Well. One week to go with the ECT treatments, so maybe it’s about time I finally write the entry I’ve been meaning to write for ages?!
But first, some good news: I’m feeling somewhat confident that they have been helpful! By which I mean, I feel lighter. My boots aren’t as heavy. I’m not being shadowed by a dark cloud. It doesn’t feel like the ocean is living in my throat, tsunamis and all. And a multitude of other metaphors!
Am I anxious? Well. Yes. I’m honestly a little terrified to return to work. But it’s a fear that makes sense. I’ll have been off more than a month and a LOT can change in my field in that time. Not necessarily in the field, but with all of the individuals that I work with. Hell, a lot happens in the course of a day that can be hugely impactful on their lives. So. It’s an explainable nervousness. And I need to get a new car (by “new”, I mean “different” of course. I will never buy a brand new car again. What a waste of money…) Plus my laptop is dying a slow death and will probably need to be replaced in the next few months. My phone, also, seems to be crapping the bed. So, while I’ve managed to get/keep my finances into a more stable shape, I certainly don’t have any extra to drop on a car, laptop, phone or anything, really.
Other good things: September’s “First Friday” event at the gallery where my work is displayed honored the New Artists- of which I am one! It was the first 1st Friday I’ve attended and I was kind of in the spotlight with 3 other artists. I am not at all used to being in the limelight. Yes, I was a theatre kid but….TECH theatre! Darkness and shadows, that was my place!! And that’s just how I wanted it to be!! But the event at the gallery was fun (another sign the ECT has had an effect….in general, even when I want to participate in such events, they are still very difficult to get through mentally. But I did ok- even when I was informed the videographer was going to Facebook Live and interviewing me!!
Other Good Artsy Things: After a year of searching to no avail for some sort of storage solution for the mat board I inherited from Hil last year, I ended up with two suitable pieces of furniture and a ton of new-to-me mat board in the span of 3 days! And it was all super affordable! First, a local department store is closing and on a whim, after PK’s sister reminded us, we decided to go see if they had any fixtures for sale. They did! It seems to be what they stored their signage in and it is near perfect for my needs. The only issue was that full sheets of mat board would hang out a few inches on each side, but it was good enough!! So, PK’s son and grandson agreed to help us move it. PK decided to take the screws out to see if we could fit it in my car in pieces only to discover it was glued together quite solidly! So we put the screws back in and they heave hoed it into his truck. PK and I had taken several of the doors off the hinges at my house and removed the door stop strips from the art room door. Still, it was questionable right up to the end as to whether or not it would fit! It did!! I spent the evening finally sorting all of my mat board.
At some point, on another whim, I decided to search Craig’s List for anyone trying to sell more mat board, now that I finally had a place to store it. I happened upon a lady having an estate sale and getting rid of framing and embroidery stuff. I called and talked with her. The price was reasonable- for mat board, a mat board table that fit full sheets, AND some random framing stuff. The problem was, she lived quite far away and I’m still not allowed to drive. Also, I needed someone with a car big enough to be able to transport all of the mat board AND the table! (Another place where the shift in my brain is apparent…at this point- or before- I would’ve given up because I didn’t want to be an imposition. But I called Jenn and imposed! And she was able to pick me up and head over that evening. AND assisted in carrying a million loads of mat board and table pieces up a flight of stairs and through a relatively large house, and then helped me bring it all in to my house the next morning! It was not easy work, and she is a champ!!!
I spent the next day or two moving furniture, rearranging, and sorting, again, and being amazed at my luck and fortune. Just to get a random idea of what I had stumbled in to, I measured the amount of board and then counted how many pieces fit in an inch, then did some figuring. Although decent board costs more than $10 a sheet, I just used that as an easy figure. All told, I estimated that I walked away with at least $900 worth of materials (and realistically, probably closer to $1200 or more, since I got a table storage unit, too, and those are like, $700 alone- on the cheaper end- plus some random frames, too…) Trust me, I paid a fraction of that. A fraction of a fraction. I’m still in shock at the awesome deal. And Carol, the seller, was SO nice and helpful. She kept giving me little tips and tricks and hints. And. OMG. My excitement swelled over the next few days as I sorted and discovered, truly, how awesome I made out….the colors, textures, variety….and sheer AMOUNT. Not all full sheets, of course, and tons of scraps. But totally useful for me, since I can pick and choose how big or small I print things! It’s been super difficult to focus on things other than arting! I just want to start printing and matting and creating!
Alas, other duties are also pressing….such as pulling up the last layer of carpet upstairs and scraping up the backing that was glued to the floor.
Well, the above part of this entry was written a week ago on September 9th. I got side tracked and never finished, so instead of ditching it and starting over, I’ll just continue from here….
I had my last ECT treatment today. This is good and also terrifying. Mostly because the last few days have been really difficult, emotionally. I’m feeling more than a little overwhelmed with all that still needs to be done before I return to work next week, as well as the impending lack of car situation. Not to mention, next week somehow marks a year since MM died. That’s been hitting especially hard. All of this combined has me worried that the ECT hasn’t worked as well as I thought it had. But. I guess if I were to compare how I likely would’ve handled all of this last month, a few months ago, last year, a few years ago…I’m still managing better than I probably would have. Life is hard, that won’t change. I never expected it to. I just need to try to hold on to the feeling of wanting to keep going even when the going gets tough.
Also, I will admittedly miss some of the people at WPIC, where I had the treatments done. I am SO BEYOND IMPRESSED with my experience there. From start to finish, there was only one “major” issue, with one of the lab techs due to some inaccurate coding and even then- ladies from a totally different department went out of their way to get the issue solved for me ASAP. Without me even asking, and without making me feel like I was imposing on their entire day. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time dealing with medical and mental health facilities- for myself, my mum, my clients over the years- and I can honestly say, I’ve never had a more pleasant experience. Everyone, from the nurses to the techs to the security guards, was just…nice. Amicable. Friendly. Patient. Kind. No one made me feel like I was imposing on them just for trying to obtain services or get questions answered (a rarity in many places, at least in my dealings with doctors, hospitals, facilities, etc.) And more than that, the general attitude of the employees was just positive. Anyone who knows me knows I am an observer. I notice things. I pay attention to details. It wasn’t just that the staff was kind to the patients, but they also were respectful and kind with each other. Perhaps not all of the time, perhaps not when they were out of my view or hearing, but the general aura was just calm and courteous. Even when they were “bitching” about other coworkers or departments to each other (mostly out of range, usually) they still dropped in GOOD things to counter balance whatever they were griping about!! I was just really impressed. There were patients who were in much more severe states than I, who were probably more difficult to manage but still….I witnessed them being met with patience and civility. It can be easy to just go about your duties and still get your job done without being mean or abrasive or anything…to go through the motions without too much effort. For instance, several other people receiving treatment appeared pretty much catatonic- non verbal, non responsive. But even they were met with cheerful greetings and inquiries about how they were doing, and asked permission before things were done even though they didn’t have the where-with-all to necessarily give it, and had the processes explained to them even though they very well may not have even been able to hear it. It made me happy that they were still treated like the humans that they are and not just shoved through on an assembly line like some places do with such clientele. And, even when patients who weren’t necessarily of sound mind voiced concerns or refused…their treatment was put on hold until someone spoke to them (several someones!) to, I assume, make further determinations about things. But despite having consents on their charts (cuz they clarified and made note of having them every time), they weren’t forced to have the treatment. It just all appeared to be so very humane. I mean, honestly, it appeared to be what mental health treatment (and medical treatment in general) SHOULD be, but so often isn’t.
I guess my point is…because of the staff, I came through it all feeling respected, heard, and non-stigmatized. And perhaps I am lauding them so much because this has not been my general or common experience when dealing with the mental health field as either a client or service provider. I’m just in awe at how well I, and everyone I witnessed around me, was being treated. (I’m a little angry, too, because this should be the norm not the exception…) Anyhow. I would 10/10 recommend WPIC for all of your ECT needs!
In other art news, but also ECT related…last year I was so unwell that I didn’t even enter the annual art show that takes place during the fall festival here. That was the first time in probably more than 5 years I hadn’t entered. Even when I do enter, it’s generally a rushed, last minute, scrambling to get things in on time ordeal. This year? I entered my form early enough to get the early bird lower entry fee AND my pieces are printed, matted and framed. They’re not due to be turned in until Saturday. That’s 5 days, and all that’s left to do is put paper backing on them, install eye hooks and attach wire!
Which reminds me, I ALSO managed to remember to that I had a coupon for Michael’s and today I got a tape dispenser gun and the stuff I’ll use for paper backing ALL for half the price of the dispenser alone. Bit by bit….
I’ll leave you with some photos of some of the other things that’ve been occupying my time lately….