Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Baby Step Cha Cha

My Baby Orchid.

Yep things are all baby around here....even though I want to grow up already.
Venturing out of the apartment is looming as the need for groceries rears it's ugly head again and it's preceded by dropping Bella off at the groomers.
But that's tomorrow so I can still breathe easier today. I may take a baby step across the road to the market to help prep me for the venture out tomorrow.

The good news is my plan is working...making the polymer fangs has me beading again with tutorials in mind.  There's still that lump in my throat as I think about writing and know I have to start small so I can have a success that will give me courage.  I find I'm still beating myself up a bit at being played for a fool (I still don't get how those people live with themselves, using people who have been nothing but kind and helpful to them) but I think I'm venting some of it out now. I can now see the glimmer of 'fight back' mode, and what that means for me is always putting my creativity out there...doing something original.

I now have maybe a couple of hundred fang beads...I should open a store!
I'm joking, I have an Artfire store but annoyingly as I was ready to begin listing the fangs all packed in the box which are priced, sized and photographed the site is experiencing issues and is running so slowly the gateways to publish timed out. Grrr!  Baby step forward, baby step back, cha cha cha.

As I couldn't do that I picked up the beads to experiment with what can be done with the fangs.....ideas are beginning to add up, here's a couple of sneak peeks.

The more I work with the fangs the more possibilities I see. Polymer is so much more versatile than glass when it comes to adding extra holes which is something very desirable for bead weaving and maybe even bead embroidery where the need for glue would be eradicated. 

My creativity is flowing a lot more like normal and I'm making progress but I am still held back by the agoraphobia.....I wish it was gone already!  Not being able to get out and do things I need to do is causing me anxiety attacks and insomnia.  I just have to be glad my business eeked through another month and I still have a roof over my head and can buy what I need....things could always be worse. 

So today I build up courage to go out into the big wide world full of people again. Preparation H day......cos it's a huge pain in the butt!

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Both a need and a expletive this morning as I find my agoraphobia leading the way.  When I make polymer beads I make them on a mandrel but I like to redo the hole with my they are clean and uniform. The problem is I have not been able to locate the drill bits so I can do this. I broke down a few days ago and ordered new ones which have been sitting in my mailbox since lunchtime yesterday. However, the agoraphobia is not letting me leave my apartment to go get them. Frustrating!

I spent all yesterday afternoon and evening trying to work up the courage to go get them with no success. I know it's because I had to leave the apartment three days in a row when I wasn't doing so well that has knocked me backwards. And I know if you have never suffered with agoraphobia you'll think I'm nuts...."just go already!".  Here's what it's like. 

First there's the need to open the door which comes with the irrational thought that the door knob is hot and I'll be burned. Quickly followed by the crazy thought that I won't be able to open the door and I'll be trapped in my apartment which is so contrary I agree on the 'nuts' part.  But these are just diversions against the real fear.....people. Having to interact with people.  I may have to say hello to a neighbor or worse, bump into my chatty property manager who, I know, will want to talk about my going blonde....and. I. just. can't. handle. it.   I get the shakes, walls and floors ebb and flow like a rough sea and the big fear, a full blown panic attack.
Now if you've never had a panic attack you won't understand that either.

Panic attacks have caused me to leave places...rapidly. Full grocery carts get left.....every time I see an abandoned grocery cart I wonder if that person shares my debilitation. If I can't get away....flight because fight isn't working then I may start hyperventilating so bad someone decides to rush me to hospital....yes, it has happened.  

I haven't been as bad as this for years.....maybe twenty years even. A bad depression brings it all back in full force and all the self-lecturing, pleading, 'be brave-ing' I do isn't enough. 

I wonder if I got a burka if it would make me feel better. It actually looks like a solution to me....a burka just screams "unapproachable" and it's a lot like hiding under the blankets....just in public. And I can even buy one online for $29.99! I might do it other than I'm sure homeland security would be triggered into action.

So here I sit writing it all out, trying to overcome the fears and find some courage. Just to go to the freaking mailbox! I totally want to hit myself up the side of my head. 

Update:   So.....I did it. I formed a plan....back fire exit stairs, behind the building path, behind the pool out at the mailbox, grabbed my mail (and posted Mom's letters), back behind the pool...then the mad dash on the main drag (can't get back in the fire exit), into the elevator and home! I hyperventilated the whole way, legs shaking so much I had to sit down as soon as I got home...but only for a couple of minutes before I had to dash to the bathroom to throw up. Still shaking but it is done.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Doing the Hokey Pokey with a Peg Leg

Sounds like I'm having fun, right?
Well, the 'Depression Hokey Pokey' isn't exactly fun but a stage you go through on the road to recovery. It's when, because you are feeling better you try to do or even think about doing, something you used to do (put your right foot in) and realize you're not up to it (put your right foot out) and get severely shaken by it (shake it all about).

That happened to me yesterday.
The local bead show is on so there are things I'd like to shop for and people I'd like to see. I thought in the middle of last week in the midst of happiness due to creating with clay that I was ready, contacted a friend to see if she was going and made tentative plans. I started to seize up Friday afternoon....the blank spot started to set in and time was passing with no motion from me. Now, I try and think of it in terms of something fun so it doesn't send me deeper to depression so I regard the blank spot as 'The Black Spot' and in my head I go all 'piratey' (aye Matey).  Of course you can't do this in the depths of depression but once you're recovering any humor you can find you have to use.

The Black Spot creeps up, it started Friday afternoon, gave me weird dreams and woke me Saturday morning with anxiety. I sat myself down and asked myself what the anxiety was about and the answer was the bead show.
I messaged my friend and said I wasn't up to it, she understood but said to call her if I changed my I typed the reply that I would see how I was after my shower I immediately started to hyperventilate. Nope. Wasn't going to happen.

It's frustrating. Because I feel better, I feel like I should be able to go out and be social.....but, it just ain't that easy.

I lost yesterday to staring at the wall, picking work up and immediately putting it down and found comfort in mindless video games.  I play video games during depression because I know that they do exercise my brain even though I'm pretty much zoned out.

Getting Back On the Horse

Below are the first pieces I was able to bead in my 'Great Depression'.
I had to pull out one of my own tutorials for the PonDuo stitch because I couldn't remember how to bead it. The bracelet came first and then the pendant. The pendant reminded me of the 'Bastille', the French prison and so both these pieces take that name.  Art is about the creative soul and it's interesting what comes out when that soul is depressed...for me it pulled up the feeling of being trapped.

The crystal in the pendant does shine through it's cage and it gave me hope.

The Fangbanger Pendant came next and as my friend Mary Byberg said it's from my "Bite Me" period.  And I have to agree...when people aren't nice I tend to respond by just being a creative bitch (and the fangs here set me off on a true road to recovery playing with clay).

I saw my next design as a looking for direction...but many people told me it looked like a shield and that seemed right too. It also has a zen quality to it which was somewhat intentional...the drop was designed to have an Oriental feel.

All the pieces I have beaded in this period have been hard fought battles in that I don't feel the love for the beads that I did. I still have to shake the association of beads to the bad stuff that made me depressed.

Playing with the polymer clay and coming up with a line of fangs has been the best thing for me. It encourages me to bead and makes me see the way back to tutorial writing. But this weekend I have learned I still have a ways to go.

So right now I'm the peg legged pirate with the Black Spot doing the hokey pokey with my horse at the ready.
That's what it's all about. Arr!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Where were you?" "What happened?" "Are you coming back?"

I've had messages containing those questions and others a lot lately so here I am trying to answer them.

My name is Mikki and I have MDD (Major Depressive Disorder).

What that means is I'm prone to severe depression, it doesn't mean I'm bi-polar or have a chemical imbalance.  I've been called sensitive (often overly but that's always by someone who has been completely insensitive to justify their behavior)...I am regular sensitive! I've also worked very hard for the last 30 years to live life with a higher awareness. It makes life tricky. Also when I get depressed I get agoraphobic which does not help matters.

I'm not on drugs....prescribed or otherwise. They don't work for me and can take a depression to the end of the road for know the one that ends with an obituary.  What's always worked for me (because I never had any other option) is solitude....withdrawal. Reach out and talk to people does not work for me...I know, I've tried it.  Once while sitting looking at a pile of pills I was about to take I reached my 'best friend' and when I told her how I was feeling (not easy) she told me she couldn't talk because there was a pair of shoes she wanted to go buy and hung up on me. Another time while waiting for MRI results to tell me if I had a brain tumor or not I reached out to a "call me if you need to talk, I mean it, I'm here for you" friend who after 3 minutes (while I was crying) took another call and forgot about me.  And we won't even mention family because that would make your hair curl.

So you can see why I'm not jumping at the chance to reach out and talk.
Obviously I'm doing better or I wouldn't be writing this.

The "What happened?" question is easily answered.
I trusted someone who, knowing my past with people letting me down, told me "I'm a true friend, I will always have your back" and then promptly wasn't and didn't...and then some!  I'm the poster child for 'No good deed goes unpunished'.

It pushed me over the edge of the cliff I was standing on. I had once again let someone into my life who just wanted to use me. That shakes you to your core when you're attracting the last thing you want.  You realize that your judgement of people sucks and fear of people sets in. You try to just get on with life but it eats at you from the inside....this thing called depression, when not acknowledged starts to shut you down. My beading suffered....I started making really stupid mistakes. My videos suffered the same thing. My tutorial writing also. And that just served to make the depression bigger, deeper, longer.

I had to do a lot of soul searching to find the trigger points.  I come from a family of goes back generations on both sides. I was born an empath.....and the abuse began bringing with it mental illness and I became a very high functioning schizophrenic (I worked very hard on that and was pronounced 'cured' at 40).    I was also born a problem solver, hence being able to overcome schizophrenia, but it's not easy and one of the things you do to solve the problems is keep drawing them into your life till they are fixed.  So because some level of my psyche wants to solve the issue of dealing with narcissism I keep attracting them and I don't know how to stop it other than not letting anyone in close, drawing the line at helping people very closely around me.  

I have to change myself....that's my only area of control.
Writing this is kind of my last 'being open' thing I want to''s an explanation of the change in me and my work. And as I type I argue with myself that I don't need to explain myself.  I am me and that's good enough. I have to give what I have to give, and if it's not enough for someone, well, as a few people have said "not my circus, not my monkeys". 

Am I coming back?  Well....yes. But differently. How differently...I honestly don't know.

Writing tutorials or trying to was making my depression worse...there's nothing like failing at something that used to come easily to worsen depression and make you feel worthless. And complex beading went down the drain one point it took me six attempts to make a simple peyote tube....and I was beginning to hate beads and all their associations.   Try not to stress when that is going on AND it's how you make your living!  I was in the "Pit of Despair" having my life drained out of me a year at a time (see "Princess Bride").

I had to stop pushing myself. I had to fall in love with beads again (not there yet).  So I decided to make some finished jewelry using one of a kind collection of cabs and donuts.  Simple things with clean lines and technical beading. 

I was binge watching "True Blood" (the bottom design is called "Fangbanger Pendant") at the same time which made me play with the 'tusk' or 'fang' gemstones I'd bought in Berkeley. This is a bead shape I have fallen in love with and as I only had the five and couldn't find any anywhere online it made me think of the polymer clay stash I had.  So along with adding a "Finished Jewelry" section to my store I'll also be adding a "Polymer Clay" section. 

I am a little addicted to making 'fangs' right now and there will be a large variety (many one of a kinds) in my store but I have some other designs in the works too.

I'm hoping that the polymer components will get me back into writing tutorials that use them but I also hope people will use them for their own designs. My stomach still pretty much turns to stone and I still feel like throwing up when I think about writing but I know at some point I'll get past it....sooner rather than later I hope.

I have closed the Bead Mavens blog as I need to focus on my own business/life but it will stay up so everyone can access the info and freebies. Everything is I work, how I look (I'm now a blonde), how I design and what I design.  I'm beginning to feel myself again although I'm now Newme (no! not Sarah), still compassionate and kind but not fairy blood to a vampire.

I have learned one major thing.....when someone says "I have your back" I think I'm getting this:

But I'm probably getting this:

I will survive!