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Currently I am quite disabled with a badly bulging disc in my back and a displaced biceps tendon. I can’t walk far Continue reading

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Not so bad after all

Here I am back again (again). Must write blog. Must write.

Specifically, I am honouring Erin at Daisies and Bruises who just came back from the slough of despond and WROTE!!

Last night in South Australia we had a once-in-fifty-years weather event which brought down 23 electricity pylons and blacked out the entire state for at least 8 hours. Once we had heated up some defrosted spinach soup on our (luckily) gas stove there wasn’t much to do except write a little bit of my novel while the laptop had some charge. After that it was knitting-by-candlelight.

pylons
Photo by Tom Fedorowytsch of downed pylons at Melrose, South Australia from a total of 23.

I hadn’t done anything with my NaNoWriMo novel for months when I wrote about half a chapter and researched some dialogue. Last night I did a little background writing and research on two characters, the main heroine and the person whose life intrigues the heroine. Incidentally, the basic plot has already inspired two short films by a friend who was taking a Film-making course at a local college of further education! Here is one if you want to know how a first film might turn out. With Grace.

The old Black Dog has been affecting me far less than Erin but I still have not reached my old level of productivity or anywhere near it. Mind you, I am not expecting to get totally back to my version of “normal” as circumstances have changed.

I have been able to reduce my dose  of antidepressants to half and I no longer suffer insomnia nor those dreadful “brain zaps” which cause many people to stop taking their medication. Having Omega 6 Fish Oils on a shot of cranberry juice seems to have stopped the zaps completely.

Cognitive re structuring has helped me deal with negative thoughts but I still find myself unable to tolerate daily meditation sessions and I have only the barest of daily routines. This is the sort of therapeutic self-talk I have done. I can get out of bed on time in the mornings with a smile on my face, have breakfast and a shower, plus I can get to any morning appointments, like aquarobics classes, 95 perent of the time.

Socially I am coping fine although I feel the need to get out more and have lunch/movies/coffee with people every second day. Only a few people have ever asked me out to do anything and after 18 months of phoning and Facebooking to invite others I have almost given up. Sometimes I go out shopping and have a coffee or lunch on my own, but that isn’t very social and I could do the same at home. Trips out with a busload of people to wineries and restaurants have been good and I’ve made a few new friends and acquaintances that way.

Continuing our friendly Wednesday night dinners with four mutual friends has been a very stable influence on my mental health even when I found it difficult to sit there for the whole mealtime. I also occasionally have this thing where my ear drums seem to spasm or vibrate, making some voices sound intolerable if they have a lot of high, whispery frequencies.

david-bday
Wednesday dinner with friends

 

Can’t stop now. Living I mean.

I feel absolutely dreadful these past few days. I hope it’s just a reaction to the stomach thing, not a sudden depressive relapse. I could burst into tears and never stop (it feels as if) or worse. But that would be giving in. I have this awful sense of loss. Just survive. Just survive. I can’t explain it. Trying to think about other people but only the ones that make me sad come to mind. Survive, endure; not explain.

No- not the PINGS!

Anyone familiar with the pings will instantly recognise what I’m referring to; the rest should be bloody glad they have NO idea.

After absolutely years of never having any pings, I got them back yesterday while enduring this strange stomach condition where I got all swollen (others might call it bloated?) after a seemingly normal meal (dining out). When I was younger I had a few of these episodes and named them “stomach migraines” because they felt like the ones I experienced in my head since the age of 10 until I was 32, when they left forever.

The current episode is nearly over and the pain and swelling have departed. I just have these abominable pings which I first experienced when starting SSRI anti depressants many years ago and which occur if I reduce my dose too much when feeling good. These pings seem to come from right inside my head- some call them brain-zaps – and the worst ones make my eardrums crackle and vibrate to every sound, even the softest flutter of leaves in a breeze. However, this time they are not making me cry and run away because I know they are temporary and I am not deeply depressed.

In the past the pings were unendurable when I sat next to a friend of mine at dinner, who has an incredibly breathy/spitty way of speaking (sorry if you read this). The eardrums could not recover between one burst of her speech and the next and eventually I would crash out of the place crying uncontrollably, sometimes just collapsing, unable to make any progress with my legs. The most abysmal sensation and one that could make anyone want to die on the spot. Not kill themselves – just wish fervently for instant annihilation, being unable to take any action to bring it on.breathy

The congestion or whatever it is in my abdominal area must use up all my free serotonin to produce the pings and I am not sure if it is the pain or the congestive process that uses it. I think it might have some relationship to the flow of enzymes and whatever – bile etc – that help digest food as I don’t feel nauseated or chunderous, nor do I get “the trots”. Whatever the cause, folic acid tablets and cutting out excess sugars, any oils and fats for a few days stops the episode from continuing. All I get now is the PTSD from the pings. Gee, thanks, Nature.

Anyone in the known universe get this stomach thing? I would have experienced about a dozen episodes since I was 20, so not all that frequent. But VERY unpleasant.

What the hell to blog about?

It seems I’m still waiting for things to be right. Now they are even less right than they were before. Slipped disc. Sheesh.

As we all know (??) a slipped disc is actually when the jelly stuffing busts out of the disc that cushions one segment of the spine from the next. The disc still clings valiantly to the vertebrae but the stuff that makes it cushiony has escaped so everything hurts. Currently I have slipped stuff pressing on my right sciatic nerve and it is an absolute killer. Gimme Pethidine! Uh-oh- I promised myself none of that until I am screaming because it is something I would never be able to get off!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, a lot and not a lot have happened. My partner suddenly retired from work after seeing his boss finally retire after years of stalling. Steve is more than ten years younger than said boss! It was a bit of a shock and I’m not sure I will ever get used to being accompanied 24 hours a day, seven days per week. I have been so used to being on my own all day for the 8 years since I last had a regular job. Not that it meant I accomplished anything.

Random insert 3. Pansy monster

Random insert 3. Pansy monster

My love of photography is still lying dormant after being grossly disappointed by an ex-friend who had become a good photo and camera-chat companion. One day I suppose I will get back to it. All in good time.

ggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg

That contribution was by Stormy the drain-rescue kitty who desperately wants to sit on my cream furry jumper because the First Day of Summer is 10 degrees cooler than the last day of Spring. No aquarobics today as I tickled up my back by going once last week. Must wait until Craig (my physio) gives the all-clear. This means hopping up periodically to do several minutes bending in various directions to squeeze the disc back in, sleeping on my stomach on the floor and finding it very difficult to go to the loo!

Dreaming garden

Random insert 4. Dreaming garden

On the positive side, I managed to order lilium bulbs in time for planting during Spring. The results are now sprouting up to 1.5 metres high, some with buds ready for a show of colour later this week! We already had the light yellow lilies left over from a previous planting several years ago, but they are a bit past it and need renewing.

The kitties are looking after me with Bendix draped over the arm of the sofa purring quietly and Stormy tucked up on the other side in a tight ball! Aren’t they sweeties for looking after me? 🙂

Random insert 3. Pansy monster

Random insert 3. Pansy monster

Millions of things have obviously happened since I last blogged, but this diary-style entry is all I can summon at the mo.

Maybe I’ll be able to focus better now and discover a REAL topic to write about. I’ll insert some random photos now, merely for the sake of tradition and inserting photos.

PS. While reading an old National Geo at Craig’s while I got electrocuted, I discovered a 1992 article on an airship I had never heard of, so there’s a good topic (for me, not necessarily for anyone else, LOL!).

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!