Love, Lydia - Notes from a geeky, plus sized artist.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Coming Back to Life

Hey friends,

It's been a really long time, hasn't it?  Sorry about that, but I've been going through a lot this past year and it's left me unable to deal with a lot of things the way I'd like to, or how a normal person would, much less keep up with a rigid schedule of blogs, social media, and videos.  And I've learned a lot from the experience and wanted to share some of what I've gone through and catch up with you all.

So this time last fall I was starting to feel symptoms of anxiety, I didn't know that's what it was at the time, but I did get around to realizing it in the past few months.  Mostly this left me feeling like I couldn't handle much socially whether that be in person, returning messages to many dear friends, or writing blog posts or doing other things I love.  Some of that's depression too, and as Bryan has said to me before, sometimes it's hard to tell where depression stops and another issue like anxiety pops up.  I thought the anxiety was mostly a side effect from depression, and I tried to do the best I could.  However I found it harder to keep up with everything as the holidays came closer and I started retreating more often.

The same time as all this was going on Bryan and I had been trying to have a baby for about 3 and a half years, completely unsuccessfully.  It had been taking a toll on our relationship and how confident I felt about myself after so much of what is perceived by society as failures.  We'd done tests, tried some medications, and more and nothing helped.  We finally got to a point where we talked to family members about it some and started to talk seriously about adopting while we hadn't quite stopped trying either.  To us it makes more sense to adopt than pouring a lot of money into something like in-vitro fertilization or other techniques which disrupt your life and procedures and hormonal nightmares while still offering no guarantees.  4 years of trying leaves you very stressed and discouraged.  It's enough to cause depression by itself, so in some ways I'm not surprised a bit that I was having trouble.

After the new year started Bryan and I finally had a good talk about things, with lots of tears and coming to a better understanding of how we both felt let down, pressured, and unhappy with each other and the silent expectation we thought we had to live up to, but never feeling like we could acknowledge it properly.  After that conversation we knew it was time to stop trying.  I'd dealt with a lot of pain each month from my periods and was very glad to go back on birth control to manage it.  I've looked into it as we had all the tests for fertility done, and there's a decent possibility the pain is caused by endometriosis, but there's no way to know for sure without surgery.  My doctor doesn't want to resort to that without better reasons than we currently have, which were mostly unexplained infertility and enough pain that I had to go on birth control back in college because otherwise I'd miss classes regularly since no pain killers can help on my worst days.

Around the same time I'd had my yearly physical and had my blood glucose test come back in the pre-diabetic range.  I'd not worried about this too much in the past, but with all the was going on I had gained some weight over the holidays and wasn't in a great place.  I was told to try to be more healthy, and come back for follow up tests in a month or two to assess whether the blood glucose reading was an anomaly or something to worry about.  In some ways this was a wake up call since I do have a family history of diabetes.  Somewhere between the two visits I made the decision that I wanted to be healthier, and was serious about it.

That spring proved to be a very hard time though, and while I did get healthier metabolically I also got sick a lot, several times with stomach bugs, plus the normal cold or two, and between it all I threw my back out horribly.  I didn't really recover from it until mid April, but during that time I did start walking more, because that would help with my back some.  I honestly got so little done at home during that time that it left me feeling very guilty, and I backed away further from friends as I found sitting up to use a computer hurt.  I had started back on birth control in February and found it lifted a lot of my depression, though I still have the occasional bad day it's much less often.  And when I went back for follow up testing things were better!  I had started to change how I thought about eating and pay more attention to my eating habits in general so I'd be more sensible and balanced.

The summer was a bit of a mixed bag as I tried to find some balance between the healthy habits I was trying to make, more going on with family, and trying to deal with things around the house again and contemplating art again after depression led me to abandon it for several years.  Often I felt like I'd take two steps forward and one step back, but things were slowly getting better.

As fall has started I've been dipping my toe into a lot of things, remaking habits to create, socialize, and hopefully run my business again.  I've been doing it all with a much different approach than before, where I tried to do too much, imposing perfectionistic ideals that led to cycles of failure, depression, and self sabotage.  Now when I start something I ask myself a lot more questions about the process with the thought of making sustainable habits, and making myself healthier mentally along the way.

You're probably thinking that's a lot of mental health jargon and not a lot of concrete goals.  But it's been helping me.  I've been tackling the Inktober challenge; it's a trend that started for artists to create an ink drawing each day for the month of October.  I've been taking it with a more forgiving attitude, allowing myself to take more time on some pieces, and get caught up on others.  And sharing these pieces has been getting me back into talking and posting on social media, as well as working on refreshing my Etsy shop to include the new pieces and put more polish on what's already there.  Once I get through with Inktober I'll be working on serious pieces more often too.  Right now I've got one watercolor going to get back into practice.  I do have to admit that putting things down for so long has left me rusty.  On the flip side starting over has given me new ideas and left me feeling more refreshed in many ways than I have in a long time.  I kind of wonder now if what made me stop wasn't just depression, but a bit of burnout too.  In any case, it's good to be back.

I'm not quite sure what that means for what I'll be writing here on the blog, but I hope you'll stick with me as I try to find out.  I know two things though, first off I want to work on projects that leave me feeling satisfied, maybe that means I'll write about fashion some, or art more, or subscription boxes sometimes, I'm almost sure I'll write about books, and probably a lot more.  That overall leads me to my number  two...

Coming Back to Life, David Bowie Quote, love lydia, lydia dickson, lydiasdesigns, etsy shop, etsy artist, artist blog, depression blog,coming back to social media

Thanks for reading everyone, and until next time.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Let's Play: Molkky

Hello friends,

I've got a lot of exciting things in store for you this month as fall brings things back into focus.  Today's post is a fun review of a game called Molkky.  The game's maker, Tactic Games sent me a copy of the game to try out and review for you all (Nope I'm not paid to review it, they just saw I write about games sometimes and thought you all would like it!).  Molkky is a game that originates in Finland and is one of the most popular lawn games in Europe.  You can read more about it's history here.


I was hoping to try it out with family before or during Labor day weekend, but nature had other plans and sent us some rain with the remnants of hurricane Hermine.  But take a peek at the video to see Bryan and I playing and enjoying this game!  It gives a much better view of the game pieces in action.

My Molkky Experience

In terms of the quality it's nicely boxed up in a very sturdy cardboard carrying case with a comfortable plastic handle.  The wooden games pieces seem to be made of a sturdy, but lightweight wood, probably pine.  The whole set is built to last well, and I think families will not only get a lot of use out of it since it's a game that's easy for all ages to learn and play, but also keep coming back to it each summer.  (Or if you're like us you can play indoors with bad weather!)  It's not as complex as some of the board games I play, but I really like games like this that can be played at parties and family get togethers.  If you'd like to get a game you can find them here through my Amazon affiliate link.  And you can check out Tactic's site here as well for more information.

Thanks for reading!  Let me know if you have any other fun board games or lawn games you want me to try out in the comments.  I'll have some more posts coming up soon.