Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How's things?

"I get knocked down, But I get up again, You're never gonna keep me down" 
Tubthumping by Chumbawumba

How's things?
This is a common question it seems in all the messages that I have sitting in my phone and on facebook.  Sorry if I haven't replied I have read them but the most likely I haven't replied straight away and another message has come in after that which has pushed your message down and I have sadly just forgotten your message.  As an example this post itself has taken me three days to write and I have written myself a message before I go to sleep each day to come back to it.  
The truth is for me I don't really feel like a whole lot has changed.  But I am very reliably informed that things are getting better at least physically.  I think that the physical progress is much easier for others to see change in.  For me I don't remember what I was like yesterday so it is hard to know what the progress is.  I can tell you that today, I am walking around with the aid of a walking stick, I felt a bit wobbly at times but I got from a to b which I guess is the most important thing.  My arm I understand has also been a problem today it really just felt weak and it just takes more to think about using it.  I had tingling in different parts on my arm and face as well.  
Emotionally I am not sure that a whole lot has changed.  I read that I am being treated for PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, Dissociation, and a few other things.  For me this really just means that most days I feel sad, empty, a total ache in my heart (this is hard to describe really), anxious, overwhelmed and confused.  In addition to that I am exhausted from feeling all of those feelings all the time.  Plus I spend a lot of time (well I have today) trying to work out what is going on.  I guess if you think of all those mental health things and the brain as a computer hdd, my hdd needs a reboot.  So for now my brain is operating in safe mode, while the repairmen (my therapists and I) take each file out process it dertermine with this is something that needs to be kept or moved to the trash and then re-format the hdd.  I think this is going to be an incredibly long process but best we take the time and do it right than do it quickly and have to redo it in a few years.  
I think the most common thing everyone wants to know is if my memory has improved, I don't think so.  I woke up this morning completely confused, my head feels empty, I didn't recognise our dogs, my husband has to orientate me to what year it is and how old the kids are and what is going on in a really quick space of time.  Lots of changes have happened around the house and in our lives that I simply can't recall.  So I would say no this hasn't improved or changed.  I get through each day by reading facebook a lot I know this seems crazy but it does give me clues on things that have been going on.  I think that my memory loss is the hardest part for me.  Anyone who knows me knows that I don't cope very well when I am not in control and not remembering yesterday and not knowing what is coming without reading a journal or a daily diary is probably as far from in control I could possibly be.  
I don't think that I am venturing very far from home unless it is a necessity, this kind of feels strange and scarey all at the same time.  I don't consider that I am a shy person but the thought of going up to school or to the shops or anywhere that I might have to interact with anyone at all sends fear through every part of my body.  This is also something I am trying to work through.  That said I am ok with visitors at home one on one.  I do know that this is not a healthy or rational way to live so I do try to get out when I can.  I am also trying to do some relaxation techniques to help cope with these situations where I am feeling anxius or out of control. 
I think this really covers about everything that is going on with me for now.  I do love your messages as long as you don't get offended when I don't reply. Take care everyone and thanks for all your support! 

Cathy xoxo

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Judgey McJudgey

Indulge me for a few minutes if you will, I have my ranty, tanty pants on and whilst I have been doing lots of writing about my journey nothing is really making any sense there.  But this is something that has really pushed my buttons today and the words have just flowed!  My newsfeed today has been filled with lots of judgey mcjudgey posts about many things from bad behaviour in sport, too much screentime, naming and shaming without the facts, other people's body's, other people's bad parenting, feeding your children the wrong things (in their opinion!)  You name it there is any number of this type of articles and comments all over the internet especially facebook and twitter.  These posts then generate an incredible amount of of manufactured outrage, which then because of the interest in the topics is picked up by mainstream media outlets, then the outrage continues you get the picture. 
Today's particular topic of interest was a picture of a model jogging in a bikini pushing an expensive pram.  Let's get serious about this for a second, this woman is a model, she has to keep fit and her body in great shape for her job, her child (from what you can see the feet!) appears content, and it turned out to be a posed picture for a Vogue magazine shoot.  This was not an ad for the pram which was how it had been portrayed it was a staged picture!  Again, let's be rational about this for a second: the model makes her living from having a great body and using it in photos.  This picture from what I can work out was not put up to say ALL women should look like this 2 years after their child was born or that ALL women should jog in their bikinis with their child in an expensive pram.  Nor from what I can tell is the pram company refusing to sell their prams to the tracky dack, ugh boot wearing, hair not done, just rolled out of bed look women.  
However, the manufactured outrage that this picture generated on social media today in my opinion bordered on ridiculous!  These nameless, faceless keyboard warriors whipped up a frenzy of vitrioule aimed at the manufacturers of the pram, the model for putting herself out there, you name it there was this outrage everywhere you looked.  Of course in amongst that there were a few trying to speak sense into this debate and simply say live and let live, "you wouldn't catch me dead jogging in a bikini but hey I don't have a body like that".  The reality is I think that this manufactured outrage has far more to do with jealousy than anything else at all.  
This particular story was eventually around about 3pm picked up by mainstream media with an article online with more judging and some commonsense quotes from some women I admire incredibly.  My biggest concern about that article was not the content but the picture that clearly has been taken of a celebrity with her children without her permission.  The model in question knew her picture was being taken and was posing accordingly.  Serioulsy mainsteam media how do things like this even make news!  There are far bigger issues in Australia and the world that require reporting on how about you do your jobs and inform us unbiasedly and fill us with things that matter.  Leave the fluff to the entertainment shows.  I am still struggling with how a model jogging in her bikini pushing a pram is even news!
I get that this piece of writing could be considered hypocritical because I am judging the mcjudgey, I really think I have an important point though and I am almost there please hang in there.  I understand that there is an endemic of bullying in schools, social media, workplaces you name it.  I am wondering if there is a correlation at all in the rise of the nameless, faceless, keyboard warrior wearing nasty judgey mcjudgey pants and the rise in bullying.  Once upon a time we could escape the bully but now it pervades every aspect of our lives and even if we switch off the bully is still there spreading their message to anyone who will listen giving it a life of its own.  Most of the manufactured outrage is generated from adults, the very adults that are parents to children.  We as adults and especially parents need to consider that we are role models to our children and as such they watch everything we do.  If they see us being judgey mcjudgey about trivial issues online then they will have a hard time differentiating between what is acceptable comment and bullying.  There is always, always, always a way to get your point across without bullying!  It is quite possible that this trend of manufactured outrage is in fact contributing to the bullying issues across the board, just something to think about.  
My final point is to leave you with is imagine if all that manufactured outrage about trivial issues was harnessed to find solutions for issues that really matter to us now and will make a difference to the futures of our children.  In case you can't think of any issues here's some that you could turn your outrage towards:  
*  Climate change - it is real folks and we need to make some changes now so that we have something to leave our kids. 
*  Renewable energy sources for electricity, heating, cooking, transport what we use now will not last!
*  Child abuse, child labour, sex trafficking.
*  How can we leave a better world for our kids.
*  Domestic violence and violence/aggression in general. 
*  Alcohol, drugs, exploitation, unemployment or underemployment.
*  Mental Health, disability services, access to healthcare. 
*  Engaging more people in the political process, getting people to really care. 
*  Holding our governments to account and using the same benchmark all the time.  
*  Homelessness. 
*  Equality.
This is really just a few off the top of my head seriously I am sure that you can find something that is not trivial that the outrage could be harnessed and used for good.  
Just think about is all I'm saying. 

Cathy xoxo

Friday, July 10, 2015

Taking Stock

It's Friday, last day of school holidays, and I saw that I posted an apology yesterday. Lots of people are telling me that most importantly I need to forgive myself, maybe I do, but to do that I really need to remember the day before. Anyway, to take a break from my life, I saw this list of prompts about taking stock on a blog I follow the fifo wife I thought I would take stock of my life just for something different.
Making: I have a crochet blanket in my bag which looks to be red, white and black I am guessing Dragons colours and I have started a beanie for myself I think given its pink so it clearly is either for me or the girls!
Cooking: Dinner! Meatloaf and potato gems nothing too difficult and it took me numerous messages to mum because I couldn't remember what to do but I got it done!
Drinking: Tea, lots and lots of tea it was freezing here today and I was trying to get warm all day!
Reading: Not much, my journal mostly, trying very hard to read a book but it is really hard if I can't finish it in a day!
Wanting: My life back!
Looking: For my memory!
Playing: Not much I forget to go back to it!
Deciding: Again not a lot given I couldn't make a decision today and not remember it! Certainly no major life decisions.
Wishing: To get better.
Enjoying: Trying to enjoy every little thing.
Waiting: For my memory to come back but I am not the world's most patient person!
Liking: Being with my family.
Wondering: If life will ever be normal again.
Loving: My family I wouldn't be here without them.
Pondering: Life.
Considering: Where to from here.
Buying: Nothing not a single thing in months.
Watching: Cricket and Rugby League.
Hoping: That I will get better sooner rather than later.
Marvelling: At the brain and how powerful and yet fragile it is all at the same time.
Cringing: At how incredibly needy I am at the moment.
Needing: Lots of reassurance and I hate it.
Questioning: My life.
Smelling: A lavender & mint candle trying to relax.
Wearing: My Pj's (i'm in bed with the hot water bottle)
Following: Lots of things but nothing regularly because I forget!
Noticing: That it is ridiculously cold today!
Knowing: That I am loved.
Thinking: How can I overcome these crazy, stupid thoughts in my head.
Admiring: My husband and family for just everything.
Sorting: My head.
Getting: My life back.
Bookmarking: Lots of things but who knows it I will ever read them.
Coveting: Anyone who appears to have it together, I get they probably don't but I can't even fake it at the moment.
Disliking: Being so needy and dependent on other people.
Opening: Not much these days.
Giggling: Silly things on facebook.
Feeling: Sad.
Snacking: Chocolate is there anything else at all?
Helping: As much as I can.
Hearing: Too much trying to turn all the noise down in my head.
What's happening in your world? Anything exciting?

Cathy xoxo

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

I'm Sorry

I started today as I usually do, I spent some time reading my journals, reading about my life. I say reading about because honestly I have no connection to the words on the page, clearly they are my words because it is my handwriting and I recognise that but beyond that there is no connection. I mean I am sure I do when I write them down but when I am reading them back another day I have a) no recollection of what I have written, b) there is no emotional attachment to what I am reading and c) they are just words on a page with no context so it is not even like they are from a book because they don't flow with character development or story and plot line resolutions. Depending how much I reading I do some days I just get sad that I am missing out on so much and what else is happening that I am not writing down, and utter horror and disbelief at some of my actions over the period of my life that is currently missing from my memory.
I feel like such a fraud! I have written about so many people loving me and supporting me and I feel like I need to come clean and say I am not the good person you all think I am. I have made some bad decisions that have resulted in a mess that my family and a couple of close friends are helping to sort through. I feel like that to accept the love and support that I am getting I really need you to know this.
I feel like a fraud on other levels too. It seems that on the surface I was pretty "together" I had mastered "fake it til you make it". The only problem was that I didn't actually make it! I did on the surface appear to have it all together and in reality should have been happy I have a great family, happy home, loving friends, but it was (and still is) like kinetic sand really on the surface it is quite solid and being held together but just one touch too much and it all crumbles away. It seems that over the past few years while I was coping on one hand but completely unravelling on the other I tried harder and harder to control things. My psychologist thinks that the harder I tried to control things the more things unravelled.
How does this make me a fraud? Because maybe if I had been honest with myself or even those around me then perhaps some of this big mess could have been avoided. Also, I think that by appearing to have it all together I was doing an injustice to anyone who didn't and was being honest about it. Life is tough and I think that we would be better served acknowledging that more and at the same time accepting all of the blessings that we have, they do not have to be big blessings to be great in our lives.
I have discovered through my readings today that I have an incredible amount of love and support from family and friends. I just wish that I had recognised this was there and reached out to that network sooner and for that I am sorry. I let you down by not believing enough in you all that you would be there for me no matter what (it is scary thinking you are loosing your mind!) and I let myself down by not listening to the advise I would have given any one of you if had you come to me.
I remember a conversation I had with my mum many, many years ago a young boy that we knew through the family had filled his pockets with rocks and walked out into the surf and drowned himself. He, for whatever reason didn't fell he had anyone to turn to, we know that he had made a mistake and he didn't feel that he had any other option. I remember mum being very affected by this and making me promise that no matter what there was no mistake too big that her and dad wouldn't be there for my brother and I. Turns out she was right! I am sure though they would have preferred I didn't test them on that. Being a parent is all about unconditional love, it does not mean that parents excuse our behaviours or accept them, it just means that they love you enough to help you find a way out of the mess. I know that I have disappointed my parents terribly and I am just devastated by that, honestly it is the last thing that I would ever want to do. I am so sorry and I love you so much thank you for everything now and always. It seems that many of the people that I hung out with when I was younger were making their big mistakes then I saved mine for later, none of us are really immune from mistakes, it is how we move on from those that is the true mark of our character not the mistake itself. I just hope that when my children are old enough to understand that they know that no matter what I will love them and support them regardless and I like my parents will help you navigate a way through if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.
Most importantly I want to thank my dear husband for standing by me and along with my parents helping me navigate this very rocky road. You had a choice and I would not have blamed you if this had all been too hard. Turns out that you are one of the good guys supporting me through "in sickness and in health, in plenty and in poverty. I will not seek to change you in any way..." just like you promised me 14.5yrs ago you are confirming those promises every day by your actions. I can't thank you enough for all you have done and hopefully we have now had our share of sickness and poverty and in time we can enjoy the health and plenty as we watch our children grow up together. Thank you again for all you have done and are doing and I want to again publicly say that I am so very sorry for everything I have put you through.
I want to finish with an unreserved apology to anyone that I may have hurt, offended, upset, stepped on you name it I am sorry. I will try harder to be a better person and to recognise what it is I am doing. I am sorry that I didn't reach out, to those friends who encouraged me to, I am sorry that I didn't listen, just generally I am sorry.
Finally THANK YOU to every single person who is helping support me through this journey, in whatever way that may be. Some support is coming from afar in the form of messages and cards letting me know that I am loved, some support is practical, some support is surprise gifts of chocolate in the mail. I just want you to know that every single act of kindness that we as a family has (and continues to) received it has made such a difference in our lives it will not be forgotten and one day I will repay all that kindness somehow. To my wider family (and inlaws) thank you for everything, your support for my family is invaluable and I love you all for that. I am working very hard to get better (what better looks like is yet to be defined) but I think that time is going to be my best friend on this journey and over time I will slowly heal.

Cathy xoxo

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Project Semicolon

Project semicolon posts started popping up in my newsfeed a few weeks ago now according to my journals and it intriguied me enough to write it down.  Why were all these semicolon's all over facebook and why now is it popping up in my feed?  Was it just some new trendy hipster thing that all the cool kids are doing? 
The second question is probably easier to understand facebook has all these ways of seeing what we look at and matching suggested reading to our interests.  With everything I am going through at the moment it wouldn't take Einstein to work out that I am doing a lot of reading about depression, anxiety, ptsd and so forth.  
So what is Project semicolon and what does it mean to me? 
According to the Project semicolon website  "A semicolon is used when an author could've chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to.  In this case the author is you and the sentence is your life."  
There are lots and lots of pictures of semicolons all over facebook, instagram, twitter, drawn on or tattooed on wrists all over the world.  My guess is that the intent behind using the semicolon image is similar to the intent behind RUOK, and that is to let sufferers know that they are not alone and to raise awareness of lots of the issues around mental health and to hopefully try to remove some of the stigma so that people won't delay getting treatment until it is too late.  
I have at a few different times in my life been very tempted to get a tattoo and haven't though if I was such a scaredy cat I would probably go through with a semicolon.  Mum you can breath now I won't get it you know I don't do needles or pain voluntarily, that said I will most likely draw on myself (when I remember) or even get some fake tattoos to wear instead and I know you are not a fan of that either, but I think this is important.  
For me the semicolon represents many things including;
*  It reminds me that this is not the end even though every day feels like it could be and some days I wish it was the end. 
*  It tells me that there is more to come.
*  It reminds me that what is to come can be very different to was has been before because that part of the story/sentence is as yet unwritten.
*  It opens up conversations with people about my journey, and even though it is a really sucky one and one that I really wouldn't wish on anyone.  If by being honest and talking openly about what I am going through helps just one other person get help sooner than I did then it is worth the embarrassment of baring my soul.  
So in short the semicolon image is not the new trendy hipster thing to do but a daily reminder to me that I need to keep on keeping on and that my story has a long way to go and is not over yet.  Hopefully for me and so many others who walk this lonely walk in the words of Robert Browning "Come grow old with me, the best is yet to be."

Cathy xoxo