*sigh*

Sep. 14th, 2017 10:55 pm
sareini: (hiding)
It has been one of those days.

It started off with a dream I had. I had acquired a new cat, and for some reason I was taking the cat somewhere by car and my mother was driving. We were on a dual carriageway, going at about 60mph, and the driver's side window was open. Somehow, the cat - that wasn't in a carrier or on a leash or anything - managed to climb out of the window, walked across the car roof and then leapt off into the road - and oncoming traffic.

The impossibility of the dream wasn't the problem. The events of the dream upset me so much that I woke up in a state of high anxiety, and the day went downhill from there.

(I actually woke up to Lily nuzzling my knee, because she has the ability to tell when I'm sleepwalking/sleeptalking/having something that could become a night terror and wakes me up from them without traumatising me further. Which is a nice way to wake up, at least.)

So after I woke up I was anxious and distressed, which ended up combining into depression that I couldn't shake no matter what I tried. So eventually, feeling tearful and desperate and generally miserable enough that I was contemplating bad things, I did what I've been told to do in the past when I'm like this and called the mental health centre and asked to speak to the Duty Professional.

When I got to speak to him, it was a guy who had run an Anxiety and Depression group I took part in at the beginning of the year, which at least meant he knew me... but unfortunately he was also not exactly full of practical and helpful advice and energy. I explained how I was feeling and what I had tried to do, how it was making me feel worse, and his main piece of advice was to "do things that I liked doing". Which is something I had thought of myself, to be honest. He also didn't even know if I was on a waiting list for CBT or any other sort of psychological therapy, because of course with my care co-ordinator still being off sick (and now it's looking like she's not coming back at all) no-one knows what's going on with me at all. Which is another reason I'm feeling depressed and abandoned by just about everyone. So he said he'd look into that for me, and that was about it.

So I went into town and bought yarn and donuts. Which did at least help my mood a little.

But it rained on and off the whole time and I got caught in a couple of downpours, and then when it came time to get the bus home... the bus couldn't go the full route because there'd been a major accident on the road leading to my stop, so the bus couldn't get there. So I ended up with an extra 15 minute walk (in the rain) to get home. But I did see a rainbow and the walk was mostly downhill rather than the uphill struggle it would have been if I'd gotten a different bus.

Since then I've been watching Twitch.tv, making a start on a cardigan with the new yarn (here) - the yarn is a lovely colour and was quite cheap when I saw it in the shop, but now that I'm using it I'm discovering that it's a bit fiddly to work front and back post crochet stitches with. Hopefully this is something that will clear up as I get used to it - and eating donuts. If I had my way I'd not leave the house tomorrow, but I've got to go to the PDSA to pick up Lily's prescription, so I'll just have to try to be efficient with it.
sareini: (doctor)
I've not been feeling too well these past couple of days. I think it's all down to exhaustion after the weekend, but I wouldn't put it past anything to have caught something while in all the various crowds I was in on Saturday and Sunday. My depression and panic attacks have been making themselves known as well, and today I've suffered from repeated audio hallucinations of my phone ringing when it wasn't. Thankfully those were more annoying than anything else - hearing the phantom tones of Dare to be Stupid every now and then was just strange.

So I started work on Christmas presents today. I'm making Rachael a Hufflepuff scarf (yellow with spaced-out black stripes) and I'm also working on a Lizard shawl for my friend Kerry (although I might well keep this one and make her something else as it's a shawl I've wanted to make for myself for a while as well). I've been switching between them all day because I've not really wanted or been able to focus on one thing for very long. This is also why I've been watching random things on YouTube for most of the day as well. Somehow I've finished up on old episodes of Crimewatch UK.

A couple of random things I forgot to put in the last post about my weekend:

- I tried halloumi for the first time while visiting my niece! Over the past year or so Rachael has been suffering from severe emetophobia that's developed into OCD and a borderline eating disorder, because she's become so afraid of eating anything that might make her ill that she struggles to eat anything. She's lost a lot of weight because of it. She's working through it, though, and one of the foods she can eat is grilled or pan-fried halloumi. So she cooked us both some on Saturday night, and damn, that stuff is good. I'm going to have to get some for myself next time I manage to venture out to the supermarket.

- On the Sunday before I got the train back home the two of us went into Liverpool. Rachael wanted to get some beard moisturiser from Lush for her boyfriend, and I just wanted to see Liverpool shopping centre because I'd not been there since... last century, actually. It's changed a lot. So many of the shops I knew and frequented from my teenage years are long gone - Miss Selfridges, C&A, the huge Waterstones (although apparently that's just moved location) - and it now seems like every fifth shop is a coffee shop or Burger King. It was disorienting, to say the least. Also, the Lush store was nice, but the staff were really really over-eager to help. In my local store, you go in, they greet you and then pretty much leave you to your browsing. In the Liverpool store, we had three staff members come up to us to see if we needed anything within five minutes. And it was a crowded shop already, so I didn't really enjoy the complete lack of personal space. Also, the beard moisturiser was bloody expensive.
sareini: "Things I am not allowed to do at Hogwarts, No.61" (Cats and Dragons)
I got back from seeing my niece and spending too much on yarn on Sunday evening, but I was absolutely exhausted until this afternoon. The train journey back shouldn't have been too bad, but both trains were packed to nearly standing-room only and the sheer amount of people pushed me to my limits. I then got a very talkative taxi driver heading to Ross' place (because I started off the weekend by forgetting my keys, so Ross grabbed them for me so I could pick them up from him when I got back) so I had to stop off at his house for a bit to calm down. Got to meet some of the rattie commune though, and discovered that boy rats grow very big indeed. Most of them were pretty chilled with me and I got to pet them, but Neville the rat got freaked out when he smelled me because by that time I had the scent of four cats on me. Sorry Neville.

So, how was my weekend?

Cats! )

Of course, the other big reason I was visiting this weekend was for the Popup Wool Show. I went last year and got some good yarns, so of course I wanted to go again this year. Plus it's the closest thing I get to a summer holiday. I was quite proud of myself this year - despite having that credit card and all the yarn tempting me at very turn, I managed to stay within my budget.

Pictures of yarn! )

As well as my keys, I also managed to forget to take my niece's cardigan up with me, but I did remember my brother's birthday present, the Rock A-Z cross stitch. Rachael helped me frame it, since my skills are a little lacking in that area.

Cross stitch! )

For the most part my brain didn't short-circuit too much while I was up there. There was the crowds on the trains back to Stoke, of course, and the additional problem that the Virgin Trains' Pendulino train always makes me motion sick, so I step off it in a cold sweat and looking like a wax dummy. The Popup Wool Show was more crowded this year than it was last year, which was somewhat upsetting, but I was with my niece and so I was able to get through it with the only outward symptom being a bad case of aphasia (Every fifth word became "thingy.") Ross sent me regular updates about the cats being fine which also helped (Lily is making me mildly worried by repeatedly climbing into the cat carrier but I'm sure there's nothing actually wrong and it's just me seeing things where there's nothing again). I am however avoiding actual face-to-face or physical contact with other people for the rest of the week now as I recover my strength though.
sareini: The Mountains of Madness have many little plateaus of sanity - Discworld (Mountains of Madness)
Tomorrow I'm heading up to spend the weekend with my niece (my brother having managed to plan a week in Wales at the same time so he and the dog won't be there), where we will be going to the Popup Wool Show. I did this last year and everything was fine; we had a great time, I spent far too much on yarn, and my neighbours checked in on the cats. This year Ross is doing the catsitting, which is even better as Lily loves Ross (she sits on his lap, which she won't even do for me), and even though Callie still mostly flees from the sight of him, she does that for everyone and last time she actually came out and sniffed him, and so everything should be fine.

So of course yesterday I had two massive panic attacks over leaving Lily which left me physically sick and nearly fainting, and all because Lily meowed at me once, which to my broken brain apparently translated into, "Lily is going to die this weekend". I'm at least calmer today because I've managed to cram some sense into myself, but I've still got a headache from making myself so worked up yesterday.

I hate the utter randomness that my panic attacks follow, because I can't do anything to counter or prepare for them. Ideas and intrusive thoughts just enter my head out of nowhere and make themselves at home, and the next thing I know I'm lying in bed thinking that the floor is going to collapse under me, or that someone is preparing to break into the house right this very moment - or that the cats will drop dead if I leave the house for more than an hour. And with the current state of my local authority's mental health services, the chances of me getting any sort of treatment (CBT or otherwise) before 2018 at the earliest are slim to none. So I mainly have to figure out coping methods on my own.

One method (technically two) is to distract myself with knitting or crochet. Right now I have a 10-stitch blanket on hand for random panic attacks (I'm making it with a ball of Sirdar Colorwheel because I think the long colour changes of the yarn will work well with the pattern, and it feels really soft), and last night I finally found with a pattern for a skein of yarn I got at last year's Popup Wool Show that's 55% Bluefaced Leicester Superwash and 45% silk - Persephone. I'm probably going to take this one with me this weekend as the pattern is incredibly easy to memorise (and the ball is smaller than the Colorwheel).
sareini: A Procrastinator's work is never done! (Procrastination)
I figured I needed to make a list and plan out which of the many, many projects I'm currently working on need to be done first and in what order.

Knitting/Crochet/Cross Stitch:

- Ross's birthday is on July 12, so of course his cross stitch project is the most urgent to be finished, although that won't be too difficult.
- Next up is my niece's cardigan and my brother's cross stitch birthday present, which will both need to be done by mid-August when (theoretically) I'll next be visiting.
- Everything else (Horror Movie Villain cross stitch, cardigans and scarves and other things for me) is for me and can therefore be worked on whenever.

Movie Reviews:

- July is time for my twice-yearly Franchise Marathon, and this time around I've picked the Howling franchise to work my way through, because I've been neglecting werewolves for a good while now (mainly because very few werewolf films have ever truly grabbed me). So starting July 1 I've got the eight movies in the series to go through, which also means sourcing them (and two of them have already proven to be remarkably difficult to find, even with all the resources I have at hand), watching them ahead of time and writing the reviews. As long as I can keep at least a day ahead of the current film, I'll be fine.
- I've also got a couple of other movies heavily noted and ready to be written up, but they won't be needed till after the 8th, so no rush there.
- I really need to watch some more movies from my Huge Pile O' DVDs/Blu-Rays before they become sentient and start eating the house.

Writing:

- I need to write more stuff. That's all. Worldbuilding, character stuff, fanfic, whatever.
- I might want to stop grabbing bingo prompt cards... but nah.
sareini: "Did I mention that my nose was on fire? That I have fifteen wild badgers living in my trousers?" - Babylon 5 (Nose on fire)
I've decided I'm going to try to be somewhat more organised for June. To that end, I've set myself a few goals for the month.

1. Write at least 15k; fiction and movie reviews. Should be pretty easy, right?
2. Publish at least 8 movie reviews; that works out at two a week.
3. Write at least 250 words of fiction a day.
4. Finish at least two stories - perhaps my biggest challenge as I'm great at starting things, but not so good at finishing them as the self-doubt creeps in.
5. Finish the Shawl of Secrets - probably the easiest one as I'm about 90% done as it is. A couple of days sitting mining/watching stuff should do it.
6. Finish Rachael's birthday cardigan and possibly my own (fingers crossed!)

I don't think those goals are too bad or stressful.

I've also started work on my brother's birthday present - his birthday is in August so I figure starting now will give me a good chance of finishing on time. I'm doing him this, as he likes to put up 70s and 80s album covers as art. Also last Christmas I made my niece a cross stitch picture of Harry Potter spells which was remarkably well-received, so I figured I'd continue the trend. (It should be noted that I was stitching that thing up to 11pm on the 23rd December.)

***

In other news, Lily is much better today. No vomiting and her mood has perked up considerably. I'm going to keep an eye on her for now but no longer feeling the need to rush her to the vet when there would be very little they could do other than tweak her meds and hope that worked. I am looking at making her diet more strict to see if a blander diet might help - duck, turkey, chicken; occasional treats of tuna loin and scrambled eggs (made with water). Thankfully that's all stuff Lily already loves, so she'll just have to get used to not getting bits of grated cheese or the cream from doughnuts any more...
sareini: (creative)
The past couple of days have been good for yarn, as I've had two separate packages of the stuff delivered to my door. First off was yesterday's delivery, which consisted of the last ball of yarn I needed to complete the Shawl of Secrets (the shade is called Secluded Lake) and a ball of the new Scheepjes Whirl yarn, which is 1000m of 4ply cotton/acrylic that has long colour changes all the way through it, making it great for shawls, scarves and anything else that you might want that kind of effect with.

Two balls of yarn

The name of the colourway I got this time is Melting Macaron. It's not the kind of colourway I would normally have gotten - I generally prefer darks, or blues and purples - but most of the colourways were out of stock and I wanted to try working with some new colours for once. With the Whirl I'm making a Mandala Cardigan, using a pattern designed specifically for the launch of the yarn, which can be found here. And of course I started it already despite having a ton of other prokects to be getting on with, because I like the instant gratification and playing with new things.

The beginning of a mandala cardigan

Then this morning I got my monthly yarn club delivery from Devon Sun Yarns. they're an indy yarn company who specialise in hand dyed yarns in numerous and striking colours, and I've been in love with them for ages now. They have several yarn clubs but I'm a member of the Sock Yarn Club, which delivers me a skein of 4ply yarn every month to do with as I please - although right now I've got several months' worth sitting waiting to be used because I haven't decided what to make with them, need the time to start them and because Callie bit through my bamboo sock needles (she has a powerful chew on her). This month's colourway is a gorgeous blue-green.

A skein of yarn

So I have plenty to keep me busy for a while.

***

In other news, I finally accepted that my computer chair's hydraulics have died, after only a week of sitting on a chair only 6-8 inches off the floor and developing a constant pain in my left leg from it. So I've swapped out my dead chair for Nick's old computer chair, which involved moving half the stuff in the front room around to move a chair four feet and confused the cats greatly, but right now Callie is sitting behind me in the chair while Lily is boxhopping, so they're happy enough. Hopefully my leg will stop hurting now as well because it was starting to affect my sleep.
sareini: A Procrastinator's work is never done! (Procrastination)
Today I have been mostly crocheting. Well, apart from the past hour or so, when I took a break to transfer some inactive icons from lj to here, because after four hours of crochet the little finger on my right hand had seized up rather painfully. My evening will be filled with more of the same.

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking with my niece and my brother and the topic of her upcoming birthday came up. And, long story short, I volunteered to make her a cardigan.

Let me be clear, it's not that I don't want to make her a cardigan. It's that, at the best of time, my ability to focus on one task for a protracted period of time is somewhat limited, because the depression/anhedonia makes me lose interest because I either get sad, or something else catches my eye and I want to start that instead, thinking at the time that surely this will cheer me up. At the time, I was about three-quarters of the way through a cardigan for myself, with just the sleeves left to do, and the fact that I'd gotten that far was impressive in itself. But of course I've now put that on hold to make my niece's cardigan for her birthday in mid-May. And the focus problem is starting to raise its head. There's a couple of scarves I was working on I'd like to go back to. There's a cross-stitch piece I'd like to go back to. There's a whole bunch of other projects lying about the house that I should get finished at some point that suddenly all want attention. But I have to finish this cardigan before I can touch anything else. I have to.

It helps to watch stuff while I'm working on it. I had planned to watch an episode of the new MST3K this afternoon as I crocheted, but instead I got drawn into a True Crime Lists channel on YouTube that - for the most part - manages to stay away from all the usual cases that nearly every other channel ends up covering, often in inaccurate detail. No doubt I'll end up creeping myself out by the end of the night (possibly ending up watching old Crimewatch episodes as well for added unease) but for now it's okay. Mainly because it's daylight out.

Oh, and Callie is helping with the crochet as well. By "helping" I mean she keeps trying to eat the cotton yarn, then curls up on my legs and goes to sleep, leaving me unable to properly move my legs for hours until the cramping gets too much and I have to tip her off. Then she bites the yarn again in protest and we start all over again.


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