Category Archives: Mental Health

And now for something completely different

Wow, I’ve been so busy over this last week. I have gone back to TAFE… Certificate 3 in Community Services Work. It has been awesome. I have a great class, and there is a really good mix of cultures and interests. I think we will learn a lot from each other. We have had some good talks in small groups when we have done group activities; we are getting to know each other and that is really good. I have become close to a few people, which I like, but next week I am going to make a greater effort to sit with others in the class. I seem to have sat with the same people a few times over the three days, so I would like to make the effort of sitting with some of the others.

Gonna see if I can sit back and let others answer more. I feel like I am taking over some times, and while I feel I have a lot to offer, maybe others aren’t getting the chance for as much input. I’m looking forward to week two next week. I’m also looking forward to the boy getting the computer running properly for me again. I can’t open any of the files I’ve been emailed from my classes over the last week as the computer doesn’t have the software to support them. Anyhoo, I’m sure he’s going to fix it for me tomorrow.

And tomorrow is a huge day unto itself. Doing the Bankstown Bites Food Tour with Dad, the brother and sister-in-law. Hanging out for that, eating our way around town. Dad and I get to have drinks on our tours, as we are doing the RSL in the morning, and Oscars in the afternoon. Not sure what we are going to do for our lunch one at 12:30pm. I have two picked out, so I’ll just see what Dad seems to want to do. I’m just looking forward to trying new food; I know there is some Vietnamese and Lebanese, so yummy. Will give an update when I get a chance after we’ve stuffed ourselves!

Another visit…

Went out to see Dad again today, and it was lovely to take the boy with me finally. It seemed to take forever to get there as there was an accident on the M4 just past Wallgrove Road. Traffic crawled for about 3kms then we all took off, couldn’t see any evidence of the smash, hopefully it wasn’t too bad.

Dad didn’t know who we were when we got there, which was a bit sad as he remembered me last time. I was expecting him not to know who the boy was, but was really hopeful he would remember me. When the nurse told him I was his daughter, he just laughed, I think at himself for not knowing. I told him the boy was his grandson, and he laughed again, kind of surprised. I think as he doesn’t remember us, it must be a shock to him each time he is told who a relative is. His speech is still a bit slurry, and he rambles off about strange things so I have no idea what he’s talking about, but I do try to talk to him about me and my family and how we are all connected and different things we have shared together in the past. He seems happy enough when we do talk, but he really doesn’t remember much.

I fed him his lunch today (haven’t done that for 19 years!) and it was good to see him eat it all, even the yoghurt, which I thought he didn’t like. I thought when I saw him on Wednesday that he needed help with feeding, but then he was determined to try to do it for himself. When I walked in the nurse asked me if I would be feeding him. I jumped straight in there, even did the “open up for the Red Baron…” It made him have a good chuckle, so he seems to still have some sense of humour. All of his food is pureed, and he has nectar instead of juice, as he is having difficulty swallowing and not chewing well so he’s at risk of choking. The last time I fed him was when he had his heart bypasses. He’s good about it, but I suppose he has no choice. He looked exhausted after that, so we just hung for a little while and then left so that he might have a sleep. Sleeping through this might just be the best possible thing for him. Our bodies do all their recovery work while we are asleep, so I’m sure it will help with his brain injury.

It does sadden me to see Dad like this, but I’m trying really hard not to dwell on it. I’ve been keeping myself busy as much as I can, doing lots of housework and yard work, reading whenever I’m sitting for a while. I just find that if I don’t keep occupied, I start worrying about things like “what if he doesn’t get any better?” and all the rest. Of course, this doesn’t do anyone any good, but we all know how the brain gets. Being the person that I am, my mind can get pretty dark sometimes, and can stay there for a long time if I don’t keep it all in check. I do have a good psychologist, and I will go back and see him if I feel I need a brain tune-up to cope with all of this. So far, I’ve been travelling okay. I nearly had a good cry about a week and a half ago, but I snapped myself out of it, because I just kept telling myself he’s just sick, he’s not gone so there is no need to cry over it. I know I probably will at some point, I would just like to be in private when it does happen. MOTH is amazing support, but some tears need to be shed alone.

What do I think…. Anonymous postings

I truly believe that if you are going to have a massive spray or give someone a serve, then at least have the courage to do so with your name attached. People who are hiding behind anonymity online  are being absolute tools, or “trolls” as they say now. You couldn’t do this years ago, and now, for some reason, some people have decided to remove all filtering and really let fly. Okay, some of it is stuff that needs to be said, but you used to have to “say” it, not just post it online for all to see. But now it is getting really nasty…

Current events show that although we no longer physically place people in the stocks and throw rotten fruit and veg at them, we certainly do this in a mental sense. I think the anonymity gives more to the herd mentality as well, such as the bigger the group, the worse the attack. I’m really disgusted by what I heard going on on Twitter today regarding Charlotte Dawson and the public attack of her online. She is certainly not my favourite person, and I find her quite irritating, I feel absolutely no need to attack her, and I don’t understand peoples’ need to get so personal.

At the end of the day, if you are going to say something online, at least have the decency to put your identity to it. And if you wouldn’t say it out loud in public, don’t put it online. Would you really go up to that person on the street and scream obscenities in their face? I think not…

Back to Earth…

with a resounding “thud”. I got up yesterday in time to see the boy off, (after MOTH brought me a cup of tea in bed), grabbed the laptop and ereader, and headed back to bed. I wasn’t going anywhere for anyone yesterday morning, not even Jordy! And I enjoyed every minute of it too. I did take her for a walk at lunch time when it was nice and warm, before the cold wind picked up. By then, I’d had my shower and gone back to bed for the best nanna nap I’ve had in quite a while. I actually got to sleep, which I haven’t been able to do lately, no matter how tired I have felt. Jay cooked dinner for us last night, and that just topped off my lazy day so beautifully.

Finally starting to get what I feel is a good nights’ sleep now. I wake up feeling refreshed instead of as tired as when I went to sleep. It was lovely that MOTH brought me a cuppa again this morning in bed, I’m feeling quite spoiled. He always makes me one when I get up, but the last two days in bed have been wonderful. I haven’t come too far down this time, I seem to be settling nicely at just above “normal”, so I’m getting up and carrying on as always, but with a little less speed to everything.

Ups and downs…..

I love that I have been high lately, and I think I have the Krill Oil to thank for that. It seems to have really worked to reduce the arthritis pain in my tailbone and this has given me a new lease on life. Plus, I’ve been slowly reducing my painkillers, with plans to be off them in a couple of months, when it warms up somewhat. I can’t take the cold settling in the old injury! I sound old talking like that, but old sporting injuries really hurt… I have been enjoying putting makeup on again, and walking a lot more like I used too. I might shift a few stubborn kilo’s if I’m really lucky.

The worst part is coming down again…… I am so tired, but can’t get a good sleep yet. It’s really sucky being between, I need a really good few nights’ rest to finally feel refreshed enough to get up and do it all again. The antipsychotics are working really well, knocking me out at night, but the pill hangover is really bad. I know I need to take these at this dose for a while longer, but will be glad when this ends. Sometimes, when someone is talking to me, I feel like my brain is going to sleep during their conversation and I struggle to keep track of what they are saying. Most people who know me are okay with this, but some people don’t get that I’m not totally with it all the time and become too demanding of my attention. I can’t help it if my brain wants to shut them out!

The weather was beautiful today, and I really enjoyed the walk with Jordy and the MOTH this morning. It was lovely and warm in the sun, and I was glad to have MOTH out with us, as it has been a while due to his health. His ongoing chest infection continues to be ongoing (about 5 months now), and the really cold, damp air is no good for him. We did some shopping while we were out with Jordy, and she is so patient with us, just sits and waits with either one of us while the other goes into which ever shop. I hadn’t mentioned yet, but I found out last Friday at the Vet that Jordy has a heart murmur, and I’m waiting for them to call me regarding scans to find out how serious it is. The vet seems to believe that her heart might be a little large for the artery on her left side. The important thing is to keep her at a good weight and walk every day, which we do. She is a total picture of health otherwise. The vet really liked her, and Jordy thought she was alright too. We use the Animal Welfare League, at Kemps Creek, as they have been excellent with all our furbabies, and the price is reasonable. Guess I can’t get pet insurance for her now.

Had a nice lunch from Flames with P and her little man early this afternoon, and it was so nice to sit in the sun and enjoy good company and good food. We had our little gossip session, so we both get to catch up on stuff we may have missed during the week from others around the neighbourhood. I love my little suburb, and I love the good friends that I have too. Got invited to lunch in two weeks from another friend, this one for the whole family, and we’re all looking forward to going. I haven’t seen Miss B for a while, and I love her and her kids, they’ve been great friends to us for a very long time. Can’t wait!

I’m making pizza for dinner; Jay is already into his, ours is nearly finished cooking. It smells great in here, I only wish I had a wood-fire oven for these occasions. The gas stove does the job though, and a wood-fire would probably be a pain in the ass for me anyway. Adios, Amigo’s, have a lovely evening and a nice sleep-in for a Sunday morning….

Manic Monday became tiresome Tuesday….

Yes it definitely did! I’m totally exhausted and still have dinner to serve up. At least its spaghetti Bolognese, so the sauce has been cooking for half the day and I only have the pasta to cook so at least the rest of the day is easy. I had planned to do some sorting and cleaning out of cupboards and drawers in the bedroom today, but nothing like that happened at all. I did get some cleaning done, but not what I really wanted to do. I don’t mind the cleaning so much, but I’ve been putting off the sorting and organising for so long now that it has become a huge job that I really want to start on. Oh well, there is always maybe Saturday…….

At least I didn’t hit the ground running today; I got up around 6am, then promptly went back to bed until 7.30am, which I was really happy about. It’s a good sign the mania is finally wearing down. And I had a lovely chat with Jay before he went to school today, so I feel that I made my point yesterday. He’s sitting at the table with me at the moment with his own laptop doing his history assignment. That would never have happened before yesterday’s dummy-spit. He’s going to need the time to do this one properly, as it looks like they have to produce a mini magazine on the 1930’s, with articles, stories, songs, fashion and even a crossword from those times. It’s a lot more than we would have had to do, but they also have software to help them do all this stuff. I remember the old stencils that we used to sniff when they were fresh, the kids today have never seen them. I can’t think of what they are called!

Jordy was really happy to have a morning walk today, her first morning since Friday. She loves the morning outings as much as I do. I took her out yesterday afternoon while I was waiting for Jay to come home, but she prefers the morning. Once that was done, I went back to the cake shop for coffee with P before she started work for the day. Managed to collect my boots and bag that she borrowed (didn’t use the boots though) too, so that’s those out of her way. The poor lovely has to move, and it’s becoming more and more urgent, as the owner really wants her gone so he can fix up the house and sell. I really feel for her, as it is sooooo hard to get a place locally at a reasonable price. It’s not like it’s a posh area, but it seems to be really hard for anyone trying to get a place on the rental market. Not much is affordable, most are so overpriced it’s ridiculous. I would hate to be out in the private rental market, it is utter insanity for anyone at the moment, and things don’t look to be improving any time soon. I think we have both the state and federal governments to thank for that, and a whole range of other things, but that’s another day’s rant!

I’m hoping tomorrow will be a little calmer, although I’m starting to feel less “rushed” as each day goes, so I should slow down to a more reasonable pace within a week. It can be totally exhausting like this, but I am learning to work with it and use the high’s to help accomplish things that need to get done. I would hate to think of how I would manage seeing Teddles every second day if I wasn’t a little high. But not only am I doing that, I’m managing to keep up with all the other things that have to be done around here and keeping up with the girlies. I’m going to have a rest day soon, but I know tomorrow isn’t that day….

The week that was….

That’s another week down in the life of the manic monkey, thank god the mania is starting to calm down. MOTH did point out over coffee this morning that I am still hard to deal with (thanks for the reminder) and that I hadn’t taken my risperdal….. oooohhhhh how I hate those little tablets. They make me feel seasick and dry of mouth, but at least they do have the desired effect of slowing me down somewhat. So, of course, after the shopping expedition this morning I took it and my feet slowly came back to earth with a resounding thud. It does stop the mania from burning me out though, as you can only keep going for so long before the body starts to give out.

The shopping was good, no crowd, got what we needed easily, and got home all before 10am. That meant that MOTH didn’t get to a couple of shops he wanted, but he will insist on being there before most of them open. He can get his bits at Bass Hill though, so no loss. It was lovely and quiet at Bankstown this morning, mostly due to Ramadan. I’ve never personally agreed with the whole fasting thing that goes with religion, but then I don’t agree with most formal religion anyway. I do understand the concept of going without in order to gain a greater appreciation for all that we have, but don’t feel the need to practice this myself. I am a true believer in all good things come to those who wait. Instant gratification can be good, but not at the expense of other necessities. Having said that, I did try on a pair of skinny jeans this morning, and ended up buying them, but they were only $8 and were instantly gratifying.

I caught up with Miss P today for lunch and cuppa’s. We have so much fun catching up for a good ol’ chinwag, weighing up what we’ve been told by different people. Many might call it gossiping or bitching, but I prefer touching base and cutting through the bullshit. When you get people who tell one person one thing, and the next person something else, it can be quite interesting to get to the bottom of the real story. Maybe the lies become too much and they can’t keep up with who has been told what, and so on. Anyhoo, I find it interesting if I have been asked for advice and it is totally disregarded for the exact polar opposite of what I’ve said, everything turning to crap, and then lie to cover up the mess. I find out the truth in the end, I’m not as silly as I look or come across.

It was good to see the MOTH’s good mate today. He’s taking the MOTH out next Sunday for a big Boy’s Night Out. Gotta say I’m really looking forward to it, the MOTH really needs to get out and now he has a plan. And about time too. He has spent the last 14 years taking excellent care of Jay and I, to the point of having done practically nothing for himself in that time. I only hope his health and fitness hold. He is still fighting off a chest infection that has been going on for months, and his back has been giving him more grief than usual since the cold snap hit last week. He just got over Jesus’ 50th birthday party, (that was outdoor at night 3 weeks ago) and then decided to give the lawns a crack on his own. He got most finished, but our backyard needs doing still and that won’t happen this week (I’ll make sure of that!).

Anyway, all in all it was a good week and I’m glad to finally be coming down a bit more. Hopefully I won’t need the tablets in the day for much longer as they make for a long day (and dry!). Stay good at what you do and keep smiling, it’ll keep everyone guessing….

I got to thinking…..

And we all know how dangerous that can be! But seriously, this one is about this different friends you have and their place in this world. I have a three girlfriends who are like family to me. One I hardly see or speak to, but I don’t need to. She is always there whenever I need her and I am always there for her when she needs me. We have been through some shit, but she was the one who tried to nurse me through my breakdown. I’ll call her Mountain Girl, or MG for short. MG has been around for about 22 years and I love her dearly. Some of the people she chooses to be in her life, and the men in particular, I seriously question, but her motto in life is “if there ain’t shit going down, I’ll cause it!” She was the one who introduced me to MOTH, and claims she never got me back again……

Next is B. She is such a steady and reasoning influence in my life, I don’t know what I’d do without her. She didn’t go through my breakdown with me, but she certainly stuck by my side as I tried to rebuild my life. I met her not long after I met the MOTH, and for the past 18 years she has been a big sister to me. I can always have a lunch with her and feel so much better about my world. I can totally offload all my worries and bothers with her and they don’t burden her, and again she has the same with me. Either one of us can call a lunch and we work it in quickly so we can catch up. Both the families get together, but it’s really about her and me. MOTH calls her a good friend too. A very loving person with the right people, and never quick to judge.

Then there is P, who I adore as much as MG and B. I have known P for about 10 years, but have only gotten close in the last year. She is like a little sister to me, phoning me most mornings to let me know how she is and what she is up to, also making arrangements for cuppa’s later in the day. It’s great she only lives 2 streets away, so we always see each other. But the funny thing here is, not P, but MP, who believes she is best friends with P, and as such has assumed the same type of friendship with me. MP is short for Mull Pig, as that is exactly what she is. MP has just assumed that she has the same friendship rights as someone who has known me for 10-20 years! Very demanding this is! As an example, when she was speaking to me yesterday while 4 of us were out for coffee, if I so much as looked in another direction, she was saying “JENNI”, and then continued rambling on with her crap, which she had already told me and wanted to confirm again my opinion for herself. WTF!?! Not only that, talking to her “bloke” about me and the MOTH is not on, especially as her bloke is in gaol! They’re the last people we want to be name dropped around. We’ve spent the last 15 years living a quiet life, the last thing we need is some ghost from the past haunting our doorstep!

Anyway, just thought I’d share that, and get off my chest the crap about MP. She’s said some dopey things to me in the past, but I can feel my hackles rise whenever I see/hear her. I’m glad I’m not the only one though, others feel the same. I know the sun shines out of my bum but you don’t have to tell everyone! Like I tell my mate Teddles, I might be a good girl, but you don’t have to tell anyone, they might get expectations of me!

Mwa mwa xxxxxx

Another day in the life of a bi-polar mother….

Still cruising on manic, although am getting better. Still need antipsychotics (1mg am, 2 mg pm), but I’m hanging in there and not going too high, which is a great relief. A lot of people say to me that I must enjoy the highs but I honestly don’t like being too high. A little manic goes a long way. I like to be what I call “bubbling along” slightly above “normal”, I can achieve a lot, and still stay focused. Where I am at the moment is a little higher than that and it has been a little too long, by about 4 weeks so far. I hate the lack of focus when I’m like this, as well as not being able to rest until after my tablet at night, when I’m getting ready for bed. I’d like to be able to put my feet up for an hour and rest, but my brain won’t let me. As Frank Zappa sings “The torture never stops…”

Enough bitching, the day has been kind to me all round. Got to see Teddles and have coffee with him and one of his neighbours, which was really good, but I didn’t stay for too long today. I had to get back and get cat and dog food on the way. Also got to have cuppa’s with P, which was good (I had a cold drink, one coffee a day is enough for me!). She’s been stressing over the crap she’s having to deal with as a mother and daughter-in-law, and I’m sure we all know how overwhelming that can be! I would certainly hate to be in her place, but I’m more than happy to be there as a friend and shoulder for her. She’s doing a lot of work on herself, not just pissing and moaning about a problem in the hope that it will just get better, and I admire her for that. If only more people spent more time on themselves instead of in other people’s business, the world would be a lot better. I also tend to think “there but for the grace of god go I”, and I count my blessings that we were able to work a program with our family to keep everyone happy.

There is a lot to be said for good communication; it’s not just being a good listener, it’s also about being able to get your point across in an appropriate and effective way. And being a good listener isn’t just about hearing what is being said, you also listen for what is being left unsaid. There is usually more to what is being edited out that the sanitised version that you are getting. There is also nothing wrong with asking someone “Are you okay?”. Sometimes, a person just likes to know that someone else cares enough to ask them are they okay. I think we need to look outside of our own selves a little more to see how what we do affects those around us. I’m always fascinated by the why of an action rather than the actual action.

There goes another day of life in Condell Park, and I have to say it’s darn cold today. It’s about 12C, but feels like 4C due to the wind chill. Even my fingers are really sore from the cold, not to mention the arthritis in the old bones……. Hope you’ve all had a good day too

The worst part of having passed on Bi Polar

I have to say that  it is both of us being hypomanic at the same time. Now, this isn’t quite manic, but it’s definitely not “normal” (not that there really is a “normal” anyway!). And I know that as hard as it is for both of us, it must be particularly bad for the MOTH at the moment, not being able to speak to either one of us. At least I can tell him I have the “don’t talk to me’s”, I don’t know that Jay realises he’s riding the wave while he’s on it. I know the MOTH “gets” it, but I don’t know that he understands what Jay has going through his head when he is like this. The more the MOTH speaks, the more our hackles go up, and it is the same with anyone in “authority”. I can just imagine what he puts his teachers through when he’s like this, I remember what I was like!

It’s funny, in a mortifying way, how much he’s like me. He struggles similarly with his mental to-ing and fro-ing, but he has a good environment and boundaries within which to explore to confines of his “illness”. He certainly doesn’t see it as a setback or an illness himself, he just sees himself as dealing with the world in a much different way as most other people. He’s okay with the fact that a lot of people don’t get him all the time, but he is also so smart that he can show everyone what he is talking about. He’s much more in charge of his day to day being than I ever was, but I also didn’t realise what was happening to me. As I explained to MOTH recently, I was deeply into my second episode of Clinical Depression by the time I was Jay’s age, and had no true diagnosis until I was 28 and had a complete “psychotic break” – more on that another time…

Anyhoo, I want to keep this reasonably short tonight, as I am tired from the running around and mental gymnastics of the past couple of weeks and I really need to get a good rest. Lets just say it can suck to be us, but we really love each other, all three of us, like no other. We were meant to be together as a family and we all compliment each other so well. I don’t know that life would be anywhere near as satisfying if it wasn’t with the challenges that we have to face. I guess I just want to say how much I love my men just the way they are, and I am so grateful to the pair of them for working together and with me to keep our family as happy as possible.