I give up

I can’t do this anymore. I’m exhausted all the time. I’m in pain all the time. I’m lucky when it’s only mild pain. More often it’s severe pain. I’m sometimes happy, but I always return to being depressed. But what’s really doing me in is my increasing inability to concentrate. I just can’t do it.

I’ve known for years that I had depression, anxiety, migraine, asthma, and anemia. When I was diagnosed last year with fibromyalgia, it made perfect sense. I’m pretty sure I’ve had it since childhood.

But I’ve realized in the last few years that I’m also autistic and have ADHD.

When I was a kid, they didn’t think girls could even be autistic or have ADHD. (Yeah, that’s what happens when you list only the symptoms of boys who have it and say “these are the criteria.” Kind of like when they write cardiology textbooks and only describe heart attacks in men, and then a woman goes to the hospital having a heart attack and they say, “You’re not having the textbook symptoms of a heart attack, therefore you’re not having one. Go home,” and she goes home and she dies.)

I’m realizing now how much autism and ADHD have affected my inability to make a living. I have tried. I have really, really tried. But there are so many things one needs to do to make a business really work that my brain just cannot do.

And getting a job somewhere is just something I don’t have the energy to do anymore. I get really tired. And executive dysfunction and inability to concentrate are big problems in pretty much any job.

I’m in the beginning stages of applying for disability.

I am not going to be making jewelry anymore. I just can’t do it anymore. I started selling off some of my beads in another etsy shop I opened a few weeks ago, TreetownBeads.etsy.com (yeah, I forgot to tell you about that. Told you my brain wasn’t working). I’ve been adding things pretty slowly (because I have no energy), so let me know if there’s something you’re looking for.

I took down the listings for custom spinning. Realistically, I am not going to have the energy to deal with carding someone’s fiber, so yeah…no. And I am not going to take any custom orders for jewelry. I still have a few pieces of jewelry that came back from a gallery that I haven’t had the energy to photograph and list yet (are you seeing a pattern here?), but I will not be making any new pieces. If you want to buy any of my jewelry, ever, well, it’s now or never.

I still have a ton of my mom’s jewelry to list. I think I’m going to start putting some things up in lots rather than individual items. When I have the energy.

Meet Lily

I adopted a cat. Meet Lily.

Lily on the stairs

She was a TNR cat who’s been living in the neighborhood for about four years. I started feeding her a few weeks ago to try to get her used to me, and she started coming up on my porch and leaning on my door. We made eye contact and meowed back and forth, so it was obvious that she was socialized, not feral.

My neighbor helped me catch her. She’s still adapting to this weird living inside thing. (Lily, not my neighbor.)

She has a vet appointment in a few days to get a check up, shots, and anything else she needs. Once she’s officially parasite-free and her nails have been trimmed, I’ll start slowly introducing her to Fiona, my bunny. Right now a baby gate is keeping her from entering the living room, so she only has access to the upstairs and the stairwell. She’s been spending most of her time in the coat closet and in my studio under my workbench.

If I pet her, she purrs loudly, but she insists on staying back where I have to nearly dislocate a shoulder to reach her, so I can’t pet her much. I think eventually she’ll be snuggly, but I have to give her time. I can do that.

Mama Liked Shiny Things

I mentioned it everywhere else, but forgot to mention it here (my brain may be a little fried) — I opened an etsy shop to sell my mom’s vintage and antique jewelry. Mama Liked Shiny Things (because she really did!).

Don’t worry; I’m keeping some of her jewelry. The pieces that really speak to me. But most of her jewelry isn’t really me, though a lot of the pieces are really beautiful and interesting. I’m having a good time researching vintage jewelry and learning a lot. Using clues to gather more information, like the type of catch on a brooch narrowing the time period when it could have been made, reminds me of when I used to do interlibrary loan. I like it!

It’s going to take a long time to get everything researched, photographed, edited, and listed, but I’m getting a few things up every day or so. Like this Austrian gold tone mesh and rhinestone brooch from the 1950s.

vintage austrian brooch, gold tone mesh with green and clear rhinestones

I wish I could ask my mom more about some of these pieces, but I can’t. I remember some of them from when I was a kid, but there are so many I’ve never seen before. And there are some I remember her wearing. I was even with her when she bought some of them.

Life, Death, and Angst

me with my mom in 1967

My mom died last week. She was 77.

She had been sick for several months, but I didn’t realize how serious it was, because she’d been sick for most of her life, really. She had been in and out of hospitals for my whole life. Even before I was born. So I didn’t realize this was different.

And then I got a message that she was in hospice.

And before I could really get used to that, the next day I got a phone call that she had died that morning.

It all happened so fast.

And then there was her funeral. And two days later I turned 54. But for the first time ever, she didn’t call to wish me a happy birthday. I don’t have a mom anymore.

I didn’t always have the best relationship with her. We didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things, and she was very critical of me at times.

But she taught me how to sew. And she taught me how to do long division when my fifth grade teacher seemed to be pulling numbers out of her ass. And she read a lot, so I observed that reading was a thing that people did for pleasure.

I know she loved me, even if it didn’t feel like it sometimes. But now she’s gone.

And now I’m 54, and I’m looking back on the past year, and I’m thinking, man, that was a really shitty year. A few good things happened, but mostly really shitty things happened.

Rob left me and told me he had never been in love with me. That’s pretty shitty. I had a several month fibro flare and major depression. Shitty. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Good to finally get a diagnosis, but shitty to have it. I became destitute. Shitty. I gained 30 pounds in about six months. Shitty. I met Russell. Yay, finally a good thing. I fell and broke my wrist. Totally shitty. It still hurts. I started taking coding classes online. Good. And then my mom died. That’s just totally shitty.

I am due for a lot of good stuff to start happening.

Do you hear that, Universe? Good stuff. I am due for good stuff to happen. A lot of good stuff needs to happen to me now.

 

At least it’s my left hand

Broken wrist with titanium plate

I’m slowly recovering, and getting used to doing more things one handed. The swelling has gone down a lot, and now the cast is pretty loose, and the inside feels like it’s made of straw, horse hair, and coarse steel wool. It itches! I have an appointment in a few days, and I think they’ll put on a new cast then, so I’ll have one that actually fits.

It doesn’t hurt nearly as bad as it did, but I still have occasional painful reminders that it’s not healed yet (I’m off the oxycodone but still taking Motrin). And I’m tired. Everything takes so much longer to do. And healing takes a lot of energy.

I’m applying for jobs. And I started taking some coding classes at Skillcrush (they gave me a discount code for unemployed people). It was hard for me to justify spending any money at all, but I think it will increase my chances of getting hired sooner.

It’s hard for me to know whether I should sleep as much as I want to (will this help me heal faster?), or should I push through the fatigue to apply for more jobs and/or work on my coursework for longer? I always feel like I can’t afford to sleep.

Life Sucks, And Then It Sucks Some More.

So you all know I’m broke, and I’ve been looking for a job while also trying to get people to buy my handmade jewelry or handspun yarn or hire me for web design.

Yesterday I took a break from all that and went for a walk. And I slipped in the slush and fell and either sprained or broke my wrist. I’ll find out which later today. Meanwhile I’m typing this with one hand. And I’m cursing the pain with every passing second.

Having the use of only one hand and being in excruciating pain makes it pretty hard to work on a website. Or write a cover letter. Or make jewelry. Or spin yarn.

Meanwhile, my bank balance keeps growing more and more negative. I need money, and I need it at a rate that outpaces the overdraft fees. (I called and got them to reverse some, but not all of the recent overdraft fees.)

Here are the ways you can help me:

• donate money to me here, now

• buy handmade jewelry I’ve already made

• buy handspun yarn I’ve already spun

• commission custom spinning with your fiber  (pay 50% up front, and the rest upon completion. I will begin work on your project when my wrist allows. The first to order is the first in the queue)

• commission a website. Contact me to tell me what you want. We’ll discuss the project and agree upon a price. You’ll pay 50% up front, and the rest upon completion. I will begin work on your project when my wrist allows. The first to order is the first in the queue.

• share this with your friends!

Thanks!


Looking for a day job

Sadly, I’m not making enough money to live on from jewelry sales. The good news is, I’m feeling well enough now that getting a day job is a possibility. A few months ago, I was afraid I was going to have to go on disability. Neuroplasticity for the win!

The bad news is, looking for a job sucks. Once I eliminate all the job postings that I’m not remotely qualified for, the ones that require driving (which I haven’t done since…2003? and swore I’d never do again), the ones that pay far less than a living wage (yeah, the reason I’m looking for a job is so I can make enough to live on, not so I can continue to be poor), the ones I am not physically capable of doing, the ones I am ethically opposed to, the ones that I would absolutely detest, the ones I would be horrible at, well…I applied for one job.

I’m waiting for a call back from a career counselor.

I think I just don’t know what to look for or where to look for it. I have skills. But I don’t know what the jobs are that require those skills.

part of my current resume

I know from experience that if I do the same thing all day long, every day, I will become severely depressed. I am intelligent and creative, and I need to be challenged. I’m really good at solving problems. I need to use my brain.

I’m not going to stop making jewelry, but it’s going to be a side gig, and once I find a job, it’s going to take a while to adapt to working full time somewhere before I have the energy to do anything else. In an ideal world, I could find something part time that paid enough to live on, but in an ideal world, my toenails would trim themselves, and I could eat four pounds of chocolate every day and neither gain weight nor get a migraine.

If you happen to know of a job opening in Ann Arbor that would be a good fit for me, could you give me a heads up? Thanks!

The F word


So. A few days ago I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

I figured it was probably either that or chronic fatigue syndrome, so I wasn’t surprised.

I had assumed it started after I was sick for six months in 2005. I was utterly exhausted, and they never did figure out what was wrong with me. After that, I had periods where I felt ok, and then periods where I was exhausted. The periods of exhaustion have been lasting longer and longer with much shorter periods of feeling ok in between.

I’ve spent the last few days learning more about fibromyalgia (this is a video of one of Dan Clauw’s lectures from last year). Watching it made me realize I’ve probably had fibromyalgia my whole life, or at least since I was a small child, and all of my other chronic conditions are actually symptoms of it. Different manifestations.

Later it dawned on me that when I was sick in 2005, that was probably actually a six month long flare.

This is all sort of making my head swirl. Ok, I really only have one chronic condition, not nine. That’s a major change. That’s good.

On the other hand, it’s a really major chronic condition that affects everything. That’s bad.

It explains a lot. It explains why I’ve never had much energy. It explains why  there’s pretty much always some part of my body that hurts. There always has been. When I was a kid I had sore throats and earaches all the time, then aching knees, then headaches, then backaches. It just went on and on.

Right now my entire back is killing me. My left arm is screaming. My shoulders ache. My neck is very unhappy. This has been my normal for the last several months.

It explains why I have never in my entire life woken up and felt rested. Ever. No matter how much sleep I got.

I can’t help but wonder how my life would have different, could have been different, if I had been diagnosed decades ago?

But not much has been understood about fibromyalgia until very recently. Many doctors didn’t even consider it real until very recently. So I really couldn’t have been diagnosed decades ago.

But you know? I still wonder. Because for decades I’ve been wondering, why can’t I just work harder, why can’t I just get my shit together, and earn an actual living like other people? Why do I have to be so fucking tired all the time? Why am I so fucking lazy? Why I am suck a slacker? What is fucking wrong with me?!

Oh.

Fibromyalgia is wrong with me. It’s not me being a lazy slacker who can’t get her shit together. It’s me trying the hardest I can and wearing myself out because I just don’t have any more in me.

So yeah. I can’t help but wonder how my entire life would have been different if this had been diagnosed and treated decades ago.

I’m grieving the past I never had.

It’s a process.

In a few days I’ll start to process the idea of a present and of a future. Right now that’s too much to wrap my head around.

Slowly I get things done


I added five new pairs of earrings to the shop last week. Like a turtle wading through molasses, I’m finally showing them to you now. [I finally got a diagnosis for my exhaustion and pain. I have fibromyalgia. I’m not happy to have it, but I’m glad to finally have a diagnosis. I’ll be writing more about that in a later post. As you might imagine, I have a lot to say about it.]

But for now, earrings. All images link to their respective listings in the shop.

Copper moonscape earrings

Perforated sterling silver earrings with lapis

Foldformed bumpy copper earrings with lapis and bronzite

Foldformed copper earrings with kambaba jasper

Copper and silver earrings with Chinese turquoise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I started a Patreon – what that means


If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that I have several invisible disabilities, most of them intermittent. Unfortunately they’re getting worse, and some of them aren’t so intermittent anymore.

I’d really like to keep working (I still have so many ideas!), but between the pain and the lack of energy, well, work isn’t happening so much. It’s not just the making. It’s the photography, the marketing, the shipping, the bookkeeping. It all takes energy. And without all of it, a business doesn’t work. And if the business doesn’t work, I don’t make enough money to live.

I’m in the beginning stages of applying for disability. And I started a Patreon.

If you’re not familiar with Patreon, it’s a place where creators (like me) can set up a site and patrons (like you) can subscribe to a membership community. Depending on the level you subscribe at, you get access to posts I write that I don’t post anywhere else, the haiku I compose about insomnia and pain, free knitting patterns, discounts on my jewelry and handspun yarn, access to a private Facebook group, and a pair of handmade earrings each month.

If you’d like to subscribe and become part of my community (for as little as $1 a month!), it would mean the world to me! Become a Patron today!

Thank you!

Become a Patron