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Archive for May, 2010

No, not really.  I have had episodes throughout my life but my mood swings are a lot less since my periods have become irregular.  But I found, through a fellow ‘depressee’ this article on the positive side of depression “Depression’s upside“.  It’s quite a long article so I’ll post a few excerpts:

Imagine, for instance, a depression triggered by a bitter divorce. The ruminations might take the form of regret (“I should have been a better spouse”), recurring counterfactuals (“What if I hadn’t had my affair?”) and anxiety about the future (“How will the kids deal with it? Can I afford my alimony payments?”). While such thoughts reinforce the depression — that’s why therapists try to stop the ruminative cycle — Andrews and Thomson wondered if they might also help people prepare for bachelorhood or allow people to learn from their mistakes. “I started thinking about how, even if you are depressed for a few months, the depression might be worth it if it helps you better understand social relationships,” Andrews says. “Maybe you realize you need to be less rigid or more loving. Those are insights that can come out of depression, and they can be very valuable.”

This last two sentences meant something to me because I feel that those who have experienced depression are more empathetic, considerate and caring, on the whole.  More…

Romantic poets took the veneration of sadness to its logical extreme and described suffering as a prerequisite for the literary life. As Keats wrote, “Do you not see how necessary a World of Pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?”

But Andrews and Thomson weren’t interested in ancient aphorisms or poetic apologias. Their daunting challenge was to show how rumination might lead to improved outcomes, especially when it comes to solving life’s most difficult dilemmas. Their first speculations focused on the core features of depression, like the inability of depressed subjects to experience pleasure or their lack of interest in food, sex and social interactions. According to Andrews and Thomson, these awful symptoms came with a productive side effect, because they reduced the possibility of becoming distracted from the pressing problem.

The capacity for intense focus, they note, relies in large part on a brain area called the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), which is located a few inches behind the forehead. While this area has been associated with a wide variety of mental talents, like conceptual knowledge and verb conjugation, it seems to be especially important for maintaining attention. Experiments show that neurons in the VLPFC must fire continuously to keep us on task so that we don’t become sidetracked by irrelevant information. Furthermore, deficits in the VLPFC have been associated with attention-deficit disorder.

….

But the reliance on the VLPFC doesn’t just lead us to fixate on our depressing situation; it also leads to an extremely analytical style of thinking.

I tend to over-think and over-analyse things.

The bad news is that this deliberate thought process is slow, tiresome and prone to distraction; the prefrontal cortex soon grows exhausted and gives out. Andrews and Thomson see depression as a way of bolstering our feeble analytical skills, making it easier to pay continuous attention to a difficult dilemma. The downcast mood and activation of the VLPFC are part of a “coordinated system” that, Andrews and Thomson say, exists “for the specific purpose of effectively analyzing the complex life problem that triggered the depression.” If depression didn’t exist — if we didn’t react to stress and trauma with endless ruminations — then we would be less likely to solve our predicaments. Wisdom isn’t cheap, and we pay for it with pain.

Of course the research isn’t without critics.

“This study says nothing about chronic depression and the sort of self-hating, paralyzing, hopeless, circular rumination it inspires,” Kramer wrote.

Regardless, I found it an interesting article – more of a positive than the generally held view that depression of any sort is a mental illness.

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I’ve meaning to for ages but this morning I decided to go through the uncategorized posts and put them in a category.  As a result I’ve added three categories but the process is frustratingly slow as the page takes forever to update.  I’ve done half a dozen and given up.  I’ll try again another time.

Belly dancing is a bit tedious lately with the two dances I don’t like.  One of the other dancers also doesn’t like the mish-mash dance.  She commented to me that when we made up those moves she didn’t realise a dance was going to be the result – one that we have to perform.  I didn’t either and we’re both a bit unhappy about it.  She’s so unhappy that she’s actually said to the teacher she’s not going to perform the dance on the night.  Damn, I should have got in before her.  Oh well.  I’ll just have to learn the shite thing.  Dunno when I can get round to it.  I’ve got sewing and other sundry crap to do round the place and my daughter has a friend staying over this weekend.

The place is a pigsty.  I’d better get off here and tidy up.

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I was googling something and came across an entry in Wikipedia for old German names for the months. Instead of the boring January, February etc, that every language now seems to have, there were:

Hartung (severeness) or Eismond or Schneemond (ice month or snow month) for January

Hornung (hoarding) for Feburary

Lenzing (springing) for March

Ostermond (easter month) for April

Wonnemond (graze month) for May

Brachmond (fallow month) for June

Heumond (hay month) for July

Ernting (harvesting) for August

Scheidung (separating) or Herbstmund (autumn month) for September

Gilbhard (forest yellowing) or Weinmond (wine month) for October

Nebelung (fogging) or Nebelmond (fog month) for November

Julmond (yule month) for December

I think they’re brilliant. They tell you exactly what time of year it is and what sort of activities you’re likely to be doing instead of the meaningless and now inaccurate Julian names of the month (bloody Romans). I feel like making up names of the months for this hemisphere. I wonder how much it would differ from year to year (considering the climate change).

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Errk!

I feel like vomiting after seeing the following title from a book published in 2008:

“Becoming the woman God wants me to be : a 90-day guide to living the Proverbs 31 life” by Donna Partow.

Aaarrgghh! Words fail me…

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Sorted

Well, success at last. I decided not to go with the smaller room for the party (now early November).  I thought about a few more people who may or may not turn up but if they did the room I looked at would be a bit cramped, especially if there’s to be dancing.  I’ve booked another venue which is all nice and new and large enough but not too large. It’s actually about the same size or larger than the larger of the two rooms at the previous venue I looked at which the woman assumed would be too big (I don’t like being told what’s good for my plans and what isn’t, even if she was right). A very nice woman at the school showed me the hall this morning and it looks good. The new kitchen is particularly nice.

You might be thinking why I didn’t simply book the larger room at the previous venue.  I changed the date and it was already booked for then.

Venue sorted. Now I can get on and organise the details.

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Last night I thought a lot about belly dancing – what inspires me, what costuming I need to do, music, etc.  I put some music on that I love to dance around to to get me motivated, watched a video of Serena Ramzy (my favourite belly dancer), thought about the costumes I have and what I feel comfortable in.  I watched a video of our performance at the Esplanade and I really didn’t feel comfortable in the costume I was wearing.  The belt in particular is big and heavy and I didn’t feel free to jump around or make big movements.  So that got me thinking about what I need to make to get another outfit.  Number one – a full skirt.  I didn’t find any decent ones on TradeMe and when I visit second-hand shops I find nothing.  Therefore, I’ll have to make one.  I found some brilliant instructions online for making a circle skirt so I decided to go ahead and attempt it.  I also wanted to make a tie-top to match a turquoise overskirt I recently made.  Visit to Spotlight required.

Also, as I watched the video, I thought of how I can make my movements better and give myself more confidence.  Perhaps I will perform at the next event after all.  As for doing a solo – still not ready for that and I’m no good at choreographing.

To make a long story short, come this morning I decided to go to Spotlight and took with me an advertisement for a sale sent to me in the past week.

I looked in vain for the type and colour of material I wanted to make the top.  I found the material, but the colours were wrong.  They were either too murky or too light.  Then I thought I may as well stick to black, but couldn’t even find that.  Lightbulb – just buy the one I saw on TradeMe and save a lot of hassle.  Done.

I then went along to the chiffon section for the circle skirt and decided it may as well be the same colour as a veil I made recently – purple.  Above the chiffon was a large 30% off sign as well as “Chiffon $8.99”.  Then spotted some cool gold patterned black material which would go well over a belt I intend making.  Hauled them over and was rather shocked to see the total come to over $50.  Checked the receipt then went over to the sign.  The 30% off was if you bought the whole roll.  Damn.  The $8.99 chiffon was for 112 cm only.  Mine was wider.  Damn!  I had a look at the advertisement I’d brought which advertised 30% off – it was for beading and craft stuff and not material at all.  Why don’t I read properly?!   Oh well.  Better not muck up the sewing then.

I looked for bias binding which, according to the instructions, should be the same colour as the skirt.  Found the right colour but the wrong width.  Damn again.  Got some anti-roll elastic anyway.  Also looked for some sort of trim to decorate costumes with.  As I’ve probably noted before, all Spotlight seems to have is ribbon, rick-rack and sequins.  How tedious.  Where does one get braid or something like gold trim from?  Sigh.

And the success part of the heading?  I finally got in touch with the woman about the hall hire.  I picked up the keys today and had a look.  For the number of people likely to turn up, the smaller room seems ample.  (No point booking a large hall just to have a paltry number turn up and make the whole thing look pathetic.)  I just wouldn’t want an event going on in the larger room at the same time.   Apparently that doesn’t happen often but they’ve pencilled in my date.  I now have to contact the club secretary or whatever to book the smaller room.  Sigh.  Nothing’s ever easy.  Should I still look at other venues?

Another weekend is flitting by.  What to do now in the time I have left?

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Two examples:

Thanks to a large truck zooming past me, my windscreen has a 4 inch crack on the driver’s side.

I went to Autoglass, recommended by AA when I contacted them, to see if it could be repaired.  No dice – because it’s on the driver’s side the whole windscreen has to be replaced.  The smirking chap asked if I had windscreen insurance.  I said I have just the normal insurance.  He looked up the price – about $480.  Then he looked at my warrant of fitness sticker and said “you’ve got a bit of time before your warrant – you could just leave it for a bit”.  Perhaps he thought I needed to save up the money?  “So the crack won’t spread?” I asked.  “No” he said, then went on to say “it might go across or up but if it’s in your line of sight…”.  I looked at him with disbelief.  “Just give us a call the day before you want to bring it in and we can order the windscreen for you.”  He also suggested bringing the car in in the afternoon and they’d have it overnight.  “Can’t I bring it in the morning and have it ready the same day?” I asked.  Yeah, he said.  This guy didn’t instill a lot of confidence in me so I thanked him and drove off to another place I’d seen in the yellow pages – Novus.

This second chap confirmed that I needed the windscreen replaced.  The price was over $500 but the guy said my insurance would pay for it and one of their guys could set it up for me.  I went inside, filled the form, the windscreen was ordered and it was all set to be done on Monday.  I then headed over to my insurance and put in a claim – it took about a minute.  All done, no hassle.

Example 2 is related to the NZ society of genealogists’ website, which I’ve complained about before.

I realised I didn’t have a death certificate for my grandmother who lived in North Wales (see Garden Diary blog).  I went onto the NZSG site who offered certificate ordering as a service to members.  I waded through the ghastly site to try to find out details.  I needed the reference number, etc etc, which of course you can’t get conveniently for free.  I couldn’t find it on Freebmd and going into the LDS library was inconvenient.  The NZGS offered to search for you but you had to print out a form and send it by snail mail.  I didn’t read much past this but it seemed you had to wait a couple of weeks before the information was received and then you could print out another form and send it snail mail to apply for the certificate at a cost of $30!

Still scoffing, I headed over to the GRO website and ordered the death certificate with the information I had at a cost of $20.  It will be sent in about 3 weeks.

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