Posts Tagged ‘life’

My spouse and produce shopping.

A moment at Smith’s this weekend:

I’m coming back to the produce section after grabbing a few items from the aisles. I find my husband explaining to to several people why and how he’s been tapping on apples to determine their crispness:

“If it sounds like a ‘thump’ when you tap it with your finger, it’ll be less crisp. If it sounds like a ‘ping,’ or a brighter sound, then it’ll be a crisp. Of course, this doesn’t apply golden delicious apples because they’re not crisp by nature.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve come back to find him in mid-explanation after people expressed curiosity about what exactly he was doing by holding and tapping individual apples. I’m sure it won’t be the last, either.

After the moment is over and the people have gone back to their shopping, I smile at him and give him a hug. “I love you,” I say. After all, how many people can say that their spouse gives produce-picking advice at grocery stores?

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2017.

It’s New Year’s Eve, and it’s time for my year-end retrospective.

In 2017…

My love and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary and our tenth dating anniversary. We continue to grow and deepen our relationship. I love how can be silly and laugh together while also opening to new depths of connection.

I started teaching Nia classes in Las Vegas. After occasionally subbing and attempting to introduce Nia at a new space, I took over another Nia teacher’s classes in October. I now have a small group of regulars. While I miss my Albuquerque Nia community, I’m grateful to be teaching here…and to have space in my living room to dance!

Dancing, Studio Nia Santa Fe

I took the Moving to Heal training in Santa Fe. It’s comforting and gratifying to occasionally return to one of my Nia homes and connect with people who speak the language of Nia. I’m also really grateful for the opportunity to learn new skills and techniques — and new ways to look at what I already know. transcript proofreading

I completed an online transcript proofreading course. This course included lessons as well as 50 practice transcripts; it was a lot of work but worth the investment of time, energy, and money. I started my own proofreading business and am now contributing a small (but helpfully significant) amount to our household income. It’s been gratifying to make money again.

My husband and I started taking Tai Chi and Aikido classes with a local teacher who teaches informally, on a loose schedule without belts. It has really helped my spouse be more in his body. Sampling these martial arts forms has also improved my Nia practice: I’m much more aware of weight shifts, where I put my feet, and how to be in the flow of my own energy.

I experienced what it is like to live in a city that has had a mass shooting tragedy. It was scary and horrifying to wake up on October 2nd and realize what had happened. While I did not personally know or lose anyone who was at the Route 91 concert, I felt and witnessed the ripples of the tragedy. I also witnessed how the community came together in the aftermath, and continues to do so.

10.1.17

At the memorial garden downtown, October 2017

Trips: Visited Albuquerque in May, June, and November. Visiting my hometown and home state often helps ground me.

Albuquerque scene

Traveled with family up to the Durango, Colorado, area as part of the June trip.

 

Went to Sedona, Arizona, for our third annual holiday trip this December. It’s been so nice to have a relatively close place to travel for the holidays, especially one that is so beautiful and dynamic.

Locally:

Visited the Strip for the first time in January when my friends were in town. We went to the Bellagio.

Went on a day trip in February, visiting a goddess temple and labyrinth on the way.

Temple Labyrinth

Went to Mt. Charleston to see the changing leaves in September. We went to Valley of Fire State Park (about an hour outside of Vegas) when Luke’s friends from San Diego visited in December.

 

This place definitely feels more like home than it did a year ago. I have settled more into my life this year. I’ve met new people and started a new business. I continue to work towards creating a life that works for me, keeping my sensory and emotional needs in mind. Aside from stress about politics, finances, and the everyday kinds of challenges, I am generally content.

 

Update in pictures

Aside from the link roundups, I haven’t posted much lately. I thought I’d use a few photos to give a glimpse into my life currently. Maybe I’ll do this on a regular basis.

proofreading books

My proofreading reference books. I spent about half this year gradually going through an online course on how to proofread transcripts for court reporters. I finished the course in July and started marketing in the later part of last month. So far, I’ve had a few jobs and two clients. I’m definitely feeling the freelancing life out. In the long run, I hope it picks up; in the meantime, I’m glad that I’ve started.

morning light

I love the soft light in the mornings. Also, the temperatures in the mornings — and in general — are getting cooler. We also turned our air conditioning off (at least for the time being)! Yay!

tree of life earrings

I was at a networking and vendor event on Tuesday, and a customer asked if I could turn these pendants into earrings. This is the result, and I really like how they turned out.

The power of sharing my own experience.

A conversation with friend from earlier this week:

“You probably haven’t had to deal with stuff like this,” she said, after describing how she’d been feeling lately.

“Depression?”

She nodded. “Well, actually, I have,” I said, and elaborated about my own experience.

Afterward, she thanked me for sharing. She knew then that I could relate to how she was feeling.

This moment allowed me to see how incredibly validating it was for me to share my personal experience — for both my friend and for me.

When I was in the midst of my most severe depressive episode, I know that I often felt very alone and isolated in my experience. I think that affirming for someone that she is not alone may have been a powerful gift. Yes, it required vulnerability. It required me to tread into topics I don’t usually touch on in everyday conversations. It gave me the opportunity to rely on my inner strength and know that I could be — and was — okay to give support in that moment.

I felt cautious with this interaction, both during and afterwards. I know I am not necessarily fragile now, but I see the darkness within myself, the potential for becoming depressed again. These kinds of interactions have the potential to be draining and triggering. But I also realize that in many ways, this gives me an opportunity to establish boundaries when needed while also providing the kind of support that only one who has been through something similar can provide. I won’t offer solutions, but I can offer my own story and share what helped me.

It helped me to share, too. Sometimes I feel like I only give people parts of my story. True, not everyone has earned my trust to hear more. But it was important for me to have a moment where I let my guard down, especially when it seemed appropriate and needed. So perhaps I received a gift in that moment as well.

Life: celebrate, honor, live.

Life paintingI posted this on my social media pages along with this caption:  “Painting/drawing in honor of life, of choosing to live, learning to thrive, and being true to myself. On this date three years ago, I was severely depressed and hit rock bottom. Today, I honor my healing and all the choices that led me to where I am today.”

On May 25, 2013, I was hospitalized for severe depression and suicidal ideations.

I’ve been feeling the anniversary energy this month – more strongly than this time last year, but less strongly than the first year. In this energy, there’s an intensity, sadness, grief, determination, and more. In time, that energy will likely change or fade. In any case, I hope that I’ll take many more moments to acknowledge and celebrate my life, to celebrate living.

Year One.

Year Two.

From frustration to acceptance

The experience of being me is challenging sometimes.

It’s challenging after spending a weekend reeling from sensory input and having to slow way down.

It’s experiencing intense overwhelm and heaviness after trying a healing technique — one that others are praising and saying how good they feel afterwards and how much it benefits them.  I try it, and it feels like so much. Too much?

It’s my thoughts that “other people aren’t experiencing this,” and “Why is this happening again?”

And perhaps many people are not, maybe not specifically sensory processing issues or other sensitivities, but, as my Aikido/Tai Chi instructor reminded me on Tuesday night, everyone has limitations of some sort that they have to honor, and also reach their “too much” point at times. He said that being at the edge often means learning, and going over can lead to burnout or injuries.

I sometimes really want things to be easier, simpler, more relaxing for me. Not to get exhausted, even from doing things that I want to do. Not finding it challenging to be in my body at times and stay anywhere close to grounded.

And then, there’s returning to acceptance. There’s softening towards myself. There’s having a vulnerable moment after Aikido that opens up a conversation and other people sharing vulnerabilities.

 I realize that often when I feel overloaded and scattered, I often interpret it as I’ve done something “wrong.” And maybe whatever I did was too much for my system at that particular moment, but it may not need that strong of a label. My nervous system is giving me a signal that I need to slow down, back off. That requires honoring myself, pausing, and resting. It does not require a label or a value judgment. Once in a more grounded place, I can have more perspective about that experience and think about what to consider in the future regarding that activity. Experimenting and finding that that activity was too much at that moment doesn’t require chastising myself for wanting to see what it would be like. It may be an opportunity to give myself space and to learn from that experience.

I have done so much work the past few years around creating a life that more fully honors my sensitivities and limitations. I have so much more respect for myself and what I need. I still have moments where I get frustrated, where I want to do more, be more, and where I want to push through.  I also have more moments of acceptance, of giving myself space to be how, where, and who I am. I’m taking this moment to honor and acknowledge all of this.

Recognizing my experience of depression in the pages of the DSM-V

A few weeks ago, my assignment for my Abnormal Psychology class – choosing a disorder and writing about it from a specific therapeutic perspective – gave me a reason to look through the DSM-V, the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. I went to the local library, sat down with their reference copy, and flipped through the pages. I skimmed the criteria of different disorders, searching for one that might seem intriguing, but not too triggering or something that I have directly experienced.

Major Depressive Disorder did not meet my second requirement; nonetheless, I stopped skimming and read through the criteria. And as I read, I recognized that two and a half to three years ago, I met nearly every point of the criteria, line by line. Part of me suspected this, but I hadn’t looked it up, not even in my old copy of the DSM-IV that I’ve had for years. If the page had been a checklist, it would have been full of check marks.

On one hand, the realization was sobering: I was severely depressed. That’s scary and serious.

On the other hand, I can also say that it’s factual, it’s true, and that reading the criteria simply confirmed what I already knew. I had a depressive episode, the worst I’d ever had. I acknowledge that before I experienced that episode, I likely struggled with mild depression, or dysthymia, on and off for years, perhaps since I was a teenager.

Alternately, I can also look at it like this: I was severely depressed. I went back to my hometown. There, I got the help and support I needed. I don’t know if I can say that I am necessarily better off because of my depression, but the support I got helped me get to where I am today. I like and appreciate my life now.

There is also something validating in seeing what I experienced written in words on a page. It tells me that other people have experienced this, that people have researched it, that treatment continues to be looked at and further developed.

I do recognize that a diagnosis is primarily a measurement used for medical, prescriptive, and insurance reasons. It isn’t consistently a defining factor in my life; at this point, the main thing is that I take two pills each morning. I also keep better track of my moods and I regularly use skills to deal with challenging situations and emotions.

I remind myself that I don’t have to make too much meaning out of the pages of the DSM; it’s a reference manual used in certain contexts. I know that if I experience and recognize the symptoms of depression again, I am more equipped to deal with it. I am therefore less likely to experience another major depressive episode. And that’s what really matters to me.