Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Life in the slow lane.

I do not regularly post about my everyday life... But this time I have to share. In the early morning of july 8th, we (as in my husband, our 2 children, our dog and I) were traveling to France. We left the night before, meaning to arrive at my In-Law's house around 7ish the next morning. All went well, and we did listen to all the good advice on traveling looooong distances. We had a good 900 km (560 miles) to go and did stop frequently. Because we both have a driverslicence, we alternated who would drive and avoid getting sleepy behind the wheel.

At about 60 km (38 miles) from our destination we were harshly woken up... al 4 of us! For just a second my husband must have dozed off and missed a curve in the road. Our sturdy VW came to a full stop with a loud, creaking sound... and then came silence. I remember just a moment of nothing before I started what I am good at: taking care of everything with no question as to how I was handling the whole ordeal. There were children to be comforted, phonecalls to be made, nurses from the ambulance and the policemen to speak to... all in my best French! And I can tell you that my French is fine, but not in a state of emergency. Luckily, everyone we met was helpfull and very kind.

My parents-in-law drove over to meet us. My husband had been taken to hospital by then and they helped me get our belongings into their car. Then they drove me to the hospital to find out how my husband was doing: he suffered a headwound, 2 wounds on his left arm, he broke the metacarpal bone of his left little finger and ulna of his left arm... Last winter he shatterd both bones in his right lower leg (shin-and calfbone) and he was just up an running again! He had to stay in hospital for 5 days and was fixed up nicely.

The children, dog nor I didn't suffer any harm!  I only had very sore muscles in my neck and right shoulder from the tug of the safetybelt and that was it. We are so very lucky to be able to tell this story! OK, our car is wrecked beyond repair... but other then that...

Now that the worst is over I can start re-orienting life. If anything, I have learned that I don't want to live in the fast lane anylonger. I want to be mindfull of what I do, asking myself what is needed Here&Now. Asking myself what is needed, what I need... It's not easy, because I am not used to an approach like this but it is good therapy. I hope to keep it up, it's easy to sit down and keep on asking myself: "Why does all this happen to us? Didn't we have enough misfortune?" I still want to believe this wake-up call will bring some good in the end.

Breakdowns can create breakthroughs. Things fall apart so things can fall together.
Unknown Source

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Moving on

I haven't beaded for over a year now. But the good news is that I am starting to miss it! Somewhere, sometime there has been a shift over the last few weeks and I suddenly found myself wondering, what to do. What do you mean, what to do? How about beading? Not that I have already actually picked up a bead, oh no. I have rearanged my cupboard, so now I can easily acces my beads&needs. That's a start. More importantly, I have found a way to finish my BJP-maypiece of 2010.

How silly of me to think I could finish a piece that is about my therapeutic process. I wrote I would tell you about why it is all in black and white after it would be finished. Now I know it will never be finished.

I already wrote that I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and severe depression. I feel ashamed of these things, mostly the former . I have always felt that a so called Borderliner would be a terrible person to be with: manipulative, controlling, destructive, only capable of black&white reasoning... Since I have learned that there is a huge grey area for me to discover. Firstly because not all people with my diagnosis are suffering from all the symptoms in the worst way possible, so I could view myself as a mild case. Second of all, I am capable of learning and girl! am I learning!

This piece was meant to and is depicting my search for those grey areas. The idea was to bead a black and a white section and then to see if I could bring the two together. I have succeeded partly but it was harder then I thought. Those of you who have gotten to know me a little, will also know I am quite stuck to rules I set myself. It is hard for me to let them go and be easy about things. Not finishing this piece meant not starting a new one, but now I have found my way around.

I will not finish this piece as I intended, but... I will bead a border, that I have already started partially. I will bead a lifeline, as I intended... and then put this piece aside. It will be as fninished as can be by then, and I will have my desired opening for progress, new beadings, new searches. There, I met myself in the middle. Now for one more step: really picking up my beads.

While writing I listened to this beautifull piece of music, and thought you might like to enjoy it too.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I did it!

Last saturday I did it. I ran 10 km's (= 6.21 miles), and my lucky number was: 1216.We ran through the beautifull countryside I live in, the sun was shining and there was a cool breeze. In short, it was perfect. For over 9 month I have been training for this event. And then to realize that about 2 years ago it seemed as if I would never run again. This is my little miracle story:

7 Years ago, when pregnant with our youngest, I was diagnosed with Pelvic Girdle Pain . After our son was born I got intensive physical therapy, lots of exercises to strengthen my pelvic muscles and all seemed to heal very nicely until one night I simply turned around in my bed and screamed with pain. No physical therapist, nor neurologist could find out what had gone wrong... but the fact was that from that day on my PGP didn't heal. One day my therapist told me: "If it's not over by the time your boy turns 6, you will suffer pain for the rest of your life." That's not what you want to hear when you have just turned 35!

Over time my stubborn me tried to run (for that is the only sport I really enjoy), but every time I tried for just a very short time I had to pay for my endeavor with pain during a sleepless night. I gave up the idea of ever being able to run again. Untill the summer of 2009. Having gained over 10 kg's (= 22 pounds) due to medication, I wanted to start sporting hoping that I would lose some weight. I didn't really lose the weight, but my muscles and overall wellbeing benefited hugely. Last summer I was on the treadmill running for about 2x 5 minutes... Wait a sec.. did I say running?

That was the summer our boy turned 6! In the nick of time I was able to run and not suffer pain, even though it was only for a very short time in a row. I talked to the trainer at the gym and together we decided it was worth the try to extend my running time very slowly and increase speed. Guess what? It worked! My leg does protest now and then, and 10 km. seems to be my limit for this moment but I am more then happy with those limitations, because I ran 10 km's and won 2 prizes. I was 3rd of all women running the 10, and the fastest woman of my village!

Me in the aqua-shirt after the first lap.

.... halfway through....

.. at the finish with on the far left my sweet husband (in the read shirt and black jacket) and our 6-year old son, cheering for me!

I was supposed to stand on the right side... but was just a little late...

But then again, I got my private minute of fame!

I am proud and happy... and next year? I will run again!!

I know this music was written to accompany a wedding... but it was the first music that came to my mind to illustrate how I felt at that moment: triumphant.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

On muses and rules

I have been pondering on much lately... On how I got at the point that I don't blog, don't bead, don't create at all for that matter. Why has my muse left me? Or should I say: why have I abandoned my muse? Did I leave her somewhere and forgot all about her? Then, what is inspiration? Who is my muse? How can I meet her, and tap into her energy? Now that I re-read my last post, I realize that I have tried to examine my sudden lack of creativity and found some answers already. But still, all these big questions won't leave me.

Last year I embarked on this journey called The Bead Journal Project, or shortly the BJP. I was filled with enthusiasm, new ideas and had even managed to get a compassionate look at me, for I was a beginner. But somewhere over time my inner critic must have gotten a strong hold of me again and pushed the other voices into the background, leaving them too little space to breathe, be and create. Consuming a lot of the space they left open with new rules, set to keep in control of everything. Wait a minute... that's exactly what I wrote last time, and then I felt I could ignore her because she was shouting so blatantly in my face. That was October of last year, and I have still to pick up my beads again. Alas, I did pick them up once about 5 weeks ago or so, to start back at my May project... to no avail it seems.

Last time I wrote:
"Loyal as I usually am to the rules I set myself - and believe me, they are quite strict - I wouldn't allow me to start another project before the last one was finished and since I got stuck on that one... there is a huge roadblock to overcome."
Apparently, there are more rules than only this one or I would probably be back on track. What are those new rules then?

For starters, I was adamant about keeping up with each month (as I found out already), about making my own life the subject of all pieces, and about blogging on my doings regularly... Hmm, the first I failed at the start: it was well into February that I finished my January project. But at that point I did blog about my doings and thoughts, even about my life, so I wasn't too upset with myself. I still could be compassionate with me, so far so good. I kept up my work, but slowly got behind more and more. Next I realized that making my own, inner life the subject of all my pieces was a hard-core rule that kept me from simply having fun beading. I cut myself some slack and told myself that is was O.K. if I took a break and beaded about something else. But still this wasn't enough to silence my critic. She kept on shouting and I faltered on my blogging too, feeling that I wasn't worth being read if I didn't have anything good to tell.

Now I am at this point of return... I do want to get back to beading again, but am not sure whether or not to pick up last years BJP. Naturally, my inner critic wants me too, she won't be content with unfinished business. It was better to never have started if you aren't going to stick to it. Yet another rule unveiled!

From February untill early July 2010 I have spent more time in the hospital then at home, going through an emotional journey that felt like a roller-coaster from hell. During those months I switched medication 3 times, weaned off medicine at all, lost 11 kg (approximately 24 pounds), was nauseous every single day, didn't sleep well, had anxiety attacks... That was my status quo on homecoming. Getting back into a normal life was hard on these conditions, getting back to beading even more.

Still I have to see how I can make a grand come-back! Backstage I am well on my way. Starting November 29th. I got into a new therapy, based on the Schema Focused Therapy that was invented by Dr. Jeffrey Young. So far it has brought me back in touch with my inner voices, trying to lure the more silent ones out of their little corners. Giving them speech lessons on how to be heard more clearly. As far as I can tell now, it works for me and I grow stronger little by little. I knew that was the case when I realized today (3 weeks after starting writing this post!) that I could finish it... even if it wasn't perfect. AND I came up with a brand new idea!

A short while ago I visited Robin Atkinson's Flickr-page on which she exhibits a wonderfull project of hers: beaded Decade Dolls. Then today I saw a post by Susan Elliot over on Plays with Needles on her concept of an inner Queen... Combined with an idea that was already simmering in my mind to make spirit dolls, I came up with the inspiration to make dolls that represent all of my inner voices.

Now first to set some new rules:
  • make no rules!
  • enjoy the beading
  • share the fun
How's that for a re-entry? I embark again today, and hope to keep you posted. Will you still be with me?

Surely all art is the result of one's having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, where no one can go any further.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) Austro-German poet.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What happened?

Oh my, what happened? I know I have been a little off lately, but when I took a peak at my last post I was startled to read it dated from July! Well, my 41st birthday has silently gone by but otherwise some changes have taken place. Last time I wrote: "After 9 years of pills, I am now on my own". I am sorry to say this pill-free episode didn't last very long. Around the time I wrote that, my anxiety/panic-attacks came back so badly that I had no choice but to start back on anti-depressants once again. Because in those past 9 years I have greatly suffered from side-effects of these meds, I was put on yet another one: I can now say I have tried 8 different ones so far. My current medication is tailored to depression and anxiety, so it helps me in both areas now. But before I could enjoy the benefits of this decision, I had to deal with the worst anxiety-attack in my life because of the medication. Luckily my psychiatrist warned me: it felt like a downright psychosis. Bless you if you cannot imagine what that is like!

In the meantime, school ha started again and life needed to go on... Needless to say I haven't been beading. The sad thing is though: I haven't been beading ever since summer. To be honest, I really don't know what has been keeping me. It can't be a lack of time because with losing my job I now have more time on my hands then before. Maybe my inner-voices can shed a little light on that?

There is one voice that keeps on telling me to start again, or I won't be back on track. Then continueing that my work can hardly be taken seriously, because I haven't kept up... But wait a minute: didn't the BJP-rules state that there was only one commmitment, being the one to myself? To go on that there were no such thing as a BJP-police to arrest me if I could not keep up? So frankly, the only one who has to take this seriously is me again! Hmm... my inner-critic is still here and trying to shout in my face so blatantly that I won't buy it this time.

Last time I also wrote: "(...) I think I will not bead the inside of me for a change... I need some vacation from me. Well, I need a little time off of all the therapeutic issues I have been dealing (and beading) with." The biggest thing holding me back I think is the fact that my May-piece didn't come on quite easily (and is still an unfinished one at that too). Loyal as I usually am to the rules I set myself - and believe me, they are quite strict - I wouldn't allow me to start another project before the last one was finished and since I got stuck on that one... there is a huge roadblock to overcome. So, let me start the climb back to the BJP by showing how far I did get om May:

Why my piece is all black&white I will tell you on a later date, i.e. when it has been finished. For now I hope to be back soon both in blogging and in beading. The first step has been set, and that is always the start of progress.

The fatal metaphor of progress, which means leaving things behind us, has utterly obscured the real idea of growth, which means leaving things inside us.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) British journalist, novelist and poet.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

thoughts on june and july

For whatever reason, I don't seem to get around blogging these days. Neither am I getting a lot of beading done... still working on my may-piece. The theme of which will be black&white. More on that on a later date, because if I don't put some thoughts on june or july in black and white, I won't know what to bead for these months once I get the time.

For starters I definitely need to make my june piece less elaborate: fully covering a 14x14 cm square of felt with beads and trinkets is a tedious job. Not that I don't love it, but some flow does make it easier on me I discovered. And flow is what is lacking at the moment. In addition I think I will not bead the inside of me for a change... I need some vacation from me. Well, I need a little time off of all the therapeutic issues I have been dealing (and beading) with. The past few months have flown by and at the same time feel like I have lived them a dozen times. So with these things in mind, what does june mean to me?

June means bright red poppies in a field of green grass bathing in sunshine on a bright summersday, something like this:

Every year I can stand in awe looking at the meadows filled with flowers of the field and feel like a little girl again, wanting to braid a wreath of flowers to put in my hair. (If not the stems of poppies were to thin to do so.) I don't know wheather it is the fact that I am a child of summer, or that the sunshine softens my often painfully present symptoms of depression during winter and early spring... Fact is, I long for these days every year and love the colours, the happiness, the light-footed quality of things that I am searching for in my own being.

And then july... It is the month in which I celebrate the birthday of my youngest (he is 6 already!) and my own too (for the 41st time this upcoming week). The month in which we went on a short vacation to France to spend a little time with my parents in law who own a house in the Poitou-Charentes. I guess I will just need some memorabilia from my vacation and try to use them in my beading. It will be a warm reminder of a nice time spend with loved ones.

So far, so good I guess. Now I will have to return to ordinary life in which I am still struggling with my depression. But there is some good news about that too: I am fighting it without any type of medication now! After 9 years of pills, I am now on my own. It is scary, it does come with anxiety and fear, but I am still standing and feeling more then before everything that is within and around me and girl... I can tell you it is as overwhelming as the first landing on the moon must have been the year I was born.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

BJP for april 2010

It's been a long time since I've posted, a hazardous journey has begun but I am still here to tell about it.

OK, now is time for a confession: aside from being genetically endowed with genes that make depression run in our family, I also suffer from what is called a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). It is hard for me to say this, as for a long time I felt that being diagnosed with BPD meant that one was the kind of person no one would want to be around. Deciding to accept my diagnosis and open myself up to deal with it and start healing was a giant leap. That's why I choose the rabbithole from Alice in Wonderland as my theme for april. Seeing Alice in 3D on the brink of my great adventure seemed like more than a coincidence.

As it is in myth and fairy-tales, the heroine often sets out on a bad start. And so did I on my april piece. I wrote all about that in my previous post. Work on this piece was quite labourious. I got stuck numerous times, started over, got set back, picked it up again... I surrounded the hole by fresh green grass, beaded some pahtways alongside of it, added a few of the beaded flowers that I had made in advance... and now I have something to show for all my effort.

For the first 3 months I divided my pieces in seperate sections and wrote about them, naming them. Not so this time. That's a first for me: I usually need to stick to something once I have started a routine. For me to break that rule feels quite scary. But this is an adventure that is (among others) about breaking the rules of my inner critic! What is most visible in this piece is that the surroundings of my rabbithole are you could say chaotic, but more lovingly I would say variegated. It is, what it is and it is one piece.

I love that the tiny green and red flowerbeads date back from my early teens, when I first picked up making jewelry. The medal dates back even further and is mine from an event called de avondvierdaagse. This is a very Dutch event, where schoolchildren walk a distance varying from 5 to 15 km on 4 consecutive nights. When you have finished your first time around you get a medal, and in later years a small pin to go on the ribbon. I have walked it a couple of times, but only have this medal and no pins. I used it for 2 reasons: I needed me to be in this piece and I deserved some encouragement for having the guts to start this endeavor.

I have chosen Chopin's Etude opus10 nr. 1 to go with my piece. It reflects the ultimate chaos I experienced just before I started my treatment, yet it is one of the most brilliant pieces of pianomusic I know. I hope that's how this all will work out in the end: that I have learned to hear and appreciate all the different tunes in me, that in the end make... ME. So you could say I have landed on the bottom of the hole, and now am out to find my jabberwocky. I have met the red queen, seen glimpses of the white queen... This tale is not over yet.


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