Robin Williams and Why Funny People Kill Themselves ……

Hearing that Robin Williams lost his fight to depression came as a reminder that depression is not some nancy pansy little problem that goes away if you try to be happy.

When (ignorant) people discuss depression and refer to it as an “attitude” and a “choice” I really get all sorts of riled up.

This perception that you can “choose to be a happy person”, that you can “choose to wake up happy” is really tiresome, ignorant and life threatening.

I overheard a discussion yesterday on the radio and the DJ’s were talking about depression and how their respective families view it. 

The one DJ says that if she says she is depressed her family tell her to go for a run and get some fresh air.

There were other really “helpful” suggestions as well.

I agree that often some behaviour does assist you to feel a bit better when you are depressed. But much of this is going to be a thin layer of assistance to a tumor that is festering inside your head and your soul.

Depression as a disease —as diseases go it is a very committed disease.  It has a clear goal.

Depression wants you to kill yourself.  That is what it is planning and trying to do all the time. Simple.  It is a mental disease that is trying to find a way for you to end it all.  It never lets up.  

I cannot put it any simpler.  Yes it sounds harsh, but that is what it is doing, and working at tirelessly.

I have been very lucky that my depression has abated for the most part for the last two or three years.

I can feel him there, scratching at the door some days, but for the most part, I get to function and get through my day without having the oppressive thoughts and feelings following me around.

This does not mean that I still do not think that “all is in actual fact lost” that possibly it is a better option to “just end it all” and that “maybe my life is not worth living.  If I leave now, it will cause less damage than if I leave later and people get too attached to me….”

I have at least one suicidal thought a day.  But it is usually fleeting, and does not take over my entire being.

I am not depressed at the moment — but because it is a permanent part of my fabric, my being, the thoughts and feelings creep into each and every day.

I have sufficient emotional resources – at present – to not let the nagging thoughts, the destructive thoughts, and the darkness from taking firm root.

I am lucky.  At the moment.

Depression is a bit like HIV – once you have it you always have it.  

You can treat it, and you can keep it under control as long as you stick to the strict regime (everyone’s regime is different) – but do not think for a moment that it has gone away.

Depression is a sneaky little bitch and will hide and make you think you have beat that bitch at hide and seek.

You may feel so good some days, even for weeks and then you think “I have beat this thing….” You slowly stop what ever medication or assistance you had been receiving, and sooner or later — usually far sooner than later, you find that it has crept back and invaded your life.

Just as you think that you are sitting on top of the world, it will unfurl itself and wrap it’s arms around you and start to squeeze tight — to remind you that your black dog is always there, waiting, waiting.  Biding his time.  No rush.  He will always be there.  Ever faithful.

Robin Williams —- a man who suffered from depression.  He made it his life’s work to make you and me laugh, at ourselves, at him and situations.  

Robin Williams’ comedy always had that “edge” to it — even at his funniest, there was a sense that his humour was not the “clown humour of the circus” but there was indeed something deep, dark, and complex lurking behind the face paint and bright red nose.

Robin Williams losing his life to depression — is a lesson to me, that I am always at risk.  That I should never be complacent.   

Robin Williams losing his life to depression — reminds me that depression is not a fleeting bad moment, it is a life time of fighting and enduring.

Robin Williams losing his life to depression — saddens me to my core.

Robin Williams losing his life to depression — does not mean depression always wins, it just means that sometimes we lose that one battle.

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I read this article, and it is so brilliantly written – I loved the way it shows how it describes so eloquently how people who are funny are often using a mask to protect themselves.  

Their humour is a way for them to cope, for them to connect and for them to feel like they are accepted.

Please pop along and read David Wong’s full article on CRACKED.  

You ever have that funny friend, the class-clown type, who one day just stopped being funny around you? Did it make you think they were depressed? Because it’s far more likely that, in reality, that was the first time they were comfortable enough around you to drop the act.

The ones who kill themselves, well, they’re funny right up to the end.

 

By now you know that Robin Williams has committed suicide, but I’m not here to talk about him. He’s gone, and you’re still here, and suicidal thoughts are so common among our readers and writers that our message board has a hidden section where moderators can coordinate responses to suicide threats. And in case you’re wondering, no, that’s not a joke — I remember the first time John tracked down a guy’s location and got an ambulance dispatched to his house. Then we all sat there, at 4 in the morning, waiting to hear if they got there in time (they did).

 

Because Cracked is driven by an army of aspiring comedy writer freelancers, the message boards are full of a certain personality type. And while I don’t know what percentage of funny people suffer from depression, from a rough survey of the ones I know and work with, I’d say it’s approximately “all of them.” So when I hear some naive soul say, “Wow, how could a wacky guy like [insert famous dead comedian here] just [insert method of early self-destruction here]? He was always joking around and having a great time!” my only response is a blank stare.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/quick-fixes/robin-williams-why-funny-people-kill-themselves/#ixzz3AGAbNdxr

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Strange thing happened at McDonalds ….

craziness

Strange thing happened at McDonalds recently.

I popped in for a meal at a local McDonalds, and it was quite busy.  As I walked in I recognised this guy at the counter – the client side of the counter, not the “will you have fries with that?’ side of the counter.

It took me a few ticks to realise how I knew him.

I had spent a few weeks at a psychiatric clinic and he was a patient there at the same time as my “stay”.

He had some severe problems, and I chatting to him a few times.

+80% of the people at the clinic had issues that still allowed them to function in society – sure they may be a bit weird, and say all sorts of crazy shit, but who doesn’t?  Even in crazy land, you find people on your level of crazy and befriend them.  Then silently judge the people who are further down the scale in cray-cray land.

This particular guy was THAT guy.  His problems were severe in comparison to the “norm” of the clinic. {even crazy has a level of normal … who would have thought!}

I can’t recall what his diagnosis was, as it has been a few years, and really it is none of yours or my business.

Unfortunately psychiatric clinics are not dissimilar from high school.

The cool kids rule.  The kids who can’t keep their shit together get picked on.  Relentlessly.

My experience with psychiatric clinics is that there are a lot of young patients.  They form clicks. and make the kids who are on the lower rungs feel even more shitty about their existence.

Alcoholism and drug addiction trumps schizophrenia and depression any day of the week.  Much cooler stories with addiction than hiding under your duvet, and being too afraid to face the day.

Agoraphobia sufferers are clearly never invited to the cool kids table.

Let’s call this boy-man Roger for the purposes of this story.  He was ostracized and really “hated” by the other patients, and several altercations broke out at the clinic.

I felt really bad for him, and made a point of sitting with him at meals as no one else would.  I would sit with him at TV time, and then he would tell me the same story, word for word, over and over again.

I realised he had no memory past about three minutes when he was in a “bad state.”   When he was angry it was because he was confused or disorientated, and no doubt scared.

The best thing to do was speak to him, reassure him, and not get worked up when he got a bit “worked up” – many of our discussions followed this sort of format:

Him: “Nice pen”

Me: “Yes it is”

Him: “I have a pen just like that.”

Me: “Maybe, but this one is definitely mine.”

Him – searches through his pockets of his chinos.

Him: “I have lost my pen” looks at mine “it looks just like that” puts his hand out “give me back my pen….”

Me: “Maybe you have lost your pen, but this is definitely my pen – you can borrow it for a few minutes, while you are sitting here – but it is my pen, and you need to give it back, okay?”

… repeat conversation a few times …..

Though he really was very offensive when he was screaming rants, he was not a mean person.  He was just a young boy whose brain and chemical balance was just not right.  He really was struggling. His demons were far greater and louder than mine.

I could be him.  What if my son was him?  What if you were him?

Back to McDonalds.

Roger looks at me, and I can see his mind trying to place me.  I am silently begging him not to place me.

I can see he is agitated. I can see he is starting to do that body movement that is telling me that “all is not quite well over in Roger Land.”

Reunions are great, but reunions from the cast of “One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” are less so.

I just wanted my McRoyale Meal (with a Coke Zero, because that will cancel out the kilo joule count quite nicely.) I wanted to sit quietly, shove the chips in my pie hole whilst reading my book and try not to be pulled into this confrontation.

I order my food, and step back to wait for them to prepare the order.

Roger meanwhile is scratching in his McDonalds paperbag, and starting to get a bit twitchy.  I believe he wanted 10 sachets of tomato sauce, and they gave him 5.

He might have asked if there was 10 and the teller answered in the affirmative.

My guess is she is probably thinking “what NUTSO is going to eat 10 tomatoe sachets with one burger?”

Clearly she has never experienced quite this level of “please give me exactly what I asked for.”  She figured she’d just pop 5 sachets in the bag, and send him merrily on his way.

Teller at McDonalds did not get training in how to deal with a Roger customers during teller orientation week.

Roger went off – screaming.  Asking for names, explaining that no one should fuck with him and so it went on.  In full scream and going off at the counter.

He was beyond upset about the fact that he had requested 10 sachets, and he had received 5.  His mind just could not grasp how she had confused this request, and how she could not understand how 10 sachets were really really important to him.  Vital in fact.

I got my meal and went to sit down.  He screamed and ranted and used really really offensive language.  No amount of smiling and nodding was going to placate him.

He was really upset about the sachets.

I looked at him and realised that when you are all sitting in “morning ring” at a clinic of your choice you are all sorts of crazy.

Varying degrees of total whack-jobs being kept in check by close guidance of a medical professional and medication.  The reason you are there is because odds are you have either lost your shit at a McDonalds or are on the road to.

Roger finished his rant – and he was actually quite frightening.  I ate my chips and sipped my cooldrink.

I knew that by the time he got to his car, and drove home, he would forget that he had even been to McDonalds.  Let alone that he had screamed all sorts of shit at the staff and the random assortment of customers who stared at him slack jawed.

After the incident was over, the customers were talking, as one does when someone goes a bit shit faced in a crowded space.    One of the women who had been standing next to Roger came to talk to me and tell me how offensive he was, and that he was probably mad – not sure what is is about me that is inviting comment, when I just want to read my book and eat my stuff off a tray.

Seeing Roger made me remember how far down my “bottom point” had been.

How much it had affected me, and how afraid I am of ever hitting that “low” again.

I am lucky that the “bag of shit” that is my set of problems, are my problems.   I do not have to deal with what other people have to deal with on their average day.

And maybe before you/me/we jump to an assumption about someone losing their shit, you give some thought to what might actually be going on there.  Maybe.

What if we treated every illness the way that we treat mental illness?

I saw this graphic yesterday, and it struck a chord with me.

mental illness

I have regularly been battling my own demons, and some days I manage it better than others.

Depression and it’s related posse – which are usually socially phobia, general anxiety disorder, alcoholism, or some sort of substance abuse – is not an illness that ever really goes away.

You get given a respite, a few days grace, but then the bitch is back and you get to start the cycle from the beginning.

I do understand how exhausting this process must be for family members, loved ones, partners, parents, children and the sundry of others who love, like and have a relationship with someone “struggling with depression.”

I would imagine it is a bit like helping someone who has a broken leg.

It is all “fuck I am sorry, how can I help?” then you help them carry their books, shuffle to the toilet and back, make them some tea, and pretty much help out where every you can – at about the point when you think “yikes I am tired of this shit” .. then the person’s leg heals.

The cast gets removed and they are “on their feet and back in the swing of things.”

Then you go to the shop to buy milk and a loaf of bread, get back and the person has broken their leg again.  And you are like fuck that shit.

Repeat the loop 3 – 6 times a year, and in the end, everyone is about as sick as crap with you and your stupid broken leg, and really just wishes you would stop breaking that shit.  What is wrong with you for goodness sake.

It is starting to look a bit reckless, and that you might actually enjoy wearing a plaster of paris cast, and not being able to function.

Swap broken leg out with depression and you can sort of see how everyone gets exhausted with you being exhausted.

mental lllness

Depression is a cruel illness. It strips you of your ability to care or relate to anything around you.

It fills your mind with emptiness – and it’s all you can do to blink without giving up.

I have noticed that with each cycle there is an element of “darkness”that gets blacker and more dense in my mind.  An unwillingness, or an inability to face it again – the constant gnawing cycle of self loathing, self doubt, pain and well …. bleakness.

I think I have got better, as I have got older, at being able to soldier on through the “bad patches” to where few people do not even notice that I am in a bit of a low space .

The reality is the cycles are cycles – they keep on coming and as soon as this one is done you start sensing the new wave building, and you are never sure if this will be the wave that crashes on the beach, or tears through the country like a tsunami.

The ebbs gets lower and lower, and then “the big one” arrives that makes me doubt who I am, my worth, my sense of self, and more importantly by ability to put one foot in front of the other.

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living-with-a-black-dog1

pointing-out-lovely-weather-is-annoying-and-pointless

I posted this originally on the 10 January 2012

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.

And it is back – the swishing tail of my black dog against my legs.

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Is there anything I can do for you?

I was really having a rough day yesterday.

There is just too much going on – I am trying to be all things to everyone, and I am working myself into a bit of a lather.  I have some financial commitments which are a bit challenging and I am starting to really feel “jittery” and wound up.

I have always been averse to the hour in the car driving the kids home.

Maybe because by that point, I have had a long day – and being trapped inside a car with three kids who are all vying for my attention, is usually the tipping point.

Last week and this week have been especially challenging to get Georgia to take her medication each day.  Even though it is crushed and placed inside chocolate spread and neatly placed between two Salticrax biscuits.

Georgia is the same child who can eat a half portions of ribs so fast she bites her finger.

Georgia is the same child who will mow through an adult plate of spaghetti bolognaise.

This child can eat.

But present her with a biscuit and tell her she HAS TO EAT IT is an exercise in frustration and humility if ever there was one.

On Monday it took more than 30 minutes to bribe/threaten/cajole/force her to eat the biscuit – and towards the end I had totally lost my rag.  Screaming at your child in the morning, is a less than ideal start to neither the child, nor your day.

Add a few other things – and by the time I had to fetch the kids – I was feeling edgy at best.  The usual fights ensued as we drove home – and when I got into the driveway, I just could not face walking into the house.  With them.

I thought about running away from home.  But where would I go?

I thought that a little stay at a Clinic might not be a bad option.  But that requires pre-booking, a letter from the medical aid and an emergency visit to my psyciatrist – and he wasn’t answering his cell when I called him.  I do think he is filtering his calls.

I decided instead to just sit in the car.  And stare into my lap.

Connor eventually came through and opened the door.

Connor:  “Mom are you okay?”

Me:  “No, not so much my boy – just having a really rough day…”

Connor: “Is there anything I can do for you?”

There always has to be one child who can see you inside your madness.

Suicide bunny and other musings ….

I am not sure how to start this post.

This is not a cry for help.

This is not a cry for trying to convince me to speak to someone.

Really it is not.

I have this post on the edges of my brain, and if I don’t put it down then what ever I write is going to feel like I am being dishonest.  As that is not what is really on my mind.

I have struggled with depression and an anxiety disorder for some time.  I have my good days, and I have my really cannot get out of bed days, but know I must pull the duvet off and just get on with it days.

I am on the right depression and anxiety medication.  I feel a hundred times better than I did say two years ago.  I am much more level and my emotions and reactions are even keeled.  The internal buzz has more or less quieted down to a mild drone.

Good times.

The addition of IBS has been challenging – the problem with it is that I feel ill much of the time.

My abdomen swells, I look 6 months pregnant – the pain spreads out across my back, then everywhere to the point where my skin actually starts to feel sore.  I am fending off remarks about “when I am due” with way too much frequency – of course it affects how I feel about myself and look horrendous.

I hate the way I look.  I hate looking at myself in the mirror.  I try to avoid seeing myself.  Tricky with floor to ceiling mirrors in our bathroom.

If my child asks me once more if I have I have a baby in my tummy, I might throttle her.

I have changed my diet/intake of food lasts week, because I believe my issue is far greater than a few days of feeling shite.  I am reading a few books on IBS and there have been several home truths -and reading another two for perspective.

book-whatyourdocIBS

The list of what I should avoid is long.

There is no easy quick fix.

There is a however a solution if I carefully monitor my intake, and ensure that I avoid refined sugar, refined wheat, dairy, caffeine and alcohol – pretty much everything at McDonalds.  Clearly I draw the line at excluding alcohol.  Let’s not be rash and too hasty now.

If I am excluding that, then the reason to live starts to get a bit hazy and uncertain.

The last four or five days have been a period of exclusion and making different decisions about what I eat.  There is just no way I can continue to survive and eat as I have been doing.

I don’t eat badly or in excessive, but I just cannot eat this way for myself and be healthy and comfortable.

This requires some thought, and a bit of a rethink about my life going forward.  I am not suggesting that IBS is a bit of a stomach ache.  I am suggesting it has become such a pr0blem that affects my every day functioning – I need to decide to behave differently if living is a goal.

My other issue is misophonia – a violent, sudden and physical reaction to sound.

I generally control the sound I experience and generally it does not change my mood or the way I behave.

The only exclusion is the drive home in the afternoon with the kids from school. It has become abundantly clear that I am actually unable to do that five days a week, and ensure all four of us make it home alive – the fighting and the noise in a confined space is doing my head in.  One drive home at a time.  One at a time.  I wistfully think of giving them bus fare/taxi fare and just “winging” it. If two out of three get home, then it is a win, right?

I have been falling out of the car recently and being thankful we have all made it home alive.  I am so irritated, and tense that the rest of the evening is a total lost cause.

Music radio??

For the love of gd.  It is beyond me how I managed to listen to it for so many years.  At the moment I always have audio CDs to listen to when I get into my car.  I listen to a story, or a collection of music CDs that I know will not trigger a reaction.  More story CDs than music, because I find the repetitive nature of most songs sets me off.  It is like having nails across a chalk board, or cutting wool with your teeth.

However when I get into Kennith’s car he listens to Five FM, and I seriously start wondering if I opened the car door, and released my seat belt if I could quietly roll away and the sound of the repetitive really bad music would stop and I could roll myself into a coma and then quietly pass away.

I am weighing up whether rolling out of the car is better than stabbing him in the temple with my Revlon chubby stick.  I am not sure.  I get more irritated that he does not realise how much the noise is a factor and how much it upsets me.  So instead I sit there and stare out the window and praying the car trip will be over.  Grinding my teeth and praying.  Soon.  Let it end.

Music radio is repetitive and at a pitch that I cannot bear.  5 minutes of five FM and I would kill you to make it stop.  Like dead.  I would feel total comfort in burying your body under my lavender.

Not feeling well, makes me wound tight as a reel.

Everything totally freaks me out.  I am sore, my nerves are shredded and no doubt it just makes my stomach tighten and the cramps and spasms worse.

Priv has just had a baby. Priv is my rock, she is the reason I remain vaguely sane.  The last month (June and July) without her in her usual position has left me frayed and stressed.  I was stressed before she has her baby, as I imagined the worst possible outcome for her and her  baby.

I worried, I fretted.

She went into labour last Monday, and the week was about running back and forth to the hospital, waiting in waiting rooms, trying to navigate the public health system and worrying for her every moment of every day made my nerves frayed, and I am exhausted.  I feel sick with worry.

Priv and her baby girl are happily home and I am relieved.

But I worry.  I worry how this is going to work going forward.  I worry about everything.  I worry about her.  I worry about the baby. I worry about how this arrangement is going to work going forward.  I worry. I worry eternally about everything.  Of course when someone asks I say “it’ll work itself out” in a little sing-song voice I have mastered.

Every little thing. I worry about.  I worry to the point that my jaw is sore because I have it set in such an uncomfortable manner.

If I started biting my nails (as I did until 1999) they would be bitten to the quick and bleeding.  But I have nice nails, and no longer chew them – but I have started scratching my legs – that helps.  I also pinch my upper leg, or I flick my fingers.

I am so worried about her.  I am so worried about me and my ability to cope at the moment.

My IBS on a scale of 1 to 10 is a good and solid 8 1/2 and I feel grim most of the time.  It makes me irritable, hostile and angry. I cannot function when it is at it’s worst.  My stomach swells, I feel nauseous, I feel sweaty – I have cramps and spasms that are surely my comeuppance for not attempting a vag.in.al birth.

The last three nights as I dozed off my mind has been trying to calculate exactly how much medication an overdose would be.  How much would I have to take?  Would I prefer a 3 month coma or straight death?  Tricky, tricky — which will it be?  I have enough schedule 5 drugs to stop a small herd of goats firmly in their tracks.

Could I just go to sleep, and be at peace?  No more pain, no more discomfort, no more feeling shite.  Could that really be an option? Or is it time to schedule another little sojourn in my nearby clinic?

I don’t want to rob my kids of a mom.  I also do not want to be an irritated, upset, horrible mother than clouds their existence.  The reason they are on a leather couch in 15 years bemoaning why the fuck their mother could not just be happy.

I looked at some short videos that Kennith had taken recently of our holiday, and Georgia’s birthday party.

I am not the one smiling.  I never look happy. I look pained, irritated and angry – which is pretty much how I feel most of the time.  I am never smiling in videos or photographs – unless someone tells me to smile, and then it is forced and never moves to my eyes.

I know that if I wrote down a list of “things to be happy for” and “things to be fucked off about” – my list of happy would far exceed my “things to be fucked off about.”

I have a good life.

I have some wonderful advantages in my life, I have so much to be happy about – but I am unfortunately so deeply unhappy.

The reality is that my reality feels dark, sad, pained and confusing — and at a certain point I start to look for ways to step off the fun, but nauseating round about.

So that’s how I feel them.  Clearly not main stream happy, and maybe not Living and Loving Magazine cover bullshit, but there we go.  You know what they say …. actually I have no idea what the fuck they say.

 

suicide bunny

Just how I feel …

This is a perfect illustration of exactly how I feel some days.

Fortunately I have not had a day like this in some time, and I am so damn grateful.

somedays

Not sure where this image is from, so I can’t credit it to it’s source.

Insomnia and I are long time friends ….

Insomnia was one of the “things” I picked up during the Great Depression of 2011.

I have always been a bit of an iffy sleeper.  I go to sleep easily, but I wake up 4 hours later with my brain in a whirl whilst I work through every possible permutation of everything I said, did and nearly did in the day.

Each outcome will have a new set of possibles and then I have to work through them.

Anxiety and stress is really an exhausting friend to keep.  Demanding, needy, and never looks out for your best interest.  She is not a friend you want to get to close to, and you really do not want her stupid status updates at 23h00, 24h00, 01h00 and 02h00.

Unfortunately it is one of those thing where the more anxious and stressed you get, the less you sleep.  The more tired you are, the more anxious and stressed you get, so you are exhausted and your nerves get more frayed and you desperately need to sleep.

But you are too stressed and anxious to sleep, so your brain does not get quiet and there you are staring at the ceiling wondering if you could turn the television on, and put the sound low enough so your partner does not wake.

I have a script from my guy-in-a-white-coat that gives me a small white pill of “instant sleep.”

I am fairly sure that Sleeping Beauty took an Ivedal which may explain why she fell instantly asleep.  Possibly it was in the drinking water hence the entire castle following suit.

The downside is I get a bit of amnesia before I fall asleep, so sometimes do and say things I have zero recollection of the following day.

The upside is I sleep like the dead, and wake up each morning feeling refreshed and alert, and never lie awake trying to stop myself thinking about the blinking light on my desk, even when my eyes are closed.  Sometimes I crack one eye open to see if I can catch the blinking light out.  Being tired also makes me delusional.  More than usual.

I forgot to renew my script yesterday.

Last night I had no white pill.

Instead I got finishing a book in the hope it would make me go to sleep.

Putting the light off and closing my eyes and thinking “go to sleep thoughts.”

I counted sheep backwards, I usually start at 1001 and work my way to 1.  I never get to 1, I get bored around 950.

I think soothing thoughts, calming thoughts, I take deep breaths and try to relax.

At 1am I realised this was really not working.  I put on my daggiest bathrobe, traipsed downstairs and did some work.  I climbed back in to bed at about 5am, watched a bit of tv and tried to fall asleep.

The sleep fairy snuck by at about 06h50 and blew “instant sleep” in my face.

Connor had to scream “MOM, you need to get up we are going to be late!!!”  After the third time, I got out of bed, bleary eyed and punch drunk.

I could easily be an extra on The Walking Dead right now!

It is 10h35 and I am going to make a cup of tea, find a warm blanket and see if I can quietly sink off into blissful sleep. I have no idea how new moms go through sleep deprivation and do not end up going insane

Insomnia Final

 

I have a fabulous Organics hamper to give away, but really need to be able to focus to put that together.  Promise I will do it for tomorrow, as well as announce the winner to the Disney pack ….. brain she is just too exhausted right now to do much beyond breath-aim-to-the-kitchen for tea.

 

Depression and Medication …. its a fun game of tag you are it …

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I have been patting myself on the back lately as I seem to be on a good level emotional keel.

2011 was a year with a slow slide downwards, and then an eventual bottom out, that left me weeping and clinging to the edge of sanity with torn and bloodied fingernails.  I’d love to regale you with tales of how I conquered that shit, but that bitch kicked my arse and then came back to poke me in the eye!!!

In 2011, I built a close and totally dependent relationship with a psychiatrist who seemed to understand how to help me.  We worked through a few options of medication until we found the “most right for today” option.

I arrived in his office when I was shaking and jibbering, so he did have rather broken person to fix. I was convinced that there was not enough medication in the universe that would possibly help me.  But I was wrong.  Not the first time, not the last time.

The right medication is pretty unbelievable.  I was in an absolute state, and many of my symptoms had stopped being psychological, and had become physical symptoms.  I had neck and back pain that felt like spasms. I had also been clenching my jaw so hard for so long that my face ached.  I had clenched my jaw so tightly that I had cracked one of my molars.

Depression and medication is a bit of a challenge.

Medication, at some point, makes you feel like you have got a handle on life and that you might try to nurture a pot plant.  At least for some part of the day.

The problem with this buoyant feeling and the twinkle in your eye, is that it makes you feel like you are “alright” and just might be coping.  So the first thing that you do is toss your meds – ‘cos who needs those when you are feeling so damn good!!

Once you are feeling good, with such a good handle on not having an emotional vomit every time you go out for dinner, well then the nest step is to cancel those Dr Psychologist appointments.

First, they are not free.  Secondly, it is an hour of you sitting on a couch talking about shit that you really would rather not think about,  And thirdly, at some point your medical aid runs out and you are coughing up a few thousand, to chat to someone, about shit you don’t want to think about any more, because you feel so damn even keeled!!

So you cancel the crap out of those weekly appointments.  Because now you have the coping mechanisms that only drugs and therapy can make you think you have.

Flush with the extra hours available in your week, and the chance of maybe a few rand saved, you face your new life with a whole new outlook.

Depression, anxiety disorder, panic disorder is no picnic.  I know “depression” is a term that gets bandied around fairly freely – and I am definitely not the one to judge whether someone is having a bad day or is diagnosed with depression.

So here I sit.  Feeling not so bad.

I have cut back on some of my medication. I take a slow release SEROQUEL XR, and an IVEDAL sleeping tablet at night.  I used to take another set of medication during the day, but as time went by I realised I could cope without it, and cut back, as I felt the Seroquel was working well for me on it’s own.

I could probably sleep by myself.   I could probably.  But right now I am reasoning “why take the risk when what I am taking have little to no side effects, and what I am taking works?”

I have cancelled my Dr CBT, and I am feeling all pretty “hey check at me, nearly got this LIFE shit sorted…”

But around the edges, I start to realise that cracks are starting to reveal themselves.  Not big hulking sink-the-titanic cracks, but hair-line fractures.

It’s time I book another “just checking in” session with my psychiatrist and more importantly make an appointment with DR CBT.

And such is the “always there” black dog …… even when you think he has gone away.

On a non-related note, do you know the collective noun for a group of cats, is a pounce of cats?  I love that – my favourite collective noun is a “Murder of Crows” more … I do love collective nouns.  This last paragraph has no relation at all to the last post, but this is sort of how my brain works.

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!

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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.

Pole dancing and other pursuits ….

I’ve been running around with this thought in my head for a few weeks, and am struggling to put it in to words so that it make sense.

I saw this link recently which was a post about Toddlers and Tiara’s {excellent post} and it made me splutter in anger/frustration.

Not because it said anything that was not true, but because the video reminded me of how much I hate /abhor this show.

And how angry it makes me.

It brought up severe feelings.  It is not just this show – though the show is enough to push a mom over the edge, but it is because this culture is a symptom of something so much bigger.

I am not the best mom in the world.  I realise I often make some stupid parenting decisions, which I hope I learn from them as I go ahead.

Even with my rather limited IQ and parenting issues, I can see that spray tanning my child, and pimping them in a two piece on a stage might be questionable behaviour for any parent, even one with limited IQ.

Having my young daughter parade on stage in what is really a downsized version of an adult outfit, and mimic’ing adult behaviour is a not really a sign of a good parenting decision, no matter how big the trophy or how ridiculous the title

I have caught Toddlers and Tiara’s a few times and sit there and wonder what the hell these parents are thinking!  Seriously, what the freaking hell!

That being said, I look at the parents – even if you exclude their toddler who is clenching false teeth to give her the perfect smile, has hair poofed to an inch of it’s life, wearing more spray tan than “The Only way is Essex” and a wardrobe that would make the Jersey Shore single figure IQ cast jealous – and really seldom think they are stellar parents making fabulous parenting decisions.

I do tend to sit there and go “what the fuck?” and that is before I have seen the child.

I get how the mom will often think this is a great idea – moms get to do stupid things, often, that is  our right.   Surely a sane dad would think “there must be something wrong with my 4 year old daughter being waxed, primped, and posing on stage in a bikini and then sashaying about like she is a 20 year old?” and maybe put up his little fist and go “Hey, I prefer my daughter not to look like someone who appears on Hollywood Boulevard.”

The parents explain why they parade their children on a stage and promote these girls whose only “good attribute” is their external beauty or perceived beauty.  The most common reason is always about how good it is for the child/baby.

No one mentions how much discomfort/pain this child goes through to be plucked, pulled and painted to look like a doll.

No one comments on the behaviour which many of these girls exhibit which is rampant self-absorption and a skewed perception of reality.  Also they are encouraged to be DIVA’s demanding and rude, and of course the stuffing in of food high in sugar and caffeine to keep their energy going.

The entire show is hideous.  It reminds me of that audition on Bruno where they are trying to show how far a parent will go to get their child into an advertisement.

Auditioning for a children’s fashion shoot in Los Angeles, Bruno asks a group of showbusiness mothers a series of questions about what they would allow their child to do for the shoot.

“How would your daughter handle being dropped four-storeys?” he asks one, to which she replies: “I think she’d be a little scared at first, but she can do it.”

Bruno then reveals that the fashion shoot will involve one child dressed up as a Nazi officer pushing a wheelbarrow holding another young girl dressed as a Jew into a furnace.

One of the mothers auditioning her child says: “It sounds theatrical… as long as she gets the gig.”

I think as parents we all make, well, dodgy decision with our kids.  Then when given time to reflect realise we have been a bit dick-orientated and try our best to correct the behaviour moving forward, say, rather than entering them into the NEXT competition.

I did the photo competitions with Connor, and dragged him to a few hideous commercials.

The days were long, the work tedious and at the end of it all it had nothing to do with Connor.  It was all about me and my need for outside affirmation that my child was truly a beautiful child – because if he was pretty, then surely that made me a good parent (or a better parent)!

Eventually I realised that my need to win had nothing to do with Connor.  But all to do about me feeling that “he was the best looking child” and decided to not take him for further castings – he really hated them, and I was having to bribe and coax him to do them.

I cannot stand child based beauty competitions.

I blanch when I get a request to go and “LIKE” the link because someone’s child is on a list of 400 kids where clearly the competition is about how many “LIKES” they get which does not make them the best/most beautiful child, but who ever has the mom who can campaign the hardest.

The issue that I wish to raise at the moment – though not in the most eloquent manner – is girls – and how we are projecting them in public, and the stereotypes we are buying in to.

Not just small girls, teenage girls, and adult girls.

I cannot watch VH1 or MTV because besides the inane repetition of the most ridiculous lyrics to date, every girl is presented as either a p0le/lap dancing freak or a bikini clad, large sunglasss, and gloss lipped woman who drapes herself over a rather imbecile looking rap star/singer/recording who is lounging in a house/on a yacht that clearly is not theirs, saying something along the lines of “yoh-yoh-yoh.”

Fucker, please!!!

Every show I watch which features a girl/woman in any way has her dancing.  But she is dancing like a stripper or a lap dancer. For small denominations.

The girls all appear the same.  All aspire to be the same thing – part time prostitutes/full time strippers who sole purpose for being on earth is to be drooled on by boys.

That being said, what message are we, as moms, as grown women, sending to our daughters by attending pole dancing classes or by installing a pole at home?  When did learning to be a stripper and imitate moves found at Mavericks become a household mainstream activity?   I think there can be a convincing argument for great exercise, and wow, how it tones your thighs, but still what is it exactly you are learning to do?  And is it okay for your daughter of 5 to watch and learn to do with you?

Have you watched a 12 year old girl dance lately?

Have you watched a 16 year old girl dance?

It is enough to make you throw a bag over their head and run off and put them on an island somewhere so you can desensitize them to this media flooding in of a how a girl is meant to look and act.

Toddlers and Tiara’s is just another symptom of how f’ked up society has got and how children/girls are turned into sexual objects before they can spell Dr Seuss!

When did boys win?  When girls started doing pole dancing classes and called it exercise.

{this post is a bit of spluttering …. I still have not quite found a way to convert it into good english, but there we go}

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.

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 ….