Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday 22nd July

Weekend has come and gone and tomorrow is the middle of the week.

It was a sad weekend.  Not for me, but for so many people in the world.  It seemed as though all the misery in countries afar had seeped into our safe lives.  There was the passenger plane that had been shot down while flying over Ukraine.  A plane crash is a tragedy no matter where it happens and no matter who is on the flight but there was something about this one that just seemed so foul.  That it was shot from the sky like a clay pigeon and exploded over fields of sunflowers and Queen Ann Lace made it seem so much more hideous.

The bodies of people lay in the crops and the poor locals saw them fall from the sky before they landed. One fell through the roof of someones house and into their bedroom.  Death is fact of life, brutal and violent death is a horror and should never be a fact.  I made the mistake of reading a French journalist's website and viewed photos that he had taken.  They were so shocking but I still looked at them, not for any ghoulish reason.  I looked because it made me cry and I felt sad for everybody.  The passengers, the locals, the relatives. It was sad and ugly.

Then there is the war in Syria.  The conflict in the Gaza Strip.  I'm never sure if it is getting worse or we see it so much more now.

I wonder about the world sometimes.

It's kind of fucked really.


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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday 16th July

Today was my monthly visit to see Mr Fez (psychiatrist).  It was okay.  He's a bit more relaxed and friendly.  I suppose that it takes a while to work out a new patient and soften towards each other.  I've stopped making comparisons between him and my previous therapist and I think that has helped.

I did this drawing a few weeks ago.  It is, as you can tell, a naked man with no hair and no genitals.  I looked at it last night and realised that he looks exactly as I imagine my psychiatrist would look if he were naked.  Only he needs a Fez on his head to complete the picture.  I often imagine people with no clothes on . I have done it all my life.  Not close friends and family.  More like crowds of people.  Or some professional person I may be going to (dentist, doctor etc.).  It's not sexual, it's just idle imagination.  I figure everyone does it only I admit to it.  Soooooo, in case you're wondering, I probably imagined you naked too when first you met me. But don't feel self conscious about it because I only imagine it the first time before moving onto what you are wearing, saying, reading or whatever. The nakedness is just the ice breaker in my head.

So we talked about how I had been feeling over the past few weeks since my last visit.  I guess I am feeling fine.  Nothing much to report about how my head space is.  Although, I did say to him that I miss my mood swings.  Especially the up phases.  Even the down phase, although bad, had their own unique intensity.  And I honestly miss them.  I said I felt resentful.  He said that was normal to feel that way and that it can take time to get used to feeling settled.  Blah blah.

Then I asked if most of his patients eventually got used to it (being a mere mortal).  He said that some didn't and he was concerned that I may be one of those people who would want to go off the medication to get that feeling again but that he was factoring in that I was disciplined enough and intelligent enough to not do that.  I do think about going of the meds quite a lot but know that it's not really an option.  I have made a commitment to my family, to myself and also to Mr Fez that looking after my mental health is where I am at.  Otherwise I am wasting my time and everyone elses.  Despite missing the lovely highs and even the despairing lows, I am better off.

My gut feeling tells me he wants to move into the therapy area now that the medication is working but it's a tricky step.  I can't explain why.  Perhaps it is because I am on medication now and the way my mind works is different.  I know I am not so hyper focused and intense.  Maybe I don't want therapy. Maybe I do but don't know I do. Maybe I am not ready to.  Or maybe he wants me to come in once a month and pay towards his Dolce & Gabanna spectacles he wears and his tailored pinstripe pants which look like they are made just for him. Who knows.  Doesn't matter anyway.  I still go in once a month to make sure the medication is keeping me stable.

Do you think I should bring this drawing into him?  Does it say something?

Got the results back from the CT scan and nothing sinister however a referral to someone else for other stuff which may help get to the source of the pain.  Sheesh, I am almost looking forward to seeing the dentist this Friday.

And I finally got back to exercise last night.

A busy week for me.

linda x

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday 14th July

I love this photo of me.  It was taken around early January 2011, maybe late December 2010.  Can't recall exactly.  My sister was down visiting us and she smokes.  I decided to light up one of her ciggy's and she took a photo.  There is one shot of me looking at the cigarette as I light it and then this one as I look into the camera.  It was less than fifteen seconds of time but it captured something rather provocative.

I know I posted this picture when it was first taken.  I probably mentioned that I smoked when I was younger.  Never much.  Mostly social.  It was easy peasy to give up.  Though it is an unhealthy habit and smells awful I do recall the intense pleasure of lighting up a fresh cigarette.  The ritual of taking it out of the packet, the lighting of the match (I never used lighters), the touch of the filter on my lips and the first drawback.  That smell of the sulphur from the burnt match head mixed with the tobacco being burnt. There was a noise that went with it.  A crackle as the fiery tip raced up the tobacco and paper each time I inhaled.  It was an almost sensual experience.  I would always put the used match back into the it's box, burnt head at the opposite end of the red heads.  A habit I still do to this day.

You wouldn't think a person would like something like smoking but it would be fair to say that I always took pleasure in every cigarette that I lit up and smoked.  I never smoked at home.  Never walked and smoked.  Never left my work desk to smoke.  I also would go months without smoking at all. I was not addicted like others.  I enjoyed it for the process which made it easy to drop.  One day I thought to myself that I did not want premature wrinkles and that was it.  Out they went.

Anyway, that's the story behind the photos.

I did not exercise at all last week.  And guess what, life went on and I survived.  Oh, I lie a bit.  I took Mr Benny for two excuses for a walk.  Less than twenty minutes each and even those two were under duress.

On Thursday I went for a CT scan to see why I have been experiencing extraordinary pain on and off for the past few weeks.  The doctor thought that maybe kidney stones were the culprits but also could be ovarian cyst.  Who knows.  Whatever it is had made me tired beyond words and my body said "no exercise Linda, I can't cope".  But I will be back tomorrow night because I feel like crap not exercising.  It's a problem.  The tiredness makes the doing exercise an issue and no exercise makes me feel physically and mentally shit.

Anyway, I got the CT scan and, as is the norm, they gave the films to me and said the results would be at the doctors in two days.  No idea why they give me the films.  It's not like I can read them.  I have an every growing pile of them at home!  However, despite my not knowing how to read them I naturally tried to do just that.  I think I may have seen a kidney shape in there somewhere.  Nothing else was recognisable so I stop trying to self diagnose.  Instead I made an appointment to see the doctor this Wednesday.  Not just to get results but also to get a referral to see another specialist.

It was kind of nice not exercising.  Instead I did some drawing.  Writing.  Read one of the book club books I had here and finished another one.  Watched TV.

I read somewhere that it was a good thing to exercise consistently for six weeks and then have the seventh off.  Almost sounds like a religious experience doesn't it?  Could that me my religion.  The religion of taking time off exercise?

Well, I had planned to write some more but it's now time for me to go to bed.  I have had to rejig my bedtime ritural after slipping into later nights.  It's so easy to get into bad habits.

Oh, and I have to yell at my son to go to bed.

Converstation goes like this almost every night.

Me:  Get off the computer S and get ready for bed.
(I say this about an hour before I want him into bed so plenty of warning)

Son: Yeah.

Ten minutes passes with no real movement from him that indicates he is about to get off the chair and into the bathroom.  Plus, his headphones are still on which is a sure indication that nothing is about to happen.

Me:  S, I told you ten minutes ago to get off the computer and get ready for bed.

Son: Yeah, yeah. Just got to finish this game.  Almost done.

Me: Five more minutes and that is it.
(Oh no.  I have done the "five more minutes mistake".  That's not good).

Another ten minutes passes.  Still no real movement.

Me: Get off the computer NOW.

Son: Okay, okay, okay.  Settle down mum. You're getting all crazy.

Me: Yes, I am.  Now get off.

Son slowly removes headphones from head.  No sense of urgency whatsoever.  Slowly gets out of chair and schleps off to the bathroom.   Then he is in there for another fifteen minutes AT LEAST, sometimes longer.  I don't care what he does in the bathroom but whatever it is I want him out within ten minutes.

One time he came out of the bathroom after being in there for goodness knows how long.

K said to him "how can you spend so long in there S?"

To which my son replied "Okay, okay, I confess.  I was having a wank".

The look on K's face was priceless.  My son's expression was one of amusement and I almost choked on my cup of tea with laughter.

I never asked if he was telling the truth.  My husband said that he would never, ever in a million years have said anything like that in front of his parents let alone his mother.

It was pretty funny.

At least I thought it was.

linda x

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Monday, July 07, 2014

Monday 7th July

Monday evening.  I think it has been a while since I posted so I will probably have trouble remembering what I have done over the past week or so.

Last Tuesday was my son's 17th birthday.  He had friends over for the day and the commandeered the loungeroom playing Xbox games.  I was at work when my husband rang and said that it was great to see them playing games and yelling.  Having fun, eating lollies and junk food.  Just being teenagers.

So I left work early to get home and see them all in action.  My son has never had more than one person at a time visit him.  He has a social network, it's just mostly online.  He will spend hours talking on Skype with a friends which is much more sociable than I am.  My social life is small.  People I work with, people I live with, family, book club, hairdresser and not much else.  Now and then an effort to catch up with friends of my husband.  There are people I would LOVE to visit but they live in other countries so that makes it hard to catch up for coffee and a chat.  Eventually I might hook up my Skype and make the effort to say hi.

The first week of the financial year was a busy one.  I was very tired by Friday evening and incredibly grateful for the weekend so that I could recharge my batteries. On the way home from work I stopped off and did the food grocery shopping so that I could get it out the way.

Hairdressers on Saturday.  Movie watching in the afternoon at home while I made soup.  Sunday, gosh, I can hardly remember what I did Sunday.  More cooking.  Exercise.  I went to Ikea - oh that explains why I want to forget what I did Sunday.  Seriously, that place is strange.  I get into Ikea feeling excited and within ten minutes I want to stick pins in my eyes and run out.  We bought nothing but a cup of coffee there.  God, I felt like we were the old couple on the hill when I saw how many parents with young children there were.  I was one of those middle aged women looking at three year old apple cheeked children with fondness.  Aaaaaaarrrrgggghhhh.  Nothing changes, we just get old and watch people doing the same old, same old that we did but just in a more modern way.

Last night was Mr Benny's first night of not sleeping in his crate.  He has a bed now with no fencing around him because he has learnt how to get out.  So, S put Mr B to bed and told him to stay there which he did.  However, he did not shut the door that separates the back of the house from the front and Mr B came into our bedroom and plonked on the floor to sleep.  I was to lazy to send him out and drifted off to sleep before waking up at 1.30am with a crippling pain in my torso and pelvic region that has been plaguing me for around a month or so.  I lay in bed in excrutiating pain for around three hours wondering if it was worth making the effort to get up and take some pain killers.  Eventually I decided that if I wanted any sleep at all I had to do that.

So, up I got and it was at that time I should have put Mr B outside for a toilet trip.  But, you know, I was sooooooooo tired and it did not cross my mind.  I went back to bed and fell into an awful sleep, the pain still an issue and half thinking of how I had to go to work and worrying if I would cope with the lack of sleep.  Finally I fell into a deep sleep only to be woken by my husband saying "Fucking dog had crapped in the dining room".  You know, K does not swear much so it was funny to hear him do that.

Fortunately it was a neat and tidy display of dog poo and was easy to clean up.  K went and had a shower and not long afterwards I got out of bed and organised my clothes for work.  Then, I walked into the back room and saw something on the dining room floor.  For a brief moment I thought that he had done the Caddy Shack trick on me and put a pretend dog poo in the dining room and laughed.

Sadly, no. After K had cleaned up the dog mess the first time Mr B went back and did another lot.  The mind boggles as to why he did that but I wonder if the change of bed may have played a part.  Or maybe just the fact that K did not put Mr B out BEFORE he gave him his breakfast may have been a crucial key.  Either way, it was not a fortuitous start to the day.  Although, I laughed very much (it's not like I had to be the one to pick it up).

By the time I got to work my lack of sleep was creeping all over me like a suffocating layer of moss. I had two very strong cups of coffee to start the day.  Once I sat at my desk all my plans were made messy with "unexpected things that had to be done".  It's funny how you think something will take just five minutes (no idea how that thought comes about) and then you find out it takes an hour.  Then something else takes an hour.  But that's okay, that's how it is at times.  Usually at the tired times.

So, now it's Monday evening and I am definitely ready for bed but I will be taking something to take me to the land of nod.  Good sleep is not yet a given for me.  Hopefully no pain to wake me up tonight.

One thing is for sure, I will make sure Mr B makes a toilet trip before I put him to bed and all doors to rooms shut just in case he gets a notion.


linda c

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Saturday 28th June

It's Saturday evening and I feel like I have been up since the break of dawn.

Possibly because I was up at 7.00 am to get ready to pick up my son from school after his week long jaunt over in Tasmania with school friends.

The bus arrived at the school just after 7.30 am and I was there not long after.  I looked out for S amongst the hordes of noisy teenagers.  Then I saw him, stern faced, carrying his bag up on his shoulder and striding through everyone.  Oh dear.  Mr Grumpy.  By the time he got to me he had an aura of shittiness emanating from him.

"Let's all stand in front of everyone and talk and kiss each other goodbye" were his words (no doubt referring to all the people in his way).  He was shitty.  Just wanted to get home.  The overnight ferry trip from Tasmania to Melbourne had been very rough with up to ten metre waves and he had not slept well.  In fact, he had not slept much for the whole trip.  Late nights followed by 6.00 am mornings for a week had no doubt a follow on effect.

When he got home he uploaded his photos and talked about the trip.  He really enjoyed himself.  It was cold but not much rain.  Tasmania has lovely scenery and quite a lot to see.  They went to the Cadbury chocolate factory and he subsequently brought home so much chocolate I have had to make the effort to resist eating them.  It's one thing to have a block on hand, it's quote another to have a big tin of it to dip into all day.

After he settled on the computer to catch up with all his YouTube subscriptions I went up the street to get fresh bread, the newspaper and a big bone for Mr Benny.  It was only just after 8.00 am and the street was still almost empty.  Icy wind blew all around me and I was very glad for the thermal wrap dress I had dug out of the wardrobe.  I had bought it from a camping and travel shop and it's been a fantastic wardrobe addition for days like today.

Later on, at home, S and I struck up a conversation about sexism and gender issues.  We have these discussions now and then and they can get heated.  He says that he has not issues with feminism at all. He gets all that goes with it.  He sees that being a female has never held me back in work or life despite coming from an era of sexist work environments.  But he is of the belief that things are going too far one way and possibly alienating men and women.  One thing he said was that people really do not understand how those under the age of 20 are so informed and independent minded.  Males and females.  He is of the belief that his generation are the test generation for the new wave of feminism and it's a tricky path for both sexes to navigate.

Anyway, I did something I shouldn't.  I am so embarrassed to even write it down but it needs to be recorded just so I can read it one day when I am old.

While he was firing this argument at me I picked up Stella and put my hand in her and made her say something.  Don't ask me why, I just did it.  Well, the reaction from S was really cutting.  Firstly he told me I was disrespectful.  Told me that my actions had mocked him.  Asked why I thought it was okay to pick up a doll and make her talk to him while he was having a serious discussion with me.  Then went on a rant at me that was, I have to admit, not unreasonable.

Quite frankly, I felt like shit.  Then I burst into tears (I was sleep deprived).  Apologised.  It was okay. Kind of.  Could not stop thinking of it and really cried.  Felt like a bad mother (truly, if that is the worst thing I ever do I am a FUCKING GREAT mother).

Anyway, S came up and gave me a big hug and said it was okay.  Then he said something interesting. He said that he feels really strongly about how feminism is sold these days because it too often denigrates men and he is one of the perceived "oppressors".

Well it's funny now, but there is nothing worse than being rebuked by your own child.

Why, thinking about it, it almost made me feel like I was a teenager again.

Ah, now I recall why I like being fifty.

I have also learnt to pick my "Stella" times.

linda x

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday 22nd June

Friday arrived, then Saturday and now Sunday.  A busy week combined with short night time sleeping weigh heavily on me. It's like dragging my body around in a bag across a stony ground. And NO blue light to stream into my eyes and brain each morning.  Is it my imagination or does it make a difference? Who knows. I feel it does.

On Thursday night and this afternoon I got to body pump and did kick ass classes.  I love that term. Kick ass.  Of course, the next day I always feel like my ass has been well and truly kicked. Today I increased the weights on some of the tracks just to challenge me and to maybe motivate me to get back into exercise with a bit more love.  Maybe it helped because during the classes I was strong and pushed through the anxiety that had somehow rooted itself deep into my chest.  And that is always a good reward.

I also managed to drag my husband with me to do a class today and last Sunday.  He liked it, at least he said he did.  It's good to make a change with exercise now and then.

Tomorrow my son is off to Tasmania for the week.  His bags are packed, warm clothes and even thermals.  Tassie is much colder than here in Melbourne and even he conceded that thermals would be in order for the evening activities.  He has to be at the school at 4.45 AM.  Naturally I said that K would be driving him there - early mornings are not my thing and 4.45 AM is actually night time in my mind.  

This evening S said "I want to have a big breakfast before I go.  Can you make me poached eggs please mum?" and, being his mother and all and being a completely softie I agreed.  So it appears that a 4.00 am rising is on the cards for me.  However, once breakfast is done and he is gone I am going back to bed.  No taking advantage of the early morn and off to the gym for a 6.00 am class.

Before I went shopping with him yesterday my husband had a man to wife talk with me about teenage boys going away and their mothers packing the bag for them.  Don't overpack was what he meant.  He even said that if I packed seven pairs of underwear my son would only wear two pairs.  Seriously, he has no idea.  Just because my son is happy to schlep around in his pj's two days running he is not okay with sporting the same undies those same two days running.

We are talking about a kid who washes his hands like a surgeon scrubbing up before doing a transplant. My son is quite particular about his level of cleanliness actually.  Though quite happy to have surroundings that are untidy (eg. centre of bedroom floor where clothes just fall off his body, land and then stay) he hates dirty hands, dirty body etc.  Still, I did ask him if it was okay to pack only two pairs of underwear based on his father's thoughts.  The answer was a clear "NO".

So this afternoon I laid out what was to go and we went through it.  He is even taking towels because he does not want to use the ones at the place they are staying.  We have quick dry camping towels so they are very light weight.  We ticked off everything and then there was no more and no less than was needed.  All good.

Well, now that I know I am getting up at 4.00 am it appears that my post is now going to end so that I can go to bed.

Actually, that is an excuse.

I just have nothing else to say.

linda x

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wednesday 18th June

I left work late today.  I've been doing late nights for a while.  It's busy and that time of year where the work load for me is higher than usual.  But that's okay, not for ever.

It was dark outside and traffic was so busy on the road.  I just put on the music and drive along with it. In every car is someone who has their own little life going on.  That's a bit freaky when you think about it.  We are all individuals carrying our own neatly packed baggage to take us through life, adding some little souvenirs on the way.  A troubled childhood, an angry spouse, an older parent, a broken heart or some other grinding emotional situation.  We drive on and on along the long road of life, stopping now and then before we get to that place we call home.

At one point I stopped at the traffic lights on a major intersection.  I looked across the highway at a large building that has a number of businesses situated in it along with a gym that spans two floors of it. The lights were on and I could see people pedalling away on exercise bikes, running on treadmills, moving their arms and legs madly on the cross trainer.  Their bodies were dark silhouettes against the white fluorescent of the gym interior.

I found it profoundly lonely and depressing for some reason.  Maybe it was the proximity of the gym to the soulless traffic movement outside.  Even the surrounding area is just full of ugly buildings that only come to life during the day.  Where my gym is situated is amongst dense housing and not part of some business complex.

I am still going to the gym.  Just body pump classes, two one week and then three the next week.  The reason for alternating how often I do them is to keep my joints from injury.  Still, I have to confess I have completely lost interest and am not sure why or how to change it.  Sometimes I think to change gyms.  Then I think to join Crossfit.  Then I think something else.  Then I just think nothing and go to body pump.

Today I went to the psychiatrist.  It was actually the best session yet.  He was amiable and a bit amusing.  My name for him is Mr Fez because I think he would suit a fez (which I mentioned once in a post).  He was concerned about my three week up phase which was followed by a horrible flaky down phase.  However, I had not been cripplingly depressed so something was good.  Unfortunately my anxiety levels are currently at an all time high which is a bit annoying.

And I have to give up the "blue light" I use through winter as he said that can trigger a hypomanic state and there is some possibility in that because the intensity of my "up phase" increased since using it.  So, we'll see how it goes.  Feeling a bit boo hoo about it because it really does energize me up at work after an hour of its blazing white glory shining in my face.

I have monthly appointments with him until February next year.  I see him as often as I see my hairdresser.  That's kind of funny when I think about it.  I must confess I feel much better when I leave the hairdresser's than when I leave Mr Fez.

He said to me to day "Linda, you come in here and we work at getting you stable with the medication but I still don't know who you are as a person.  Once you are stable we can get onto the therapy side of it".  Despite my initial reservations about him I think I am okay about it all.  It may seem strange that I am going to be doing therapy with him considering I have already done therapy but I need it because I continually slip into ways of thinking that are not conducive to a peaceful mindset.  Also, being on medication now means doing therapy without my thoughts going 1000 miles an hour.

My son is going to Tasmania next week.  He and I are going clothes shopping because he really, really needs to get some new threads.  His t-shirts are at least four years old. He looks like a grubby, slobby teenager.  I am kind of dreading it because he HATES clothes and shopping and we are putting those two words together.  Tonight I said to him "when we get to the shopping centre I do not want you to rush me or whinge".  It was good to be the one laying down the rules of shopping for a change.

He did say he did not want anything stylish.  He just wanted something comfortable.

Part of me wants to just give him my credit card and say "get your own clothes".

I can't believe I just wrote that.

Ha ha, that is never going to happen.

linda x

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