Monday, February 28, 2011

Depression Hurts

As silly as the title of this post sounds I can attest to its accuracy. Since the untimely death of Cassie I have found myself mired deep in depression. Deeper and darker than I have experienced in years. I find myself bursting into tears late at night, early in the mornings, and sometimes in the middle of the afternoon. My body aches, especially my neck and shoulders. I am tired all the time and I just want to sleep. I haven't reached the point where I contemplate suicide, thankfully.

I've always suffered depression. I find it gets worse and better depending on the amount of stress in my life and believe it or not the weather. I have been permanently prescribed anti-depressants, with carte blanche to adjust the number of pills by 1 a day should I feel the need to do so. I hate taking pills, especially anti-depressants, but I admit that in the last two weeks I have given serious thought to increasing my dosage by a single pill.

The pain never goes away but occasionally I can stop thinking about Cassie by working on something that requires a lot of attention. This is of course only a stop gap measure and works only so long as I can keep busy. Unfortunately, when I am like this I can sometimes take much onto my plate and that can cause stress, too. It can become, if not identified and corrected quickly enough, a never ending cycle of stress, disappointment, demoralization, and panic.

Experience, a loving spouse, and knowledge help me to identify my current situation and hopefully take steps to stop the downward spiral from getting out of hand. I know this is situational depression, like that developed by someone who has lost their spouse or life partner, and will over the next few weeks get better or at least become manageable.

Others who suffer from depression are not so lucky. If you know someone who seems to be suffering from depression, please talk to them. If they refuse then talk to your family doctor. Be supportive, kind, and if you have to, be firm as well. Sometimes just knowing someone cares can help the depressed person make that first step to getting help and getting better.

Here are some useful links if you want to learn more about depression.
Understanding Depression
Depression Canada
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Health Canada
Public Health agency of Canada

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Hard Choice

This has been a hard week for us at Sparrow Haven. We had to make that final choice for one of our beloved cats, Cassie. Even though I know it was the right choice it has just been to painful to think about without lots of tears.

Three months ago she started sleeping a lot more than normal and hissing whenever we tried to touch her. The vet diagnosed a sore spot along her spine which we hoped was nothing more than a tight muscle. With a two week dose of anti-inflammatory she seemed to get better. About two weeks later the same thing happened, so we treated her again. She got well enough to move around but she was much more irritable than before with the other cats.

This went on until two weeks ago. Over night Cassie went completely blind. She was unhappy and kept bumping into things. She would follow me into the bathroom and then sit crying at the bathtub, trying to figure out why I wasn't talking to her. We learned to click, chirp, and call her name to help her find her way when following us. The vet upped her dosage on the anti-inflammatory and we all crossed our fingers that the swelling would go away and her eyesight would return.

Of course that was not to be, or I wouldn't be writing this post. Over the last two weeks Cassie got progressively worse. She went from blind and eating well to just laying around, eating only when coaxed, and using the litter box (we moved three upstairs in the same area so she would always be near one) all the time. The vet said it was just a side affect of the pills and cut the dosage in half.

That was last Thursday. She cried all day Saturday and slept all day Sunday, even coming downstairs to sleep in front of the wood stove her favourite place to be. Sunday night she tried to come back upstairs by herself and got lost in the kitchen. She called until I picked her up and brought her upstairs where she settled in and went back to sleep.

Monday Cassie woke up when I did and cried constantly. I managed to get her to eat a little food and the crying stopped. A little later she tried to follow me to the bathroom and stumbled and bumped her way in, only to sit and cry at the tub again. I gave her a pain pill and she went to sleep for a couple of hours. When she woke she could hardly walk and only managed to stumble a couple of steps before she would stop and cry.

She didn't want food so I picked her up and put her on my lap. She stayed there for about an hour then wanted down. She drank a little water and then just stopped moving. By the time Peter came home from work we both knew it was the end. We called the vet just to be sure and he agreed that there was obviously some kind of damage to the soft tissue areas around her spine and she was progressively getting worse. We decided to end her pain.

Cassie was only 5 years old. She was only 4 weeks old when we took her in and she was attached to me pretty quick. She was my little space monkey, all long and lankey and clingy when she was a baby. She was my little Cassanova, loving and rubbing on me from day one. She was my little teapot, her tail was the handle, after she was spayed. She was my happy little chirper when she found a mouse toy and brought it to me proudly. She was my constant lap companion. She was my friend and I miss her terribly.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

First Meeting in Garb

We attended out first meeting of the local SCA group, in garb. I've been working pretty hard to get everything done for the last month. In the end I managed to get most of Peter's outfit done, sans belt pouch and leg wraps. I had enough garb to show well but it is not complete yet and still needs linen under dress, belt, belt pouch, and light weight linen breacs (long underwear) to wear under everything.

Here is Peter, known as Cennedig of Harrowgate Heath, resplendent in a green and gold early Anglo-Saxon ensemble. The trews are cotton plaid and cut to a very early form of trousers based on this article by Viktoria Persdotter, archaeologist and craftsman.Peter says they are the most comfortable pair of pants he has ever owned in his life and has requested at least one more set for fight practice.

Peter's tunic is made from natural linen that we then dyed to this lovely gold colour. The tunic is based on the pattern in the article " Getting Started with Tunics" by Jane Stockton. Pretty good piece of research with very clear information on tunics and their construction. I say based on because I actually altered the pattern to make the sleeves at the shoulder and at the underarm fit better.

Peter's cloak is nothing more than a piece of wool we picked up at the fabric store in town. It is a very simple plaid with a dark green background and very dark orange lines. It is closed at the shoulder with a brooch I made for him from copper. It is a little more modern than I like but it actually looked pretty nice on the cloak.

Peter's belt is a strap woven from a wool blend roving. I then embroidered vines and two stags on the belt. I have pictures in a previous post. He also had on a pair of nalbound socks with a pair of turn shoes of leather over that. All in all he looks pretty snazzy.

In comparison, I was dressed very poorly. My outfit consisted of an altered Halloween costume made from flannel, a rope belt, a pair of nalbound socks and leather turn shoes, and a piece of wool kept on by a couple of copper brooches I made last night. The best thing about my outfit were the brooches.

I look forward to the next time I get to play dress-up. I hope to have the rest of my garb completed by then and maybe even a few extra pieces completed, too.