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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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

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

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

Losing Weight, Bipolar Style

I’ve just realised something about my many attempts to lose weight in the past six years; every time I decide to lose weight, I’m in a manic state. This means I’m pumped, excited, ready to exercise and eat right and conquer the world. As soon as the depression or mixed state kick in, I immediately lose the momentum and completely give up. This is a huge aha moment for me.

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I’ve joined a gym a few times and in my normal or manic state I can really enjoy the gym. Of course as soon as my mood shifts to depression or mixed state, the Social Phobia accompanies it and I have no ability to leave the house, and I want to eat all day long.

It all seems so obvious now, but I had no way of understanding this before. So, and I’m just thinking out loud here, I have the usual amount of human inertia about eating healthily and exercising, with the added difficulty of unpredictable, uncontrolled mood shifts. Give me a break.

I’m wondering if I can create a plan that shifts with the moods? Sounds revolutionary, but that could be my current manic state speaking. One plan for each of my four states, and I act accordingly each day. The speed at which I cycle between moods could be an issue; at times I can experience four states in one day.

I’m going to work on this and get back to you. Maybe it’ll work. Maybe it’s a book in the making. Maybe I’m all hyped up on manic endorphins?

be you xx Rachel