Squeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am So! Excited!! We were talking last week about taking a holiday later this year, and decided that what we most wanted to do was to go over and visit Tony’s sister & family, who live in Missouri.

“And let’s spend a couple of days in New York on our way through,” I said.

“Let’s do it in October,” I said.

Then the cogs started turning. New York….. October……. RHINEBECK!!!!!!

Yes, we’re going to be at Rhinebeck!! Not in a showing capacity, since that would entail an awful lot more organisation than my lazy butt can manage, but definitely in a buying capacity. Oho yes. I intend taking an empty suitcase with me, just for Rhinebeck purchases.

But more exciting than that is the prospect of meeting up with some of my beloved online friends, who I never thought I’d ever meet with in real life. We’ll have ourselves a little Posh meet-up, shall we? So, who’s going to be there?

I am! I am!!

Ooh, Pretty!

What a brutal day. The sky is so dark, which makes photographing a real pain (especially the subtler colourways). And I made a pot of coffee earlier and forgot to put any water in the bottom part of the coffee part, so all the coffee burned, not to mention the rubber seal on the pot, filling the house with acrid smoke. Gah!

Never mind, I’m sitting by the fire now, with a calming cup of tea, going through this week’s yarn photos. Tony has gone over to the dark side this week, let me tell you! Anyway, here are some glimpses to keep you going while I get the preview page ready.

Cecilia in Garnet

Baby Lucia in Neptune

Sophia 2ply in Eternity

Eva 2ply in Leprachaun

Sophia 4ply in Daffodil

Sophia 4ply in Swallow

Eva 4ply in Martini

Eva 4ply in Plum Pudding

Sophia 12ply Jammy

Lei in Flower Power

Lei in Flotsam

Laura in Maverick

Laura in Globe

See you Sunday at 6!

Musing on the Blues

Well, as you all know, it’s been a difficult few months. What with one thing and another, life has been a little fraught. There have been days, weeks actually, where life seemed like a long dark tunnel. But we’ve come through the other side, older, wiser, and with an extra awareness of, and gratitude for the sunshine. 

I often debate on how much to share with readers of my blog. I don’t have a problem with talking about personal stuff, but I am aware that you don’t always want a dose of cold reality when you read blogs. After all, we all have enough reality of our own to deal with. But on the other hand, if my experiences can help someone else, even if it’s just to let them know that they are not alone in their struggles, then I feel it’s my responsibility (and my privilege) to share them. After all, one of the things that helped me through the darker days was the reassurances and advice of a good friend who is recovering from depression herself.

So, as the dark days get fewer, and the bright days get longer and lighter, here are my reflections on coming through depression. Please bear in mind that these are just my personal opinions, based on my particular experience. You may be quite different, so feel free to ignore me if you want!

First of all, I do wish that they would come up with a different label for this illness than depression. When you tell people that you are being treated for depression, they immediately think of their own blue days, and think they know just how you are feeling. Depression isn’t always about being depressed, which is perhaps why I didn’t realise that I was slipping into that dark pit myself. I was very irritated one day by a comment from someone, who said they were feeling a bit down themselves, and maybe they should go and get the pills that I’m on. Feeling a bit down is not the same as fullblown depression. Feeling depressed is not always the same as having depression. That’s not to minimise other people’s unhappiness, I quite understand that life can be hard, and that you can get a severe case of the blues. I have been there many times myself, and sometimes those blues lasted for quite a while. But depression is quite, quite different, and it’s only when you’ve experienced it that you realise that.

I think a good way to sum up the difference is this: when you are miserable, depressed, stressed, feeling blue, you are still in control of your brain. You can still make choices, live your life, have a conversation, read a book, be normal. You’re miserable, but you are still you. When you have depression, it’s like someone else has taken over. You can’t think, can’t concentrate. You can’t control your moods or your reactions. You feel like an alien being has taken over your brain, and you lose your identity. Perhaps that’s the most unpleasant aspect of depression, worse than the anxiety attacks, the insomnia, the lack of concentration, the crying spells, or whatever other symptoms you have to contend with. It’s frightening, not feeling like yourself. Like being locked up in a tiny room with an unpredictable stranger.

And it happens so insidiously. I can look back now and see the warning signs that I was getting ill, but I didn’t realise at the time. Perhaps that’s why family or friends sometimes realise you are ill before you do – they can see the changes objectively. If someone you love and trust tells you that they are worried, that you don’t seem yourself, that you need to see a doctor, listen. The earlier you can get some help, the easier it will be to get well.

And that’s the first piece of advice I would give: go to your doctor. Don’t try to treat yourself (which is what I did), or you may make things worse. I’m a firm believer in alternative remedies, but sometimes, traditional medicine is the only answer, and the longer you resist that for, the harder it will be. I was extremely lucky, in having a great GP, who really listens and has worked hard to find the right treatment for me. I was also very lucky in that there’s a good mental health system in our county, so I was visited regularly and closely monitored, during the worst part of my illness. That helped so much. And once you are on the road to recovery, however far you have to travel down that road, you can start to bring in alternative remedies (if you choose) to assist you in getting well. (Of course, talk to your doctor first, as medication can conflict with some remedies.)

One thing that has helped me tremendously is exercise. So many studies have been done on the part that exercise has to play in recovering from clinical depression, just Google it and you’ll see. Regular exercise also encourages you to eat properly, which can be difficult when you are ill. Nutrition plays such a vital role in mental health, and if you are interested in that side of things, I would recommend Patrick Holford’s Optimum Nutrition for the Mind.

Finally, I can’t overstate the value of a good support network. Lean on your family and friends, talk when you can, accept any offers of help. I am doubly lucky, because as well as having a supportive family and some wonderful real life friends, I have a network of loving, supportive friends online as well. Meaning you. That made all the difference to me, so I thank you. I hope, with all my heart, that if you are reading this, and going through it yourself at the moment, that even a little bit of what I’ve said has helped. That tunnel may seem to stretch on for eternity, but you’ll come through it one day. And believe me, when you do, that blast of sunshine will seem even sweeter.

Stay well, my friends.     

In My Ears

You guys make great cheerleaders, thanks. I am, if anything, even ouchier today. I just coughed, and my stomach muscles screamed at me. I may have to stay on the sofa for the rest of the week. If you’re passing, can you bring me a cup of tea? And some breakfast, while you’re there? Thank you.

Now, as you know, I’m a bookaholic. But life doesn’t leave me as much time for reading as I would like, so I make up for it by listening to audio books at every opportunity. I listen while I knit, while I cook, and while I’m working. A lot of my work on Posh Yarn is quite mindless and repetitive (labelling yarn, packing, photographing, winding), so an audio book makes the time pass beautifully. I subscribe to Audible, which gives you two books a month, but that’s just a drop in the ocean (even though I try to choose the longest books possible!). So thank goodness for Librivox

Librivox, for those of you unfamiliar with it, provides free audio books read by volunteers. The books are those that are in the public domain, so they’re all old books. Which suits my taste perfectly. The quality of sound and narration is generally very high, although I did have to abandon one book last week because the narrator’s voice was so unpleasant to listen to. I know, it’s ungrateful of me to complain when someone has generously volunteered their time for a project like this. That’s why I’m not naming the book or the narrator!

Recent books I’ve enjoyed include A Wodehouse Miscellany by P G Wodehouse, Further Chronicles of Avonlea by L M Montgomery, The Red House Mystery by A A Milne, and Reginald and The Chronicles of Clovis by Saki. 

Ouch

So, it was my first Pilates class last night. I woke up this morning, got out of bed, and discovered I had muscles in 47 places I never realised I had them before. Ouch. Brushing my teeth hurt. Getting dressed hurt. Typing this post hurts. I knew I was unfit, but I didn’t realise I was this unfit. I mean, I walk two miles nearly every day, to the beach and back. But I am not a stretchy person. My muscles are not lean and strong and firm. They are flabby and lazy and happiest when flopped on the sofa.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. I found I was completely unable to follow the directions of the teacher. She told us to do something, and everyone would gracefully do it, breathing in unison. And I would find myself doing quite the opposite. I exhaled when I should be inhaling. I extended (if holding it wobbily in the air can be construed as extending) my right leg when I should have extended my left. I was, to put it bluntly, the class dunce.

Now this was not a pleasant experience for me, because your Dee was always the class swot, never the dunce. On my first day at school, at the age of five, I read the afternoon story to the rest of the class. I was reading Agatha Christie at five, Dickens at seven. I was disgustingly good at lessons, quick to learn, retaining information easily and quickly. My classmates hated me, but let me do their lessons for them. I was always the teacher’s pet.

Oh dear, not this time. The poor teacher must be wondering what she will do with me. Unflexible, unfit, unteachable. But determined. Oh yes, definitely determined.

Because despite all this complaining, I had fun! And I can’t wait for next week. I may just have to do a little swotting up at home first…..