Pick one and start

It’s been a hard couple of weeks.

I’m dropping down my antidepressant medication which hasn’t been much drama in the past, but apparently this is no longer the case. I did know the last 2 doses (100mg to 50mg and then 50mg to 0) would be the hardest, but I wasn’t counting on my beloved being away for week 1 and extremely sick and bedridden for week 2.

I feel like crap. I am emotionally either completely checked out or wanting to cry and hide. This is not fun when trying to care for a toddler and a bedridden partner.

I also feel hopeless. I’m meant to be working on improving my health but all I want to do is crawl into a hole. Everything is just way too hard and I keep looking at all the (often conflicting) advice and information I’ve been given over the years and stalling

I’ve also been reading this book: Brief Lessons in Creativity by Tate. I haven’t finished it despite it being tiny which is frustrating, however it has inspired the sanest response to the diet thing I have managed to have.

Just start. Pick a spot, any spot, and start working. So I am. Simple spot to start with: Lactose and Soft drink. Neither get along with my gut so I’m starting with removing them.

I know where I want to be at the end of this. It’s something resembling a Paleo or Keto diet with a tiny bit more carbs involved (I need them evil carbs for serotonin uptake issues that influence my depression), but I can’t just ‘do it’ right now. So I’m starting with one thing that I can, and have previously, managed to do and working on it that way.

2017 Redux (Yeah we're early)

It’s closing on the end of the year and… I’m sick, again.

Off work with lots of time to kill today and I can tell you that with 3 months to go 2017 has been one hell of a ride.

  • Sick – all year. I’ve been constantly sick.
  • Except for that one time when I was pregnant… Ah, that’s kind of ongoing. It’s nice to know I hadn’t suffered through weeks of nausea for nothing though ;p
  • Inflamed medial nerve – hey presto, we know what’s wrong with my hands and how to take care of them.
  • MARRIAGE! I’m married and holy fuck is that a mind trip. Honestly it’s changed nothing and everything all at the same time.

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  • Lipstick – didn’t really become a happening thing. Go back to the sick part. When getting out of bed is a literal nightmare then makeup is the last thing you give a shit about.
  • Reading – thanks to being sick I have actually done a fair bit of this. I have also found some new comics I really like recently.
  • PUPPY! Ok so he’s 8, but we welcomed the beautiful Kovu to the family just after Easter 2017 and the big goof has fitted right in. We have some minor behavioural issues to work on – someone likes to bark at all the passing trucks and cars for several hours of a morning – but overall it’s gone really well. He’s a very polite, but super cheeky boy.

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  • Depression has been neither a winning nor losing battle. My meds can’t keep up with current lack of sleep and hormonal changes, but I’ve come a massively long way since I started therapy and I having coping mechanisms in place that I never thought I would.
  • Home continues to go well. We have all the patio areas in and I started staining the plinths for under the last section of fencing to go in. Once we’ve done that we can look at grass and then gardens. It’s been a long slow process with My Wolf’s ongoing travel for work.
  • PREGNANCY! The latest in a long list of things shaking up my world. I’m now 22 weeks pregnant. I have a very normal and healthy baby growing inside me and a great Obstetrician and GP taking care of me. Not to mention all the love and patience from my husband… and god does he need patience, because perpetual exhaustion does not sit well with me, and I am currently the grumpiest human being ever.
  • 1 year at my job… today I think or soon.

 

So yeah, if 2017 could refrain from throwing any more huge things at me that would be fucking awesome. I’d like 2018 to maybe be a little bit calmer? Newborn aside.

Blah

Sometimes I feel like an utter failure. 

Sometimes I feel I am my own worst enemy.

Sometimes I hate myself…

I’d go so far to say that sometimes I loathe myself. 

Today is one of those sometimes.  

If I kick my brain repeatedly it’ll, briefly, admit that what I hate is my tendency to self sabotage, inability to carry through, and ongoing stress eating. 

I’ve gained back everything I lost last year. Probably a bit more really. I hate what I see in the mirror yet somehow manage to live in apathy instead of fixing it. It can reduce me to tears, but actually doing something about it is wayyyyyy harder than being depressed about it…

Wait, I think that’s my depression talking. Well, it’s probably all my depression talking at the end of the day, but today is just the day I rant about it online. 
Anyway, point is, I’m tired, cranky, shitty, and feeling crap about myself and towards myself. 

A Lucky Little Depressive

 

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Holding on by a Thread – Epiphany

I’m not doing well at the moment, and neither is one of my friends. It got me thinking on things and that lead to the realisation that I am so insanely lucky to have The Wild One. And yes, everyone should say that about their significant other, but hear me out.

I live a lot closer to the skin now than I ever have. I make a point about talking about my struggle with my mental and physical health as I believe that this is important to lowering the stigma surrounding such things, but at the same time…

No one really sees the depths of it. Even my nearest and dearest only really see a very curated version of what’s happening. It’s not a deliberate thing, I don’t believe in hiding away from the world, but I’ve never been truly good at explaining what’s going on in my head and I am cautious about over sharing. Significantly, I actually don’t like to complain too much. I’m usually a very positive person, despite everything, and I just don’t.

At the end of the day the only one who really sees how difficult this has been, and continues to be, is The Wild One. They’re not in my head, the don’t necessarily understand it, but they’ve always seen me as exactly who I was and I’ve never really been able to hide anything from them…

And that makes me insanely lucky. I’m not alone in this. The Wild One is here, holding my hands, and telling me that I am loved and safe when I feel anything but loveable or safe. They make can’t fix it, but they are my touchstone to reality when I don’t have the ability to make the links myself, and they never quit out on me.

That’s a gift.

I don’t know what I’m going to do about this current resurge in my mental illness, but at least I know I’m not going it alone.

 

A depressing lack of agency

So I’m back on meds. It sucks, new prescription means new side effects.

I. Am. So. Fucking. EXHAUSTED!

Like no shit, come home and go to sleep if I allow myself/am able to lie down most days since I started. Otherwise it goes well.

I talked to my psych about it briefly, and about how stressed the idea of permanently being on them made me. She was asking why I was afraid of it, and I couldn’t answer because the question didn’t seem right.

I finally figured it out the other day.

I’m not afraid of being on the drugs for life, that’s not it. What eats me is the lack of agency. I can’t do this without them. I can’t function without them. I don’t have a choice. I hate that. The idea that I have to be on them… that I might always have to be them makes me internally scream.

No choice. No agency. No other options.

It’s not about fear at all.

2016 in Review.

It’s mid-ish November, I’ve just logged out of my facebook with no idea when I plan on logging back in and removed the app from my phone.

Trump is President-elect of the United States which is mildly terrifying, and our government is sending off-shore processed refugees to there… because why not send them to a country that doesn’t want them.

Earlier this year the Australian people voted mother-fucking Pauline Hansen into parliament, and failed to boot our shitty ass government out in favor of better things. We’re still a coalition.

David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Gene Wilder and Leonard Cohen all died… Bowie, Rickman and Prince were pretty fucking devastating. After Bowie it all just melted into a pot of ‘God, fuck, no’.

In my personal life it’s been up and down.

On the down I was retrenched in April, been broke, been sick several times, have lost very little weight, have had a world of stress on my shoulders, haven’t made much art, finances are tight, and it’s generally been a rough year.

On the up… We moved into our house with help of amazing friends. The house is gorgeous and feels like ours in a way that rentals never do. I’m happy here and we’re building our life together which is amazing. The wedding planning continues with a few minor setbacks and we’re pretty fucking excited about life at large.

I have some answers to health problems that have lessened the complaints from my stomach and digestive track which has improved my overall health in many ways. I have much lower pain issues thanks to the same change in diet plans that helped my stomach as they also alleviated a lot of the inflammation in my joints. On top of that I have a diagnosis for my foot pain that has lead to improvements in feet, ankles, knees, hips and lower back which has been awesome. So much less pain means so much better sleep. Better sleep means more stable me, and that means…

I’m coming off my meds, successfully as far as we can tell. The first 2 weeks were a nightmare, but the anxiety has settled down to generally being caused by something or due to being over tired and unable to reign in stress over inconsequential shit. So I’m now at week four.

About a month back I also started a new job which I am loving. I’ve gone from 4 half days to four full days and am stepping up to take over the roster coordinator role whilst they’re on leave. I’m scheduling, and it’s challenging enough to be interesting without being super stressful like the old job was. I love it, and am hoping to be there for a few years while I study.

Speaking of, I started the pre-requisite classes for my degree this year, and it is going super well. I did really well on my portfolio and first essay – High distinctions on both. So now I’m waiting on results from my final essay and chat board grades (participation markers because we’re online students). So that’s good. Next semester is Statistics so… panic stations.

Mum is coming down for Christmas too, which is nice. We’ll also have the cousins, in-laws, bro-in-law and wifey with kids in tow. It’s gonna be big and fun. First family Christmas we’ve done since I moved in.

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So yeah, that’s my year in redux. No idea what the next month and a half will bring, but it better be better than Trump and no more people dying or else. It’s summer. Have a photo from a few weeks back when we climbed Hanging Rock. Look, it’s me and stuff.

Looking Back – An update on my mental health

I was, as I’ve mentioned before, diagnosed with chronic depression at age 25 after years of progressively losing more and more of my daily battles with it. I saw a great therapist for 6 months, then returned to Melbourne where I spent a few years jumping through the ‘find a good therapist’ hoops before I landed with my current one, Elke. I’ve spent about 2 year under her care. I’ve been medicated for about 8 months now after spiralling down into a severe low and deciding I didn’t much care to be alive.

It’s been a hard road to walk. I’ve had to face up to some very hard truths in that time. With Elke I was pushed and challenged. Pushed to step outside what I knew. Challenged to remap my world with a new language. It’s been good. I’ve done the work and reaped the benefits. I shed skins few times and came out tougher and wiser for it, I think.

Most importantly I didn’t spack over any cracks. I healed them. No matter how slow, painful and frustrating the healing process was I stuck with it. My depression is pretty effectively gone. My anxiety is within normal realms in most places. I manage stress, conflict, and communication better than I ever have. I am looking forward and making plans!

I’ve really learnt the value of acknowledgement, introspection and release. Acknowledge the issues, examine and resolve them within myself, and then let them go. There’s a lot I’ve come to terms with and am now able to explain better than I could a few years ago. Which is a bit sad as some of it is around issues that I wish I could have made people understand better what was going on at the time. It is what it is though.

I’m beginning to wind up with Elke. Meds will remain in place till mid-2016 to give me time to make sure I am truly functional prior to having to face the world without chemical interference. I’m truly happy at the moment. I’m already looking forward to seeing what the new year will bring for myself and my little family of loved ones and dear friends.

I take back what you have stolen.

“I take back what you have stolen, and in your languages I announce I am now nameless. My true name is a growl.” — Margaret Atwood

The past few months have been difficult ones, internally at least. Life has rolled on, work has continued, The Wild One is ever present and finances have fallen together as needed. Internally though… Change is the hardest thing. Effecting true, long lasting, change is equal parts exhilarating, terrifying, maddening and agonising.

I sit in a small, comfortable office every two weeks and talk for an hour or more. Together with the warm, gentle, woman across from me I dig through my past and my present, through my fears and long held beliefs, through my fears, and begin to slowly, ever so slowly, to untangle the knots. The knots are complex things – fear entwines with shame, shame twists around anger, anger tangles into anxiety, anxiety wraps into grief and sorrow and so on it goes. We work at it, picking apart the emotions and events that caused them slow and sure. This has been the hardest work of my life. I can tell you that without a second thought to it. This is HARD. And like most things that are truly hard work, it is  worthwhile.

If the process of exploring the events and the emotions around them is complex then dealing with the long held beliefs about myself that I hold because of them is near impossible. Worthless, valueless, incompetent, powerless, small, broken, fragile, useless, damaged. I have always been waiting to be dumped, to be turned on, to be betrayed. I have felt unloveable and unworthy of anyones time for as long as I can remember. I fake having self worth so well that almost no one has never realised how absolutely and utterly worthless I have felt for the entirety of my life.  Mistaking my careful and precise public image of control and confidence for a sense of self worth rather than the survival instinct it was. I have always had power. For every bit of grief this body of mine has bought upon me it has made up with with the power to manipulate – and like every born survivor I have played my advantage and protected myself.

And now, the dots have connected. One and at a time and some so subtly I didn’t even realise until it was pointed out. I’m shedding a skin I’ve worn for a very long time. It is terrifying, and yet…

I don’t know this woman.

She is so different from the one that sat here and typed a week ago, let alone months or years ago. There is a quiet confidence built of an understanding of where she has been, and where she is. She looks forward and knows where she wants to go. She knows what she isn’t, what she is and what she wants to be. She no longer needs to be anything for anyone else but herself. She will be accepted and loved as she is or she won’t be and that is ok. She is me, all the same.

I have been put through hell in this life – I have raped, beaten, mocked, shamed, battered, bullied, assaulted, betrayed over, and over, and over again since I was a small child. There are things I simply do not know how to do that are basic formative skill that I never learnt and I have been left isolated and afraid.

I’m not scared anymore, and I don’t feel alone anymore. There are so many ways I have changed, and so many ways I will continue to change… and so many more ways that I want to change.

At the centre of it all there’s just this quiet calm ‘Hello, this is me.’

To Draw Lines in the Sand.

February 2012 – Sober I said no. Drunk I was easy picking. A week later I dragged him back into bed, a stupid attempt at regaining the control he took away.

May 2013 – When I finally couldn’t pretend anymore. 18 months of trying desperately to find a way to make it ok. To believe that he loved me, that it wasn’t rape, that I had no reason to be afraid, that we could move on. I finally gave up, surrendered, admitted that being alone with him was terrifying and that I didn’t want him anywhere near me.

May 2013 – I told people what happened. I will never forget, nor ever lack gratitude, for the anger and support that came from Arrow in those first few weeks. She held me together in so many ways as my life came undone.

May 2015 – Engaged, in love, moving on…

Except that I’m still afraid. I still live in terror of being in the same place as him. I fear the day mutual friends put us in the same room. Except that I’m still blaming myself for trusting him, for believing him, for letting him be in a position to take advantage of me – to violate me. Except I’m still feeling betrayed in every possible way – by him, by the people who believe there is somehow a way he redeems himself.

I’m not the first. Other women known to me have similar experiences, yet somehow he’s still redeemable.

I’m tired of hurting, of being scared and feeling one step from falling down. I need to heal, and I have to draw the line in the sand for my own sanity.

 

 

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