Sensory Overload

I am utterly blessed. In the midst of an overload of senses; no, through them; God has blessed me.

I have a hot little hand on my face as I try to read. It pokes me and twitches at the entrance to my nostril, making breathing odd. If I turn over, I’ll have, instead, little untrimmed toenails in one of two choice spots: kidneys or buttocks.

A short reach away, I hear the thunderous roll of snoring. I prod and suggest turning over and for a moment, the storm abates. But only for a moment. Without any lightning to warn of its advance, the long drawn in breath offers new meteorological mysteries.

Further distant still, the irritating whine of machinery. It’s monotony is broken only by the insidious, regular alarm throughout the night.

Dogs, ours, bark at intruding nothings. Loudly.

If I leave this horizontal plane and venture out, I will likely find lines of light break through the darkness. Here and there, I will hear more cacophony to interrupt my rest. From one doorway, little light accompanies the pings and whirs of levels unlocked by a well known Italian plumber in overalls. From another, brighter light pops out, as unyielding as the so called notes screamed by a boy-man wearing more eyeliner than I ever have as he bemoans his newly single state.

Should I turn and retreat, my hapless tarsal structure is likely to be assaulted by weaponry at floor level. Possibly this time, I will encounter the string of a cheap bamboo bow. As I lightly sidestep the threatened trip, my other foot may find the arrow; or Danish building materials with spiked edges; or an assortment of miniature bovines cavorting without care near an enclosure of even smaller dinosaurs; or a shadowy feline hoping for food.

But despite this risk; this riot; this rude interruption of horizontal calm that I say I’d prefer; I am utterly blessed.

Little fingers and toes are not a blessing all who wish it share.
Snoring means he’s here with me.
The whir of machinery speaks of luxury others do not have.
Lights and music mean my children are home safe. They can be and do just as they wish without fear of persecution, despite my musical preferences.
Even the scattered hazards of a family hall shout freedom, safety and luxury.

I am utterly blessed.

Veritas, Eski

May I buy a vowel please?

I’ve been discovering that my anti – depressant medication is working well – That is:
I’m not crying all the time;
I’m not a screaming fish-wife;
getting out of bed is not ALWAYS as difficult;
I have interest in life;
I’m doing creative things for myself;
I recognise the goodness in my life;
I can get out and do the things that seem like a good idea in my head most of the time…… and much more that has previously been in the too hard basket.

However, I’m finding I’m still not as ME as I want to be, or think I ought to be. There are things I want to achieve; things I want to do each day that do not eventuate. And it causes me to question: Are these still symptoms of depression or am I just inherently lazy?

For such a major part of my life; for the past 22 years; I’ve been misdiagnosed and mistreated for depression. I have struggled with all of the symptoms above and the guilt of being ‘wrong.’ Finally, last year, I referred myself to a psychiatrist who properly diagnosed me and I have been properly medicated and improving since. As I said, though, I have certain expectations of myself and my accomplishments that are as yet unrealised. Is this normal? Does everyone, especially those who are NOT depressed, feel like this? Is it just me? Have I always been a thinker and NOT a doer of my wild and wonderful ideas?

I don’t have all the answers to the above. My hypotheses so far are: yes; yes; no and probably a bit, but I hope not.

So now, further experimentation is required.

May I buy a vowel please? I’d like an E. Are there any spare Es out there willing to be my friend?

In case it sounds like I have actually lost it, I’m talking about Extroverts. I’ve been undertaking MBTI personality testing with one of my senior classes and in teaching them have learned a bit more about myself. I’m an extreme extrovert.

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This comes as no surprise to those who know me, but perhaps very few realise how far I swing in that direction. When I’m really ME, I need literally no alone time. During my serious bouts of depression, this flipped to barely wanting to see anyone. I would work when I had to – and ‘play’ at being my general happy self – come home and go immediately to bed. I would often pretend to miss phone calls so that I could either text people or call them when I could cope with it. This is NOT the real me. Nowadays, I ask my family members to follow me to the shower to continue a conversation in case I miss out on company time.

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Back to my experiment. My hypothesis is this: My motivation to do more will increase with the acquisition of an E friend who likes similar things and has/makes time for me. So I need an E please!

My family love me and do spend time with me, but all 5 (actually, uncertain about Theo) of them are I people and, after a day at work or school, scatter like cockroaches under kitchen lights. They know who I am and do spend time, but, short of a roster, there’s not enough company for me.

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All of my close friends are I people. That’s always been the case, now that I think about it. I make plans and my friends enjoy coming along, but they don’t NEED me like I need them. Not need like clingy for emotional support, but need in terms of time. I’ve always had I friends and they don’t think of inviting someone (specifically me) every single time they think of going somewhere. Not out of spite, you understand, just because they are happy to do things on their own.

So, I’d like an E friend who’d like to spend loads of time with me.

The idea I have is that I will have more E time and therefore more energy. More energy equals more things achieved.

What are your thoughts? Any other experiments? What’s your personality type and how has it affected you?

Permanent Ink?

I have never considered getting a tattoo before. This has been for two main reasons:
1) Apart from God and my family, I’ve never stuck to one thing long enough to warrant contemplating having it inked permanently onto my person.

2) I have a relatively severe needle phobia. This is self-explanatory.

This afternoon, I came upon this blog post:

The Semicolon Project

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And I felt a blast of decision. I will do this. I will tattoo a semicolon on my inner wrist to:

1) Remind me to take a pause and keep going. When I struggle with my depression, I need this. Life throws all manner of things at us and we all need to pause and keep going.

2) Start conversations. When I’ve shared my experiences of depression on Facebook, I’ve been whelmed by the conversations that are ignited. People vent and share and feel they’re not alone. I’ve had some people say that they’ve been on the verge of taking their own lives and, having seen my posts, have felt less alone and kept going.

One woman, hearing me describe my decade at a ladies’ conference, came up to me afterwards and said that her grown up daughter felt the same way as me and they’d never understood each other.  She was going home that day to apologise and help her seek help. I’ve seen her since and apparently all is going much better.

During times like this, when I feel like my depression is somewhat sorted and under my control, I often forget to share and the world sees me as ‘normal’ me. I’d like to remind others and myself that depression is often ongoing and the need to support each other is also ongoing.

If experiencing some little pain will help even one person, it’s enough. I’ve been through much better and much worse than an hour or so of needle pricks; I can do this.

I will do this. Who would like to join me?

The C Word

I wrote this some time ago and I felt that I’d like to share it tonight. Another leg of the caterpillar. 🐛 As always, comments are welcome.

Eski Caterpillar

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Six months isn’t very long. Not really. When you’re a little kid waiting for your birthday or Christmas, the time is utterly immeasurable, interminable. When you’ve been given six months to live; terminal.

Grandma must have known that she wasn’t well for a while. Surely that size of growth, that sort of invasion, you’d realise, if not recognise; wouldn’t you? But, while not one prone to impenetrable silence, she was never one for dramatic proclamations either. So even if she knew, we didn’t.

And then, just as suddenly, we did. I don’t remember the moment – not at all a movie moment where the thundering minor chords loudly announce the arrival of some devastating disease; not like that. We were all told. My cousins travelled out of season to see Grandma while she was still well. She made a point of doing things with them while they visited. I’m sure she did that for me too, but, shamed to say, I don’t think I noted it then, for I don’t recall it now.

For six weeks she was away for treatment. For some reason our base hospital was ill equipped (no pun intended) to offer the assistance she required. My uncle and my great-grandmother both spent blocks of time with her – ostensibly to help, but I recall overhearing that Nanna’s help was probably easier done without, although it was given in love.

I also overheard, not from Grandma herself, but my mother and aunt’s frustration and my Grandpa’s useless silence. Certainly not renowned for many outward displays of affection, he seemed unaware of the momentous happenings around him – surely they affected him most of all? I think though that he certainly was aware, and affected, but unable to express or even comprehend his emotions. We all chided him, behind his back of course; but I’m sorry for that now as I was sorry for Grandma because of it then. I never told her either how much I would miss her. I never spoke of love, or anything that might have been read as, “I’m admitting you’re dying.” It wasn’t consciously done – just unaware or unable to admit or comprehend what was going on.

I knew about the doctor’s sorrowful admission that all that could be done, had. I understood, but as for what I felt? Mum got it. She understood, then again, you would about your mother – I hope I do if ever the occasion arises – which I am praying not.

The last thing I did for Grandma; more for mum really, was buying a bedpan the day before she died. Isn’t it strange, the useless things we remember? Of everything, all the emotion, I remember that! But of course, by the time I got it there, it was too late; she’d died. For a week afterwards, I carried it in the boot of the car, not sure how to return it. No one asked any questions when I did.

Grandma died the day after / of my Grandpa’s birthday. That I felt sorry for him for, certainly no celebration to be had and always then that anniversary.

I wonder if people often feel entirely inappropriate planning a funeral. My sister and aunty visited the funeral directors only to be struck with the giggles, as we all were when they shared, by the man’s sincerely meant, but utterly inane question, “So, I understand we’ve had a death in the family?” Is it wrong to want to laugh at that? The comment still raises a smile today. I was proud of us, we weren’t wailers, we kept our sense of humour and practicality throughout the planning. It’s hard to mourn continually. The trite line, “Life goes on” is true. For the rest of us it did. Nanna understood. Considered more than a little old at 92 and particularly scatty at times, this time she understood. She discussed some and agreed on most points. Of course, we all cried here and there, I don’t remember it often. I can’t imagine having to plan my daughter’s funeral or my mother’s. I don’t want to imagine it – but that’s what they did, these amazing women. They carried on, smiling through tears and holding it together. It’s a girl thing in my family, I think.

I’d never been to a funeral before. I’ve been to three since and I’m not interested in having too many more experiences of it, thanks all the same. Grandma’s minister did what he did. We sang some hymns that none of us really knew the words to, but the church people did. I don’t remember what they were. Mum, Katie and I sang “Precious Lord”, which chokes me still, although I love it. I don’t understand it, maybe it’s just me, but there is kind of a perverse pleasure in outward displays of sorrow. We’re not an unemotional family, but we don’t dwell too much on the “negative” emotions. Anger has a limited place in our family and we’re ‘cross’ or ‘frustrated’ rather than angry. There’s a therapy session in that! Sorrow isn’t something I’ve had much dealing with and this was one of those few times. I was certainly ‘movie’ dramatic enough in that one moment. I never want to see anyone’s coffin be lowered again! Death I can cry about and cope with. Since believing fully in Jesus, I can learn to celebrate a little at times – but it’s still a hard thing. Lowering of coffins – never again!

Just for one moment, when the ropes tighten to lower the coffin and its silver handles – which have been for all intents and purposes useless at a graveside service. But you can’t have a plain wooden box for a much beloved family member – optional extras courtesy of the funeral director – waste of time and money but they assuage the guilt you’d feel if you didn’t do it. When the coffin lowers, I cry out – unintentionally – the term “wrenched from her throat” makes much more sense now. I cry out and stumble – almost to my knees. Silly really. Useless now she’s gone. But the feelings. Such conflict with my joyous mood later, when we went that night to a dress up charity collection. Odd, the things we do. But then it’s finished, and again, life goes on.

Reflecting, I think I’ve learned more about Grandma’s illness and her life as a person since she died. Even since writing this, mum and Katie and I have discussed more about that time than we did then. I don’t want to think that about my mum more than eleven years after she dies. Or anyone I’m close to – bit of a hit in the head – a wake up call. Talk to your family! Let them know what you’ve done, what you’ve felt. Share what you’re doing now and tell them how you feel. Take the time to do it now, while you can – my mum does that and I want to. It’s not morbid, it’s more important. Why not?

Reblogged from my Son: My “Memoir”

Welcome to the blogging world of my son. He’s written here about his experience of depression and I love the reality of it. It’s brutal and honest.

The Not-So-Dragon's Den

I was trying to think of the best way to start my little blog and I immediately ran out of ideas.

You know how it is. You have ideas for ages but when you finally go to do something with them, they disappear.

So I decided to re-use something I wrote in my last year of high school. (I say that like it was aeons ago, but I only finished last year…)

We had to write memoirs for our English class, and I figure, why not show it to the internet. Nothing ever goes wrong that way 😛

So yeah, my memoir, as weird as that sounds to me.

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