Say What?! Arrogance & Stupidity

I’ve taken to writing once a week at a new spot that opened in town. They serve killer cappuccino and incredible fare. The fact that the spot I’ve made mine is close to the fireplace has nothing to do with it. I’ll admit, as I was driving here this afternoon, I had zero inspiration. I even asked Allan to send me some random topics, but nothing jumped out at me. I don’t know how some authors, like JT Lawrence, who I was at school for a while does it – the woman is a machine!

I was going to write a piece about something Elizabeth shared with me about a guy in an open relationship being dosed with an experimental drug by his date for the evening – because seriously, what could go wrong, right? Said experiment stupidity has resulted in him having had an erection for ten days already and he is concerned that he may not be able to have sex again. First thing that popped into my head is that he has Viagra poisoning (because if you take the little blue pill, and you have a boner for more than four hours, you need to call the doctor) or he has a spinal injury resulting in this priapism. The spinal injury theory had my picture-brain spinning colourful theories of kinky, pretzel-bending sex. I was ripped from this porn-fest when an ambulance nearly took me out on its way to the scene of an accident.

Now, that I’ve got your attention…

It’s been said that there’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity, which is kind of illustrated by the example above. There’s also, in my humble opinion, a fine line between self-assurance and arrogance, and between arrogance and stupidity too.

Four years ago, I met someone, who I really cared about. Things were complicated. Long story short, it didn’t work out, because about six weeks after his divorce was finalized, he got engaged – to a waitress who is a decade younger than me that he met two weeks earlier at a party he’d attended with me. I admit I was stupid to have become close to him while he was still married, but the rejection still hurt. I woke up one morning and forgave him because I was drinking poison expecting him to die. The best thing to come out of this disaster is that I made friends with his (first) ex-wife, Angelique. For those of you a little slow on the uptake, he is now divorced from the waitress too. I heard what happened from Angelique and it sounds like anything but a fairytale.

So, imagine my surprise when I got a text out of the blue last week from him, which read “Hi P, it’s me D. I’d really like to catch up with you again. Can we talk, please?”

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Stunned doesn’t begin to describe it. Neither do speechless, gobsmacked or flabbergasted. I suppose aghast is close. My knee-jerk reaction was one of immediate animosity. Elizabeth and Angelique both told me he’d asked them for my number but they were unwilling to offer it up without having spoken to me first. Turns out he got my number elsewhere from another friend who wasn’t fully acquainted with this particular episode of the soap-opera that is my life.

I spent that evening with Eliza and Nathan, and slept on my reply, because therapy has taught me that knee-jerk reactions often lead to regrets. I expected that I might toss and turn during the night, but I rested, like the Sleeping Beauty.

Staying with what therapy has taught me, I put myself first and sent an honest, to-the-point reply.

“It seems that in almost five years you haven’t learning anything about respecting another’s wishes. You asked both Elizabeth and Angelique for my number and when you didn’t come right with them (because they respect me- and our respective friendships), and Elizabeth told you I’m in a fragile state of mind, you forced things and got my number elsewhere. I have no desire whatsoever to see-, nor ever hear from you again. Please don’t contact me again.”

I didn’t expect a reply, but seconds later I got this:

“I am truly sorry. I got your number from someone else and did not get an answer from Angelique and Elizabeth, that’s why I contacted you. I did not know that you didn’t want to speak to me. I do apologize P. I was a dick. I know that. You were only good to me and I hurt you. I pray that one day you may forgive me for what I did to you. I AM SORRY.”

I suppose many of you reading this may be thinking Ah, have empathy with the guy, but my reaction was the opposite. My blood B.O.I.L.E.D to the point of me feeling I could knot a rattlesnake with my bare hands – and I was out of CalmTheFuckDown capsules. The arrogance and/or stupidity (or both!) of his whole approach had me seeing more red than a livid bull being taunted by a tiny matador, triggering me into a spiral of binge-eating and sleeping during the day. Thank God I’m not allowed to drink on my medication, because I might have ended up day-drinking too.

Catch up – as if we are buddies.

I didn’t know you didn’t want to speak to me – Hello?! What. The. Actual. Fuck? Is this man serious? The tragic thing is, is that he probably is.

I opted for the final word. Possibly cut-throat, but the self-care of my mental health is number one on my list of priorities at the moment.

“I’m sure you are, but seeing or talking is not going to change the past. You can make peace with yourself as far as I am concerned knowing that I am making this decision on your behalf, the same way you made a decision on mine when you walked away to be with (the waitress). There is nothing left to say. What’s done is done and no amount of “I’m sorry” will ever bring me to a point of trusting you. I accept your apology and I forgave you a long time ago – for my own peace. I wish you well for the future, but ask that you respect my wishes and don’t contact me again.”

He’s heeded my request at least.

So, now it’s back to the recovery board, and re-answering some of the same questions I asked myself five years ago. I’m glad to report that the answers have changed, and that they now reflect growth, acceptance and excitement about the future… particularly my upcoming solo-vacation to Victoria Falls – a destination I’ve dreamed of since fifth grade! But that dear readers, is another post, for another time.

For now, I’m going to bid you all adieu, I have a Coq au Vin to enjoy.

‘Til next time…

(Emotional) Weekend Whirlwind

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.

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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.

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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 (Don’t) Spy

I seldom dream these days.  I think it has something to do with the sleep meds I’m drinking.  On the odd occasion that I have not, I’ve dreamed.  Vividly!  So much so, that the morning after, I’ve woken up feeling like I’ve had a hectic night on the town.  A while ago, I wrote about a Sleepless Mindfield.  Today it’s all cloak ‘n dagger, except for the fact that I had no idea everyone in my dream was a spook – not the boo kind, but the type that is neither confirmed nor denied.  I am bloody exhausted!  And to crown it, my one incisor chipped.  There goes my fantasy of becoming a vampire.  Damn!

I spent the night at Eliza and Nathan’s place as I do every Thursday night.  We somehow got talking about cults, which is the same thing that set off a post earlier this year.

“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.”

For some reason the three of us sat at the kitchen counter last night, eventually talking in whispers, as if the house was being bugged by a sect trying to recruit us to do their bidding.  Later the subject changed to foreign words and their meanings, which had us all in stiches.  One in particular that stuck with me is schnapsidee.  I’m sure if you close your eyes and think hard enough, you’ll be able to identify at least one such idea from your own life.

Back to cults ‘n spies.  Almost everyone that is close to me featured in my REM-sleep kopfkino.

In my dream, I’m in familiar surroundings, a house, but it’s not mine.  Like a shitty-B-grade-no-budget-made-for-TV-movie, virtually everything happens in the dark, except one point where The Toppie and I are in search of a manuscript of sorts on a mountain top that is protected by Sumo wrestlers.  I’m thinking this last bit was his ikigai.

I’m alone, unpacking dusty boxes, when I come across a photo album – an actual booklet-type one.  In it are photos of almost everyone I know (in real life), but they’re all in disguises:  The Bean a femme fatale of sorts, her mouth bright crimson and she looks deadly posing with what I hope is toy-gun, but my gut tells me it’s the real McCoy.

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The I come across another photo of my friend Allice.  She’s dressed in a technicolour coat, donning a Ziggy Stardust mullet and pointing at something off-picture with glittery gold nails.  She’s laughing, her mouth open wide enough to see her tongue-stud.  Judging from her demeanour, it appears that she’s at a party.  Halloween, perhaps?

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Just as I’m about to place the Kodak memories in my jeans’ pocket, a weathered note falls to the ground from between the photos.  The ink is faded, and the page is torn.  All I can really make out are the words Nothing seems, but it’s not betrayal and protect you.  Cryptic and mysterious.  Right up this wannabe-Nancy-Drew’s alley.

I head off to share my findings with Eliza.  She’s open-minded, and imaginative.  Maybe she will have a theory.  Turns out when I show her the album, her skin flushes.  She takes me downstairs into a dank basement and insists that we talk there, behind a newspaper.  Every conversation I have with her takes place behind a newspaper.  With Carla, clandestine conversations happen in an ornate, old church and every time we speak, it’s behind The Bible.  With neither do I ever find out what’s going on, but they clearly know something.  The only advice Carla gives me is to go back to where it started.

So, back to the boxes. This time I find a loose photograph of Nathan and Eliza in front of an aeroplane.  It looks like a model one, but upon closer inspection, I see the words In Service.  I swear I see Allan in the shadow too.

It takes me a while to unravel the mystery of the dream, but I realize that everyone in my life is in a cult of spies and I’m in the thick of things but not any kind of agent.  Even as I trek up rocky slopes with The Toppie to find the ancient book, I find myself wondering WTAF is going on.

Good thing the alarm went off when it did, because if it hadn’t, I may have found out that I’m related to 007.

Talk about convoluted…

Here’s hoping tonight’s sleep is deep and dreamless again.  I’ve come to prefer it.

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.

 

Sleepless Mindfield

Now, I am meant to be sleeping, but despite taking a full sleeping tablet (I usually only do half during the week) and my other medication, I’m still awake. Charming!

My legs feel like lead. Steve pushed me to leg press another 10 Kg more than last week. That I could still handle, but hip lifts… Good Lawdy, them things are in a league of their own! My thighs are going to probably be stiffer than a corpse tomorrow.

Tarryn, my hairdresser (aka The Fairy because she was the most beautiful pregnant fairy ever) was at the salon on Tuesday when I went to Elena for my nails. She asked me quite bluntly, Where’s your ass. I told her it’s there, but because all my clothes are getting a little baggy, it doesn’t look like it. Truth be told, I don’t really have a well-rounded derriere, because my butt cheeks are on my chest. I’m very aware of (as Charlie put it) my great rack or as my Capetonian friend, Allan refers to them, The Girls.

Anyway, my bustline wasn’t originally what I planned on writing about when I started this post. Love was. Or rather the sacrifices one makes for those we love. When faced with a situation where you would have to either cause- or suffer heartbreak to save the one you love, would you really do it? And I’m talking about relationships between two adults here, not a parent for their child because that’s on an entirely different plain.

On the subject of plain, why is plain yoghurt apparently healthier than its flavoured counterparts? Is it because it’s free of colourants? Or is it just because it doesn’t taste pleasant? Like Chaimberlain’s cough medicine – tastes like battery acid, but my Grandmother swore by it. That, and cod liver oil. Blegh!

Personally, I believe almost any ailment can be fixed with warm salt water. Sore throat? Gargle. Sinus? Inhale. Constipated? Drink a glass of warm salt water and you’ll be shitting through the eye of a needle in no time. Guaranteed!

Okay, so this post went from tits to shit in just a few paragraphs, but at least my eyes are starting to feel heavy. Here’s hoping for some REM because if I don’t get any soon, I will not only have lost my mind, I may very well be Losing my Religion too.

Zzzzzzzzzz

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.

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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.

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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! 😀

An Update on the Road to my Recovery

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):

  1. Doing something creative
  2. Doing something non-creative, but that’s still relaxing
  3. Exercising
  4. Socialising
  5. Eating & drinking water
  6. Seeing my parents
  7. Less screen-time
  8. Sleeping
  9. Setting goals
  10. 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

f9505e33a4540d8ed19cb87786fe50c5Doing 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Setting-Goals

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

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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.

Blog Comment

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…