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!