Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Meeting Follow-Up

Thanks for all the wonderful comments about my Walkin' The Line quilt. DH loves it and wants to make it into our headboard. I will be quilting it with batting only and then attaching it to a well-padded board and we will hang it just over our bed. It will become the focal point for our bedroom.

Thanks also for the all the kind words about my meeting yesterday. I haven't talked much about being on medical leave the last few months but your words of encouragement have prompted me to share some of my story.

Back in April I had a mental "meltdown" for lack of a better word. I don't call it a breakdown although some people may call it. I had been under an extreme amount of stress at work and working in the family business only compounded the stress. Over the winter months I started having what I now were anxiety attacks. I thought it was symptoms of peri-menopause. I went to see my gyn. She checked me out and agreed with me. We decided to keep a watch on my symptoms before we chose to take any type of hormonal treatment.

In early April I was feeling more tense, unable to sleep and unable to focus so I went to see my primary care doctor. He put me on Effexor. A few days after I started the medication I had a day where I was so tired I could hardly walk up and down the stairs in our home. I took three two-hour naps that day and thought I would be better the next morning. The next morning, which was a Monday, DH and I took our morning shower (yes, we shower together and I'm proud of it). As we were getting out of the shower I panicked and told him I couldn't bear the thought of going to the office and I was staying home. The same even happened Tuesday morning. I decided to ask my boss to take the week off and work from home. I was convinced I was just rundown and needed to be alone.

Later that week DH and I realized there was more going on with me than just being rundown. He and my boss insisted I go on medical leave and not work at all until I was better - however long that would be. DH also made me set up a counseling appointment. I'm glad both of those events happened. After a few therapy appointments my therapist diagnosed me with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, mostly caused by my work environment. The last four months have been eye-opening to say the least. For the first time in my life I am living my life for ME and not just to please other people. I have always been a people pleaser and seldom took care of myself. Now I take of myself and I'm a happier person.

Just to make this post quilty, here's another quilt from the quilt festival. It's the only redwork quilt I saw there. There were little, if any, quilts that incorporate stitchery and quilting. I think we need to import some Australian quilters to New England!
Happy stitching!
Sweet P

20 comments:

Nancy said...

How brave of you to share your story. Somewhere along the line this will help someone else. Good for you to start living YOUR life.

I also agree that we need some Aussie designers to visit if not move here....I love to combine stitchery and quilting...need to do it more often.

And on your other note - my DH locks the door when he showers! We have been married 36 years, doesn't he realize I have seen it all!! LOL

dot said...

I know what you mean. I have been there. I have stayed way to long in a bad job and traumatized myself greatly. Time will heal and you will be able to work again, if you choose. I love the quilt. It is really neat.

Candace said...

Thank you for sharing, that story could happen to any of us with the new work environment of the time. I know that my job was very stressful, and affected me in a different way. Everyday, even if you were doing a good job, there was still negative feedback left on your desk, nothing was ever good enough. I pretty much am afraid to work now. All my work life I felt that I could do anything if shown how and given the chance. Now, I am afraid that I wouldn't be good enough for even the most menial jobs. I don't think that my abilities have gotten so much less, the daily criticisms have just eroded my confidence. Even though I know this, it was so pervasive that I haven't been able to overcome it. I'm sure that your pressures were different since it is a family business, but stress can do a number on us in many different ways and can come from just as many different situations.
I think that it is wonderful that you have such a supportive husband, and that you are able to live your life for yourself and for him.

Brenda said...

Oh Sweet P, I wish more women realized how important it is to live your life in "happy" mode. Living for "tomorrow" was all I was taught. Study hard, work hard and then retire and THEN live happily ever after. Well, wouldn't you know that when my son was DX as autistic I was only at the "work hard" stage and never even thought of what constituted a "happy" life. Happy happened after you retired...Once I stayed home and grieved the loss of my "future", along with the "future" of my son I realized that it was OK to be "happy" now.
I truly,truly, truly hope that you take time and
live your best life NOW. Life is too short and
youth is too fleeting to put off joy. I wish you only Love,Laughter and Happiness. You're so brave to share... Hugs to you! B=)

Gina said...

I too had a meltdown a few years ago. I'm in recovery but I still have my moments.
Please be aware that you are not alone and don't be ashamed/afraid to ask for help . I was and my recovery has been a lot slower because of it.

Love and hugs Gina xxx

quiltingcindy said...

I'm glad you are feeling better. So what if you shower with your DH, enjoy every minute with your DH.

Doodlebug Gail said...

You are amazing and so courageous for sharing your story. I know it'll help someone. You are enjoying life and taking care of YOU and for that you need to be commended (((HUGS))).

That redwork quilt is gorgeous - thanks for sharing it.

Cher said...

I am glad you are feeling happy with your life now - it's great that you could take a leave and do the right thing for you. It's a story worth sharing-thank you. I think those of us that love the combination of stitchery and piecing should enter more shows-I think there is plenty of inspiration everywhere-we already benefit from all the designers-no matter where they live.

Tracey in CT said...

Hugs to you, Paula.
More of us have been there than you probably realize...I'm happy to hear that you are feeling better and taking action to make the most of every day.
I am doing all I can to spread the word about how fun the stitchery stuff is, and boy I would love to get some of those Aussie designers up here in New England, we could have SO much fun!!

Teresa said...

I read your blog and felt a sense of pride (if that is possible seeing I only know you through this blog) to know that you and your husband took action and brought about a happier, healthier you. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and all too often we lose the joy of living. Way to go!! Thanks for sharing the redwork quilt picture - it is so inspiring.

Su Bee said...

Me too -- I'm in recovery now also. It's amazing how life altering that kind of stress is, it just pervades every aspect of your entire life. Recovery is a gift - congratulations for getting help and heading off down the road!

Brigitte said...

dear Sweet P,
thank you for sharing your story with us. YES, I was in the same boat - and sometimes I fell back into it. It's important to chance the point of view, you made it! Good to know, your husband is a jewel! hugs from Poland
Brigitte beadtex blogspot

Lynn E said...

Proud of you. I have to say empowering yourself is a great confidence booster. Have a great day Paula

Hugs

Passionate Quilter said...

I'm so glad that you got help and were able to get on the road to becoming well again. Your husband sounds like 'he' is the Sweet P! :)

lvbabyboomer said...

I have very much the same story, very stressed out at work and had a melt down after I had to put my dog down. So now I am on Lexapro and feel so much better. A little pill can make a difference in your life. I don't know why it took me so long.
Diane

Libby said...

I left the work world 10 years ago this summer . . . it was the best move (besides marrying Hubby *s*) I ever made. I have been so happy being a homemaker - there's no better job! Thanks for sharing your story.

Peggy said...

Fancy meeting you this way. I was looking at Kare's blog and it linked here. I want to also say that DH and I also sometimes shower together. I love it, but our shower is too small to move around much.

I agree with you about women needing to take care of oneself first, but if it were not for my DH I must say I would have bleed to death from deniel. We were not married at the time and he insisted that I make a DR's appointment. We married in July of 2002 and in Sept I was in the hospital having a hysterectomy. Thanks to him I am still here.

He also sees when I am getting stressed with family issues. We care for my parents and sometimes I need to get away. I don't see it by he does.

Take great care of yourself Sweet P and that DH of yours also. I am glad you posted about your meltdown as it is a part of life. You gave me some encouragement when I moved on from my job. I still miss it, but don't miss the stress.

So I want to give you some encouragement and so glad you have your crafts, handwork, family and family of friends to help you move on. Peggy

Erin said...

I know what you are going through..I am glad you are doing for you now, and your husband was smart and caring enough to get you some proper advice help and give you the support you need..I am glad you are on the mend!! Now you shower together!! that is awesome!!!

Chookyblue...... said...

continue to take care of yourself........

Myra said...

I also had a major meltdown years back. My hubby also accompanied me to get help. Doing much better, but I still struggle. It is a slow process, one I wouldn't wish on anyone!!!
There are more of us out there struggling for good mental health and balance in our lives than people realize...And there is even more people out there that don't understand in the least what some of us are going through. My parents included...very hard to cope with...
I must have a look for the books that you mentioned. I need some empowering, as many others do!
Thanks for bringing this all to light....
Happy stitchings! 8-)