Sharing Jewelry Making With Others in the Community



When I first wanted to learn how to make jewelry a few teachers told me they couldn’t work with me; frustrated at how slow I learned. Luckily for me I had a trip scheduled to see Mom in Arizona and she’s an expert. She has such fine skills. If you compare her work with mine it’s mind boggling. But that’s not what it’s all about.

Mom set up a jewelry table for me so she could rest when she needs to and I’d have something to do. She gave me the raw materials, like stones and findings that I needed. There are quite a few moving parts and tools involved. She probably spent twelve hours with me on that trip, helping me with the skills I could not wrap my mind around, like wire bending, and the making of loops to put earring findings on or other attachments. It’s got to be consistent and uniform in shape in side, otherwise it won’t hang the same and the different loop sizes will look silly.

I put up a site on Etsy and found out it’s more a place where ideas are stolen than appreciated and bought. In doing this I developed better photography skills, as the picture and description of an item are worth more than a thousand words. I spent money on lessons upon my return and also put out dough for nice stones like the above, which is Fluorite topped with embedded Swarovsky Crystal beads.

And then I got into writing and I just stopped. I’m going back. I think I need to.


I hate this word as a platitude or cliché but ‘balance’ is everything.


The Cycles of ED and Bipolar Disorder




citystreetwinterLike a lot of other people, I am writing a book. But being bipolar, I have organizational problems. I write chapters and then open another document and write the same chapter, or an overlap in time. Earlier this week I spent five hours on the project, moving things from one document into another. But this ‘overlap’ fix project could take another twenty hours and I’ve allowed myself to get too busy to do it. Also, I follow a lot of blogs and want to see what’s going on with my e friends. Don’t even get me started on Facebook stuff. And Twitter. I ditched Tumblr a long time ago for being too young and dramatic. At 54, I’ve settled down a great deal. Allison

Good intentions clobber Mental Health Writer and Volunteer.

I’ve hit a snag with mental health advocacy. I volunteered for years at the nearby drop in. I had high security clearance and brought meetings into the psych ward. I developed an eating disorder meeting for them. I got sick with depression and a three year struggle with trying to get Tardive Dyskinesia under control…with both conditions I couldn’t volunteer for about a year  and I fell off the volunteer rolls. Well again, well, well enough, I offered to bring a gentle Pilates Mat class and even get certified in group activity safety measures for them and for me. Well, as you can imagine, since the whole ‘story’ I tried to nicely write about them went south, they no longer think I’m ‘well’ enough to be a volunteer.

Despite this, I still tried to write a nice story about them and their services for International Bipolar Disorder. I interviewed the project director and took good notes. I gave her final editorial approval since I did want to quote her and wanted to improve our relationship. I guess I sent too many emails because as my deadline came and went, she was on vacation and I did not know. When she returned, I got a nasty email full of hypocritical ‘mindfulness’  telling me that her ‘intention’ is to show me kindness but I make it impossible by ‘bombarding’ her with emails. My deadline for the story had come and gone and I wanted to finish it. She works with the mentally ill so why should she expect so much out of me? Am I being discriminated against because I’m too high functioning? Let’s face it, I’m verbal, I’m not all doped up and docile and I ask questions. I try to express myself and spread the good news about treatment options, present and in the pipeline. And you would not believe how much is in the pipeline!!! Ketamine is a comin’!

Manic While Mystery Shopping

So I was mystery shopping after getting my certification and driving from one supermall to another. I was the type of customer that the workers remembered so if I felt I was getting to familiar and and so forth I would tell the mystery shopping people and they would take me off the account.

They always pay you less than you are going to want to spend. For example, I was sent to L’Occitane, a shop with perfums and soaps that start at forty bucks. And for that shop you are given 30 to spend. Yuk, right?

Then I got a string of ‘shops’ that’s what jobs are called at Chanel and Dior cosmetic counters. A total of six. One after another, pretending to be interested, accepting a makeover, fun, right? Not so much, really. I was given 80 to spend, and their eye shadows start at 50.00. And if you get a makeover for free or go to a class, you will have so much pushed on you that it’s hard to stay within budget. The company was called “A Closer Look,” for those of you who want to do this kind of high end sampling.

Then there was the three hour long report with 200 questions on the back end of each shop.
And there was something wrong with their computer system. So I had to do each of these reports twice. That was the end of mystery shopping for me. Because the report was due tomorrow and they didn’t take any responsibility. Plus I had incurred credit card debt on account of being in stores, shopping, while manic. Never a fine idea.

Brainwashing using trendy Buzzwords.

If I see the words “Mindful” “Balance” or “Recovery” again I am going to barf. They are just overused. We are being spoonfed the essential values and virtues of these words, “Mindfulness,” “Recovery,” and “Balance.” And when we swallow these buzzwords wholesale, do all of us really understand what they mean? Do they mean a different thing to each individual? And the arrogance, as if these are the only words to describe a conscious effort to live and heal constructively.

Mindful:  To me it sounds like a passive buzzing in the head while knitting or making jewelry. I much prefer the word “Vigilant.” Or “Watchful,” even “aware.” My life means the world to me and after all this time, I’m not going to have it yanked away by some destructive distraction, like body image preoccupation 24/7.

Recovery. From what? Cholera? I much prefer the term “Reclaim.” Because when we live in the solution we are reclaiming the life that my higher power, whom I call God, wanted me to have.

And “Balance.” How ‘catchall’ can you be? If I’m passionate about something, I’m “All In,” (if you want to see a really trending phrase) How about the words “Even,  “Equal?” “Proportionate?” “Varied?” “Integrated?”

I ran into the ‘balance’ business with a disingenuous eating disorder therapist who did not understand that certain psych meds slow people’s metabolism, drive their hunger, at least mine, and weight is hard to keep off. I was discharged for being ten pounds heavy. She said I was not making progress.  I went in there for a destructive case of exercise bulimia, which is not unlike cutting. THAT was the behavior we were supposedly treating, not whether or not I was carrying a few extra.

She did not understand that the meds made some sugary and starchy foods super triggering- kick starting endless food binges. I’m better off avoiding these foods completely.  She said that that attitude was not ‘balanced,’ and even eating disordered in and of itself. Seven years later I find myself with metabolic syndrome, half way down the road to the big ‘D.’ I take no solace in the fact that I’m right. But she was wrong and she was the ‘expert.’ Now she claims to be a “Celebrity Eating Disorder Therapist,” has straightened a beautiful head of hair, has lip implants and botox. Good for her. She now charges over 600.00 an hour. Her photos have a wind machine blowing her long straight hair. A Wind Machine? That is so 80’s. Poor girl. She doesn’t know what she’s doing.

So many bipolar people have an eating disorder (14% according to a recent study cited in Psych Central from the Cincinnatti College of Medicine) that it’s not even funny. So for an eating disorder therapist to have no clue re antipsychotic’s metabolic side effects was dismaying.

BUT ANYWAY, back to the BUZZWORDS. If you start hearing a word harped on all the time, that’s because it’s the lynchpin of someone’s platform. I have a platform. We all do. But what’s good for me is not necessarily good for you, or you, and that’s why the mass overuse of these platitudes representing key values for our lives bug me.

I’m into individualized therapy. I revel in the idea that we can use new ideas (that we think of ourselves) to solve old problems.   Clichés are hollow.

Allow yourself some passion and to value one thing over another. If one thing matters more to you than anything else, allow it to weight more.  it might be because it’s a good thing that makes you happy!

Bipolar Disorder: Taking My Temperature

Having gone through a bunch of long and short depressive episodes, I got into a terribly self focused habit of waking up and immediately ‘taking my mood temperature’ to see what kind of day I’d have. Rather than think about what I want to get accomplished or who I’d like to lend a hand to, I think about myself. I mean, I think it’s helpful in a way, but it can also lead to spiraling downward, wasting time and diffusing focus on life itself.

I’ve had more than my share of depressions in the last three years. So I got in the habit of living in fear of the next one. But I’ve learned that it’s equally important to be aware of manias because they lead to depressions also.

I’ve also been identifying triggers and they are so many. So many, in fact, that life is a virtual landmine. How to I turn triggers inside out so I see the upside, the growth opportunity for them:?

Partial list:

Too many doctor’s appointments

a critical conversation with my dad that feels like judgement

Family not understanding bipolar or believing it’s a real disease

Weight Gain

Food itself

Not writing enough

Computer malfunctions and forgetting to save my work

Not enough exercise

Having learning difficulties on software programs

Clothes not fitting

Being too busy

Not reading enough

As you can see, if I take these and twist them around it would make for a lot of growth, self forgivement and acceptance. Hey, maybe I might be able to focus on others for a change!