Wardrobe Makeover Part 1: A Game of Snap

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Open your wardrobe, take a moment to look, close your eyes and tell me how it makes you feel? Do you have the happy glow of someone in their fave shop, or are you now feeling sad, fed up, miserable maybe even angry? Do you look longingly at those adverts for fancy wardrobes where its all lined up like a shop n think, that would be so nice? but without the funds to make that a reality? I’m going to share my journey of how I turn overwhelm into happy smile when I open the wardrobe door.

Now before u say ‘I don’t have timeto do this myself….’ Here is something very important you need to know about me; I have anxiety, depression, chronic pain and minimum dexterity. For most of the time any one of those or when they gang up together, makes it pretty much impossible to process things. It makes it hard to think, to move, to dress, undress or haul things about. So this isn’t going to be one of those done in an afternoon projects, this is coming from a ’15 minutes at a time, maximum’ projects.

Do you have lots of clothes but stick to the same ones every time? I know I do, I HATE clothes shopping! For me clothes come in two sizes, too big and too small. With the minimum dexterity decididing what I can actually get on or off, plus a tricky figure, it really narrows down the choice. Its practical over pretty for me. So I hope you will join me and maybe give this a try for yourself too.

Free shopping at home

In this first part, nothing is leaving the building! I’m going to take this wardrobe n turn it into my very own favorite shop. Where everything fits, I can find what I need really easily. It will take as long as it takes, but I’m going to be super kind to myself, pace myself and make this feel possible. There’s a good reason for every item in this wardrobe, its just not all of it might be right for me right now.

Stage 1: A Game of Snap

I started at one end of the wardrobe, and little by little over a number of weeks, sorted things by type.

  • Tops
  • Skirts
  • Trousers
  • Jumpers
  • Coats

With chronic pain this litterally 3 items at a session and no more and days or more to recover. So yeah, you can totally do this in 10 minutes if you are prepaired to stick with it and keep going over the coming weeks.

If you are blessed with no pain and limitless energy, go for it! Do it as fast or slow as your body allows. The timer is a way to keep focused, rather than getting overwhelmed or in my case stopping me doing it for too long n risking injury.

Snap Level 2

Like any good game of snap, each time I moved something to the other ‘sorted’ end of the wardrobe and added it to one of those sections, I listed above, I also grouped it by

  1. Style
  2. Colour

So skirts of the same length go together, and then grouped by colour.

Shirts get put into sleeve length and then colour

Why Do I need to put stuff together like that

  1. I can quickly go to the exact style of item that I want
  2. I find out if I have more than one item of that already- handy when you see an offer on something, you can quickly check if you have something like that already or DO need one 😉
  3. Shuffling makes the task smaller and more achiveable. I can’t process too much at once in my head before my body or mind get overwhelmed. Shuffling means focus on one aspect of the task at a time. ‘Just sort by type, just sort by design, just sort by colour.’ Because each has its own group, they are much smaller than dealing with any of it as a whole

Trust me, I know this sounds like a faff, that its more shuffling rather than feeling like sorting but its a way to make this feel smaller, more achivable n no floordrobe or mountains of stuff at your feet that can feel overwhelming.I’m not kidding when I say my pain levels mean I can only do about 3 items a day and thats now and then, not every day.

I’m playing the LONG game here. This means when I want a cardigan, I can just go to the cardi section and grab the colour I want. Yes it takes a while to sort this now (everything does in my life)  but it makes it easier, in the long run.

Think how you shop? If you have 10 minutes and ‘just want a white t shirt’, if you can see where they are in the shop, its straight there isn’t it. Compair that to the ‘free for all’ of a jumble sale, you are never going to find a tshirt quickly in a pile of assorted items.

Come back next time and I’ll share how I started to create a wardrobe that didn’t make me cry sad tears when I opend the door.

I hope sharing my story will help you find kind, loving, respectful ways to empower you to make your wardrobe a happier kinder place to visit too. Small steps are OK, they still get you somewhere it just takes a bit longer.

Billie x

 

Words hurt, please treat gently upon my soul when you speak

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I have a long ‘practiced’ response to threat, which is shock and shut down. Its my default to difficult situations, I wish it wasn’t, it gets me hurt. A whole new world of pain has opened up in my grief, its been 4 years since hubby died, feels like yesterday and forever ago in the same heartbeat. I recently was speaking to someone I haddn’t met before, and fell into a whole new painful trap. When the found out hubby died, the sentance after the shoe shuffle and ‘Oh I’m so sorry’ was ‘When did he pass?’ when I said, the reflex response I received was a shock, BIG TIME. 101 ways to meet new people, get back out there, find someone new.

WHY for the love of sanity why does society feel the need to fix and to have ‘deadlines and goals/targets’ for every thing in life. Grief doesn’t come with a clock, it just IS and I’m doing the best I can with the resources I have. I am NOT remotely ready to get back out there, find someone new. My soul mate was not a pair of shoes, that have worn out and needs replacing. First it was once the funeral is over ‘you should’ have bounced back to your old self, or embraced this ‘whole new you and start exploring’. It just doesn’t work like that.

I’m not sure where all this back of a fab packet advice on grief comes from, is it from greetings cards? Is it what happened to you and since no one has shown you another way, that’s the line you are going with? Each grief is different, how it happened, what lead up to that moment, what happened during, just after and since. All these things impact on how we react to events.

Death is not like on TV, its not always gentle, quiet, or quick. Grief is not like it is on TV, emotions are messy, noisy and loud. I forgive you if you can’t be around me when I have a meltdown, but that IS you and your reaction. It is NOT ok to correct, blame or shame me for how I’m doing, or what I’m doing. I’m not hurting anyone, I’m grieving, and its not pretty. I don’t have the capacity to ward off your advice when it hurts, so I avoid you, just as much as you avoid me. The separation hurts, but not more than hurtful words that I just can’t file as ‘well she means well’ any more. I’ve been hurt too much, too often for too long now and I’m done people pleasing my way through this.

Most people have forgotten this has happened, their busy lives were barely touched by this, and other thing fill their time. It is different for me, I don’t understand why they cannot see that, cannot show compassion. What have I most needed in my grief, company, a silent witness, who will be there by my side for a while. Someone I can talk to day or night, who gets me, even though they don’t know what this is like, they don’t try to change it, or fix it, they are just THERE.

Talking about grief is needed, every single one of us will experience this, if u have another living anything in your life this will touch you too one day. Like they say ‘Grief is the price we pay for love’. Is this the only thing I want to talk about? No but I’m done trying to find someone to talk to about this, done seeking permission to grieve how I am grieving. I am doing this alone, because there is no other option. I’m doing this alone because when I reach out and am corrected judged and shamed it hurts too much. So I journal, I scribble, I drum, I cry, I hold crystals, and I read books, or have audio books when I can focus to read. I write poems from the depths of my soul that Emily Dickenson would be proud of. Those poems those journals, they are the one place I can express how this feels, what it is like to live this day by day.

Everything born will one day die, loss will happen. Can’t we just walk each other home and be there for each other in a kind loving gentle way?

Billie

If you are trying to support a grieving friend, please read this.

Welcome Back

If you know someone who is grieving, please follow this link and watch the film with Megan Devine in it. If you are asking yourself the ‘what do I say?’ question, this post is for you. It really, really hurts when you are grieving and need someone to just be there to just listen, if they ASK you how its going, or what you need, it takes so much energy, strength and courage to respond, then they hit you with advice, they try to fix things and  it hurts so bad when you are least able to deflect it or ask them to stop.

Please follow this link to a piece from a show that Megan Devine was on, for what you *should* say.

Yes I have a pet peeve on anything that starts with ‘should or must’ but when you watch you will see why, I am posting this.

This was aimed at bereavement but so much of this also is totally relevant to anxiety, depression and mental health issues as well. What I and a lot of others most need, is someone to be there, to listen and as Megan says to ‘witness’ NOT fix. Everyone’s path is theirs, they are doing the best they can with the resources they have in that moment. You may have been through the same situation, but your reactions may not be the same as mine. You  may have the same condition as me but our reactions are unique to each of us, because we are unique.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie

 

Poem A Day Challenge November 2018. Day 1: Glorious

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Hooray, well if you are reading this we made it to November, and if you need help for the next 30 days, here is it. Over on Writers Digest they do this wonderful challenge in April and November of posting a poetry prompt for every day. For some reason this time of year is my most poetical. And even when I don’t feel able to write, I still enjoy collecting the prompts in a note book for another day. So my fellow stationary junkies lets find our favorite pens and notebooks and gets started. I dedicate this poem to the wonderful people at Writers Challenge for all they do and for this wonderful challenge.

Glorious

A glorious day to be alive,

A poetry challenge, here I spy.

There’s 30 days to sit and  ponder,

Write some words, and create wonder.

Gather now, with pen in hand,

Let’s all write, it will be grand.

Writer’s Digest – ‘Hey, High Five’

Your challenge, helps me stay alive.

 

As someone who struggles big time in the dark evenings with depression and anxiety. These poetry challenges are a real life line, a reason to get up and check in, to see what the days prompt is. (I’m old school n don’t have a smart phone). I don’t always write a poem every day, but I write the prompts down and let them roll round my head and see what falls out. If nothing, that’s ok, they can stay in the journal for another day. Sorry didn’t mean to make that rhyme. But its nice to have something other than worries rolling around in my head so the PAD challenges are a good idea.

As for the punctuation, yeah I do struggle with that, thanks to dyslexia. I go for the write the words out, (brain dump) read it out loud n see what sounds like a gap to breathe, (stick a full stop in or comma, here n there. Hopefully since its not going to be sent in anywhere for marking, its just for making a little while seem softer and for the pleasure of writing, then it  will be ok.

This is for everyone, you don’t have to share your results anywhere, just grab a piece of paper a pencil or pen and give it a go. Stationary junkies, its a good excuse to dig out your fave pens, I’ve just invested in some nice lettering pens, so maybe some of these will get written in to the ‘best’ notebook with some brush lettering titles. You know you are a stationary ‘junkie’ when your ‘rough’ book for poetry is a Moleskine! Gotta love that Moleskine paper. For those now wondering what my ‘best notebook is..’ I’ll add a link below. But seriously you can write on the back of junk mail if you don’t have a notebook, its all good. If you have those cheapie mini white boards, they can be good as you can move the words around till they sound right too 🙂

Links

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie

 

When you need to tell people stuff but can’t.

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I was just on Twitter and a post came up to a wonderful site called Stickman Communications. I will link below. Wonderful site, if you have a condition that makes it hard for you to communicate at times but is also an invisible conditions the items on this site look brilliant.

When you can’t find you word, but need help and want to ask someone something or explain why things take longer check these out.

Check out these keyring cards

There is so much more to investigate on this site, totally brilliant! Not just about anxiety and depression but other conditions that people can’t see but make communication difficult. Hannah Ensor you are a star on so many levels, thanks for all you do and all you have created. Waves from a fellow Spoonie, I hyperflex too, its a crap superpower unless you loose something down the outside edge of the car seat then having fingers that bend backwards and you can reach it is handy. The rest of the time it flamming hurts.

I’m going to be ordering SOOO much from this website! Just a short post today just wanted to share this and remember where this is before I forget!

Links

Stickman Communiations

More ways to connect with them.

 

Thanks for reading

 

Billie

 

 

Boundaries

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Anyone else struggle with boundaries? Where everyone else dumps their boundaries on you but you struggle to find the words to articulate your own needs and boundaries? I really struggle. I know what I like, what I don’t like, how I do and don’t want to be treated but I’ve spent so long squiching myself into the ‘boxes’ ie boundaries and expectations of others that I haven’t found the words to voice my own.

 

Here are a few blog posts I’ve been reading about boundares

I have no words yet, just sharing things I’ve been reading about.

Thanks for reading

 

Billie

INKtober next week, who’s in?

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Autumn can be tough, the long nights and for me a raft of difficult anniversaries triggering a lot of emotions. In November I play along with PAD Challenge, poem a day. This year to help me through October I’m going to give INKtober a go.

What is INKtober, its a 31 day challenge to make art everyday. I will post some video links in the coming days with more information about this.

For my INKtober 2018

I’m going to be using the following supplies

  • Dip Pens and ink
  • Brush Pens
  • Fineliners

Style

I’m thinking, keep it simple. Its a tricky month for me so this is mostly about seeing how I get on with the supplies above rather than taxing my imagination and skills too much.

  • Zentangle
  • Calligraphy
  • General doodling

Prompts

I think I’m going to go away from the official list and have this as a self care practice, nurtuing, inspiring that kind of thing.  Lets just say Jayne Hardy new book 365 Days of Self Care Jounal I just got, has lots of inspiring words in. Right now that may well be an alternative starting point.

Keep reading for where you can get that book.

Links

  • Jake Parker is the artist who came up with the INKtober concept. Here is the official Inktober website. Inktober official website

Jayne Hardy

So heads up I just contacted Jayne Hardy and she was fine for the words in her book 365 Days of Self Care Journal to be used this way. Thanks Jayne. So if you want nurturing, kind gentle words for your inktober prompts and are looking for a mindfulness kind of diversion with your INKtober.

Screenshot_2018-09-25 365 Days of Self-Care A Journal

365 Days of Self-Care Journal by Jayne Hardy

 

Here is a link to find Jayne Hardy’s new book and Jayne on Twitter.

Who needs a hug right now?

Want to join in with INKtober but feeling a bit anxious? Struggle with anxiety and depression? Have you heard of Blurt? They make the most wonderful self care boxes, you can buy single ones, or join for a monthly box subscription. They are like a hug in a box, full of things to delight your senses and connect you to the inner you.

Want the 365 Days of Self Care Journal book and a bundle of other goodies, a whole hug in a box? Rush over to Blurt where you can buy a Buddy box, which has the book and a package of treats to hold safe space for you when the world gets too much.

Screenshot_2018-09-25 'Self-Care Through The Grotty Times' BuddyBox - The Blurt Foundation

Blurt Buddy box for September 2018. Includes Jayne Hardy’s new book; 365 Days of Self-Care.

Self Care through the Grotty times. This link is for a one off purchase of a Buddy box that has the 365 Days of Self care journal in it. While Stocks last.

We can do this, we can take time for ourselves and our art supplies. Come and gather your fave ink related products n put them on your desk. Pretty aren’t they, tempting aren’t they? Lets find some paper and make some art. Ned permission?

I give you permission to take a journal and in it write this prompt from Suzi Blu

‘In this journal, I give myself permission to make the worst art imaginable’.

That quote can make all the difference. You can share you pics online if that feels good, or NOT if it doesn’t. Its about doing something that makes your heart skip a beat for good reasons. Take supplies scribble, and colour in the gaps, if just having the supplies out on your desk made you smile then YEY, that’s totally awesome.

Can’t face actual drawing? Its ok, how about using a colouring book and dedicating a bit of time each day to use that instead. I know its not ‘quite’ what they had in mind but hey, KISS principle here. Keeping It Simple Simon or Simone 😉

Namaste one and all.

 

Billie

 

 

How do you help a grieving friend

Welcome Back

Today I’d like to share Megan Devine’s new You Tube video ‘How do you help a grieving friend’. A lot of this also works for anxiety and depression too.

SO much of this also applies to mental health issues too. People judge you, correct you (which they show by telling you what you SHOULD do) and shame you by saying ‘why don’t you just…’. It hurts so bad and it makes you stop talking, they skip off feeling great, while you are left hurting even more. Abandoned in your pain, alone and they are now someone else for the ‘keep you mouth shut n don’t tell the truth’ when they ask ‘how are you’ list, which is so long you can’t remember who is safe anymore so you pretty much stay silent.

Please don’t ask ‘How are you?’ its right up there as one of the most hurtful things to say, and here is why.

  1. You know I’m struggling, to you this is a throw away comment, something people just say. To me its a time bomb. By asking that question, I face the dilemma of; do I lie so you might stay, and it makes YOU feel better, or tell the truth and watch you shuffle your feet, look at your watch n leave at the speed of light. If you don’t wanna know, please don’t ask me that question.
  2. I don’t have the energy or strength to make up some dismissive line. I don’t want to lie and you don’t like it when I tell the truth.
  3. This one is also very important so I’m going to underline it. If I make sentences after your question, this isn’t a to do list, you don’t need to take action unless I ASK you too.

Look at me before you ask something, do I meet your eyes, do I look like I’ve slept in the last week? If not, don’t ask me how I am, ask me if I’d like company, would I like a hug, would I like YOU to make a cup of tea and just sit silent in the same room, so that just for a while, I don’t have to do this alone.

You can’t fix this, you can’t change this, and right now I can’t handle it. If you have to you can ask me if I want to talk about it but don’t EXPECT me to have the words.

I can’t handle hearing your ‘here’s how perfect my life is going’ stories, you tell me to ‘cheer me up’ because they are hitting me like; ‘here is what you HAD and don’t have now’. They make me feel more lonely, and depressed.

What would I like to hear?

What would I like? Company on the page I’m on. Meet me on the page I’m on, be there, hold my hand if I ask, give me a hug if I ask, hear the crack in my voice that says ‘today is WAY too heavy and I can’t process’. Make me a cup of tea coz I don’t have the strength, maybe run me a bath coz for me to do that feels like climbing a mountain, even tho it would feel nice.

Please don’t bring your expectations and think I will embrace them with open arms, I don’t have the strength to explain, to defend or to process.

Please don’t give me advice, unless I ask for it. The irony of people who will pummel you with every ‘you should, why don’t you’ in the book but go silent when you actually ask them for advice or worse still give you the ‘I can’t get that involved’ line which makes me feel like pond mud.

Lets keep this simple, what I most would like is, a cuppa, some company and someone to hold my hand, without feeling the need to fill the silence. That costs nothing, can you do that for me? If you can’t, if you can’t let me be on the page I’m on without judging me correcting me or shaming me, then please, do us both a favor and just DON’T ASK.

Say Hello and leave it at that.

Because for some of us gravity is a whole lot heavier than it is for you. We know you can’t can’t handle this, its written all over your face, just know, NEITHER  CAN WE BUT WE DON’T HAVE THE LUXURY OF CHOICE.

Links

Megan Devine is a wonderful person, she has a website and online journalling course and a fantastic book. Many thanks for telling it like it is Megan and for helping the rest of us gradually find our voices and say ‘This is not ok’ how grieving and (people with mental health issues) is treated right now is not ok.

Sending you all peace, love light and hope in the darkness. I wrote this after being repeatedly treated badly and not having the voice to let that person know. If this is happening to you and you want a post you can point them at to say; ‘This is how I feel and this is how you make me feel when you do this’.

Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing this post if it helped you.

Billie x

When you are hopeless

Welcome Back

I wanted to share this video from You Tube, it has some good words but approach with caution as there are some violent scenes in it, which some viewers may find upsetting. However that aside, it does speak to your soul when you are in the dark place, where you can’t hear those around you and all is darkness and swirl.

Wellness Wednesday; Self Care Package for May

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It would be fair to call this a bumpy year so far, but I’ve taken a big step into self care practice and the difference is amazing. I have recently had my first Reiki treatment and it was THE most incredible healing experience ever. It has made a massive difference to my anxiety, depression and grief issues and physical pain issues too.

Now I know this is a game of managing symptoms not things that are ‘fixable’ but this is the first time I have found something that has had this much of a positive result. I felt so blissed out afterwards and had the most comforting, nurturing feeling of being held for days afterwards.

I totally agreed with the lady who suggested meditation daily would be useful for me.  The lady did a lot of grounding work with me and this is the most IN my body I’ve ever felt and in a good way. It felt like my soul had come home. Now its my job to make this body and this house a place it wants to stay in.

Goddess calls, Sound Therapy and Shamanic Drums

Recently I discovered Elen of the Ways, she is an antlered goddess, one who has associations with reindeer, following their paths and lay-lines. I have long been interested in lay-lines and dowsing with rods, and recently had help to create my own dowsing rods. I love my crystal pendulums which I regularly use too.  I have felt so lost and scattered for many years and Elen seems the perfect goddess for me at the moment and I hope we journey together for a long time.

Elen of the Ways helped me find the Reiki healer, led me to my Shamanic drum, more grounding crystals came home and I re-learnt the importance of grounding and how sound plays into that journey. Many thanks to Jonathan from Heron Drums who creates the most amazing drums, much like crystals drums seem to choose those who need them most in the moment. I am the very humble, honored owner of a reindeer drum which has a smokey quartz crystal in the lacing at the back. I cried when I heard it played. FIle it under ‘Your soul speaks only as loud as it needs for you to listen’. Lets just say if I ignore my soul she just gets louder and makes me cry when I see what I most need on my journey. Limited dexterity means I can’t play the drum for long but the sound is very grounding and she is totally going to be part of my healing journey.

I’ve put a singing bowl on the landing, which I sound when I pass it, so I take a moment or two to be with that sound and being still.

Also on the sound therapy exploration I have invested in the Koshi chimes, the first one arrived today, the Ignis, OMG its soooo soothing, so I will live on weetabix to enable me to collect the others; terra, aria, aqua too.

Some new crystals have settled here and are helping as well.

I hope this doesn’t read as a boastful brag post because it really isn’t. I have seen self care as self indulgent and felt guilty just for buying a magazine. but after the healing effect of the Reiki, I realise that self care is not just important its vital. We live in a society that expects us to keep going till breaking point. WHY???? We have been fed this idea for so long it feels like its our idea too and we are bad people if we do not or cannot keep up.

Well I’m stepping into my power and saying this is what I NEED to survive right now.

Gentle soothing sounds, rest, sleep, to be still and process.

To be cautious of who is around me, as an INJF and empath, I feel the emotions of others really strongly, often way more strongly than they do. So I need time away from others to recover from intense energies and emotions.

I don’t drink, smoke, have holidays or even go out, so I will cultivate my meditation space, create a place I want to be in; be that a womb room to feel held, a zen den to step into silence, a shamanic area to drum, a place of solace within these walls.

I need to surround myself with what make me feel safe, nurtured, held and comforted in that space because that is what I most need in this moment. Others cannot fix this for me and I need to nurture myself and surround myself with what feels healing.

I also need Reiki in my life to help me re balance, ground and make peace with this body and this time and space that I find myself in.

I hope you find what feeds your soul, makes you smile, makes right now feel possible and can go for it, or at least take some steps towards it. All we have is right now, this moment, nothing and no one is forever, please do what makes you feel safe, feel nurtured, feel honored and respected in whatever safe way you can.

Thanks for reading

May all beings find peace, love & light

Billie x