Family Christmas Prep

sally canteen

Will I blog more often in 2016? I’d love to get to this day next year and find a whole lot of posts on this blog throughout the year. The consistent bloggers choose one or more days each week and are sure to blog on those days, if not more. I think this is a brilliant idea, but hey, look, a butterfly…

Yes, I get easily distracted by a new project and then forget to blog about the amazing new project. I do some fun art projects, and I get a lot out of them, they are better than therapy at times! I’d like to blog about that process, the art to health thing. It really seems to work sometimes, although not always. When I’m in my studio, with my three legged cat Luigi on the desk snuggled up beside my laptop, and my labradaughter Sally sprawled out on the floor at my feet, I feel like I can do anything; no Pinterest artwork is beyond the scope of my ‘try this’ folder.

Doing fauxbonichi journalling daily has been a real pleasure the past few months. (To see what fauxbonichi journalling is, click here to go to my art blog) I have really enjoyed sketching a little, painting a little, writing a little about each day. It’s become a habit. A good one for a change.

Today I have to go grab some things for the family Christmas I’m hosting here on Tuesday. Just a few bits and pieces. I’m drinking coffee and putting it off, really should have left early to avoid the crowds. It looks like I’ll have to go alone, which is like doing public speaking at a venue for a thousand people for those of you who do not have chronic social phobia. Sure, I can do it, but when I get home there must be hot tea, maybe an hour in bed, maybe more.

I’m very grateful for the mild Christmas weather. Cool, windy, cloudy, rainy, it all makes for lovely times when you’re not an outdoors kind of person. I’d better go jump in my little car and go shopping.

be you xx Rach

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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

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

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

A New Shrink, A New Diagnosis, and New Meds

Hi. I hope I get to upload this blog post. The last two I’ve written were just too graphic and I didn’t want anyone reading them who might be triggered by such brutal honesty. Self harming has been a part of my life for a very long time, but photo’s of what I’d done to myself a few weeks ago were not right for my blog.

owly redblue

It’s taken me a week to try to blog again, and I do have some news. On Tuesday I saw my new psychiatrist for the first time. He was nice, precise, questioning, listening, knowledgeable, and to my surprise, very open to being questioned about his opinions. That goes a long way with me. I detest ego for ego’s sake, and so to find a psydoc who is very human; this is a big deal to me.

My psychiatrist, I’ll call him Pdoc, says I have Borderline Personality Disorder and gave me a website address so I can read all about it and see what I think. He prescribed new meds, to be taken with my old anxiety/depression meds. The new meds are anti-psychotics and after taking only two doses, I feel very different. Dopey, dizzy, level, and the auditory and visual hallucinations have disappeared. This is a very good thing. I can hear myself think for a change. People love to say they can’t hear themselves think, but I want to say spend a day in my busy, noisy head and then come and tell me how hard it is to think.

This BPD is for life, apparently, and can explain the range of my symptoms. The meds have me flying low, thinking slow and I’m only on the lowest dosage. The dose will get bigger in the next few months.

I like the sound of my own inner voice. I’ve hardly heard it, all my life. Too many instructions from the voices, often about how useless or worthless or ready to commit suicide I am, in their opinion. Now I am having this weird experience where I start to think about what I will do next in my day, and I am able to keep on thinking about that and act on the thoughts. The dull, numbing effects of the meds are making me slow, very slow, and I am taking my time with everything I do, but not in my usual frenetic way.

Pdoc says it can take a while to get the meds right, and I’ll never be my old manic self again while I’m on them. I hope I can live with that. Two days in and I’m still in the honeymoon phase, the I’m happy not to be planning my own demise and that’s all that matters right now, phase. I’m not sure how much I’m going to like being slow-minded in the longer term, though. I’m used to bursts of energy to try to get things done, followed by little or no activity at all. This steady, slow, dopey head I’m wearing today is new territory.

I doubt I’ll be able to do calculus again, but maybe I can write the new book that’s on my mind. Slowly.

Time to take my meds and go to bed now. I’ll upload this post before I overthink it too much.

be you xx Rachel