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It's Almost Christmas




It's hard to believe I've been absent from the forums for the past few months. I'm still hosting M & W chat in the afternoons. I enjoy giving time here at Strokenetwork. I have just needed a break. It's been a little long

longer than I expected and may not be finished yet. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) has been really tough this year, unfortunately. A few med changes and hopefully soon starting light therapy. I've been keeping to myself but also keeping busy with crafts and DIY stuff for Christmas. I haven't decorated for Christmas in a long while but this year I bought a tree. I have made 75% of the ornaments and more like 85% of other decor. Kitty and I are enjoying the evening ambiance of warm Christmas lights. I was not too sure how she would respond. The last tree I remember having before my stroke, Kitty climbed knocking it over and breaking the stand. This time she gently grazes against the lowest hanging ornaments and lays under the lit tree...napping. She has also enjoyed playing with DIY toys made from bells, ribbon, beads and even an odd pink ball left from past ornaments (mine are shatter proof). 


NOTE: Stopped and started again. Just couldn't finish it.


Today is the 12th...halfway to Christmas. I'm going to use this post to be real, talk with myself and hopefully have some clarity. For the pastn

 month depression has fallen over me. I just haven't felt well in many ways. Nothing has happened. There is no circumstance or catalyst save the time change which affects more than I ever realize each year. I ask myself "Why?". So I am going to explore that. 1...it's the holidays. 2...it's winter and time has changed. 3...my sleep is so unpredictable. 4...My meds have had some changes. 5...I'm tired physically and emotionally. 6...I feel lonely. 7...Motivation is very much lacking. 8...It's hard to know my focus right now. 9...Everything outside looks gray. 10...I'm socializing less (last month and since September I have been spending time with another stroke survivor {guy} I have pulled away and he is not asking me to dinner anymore. 11...Human contact is at a low. 12...This is the 1st Christmas without my dad and the 2nd without my brother. 13...I am really not improving on keeping my budget. 14...I just feel so unsure, about everything at the moment.


OK I'm sure I didn't figure out every thing getting to me but it's a start. I don't feel any one thing any more than the other and I know it is chemical. I have no reason to feel "depressed" I just am. I've come to accept this understanding that this happens to me kinda like a roller coaster...up and down. (Not too up though...maybe I should say positive and negative). So let it run its course, do what I can to weather it the best way I can, keep my Psychiatrist informed, and not beat myself up. My therapist says "I think you need to give yourself a break. You don't have to analyze it.". In the mean time I am trying to keep myself busy and to find things that feel good around me. 


This is the first year I have truly decorated for Christmas since my stroke. So, there is definitely that. The right direction. I have spent the last month crafting and doing DIY projects to make ornaments, decor and to do so without breaking the bank lol. I first decided my theme/inspiration...black and red buffalo check. So I did do some shopping but I have been careful to be conscious of how I spend. I did invest in a tree. I pulled all my old Christmas decor out and tried to fashion my crafts using these. So I bought 3 yards of 3 different material patterns: re/black buffalo check, white/blue with gold thin lines buffalo check and grey/white plaid. I cut each yard into even sqaures big enough to cover my former baubles. I think I had 12-14 of each design. I found old picture frames I had stored and made a plan to paint them and an idea to add decor/art. Picked out ribbon (red/black buffalo check) and a wider burlap ribbone. Bought some dollar store items: wood signs HoHoHo and Believe, some really pretty ornaments (about 10-14 of them)--metal stars, metal snowflakes, metal Christmas signs, clear ornaments with a sprig of evergreen and artificial snow (little balls) and a beautiful winter/Christmas scene made out of irridescent glitter around it, 3 fairy light strings, two types of burlap string black and natural, a few gift bags with nice Christmas designs I could cut out and use, a pack of Christmas wall stickers, a pack of red felt stockings and green trees, 2 red/black buffalo check scarfs, small clear plastic throw away containers with lids, 2 spools of 2 inch holiday ribbon that would coordinate, holiday floral picks, florist tape, florist wire, 2 mini Christmas trees, red and black paper poof banners, 2 calendars with neat farmhouse pics, magnetic tape, puffy sticky tape, a silicone scraper, fingertip covers (for hot glue use), tongue depressors and craft sticks, large yarn needles, pack of paint pouncers, 2 inch burlap ribbon, 4 sheets of black felt, a glittered Merry Christmas sign, green tree wire ties ( they look like Christmas tree limbs), 3 packs of  white dusters (like swiffer dusters that you slide on a handle) and i'm pretty sure a few more things. All of them were $1 each! At Hobby Lobby I got the large roll of wide buffalo check ribbon, silver ting ting stem pack, white shimmer/sparkly picks (like a boquet of flexible decorated sticks), a buffalo check table runner and 2 placemats, modge podge, acrylic craft paint, irridescent glitter, craft glue, several scrapbook paper sheets with coordinating designs, and a few more things. I also picked up a new glue gun (mine is no where to be found), glue sticks, craft paint brush set, a couple of stencils, a fluffy red blanket and perfect size black framed art pic from Goodwill. I got to work...cutting, glueing, painting, glittering, crafting and coming up with lots of ideas. I put some pictures in thr photo gallery. I am proud of myself and it'sbeginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here.


My thoughts are scattered, confusing. It has affected my speech and thought process...more anomic aphasia and very choppy communication. Heck it's like i can't get a whole sentence out or stay on one subject or get my thoughts out completly. Frustrating. A few days of teary eye blues. Sensitive. A lot of sensory overstimulation. A very exxagerated startle reflex. Headache. Nausea and dizziness. Over sleeping and under sleeping. Stuttering. Increased anxiety and panic attacks. Getting behind sometimes on chores. More vision problems at night. I spend more and more time alone and speak a lot less. Avoiding people. What can I say i'm just in a funk. 


At this point I dont even know what my desire is for this post lol. To me it is just scrambled. Regardless, I feel so lucky and grateful to be here. I am working on being in the now...mindfullness. I feel like I am getting better and better at this. At any one moment I have a flurry of feelings and I know they are there. Allowing each feeling to be and not avoid, try to change or justify them. Just let myself feel, recognize and accept. Some feel good, some feel bad but I try to let each experience be ok to feel. Quiet my mind...remove rumination...let it wash over me and then be open for the next wave good or bad. Haha I'm so philisophical sometimes.


I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday. Thank you for letting me babble and be in the moment. Many hugs and much love!







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Wow Tracy! I admire your ability to write so well. I am in a real funk this winter too, and I wish I was able to be more creative to help me through it as you are doing. Kudos to you for putting one foot in front of the other and continuing forward.  Your decorations sound lovely. Merry Christmas! One more week and the days start to get longer again !!!

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I have the feelings you are having but in June/July when I am going through the short dark days of winter. I keep a whole lot of craft to do, books to read, decluttering jobs to do for that period and use the phone or computer to connect to people if it is too cold or wet to go out. There is no way of avoiding the winter blues so you just have to go back to living one day at a time. I need people around me  and that is a problem. So sorry you are missing your loved ones, as a widow I know that feeling too. (((hugs))).

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