Saturday, May 14, 2022

Blessings

So, it's been a while since I posted. Life has been rather strange and challenging for all of us for the past two years, and now, as some things are returning to "normal" (whatever the heck that means), many of us are finding ourselves anxious, depressed, confused, wrong-footed, or at the very least, out of sorts. 

While I have been spared the tragedy of losing close friends or family to COVID-19, I admit to feeling more anxious and depressed than I should. In fact, I have had several panic attacks in the past two months and found myself at the doctor's office 12 hours after the first one seeking help. The doctor was incredibly kind, patient, and helpful, and as I sat waiting for my prescription, I thanked God for the resources I have available to deal with this crisis. 

You see, I've referred about twenty students to counseling in the past two years...even walked a few over to the counseling center at the college where I work. I've filed behavior intervention reports for students whose mental health status scared me for them. At church, I've volunteered as a Stephen Minister 12 years) and Stephen Leader (8 years), connecting hurting people with people who can help them. I've taught the Crisis Theory training module to Stephen Ministry students, so I know how to assess my toolbox for the right tools to handle my personal crises, and I know how to quickly identify when I don't have the tools and need to ask for help. 

And I know how to get help. I did it. No fuss, no difficulty. If that doesn't reflect my privilege, I don't know what else could. 

Many people think, because society tells us so, that we are supposed to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and deal with things on our own, that asking for help is a sign of weakness, proof that we can't handle ourselves well. 

That's bullshit thinking, and it needs to stop.

I've been back in therapy with a cognitive behavioral specialist for over a year because sleeplessness (caused by hormones--thank you, Mother Nature) was making me feel crazy in a world already crazy from political polarization and pandemic. I'd done well, eventually got on hormone replacement therapy, and was only meeting with my therapist once every 2-3 weeks. I was about to tell her we could stop meeting when the panic attack happened. 

We're now meeting every. single. week. 

And it's helping. 

So is the prescription.

I'm putting this out there for you because we need to have public discussion of how to help ourselves and each other through these crazy times of one freaking crisis after another. We need to recognize when our toolbox needs new tools to deal with new problems and when we need training on how to use those new tools. We need to know how to ask for help and how to get it. 

We need to normalize that process of crisis management for all ages and all races and all orientations and all religions and all political parties and all genders. For all humans. Especially right now. 

If you're struggling and feel alone and lost and in need, reach out for help. Be careful. Don't reach out to just anybody; choose a sensible pastor, a Stephen Minister, a therapist, a doctor, a good and supportive friend. Someone you can trust. I'm blessed with an abundance of those types of people, and if you're not, don't let that stop you. Ask for help. Persist. 

One thing my therapist has encouraged is stamping. Being creative, making things even if nobody cares, is therapeutic. If you're reading this blog, you already have and use this tool. I've made a few cards this year, but mostly now when I sit down to create, I dither and make trash. Not even pretty trash. 

This was one of the exceptions. Inspired by Pauline's Papier, I made several cards not nearly as pretty as this one, which evolved from the others. 


The process of evolving a card design can be extremely satisfying...when my head is in the right place. When it's not, I have to look in my toolbox and see what I can do to solve the problem. In the past, reorganizing supplies has been extremely helpful. Choosing a particular technique or supply to use and just playing with it sometimes helps. 

What tools do you use when you're in a creative funk? I'd love some new ideas. 

And remember. Don't go this alone. You can't pull yourself up by your bootstraps if someone stole your boots. And there are plenty of boot-stealing crises out there right now. A lot of us are shoeless. Ask for help until you get it. 

Mercy, grace, peace, and love,

Susan

18 comments:

  1. Well said Susan. Be proud of yourself for this post. It's a powerful testament to self care. One that I and many others need to hear. Thank you. And I love your card. Creating is a blessing.

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  2. This blog post is really a blessing. My family had a very difficult 2021 and I barely was able to concentrate to make any cards. I was too busy fighting fires. Even though I have always dealt with massive amounts of stress really well, I realized this winter I wasn’t dealing anymore. I decided to take my health and mental health more seriously, and as I am taking care of those things I am starting to feel better. I also think almost everyone I know is taking medications for their mental health. Although I could get myself to craft every now and then, something clicked a few weeks ago and I have been crafting like crazy. I did clean my desk and gave away a pile of stamps to someone for free in my local Buy Nothing group. And I found tons of unfinished projects and feel motivated to finish them and donate a lot of cards.

    Your card is really pretty! I love the sweet eggs in springtime.

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  3. good for you to seek out help. between teaching and church, you have been the giver. glad you are on the receiving end of help and hope you can find continued improvement.

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  4. oh and love that sweet card

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  5. You are a blessing to so many.

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  6. I was just thinking of you last week and wondering if I was missing any communication from you. So checked your website/blog and nope. Nada. Figured something was amiss, but not my place to ask. And here you are with a lengthy and most interesting post...and a gorgeous card! Thank you for sharing all that you did...and welcome back! We've missed you. Cardmaking has been very therapeutic with the ups and downs of adult children, the loss of my husband and now just coping with single life AND the returning home of adult daughter who is making a career change in her 40's. Talk about readjusting my home life yet again....very challenging. My craft room is my happy place and disappear there often. I sometimes need a new toy to play with to encourage me...this time it's the Glimmer Foiling system. Swore I'd never buy into this, but here I am! New stuff to learn and buy and results are quite amazing! Still in the learning stages...but it is energizing!

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  7. Good morning Susan - Hope you see this. I, Joann Carlson, will be moving soon. Believe so! I had my offer accepted in a community in Arizona. Waiting for the community approval now. Anyway, my email address is still jdarlene@gmail.com - I am thinking you also moved since I had your mailing address. Through my losses, the Stephen Ministries booklets have been very helpful. These have been crazy times for sure. For all of us! Thank you for your email today. You are a blessing and I loved seeing your card. Happy you are making some again. Packing the craft room has been crazy. I look forward to being able to put my new craft area together. It is going to be the dining room, I believe. To be determined. It is just me so I can do that! Blessings! Joann

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  8. Thank you for your post. Wishing you well and I've missed you. P.S. love your card!

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  9. Thank you Susan for your honest and educating words. So much wisdom and direction for us. You have a gift of words even in difficult times. (I have already forwarded your post to 2 friends.)
    I have missed you ... both your cards and words. I find when in a creative funk, to get some inspiration by one of these places:
    a) from my Pinterest boards - either just CASe a card to get started, or use an idea, technique that took my interest,
    b) take out one stamp set (normally a new one as I have too many NBUS!!) and find the ideas that made me buy that set in the first place
    c) think of a person who will be the recipient of the card ... and think about what they would like.

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  10. Excellent post! Thank you for sharing. You are right that it's important to share this to normalize mental health needs. Best wishes!

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  11. You have been missed! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, feelings and creativity. You somehow come up with the most perfect words to describe the world, yourself and also touch my heart. You have excellent timing as May is mental health awareness month. Depression/suicide runs in my family, so asking for help and developing tools for self care are so important. Creating is one of those tools I've found to be helpful as well. When I don't want to or don't feel creative, I sometimes just do something repetitive, such as coloring, die cutting or doodling. Love and Prayers to you.

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  12. So happy to see Simplicity in my inbox. Love your card, but more importantly, thank you for addressing so eloquently, a subject on the minds of so many of us. Asking for help is hard, especially when our needs often pale by comparison. When first "meeting" almost 6 years ago, your caring response to my sadness was momentous. You helped immeasurably and here you today, doing the same for many others. Bless you for your kindness.

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  13. I was just thinking about you the other day! And then was SO happy to see your email in my inbox. Loved your post and your card (as always!).We have missed you. Thank you for sharing with us. It's definitely been a rough 2 years for so many for so many reasons. Take care and hope to see Simplicity pop up in my email again soon!

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  14. Thank you for sharing your cards and your feelings. It is so appreciated.

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  15. Thank you for your wonderful message and beautiful card. You have been missed.

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Thank you so much for taking time to comment!