Wednesday 24 August 2022


 Today, I was watching this video:

It's actually a very good video and now I have determined to purchase one of these window breaker tools for myself and one for my daughter. Maybe one for each of my sisters. They're not that expensive and it's better to have one and never need it than to need one and not have it. 
But that's not why I'm writing this post. Towards the end of the video, Doug, the man with the red beard, got into a car that was then turned upside down to demonstrate how to use the tool to escape from a car when it was flipped upside down after an accident. Just the thought of them turning the vehicle upside down, before they had even done so, was a trigger for me. All of those vehicles that I saw on their sides in the ditch this past winter came rushing back, and, even though it didn't happen directly to me, I was still traumatized and I could feel the panic rising. One vehicle in particular came vividly back to me. While most vehicles that end up in the ditch are removed within 24-48 hours, this one must have been there for at least 2 weeks and I passed it every day on my way home from work. It was on its side and the occupant(s) must have escaped through the hatch, because the hatch was open and there was a full garbage bag sitting beside the open hatch.  I started to cry, I started to hyperventilate and my throat began to feel like it was closing off. I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to stop. I cried off and on for at least the next half hour, and had to force myself when I wanted to go to Walmart. Walking through the aisles of Walmart, I told myself a few times not to panic and was thankful I didn't run into anyone I knew because I still felt like crying and didn't feel capable of making small talk. Even now, when I think about the video, I still feel like I could panic and cry. 

But that wasn't my first triggering experience. I think the first time was back in July. I hadn't been outside of town since Canada Day, and I was wondering if the canola was in bloom. With the price of gas, I definitely wasn't planning on driving out of town just to check. And then I thought of the road cameras that I could check online on the AMA (Alberta Motor Association) website. Unfortunately, I was just opening the website where I could access the cameras, when I started to panic and cry. The last time I had looked at those cameras was this past winter when I was poring over the road reports and camera views multiple times every morning to determine whether or not it was safe to go to work. And so it triggered me.

In addition to depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), I have also been diagnosed with winter driving phobia. I'm not really fond of driving in the best conditions, but the driving conditions this past winter really pushed me over the edge. I ended up in the ditch once because of extreme icy conditions, right side up thank the Lord, and I didn't seem to be that negatively affected by it. But the winter went downhill from there. By the end of the winter, even if there were just small patches of ice, I would start to panic and had to stop driving. One time I remember feeling my heart pounding in my chest and barely being able to breathe. So, I pulled over into a rest area, and waited for the roads to warm up enough for any remaining ice to melt and headed back out, turned around at the next intersection and headed home. Yes, winter driving phobia sounds like something made up, even to me. But, unfortunately, it's very real. 

The next trigger had nothing to do with driving. I went to Peavey Mart. Peavey Mart used to be one of my favourite stores. It was overcrowded and kind of dingy, but I knew where to find most of what I might want in there. I actually worked there for about 8 months before I got back into nursing. But they have since expanded it. I had actually been looking forward to the expansion, because, as I mentioned, it was overcrowded and dingy. I'd been in it once since the expansion, but that was just to pick up something for a friend, and I just had to stop at the checkout, which was by the front door. And that was before I went on mental health leave. It might have even been before last winter. They have since moved the checkout over to the side. It now looked nothing like my Peavey Mart. And I didn't know where to find anything. I felt like crying as soon as I walked in the door. I wandered around the store repeatedly telling myself not to panic. I finally managed to find what I wanted and also located the Round Up for future reference, made my purchase and exited without falling apart. I haven't been back since. I'm not sure if it's because I'm afraid to go back or if it's just the inertia associated with mental illness that's preventing me from going back. Probably a little of both. 

One thing about triggers, at least for me, is that they are totally unexpected. Unpredictable and sudden. And maybe I'm more emotionally fragile than I want to admit. I don't see myself that way and I don't want to be that way. And I keep pushing myself to perform. I think I'm my own worst critic. 

I'm still not sleeping. Some nights are worse than others. Recently, I had a bad night where I was awake till the early morning hours, got less than 3 hours sleep, I think. I'm dreaming a lot. Waking up frequently during the night. And it's really hard to feel like accomplishing anything when I'm so exhausted all the time. Still short of breath and dry mouth. I tried an antidepressant but it made the nausea worse. I really don't have any faith in antidepressants anyway. I know they apparently work for some people, but statistically they're really not that effective. And my experience with them in the past is that I get all of the side effects without any of the benefits. 

So, here I am, praying for healing. Praying for wisdom and direction in my life. And trying to wait patiently on the Lord. 

Sophie's Universe


It's done! I can hardly believe that I have finally finished Sophie's Universe, but I have. And the feeling is less jubilant and more relief. It's been a long haul and I'm good and tired of this afghan. I believe I started it in 2015 and it stalled several times since then, but it's no longer on my UFO list. It's been frustrating at times because I don't believe that I should have to change hook sizes or block my afghan to make it lie flat, as the instructions say. I think I did change from a 5.0 to a 5.5 sometime during the process and might have blocked it once or twice. But around round 87, I'd had enough and started adding stitches to keep it lying flat without blocking. And it worked. I added the final round of Betty's Beautiful Border (modified treble bobble, which I think should be called bent treble cluster) as my edging round, as I didn't like it with just the back post double crochet as the final round. Back post double crochet doesn't really lie flat on its own.

The afghan finished at approximately 76" square and weighs 5 lb. 9.1 oz. Yes, it's heavy! And I used a total of 14 different yarns in it. So it's the biggest, heaviest and most yarns used of any afghan I made to date. I think I'll put it on my queen-sized bed, so it can be viewed in all its glory. Especially since I don't currently have a quilt finished for that bed. 

And yes, you can see my tallest step ladder in the top picture. Grass may not make the smoothest surface on which to take a picture of an afghan, but I don't think I really have the floor space to spread it out inside, nor the ceiling height to get high enough to fit the whole afghan in the picture. 
I was planning on doing the Warm Up America Knit and Crochet Afghan next. It's going to be a gift for my daughter and I was hoping to finish it for her birthday next month. However, after ripping out the same block about 3 times, I decided to do something that my mental health can manage. Did you know that your mental health can affect your cognition (your thinking ability)? Well, it can. I'm still struggling with depression and anxiety and I know that my cognition is not as sharp as it should be. So, I've moved all of the yarn (13 different yarns) for the Variegated Moss Stitch afghan into my Rubbermaid yarn organizer and that will be my next project. 

Haven't seen my Rubbermaid yarn organizer yet? Well, here it is: 

It's just a Rubbermaid container that I've drilled holes into the lid. It's fantastic for projects that use multiple different yarns. Here's a picture of the label so you know which container I used. 
Really simple and really efficient!