffee 

When I was going to bed at 4am and getting up at lunchtime (12-1ish), I was only drinking 1 cup of coffee a day. That 1 cup was drunk as soon as I got up, and then the rest of the day was cups of tea (green, black, white, herbal, you name it). Now I’m going to bed at 11 and getting up around 7-8am, and I’m consistently needing at least 3 cups of coffee a day to be able to maintain my concentration. I am not at all productive in the mornings. I can’t concentrate on my readings, I’ll read an entire paragraph without actually remembering what I’ve read. I take notes on my readings, but don’t actually remember reading any of it. I feel groggy, and the multiple cups of coffee are needed to get my brain going. I’ll have 1 at 8ish, 1 at around 10:30, and usually a third at about 1pm. I’ve made a point of not having any after 3pm, so it doesn’t interfere with my sleep, but sometimes I just can’t NOT have one.

I crash at 3pm and feel like I need a nap or a coffee

This is something I’ve always struggled with. I crash at around 3pm when I’m on a daylight schedule. And when I say “crash”, it isn’t just a lull – I’m truly fighting the desire to have a nap. I’ve even fallen asleep at my desk at around this time (AT WORK! as well as at home) and had to laugh it off as “I was up doing assignments for most of the night” – when I wasn’t. Because “I dunno, I just suddenly felt so tired that I pretty much passed out” is a little hard to explain to your boss (boss was totally understanding of how much time uni took though). I fight the urge to sleep when I’m at home, and it usually passes – but often I’m left feeling groggy. I wasn’t experiencing this at all when I was mostly nocturnal – the equivalent crash should have come at around 11pm, but it never did. I’d usually start feeling the need to sleep at around 4am, when I was heading to bed anyway.

I get more distracted

This could be just because there’s more I can do during the day – Hubby isn’t trying to sleep, so I can do noisy cleaning stuff. Shops are open, so I can go do food shopping/whatever. None of this stuff is possible at 11pm when Hubby is asleep and nothing is open. So I guess this is really just an avoidance strategy. But it doesn’t stop it being true!

My CFS symptoms are worse

The things mentioned above are general CFS symptoms – fatigue, grogginess, and difficulty concentrating. But other symptoms are worse too – joint and muscle aches, lack of coordination, difficulty in finding the words I want when I’m trying to talk (this doesn’t extend to writing, I have no problems finding the words when I’m writing), trouble remembering simple things (like my email address, or how to turn on the stove. NO SHIT). My anxiety is also worse.

I look at this and wonder what the deal is, exactly – why do my CFS symptoms get worse when I’m on a daylight schedule, even though I’m getting more sleep? God knows. At this point, I’m not sure whether I should continue keeping my sleep schedule as a day-time person, or whether I should just let my body revert to what it prefers.

There’s strong genetics in my family for being a night owl – my Mum isn’t a morning person, my Dad is even worse. Even my Nan isn’t a morning person (and you naturally become more ‘morning-oriented’ as you age). Grandma and Grandpa (Mum’s parents) tend to get up at a fairly ‘normal’ time (7ish), but that could just be a lifetime of Army training kicking in. Neither are much fun before they’ve had their morning caffeine (consumed in the form of very strong tea).

I’m not sure if there’s any point me continuing like this. I’m also wondering if it might be worth just pulling an all-nighter, running through to the next day and just going to bed at like 8pm to try and sort this out.

Why does life have to be designed for morning people? Ugh.

~K

Outlander annoyances…

Just watched the first episode of “Outlander” and I think I am a little annoyed.
The actors playing the characters are too old! Claire is supposed to be in her mid-20s (I seem to remember her turning 26 not long after she goes through the stones, in the book) and Jamie is supposed to be like 22!
Meanwhile, both actors are 34. Essentially 10 years too old.
Frank is also too old, but I can’t remember exactly how old he was supposed to be – 29-30ish I think… And the actor is 40. 10 years out again :S
I hate it when they do things like this :S
Though I do commend them on getting actors who look like how I imagined the characters! I just imagined them looking younger :S
Not going to stop me watching the series though – majority of the actors with scottish accents? I’m sold 🙂
Just a slight weakness of mine there…
~K

P.S. It is an exercise in extreme self control not to go and buy the $40 season pass. I WANT TO WATCH MORE!!!! I have instead paid $7 for the ebook, hopefully that will tide me over until pay day… MUST WATCH MORE TV WITH SEXY SCOTTISH ACCENTS.

I think I live in the wrong country. The dearth of scottish accents is very disappointing.

Tex Mex Muffins

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These are great for breakfast on the go! I think the next time I make them I’ll make a few changes – more salsa, and more cheese. And maybe some taco mince. They weren’t as salsa-ish as I’d hoped, but they still taste great, particularly heated with some butter.

Makes 12

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 60g butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup creamed corn (this was approx 2/3 of a 400g-ish tin. I will get the smaller tin next time and just use the whole thing)
  • 1/2 cup tasty cheese
  • 1/2 cup chunky salsa

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases.
  2. Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl (I didn’t bother sifting, I was lazy). Make a well in the centre and add butter, milk, eggs and creamed corn. Mix until just combined. Fold in cheese and salsa.
  3. Spoon mixture into muffin cases. Bake for 20-22 mins or until golden and firm to touch (this took 25mins in my oven). Stand for 5mins before turning out onto a rack to cool.

Recipe from Super Food Ideas magazine, February 2013.

~K

I wish homework was this easy

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Jacket is attempting to learn Chemistry by osmosis… if only it was that easy :S

But I went for a 6km walk around my neighbourhood and I feel better now. So back to the homework.

It might have to wait until after I’ve done the dishes though, they’re starting to annoy me. And I need to chop up the chicken that I defrosted for dinner on Friday and feed it to the cat (because it’s no good for humans now). And work out what I’m going to eat for dinner. And chuck out the containers of curried sausages in the fridge, because they’re from Thursday. Also no good for humans now. OOOOH that’s right I have sausages! I’ll make bangers and mash for tea! Om nom nom…

Yes that is actually how my brain works (in fact, that was a reasonably well-connected thought progression, they’re generally much less organised). I think I also need another cup of tea.

~K

 

New shoes :)

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new shoes and a kitty…

Pretty new converse! Yay for spottiness 🙂 Jacket is in the pic because he kept sniffing them and giving me funny looks – I don’t think he liked the smell of them much…

My old ones (red and white spotty high-tops) are about to fall apart, the canvas on the sides is coming apart and I’ve glued the soles back together several times. And they leak – if I wear them when it rains, the water comes in through the sole (squelch squelch squelch – not fun for walking around at Uni). I’ll wear the old ones for camping and stuff until they finally die, but these pretty new ones are for Uni etc.

I’m so happy I was able to get these! I saw them online a few months ago, but I don’t like to buy shoes online because my feet are small but quite wide (quack quack duck feet), so I really need to try shoes on to be sure that I’ll be able to wear them. I got the chance to get to the Converse store yesterday, and I honestly didn’t think they would be there… BUT THEY WERE, and they were on clearance, and on top of that, the store had a further 20% off! So these were less than half-price, I am so so so happy 🙂

Now I’ve just got to break them in…

~K