Tag: depression

An Apology for the Past and a Plan for the Future

smiling woman wearing red heart-shaped glasses wearing a blue hat with a big pink flower stands in front of a waterfall

It’s me, Jeanne, waaring the hat (I haven’t been able to find a red one) I wear on Eye Treatment Days to protect my eyes from the pain of sunlight ’cause even 2 layers of those dilation glasses don’t do the trick. Plus it makes me smile, this hat with its pretend (artificial) dahlia.

Dear Members of The 70273 Project Community,

I have not been a good leader this year. I have not been a good steward of your involvement, enthusiasm, commitment. There are reasons – no excuses, just reasons . . .

A Diagnosis

In fall 2018, my vision began deteriorating.  By our third anniversary in February 2019, I could ignore it any longer. In March I went to the ophthalmologist in search of a new prescription. I did not get a new prescription, instead I got a referral to a retina specialist. In April I had a diagnosis: wet macular degeneration. I was asked to participate in a clinical trial, and after much research, I decided to give it a try. The monthly treatments started in April 2019.

Not liking to inconvenience or worry anybody, I kept my chin up and my feet in motion. By mid-May I was wising someone would offer me to a gold star if I’d  pick up the Empire State Building and move it from New York to Atlanta because that would have been ever so much easier than throwing my first leg off the side of the bed every morning. I had to face it: I was in the quagmire of depression. It wasn’t allergies, I was in mourning.

I decided to do what I encourage others to do: pull out the white flag. Knowing that fighting it is futile, I succumbed.

Transitioning

Things are better now. The depression still nibbles at me some days, and I still have the occasional vegging-out day when the most physical effort I exert is walking to the sofa then to the bathroom and back.

The eyesight is somewhat improved, and I struggle to say that aloud for fear it will jinx something, that the Eye Sight Goddess will deem me cocky and overly-confident and smite me.  In August, feeling emboldened  by seeing a few more letters on the visual acuity chart, I asked about getting a new prescription for my glasses. After much consideration, he gave a reluctant okay. September’s treatment showed not improvement but deterioration – enough to make Dr. Bridges tell me to cancel my ophthalmologist appointment and say he might suggest I pull out of the clinical trial. We’ll know more tomorrow when I go for my seventh treatment. If you’d put me on your Positive Thoughts / Healing Energy / Prayer lists, I would be oh so grateful.

Looking Forward

Because I feel adrift when I don’t journal and because I haven’t been doing that while in the blackness of grief and depression, I created a journal system that suits me just fine. I’ll write about it soon. I also bought I don’t know how many index cards and a storage case. I’ll write about that later, too. Because walking makes me feel like a different person and because I sort and solve things quicker when my feet are in motion, I’ve begun walking a minimum of 10,000 steps each day. 12,500 is my preferred minimum, but I’m careful to not set myself up to fail. And any day now, I will start yoga.

I have ideas for 2 more quilt themes, and several more creative projects under the umbrella of The 70273 Project that I think y’all will like a lot. I also want to do what I’ve longed to do for a while and really amp up the project’s podcast.

Now I am an accomplishment-oriented girl from way back, and I need the structure of a plan to help move me and The 70273 Project forward from here.  I don’t know how or where it will happen (only that it will happen soon and that things are complicated by the fact that I am not allowed to drive),  but what I really need is a retreat, time to be quiet and have space to think and plan.  That’s when I’ll assign a target date for each idea, draw up guidelines, create things that knock around in my heart. That plan will be the ladder needed to move me . . . to move us out of the quicksand and back to sunlit ground. Stay tuned for that.

Gratitude

Thank y’all for your patience and tenderness with me.  I don’t always reply to each individual comment on Facebook or here on the blog or over at Instagram, but that doesn’t mean I don’t read and appreciate them. Don’t ever think that. I read, reread, reread, and reread some more your good words. Read them before every treatment and many times in between. Your words of encouragement, support, and caring are my heart’s charm bracelet.

And thank you for not giving up on and walking away from The 70273 Project. We’re still here, and things are still percolating, and we still have a few things left to do before we turn the lights off.

Love,
Jeanne

in and out

Lake

more and more
i do something i’m sure about in the moment
then doubt myself afterwards.
when emotional buyer’s remorse sets in.
when i feel overly exposed.
once i just lived with the doubt and the second-guessings,
but lately,
the Sweet Spirit of Surprise
seems to send me nods and whisperings of support.

last week I posted about
some rough spots in the road.
i opened my heart to you
telling you something
that we’ve talked about
around our table,
but never as openly as on a blog post,
and within minutes,
your loving support came pouring in
and
i came across
this
and the next day
this.

i feel better
but not woohoo-great yet.
we met with surgeon #1 today
to talk about removing the thyroid.
no decisions yet.
there’s much to consider.
so much
given the fact that alison
is a professional actor and singer
and of course there’s the vitamin d
and depression.

i’ll keep you posted.

[ ::: ]

Iool3d

while i wrap the support of your outpouring
of concern, love, and information around me,
i find solace in cloth
with its ins and outs.

work on In Our Own Language 3 has begun in earnest.
it’s slow going.

each of nancy’s drawings takes about 1.5 hours to stitch.
it doesn’t look like it should take that long,
but it does.

there are 271 drawings in set 3.

[ ::: ]

i’ve been stitching nancy’s drawings since june 2012
and i’m still loving and learning with every single stitch.

leaping because the need for support is just that big

SleepinBeauties1 copy

“if you can’t easily tell the difference between right and wrong,” i told my children repeatedly, “choose the hardest thing cause let’s face it: if the right thing was the easiest thing, everybody would do The Right Thing.” i sit here torn, split, spun. i come from a cultural legacy of not airing dirty laundry in public, of stiff upper lip, of silence is golden. my mother has friendships that span almost nine decades, and it has not escaped my notice that their conversations are about the weather, happenings in the community, about recipes and fashion. they seldom if ever talk about health issues, except to add a name to the prayer list . . . without any details, of course. they don’t talk about children gone awry or any other unpleasantness, angst, sadness or hurt. they don’t talk of anything that might be construed as embarrassing or negative, and i often wonder if that’s not the secret to the longevity of the friendships.

that’s where i come from, and today i live in a world of social media where people are warned against posting too much personal information for fear of retribution in the workplace or at home. again with the stay-light-and-positive-or-stay-mum routine. i’m of an age (tenured, i like to say) when i can say “pfffft” to such things, but my daughter is young . . .

i’m trying to decide whether or not to tell you that my daughter is struggling with thyroid issues, low vitamin d, and depression. she hit that dark spot again recently – emotional black ice, i call it – and this time she held nothing back on facebook. “do you ever wonder if people would miss you if you weren’t here any more?” she posted. my initial instinct was to cringe and wish i had access to her login information so i could delete it. as a mother, i often fall into the mindset of to stay small is to stay safe. but this time, i wondered aloud if posting snapshots of her pain on facebook didn’t make her one of the bravest among us. and when she asked about being missed, well, she was telling us exactly what she needed, so doesn’t that make her one of the most honest among us? it resonated deeply with my bones as they nodded and smiled in agreement.

she was certainly willing to risk being alone, that’s for sure.

to her question about being missed, one woman posted something about how my daughter should not be concerned with what other people thought, how she should think enough of herself, blah blah blah blah blah. i became instantly furious. livid, in full and glorious mama bear mode. hell, my daughter had just told us precisely what she needed (to be told she’s loved and has had a meaningful impact on lives and would be terribly missed). the last thing she needed was to be preached to, to be told what she should be feeling and how she should be viewing things and what she should and should not be saying. livid, i tell you. livid. but we’ll talk more about uncaring (which often looks a lot like stupidity, if you ask me) another day. i have stories, oh my goodness, do i have stories.

for today, though, i’m taking a risk, opening myself and my daughter up to avoidance (important note: these particular things we’re dealing with are not contagious), preaching (please, please, please don’t tell us about how “the lord never gives us more than we can handle” or to “keep calm and carry on” or to “look on the bright side and be positive”), scoffing (it’s maddening to us and unbecoming to you), and pity (it’s a really heavy thing to have cast over our shoulders. empathy is okay, but pity, that’s more like an anchor, so no thank you). but i’m also opening us up to caring and concern and love and support, and i’m telling you that’s what we both need.

it is not easy, though, opening up like this. my daughter is brave, but me? not so much. i am a private person and for many good reasons that we can talk about later. i can tell you this much now: more times than i can count, i’ve been told that i make too much out of things, that the problem with me is that i feel more than i think – and the worst thing? they were said with the voice of authority, and i took them to heart. plus when people cluck and fuss, i launch into pleasing hostess mode and do whatever i can to reassure them and restore them to a place of comfort – which takes a lot of energy that is better spent elsewhere. so yes, energy conservation keeps me quiet, too.

one thing my daughter has consistently done in her adult life, though, is nudge (okay, shove) me out of my comfort zone. she’s shown me how to take risks and how to live with the consequences. she’s repeatedly shown me that vulnerability is its own brand of strength, and today i dip my toe in that stream and hope for the best because, well, the need for support is just that huge.

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