Light at the end of a very dark tunnel

This is a post I wrote in June 2013 but then didn’t publish, as I thought it was a bit too personal. But what the heck, as the boyfriend also gave permission for me to talk about him, and it explains why I had disappeared for the first half of last year.

jar of joy Well its just as well I didn’t make a new years resolution to blog every week as I would have failed miserably. And miserable is the right word as even my “jar full of joy” is pretty much empty. I’ve spent the first half of the year in various degrees of torment, so I haven’t been crafting since the end of 2012. Every time I try to make crafts my mind goes completely blank, I can’t think straight and my hands shake so much, I can’t cut the tin properly, so I’d give up. And with the blog its hard enough thinking of what to write at the best of times.

tessella designs tin hearts

The reason for this is the fallout from spending so much time and energy over the last few years dealing with the ups and downs of my boyfriends depression, and when it came back last Dec with a vengeance, I was so stressed I ended up making myself ill. After having been through the heartbreak of splitting up twice already in the previous 2 years and getting back together again I believed things would change, and we would be able to deal with it together, but he started withdrawing from me again and the Dec and Jan were just horrendous. I was so worried about his state of mind but, but felt so utterly, utterly useless as I couldn’t seem to help, nothing I would say would make a difference.

jupiter artland 1

He kept pushing me away, cancelling our plans at the last-minute, and blaming me for the way he felt. I was constantly trying to appease him, all the while feeling totally dejected and I turned into a nervous wreck, not able to function properly, and I was so scared of losing him, I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat properly, and struggled to get through each day. I felt like I’d done 4 rounds in a wrestling ring; every single muscle of my body ached constantly and I couldn’t stop crying.

He never noticed the effect it was having on me, I put on a brave face on when I did see him as I didn’t want him to feel worse, but he never, ever asked how I was or how was I coping, he was just so caught up in his own depressive world.

jupiterartland

I started to go to therapy to help me cope and get some support myself, but unfortunately he ended our relationship again in Feb, and I then I went through a period where absolutely nothing seemed to make sense anymore. I’d been so caught up with him and his feelings and emotions, I’d not paid attention to any of mine. I’d forgotten who I was, the constant to-ing and fro-ing had deleted all of my self-confidence and self-esteem.

I knew then what he meant when he said he no longer wanted to exist; that’s how I felt every morning when I got up. I wanted to hide away from the world, I wanted to ground to open up and swallow me so I could just disappear, or to just not wake up in the morning so I wouldn’t have to face another day. I’d been feeling lost, completely and utterly lost. It was like I didn’t know who I was anymore, or what I wanted to do or even what I was actually capable of.

Although this time he said the split is for good, I told him I would wait for him to get better, as I always have done, and although he kept it quiet I knew he had started dating and that broke my heart even more.

hearts that bleed

I tried to get back into making stuff but was failing miserably. I wanted to set fire to my craft room, in fact set fire to the whole house. I had let down a customers too by not being able to complete an order, and the guilt from that added to my stress, so any time I tried to make something, I would break out in a cold sweat, and seemed to lose the ability to control my work tools.

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I did book onto a weekend mosaic course in March as I loved to do mosaics years ago, thinking it would inspire me and break the pattern, and the course was great, but again, my fingers didn’t seem to work properly and were shaking so badly whilst trying to place the mosaics in the cement. Even though, I was proud of what I accomplished in the two days. It didn’t help with the crafting though.  

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In the need to do something, I upped my walking and climbing instead; I went walking at lunchtime through the woods to visit the local sheep.

pink sheep

I walked up Arthur’s Seat in the evenings, and out on the local hills at the weekends, then there was climbing indoors at the local wall and winter climbing on snow and ice. 

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I even braved up for a caving trip underground in Yorkshire.

caving in yorkshire

 I headed out to the local crags and down to Wales for some scrambling fun and even more climbing.

scrambling wales

walesclimbing

As you’ve probably figured out, I love climbing. It’s like my own personal therapy. When I climb I don’t have to think about anything else, just concentrate on the movements, and on the next handhold and foot placement, where I can rest, how to keep my balance, how to make the next move. 

forcan ridge

Then starting to feel the burn in my pumped forearms and the pain in my fingers as they start to peel off a tiny hold, the fear of falling rushing through me, the panic and the trembling, then overcoming that fear and moving on again, the feeling of relief when I reach the top; it all just makes me feel so much better, so much alive, which is a whole lot better than feeling dead.

skye cioch

Then I went up climbing to Skye at the start of June, followed by a camping trip on my own in North West Scotland, and I started feeling a whole lot better. 

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It was liberating to fend for myself and travel from place to place, walking and exploring on my own, meeting new people on the hills and in the pubs, and just generally being among my most favorite scenery in Scotland.

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stacpolly

I actually started to feel human again, remembering who I was and what I loved. I started to feel happy again 🙂

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And like I knew we would, Jason and I have started getting closer again. When I went to see him at the start of June, he told me he was finding it hard moving on, and we’ve been chatting by text almost every day, and making some plans to go climbing together. He’s signed up for therapy himself to deal with his depression, so that’s a step forward in the right direction. Whatever happens there though, I feel like I’m in a lot better place to deal with him now, and hope we can salvage our friendship.

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Jar full of Joy

It’s almost the end of the 1st week in 2013, and its time I started to look ahead to this new year. I’d thought about making new years resolutions such as “I’ll write a blog post every single week” or “I’ll be more tidier in my home” or  “I’ll stop procrastinating so much and actually make that great product that’s been in my head for so long”  but I know full well that at the end of the year I might be a wee bit disappointed in myself for not quite keeping to my resolutions.

Instead I’ve decided to start my own Jar full of Joy.  I saw a post on Facebook page Buttonsy Jewellery suggesting that we write down on a piece of paper every time something nice or joyful happens and pop the paper into a jar, then at the end of the year open the jar and be reminded of all the happy moments that we have had during the year.

photo of a mason jar full of slips of paper with a good memory on each oneAs this last year was not that great for me its all to easy to focus on the painful and stressful times when you look back, as they seem to stick in your mind more (or maybe that’s just me!) There were probably a lot more happy moments as well but sometimes It is a bit more difficult remembering them.

Upcycled Mason jars decorated with sheet music

So join in and get your self a big jar, decorate it with music sheets, or lace and beads, or wrap in twine or raffia to make it pretty.

mason jar decorated with sheet music and a flower

And each day write down on a small piece of paper any good things that have happened that day, and all the little moments that make you smile or happy, such as listening to the birds singing in the trees, a stranger being kind to you, the sun shining from a bright blue sky, laughing with friends, etc. (You get the idea.) Roll or fold the paper up and pop it in the jar, and at the end of the year, open up your Jar of Joy and read all the little moments of happiness that made your year fabulous.

photo mix of upcycled hand decorated mason jars

upcycled mason jars

Images courtesy of; Airth & Olson on Etsy, Elle & Blair, Promo channel, I heart nap time, brown dress with white dots on tumblr, a spotted pony, Airth & Olson on Etsy, Vintage chic girls on Etsy, and Oh lovely day.

My own version is a huge glass vase, which I have yet to decorate, but I’m writing on a spiral cut paper that I’m going to make into a paper rose, so I’ll have a jarful of joyful roses at the end of the year, which I can then make into a paper rose wreath.

photo of papercraft; red paper roses

Happy New Year

First foot of the new year

First foot

I’m still awaiting my first foot of the new year. Traditionally it should be a tall dark handsome man bearing a lump of coal for good luck, shortbread and a wee dram o’ whisky (the best part for me). I wonder if the luck diminishes if its a few days after New Year….I hope not 🙂

Happy New Year to you all anyway, and all the best for 2013!

Winner

And the winner of the Robin Plaque is Jenni.

Congratulations Jenni 🙂  xx

Thanks for all your comments, they made me laugh and smile.

And for the record my best ever Xmas present was a sewing machine my parents got me as a teenager. It started off as the worst as I could not understand why on earth they would buy me it, but that soon changed once I started using it 🙂

Northern Highland trip

Ahh well, back to the day job today after my hols and a fabulous 6 days exploring the hills and coasts in the far north of Scotland.  

On our first day, a “short” 4 hour drive from Edinburgh to just past Ullapool took us to a fabulous wee mountain that has been on my to-do list for a long, long time: Stac Pollaidh.

photo of Stac pollaidh mountain

Stac Pollaidh  “peak of the peat moss”

The eroded Torridonian sandstone is a scrambler’s heaven, full of rocky ridges, shattered buttresses and ledges and steep gullies full of decaying stone pinnacles. We had great fun scrambling along the rocky crest and a few hairy scary moments down-climbing the vertical rock from the true summit. Where’s my rope and harness when I need it? For a tiny wee mountain it deserves huge respect and I’ll definitely be back.

images of the rocky pinnacles on stac pollaidh

Scramblers heaven on Stac Pollaidh

The next day we conquered the 3 corbetts of Quinag. Its a mountain range in miniature with a lot of character, and sure did make us work hard for every summit. Up and down like a yo-yo, between the 3 summits and many minor tops. I had only ever the intention of heading up one of the summits but his-nibs was determined to drag me up and down every single last one. But the stunning views towards the lochs and mountains of Assynt and Coigach were well worth it and made us feel hard as nails as we were the only ones that day to do all the summits 🙂

four photos showing Quinag and Ardvreck castle

Ridges of Quinag and Ardvreck castle

We then left Ullapool and headed to Durness, the most north-west village in Scotland. We were disappointed that we couldn’t travel over to Cape Wrath as we watched artillery shells being fired at it by the military from across the loch at Faraid Head. We had a wander round the beautiful coast and beaches instead, and a visit to Smoo Cave to see a fantastic underground waterfall.

image of sea stacks just off Faraid Head

Amazing rocks just off Faraid Head

photograph of silhouette of a person walking along the beach with sunset behind

Fabulous sunset at Faraid Head beach

Photo of underground waterfall in Smoo Cave

Smoo Cave

 

The next day after a breakfast of scrummy porridge drowned in whisky (well we are Scottish!) we headed down to Sandwood Bay.  A 4 mile long walk in through bleak peatland with no views of the coast at all and loads of “are we there yet, are we there yet?”

Then we reached a wee rise in the land and were suddenly hit by the roar of the crashing waves and the stunning view of Sandwood loch and the rugged cliffs towards Cape Wrath.

His-nibs went running down through the sand dunes towards the beach leaving me behind. Maybe he was scared of the sailors’ ghost that haunts the ruined cottage by knocking on the windows ;). I took a more leisurely stroll, stopping occasionally to blether to the munching sheep.

Emerging from the last sand dune I can see why its named as the most beautiful beach in the UK. A mile or so of gorgeous sand backed by the dunes and machair, with a fantastic view south to the Torridonian sandstone cliffs and sea stack “Am Buichaille”, and to the north amazing outcrops of Lewisian gneiss, perfect for scrambling all over.

Four photos of sandwood bay showing the beach, cliffs and sea stack.

Sandwood Bay

We spent a good few hours on the beach, climbing on the rocks, playing ball with a buoy, freezing my toes off by paddling across the river, and collecting loads of shells and perfectly round sea worn pebbles, then a walk along the cliff-top to the sea stack, before heading back to Durness.

The last couple days were spent bagging the most Northernly Munro; Ben Hope, a good few drinks with some friends in Thurso, and then a lazy hung-over afternoon scrambling along the rocks and cliffs at Portskerra, before the long drive home.

photo of a waterfall on the way up Ben Hope

Next to the path on the way up Ben Hope were these lovely waterfalls

photo from the summit of Ben Hope showing the view towards Ben Loyal

View towards Ben Loyal from the summit of Ben Hope

image of the peeling paint of a ruined boat in thurso "the charlotte elizabeth"

Beautiful texture and colour on the rotting hulk of the “Charlotte Elizabeth”, near Thurso harbour. She was the first motor-powered lifeboat launched in Scotland.

Back in the city it feels like a completely different world, I’m quite sad for being home and back to reality, but quite excited about the prospect of heading north again. So many things to see and do in My beautiful Scotland.

What colour are they?

Well, Rory, I’d say how about a purple one?

Image of a Dalek made out of recycled tin

Or even a red one?

Image of a dalek made out of recycled tin

We may even come across more colours soon 🙂

These may look quite cute now, but I was so terrified of the Daleks when I was a wee girl, when it was the great Tom Baker as The Doctor with his fabulous long scarf and canine companion K-9.  Back then I was probably too young to realise that these evil Dalek machines on the t.v weren’t real.

I vividly remember this trip to Blackpool when I was about 5 or 6 and my  parents took my brother and I to see the Doctor Who exhibition. Or they tried to….we didn’t get very far.

As we went into the police box Tardis on street level I could feel the excitement bubbling inside me…oooh a real live time machine!  But as we started walking down the long stairs to the underground exhibition, and I could see down ahead of me a Dalek on a landing next to the stairs this overwhelming fear took over. I just knew in my tiny wee mind that if we went any further there was a BIG possibility that we would all be eggs terminated.

I must have screamed and screamed as mum tried to coax me down, insisting it wasn’t real. But I’d seen what these mutant robots can do with their singular eye, mind searching sink plunger and death ray gun. So I screamed and screamed more and more, completely hysterical, ignoring the fact that Daleks couldn’t climb stairs so how did it get there??  Mum and Dad didn’t really have a choice but to turn tail and run back up the stairs with us, and in doing so escaping certain death. I just hope they got their money back!

And I’m still terrified of them; I was the only one last Saturday hiding behind a cushion, yelling at the screen “what are you doing Rory? DON’T TOUCH THE DALEKS”