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).

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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!!!>

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?

Hello ….. my name is Reluctant Mom and I am an internet addict …….

So, one of my issues (several) is that I have started slipping further into cyberspace and further out of reality.

I began to dodge real-life things so that I could spend more time on-line in blogs and on forums, and just cruising around the net.

I got really irritated with the kids because if they would just stop demanding time from me I could herd them into their beds, and spend more time on-line in blogs and on forums.

It became extremely important how people in cyberworld viewed me.  CRITICALLY IMPORTANT IN FACT.

Their comments lifted me up as well as smacked me down. If I did not get recognition for it in cyberspace then it did not matter.

I would read, re-read, and re-read my comments to ensure that it sounded right in my head.  It was not unusual for me to read one of my comments 12 – 18 times before pushing send/reply/publish and often changing it several times over.

Each time I read it, I would read a more critical tone into the wording.  I would read the way other people would hear (read) and then I would pre-judge myself (before they did)

Any comment made or given in reply was fraught with angst.  I always read the worst in to what anyone said to me or about me, or as a comment to me.

I would push the refresh button constantly on the look out for the response.  I literally would hang on waiting and waiting for the response.  As much as I dreaded a critical word, I would hang and wait for it.

I would be devastated when my comment would hang there in cyberspace without a reply comment.  My worst feeling was being the last person to comment on a thread.  I felt like I was Jane-no-mates and had killed the conversation when mine was the last comment.

This of course fed into my sense of “rejection” and “I did not matter to anyone.”

Real life and cyber life started blurring around the edges.  I felt that real life was a bit too tricky to remain present in, so the blur of cyberlife became much more appealing and much easier to navigate.

In cyberworld I did not feel as awkward as I did in real life.

In cyberworld I did not feel as self-conscious as I did in real life.

In cyberworld I did not fret over my every word and action as I did in real life.

In cyberworld I did not feel so unpopular and such a misfit as I did in real life.

I felt I was knowledgeable, liked and respected in cyberlife, while in real life I was everything but.

I did not think people had ulterior motives as I felt they did in real life.

Until I did.

Sooner or later, unfortunately I followed me where ever I was.

Sooner or later, I started to feel as awkward, as self-conscious, as guilt laced, and wracked with self-doubt on blogs and on forums.

Every word uttered by everyone was judged according to what I thought of myself.  It was always seen as judgemental/critical and pessimistic, no matter how “jolly” or “supportive” the writer tried to be.

Fortunately I am not a gamer or a gambler.  I have no real interest in throwing large sums of hard-earned money at an imaginary world where I buy cyber-cool brands and furnish my cyber-home and purchase a cow.

I am just not that into that side of it.  Fortunately.

But I will admit that my fixation on blogs and forums and Facebook and googling-random-things did get totally away with me.  It became all-consuming and I totally allowed it to get away from/with me.

It allowed me to hide further away from some of my real issues.  At the same time it fed into my irrational feelings and judgement about myself, and escalated the negative light in which I see myself (and several others around me.)

In short, it skewed my perception of reality.

I really missed my blog, so I have cautiously started lurking around here a bit.

I do miss several other blogs and forums that I used to read/follow religiously.  Right now I just needs a bit of time to “get my shit together” before I start lurking through other people’s lives.

I apologise if I have not been by to visit.  Please do not take it as a personal insult or slight on you. Right now I just need a bit of space to find myself, or at the very least not loath myself.

But onwards and upwards.  Right?

<I thought this was quite an interesting tool.  http://www.keepmeout.com/en/ >

Dude, seriously who stole my car keys?

I am starting to wonder/believe that maybe we create our own karma.

I refused to read The Secrets and now instead of opening myself up and attracting all the positive energy in the universe, I appear to be attracting goats and trolls.

We can philosophise another day how we create our own fate and if you send out negative thoughts, negative things will happen to you.

Listen Karma – I am depressed, I only have negative thoughts!  If you can get the fkn happy fairies to come over and sprinkle happy dust on me, I will take a bit of that.

I will even snort it or put it in a vein or consider a suppository if you think that will work better and faster.

Today was yet another classic day in “the fk up that is my week.”

Busy day.  I had to get two kids to a party – separate parties, in different places at the same time.  I had a shoot to do this afternoon, and I really was not feeling the happiness and the enthusiasm one needs to be able to carry this off.

It also meant I had to interact with people and there would be a house full of people I do not know. Loud kids screaming and me feeling anxious and panicky.  Can anyway say trigger?

I was not going to cancel, but felt quite reluctant to face it this afternoon.

I woke up – and tackled the day, because I am a bloody trooper – and because my kids wake up at 6am on a Saturday, no matter what time you put them to sleep.

I started to sense the day might not go to plan when Connor started using the blanket I was trying to cover myself with, as I sipped my first cup of tea, as a fishing net.

He took it off me and was trying to throw it across the bed to mimic the action of a fisherman casting a net. (This is while Isabelle and Georgia were fighting over a Winnie the Pooh book that neither of them have shown an interest in since ….. birth!)

I suggest to Connor that really, mommy has not had her Xanax and Zoloft yet, so maybe take this “fishing net” malarky somewhere else. (I can totally get on board with play acting fishing nets. I am such a cool mom I can roll with almost anything.  But the blanket was meant to be covering me and keeping me warm.  Instead I am getting gusts of ice cold air everytime the “net was cast” and the corner either flicked me in the eye or knocked my tea mug.  Just not Ayoba no matter how you look at it.)

He nods at me in understanding and does it next to my bed (instead of over the bed).  Throwing the blanket that WAS covering me as a fishing net to show he can “cast a net!”

I am wondering why I do not walk around with an intravenous drip of Chenin Planc.  I really do not know.  My own will power astounds me most days.

I swear to the universe, I am in a series of Fawlty Towers and I am officially the Spanish waiter Manuel standing around going: “Iz thiz yur bal, keh?”

Anyway.

Got Connor off to the party he was going to.

Got Georgia to her one. Granted Georgia wanted to dress in her ballet outfit.  It was like minus 10.  I eventually gave up and let her wear what ever the hell she wanted – I did insist she wore her pink flower gumboots, as I thought it made the outfit totally rock!!

I really am past fighting with Georgia.  Really!  Right now I am doing the “path of least resistance…”

I drop Georgia off at her party – which is such a fabulous little party.  Her BFF Cara was turning 6.  Her mom had invited 6 kids (or there abouts) and instead catered for the mommies and the almost single dad.

10am and I was served champagne and little eats.  I was not going to stay, really I was going to drop and run.

Then I met Dorothy and Andrew and I probably had the most interesting conversation that I have ever had a kid’s birthday party. It felt like a cool adult party with interesting people. I could have laid down on the couch and totally abused Cara’s mom’s hospitality all day.

But I needed to run.

I had arranged to fetch them at about 13h30 as I knew I was going to be running late.

I do what I need to do at home – then I think okay, I have 20 minutes to drink some tea and I will read a chapter of my book and fly out again.

I do that.

But I fall asleep – like coma asleep.

I get woken by the father who is hosting the party Connor is at saying: “erm, when will you be fetching your kid EXACTLY!” (when he actually means “why the fk have you not fetched your child, we are sick to death of kids, and the fact that yours has hung around for an hour longer than the invite stipulated is actually rude and really annoying, but thanks for the great book you bought my son, it was fabulous and beautifully wrapped!)

I rush out like a lunatic.

I forget all Georgia’s sleep over stuff at home.

Fetch Connor, realise sh*t I have to go back home to fetch all Georgia’s stuff.

Fetch Georgia’s stuff, grab Georgia, throw them in the car to high tail it to my sister-in-law as I need to get to the shoot by 15h00 and it is already 14h30.  Georgia is sleeping over there and Connor is going to “visit” (read lie on the couch and play his Nintendo game) until I have finished at the shoot.

Connor drops the birthday cake that he was given on the car floor.  Georgia is talking about …. gawd I do not know.  Connor is screaming for a tissue and acting like the “cake on the floor” is attacking his foot.

It is cake, guy, seriously calm the hang down already!

I am desperately in a rush – and keep looking at the “please fill me up with petrol light” which has stopped flashing and now just sits there wanly in red.

I am driving – but still trying to maintain the speed limit.  I am highly stressed (you think?)

Drop Connor and Georgia off at SIL – Georgia is going to sleep over. I will fetch Connor after the shoot and him and I can go and have a quick dinner and do valuable mom-and-son bonding time.

(Isabelle by the way is asleep and Fortunate is babysitting, in the event you were wondering where child number 3 was in this plot.)

Throw kids out of car at SIL.  Drive like a maniac to shoot address.

Realise I have forgotten my diary at home!  Fkn hell – I recall the address but not the house number.  I drive with growing anxiety still staring at the “little red light of petrol” and I get a small dose of good karma as birthday party people have put balloons outside their house.

Fan.frnk.tastic.  Found house. Whoop-whoop things are finally going my way.

I throw myself out of the car and run in to the house looking like a rabid dog who desperately needs a vet visit, and a shot of what ever puts a family dog to sleep humanely.

It was truly a lovely party.  It was a boy’s first birthday and I have never ever seen a party with this much effort put in to it.

The family was there and I think there were 60 – 80 adults.  The nicest people I have probably ever met.  I had so much fun, and their happiness actually rubbed off on me.  Really really lovely people.

Anyway, shoot-shoot-shoot, good day, okay 17h30 I need to go.

I start to look for my car keys.

I start to frantically scratch for my car keys.

I start to throw the contents of my bag out on the lounge floor while astonished guests look on.

Party comes to a stop while everyone helps me look for my car keys.

I cannot find car keys.  No idea, they could be stolen …. I could have sold them for CRACK I don’t know …. I just do not have keys for my car.  Car outside their house.  Connor in Durbanville.  My house somewhere else.

Please mommy can I go home now.  (that is what the voices are saying in my head at this point)

Total Fail.

Eventually the only option is that one of them give me a lift home.

I am slightly/very embarrassed as instead of slipping out quietly like a professional service provider, the last hour was all about me and everyone finding my keys.  They were even lifting up the jumping castle as options.

I get dropped off at home.

I have now spent 2 – 3 hours searching for my spare set.

I either do not have a spare set OR I was not listening when Kennith told me where they are OR I have no idea where they are OR They are in the safe, which Kennith has a key to.

Have I mentioned Kennith is in Utah?

I find out that VW will charge me R3000.00 for one key – but I need to get the car to them.  Which is tricky considering it is in Kraaifontein and my keys are on planet fuck-knows-where!

I could not get Connor home so he has had to sleep over.  He has no sleep over stuff, and I was really looking forward to an hour of just him and I time.

I have torn this house apart looking for my spare key.  Without success.  I did however find an unopened box of Nuzak (which I accussed the pharmacist of not giving me … whoops my bad, and some Cataflam, and a flash drive I thought I had lost.

But zip on the car key front.  My car is still in Kraaifontein.  I have I mentioned Kennith is away and he wrote his car off on Monday?

Public Service Announcement:  Go and find your spare car keys NOW.  Put them in your underwear drawer at the back – now you will know where they are, no matter what happens.  Tell your partner/husband/wife/neighbour/sane person that is where you keep your spare set of car keys in the event you have an epic day and can’t find them.  I already checked my underwear drawer twice, it is not there.

I survived today …. tomorrow though is a different story

Well, that day is over.

I survived, though granted I am still trying to pull shrapnel out of my arse.

I can honestly say I had a total catastrophe/paranoid/worse case scenario/I might just lock myself in the grocery cupboard few hours.

Nothing changed.  Time just moved forward.  I calmed down. A bit.

Kennith is away. He is in Utah – we have spoken about him maybe seeing if he can pick up a second wife.  I am not quite cutting it right now, and I am now convinced that a second wife might not be all that bad.

At the moment I can only see the perks, though I must insist on my own bathroom – that is really where I draw the line.

I can call her my sister-wife.  It will be fine.  Kennith says he has not been actively looking but he will try if it important to me.

Georgia is officially trying to drive me further to insanity.  Today I told Connor that he is officially the “good one” because Georgia has been co-opted to being the “child who does not listen.”

On that note.

I decided to treat the kids to a healthy McDonalds dinner.  They like McDonalds.  Sure it dumps about a ton of crap into the landfill every day, but they can serve a burger and fries like no one’s business.

I ordered, we sat down.  Isabelle went berserk.

I am seldom embarrassed by my kids in public.  Isabelle officially made me embarrassed at McDonalds – and you must realise to be embarrassed at McDonalds must be impressive.

The problem with a two-year old who cannot/does not/chooses not to talk is that you have no idea why they have tears coming out of their eyes, and snot bubbles being issued from their nose whilst they are frantically pointing in a general direction and screaming.

After you have played the game “pick up everything and pass it to her and she smacks it away and screams louder” I finally twigged she wanted a cool drink she could hold, with her own straw.

Like her brother and her sister had.

I want to be very clear on this point, that the system of elimination to get to this particular result was quite wide and included (but is not limited to) : chips, a McDonalds toy, an old McNugget on the floor, Connor’s school jacket, my phone, my wallet, the McDonalds tray, the little white dish that holds the tomato sauce….

I gave Connor R20.00 sent him to the counter and said “just buy a cool drink quickly.”

Isabelle stopped crying.

I sat there and wondered exactly who was training who in this equation.  How has a two-year old managed to whip my arse so well with such skill, and not using any language what so ever?

On the drive home she wanted the cool drink.

I gave it to her.

She dropped it.

I tried to drive and simultaneously dive behind my seat (whilst still strapped in and driving the car) to grab the now spilling creme soda it so it would not spill more over my already dirty car – I do have some pride you know!

I took my foot of the brake.  The car lunged forward into a road.  Fortunately there was no traffic.  I screamed at Connor to help me.  He tried to lean into the back behind the driver’s chair without taking his seatbelt off.

Isabelle is screaming like her leg is being chewed off.

Georgia is singing about fairies in rain coats.

I am staring through the windscreen wondering why I have been forsaken in this manner, and then quickly trying to calculate how much time I have until bed time.

Retrieve cool drink.

Put it in drinks holder in front of car.

Isabelle screamed the entire drive home.

I am so looking forward to this day being over … though inevitably it means tomorrow has to start.

Saturday I have two birthday parties to attend, and one birthday party to photograph in the afternoon.

Me + happy screaming children + balloons + flammable liquid = not a probable good combination.

I am exhausted right now.  I need to go and wrap presents and make happy birthday cards for tomorrow morning.  I know I want to leave it to tomorrow morning but that will just be chaos.

<note to self, ask pill doctor to relook at my script, really not working on so many levels>

I love Epic Fail Moments … and I seem to be doing them regularly ….

Okay so what do we know about me.

1.  I have three kids, I am not your run of the mill mom.

2.  I work, and I work because I enjoy it and to remain sane – I do not think I could be a stay at home mom.

3.  I suffer from chronic depression, anxiety and panic disorder, possibly with a light touch of OCD or even Tourette’s thrown in for good measure.  I also have a social phobia – and added to that a touch of what you could call sensory sensitivity i.e. too much sound, light, noise, touch sets off a few triggers.

4.  I am scary honest even when I do not want to be.

5.  I drink way too much tea and wine.

6.  I would walk a mile for a bag of Chuckles.  (I am lying, I might walk to the end of my drive way, but it is still a very far way).

7. I abhor smiley face icons.

Great so we know that.  Nothing new there.  Just checking we are all on the same page.

I really do not mind who reads my blog.

Really.

Okay, I prefer it if my mom did not read my blog.  But anyone else, be my guest.  It is a public forum, knock yourself out.

I get countless emails and messages from “moms who struggle” to say thanks for saying what they think and feel, and for saying it out loud.  I blog because it makes me feel a bit more “normal” each day – but it is nice to not be the only person who “struggles” with stuff.

I have commented that I enjoy my job, and the people are great, and blah blah blah pancakes.

But the physical closeness of people and the amount of noise has had me making regular visits to a psychiatrist and a psychologist and basically had me shut up at home because I am “afraid” of being at work.

Slightly career limiting move …. you think?

Because it is setting off panic and anxiety attacks, I can only spend so long crying in the toilets, before people start wondering if I have a bowel problem or a urinary tract infection that needs to be addressed.

Recently there was an office shift and a staff member got moved next to me.  She is lovely and sweet and all of those things.  If my mother sat next to me it would set me off.  It unfortunately escalated “my situation” and I spent a bit more time in the toilet cubicle and started dipping a bit more frequently in my “lunch box of pharmaceutical approved medication” which is all not ideal.

I struggle if my kids are close to me, too much of them near me and I start to shake, rattle and roll. <yes, it is loads of fun to be me, I am a ton of fun at parties and get togethers>

I posted a note about this a little while ago.

You know that mantra “You never know who reads your blog!

Well, bottom line is you don’t.

And I don’t really consider it too much else I might not say anything, or I might start censoring what I say and then I might as well write for …. You Magazine.

So far, all okay.

But then someone at work reads my blog.  Someone forwards it to someone else who forwarded it to someone else.  All who work 2 metres from me.

And it was off ….. like …. I don’t know what goes off?

So now not only do a few dozen (I am being modest) people in cyber space know that I am a full on whack job – but now a few hundred people in my office complex know that I am full on crazy as well, and making judgements accordingly. <sigh>.

I know there should be a bright side here, but I am seriously not able to find one.  I will wait for Natasha to find a way to politely comment, as sometimes she does manage to say it quite like it is and can make me snort even in the face of full on disaster.

The irony is I spoke to HR and asked her to keep it confidential, because I like to give the impression that I am mildly sane, it prevents the goats from getting afraid and scattering.  Work has actually been great in understanding I am having a “bit of trouble.”

You really cannot actually write a better fail moment than this one.

I would like to say “hi” to all of you from my office who might be reading this, and really you should not be spending company resources reading non-company related material during office hours. 

It is strictly prohibited and frowned upon.  I can also check the URL/ISP details so know who you are.  (I can’t, really, so don’t panic.)

To those who are not from my office, but know me – this is what I would call an epic fail moment, or …….. no, it’s just an epic fail moment, of which I had several this year.

On the upside I have sleeping pills.  I am weighing up whether one or twenty-seven is a good number for this evening.

No, really I am fine.  This is not some tragic cry for help. I am not quite throw myself off a ledge yet, but I have developed a wonderful case of catastrophe and panic going on – as we speak.

If you are crazy and you know it, and mildly to extremely embarrassed clap your hands!!

Clap clap!  You know the rest of the song, so I will leave it to you …….

Protected: It’s always funnier when it happens to someone else …….

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Car accidents and anxiety attacks ….

Monday was a bit of a right off, for all the reasons that would be good reasons when you start the day with a schedule 5 sleeping tablet.

Can’t really comment more on that one.

I slept until about 1pm and then had an appointment to get to, and the rest of the day was the usual blur of fetching and carrying kids and eating toast.

I met my (not so new) new psychiatrist and he gave me a new brown pharmacy bag of medication.  I was
not overly emotionally committed to the first bag, so I am okay with change.

I am still getting used to new side effects, so a few more is not really going to change my world right now.  But let’s see how that fares.

I decided that I needed a Mental Health Day on Tuesday – and asked Kennith if he could please stop and get bread on the way home and also take the kids to school on Tuesday morning as I could then hide under my duvet for a bit longer.

He said yes he would get bread, yes he would take the kids to school.

I thought, great.

Made some tea, stared at my reflection in the kitchen window.

Phone rang again – Kennith.

My first thought was “Seriously can you not go to the shop and make a decision without having to ask me three questions.  You have an MBA, work the bread aisle out!”

I answer the phone: ‘Yesssssss” I drawl, slightly irritated.

Kennith – with the background sound of traffic…”I have been in a car accident…”

Me – I felt my adrenal glands compress and push adrenaline through my blood.

I felt my hippocampus start screaming.  I felt my heart start to beat a bit faster to allow my lungs more oxygen to allow for the anxiety attack that was coming….. I thought about my kids and which one was dead.  Which one was injured, and if one of them was dead, who I would “be able to deal” with better.

I thought of my tea and that I might not be able to drink it.   I thought that I probably will not be able to function moving forward.  I might need to go and live with my mom.  I probably will never recover.  Teh entire universe suddenly became me-my cup of tea-my reflection in the kitchen window-and Kennith’s voice on the phone.

I started to realise that Kennith’s voice was still talking ….as he had not paused for breath from his first statement to his second…”I am fine, the car is damaged, I am fine!”

I knew I had just put the kids in bed.  I know logically they could not be in the car with Kennith.  I had just put them into bed – myself!

However that did not stop my brain from telling my brain  that my kids were possibly dead on the N1.

I had already worked out a loose funeral plan and what I might wear.

Kennith repeated: “I am fine, I can’t drive me car.  I need you to come and fetch me, I am at ……
and can you arrange a tow truck …. call DAL’S …….they are really good ….I am fine!”

I got my bag, asked Pepe to watch the kids.

I stopped and looked in each of their rooms  to make sure they were there and unharmed and had were really not in the car with Kennith.

I went to fetch Kennith next to the N1.

Kennith was/is fine.

Kennith’s car is not.

DAL’s tow service sent over a truck to pick the car up.  I had to phone my friend David to help me make the call, as I could not even remember Kennith’s cell phone number at that  point, let alone arrange a tow truck.

Kennith filled in the forms on the side of the N1.

I stared blankly at the road.

DAL’s took the car, in a very efficient and friendly manner.

Kennith got into my car and I drove us home.  I stared rather blankly out the window as I drove us home.  We had to stop for milk (and chocolate spread).

I am traumatised.

It is Kennith’s accident and I am traumatised.

Kennith’s neck is a bit sore and he really should go to a  chiropractor.  I think he might need a trauma counsellor – I am not being flippant.  I think he is very shaken —  I really think he needs to speak to someone.

That someone cannot be me.

I took a sleeping pill on Monday night – I woke up at 4am on Tuesday morning and stared at the ceiling worrying about every possible permutation of what “could have been..”

Tuesday I did not go to work.. I took a mental health day …I need a mental health week.

I can’t actually sit with Kennith and talk to him about the trauma and the effect of the “car accident” on him and how he saw his life flash before his eyes because I am ….

I am angry.

I am scared.

I am disappointed.

I am afraid.

I am petrified.

I am terrified.

I am panicked.

I am anxious.

I can’t help him with the oxygen bag in the plane, as for fk  sake I can’t get mine on, and the plane is nose diving at a bit of a rate.

I woke up this morning just before 5am and stared at the ceiling and worried some more (that is with a schedule 5 sleeping tablet).

Kennith needs support, and I can barely stand …….  I can’t help him because I can’t help myself right now.

Invisible Glasses ….

The only motivation I would ever give anyone to limit procreation to one child in a family, is to “avoid sibling rivalry and stupid brother-sister fights!”

I cannot stand the constant bickering and fighting that goes on in my house.

Over. Nothing.  Absolutely. Nothing.

It does my head in.

And. If you have read any of my recent posts, you probably realise I am “somewhat less tolerant” right now.

But cheese and rice.  I am convinced my kids have made a pact with “who can send mommy over the edge” fastest.

Last night kids are eating dinner.

I left work a bit early to spend some “quality time” with them – well, we know I might not be so hasty to make that decision again.

ometimes it can be a godsend to be available only to kiss your kids good night and turn your back on them as you scratch in the fridge for an unfinished bottle of Chenin plonk!

Kids are eating dinner, I am trying to catch up on work while they natter away.

I am trying my level best to “filter” them out.

But then I realise that Connor and Georgia are arguing about INVISIBLE LETTERS!

Connor is trying to prove a point that Georgia CANNOT READ so she cannot read invisible letters.

I.N.V.I.S.I.B.L.E. L.E.T.T.E.R.S. not food aid to Afganistan or the state of the peace talks in the Middle East.  Invisible Letters!

Connor is trying to make his point as eloquently as you can with a mouthful of rice.

Georgia, not be outdone, retorts in a bit of a weh-leka-pela voice: “I can read INVISIBLE LETTERS because I have INVISIBLE GLASSES!”

It is almost impossible to argue with that sort of logic.

<using my built in fish-wife voice also has a way of abrupt way of bringing an argument to a close>

I was in pains whether to go over and high-five Georgia for coming up with a brilliant come-back, or screaming at all three of them and sending them to bed IMMEDIATELY.

<I opted instead to put my head behind my monitor and snort>

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.

My Big Black Dog …..

I know you want to talk about the colour of babies poo and what my kids are eating for breakfast, but unfortunately that is not what we are doing today.

Today is “Talk about my Depression and find a Therapist Day.”

Unofficial day of course, but I figure if enough of us get behind it we can have it declared a public holiday with the requisite president’s speech and youth parade at Soccer City.

I know that I am fortunate to be living in an age where we can talk about depression and medication with only a certain measure of shame and embarrassment.

I know there are folks who are embarrassed to admit that they pop the odd Prozac or shoot back a handful of Zoloft with their glass of wine, but I am not them folks.

I spent much of my teens and twenties realising that I was clearly certifiable insane and just wondering how long I could keep this secret until someone found out.  I did not realise I was depressed.  I did realise I was a very sad girl with some happy moments, but I accepted this as being “just the way things are.”

When I had Connor my wheels well and truly came off, then I really got afraid.  Of me.  For me.

I thought THEY would find out and take him away from me.  I became (more) paranoid and anxious and when something happened, it was not that he was going to get hurt, it was that he was going to die.  He was never going to get lost at the mall, he was going to be stolen.  (To be honest I have not outgrown that, I have just learnt to play it down.  Kennith insists I remain in reality as much as possible.)

Initially I did not really tell anyone about my little internal battle with my black dog of depression.  I really do not bring it up as a key part of conversation, it is a bit of a buzz killer I am afraid.

It is much easier to tell people who ask you “How are you?” to answer “I am fine….” because any deviation from this “party line” does make people feel a bit uncomfortable and then the conversation gets awkward.

People say ‘depression’  in a whisper like the way your grandparents say “cancer.”

Unfortunately the most common reaction from Joe Public when they hear the term ‘depression’ is to go “aw, sorry you are feeling a bit blue, I am sure tomorrow you will wake up and feel happy.’

Sweet but misguided.  Actually a bit annoying, but one smiles and nods, and sometimes waves as you flee the scene.

I did feel that admitting to it and if I ticked the block for “mental disorder” on the form (depression = mental illness/disorder on most forms) that it might be a problem for me when I changed medical aids.  It also might be a hinderance if I wanted to qualify as a pilot or apply to be a meals-on-wheels lady.

At some point I realised, agh, sod it, pilots are over rated and meals-on-wheels declined my application any way.

The thing that burns my arse about depression, is I barely understand it.  It is something about the chemicals in your brain being out of whack – for what ever reason, and the result is that you cannot actually “decide to be happy and then you will be …”  You seem to lack the chemicals to keep you or make you happy or smile or have a “normal” reaction.

Being me is not fun, not for me, and not for my family and for most people who know me.

Being happy is a chore, so right now I aim to be mildly content.  Mildly content is  a bit of an aim high achievement at the moment.

I am going for sort of content, some of the time.

I do however have faking content down pat, but the mask does slip off quite regularly, and some times I do not give a sh*t about keeping it up. (this week is that week)

My mate told me about a reference in Marian Keyes Newsletter about depression where she describes it as:-

“Wave after wave of black agony has been rolling up from my gut and bursting in my head and I’ve been powerless to stop it. I’ve heard people describe depression as feeling like they’re living behind glass, of being
numb and unable to experience anything, but for me, it has been totally different. It has been like being poisoned, it’s felt like my brain is squirting out terrible, black, toxic chemicals that poison any good thoughts. I’m well aware that I have an enviable life and there are bound to be people who think, “What the hell has she got to be depressed about?” But whatever has been wrong with me isn’t fixable by an attitude shift. Believe me I’ve tried (Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, gratitude lists…)”

That is probably the most apt description I have read for some time.

I am at that point – and granted I have been here for a bit, where I no longer care about the how and the what, I just want it to go away.  I want to be happy people.  Okay I do not want to be happy people.  Happy people (and clowns) scare me a bit.

I want to just be mildly content people who appear mildly content for the majority of the day.

I do not want to feel like I am carrying the world’s sh*t around with me.

What I want to do today (and for the last two weeks or so) is curl up in a ball  and then sob some more – which is fabulous, because I am not even sure exactly what I am sad about.

If I am done crying then I want to sleep – because sleep is about as close to feeling dead as you can get.  And that right now is quite an attractive feeling.  (sorry no fairies and unicorn stories for you today – insert sad smiley face icon here)

Unfortunately in my neck of the woods, pity parties are not really catered for.

I get up, put on my furry slippers, my grubby blue bathrobe, get kids ready, get myself ready, drag myself to work, try to really try to be productive, and then go home, get kids into bed, and find the quickest way I can get into bed and fall asleep.

And tomorrow repeat the cycle.

Last night on the drive home, I considered if I had a wee little car accident it might get me 3 – 8 days lying in a hospital bed and drinking luke warm milky tea and sleeping.

Then I thought with my luck, the car would be totalled and I would walk away totally unscathed and then have explain why I am a tosser driver, and well there is the insurance excess to consider and …..  lots of logistics, so maybe that was not my best idea of the day.

Just too complicated, and way too many things that could go wrong on that one.

It really is about as much fun as it sounds, really – I am not leaving out any of the really cool parts here.

I have made an appointment with a doctor who specialises in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

I plan to arrive with a list of issues and ask if he can make them each go away individually with what ever he does.  I clearly have no idea how it works, but right now I would pay for shinola if it made some of my sh&t go away.

I also think I am kidding myself – but delusions are part of it I guess.

I have also made an appointment with a pill doctor who has a large white script that he can write my name on in big block letters and write something along the lines of  Wellbutrin, Lexapro, Ambien, Valium or what ever else they are dishing out now a days …. I really do not care at this point.

The first appoinment I could get was in August!!  AUGUST? August!  “B&tch, do you realise how close I am to going off my frink’n head over here!!” …… The receptionist did not quite get my sense of humour and did not take to my tone of voice ….. or being called a bitch ….. …. but did bump me up to the 12 July and kept telling me how lucky I was ….. repeatedly.

Yep, I am feeling pretty darn lucky right now.

Sorry there is nothing funny on this post today.  Not feeling so funny today.

But that does lead me to the fact that you might need a bit of upliftment after this rather somber and (excuse the term) depressing post.

I seldom come across depression jokes, but I saw a few recently that made me snort a little bit:-

Q What’s good about depression?
A You always have your funeral planned in advance,

Q  What’s an advantage to Major Depression?
A  You never have to make your bed, since you’re always in it.

I was depressed last night so I called Lifeline. They’ve got a call center in Pakistan. I told them I was suicidal. They got all excited and asked if I could drive a truck.

Okay, that’s all I got ………………

(Illustrations credited to Matthew Johnstone)

The bitch is back ….granted she never actually left …

On Tuesday morning I made a full confession to My Good Egg that I was struggling with what can only be politely described as a “bout of depression” of the EPIC PROPORTION.

I feel a lot like one of those fine bone china tea cups that are being rocked on the saucer, with all the hot tea spilling out.  At any moment the tea-cup is going to fall over, spill out over of the edge of the saucer and break into a million little pieces.

<side bar: I am the tea-cup in this analogy.>

I was very anxious and stressed around the girl’s birthday party.  I totally lost my mind about picking out paper plates and serviettes. EVEN at the time, I knew this was not important in the bigger picture.

Well my rational mind knew that, but where the rest of my mind lives, rational is too scared to go.

I was freaking out – and when Kennith bought the “fairy” ones and I wanted the “princess” ones I still ran around to two more stores (after the easy 6 I had been to) seeing if I could still find princess ones.

When I start making these kind of heavy decisions about throw-away tableware, then you know it is time for Valium and a padded room.

I have been aware of it for some time, and then I thought, okay, well maybe you are just in a bad mood.  This, if I must be truthful, is a bit more than just a bad mood.

I am in the downward slide down the rabbit hole of a depressiive episode.  I am desperately grabbing at dirt as I slide down in my little blue dress with the big white bow on the back.

I spoke to My Good Egg this morning as I was sure that the only option was to get a script of Zoloft or something similar.  I seldom discuss “my ebbs’ with Kennith as he knows when they are occurring and gives me the necessary space to move through them, and I usualy move through them.

But I am not moving through this one.  And I feel like I am being swallowed alive.  I am not coping.  I cannot cope.

I had a good cry – actually it was not a good cry,it was a snot sob which I dripped on to Kennith’s work shirt.

I have a cache of (totally misguided and inappropriate) anger, rage and spite bubbling under the surface  – no idea where it comes from.  It is not directed at anyone or anything, and spares no one.  I mean really, what the hell have I got to be angry about??

I feel persecuted – “they” are watching me and “they” are out to get me. I have absolutely no idea who “they” are.  But I feel aggressive if someone starts asking me for something. (My job requires people to ask me for things all day, you can imagine how that is going.)

I have learnt to manage my depressive episodes better as the years have gone by (this however is not a good example of that statement).

The (not so) funny thing about depression ebbs is when I am in them, I believe in my heart of hearts that they will never end.

I am frazzled, I am further down than I have been in what seems like an age, and I am not coping.

I am actually spinning out of control.

We are going away for the long (it’s only a long weekend if you take Friday off work) weekend to the most divine place – I call it my “waiting to exhale” place.

When we get there, I sit and look out over the hills and hear the cows going “mooooo” and the wine in my glass catches the light over the valley.  I let out a breath that I feel I have been holding for what feels like forever.

The part that stresses me, is in my present “state,” I am bound to do or say something to alienate someone if not everyone this weekend.

It is not “if” it will occur, it is merely a case of “when” it occurs.

With that in mind I decided that the best course of action, was to just tell our friends so that they could prepare (and allow them the opportunity to arm) themselves for the weekend:

Morning Folks!!

I am in the throes of a full scale  depressive episode – of what  can only be described of EPIC PROPORTIONS.

This particular bout is characterized by my inability to follow a conversation, my overriding urge to start talking about the most awkward things possible, my inability to take social cues, an urge to alienate people by offending them, and the fact that my brain is not able to process what you say versus what I hear, and a few other
delicious issues ……ah the fun I am having.

No, this is not an opening line to a joke, this is unfortunately where I am right now.

It has been going on for several weeks, but this week is total “wheels fkn falling off stuff” so this email is a warning/word of caution that odds are I will try to find something to say or do this weekend that is bound to piss you off/alienate you/wonder if you can find a spade to kill me with/look at me and wonder how long you will need to count before you just slap me ….. you know that sort of stuff.

There is a good chance I might incite all these feelings in you simultaneously, and odds are I might have already.

I am seriously freaking out, and Kennith and I have discussed possible ‘action strategies’ to get me through my present ‘spell’ – I suggested Zoloft, lots of wine and a cliff, he suggested a few other options.

We are trying his options in the short-term, however I reserve the right to use mine.

So, please try not to be (permanently) offended by my actions/what falls out of my mouth this weekend/Tourette’s Syndrome – I am trying my best to keep it under control, but it is rather epic and a bit out of hand right now, so just warning you that
what I say or do right now (no matter how bizarre it might seem, and I can
always promise you bizarre) is not a personal attack on you in any way, and I
am a total twat, and and and …….

I am also not suggesting that this is a “free get out of jail card” for me, as I also need to take responsibility for my actions/what I say, but if you can please just keep this in mind while you watch me having a total senseless rant, usually in the kitchen, in my blue grubby bathrobe, with a wine glass in my right hand and a child on my left hip
……..

Okay, so when you pack your groceries, please pack some Valium (for you) and maybe some forgiveness fairy dust for me.

Xxx

PS: I am drafting letters of apology now that I will just send off on Monday morning, so I will leave them in my draft tray now.

Dirty Little Secrets … still bleating on about that …

My previous post about Dirty Little Secrets that Mother’s Keep really hit a chord with me (it also set off a totally irrational argument between Kennith and I, but we can save that for another day).

I think my main motivation for starting a blog was because I felt embarrassment and shame that I was just not that into motherhood.  Everywhere I looked were happy glowing mothers who were so happy to be moms and felt so fulfilled, and so filled with joy.

Bless.

The problem was I felt spurts of joy, fulfillment and happiness but the reality, for the most part, I felt persecuted, drained, confused, empty and pretty angry much of the time.

And I felt alone.

Because it was only me who felt that way.

No one I had ever known had ever confided in me that they felt a bit “under whelmed” with motherhood.

Sure, people said it was “hard” and cramped your ability to ever go to the toilet alone, but not one person I knew ever breathed a word that made it sound like it was not super fabulous all the time.

But for me it was not that fabulous, all of the time.

There were some really stellar moments that made me sigh, but there were some pretty grim moment that made me cry.

And then I thought the unthinkable, ‘maybe this mom thing is a bit crap a bit of the time Maybe it’s sh*t does actually smell ……’

Then I was convinced I would burn in hell for even thinking that thought – which is tricky as I do not actually believe in hell.

One of the many problems I have is that I am a ‘blurter’ – it is not dissimilar from Tourette’s Syndrome.  Basically at the most inappropriate time I will blurt something out, usually too loudly and to the most inappropriate person (or persons) I can locate.

The more inappropriate the time, and the more offensive the blurt, the higher the chance of it coming out.

Picture the scene: Moms I don’t know.  Me at a kid’s birthday party with my son.  I feel awkward, I feel like I am visiting an alien planet and I am nervous that all the ‘real moms’ are going to sniff me out as an imposter.

They are all chatting about how happy they are because Junior has just started walking, and then I feel an overwhelming urge to say ‘Really, it was so much easier when they lay on their back like a jelly, because I found I could get so much done, when they stayed in the same place I left them.’

And then I would usually go on with the scene stealer: ‘Don’t you think birthday parties would be more fun for the moms if they served wine, because I am so over drinking tea …..’

A really innocent comment when compared with my usual ‘blurts’ but even I would feel the shift in the room’s temperature, and realise that I was on my way to leper status.

That was enough for me to realise that the best tactic for me to attempt to try to secure any future birthday invites and playdates was to tone it down, and appear normal with other moms.

And so began the play-acting in front of other moms, and also to a large part in front of most people I knew.

I think the real clinger came when I was watching an Oprah show – (Secret Lives of Moms & Truth About Motherhood in 2009).  On one program a new mom indicated that she was struggling, motherhood was hard, and she did not actually like it all of the time.

I think there might have been less fall-out if Oprah took a cr&p on her interviewers table.

People went nuts.

Harpo was inundated with moms slating the ‘honest mom’ and a subsequent show aired where dozens of moms explained how much they love motherhood, all the time, and that they had NEVER had one moment when they thought it was not the best thing in the frkn universe.

It was brutal.

I realised that clearly the world was not ready for me and my truth, so I sort of skipped that part, and did the ‘smile and wave’ segment of my journey.

Fast forward a few years and I realised you know, fk it, I can’t do this crap any more.

I love my kids, I really love being a mom, some of the time, but some of the time I hate it.  There are some great moments and there are some that only a large bottle of wine, and a few anti-depressant can get me through.

I started to feel better when I started saying some of the stuff that was running around in my head and I could not say out loud.

I have spent nearly two years emotionally puking on this blog.

The best part, and what continues to be the best part, is when weeping bleeding moms confide in me that something I have said resonates with them, or helps them to feel less guilty about something.

No, I do not get off on other people’s sadness (unless it is that Steve Hofmeyer has found a giant growth on his anus), but I really get happy when someone admits that something is not as it appears.

Not quite the ‘truth will set you free’ stuff, but admitting something is not all white wine and daffodils, can sometimes help the next person have the freedom to have their own little epiphany, or just save them a bit of time crying in the bathroom at 2am.

I really am not making my point very eloquently at the moment – so to cut to the chase.

I have created an alternate blog where some brave moms and soon-to-be-moms admit their own ‘dirty little secrets that mothers keep.’

http://dirtylittlesecretsmotherskeep.wordpress.com/

I know when you read some of the posts, part of you feels a profound sadness for these women, but for me I find it uplifting.

Because they have bravely stood up and said something, that maybe all of us are thinking – and by them having the courage to say it, makes it easier for the next mom, who does not have to feel so ‘guilty’ because she maybe does not love it all, all of the time.

And if it is easier for her, maybe she can be a bit more easy on herself, and easier on the next mom she encounters who is battling.

And maybe in that chain a mom forgives herself for not being perfect, and allows herself to just feel and think what is real for her.

Just maybe ….

The Life of Georgia ….. Part one

I really should stop the Reluctant Mom blog and create a new one called the “Life of Georgia Blog.”

I could fill reams of gumph about her and the strange things she does all day.  Kennith is working hard at convincing me that she is destined to be a “creative” and I need to give her some latitude.

My concern is that if she cannot get through Grade 1, I doubt even the creative industry is going to be keen on her unless we seriously get in touch with “normal!”

This week alone (besides the usual stuff that happens with her):

Event one:

Last night she was arguing loudly with the invisible police on the telephone – like heckling them – the phone in this case was the hand held shower head in a bath.  Judging by her tone and the change in her voice, I was convinced she was “hearing” the invisible police arguing back?

I mean seriously who argues with the police in the bath?

Event two:

Kennith asked her what she wants for her birthday, so she said make-up. 

Kennith said that make up is YUCH and she must think of something else.  She asked for a tattoo on her arse instead. 

SHE IS TURNING SIX!

Event three:

Monday I fetch her from school –she is playing and has only one boot on.  The other boot is in her bag.  It cannot be comfortable to walk around in one shoe, and a boot at that. 

Driving home I stop at a dam I had seen and wanted to see if we could take a quick look around and go back there on the weekend. 

We stop, we get out, Georgia starts running around the dam – one foot barefoot, one foot still in a boot! 

Surely a sane child would go, hhmmmm this feels a bit odd, let me take the other shoe off!  Surely!

Event four:

On Monday I fetch Georgia from school – I took Isabelle along for the drive, and as Isabelle’s safety chair was in Kennith’s car, I put Isabelle into Georgia safety chair, which is more of a booster seat. 

Seems easy enough.

 I get to the school to fetch Georgia.  She is excited that her sister is in the car, as she adores her sister.

I buckle Isabelle into the safety seat, and Georgia goes ape sh*t – but like totally totally ape.  Full scale tantrum of epic proportion.  It is as if I am ripping her leg off through her nostril!  It went on and on, and escalated rather than started to simmer down.

My level of patience for a tantrum is limited to about 32 seconds, on a good day, 8 seconds on most other days. 

So I leave the school, Isabelle in safety seat, Georgia buckled in a normal seat and Georgia is going totally “postal.” 

I pull over, slam on anchors, RIP Georgia out of the car, I hear Connor go “uh-oh!” 

What I wanted to do is throw her on the sidewalk and scream at her to “just walk the fek home!” what I did instead as tell her that she had two choices. 

1.  Get in the car now, stop screaming and do not even dare cry. 

2.  We reverse and I put her back at the school door step.  I will then phone her father who will have to leave work early to fetch her and she will get a hiding when he gets there. 

Pick one, option one or option two, but I am done with the screaming!  Done!    She opted for option one – clever girl!

Event five:

Georgia has a karate grading coming up.  She tells me it is going to be on Wednesday. 

I correct her and tell her it will be on the 21 May on a Saturday as the notice says. 

She tells me again it is going to be on Wednesday.

I explain that I have a letter and the grading is at the DoJo and will be at 21 May, which is a Saturday and around two weeks away.  We will all go, and we are very excited about being part of her grading.  On a Saturday.  One the 21st.  Not on Wednesday.

She tells me again that the grading is this Wednesday.

I sigh – quite deeply and with a certain measure of despondency.  I explain again that it is on the 21st which is a Saturday and it is about a week away.

Again she tells me that it is this Wednesday.

I talk through my teeth: “Georgia it is on the 21st which is a Saturday, really I have a letter, it is in about a week, it is not this Wednesday.”

She tells me it is this Wednesday.

I go off pop!

I am not sure she believes me about the 21st, but I do think she has learnt that mom really does not want to hear about “this Wednesday” again.

Event six:

Georgia makes up her own school work and homework.  She has zero interest in learning the A B C’s and all of that stuff. 

She however has an entire written language that she is rather proficient in.  Any the who.

She tells me that she has homework to do.  I say no worries; do it later after you have had dinner and a bath, okay?  She says okay.

For whatever reason she did not “do homework” – so she is crying in her bed and telling me to switch on the light – it is about 9pm – so she can do her imaginary homework!

I convinced her that if she woke up early for school tomorrow then she could sit at her desk and catch up on her homework then.  She was not happy about the suggestion, but it did stop the crying.

You do understand we are crying about imaginary homework!

Okay, so that is this week’s strange.  I have excluded the other reams of strange that go on pretty much all the time in our neck of the woods.

Someone suggested you are never given more than you can deal with, I am not so sure.

Georgia on my mind ….

I have often spoken about how difficult it has become to discipline Georgia, and I think the thing I need to possibly stress is that she is not a naughty child, she just wanders off … in her head.

Today I went to fetch her from school, and she was busy in speech therapy.

I sat and listened to the last 10 minutes of the lesson, and then I asked Georgia if she would go and fetch her bag, and I could chat to speech therapy teacher.

Tertia – speech therapy teacher – explained the words and concepts that Georgia was struggling with and we started chatting about Georgia in general, and her progress.

I mentioned a few things that were beginning to become real concerns to me regarding Georgia – and they were not necessarily speech issues, but possible with her experience in childhood development she might be able to offer some insights that I was missing.

I really am not the type of mother that sticks her head into the sand and avoids seeing the issue.  I am more likely to start throwing water on a perfectly good bush, because I anticipate there might be a fire …. one day.

Tertia and I are chatting and at some point I look outside at Georgia.  She is playing with her friends.  But she isn’t.  Her friends are playing around her, and Georgia is playing on her own, or to correct in her own world.

I start explaining how much I struggle with Georgia because she drifts off so quickly – and often… almost all the time at the moment.  In the last two months it has got progressively worse.

An example is that in the morning I put toothpaste on her toothbrush.

Only because if I ask her to do that part it will take her 25 minutes. 

I then leave her in the bathroom, infront of the basin, aimed towards the mirror, and I will go: “Please brush now, inside and out, smiley-teeth and back-teeth, brush for two minutes, not fast, but properly ….. for two minutes.”

“Okay?”

“Okay, mommy.”

She will smile at me, and I will go and get undressed, get into the shower, wash, wash and condition my hair, brush my teeth – yes, I brush my teeth in the shower.

Wash conditioner out of the shower, allow myself the 30 seconds where the hot water runs against the top of my spine, and then I turn water off, get out, get towel, do a basic dry off, assess how crap I look and how much I really should take a bit more time to get my sh&t together in the morning.

Take the cream away from Isabelle, comfort Isabelle because she is crying, tickle Isabelle, put some toothpaste on a toothbrush and give it to Isabelle, stand and smile at her as she brushes her teeth and is getting dribble and toothpaste all over her chin and down her sleep shirt, realize that I need to go and check on Georgia, kiss Isabelle on the head as I move her backwards so I do not get her toes caught on the bathroom door as I open it.

Walk down the passage back to the other bathroom.

Arrive in the bathroom and find Georgia standing in the bath – there is no water in the bath – she will be singing or have a bucket on her head and singing.  The unused toothbrush will still be in her hand, with the tooth paste totally undisturbed – and clearly no teeth have been brushed.  Fifteen or twenty five minutes have passed at this point.

She is not deeply ashamed or mischievously smiling when I find her.  She will look at me and go: “Look I have a bucket on my head!”

Obviously at this point I go off POP!  Like blind rage.

There is screaming and shouting and much child pulling out of bath and threats of bodily harm and it is all a little bit fish wife.

But short of a few details this is pretty much how it goes with Georgia every day, when I ask her to do something.

I can just substitute “panties on head and dancing around the bedroom” with the “ bucket on the head” or even “sitting on her floor writing on a piece of paper” will work equally well.

I am lamenting my life to teacher Tertia, not because I think she can help, but because I am at my wits end and I am not sure who else to talk to.

I know the answer is not to beat the crap out of Gerogia, or send her to her room for 6 months  – none of these punishments work for her.  The only person who feels crap when they are being dished out is me – Georgia toodles on in her own world, “min gepla” as they would say.

Teacher Tertia and I sit watching Georgia and she goes: “You know Georgia is not a stupid girl, I bet if she did an IQ test she would score very high, but she gets distracted …. she gets internally distracted and that is where the problem lies.”

“Internally distracted” – I have never heard such an appropriate term to describe Georgia.

She chatted about the fact that it is often the loud/ADD kids who get the attention because they get so distract by what is around them, and kids like Georgia who get overlooked because they are so quiet, and are not misbehaving – but they are operating in thier heads and away from everyone else – day dreaming for lack of a better term.

Tertia also said that if she is working with Georgia and something happens and she has to attend do it, Georgia will sit in the same place and just sit there – as happy as Larry.  She says usually a kid who is not being attended to will get up and go off and play with the toys in the classroom, or something, she says Georgia will sit there quite content to drift off into her own world.

Listen I think all of this is wonderful and I love the fact that Georgia is as unique as she is – she is quirky!

Someone said to me yesterday: ”Georgia is so quirky, she is going to be the kind of person who opens a vibey coffee shop, and it has all this detail and she has all these interesting people there.”

She probably would …. the problem is that she will still be dancing in her room with her panties on her head and forget to go and open the coffee shop!

I am concerned that Georgia might not be main stream education material.  Her in a class of 25 kids when the kids have to absorb a body of work quickly because the teacher is talking to all of them, is probably not ideal.

I see her wandering off – in her head – and sitting there staring at the teacher as if she is listening, but in her head she is dancing naked in the rain with a bucket on hear head listening to the tippa-tippa-tippa-tippa sound of the water on top of the bucket!

Tertia recommended I chat to a specialist paed who deals with attention-issues relating to children, and she recommended someone for me to call.  She said the best thing to do is get her assessed.

What are my options in terms of ‘rectifying’ the issue, and Tertia said, I am not sure, maybe medication.

And then I sighed a bit, actually quite deeply … but not in happiness you understand.

I have the doctor’s number, I will call and set up an appointment to see what she says and just try and get some ideas of how to deal with this better (prefer no medication though, before the mother grundy emails start about who I should not medicate my child and and and ….)

I fetched Georgia and Connor and decided to stop for some ice cream. 

I then watched Connor eat his ice cream neatly in an organized fashion.  Same table, same type of ice cream, Georgia had hers on her jacket, on her chin, on her nose, on the table, on her shirt and on her forehead, and then the last bit fell out the bottom of her cone and fell on her lap!

<sigh>

This photo is classic Georgia … she is the one on the left hand side doing her Yoga deep meditation while everyone else is monkeying around for a photo …..

The one about the dead pigeon ….

I haven’t told you about Saturday night yet – I have left the best for last.  I suggest you put your poppy seed muffin aside for a bit, or eat it quickly before continuing to read.

Dinner ends, everyone goes home, and after saying goodbye to everyone, I walk back into the house.

I get this bad odour that whips past my nose at a certain area in our lounge.  I have been getting the same tinge for the last few days, but keep putting it down to something that is happening or not really dwelling on it.

It is not a strong odour, but it is a bad odour. 

Our lounge is not used much, and we have big sliding doors that are left open, so the smell was not strong, because (1) we had not been in the lounge and (2) there was constant flow of fresh air coming in.  The upper and lower door have also been open, so there was a lot of air flow during the week (because it had been so hot).

I stand there – it is about 22h00 on Saturday night – and instead of just walking through the lounge I stop and sniff, and this rather unfortunate smell assaults my nostrils.

I really hate a bad smell, and I know it has been hanging around for a few days, so I know I can’t ignore it anymoer.  It definitely is not coming from outside (as initially thought).

I stand and ponder this for a moment and then my beady eyes start moving around the lounge.  Our lounge is quite minimalist (which equals not well decorated and not a helluva lot of furniture) – so I am standing there looking around, trying to suss out where it could possibly be coming from.

Our lounge floor has white tiles (circa 1985 – the disco era), so it is not as if something could have been messed and absorbed into the carpet.

I consider that one of the kids could have dropped something on the floor and it could have rolled under the couch and that could be the smell I was getting.

I put my back into it and heave the couch about a meter from it’s present position, fully expecting to find a rotting apple.

What I did not expect to find was a great big dead pigeon!

Super.

Sounds like a job for Kennith.

I headed downstairs to the tv room and called for Kennith (and John – who is staying over) to come and sort the pigeon out.  I realize he was not going to be performing CPR, I just needed him to pick it up and throw it away. 

I do live animals, Kennith does dead animals.

Our tv room is on a level just below our lounge and there is a glass wall separating the two.  From the tv room I can look up into the lounge.  I close the door and sit in the tv room with Connor and chat to him, while I watch Kennith.

Now what happens next is put together from what I could see and hear, and what Kennith and John told me about the next day.

Kennith gets the big broom and the dustpan scoop and thinks he will just push the now deceased pigeon into the scoop.  Put him in a plastic bag and throw him away into our outside dustbin.

Easy enough.

What Kennith does not account for is that said pigeon has been dead since Monday (it is now Saturday) – and as he lifts the pigeon up with the broom, it allows the real smell to escape.  The smell of rank death.

Kennith is now gagging, not play acting gagging, but full on leaning over, eyes watering man-gagging.  John has entered the scene with the plastic bag he has found, and he takes one sniff of the odour of Senor Pigeon and he starts gagging, and leaves the room.

I am in the tv room and all I can see is this drama unfolding through the glass.  I can’t quite see the pigeon or smell the smell, but I see these two boys in a total state of mayhem in the lounge.

Kennith composes himself and uses the broom to try to move pigeon onto the dustpan scoop. 

Seems like another good plan.

However it seems that now pigeon has lost control of his inner organs due to what ever happens after rigor mortis stops, and his entire insides are now this greeny sticky slimey goo that is running all over our floor. 

But to detract from the smell of death and disease, is our troupe of friendly maggots who have taken up residence inside the pigeon and are now trying to flee the scene of the crime.

Kennith is trying to scoop up the pigeon, trying not to get pigeon death on his feet, and trying to round up the fleeing maggots in his dustpan scoop.  All whilst trying very hard to hold on to the pasta dinner he has just eaten.

Pigeon ends up in bin. Kennith and John are both feeling rather ill – and Kennith asks me to clean up the pigeon juice which is has leaked onto the lounge floor.

This is one of the few times I have been glad for white tiles.

I get jik and a bucket and clean the area, and lift little carpet and chair up, and leave everything to air.  Horrible, horrible, but problem sorted.

We all go to bed and that is that ………… or is it?

I really really wish it was.

Next morning Kennith, John and Natalie get up, put on some lycra, and ridiculous hats and go off and ride the Argus Cycle Tour.

I walk through to the kitchen at about 7am to get Isabelle a bottle, I walk into our little scullery and there are thousands of ants. 

I am like: “What the f&ck!”

I wish I could say I said “oh my goodness” but I didn’t.

There is a throng of ants – the part that is more confusing is we have not had much in the way of ants since we have lived in this house.  My brain is trying to understand what the hell is going on here and why would they appear so quickly.

Between the cussing and the confused look, I lean over to examine the ants.

Only to discover that among the ants are MAGGOTS – dozens if not hundreds of them!

I am like:”You are shitting me!”

My brain cannot spring into action.  My brain tries to look around for the dots so it can join it and make the picture.  I really cannot function unless my brain goes “there you go, dots connected..”

I am standing there staring at ants, staring at maggots, trying not to throw up, and trying to understand what is the connection from last night to now. (the scullery is two levels away from the lounge and there is no way even the fittest maggot could have got this far!)

Then I see it – the broom and the dustpan scoop – carefully placed right there next to the fridge, right next to our potatoes and other vegetables!

Excellent!

Guess who took a free ride up the levels via the broom and the scoop?  No prizes for getting this one right.

Of course at that point I was feeling less than gratious towards Kennith.

I mean seriously ……… seriously! 

At least I had the sense to take my bucket and mop outside after cleaning up after the CSI scene, and put them outside next to the house, not in the middle of the f&kn kitchen with our food!

Besides now standing in shorty jammies, and having Isabelle screaming for her milk – I am now up to my ankles on a Sunday morning in ants and maggots.

These are without a doubt, the best days of my life!

Nanny steals baby …. and other scenarios I keep myself awake with ….

Remember that pasta advert a few years back, when the woman pulls the little Italian woman out of the cupboard and then she whips up a pasta extravaganza (Fattis and Monis I think) and prepares everything.

When she is complete, the woman (hostess) enters the kitchen gives her a wry wink, and shuffles her back into the cupboard where the mops and detergent live.

Then the hostess then takes out the prepared food to the adoring guests,and laps up the praise as it appears she did it all.

That is pretty much how I would like my nanny to be – always there, and always available, working magic behind the scenes.

But as we cannot make Pepe legally live in a cupboard, and possibly because she is not an Italian woman from an advert.  Pepe also takes leave each year (those pesky basic conditions of employment rear their ugly head again much to the inconvenience to the white madam).

Just a bit of background, I work a full day and so does Kennith.  Isabelle stays at home with Pepe and our two older kids get home around 16h00 from school – and then the dinner/bath/evening fighting starts. 

If I did not have a Pepe, odds are I would not be able to work a full day, and then my kids would be stuck at aftercare/creche until 6pm on most nights.  I understand that for many working moms this is the only way it can be, but I have the benefit of working and still geting kids home to be at home for the late afternoon/evening without the chaos.

The only reason my household functions is because I have a Pepe – and I give daily thanks that I have someone like her making it possible to do what I need to do (without me having to drink more to cope).

At the mere mention that Pepe needs to go on leave throws me into an absolute f&nnie flap – and this year was no exception.  Usually she goes in December/January but this year she opted to go in March.

Of course that made December/January brilliant – us off to work, kids at home, and clothes that were magically packed away, and dishes that miraculously washed themselves.  It was all fabulous and a totally heady experience!  I was drunk with how divine it was.  I congratulated myself daily on how fantastic my lot in life was.

Fast forward to March and I am now in the midst of what can only be described as a mini/major (it fluctuates depending on the time of the day) nervous breakdown.

I went through an agency, interviewed three ladies, regretted one who was just too timid, and looked at the other two candidates a bit further.

I did references, and thought about it long and hard.  I brought the both women in for a trial for 3 days each so I could get a better sense of them, and have them living in my space.  I decided to go with the one lady – let’s call her nanny F for now.

Other lady nanny J was brilliant, but I thought nanny F was a better fit, but I might be keeping nanny J in my cupboard for weekends.

So nanny F started yesterday and Pepe left on her month leave last night.  It was as if when Pepe walked out the door hell broke loose.

The kids were fighting.  Isabelle was crying and clinging to my leg.  \Georgia was screaming (SCREAMING) that her pieces  of torn out paper she had torn up yesterday were missing.

It was totally fekn chaos!

And then I realized this was going to be my month forward – it was as if I had been given  a  glimpse, a snap shot,  of what was coming my way for the next 30 days. 

If Pepe was there she would have known what to do and the situation would not have escalated. 

Nanny F took one look at the situation and decided that ironing might be a good thing to be doing right now.  (tip, it wasn’t!)

I poured myself some wine, put Isabelle who had snot on her upper lip, on my hip and then proceeded to attend to Georgia who was officially have a po** collapse (I must thank my friend Natalie Black for that wonderful term – I do not use it often, but when you see a p.c. then you know that is the only phrase that is going to work)

I went over to nanny F and explained to her that when she hears kids screaming it would really help me, if she stopped ironing (which I do appreciate, as I do not iron) and rather attend to the screaming child.  I might have used a slightly disdainful voice when I explained this, but I was pretty tense.

Then I got really exasperated that I actually had to explain that problem…..and started to doubt that maybe I had not made the best decision on bringing nanny F into the fold.

Georgia continued to go totally ape sh*t – I continued to try to sooth her – Isabelle cries if Georgia cries, so the entire situation was really not pleasant.  I was trying not to scream (because inside the voices were) but I tried to use the soothing mother voice, though, to be honest I was really one step away from having a po** collapse of my own.

All this whilst Connor is playing a computer game featuring fish.  What he loves to do,  more than anything,  is whilst I am in the midst of a total family drama he  pop his head in – usually in mid-sentence and says something like:  “Mom, I just caught a Blue tang surgeonfish – it’s great, you know what they eat?”

To which I need to then ask: “No, my boy what do they eat?”

And so the exchange goes.

Please bear in mind I have no interest at all in what a Blue tang surgeonfish eats, that the sailfish is the fastest fish in the sea, and that the South American marbled hatchetfish are the only fish that can achieve powered flight.  I really have little regard for this information, but in our house if you plan on having any conversation with Connor, then this is sort of where the subject matter is going to be heading.

While all hell is breaking loose, I need to also compose myself for fish banter with Connor.

So I sort out Georgia’s dilemma, sooth Isabelle’s crying – which has escalated as I think she has realized I am getting a bit irked with nanny F.

Nanny F then walks in and shows me that the iron’s cord is burnt through – and she can no longer use it. 

I think wow, you have been here about 2 hours and we are already one appliance down…. Kennith is going to flip his lid.  I already start imagining the exchange as he sees the iron, and he will say something like: “Man, how did this happen?  She really needs to be more careful with the iron, you need to speak to her or she will break everything!”

Of course I will stand there, get annoyed as I would be thinking: “Or you could take three steps and then lean over and speak to her yourself!”

<Kennith’s defense he actually did not say any of these things, he just said, well we need a new iron and we need it quickly…..>

So all of this mania is going on, I finally get kids aimed towards bed, and I head towards bed myself.  I fall into bed rather than climb in with any sense of style or decorum.

<I had an optom yesterday as I have managed – through various levels of stupidity – to scratch my cornea on my right eyeball -normal words cannot accurately describe my discomfort>

My eyes are tired, my head hurts, I am irritable, my nerves are frayed and I am already exhausted and the month has not even started yet.   I am already predicting the chaos and starting to work through the various scenarios in my head and every possible permutation that may occur and what I will be doing when it does/might occur.

I fall asleep and then wake up at it is 12:10am and I lie there and start to worry.

I think I have made an awful mistake, and I am entrusting (with possibly my favourite child at the moment) to what really is a complete stranger.

I start creating an entire scenario of how this is going to play out, and all my scenarios end with me wearing sack cloth, crying with ash on my head, as I pull my hair out and plead with the not-so-friendly-police-constable to: “please just find my child, please find my child!”

All while they are looking at me with their little note books and small stubby pencils (in my mental picture they are in the blue uniforms from the mid 1980’s) and they are saying – in a very Afrikaans accent: “But lady what did you really know about this woman, when you decided to leave your child with her?”

So that kept me busy (in my head) until just before 5am.

This morning I woke up – feeling pretty grim, the acid in my stomach had already burnt a hole through to my arse.

I lingered and dawdled and left rather reluctantly this morning, and had no choice but to leave my little monkey with nanny F!

I literally sms’d everyone in my contact list and asked if they would please please please come by the house today and this week just to make sure nanny F had not absconded with my child.

I am in a total state today!  Total fekn state!

<please do not tell me it is going to be alright, as that is not going to help at all ……. I have already phoned her 6 times this morning, and yes things do appear alright, but how do I really know, for sure?>

I have managed to get hold of Judith who said she would make a plan and go over to the house and spend some time there.  I can’t tell you how much I am absolutely loving Judith right now!!! 

I told the guy at work about why I am so stressed, he looks at me – and in a very helpful tone says: “If something happens do you have any recourse with the agency?” Excellent question. 

Not an excellent question when I am thinking that nanny F has already sold my child for muti!!!

Sunday was Chinese-water-torture Night

 

Basically the way the game is played, is that you are a little more stressed/exhausted than usual.  You are trying to get kids ready for bed, all the time while keeping an eye on the digital clock above the oven, as it flashes the minutes in large red letters.

Digital letters have never looked so alluring and sexy!

I know it is bad karma to wish for time to pass.  But when you are wanting kids in bed, and some time to yourself that does not involve the word “mommy” being used in a whiny voice, poo that is not yours and spilt milk, the minutes they cannot move fast enough.

I love that clock – I shout BINGO as soon as it says 19h30 (I shout it inside my head, I do not want to make the kids think I am any stranger than I already am)!

If your kids are young you can shout it earlier depending on when you have decided that  “Fek I have had enough of this, and these munchkins can go to right sleep now before I kill them!!”  So time is flexible at this point.

Older kids can tell time so once they are around 6 thistechnique of bending time gets more tricky. Unfortunately you only need one who can tell the time to spoil the entire thing for everyone.  This reason should be motivation enough for not training kids to tell time until they are about 11 or 15!

 Yes, you can set the clocks forward, but odds are you will forget as soon as kids are in bed, and you have finished the second bottle of wine, and then you are pretty stuffed the next day as you are then never on time for anything!  It’s a good idea but lacks in application.

Background:  Kennith had been away for a week, and two weekends.  Added to that I started a new job on Monday.  The kids started of a new school year.   Isabelle was having a reaction to the 18 month jabs I had done for her last week.  I get anxious when Kennith is away  – like really!  Combination = total stressed out me.

Sunday afternoon Kennith got home.  We did dinner and then started aiming the kids to bed.  There was the usual chaos.  Georgia was being Georgia.  I was at the juncture where our three child family was about to become a two child family with the mom at Polsmoor.

Got kids into thier beds – I might have thrown them a bit….but I aimed them towards where there were pillows and a duvet, so that must count for something.

I am doing stuff, Kennith is lying on the bed with his iPhone – one of the kids cries/needs a bum wipe or something – Kennith chirps “just because I am home doesn’t mean I am on child duty right?” 

What do you think I am thinking right now?  It’s not “I heart you” right now, that is for free.  He has been away for two weekends.  I don’t care where he was, he wasn’t here and that counts as a holiday in my book.

I got in to bed around 23h30 and fell asleep after less than a paragraph of my book. 

Isabelle started to moan, and I thought I would leave her and she would settle and then everyone would be asleep.  Happy days.

Then I listened and thought, well I should just go in and check on her to make sure her leg is not caught in the cot bars, or she has poo’d so much her nappy is leaking it all over her cot bedding – both of which has occurred.  So guilt got me out of bed, and I went down the passage to check on her.

If I settle her, she will go to sleep and then I can sleep, and that was my motivation and I figured, I do this one and we are sorted.  Right?  Not so much.

I go and settle her and head back to bed.  As I start to doze, I hear her moan again.

Again I think, should I leave her to sort it out or should I go in and just make sure she is fine, so she can go to sleep and I can enter Nirvana?

I go in and settle her.  She is sort of half sleeping half awake, and moaning, which is not a good sign.  But I pat her, cover her with a blanket, and exit the room.

The same process then repeats itself about five more times until about 1am.  By around this point I have lost what ever was left of my sense of humour.

Just after 1am, Kennith hears her for the first time, jumps out of bed, stumbles down the passage, comforts her and falls back into bed.

I decided to lie there and let him, I should have stopped him as I had just done that, but I figured he could get this one, I would get the next dozen or so.

The balance of Monday morning  was the exact same routine, over and over again until around 5am.

At that point she escalated the moaning to screaming.  I was past caring for her or being concerned for her at this point.  I was trying to work out how many Voyager miles it would take for me to go to China.  Not because I wanted to specifically go to China, I just did not want to be here anymore.

Kennith woke up, I suggested we fetch Isabelle and put her in our bed.  He said no.

Only because I was so sleep deprived at this point, I was past reasoning, and hoped/fantasized/seen once in a movie, that a couple slept with their baby in the bed.

Kennith said no, and was about to launch into a lecture about the evils of children sleeping in their parents bed, and the bad example it sets, and global warming and why Kim Kardashian is a great person to follow on Twitter.

I switched off (from him – I could still hear Isabelle clearly), rolled on my side, and continued to tighten the jaw muscles to see if I could actually snap off a molar.

Kennith woke up, he suggested we fetch Isabelle and put her in our bed.  I said that is a great idea.  He fetched her.

She did however continue to moan and thrash around the bed, and kick me and stick her fingers in my eye.  Fabulous if this is your thing, not so good if you are hoping for a slither of sleep.

Kennith managed to go back to sleep, albeit for a few minutes.

I would like to say that I was really happy for him, as he has been travelling and had been away, and really needed sleep.  But I was slightly less than charitable in my thoughts.

Isabelle continued to moan and be up for most-likely-to-be-packed-in-a-cardboard-box-and-given-to-gypseys.

This went on all morning  – of the little bit that was left.

Eventually  I picked her up, put her in the passage and called loudly/screamed down the passage: “Pepe, please come and get her, else I am going to do something with her that I am going to regret!” 

It sounded nicer that what I was thinking which was: “Pepe, come and get this fekn child!”  But I know Pepe knows Child Services telephone number so I am careful what I say around her some times.

Pepe fetched Isabelle.

I had a shower.  I dressed.  Fortunately my wardrobe is jean pant with a shirt and black shoes, so that often does not take much brain power.  Tried to drink a cup of tea which tasted like crap – because my taste buds were not functioning.

It felt like a sheep and peed in my eyes.  Why a sheep?  I don’t know, it just felt like livestock has been urinating in my eyes, and sheep just seemed the most likely to get up to that sort of nonsense.

Shuttled kids into the car.  Said good bye to Pepe and Isabelle and then tried to get through the next 10 hours feeling like dog crap on a pair of grasshopper shoes.  It was a very long day, and all I could think about was sleeping.

I seriously do not know how mothers function who do this for several days at a trot.  I often hear from moms who have not had a full night sleep since Julius did woodwork, and I am totally flabbergasted at how they function.

One night of this and I was ready to say or do anything just to get some sleep.  Yes, it was me on the grassy knoll –  it was me, now leave me alone and let me sleep.

I still do not know what was wrong with Isabelle.  For fear of repeating the same routine last night I packed her in her cot with a healthy dose of Nurofen for kids.   

I slept like the dead last night, and woke up this morning feeling a lot saner than yesterday, and almost refreshed.   Isabelle also looks like she is back to her chipper self.  Monkey!