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.

Book

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…