Deep Thoughts - Reader Beware #16: When you finally see the forest through the trees

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Blog entry by Sandra posted 10-30-2017 03:38 AM 4776 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: Epiphany at the bandsaw Part 16 of Deep Thoughts - Reader Beware series no next part

I’m notorious for over-thinking, overanalyzing and basically spending too much energy navel-gazing. This blog is intended to get some of it out of my head. I’ll be glib, sarcastic and flippant in my other posts. Who knows how this one will turn out. It may be a train wreck, so reader beware! If navel-gazing doesn’t hold any appeal or distraction for you, move on. If you’re allergic to estrogen, move away quickly.

My own personal rules are to not to spend more than 30 minutes on any one post. I can correct a mistake if I catch it right away, but can’t go back. If I post it, I can’t edit or delete. I tend to edit things to death and have been known to delete my posts before it’s too late.

If anything resonates with you, feel free to chime in.


For those patient souls who have been part of my Lumberjock journey, I joined this site when I was very ill in 2011. One day I was fine, next day I was admitted to the hospital with something attacking my nervous system. Nerve pain to the point of wanting me to sever my legs, twitching, face droop, extraordinary fatigue, ringing in my ears, test after test after invasive test. First theory and last theory standing was MS but no diagnosis.

Anyone who would DARE suggest that any portion of my medical issues was connected with stress or mental health was promptly put in his/her place and summarily told to figure out what the [email protected]&& was wrong with me and stop messing around asking me if I was stressed. Of course I was stressed. I was in and out of the hospital with worsening symptoms. Was I depressed? Well, I was off work for a total of 7 months during which I didn’t know if I was dying and if I even wanted to live with the pain I was in. Of course I was depressed.

My social circle shrunk. I stopped visiting a good friend whose three boys were young and loud.
The mall was completely out of the question and on a bad day, I couldn’t get the groceries into the house without help. This site was what kept me going through all of this. The Stumpy Nubs thread quite literally kept me alive some nights.

Six years later I still have symptoms, but I’m ‘better’.

There was no magic moment when I got better. There were little moments.
-when I decided I had enough of medication that was somebody’s best guess
-when I spent a crapload of cash on a personal trainer and started working out again
-when I was put in charge of a team at work who needed me to show up at work everyday
-when my saint of a psychologist delicately posed the question
-when I started taking medication for something other than the physical symptoms

And bit by bit, I started to accept that of course it was related to stress. Much of illness is. If someone is leading a tremendously stressful life, is overweight and has high blood pressure, we don’t say “it’s all in his head” if he has a heart attack, do we?

I’ve now been diagnosed with PTSD, which I didn’t think could apply to me, because I didn’t serve in Vietnam, Afghanistan or Rwanda. THOSE folks could reasonably have PTSD, but me? I didn’t think I had seen enough, been traumatized enough or had served enough to have PTSD. ( I’m pretty sure some of you had it figured out long before I did.)

And through all of this, I found woodworking. I started selling clothespins and so far I’ve made close to 25,000 of them. Many of you told me it would become a ‘job’ or a ‘chore’ and in some ways you were right. But when I go to a craft show, or I get an online order, I get to be the Clothespin Lady. I’m not my profession, or a wife or a mother. I’m just the Clothespin Lady. And clothespins aren’t political and they never mistake me for the secretary.

12:38 am – it’s past the Clothespin Lady’s bedtime.

Thank you, my friends.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

16 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30646 posts in 3580 days

#1 posted 10-30-2017 03:44 AM

We are and always will be your friend. The best friends I have are here.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View DocSavage45's profile


9069 posts in 4085 days

#2 posted 10-30-2017 04:13 AM


Hmm. I’ll shut the _K up about stress! Good luck on your new Journey. Just saw your shop tour video! I like your voice better than mine….LOL!

Hey Monte!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Gary's profile


9419 posts in 4675 days

#3 posted 10-30-2017 05:30 AM

You’re one of those rare find jewels in life. You may have received a lot from the group but, you’ve given a lot as well. Everyone here is proud to have you as part of the group. Regardless if it’s RCMP, Clothespin Lady, woodworker, or mom. We have another title….friend

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Boxguy's profile


2901 posts in 3510 days

#4 posted 10-30-2017 06:53 AM

Sandra, isn’t it amazing the twists and turns that life takes? Hang in there, Clothespin Lady. I am having fun re-lighting and renovating my shop. It is a journey worth the ride.

-- Big Al in IN

View LeaParker's profile


2 posts in 1451 days

#5 posted 10-30-2017 08:10 AM

Hats off to the Clothespin Lady!

-- When you cut a tree, please plant 5. It's for your own good. GO:

View Doe's profile


1440 posts in 4072 days

#6 posted 10-30-2017 11:14 AM

I’m so glad you finally have an answer! It may not be a “we’ll have you fixed up in a tickety-boo” sort of answer, but it is one. You’ll be with your family and friends for a long time and they’ll do their best to help you through the rough spots.

-- Mother Nature talks, I try to listen

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26784 posts in 4348 days

#7 posted 10-30-2017 01:01 PM

Hi Sandra. This Lumberjocks site and my woodworking keep me going strong. My wife wants to go to a condo where I could not make chips, use the chainsaw, cut metal , weld and generally make noise when needed.
I told her I cannot live like that and she might as well shoot me because I’d die there quickly!!

Keep a positive attitude and know that you have a family of over 233 thousand here behind you!!!!!!!!!

cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View firefighterontheside's profile


21501 posts in 3099 days

#8 posted 10-30-2017 01:30 PM

These professions that we have certainly have the potential for ptsd and it’s so hard to know when it has started and what was the cause. If they say you have ptsd, believe them.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12399 posts in 4671 days

#9 posted 10-30-2017 01:44 PM

74, we love ya. Gary said it well. And, were lucky to have a friend like you.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View a1Jim's profile


118253 posts in 4819 days

#10 posted 10-30-2017 02:03 PM

Clothespin Lady, I have a family member who has PTSD who has had to find their way through the dark tunnel and now they have the benefits of mostly sunny days in their life.
I’m glade woodworking has become a positive factor in your life and that it gives you an identity and purpose. If I was one of those people that said cloths pins was not a viable business I’m sorry you obviously were smarter than myself (join the masses :) ) keep on the great path your on and find joy wherever you can. Along with me, I’m sure all of the LJ family is cheering you on .


View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 3917 days

#11 posted 10-30-2017 02:42 PM

Yeah, what Gary said.
Glad you got some answers….

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View CFrye's profile


11361 posts in 3082 days

#12 posted 10-30-2017 07:48 PM


You re one of those rare find jewels in life. You may have received a lot from the group but, you ve given a lot as well. Everyone here is proud to have you as part of the group. Regardless if it s RCMP, Clothespin Lady, woodworker, or mom. We have another title….friend

- Gary


-- God bless, Candy

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

4073 posts in 3494 days

#13 posted 10-30-2017 08:30 PM

+1 to Dr. Gary’s comment/s. I call you friend as well.

74—You’re a one in a million girl.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View rhybeka's profile


5075 posts in 4364 days

#14 posted 11-01-2017 10:59 AM

I like this so much! :D I’m with everybody above :) I’m happy to have met you, Clothespin Lady!

-- Beka/Becky - aspiring jill of all trades, still learning to not read the directions.

View mudflap4869's profile


2130 posts in 2701 days

#15 posted 11-02-2017 02:16 PM

Anyone who works in law enforcement, emergency medicine or firefighting will suffer PTSD. It is NOT just a disorder for combat veterans. STRESS is the operative word here. Having had the disorder for 47 years I can tell you first hand that it is not easy to live with. AND you will pass it on the your loved ones. I have caused my family untold amounts of traumatic stress over the years, and they will be effected by that for the rest of their lives. Getting professional help was the best thing that I have ever done.
I AM WITH YOU SANDRA in my hope for a better future for you, AND your family. You are what a true friend is all about.

-- Still trying to master kindling making

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