4 …as in 4got

Uhoh …I 4got to take my meds again”

A simple statement which is REALLY hard to admit because the realisation usually comes after some sort of mishap. A mishap people like myself spend their entire lives avoiding with a passion.

Why do people with mental health issues take their meds? For the benefit of those around them.

We take them to avoid “hurting” other people emotionally. We take the meds to make other people’s lives easier and we take the meds in the hope that we can function in “your” world. We don’t want to be a burden and we try everything we can to avoid “issues”; but just like a cat learning to scuba dive in an underwater world …or a rhinoceros atempting to pirouette in pointe shoes on a stage designed for slightly built humans …we tend to stand out. We tend to abruptly panic and gasp for air…or fall over and look ridiculous as we attempt to regain our composure.

So yes: a simple thing like unlocking a cabinet for a client to take a closer look at the items that they have NO intention of buying… (I know this because I recognize the clients who want to merely berate the items in order to proudly exhibit their superior knowledge)… this simple task which is possible when I am on my meds .. becomes temporarily impossible when the keys which usually work begin to “fight back”.

Yes this happened today ….

I have learnt that I must get out of the tricky situation as quickly as possible. So I apologised and explained that Monday might be a better day as the cabinet is stuck and I probably have the incorrect key. (My usual sidekick was not available for work today so there was no other alternative). The gentleman became upset at which point I excused myself (I had begun to lose control and my head was starting to spin). I eased out the shop …took the side entrance in via my dog who helps me refocus. I prayed I stayed low and when I felt less dizzy I returned to my desk whereupon the said gentleman felt duty bound to rearrange my life for me.

For the first time ever I openly explained that I was dizzy as I had not taken my medication … he persisted …I said “with all due respect Sir, could you please LEAVE ME ALONE” …he began to explain that I should close the shop …so I ever so maturely stuck my fingers in my ears, closed my eyes and prayed … probably outloud.

A few minutes later I opened my eyes and like magic…he had disappeared and I was able to continue serving clients. It took a while for my brain to rearrange itself but I was able to finish the shift and apologize to the other clients who seemed very understanding.

Forgetting to take your meds …. a big no-no. Mishaps…avoidable. Apologies …necessary.

Give up and die?

NEVER!

Take the meds and try again?

ALWAYS.

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5

It’s been about 5 months since my husband and 16yo daughter headed to the Netherlands and although I really miss them there is a great comfort in knowing they are happy there. My daughter is pursuing her gymnastics dreams and being in a country that is “safe” is such a blessing. In S.A. I was constantly anxious regarding the safety and future of my family.

My 19yo son moved to the UK about 3 weeks ago and I am incredibly blessed that my niece and her lovely little family have embraced him and completely absorbed him into their family unit.

My eldest sister is also in the UK and her love for my family has always been deep and real…something every sister needs …unconditional love .. and that is obviously flowing through her daughter’s heart too.

This is grace in action …unmerited love and favour. This grace is difficult to grasp …I was brought up to “pay my way” and to “put others first” and not to “take advantage ” of people.

Sometimes one has to step back and say “Thank you” and receive the blessings … and hope that in the future one can pay it forward in some way.

#enptynest #grace #family #5

Doodling beach sand 26 Jan 2017

I am ALIVE!!!! For years I felt like “the living dead”.. but not today! Oh no …today I woke up just before 5am …the grateful recipent of a “5 hours in a row” sleep. For almost 2 decades I have felt grateful if I managed a 2 hour slot of sleep so 5 hours is like being 49 and waking up in your “teenage” self’s body.

Off to the beach! This time I picked up a signboard on the way out the front door. Said signboard was in the pantry of our rental (I noticed it in there about a year ago but did not throw it out as it did not belong to me). Now I have been brought up very well …yes, I know you wouldn’t have guessed that by observing me. My Mom would’ve insisted that I ask before using it, however I am quite positive that Andrew Meyer of Pam Golding properties, Port Alfred, would NOT have appreciated a 5am call. (Sorry Mom – I know I shouldn’t have borrowed without asking).

The point is this signboard was extremely useful as it protected my pile of freshly compacted, wet sand from dryimg out too rapidly. (Did it really take me 5 years to think about cutting sand in the shade?)

Today I used one of Peter Charter’s 25 litre paint buckets that I had adapted (Peter had GIVEN them to me – no need for permission…yay).

93

My Dad would’ve turned 93 today. I still miss him so much. I always wanted to say “I love you” just one more time, but as my brother said, “Cal one more time would’ve never been enough for you”. Although my Dad was a good provider (he worked so damn hard all his life and taught us to do our best and persevere and to take care of others)…he was emotionally disconnected from me.

Apparently it had to do with a parenting issue between him and my mother when I was a child. She was a very strong woman but forced herself diligently into the “submissive” role that she thought God required of her, so it came as a surprise to me to find out she had stood her ground on something, but I don’t know what it was.

Recently I came to realise that “being there” emotionally in relationships and consistently tapping into that “love that covers a multitude of sins ” and the forgiveness and grace that God provides and encourages in us, is essential to mental health.

Blame is no victory flag to be bandied about. We simply need to take the cards dealt to us (and there are far worse cards than emotional abandonment out there)…and learn from everything.

So I loved my Dad with an overwhelming love …was never embarrassed by him and only ever so proud of him. Eventually towards the end of my father’s life, the Lord sent me to take care of him. My husband loved the Lord and I am forever grateful that he too felt this burden for my Dad on his heart.

My son (3 yrs at the time) and daughter (8 weeks when we arrived in Port Alfred), breathed fresh life into my father. Of course I was able to take care of my Dad and he in turn took care of me. He really tried harder (God’s sense of humour in sending the black sheep of the family always amuses me)…he softened as time went by. His mental health and mine improved with the giving and taking of love … my affection was returned …and a lovely flow of expressed love meandered gently through our relationships.

Love really must be expressed in more ways than “just provision” …the languages of love are varied and each heart speaks best with their unique dialect.

Yet always I believe AFFECTION must be present … human beings need physical affection …an expression of emotional connection.

I found that just sitting and rubbing cream into my father’s dry hands helped him (of course he said he hated it but he allowed and eventually enjoyed it once the walls protecting his heart began to crumble). But I had to be cautious not to damage that sensitive heart and he had to reach out and love and forgive…and he did…and I am grateful for that because therein lay the healing for me.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY DARLING from your Monkey

Thinking clearly 1

Good mental health is best cultivated in soil rich in unconditional love and encouragement.

Criticism is a cruel companion – he hides in the wings of the stage prompting vicious unnecessary lines. His only goal to stand on a pedestal of your failures and raise his hands in victory.

He is not your friend.

Now that you are free …choose your travelling companions wisely.

PROFIT …the ungod

My son calls it “pure art” …the art people produce for pleasure rather than commercial gain. The world does not respect it and it’s difficult to make a living doing it.

Think about when you first made something …the joy of creating something unique …it’s a really fulfilling experience. When shared with the right people it becomes a double blessing…the blessing continues as the item is viewed and appreciated by other people too.

BUT the “ungod” PROFIT demands to be worshipped and he really can NEVER be satisfied. He will bleed you dry and crush you into the ground with his demands for more.

There’s a strong trend developing called minimalism. Hugely successful professionals are realising that making money and buying things is incredibly unsatisfying.

In real life you are prepped to make money…lots of it. Become a productive member of society. No focus on helping others…taking care of the environment…minimising waste and focussing on family and healthy relationships. You are generally deemed to be unsuccessful if you do not have a high paying job, a huge house and the latest vehicles, technology etc.

Everything everywhere is designed to make you dissatisfied with what you have …what you look like…what you wear …where you live. Marketers convince you that you need bigger better and newer items…they HAVE to …but is it truth?

Do you REALLY need all those things? Do you REALLY need to burn yourself out in order to pay for things you have no time to enjoy? CAN YOU FREE YOURSELF from the ever demanding worship of the ungod?

Get off the bus. Look around. What really gives you peace and joy? Could you live in a less expensive space? Could you lean out your budget? Do you need to watch tv and of course adverts to find out what you don’t need? Is the latest technology really necessary or does it just force you to be continually available to demanding people? How many pairs of shoes do you really need? Have a look at the 33-3 challenge. Wear only 33 items for 3 months. You will soon find out what is really important to you.

Your boss sets a goal …if you hit the target everyone is pleased with you but you can be assured that your success becomes next season’s baseline. Why? Why do you need to make your company more money? Why do the shareholders need MORE money? Why do prices HAVE to increase? What if we all just stopped worshipping profit? What if each one just did their best …loved their families and those around them. Did their little bit and shared. What if there were no greedy people?

What if being the richest/having the most was seen as waste?

What if we walked away from the ungod?

Feeling down?

The battle with depression seems to be an eternal one and before those who are not prone to it clamour with unhelpful advice such as: “just get over it” …”only selfish ppl get depressed” … and “stop navel gazing” …

It is a war we are waging. Merely stating that the battle is not real or that there is no enemy or that we should just ignore it – will not annihilate the problem.

It’s a daily battle and you need good soldiers (at least one REAL friend” to fight alongside you) if you stand a chance of fulfilling your purpose on earth. You may need specific ammunition (medication) …you need to keep your body healthy like any good soldier (yes you are going to have to figure out strategies to ambush your “comfort eating”; “sugar/ drug of choice” cravings and you are going to have to have great comms with the leader of the army (God).

It also helps to know what your triggers are so that you can avoid them at all costs.

My major trigger is rejection so being in relationships with highly critical ppl is toxic for me. On the other hand, apparently my “behaviour” when reacting (note I am still working on response as opposed to reaction) is equally toxic for those who live with me. However I think I may have a solution for that one: live alone with a golden retriever.

This beautiful creature will seek you out constantly …will avoid you if you freak out (without judging you and bringing up all your past errors). This wonderfully designed friend will be overjoyed when you arrive home and will treasure everything you do for him/her. Apparently that look in your canine companion’s eyes when you are connecting, generates positive chemicals in both of your brains.

I digress …what I wanted to mention is my “count your blessings out loud” technique. My self talk (and I assume the “other department” also throws his fair share in) centres around: Nobody REALLY loves you …nobody REALLY cares. This usually plays in my head after an event where I felt rejected. Please note this rejection may or may not have been intentional on the part of the other person/people.

Before you know it you have lost the plot. However IF you can counter yourself mid negative chat; or if you have a confidante that can hit the ball back towards you with a note that says “I care” …you can start reversing the process.

The thing is … more negativity …more criticism is NOT helpful. If you have somebody who can push in and love you practically despite your negative state of mind…then that’s a HUGE blessing.

I have been working through a lot of emotional and mental challenges recently (absolutely minor compared to people who live really tough lives though).

What helps? GOD. Yup I remind myself that GOD loves me so much that he not only died for me and rose again 3 days later to reconnect with me; (YES the God of ALL creation wants to be my pappa; my friend etc.) But He also answers my cries for help.

Sometimes I can’t hear Him …this week he sent a different friend to me. I haven’t seen her for quite some time …she came bearing cake and love. So when the negative thoughts reared their ugly heads again this morning I said out loud “Ha! Somebody does care! Thank you God for my gift of cake; for my friendly friend…I am NOT unloved – I am cared for.

About 2 weeks ago a different friend treated me to a special belated birthday meal with my favourite foods …they even gave me a gift and the children baked me a cake and made beautiful decorations. I felt so special. I felt LOVED.

These events are a special kind of weapon in my arsenal. These I can use to shout back across the battlefield “I am loved. There are people who like who I am. This person gave me a gift …that one touched my arm …this one whatsapps me daily to ensure I am ok…”

Yes this looks self centred however the flip side of my war is a blast. I love to encourage others and pour into their lives. I love to reach out to others. I love to give gifts and help massage stress out of a sore neck. I love to help (when I am together).

The depression comes and goes …on the good days I LIVE AND LOVE with ALL MY HEART. On the bad days I try to remember to count my blessings out loud…which eventually morphs into noisy freestyle worship. (See why I am designed to live alone?)

So yes …good friends are critical for people who war depression. They remind you to take your meds; they encourage you…they help you fight the good fight.

They are also incredibly hard to find!

So guard your positive sibling/friend/parental relationships. Let go when you need to and do not be embarassed to receive when you are in need.

Also remember that depressed people can be very draining…get out of the hole as fast as you can …soften your heart …pull out the weeds and sow beautiful seeds.

Don’t let “down” win!

#depression #warr;or #mansbestfriend #downtoup

The overflow of my heart – perfection is overrated