Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Tuesday 9th December

Christmas Card design 2014

Sigh.  Here it is.  The last month of the year.  I had things I wanted to do but didn't do them this year. At least, I feel as though I had things I wanted to do and it feels like I did not do them.  I just don't exactly know what they are.  These unknown things.  It's the feeling I know.  The year feels more unfinished than it should considering we are only weeks away to the end of it.

As you can see, I finished my Christmas card design and have ordered some online so that I can post them.  It's a funny thing with my art work.  It's the only time in my life I am truly not fussed if other people do not like what I have done.  It's nice when people do like it and I appreciate their words but if nobody said a single thing about my drawings I'd be okay with that too.  I think it is because my creative side is me.  Don't ask me what the other side is.  It's that other person.   You know, the one that functions out in the world.

So it's been over a week since my last post.  I have been busy I guess.  Work was a bit more shite than usual last week.  My anxiety levels were the usual blah blah but because I was able to attribute it to work it was different.  Sleep patterns changed and by Friday I was extremely fragile, teary, depressed and have started to pick up now.  This is boring I know but, hey, you are reading it so I figure maybe you just get it.  I'm recognising a pattern of mood swings now which is helpful for me even if I do not like them.  I remember when first I went to the psychiatrist he said that, as a rule, a bipolar person will always experience noticeable mood swings and that we just wanted them to be manageable and non intrusive.

When he said that to me I thought "not me, I am going to be different. I will have normal run of the mill moods".  I've stopped thinking that way.  I've accepted that I almost never have an idea what mood I will wake up in.  It's been like that for ever.

On Friday night we went out to the work Christmas function.  I made a decision to go to the hairdressers to have my hair washed and blow dried.  Not my regular hair dresser though, just someone local.  When I got there she asked me what I had in mind and I said something like "Oh, with a bit of volume and a wave at the end.  Sort of 70's but not so over the top".  What she must have heard was "Hey, I'm going to a 70's party and I want to look like an extra out of Priscilla Queen of the Desert".

I'm thinking a bit of modern take on Raquel Welch so I was okay when I saw the hair rollers go in the hair.  But then she started back combing the hair and at that point I realised that my hair was not going to look how I wanted it to.  There is something that happens a woman once seated in the chair at a new hairdressing salon.  The power of speech is taken from you.  The ability to assert yourself is swept from you. You become helpless.  And so, that was me.  Helpless as I watched my hair rise like a white beacon from my head.  Multi layers of hairspray raising it higher and higher until, the icing on the cake was the glitter that she sprayed over the surface as though I was going to be the glitter ball of the night.

Of course, I said it looked great and paid her.  But really I was thinking "how do I get to the car without anyone seeing me".  Once in the car I could feel the top of my hair touch the roof lining.  On the way home I intermittently shook my head and ran my fingers through it to bring down the volume.  At home my son said I looked like an actor out of a 1970's sitcom.

It settled down to a groovy style and matched my false eyelashes so I felt okay to head out for the evening.

It was a late night and as a result I only had five hours sleep, woke up depressed and crying and decided I was too down to go the to Swedish Christmas Bazaar (my most favorite event of the year). As I lay in bed with eyes closed and started to drift into the sleep of misery I then decided that I was not letting my mood rule my day.  Since I was feeling shit anyway I may as well do things while I feel that way.  Lying in bed would make it worse anyway - this I have learnt.  I got up, showered, dressed and got ready for the day.  Then K came back from bike riding and we went to the Christmas Bazaar together.

Unbeknownst to me K was feeling out of sorts due to, shall we say, over indulgence of the liquid kind at the work party and all day he was rather quiet.  It didn't stop him eating the fabulous Danish nosh at the place and even I didn't hold back.  It felt like being a kid again.  So we walked around, bought a few things and then headed home.  I was so glad I just ignored the urge to stay in bed.

So the rest of the weekend was spent just doing normal stuff that people do in life.  Food shopping, laundry, tidy etc.

One thing did happen.  We threw out a big floor rug that had seen better days.  It was a bit nostalgic as my son was four months old when we bought that.  He learnt to crawl on it. However it had reached the end of it's life and could not be cleaned as, being hemp, the cost to clean it was greater than the $450 we paid for it.  So we are not on the look out for a new rug.  It may seem that getting rid of a floor rug is not worthy of mention but along with the rug removal came the arrival of two new recliner chairs.

Yes, after five years of agonising (me being the agoniser) we went out an purchased two recliner chairs. They are very modern, totally and insanely comfortable and would almost be out of place in our home were it not for the cherry red colour of the leather and the dark timber base.  They are so modern that they fit in.  After almost 25 years of having adhoc old arm chairs that are not comfortable and very small, we are now the owners of two delicious armchairs that are made for falling asleep in.

Plus, you can get an extra for them.  A computer table to put your lap top on!  So I am saving my pennies for that now.

Bossman called them ugly.

Well, the night is all but over and bed calls.


linda x

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Saturday 29th November

Tree Outside Studio
I always start off not knowing what to write and then manage to put down some random drivel.  Or is it dribble?

A perfect Saturday weatherwise.  It's a pity I did not make excellent use of it.  I had plans.  You know how it works.  You spend the week leading up to the weekend with some "plans" or perhaps a "plan of action" or, if you are really organised, you have "plans of action".

I had "plans of action".  None of which seemed to happen.  I forgot what they were.  Actually, I forgot to remember that I had "plans of action" and subsequently the day drifted aimlessly along and I was a little leaf bobbing along the river of life.

Perhaps that is not entirely true.  I did do numerous loads of washing. Stripped the bed and put fresh bed linen on it.  Tidied the kitchen.  Went down the street to get breakfast for S.  Oh, and I voted.  We had State elections here and, as voting is compulsory, I walked down and did my civic duty.  When I got there I was inundated with people handing out "vote for me, me and not that person" flyers so, not wanting to offend anyone, I took one from each.  I was still undecided as I walked in the cardboard cubicle and then cast my vote based on which party was least likely to make me vomit when I saw them on television next.

Reflection of me and tree in studio door
My brother came around in the early evening with his two boys so we chatted for a while. He, like me, is tired and looking forward to a rest over the Christmas break.  For me the weeks leading up to Christmas are very testing mentally and physically.  This Thursday I am working from home to be spared the interuptions as I have crucial work that needs doing and I can't do it with phones ringing, people talking at me and finding myself jumping from one job to another.

Last week was a bit of a shitty one.  Somehow I was very destabilised after having that weekend of house sitting.  Perhaps the combination of being out of routine and incredibly poor sleep whilst there was enough to start things rolling.  By Wednesday I was wired for sound and that night I had to take something to sleep.  However, the next day I was worse and incapable of concentrating on anything despite applying all the deep breathing and meditative thinking and thus had to take a Valium.  Two hours later there was no change and I took another.  I may well have been eating jelly beans so ineffective both doses were that I just gave up and did what I could.  Thankfully exercise was after work so I managed to work some energy off.

That night I had to again take something as my head was racing both with thoughts and this irritating "white noise" sensation that I used to have for years.  But I slept through.

Next day okay except for one thing, at around 2pm I realised that I had not taken my morning meds on that day and the day before.  So I took Friday's dose and just figured shit happens.  So today I just feel meh and teary.  It will sort itself out and the best thing I did was not too try too hard.  Just get on with the day.

Now I am in the studio and it is around 9pm.  I am back to reworking the book of my drawings after I realised the resolution of the scanned pictures was abysmal.  Ho hum.  Mr Benny is outside running around and dragging a stick behind him.  He likes to sit outside the studio door when I am here. Because it is a nice night I can have the door open and listen to K playing piano in the house. Crickets chirruping madly outside.  Neighbours chatting away.

Studio Door
So, my day was a bit blah.  I felt frumpy.  In the morning I had put make up on but half way through I took it off my eyes were itching from something.  So I then felt frumpy, blah and most unattractive. I had enough in me to know it was just an off day and it rolled off me, albeit very slowly.  Tomorrow will be different.

I think I am hungry.

So it is time to go in and eat.

Since I know what is in my pantry and fridge I am not very excited about making the journey from studio to house to get food.

linda x

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday, 22nd November

I took this photo late afternoon.  Made it black and white.  It's really an azure blue sky and the sun is shining hotly down on the earth making me feel sleepy.  One of those lovely Spring days that heralds that Summer is near.  I am sure that soon I shall complain about the hot days and hanker for those strange Autumn days that are the best.

Not that I wish my life away.  I just like thinking of what is coming up while I enjoy (or not enjoy) the moment I am in.

Sitting in a chair out in the sunshine

I am house sitting at someone's house for two nights.  They are away for three weeks and my niece will take over tomorrow.  It's very strange being in a strange house.  Sleeping in another bed. Using a different shower.  Not like a hotel at all.  Here is very, very tidy and there is a place for everything and everything is in that place.  No matter which drawer or cupboard I open it is organised.  Having worked very hard to not go down that track I find myself feeling a pang of envy at the sight of the alphabetised spice jars.

By the way, I do not go opening all cupboards and drawers for any other reason other than to get something.  A snoop in the house I am not.

When I got here after work yesterday it took ages to open the front door as I had to twiddle the key a certain way.  At the same time their two little fluffy dogs were barking madly in the backyard.  One in particular is very, very nervous.  Each morning she has an anti anxiety tablet and in the evening another one along with half a Valium.  Poor thing came from the RSPCA and had no doubt been treated rather poorly as a pup.

But she and I are good buddies now that she is familiar with me.  I've fed both of them twice now and taken them on two walks so I am the best person in town.

Last night there was nothing to eat here.  I did due inspection of the pantry (as one does) and ate one very disappointing low calore biscuit.  There was a note on the bench basically giving me the okay to eat the cheese so I raided the fridge.   It was almost empty apart from said cheese and I ate a lot of that.  So that was my dinner and not the best one at that.

It's funny seeing what other people eat.  My pantry is pretty dull and boring because I avoid processed foods mostly and S and K are not really foody people.  Plenty of staples my pantry so that I can cook something from scratch.  This has come about because I can't stomach heavily processed stuff and, really, there is shit in packaged food that one should not be ingesting.  Anyway, here there is just some stuff that I am sure S would love to see in the pantry to eat but it is not every going to appear.

Hence the reason for the disappointing pantry raid.  There were things I could not eat plus it would be very bad form if I were to open tins and packets of stuff and just eat it.

Last night we went to see Interstellar at the movies.  S has been on holiday after his exams and is now batshit bored at home and wanted something to do.  The movie was great in my opinion.  Long but totally engrossing.  However, I was hungry, very hungry.  The cheese was no substitute for a proper meal and towards the end of the movie I started to get hangry .  It did not help that my anxiety levels were high yesterday (and most of the week) but I just focused on the movie and the anxiety settled.

The night was late and I did not get to bed until after midnight.  The dogs had to be settled into bed which involves a routine of medication and special doggy beds.

My sleep was unsettled and I woke up at 6.30am.  Half snoozed for another hour and got up to get the dogs outside and feed them.  Made coffee and finally got ready for the day.  It was very strange for me but also rather pleasant.

I went up to the local shops to have breakfast.  I chose the most delicious thing called Forage Porridge.  Made of quinoa, soaked brown millet, almond milk and rhubarb compote.  Served with home made honey yoghurt.  The bowl was huge and filled almost to the top.  Naturally I ate the entire amount.  It was like being Goldilocks and getting the best bowl of porridge.

As I was unable to move for at least fifteen minutes I read the newspaper and had a coffee.  Then I rolled out of the cafe, rolled over to my car, squeezed myself into the front seat and headed home to say hello to K and S.  By this time it was almost midday and my son was still slumbering away in bed.

I was unable to resist the urge to do something practical and made the bed, put a load of washing on but that was it.  My time was done at home and I headed off to the shopping centre and bought a couple of things and headed back to the house to say hi to the dogs.  K came around for coffee and cake.  Now I am all alone.

What will I do?  Have a bath in the absolutely fabulous bath?  Do some drawing?  Watch tv?

Probably a bit of each.

Now that I have dedicated a number of paragraphs to a less than 24 hour period in my life I may as well continue the blab about the rest of my week.

I went and saw the psych to have a quick run down over how I was going.  During the previous week he prescribed me Valium to get the anxiety levels stabilised.  I can't say I was happy about it but they did the job. Initially he said to take three (small doses) a day and then if that was too much to drop it back.  It's hard to explain why, but everytime he suggests any increase in medication or a new medication I am so reluctant.  It's as though I have become one of those people that I never wanted to become.  Taking a Valium. Taking Tamaxepan. Taking Epilim.  He even mentioned that in Winter most of his BP2 patients reduce Epilim and then take low dose anti depressant to get through the shorter days without being depressed.  

He seriously meets all my expectations of what a psychiatrist is.  Oh, and here is one more thing.  I was discussing something my husband said about me recently and that was that I am basically a different person every day and that he is never quite sure what to expect.  This took me by surprise as I am completely unaware of this being obvious to others.  It is also unintentional - it just happens.  I am not a bitch though.  Probably more sensitive to - ah - let's say just more sensitive.  To anything.

So, dear Mr Psych says "this is part of your Border Line Personality traits.  Remember I discussed this with you ten years ago?".   He just had to say that.  It's like when I first went to him and he said something along the lines of "didn't I wish I had listened to him ten years ago when he first diagnosed me?  Then I could have gone on meds?  Blah blah blah.

So, back to Valium.  I take three, life is normal.  No anxiety - at all.  Slept like a baby (a very good one that is).  Did not move for nine hours and woke up feeling fantastic.  But then decided that it was all a bit surreal for me so I only took two the next day which was fine.  Since then it has been maybe three times.  When I saw him Wednesday he said it was okay to take a small dose each day and I said okay.  But when I left there I felt that taking the road of continuing to work through other ways to minimise the anxiety and take the Valium on those really shitful days would sit better with me.

Now here's why I prefer to do that.  I like Valium.  It's great.  In fact, it's deliciously great.  When you have been an anxious person who has panic attacks over most of your life you can imagine what a lovely thing it is to take something that stops it.  I am not anti drug - they most definitely have their place.  My life is better now I am on meds and I am open to having to take more if need be. However, I am very much into exploring ways to look at the way I approach life which may be adding to my anxiety.  Valium is a good back up.  Personal activities such as routine, good sleep, exercise, healthy eating, therapy and change of thinking are just as vital.

Over time I have learnt to recognise anxiety that is not going to be pacifed, has not obvious source and will ruin my day (and nights)  and it is on those days I will take something.

The psych was comfortable giving me the Valium as he knows I am very controlling.  My younger sister, however, does not get it from her psych because she has a very most addictive nature and, in the past, had drug problems.  So she is cool with that.  Funny how you get different personality types in one family.

Anyway, that's enough of that.

I am now going to watch television.  There is a great special on about the tube stations of London.

Amazing stuff.

Choo Choo.

linda x

PS - I am not spell checking or rereading this post.  By choice.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday 10th November

I've not got much to say but I feel like rambling on before I go to bed.

Tomorrow is my monthly visit to Mr Fez.  I can't say that I have stabilised on the slight increase in my medication.  My anxiety levels are fantastically high. They make it hard to go to sleep, wake me up in the night and then when I get out of bed I have the anxiety up and ready for the day.  I have had to take meds to sleep every three days to keep things from getting worse.

What I don't like is when the anxiety teams up with depression and I can feel this happening. I can't stand the thought of the depression creeping back in like some enemy from the past.  It's insidious.

It does not stop me doing anything.  I treat it like having a bad hair day (in this case it's a very long bad hair day) and do all the things I learnt in therapy to help me through.  However I won't lie and say it is easy.  It's tiring for me, robs me of confidence at times and essentially pisses me off.  However, it's short term and once I get the meds stabilised I assume it will take a back seat again.

On Saturday morning I did my usual cardio class down at the beach.  It was glorious weather but I had had what I think was a tummy bug for a couple of days and felt a bit blah when I got there.  Plus the weather had been hot overnight so my limbs felt heavy.  We started the class with a warm up jog and my body felt as though I was carrying an extra ten kgs.  The air was hot, my legs clumped along and my stomach was churning.

As I jogged back towards the park where the personal trainer was waiting for us I wondered if I might vomit or something worse.  Things were not feeling good at all.  The closer I got the more I toyed with the idea of just going home and as I ended the jog I almost let the words come out of my mouth but decided to just suck it up and do the class.

It was just hard work.  Run here, run there, hold a plank, run very fast, run not so fast, walk, hold a squat, hold another plank, do squat jumps and then go down and run to the breakwater and come back.  Do push ups, do step ups, run in the sand, run up steps and run down steps.  I was soaked in sweat at the end of the class but at least I did it.  On the way home I was meant to have a blood test but realised that there was no way I could sit in a crowded clinic unwashed, sweaty and stinky.  So I had it Monday instead.

After I showered I went to the hairdressers where I had two hours of idle chat and trashy magazines. Normally I would follow up with a meander down the street but it was so hot and I was so totally knackered that I just went home and expired.  This is the down side of exercising early on a Saturday morning, it sucks the life out of me by the afternoon.  As I am a person who loathes sleeping during the day for fear of wasting a second of precious daylight, I forced myself to go grocery shopping.

All afternoon I did a bit of this and that trying to avoid having an afternoon nap and the end result was that by the time I got to bed I was overtired and had to take something to sleep.

On the Sunday I did some drawing.  Went through some photos and pottered around in the studio. It was then, for a few hours, I had no anxiety.  That is such a rare feeling for me. I was completely focused on the pleasure of being in my own space and doing what I love that nothing else mattered.  Sometimes I feel like just functioning in the world is an anxious activity in itself.  When I was very young I do remember being anxious.  I use the word anxious in relation to that as an adult as, of course ,I did not know that I was anxious at the age of six or seven.  I did know that I did not like what I felt and now I think it was anxiety.

Anyway, that's my excitement for the week I guess.  I had Tuesday off work thanks to The Melbourne Cup which is a public holiday here in Melbourne,  but did not do anything particularly exciting.  I was tired and needed to just hang around the house. There is something delicious about being home.  It's my refuge.

I am not very social.  On my blog and FB I am sociable, just not so in person.  That is not to say I don't know how to be sociable.  It's just that I find it tiring and do not know how to do small talk very well (except on my blog).  Anyway, my son is the same.  It annoys K that if he is home and the doorbell or phone rings he has to answer it because S and I won't.  If I am in the studio and someone is at the door I feel a surge of resentment towards the interloper.  And, surprise surprise, it is getting worse.  I may well become one of those grumpy old women who refuses to answer the door ever.

So, what else?  Nothing much.  Life is just doing whatever life does.

Ah, wait.  There is one thing.  I've been listening to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.  I'd forgotten how great it is and when I listen to it I think it would be nice to be lying under a tree, headphones in my ears with Pink Floyd streaming into my head.

And I'd complete the experience by smoking a joint.

However, as I don't smoke and as I have no time to lie under a tree, I am happy listening to it in my car on the way to work.

Can't have it all.

linda x

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Saturday, November 01, 2014

1st November 2014

It's freaking me out.  This time thing.  How it races by.  Now my memories are like little ants running across a great surface.  They go everywhere and nowhere.  Are they organised in a chaotic way?

Suddenly things that felt like they happened just yesterday no longer do.  I know they happened ages ago and it feels to me as though they did.  There is no mistake.  Thirty years ago is feeling like thirty years ago.  It ain't feeling like yesterday.

Last night was Halloween here so I dressed up a bit.  Put on some face paint and made myself a head piece.  It was hard work getting the paint on.  It dries quickly and I was a bit shabby with the application but the overall effect was okay.  Initially I had planned to do a skull face with flowers but two things stopped me.  Firstly we have lots of little children coming by and I did not want to scare them too much.  Secondly there is a thought happening here about adopting a "Day of the Dead" as a Halloween costume.  It could upset some people who celebrate Dia de Muertos which I took into consideration. So I went for the semi clown look with a suggestion of skull.

As it was, I did frighten a few little kids.  They screamed when I opened the screen door.  Some ran back to their parents.

I tend to try and keep in mind the do's and don'ts of the changes in society and the people that are part of it.   It's not because I want to please people, it is because I am respectful of the diversity of society and I think it is important to take into consideration aspects of the dynamics of it. Also, nothing is that important to me that I am bothered by making changes.  When I grew up Australia was a racist country and I personally experienced that racism on a regular basis.  It still kind of is.  I read somewhere that is was a "casually racist" country.  Which means that it is okay to make a racist comment but back it up with an acceptance of that race.  It's weird really.

I'm not a politically correct person.  That's a creepy term.  There is something called consideration and respect for other cultures, religions, sexuality.  That is what I am about.

When you grow up with a set of values that have been laid down by your parents and society you would want to change as society changes and you learn about life, yourself and other people.  I still might have thoughts about some cultures but I know that the issues in that culture is contained to a small percentage of people.  All races and religions have good and bad about them and I don't base my overall views on the bad.  How could I do that?  That is like having a bad experience at the dentist and presuming all dentist visits from thereon will be just as bad.  Oh, wait.  Perhaps that is not the best analogy.

Anyway, the above is just blathering.  It is also badly written but I am not changing it.

So my last post was the 19th October.  I have had a visit to Mr Fez since then.  It was to review the results of the blood test that I had the Saturday prior.  As expected my Epilim levels had dropped considerably.  It could be a combination of the addition of HRT and change of seasons.  He suggested I increase the Epilim by 200mg but added that knowing me he was happy to start me on half of that in the morning for now.

When I got to the consultation I was so anxious and agitated.  This had been building as the elevated phase was shifting.  When I spoke to him the pressure of the words coming out was so great that it hurt my chest.  I kept changing from jumping back and forth as my thoughts shifted.  It's hard to explain how difficult it is to stop it happening.  It's not as though I can take slow and deep breaths to move past it - which is something that works quite well with anxiety and panic attacks.  The words have their own life and I don't have the ability to moderate the speed at which they exit my mouth. One thing, thankfully, is that I have the ability to be mindful of what comes out of my mouth.  The last thing I want to do is say stupid things at 1000 miles an hour.

The consultation then kind of drifted into about twenty minutes of what I would say was therapy. Something shifted in me in regards to Mr Fez and I answered his questions comfortably.  He asked a question about my tattoo which then took the questions elsewhere.

One thing I noticed during this minor "relapse" is how much better I actually feel (overall) when I am on the medication.  Having the elevated state was just so lovely but the anxiety and agitation that followed as well as the teary depression made it really not worth it.  I also realised what hard work it had been to manage it all for years.

I've been on a slightly higher dose for ten days and am starting to feel better.  It took a week to feel comfortable and I am hoping that I don't have to increase the dose anymore for now.  On the 12th November I see Mr Fez so will have another blood test prior to see if things have picked up.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother to record all this incredibly boring information on a blog of all things.  Seriously, who cares?  I think what has happened over the 7.5 years I have had the blog it has just become a habit to log into Blogger and write.  I could just as easily type things onto a Word document and save it on a computer.

Now that that years have passed I really appreciate having recorded so much.  Most of the things I would have long forgotten by now.  Also, doing a blog post in the "now" captures the truth of it without passing time to distort the memory.

Sooooo, this morning I was up at 6.45am to get down to the beach for a cardio class.  Before I made myself get up I had that internal dialogue about whether or not I would go.  It was cold and rainy outside which is most unappealing when one is warm and cosy in bed.  However, I just did it.  Got up, changed into my gear and went to class.  We did part of the training in an undercover car park and some across the road along the beach.  Up and down stairs and ramps.  Running here and there.  The usual hour of wondering how one hour can feel so long and yet another feel so short.  The week prior was worse.  We did this thing called Fartlek training which feels relentless.

You would think that I was some sort of natural athlete with all the exercise I do but I am not.  My body type and my brain just wants to lie around, eat donuts and watch television.  If I could take a pill to give me the fit and healthy body I want I would.  But there is no such pill so that is the end of that.  I just do it.  I don't sprint like a gazelle, run like a rabbit and fly like a bird as I moved between markers.  No such luck.  I just run as fast as I can and recover as slowly as possible.  A few of the girls are pretty fast.  A couple turn up with hangovers from being out the night before - the benefit of youth maybe.

Now it is mid afternoon and my day is just cruisy.  I had yesterday off so today is a nothing day. Then tomorrow I will be more productive around the house.  The girl who made my dresses has asked me to come up with a few concept drawings for her so that she can get them printed on fabric for children's clothes.  The drawings will be based on her twin girls.  She sent over some photos and I felt very inspired by both the girls and the countryside (France).  It was very dreamlike.  This I will start on today.

I am not going to read this post back to myself.  It seems disjointed but I have decided that is okay.

Instead I will do a cursory spell check, finish up and make myself a cup of tea.

linda x

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday 19th October

I am in the studio.  It's been so long and the place looks like someone just stopped what they are doing and walked away.  Which is kind of true I guess.

Everything is covered in a faint layer of dust and I will spend a bit of time cleaning it.  My son is in here more often than I as his Xbox is in the corner of the room.  Right now though he is in the house playing games on his computer.  K is going through old home movies and trying to get them in some sort of order.

I'm just here in a relatively peaceful mood.  Maybe I will get something creative done but it's hard to say because my  mood is very anxious and agitated and all that happens when I am in this mood is other stuff.  It's now that I need to be very mindful about any decisions I make (eg spending money).

Last week was my trip to see Mr Fez.  It was a weird visit because I have been on an up and I was a motor mouth with the attention span of a pea.  I also kept laughing as I was talking and, worse, I laughed when he was talking.  One thing I did bring up was the issue I had with him on the previous visit in relation to his foot tapping episode.  Needless to say he put it back onto me in that we had to dissect the thought process and, while I understand the dynamics behind that, he somehow turned it around.

Anyway, as a month had passed the feeling of being unsettled by it had faded but I wanted to bring it up as I felt I needed to.

My mood has been fantastically up since the change of seasons.  Up and anxious with a few panic attacks thrown in.  Also a lot of average sleep full of chaotic and vivid dreams.  It's great but for the first time I can see what I was like before medication in a more objective light.  Last week was so elevated that today I look back and think "who is that person?".  Today I could go either way if there was too much happening around me.

During the visit to Mr Fez he requested that I have a blood test to check my Epilim levels in case they had dropped.  Apparently this is not uncommon with Bipolar during the change of season.  I could feel it and for most of my life the impact of seasons has been notable.  As I have gotten older it had become even more of a definitive shift in mood.

So, he writes out the blood test request and asks me to consider making an appointment for next week to asses the results.

Conversation goes something along these lines only keep in mind that I am very animated as I am talking;

Me: I don't want to.  If the levels are down I have to take more meds and then my mood will be taken away.

Mr Fez: Yes, but if the mood continues to rise it will be followed by as depressed phase.

Me: But I like this mood.  Can't you give me just enough Epilim to keep it at this level?

Mr Fez:  If I could do that I would be taking it too.

Me: So, I am not my usual self am I?  (I am hoping it's not obvious)

Mr Fez:  No, I have written here "she seems very elevated". (he points to his note pad).

Me:  You are going to have to give me a directive to come back next week because I don't want to and am having trouble finding a good reason to say yes.  I'm enjoying my mood and want to keep it. In fact, I might not come back for six months.  

(as though I have some control over the mood)

Mr Fez:  You have to come back next week.  When you leave here go and make an appointment.  There is a half hour cancellation in the morning.

Me:  Thanks.

Mr Fez: You're welcome.

I don't talk like that as a rule.  Except maybe around family when I am being silly.   During the consultation I was talking so fast that it physically hurt my head and chest getting the words out. After the consultation I got back to work.  The office was empty and I put on the music and then danced around the place for a few minutes trying to wind down.  The rest of the afternoon was spent doing my work whilst having to resist problematic impulses (look on Internet, poke phone, have coffee, go for walk, dance, talk and talk and talk to the others now they were in).  It was tiring.

After work I went to outdoor exercise where I was able to burn off energy by talking non stop and exercising at the same time.  In between exercise changes I would jump up and down and wave my arms and keep talking.  This excess energy came home with me and I kept doing shuffling dances around the kitchen.

It's pretty funny but, at the same time, it goes hand in hand with high anxiety and it is difficult for me to concentrate on anything for very long.  Or I may hyperfocus on something to the exclusion of everything else.

So, yesterday morning I did the blood test and will see him on Wednesday.

Yesterday morning I was down at the beach for a 7.30 am cardio class.  When I went to bed on Friday night in the back of my mind I was thinking how I could get out of the class.  It must have been bothering me because during the night I had dreams that I had found myself in a very awkward situation which gave me a reason to pike out of morning exercise.  One of the dreams involved my sister in law sending me a text saying that my father had died and I said "yes, no exercise, wooohooo".

As it was I did wake up, did get out of bed and did go to the class.  In fact it went very well and each week my fitness shifts to a better level.  My weight, however, refuses to shift downwards despite my increased exercise and decreased food intake.  But I am okay with it because, let's be realistic, I am fit and healthy and the numbers on the scale don't validate me.  I think there is just a pattern of old ways of thinking that creeps in now and then.

Enough talk about me.  I am going to talk about my son.

The other week he said he wanted to go clothes shopping to update his wardrobe.  As he hates shopping I was a bit shocked and very pleased.  He tends to wear lightweight pants from a hiking shop and multiple t-shirts.  They do him no justice but he likes them so I am not pushing my agenda on him.

We went to the shopping centre to get a couple of pairs of jeans.   He had to go to three stores and try on many pairs before we hit the jack pot.  There was almost a moment where he had enough of it and wanted to go home but I explained to him that buying jeans and bathers are two of the worst clothes buying experiences and just to get it done.  I said that he can't keep wearing clothes that make him look like he lives at the base camp at Mr Everest.  He'd made a decision to get new clothes and to follow through and not give up.  

Clothes shopping is a learned thing.

Before we left he had a shower and asked to use my hair dryer (another first) and then said to me "using a hair dryer makes a difference to your hair doesn't it?".  Methinks he is ready to take notice of making the best of himself.  He might even use some hair product!

He has also asked for a full length mirror to be fixed to the inside of his wardrobe door.  New shoes and new t-shirts.  It's great.

And, my husband told me that S uses an app that has a bit of a notoriety here.  I won't name it here but it involves a swipe to the left or a swipe to the right.  I think my husband was a bit shocked or something but I said to him that S is a young man, it's natural to be into the opposite sex.  He just does it differently to the way we did it.  In less that a year he will be able to vote, drink and drive a car (although at the rate of his driving lessons he might be 20 before that happens).  He's not a kid, he's shifting out of teenage years and it's okay.

K mused that he still thinks of S as the young boy he drives to school each morning.  I think that it is a bit different for me as S often comes into work and works in the office and does very grown up things so I just see him as a person moving into adulthood.

Sometimes S and I talk about things and both of us have strong opinions about the topic.  The other day I said to him that just because I have strong beliefs it does not mean they are right or wrong (unless it is bleeding obvious), they are just my beliefs.  I reminded him that I will never judge him if his beliefs conflict with mine.  It seemed important to tell him, especially when you consider how very different my world is to his.

He said "yeah, I know that mum".   As though I was a goose for even thinking I had to mention it.

He is his own person.  Though he may be financially relying on us and all those things, his mind belongs to him, my influences are minimal now and all I can do is cross fingers that I have done an okay job as a mother.   I can see that K is a great dad but being a mother brings guilt.  I don't have too much of that.

I look at S and like what I see so something was done right.

So, now it is late afternoon on this hot Sunday afternoon.  Studio is warm and out the window I can see that my beautiful weeping Dutch Elm is coming into leaf.

When I look through the branches of the tree I can see my old studio, now storing boxes full of my neice's belongings.  It's a little memory for me when I see the pitched tin roof.  Since that hut was built so much has gone on in my small suburban world.

I'm going to sign off and potter around.

Think about what to cook for dinner and make a cake.

Then that's my weekend done.

linda x

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Friday, October 10, 2014

10th October 2014

I think this is the longest time that I have not blogged.

I think about it.  A lot.  During the day I might think of something to write and then when the chance arrives in the evening I can't be bothered.  I'm feeling like I'm living in a vacant house in my head lately and wandering around from room to room.

It's the change of season or something.  A few weeks ago my sleep pattern started to change. I couldn't get to sleep.  Then was restless.  Then woke up too early.  Last Sunday was the start of daylight savings which I think always makes people feel a bit out of sorts.

Even with taking medication to sleep I feel no different.  All that happens is that I sleep a sleep full of crazy dreams which I don't wake up from.

I now recognise when I am really not how I should be and that is when I start talking about things that normally I don't.  Or wanting to spend money on something I know I don't want or need. Or misinterpreting what others say. Or thinking I should not be on medication. Behaving in an unusually boisterous way at work which means I have to work at toning it down and get my cues from other people's behaviour. Because I have not had to be hyper vigilant for a while it took more effort to reign in my impulses.

My distractability levels also rise considerably.  When that happens I feel like a twelve year old at school again.  Only I am a grown up and have certain obligations so there is no chance for staring out the window, drawing pictures in my notebook margins or throwing chewed up paper across the room.

Anyway, I see Mr Fez on Wednesday and we can talk about things.  Perhaps he will say to increase my medication and perhaps I shall say no thanks.  Not that I want to preempt anything.  It's all a bit hard really.

Now the trouble with not writing anything down for three weeks is that I can't remember all of the incredibly boring life things that I have been heavily involved in.

Work? Yep.

Exercise?  Yep.

Bits in between?  Yep.

My outdoor exercise is going well.  I like that it is in a park and I breathe in fresh air as I exercise. Sometimes I am lying on a mat doing some exercise and look up at blue sky and tree tops.  I can hear the bird noises from the little billabong nearby.  There are swans with cygnets and ducks with their ducklings waddling around.  It's relaxing.

Last Saturday I was down at the beachside area for a 7.30am cardio class.  It was hard slog to get out of bed and get down there.  And a harder slog to keep up the pace for an hour.  My body was almost affronted at having to run around when normally it would still be lying asleep in a cosy bed.

Later on during the day K and I went into the city to ACMI and Fed Square and watched some archive movies.  It's such a great place to visit.  We had lunch there and headed off home mid afternoon.  I was hyper chirpy all day.  The next day I woke up diametrically different.  Crying and frowny for the day.  It never fails to amaze me how a mood can just arrive uninvited and unexpected like that.

Work has been good.  Bossman and family were away for a couple of weeks and things ticked along. I don't think I was stressed but can't be too sure as I don't always see or feel the stress until it is right inside me.

Still drawing.  Working on some poetry.

Tomorrow morning I am back at the beach for some cardio.  Hairdressers at midday and then whatever takes my fancy which, no doubt, will involve cranking up the washing machine.

Hey, I might even manage a blog post.

Hmmm, dunno about that last thing.

Don't want to put too much pressure on myself.

linda x

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