It’s been 8 days since I last blogged, I have spent much of the last two days castigating myself for not blogging yesterday. I had decided that in order to be a “good blogger” I had to update my blog weekly- no more, no less. As a result of this self-imposed regulation I have spent much of the past 8 days resisting the temptation to write blog posts when inspiration has struck- I didn’t want to blog too often- after all I did write, illustrate and publish two books in one week, I didn’t want to bore my audience. So yesterday when I hit the 7 day self-imposed deadline I was dismayed to find that in spite of all my scribbled notes and ideas- I had no urge to blog.
It is though I am somehow dissatisfied by the rules imposed on my life by society, principles, time and the law- I appear to have an almost constant need to impose further rules upon myself. This is evidenced in many ways and I have discovered that even abiding by the rules does not bring me fulfilment; I simply make new rules and move the goal posts even further.
I have ripped up the rule book as regards blogging so tonight I bring you the last 8 days in eight numbers- completely random numbers, in no particular order at all.
The number of mg of Tamazepam I have taken in an attempt to sleep- without the nightly horror sleep has become. I witter on about sleep all the time- and I never did write that post. Sleep has always been an elusive creature for me, the only thing I have in common with Margaret Thatcher is that I do not need a lot of sleep; but I do need some. I have never slept well and I have always had trouble getting off to sleep. These days I can’t sleep at all without medication, even then I sleep briefly, wake frequently and early. My nights are filled with an unknown terror, I often wake myself screaming or shouting but retain no memory of what it was that was so horrific during the night. I wake very early every morning feeling unsettled and traumatised.
I’m not supposed to have the Tamezepam; I was prescribed it ages ago, back in the early stages of mentalism when I was still considered responsible enough to be trusted not to abuse prescription medication. I am running out, I can’t imagine the prescription will be refilled. I combine the Tamazepam with double doses of Zopiclone in pursuit of unconsciousness as opposed to actual sleep, sleep brings with it fear and fear is something I’m keen to avoid.
My own unique, personal manifestation of mentalism appears to bring with it the added joy of getting to watch myself “sleep”. It’s as though I stay up all night watching my poor shattered body struggle to stay asleep as my mind attempts to torture it. I feel sad for myself and wish I could help myself but it seems all I can do is watch until morning- very early morning.
The number of people I heard outside my open bedroom window discussing the state of my front garden. I am quite good at gardening, I used to have a beautiful garden at the front of the house and I grew veg out the back. I used to enjoy gardening and was proud of my little patches of green, my flowers and my veg. Since I became unwell and I find it takes me all my energy and motivation to wash and dry my hair, I no longer have any desire to tend to the garden- lawns and privet hedges are very quick to advertise neglect. The only attention the grass has received of late is from the rabbit- he’s a lovely rabbit but very small and there’s only so much lawn he can eat. The hedge was so big it was sucking all the light out of my living room we lived in the kind of gloom befitting a Dickensian novel- a gloom only shattered by the odd beam of sunlight, light that would sneak around the hedge and highlight all the dust hanging in the air.
The last proper gardening I did was last summer- it was the kind of gardening one does with a chainsaw, it saw the removal of an 8ftx10ft privet hedge- which was never replaced with any sort of boundary marker- the neighbours have yet to forgive me. I have the kind of neighbours who only cut “their side” of the hedge so I can only imagine what they thought about the state of my gardens.
When I heard those lovely locals criticising my garden I dealt with it in my usual healthy way. I was already in bed, already in pyjamas all I needed was alcohol and a healthy dose of self-flagellation- so I drank and felt ashamed, then I felt ashamed for lying in bed drinking wine at 5.20pm, then I got pissed, then I woke up two hours later with a hangover. So I have yet again entered a period of abstinence- this one will last until I know I’m not going to sit in my bed with a bottle of merlot feeling sorry for myself.
There was so much I wanted to say to the lovely locals but didn’t- I wanted to be angry and say “fuck off, mind your own business”, I wanted to be pathetic and say “I’ve not been well you know, please cut my grass”, I wanted to be political and say “you have no idea how pervasive mental illness can be”. Instead I said nothing; those lovely locals have no idea of the story behind the state that was my garden. Those lovely locals have no idea the woman that has let that garden run to seed is the same woman they would’ve called for advice on planning applications, double yellow lines, HMO applications, parks, benches, green belt and schools. They have no idea that the very thought of spending the necessary amount of time in my garden required to cut the grass would leave me feeling as exposed and vulnerable as a broken tooth. They have no idea that I was as horrified by my garden as they were.
I called a gardener to come and sort things out, I don’t know his name but I can highly recommend the first gardener that comes up on Yell.com when you put “Gardener St Andrews Fife” into the search box. My garden has been reset and I hope now to be able to “keep on top of it”. It’s not the garden it once was by any stretch of the imagination but it’s not a garden to be ashamed of either.
The number of times the call handler at BT told me today that the proximity of my router to the TV was the reason my wireless connection was either painfully slow or non-existent. I made clear to the gentleman on the phone that the router and TV had shared the same electromagnetic field for some years- the problem with the wireless had only occurred in the last 2 days. My anxiety at being on the phone was overtaken by frustration and irritation at the call-handlers inability to go off script.
I’m not sure how much the non-internet dependent understand the internet dependent. My need for a wireless connection to the internet is even more pertinent than my need for stationery- I would happily sell organs in order to obtain both. Should BT or Rymans ever decide that they will only offer goods and services in exchange for bodily tissues, I will be unperturbed. Fixing the wireless got immediate priority on the to-do list and it was even worth making a phone call for. The phone call lasted 22 minutes and it was possibly the most infuriating 22 minutes I have ever spent on the phone to Bangalore.
I eventually realised that the problem I had encountered (trying to change the channel on the router) was in fact due to Google Chrome and to my relief it’s all sorted now. I besmirched the good name of BT all over twitter today and they apologised for my “frustration”, it wasn’t frustration it was sheer panic at facing a day without the internet. Nothing starts the day better than a cup of tea and the www- after all my day starts at a time when no-one else is around- nobody wants to chat at 4.45am in the real world.
The number of biscuits I have eaten- various biscuits, mainly digestives but with the occasional piece of shortbread or rich tea finger thrown in for variety. The 14 year old put the contents of a packet of ginger biscuits in the biscuit tin so all the biscuits taste the same- faintly ginger- we have a tin full of strawberry blonde biscuits. The number of biscuits is a good reflection on my general relationship with food at the moment- not too few and not too many. I feel a bit like I am discovering many foods for the first time and am actually deriving real pleasure from eating. I am enjoying no longer being leg chewing-off starving before I eat and I am discovering a lot about what I need and what I want. I have my bad days but the good far outweigh the bad and I feel so much better for having regular, decent amounts of food inside me.
My diet tends to be very much centered around poached eggs, mushroom risotto and various breakfast cereals (both generic and branded) but it is a million miles away from the diet I had even two weeks ago. I have noticed a tendency to starve myself whenever the going gets tough but I am noticing it and most of the time rectifying it immediately. I see no reason for this to change and I find myself looking forward to the day when I can look at my own forearms without being repulsed by how thin they are.
The number of things I have rewired. I have replaced the sockets and the light switch in the 6 year olds soon to be bedroom. I have no idea how long I have been working on this room- the preparation and painting has been a painful protracted affair and there is still much to do. I have never liked decorating, mainly because I am very bad at it and partly because it draws my attention to the state my house is in. I have promised the 6 year old that he will be in it for the end of the summer holidays (20 days to go) and I have no doubt he will be but he may well be in it without a blind, door or furniture and without the coving I will need to put up to disguise the horribly inaccurate paint line between the walls and the ceiling. Every day the room renovation throws up a new problem- today’s is that I cannot get B&Q to deliver the coving and the door I need, I can’t fit these items in the stupid car so for today have given up trying to procure them at all. The room is now a standing issue on the daily to do list- annotated by my attempts to persuade myself to make progress-
I have yet to actually list all the outstanding items, preferring to take a haphazard approach and just hoping that I will hit the target eventually. The room is now a vision in metallic blue and “sky”, the (chosen by the 6 year old) bright red blind sits on the floor, mocking me and my fear of being able to cut it correctly and accurately. I have been told by many that I will get “a real sense of achievement” when it’s done- I wont, I will just be relieved and delay even further the decorating that needs done in the 14 year olds room.
The number of years I have been a Mama, my eldest child turned 17 last week. I don’t feel old enough to be the Mama to a 17 year old but at the same time I feel very old. Parenting the 17 year old has been a tremendous challenge from day 1, I am told I have done a good job but in common with most mothers I don’t doubt for a second that I could’ve done things better. In those 17 years I have learned a lot and at the same time remain that unsure, self-doubting creature I was before I even considered embarking on motherhood. I will be a Mama for the rest of my life, 17 years is not a long time in the grand scheme of things- but in 17 years a Mama can find an awful lot of reasons to pick holes in her performance. I was relieved to see that the 17 year old is well and happy; in fact he seems happier than he has for around two years. I am trying to see this as a good thing I have achieved now as opposed to a lot of bad things I have achieved in the last two years. Motherhood is very difficult and it’s very easy to get things wrong, it is a continuous learning curve and there are no prizes for just having done it for a certain period of time. It is the ultimate dynamic role and I often find it difficult to keep up, it’s a role that deserves a post of its own so I will leave it there for now.
The number of times I am tweeting per day on average at the moment. Twitter has become more conversational for me lately so a lot of those tweets are exchanges between me and others- a lot of them are my continued stream of consciousness. Twitter has become the ultimate recording device for me- it allows me to retrace my steps I have a permanent record of what I’ve said and done and where I’ve been. I have days when I use it less if I am occupied by another task and days when I use it more but I always make sure I check in regularly both for my own benefit and to stop my followers from worrying about me. I spend a lot of time thinking about twitter and its ramifications for me, fellow mentalists and the world as a whole- there is an article published by SRN where I talk about it some more. I am impressed that the author managed to obtain such succinct comments from my pages long response to her interview questions about what is clearly one of my very favourite topics.
The number of major breakthroughs I had in therapy. I have being seeing the Fab Psychologist since January- every two weeks. Every two weeks I would go to the local hospital for 11.30am on a Tuesday having spent at least the previous two weeks dreading that hour. That hour, every two weeks felt like emotional evisceration. I have largely spent most of my therapy hours like this and stuck to my old mantra of “leave them smiling and they will think you are fine”. I don’t know what it was but something made me keep going back. I have an almost infinite list of reasons why I don’t like therapy- they range from the valid- “I don’t like to talk about myself” to the invalid- “she moved the furniture” but there is a strange pull I cannot define. I’m not sure if I have made any progress since January, I’m not sure I really tried; perhaps just going back was trying enough?
This week it was different in a way I have not yet managed to put into words- in spite of numerous attempts. I came away from that hour feeling unsettled but curious, scared but optimistic I even think there was a point where I was looking forward to my next session, that feeling has since vanished and been replaced by the usual dread- but I will go.
I feel as though I am finally on that journey everyone has been talking about for so long, I am experiencing the same mix of fear and excitement that I would experience embarking on any journey. I don’t know what my destination is and so I have the added fear the unknown. I fear that my journey will be interrupted at some point and I fear that my journey may be too arduous and I will simply give up. My theme of late has been “feel the fear and do it anyway” so I will carry on, there are no rules on this journey but it is almost certain there will be lots of blogging.
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