Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year 2016 - 12 things I learned from last year

It's the usual thing for any blogger/writer/up-to-the-minute person to use December 31st, New Year's Eve, to reflect on the year passed and to look forward to the new year with resolutions and intentions - and to post the thoughts for all to see. 

So, as I spent yesterday reading other people's reflections and resolutions and also because I was ready for bed earlier than on an "ordinary" day, I thought I'd wait till today 1st January to post mine.

Like many people, I have made resolutions in the past and not kept them further than a few days into the new year,This was probably because they weren't really my own decisions but more what I thought I 'ought' to be deciding on.

Today I am not making resolutions as such, but posting 12 things that I have learned during and from 2015 (it was originally 10 things, but that would mean I learned less than an average of one a month , which is not much of an achievement - so 12 it is ) These are in no particular order of chronology, seriousness or importance. 

1    Trying to do more than one thing at a time is not a good idea and benefits no one, in most           cases. 
      This is foremost in my mind as only 2 hours ago I attempted to turn off the light in the kitchen             using the hand which was holding a full mug of tea whilst the other hand held a plate of toast and       had a laptop under the arm. Result ...well, you get the picture.
 
2    No matter how bad you feel - pain, sadness, guilt, desperation etc there is always someone           who feels worse for what sometimes seems like lesser reasons.
      This is not a new thing for me to learn. At my age, I've known it for a long time and that the                 reasoning of others is not always affected by me. It just feels that way at the time.

3    The theory that no matter how good you feel there's always something comes along to mess         it up -  is not (necessarily) true. 
      Though it's another difficult one to implement at the time, positivity does work. "The future                 begins with your next thought" is a good one to quote here. Not sure who said it, but I expect they       were always happy and content.

4    Being a mother was never easy. Being a grandmother is even harder. Goodness knows how         great grandmothers get through. 
      But they do, and I hope that if I am still around when I am blessed with this role that I can live up       to the standard of the great grandmothers I know.

5    Try to live a good life. Marcus Aurelius says this much better than I can -                                            "If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care  how devout you have been, but will             welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you                 should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a       noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."

6    Never trust a laptop, tablet, smart phone or printer to do what you hoped and expected it           to, especially when you are in a hurry. 
     This one sneaked into this list after the laptop that I am typing on has lost a whole page of text             just because it feels like it. I am wondering if this post will actually be posted today as it's now          11am and I started it before 9am. Lesson learned : learn the lesson the first time not the 250th              time.

7   Don't get irritated by news readers or anyone being interviewed on television who begins an      answer with the word "so".
     For some reason this really is an irritant to me, yet I've found that I often do the very same thing          myself. So, I'll try not to do it anymore or at least come to terms with the fact that it's an                  acceptable form of speech.

8   As cliched and sentimental as it may appear, in times of trouble and and stress, we really do      realise what matters most in life.
    And it is no surprise to anyone, especially me and my family following events in 2015, that it's           people who matter, But it's worth verbalising and writing it down now and then, to remind 
    ourselves. 
    
9   As we get older we think that our memories are being very unkind by making us forget many of the things that we should be remembering. Perhaps this is not the case and we remember only the things we need to remember at any given time, Based on this I will forgive myself for not remembering how to play the piano as well as I used to (though that was pretty poor) be patient with practising to  be ready for the time when it is more important. 

10  As per (6) and (9) above, that these items as I post have now become double spaced and I        don't know why is not important and does not matter. Likewise my (relatively new) steam mop does not steam any more, the washing machine is leaking and the dryer is only blowing cold. I shall rise above these small things and look for something to learn from these happenings.

11  That when politicians and those in authority say "lessons have been learned"  they don't mean by them. What they really mean is that they are relinquishing any responsibility for past events and that they think that we, the general public, are too stupid to realise this. Thought I'd better put this one in this list in case the reader thinks I am saying the same thing, in a roundabout way.

12  Life is a rollercoaster, you just gotta ride it - Ronan Keating circa 2000. That I have never really liked any fairground rides is totally irrelevant here. I will get on with 2016 in the best way I can and hope that anyone who reads this , and those who don't can do the same.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Verbalising the Feelings

Awakening each day from drug induced sleep,
the terrors of the night scroll through your brain
as you begin to surface from the torpor
of semi-consciousness.

Each fragment of the dormant state
that whiled away some hours in physical inactivity
begins it's struggle to be foremost in this heightening
of lucidity.

Your ability to become fully alert
restricted by a lethargy that lingers till each wave of worry starts it's journey
heightening the sense of dread,
without clear reason.

A longing to return to sleep
becomes unbearable with each grasping, clinging thought,
yet what the coming horrors may be
stay hidden in the recesses of the soul.




Thursday, 5 November 2015

Three and a half days later and The Black Dawg

So, after my post on Sunday declaring that I would blog daily on this issue which has taken over my life recently (again) here we are on Thursday with no sign of a further post since the declaration.

Under the guise of "positivity", I will not refer further to this lack of achievement on my part, this week. It is after all a symptom of the condition I find myself in. It is also a symptom, which easily becomes a norm, to castigate oneself for every action and inaction that plants itself in the mind. This is neither healthy nor helpful, though almost inevitable, unfortunately.

Further positive thinking which my brain is allowing me to verbalise, is that the medication that I was prescribed a week ago has clearly had a major impact on me and the desired and hoped for effect is obvious - to my family and to me.
Being made to feel "useful" by picking up my grandchildren from school and helping with a bedroom blitz at my daughter's house has also been productive in the psychological sense as well as the physical. A day out shopping with lunch and a long walk with the dogs accompanied by a very supportive and empathetic person (you know who you are ) have all added to the better feelings I have now. Not exactly all at peace with my world, but definately a massive improvement on last week when nothing could be done at all because of the crying. I have even considered wearing again the mascara that was in no way whatsoever waterproof.
Of course we need to keep occupied but I am convinced that my mind needed a rest, which is what a combination of medication and "people support" is doing for me.

As I continue to take the medication and improve, readers might like to read this post written by Louis Mcintosh, for  Huffington Post   "What they don't tell you about depression".  Louis is the writer and Kathryn Hockey the illustrator on a project called 'The Black Dawg' which is an illustrated poem about depression.

Useful and informative - try the mental health charity website here Mind ,

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Returning to Medication (after stupidly stopping it )

"Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health problems in the UK and elsewhere, yet it is still under-reported, under-diagnosed and under-treated.

The experience of anxiety often involves interconnected symptoms and disorders. It is estimated that one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year, while one in six experience a neurotic disorder such as anxiety or depression. Anxiety disorders are also estimated to affect 3.3% of children and young adults in the UK. "  mentalhealth.org.uk
Worrying statistics, for anyone not suffering anxiety, let alone those who are.
Any long term reader(s) of this, sporadic blog will know that on numerous occasions since I began this, 8 or 9 years ago, there have been times when I have posted about not being able to write, or even think clearly due to my "mental state"  or me being "bad with my nerves" as my grandmother's condition was described back in those days.
My anxiety has peaks throughout the day. It would also be bad at night time if I didn't take Zopiclone - which I've been taking for 12 years now. Unfortunately, this is only keeping me asleep for a few hours now, whereas I used to get a full nights sleep with it.
I am currently experiencing extreme anxiety on waking but have been prescribed Diazepam 4 days ago. I am taking 2mg as soon as I wake up which helps a little and have the option of taking 3 more doses in a day. Diazepam is a bit of a last resort to me and my family, as we know only too well how addictive it is. But when the situation warrants it, it's a miracle drug. In the last 3 days I have only taken half of the dose - again, probably stupidly, but some people never learn. After a bad night last night, today I intend taking the full dose to see what the result is. 
I've been treated for depression and anxiety/panic attacks with medication since 2001, but I very stupidly stopped taking the prescribed 40mg of Fluoxetine a few months back. It was just as my eldest daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer, in March of this year. We were in such shock and confusion and began to try and eliminate all toxins from our lives completely - foods, medicines and household cleaners and toiletries. Added to this were other family stresses and situations that have left me distraught and at "crisis point".
I now realise that stopping the Fluoxetine was the most ridiculous thing to do - "insane" was my GP's description  - especially at a time when we as a family were undergoing such stress. My thinking was that I had felt reasonably ok for a number of months, with just the occasional bad anxiety symptoms, and I felt the need to be "in control" for my daughter and other family members during her treatment and beyond.
Unfortunately, stopping the medication has made me completely out of control of my own emotions and I feel such a waste of space and completely useless to my family when they need me most. I am blessed with the most understanding family and friends that anyone could wish for and with their help and support I will get better soon - they tell me this all the time, so it must be true.
To anyone who has prescribed medication - PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't ever stop taking your medication without your doctors advice. I tried to make myself believe that I was well and did not need the medication anymore. In fact I was only well BECAUSE OF the medication. This seems a simple enough concept to understand, but despite me thinking of myself as a reasonably intelligent person, I have managed to psychologically side track the issue and become ill again because of it.
Today, is the first day that I have felt able to put down in words quite how I feel - another thing to castigate myself for, seeing as I purport to be a writer. 
I intend to blog daily on this now (more targets for me to not hit and feel bad about perhaps, though) in the hope that this helps someone else who may be going through a similar experience and it helps me knowing that my capacity to compose a few coherent sentences has not left me completely.
If you have prescribed medication, take it. If you haven't, see your doctor as soon as you can.  You are not alone. You WILL be better soon. 

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Memorials to "Terror Victims" - more scare tactics and a good dose of irony

 On top of the hypocrisy and shock tactics being thrown at us by Cameron about the Terror of Terrorism and the "existential threat" to Britain and it's values, we now have an announcement that there is to be a permanent memorial to the victims of the Sousse attack. 

 There will also be a separate site of remembrance for all Britons who have been victims of overseas terrorism, he has added - almost as an afterthought, as he is more won't to do recently every time he makes a statement.

"It is right that we mark and commemorate them and others murdered by terrorists overseas, appropriately and support the loved ones they have left behind in every way we can, " he says.

British holidaymakers accounted for 30 of those killed, along with three Irish nationals, two Germans, one Belgian, one Portuguese and a Russian, before the assailant was himself shot dead. The attack has been claimed by the Islamic State group - IS/ /ISIS/ ISIL or which ever politically correct term Cameron or the BBC deem correct for today.

Yes, it was a despicable and tragic occurrence, but seems to me to be another "terror tactic" by the government to keep us afraid.

Would we erect a memorial and hold a minutes silence to 30 people killed in a motorway pile up, even if the cause of the incident was "with intent" ? I doubt it,  and of course now we also have to have a monument to commemorate those killed in this country - due to Cameron's word choice in the first statement.

That the monument is to be funded by fines levied from banks by the Financial Conduct Authority perhaps it's saving grace, however ironic and distasteful this is.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Resting

There’s various types of resting and I suppose it depends on your own disposition on how you go about it.Some people close their eyes and are sleeping within less than five minutes. That must be quite pleasant. Close your eyes and maybe in only half an hour you are awake and refreshed.
There are some regimes to this resting time. In hot countries it is clear that the best thing to do in the hottest part of the day is to lay down and keep as still as possible. Work can continue later, when its cooler and more pleasant. Yet here in Britain we never really have that scenario. We have some hot days, but never enough to warrant an afternoon nap to get away from the heat.

 I remember when I was about 3 years old being almost forced by my mother to sleep after lunch, though tiredness was the last thing on my mind. She used to sit me on her lap and tell me that I did not need to sleep, just close my eyes for a  while. This seemed a ridiculous notion  to me. I now  realise the thinking behind it. She was exhausted. And having just got the elder 2 children back to school it was her chance to have a few minutes peace – if only I had let her.

Sleeping in the daytime has always seemed a slovenly thing to do in my view. Especially the people who actually undress and get into bed. What a waste of a day, what a waste of daylight hours. 

Others have a regime too. Hospitals for example. 
Most have a rest time usually in between about 1pm and 3pm – but not for the full 2 hours. Usually before visiting times, presumably so that you are looking as well as can be expected for your situation and circumstances. Don’t want the visitors thinking you are looking unwell. 

Sometimes, unfortunately in some wards, lunch is late. This means you have to wolf down your rice pudding in semi darkness as the curtains have already been drawn to the outside world. And by the time the tea lady arrives, she assumes everyone is asleep so you miss out on that one. Never mind, don’t stay asleep too long and you might catch the afternoon cuppa. 
The curtains never seem to close properly across the windows either. There’s a gap where the harsh sunlight bounces onto the shiny floors and sends a glare into your eyes, no matter which way you turn. You can put one arm over your eyes to stop the glare and wake with stiff muscles and pins and needles, or you can lay on your stomach with your face in the pillow. But hospital pillows weren’t made for breathing through.
This is the time for the nurses and any other passing staff to have their daily conversation about last night’s meal at the pub, or this weekends forthcoming one, in loud voices, outside your ward. As you can’t sleep in this anyway, you might as well try and enjoy the conversation, see if you can get a snippet of scandal to amuse your visitors when they come. You just can never actually put the faces to the voices and the straining to catch the crucial punch line is enough to make you fatigued. You feel yourself drifting, just as the lights come on blindingly and a voice is saying “are ya havin a drink love?”

Having a lie in at home can be just as stressful. You have a lie in today, someone says. We’ll see to everything and it’ll be all done when you wake up. Just have a good  rest. Bliss! You think.
They leave the room asking do you want the curtains open? Another blanket? Anything at all? No, no, NO ! They leave the room at last ...and leave the door open. You crawl out of bed and close it. Back in bed you thump the pillows a few times then close your eyes. The dog scratches on the door. You crawl out again and leave the door just a little ajar, so it can come and go as it pleases. Peace.
Downstairs the washing machine is doing the laundry of the whole country and the washing up must be from a hundred meals. Crash, bang, splash, ping. 

And of course its bin day. More bangs and crashes and some friendly banter between the workers which they yell at each other to be heard above the whirring and rumbling as the  machine does it's job. The lorry takes forever to leave the street. 

The post arrives. more mail than at Christmas, today and something that needs signing for too. Which involves some more chatter and laughter from inside and outside the house.

Then - silence. Yes, definately silence.

The bedroom door opens slowly, with a 
“Had a nice lie in? I brought you a cup of tea”.
Ah well.......