Bad Blogger … go sit in the naughty corner ….

I have been a very bad blogger.  I have not been very good at posting for the last few weeks.

It really is not for a lack of writing.  I realised I have 105 “draft posts” that I have not posted for varying reasons, so clearly I have stuff to say.

I feel a bit like I am losing my voice – my ability to express myself – right now I am feeling very much like this image – but with better cuticle and nail care!

hand-over-mouth-iStock-300x275

It is very frustrating as part of how I process “stuff”is by getting it out, and ideally getting it out on this blog.

Right now I am feeling  very “idea and thought” constipated – all these thoughts, ideas, frustrations, moments of joy, moments of anger, and well … frustrations are bottled up and not getting out.

Clearly I need a purge.  Usually I will look for the most inappropriate time or occasion to do this …..

I was busy writing a post about how I have been fortunate enough not to have MY BLACK DOG OF DEPRESSION back in some time.  I was all “hey check me out, no worries…. har har har….”  Yes, well, who is laughing now?  Not me in the event I was being a bit vague.

I have honestly not missed the whooshing sound of his tail, and the pitter patter of his feet at night.  As much as I try to picture him as this loping large black Labrador, I really think he is a m-fuker and can do without him.

I am starting to think that I might have “announced” it a bit prematurely, and maybe the inability to speak, to say what I feel, what I am thinking is probably a sign of a dip in the not too distant future.

It might just be an overdose on all the chaos and madness that is associated with this time of year.

Anyway, look out for some vague really makes-no-sense posts coming up … apologise if it all appears a bit nonsensical.

Depression in children … whose parents have depression ….

Once we have got past the party in a cellophane wrapper that Depression and Anxiety Disorder is, it really is something I would be reluctant to wish on nearly just about everyone.

It’s not like a broken leg where you have a cast and the cool kids sign, and in 6 – 8 weeks you can take it off and that is you good to go.

Unfortunately it is bit like diarrhea.

It strikes you usually in the middle of the night.  You spend quite a bit of time in the bathroom wondering if you will survive this.

When the sun rises you still have shit coming out of every orifice, and it is such an unattractive process you really do not want to post it on your status update.  You do not want everyone to know that you are making skid marks in your panties, and more importantly you have no idea where you got this bug from, and how long it is going to hang around for.  So instead you make jokes about “feeling a bit off colour” …..

So enough about me and the simile that is depression and diarrhea.

I really “fear” for my children.  I worry that they will not inherent my good hair and nail genes, but instead will be the proud new owners of full scale depression and anxiety disorder.

Can I prevent it in some way?  Sadly no.  Can I worry and stress about it?  Worry is my middle name.  Actually it is Lucille, but you know what I mean.

I worry about all of them.  I worry about Connor the most, he is so sensitive and has always been an “old soul” – he got really upset when he found out about what happened to Jesus around Easter time.

Connor was at a Roman Catholic school when he was young.  Great school, they were quite into Hail Marys and Our Fathers though.  I was willing to over look my discrepancies with the trinity because I liked the school.

The first year Connor was there they taught the usual run up to Easter.  I fetch Connor from school and he is sobbing.  Like crocodile tears with snot.

He gets in the car and goes: “Why, why, why did they kill Jesus?!” and bursts in to tears.

That really was one of the first, of several signs that Connor just took too much from a situation.

Connor gets very upset if we are upset.  Not because he is in trouble, but he gets upset if we are upset.

If we are sad, Connor is desperately sad.

It is like his boundaries of what are his feelings versus the feelings that belong to another person are a bit hazy.  Sound familiar?

The reason I am raising this issue today is that Connor has been struggling with stomach cramps for a few days.

Stomach cramps and me, have a very close relationship.  I have so much buscopan, levispas, bevispan, and anything else you can get on a script or if you cry loud enough at an all-night pharmacy – doubling over and crying like a 3 year old, can sometimes prove quite effective.

I started my IBS relationship in about 1994.

It was there before, but 1994 was my first big person job, and with my first big person job came IBS for 3 – 7 days per month.  For years I thought it was menstruation cycle link — fraid not.

Connor’s complaining about cramping makes me worry he has the first signs of IBS.  I worry he has the first signs of IBS.  I worry that IBS is a pre-cursor for signs of depression.

My (other/too many to number) concern is that taking Connor to a psyciatrist/psychologist to have been assessed for depression/anxiety disorder, will add as a catalyst to depression … I know that sounds unreasonable, but there it is.

How my unpredicatility affects my children …

I was over visiting Bipolarmoms Blog and read a post where she indicates her reaction to both her mom’s depression and her father’s depression:

My mom, however, was prone to wild and unpredictable moods. I was more affected by my mom’s unpredictability than I was by my dad’s withdrawal.

This is something I worry about a great deal.

I have had a good second half of this year, with most of my demons/black dogs being kind enough to give me a short respite from all things self-hatred, self-doubt, and over critical in my judgement of myself.  Much of the depression, anxiety and self-deprecating behaviour has abated.

I am not naive enough to believe it has all vanished, but I feel a lot less heavy.  A lot less weighed down by my baggage.

I am not exactly unicorns and daisies having carnal relations, but I definitely wake up with less of an urge to pull the covers over my head and pray I can remain in bed all day.

Granted being retrenched was not the key highlight in my year – I was pretty sure it was going to kick me off the edge of the proverbial cliff.  It has allowed me to tackle something I probably would not have been courageous enough to do had I not been forced in to it, namely Happy Helpers.

It has allowed me to cast my view inwards, but in a positive light – “what can I do to get this to work” or “how am I going to get past this set back” or “how can I get this business to move” – and to try to see things that don’t work out as learning curves, rather than fall on the floor and cry curves!

This post is not about that.  It is about the fact that I do not think I am this even keel centre of solid reliable behaviour/reaction when it comes to my kids.  I am in a word erratic.

I tend towards outbursts of cussing and really showing my distress in a situation which should appear all good parenting and mother’s apron.  I do not ease into activities with the kids, I go into them thinking “okay, how long do I have to endure this, before it is finished” …..

I am really struggling with sound and my reaction to it at the moment.  And really what can one do about sound, short of wearing ear plugs – but that then makes me hear the whooshing sound that blood makes in my ears, and I can’t do that either.

Kennith suggests I am over reacting and to test that he has taken to chewing 10 – 15 hardc spur sweets at night in bed.  Or  munching on three crisp crunchy granny smith apples.  I am starting to wonder if he is really wanting me to beat him with the lampshade, or whether this is a test in my ability to sit quietly and not react.

But back to the point of this post.

A simple task of sitting and overseeing spelling or reading homework with the kids, causes me huge distress.  I really want to run away — far away.  I hear how much fun other moms are having doing stuff with their kids – if Facebook Status updates are to be believed – and I wonder how I am getting this all so very wrong, as I am not enjoying it so much.

Connor is very aware of my outbursts and my flicking between calm and rampant-bitch, and I can see the careful way he often treads with me. His face goes into a state of fear when he sees me tipping over the edge.  Connor has probably seen and experienced the worst I have to offer.

Georgia does not appear to care. I think she wakes up in the mornings wondering how she can set about pushing my buttons,and then goes about it with a zealous abandon.  Bless her totally unawares socks!

Isabelle is the one I am trying my utmost not to fk up.  She is my third chance at being a better/normal mom.  Gd knows I try with her.  I try to remain level and even tempered.  I try not to go off in fits of rage.  I try to deal with her by first taking a deep breath before I walk in to her tantrums.

Stumbling on that phrase from Bipolarmoms Blog, really gave me pause for thought, concern and reflection.  Wondering how much my “moods” are affecting and will affect my children moving forward.

Chemist homework – done …..

{I just gave myself a gold star, because actually I deserve it}

I really do not want to confess that I have spent at least 3 therapy sessions discussing why I cannot go to the pharmacist to explain that he made an error filling my script and I had experienced a bit of a downhill slide.

{understatement on the bit}

My CBT doctor gave me a home work assignment last time and encouraged me to go to the pharmacist and explain he made an error.

We spoke for ages about why it was so difficult for me {I feel at fault, even though it was not my fault, I still do.}

We spoke about what was the worst that could happen if I spoke to the pharmacist. {I would feel embarrassed that I had done something wrong.  I would feel bad that I was making him feel bad.  I was scared he would make it appear that it was my fault … you know because everything always is}

We spoke about the ability to see a situation for what it is.  Facing your fears and appreciating that your perception of something is not always what actually happens/happened/is going to happen – your video feed of a situation is really laced with your own {warped} self-doubt.

Yesterday I went to the pharmacist because I had Dr CBT today.

The idea was to talk to him, and then say “It’s done, I confronted him, look how I roll – word to my hommies!”  {or something of that ilk}

I bought wet wipes and vitamins the size of suppositories I will never use.  I don’t buy vitamins. I do not buy wet wipes that cost R45.00

I did not speak the pharmacist, because I felt too embarrassed to.  I bought my bizarre assortement of items, and left the store.

I had an appointment with Dr CBT today and we discussed the pharmacist, and several other issues.  I did feel a bit embarrassed/annoyed that we were rehashing the pharmacist thing.

The vision I conjure up, the perception that it is all going to go so very badly.  My coping mechanisms that I employ to deal with situations where I think I am going to be uncomfortable, then the anxiety and stress those coping mechanisms create. {repeat cycle ad nauseam}

The issue is not whether I actually confront the pharmacist, the issue is why I won’t and how it is an illustration of what I do in my day-to-day life.  Over and over again.

I avoid situations – at all costs – as I am scared of feeling bad. I am terrified of embarrassing myself, drawing attention to myself.

I am scared of how the other person will react.  I am anxious to avoid the uncomfortable feelings that I imagine will occur.

The result is often that by the time I arrive at a place/space/situation – I am so stressed and anxious about feeling stressed and anxious and worrying I am going to say or do something that will embarrass or draw attention to me.  It is often a bit crippling.

My “coping mechanism” is to do something, or say something, that I know is inappropriate or not “socially acceptable.”  Then I can say to myself “there, done it, now you are embarrassed, people think you are an arse, now get on with your day already!!”

Works.  Not well.  But works. {basically the theory of “Out yourself before someone else does.”}

I did not say it was a healthy coping mechanism, I just indicated it was one I employed.

Anyone after Dr CBT appointment I was feeling quite wired, and wanted to just get this pharmacist confrontation over and done with.

I went in and waited at the counter.  When the pharmacist approached me, I explained I would like to talk to him for a few minutes.

{sweating bullets, thinking everyone is looking at me, feeling embarrassed and highly anxious – and overcoming an overriding need/urge to run screaming out of the pharmacy}

He said, of course.  Finished what he was doing and he led me into a separate little office.

I explained that I had been given the incorrect script in November and it had been repeated over three months, with the result that November, December and January were a bit more shaky than they needed to be.  He has swapped out the medication I was prescribed for a generic and then got the grammage wrong, so I was on the wrong stuff, and too low a level.

He apologised profusely, and then I had a bit of a cry.  And then he gave me a bit of a hug.  Strange pharmacist giving me a bit of a cuddle in the private pharmacy room – nope nothing strange going on here, move along, move along!

I explained to Pharmacist that I was getting better as the medication had been adjusted.  Mr Therapist writes out script, Pharmacist fills it, I put it in my mouth with a sip of water.  That is pretty much how it goes, I do not check and am {wasn’t – am now} not aware of what I am on or the grammage.

When the script had been filled, I had queried it twice, but I was made to feel {or I made myself feel} that I was being silly and should just take the pills, so I did.

He was so great about it – and said that if I wanted to scream at him, it was fine, I should.

He was really kind, really sorry, really apologetic, and really understood how I felt – probably helped he was holding my latest script, and based on the cocktail of drugs on the list he was quickly able to assess that “stability” was not my middle name. It is Lucille actually.

Nothing in this situation was horrible or bad.  Not ONE of the bad/world is ending outcomes that I had imagined and been ruminating over for the last few weeks had occurred.

I don’t feel all sorts of wonderful, but I feel good {well a bit good} and have a real sense of achievement — I realise it is a bit silly and is difficult to explain to someone else.  Who is sane.

I decided to buy myself a cow-patch straw basket that was for sale at the Chemist, it was my reward for being brave!

The Mindful Way through Depression …..

I am not big on reading self-help books on depression or anxiety.  Partly because I think most of them are shite, and secondly because my filter system between other people’s issues and mine gets a bit hazy, and too much seeps over to my corner of the garden.

If I had to immerse myself in a book about someone and their issues, it would only be a matter of time before I started exhibiting the same issues.

I am funny like that.

That being said, on Saturday I stopped at The Book Lounge in Roeland Street, primarily to get a gift for the lovely Julie Hall, but whilst there I decided to spend my children’s inheritance on books.  For me.

This book titled: “The Mindful Way through Depression – Freeing yourself from Chronic Unhappiness” by Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel, and Jon Kabat-Zimm jumped off the shelf at me.

I have no idea why, the cover looks like something from a really bad Jodi Picoult novel, and it is titled SELF HELP/PSYCHOLOGY – which would normally have me running for the hills – or at the very least rolling my eyes in sarcasm and prejudgement.

I picked the book up, parked my rather large rump on the leather couch and read a few pages.  I did it with a slightly raised eyebrow as I was expecting the usual “decide to be happy and you will be” bullshit.

I am pessimistic that way, go figure.

The part where I knew I was hooked was the example mentioned on page 20

You are walking down a familiar street … You see someone you know on the other side of the street … You smile and wave.  The person makes no response … just doesn’t seem to notice you … walks right past without any sign of recognizing your existence.

Question:

How does this make you feel?

What thoughts or images go through your head?

The example illustrates the ABC model of emotions.  The A is the facts of the situation.  B is the interpretation we give to the situation, while C is our reaction.

Logically one can work through this exercise and come up with the possibility that the person on the other side of the road was listening to his iphone and you could not see the earphones, and he did not see you.  Or maybe he was really distracted as he was thinking about a fight with his wife earlier in that day, and did not hear me, or notice me.

That is logic.  All of those are possibilities.

Me = immediate hot flush to my face, shoulders and chest and I start to feel this gnawing feeling that the person did not “not see me” he did.  But he ignored me because I had slighted him or I had upset him, or I done something to offend him.  But I had done something to upset/annoy/alienate him, and now he was angry at me.  Why do I do this to people?  What the hell is wrong with me?

{you can see I get totally lost in the interpretation of a situation, and tend to see the bubonic plague and the big bad wolf in everything}

Today is Monday night, and I still feel bad that the guy on the other side of the street did not acknowledge me.

Please let me bring you back to the fact that this did not happen to me, it was merely an example in an introduction of a book.  But since Saturday I have been running through the ways I could have offended this person.  This imaginary person.  On a street I have never walked on.  A greeting I never made, because it is fiction.

Crikey moses!!  Does this give you some idea of how warped General Anxiety Disorder is and how really ‘out to lunch’ my thought process is?

I am going to sit here and sip my wine, and wonder whether my script can be filled yet, and whilst I wait think a bit more about the “guy on the other side of the street and what I have done to hurt his feelings…”

Morbid fear of social inter course ….

I must confess that my social anxiety is getting worse.  I was hoping that good sense and medication would tame it down a bit.

But jeepers creepers it is so out of control, that I should be wearing a white furry bathrobe and r0cking myself in a corner somewhere.

It is ridiculous.  I know it is so stupid, and a bit creepy actually.

I can rationalise why I should not be anxious or nervous – and it is not like everyone/anyone is out to get me – or are they…… but it does not assist the situation and my brain running off into the most bizarre directions.

My way of coping is that I block out everyone outside of the “immediate circle” I need to socialise with.

Before I go somewhere I work out who will be there, and what I will say {more or less} and what they will say {more or less} and then we go from there.  If it veers from the course I have worked out, then we are all well and truly fkd and odds are something bad will spill from my mouth …..

Add “surprise” people to the mix, and it throws it all on it’s head.  I literally “panic” like Bambi’s mother should have done before that hunter shot her.  Yes, had Bambi’s mom been a bit more socially anxious, we would have had a very different outcome to Thumper and his co-conspirators, just saying.

This weekend I have a wedding to go to.  I have a wedding I want to go to.  I really am excited to go.

Kennith is in Germany/Bolivia/Gibralta {leave the correct one) so I will be going on my own.  I need to be able to drive back afterwards, so wine is not there as a social crutch either.

Can you spell social panic?

I am so looking forward to the wedding, I am  reallyexcited {not sarcasm excited, really excited}.  But the idea that there will be dozens of people and a chance I will need to interact with them in some way, frightening the heabies-jeabies out of me.

I keep talking myself through that it is going to be a wonderful day, and I am so in love with the couple that have decided to get married, and I will be there and I am really thrilled.   It is all about them, and not about me.

But then I feel an overwhelming urge to throw up and my armpits get really moist, and I wonder if I should wear a large sanitary towel so I can feel free to pee in my pants and will, and throw up in a plastic bucket from Mr Price that matches my outfit.

It will be fine.  It will be fine.  Repeat 27 times and if all else fails, drink too much wine, and curl up in the corner with the cat.  Right?

Still gabbing on about the Chemist ….

I tend to have absolute faith in doctors and chemists. (dentists too actually….)

I like to see them as these infallible creatures who are able to dispense information, wisdom and good health.  When I sit in the doctor’s chair, my brain leaves me, my IQ drops and I am a sponge to what ever they say.  I am the patient, they are the miraculous healer!

I hand the responsibility of my  health over to the person sitting on the other side of the desk, with an MD certificate.  Doctors (and chemists) are almost godlike in my eyes – not to be questioned, to be thanked with a small, yet gracious, bow or curtsy.

Yesterday’s realisation that they are actually fallible, and make mistakes, unfortunately does shake the foundations of my belief system a bit.

Granted all I have to show is that I had three months of feeling “not quite right…” but it could have been worse.

I had the benefit of having a few months of intensive “psyche care” last year, so I knew that I had something to fall back on as things start to shake slightly off their center axis over here.

But, for someone else that situation might not have been that supportive.  Their breaking point might have come earlier.

I don’t feel an overriding urge to go to my chemist and stand there and throw my toys.  This does not take away from the fact that I feel angry that I have had to do this slide and this crumble, when in fact I did not have to go through this.  I could have continued on my road to the “unicorns and zen gardens” but instead did a little detour through Hades.

I do feel I want to take my little tupperware dish and go and explain to him the situation, so possibly he uses this as a “ah hah” moment to take more care going forward.

The part that makes it difficult is that I start to think “I am sure this was my error….” or “Chemists are much too important to worry about my trivial little issue…” or “I am sure it is nothing, I will just leave it …..”

I know I should go to the Chemist and show him that he did muck up … but it makes me feel uncomfortable, and I start to feel guilty that somehoe this was my fault <>

For now I will take my “new” stuff and wait for the cracks and tears to heal up ….

Crazy people need the right meds …. really

No secret that I have some challenges and I have a script.  The script is meant to help me help myself, I guess.

I see a psychologist every week.  We do cognitive behavioral therapy and we slowly work through the way I see the world.

It is all very well to have a quirky outlook on the world, but sometimes it helps to have someone assist you in how you process the information you have got coming in.  Sometimes a chicken crossing a road, is not always just a chicken crossing the road.  On the hand the chicken crossing the road is not a plot against you.  It’s just a chicken crossing the road.

December was December.   January seemed to start way too soon.  Was up and running too fast.  I have been feeling edgy, anxious and a bit “funny” and it has started to climb.  I thought it was a December thing, then a January thing, but now I am wondering it if is February thing.

I started wondering if I am heading for another little “break” and I am not quite ready to go down the rabbit hole so soon, after coming back from the last little trip.

I knew I was not feeling great, I just did not know why.  I was taking my meds.  I was doing my therapy.  I was doing the work.

I made an appointment with my Pill Doctor – first appointment I could get was for today (I booked this in January already.)

I keep my medication in a little tupperware dish.  It keeps everything together, makes it easy to slip in to my bag, or to put in my cupboard away from the kids.  Works well.

I take it with to doctor’s appointments, as if anyone asks, I can open it and say, I take two of these, one of these, and one of these.

They always ask, and I never know the names.  Tupperware in bag a better idea that you think.

Today was no exception.  Pill Doctor obviously knows my script, as he wrote it.  But he started asking to find out whether I was experiencing side effects, and just to touch base on what I was on.

So I go: “I am taking one of these in the morning…”

Dr Pill Doctor: “That’s wrong, you should be taking three Zoloft, not one of the Serdep….”

Me: “When I received this from my chemist I thought it was wrong, so I called back and asked him, and he confirmed that he had given me the correct stuff and the correct dose.  I even took the box back to him and asked again.  He again said that it is correct at one a day of Serdep — I said the grammage did not seem right, but he said it was!”

Dr Pill Doctor: “I am sorry it is wrong, the script I gave and that you were on since June is Zoloft and three of them a day…. so you are on 1/3 of what you are normally on, and have been on since June last year ……”

Moer, I am annoyed/angry/pissed off.

Clearly a taking-your-meds-101 error!

I have been “struggling” since December, and kept wondering what the hang is going on here.  I was desperate to get an appointment with Dr Pill Doctor as I thought maybe he could order a set of blood/hormone tests as clearly there was really something wrong.

Before June 2011 I felt like shit, after clinic and meds and August 2011, I was definitely feeling better. Things were stabilising and I felt like i was getting a better grip on what was going on.

November I saw Pill Doctor we agreed to keep script the same, took script to Chemist.  Chemist said that I should swap the Zoloft for the Serdep.  And that is where it went all a bit very wrong.

Chemist put me on to 50mg and I was on 150mg before.  When I queried it he said that it was correct.  But being me, who feels awkward to put my hand up and say “er, that is wrong…” telling my Chemist that I think he made an error, was not exactly easy.  When he told me twice that he had not made an error, even though I still felt that something not quite right, but I decided that I am clearly wrong, so I nodded, went home, and took my pill.

The problem is that I have not been feeling “quite right.”  My anxiety and stress has started to climb, and I have been looking around for what could possibly be the problem.

I have been convinced that “the slide” is starting again.

I find out today that my chemist is actually an idiot and cannot read a script.  My Pill Doctor wrote the new script out and wrote on it in fairly legible copy DO NOT USE SUBSTITUTES!!

I am glad that my medication has been adjusted and hopefully in about 4 – 6 weeks I will start to feel a bit better, and get back on to the right road.

I am so chipped off that I have been feeling this amount of “breaking” for the last 4 – 6 weeks which has been totally unnecessary and could have gone horribly wrong.

I am so angry that when I said that something was not right, my chemist did not take the time to go back and recheck the script and what he had given me.

I am sure I will see the happy side soon.

Have brain … cannot speak …..

I subscribe to an email which I receive  from the Daily Love each day.  The emails are exceedingly annoying and I often roll my eyes.

But for some reason I do not unsubscribe, though I am itching to.

I probably endure it as there are some of them that really resonate with me.  I scoff and tut-tut them, but the truth is that there is some “truth” in the rather sickly sweet emails and “universal love” messages that appear on my screen each day.

I tend to “delete” most of them, but my eye can’t help doing a quick scan and read.

Today’s email resonated with me a bit.

It dovetails well in to some of the stuff I am working through Dr CBT.  Most of it comes down to what you think the other person knows, but the reality is that they do not know what you want, so are not aware they are not giving you what you want.

In short.  Communication.

The other person doesn’t know, so they do not react accordingly or give you what you need, so you get angry and frustrated with them because they are not doing what you want them to do.

But they do not know.

And so it goes on.

I struggle with the line between not-assertive/assertive and demanding.

Assertive communicating allows for you to express what you need, in a manner that the other person is clear on what you would like them to do.

You make your point, without being judgemental and attacking.  You make it clear what you need in a situation.

You then give the other person the opportunity to respond.  The key difference between assertive and aggressive is the “demand.”

Aggression is you telling someone your preference, and then demanding they act accordingly.  You may demand internally – so you imply it – but it is the expectation that the other person HAS TO DO WHAT YOU WANT OR NEED THEM TO DO.

Assertiveness is you telling someone your preference and allowing them the opportunity choose to either go along with it or not.  It’s a preference and not a demand.  You realise that it is what you want, but you accept that the other person does not have to do anything.  You accept.  What you want is a preference and there is no universal rule that makes it everyone’s MUST DO.

Yes, you would prefer them to go with your preference, but you remain in the space where it is a “preference” and not a “demand.”

It does not mean you are not disappointed when they do not do it the way your preferred, but the key is to keep the thought that it is your preference that they do something, and not your demand.

You cannot force anyone to do something that you want, that they do not want to do – and expect a good result.  Simple concept, difficult to apply.

The reaction to someone not going along with your preference is annoyance.  The reaction to someone not going along with your demand is anger. ** key point.

I make an assumption, and then my assumption turns into my fact, and I start to plan/create feelings based on that – instead of communicating effectively and allowing the other person to state the way they feel, and then I check in with them to see whether my reality is their reality.

I walk in to a conversation with a pre-determined set of demands, because I have internally already had this conversation, so the conversation is not the exchange of preferences, but merely me stating my demands, having decided the outcome, and getting very angry when it does not go to plan.

<<Side bar – it never goes to plan ….. but this does not stop me from repeating the exact same “conversation” over and over again…>>

I saw this on the Daily Love and I read it and thought “Yep that is exactly what I do…”

I had an “ah ha” moment (love those!) over the Holidays. You know there’s a saying that goes something like this… If you think you’re enlightened, spend a week with your family. You know what I’m talking about.

All those times you thought you had grown and become “so spiritual” go right out the door and BOOM – old habits come back like an itch you just can’t scratch.

When they first got here, I was so happy – and then the first hour passed and I noticed some of my old stuff coming up.

And I was shocked, I was SURE I had outgrown it. I went from an almost 30-year-old man into like a 5-year-old boy around them. It was SO funny.

A couple days later I was talking with my dad and I found myself really irritated at him.

And I didn’t know why. So I started asking myself while I was having a conversation with him “why do you feel this way?”

After a few minutes of inquiry I found out that all I wanted was for my dad to say I love you and ask how I was feeling.

And the irritation was coming because that unexpressed expectation wasn’t being met. And my dad had no idea all this was going on inside me.

I was the one who was aware of the Love that I wasn’t “getting” and I was mad about it.

My dad wasn’t aware of this. He has and does Love me the best way he knows how to, and he is a pretty kick ass Dad!

And this isn’t to say I didn’t get Love from them. No, I got a lot of Love – but there was a certain kind of Love that I felt was missing – and I got angry with them because I thought they were withholding it from me.

But my AH HA moment was the moment I realized that I was mad at THEM for something I was supposed to do.

So the breakdown is this… People give us Love the best way that they know how to. They can’t give it any other way than they do. And if we are trying to get orange juice from apples over and over again, not only are we going to keep getting let down, we are actually insane! Haha.

After I started treating my father this way, it was like an instantaneous shift in our relationship. And I didn’t go to him and tell him all this; I just started giving more Love.

My issue that I am having at the moment is that I cannot speak when something needs to be said.   I cannot tell someone what I need from them.  When I do not get what I need, I am hurt, and I then turn that into anger.

But I am not telling the other person what I need  – so they do not have the opportunity to give it to me.  Do you see how fked up this way of thinking is? I am not sure if you are familiar with it.

I wear it like a familiar shirt, over and over again, even though it clashes with everything, and I do not have a pair of shoes to go with it, I still drag this behaviour out and keep wearing it.

I stand there, and it feels like I am standing with my hands crossed over my mouth and unable to speak.  No one is stopping me from speaking.  I am stopping ME FROM SPEAKING.

The result is I get frustrated and then angry, but this only contributes to the situation that I cannot speak when I need to about something I want to change or that I want to happen.

I know how I feel, I know what I should say, but I just can’t come out and say it.

Then the issue gains momentum, and instead of being about one thing, by the time I say something it turns into a violent emotional puke and it is about 12 things, and comes out garbled.

It does not come out in a constructive manner about discussing the issue – it becomes about the fact that I am having a freak out.  And instead of reasonable conversation, it is me screaming.

I am frustrated.  But I can’t seem to speak out about what I need.

I am not sure if this condition is only limited to me, or you may also be a frustrated-communicator ….

The ability to speak in an assertive – non aggressive – manner and say what I think or feel on a subject, without feeling bad is one of the main things me and Dr CBT are tackling to start this year off.  Part of the trick is to practice it, so it means trying to communicate, knowing you are not so great at it, and maybe it not going as you planned it in your heard.

But then you get better for next time.  I am in Grade R for Communicating Effectively at present.

Maybe I am not quite ready to remove myself from the “Daily Love” mailing list – there is a bit too much there that resonates with me.

It starts again ….

That creeping sensation that things are not quite as they should be.

The whispers of self-doubt.

The gnawing sensation that everyone is plotting against me.

The hiss that people are talking about me.  Incessantly.  Always in the negative.

The worry that I am doing something wrong.  Everything wrong.  About to be “caught out” for doing something wrong I have not even done.  At all.  Ever.

The sounds of whispers and innuendos and recrimination.

Small sounds reverberate in my eardrums as echos.  My children’s chewing that sounds like the brass frkn band going off tune next to me.

The mental arguing and cross-questioning and “should I” or “what if…” and “maybe you need to go and fix that….”

Unfortunately it has all started again.  It was so lovely when it was gone.  It was so lovely.

It started as a quiet whisper in the darkness, but now it is turning into screaming in the day.    It might just be because I am feeling exhausted.  Tired to the bone.

Not ideal considering “yearly holidays” has just finished and I am in negative leave.  I could climb in to bed, pull the covers over my head and sleep for a week.

On the upside it is not depression.  Yip, fkn hooray for that.  Talk about seeing the silver lining.

But it is the mania – the creeping sensation of the full-blown anxiety as it’s bleeding fingers start to linger around the edges – the exaggerated sense of anxiety – every nerve ending hot like a poker – at the same time my brain starts to shut down because it can’t deal with multiple stimuli.

Yesterday.  True Story.  I forgot how to fill the kettle with water.  I was trying to make tea and coffee, and I knew I should fill the kettle, but I looked at the kettle and thought “fk how do I get water in there….” and the I opted to boil the kettle and hope there was enough to fill two cups.

By the time the water was boiled and I poured the water in to two cups, my brain went: “Hey the kettle comes of the thingy-me-bob, you just pick the kettle up and direct it at the tap thing …. and tah-dah….water in the kettle”  But I could not work that out earlier.

When you cannot mentally work out how to fill the kettle with water, it is time to call in medical supervision or at the very least a priest and an intervention or exorcism going.

Fk!

Having my black dog at heel instead of pulling me along ….

Depression is somethings difficult to explain without it sounding …. a bit er ………. depressing.

It really is not the thing you can put a fun spin on,.  I try to make light of it, but people inevitably look at you more strangely than they did before.

At that point I down the glass of wine I am drinking (real or imaginary), and then you change the conversation as you offer to fill their glasses with more wine (real or imaginary).

Claire sent this link to me, and it is really exactly how depression is.

Depression and it’s little friend Generalised Anxiety Disorder <I have a social and sensory-sensitivity thrown in> is a total jedi-mind-fk.  It does not come with a cool light sabre and that heavy breathing guy in a slightly too big head mask.

Everyone tells you to “just be happy” or “snap out of it” or “you will get over it.”  All I want to do is get the shovel out of the garage, and hit the person in the head.  Then go and lie back on my bed, and stare into the vacant distanc, or close my eyes and wish for sleep to come.

Even when everyone is dancing around and so frkn happy, I sit there and smile and really I want to curl up in a ball somewhere, or at the least hold my breath until I pass out.

Social situations push me further than I want to go.  But I seldom opt out of social things, as the remedy is not to sit in a room, and rock yourself to sleep, but the solution is to put my self into social situations and remind myself that “I can do this, I can do this ….”

I think most people who suffer from depression can win an Oscar for faking-happy.  I tend to have to fake interest/happiness/contentment/mild interest when in reality I just want to somewhere and die.

To add to it, no one says {okay you are depressed, it’s okay that you do not feel the same as other people} so as a child/young teenager/young adult you decide that if everyone is smiling, what you need to do to fit in is to smile …. like a bit of a douche bag, as you really are just mimicking behaviour.

Seems the correct thing to do, right?

I have suffered/struggled/ignored depression for several years.

It just is.  I can’t blame things. I am just made this way. I think there were contributing factors, but to be honest no matter how things had occurred, I probably would have ended up in the same place.

<for me making this observation is a huge step, I have lamented various issues around my up-bringing for several years as a way to pin the tail on to the donkey going ‘that’s what caused this’…. but the reality is that I was made this way, there were some environmental issues that probably did not help, but odds are I would have ended up the same place no matter the journey>

My happiest moments are often tainted because I am smiling, but in reality I am not happy at all.  I knew I should be.  The problem was that “should” never equalled actually “feeling happy.”  I do try though.  Gawd only knows I try.  But it never seems quite enough.  <Excuse me while I leave the room to self-flagelate.>

The last few years have had some okay years and some shocker years.  2011 has been a corker, and really no one deserves a shag-and-a-medal more than Kennith for his trouble this year.  He has so stood there and taken it like standing up like no one’s business.

I am not writing this post, because I can click my heels together and screamed, I am cured.  But right now, with my respite from the {hole that is depression} it is wonderful to see things in life’s full Technicolor … even if it is just for a little bit.

<…in the last two days, I have started to get this gnawing sensation, that things are starting to creep back … that the edges of my pages are starting to crumble … just that little bit …. it really terrifies me…>

Illustrations are from “I had a Black Dog” from the uber fabulous Matthew Johnstone – you can purchase his books through Kalahari (delivery free until the 30 November 2011).

Mommy you are really looking happy ….

Yesterday when I fetched Connor from school, he said: “Mommy you are really looking happy.”

Me: “Thanks for noticing my boy, I am feeling happy … but why do you say it?”

Connor: “You just look happy.  I don’t know why.  Are you happy about something?”

Me: “No my boy, I am feeling happy that is all, nothing really, just feeling happy.”

And that really is it. <<I can’t tell you how thrilled I was that he noticed…>>

I am not better, but I am on the mend.

My head is less filled with the negative/kill myself/kill all of you/oh my gawd I am being targeted thinking.

My head is actually quiet.  I do realise it sounds a bit “insane” to say “the voices in my head are quiet.” But they are. This constant internalised conversations that go on and on … all day … all night are quiet.

I can just sit.  And sit.  In silence.  Because there is no noise in my head.

I feel remarkably happy. Not “skip and sing the sound of music” happy, but definitely lighter, more free, and my head is just not as busy as it was before.

I sit and I smile. Just because I do.

I feel a definite sense of creativity.

There are little projects that I have started, and feel motivated to do. I sit in my garden on the old wooden chair, I dusted off and positioned amongst the lavender.  I listen to the bees buzzing, I sip my wine, I feel the coolness of the glass in my hand, and I just feel a sense of calm. Of peace.  Of silence.  Of not internally screaming.

I am not sure whether it is working with Dr CBT, the medication, Dr Pill-Pusher, the fact that I am sleeping, or the time that I hid away from life in the clinic.

I have no idea what to attribute it to.

I feel a sense of happiness.  A genuine happiness that I have not felt in what feels like forever.  I smile when I see my children and I see Kennith, just because they make my glad inside.

It’s a nice feeling.

It is also a  strange feeling I don’t know what to do with it.  I just sit with it right now.  And smile a bit.

<stay away black dog, for fuck sake say away, you are not wanted here!!!>

Sun on my face, wine in my glass …..

In my little journey of ying meets yang, and get a clue, I had a moment yesterday.

The kids were eating dinner, I poured myself a glass of wine, and went to sit in my back yard.

I need to explain that my backyard, is about the size of a large postage stamp. It has been the bane of my life since we moved in to our house.

I hate gardening and I hate attempting to be good at it.  The backyard quickly turned into a wind-blown, sandy and really annoying area.  Just ugly.

I am fine to shut the backdoor and not give it a second thought, but our house/property is built on levels, with the result that the kitchen looks directly into the backyard – it’s almost on eye level.  So I was assaulted by ugly all the time.

Nearly every day – either whilst putting the kettle on or off, I would grit my teeth and it irritated the crap out of me, to stare into this sand trap and then I would get angry.

Then Alice introduced to me to Roderick.  And my life changed.

Roderick is fabulous.  Roderick appears to know loads about gardens and plants.

His most significant skill is his ability to remain amiable when a husband and wife are giving him totally contradicting instructions.  He handles this with such grace, he makes me snort.

Anyway.  I blew my children’s education on lavender, jasmine, thyme, rosemary and petunias and Roderick has kindly planted them for me.

He helped plant some tomatoe plants (which I am not convinced are weeds that we have lovingly tied to thin sticks, as these plants do not smell anything like tomatoe plants, and more importantly have not sprouted one frkn tomato yet!) and he comes and lovingly assists the garden to see that it is quietly ticking over.

He reminds me when to get compost, or worm poison, or which plants I need to replant.

He makes cuttings of existing plants and plants areas I had not even known exist.  He created a fabulous garden in an area I thought was “dead area” that now has rosemary, petunias and some other stuff that smells great, but I have no idea what it is.

He has stopped rolling his eyes every time I explain I have bought more plants, and then he arrives and the plants are all “lavender.”

He appears to understand my little lavender fetish.  Or doesn’t and prefers not to judge me any more.

My back garden has become my  secret garden.  Though it is hardly a secret.  But it has rapidly become my happy place.

My makes- me-mile place.  I love sitting there.

Yesterday I sat on the step, and surveyed my stamp sized garden, wine glass in hand.

I smelt the smell of lavender, and the sweet smell of jasmine.  I sat there with the late afternoon sun on my face.

I heard the birds singing.  I was just still.  I was there.

Here is the part that was incredible.  The noise/internal conversation/the constant heckling inside my head was quiet.  It had been for a few days, I just had not noticed until that moment.

I could hear the birds, and I was not scheming/self-flagellation/future worst case scenario dissecting/constant dialogue about what I had said/done/felt/thought …… all of it was quiet.

I can’t explain it really well, without making me sound a bit like Jack from the Shining.  The value of just having quiet in my head and my thoughts, which are not negative or self-hatred.

It was a lovely moment …..and I really love my little garden.

<Today I bought a Gardening Magazine.  I think the world might come to an end.  The odds of me reading a gardening magazine is shocking enough, the fact that I chose it over Marie Claire might be comment enough on my mental instability!!!>

Somedays I wish I could sort out all the sh*t on my 12 things list ……

I struggle with life a bit. Who am I kidding? I struggle with life a lot.

And this year has been a bit epic for me.  So many things did not go as planned, so many things got totally out of control.   Mainly in my head.  Then in my life.

I seem to have got a handle on my obsessive compulsive stroke panic and anxiety stuff  – which had totally overtaken my life this year.

Can you say freak out?

I can’t say whether it was an “attack” or a series of “attacks” or an “episode.”  It has been pretty hellish.  Like a roller coaster, but without the aid of tracks and a seat belt.

Either way it left me shattered and clinging on to reality though clenched teeth, and bleeding finger nails.

Now?  I am not best, but I am better than I was.  My grasp is tentative at best, but I really do feel as if I am at least aiming in the right direction.

I am seeing a psychologist who specialises in cognitive behavioural therapy.  I also see a psychiatrist who keeps me medicated up to my gills.  I believe this will reduce as my coping mechanism kicks in.

CBT is really hard work.

It is much easier to lie on the couch and blame my mother and life, but CBT really holds a mirror/magnifying glass up to your stuff and makes you questions every aspect.

It doesn’t deal with the “past” it deals with “today” and what you are doing “today” and how you can alter your thought processes about “today.”

It is not a quick fix.  It is not as simplem as I am suggesting here.  Dr CBT is pretty good, and I try to see him every week.

The longer the gaps between my visits, the further I notice I drift off into the abyss.  Yes, a somewhat co-dependant relationship if there ever was one.

It is a bit alarming as you drill down to the root cause of stuff, and sometimes you realise, that actually you are a bit sad and stupid, when you sort of thought you were a bit awesome.

There are many things I need to let go or change – and these are some of them:

1.  Internet and Social Media Dependence.  I have spent much too much time trying to find validation in cyberspace, when in reality, I need to find it with me first before I can even think of standing in cyberspace.  I have been the instigator, and in some cases the victim of so much crap.  It makes me all shaky and sweaty just thinking about it.  Having bad judgement and trying to operate in cyber space has not been a great combination. <palm slap with hand>.  Right now I am pretty much off most/all social media, and lurk around only really on my blog.

2. It is not always my responsibility.  I can live life without it being “if I do not do it, no one will” mentality or “it happened because I did or did not do something”.  So what if no one does it?  So what if you stand back and let it happen? So what?  Leave it.  It is not always your problem to fix it.  You cannot fix the world. Right now you are stuggling to button your shirt, leave the world’s probelms to someone else.

3. I am not as important as I think I am.  When I walk in to a room, people do not actually stop what they are doing and look at me and make a judgement.  Really I am not that important to them.  No one gives a shit.  Even those who do make a judgement – really does it matter, and really in a group how many people are there that truly judge you negatively?  And how many people think about the stuff I do or say as much as I think they do.  Trust me, hardly anyone.  No one gives a fig.  Except you.

4. Name the emotion and deal with it individually.  I paint my fears with a big brush.  I paint all my crap with a big brush.  Much easier to have a blanket description and then sit and tremble in the corner.  I can’t do that because it makes me feel anxious.  I don’t want do that because I am afraid.  Does it really make you feel anxious only, or are there other emotions there? Well, actually yes, I am nervous, I am a bit anxious, I am scared and I am afraid. Okay, so that is four different emotions, let’s work through each of those instead of thinking that it is all anxiety.  Makes it easier if you break something down to work through it.  See what each emotion is about, and deal with it.  A bit like eating an elephant ……

5.  Stop putting pressure on yourself to always feel a certain way.  I feel I am meant to always enjoy being with my children.  So when I am with them, and I am not enjoying it, then I feel guilty and I start a bit of self-flagellation because I should love it.  And that is pretty much the cycle for a lot of things. I need to stop telling myself I “should feel anything” and just feel it as it is, and accept it.  Not just about my kids, about so many aspects of my life.  Stop dictating to yourself you are meant to be or feel a certain way.  Who decides this?  Why are you dictating to yourself.  Stop!

6.  You cannot change anyone, so deal with it.  It drive me crazy when so-and-so does such-and-such. It drives me totally off my rocker.  Ask yourself, can you change them?  Generally the answer is no.  If they do it all the time, then accept that it is the way they do things.  Having a shit fit every time, is only making you more insane.  Does it really matter that so-and-so does such-and-such?  Really?  Like in the bigger scheme of things?  Probably not so much.  Well, then do not get so worked up by it, as you cannot change it and you have no influence.

7.  If you don’t like something or don’t want to do something, why do you force yourself to do it?  Well that one is sort of self-explanatory.

8.  What is the worst that can happen? Really if you say something and someone feels bad, can you control how they feel or what they think?  No, so why constantly bereit yourself.  So what if it happens that way, so what?  Is it really that bad? No.  Do you consciously set out to hurt people?  No.  Can you control what people feel or think?  No.  Then stop sitting there taking responsibility for it.

9.  Spend more time in the present and less time in the “what if it does happen” future and “oh god it happened like this last time, I am sure it will happen like this now” past.  Just BE. Just BE.  You are missing out on so much running around in your head.  Sit in the sun, sip your wine, smell the lavendar.  That is all.  Feel the sun on your face.

10.  Stop having this insane dialogue with yourself over every possible issue.  It’s done.  It’s over.  You do not have to relive the conversation over and over again and persecute yourself.  You can’t go back.  You can’t do it differently.

11.  Why judge yourself in the worse possible light?  You cannot actually be as sh*t as you think you are.  Really, you can’t.  More people like you and more people understand you than you think.  Stop being so harsh on yourself.

12.  Just let life live.  Don’t plan so much.  Don’t run it over and over in your head so much.  Stop with the fkn lists.  Don’t try to predict so much.  Don’t try to work in every possible eventuality.  It’s life, it happens, and then you adjust.  It just is.

13.  Drink less wi…….. actually no, stop at 12. 13 is such an unlucky number.

So how are you? And other polite conversations …..

As is customary, most people start a conversation with how are you.

The problem is I battle to reply in the customary: “I am fine, how are you?”

I am not “fine” so tend to say: “I am okay, not great, but okay.  Better than I was a month or two ago….. but okay.”

And then the person looks awkward, and I shuffle my feet.  And then I drawl “Any the wayyyyy ….. ” to sort of act as an ice-breaker.

Never works.  But I repeat this action none the less.

I am still seeing my psychologist guy.  I am not making a great deal of progress. I start these things with such gusto, and then I realise that they are so much work, and then my shine reduces slightly.  And I slump on the couch a bit more.

At the moment I feel part of things, but not.  I do not seem to have the resources to take part whole heartedly in anything.  At the moment breathing; going to work, attempting to appear vaguely “normal” takes all my energy.

So I feel pretty much like the “third person” to my life at the moment.

Not ideal.  No, sadly not.

My medication is probably not “quite right” but I am also reluctant to mess around with them right now.  There is just too much going on, and I do not want to atttempt and adjustment right now.

My physical symtoms include:  a little shake (of my hands) that gets worse as the day progresses; I yawn so much that my jaw gets sore; I am not “lie on the bed and sleep” tired, but I just cannot stop yawning and feeling fatigued; I feel like I am over there, but the other me is over here, so it is a bit disorientating.

I take some stuff to make me go to sleep at night.  I take some stuff to keep me asleep at night.  Works well.

The problem is if our house got hit with a tornado, I would go quietly in my sleep.

Kennith has been less happy with the fact that if the kids wake up, I am so dead to the world, that he always has to deal with it.  I think he is also concerned that in the event of a fire, he will be carrying three children, and a semi-conscious wife out the door.

My appetite has gone for a bit of a ball. I am seriously just not that interested in food.

I do love food though.  I am even partial to a bit of McDonalds which is actually the perfect meal.  By the time my brain has clicked that I am eating, the meal is finished.

So pretty much it is over before my brain can tell me that it is does not want food.  Works well. Or doesn’t.

Any the wayyyyy (see how that works) …….. so it is not all great, but it is okay.  Kennith is presently winning awards for “the most patient and enduring spouse.”

The mania of extreme panic and anxiety has passed — to a large degree (and I use the term mania very loosely as I am not manic).

I am still a bit wired, so I find when I do something that requires concentration for any length of time, I walk away feeling very frazzled and more shaky.

The small things are not as overwhelming as they were.

I spend less time doubting myself, and in obsessive destructive behaviour or thought processes.

I spend a bunch less time on the internet.

I am still avoiding a lot of the forums and blogs I used to troll.  I don’t have the energy to take on other people’s issues, and also the “urge” to interact much.  So I have missed where everyone is and what everyone is doing.

I sleep at night.

Earlier this morning my friend Judith asked me: “Are you back in the saddle?”

I replied: “Well I am in the saddle, but the horse appears to have fled …. So I am sort of kicking my heels in the dust going giddy-up ….. fake it til you make it they say!”

And that is pretty much how it is with me.

So how are you?

Formaldehyde and other musings ….

I have recently returned from my “running away from home” episode.

Granted I did not actually leave my suburb for my medical care, so really it was not running particularly far.  And to be blatantly honest Kennith dropped me off.  So it was more “being dropped off” than “running away.”

It was a bit surreal to be “around the corner” from where the rest of my life appeared to be carrying on, but with me no longer in the starring role.

Several people have asked “How have the kids been?”

Thank you for enquiring.

As much as I would love to beat my chest and milk this for all it’s worth, they have been pretty much “unscathed” “unawares” “un-rattled” by my absence.

This of course does raise all sorts of questions regarding my importance Iin my children’s lives.

Considering I was away for nearly three weeks and got a cursory “Hey mom, are you sleeping over at the house tonight?” on my return did sort of burn.

It does make me suspicious that the “apron strings” are possibly not as secure or absolute as I initially thought.

I would like to congratulate Kennith and I on having well-balanced and secure children who are able to function even if mom is “unforeseeably detained.”  This may bode well as we suggest boarding school in the not too distant future, and longer holidays away from home sans children.

That is what I am taking from this experience at any rate.

I am on a fair supply of medication and combined with a very dutiful psychiatrist and psychologist I seem to be making some headway.

I am not sure in which direction, but I leave that to people I pay at an exhorbitant hourly rate to think about on my behalf.

I am gauging I am making some progress by their faint smiles and slight inclinations of their heads.  I do jump to far too many conclusions which are always rather pessimistic and somewhat fatalist in nature, and often cause me undue stress.

Adding it to my “to do list” of things to work on.

On another matter …

Connor brought a dead snake home after a play date.   I am not sure of this new custom, but I plan to be giving small dead animals to all the little boys who come over and play at my house from this point moving forward.

Driving yesterday Kennith asks me “How can we preserve a dead snake?”

Why I should know this piece of information say versus him, was not clear.  But having a uterus and a quick wit, and I suggested formaldehyde.

The go-to-chemical for most things I would presume if it is somehow connected to death and lifeless children’s playthings.

Kennith tut-tutted me and said he was sure paraffin or thinners would work equally well.  I rolled my eyes and looked out the window.

Kennith is a bit of a bargain hunter.  If the “real” stuff is R25.00, he will find a way to use a R5.00 stuff and get the value out of it.    Or better, purchase the R25.00 stuff and bargain the seller down to R5.00 and get
him to throw in a boerewors roll.

This principle cannot be applied to shoes, for which Kennith has an Imelda-Marcos-obsession.

No price is high a price for shoes that look practically identical to me, to the other few dozen/hundred he has already in his wardrobe.

Every time he comes home lovingly fondling a pair, trying to explain to me why this style is technically more advanced than the other 200 he has, I tend to glaze over.

But back to the dead snake.

I think Kennith googled and it seems formaldehyde is just the thing (the only chemical suitable) to preserve the dignity of a dead snake.

Interesting fact – chemists do stock it, but you need to pre-order it and it takes 2 – 3 weeks.

In the event that you want to preserve dear old gran, just remember to pre-order sufficient formaldehyde else you will be in for a nasty supply problem, and risk a smelly old person in your lounge.

Regarding the snake, I suggested I did not think it was a good idea to keep a dead snake, in a glass jar, in formaldehyde in our house, with a two-year old, who already unscrews things and regularly drinks my contact lense solution.

But I was vetoed. And we drove to a 24 hour chemist.

Fortunately the gods of the chemist were on my side, and they did not hold formaldehyde in stock, though were happy to order it.  Strange much?

Hopefully by tonight the dead snake is either in our large dustbin or given a pauper’s funeral in our back garden.

But I am sort of back from the dead.

I am still very out of step with “real life” and trying to acclimatize to appear normal.

One day at a time. Right?

<I really want a t-shirt like this>

So the other day at the crazy house ….

Okay so the truth is that I have been at a “mental” or “psych” or “place to get a little rest from real life with a nurse’s emergency button and a rather large assortment of medication” (use the one you feel most comfortable with) clinic for the past two weeks.

The posts you have been seeing are posts I wrote some time ago that I cleverly put on “schedule” so they pop up religiously.

Ah yes, the measures I go to keep up my facade.

Yes, I know, I am a total fraud!!

I have been without internet access (to a large degree by choice), for the better part of two weeks.

I have also been doing something they call occupational therapy but I like to refer to as “lick and stick.”

I will make a confession. I have done decoupage. Mosaics.  I made boxes out of card. I made bath salts.  I made a set of coasters – a mosquito got stuck in the gloss stuff I put on top.  The irony was the coaster said: “It is not where you have been that matters, it is where you are going…”

There is a long and sordid reason why we need to do these things – something about self esteem and concentrating on the here and now, yada, yada.  The bizarre thing is we shuffle in to the room like lambs to the slaughter.  Everyone dons plastic aprons, and then sits down and obediently does the task at hand.

It is wildly bizarre.  But there I was crafting …. I know, the horror!!

<I secretly enjoy it>

That being said it has altered my misconception that the only people who do arts-and-crafts wear hemp, eat organic tomatoes and home school.

I have sat in some awe-inspiring group work sessions, and learnt about myself and a few other people that “might” have changed my perception of the map of my world

The clinic is very nice.

They feed me every two hours.  EVERY TWO HOURS.

They ring a bell when the food is ready.  The result is that the bell rings, you salivate, you walk over to the food area, and start dishing up food whether you are hungry or not. (Can you say Pavlov’s dog…..)

They give us meds and we have to stand in a queue (not dissimilar from One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest)

The lady who sleeps in the bed next to me asked me how the bath works ….. I had to show her how the plug worked and the taps. (I have no idea what that was about either).

On occasion when you are fast asleep, in the middle of the night, a nurse will come and shine a bright torch in your eyes.  When you awaken dazed and confused she will ask you if you are sleeping …..I am too stunned to question this behaviour.

Again I have no idea what that is about.  Personally I think the nurses dare each other in the nurses station to go and f*k with the patients, and who ever loses paper-scissors-rock has to go and do a dare.

That is the only explanation I have for this behaviour.

I met a lovely friend who was convinced that Mr Delivery was smuggling drugs in via sandwiches.  Drugs that only the nurses were taking.  It was difficult to argue that logic there, as I do think there is a fine line between the patients, the staff and the visitors.

I though the one guy was a visitor, until I realised I had seen him for three days, and he was still wearing slippers.  That alone qualified him as a patient.

<I don’t wear slippers. I wear boots, no matter what the occassion>

The over-riding fact was that a Mr Delivery Man had not actually entered the premises in the two weeks I had been there.

So far (one of) my favourite conversations have been:

Patient A: Are you are on Facebook?

Me: Yes, actually.

Patient A: You must hook up with me on Facebook and we can be friends.  My name is ****** you can find me there if you look.

Me: Er okay (knowing full well that I wasn’t going to, as they frown on patients fraternising with each other.)

Patient A:  We can be friends and chat, and then go out for coffee and I will take you to McDonalds.

Me (getting excited that I was being asked out on a date): Cool that will be great.

Patient A: …. little crease on his brow ……..leans over really close ……… Are you married?

Me: Actually, yes.

Patient A: Well in that case, never mind. (and continues to read his book.)

Me….gutted …….

It has been a difficult two weeks, and I have not always had the most lucid of moments, but I have spent a lot of time with a very nice psychiatrist and a divinely lovely psychologist who are helping me work through my stuff.

<Let’s just say it is a lot of stuff>

I have enough meds to make me appear vaguely normal.

I had a hand tremor that was a bit disturbing but has subsided.  Fortunately there are no signs of anal leakage, so that is a definite up!

The laundry charges R1.00 to wash/iron and fold one item.  Best deal in town.  I am starting to send them not dirty stuff just for the joy of the experience.

Today I am doing a desensitising exercise and am sitting in a public place for two hours and trying to stay aware of “the present” rather than panicking that I might panic because I have panicked before, and because I have panicked before, then obviously I must panic now, and then I panic.

I am attempting to drink a pot of tea.  I am attempting to take deep even breaths.  I am attempting not to look like I am having a total nervous breakdown.

I am trying to not have a total freak out because there is noise and people.  I am also abusing their wi-fi connection (as I have been away from web access for two weeks, and well somethings we just crave….).

I am due back in a few minutes, so have crammed a bit into my few hours of “appearing normal.”

I might also risk going to Clicks and buying a 2-for-1 special (something for some reason I have a totally unreasonable aversion/fear/phobia about).

So that is me.

How have the rest of you been in blogland?  What’s new, what’s happening?

Monday mutterings ….

Kennith and I acquired a car that definitely screams “Your Sexy is Never Coming Back!”

We officially look like a family of plumbers or electricians.

The issue being we wanted 7 seats and a boot.  Not two kids in the boot.  Which appears to be the default design for most “big family” cars.

Problem with some of the bigger cars/soccer mom vans was they did not fit into our garage.

Crazy people who built our house, ignoring things like standard garage size and good paint.

We test drove a white VW Caddy.  Decided that even though it did not drive us wild with excitement. It did appear to be very practical, and loosely within our price range.

We then explained to the friendly car salesman that we were interested in the car, but could we have it in silver.

The answer was yes, but we had to wait four months.  Kennith and I cannot feasibly juggle our lives and one car.

There was an alternate to the white one.  It was brown.

I realised my mental capabilities are flawed at the moment.

But seriously.

It must have been a very bad day at the VW Caddy factory when they decided that “brown” was a great colour for a car.

Brown is super for chocolate and some furniture.  I have seen pants and shoes that brown works for.  Tree bark is totally rocking in brown.   Baby poo is better in brown, than say green.

But not for cars.

I am not sure there EVER is a time when brown is a great colour for a car.  I might be wrong.  Maybe I have just never seen the right shade of brown on a car.

Maybe.

We are now the proud owners of a “very hot and happening” VW Caddy.  Please keep an eye out at your next robot.  Or call us on our new 0800 number.  We also do paving.

On another non-related story …

Wednesday I popped down to the psychiatrist for a little “how are those meds going?” visit.

The short answer was “not well.”

Things are definitely very out of control. In my head.  Not on the planet in general.  Though they could be.

I suggested we stop pea-shooting the charging rhino and bring out the big guns.  A bazooka or an uzzi is sort of where I am pitching this.  I am about done with the “wait and see” subtle approach.

Let’s get it on like Donkey Kong!

Right?

We have brought out the big guns.  They include several boxes from the pharmacist.

I would love to say they are working a treat.  I really would.

They have however left me shaking and mumbling under my breath, and well feeling pretty crappy all around.  I must confess that sleep is no longer a problem.

So far Kennith has made me about 6 cups of tea that I never drank. He offers. I say yes.  He walks to the kitchen. By the time he gets back I am mimicking a light coma.

If you challenged me in rock-paper-scissors I would get it wrong right now.  I might pull out wig-wam.

Wig-wam does not beat anything.

On the upside I am definitely less panicked.  Still anxious.  But less panicked.  Not a total win-win situation, as I have gained have several other interesting side effects which we can chat about on another post (None of them include anal leakage – have you noticed how the insert  on drugs always refers to anal leakage at least once occurring in one of the control groups?).

On Friday afternoon I called my pdoc (Pdoc is short for psychiatrist.  Tdoc is short of psychologist.  True story.) and explained my symptoms.  I really was not feeling great.  Grim might be an accurate assessment.

He suggested I keep on with the meds, and I have had a bad reaction.  Maybe Monday or Tuesday I would see a shift in the right direction as my body (read brain) settled down.

I explained to him that I am not a suicidal person.  But Friday morning had me working out a plan.  Like jotting it on the side of my box of anti-depressant type of plan.

Even I could see this was not a healthy direction.  For anyone.

He suggested I wait it out.  And not to worry as I was not alone.

He is off until the 12 September on holiday.  Ironic?

I wished him a good holiday. And hung up.  I decided a lie down and a cup of tea, was not my worst idea.  I redrafted my plan on my brown box.

Let’s see how Monday and Tuesday fare.

Overall.  Me = Not Great.

What is your sanity score?

I am just not feeling better …. right now.

Better than what?  I am not sure how to explain it.  I guess better than feeling like death.

I am not physically sick.  I can’t show you an injury or a bleeding elbow.  But I physically feel in pain all day,

My medication has definitely made me feel less worse than I did – and really for that I am grateful.

Thanks to Stillnox I am sleeping like the dead.  Thanks to Nuzak I appear vaguely alive during the day.

I have a few other things thrown in for good measure.

This is without a doubt the worst I have felt for the longest time, since at least 2003 – 2005.  I think.  But my memory might be hazy and I may well be mis-remembering.

I cannot actually believe how crap I feel.  Right now I am doing breath-breath-breath, everything else is detail and somewhat unnecessary.

I know I should be all these things that I should be: thankful, grateful, glad to have a job, happy for all I have,my beautiful precious children, my caring partner, but I just feel so “dead” to everything.

Still.

I have definitely lost my mojo.  Somewhere.  Some how.  I am just not sure where to go and find it right now.

<If someone could tell me where my mojo is, I would gladly go there and collect it.  Really, I would.  I’d go right now. Immediately and grab it.  No questions asked.>

I am trying very hard with my kids to not give them the impression I am struggling (more than usual) and trying to appear patient and willing to read stories and spend time with them.  And do it and appear happy.

I am trying.

When they are in bed, I literally crumble like a paper mache that got wet in the rain.

Today I added a neck ache and a head ache to my day – I really wanted to take a Cataflam and a few Panado – but I was nervous that I had to get through the day and I had no idea what the combination of medication would do.

I need to give the semblance of functioning.

I made the rather disastrous error a few nights ago of eating dinner, took my sleeping tablet and my night medication, had a glass of wine with dinner.

Granted it was not a small glass.

But I was totally out of my tree while I was still sitting in front of my dinner plate.

I had no idea how I got to bed.  No recollection of locking the security gate or getting in to bed.  I found my glasses I wear when I watch television lying in the middle of my bedroom floor.  Some party I must have had without me knowing it.

So, I am guessing that combination was not the best idea I have ever had.

My pill doctor is a loon, so I need to shop around and find a new one.  In practice I will skulk away from her and pray I do not run into her at a mall.

I have had one appointment with my clinical psychologist who specialises in cognitive behaviour therapy.

We have a ways to go before we start with the heavy lifting stuff –  but I am already intrigued by his manner.  But let’s get to three consultations before I go and tattoo his name on my arm or something.

He suggested something mildly interesting in our last meeting – that I might have been inaccurately diagnosed in the past.

But I think he is going to keep a “new label” as a surprise for a later visit.

I did get a good feeling from him (but bear in mind I did also get a great feeling from my earlier pill doctor, and well, I was clearly …. er …… wrong, so do not take my opinion as authoritative on too many things right now)

I saw this interesting ‘are you crazy’ or better ‘how worried to you need to be by your level of crazy” on-line survey.  I think the fact that if you are doing it sort of tells you that you are a tad “crazy” but it is interesting that it highlights some areas that might be a concern and you might need to look at.

So it is not conclusive, but it definitely holds up some red flags that you might want to think about going forward.

I do want to confess that it was remarkably accurate – but I am all sorts of crazy right now, so really a blind guide dog could work that out.

I plan to retest myself every few weeks and see how it goes.  Out of interest, not for any therapeutic guidance.

So if you want to pop along and check your sanity score – let me know how you scored.

I tested earlier today and I came up with 157 (I think.  I did not write it down, so I am trying to remember accurately.  I just did the test again and got 151).

<the summary it gave me was: Based upon your answers, you appear to be experiencing a great deal of distress at the moment —  your overall mental health is greatly affected by this distress.  People with similar scores experience life as overwhelming and have a great deal of difficulty in coping with life, relationships, work or school.  If you have been feeling this way for longer than 2 weeks’ time, people similar to you have sought out professional care from a mental health professional, such as a psychologist, psychotherapist or psychiatrist. – handy advise me thinks>

Would you do the test?  What is your number?

(you do have to sign up, which is a case of a user name and password, so it is pretty simple stuff)

Saving myself one script at a time ….

I saw my brand new shiny therapist/psychiatrist on Monday.

I was very glad to find her in an emergency, and well, I was having an emergency. July was just not going to be good enough to wait for the other guy, so I kicked him to the curb, as you do with psychiatrists.

Being me, by Saturday I thought I felt better (that was after I had made the appointment.)

By Sunday I thought I was miraculously healed, so did not really need to see a doctor, and was totally over-reacting by making this appointment.  I mean, really!  Of course I am fine.  Never been better, in actual fact.

I usually get instantly cured the minute I sit in a doctor’s waiting room, and alway feel a bit sheepish going inside to tell them I am ill, when really I am fine, really, and I am sorry to be wasting your time, and try to leave as quickly as I can.

Then Connor chewed pork rind in my ear on Sunday afternoon, and I went a bit postal.

I was really glad I had Monday’s appointment scheduled.  Really glad, as I felt I had been hanging on by what ever you hang on with when your nails have been pulled from your finger nail beds.  Bloody stumps I would hazard a guess.

If you have not been to a therapist before, I won’t bore you with too much detail.

The short of it is that you spend an hour sitting around talking about yourself, while someone writes furiously and goes “uh huh” quite a bit.  Almost like a first date, just you pay by the hour here and no one is buying you drinks, to get you in the mood.

It is inevitable that you will cry – a great deal – even when you chew the inside of your lip to stop yourself crying.

I tend to find reasons why not to like someone.  That way all I have to do is to wait until I find “the thing” and then I can go “see, I knew I did not like you…”

I found it hard not to like Dr D even if just a little bit.  Not because she was not adorably cute or brilliant, I found her sincere and familiar, and human.  And well, just real …

She reminded me of a person who I chat to on a forum (and who I have met in real life) who goes by the avatar, Lo**F – which was strange, but oddly familiar.

A few strange things occured in the hour.

Strange #1

I was talking about something else totally, and out of the blue she goes “When did your father die?”

I stopped talking as I think I was talking about lemon meringue pie ior something, and I said “You know that is a bit out of left field right?”

And she said “Yes it was…” and then smiled and repeated the question: “So when did your father die?”

I told her the year, and she sort of looked at me, smiled slightly and carried on writing whilst I continued to tell her about Lemon Meringue pie.

Strange #2

She asked me something and I explained my religious belief system and my sense of spirituality.

Both of which I can summarise politely as being somewhat “barren and lacking in an anchor” at this stage in my life.

She stopped me and said “you are making me very anxious right now…”

I looked at her and I said: “You know I am the patient and you are the doctor.  I am panicky and anxious, and well …. it is not helping that you are getting anxious …. it is not helping me.  You know that right?”

Dr D: “Yes, but you are making me anxious, and I needed to take a breath before you carried on to centre myself and to reduce my anxiety that you are causing in me.”

Okay ….

Strange #3

She asked me if I would like on the doctor’s bed thing – I was sitting in the leather wing backed chair at the time.

I asked why and she said she wanted to help me relax and try to panic less.  I told her lying on a bed behind a screen in a stranger’s office was not going to make me panic less or relax.

I asked her what  exactly she was going to be doing while I was lying there.

She said she was not going to touch me.  But was going to put her hands above me, to assist me and transfer some of her calm energy to me (or something like that.) – I think she said Reiki.  I asked if it mattered whether I believed in what she was doing, or whether it was okay I just lay there with my eyes closed.

She suggested it might help if I believed her, but lying there was fine too.

I said that she was making me deeply sceptical about this entire process, but if she wanted me to have a 5 minute lie down on her table, then that was fine, as long as she did not physically touch me and I could leave my shoes on.

I lay on the bed, closed my eyes, listened to my heart racing and the rather LOUD ticking of the wall clock. I did not get calmer or more relaxed, but that might have been because the receptionist kept buzzing through that her next appointment had arrived.

Our time together came to an end.

We had spoken at length that I was not a fan of medication and had “gone it alone” for some time, and at about the time that she was congratulating on my “not taking medication” stand point.

I interrupted her (as I knew she had another appointment waiting) and said: “But today is not that day.  I need a script, and I want a script today – I can come again and we can chat again another day.  But today I need a script!  I don’t care what you put on the script actually, as long as it reduces my anxiety and panic, as long as it makes me sleep through the night.”

Strange #4

She is writing out the script and goes, in a sort of by-the-by voice “Are you suicidal?”

I look at her, well, like she is crazy actually, and I go “The right answer is no, right?”  She hands me my script (granted only with enough meds for two weeks) and I skipped to the chemist.

No doubt I will be seeing her soon.