I swear, I just blinked, and a week went by. I can’t believe it’s #MoodboardMonday again already. Today’s colour is grey (or gray, depending on what dictionary you favour). It’s the colour of my mood and the fog that has taken up residence in my brain.Continue reading
If there was a Pandemic Prevention Olympics, South Africa would be on the podium taking gold medals by the barrel full. We’ve had the longest #Coronavirus lockdown in the world.Continue reading
A while ago I wrote about knowing your emotional triggers. But, what happens when something you used to love, turns out to be a trigger? This is what happened to me earlier this week, which took me by quite a surprise. The Bean and I were watching an Elvis Presley tribute show and every song stirred sadness within me, even Burning Love which used to be one of my ultimate feel good songs. Bring on the love songs and well, I was close to bawling like a child whose favourite tricycle had been chopped up for firewood.
It didn’t stop there. Night before last I was under the covers watching Covert Affairs for the millionth time and Annie and Auggie finally kissed, the tears were running rivers down my cheeks.
Knowing that tears are cathartic, I decided to up the ante so I watched the episodes of Bones where Mr. Nigel-Murray and Sweets die, followed by the last episode of Elementary. The latter series holds special meaning for me. The tears though felt less sentimental, but more heartfelt.
I found myself thinking What the hell is wrong with you, Woman? And then it hit me. I’ve had toothache since the day before Elvis’s crooning.
Now, I am not a lover of the dentist. At. All. So for me to go, out of my own, on a Friday during my holiday and sitting five hours at the local Walk-In dentist and not being helped and then having to leave because of another appointment, and then finding another dentist on a Saturday, must tell you the amount of pain I was in. Turns out that it’s not my tooth at all, well technically not. More than a decade ago, my wisdom teeth were extracted, in the dentist’s chair (I think childbirth must be as painful) and one’s root broke off, staying behind in my jaw. I’ve not had trouble with it. Until now.
The dentist (who has the most beautiful blue eyes) took an x-ray and it turns out that the jaw bone on the one side has healed perfectly, but not on the other (where the problem is). He explained to me in terms I could understand what the issue is and sent me off with a prescription for antibiotics, so large they resemble suppositories.
He gave me strict instructions that if I was not feeling relief by today, I was to come back, so he could cut into my gum, check inside and sew me up again. I thought, hell no, there is no way I am having someone choppity-chop my gums and then sew me up again. What is the stitches hurt more than the cut? What if lips swelled, making me look like a badly botoxed celebrity? Would I have to get anesthetic? Because that in its own right poses its own challenges – I come out extremely unpleasant. So, instead I smiled (well kind of), telling him I would return if I was still swollen or if brushing my teeth felt torturous. Thank the Pope I woke up this morning feeling a lot better, and looking less like a mumpy chipmunk.
I even have colour in my cheeks again 🙂
I have a notion that the antibiotics may be playing havoc with my stay-sane meds and that may be why I’m feeling all teary-eyed like an overly-hormonal-pregnant-rabid-dog. I only have three more days left to drink them, so after that I’ll test my Suspicious Mind by getting caught in a trap with all the characters that have made me cry this week. I like to think that what I’ve experienced is a false trigger (if such a thing exists). After all, who doesn’t love The King of Rock ‘n Roll? Or Holmes and Watson being two people that love each other?
Or Piper Perabo kissing a shirtless Christopher Gorham?
‘Til next year!
Wishing all my readers, and followers a great end to 2019, the best start to 2020. Here’s believing it will be one to remember – for all the right reasons.
If jam equals sunshine as it does in my vocabulary, then this past weekend qualifies as jam-packed.
Friday night Melody and I went out for what was supposed to be dinner, but it ended up being a scallop starter each, a shared bowl of sorbet and countless Virgin Strawberry Daquiris. As is almost always the case when we see each other, the restaurant started closing around us, but we just couldn’t stop talking. It was so great to see her; she is tonic for the soul. We’ll likely catch up again during the week, this time with her husband, Leonard. I dropped her off shortly after eleven and headed home, only to be pulled off by the cops. I’m never fazed because I don’t drink anymore, but it is a schlep, even more so when their handheld scanners are on the fritz. A regular two-minute-routine-license-check took almost fifteen minutes and by then the Sandman had entered already. It was too late to drink my meds, so I skipped them. Not. A. Good. Idea. I had the most awful nightmares, vividly memorable and upsetting as I woke up crying and covered in perspiration.
I had to be up early too on Saturday as Carla and I decided that we’d take a drive through to George as she was looking to buy some ‘not-blue-because-that-is-all-I-have-in-my-cupboard’ tops. On the way, we picked up a friend of hers, Arissa, who was house-sitting for friends. The house is stunning and the view left me breathless. Shopping went rather quickly and I found myself two cashmere-like sweaters at Queenspark for R99 (about $6.50) a piece on sale. I also bought a snakeskin-look belt. So I now have a dress, a bodysuit, shoes, a handbag and a belt in the look, but they’re all different colours. The irony is I don’t own a single full-quill ostrich leather item, and I’ve been in the industry for almost nine years. I do have a leg-skin purse, so I’m not a completely bad example.
After shopping we spent the afternoon with Arissa, at the place she’s housesitting, chatting over snacks and freshly-brewed Java. I immediately comfortable with Arissa – she is an open person, with an extremely warm and welcoming personality. We walked round the grounds and I got to see adult miniature horses and a foal that is not much higher than the resident border collie. I also got to see a majestic Waterbuck, some springbuck and teeny-tiny little ducklings. It was such a lovely experience.
Headed off to spend the night with The Toppie and The Bean. We had chicken, butternut and The Bean’s roast potatoes – as if my Saturday couldn’t get any better! By something to eight I was pulling amps because of the lack of sleep the night before. My folks went to bed round nine and when I got couch all kitted out for sleep, I discovered I’d left my meds at home. Skip night number two. I tossed and turned and again woke up in a glistening film of sweat. Aside from that, I didn’t feel off, until Sunday night, but I’ll get to that in a bit. We decided on a whim to take a Sunday drive to Still Bay and Jongensfontein, which is about an hour away.
The sky was a cloudless blue and the sun was warm despite the wind. We stopped at the well-known Lappiesbaai restaurant for a light bite to eat before driving to Jongensfontein. Seeing the tidal pool brought back memories of a weekend I took away with Carmen, Ewan, Elena and Nick many moons again when Elena was still pregnant with her first-born who is now almost seven.
Sunday night after all the excitement wore off, the lack of medication and restless sleep hit me like a ton of bricks and I sat on the couch, in the eerie quietness of The Cave, with not a single light on. I was overwhelmed by a feeling of immense loneliness and self-doubt. I cried. For how long I don’t know, but at some stage I got into bed and prayed for sleep so that the feelings of no companionship and being the girl that’s always everyone’s friend but no-one’s person could end, even if only temporarily.
What many people don’t realize is that a depressive ‘episode’ isn’t always a case of ‘going ballistic’, or ‘losing one’s shit’ requiring hardcore antidepressants or a stint in a psych facility. In my case, it is sometimes just an immense moment of immeasurable sadness that has me wondering what my purpose on earth is, and if anyone aside from my parents would really miss me if I wasn’t here anymore. The smile on my face in the photo is genuine, but in a moment, that smile can be erased as Sunday night is testimony of.
I know this melancholy feeling is something momentary; that it will pass. I have so much to look forward to, and be grateful for. I’m just in a dip at the moment.
I have since filled my prescription, and I have back-up meds in my handbag with me at all times now. What’s that thing we learned as Girl Scouts? Be prepared!
…Bang, bang! You shot me down. Bang, bang! I hit the ground. Bang, bang! That awful sound…
Today I’m going to talk about triggers. Not the thingies that you pull to fire a gun, but the ones that fire something in your brain that leave you feeling explosively emotional, whether happy, sad, angry, overwhelmed, excited and/or (insert whatever you’d like to here).
I had two instances over the weekend that triggered negative emotions in me. One was an altercation with a frog-eyed woman who was undecided about what cereal to put in her shopping cart. She was standing on one side of the aisle looking at the variety on display telling another woman with dark hair to bend down and look at something lower down only to tell her “No, I don’t like that flavour”. The Bean asked, “please can we get past?” and the brunette moved out the way. She then said something about “just standing a little to the side” and Mrs. Frog Eyes got all in her face about “we’re all shopping here”. The Bean replied with something in the line of “that’s why we should be considerate” and The Frog shouted down the aisle for her to “Shut up!” I turned around, angry, and said rather loudly, “Excuse me?” and she carried on with “your mother is rude”. I told her she was being rude, and she rewound to “we’re all shopping here!” I think if I’d engaged with her a bit longer, her skin might have tightened so much she would have suffered an ocular proptosis, or worse. I wonder if she ever told her mother to “Shut up!” or if she would allow her children to yell at her to “Shut up!” Either way, I hope her fishwife behaviour left her feeling proud.
Needless to say, what was supposed to be a fun outing for The Bean and I had been rained up both literally and verbally.
Should I ever be in the unfortunate position of having to deal with something like this again the future, I’ll take a leaf out of David Sutcliffe’s books in the first episode of Cracked. I imagine it would provide for some kind of entertainment. Either that, or it could get me committed.
The other was a tv feature called Mighty Cruise Ships which is airing on Discovery. Each episode deals with a different line, vessel and route. It’s extremely interesting, but it left me feeling a bit empty, especially after watching an episode that dealt with various ports of call in the Med and Europe, which co-incidentally would have been the route I would have been on with Charlie for three weeks starting later this month, but life happened and that dream is back in the box. Sure, I’m going to Victoria Falls which is something I’ve dreamt about since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, but part of me longs for the original plan that I was so excited about and looking forward to. I read today that people wanting to do The Devil’s Pool excursion in Victoria Falls need to be able to swim a portion of the Zambezi against the current, so I will have to start swim-fitness again.
In both instances I recognized that I was being set off into a spiral of sadness and also that these things are not a result of something I have done. Still, it doesn’t make me feel less meh about things, so I did what my therapy dictates – I journalled about it, albeit only today, I drank water (because my brain doesn’t work properly when it’s thirsty), I read a bit and I had a (reasonably) early night.
Anyhow, tomorrow I start work for a new company (the one I’m with has merged with another, so it’s business as usual; only it’s not). My social calendar is full for the next two weeks and work is also major-league busy with financial year-end. It’s going to be an interesting last quarter of the year, that’s the one thing I’m certain of. Let’s all keep our wobbly bits crossed that I don’t do my nut before the end of it again, because I am taking a bit of strain again.
I doubt I’ll be one hundred percent hunky dory tomorrow, but I’ll follow Dory’s advice: Just keep swimming – both emotionally and physically – because #DevilsPool is on my #bucketlist
‘Til Next Time
I am at the point again that when the phone rings and someone asks, “What are your plans?” I just want to hide. Partly because I’m a little emotional, but mostly because of The Big Freeze that seems to have taken hold of the Sleepy Hollow Town I reside in; I’d much rather stay holed up in The Cave under my duvet with a book, or a movie. Elizabeth was having none of it when she called with this very question on Friday last week. She had been roped into helping a friend’s daughter (a young high-school learner doing photography as a subject) with her project on Saturday. She’d also kind of already told her friend I’d be more than willing to help too.
When I woke up on Saturday morning, I was reluctant to get out of bed. It was cold. And I was out of milk. Not a good start to my day. Anyhow, I did the no matter how you feel, get up, dress up, show up thing and went to Elizabeth’s house. I’d arranged for a friend, Joy, to do our make-up. Hell, if I was going to have to be in front of the camera, I didn’t want to look like a washed-out ghost from the 1920’s. Joy was quite excited to hear that the shoot was Gatsby-themed, because she has always thought of me as “the perfect Gatsby girl”.
My confidence boosted, and my lashes ab-so-lutely gor-geous, Dahling, Elizabeth and I set off the the venue, Deja Vu Vintage House, where we dressed up in real vintage clothes from the era, right down to pearls, feather boas and cigarette holders. Once I was all flapped out in my purple frock, it was as if I underwent a complete personality change. My inner Gatsby-girl took over and I ended up having so. much. fun.
Elizabeth, the two other ‘models’ and I laughed till our stomachs ached as we waved to random strangers driving past. The student taking the photos also had quite a few giggles at our antics. I’m sure the photos are going to be a-ma-zing!
Elizabeth’s elder sister, Olive, had made a delectable curry and rice to ward off Jack Frost’s spell. I love Indian food, so it was a given that I would stay for dinner. With a full tummy and a happy heart, I went back to The Cave and slept incredibly well.
Sunday I met up with Charlie at his place where we had a bite to eat, and I showed him how to make a killer fridge tart with 4 ingredients. I’m a firm believer in few-ingredient cooking, because I deteest pantry shopping almost as much as I hate doing the dishes.
Afterwards we watched two episodes of Elementary followed by a movie called called The Book of Eli.
One scene (of an attempted rape) triggered a minor anxiety attack in me. I’ve become increasingly aware that my friends and some family don’t understand my condition, and as a result, don’t know what to expect, nor how to react around me. The reading I’ve done on high-functioning depression states that sufferers become ninja-level-experts at hiding things. I surreptitiously (I hope!) popped a chill-pill and curled back on my comfy kick-out chair, snuggled under a blanket. Barring the upsetting scene, the movie is quite brilliant; with Denzel Washington in the lead, and Gary Oldman as supporting actor, how could it not be?
I will admit, I was feeling drained on Monday, and yesterday still, but today I’m feeling on the up-and-up again. I’ve learned not to beat myself up when I’m not feeling sprightly, but to continue with one-baby-step-at-a-time. I’m staying with Eliza and Nathan tonight, and I’m cooking (something I love, but don’t do much of at home, because the stove in The Cave is cursed – every time I cook on it for guests, it cremates the contents of the oven, making them a burnt offering!) On the menu tonight is (you guessed it), a few-ingredient, creamy seafood marinara pasta.
Catch y’all on the flipside! Have a Wonderful Wednesday 🙂
I wasn’t sure if I’d be blogging on this brisk May Monday, but when this filtered into my Facebook newsfeed this morning, I knew I had some writing fodder.
A while ago I wrote this post, in which I mentioned the very platitudes that some well-meaning people use because they their intention is to uplift someone who is in a deep, dark pit of despair.
Over the weekend I was faced with a situation where a friend needed an ear. I’d had a feeling for a while something is amiss, and while I said as much, I didn’t press the issue. Turns out (s)he has been trying to be strong for a very long time, but things got too much. I encouraged him/her to just get the feelings out, and while talking doesn’t magically make all the issues disappear into the same place single socks and Tupperware lids end up, sometimes just talking about things gives a little bit of perspective. I’m wary of offering advice, because my pigs aren’t all in their pen and our situations differ, but (s)he asked me what I would do if I was in his/her situation. My reply (rather wise, I think) was I’m also not going to try and make you feel better with platitudes because in a situation where one is really hurting, they can illicit a negative reaction, rather than a positive one. The only advice I do have is to do something daily that is for you and try to keep at it.
I could have given her a whole list of platitudes, which I’ve personally had said to me since my episode:
This too shall pass
Practice an attitude of gratitude
It is what it is
Every cloud has a silver lining
Happiness is an inside job
God never gives us more than we can handle
Everything you want is on the other side of fear
Every one of these old chestnuts has been tossed my way and while there is truth in all of them, I’ve sometimes perceived the person saying them to be insensitive. I’m not sure if they’ve felt the need to fill the silence, and maybe I’m totally wrong in my thinking, but there is no need to always answer verbally. Sometimes just a hand squeeze, or a hug is enough; especially in the times we live in, where physical contact seems to be diminishing.
Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox for now.
On other news, I have my last PT sessions with Steve this week but in five weeks I’ve had results, so I’m seriously considering another ten if finances will allow. Tarryn cut and highlighted my hair on Saturday and on top of that, she gave me some jeans that actually fit and show that I do indeed have an ass. I’m rocking my new hair and my smaller body! The first pic was taken by Tarryn, the rest by Harriet at her place yesterday after brunch and window-shopping.
Right, that’s all for now. Here’s to what promises to be an interesting week, particularly as us South Africans head off to the polls on Wednesday and to Wimpy afterwards for a free coffee.
I’ve been tasked at work with something creative: (Digital) Visual (Mood) boards. They take some time to do, but I’ve found them to be a form of therapy. What’s more is that I got “Good work!” from my boss.
There’s often the question during an interview: “What do you value more? Money? Or recognition?” In the few times I’ve been asked this (it’s come up in about 80% of the job interviews I’ve had), I’ve wanted to reply, “Technically, that’s three questions” but have always opted for “there’s no right or wrong answer to this question. Both money and recognition have their merits; it depends on you as a person, your value system and how you personally measure your worth. Sure, money can make life easier, but recognition makes a person better. I’m on the fence really. Some days I would love a raise, other days I’d prefer acknowledgment of a job well done.”
Whether my diplomacy has been the reason I’ve landed the jobs I’ve had, I’m not sure. What I do know is that of late (since my relapse) hearing “You did well”, “Nice work!”, “Our agent is so impressed with the mood boards you’ve done”, “Well done on bettering your skills” is worth more than any amount of money, regardless of the currency.
I am trying hard to get back into some kind of routine which entails (in no particular order of priority):
- Doing something creative
- Doing something non-creative, but that’s still relaxing
- Eating & drinking water
- Seeing my parents
- Less screen-time
- Setting goals
- Doing something for “me”
On a scale of 1-10, I’m averaging about a 7, maybe a 7.5, which isn’t bad at all considering everything that’s happened, happening and possibly going to happen [I’m not overthinking things like I used to (but I am still aware of reality)].
Creativity is important to me because I’m predominantly right-brained. I am trying to blog more (granted it’s not necessarily creative per sé, but it can be), and I am doing the mood boards for work and I’m doing the adult-colouring-in thing too.
Self-awarded grade: 6.8/10
Doing something non-creative, but that’s still relaxing: For the most part I’m trying to read more. Nothing too emotional, although The Tattooist of Auschwitz is on my TBR pile. I’m busy with Queen Mum by Kate Long at the moment and when I’m finished, I’m going to read The Woman who went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend next. Besides the fact that the title sounds like something I sometimes feel I could do, her Adrian Mole books got me through my teenage years. I also try to do a home-spa Sunday at least every fortnight.
Self- awarded grade: 7.3/10
Exercising: Personal training with Steve twice a week is gruelling, but the burn is so worth it! Last night I managed heavier weights with an additional set of reps which means I’m already a bit stronger than I was last week. Steve told me a few times, “Well done!” which made me feel good about my achievements (as small as they are). My abs are stubborn though; they still don’t want to make an appearance, and that after I did 80 sit-ups and 80 crunches.
Self-awarded grade: 7/10
Socialising: When I’m in remission, I’m quite the social butterfly – always up for a get-together of some sort, and no need to mentally prepare myself. Now it’s different: I have to logically consider the impact a social engagement is going to have on my energy levels, both physical and emotional, and if there is a polite exit strategy should I need to use it. If I look back at the last six weeks, I’ve been out to various gatherings. All of them have gone well, even those where I’ve been amongst crowds of people.
Self-awarded grade: 7/10
Eating: The theory behind my getting back into the gym is that it would accelerate my appetite. I’m eating, but not as frequently as I should. On the flipside, when I do eat, I opt for healthy, protein-rich foods that aid muscle recovery. Drinking water: It’s getting colder now, so I am consuming less water, but a lot of rooibos tea, which is loaded with antioxidants and health benefits.
Self-awarded grade: 7/10
Seeing my parents: I used to spend a portion of every weekend staying over at my folks, on the couch, with half my body in the kitchen and the other half in the lounge. Since my stint in the hospital, I have been to visit them, but not stayed over. It felt strange in the beginning to be in The Cave on a weekend, but it has proved to be good for me because I rest as and when needed. It has also allowed for me to be able to treat my folks to some time out, even if only for a cup of tea.
Self-awarded grade: 6.5/10
Less screen-time: Blue-light addiction is a real thing. One of my favourite things to do is binge-watch a series on a rainy day, or a Sunday, so when the doctor told me I’d have to refrain from this pastime for a while, I was disappointed. He explained his reasoning and medically, it makes sense.
It also allows for more time to read, take a walk or do something else that’s relaxing. I also no longer have my phone next to my bed at night. I often used to wake up during the night, to “check the time” on my phone and end up scrolling through Facebook, reading a Kindle book, chatting to one of my night-owl friends or playing some mindless game for hours.
My phone is still close, in the kitchen, and only set for certain important people to be able to get hold of me during the night in case of an emergency. I’m pleased to report that what I though was going to be one of the most difficult tasks on the list is the one I’ve fared most well at.
Self-awarded grade: 8.5/10
Sleeping: One of the signs of depression is either sleeping too much, or not sleeping at all. Before my episode I suffered both these afflictions. About a month before I finally cracked, I spent as much time as I was able to be awake during the day, asleep and vice versa.
I told Elena one evening while having my nails done that I’d turned into the proverbial dormouse and she said, “It’s not healthy. And you’re getting so thin. Something is wrong.” I knew there was truth to what she’d said, but rather than admit something was amiss, I waved my hand and said, “It’s nothing, I’m just tired. This too shall pass.”
I’ve learned that there is nothing wrong in admitting that I’m not strong all the time. I’m sleeping a lot better – at least 8 hours a night. Granted, the sleep meds help, but I am slowly weaning myself off them, because less screen-time, more exercise, healthier eating habits and relaxation hobbies are aiding rest too.
Self-awarded grade: 8.2/10
Setting goals: This is one thing I’ve always abhorred, because I feel like I’ve failed if I don’t reach a goal by the deadline I’ve set.
Sure, I got my Internationally Accredited Qualification in International Trade, but it took me 12 years to finish a course that should have taken only three.
I had a goal to be driving a Mercedes or a Lexus by my fortieth birthday, so unless something miraculous happens, that will be another thing that will be on the “crashed” list.
I had a goal that by the time I was thirty I’d have travelled to London (because I have a weird fascination with the Union flag – and before anyone stones me, it’s only the Union Jack when hoisted at sea (Thank you Dr Who!).
The Steel Magnolia and I also had a goal to go to Verona in Italy before she turned sixty. Neither of these goals has been reached because life happened. I’ve become so used to virtually everything not going as planned, that setting goals is something I try to avoid as far as possible.
Therapy dictates though that I must set goals, so I have a list of daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, bi-annual and annual ones. I feel disappointed in myself when I don’t achieve the really short-term ones, but I have to look at the bigger picture.
It’s easily said, but it’s a struggle, so I decided to do a digital visual “goal” board. I’ll post it when it’s finished – that way I’ll be accountable to not only myself and my doctor, but to you, my loyal followers as well.
Self-awarded goal: 6/10
Doing something for “me”: I’ve always joked that I’m high maintenance. I’m probably one of the most low-maintenance women God ever created. I’m not big on make-up, my hair is long, but hardly ever gets close to a hairdryer, not to mention a straightener, and I wear whatever I feel comfortable in. Some days it’s a dress, some days it’s shorts, some days it’s sweats and sneakers.
Part of it stems from having never been seen as pretty. This is something that I’ve finally admitted with the help of therapy; that I attach my worth to how people have seen me in the past.
As an elementary school child, I always wore my hair short and I hated wearing a dress. As a teenager I had bad skin (so much so that Shayla-Rae bought me acne concealer cream for my 16th birthday) and the worst overbite imaginable which earned me the horrible name of Cliffhanger. I was brainy too, which didn’t help matters. Suffice to say, nerdy, pockmarked, haasbekke are not popular. I will say this though, when I do have to “clean up”, I do it well and I am a right stunner, but part of me feels a little false.
Again, this is something that will be dealt with in detail as psychoanalysis continues.
Forgive me, my brain went off the rails for a while there…
Something I do for “me”: Every fortnight I have my nails done, and twice a year I have my hair properly tinted, highlighted and trimmed. On the odd occasion I treat myself to peanut butter in some form or another. And cheesecake. And ice-cream. And every year, I buy a book. I don’t necessarily read it, but I will – one day! Maybe I should put the title of a book on my goals list, and set a date to have finished reading it? Yes, I think I’ll do that 😊
Self-awarded goal: 7.8/10