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Anxiety

Find me in Artful Blogging

Anxiety, Interviews, Personal

When Artful Blogging contacted me about writing a piece for their magazine, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about and was really excited about being able to contribute.

Artful Blogging was new to me, but I loved the idea of writers and makers sharing how blogging has changed or impacted their lives.  Plus the format and photography included in it’s pages are just so beautiful… It’s really inspiring.

My blog has been not only a place to share my love of sewing and pretty underthings, but an open journal. As scary as it is sometimes to share our private thoughts, it can be so liberating, especially when you find out you are not alone.

In my article, I wrote about how I’ve found healing through my blog, specifically after my miscarriage, but I think a lot about how therapeutic sharing my mental health struggles have been. Just knowing I am not alone, and that in sharing my struggles, maybe I’ve encouraged one other person to seek help, is encouraging.

Every time someone reaches out to me to talk about their struggles with anxiety, depression, or experiences with loss, it really touches my heart – the fact that strangers are willing to open up or to lend a listening ear. It means a lot to me, and I am so grateful. I’m not grateful for some of the crappy experiences I’ve been through, but grateful for the kind and understanding words you all have extended towards me. The world isn’t such a scary place as it may seem. This is a mantra I keep trying to remind myself of!

If you would like to pick up the issue of Artful Blogging that I am featured in, you can do so here. I had a sneak peek at the pages and it truly is a beautiful publication.

 

It’s my birthday… sale.

Anxiety, Lingerie, Sales, Sewing Patterns

Happy birthday to me… happy birthday to me!

My birthday really snuck up on me this year. I guess that’s what happens when you get older. Sigh…

33 has been a pretty good year. Well actually, it was difficult. 33 was the year I got help for my anxiety ‘issue.’ It’s kind of funny, because I am ending out 33 doing not quite so well, but during this year I’ve learned so many things about how to maintain my sanity. Most importantly I learned that I don’t have to feel like something terrible is about to happen all of the time.

On the bright side, I sleep now! And I very rarely have nightmares. I did have a bout of sleep paralysis/wake-up screaming two nights ago, but as a whole, my sleep is much better. However, my bouts of nightmares really make me feel like a crazy person. There is no nice way to put it. They are terrifying and the feelings linger for days. Actually, when I think of it, a lot of my intrusive thoughts as well as my dreams leave me feeling like, “a good/normal person wouldn’t have these thoughts. There is something wrong with me.” It’s not a good feeling to have, on top of the effect of the imagery and content of my dreams and intrusive thoughts. I feel embarrassed sharing this, but I know there is probably at least one other person out there who feels the same way!

My physical health is much better. I’m running 10k on a regular basis and planning on training for 15! On the downside, I’m finding that my mental health maintenance is lacking… I’ve really let it slip and it’s showing. My body images has also been not so good – this is a thing I still don’t feel I have a good grasp on. But as a whole, I am doing much better.

Life is full of highs and lows and lots of stuff in between. It’s the “in between” times that I have a hard time with, and summer is always one of those times for me. Things drag along a little more slowly, which I should enjoy, but I thrive off of the adrenaline rush of being busy (or of crisis). I’m trying… really trying to be ok with life just chugging a long.

Anyway, enough about me…

I decided to celebrate, I’d have a sale, and it’s going to be my BIGGEST sale of the year. Take 20% off all lingerie & sewing patterns with the coupon code HappyBirthday 20. Offer expires Monday July 3 at midnight!

Shop Lingerie on Etsy

Shop Sewing Patterns on Etsy

Or, shop directly on my blog!

I thought this might be a good time for a sale since it’s a long weekend for many of us, with Canada Day and July 4th in the US. This is a great opportunity to pick up a couple sewing patterns and work through my new swimsuit tutorials *wink wink*

And YES! I ate that giant brownie.

Enjoy!

A silk kimono & my mental health

Anxiety, Design Diary, Personal

My bff is getting married at the end of the month! I can hardly believe how quickly the time has gone. I’m really looking forward to it. It will be Dan and my first night away together without Isabel! I can’t believe we haven’t had a night out in over two years, besides a dinner here or there. We’ve put Isabel to bed every… single… night.

I had fun sewing a little bridal lingerie for my Abbey. She requested the grey lace set (garterbelt not shown), but I wanted to make something pretty for over top. I fell in love with this silk cotton voile when I  came across it at my local fabric store. I just love the print and colour.

I actually used a pattern for this robe! It was Vogue 9218. Not much to say about it really. It was a very simple robe. I added a cotton lace tassel trim to the hem and sleeve.

I am excited but also nervous about our first night away. I’ve found that my anxiety/depression has really been creeping back in over the last month or so, and my mind goes to all of these terrible “what if” scenarios about leaving Isabel in the care of someone else.  Coming to the realization that I’m going to constantly be taking steps to prevent my brain from going to “that dark place” is rough… It took so much work to get out of that paralyzing anxiety I was feeling last spring. I’ve felt myself slipping into that spinning, out of control feeling, which really sucks. But I don’t feel paralyzed the way I did last time. My nightmares have been sneaking back in, but for the most part, I find I can get back to sleep again. Over the winter I wasn’t able to get out running, but I’ve picked it up again over the last couple of weeks. It helps. Talking helps. Writing helps.

I’ve had a couple of things happen recently that brought me back to earlier times in my life when things were not nearly so good or stable or safe. That definitely has shaken the mental stability I’ve built over the last year. I’m so proud of the life I have built and my beautiful brand and my amazing daughter, but it wasn’t always this way. I’ve had situations happen in my past where my safety was seriously threatened and I’m just coming to terms now with the impact that has had on my life. On one hand, these experiences have left me with the ability to feel deep empathy for others, which I think is a strength. But on the other hand, it can weigh you down with a lot of fear and sadness.

This is life! Not always good, not always bad. Sometimes it just chugs along. The good news is that when I feel myself slipping and spiralling downwards now I can notice it and start doing all of those things that I did before to help myself get out of the spiral.  I felt so silly in therapy sometimes. It feels like our thoughts and emotions should be something that comes naturally, but it’s not! Managing them takes practice… and for some of us it takes more work than others.

I wish we could talk about mental health the way we talk about other physical illnesses.  I feel so silly when I say “I have anxiety”. It doesn’t’ sound like a big deal, and until it started actually impacting my life, I didn’t think it was a big deal. I didn’t get why people couldn’t just deal with it. And then it happened to me… all of those experiences in my life combined with an over anxious mind paralyzed me. And now I feel on a constant cycle of checking my stability and taking active measures (along with daily medication) to maintain a sense of stability. I wish I could explain to people who have passed in and out of my life why I have been the way I have been at times…

Just a friendly reminder, if you are feeling overwhelmed by thoughts of anxiety or depression, please reach out for help. Your family doctor is a good place to start, but even talking to someone you can trust like a friend or family member helps!

Maker Style Interview and Mental Health Update

Anxiety, Interviews, Sewing Patterns

Any other podcast addicts out there?

I was really excited when I heard from Rachel at Maker Style a few weeks ago. Her podcast was new to me, but sounded right up my alley. I am absolutely honoured to be the first interview for her Bra Making Month. If you are into sewing, and particularly lingerie making, this series is going to be a must-listen.

You can listen to my interview HERE.

After doing my interview with Rachel those few weeks back, I realized how much my anxiety has improved. I feel like I’ve got a brand new start, but at the same time have this nagging sense of regret about the things I’ve missed out on because of my anxiety. I was able to speak to Rachel openly, and when we went our separate ways, I didn’t analyze every word I had said, second guessing my wording or phrasing and content. I can’t express to you how good this feels.

I’m still struggling with things – particularly fears about Isabel’s well being and my overall sense of self-worth, most notably being my body image. I think these are going to be things I struggle with forever. But, I’ve really found that saying my fears out loud (to people who are supportive) and being open with all of you here has helped (in addition to medication under the guidance of a supportive family physician, and therapist). The things that have changed the most for me are the fact that I now sleep. I have a sleepless night here or there, but not weeks straight of insomnia. I also can sit and play with Isabel, or sew, or watch tv without my brain spinning off uncontrollably in a million different directions.

I hate calling it anxiety. It sound so… stupid. Everyone has anxiety and it actually serves a helpful purpose. What I have is out of control, spinning, tornado fear-for-my-life catastrophic brain-chaos. I just don’t have a proper word for it. So, for now “anxiety” will have to do.

Non Lingerie Related Things I Love

Anxiety, Home, Personal

Jeez Louise… I keep saying “I will blog more. I will blog more.” Then I think about blogging and I seize. Blogging/writing is one of the things that anxiety has taken from me. I’m trying to reclaim it, but also trying to accept that it takes some baby steps. It’s funny, because on here I’ve always been somewhat of an open book. I believe in the power of sharing experiences, good or bad, but over the last two years, it’s become so hard. I’m not sure when or why it happened exactly but that nagging voice in the back of my head saying “no one cares. you can’t do it. you are a failure” started to take over. Ridiculous because rationally I look at what I have achieved and I am proud, but in my mind, nothing is ever good enough. There is not a point with my business where I feel I could look back and say “there. I’ve done good.” Or a point with my physical self where I could say “ok, I’m thin enough/fit enough/healthy enough.” Anxiety is not about rationality though. What a difficult thing to grapple with as someone who values evidence based thinking and rationality!

Needless to say I’ve been dealing with a lot over the last few months. Learning how to re-train my brain into more productive modes of thinking and dealing with some difficult things from the past has been rewarding and a huge challenge. On one hand I feel happy I am doing this. I want to be a good example for Isabel. Sometimes our thinking needs a facelift, and it’s ok to seek out help if you can’t do it on your own. I am a huge believer in continual self-improvement. On the other hand, it would be so much easier to stick with the status quo

Work has slowed down somewhat over the last few months, mostly because I haven’t been adding anything new or updating any of my shops. I plan to do so soon… when I’m ready.

Mostly I’ve been working on sewing that I want to do, fixing up our house, running, and trying to stay sane. I had a lot of work opportunities that fell through in the last 6 months which were hugely disappointing (including a book. PS If you are a publisher or literary agent, I want to write a book. Contact me!). I found I was wrapping myself up entirely in my work and the disappointments felt overwhelming because I didn’t have anything else going on. I think this happens a lot with our careers, it becomes our identity. So, I’ve been broadening my horizons again.

I ran my first 5k race! Here I am with pig-tails a-bouncing with my beautiful cousin Pam. She makes it look easy! It was really fun and I felt so accomplished once I passed the finish line! I remember Pam saying “Ok you can stop running now.” Ha! It was a very hilly route which was a challenge for me.

2016-09-24 | 2016 Muskoka Brewery 5k

I also have taken on a bunch of projects around the house, because fixing up this house is my dream. I re-pointed the fire place, I repaired a water damaged wall. I patched so much old plaster. I sanded. I painted. I worked my butt off.

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This room is going to become an office/sewing room. It is so bright and airy feeling now. I’m just saving up my pennies to put in a big long desk with lots of file storage. For now, it’s a great place to do yoga and store my plants. I currently have my sewing area set up in the basement, which is nice because there is lots of space, but lets face it, basements aren’t the nicest place to spend your time… at least not mine!

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This room was the scariest in the house because there had been water damage and we had to do some exterior repair in this area of the house too. It has been kind of a “make-do” project because eventually I would like to tear out this fireplace surround, but for now, I’m absolutely happy with the results and it is nice to have a big, bright living room to spend our time in. Previous to getting this room done, we had set up in a spare bedroom. Dan built and installed all of those floating shelves. The room still needs art, especially something big and impactful over the fireplace, but I’m not really sure what I want there yet.

I am loving this house because I have the space to display all of the things I love. I have lots of little knick knacks that remind me of this or that… things from our grandparents, things we have made, things we picked up at junk shops. Our house is filled with hand me downs and even random things picked up from the side of the road.  I love that.

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada. We had our first family get together yesterday at our house, and will be enjoying a turkey dinner with all of the fixings tonight. Isabel’s birthday is also coming up. I can’t believe she will be 2 already. And, of course Halloween is on it’s way which means I have costumes on the mind…

I really hope to spend more time on here. I spent a lot of time, energy, and money getting my new blog set up. Now I just have to start using it!