Woolly things for Second Semester (winter) university intake.

I was warmed by the idea at the Australian National University in Canberra to make their winter intake students feel welcome. Volunteers made 110 woolly scarves so the winter weather would not be such a shock for new students coming from the Northern Hemisphere summer. Here’s the link:

Supporting our New Community

This would be an excellent project for all of Australia’s southern universities to adopt. I would certainly help out with some scarves and beanies knitted from my stash!

Deities vs denigration. Or how to stop dwelling on things.

I was trying to locate some pointers on rumination that I felt were suitable to my own situation, being depressed. A few behaviourally oriented ones sounded good while others went all god-dy and totally put me off. What is the point of a deity saving you after you are dead to make everything right? You’re dead then and have no life to BE good FFS!

When I read the attached account of a woman grieving for her prematurely-departed husband I thought she was making more of a hole for herself by denigrating her own worthiness as a human and potential partner. Somehow I need to steer between deities and denigration!

My concept of myself is not that bad; I think I am worthy of love, praise and comfort and I have a fair measure of each. My social network is rather lacking at the moment and I haven’t had the cheerfulness or energy to cultivate it, so I feel a bit disconnected but NOT lonely. I am quite happy with spending every day alone, my only contact with the world through my laptop or tablet. However, my social situation of 90% isolation is NOT good for curing myself of ruminating. While I don’t blame myself for being depressed currently, being alone is provocation for negative thoughts about anything. A few years ago I was able to keep my mind active with online courses and I learned some amazing stuff. Recently though I have been unable to get out of my unproductive ruminative loops in order to learn new stuff, so unfinished online courses are just more negatives that I don’t need right now.

Iceland poppies

Iceland poppies

My Mindfulness practice has helped to a certain extent but it is not strong enough to keep all my head-crap at bay all the time. Doing something active like my hobbies would be great too, but I am in the middle of a very stuck period and haven’t got past first base with several projects that are lovely in themselves. Seeing the endpoint in my mind doesn’t seem to have the push-power it should. Somehow, my unfathomable feeling that things are not “right” gets in the way. Please contribute some ideas if you have tried successfully to fix your own stuck-ness or ruminations.

Here is the woman who is down on herself in her grief:

REALITY: WHY IT IS LIKELY THAT A LIFETIME OF LONELINESS AWAITS ME.

 

My daily hill-climb through the Pyrenees

This blog post from Tiny Buddha says it all. It immediately brought to mind my own struggles. Not ONLY climbing the steepest hills in the Pyrenees on foot starting from 2 000m (which I have done, gasping and hyperventilating) but totally on the flat getting from our back door to the front door! If you can’t quite identify with clawing at the earth yourself, recall those images you see annually of those sweating cyclists in the Tour de France who pedal their way up to the highest passes in those gorgeous mountains while you slouch on the couch.

Ain’t easy on foot either…*

I reached the deepest gulch last week; the darkest howling hole. Now I am shredding my nails to scrabble up the first crumbling slope towards the sun without knowing how long the journey will last. I hope it’s short and hope that a few kind souls will venture out to hold my hand while I keep climbing.

I really DO think this is The Key to Helping a Person who is Depressed.

Mt Gambier SA sinkhole

View from inside the Mt Gambier SA sinkhole gardens

If you’re struggling with physical illness and can’t quite identify with the above blog post, try this amazingly open and often humorous blog from a guy who has just had his fourth brain surgery for cancer.

The Brain Chancery.

*Link to a table of inclines if you would like to know about struggling up the Pyrenees!

When will things be RIGHT?

Over-wintering ducks

Over-wintering ducks

Hello Kind Readers (if any of you check back here),

I am in the grip of a two-year plague of procrastination and holding back from whatever I am holding back from. Somehow I am writing this, so I have now conquered a tiny section of it, inspired by commenting on Lori Stone’s piece, The hard work of fun. This was my comment on her struggles with perfectionism in everyday life:

 

  • I DO have trouble letting go and having fun! However the big block in my chakra is procrastination while in the grip of the Black Dog. Somehow the conditions for having fun – having anything at all – must be “right” before I can let go. My head is constantly full of ideas to create and see and do and learn but I can’t make myself DO anything because the conditions have not become “right”. Unlike you and your perfectionism, I don’t mind if things are out-of-line, messy, incomplete or whatever unless it’s something like driving the car or taking the correct dose of pills. But, yep, I’m having a lot of trouble having fun. When will things be “right”? 

The depression around the shortest day of Winter has been worse this year than for several years but I have been coping marginally by trying to practise some useful habits like mindfulness meditation, regular exercise, taking my pills and almost cutting out alcohol (normally I only have a few glasses of wine per week, but now I’m down to zero for a while). However I cry easily, quickly become irritated by certain people and things and spend a lot of time huddled under the quilt mindlessly playing word games on the device. I have managed to keep up with the washing, aquarobics (mostly), looking after my painful wrists, cat maintenance, preparing 50% of meals, going to Wednesday night dinners and keeping the bathroom mould at bay.

I won’t mention things I HAVEN’T managed as that would be allowing negative stuff to intrude on my achievements! I do confess to having missed one or two showers in the past three months but that’s it.

Purple haze

Purple haze

Getting down to the nitty-gritty: What is stopping me from having fun? What conditions must be met before I can let go and enjoy my time? Should I go back and have some more counseling? But I know what the psychologist would suggest and I’m obviously not getting on with the job, so – duh.

Admittedly I have had some setbacks in my life the past few years but most of them have been worked through although some could use still more effort. Lack of cash stopped being an issue a few months ago which is the best and biggest boost to life I’ve had in decades! However Spotrick says my generosity has brought more troubles upon me and that is true to a certain extent, but why are people so demanding and judgmental? Disappointment in human nature is definitely part of my current low mood although that hasn’t been the problem for long. Before that I had some big hiccups around money, with the tax department chasing me over imaginary debts and then trying to fine me thousands of dollars for not reporting my non-existent income. I also have continuing problems with my bank where they keep cutting off online access because I am too slow (apparently) inputting my security numbers (my hands are not wonderful any more). It is so frustrating and I feel so helpless because I am being “punished” for a disability. After I get cut off things snowball as creditors start contacting me for automatic debits that have ceased etc etc I just want to relax and have a life. With no job, alone all day and no family I COULD be quite OK except for these money hassles I don’t need at ANY time.

We have green winters

We have green winters

When I Tweeted about not being able to start anything,

  • I’m definitely in the wilderness again. Empty horizons in all directions. How to escape?

    @LaLegale replied:
    Rather than “escape”, create. Imagine your life as a blank tapestry, which you embroider with the things that you do every day.

But that’s exactly what I CAN’T do – my life IS a blank tapestry and I can’t make myself start the bloody embroidery. Who would want to embroider on the topic of the washing or cleaning the floor beneath the cats’ bowls?

So, sweet readers, how can I start or get some enthusiasm for the various projects I would LOVE to do including photographing stuff, getting back into film (rather than digital), sewing, knitting, and yes, tapestry; also I almost wrote the first draft of a novel during NaNoWriMo last year, so when will I resume writing, blogging regularly here and on my Health for Humans blog; there are some songs to work on, bits of the garden to rejuvenate, yummy things to cook, places to visit, people I’d love to see more of, and holidays to plan?? Ideas, quick, please!

Finding richness in the shade

Finding richness in the shade

A painful topic: what doctors need to know (according to patients)

murfomurf:

You could easily substitute “depression” for “ichthyosis” in this piece. Plus, I had no idea that ichthyosis sufferers were so misunderstood by medicos as their disorder is so visible!

Originally posted on Doctor's bag:

What doctors need to know (according to patients)

Ok, so I was wrong. I really liked the RACGP good GP television commercial. It had some flaws but I thought they were small in the grand scheme of things (see my last post). But many patient advocates did not agree and were unhappy about the lack of communication portrayed in the video.

Blogger Michelle Roger commented: “My current GP asks me what I want to do, what I think is most important and together we sort through the problem at hand and potential solutions. I feel valued and heard and trust her more knowing that she listens and knows me and my family.”

“That for me was missing in the video. It was one-sided and the patients appeared little more than props to be talked at. In fact the patients had no voice at all. A problem that still permeates a lot of medicine.”

Crockey health blog posted an article

View original 1,464 more words

Orphan Choir read and reviewed… a little late but done

Although I had to wait 2 weeks before I could start my Book Challenge, I manage to read and have a good think about it.

Choir in the chapel

The Orphan ChoirThe Orphan Choir by Sophie Hannah

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the excellent writing style for the first 25 pages and then I became saturated with what I felt was the self-indulgent rambling of a neurotic woman. I understood after reading more that the self-indulgence of the main character was probably somewhat justified, but it spoiled the whole tale for me because I wanted to throttle Louise Beeston more than finish reading! The style struck me as rather English Major but it was easy to read even when the character was bugging me. A slight loss of momentum and maybe some disconnection happened about 2/3 the way through as I felt there had not been enough contribution from the other characters. Some observations of Louise’s behaviour towards the neighbours and the local environmental health officers might have been helpful as well as some insights from her young son. The ending was done quite neatly and left a sense of mystery with a few awkward moments.The author tried to bridge the beginning of Louise as a neurotic whinger and denouement (where Louise seems to have completely changed her whole attitude to life) and wavered a bit in order to not give away too much. This would have been a good novel to workshop before it was sent off to the publisher in my humble editorial opinion. But then, maybe what Hannah did was the best anyone could hope for as it was a really knotty problem to finish without destroying the point of the story.

View all my reviews

So I took on a Read my Library Challenge…

I was looking for an easy online challenge and came across one that only required me to read one book in a month. Sounded like me in my current frame of mind!

So I’m
palmbw going to check out my local public library which is funded by the local suburban council, Unley, Adelaide, South Australia. I used to borrow quite a bit when I first joined on becoming unemployed in 2007 but quickly exhausted their supply of craft and garden books. I found that the novel section was rather dominated by romantic and/or historical fiction and modern thrillers and that the latest additions to the collection were reserved months in advance.

Now I will have to go down there and pick out something from the shelves. Fingers crossed. I rather fancy a rambling, thoughtful tale by an Indian or Pakistani author but I wonder what I will discover? I’ll let you know. ;-)

Twenty three year countdown!

I had a read over at Judith Westerfield’s Blog and used her link to the Life Expectancy Calculator. The result is the title of my post: I have 23.6 years of life left in which to occupy myself.

Having already made some minor changes to my life, despite struggling with early retirement, some unattractive social scenes and major depression, I feel that the following may be a good guide for the future:

REINVENT YOURSELF

Rebecca Webber says:

“Major life changes are never easy, because your instincts and the urgent matters of the day work against you. But when you learn to focus on your future self, you’ll be surprised at what you can achieve.”

In the last couple of years I’ve managed to get my depression under control and eliminate the side effects of the large dose of pills I’m on with the help of a “mild” shrink and a very focused cognitive psychologist. With their help I avoided killing myself because I couldn’t see a place for me in the future and I avoided running away because I couldn’t see a future living in the current place. In addition, I’m quite proud of the fact that I’ve shed most of the weight I gained all those years ago on those slug-making anti depressants like amitriptylline and I’ve made regular exercise almost automatic for at least one day per week. By the latter, I mean that every Thursday morning I can get up when the alarm goes off, have breakfast, shower and go straight to aquarobics without giving it a second thought! No more “Oh maybe I won’t go because it’s so freezing this morning” and no more feeling too immobilised by hopelessness. Instead I’m off like clockwork to hear all the news from my pals at the class, maybe even meet one or two for a coffee date afterwards.

 

When I had 85 years to spend!

When I had 85 years to spend!

However, apart from fulfilling my need for socialising by continuing to meet new local people via Facebook, I need to become relaxed enough to allow myself to enjoy my hobbies, instead of feeling guilty that I’m playing, not working. That will be the sense in which I plan to REINVENT myself over the next 23 years. I know I have some tools provided by my therapists and my reading, such as Mindfulness meditation, but I now must develop more of those practices as HABITS just as I have with the aquarobics. Now I’ll go and play the REINVENT video again, and maybe over again to see what insights I can glean that sound as though they would fit with my inner self and current economic and social circumstances. There’s no point in doing something that involves money and I can’t be exhorted to “travel often” without that either! Wish me luck.

All comments and advice are welcome, unless negative, of course.

A comedian stands up for sums. From New Scientist

Sounds like a great read with a bit of involvement.

PLEASE everyone, look into the fun side of maths for your kid’s sake. Kids need to enjoy maths and appreciate it is just a set of rules and facts they can commit to memory, just like any other subject. You don’t have to be good at maths to enjoy its many aspects in our daily lives.

A comedian stands up for sums – physics-math – 04 November 2014 – New Scientist.

What does it all mean?

I loved this blog from Scientific American, which recalled all the waffling I have done about injecting meaning into my life in order to live. Probably, anyone with the slightest tendency to introspect grapples with this at some time. I am just grappling with moving forward at the moment so this struck a [harmonic minor] chord:

  • http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/2014/11/03/to-feel-meaningful-is-to-feel-immortal/#comment-901