Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bring it on!

October's fat lady is out and warming her larynx ready to do her finale and it is time to reflect on a month that promised quite a bit and did a brilliant job of failing to deliver.

My photoaday efforts tanked fairly on in the month and everything else pretty much got sucked down with it. I'm not terribly impressed with myself, but one cannot be perfect all the time! It was a challenging month in other ways which culminating in our 8 person household being floored by a nasty gastro bug over the course of about 5 days. Normally after these types of things people bounce back within a day or two... but not with this one. I can honestly say that 5 days after I was first afflicted I am only just starting to feel 'normal' again. (Normal is a relative term and in no way suggests that I think for one minute that I will ever be conventionally normal...ever.)

So November looms large and brings with it a huge mountain of possibility and opportunity (including opportunity to crash and burn in spectacular fashion).

For the first time ever (how is this possible?) I am attempting NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writer's Month for those not in the know. It is a yearly 'event' where writers of all levels attempt to pen a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. This equates to approx 1667 words a day (for those that care for those types of things). Thankfully the challenge is not to write a brilliant, grammatically perfect, wonderfully crafted piece of prose. It is about quantity, not quality... which pretty much goes against the grain for me, and for many others. The idea is to free yourself from constraint, let the words flow, let it lead you where it will. I have no idea how I will go, but the journey is going to be interesting.

I am also getting back on the FMSphotoaday bandwagon, created by FatMumSlim. Just that little moment of creativity every day was a huge help to my overall wellbeing so I need to get back there.

Added to the above is the every looming spectre of the Silly Season. Presents to buy, cards to write, special handmade gifts to create. We are also being to plan some renovations for our new home.

So no pressure, no stress....... o.0

I hope you will join me over the coming month as I battle my self inflicted challenges, I'm thinking it will be a doozy!

Friday, October 12, 2012


Some days I really wonder what the fuck is going on within my brain. Everything will seem ok, and then ‘wham’, I am hit with this enormous urge to cry, vomit, scream, run, hide and cease to exist. And it makes me feel so horrible when things are going so well in general terms. We have a great house, our family is together, our kids are growing and the future looks pretty bright from where I am standing. And yet I feel like crappola. The second my anxiety levels or adrenalin levels start to rise I descend into a pit of hell internally.

It is incredibly hard to explain it to others, especially when I barely understand it myself. I have this excess of intelligence, but it is no match for the irrationality and incomprehensibility of depression and anxiety. I have finally made a breakthrough that may well be the doorway to a new way of dealing with this monster. I finally realised that my depression is not a symptom of the condition of my life, but a condition of its own, an illness. None of us ever think that someone who is struck down by cancer is done so because they have a sad life, or a painful life or a traumatic life. We acknowledge that it is something that just happens to some people, regardless of economics, social level, nationality, intelligence, religion etc etc. And yet there is this thought that depression only strikes those with bad things going on in their lives. Sure, bad things can be a trigger, like mary jane can be a trigger for schizophrenia, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who is afflicted has a trigger.

Depression and anxiety often has a genetic component, some people are more likely to suffer from it or be predisposed to it. It is a brain disorder, an imbalance. It can be managed, both with medication and with other therapies, like many disorders and illnesses. But our acceptance, our understanding of the disorder is coloured by the idea that it is just an excuse used by people to be lazy or weird, or that is just a made up thing. People with mental illness are looked down on, like they are tainted, unclean, the work of the devil, a danger to society etc etc.

But we are not.

Many of us are productive members of society, contribute time, intelligence, ideas and abilities to a range of industries and organisations. We are parents, and children, and partners, carers and loved ones. We are sportsmen and women, actors, businessmen and women, soldiers, bus drivers, teachers, artists... in every walk of life there are those who are afflicted with depression. We aren’t expecting to be moddy-coddled or cosseted, we don’t want pity... we want acceptance, compassion, empathy. We want to feel like we can talk about depression, anxiety, bi-polar, PTSD and all the other variables without judgement, intolerance or fear.
Depression is a hidden disorder because most people just don’t want to know.

But there are those who care. There are those who want to help, who put themselves out there to help those of us afflicted. And on the whole they are undersupported by the government. Their funding is cut by bean counters with no compassion, no interest in the lives of those affected, who think we just need to talk to someone for a couple of months and everything will be just fine. They fall in the ‘you should just put it behind you and move on’ brigade. Depression is not like a bag that you just chuck in the bin. It’s more like losing a limb... you are never quite the same again.

Some may be quite upset at the idea of me comparing depression to losing a limb, might think I am over exaggerating the impact, the severity of the disorder. I’m not. It affects every aspect of your life, things you used to do with ease you can no longer do, or they take considerably longer or more effort. People don’t look at you the same way once they know, you don’t feel normal anymore. People pity you, or worse, ignore you. And you spend a lot of time wishing you were normal, that you hadn’t changed.

But you can’t go back.

Even if you get to the point where you are in control of your depression, have it well managed, some might even say ‘cured’, even then you are still different. Because you have experienced something that not everyone experiences, it never leaves you. And for some it is a permanent illness. They can learn to manage it, but it will never completely go away. You can live with it, but it always sitting there in the background like a shadow waiting for an opportunity to raise its ugly head and mess with you some more.

I don’t know one person with depression who actually would choose to have it. It isn’t a choice. But there is a choice to deal with it or not. There is a choice to be proactive and seek help. It isn’t an easy step to take, to admit you need help, especially when you fear that others will consider you weak, or lazy or stupid. But professional help is the only real way to get a handle on the disorder, the only real way to move forward. And it takes work. Lots and lots of work. And you will make mistakes, and you will feel worse at times. But eventually you get to a point where you realise that you can move forward even with depression, that it is ok to be mentally ill, that it doesn’t make you a bad person, or a lazy person, or a stupid person.

Then depression becomes like your conscience, poking you when you aren’t being kind to yourself, kicking you when you don’t look after yourself, slamming you when you deny it exists. It keeps you honest. And when you get to that point, when you embrace this part of yourself you begin to see that there is hope, there is a future, there is a way to live with depression that isn’t dark, scary and painful. It doesn’t go away, but it no longer controls you.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Photoaday Sept 25 to 30

Another month is behind us, and Christmas is creeping ever closer! Egads!
But before we turn our minds in that direction, let's wrap up the Photoaday challenge for September (created by the wonderful FatMumSlim).

Day 25 - Frame. This is the frame of an enormous mirror my mum has had for years. Gorgeous, and incredibly heavy!

Day 26 - Near. I was playing around with my LittleBigShot macro lens and got this great picture of a tiny little flower bud on a very neglected cactus.

Day 27 - Love/Hate. I bought this new nail polish, very cheap. And there was a reason it was soooo cheap..it stinks really really really bad! Think of sticking a permanent marker inside up your nose. Horrible horrible horrible. But I love love love the colour!

Day 28 - Errand. Well, it is more my errand list, but close enough. LazyMeter.com rocks!

Day 29 - A good thing. Yes, I really think it is a good thing.

Day 30 - You, then. This was me back in the day... I'm probably around 2. Not really sure what happened to me!

So September is over. And October has started, along with another Photoaday challenge brought to you by FatMumSlim. Join in, its great fun and it doesn't cost anything!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Photoaday Sept 13 - 24

Wow, I have been really slack! Well, no, not really... it has been a difficult week for me. My PTSD has been playing merry hell with my brain. Nevertheless I have managed to take a photo for each day, even if it took me a couple of days! Let's get to it!

Day 13 - Table. There is a table there, under all the mess!

Day 14 - Favourite.. as in my favourite colour... purple!

Day 15 - First thing I see... my man.

Day 16 - Strange. This is a Monster High Ghoulia doll that I am turning into an alien. Her eyes are painted black, hence why this shot looks like she has holes in her head.

Day 17 - In my fridge. For some reason my sons insist on putting the Vegemite in the fridge.... *annoyed*

Day 18 - Price. Calfornia 37 album by Train... I would have paid full price. Absolutely LOVE this album.

Day 19 - Underneath. Lots of underneaths.

Day 20 - Man-made. Actually these were woman made... but close enough.

Day 21 - Sometimes.. a glass of water is all you need.

Day 22 - Up. Up above my desk.

Day 23 - Before Bedtime. Most nights I play a little nintendo before I go to sleep. Love my big fat pen stylus.

Day 24 - Three things. Three random items that happened to be sitting together. On another note, today would have been my gpa's 96th birthday. I miss him.

As we near the end of the month, our thoughts turn to next month. FatMumSlim has the list up for October on her site and on facebook, so if you want to join in next month check it out!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Photo A Day Sept 6 - 12

I have returned! I'm not having the best time offline, and it is showing online with a distinct lack of activity. I have however managed to keep up with my Photoaday challenge, although I was 24 hours late with day 11. So let's have a look at what I covered in the last week.

 Day 6 - Every Day. Plurk is somewhere I go every day. I love the friends I have made there and the support they have given me.

Day 7 - Natural. Natural nails, for a change.

Day 8 - At Night. My mum's cute dog at night.. slightly less cute and more demon! LOL

Day 9 - Something I do most weekends... staring at my keyboard! This was also the 17th birthday of my twins... not sure where 17 years went.

Day 10 - Black + White. Herringbone spiral and Snowflake Obsidian.

Day 11 - Hero. Ok, this is a doll of mine, but the dogtags and the camo are indicative of some of our world's biggest and most underappreciated heroes.

Day 12 - Together. Me and my coffee... together forever!

Join me next time to see more.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Photo A Day Sept 1 - 5

Another month has begun, and another Photoaday challenge has also started, thanks to FatMumSlim. I have jumped on board again this month, and I also managed to drag a few of my buddies along with me. A couple of my friends in America have been inspired to join in, as well as a lovely lady from Germany. I love that such a simple idea is helping us creative types find another outlet for our talents.

So here are my first images for September!

Day 1 - You, now. I look tired!

Day 2 - Father. September 2nd was Father's Day here in Australia, and this is what Father's Day looks like in our house... 5 kids.. one dad... muhahahaha.
On a sad note, this was the first Father's Day since my gpa died. A hard day for my Mum.

Day 3 - Far Away. The view from our backyard.. pretty awesome how far you can see on a fine day.

Day 4 - In Your Mailbox. This is what was in our mailbox.... no letters, no bills.. just catalogues!

Day 5 - Bright. This was one of the only bright spots in the sky today. It was cold, wet and windy.

Off to a great start I would say. Cannot wait to see what the rest of the month brings.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Photo A Day August Days 29 - 31

Here we are at the end... of August. Here are the last three photos for the Photo A Day challenge from FatMumSlim.

Day 29 - Down. This is one of my sons. He, like me, suffers from depression.

Day 30 - Card. These are actually my file cards that I use to record the materials used in my creations. Had a bit of fun with this one in Picasa.

Day 31 - Hidden. Somewhere under here is a chair!

This has been a really great creative journey, and I'm really glad I stuck it out. If you are interested in joining in for September you can find all the info here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Photo A Day August - Days 24 to 28

We are nearing the end of August and for the first time ever with one of these challenges I have managed to actually keep up with it. I am so proud of myself! Considering how sick I have been this past month, and all the offline stuff I have been contending with, this is really quite amazing.

I am already on board for next months challenge by FatMumSlim, but before we get there.. the penultimate August selection.

Day 24 - Path. This is right outside our place.. yes we need to mow the lawn!

Day 25 - Fresh. Fresh coffee, mmmmmmmm

Day 26 - Dream. Just a little pencil scrawl with a bit of Picasa artistry.

Day 27 - Tap. A bit of Cross Process in Picasa (to hide any icky bits that might have been on my sink!)

Day 28 - Clock. This ended up way artier than intended after I had to crop some 'stuff' out! LOL

Only three days left! Join me next time for the wrap up of August.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Photo A Day August - Days 17-23

Ooops.. a few more days than I intended! My only excuse is having a hectic offline schedule.. how is it that I am more busy now that my kids are older than I ever was when they were actually reliant on me for their every need?

Anyway, I have been keeping up with the Photo A Day challenge by FatMumSlim and I have been impressed with some of the photos I've managed to produce (with the help of Picasa at times).

So here we go!

Day 17 - Faces. Five of my gorgeous Monster High girls.

Day 18 - Inside. Really love how this shot came out.

Day 19 - Hole. I love the colours in this and the composition.

Day 20 - Today. The result of reducing 9 folders of 'stuff' down to 4... progress.

Day 21 - Cool. Nail art that was meant to evoke the feeling of clouds or snow.

Day 22 - Home. That would be my front door and a glimpse of the front hall.

Day 23 - Pair. My two Clawdeen dolls, they make a cute pair.

Just over a week to go of this month. I am certainly considering continuing on with this next month. I think it is a great way to do at least something creative every day.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Photo A Day Challenge - Days 13 - 16

I am back again with another installment of my efforts in FatMumSlim's photo a day challenge for August. I've had an awfully hectic week but have made a special effort to take a photo especially for the challenge each day, even if its the only creative thing I've managed to squeeze into my day.

So let's get to it.

Day 13 - Simple. It was a simple idea (letters out of catalogues) that  got a bit more complicated once I started playing in Picasa!

Day 14 - Arrow. Featuring arrows on one of our moving boxes that is still residing in our garage!

Day 15 - Ready. Yes, its a red E... get it? I know, I'm a smart alec!

Day 16 - Food. A shot of the inside of our pantry.. well, part of it.. it was too big to get in one shot!

So we are half way through the month, what will the second half bring? You will have to stay tuned!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Whoops, I did it again!

I completely forgot to blog about my challenges. And the truth of the matter is that I dropped my personal challenge, whilst continuing on with the Photo A Day challenge from FatMumSlim.
It's probably a bit bad of me to drop my own challenge, but in the end I was focussing more on the Photoaday than I was on it anyway.
So here are the last few photos from the Photoaday challenge.

Day 7 - 8 o'clock. I played around a bit with this one in Picasa

Day 8 - Glasses. Interpretation is everything!

Day 9 - Messy. Yes that is my work area, yes it really is that messy, no you can't make messy look good!

Day 10 - Ring. Again this one had attention in Picasa. It was a pretty bad photo taken late in the day when I was in a hurry. This would be the day I finally decided to drop my own challenge (not that I made the previous days fit my challenge).

 Day 11 - Purple. Ah, an idea made just for me! A lovely purple, sparkly, ombre manicure. Not that I needed a reason to redo my nails, but I'll take any excuse!

Day 12 - Spoon. Again its all in the interpretation. I could have taken a picture of cutlery, but that isn't nearly as much fun!

So I may not have stuck to my original plan at the start of the month, but I am really enjoying the Photo a day challenge!