I am taking charge of me

do be free

I’ve had so much talk counselling/therapy in the past 22 years that I am completely sick of it. The advice I’ve survived, the lectures I’ve tolerated, the scoldings I’ve gritted my teeth through, the sympathy, the empathy, the tears, I’m sick of it all. There is no cure, not mainstream or alternative, for the mental illnesses that have plagued my life. I’m sick and tired of people in positions of learning telling me I just need to try this or that or the other. Step back, experts! I’m taking charge of me!

You know what I need? I need to stay in my house and not be harassed to go to appointments that only add stress. I need to stay in my house and cook good food. Stay in my house and write my book. Stay in my house and write my blog. Stay in my house and love my friends and family from right here in my studio, where I can breathe easy, feel safe, feel happy. That’s what I need right now. Anyone who says different just ain’t living in my skin and hey, you don’t know how it is.

Thanks for listening to this.

be you xx Rachel

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Borderline and Humankind and A Fear Of Dying of Fear

I want to say Human Phobia and not Social Phobia. Social Phobia just sounds too neat and tidy, too soft somehow. I’m not only phobic about social situations, and the words Social Phobia don’t begin to describe just how extremely my Human Phobia impacts my life.

rk anthrop

Yes, I have Human Phobia. In the same way my friend has an immediate, extreme stress reaction at the thought of being in a room with a spider, so, too, do I have an extreme stress reaction at the thought of being in a room with a human. The correct term is anthrophobia. Ha, my spellcheck wants to fix that word, because it doesn’t recognise anthrophobia. No matter what you call it, I have it. I am sitting here after a horror week of human contact that could not be avoided after my cat decided to go play in the traffic. He is home now, one less leg and already up to mischief.

Dealing with the vet staff almost ended me. Truly, I felt like I was going to die. Every one of the people I dealt with were lovely, kind, caring animal lovers. All of them spoke kindly, politely, nicely. My Human Phobia doesn’t care about that. When my friend is confronted by a spider, he doesn’t have to be touching it, or even too close to it, to be freaked out and run away. Luckily for him, despite a little bit of man-shame on his part, his suffering ends there. Keep away from the scary thing, remove yourself from horror causing thing, all good. Human Phobia is different. Run away from humans and what is the general reaction? Humans want to come after you, call you, text you, email you, visit you, to help you. How can I ever make people understand that after contact with humans I need time alone? How can I explain that during this time alone I will feel desperately lonely? How dumb is that?!

If it scares you, run away from it. If it chases you…? If humans scare you, it must be because you haven’t been with the right humans? If humans scare you, you can get over that with therapy, meds, or religion. Sorry, I’ve tried it all. The meds help with a lot of my Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms, but nothing has ever cured my human phobia.

So, sorry humans, I hope you understand that I love you, I need you, I want to want to be with you, but it will only be once in a blue moon, when hell freezes over, that I seek you out AND don’t regret it. It’s not you, it’s me. Truly, it is me. Just know that on the occasion that I enjoy your company because I had the courage to see you AND my head didn’t mess things up for me, I am incredibly happy, over the moon happy, grateful beyond measure. The few friends I have left are true friends, truly loving people who don’t care how many times I cancel on them, because they understand and they love anyway.

be you xx Rachel

*please forgive me if my grammar is a little off. This content describes issues which are really emotive for me.

I’m An Empty Nester Filled With Guilty Glee and Some Sadness

Today I am an ’empty-nester’ and I think that I could write about the guilty glee of this new situation. Part of me wants my boys to live with me till the day I die, so I can make them pancakes for breakky on the weekends, cook them chicken soup when they’re sick and laugh with them about the weirdness of life in general. I love my boys.

a journal mine

Today, my house is my own and I have never really lived like this before, except for a short time when I shared custody of the boys. That was not fun in any way, and all I felt was guilt and shame for getting divorced because of what it did to their lives. Now, I have my house to myself and my husband, who has decided that it’s time to go naked ’round the house, 24/7.

Today I’m in my new writing studio, the sunny back verandah room that used to be my youngest sons bedroom. I have a new novel burning its way into my consciousness, out through my fingers. I have a main character who wants her story told. I’m excited.

be you xx Rachel

My Hometown Is Changing and I Went To My Shrink but These Things Are Not Related

My hometown, Gosford, is going through some big changes, or at least they are being battled out in council, back and forth. The next time I can leave the house, I’d love to go to the local library and see the proposed waterfront developments. The school I attended is now empty, sitting ready to be razed to the ground and replaced with shops and tourist draw cards of some sort or another.

I just found this ‘Masterplan’ online. Insert evil laugh, I guess? Gosford City Waterfront Masterplan

Shrink Appointment Hello from the other side. The other side of a shrink appointment. This morning I woke up exhausted from the two big panic attacks I’ve had this week, my head still spinning from upping my anti psychotic meds, and had to make myself get ready for my shrink appointment. It was epic.

The appointment went well and I have new, more powerful meds to keep the whole ‘I see dead people and they are telling me to create a hole in my forehead with the cordless drill’ thing at bay. It’s really weird to see things that aren’t there. Sounds obvious, I know, but it truly is bizarre to have non-existent people and animals in the room with you when you’re trying to have a conversation with someone.

My writing is going absolutely full-steam at the moment. I’m working on my memoirs, a novel and a book about mental illness and life. Sounds like a lot, but by working on a few things at the same time, my brain forgets to get ‘blocked’. My novel will be the most out-there, real life story I’ve ever written. The main character is one wild chickadee who is more than a little out of control.

Writing A Novel One Day At A Time

I’m writing my new novel, hoping that this will be the book I get published. So far, I’ve only been setting myself up to write, really; organising my initial thoughts about what my main character is like, blocking out some chapter ideas and possible directions for the flow of the story. Writing a first chapter to get the feel of the voice I’ll use.

eavesdrop 6

I am the kind of writer who doesn’t know what’s going to happen until I write it.This works very well for me, and keeps my excited about the book all the way to the last word. Sometimes it means I have to go back and rewrite entire sections of the book, because the freedom I allow myself can take me in new and completely unexpected directions. The funny thing is that when I read back over my writing, I can hardly see where I stopped one day and started the next. I find this amazing. My moods can be so radically different from even hour to hour, but my writing stays fairly well on course.

My daily task is to write 2000 words, and I aim to start writing in the morning and not stop until I have my word count. Some days it takes two hours and some days it takes much longer, but I find that if I make my goal a word count, I can distract myself very efficiently from the self questioning and doubts.

My tried and true, best ever trick to ward off what they call ‘writers block’ is to sit at my laptop and type these words; It’s really hard to write today because… and then I keep on with that, listing every single thing that is pulling at me to prevent me from writing that day.

Some days I write pages of reasons why it’s so hard to write, and other days I write just a phrase that encapsulates my not-writing mood so well, it propels me into a writing head-space. I think this habit is almost a meditation. My inner writer knows with certainty that we are sitting here to write, and write we will, so let’s get writing the story.

Of course there are times when I need to pause and reflect, ponder, muse, stare into space and let the possible paths of the story play out in my imagination. This is completely essential to the process of writing a solid first draft. Also, I keep a notebook and pen with me at all times, because thoughts will come to me at any time of the night or day, informing my choices about plot, characterization, theme. I can be having coffee with someone and they’ll say something that totally answers a question I had about the story.

A writing mentor told me years ago that I have a very organic process. This is such an awesome way of saying I do whatever I want in my process, as long as it writes the book. I’ve written a whole book sitting up in bed, a few hours each morning. That one took me 13 weeks. I wrote another book with my laptop on my lap, watching cartoons each day. That one took 9 weeks.

This book I think I’ll be writing right here, on my cheap little laptop table on wheels, in my living room, probably watching a lot of DVDs like Law and Order, Six Feet Under, and The Mentalist.

My psychiatrist encouraged me to write. Some of the most prolific writers in the world have struggled with mental illness. Writing is certainly the only thing I’ve ever found in my life that I can do, no matter where my head is at. It’s my refuge. Published or not, I’m enjoying being back in a book again. It’s such familiar territory. I’m truly looking forward to seeing what my characters do next.

be you xx Rachel

How Do You Know If You Need Help?

tiger family

1. Suicidal Thoughts

If you’re having suicidal thoughts of any kind, get help. Suicide is permanent in the extreme, and if you’re feeling like it’s the only solution, you need to go and tell someone immediately. I recommend having a safe person, like your best friend, partner, shrink, anyone who is available to you no matter what and can be trusted to believe you when you tell them “Right now I am thinking about killing myself.” or “Lately, all I can think about is killing myself.”

2. Self Harm

If you’re thinking about harming yourself, or if you’ve already harmed yourself, get help. In a healthy state of mind, no person would harm themselves, so you must assume that you’re not in a healthy mind set if you’re in a self harming space. Contact your safe person, right away. See a doctor, and get a referral to a shrink. Keep on seeing shrinks until you find one who listens to you and respects you.

3. Hallucinations

If you’re experiencing hallucinations, whether auditory or visual or other, get help. Healthy people don’t generally have hallucinations. Never follow the instructions given to you by an hallucination, always seek help. Contact your safe person immediately if you can see or hear anything that’s just not there. Tell your doctor, so they can help you find a path to a healthy mind.

4. Extreme High, Fast, Elated Moods

If you’re having super-moods that make you feel as high as a kite, unstoppable and smarter than the average bear, get help. Go to a doctor, explain your moods and let the doctor be the one to decide if you’re having manic episodes. Mania is often described as feeling euphoric, but it can also make you feel really angry, really agreeable, really willing to spend money or sexually unbeatable. Contact your doctor, definitely. Listen to your doctor, and if it makes you more comfortable, take your partner or a good friend to the doctor with you. I know that sometimes it feels safer that way.

5. Deep, Dark, Depression

If you’re depressed, go to your doctor and get help. Never ignore depression, it’s a nasty little bitch and it can try to make you its slave. I just want to say it again; if you’re depressed, go to your doctor and get help. They have a huge range of treatments for depression now, from meds and therapy to meditation, happiness training and a load of other non-traditional methods. Go get help. Truly, go do it. xx

These are my top 5, but there are other things in your life that can be definite indicators that you need to get some help from a safe friend or a doctor. Feel free to add anything I’ve missed, in the comments, so I can include it in another post.

take care,

be you xx Rachel