Friday, December 23, 2011

Perfect or honest?

I don't have a perfect relationship with my children. Its hard to have a perfect relationship with anyone when you live with a mental illness (PTSD and Acute Anxiety Disorder) is there really such a thing as a perfect relationship anyway? But I know unequivocally that I have an honest one with my children. For me that is far more important then "perfect".

One thing that I have told Laura and Nathan (and will do for Aston) is that if they ever find themselves in a situation where they or a friend need help - be it because of anything - drug, alcohol, sex, anything - and they need an adult, that they come to me, and we will work it out together. No judgement, just support, and hopefully resolution.

Laura has come to me several times. The latest this week. I got a phone call from her on Sunday. A friend that she works with had done a pregnancy test, and it was positive. This young woman, K, has only recently turned 17. She was afraid, and feeling very very lonely. I asked her about her own mother. This was a definite no go zone. Her mother goes through her things, recently found tampons, and wanted to know what sleazy people K had been hanging around! K was adamant that if her mother found out that she was pregnant she would get kicked out of home.

As the week progressed, and I took her to the doctors, held her hand and told her to breathe while she had blood tests and ultrasounds, my heart became sadder and sadder. We spoke a lot. She talked about her relationship with her mother. I talked about what was going on with her body, and how important it was to know and understand her body. I talked about taking care of herself, of making sure she doesn't find herself in this position again, about what her options were. I talked about actions and consequences.

I was very careful not to be derogorative about her mother in anyway, saying instead that I know without a doubt that her mother loves her, that being a parent is hard, and her parenting choices will no doubt have been informed by how she was parented growing up. Inside I was wondering why she had created a relationship with her daughter that was based on fear, and lies.

There are people (as I'm sure there will be people who read this) that think I should not have gotten involved. That it was none of my business. And that is true, it is none of my business. But having been a young woman who felt unheard, unseen and afraid, I refuse to let anyone go through something so definitive alone if I am able to be beside them. It cost me nothing, and I am hopeful that K has learnt a lot from the experience. I know I have.

I'm thankful that I have an honest relationship with my children. They know - no matter what - that they can come to me and that I will love them unconditionally. Its not perfect... But its honest.

(The universe intervened, and K miscarried. Regardless of how or what the outcome, at least she wasn't alone.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I read my stars this morning and it described so perfectly how I have been feeling ... "adrift on the ocean". I have been frantically looking for shore, scrambling from side to side of this little boat that I'm in. Its been dipping wildly, taking on water, starting to limp... and the ocean isn't even turbulent. I'm creating my own waves, rocking my own boat...

Its time to be still. All my needs can be taken care of in this boat. Lie back, look at the stars, the moon. Make shapes, animals, fantasies in the clouds. Watch the lightening in the distance. Listen to the gentle lapping of the water on the hull. The sea is calm, there is no storm. Just the one inside my mind. Shift the focus from inside your head, and let the elements wash over you, soothe you.

Its OK to be adrift. When you stop fighting it, eventually you hit landfall. Enjoy the ride on the way.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

tears, accomplishments and the black dog

I got into the car, and tears came unbidden. I struggled to keep them from overflowing. I looked out the window, and tried to surreptitiously wipe them away, desperately hoping that she, or anyone else for that matter, would not notice.


A few days before, Nathan had asked me what was my greatest accomplishment. Without even thinking about it, my answer was, "You guys, my children."

"Oh." was his response.

Then I added "And putting John in jail. But having you three - that's my greatest accomplishment."

The question came out of nowhere. We were discussing accomplishments or achievements, he just randomly - or so it appeared - asked. When I questioned him where it had come from, his answer, "was no where, I was just wondering." OK - thanks for clearing that one up Nat.

But of course it has rattled around in my head now for days.

A few days before that conversation, I had a conversation with my sister. I was practising "grace" - trying to extend grace to her, in spite of her behaviours, in spite of her denial that she suffers from something far greater then depression. So I called her when I had received a text from her. The conversation with her was pretty much the way most of the conversations with her are - either manic, or black. This one was manic. She was racing. I could have put the phone down, walked away, came back 5 minutes later, and she would have been none the wiser.

During the conversation she mentioned the "blow out" that her and our mother had had recently. She alluded to the fact that our mother had "vomited" stuff at her when she had arrived at her place to stay. Vomited stuff about me. I should have known better. I shouldn't have pushed to know. But I did. I've taken advantage of her, I do things to suit myself, if I'm not careful Aston will be a bigger brat then Beth (my sister's daughter) ever was... I should have known better then to expect that my mother could do anything for me unconditionally.

But of course that too has rattled around in my head now for days.


Laura came home for a visit this weekend just gone. She arrived Friday night, and I took her back to her other home last night. In the 96 hours she was on the Sunshine coast, 52 of them she spent with us, 21 of them awake.... what does it matter? I know. I'm being pathetic. 21 hours is better then none at all... I guess I'm feeling greedy. I wanted more... more time. more of .... what?

Maybe what I really wanted was to rewind time.

Nothing like wishing for the impossible is there? Kind of like putting someone in a round room and telling them to sit in the corner....


The further down the road I travelled the heavier and tighter my chest felt. The black dog dug in deep, and settled firmly on my heart. The harder it began to hide the tears. Snide remarks were exchanged between us. I didn't want it to end this way. Why could I just not keep my mouth shut?

Nathan had made an interesting observation. That she was different towards me, then she is towards her father. That she speaks to him, their father, and their father's girlfriend,  kindly, conversationally when they are at their father's. Here she speaks to him rudely. Here she speaks to me rudely. There is no respect.

How did we get here? Where did it all go so horribly wrong?

More to the point,can it be fixed?

So much for my greatest accomplishment........

Even the cat senses something amiss....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

5 years in Pictures

Today five years ago, a little ray of sunshine entered the world. Some days he is like a thunder cloud - but most days he is sunshine and joy. Happy Birthday Aston. I love you

Monday, November 28, 2011

Breathing through it

I have been out of sorts since my last post.... initially mentally and then physically.

Early on the Friday morning after connecting with the linkup for Speak Out, I proceeded to read through other peoples posts. As I progressed through each one, my skin started to feel prickly, my heart rate increased, and I became increasingly more agitated. As is usually the case, with out realising until I was right in the middle of it, I had been triggered, and my anxiety was amped.

I had a friend and her children coming for morning tea, and wanted to tidy up before she got here. I walked around the kitchen - quarter completing tasks, and only succeeding in creating more mess as I went and increasing my agitation significantly. By now that breathless feeling I get, dizzy and spacey, had started to descend, and I started to cry.

I stood by the kitchen sink and looked out my window.

The dialogue running rampantly through my head - what the fuck have I done?? Why do that? Publicly proclaim for all and sundry to see what a loser you are? Your insane.. mad! crazy! fucking idiot! ... was challenged by another voice.

"Breathe Vicky. There is no need to be afraid. Its been and gone and happened. You picked yourself up, dusted yourself off, and kept going. You survived. Its OK. Breathe."

So I did. I stood and looked out the window at the view, and drank in its beauty, and breathed. And slowly, the agitation started to be replaced by calm, the prickly skin and dizziness dissipated as I reconnected with my body, and I was able to tidy up, have morning tea with my friend, and participate in a reasonably healthy functioning conversation.

Big deal? Is for me.

When you have an anxiety disorder, being able to get to through it with out blasting off into the outer space regions of a full blown panic attack, is monumental. Especially if you do it with out pharmaceautical assistance aka valium. And for me, especially if I can do it with out the black dog landing on my back afterwards.

I went on to have a wonderful weekend with M and Aston, with a trip to the Circus, and beach BBQ with my soul sister and her children only to be knocked down with a cold at the end of it.

Now if only I can learn how to breathe through the onset of a cold and chase that away...  then again, maybe my body just needed to rest, and recuperate. Anxiety is a bitch like that.

Brand new week. I wonder what it will bring?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Shaking off the shame

I had mixed feelings when I saw that Wanderlust was speaking out against Domestic Violence. I admired her confidence in speaking out... I tingled with shame at my own story.

You see, I grew up in a family where domestic violence - in all its categories... physical, verbal, mental, emotional, sexual - was the norm, not the exception. And I swore as a young adult that no-one would ever treat me like my mother (and every other woman that the sperm donor brought into my life) myself and my sister had been treated. Ever. I swore it adamantly. Vehemently. Absolutely.

In March 2009 (while this story started a long time ago, you can read about my awakening, everything in between, and finally resolution to make changes) my husband attempted suicide. It was horrible, horrific, devastating.

I sat in the special room at the hospital speaking to the Psyche nurse... no, make that vomiting out my husband's behaviour... all of it. The nasty, horrible, hateful things that he had done, said, behaved towards me and my children. Suddenly I stopped. Because I HEARD myself....

I turned to my friend that was with me - someone who had saved me from myself once before (but that's another story for another time) and said to her "Oh my god. If someone was sitting in front of me telling me the things that I have just spoken I would be looking at them aghast and asking them what the hell are you doing??" That was my moment of realisation. Realisation that I had landed in a relationship that I swore I would never have. One full of violence - verbal, mental and physical. I was devastated. How the fuck had I got here?? What had I done???

I started to cry - not for my husband, but for myself. For my children. In disbelief.

It took me nearly another 12 months and an Apprehended Violence Order, changing my home phone number and mobile number to finally cut him completely out of my life - or as completely as  you can cut someone that you share a child with. It took another 12 months and a whole lot of persistence, and me standing my ground, for something that resembled him having a relationship with his son to occur. For ME to no longer be afraid, and know that he no longer has any power over me, to be able to see him for the pathetic sad little man that he is - that took another six months.

Two and a half years in total. To feel like he no longer had a psychological hold over me in some form. To feel like the person I know I am. To reclaim my self esteem. To trust. To love myself. To forgive myself - well that's still a work in progress.

Its easy for outsiders  to say a million things about a situation that they haven't walked or lived. To have an opinion. Hell, I even had a million things to say, and an opinion, and I had already lived it as a child... and I still fucking ended up in an all to similar situation as an adult. Why do women stay in abusive relationships? There is a myriad of explanations out there. Its insidious and gradual the slide down that slippery slope. By the time it happens your self belief, esteem, courage, worth are so eroded that you start to believe it is all your fault. That you are the cause of it all.

What should you do if someone you care about is in this situation? Don't judge them. Be there for them. Let them know, when they are ready, you will stand there beside them. They are going to need you.

What if you find yourself in this situation? Firstly - even though it no doubt feels like it, please know that you aren't alone. Reach out. Speak out. You too can shake the shackles of domestic violence. If you can't do it for yourself, and have children - DO IT FOR THEM. Show them how brave, and strong you are. Show your daughters that it is not OK to be treated badly. Show your sons that it is not OK to treat women badly. Show your children that domestic violence is never OK.

Knowledge is power. Find the knowledge. Find the power.

Domestic Violence Resources and Help in Australia

Lifeline Phone: 13 11 14 (cost of local call from landline) Website:

This website is all about the line and the kind of behaviour that crosses it.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic Violence Resource centre

Monday, November 14, 2011

old habits die hard...

Some habits take a while to stop. Well they do for me anyway. Especially ones that involve my psyche, guess it comes from having PTSD. My brain automatically goes to the programmed response - even though that response hasn't been required for quite a while now.

Last week a girlfriend text me asking us to a trivia fund raising night for the local scouts. My internal dialogue went something like this:

"M won't want to do this, he'll think its lame, stupid, dumb (any other adjective that is used to describe something someone considers a waste of time). I won't bother asking him. I'll just say no we are busy... hang on a minute Vicky - you don't know that M will think its lame etc. Ask him."

So I did. And he said yes, that sounds fun. I was gob smacked, until I reminded myself that this M. NOT R... and that I have to stop having expectations - good, bad or indifferent.

In the book I read fearless loving by Rhona Britten, she talks about exactly this. Letting go of expectations ... all of them. I was expecting a negative response, based on my previous experiences with R, when asked to go somewhere social. I almost didn't ask M if he wanted to go. I'm glad I pushed through the uncomfortableness of it, and asked.

We went. We caught up with my friend's husband before we went to the trivia night. It was a nice, calm, normal thing to do... (It seems I'm still getting used to what normal looks like) M can hold a conversation, I don't have to be on egg shells worrying about what he is going to say, do, behave, be...

I finally have what I have craved for such a long time. A partner. A person who interacts with me. A grown up. Someone I can be silly with, serious with, just be with...

I had such a lovely weekend. We didn't do anything tremendously exciting (the trivia night went on for an awfully long time....), watched some episodes of Rome together, had a sleep in, bacon and eggs breakfast, washed the dogs, had a water fight with the boys...  It was just ... nice. Calm. Normal.

I love nice. calm. Normal... I love it a lot.

Monday, November 7, 2011

when life was still pregnant with possibility...

I saw my daughter on Saturday for the first time since mid September... since everything tipped upside down. It was so good to put my arms around her and hold her - even if initially she was reluctant.

Its the longest time I have ever not seen her in 15 years.

It hurts still. I miss her terribly. I don't miss the fighting. But I feel like I've picked a scab, and it stings.

Seeing her - well my internal dialogue is rampant again with the words failure.

I wish I could rewind time... back to a time before. Only problem is which point in "before" would I rewind back to? To a time when life was still pregnant with possibility...?

Laura and I March 1996

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My Pandora's box... part 1

The saying "opening Pandora's box" gets thrown around a lot. It comes from the myth of Pandora, and the box that she was given by the gods and told to never open it. Pandora tried to tame her curiosity, but in the end she could not do it; she opened the box and all the illnesses and hardships that the gods had hidden in the box started coming out. Pandora was scared, evil spirits sprung from the box and she fiercely tried to close the box as fast as possible, enclosing the only thing remaining inside - Hope.

This is the story of the opening of my Pandora's box.

This isn't a pleasant story so it comes with a warning. If you have been abused -mentally, physically, sexually - there are details in this story that may trigger you. Read it with care.

I was  ambivalent about motherhood. My points of reference for parents were not shining ones that instil in you the confidence to go forth and multiply.  Instead I had a whole lot of things I knew I didn't want to do... and not a lot to fall back on in regards to how to do it right. So armed with my HOW NOT TO BE PARENT guide I became a mother.

My daughter was truly an angel. She fed like a champion, slept through from 6 weeks old, did everything the "books" said, was a coffee shop connoisseur by three weeks of age,  was so busy sleeping, or smiling, that my arms were often empty, or holding someone else's small person to give them some relief.

But with the birth of my daughter came the beginning of "postcards" from under the door of my Pandora's box. Postcards from my own childhood. Postcards from the place where I had very neatly folded down into tiny tiny pieces my life as a child... or to be more precise, from childhood until 23... stored and locked away so that I could re-invent myself into something - someone - shiny and new.

I kept slipping - sometimes kicking - those postcards back under that door. NO! was my usual internal response to these postcard moments. NO! That was then, this is now... the two aren't related, have nothing to do with each other, aren't connected, GO AWAY!

Then I had my son. I had no experience with little boys. I had a sister, no brothers. Maleness in fact alarmed and scared me. I didn't understand them.

The postcards came faster and my refusal to look at them or deal with them became frantic. I spiriled down into the abyss, where colour is washed out, almost non-exisitent. When you have no colour in your life, no light it feels like you are walking around in a fog, sounds, images, feelings are muted, or disappear completely.

When my son was 8 months old I went to the doctor. But I didn't tell her anything, other then I was tired, and cried a lot. I didn't divulge anything about my past, she didn't ask. I didn't offer. I was put on anti-depressants, and treated for Post Natal Depression.

It wasn't until nearly 3 years later that I began to realise that all the medication in the world wasn't going to stop the postcards. That, and the fact that I found out that I was going to have a baby sister. The man who I had all but deleted from my life was going to be a father again...

That was when my Pandora's box flung open, and the world that I had tried so hard to create shattered into a million tiny pieces.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Celebrating feeling good

I wasn't going to do a Grateful post this week because... well I'm feeling great.

How silly is that? Instead of celebrating feeling great, and writing about it, I was going to let it slip by, acknowledged only by me. It was only after reading other grateful posts that I decided that feeling great is a very very good reason to be grateful. The fact that I didn't have to dig deep to find wonder and gratitude is by itself something to be grateful for.

So I'm celebrating feeling good.

The new medication I have started has taken away that nasty angry feeling, my anxiety and agitation have leveled out. I can see the colour in the world again, feel the sun, and not feel overwhelmed by anything and everything.

I have re-enrolled in uni, and started my course. It feels so good to be engaging my brain again in a subject that I am passionate about.

I had the tattoo on my side added to and I LOVE IT! It feels like a piece of art now.

I getting through that bloody elephant a little bit every day. Its forward momentum, instead of stagnant standing still.

I am re-connecting with my daughter. Our relationship has changed, evolved, into something new. The distance between us doesn't feel any where near as far as it did. She is an amazing young woman.

I have also re-connected with my mother. The last two months have been an interesting time for both us, with a lot of healing happening on both fronts. I have a far greater ability now to stand back and see her as a woman - not just as my mother. And in being able to do that, I have greater understanding of her.

Maxabella Loves has helped me to see gratitude in the big, small and everything in between. What's going on in your world that you can be grateful for?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ticking off that list....

1. finish the teachers aide course and have a job ( are rethinking this one - not sure I want to do the teacher's aide course... the job thing I still want to do though) I have completely rethought this, and decided not to do it. I have enjoyed having the time to "completely recover and live with out trauma in my life" as my therapist wisely put it.

2. sold some of my paintings. This is still a work in progress. I have done several more paintings, and have been asked if I can do some more. My soul sister helped me work out a "pricing worksheet" as I struggle to put a price on what I do - which is why I end up doing paintings as gifts.

3 get divorced (that process has been started officially today. before I can get divorced I have to have children's orders in place. Today I went and started the mediation process that will get the children's orders completed - which then means I can file for divorce!!) I'm sending off the divorce DIY kit next week. I NEED TO DO THIS!!!

4 sorted out my health (I had blood tests late last year - and sugars were good, iron levels crap, and cholesterol levels too high - but at least I have something to work with. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow to review my medication, and discuss my increased anxiety at the moment) I have been making conscious choices about what I put in my mouth. Are doing some research into the topic of the moment - the addictive qualities of sugar.
5. be exercising on the Wii at least 3 times a week (um... yeh... so... um...nope)

6. Learn how to dance at dance classes (I told my soul sister about this one - and for the last four months she has been going to dance classes!! When I get back from holidays I will look further into this for myself)

7. have a firm stomach Learn to embrace the body I have. because lets face it... I'll be turning 42, not 22, and have had three kids. That stomach of mine is never gonna be the same....

8. grown my hair (this is a work in progress - I have been to the hairdressers, and as hard as it was I just got a trim - didn't get it all cut off!!) Still a work in progress... its getting there... somewhat curlier then ever before...

9. be wearing contacts lenses again Have canned this idea completely. Wearing glasses is a part of who I am, so I have ordered new ones, and new sunglasses.

10 at least once a month be doing something that is all about me - massage, live theatre, etc etc I do this regularly, and love it. feeds my soul.

11. gone on holiday somewhere by myself Are going to NZ with M, and can't wait. :)

12. gone on holiday with the kids (are in the process of booking a holiday for the September school holidays to day dream island!!!!) Paid for holiday today... so excited!!
13 fallen in love with someone who values, respects, adores me (well... um... have met someone, who I like A LOT... guess we will have to wait and see where it goes from here....) The journey can be read all about here and here and here oh.. and here, here ,here and here ....

14 saved $2000 Still working on this one too.... seems bills, and expenses keep getting in the way. Bloody car. One way I could look at it though is that I have paid for a holiday for me and my kids, been paying all my bills, rent, etc. So there may be none left to save, but at least there is enough to cover the expenses.

15 have my tattoo on my wrist finished.(Booked in for this Wednesday!!!) Its done!! and I love it! check out here to see the finished work.

16. had my tattoo on my side added to


What lies behind us & what lies before us are but tiny matters compared to what lies within us
 - Ralph Waldo Emerson

17. culled all the unwanted, un-needed "things" in my life OUT I'm eating that elephant daily!

18. have a vege and herb garden productive - well the fact that I have decided to move in the school holidays has put this idea in the to do list for later... but does creating a herb garden for M count? :)

19. learn how to crochet My soul sister started teaching me last week... I have FAR to go! re-enrolled in uni When I get back from Daydream Island I will be able to do this! I am so excited that I have done this. I have started studying this week. So good to be engaging my brain again. tattoo on base of spine.

22. have finished all the unfinished projects that I have - or gotten rid of them another bite of the elephant in progress.

23. get a new bed

24. get a dresser

25. double bed for Laura  I no longer need to do this. Laura is leaving at her Dad's

26. nose pierced

27.make all Christmas and birthday presents for this year Have started doing this. Loving the smell of candles being made.

28 reduce Internet/phone/mobile/electricity costs and save the difference I reduced my mobile bill significantly, and since changing the plan have not gone over the plan cost. Pretty happy about that!

29. gone to dreamworld/sea world/wet'n'wild with the kids on a mini holiday (I brought the VIP for myself and the kids for Christmas - which doesn't expire until 30 June. So far we have been to Movieworld, and Seaworld, and L and N went to wet'n'wild with friends. I going to let N take a "mental health day" and him and I are going to head to Movieworld and have a day together.)
30. looked into getting a new to me car

31 learn to salsa This is a duplicate of learning to dance... so will have to find something new to put here

32. start zumba classes There is Zumba classes locally...

33 water colour painting classes

34 Mosaic classes

35 Art workshops. (have THREE booked!! One this coming Saturday - working with mixed media, and two more in February!!)
36 Go whale watching this season Have a brochure about this, would like to do it before we go away to Daydream Island This will have to go on my list TO DO next year... the season is over :(

37 climb Mt Cooroora ( I recently got half way up... and will get to the top!!)

38 learnt a natural alternative to get, and keep my anxiety under control

39 by the end of the year moved house.

40 re-enrolled into uni to finish my teaching degree duplicated...

41 started writing "my story", possibly in collaboration with my therapist.

42 have a big party for my 42nd birthday!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The benefits of eating an elephant

One of the benefits of eating this elephant is not only am I chucking out a whole lot of accumulated "stuff", I have been finding things that I had forgotten I had. And me being Frugal Vicky they are things that can be re-cycled, re-used, re-gifted...

I found five beautifully simple glass cylinder vases that I had brought to put candles in for Aston's naming ceremony 4 and half years ago...(how does one forget that you have five vases - obviously have had lots of flowers NOT). Gift boxes that were in perfect condition, brand new children's books, picture frames, and other bits and pieces that I looked at and thought "Oh, so and so would love that for Christmas, or I could use that to put so and so's birthday present in."

One of my hobbies is making soy wax candles, so I'm always on the look out when visiting op shops for suitable containers. I had recently seen in a shop candles made in tea cups that looked gorgeous. On a recent op shop rampage, I found a whole lot of suitable teacups to make presents with.

It was one of my soul sister's birthday last Thursday. One of the vases came in handy to fill with a beautiful arrangement of flowers, and a gift box I covered in pretty wrapping paper (the teddy bears on it where just not doing it for me), and put two of the teacup candles I had made for her in the box.

Candles in a tea cup

Spring flowers

I do love it when I am able to create something beautiful out something else.

Do you re-cycle, re-create, re-gift?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Spring Stylin' on a budget

Once again I have to thank my styling guru Nikki over at Styling You. Recently she reviewed Big W's new range of clothes Emerson. Me, being the ever conscious budget -hunting- but -still- want -to- be stylin' mumma, checked it out when I was last in Big W.  I took another leaf out of Nikki's book, and went right through my wardrobe, made a list of basics that I needed, and took a trip to the op shop to drop off things I no longer wear. While I was there I also happened to find a couple of pieces that were on my list!!

I have to agree with Nikki. The Emerson brand is great. So great that I walked out with three pairs of stretch Capri pants for under $30... Yes that's right UNDER $30. A massive $9.45 each. I once saw an episode of Trinny and Susannah where they recommended if you found something that you like, and it fits and looks good on you, buy it in several colours.... So I did. A white pair, an indigo denim and a black. The thing I love about them is that they can go from super casual to dressy with a change of shoes, accessories and turning up the hem if you so desire.

Emerson 3/4 Capri pants (top - op shop buy!!)
Off to birthday lunch with my soul sister

With my bargain purchases I have effectively created at least 12 "new" spring/summer outfits - both casual and dressy. Very happy bunny indeed.

If you don't already, check out Styling You. Nikki holds regular give aways, gives wicked styling advice, and is very chic in my opinion. Love your work Nikki. :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

faking it 'til you make it...

... that's me at the moment. Faking it 'til I make it. I get up, have a shower, get dressed, put on some make up, and try and pretend. However that gets a whole lot harder to do when you have to change medication.

The process of coming off one anti-depressant/anti-anxiety med and going onto another is particularly unpleasant. Make that FUCKING unpleasent. Well it is for me. Coming off one by reducing the dose by half made me agitated, anxious, angry and down right revolting to be around. (I wanted to punch something. I don't like feeling that way!)  I felt like I was above my body watching what was happening, hating every minute of it, and not being able to do anything about it. And having the internal dialogue in my head shouting YOU ARE A FAILURE, FAILURE, FAILURE.

Starting the new med on the first day made me feel nauseous, and agitated and anxious. At least the angry part had gone. By the end of the day I was starting to feel "normal" ... whatever normal is, but at least less agitated and anxious.

I don't want to be around anyone at the moment. My kids, my man, my mother, my animals, my friends... no one or anything. I'm having a pity party by myself, a bowl of dry nutrigrain, and a bottle of coke for company, and stupid catch up TV.... Today I'm not faking it. I'm too tired to pretend.

This week can just disappear...with me... until I come out the other side feeling less like a fruit cake, and more like a relative 'sane' individual.

This is my grumble sunday. Thanks Madam Bipolar... I feel slighty better just for blurting and whinging and having a pity party.

As an aside has anyone seen this new ad:

Change your mind about mental illness

Saturday, October 15, 2011

being a fruit cake

This week has been more then a little manic.

I'm changing medication for anxiety. And it sucks.

But because I'm desperately focusing on keeping going - faking it 'til I make it, instead of crawling under the covers and disappearing, I will look out of myself and see that amongst the mania and shakes, and agitation there have been many moments to be grateful for....

  • my daughter and I are communicating again, online, but hey its a start. Baby steps.
  • having my mother here has literally been a god send. I'd be heading for the Psyche ward otherwise
  • blogs - seriously. I've had trouble focusing on things this week, but sitting and reading blogs has made me laugh, cry, relate, and not feel alone
  • my friends, for not giving up on me, for loving me in spite of my fruit cakeness, for supporting me, for being there on the end of the phone while I ranted and raved, making no sense, for seeing the endless possibilities that lay with in me and continually reminding me of them

and last, but certainly by no means least, I'm grateful for Maxbella loves for creating and hosting this link up because just doing this one little exercise over the last few weeks has kept me going. Thank you beautiful woman. x

Saturday, October 8, 2011

How do you eat an elephant?

Maxabella loves grateful posts always arrive at the most appropriate time for me... even at 3.20am when I can't sleep because my mind is buzzing.

To quieten the buzzing I thought I start thinking about the things that I have to be grateful for this week. A change in perspective - looking outwards instead of in.

After coming back from holidays, I walked into this house, and the overwhelming sense of wanting to flee washed over me. I need to leave. Its time. I have given my self until the end of the Christmas school holidays to sort, clear, pack, clean, chuck ... whatever needs to be done, to be ready to move. Why so long? Well this is the longest I have lived in any house. In  my life. 5 years in March. And in those nearly 5 years I seemed to have accumulated an awful amount of "stuff". So let the clearing begin- both physically, and metaphysically.

The reason it has taken me so long to attempt the task is every time I have started in the past two years I have become overwhelmed with anger and tears and frustration... of a 1000 feelings all reeling through  my body at once. So I stop... and it doesn't get done.

My mum is back with me, until the end of October. For this I am incredibly grateful. Having another adult in the house, someone to buffer, encourage and support me - because that's what I need right now.

We started in the study - which I had renamed my in box - because that is what it had become. One big inbox, where everything that I needed to deal with in the way of paperwork was dumped. 6 hours, 10 bags of paperwork later, and a trip to the op shop the study is cleared.

Mum sat and kept me company - because only I really knew what needed to stay and what needed to go. She was there when I fell across a pile of things regarding R, that opened a door of absolutely rage inside of me. Things that my children had done for him. Things that he didn't value or appreciate for the precious gifts that they were. And I screamed and howled and cursed and ripped and chucked.

What am I grateful for this week.... having the courage to start what needs to be done, that my mum is here with me to help, and that I didn't fall apart in the process.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

or colour it in one section at a time... :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Where did September go?

Oh that's right, it was fraught with change and heart ache, so it passed in a blur.

The last week of September was good. I went to Daydream Island, via sleep train, bus, then boat. I scuba dived, para sailed, jet skied, tube rode, snorkeled, had a couple of massages, cocktails, loads of sunshine and lots of swimming.

Going was one of my 42 things before 42, and achieving it on the limited budget I have felt pretty good. Unfortunately it was bittersweet, as it wasn't quite the family holiday that I had planned. Not my whole family was with me. Sometimes the hardest decisions to make suck. But I'm a big believer in actions = consequences, and this was a definite case of consequences.

I've been thinking a lot of late, after some commentary on my blog, why do I write this. I write for me. Not an audience. I write about the sublime, the ridiculous, the curious, the mundane, the drivel that makes up my head. I am many people and many things... a woman, a mother, a survivor, an artist which I prefer to say I paint but I'm trying to embrace the word...,   a scholar, a friend, a lover, passionate, silly, at times a little bit insane, someone who experiences the effects of mental illness - both directly, and indirectly.

If you read my blog, you are in effect looking inside my brain... which at various times, for various reasons can range from pure crap of inane ramblings, to deeply heart felt real truth... and anything in between.

I'm on the cusp of enormous change. Some of it has already happened, some of it is in the process of happening, but change it will. And it has to.... like the shedding of a skin, its time to slough off the old, and prepare for the new... just wish I didn't feel so terrified in the process.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I gave away my heart...

11 years ago, as my world started to unravel, and in a desperate need to try an understand what was going on inside of me I went away for a week to a healing retreat Mayumarri , a safe place to explore the effects of childhood abuse.

For me it was the place that I stopped trying to keep the lid on my Pandora's box that I had held and hidden deep deep down inside, and let it burst open, letting all the secrets, fear, hurt and tears out. I wish I could say it was the place where I got all better... it was instead the place where the healing began.

A local craftsman had made beautiful wooden hearts, attached to a leather thong. They were about the size of a child's hand, polished and smooth, something soothing to run your fingers over. Excellent for someone suffering from anxiety. I brought two - one that was perfect, no bumps, or knots, or imperfections, the other - while as polished and smooth as the other, on one of its surfaces it had marks that were contained with in the wood. The two hearts represented different things for me. The one that was perfect, I gave to my daughter, who was 5 at the time. The other I kept for myself... It was representative of how I felt my heart was, beautiful, but a little bit damaged. I've carried around the wooden heart, hanging it on the wall in my private spaces of the places I have lived.

Commitment, or the representation of commitment to another person is traditionally done through marriage. I've done that one - twice... and well, neither, as far as me and the other person involved, proved to be very successful, other then producing my three gorgeous children - so I guess that is a success in itself.

I never wanted to give anyone the token that represented my beautiful, but damaged heart... ever. But for a little while now, the need to show this amazing man that has entered my life, just how much he means to me, how much I deeply care for him, and how much I trust him has been rattling around in my head. I tell him these things of course... but sometimes, a token, and what that token represents means more then a million words.

Last night I gave M my heart for safe keeping....

I love you... to the moon and back.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

digging deep

I'm finding it hard to write at the moment.

My heart is sore, and all I want to say is Life is fucked and continue on in my little pity party that I'm having.

My head said to me this morning "suck it up princess - you have more to be grateful for then a lot of people"... which made me think about gratitude, perspective and not giving in to the black dog.

so out of the heart ache that I have been feeling for the last couple of weeks what do I have to be grateful for....

- my mum. the irony of this is not lost on me...The universe works in such bizarre ways at times. my own relationship with my mother has been rocky to say the least - but I'm incredibly grateful that she has been here the last two weeks, to anchor me, and stop me from hurtling out into space... she kept the house going while I cried... tears for my own 15yo girl inside, and for my 15 yo daughter. I feel more connected to my mother now then I have in a very long time.

Me, Mum and Laura
- M... as is the case most of the time, men want to fix things. He knew he couldn't fix this, instead he gave me what I needed - comfort, a safe place to cry, love. For the first time in any relationship that I have had with a man I feel like someone has MY back.

Looking at the stars on the trampoline.

- my friends, for listening, for being empathetic, for being honest

- Aston, whose excitement at going away on holidays to Daydream Island is infectious. If I can view the world through his four year old eyes life looks pretty wonderful.

Daydream Island in Playdoh :)

Once again thank you Maxabella Loves for motivating me to look for gratitude - because it seems I didn't have to look very far after all. :)

Mira Narnie (I wanted to write Narnia!!) is hosting this weeks Grateful link up...

What are you grateful for?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

knowledge is empowering vs ignorance is bliss....

heart sore, body sore, head spinning - exhausted... physically, emotionally, mentally... in a state of disassociativeness

This will probably make no sense - but it does to me. I've been pondering this all day. I'm not sure what is worse.... having a panic attack, being triggered into trauma and cognitively understanding what is going on, or having those things happen and not understanding why or where it was coming from.

case of knowledge is empowering vs ignorance is bliss....

because right now - all the knowledge in the world isn't make any of this any better.

Monday, September 5, 2011

15 years...

The year I turned 15 I moved from living with my paternal grandmother - who started the day with a vegemite jar full of brandy, and would continue consuming the bottle through out the day - to living with my abusive father and his new wife and her children. Frying pan to fire....

I had hoped that because he was newly remarried that the history of abuse would cease... how wrong was I.

He loved an audience. Comes with the territory of being an entertainer I guess. Him and his wife would come home from a gig anywhere from midnight to 2am, and he would proceed to wake myself and her three children up. We would all have to sit and listen to the tirade for whatever supposed offence we, or his wife had committed that day/night/hour/minute.... then the physical violence would start, usually as a result of his wife telling him to stop, or to leave one of her kids alone. And we would sit in silence. This was new to them... for me, it was just a continuation of how it had always been. The only difference being the place, and the woman.

I had hoped that because he had a new wife that I would no longer be a target for sexual innuendo, or touch. It had been safer in the past when there was a woman around. The degree of sexual abuse changed, what would happen was to a lesser a degree, I wasn't raped anymore... but that was all that changed... After all "don't be stupid, I'm your father" was the common catch cry if I protested.

"Don't be stupid, I'm your father" apparently meant that it was ok to grope your 15 year old daughter's growing breasts, that it was ok to walk past her and goose her, at the front or the back... It meant that it was ok to come into the bathroom while she was showering, and open the shower curtain under the pre tense of getting the soap...

I only remember once being on the receiving end of my father's violence. I hadn't put the vacuum away quickly enough in his opinion, and because I spoke to him with attitude, I was promptly pushed up against the wall with his hands around my throat. I woke up, on the floor to him kicking me and yelling at me "who the fuck do you think you are?"

What's this got to do with anything?

I have spent 100's of hours in therapy... 17 days in the psyche unit... a plethora of anti- depressants and other meds, a committal hearing, a trial, and successful conviction for the historical sexual abuse that he committed against me. The continual fight to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and Acute Anxiety Disorder. Read God know's how many books in the hope of learning how to parent successfully, because my own point of reference is so skewed, that all it gave me was the HOW NOT TO parent experience.

There have been many many times through out my daughter's life that I have been triggered by her femaleness... as she entered adolescence and the physical changes occurring in front of me were so visibly confronting that I went into counselling again, to learn what was 'normal' for a adolescent female to experience and show.

And here I am, heart sore. Because it feels like it was for naught. My 15 year old daughter, in the midst of her own teenage angst, has declared me the enemy, and is moving to live with her father. All the therapy, all the books, none of it can quieten the angry 15 year old in me, as my daughter tantrums at my answers of no, at boundaries being put down, at not getting her own way right here, right now.... the 15 year old inside of me, looks at her, aghast, and thinks ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???

Then, of course the mother in me kicks in, and says shush, Laura's experiences are relative to her, this isn't about you. Which tends to only irritate that 15 year old me even further, and I split, and oscillate between being Laura's mother and trying not to take it so personally, and being 15 again, when my world was so very different to the one my own daughter is in and feeling profoundly angry about it.

How did I so royally fuck this up?


12am my eyes shot open. My skin was prickly, crawling. I ripped off my jewellery in the hope of some relief... none came. The prickling, the crawling of my skin intensified.  I was wrapped up in the arms of M, and even this didn't provide comfort. I didn't want to be touched. I wanted to run... get in the car and drive. Where - it didn't matter.

I untangled myself from his embrace on the pre-tense of having to go to the toilet, where I sat, reached into my bag of tricks to try and stop myself from falling into a full blown panic attacked. I tapped at  meridian points frantically, slowed my breathing, ran positive affirmations through my head... until the prickly crawling feeling subsided.

Quietly I got back into bed and curled up against M's back, tucking my legs into the curve of his, breathed out and closed my eyes.

My last waking thought - Fuck. That old monster is back. God damn it to hell.


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