A Quiet Thursday Can Make You Think

It’s a quiet Thursday here. My husband is at the volunteer job that Centrelink made him find, and he will be home later in a completely crippled, hunched and crying-out-in pain state. I am enjoying the quiet here, and I’ve been reading a Cornwell book that I’m enjoying. I’ve done some writing, spent time on Facebook, washed out the kitchen cupboards and picked the ripe citrus off our trees.

I’m antsy, though. Waiting for hubby to get home and fall into bed, begging for pain killers. Waiting to watch him try to walk around our tiny house, shuffling like a ninety year old. I am waiting to see how he is, so I can write about it. I’ve decided I can’t sit back and watch any more. I can’t watch his agony and help him and say nothing about the fact that he is jumping through hoops for the government, despite a clear report from his doctor that he is permanently in acute pain.

I’ve attended a couple of his Centrelink appointments with him, but it’s hard for me to do that with my mental illness issues. The staff go through the motions, show him which forms he needs to fill out, refer him to one of the employment agencies and tell him he must do a minimum of two days volunteering per week. I’m here to tell you, he can’t walk to the corner shop. Not ever. He is in agony. If he sits in one position for more than ten minutes, he cries out in pain and then continues to cry out in pain as he manoeuvres into the next position, maybe on the other ruined hip, and cries out in pain. He can’t do anything around our home for more than about ten minutes, without terrible pain. How can the government require him to do volunteer work, in the amount of pain he is in, so he can be allowed to be given the minimum amount of money as a job seeker? Utter insanity, in my opinion. Cruel, torturous, insanity.

We go shopping for food once a fortnight. We go out together, me with my crazy head, and he with his tortured body. He sits on a bench near the supermarket, in terrible pain, while I swing around the aisles as quickly as I can, trying not to make eye contact with anyone. At the end of each aisle, I’m looking for him, to see how much pain he’s in, and I hurry on to try and get finished before he reaches an utterly unbearable level of pain.

I often forget things, in my hurry to get back to the car, back to the safe haven of our home. Then he lies down, crying out in pain, and I unpack the car, as quickly as I can. Or he helps me unload, crying out in agony with each load.

I’m grateful we live in a country where we are given money to live on when we can’t work. Don’t think I’m ungrateful, and don’t think I don’t know that there are people a lot worse off than us, I know some of those people! But, truly, why is my man made to volunteer in agony, when he worked hard all of his life, part of it for the Department of Defence as a tradesman, he has paid his taxes his whole life, has always worked, never bludged? Why does the government make him volunteer? Let me tell you it is doing nothing for his quality of life. It is doing nothing to make him ‘feel useful’ as they say.

Thanks for listening to me rant about this. It’s something I have no handle on. If I could find a way to cure him, I would, god knows we’ve tried every mainstream and alternative healing we have found and not a one of them has relieved his suffering. If I could find a way to afford to tell the government that we don’t need their money, so he no longer has to do their volunteer work, I would do it. In the meantime I just shake my head, offer him a hot water bottle for his spine, a warm blanket for the joints in his feet, knees, hips and hands, some pain killers. I cook his favourite foods, hold his hand and tell him that one day we might be free of the ‘help’ we need from the government, but I truly don’t know how.

Thanks so much for listening. xx

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

Happy Australia Day!

free yacht on sea

I hope you have a great Australia Day!

We’ve had a barby and salad and now we’re just chillin’. Gorgeous day for it here, but not for the people in Queensland who are experiencing terrible weather in the form of tornadoes, flooding and storms. Keep safe, guys.

I’m truly grateful to live in such a beautiful country that enjoys freedoms many people only dream of. Happy Day, Australians!

be you xx Rachel

I’m Dreaming of a Light Christmas

Yep, I’m dreaming of a nice, light Christmas. If you know me, you’ll know I definitely don’t mean light on food; Christmas is the season for special yummy treats and home cooked delights.

merry christmas

My Christmas wish is for a depression-light, manic-light wonderland of family fun and laughs. If you have a mental illness, I wish you a nice light Christmas, too. Here are my tips for a light Christmas;

  • be as kind to yourself as you would be to someone else with the same issues you struggle with
  • it’s okay to tell friends and relatives that you’ll decide on the day of a festive event whether or not you are able to attend
  • yes, you ARE allowed to do that ^
  • take time out from all the plans and events and shopping; do something you know will calm you
  • eat plenty of fruit and veg
  • take your meds
  • if you need to say no to friends and family, I hereby give you permission to say no

If you know someone with a mental illness, I want to encourage you to gift them with the following kindnesses this season;

  • offer them unconditional love
  • don’t give them advice about how to handle their issues
  • support them in the healthy choices they are making, like not self-medicating with alcohol and illegal drugs
  • if they’re depressed, sit with them without expecting anything from them
  • if they’re manic, be kind
  • if they need alone time, give it to them
  • invite them to events and be nice about it if they need to decide on the day

I hope you’re having a lovely December!

be you xx Rachel

The Bipolar Boogie – A Lot Like the iPod Shuffle, Without The Warning of an Imminent Transition

GOOD morning! I hope you, like me, are having a good one. I hadn’t planned to post today, but I’ve woken up in heaven, and I just have to share.

Heaven, in this case, is a nice, smooth mood. No high, no low, just breathing in and out and thinking about what to do in my day. Beautiful. Heaven.

I am so grateful to be alive today, in this smooth mood. I know from experience that while in this headspace I’ll be able to handle whatever comes along in my day. I’m so grateful for how relaxing this is, and I’m grateful that I can share this with you.

The suicidal, down, dark mood I had been coping with in the past few days has lifted. I have a clear head and so I can plan my day and get some things done like housework and Christmas lists. While in this headspace, I try and take advantage of every minute. I often write myself notes, to read later in the week when my mood has shifted again. Encouraging notes for a dark mood and calming notes for a manic spike day.

Bipolar mood shifts are so random at times, with no trigger or warning. This makes life impossible to plan. I’m only now learning to give myself permission to say to friends and family “Yes, thankyou for the invitation, and if I’m in the right headspace on the day I’ll be there with bells on.” It’s such a relief to be able to do this! I have worried for many years that people will think I’m giving myself an easy out by saying things like that. Now, honestly, I AM giving myself an easy out by saying things like that. I need an easy out. I deserve an easy out. Not being able to choose to do the things I want to do when I want to do them sucks. I’m giving myself a break at last.

It is so great to be able to share these things with you. I feel liberated. Thanks for reading my blog.

I hope you like my design, above, for a Bipolar Boogie app button. Maybe one day someone will discover a way to achieve control over Bipolar Disorder brain chemistry, and we can download the app? In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my smooth mood.

be you xx Rachel

Reiki, Thanksgiving and Mocking the Crap Life Sends You

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who is celebrating! I’m Australian, through and through, but I love to hop on the Thanksgiving bandwagon each year and give it my own twist. I don’t mess with the turkey dinner bit, I mean who doesn’t love a big family turkey dinner? The part I tweak for my own clan is the reason for giving thanks. I don’t include the original story, in any of its possible variations. We don’t dress up like pilgrims or native Americans. What we do in my home is sit down to a yummy meal and express gratitude for being part of a loving family.

We laugh about the fun we’ve had in the past year, and we make fun of the crap life sent us as well. The worse we’ve had it, the more we make fun of it. It’s empowering to sit there and talk about the good times and the bad times and laugh.

It has been at least six years since I have put on a Thanksgiving dinner for my family. Lots of water under the bridge in those six years. Plenty of fodder for laughs and loads of mock-worthy bad times to sling mud at. I might share the best bits in another post.

I’m looking forward to roast turkey, mashed spuds, veggies and the best gravy in the universe. But I am truly looking forward to the fantastic energy that gratitude brings to an event, especially gratitude from a whole family.

This morning I’m off to visit a gf and to have Reiki for my BD. Wish me luck, and I’ll let you know how I go.

be you xx Rachel