Juneathon 2017, Day 15 – A Crochet Day


African Flower Hexagons

As it was a nice day today I went out in the garden and did a little crochet. The photo above shows the five hexagons that I completed. So far I’ve made 33 of them. I’m hoping to have enough patience to make 225 and to make a square blanket. I don’t really know what size it’ll be; it doesn’t matter.
I started crocheting in earnest about 3 years ago when my muscles started to deteriorate. It gave me something that I was able to accomplish without too much mental or physical effort. And today I grabbed my crochet and headed outside because mentally I was incapable of anything else. After making a fair few of these little flowers I know precisely what I’m doing and how many stitches to make. As the hook flows through the work my mind is able to relax and forget about all of the things that are niggling away at me. The dark thoughts are banished into the dark recesses of my brain as if by magic. It feels good to crochet. And on a sunny day like today, crocheting in my safe little back garden is one of the best remedies for my mental illness that I can think of.


A wee fellow enjoying one of my poppies

Unfortunately, even after enjoying a very relaxing couple of hours in the garden, my schizophrenia was still having far too much fun inside my head.

Doing exercise for Juneathon is fine when I’m feeling well mentally, but it’s virtually impossible on days like these when my brain is trying to shut me down and the horrible thoughts are like a thick, dank fog hovering around my head:
“You’re useless! You’re fat! Nobody likes you! You’re dirty! You smell! Your family hates you! You don’t have any friends! What you wrote yesterday about shoes: that was stupid! You’re so stupid. You can’t even manage to put plates in the dishwasher! Other people don’t need a dishwasher. They wash things. They do things. They’re not lazy. You’re so lazy! You’re an embarrassment. No wonder no one ever wants to talk to you. Why would they ever want to talk to you? …”
On and on and on…

The last thing I wanted to do was to go out for a walk. But I couldn’t face anything else either. Walking will often drive the thoughts away, just as crocheting does. I suppose it’s the meditative, calm state that I get into when I’m doing either activity. Unfortunately dancing, yoga, lifting weight etc. just don’t have the same effect.

So, I compromised: today would have to just be a day when I reached my step goal and felt satisfied with it. But, I thought I’d try to do one better and go outside in order to reach my goal.
It took one walk up my street and then down a neighbouring street to reach 3,000 steps, whereupon I sighed with relief and scurried home.

A Crochet day: met daily step count
Steps Taken: 3,682
Difficulty Level: Intermediate


Janathon 2017, Day 26 – EEG


EEG cap

Trust me to never make anything simple.

I’m sitting here at home with EEG gunge still stuck in my hair. My eyes are streaming and my nose is blocked. The Old Trout is snoring away upstairs. I’ve reached and surpassed my daily step goal today, but as to doing anything extra for Janathon: no.

I’ve recently had a couple of seizures. I landed up flailing about like you do and the doctor has sent me to have a few tests including this EEG. During the EEG you have electrodes glued on to your head in order to pick up the electrical signals produced when brain cells send messages to one another. The data from all of the electrodes is collated and analysed by a specialist who determines if they can spot anything unusual going on in your brain, like epilepsy.

I wasn’t nervous about the EEG, but as with all appointments I was anxious to get enough sleep so that I was as mentally stable today as possible. So, it was with annoyance that I was woken up by the daft Old Trout trying to get in to my house 4 hours before the appointment. As far as I was concerned, I’d still got 3 hours left to sleep. As far as she was concerned, I had arranged to meet up with her that morning.
I was so tired! And there she was, in my living room, blabbing away (Because we do get along well really, for all that I might say.) until my carer arrived to pick me up.

The problem started during the EEG. As I said, I wasn’t worried about the procedure. They slapped a cap on my head, attached the electrodes with some gunk and then asked me to close my eyes and keep still.
Oh flipping heck! I had to sit still like that for about 10 minutes. With no distractions.
At first I was okay. But slowly, all of the schizophrenic thoughts started to seep into my mind. And I wasn’t able to distract myself. I tried thinking about my cold, and how lousy I felt. I tried thinking about my next sewing project. but NO. Would my head behave? Pah! All my brain wanted to concentrate on was things that have happened in the past. There’s one statement that I made during a manic phase over a decade ago that two inconsequential people overheard me saying; that came out in full force today. Over, and over, and over again.
I just wanted to rip that cap off my head and run out of the room.

But I didn’t. I was as sensible as I could be. Until they’d finished, and then I lost it completely. And was my carer anywhere to be seen when I fled out of the room? No, because she’d been told that the EEG would last an hour, when in fact it took roughly 20 minutes. So I was stuck in a sterile reception, with my thoughts running full force around my head like a set of bulls on speed. And guess what? I blame the Old Trout for this one: she woke me up and prattled on for hours so that I didn’t have time to sort myself out. I didn’t have anything like a mobile phone to distract me. Or my crochet hook; I’d taken along my yarn, but couldn’t do anything with it.

My carer returned to find me being carefully looked after by a gaggle of nurses who’d discovered me wandering in a very confused state along a corridor somewhere. I’m afraid that I’d just flipped.

So, there you are: that’s my excuse for not doing anything more than was absolutely necessary today.

EEG Day: Wandered to hospital, around hospital and back.
Steps Taken: 4,789
Difficulty level: ???!

Janathon 2016, Day 5 – Ooft!

Brick Wall

I awoke and everything was going quite well. I’d got stiff legs, but there was no reason to think that I wouldn’t be able to go out and get some exercise done later in the day.
But then, a switch flipped inside my head and I went into a full blown schizophrenic episode.

Thankfully I was able to take some extra medication and go to sleep. But that was the end of any good intentions I’d had for the day.

It was odd, because I don’t normally change like that. The episodes can be brought on by tiredness, stress or just occur. But when they “just occur” it’s normally when I wake up, so I’m able to plan my day around how I feel when I awake. But that was really annoying: I thought I’d got a reasonable day ahead of me and then get battered by ridiculous thoughts and feelings a couple of hours in.

So, on Day 5 I ran into a brick wall.

Ooft Day: Nothing
Steps taken: 1,706
Difficulty Level: N/A

“Red Brick Wall” by viZZual.com