Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Something you struggle with

This. Depression. Intrusive thoughts. Effy said it better than I can because I still struggle to say it out loud.

Only I call the intrusive thoughts 'Brain Weasels'. Because they are kind of like the hamsters, the thoughts that go round and round, but more dangerous. Don't believe them. They dance, they twist, they are seductive and powerful. But they lie.

And when they seem stronger than I am, I hold on to just one thing. I want to know what happens next.

Curiosity is one of my strongest characteristics.

That and a morbid sense of humour.

The other thing I struggle with is keeping those two under wraps. The things that I am inspired to blurt out aren't really socially appropriate.

Society can get stuffed. Wellbeing and death and pain and joy are all part of life. Ignoring one aspect dulls the others.

Which suddenly ties in to this in progress painting.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Yesterday I couldn't. Today I can.

Such is life.

Yesterday I could not face my Daily Pages, my blog, nothing like that. So I didn't. Didn't force myself, didn't guilt myself. Turns out that Effy was doing a Live on Facebook at the same time (in her time zone) about falling off the blogging wagon. The synchronicity pleases me.

As for why? Probably brain weasels. The feeling that if you look in the closet for the monster you might come face to face with it, and it might be even scarier than you imagine. Or if you start crying you might never stop.

That got me thinking about fight and flight response. The nudge for Day 4 was

4) What really stresses you out, and how to do take care of yourself when you're in the midst of *waves at all that*. 

Which is, again, amusingly synchronous. You see, I usually take the third option. I freeze. It should be "Fight, Flight or Freeze". A little bit of stress is OK, I get my head down, get on with shit, panic after the fact. A lot of stress in a big lump all at once and it triggers my freeze response. I can't make decisions. People ask if I want tea or coffee, and I can't choose. I nap. I may or may not be tired, but I yawn like there isn't enough oxygen in the room. Between the anxiety and depression if there's an extra stressor added, I can sleep 40+ hours over a weekend. That was special circumstances.

So that's what happened yesterday. And you can't look at things like that when you are in them. At least, I can't. I just hunker down, stay very still and outlast them. Then I can look at them after. From a safer distance. But in the moment, it all comes down to survival.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Why now?

Why am I blogging now? Well, it's something I've considered, wanted to do and sort of had a half-hearted bash at a couple of times. Now my friend and teacher Effy Wild has this challenge to blog every day in September. So I joined in. Why not?

I have a terrible track record with doing-a-thing-a-day challenges. And I don't care, not this time, somehow this doesn't matter. Do or do not.

I'm not worried about being visible. I'm not worried that no one will read this. Or monetising it or numbers or any of those things the experts talk about. The things they blog about so you will give them money to tell you what they think about how to blog. I'm getting cynical. Or realistic. Both work. Neither matter. I'm just playing with words.

Effy is supplying prompts, to engage with or not as the mood strikes. Today I engage. This is something I have never really had an answer to.

Today’s Nudge: What do you really want?

I'm not sure if I never figured it out, or if some part of me knows, but is too scared to let on. Something so massive, or so simple, I either couldn't see all of it, or couldn't allow myself to settle for it. It's like the question they asked us in school - where do you see yourself in five years time? I don't. I can't.

Sometimes it seems like it would be a bloody miracle if I survive five more years. I'm amazed I've lasted as long as I have.

And yet I have this sense of seeking something. Yearning, a longing.

Is it sufficient answer to say I want to know what it is that I want?

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn road bridge
Brooklyn is a little town just north of where we live. I love the shape of the road bridge, the rust and the rivets.

We went for a lovely lunch at the marina cafe, wandered around a little in the sunshine. Annnnnd I came back with a rocking migraine aura. It's like being stoned without having to waste money on drugs.

So the photos I took are provided raw, straight off my phone - I need to get my head around some editing software or something to make those funky collages.

But today is not the day for that.

Image Description - to the left is a photo of Brooklyn road bridge, taken from the car on the way through. All grey girders webbed together with rivets and rust spots and a bright, bright blue sky. Also shown, a very blurry bit of windscreen wiper!

A view from the path around the headland. Yachts with long masts on the left, a row of tiny boats leaning up against the cliff opposite, with a lot of trees covering the rest of the hill. On the right side of the hill is a HUGE lump of sandstone with bits eroded.

A fat black bird with a leathery neck and fan shaped tail - an Australian brushturkey. They make a lot of mess in people's yards and apparently can be eaten, but I don't think you'd want to! Not closely related to the American turkey, according to wikipedia!

If you look carefully in the middle of the photo, there's a heron. Grey, gangly and hopefully watching the family having a fishing party just a bit further along the beach.

This is a terrible photo of a galah. Kind of a cross between a pigeon and a parrot - grey with a pink breast. It's grazing on the grass in the car park, and completely ignored us as we walked past. The traditional joke is that if you put a galah and a stone in a cooking pot, the galah is ready to eat when the stone is soft!

A random weed with leaves like dandelions in the car park grass. The flowers have a delicate lemon yellow petal with a dark purple centre. Apparently galahs do not find them tasty.

The view from where we ate lunch. Occasionally a little boat would go scudding past and gulls would drift along scouting for leftovers. There is hardly any breeze and the water is very calm. I have no idea where the stairs go. The table was on a boardwalk and kept wobbling when people walked past.

There are another half dozen places to eat in the tiny town. Well, the house side of things is fairly small. Seems half the population lives on boats! I want to go back and try all of them. Maybe not the fish shack! But definitely the one with whole menu page devoted to interesting teas.

This may become one of my favourite places to pop out to. Where's your favourite lunch spot?

Friday, 1 September 2017

A year later...

Well, a bit more than a year. We moved. To Australia.

Sydney Harbour from the National Park by the old Quarantine Station
Emigrating is a big and strange and wonderful and terrifying process that I may or may not write about. Some things are easier to communicate with a little distance. Perhaps now we are settling into our new lifestyle.

Knowing me, that is going to take a while longer. Do all humans seek drastic change and then freak out when they get what they were looking for?

I vaguely recall (I use that phrase a lot, there is so much trivia floating around in my head) reading about how evolution required two types of risk management for the human race to be so successful. Risk-averse, to stay home, get the next generation going, stick to the safe berries and risk-loving, the ones who explore and expand territory, knowledge, and occasionally get blown up or eaten in the process.

I'm considering there may be a third group, which might even comprise the majority of our species. We think that risk is interesting and attractive, we want to go on adventures.

Then when we get there, we can't wait to be home again, back in our zones of comfort and safety and "the known".

Hmm. Not what I was expecting to blog about. Now, blogging without constantly editing what's coming out of my brain for relevance and correctness? There's an adventure.

Monday, 8 August 2016

When I can't talk about the thing

There's a thing I want to talk about. But can't, really. Not my story to tell. It impacts me and still, I can't talk about that bit without explaining this bit, which isn't mine. 

So we English talk about inconsequential things, like the weather. It's perfect drying weather. Sunny, warm, with a stiff breeze. Useful, because I seem to have caught a flea. All clothes, bedding, the washer hasn't been this busy in ages.

I love watching the silver birches in weather like this. The whole tree dances gracefully, serenely, and the leaves go bonkers. Flicking back and forth, flashing the reflective silver, then the dark green. Like a ballet dancer who just can't help doing Jazz Hands. All the time. 

We talk about illnesses. Of course, someone somewhere has it worse. I have a headache, I have a migraine. I stubbed my toe, my whole leg fell off and I had to hop to the hospital while carrying it. A mild exaggeration, perhaps, but I do actually know several people like that. One stops talking to them after a while, gets a bit more picky.

Ohey, I can add photos from my phone!
This is one of my friend's other cats.

My hand is better - I was trying to get some much needed (should that be hyphenated? Much-needed?) medication into a friend's cat. Wrapped him in a towel, knelt on the floor, cat between my knees. Problem is, you then need three hands. One to immobilise the cat by pinching his scruff (though I've seen a clip on YouTube where a vet uses a bulldog clip to do that, I didn't have one to hand). To hand. I'm so funny. A second hand to force the cat's mouth open, and a third hand to shove in the pill. 

It didn't work. Lightning fast, he twisted his head round, sank his teeth into my index finger and thumb of my right hand. I'm right handed. Of course he sank his teeth in that side. I washed it out, encouraged bleeding, all the things you are supposed to do. It still got infected.

Seems there are three reactions to the news that I can't use my right hand properly. Sympathy - Ow, I bet that hurts. Competitive grossness - When a dog bit my hand it turned GREEN and...[gory details]. And the Meh - ah well, you've got another one.

Long story a bit shorter, I had to go to the doctor's twice. The first time I was so relieved to get some antibiotics to take down the swelling, and was in so much pain, that I totally forgot to check if my tetanus is up to date! It is now. Good old amoxicillin, my old friend. I've had the stuff at least once a year since I was a baby (strawberry flavour, because bananas are horrid). Before Mum corrects me on that, I'm going on averages. There were a few years I didn't need any, but then there have been sinus and ear infections that took multiple courses. Plus a few that were penicillin resistant so got something a bit more exotic.

Modern drugs are awesome. 

So what do you talk about when you can't talk about the thing? I talk about everything else. I don't talk about the thing that might upset this or that person, because, while I'm not responsible for their feelings, I do get to help. I don't talk about the thing that someone did that really upset me. Because that might upset them. I call it my BigSister Mode. Trying to guess what everyone else is feeling, might feel, and protect and support them all. It's exhausting, and I could stop, I suppose. I don't really want to. It's who I am, since even before my baby brother was born.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Well, that didn't work.

I tried to put in a post about last year's Quilt Festival. There were four photos. It sort of froze, wouldn't update, lost all the changes and buggered off with all my words. Maybe I messed it up because I opened the blog on my tablet as well as my laptop. That might confuse the system.

Certainly confused me!

There seems such a lot to learn about and it is not sitting easily into my head. Which is weird. I'm used to things at least making sense, even if I don't learn all of it all in one go. I must remember that the first thing I crocheted came out ugly, tight and twisted. Maybe the first blog posts are supposed to do the same sort of thing. I need to make peace with the way my brain works in my 40s, after illness and brain weasels and CBT and... whatever else.

OK, so I add 'learn how to post photographs in a mosaic' to the top of the list of things to do.

Or I would if I had a list. I have too many things I need to make lists of!

Along with the Lifebook, Book of Days and Flow art lessons... more about those another time.

For now, let it be enough to confess that I am seriously over my head in terms of the number of art courses I have signed up for. Bought. Spent money on. It's a habit. It's not so bad as smoking or drugs, but I guess it's a problem because I'm feeling stressed out about something that is intended to make me feel better.

So what are you going to do about it, Caroline? I'm going to go have a shower, get dressed and maybe have a cup of tea.

And I'm going to hit 'publish' on this in it's current, raw, ugly form, because done and actual beats perfect and imaginary.