Tag Archives: blather

Hello Stranger, it’s been a while

know your platypus

Busy times afoot in the Breaking B.A.D house,  my exploration into ways to work from home led me to set up a website for my own enterprise (long running but a bit neglected) and also to start putting my doodling to good use by designing some greetings cards (cheeky plug) and setting up the means of attempting to sell them.  I’m also job-hunting…I have plenty of enthusiasm for entrepreneurial ventures but I don’t think they’ll cover the rent so I’m going to need a day job.  Luckily I’m probably in a decent position to get agency work, but I’m wary of getting drawn back in to the same career.  If anyone needs a slightly odd but friendly bookseller, look no further! I can start Monday 🙂

Anyway, having been side tracked by recent events I am back on the mission to find ways to break B.A.D and this month’s slightly late starter is going to involve checking out the science bit and finding out about more on research, theories, therapies, meds and all that jazz – know thine enemy.  Here’s what NIMH has to say about the current status of neuroimaging and mental illness.

It’s nice to be back, I shall try to stay well enough not to whinge for a while.

Peace x

May Challenge – Up close and personal (within the bounds of decency of course).

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May hasn’t been good so far, that’s why I’ve been rather quiet.  I tend to go off radar when I’m feeling grim – they say you should avoid talking politics and religion at dinner;  despair and a pervading sense of pointlessness are similarly party-wrecking topics …

“Anyone care to join me in a slice of existential dread?” 

“Er, I think I’ll stick with the stuffed peppers thanks”

“Sure?  Can I interest you perhaps in a breadstick of doom?  No?  An olive of despair maybe?  I can fully recommend the…I see, leaving already?  You haven’t finished your…Oh”  *sighs*

Of course none of the above applies if you are dining with  Kafka et al, or  Ingmar Bergman or indeed any of the Romantic poets.  The problem in such circumstances would be getting a word in about your own miserablist issues.  Fun times, eh?

Anyway, I believe this current little shiver of dread began as a result of feeling ill and (since feeling under the weather seems to mimic some of the symptoms of depression) has grown from there.  I also suspect that feeling so unwell is linked to my medication – I’m steadily accruing a list of pills for things like insomnia, dizziness, nausea, headaches… basically I feel sort of vertiginous all the time.  Whine, complain, moan.   Either that or I have a particularly determined strain of flu that makes you sick if you watch anything spin/dart/dip.

But, moving along, this ( finally) leads me on to May’s challenge.  It’s time to stop for a moment and do a bit of a review – how do the side effects of my meds balance against their benefits?  How often does my mood change currently?  What impact has therapy had overall?  Have the life-changes I have made really been the right ones?  And, you know, other stuff like that.  I’m not suggesting that ditching medication and opting for acupuncture (which I would actually recommend, but not strictly for dealing with bipolar) is the way forward, but it might be smart at this juncture to work out…well, what’s working.

I started by using a little tool I found at https://www.beatingbipolar.org/   Now it’s hideously cheesy (with some appalling acting, just awful) and partnered with a number of companies which might suggest a certain interest in promoting a pharmaceutical diet  (GSK etc.) but there are a few useful things to be accessed if you can deal with all that, including a life-map to help you work out any events which might have triggered episodes and look at any potential patterns.

To offset any bias you might encounter you could also read BadPharma which is an enlightening, and frankly scary, look at the pharmaceutical world.  The title gives it away I guess.

So then…May means a bit of a BPAD review.  This means I’m probably going to whine a bit, I’ll try to keep that on the low down though and share anything that might be useful.

First however, I’d like to briefly moan about insomnia – It’s wrecking me.  But that’s all I have to say on the matter.

Peace x

How well is too well… how can I tell? (and when will I be able to resist pointless rhymes and rhetorical questions?)

Of course my writing's straight - you're just looking at it from the wrong angle...

Of course my writing’s straight – you’re just looking at it from the wrong angle…

Today I walked five miles.  I did this because I was too full to go to the gym after a roast potato- heavy carvery lunch.  I also needed to collect a parcel from the local royal mail delivery office (Rock n’ roll times)  which isn’t that local when you’re drunk on food and wearing inappropriate footwear.

It was nice to be out in the sunshine though, with my brain ticking over other rock n’ roll stuff like Did I remember  put the washing on? Do I need to buy milk? When did I get a hole in my boot?  That sort of thing.  Delightfully and boringly normal.  I say delightfully because sometimes a dark spell can flip right over into an upswing that just keeps on going…well, up, which is nice…but only to begin with.

Anyway, thinking about feeling normal reminded me of an old doodle, so I thought I’d share it with you.  I stole the general idea from somewhere but I can’t remember where.  Oops. It also reminded me that I should probably make more effort to record my moods.  I used to use moodpanda.com but there’s a whole range of apps out there which the more technologically minded will already have downloaded and discarded for something newer.   Calling a mood tracker ‘Happiness’ is probably a bit presumptuous though.  Just sayin’.

Comfort zone? What comfort zone?

I’ll begin with a confession – I only managed two gym sessions last week.  But I have reasons which are in-keeping with the spirit of this breaking B.A.D endevour…I have been chipping away at the old routine.  Wild eh.

My trip to London last weekend may have been a lazy one, but it still involved getting to stations and travelling on trains and even negotiating the underground (erk).  Now my friend in the big smoke is one of my favourite people in the world, but sometimes I just can’t do all of the above.  During periods of intense gloom I expend all my energy on the must-be-done stuff and then get stuck in a working/sleeping rut that is hard to shake off, even when the gloom begins to clear.   So not only was it brilliant to see her, my trip also felt like confirmation that the depression has really & truly lifted.

I was quite tired on my return, but surprised myself anyway by venturing out on a school night (another train!) to deliver my partner-in-crime some TLC and his suit; abandoned in my wardrobe since a wedding last year and required for his nan’s funeral (he scrubs up well, she’d have been proud).  This was hardly a mountain-climb of a mission…but staying out on a school-night means smashing the work/sleep routine which has only just begun to be cracked with interludes at the gym, writing this stuff here and having cups of tea at the dining table with my daughter.

Following this crazy diversion from the usual, at the end of the week I joined some lovely work-people on a dinner n’ karaoke night out.  I haven’t been to a work thing for a couple of years, so y’know, it was new.  Plus I’m scared of karaoke.  I love singing, I used to teach it, I’ve been in the quietest band ever (last gig, 2013 🙂  ) for years – despite all this I’m still scared of karaoke.  But I’d forgotten how much I love a good sing.  I’d forgotten how easy it is to care less about sounding like an angry cat with access to reverb once you’ve got hold of a microphone.  Ha! And I’d forgotten how nice it is to just hang out and be silly.   I have to psyche myself up for such things you see, I get a bit be-stranged when I’ve been hibernating for too long but it’s likely I think I’m more odd than I actually am.  Most of the time mildly eccentric probably covers it.  Most of the time.

The Platypus, one of nature's little oddities.

Darwin The Platypus, one of nature’s little oddities.

Anyway, I enjoyed myself.  Hopefully not at the expense of anybody’s hearing.

Finally, to round off the week, I managed to get involved with St Valentine’s day in a candles and dinner sort of way ( although if saints were my thing I’d be much more about St Jude…).  Even though I hate the generic tat attached to Februsary 14th it can only be good for a rubbish romantic like me to get a bit of a nudge from the calender as a reminder to do something nice…Aw  *vomits sparkly heart decorations*

So.  Yes. These are the things I did last week which didn’t involves being at the gym.  And they’re all to the good.  Hooray.  But I am going to meet my 3 sessions this week.  Even though Ben & Jerry’s is no longer on special offer, thus quashing my appetite for ice-cream, I still really need the exercise.  Just as soon as my gym socks dry.  Once I’ve washed them.  They’re all the way upstairs.  I’ll probably need a cup of tea before I bring them down.

Peace x

Lest ye be judged. Crumbs it’s gone all serious. Sort of.

“I'm afraid I can't explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?”  ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

“I’m afraid I can’t explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

I don’t know much about ex-footballer Clarke Carlisle or actor Ralf Little but both came to my attention this week after a tweet by Mr Little caused  tw-outrage, coming as it did off the back of Mr Carlisle’s release from hospital following a suicide attempt.

ralftweet

A reference, I imagine, to Carlisle’s impending court date for failing to provide a sample when stopped on suspicion of drink driving. The two have some history having once been housemates, which at least gives context to Little’s position.  But the whole uncomfortable saga resonated with me, and I am going to burble a bit about it now.  You have been warned

One of my closest friends described knowing me in my teens and twenties as like watching a train derail over and over again.  This friend’s  reaction to the breakdown which saw me begin to seek help was less than compassionate.  I was in poor shape and bewildered to be, frankly, kicked when I was the down-est I have ever been. I understood the lack of empathy in part – being a bystander to perpetual disaster had finally proved too much.  Fair enough.  The part that hurt though was the insinuation that they felt they were expected to, and would therefore absolutely not, excuse my bizarre behaviour, a kind of  So you’re ill now are you?  And that means we have to forgive all of your f*** ups  and feel sorry for you?  

As if I’d been in touch saying come and have a beer to celebrate my mental illness – it’s a moral Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card!  Everyone’s memories will be wiped and my sins forgiven! Woohoo!  rather than to apologise for being a rubbish friend.

To me it was simple – illness explained my behaviour, but it didn’t make it all ok.  

And so, reading Ralf Little’s snipe at Clarke Carlisle,  I recognised the tone Woah!  You feel sorry for this guy?  I could tell you a thing or two….

Wow.

The trouble is, you have to be aware what depression and other mental illness do to a person to afford them a level of understanding.

Depression makes you not care.  About anything.  Not in an I’ll do what I want and damn the consequences kind of way  because consequences are things that happen in the future.  Depression takes the future away.  You can’t see beyond the moment you’re trapped in.

I think that throwing yourself in front of a lorry is probably one of the purest examples of that.

It’s hard for some people to understand that there’s illness at play.  What other illnesses have deliberately stepping into moving traffic as a symptom?   Never mind the whole mess of self-medication and co-morbidity (or rather, dual diagnosis) which seems to be a factor in Carlisle’s case.

The way I see it, the best you can hope for is that people will understand that there is a difference between your choices & behaviour during an episode of illness and your choices & behaviour when you are well.  If they understand that then they can at least accept that you are not quite yourself when they arrive home to find you have not moved in 10 hours or, flipside, have thrown away all the living room furniture because…reasons.

Because when you wander downstairs of a morning and wonder what sort of f***wit could have binned all the chairs … and then remember it was you, well you want people to know that you, yourself, normally, are not a furniture- hating- monster.  Y’know.

Of course that’s easier when you 1) know people really well 2) don’t have the type of disorder which has you in a chronically, or even permanently, altered state.  And if you’ve only ever met me when I was in bouncing around like Tigger or monosyllabic & Eeyore-miserable then I’d like you to know that I’m one of the good guys really.  Well mostly.  I try.

Anyway, I forgave my former close-friend a long time back.  I think that she has forgiven me some stuff too.   We’re in touch a little, because neither of us is the same person we were ten years ago.  Which brings me round to Clarke Carlisle’s response to Ralf Little.

Explaining the reason for your behaviour does not automatically equate to making excuses for it. Speaking out about what you did because you were depressed is not the same as saying I was depressed so what I did is ok and Clarke Carlisle has been speaking out for some time, proving that mental illness can affect anyone.

So yeah.  All that.

Anyway I will try to keep the monologues to a minimum, it’s just that I would really have struggled to write this many words about my gym visit yesterday.

I went.

It was sticky.

I listened to Eminem.

I am not an olympian yet.

Peace x

Catfink – he’s a good chap really.

You know where you stand with cats.

You know where you are with cats.

I’m currently putting together my January Challenge Best and Worst.  But in the meantime I thought I’d share an old-ish doodle since I have had one or two things to  say recently on the subject.  I love my cat.  But he has caused me as much heartache as joy – accidentally leaving home because he got his addresses mixed up, getting into a cat-fight and subsequently losing an eye, getting stuck in numerous cupboards and drawers during his obligatory cat investigations, and being a constant trip hazard.  However, at times when I am low he does tend to follow me about the house and sleep curled up on my chest, rather than doing his usual daily cat-things such as tormenting other cats and frightening the birds.  And I like to think he wouldn’t try to eat me if I were to stay still for too long.  Yeah, he’s a good chap really.