Today we had a dress-down day at work for Sport Relief. Though I’m not sure there’s really that much difference between my dressed-down and normal work outfits, to the casual observer…
I’m feeling very ambivalent about these boots at the moment. I’m not quite sure why, as they’re perfectly nice boots, though they’re a bit too warm to wear with handknitted socks in a warm office all day and by mid-afternoon I was wishing I could take them off as I would at home. I think they do tend to get a bit uncomfortable worn with wool socks for several hours at a stretch, so that might well be part of it. I don’t seem to have the same problem wearing my smart boots with tights all day, but I don’t know whether the difference is down to the boots or if handknitted socks are just too warm to wear inside boots indoors (which seems like it might well be possible). Or if I just really want to still be wearing Doc Martens outside work and these are just a bit too dull and conservative in style…
Posted in Outfits
Lady Heather shawl and heathery tweed skirt :-)
I keep wondering about sewing buttons on the shawl so I can wear it as a shrug or cardigan, but I am not very good at sewing on buttons, and I love it as a wrap anyway.
After last year, when we didn’t really have much in the way of spring, it’s lovely to have properly spring-like weather in March. It’s been really warm in the sunshine, and there are daffodils everywhere and trees starting to come into leaf and the ducks going completely mental on the canal (seriously. More mental than normal, and given ducks that’s pretty darn mental). So, in celebration, today I wore a dress covered in flowers and shoes instead of boots (also, I am really bored of boots now).
Though this spring-like weather does make my heart sink a bit as I contemplate the annual ordeal that is getting my legs from their hairy winter state (I think the last time I shaved them was probably the 11th of September, as I know that was the day we had the HMRC audit and I wore sheer tights) to something that will be socially acceptable without tights. This is not an easy process, and I always end up feeling like a bad feminist for having internalised socially-constructed standards of beauty to the extent that I can’t accept my own hairy legs. Although even if I didn’t mind how they looked (and maybe if I gave them a chance I wouldn’t) I work in an office and dress fairly smartly for work and I suspect that while not wearing makeup or high heels, or indeed going bare-legged in summer, don’t pose problems, bare-legged and unshaven might not be so easily accepted…
I don’t know if it’s the signs of spring everywhere, or the massive quantities of Vitamin D I’ve been taking for the last ten days, or just natural mood cycling, but I feel so much happier than I did just a few days ago.
It also struck me, as I was waking home along the canal this evening, listening to the birds singing and looking at the birds and the blossoms, that mindfulness, or something akin to mindfulness, is much easier when I’m feeling happy anyway. The world is full of beauty and wonder and I want to experience it as fully as I can; why would I ever want to lose myself in my own thoughts when there is just so much to occupy my attention? But when I’m feeling depressed, the world loses all its charms and feels cold and grey and unpleasant, and I’d rather hide away from it as much as possible, so I’m much further away from mindfulness. And while meditation is definitely calming, I’m not sure which is the chicken and which is the egg when it comes to the relationship between mindfulness and depression.
One of the first things I remember reading which really seemed to me to describe the way I experienced depression (which I didn’t know was depression at the time, because it was the 1980s and depression wasn’t something people talked about, or at least not the people I knew) was Diana Wynne Jones’s Fire and Hemlock, which talks about the heroine feeling a “jet of misery” inside her. I’m sure the sense of recognition I felt at that is a huge part of why Fire and Hemlock is my favourite of Diana Wynne Jones’s books and a comfort read I go back to again and again.
It’s funny how often emotions seem to be reflected in the stomach. Butterflies for anxiety, obviously, and for the last few weeks I haven’t so much had a jet of misery as a cold hard lump of ice settled just below my solar plexus. And happiness has its physical component, too: a kind of bubbling, fizzing sensation. It’s not one I’ve felt very often over the last few months, but walking home this evening, in the sunshine of what really felt like a spring afternoon (even though it was still chillier than the number of people in cropped trousers might have made you think), having had an OK day at work and just got off the phone to T, for a few minutes it felt as though the iceberg of depression had melted and the spring of happiness was bubbling through again.
I’ve never thought I could wear yellow, but this goldy/mustardy/saffron shade seems to be just fine. And so cheerful!
(There will be proper pictures of the shawl at the weekend, but I couldn’t resist wearing it today.)
I don’t want to tempt Fate, but even though getting up, showering and putting clothes on still felt like a huge effort this morning once I was dressed and at work I definitely felt more comfortable in my own skin than I have for several weeks.
I could tell I was feeling a bit better last night because I am trying to keep up the mindfulness practice, even though the course wasn’t as inspiring as I would have hoped (and there were some things which I felt were uncomfortably victim-blamey, like being told that “people’s attitude to stress is what determines their reaction to it” and “people who make time for nurturing activities get less depressed”, which seemed to me to come awfully close to “if you’re stressed or depressed, it’s because you have the wrong attitude”), because the meditation does seem to have a calming effect, and after several days of finding it really hard to concentrate last night it was suddenly much easier to quieten my mind down. And today, while I’m still definitely depressed, it’s been more of a dull ache than the unbearable pain of the last few weeks. Hopefully that’s a good sign.
Another good sign is the fact that I’m starting to have random crafty thoughts again. Walking to work this morning I was thinking about what I might spin for the Stitched Together Spin-Along, and last night I was considering puffin fabric and thinking about making a puffin skirt. Which I think has to be done, but which print should I choose, and which fabric should I go for?
I’m glad it’s Friday.
After a couple of busy weekends, with Unravel and the video workshop, it’s nice to have a completely free couple of days ahead. I am looking forward to being able to sleep as late as I like both days, spend time knitting and spinning, and pay a visit to Purlescence‘s open day tomorrow and squish some nice yarn (I am very tempted to splurge on Sweet Georgia yarn for their Lush cardigan knitalong, even though I really don’t need another cardigan’s worth of yarn – I’m wondering about Oxblood, or maybe Raspberry). And hopefully I’ll feel much better for a proper rest.
I’m getting bored of boots (though strangely, much more bored of my chunky casual boots than I am of my smart work boots) so I thought I’d wear shoes today for a change.
In today’s mental health update, I have now come out to the other members of the project team I’m working in as having depression (as opposed to coming out about being bisexual, or a recovering alcoholic. How did I end up in so many closets? Is it life having the last laugh in return for my childhood tendency to wander into wardrobes in search of Narnia?), which seemed to go OK. And I have now managed two work days in a row without bursting into tears, which is twice as many days as I managed at all last week, consecutive or not. I’m still depressed, obviously, but maybe the worst of the current crisis is behind me now.
Yesterday’s post was pretty gloomy, so I wanted to reassure you all that while I am very tired of living with depression this acute, and I really do feel as though my brain is trying to talk me into killing myself, I’m not actively suicidal and I’m sure I’ll weather this episode just as I have in the past. It’s just a really hard slog this time.
But look! It was this light at twenty to seven this morning! And the sky was fabulous.
Today hasn’t been an easy day, but I had a good meeting with my boss and talked about how I was feeling and what we might be able to do to help me at work (the result of which is that I’ve agreed that I’ll tell the rest of the project team about my depression and that I might be a bit oversensitive to things, and that that’s OK and if I get upset about things they should just give me a few minutes to pull myself together and not treat me with kid gloves. Which means tomorrow will be a little difficult too, but hopefully it will help in the long run), and I managed not to burst into tears at all (well, I was a bit teary in the meeting with my boss but not full-on tears), and then I went to knit night and had a really nice time, and it wasn’t too bad at all. I think I’ve still got a way to go before the effect of spring really kicks in (though I have bought some high-strength Vitamin D to see if that helps) and my mood is still very low, but I’ve made it through before and I’m sure I can do it again. In the words of Winston Churchill (who managed to win a war despite suffering from depression himself) I just need to keep buggering on.