Posted in Beads, bipolar disorder, Jewelry, Photography

Art To Calm By

I’ve been in better shape this last week, but I’m still manic. Some days are better than other days.  I had to tweak my mood stabilizer. It helped, but I’m now noticing more than brain fog than usual. Psych meds interfere with my ability to think. At least I’m not a zombie and I can still drive myself around town. Taking Uber from my home to class would be $30 one way. Plus tip. Assuming there’s an Uber driver willing to come this far out of town to pick me up.

Art is a way I can calm down, so I’ve been making necklaces.

Recycled Black Glass Pendant

I’ve been fascinated by the recycled glass beads I’ve been finding for sale. I like the idea of recycling. Why should glass go into the landfill when it can be turned into jewelry?

The iridescent blue beads are also recycled glass.

Impression Jasper Pendant

Impression Jasper is a default name. Someone dug up a rock, said it gave the impression of jasper, and the name stuck. This is a piece that was enhanced by heat treating the stone. Without enhancing, Impression Jasper is more subtle.

The above necklaces are for sale. I’ll eventually get them into my online store once I figure out the price for each. Jewelry prices are a function of cost of materials, time to make and how much I have to swear at the piece while making it.

This one I’m keeping for myself. The pendant is a fossil.

I put fancy stitches on the straps for the quilted laptop totes and wanted to serge the ends. The first end got caught somehow in the serger and I spent quality time swearing at the serger while trying to coax the threads off the finger. It’s still stuck. I’ll try again later. These quilted laptop totes are taking way too much time to make. Eventually, they will be finished and they will go into my store.

Tinker Helps With The Laundry

Usually the cats hide when they think I’m going to photograph them. I had to sneak up on Tinker, zoom the cellphone camera as much as possible, and hope for the best. The shot is backlit and I could have overcome that with the Canon. The cellphone doesn’t allow for that kind of tinkering. The cats don’t allow for me to take the time to use the Canon.

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com. Stop by and see what other artists are doing.

Looking for one-of-a-kind jewelry or fiber art? Please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art http://www.DebThumanArt.com.

Posted in Beads, bipolar disorder, Fiber, Jewelry, Photography, Quilts

There’s A Reason It’s Called Art Therapy

I tweaked my mood stabilizer, and I’m feeling better. At least I’m not getting slammed by moods. Rapid cycling is having four or more episodes in a year. I had four in a week. The insomnia is still with me but Ambien is helping. 

I started working on jewelry and I like what I came up with. I don’t like how I photographed the pieces. Natural light wasn’t enough light. I added two LED lights, one on each side. That made for nasty shadows. So I kept the LED lights and added on camera flash. I’m not wild about the results although I did get the colors accurate. 

I worked a bit more on the suicide quilt. I don’t think that quilt should have a border, so I did a pillow case finish. Never did one of those before. Using Razzle Dazzle threads for hand quilting meant that the back of the quilt was nasty looking. The pillow case finish hides all that. I need to draft an eagle wing, get the wing drawn on the quilt, and quilt the wing with silver thread. 

The university is having a symposium in November and, being manic, I thought it would be a great idea to propose doing a talk on suicide from the perspective of one who nearly killed herself and one who is left behind by someone else’s suicide. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I have two nightmares about this: no one will show up, or 500 people will show up. Rather than power point – something that’s guaranteed to have a technical problem no matter how much you practice – I’m using two quilts. 

This is the quilt about when I nearly killed myself. It has a catchy title: Get Back Here Motherfucker, Sit Your Ass Down In That Chair, Shut The Fuck Up, And Listen To Me. That should explain why I don’t enter this quilt into a juried quilt show. It’s from a time when the neurologists were patting me on the head, smiling, and handing me prescriptions for useless drugs. They refused to answer any of my questions.

This is an axon with neurotransmitters represented by beads, coming out of the end of the axon and not being received by the dendrite.

The quilted part is an action potential. It’s a representation of the electrical impulse that goes the length of the axon.

There was another rape on campus. This time, the campus police actually did something. They temporarily banned the rapist from campus. Although I asked, the police refuse to give out the rapist’s name, photo or description. I’m so tired of being afraid. There’s probably a quilt in there somewhere. 

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com   Stop by and see what other artists are doing. 

Looking for a great gift? Stop by my store http://DebThumanArt.com

Posted in bipolar disorder

I didn’t choose bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder chose me.

Bipolar disorder has an ugly side.

Not the deadening depression that causes us to have a suicide rate 20 times that of the rest of the population. I’m still alive.

Not the stereotypical spendthrift manic episode. I am constantly careful to never spend more in a month than I can pay in full when the credit card bill arrives.

The ugly side is the side that meds don’t help. It’s the fluttering and skipping in my heart that tells me I’m having an excess of anxiety. Three cardiologists have told me my heart is healthy.

Since the age of four, my life has been consumed with intense emotions. I’ve only relaxed once when I went on a women’s retreat in 1976. It felt strange. Comfortable. Nice. I’d like to have that happen again, but I know it won’t.

Today my heart flutters and skips while pumping blood. This happens from time to time. Usually, one clonazepam solves the problem. Twelve years ago, I was put on the lowest dose and told to take one pill three times a day. I take the pills when I need them and ignore the bottle when I am able to calm down. I’m still on the lowest dose.

Today, one clonazepam didn’t solve the problem. Two didn’t solve the problem. Three are starting to unravel my anxiety. I’m listening to music that’s supposed to have inaudible sounds to trigger specific brain waves. I made myself a cup of tea – one of my calming habits from more than 50 years ago. I’m starting to have fewer flutters and skips. I am nowhere near to being relaxed. I know relax is something that won’t happen again. I don’t know how to make it happen. I don’t know how to calm myself.

Most of the time, being bipolar doesn’t bother me. It gives me a view of life others don’t have. It gives me understanding others don’t have. It gives me knowledge of what psych meds will and won’t do. It gives me intimate understanding of med hell, med adjustment, and med withdrawal. All of it sucks. All of it is part of being bipolar.

People try. One coworker told me he was sorry I had to be bipolar. I know he was being compassionate and I appreciate that. I told him I couldn’t remember a time when I wasn’t bipolar. I don’t know what normal is. I don’t know how normal feels. I’d like to know. I’d like, just for a little bit, to be normal. To see the world others see. To feel the world others feel. To not have to constantly monitor my reactions to events and try to figure out if my reaction is normal, or part of being bipolar.

People ask me what bipolar disorder is. It’s a mood disorder. That label doesn’t explain anything. My moods have a mind of their own. The manic and depressive swings rarely have anything to do with what is going on in my life. I hate the manic and depressive swings.

I’ve read that bipolar disorder gets worse as one gets older. Maybe that’s happening to me. During the 35 years in which I could have been, should have been, and wasn’t diagnosed, I put myself through college earning two degrees. One in journalism and one in biology. The biology degree was hard because I wasn’t allowed to take any science or math classes in high school. I put myself through law school. I ran my own solo law practice. I moved 2000 miles across the country and lived on my own for a year.

I’m a criminal defense attorney. I’ve fought my guts out doing trials for clients. In desperation, I put together a program where people with minor drug charges could go into counseling and upon successful completion of the counseling their charges would be dropped. I figured out a way to have an appropriate consequence for non-citizen clients so they could avoid a deportation triggering conviction. I survived working in a toxic office and quit before the toxicity killed me. Two weeks after I quit, I could sleep without pills and the lower back pain stopped. Six months after I quit, I no longer needed blood pressure meds.

I survived growing up in a house run by a violent, drunken narcissist and a violent drunk who bragged about being in Germany during the occupation after WWII. He told, time and again, how he drove a jeep down “Jew Alley” where goods and produce were sold, knocking over stands and sending people scattering. The drunk thought that was a great accomplishment and how funny it was to see Jews scattering. Jews who survived the Holocaust only to be tormented and terrorized by a drunken asshole.

I still look at my life and am disgusted because I haven’t achieved anything.

I’m very well medicated. I look at my life and see only the extremes of bipolar disorder. I still feel the extremes of bipolar disorder. The horrible, out of control manic episodes and the crushing depressive episodes were I worry I’ll become suicidal. I worry about suicide and dread becoming yet another bipolar person who succeeded in dying. I’m terrified that’s how my life will end.

Don’t you dare feel sorry for me. I neither want nor need your pity. I don’t want your understanding. What I want, is something you can’t give. I want to know what it feels like to be normal. I want to react to events and not have to analyze my reaction to attempt to determine if the reaction is genuine or a function of bipolar disorder. I want to realize, as I start to move away from center, that I need to adjust myself back to center. Instead, I have insomnia for three weeks before I figure out I’m manic. Instead, I find myself thinking that being dead wouldn’t be so bad before I figure out I’m depressed. I want to know how to calm the anxiety without having to take a handful of meds. I want to never again, have the weight of flashbacks. I want to never again have to talk to memories, tell memories they are about something that happened once but isn’t happening now. I want to never have to tell memories I did the best I could at the time the event happened.

Most of all, I don’t want you to feel sorry for me.

Legacy of Child Abuse
Posted in bipolar disorder, Fiber, Photography

Rape, Dog, Knitting and Other Oddities

Odd things happened this week. Another woman was raped on the New Mexico State University campus. This time, the campus police actually did something. They temporarily banned the rapist from campus. I’ve asked for a complete description and photo of the guy as well as the date he can return to campus. Naturally, I got no response.  I’m tired of being scared. I’ll be making myself some decent cargo pants so I can have ready access to my pepper gel and stun gun.

Meanwhile, I got an email about a request for proposals for “Graduate, Online, and Nontraditional Student Recruitment, Retention, and Consulting Services.” Clearly someone screwed up because there’s no way the administration wants to hear what I have to say. This is going to be fun. My first suggestion will be to get rid of the Keystone Cops and replace them with a real police force. The reason for never arresting anyone for sexual assault or rape on campus is to dissuade women from reporting sexual assaults. If there are no reports, then the campus is a wonderful, safe place to send your daughter because there’s no crime on campus.

In a few weeks, I’ll be participating in a symposium on campus. Being manic, I decided it would be a great idea to bring two art quilts and talk about suicide from the perspective of nearly killing myself and the perspective of someone left behind after suicide of a friend. I have two nightmares about this. No one showing up and 500 people showing up. If nothing else, this is going to be an interesting experience. 

I’ve put more scarves into my store. 

I’ve bought a type of yarn I have never bought before and I’m making silky, chenille scarves. I like how this yarn feels. Depending on how well these two sell once I get them into my store, I may be working with more chenille yarn. 

I went dog shopping at the shelter where Animal Control takes strays yesterday. This is so discouraging. I found a dog that was close to what I need. She’s listed as a year old, but I think she’s older. The prominent teats tell me she’s had at least one litter. She was shaking when she met me, but did calm down once she was sure I wasn’t going to hurt her. She’s mellow. She even likes me. But….she’s not housebroken and she isn’t trained to walk with a leash. I can’t leave a dog that’s not housebroken home alone while I’m at school. I can’t leave her in the yard. Even if we did break down and put up a fence, we’re out in the desert and have an assortment of critters. Rattlesnakes, javelinas, bob cat, coyotes and that’s just the predators I know about. You can’t fence out a rattlesnake and we’ve had rattlers lounging on the patio next to the door. It’s unsafe to have a dog running lose in the yard. And so, reluctantly, I decided this isn’t the dog for me. 

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com   Stop by and see what other artists have been doing. 

Looking for a great, one of a kind piece of art? Please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art http://www.debthumanart.com

Posted in bipolar disorder, Emotions, Photography, PTSD, Scarves

Scarves, Dogs, PTSD

Insomnia. It isn’t just for breakfast any more. This manic episode can leave now. Please leave. I am wide awake at 10:00 PM and don’t feel sleepy until after 1:00 AM. I drag myself through the next day, and wait for the insomnia to arrive about 10:00 PM. And on and on and on. I see my doctor on Wednesday morning and I’ll ask about sleeping pills.

Meanwhile, the anniversary of my mother’s funeral is on the ninth. To celebrate, I’m having flashbacks to the hell that woman put me through. She was a violent, drunken narcissist who had four children she didn’t want and made sure we knew she didn’t want us. I remember how I felt when she was complaining about her sister in law. “Why does she get all the boys and all I get are girls?” It was said in front of me. Inside, I asked what was wrong with girls? I knew better than to ask out loud. From the day she married the violent drunk until she died, I have no happy memory of her. Just misery and pain. 

This year, Yom Kippur falls on October 9. The very day I see my doctor. The anniversary of my mother’s funeral. Maybe God is trying to tell me something but I can’t decipher the message. 

We’ve had rain here in the desert. Photographers like to talk about shooting during the Golden Hours – two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset. That leaves 20 less than perfect hours in a day. I like to play with photography when it’s cloudy. Although I sorely lack energy today, I went outside to photograph and play. Here are some of the results. 

Sometimes, I just gotta play with editing.

I need to get more scarves into my store. The scarves were finished, they just needed to be photographed and listed. I’ve got some hand dyed pieces. I knit up a blank using white cotton. Then I dye the piece. Next, I unravel the yarn and knit up the final piece. The dye doesn’t take evenly on a knitted blank, so the result is a marled color. 

I worked with some new to me yarn. It generates heat when exposed to sunlight – even on a cloudy day. I couldn’t pass up this yarn and I had a coupon for 25% off. I also bought some bulky chenille yarn

The search for a service dog continues. It’s frustrating. So many of the dogs in this area are part pit bull. I had a case where the pit bull got loose and chewed a lady’s leg nearly down to the bone. I cannot have a dog I can’t trust. That there are so many mixed breed dogs that are partially pit bull tells me that the owners like to let their vicious dog run loose. 

I’m linking with Nina Marie http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com

Looking for a scarf or one of a kind jewelry? Please stop by my store, Deb Thuman Art http://debthumanart.com