The Answers…

For those of you who did play the game in my previous post, here are the answers.  How many of you noticed the line in the Title of the post?  I’ll be blogging at my local spot again tomorrow evening 😀

I see trees of green What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong
In the last moments of the dawn In the Last Moments of the Dawn, Chris de Burgh
Jambalaya, crawfish pie, fillet gumbo Jambalaya / On the Bayou, Hank Williams
Jack & Diane Jack & Diane, John Mellencamp
Strutting into town like he (was) slingin’ a gun Jesse James, Cher
Making love to his tonic and gin Piano Man, Billy Joel
Like the deep blue sea, on a blue, blue day Blue Eyes, Elton John
Life is bigger, bigger than you Losing my Religion, REM
The world over the rim of his teacup Streets of London, Ralph Mc Tell
She’s gonna get you from behind Devil Woman, Cliff Richard
Jesus loves you more than you will know Mrs. Robinson, Simon & Garfunkle
A gamblin’ man House of the Rising Sun, The Animals
She was brushing her cat in (the) black limousine Dark Lady, Cher
Find which side (his) future lies Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John
When the time is right, I’ll cross the street (I belive in) Angels, Abba
Put a gun against his head Bohemian Rhapsody, Queen
Drug dealer on speed dial Rockstar, Nickelback
Lying on the floor where you left (her) Just like a Pill, Pink
It’s a quarter after one Need You Now, Lady Antebellum
You can check in any time, but you can never leave Hotel California, The Eagles
I’ve got a feeling I’ve got a feelin’, Black Eyed Peas
End of Lonely Street Heartbreak Hotel, Elvis Presley

Platitudes: Toxic Positivity

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Nothing Particularly Earth Shattering

This is a run-of-the-mill-one about what’s happening in my life.  Some of you might likely find it boring, but I’m trying to write at least three times a week as part of my therapy and frankly, I can’t be witty and all sparkling-unicorn-personality all the time.

Tuesday night I saw Elena for the last time as my nail therapist.  Seeing as I was officially her final client, I decided to have my nails done in tribute to her.  I give you all The Final Curtain, the Encore being the sushi we had afterwards.

Nails

As with Chanté, Elena and I have made a promise to see each other at least once a month.

While the rest of the world refers to May 1st as May Day, we South Africans refer to it as Workers’ Day.  Ironic when you think it is a day where (most) gainfully employed folks don’t actually work.

Yesterday was a day spent with good company.  Harriet treated me to brunch at a place in an obscure little side street that I’ve been wanting to go to for ages called Carola Ann’s. The menu is not extensive, but Oh. My. Word, the food is incredible! And as an added bonus I had the best spiced Chai Latte of my life, which I didn’t take a picture of.  When I go back, I’ll remember.

Even though the selection was limited, I had a tough time deciding what I wanted.  In the end I opted for a Green Veggie Bowl and Harriet for a Carola Ann’s breakfast, and a Mocha.  Few things satisfy this Misfit as much as a properly poached egg and while this one still doesn’t beat The Silvertree Restaurant in Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens; it ranks second on my list.

Green bowl

H Mocha

H Brekkie

The late afternoon was spent with Eleanor and Nathan as I haven’t seen them in a while.  Nathan braaied some chicken and chops for us and I made us an interesting green salad.  After we’d eaten (Yours Truly way more than she should have!) Nathan went to play tennis with a mate, and Eleanor and I caught up on what’s been potting the past fortnight while the boys kept themselves entertained with Lego with babysitter Wreck It Ralph keeping a close, watchful eye.  Somewhere during the evening Eleanor also made a quick lemon cheesecake.

Tonight, it’s another legs session with Steve.  After only 6 PT sessions (and this is the only gym I’ve done), I can already see a difference in my arms and thighs.  Harriet says my posture has improved too, which I’m glad about. Next week I have my final two sessions and then I’ll have to take a decision as to whether I will continue PT or not.  I’m honest though, I don’t push myself hard enough and I sometimes give up too easily.

On the subject of giving up… If I don’t stop writing now, I’m going to be late for gym.

Cherio! 😀

Deathly, not Deadly Thoughts…and Fish

I’ve been thinking about suicide a lot this past week.  Murder too.  And no, I’m not planning on taking my own life, nor that of someone else (although I’ll admit, as a wannabe writer, I’ve come up with some plausible, but not-yet-perfect ways to get away with it).

My curiosity stems from excessive screen time over the Easter weekend.  I have to push my limits a little, and I think I did fairly well, considering.

I spent some time with my folks.  The Bean was watching a movie called A Father’s Nightmare which I only caught the last fifteen minutes of but was able to pretty much piece the story together without much background info.

This was followed by Bird Box, starring Sandra Bullock (who at 54 could still pull off the role of a pregnant woman).  Now, I hate spoiler alerts, so I’m not going to be a tell-all and ruin the movie for those of you who may want to watch it.  All I’m going to say is that it’s not the best movie to watch if you’re on medication that may exacerbate suicidal tendencies nor if you’re prone to overthinking.  I’m still wondering why some people became zombie-like, immune to the unseen force that drove others to kill themselves. Despite being in both categories, I quite enjoyed it.  My rating is 7.2/10

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On Monday I saw Chanté for a quick cup of Chai.  She asked about The Sperm Donor and what I’d done the weekend.  Turns out her hubby also wishes she’d change the channel off Crime and Investigation; she reckons she’s becoming clever.  We’re both in agreement on one thing:  We believe everyone has a breaking point where they can snap and commit murder.

The same evening, I saw Martha for dinner.  We didn’t discuss murder or suicide.  Damn pity, because she often has a very logical take on things so it would have been an interesting debate.  She did tell me about a book she’s reading about people’s near-death-experiences.

Last night I had hake in coconut cream, with salad, sweet potato fries and rice.

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The friend, Esmeralda (whom I dragged out in attempt to make her feel better about a crap situation) had pizza.  I obviously can’t go into detail as to what said shit-storm entails, but she did say I am so tired of it; that (wo)man is going to drive me to suicide.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard her utter the word suicide in the fifteen-plus years I’ve known her.  She kind of changed when the situation started, but every time I see her, she seems more emotional, whether angry, sad, or frustrated.  Like me, I don’t think she’d ever put action to her words, but as her friend I feel helpless as I watch her fall deeper into a fit of self-doubt.

One thing I do know is if she had to commit murder I’d probably be the one she’d call to help her bury the body, like Gabby did with Bree and Lynette, because at the rate we’re both going, we are our own brand of Desperate Housewives, living in our very own Wisteria Lane.

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Direction = Up!

I watched an episode of NCIS: Los Angeles on Sunday at Harriet’s place.  It was about a cult called The Church of the Unlocked Mind.  I’ve been told that watching TV is not conducive to my recovery, but I didn’t think forty-five minutes would do much harm. Well, I had nightmares the entire night about being held captive- and attempted to be brainwashed by an inescapable sect that I was quite exhausted when I woke up on Monday morning.  I decided that reading is a more suitable pastime.

Today marks my one-month anniversary since I was discharged from the hospital.  For the most part, I’m feeling better and I’ve been likening myself to a Phoenix.  I even had Elena do my nails in the theme.

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I’ve shed many tears the past thirty days, but I remember in the second Harry Potter book that Professor Dumbledore told Harry that Phoenix tears having healing properties.  My own tears have contributed to my rise from the ashes; granted, crying isn’t the only thing that’s been a catalyst to the improvement of my mental health, I’ve also changed my ringtone to Katy Perry’s Rise.  But that too isn’t all:  It’s a combination of factors – the medication, going to sleep with the fowls and people respecting my boundaries.  At some stage I will make a concerted effort to get back in the gym, but not to become obsessed like I did the first time I did my nut.

I’ve also reached a point of tossing my hands in the air with a screw-this-I’m-over-itattitude if things beyond my control start to get me down.  Sometimes it takes a day, sometimes a week, sometimes a month and sometimes it takes literal years, but it happens.  When it happens, it is like something within me awakens and I have an urgent need to do something that will enhance my self-esteem or better me in some way.  I think that makes me human?

One thing that is a clear indicator of me being on the mend is that I’m starting to get excited about things again and I’m planning.  I love planning – whether it’s a meal, an outing, a party or a trip.  One of my colleagues has a milestone birthday coming up, in August, and I’m already thinking of something special that can be done to surprise her.  I’m also making photobooth props so that everyone in attendance can join in the fun and I’ll make a nice collage for her as a keepsake.  No, I’m not letting the cat out the bag here, because I know she doesn’t read my blog.

There are also plans in the pipeline to attend a bachelor auction at the end of May (I won’t be bidding on any would-be suitors though because the tickets are a bit steep), but it’s for a good cause and it’s a proper formal affair, and a night out on the town with my girl friends will do me good.  Shayla-Rae and Rowena have both hauled out formal dresses for me to try on, so I’m spoilt for choice.  I forgot home much fun playing dress-up can be.  I also realize that I look amazing in the colour green.  Maybe there’ll be more opportunities to wear evening dresses down the line, who knows?

In short, if I look back at where I am now vs where I was a month ago, renewal is clear and that’s good news.  One step at a time…

Weekend Wins; Healing’s (Slowly) Happening

I very seldom check emails on a weekend, so when I got into work today, I quickly scanned through my inbox, noticing that someone had commented on my previous post.  I haven’t had this person comment before, but I was deeply touched by his/her kind words, because it confirmed that my putting my feelings out there did help – maybe not someone else, I don’t know, but it helped me, even though I didn’t realize it at the time.

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It also inspired me to write about where I am vs where I was last week.

It’s been a week since I spoke up about my relapse.  In that time, as short as a week is, there has been improvement.  The only thing not going as well as I’d hoped is sleep restoration; whether the meds are not working as they should, or I’m going to bed too early I’m not sure, but most nights, before 21:00 I’m exhausted and so I sleep.  0300 I’m awake again and I try to force myself back to sleep, telling myself stop thinking about whatever you are.  It’s three in the morning!  Even if you could do something about it, now is not the time!  Sometimes it’s easy. Most times it’s not.

Yesterday was the first time since my relapse that I didn’t cry.  In my book, that’s a win.  I’m not discounting the cathartic properties of tears – I’m just tired of bawling my eyes out at a song on the radio, a mere sentence in a book or during my morning shower because the prospect of another day is simply too daunting.

This past weekend I ventured out of The Cave (which is what I affectionately call my flat, because it doesn’t get much light and when going into the back rooms, the lights must be switched on) and attempted to be part of social activities with group dynamics.

I was off on Friday, so made plans with Harriet for lunch.  In my half-awake state, I got the time wrong and ended up at the mall an hour early.  I walked through every single shop in the mall before I met up with her.  I was a bit nervous because of all the people milling about, but I didn’t do my nut, like I did in the pharmacy the day I was discharged from the hospital.  I had a healthy meal – admittedly I couldn’t finish it.  The meds suppress my appetite, so I took what I didn’t eat home and ate it later.

Chicken Salad

Warren and his wife, Lara, are visiting from their new home which is 1100 Km (683 miles) away.  As they’re only visiting a few days, and have many friends here, the plan was to meet at a local restaurant on Friday night and catch up.  There were quite a few people at the table when I arrived, but being the amazing people they are, they did the rounds to chat with everyone.  I had told Warren I wouldn’t stay long and sent him my previous post to outline why.  He understood.  I lasted a little more than ninety minutes before the noise and people got too much for me to handle and my hands started to shake.  I felt overwhelmed and anxious and made a beeline for the exit.  I’m not sorry I went; it was great to see them both, the view of the Bay at night was breathtaking and I pushed my limits a little.

MSB by night

Saturday morning, I popped in at Carmen for a quick cup of tea.  It wasn’t a long visit because she and Ewan had plans, as did I with Harriet.  When Harriet arrived at The Cave, we took a walk to the local church fête, but by the time we got there (both of us were slow out of the blocks that morning) all that was left to buy was second-hand books.  Not a problem for either of us, because we are total book sluts.  And at R2 (US $0.15) a book, we went a little overboard.  Afterwards we stopped at the vetkoek (a South African food made from deep-fried dough and filled with anything from curried mince to cheese to jam to marmite to chicken-mayo and anything in between!) and went down to the beach where we sat on a bench watching the people taking in the summer sunshine.

Beach

The rest of the day I spent in The Cave, on the couch with The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg, which I’d started the afternoon before.  I read until my eyes felt like the entire beach had been blown into them.  The book is so funny in parts that I laughed out loud – for the first time in a long while.

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Yesterday I took my folks out for lunch to a place that’s been around for yonks, but that we’ve never been to.  Rustic, but with fabulous fare.  I got a little sunburnt too, because we sat outside, but the warmth on my skin did me well.  A little calcipherol never hurt anyone, now did it?  It also did them good to get out of their flat a bit, because they’re quite isolated where they live.  An old friend, Stan, also happened to be in town for the night on business, so I popped by one of the beach bars and we had a quick drink – well he did, I had club soda.  We haven’t seen each other in going-on four years, but both of us were knackered, so the visit was quick.  I finished the book last night, intent on finding another one in the series.  Laughter is good, cheap medicine.

Tonight I’m going to the gym, but not to train.  I am not in that frame of mind yet.  I’m just having a fat percentage test done because I’m a little concerned that I’m melting away.  I haven’t needed to wear a belt in ages to keep my jeans up, and now it’s on the furthest hole from the buckle…BUT I’d rather have that, than pick up a huge amount of weight like I did the last time.  My appetite will eventually come back.  I just have to keep eating, albeit like a bird.

I’m not sure when I’ll post again because I am trying to focus on me and my recovery.  All I can say at this stage is thank-you to each one of you that reads my ramblings.

Until next time…

We Sat Next to Each Other in Fourth Grade

You’ve got each other’s numbers, you live in the same sleepy-hollow little town, yet you never see each other… Sounds familiar to many of you, I’m sure.

Chanté and I have known each other since fourth grade I think – her memory on this is slightly better than mine.  I went to her 21st birthday party, and her wedding, but when she told her husband she was having coffee with me, he had no idea who I was.  I don’t blame him – despite being quite extroverted around people who really know me, I am a wallflower where crowds are involved.  She told him all he needs to know is that when she and her family moved here, I was the first person she sat next to at school.

Shortly after tying the knot, she and her hubby went overseas and while we were connected in Facebook-Land, we lost touch in the real world.  When they moved back a few years ago, I saw her for coffee twice, but we didn’t really reconnect.  Whether it was timing, or that we were at different phases in our lives, I’m not sure, but something was a little (for lack of a better word) “off”.

I’ll admit, she’s been way better at touching base than I have, sending me the odd motivational/inspirational message, that always seems to come through at the perfect time.  On Monday though, I felt the need to see her, if nothing more than just to say a proper thank you in person.

So, we got together at a local franchise restaurant last night, originally intent on a quick coffee.  We got talking and the conversation flowed, as if no time had passed – whatever had been “off” before was definitely “on” now!

Two lattés, and hours later, we’d covered a myriad of topics, including how women in general seldom take time for themselves because they’re tending to someone else’s needs – whether parents, husband or kids – before their own.  With that in mind, when we eventually left to go home, we undertook to do a coffee-catch-up at least once a month.

I’m glad we got together – it was good, and it was needed.

A long-standing friendship rekindled is a true gem; and by that token, if you’re reading this, Chanté – you’re a diamond, and of course…

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