Crying Over Spilt Milk?

In the past I used to think that phrase was silly. Who would cry over something as small as spilt milk? But as I got older and my mental health deteriorated, it honestly makes much more sense. There’s that one small thing that causes the breaking point when you have no more patience.

I started writing a post about Uechi the same day I did the art post, but I haven’t finished it yet. My cunning plan to have posts prepared ahead of time was foiled by mental health issues. I did NOT have a great brain day yesterday. I’m not entirely sure if it’s because I’m slipping into a mixed episode or if it’s just a manic episode. It’s hard to tell sometimes when you’re wrapped up in your own emotions and having trouble accessing Wise Mind.

Checking the Facts, I realized that I was fragile yesterday so making unrealistic goals was definitely not an option. I slept for a grand total of three hours. I was not sleepy in the slightest once I woke up, but that doesn’t always mean you’re well rested. I had a few packages that were going to arrive via UPS. My temper was short.

I’m the type that sits by the door when expecting a delivery. Amazon and UPS both had said my packages were out for delivery Saturday and never arrived. I had resigned myself to that fate Saturday. Our UPS person does come out on Saturdays, sometimes. At this point, I’ve learned that living out in the country usually means they won’t always come out despite whatever the website says.

One part of my order wasn’t among the packages and after investigating online, I discovered the item only just now shipped. It seems silly, to get upset, but I was nearly in tears. I’d been waiting two weeks for this delivery and the item in question was a belated birthday present my SO had purchased for me. Conveniently enough, it’s one of those TeeTurtle plushies that you flip depending on your mood.

I needed it yesterday to show my unhappy mood, which I knew was ridiculous. Another factor in my foul mood. I dislike not having control of my emotions. I can identify them, but turning them can be a completely different issue. After a half hour of word skirmishing with Amazon customer service, I had the necessary cry, comfort from my SO, then I launched into Opposite Action. Staying active when you’re sad is really important

I opened the packages that did arrive and was pleased to find my new case for my Photography gear. I’m not amazing at Photography, but I’m trying to improve my skills. Part of me hates how long I’ve neglected working on Photography. A lot of my work from college is far better than anything I’ve done more recently. I’ve worried a lot about keeping my gear safe though. Moving it around from place to place is normal.

I’m partial to the Pelican cases, so I finally splurged to get one. I’d seen a friends in the past and fell in love with the rolling case. I forgot to snap a photo of the case with the solid foam, sadly. After a bit of careful consideration, I juggled how I’d put my Digital SLR Camera into the case along with one of my lenses and my Digital Camcorder. When I first invested in my Canon, I didn’t realize the model I’d purchased was bad for recording videos. Which is why I have a camera AND a camcorder.

I wouldn’t say it’s perfect, but I did manage to get things done in a way that I can fit most of my equipment into the case. So now I’ll be able to transport it to karate class with more ease. And should conventions ever become a thing again, I’ll have it ready for long distance travel! Please enjoy the photos which include my orange assistant. No box can enter our home without him inspecting it.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Not my comic. If you know the source, please let me know! It’s circulated around Facebook for ages.

My SO works today so it was the perfect time to practice playing my ukulele a bit. I managed to get a ukulele during COVID. Like many, MANY people, I picked up a few hobbies during the pandemic. I also got a guitar off Facebook Market as well, but it felt too large and hard to press the strings down. The ukulele feels right. The strings fit well with my fingers and I’m very slowly starting to understand how to play chords. Four strings are much easier for my brain to adjust to rather than five or six.

Since the Facebook Market guitar was collecting dust in my room. I ended up putting it back up on the market and selling it fairly quickly. I hope it enjoys its new home and the wee human intent on learning! I placed an order online with some of the recovered funds to get a baritone ukulele. I know not the same as the one I’m playing so I look forward to seeing the differences. Just have to play the waiting game. Amazon and Flight, please don’t take a forever!

I was a band nerd from Middle School until Community College. Once you go to University, they don’t really let filthy casuals participate in the music program. Haha. I jest, but I did give up on a music major since music theory just never clicked in my poor little brain. I’ve played the flute through Middle School and switched to Alto Saxophone in High School.

I still played the flute, but Jazz Band had me jonesing for the Sax. My Senior year, our band director asked someone to step up and learn to play the Sousaphone (Tuba) for marching band. I thought, why not? I was learning the Baritone Saxophone for the local Community Band so learning bass wasn’t too hard.

I continued music after I graduated high school. I was in the band at my college and started the basics for a music degree. I took voice lessons and sang in the choir. So you can kind of assume that I have a little bit of basic musical knowledge. Music theory was like hitting a brick wall. Combine that with my performance anxiety and you have the perfect list of reasons not to continue that degree.

And when I say performance anxiety, let me assure you that it was epic. I never attempted for first chair due to solo’s. I never wanted to stand out. During small group ensembles, I’d always raise my music stand so that I’d be able to avoid seeing our audience. During my voice lesson class, we were required to perform for the rest of the class. Every time I’d sing by myself, I’d cry. It confounded my instructor. I would be in tune and sang well enough. I was just so scared, I couldn’t help it.

Years of LARP (live action roleplaying) and working at anime conventions has helped me shake away my shyness. I’m still nervous as hell, but I’ve finally learned that it’s not the end of the world to be awkward and goofy in front of others. Confidence? Fake it until you make it!

So needless to say, I’ve loved music most of my life. I don’t have a genre that I hate. I always feel like there’s something decent among each kind. I.E. Hank Williams is classic. My dad loved him. Tom MacDonald is an amazing rapper. But that might just be me being partial to loving music in general.

Like anything else worth doing, music takes a ton of practice. My karate sensei’s tell us the same thing. Sensei Mike McGee told us to progress in martial arts, you need at least 4 hours in the Dojo each week. And at the very least, you should be practicing Sanchin 3 times a day. Bare minimum. Similar things were said in college. My college professors always reminded us to work on our artwork. For every hour you were in the classroom, you needed to put at least 3 hours into your artwork. Considering some of my classes were 3 hours long, twice a week, that meant at least 18 hours outside of class. Now that I’m older, it makes so much more sense.

Things that professors and instructors did easily came from practice. You don’t just naturally do something well. Some people take to certain activities easier, but they didn’t just suddenly become perfect. I have to remind myself of that. My attention span is always short. Either from my ADHD brain or my Bipolar manic brain. I have to set reminds for myself and motivate myself to keep at an activity.

For the Ukulele, this involves strumming. I have a few simple songs that I try to practice. June was my depression month, I always struggle with June so a lot of my normal activities well to the wayside. Now that I’m back out of the funk, I’m trying to practice daily. Even if I can’t make my way through the whole song properly. Practice the chords. Practice strumming up and down. Practice switching between each chord. I don’t feel ready to perform for anyone, but I know I’ve improved in the last year.

I plan to keep practicing. Not just my ukulele. Practicing my martial arts. Practicing my art. Practicing my DBT skills. I know that I can improve and I enjoy progressing. There’s always room to grow. Participating in the moment. Enjoying life. These things are the biggest combatant against depression.

As always, I want to express my gratitude to you all for reading my posts! I hope you enjoy my little rambles.

Opposite Action in Action

Saturday’s are busy days for my family. My SO, Bonus Daughter, and myself go to karate. Our dojo is about an hour away, depending on traffic. We travel the furthest of any of the other students, I think. It’s good for us. I love the martial art. It’s not just exercise. There’s history, tradition, and mental wellness connected to the style. I’ll probably do a post concerning the history behind it another day.

We missed the last two week’s off class due to illness and mental health issues. So today was necessary. Just to be clear. We do karate more than once a week: we attend private lessons midweek with other sensei’s. But our main dojo and instructor are at the Saturday classes. It’s so easy to miss something that happens weekly.

Anyone that’s a parent can attest to how hard it is to wrangle a child. Getting yourself dressed, prepared, and out the door is hard enough with mental health issues. Then factoring in my SO and Bonus Daughter adds to the difficulty. Side quests always pop up and delay things. (Nerd joke.) Today’s side quest involved Bonus Daughter hurting herself.

Technically, it was a minor wound. Our orange cat can be very rambunctious when you rile him up. Like most cats, running your hands and feet under the covers gets him excited. Cat owners know what I mean. It’s that moment when their eyes dilate and any reasonable person would know now is the time to let the feline chill. Children do not have that awareness. This resulted in Bonus Daughter getting scratched in the face.

Cat scratches. Not incredibly horrible injuries, right? It does suck that it’s on the face and we know we definitely needed to care for them to prevent scarring. But here’s the kicker. Bonus Daughter has a “beauty pageant” in 3 days. I say that with quotes because this event is just a small event at the County Fair. No skills involved, her age group just walks across stage in high heels and a fluffy dress, waving in a sassy manner. Bonus Daughter has ranted and raved about doing this for weeks. She had even considered sitting out karate class because she worried she might get bruised before the event. She was already fretting about a minor scar on her back that she was going to cover with make up. Needless to say, her meltdown about facial injuries was epic.

Thankfully Opposite Action came to the rescue this morning! Sadness: If you’re feeling down, approach, don’t avoid the situation you’re upset with. Similar to dealing with fear, you want to build mastery over your emotion. Don’t isolate yourself from others—get out and do something to keep yourself busy! Getting out the door and on the road makes it even easier. Remind yourself, I’ve already started the activity, might as well at least see it to the end.

As a special treat, after class, we ended up going to grab a very tasty lunch at the local Chinese Buffet. (Huzzah for COVID restrictions being lifted in our area!) Practicing mindful eating is always a bonus activity when I’m eating out. I need to practice is a lot more, but it’s one part of DBT I haven’t really delved deep into yet. I do feel like you add a level of pressure to the predicament when you’re eating out with others. You want to remain engaged with your eating companions while being aware of the food you’re partaking in.

Saturdays almost always involve a midafternoon crash on my part. I love going out and I love doing a martial art with my family. I just don’t always have enough energy to sustain the momentum all day long. I brought the mail in, took a nap, and woke up to realize one of my self bought treats had arrived. I thought I’d ordered a flower crown, but the item seems a bit different.

This lovely piece came from Amazon. I linked it so you can see the product photos as well. Obviously, now that it’s arrived, I realize I didn’t look at the listing as closely as I should have. I still love it. It’s purpose? Nothing practical, obviously. A confidence booster? Maybe. I’ve fiddled with it a bit and realize I’ll either need some hair pins or some ribbon to fasten it to my noggin securely.

I feel so cute! Like I’m ready to go prance through a meadow like a Disney Princess and sing about kissing my True Love. Always remember to treat yourself! I keep seeing this quote floating around the internet:

“None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an after thought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth you’re carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There’s no time for anything else.”

I always find my own self-care to be an after thought. It’s a struggle I’m always fighting to acknowledge. So something small like this flower crown is definitely worth the splurge. Any who, thank you for reading my little ramble, guys. Your presence here is appreciated! I always feel warm and fuzzy when I get an alert that someone liked my post.

Willingness versus Willfulness

In case you missed the Podcast yesterday, here’s the video!

Willingness is an important part of your mental health journey. If you aren’t willing to put the effort in to try for yourself then no one is going to be able to help you to do so. It’s a sad fact that loved ones need to be aware of as well. You cannot force someone to try. That’s not to say you should give up on them, but keeping this fact in mind is important.

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about therapy not working for them. Or even having DBT sessions and not feeling like it worked for them. It’s really important to remember that there is no instant fix to mental health issues. Even the medications that you receive from your doctor will take some time. Many of the medications for mental health disorders take a few days or more to build up in your system before you’ll start to notice their effect.

Taking an active role in your therapy and medications is part of the willingness to improve your own mental health. If you’ve never had therapy before, this article is very useful. (I linked it over in my Discord, but I know some people are not on there.) If I could go back in time and hand my younger self this piece to read, I honestly think it would have made things easier. In the past, I was very willful concerning my treatment. I didn’t want to be seen in a bad light.

I think that’s a matter I’ll leave for another post. I apologize for the short length of today’s blog entry. I have to take my bunny to the veterinarian. She’s been sneezing, wheezing, and has a runny nose. Hopefully they’ll be able to help her. Thank you again for reading! I’ll add some photographs of my bun as pet tax.

Velveteen is a Dwarf/Mini Rex Rabbit. My sister got her sometime around Christmas of 2012. In March of 2014, she came to live with me and my ex-husband. She is a very sweet, affectionate animal. She loves to travel. She’s been across the Eastern part of the United States multiple times. Rabbits are lovely pets, but potential owners should be aware they do have certain needs.

Rabbits cannot be left alone for long periods of time. They are like dogs and will eat all of their food in one go. They can be litter box trained like cats, but they do create hundreds of pellets each day. SO be prepared for poop. They are very destructive. Chewing on anything possible, whether it be your walls or your cords or digging up your carpet. They NEED lots of stimulation to prevent getting bored and lots of EXERCISE.

Thanks again for reading! Oof, looks like I made a mini post about my bun. Haha.

The Best Laid Plans

Last night and this morning, I put some good attempts into working on the logo. I don’t have the original line art from my tattoo, but I do have some good photographs. I just can’t seem to get anything accomplished though. Every time I’d draw a line, it just didn’t seem right. I’d start, hate it. Erase. Start again, still hate it. Erase again. At some point, you just have to realize that you can’t force it so I put the project down.

I’ve had long bouts of artists’ block in the past, but every since my Dad passed last Fall, it’s been plaguing me constantly. I haven’t exactly figured out why. It’s frustrating and I’m still attempting to separate myself from the idea that my art is part of my identity.

In the past, my artistic phases really coincided with my mania. Any time I would slide into my manic phase, I’d be able to do all of the things. I’d stay up all night, completing drawings for people. Or I’d be super hyper focused during tabletop games, so much so that I’d have pages of illustrations showing what we did during that day’s session. A sad part of me really misses the energy and powerful feeling that you gain while you are manic. I can understand why some people will go off their Bipolar medications.

That’s not an option I’m ever willing to take. I don’t like the lack of control that happens while I’m manic. Illusions of grandeur are nice, but frightening. Eventually you will come down from those lofty feelings and the crash after an emotional high is probably the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. I’m usually strongly at risk for a suicide attempt when I’m sliding from a Manic phase into a Depressive state.

Some lucid part of my brain wants to fight the change and is terrified that I’ll never have another good thought again. Logically I know that’s not true, but when you slip into depression, it seems like time slows down. Every day is longer and the end never seems to be within reach. I’ve learned now to prepare ahead. (DBT calls it build mastery, coping ahead.)

The facility that I currently receive mental health care from has us setup a safety plan with our therapist. It’s a lot easier to write one of these when you’re doing well as opposed to during a low phase.

Step 1: Warning Signs. Which pretty much means, any thoughts, images, moods, situations, or behaviors that might be a blue that a crisis might be developing. I know personally, my own self-care usually starts to suffer when I start to get lower. I don’t feel as if I deserve upkeep. I’ll avoid showering because I loathe the way my body looks. I won’t eat because it seems like too much effort or trouble. Pretty soon, your mind starts to fall apart as well.

You have to be mindful of this. It’s easy to lose yourself. A good cope ahead for this situation involves giving yourself some helpful tools. Even if you can’t bring yourself to brush your teeth, get a bottle of mouthwash and use that. If you can’t bring yourself to shower, buy yourself a can of dry shampoo. Or in some cases, biting the bullet and just taking a shower. I have a work around for being disgusted with myself. Showering in the dark. Having trouble with preparing yourself a meal? Not even a sandwich? I think my mind was blown the day my therapist told me just to eat the ingredients. And I’ve done it. I’ve just sat down with a few pieces of deli meat, a hunk of cheese, and some nuts. You do what you can.

Step 2: Internal Coping Strategies. These are the things you can do to take your mind off your problems without contacting another person. This includes relaxation techniques, physical activities, and etc. These honestly don’t seem hard to list or come up with when you’re in a good mood, but become extensively harder when you hit full depression mode.

I love to read. Absolutely adore books so much. But when I’m really low, I’ve come to realize that my attention span is not the same. I can’t focus. The effort put into reading can be on par with running a marathon. Sometimes I’ll just marathon watching a television show that I’ve seen before, because the comfort of watching something familiar is all I can muster. More recently, I’ve gotten back into using my local library, which clued me into this game changer: you can use your local library card and Overdrive to access digital books. Or more importantly, audiobooks. I can’t tell you how relaxing it is to listen to your favorite novel. Sometimes I’ll even read along if I have the book. That really helps my brain stay focused on reading and distracting me from my problems.

Step 3: People and Social settings that provide distraction. This one has been complicated since COVID. I have a few friends that are on Discord and Facebook that I can speak to at least, so we’ve tried to stay in each other’s lives throughout the pandemic. Video calling has been a lifesaver.

Step 4: People to ask for help. This list got smaller when my dad passed away. A few years ago, I accidentally did a Facebook post about my last suicide attempt and remembrances concerning it. I did NOT filter that post like I normally do. And shockingly my dad called me right away. He didn’t shy away from the subject and told me that I could call him any time or day if I needed an ear. It was probably one of the most relieving moments in my life. Now that he’s gone, it’s been a lot more difficult.

Step 5: Professionals or agencies to contact during a crisis. I hear people always saying they can’t reach out to professionals. They’re afraid they’ll get locked in an asylum or they’re afraid the police will show up at their front door. There are a lot of resources that will not do that. I’m partial to the Crisis Text Line, because I hate using the telephone to talk. The Crisis Text Line also covers a lot of different subjects beyond suicide, so it’s definitely a resource to put on your safety plan.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also good. You can never have too many resources. If you aren’t in the United States, please be sure to check Open Counseling. There’s an extensive list of numbers on their page. Please, PLEASE, just remember that ending your life takes away your ability to improve your situation. I’ve always hated when people told me suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Depression doesn’t feel like it’s a temporary problem especially when you’re in the deepest depths of sorrow. I’ve found that I have to word it differently for my own state of mind. Do what you need to do, do what’s best for you.

Step 6: Make the environment safe. Remove anything that might tempt you. Whether this be sharp objects, guns, drugs, or alcohol. Designate someone in your life to help you do this. Do whatever you need to do.

The last part, isn’t really a step, but it’s a very important part of your plan. What is the one thing that is most important to you and worth living for? Even if you aren’t willing to live for yourself, what in your life gives you enough drive to not leave? I’ve learned to be more selfish now and I know that I want to continue existing because I want to enjoy my life, but when I’m feeling my lowest, I remember that I have a wonderful SO that would mourn me. A step daughter that would never be able to understand why I was gone. And even the most mundane realizations, who is going to feed my rabbit if I’m dead?

Wow, okay. So I hadn’t really planned such a long post. The safety plan stuff sort of jumped out at me, but I’m hoping that it helps someone out there. I’m honestly just throwing as many things out there as I know, since it’s impossible to tell what might stick for certain people. Everyone’s different and how you approach your mental health care will have to cater to your needs and desires.

Today is Thursday! So “The Journey” DBT Podcast will be happening live on Elektra’s Twitch at 5pm EST. She’ll post it later to her Youtube, if you can’t be there for the live version. Also, if you’re interested in joining the DBT Discord, please feel free! We’re still fairly small. Under 50 members right now, but still growing!

I got distracted by the safety plan, but for good reasons. Step 2, internal coping strategies. I used that yesterday and today to distract me from my lack of artistic abilities. Sometimes, you’d think that you’d want to go in the opposite direction of what is troubling you. I decided against that and instead picked something that helped me express my art without needing too much creativity.

Remembering my dad has been an important part of my grieving. I’m afraid of forgetting the sound of his voice, the way he looked, or the impact he had on my life. Recently, while looking for some yarn at the local craft store, I noticed they had a sale on wood pieces. I picked out this boat piece because my dad loved fishing. I’m probably going to go back to the store soon and buy one of the fishing poles they had in the miniature department.

After some internal debate, and asking my SO’s opinion, I decided to paint the boat white with red trim accents. It’s really simple, but I think it worked out well. The task of painting the wooden boat was really easy. It gave me a sense of accomplishment. I might not have been able to get the logo done, but I did make something. I’ve still got a few more details to add to the memorial, but check it out!

My dad was a devote Christian, so the nail cross is in memory of that. The duck actually came from his collection. Each one of my siblings and I were allowed to take one. I picked a smaller one, which fits very well in this little boat. I’m planning on putting the coin collection my dad passed onto it in the drawer. It’s not actually a coin collection per say, but coins he picked up throughout his travels over the world. Once I get the memorial setup in its final spot, I’ll post more pictures.

Once again, thank you so much for reading my blog!

Brainstorming, the Owl Rain

June 2013 was my last hospitalized suicide attempt.

I’m having a hard time writing about this subject. I’ve openly talked about my mental health issues for years now, but sometimes, returning to the past can be difficult for my mental health. Not everyone is always understanding of mental health issues. Even those who love you. Especially those who love you.

I suppose that’s why I worry that talking about certain subjects will upset new people in my life. There’s fear that I will overshare and scare someone away. Or change their overall opinion of who I am. I know that stems from fears of abandonment and my overall desire to be a people pleaser. Sadly, knowing that does not make things any easier.

For today’s post, I won’t go into too much detail concerning that suicide attempt, just know that it was a helpful situation despite all the heartache. I was able to finally be diagnosed with Bipolar and my Anxiety Disorders were finally acknowledged. It had been a huge struggle to get a doctor, diagnosis, and medication. When I finally checked out of the Psych Facility, my ex husband gave me two stuffed owls to add to my collection and said that I could finally get a tattoo. I had been wanting tattoo’s for a very long time, to cover self-harm scars on my arms.

The parlor where I got my tattoo changed names since 2013, so I wasn’t able to link their information. I thankfully was able to have the same artist do both of my arm tattoos. I designed both tattoo’s and they are in the same location on each arm. I won’t post the other tattoo today, but it’s very nerdy in it’s own rights.

My obsession with owls started when I was younger, so I’ve always been a fan of doodling owls. It took a lot of trial and error to come up with the tattoo I finally picked. It’s not perfect, but it was a design I made myself for myself. So I’m happy with it. As you can see in the pictures below, I took bits and pieces from other tattoo’s and drawings I’d seen to create my own.

The last few weeks, I’ve brainstormed, agonized, and debated what to use for my website logo. It held me back for the longest time. I wanted to have my logo created before I got all my website/social media accounts made. At some point, I had a mock up made, but I changed my mind eventually.

I wouldn’t say that the logo was a bad idea. Just not exactly the image that I pictured in my mind when it comes to Atelier Whootique. My OCD always demands perfection. Even if there isn’t a clear parameter concerning what perfect is exactly. As you can see with the website right now. I picked a lot of black and white artwork with blue menu’s. This is a similar design to the WordPress page I’d made for Fish in Bowl. A little bit of an homage to my previous work.

Ideally, I knew that I wanted to stick with the owl motif. I wanted to somehow include art into the basic design, hence the paintbrush. I thought that would be cute, but I have so many other topics as well that I want to write about. I know that might be my indecisiveness talking. I just honestly feel like there’s so many little pieces that make me who I am. The books I read. The shows I watch. The things I do to help with my mental health. The martial arts that I practice.

I have to constantly remind myself, my identity isn’t centered on any one thing. I’m not just an artist. When I can’t draw, that doesn’t mean my existence is worthless. I’m not just a bookworm. If I can’t focus enough to enjoy a novel, that doesn’t mean I’m broken. The things I do add up. Which should be the focus instead of the things that I feel divide or lessen myself.

So the long winded point of this all? I think I’m going to use my tattoo as the Atelier Whootique Logo. I need to polish it up some, I didn’t have a drawing tablet back in the day. My artwork was all drawn on paper, inked, then scanned into a computer. It’s not a bad thing, but the basic image will need some touching up.

Expect that in the near future. Once again, I can’t thank you enough for reading my blog. Every time a notification comes to my e-mail that someone has liked a post, it makes my heart warm.

Tiny World, Big Feelings

I’m still feeling really raw after loosing Mango yesterday. Since my plans for today fell through (my local vet changed a bit and no longer will see rabbits, so I need to find a different one), I decided to take a personal day and work through my feelings.

I watched some sad anime. These are sort of complicated, so I won’t give a summary. You should Google them if you’re interested. I finally watched the last episode of “Fruit Basket, Final Season”. Sad, but happy, but also bitter sweet. Had a few episodes to catch up on the end of “To Your Eternity”. SUPER sad. I love this anime, but I’m pretty sure every episode likes to destroy your feelings. Finished up my anime binging with “Those Snow White Noises”, which is about music and the Japanese shamisen. Which I would love to learn to play someday.

This was somewhat a distraction tactic as well as emotion regulation. I wanted some sad things, which helped me cry. I had cried when Mango first died then I felt like I went numb. So crying some over the anime was really helpful. There was some frustration as well. Radically accepting that sometimes you just can’t be in control of the situation.

I don’t want to linger to long on this, but the subject of death is always complicated for me. I never expected myself to grow up, grow old, or become an adult. As a teenager I always assumed I’d end up dying young. I had a lot of thoughts about killing myself when I was younger, so long term plans were not an issue. Now that I’m older, it’s very odd. Somewhat eerie when you realize that so many people you know have died. Time passes slowly, but at the same time, is deceptively quick to slip through your fingers.

SO~! Moving on from the morbidly, morbid thoughts. An important part of DBT, is being aware and turning a thought. So when I realized that I might be dwelling too hard on too many different thoughts, I picked out an activity that’s perfect for mindfulness! Model building!

I’m currently slowly working my way through a Chocolatier Shoppe kit from Hobby Lobby. It’s my first miniature model kit I’ve ever done. It’s been a long project. I work on what I can until my patience and attention span are gone. A little snip snip here, and little glue glue there. It’s very relaxing despite how tedious the tasks can be. It’s a real mindfulness project because I’m forced to focus solely on what I’m doing. The task at hand instead of the other million things my mind wants to dwell on.

I envy my SO because he has the ability to go mindless. For myself, a good analogy of what my brain is like… I’ve got 500 tabs open in my internet browser. At least 3 of them are songs. I cannot remember why most of them are open, but I assume they’re important and I don’t want to let them go. My attention is split so badly I can’t really accomplish anything.

My long term goal is to finish the model, which is painfully close. I don’t know where I’ll put the model after I’m done, but the fact that I have something accomplished really helps myself feel better. I’ll try to take some more pictures once the Shoppe is completed. Until then, please enjoy the pictures I’ve taken so far.

And thank you again, everyone, for taking the time to read my blog!

Mango, the Bird, not the Fruit

I can’t even remember the topic I had been considering to use today. Grief always has a way of washing away any coherent thought. When pets pass away, it’s always the worst. I feel like our sweet companions touch our hearts so strongly despite their short time on this Earth.

Mango was 11 years old when she came into my life. A friend of my ex-husband needed to rehome her and I had been wanting a bird badly. I grew up with a Quaker parrot and dealt with birds often through the Chehaw Park, where I volunteered during the summers of my middle school and high school days.

Funnily enough, her previous owner said that she was a male. I remember a few months into owning Mango, she was laying on the bottom of her cage and wasn’t moving around much. I thought she was sick or dying so I took her to the vet. There couldn’t find anything wrong with her. The next next day, she laid an egg. And then we knew that Mango was a girl. She’d never laid an egg before for her previous owner, so I took that as a sign of approval.

She lived to be 21 years old. She travelled across the country with me many times, visiting my family and friends. She loved popcorn, but was not above sharing other crispy treats. She just liked to be in your presence, whether it be at the computer or while watching or reading something interesting. She loved a hot steamy shower almost as much as she loved a warm fire during Winter.

This afternoon when she cried out and started to stumble on the bottom of her cage, I knew. It makes my heart sick, but I can at least say that she passed away in my hands. My SO helped me mourn her and she had a burial on the hill under a cairn. Near where we buried my other rabbit, Jethro.

She was loved. She will be missed. I know there were many of my little friends waiting for her on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. Thank you for reading. Apologies if my posts within the next few days are a bit sad.

Happy Independence Day

To everyone in the United States of America,

Happy 4th of July! Hope you are all celebrating in a safe way. Enjoy that food and don’t blow yourself up with fireworks.

I spent the first part of the day uploading some photos of paintings. These paintings were done quite a long time ago, but I tried to crop some of them and fix them to display better online. I also added watermarks to the images. Haha, I feel like I’m growing as an artist. Little baby steps. I’m hoping in the near future to do some more painting, but I’m trying not to make too many large goals all at once. The website is already such a big endeavor.

I’m trying to post each day. Hopefully one of these days when my motivation is stronger, I’ll be able to prepare posts ahead of time. As a back up plan or cope ahead for the days when I have less energy or limited time to put towards creating something.

I did a bit of a video. It isn’t the best quality and gosh, it took so many takes just to get myself to talk normally. I stumbled over my words, stuttered, and had tongue twisters like ten times before I felt like the video was okay enough to upload. Please feel free to take a look. Be kind in reviewing. I’m an amateur and definitely NOT a licensed therapist. (I knocked one of my models over at one point during the video. Oof!)

Thanks again for taking the time out of your day to check out my blog! Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to hear or see.

The Journey … a DBT Podcast

In case you missed the Podcast when it streamed live on Twitch, Elektra has posted the entire thing on her Youtube! This past week’s Podcast was about “Checking the Facts”. The other past episodes are also posted there. If anyone is interested in learning more about Dialectical Behavior Therapy, please feel free to join us on my Discord. WARNING: none of us are licensed mental health professionals. Just fellow travelers trying to find our way in the world.

I’m hoping to do some individual videos about DBT as well. Not sure if anyone would be interested in viewing those. I’ll be posting links here once I get one of those recorded. Until then, please feel free to check out “The Journey” DBT Podcast.

Today was a ton more food prep because our household is definitely food centric… Which might explain why I have so much trouble dieting and dealing with weight loss. “We’ll go on a diet soon, but first we need to eat what we’ve got in the house.” Oops, we have a 9-year-old, of course we’ve bought more junk food. *sigh* I have started making some protein shakes, but those still have fresh fruit in them so there is some sugar. I’m Diabetic Type 2 so I try to balance my diet. Try.

Quick lazy run down of today’s food porn: Pineapple Peach Salsa (pineapple, peach, tomato, green peppers, jalapeño, cilantro, garlic, and lime juice) which got served along with some amazing Grilled Chicken. The obligational hot dogs and hamburgers. Ranch Beans. And some Chuy’s Ranch Dressing, which is spicy as heck!

I feel like there’s so much more I needed to talk about today, but sleep has been hard lately. My brain is a bit fuzzy. I do have to say, sometimes you have to “Check the Facts”. (Haha, I am trying to tie in the last Podcast, but it wasn’t on purpose.) Usually we go to karate on Saturday mornings.

I woke up this morning and realized that I was having an awful time getting up. It took me a few minutes to do a body scan and figure out if this was a mental health issue or was I actually feeling bad? All of my errands yesterday had taken quite a toll on my body. (My car has no A/C and I have hypohydrosis.) Coupled with some acid reflux keeping me up and down throughout the night, I realized that my body was not in great condition. One hour commute to the Dojo, two hour class, then another hour commute.

Checking the facts really helped me mentally handle this. I didn’t feel the normal guilt that usually follows changing plans. In the past I always would suck things up and soldier through, which would usually end with me being in a sour mood for the rest of the day. If this had been a situation where I was just feeling blah and didn’t want to go, I would have practiced “Opposite Action” to motivate myself to get up. Trust me, I’ve had lots of days like this.

In this case, I like to think that checking the facts helped me narrow down logical reasons why I was having trouble. I did monitor the emotional reasons as well. Sometimes you just need to be gentle with yourself. What would you recommend to someone else in this same situation? If any of my friends were to ask about this, I would absolutely suggest taking care of themselves and knowing their limits. Don’t overextend yourself.

So that’s what I did.

And I’m feeling pretty good about it. Though I will definitely be doing some extra practice tomorrow once the house quiets down a bit. Can’t improve without practice, practice, practice! I’m hoping to also type up a bunch of the notes I’ve taken during some of our training sessions. Look forward to that in the near future.

Thanks again, everyone who may be reading this. Your time and consideration is very much appreciated!