Saturday, September 26, 2020

The Pain you feel Today is the Strength you'll have Tomorrow.

I am my own worst enemy.

I put HUGE pressure on myself and I also become quite obsessed with TIME.

There is not enough TIME.

I have had a big couple of months.

What with losing my job, a job that I being suddenly unemployed again... to starting a new job and having to learn from scratch... back working full-time hours with travel time... I let it all pile on top of me. I have to fit in working, exercise, food shopping, washing, cleaning the house, meditation, catching up with friends and family, do my hair, relax, walk the animals, etc etc etc.

Every weekend I have to write a big list. To get it out of my head.
When I get like this it is like I am locked in a small room with about 100 radios all tuned to different talk back radio stations and they are all cranked up.
I can't think straight.

A lot of people think of Bipolar depression as feeling a "bit sad" or being down in the dumps badly.

I'd like to describe what it like for me.

About 3 days before an episode I will start to find it hard to focus or retain information. I will read something and it just flits away on the wind. I feel really foggy and find it very hard to concentrate. I will feel very very tired like my body has been covered in a wet wool blanket.
I will go into 'day dream' states where I totally vague out for a couple of seconds.

About 2 days out I will start to bump into things and drop things. I will find it hard to do things like tie shoe laces, pick up a teaspoon and I will smack my shoulder into the door frame as I walk through. I will find it hard to make even the smallest decisions like what to have for breakfast or what shoes to wear.

The day before I will get facial tics. I will shake my head and grimace the right side of my face uncontrollably. I will chew my bottom lip and lick my top teeth. I will rub my face over and over. I may also start a weird guttural humming. I will get a fright from simple things like the sound of a plate being put down or a car driving past.
Inside my head are a thousand voices overlapping each other chanting ALL the things that I have to do, all the things I haven't done, all the things I have mucked up and all the reasons why I am completely and utterly useless. All I want to do is sleep. I want to take 100 sleeping tablets. Not to die. Just to not feel. Just to stop the feelings that are taking over. I don't want to die. Just have some peace.

The day of the "episode" in addition to the above all of my senses will be cranked up. Light will become too bright and it will be hard for me to open my eyes as even the dimmest light is blinding. Colours become way too vivid. The sky is too blue. The walls are too white.I can hear even the smallest sounds. The ticking of the clock in the other room will be like a drum beating right next to me. I can hear the traffic from the main road like it is right next to me. My sense of smell is increased and I become nauseous because I can smell EVERYTHING. My skin prickles and feels very hot.

Then the BIG SAD comes.

When I say sad it is not quite sadness. It is more like very intense GRIEF.
It fills every cell in my body. The only way I can describe it is like this -
Imagine you are driving along in your car with your family that you love. You get distracted and you drive off the road and the car flips. You are thrown free. You wake up and see that the car is on fire. You have killed your family but you have escaped unscathed. I know that sounds extreme but it is accurate.
Imagine how you would feel.

THAT is what Bipolar depression is. All encompassing grief. Your brain SCREAMS at you that you do not deserve to live. The difference is, with the car accident you have a reason for the grief so your brain has something to attach the feeling to. With Bipolar this is nothing to attach the feelings to so you are just filled with intense and overwhelming emptiness and shock.

The brain has had days of being overloaded. The continueous drop in seretonin and dopamene and the constant overload of electricity the brain says "that's it I'm out. I need a break". That's when I finally cannot stay awake and I go into like a numb zoned out state. Not happy Not sad. Nothing.

In the past I used alcohol to 'soften the sharp edges' which always led to more depressive episodes so I stopped drinking and it is the BEST thing I ever did.

Now I recognise the stages and I usually intervene a few days before an episode so it doesn't get to an episode.
How do I intervene?
I have a conversation with my Bipolar.
Yep a talk... with myself.
I write a list and then I cross off about 90% of the things.
I slow down.
I tell myself that it is OK if I don't do ALL the things.
The cats don't HAVE to go for their walk EVERY day.
I don't HAVE to sew something new this week.
I don't HAVE to cook dinner or do the washing up.
It's ok if all I did today was NOTHING.

If I do get to an episode I have learned that I can take the power away from the sadness but acknowledging it and embracing it. Yes embracing it.

I say to it between sobs "oh hi thanks for coming sadness. Yes I have not been taking care of myself lately and I know you are here to remind me. So, let's do this. I know that you are just trying to take care of me by MAKING me slow down and take a step back".

I run a hot shower and I give myself permission to cry. "Is that the best you got?!!" I say to the sadness. I cry and bawl and sob until I am spent.
Then I take myself to bed in a VERY dark and VERY quiet room where I sleep and sleep and sleep.
I cancel my plans and have a few days of doing NOTHING. Just resting.
If I want to sew I'll sew. If I want to spend all day watching Netflix then I will.
I say NO. I'm sorry but I can't.

I used to fight this but now i know that it is what I need to do to RESET my brain.
Run a big DEFRAG.

My episodes used to last for days but now they last about 24-48 hours.

I then thank my sadness for helping me. Yes the sadness is extreme but it is my brain telling me to STOP and SLOW THE FUCK DOWN.

I want people to know that even though I have depressive episodes I am not suicidal. I love my life and I love the people in it. I don't want to die.
Personally, mine are about overloading myself and the pressure I put on myself.
If I ever felt suicidal I know that I have an amazing support network of people around me to call upon.

If you are ever feeling down I implore you to call someone. ANYONE.

I wanted to share my experience so that if you are experiencing anything like this know....

There are LOADS of people out there with mental illnesses who understand.

You CAN live a beautiful full life with a mental illness.

I will also add a disclaimer that I am most definately medicated for my Bipolar. Finding the proper medication can be key and finding a good GP and psychologist or psychiatrist.
Don't be ashamed to take medication. Medication is great.

Take care of yourselves people and remember:


Friday, January 24, 2020

Circus Delay and the case of the Cracked Woodie

I suffer from a rare disorder.
It's hereditary.
It's called OAPMD.
Obnoxious Annoying People Magnet Disorder.
It runs in my family.

Let me explain.

I could be at a huge festival with thousands of people and the ONE obnoxious annoying person in the WHOLE venue will find themselves drawn... like a magnet... to me.
They will stand too close to me, talk too loud, clap and whistle at inappropriate times and normally put their arm around me whilst slurring their stale chardonnay ciggie breath on me "Ow fuckin good is it eh? I fuckin love that rockabilly shit. Fuckin pin up shit is ... hang on... *COUGH COUGH COUGH... what was I sayin... oh yea.... I love your fuckin hair eh You look like Betty Boop"..

I will be waiting in line at Coffee Club or at Woolies and the ONE obnoxious annoying person in the whole shopping centre will always be behind me in line and will start up a conversation with me. Normally again, in a too loud voice and normally about how their dog ate their socks and spewed over Terry's tool box again and the price of bloody sausages is bullshit and how much their bunion has grown over summer . "Have a look at it . Go orn!! Look!"

I must emit some sort of aura or pheromone that the universe feels the need to thrust these people into my personal space. Maybe I have been put on this Earth to act as a sounding board to assist these self-unaware people to vent their inner most diatribes.

Which brings me to my latest encounter at Cirque du Soleil.

I have never been to a circus or acrobatic show in my whole life.  When Ashton's Circus would come to Oakey each year we never went. Instead, we saved our cents for the Oakey Show's Dodgem Cars and Sizzler rides.
So when Cirque du Soleil announced the latest tour I decided enough is enough. I must go.

Mummsy & I were so excited on the rainy drive into the city.  We weren't even perturbed when the 16 year old hi-viz parking girl explained that we were "UNFORTUNATELY in the line into the carpark". After a 15 minute crawl we finally entered the mysteriously empty carpark.

Walking into the circus tent was like walking in to another dimension of wonder and awe ... and then we had to sit down.
I am not kidding when I say those seats were like kindergarten size and squished together so you were almost sitting on the person next to you.  I would shudder to think how a bigger sized person could have even sat down.  It was NOT comfortable at all... BUT ... no matter... nothing was going to take away from our joy and childlike wonderment.

Then Shazza (not her real name but she was a definite Shazza) and her daughters arrived to sit next to me. 
Shazza already reeked of Horizon Ultra milds and bourbon. She came in guzzling one tinnie of Woodstock and Cola while juggling another 2 in her hands.  She plonked down almost on top of me and exclaimed to everyone in our section "I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M FUCKING HERE!!! HOW'S THAT FUCKING RAIN!"
Yep. Thank you universe. The ole OAPMD strikes again!

Then.... the lights dim. The music begins and there is a hush across the crowd. The room is silent as some quiet French 1920s jazz music starts to add to the mood.


Shazza screams at the top of her lungs. Thus shattering any kind of ambience and mood the show was trying to set.

I don't know if you've ever seen a Cirque du Soleil but A LOT of exciting things happen.


In addition to this, she lent forward and clapped her hands in psychotic joy as HARD and as FAST as she could right next to the lady in front of her's ear and head. This happened so much that the back of the lady's hair soon looked like she had been rubbing a balloon on it and it was standing up like it was full of static electricity.

I didn't think it could get any worse.

Then Rima Hadchiti came out onto the stage. Rima stands 100cm tall. She looked AMAZING as a 1920s style madam. 


Every time Rima came out onto stage Shaz would scream this out.

The vibe in our section of the tent had turned from excitement and glee to simmering jaw clenching mob anger. 

Finally, after trying to ignore her to focus and absorb the truly spectacular feats of strength and gymnastic ability in front of me I couldn't hold it in any longer and I snapped.

I turned to Shaz and placed my hand delicately on her shoulder( always keeping in the back of my mind what cheap bourban and COLA can do to a person if confronted)
"Hi love" I chirped cheerfully " How good is this show?"


I channel my best Bill Lumberg voice and say "Yeah.Ummm I'm gonna need you to tone down the excitement a bit. I know you're excited and loving the show. Oh my God so are we. So is everyone. It's incredible. Amazing. BUT you are being REALLY REALLY loud and we can't really focus on the show very much. I'm not saying to NOT clap and laugh but if you could just turn the volume down a bit. And you are clapping REALLLLLLY close to that lady's head. M'kay"

"AWWWWWWWW.OOOOOPS... awwww sorry darl". She answers in a voice that sounds like someone trying to grate a large piece of rock" I guess I'm just so excited to see my daughters and I've never seen anything like this before. Sorry I'll keep it down".
I squeeze her shoulder tenderly thanking the universe that she didn't try to snot me.

For the rest of the first half she was well behaved.

The lights come up and it's intermission time. Shazz and her daughters almost shove an old lady down the stairs in their hast to get outside for a darb.

The lady who was sitting in front almost hurdled the seat to hug me in thanks. She was ropable and we discussed whether we should advise security.

Then the music started up, the lights dimmed again and it was time for the second half. Shaz and the girls return. Reeking of durries, sculling a Woodie and Cola and carrying yet another 2 cans.

In the 15 minutes that had passed since our mediation Shaz had retained in her bourbon soaked brain only one thing. Do not scream OH MY GAWD and WOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOO. Do not LAUGH LOUDLY  and do NOT clap hands like a maniac into the woman's head.

Instead she substituted.

Instead of Oh my God and Woohoos she screamed "INCREDIBLE INCREDIBLE I CAN'T BELIEVE IT. I CAN'T BELIEVE IT."

Instead of clapping she stomped her feet as hard and as fast as she could.

I then realised that I was dealing with a new kind of Obnoxious Annoying Person. I was dealing with an Obnoxious Annoying Drunk Potentially Psycho Deranged Person.

Every once in a while I would place my hand on her should and give her "a look" but 6 Woodies in I don't think her eyes could even focus.
I looked around and the eyes of the section were on me to save them. I'd done it before. I could do it again.... Couldn't I?

Rima comes back out onto the stage. This time in a tiny steam train. Smoking a long cigarello. The lights dim and a violinist enters the stage behind her playing a romantic sad ballad. She stops and starts talking to the audience in french. It's beautiful.


I think to myself "surely there must be a staff member who is hearing this who can kick her out"... but no. Like Rima's character we in Section 2 were also trapped in our own Steam Punk Narnia tragedy. No one is coming to save us.

The remainder of the show we just focused on the staggering beauty and jaw dropping abilities of the gymnastics, acrobats and actors in the performance.

It was one of the most incredible shows I have ever seen and it nearly bought me to tears.

Finally, the lights come up and the cast take their bows and the audience cheers. 
I wait for it.
I stick my fingers in my ears in anticipation of the ear piercing shrill screams of drunky Shaz but she is strangely silent.

I turn my head.

She has gone and left a trail of eau de Winnie Red and a large pile of empty Woodstock cans at my feet.

If you every get a chance to go to Cirque du Soleil you simply MUST. 

Words cannot describe how magical it is in every way. The props, the costuming, the music (that I thought was piped but then I looked up and the band and singer where on the roof of the stage performing) and the whole story telling. 
I was smiling so much for days afterwards. Just make sure you wear comfy clothes because you are crammed into that tent like sardines in a tin.

Mummsy and I walked back to the car in the drizzling rain. We scramble into the car seats and shut the doors. We look at each other, smile and both scream as loud as we can "


Friday, January 3, 2020

"It turns out the best Janet was the Janet that was inside Janet all along." - Janet "The Good Place"

Happy new Year everyone!!!
I haven't been on Facebook much over my holidays mainly because the bush fire photos and discussion make me too sad. However, even with all the terrible disasters that are happening across our nation I DO feel that 2020 is going to be a really great year.
I have so much to be grateful for.

The Big Fella & I's work life is great at the moment and we are both working for really nice people and actually ENJOY going to work. I know right??!!! It's about bloody time. I've had A LOT of changes in my work place which have been pretty nerve wracking but it has all worked out fine. Phew.

We have booked a holiday to Fiji for our belated 10 year wedding anniversary in May. Wooohooo.

I am having another caudal epidural on 23rd January which should help immensely with my back pain.
I have ruptured L4 L5 vertebrae which makes all the nerve endings going through them go into like a spasm and become super inflamed. I get sciatic pain and intense aching in my legs and sometimes I can barely walk. This constant pain also causes like a chronic fatigue from the body being in a state of stress like this and I feel like I could sleep for days. It's a catch 22. If I sit too much it flares but also if I move too much it flares.

I am blessed to have such beautiful supportive family and friends to make more memories and mischief with this year.

- I am giving up meat (pescatarian) and TRYING reign in my sugar. Sweets are my downfall. Damn you tasty tasty chocolate .I'm doing this more for my health than any environmental reason. I need to eat much more plants and I figure that this is the perfect way.
I'm looking forward to trying heaps of yummy recipes. Watch out PINTEREST.

- Get healthy by getting into a daily exercise regime even if it is just a 10 minute walk. I would like to get more into swimming this year. I am a total water baby and I used to be a competitive swimmer in my younger days and so love being in the pool. At the moment even aqua aerobics is a no go so even walking in the pool will be good.

- Do some work on our house. We have been in our house for over 10 years now and haven't done much maintenance and she's looking a bit shabby..
Time for those window and door frames to be repainted!

- Practice more self love. I haven't been much of a fan of myself in the past and I need to learn to like.... no LOVE myself more. Warts (skin tags) and all. I need to learn that I don't have to make other people happy and like me all the time and it's o.k to say no.
I need to stop wondering why people act the way they do and just focus on myself.

- Spread the happiness. Continue to use social media for good by posting more funny inappropriate memes but also for posting more positive news stories from around the world to remind myself and others that not everyone on this Earth is a selfish arsehole. The world is still a beautiful place with beautiful people doing incredible things.

- More body shots. Yes you can expect more selfies this year (YES! I hear you cry) but I need to start accepting my short pudgy round soft white dough body isn't something to be hidden away in embarrassment. It's ok to not have a body like Gal Gadot.

- SEWING - Continue to buy more fabric. I cop a far bit of stick for buying fabric but you know what..... it sparks joy (thank you Marie Kondo). I love fabric and sewing. I don't drink or smoke or go out on the town so this is what I choose to spend my money and time on and if I have a million dresses and tops then I have a million dresses and tops. I love creating and this is my outlet. I plan to learn how to sew pants and knits this year SO LOOK OUT.

- BLOG. Yes I think I've said that every year for the last 5 years now. But I really do think I need to do it. It's good for me and my mental health. I intend to set aside time every month to write. I need to get it into my big lumpy head that I am writing for MYSELF though... not to please others.


I wasn't as social as I normally am this past year.

This is primarily due to my horrible back pain and a big lack of self esteem.
When you're in chronic pain and you've gain a lot of weight it's hard to feel like getting frocked up and going out. A lot of my vintage clothes either don't fit or feel uncomfortable and I felt like people would be judging me.
I know that is a really silly selfish way of looking at the world and so this year I will be working on changing my mindset.

Lots of laughs with the in-laws

Roma Street Parklands

Big day painting our rental property.

So much fun with this bunch of rat-bags




1930s beach pajama day at Margate

JEWEL YULE Colourful Christmas lunch

Bohemian Rhapsody GOLD CLASS with Aunty Lee

NYE 2019

New addition to the family - Catsy Cline

Another new addition - Figaro

Getting older - I now need reading glasses

Ladies night out at the Boom Boom Room

Australia Day on the water 2019

My hilarious niece and nephew

The Big Fella's surprise 40th birthday gift - a new flash detector

Tried blue hair - for a about 2 weeks

Went to see Me First and the Gimme Gimmes with cuz Chelsea

The Big Fella's 40th birthday at All Inn Brewing

Nanny's 86th birthday party


Caudel epidural for my dodgy vertabrae

4 hour massage session for my birthday

Weston's 1st birthday

Went to see Pokey La Farge

Had a market stall with this gorgeous dames

Fancy Dress Disco supporting beyond blue

Ceiling fan in the sewing room!!

Barons Beat 

Mary Poppins

Michelle and Ferret

The kids.

Christmas Day 2019
HAPPY 2020