Fandom Merchandise and Where to Find It

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​As I look at my Christmas gifts, and my recent birthday gifts before that, I am struck, but not terribly surprised by how much relates to the variety of fandoms and pop culture things I am involved in. Many of these things have stayed with me since my teen years, to the point that I no longer participate, but they still hold an important place in my heart. The one example that comes to mind was my getting a new messenger bag: ThinkGeek’s Bag of Holding. It’s so glorious that I’ll be writing a separate review of it. My son was a little annoyed that I would be getting it – it was a little expensive, but with the thirty percent discount that was offered, it was well worth it. He was still a little annoyed and exclaimed, “You don’t even like Dungeons & Dragons!” I think I may have snorted. I was momentarily speechless.

I don’t like Dungeons & Dragons?! Do you even know me?! I had been playing Dungeons & Dragons since high school. In our school cafeteria, we would use the half-pint milk container as a six-sided die. Every weekend in college, we’d get together in the blue room to play. Dave, our DM (dungeon master) would not let us have any alcohol. We got stupid. We were probably the only group on a Saturday night not drunk. We would play all weekend, talking time only to sleep before the next night’s game.

I met my college roommate in a study hall through a conversation about character sheets.

My oldest son used my original books when he and his friends played Dungeons & Dragons.

Not a fan?! Harumph!

Glancing at The Walking Dead trivia box, the Hufflepuff necklace, the Supernatural zipper bag, the Star Trek 50th anniversary gold ornament with sound, I saw just how many fandom things there are, and I also realized how difficult it was to get some of them.

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50-44 – Postpartum Depression

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​When you give birth for the first or second time, the expecting books, the online information sites, and the doctors and nurses are very much aware that this is new for you, and they take great care in giving you as much information as possible including on postpartum depression.

postpartum depression can occur in women who’ve had no other history of depression.

You are told very clearly what to look for: loss of appetite, fatigue, lethargy – because none of those things happen when you have a new baby unless you have depression, right?

Two other symptoms to watch out for are if you can answer yes to the following questions:

Do you want to hurt yourself?

Do you want to hurt your baby?

Since my answers to both of those questions were  resounding NOs, I knew I was in the clear.

Despite that I couldn’t make decisions or do anything that wasn’t taking care of the baby, or even lying on the floor with the tiny baby, both of us crying hysterically. It went on and on, and every time I thought I must be depressed, I need to see a doctor about this, I would go back to those two questions and answer them:

No, I do not want to hurt myself. No, I do not want to hurt my baby. I just need a vacation; a day off. And I muddled through. I just wasn’t strong enough to handle a second baby. I must be doing something wrong.

Not to mention that my mother had just died; eight weeks after the birth of my son, which came eighteen months after the death of my dad. Of course, I was depressed, but I wasn’t, you know, depressed.

It wasn’t until eight years later and actually becoming suicidal, wanting it all to just end and being diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety was able to look back at that time, lying on the floor crying, not wanting to do anything but sit in a chair, sometimes holding my baby, not cooking or wanting to eat, did I realize that I did, in fact, have postpartum depression.

It’s hard to look back and know that if only I’d looked deeper into it, I could have come to of it sooner. As it was, when I became pregnant with my third child, when my second was only six months old did the hormones kick in, pushed the depression away, and saved my life.

I was miserable, and I had help. My husband stayed home and worked as often as he could, especially after baby number  three was born, and my mother-in-law visited and stayed with us for extended periods to help us out and visit.

We need to listen to new or not so new mothers when they complain about how hard it is. Even if we complain all the time, we need to take a special listen after the baby’s born. Offer support; don’t wait until it’s asked for. By then, it’s probably too late and the request is coming from a shrieking, arm flailing door slammer.

The questions shouldn’t be will you hurt yourself or your baby; the question should be how are you, are you okay, can I help? Do you want me just to come over and watch you and the baby sleep for an hour?

postpartum depression is hard to recognize. I never recognized it until I was on anti-depressants and in therapy for about six months. I was lucky. I never wanted to hurt my kids. If they were with me, I wouldn’t hurt myself, but looking back it is one of the scary experiences I’ve ever had, more than when I was actually suicidal.

The good news is that I came out of it. I survived. I look at my kids everyday and I’m glad I’m here with them. I survived and I’m still surviving. I’m hyper-aware of how I feel. I have my coping mechanisms, which I’ve adapted to over time.

Don’t let anyone tell you you’re crazy or imagining things. Take care of yourself first. Love yourself first. Always keep fighting.*



[*Always Keep Fighting and Love Yourself First are from the Always Keep Fighting (AKF) campaign to raise awareness and fight depression through Supernatural actor, Jared Padalecki’s charities.]

50-25 – Charm Bracelets

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Did you ever collect charm bracelets? Collect might be a bit strong of a description for mine. I’d get them at a variety of tourist spots on vacation, and then promptly lose them upon coming home. I remember looking at them in the gift shop, twirling them around my fingers, examing each charm. I’d wear it for a little while and then it would disappear into the netherworld of lost socks and board game pieces, never to be seen again.

I have vague memories of tricorn hats, moccasins, cactus, oranges, palm trees, revolvers, horses and buggies, Amish hats and other like trinkets in fake silver and gold.

After college, I made myself a charm necklace with pendant charms that I liked but no longer wore, strung onto a shoelace or a thick piece of twine, each separated by beads. It became too heavy to wear.

In recent years, I began collecting charms again; this time on a chain bracelet. I picked things out that were meaningful to my life now. I did lose one of a bow and arrow that I’d had since the SCA and archery practice in the ’90s, and that made me sad, but I substituted a bow and arrow that I found on a keychain of The Hunger Games.

Each one means something different and symbolizes some aspect of my life now.

The charm bracelet was the first place that I put a cross after I’d begun my RCIA studies.

The compass symbolizes the constant journey I’m on, and keeps me on the path and going in the right direction.

The salt vial keeps the demons away. Actually, it’s a symbol of Supernatural, a television show that is one of my coping mechanisms for depression (along with others). It reminds me that I’m part of the Supernatural familly and to always keep fighting.

The Tree of Life is nature, and life, and something that is bigger than me.

My griffin is from my original charm necklace. It is my favorite animal. Part lion and part eagle, they are both majestic and confident, and their golden feathers are gorgeous.

The feather is in place of a quill for all my writing.

Each one is special in its own way. It is like my secular rosary.

A newer charm bracelet that my family got me for Mother’s Day. It has only a few charms that werre important to me. (c)2016