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Reflections 2018 w24

Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Am I insane?

I trust in the doctors and psychological teams, over and over – being told the same thing over and over…There is no magic pill, it’s the therapy that will be best treatment, and it will be hard.

I accepted that, and it made sense. After-all it took a lifetime to break my mind, logic dictates it will take the rest of it to become better. But how is one supposed to carry on trusting when therapies are blocked/denied/not accessible, even when it has been part of a diagnosis and treatment plan by a doctor? Because one is on medication it is classed as being treated – opposite of what one was told originally – that the therapies would be the treatment long term not the medication, and I quote the doctor “the medication is just a band aid”.

I wish that there was a treatment plan of an alternative direction, more natural than chemical manipulation, recognised as treatment. One would give it a try, because the medications one is on now are just coincidental to the symptoms of known side effects – which are making me less well.

And my trust is beginning to fade.

Today, as I once again caused a lot of pain to my body chasing my son around the play centre, a little girl stopped me and asked why I was wearing headphones – the big over ear ones – I like that in children, the curiosity to question and the courage to ask them, so I told her. I told her it was to block out a lot of the noises around me in busy places, because if I have a lot of noises to listen too, my head hurts. Kinda the truth, I did not want to tell her what my anxiety manifests and give her nightmares. She listened, digested the answer, and decided it would be fun if I chased her and her friend around the play area. I called my son over to see if he was interested in chasing them, and then being chased, but he was having non of it, today was daddy day only.

This in part I think was because his best friends Dad died this week, and he wanted to have the comfort of having his dad play with him. I think that this is the second father, defiantly the second parent, that has died in the last 18 months, of one of his school friends. This year his sleepover happens to be on fathers day eve, one thinks tomorrow will be an extra cuddly day. I have got the cuddle films at the ready.

I don’t think it unreasonable to ask for a treatment to get better, if only to ease any worries he may have – toward a dad he has never seen well.

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2018

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Reflections 2018 w07

Therapy, my very first Psychiatrist said, will be the thing that gets you better, the medication is only a bandaid, a short term help.

I did get some therapy after that, but only for my free gift of twitch and speech problem…erm…acceptance – once these were accepted I could no longer be treated by the physical health psychological team. However a recommendation for further treatment was sent to the mental health team at the time.

This was rejected due to my involvement in some group work, conflict of interest, and when finished I chased up the recommendation. This got an interview, and another rejection – due to oneself having many coping mechanisms, most of which were highlighted as negative in the group therapy, but in this setting they were seen as positive. The biggest coping mechanism that I have is avoidance, if it is unpleasant I somehow have worked out methods of avoidance for it, or for at least part of it/its stimulations.

Now here is where one has to state that I want to get better become a better person than before, major changes to how my mind works have altered ones perspective of oneself, and I wish not to ‘return’ to the person that ‘broke’. I do however wish to get rid of the dyslexic like aspect towards text (Dr quote “it will go away in time”) and the severe anxiety around people, outside, starting something new, life etc.

One has found a use for, most of, the illusions (Dr quote “it will go away in time”) through my art and writing, so one no longer finds them as disturbing. The twitching (Dr quote “it will go away in time”), that came from something but it’s hard to say what – actual Neurologists take on the twitching and the change in speech, is quite literally an anxiety/ stress indicator, the worse the anxiety/stress the worse the twitch.

If you see my right arm and hand do an invisible ranting hand puppet impression, I’m not having a good time – if I am stamping as well – stand clear of the exit.

My change in speech (Dr quote “it will go away in time”) was helped with speech therapy, who had a different view on whether it would change. Basically if it is anxiety caused, this is rare in adults over 40, common in children though, then receiving therapy to reduce/get rid of the anxiety, could, get rid of the stammer/stutter.

The magic pill it seems is therapy and hard work.

By now any free therapy was seen as a potential for healing, Anger Management (twice, with different companies), person centred therapy, this took me five weeks and a lot of psychological text books and notes for the next meeting to understand how it worked. With only three weeks to go I finally understood it was not an anger management therapy session as I was originally led to believe when one was referred. Which made me p’d off.

Each thought my diagnosis was incorrect and could not understand why therapy had been withheld.

A change of Psychiatric hospitals and another suggestion of therapy, another test and another rejection. Am I any better? NO!

Then comes the constant flow of trainee Psychologists/Psychiatrists – “you would benefit from therapy, I will suggest that that be looked into.” – NEXT – “you would benefit from therapy, I will suggest that that be looked into.” – NEXT…

There has been no problem describing drugs though. One hopes you never come across a doctor who gives you only pain killers for a broken leg, for years.

But one wishes to end with some good news…

In a roundabout way I have been referred to the original place that I received the original psychological help, this time however one is not going to just roll over and accept the diagnosis (of no diagnosis), it makes no sense to me either – but they have a drug for it.

I wanted to end with some good news.

But for some reason though I had a phone call from the G.P saying the Hospital referral has to be discussed with my G.P first??? And they are the ones that referred me to the Hospital department. WTF? It may take me a week just to get an appointment with the G.P. I’m already dragging a mountain and a black dog around – I don’t need this anchor of doubt over the therapy again!

Sod em…Some good news.

I saw the International Space Station pass overhead for the first time last week. And when I get the chance to see it with my son on one of his visits I will.

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2018

Reflections 2018 w06

The importance of a journal when your mind refuses to work.

One sits at the keyboard not being able to recall what it is that one has done over the week. Turn to my diary/journal, it was suggested that I keep one but never explained why, and it seems that there is a couple of days it has not been filled in. Honestly it is a habit that has yet to fully take hold, perhaps if an explanation as to why it is beneficial beyond appointment times (the diary aspect of it), I may be more enthusiastic about keeping it in order. Rarely is a theme for the week taken from the diary/journal, it is usually from my notebook that is always carried around with me, absolutely anything is written in that.

To me the notebook has an important role to play for me, it holds the spark of an idea for a painting, a poem, a story or even the reflection for the week, as well as appointments, if it is out when they are made. It is the physical manifestation of thought.

This week is however was a  blank on what to reflect upon and it was in desperation that the past weeks journal entries were looked upon for a glimmer of inspiration. I cannot recall for certain what has been done or where I have been this week. This is not uncommon in a depressive anxious brain, it’s so busy trying to out manoeuvre all the dangers it has invented, there is no processing power left for the non threats to be remembered. At the same time the brain does not like blanks and will fill it with vague memories of weeks gone past. Heck my brain even fills blank areas of places with shops/buildings from another area. It is really confusing on a day out shopping when it has done that.

In the end my blank memory has been matched by my blank journal entries, and in the blankness comes a reflection – keep the diary/journal in a place where I can see it.

Make it a routine to place it, along with the notebook, in one designated place.

I can see a sticky note being placed somewhere as a reminder when that place has been selected.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/the-blogs

Reflections 2018 w04

“I am Lucky Because…” has been the last entry in my diary for the last three weeks, a trial on changing my mindset. It has been, on average, like trying to get the last drops of ketchup from the bend of a bottle neck – with a knife.

One is pretty certain the mindset change was not supposed to be forget the diary entries altogether so as to avoid the statement, alas that has been the outcome.

I don’t feel lucky.

That is what the above statement is supposed to be about changing, my perspective to one of viewing life with actual positivity.  It became a chore very quickly a depressives trait for sure. I have been told that it takes more time and energy to view things negatively than to view them positively, but I did’t believe him. Ta dum. The theory actually makes sense in all seriousness.

For some reason we take all positive things as though they are common place, like breathing, but in actual fact they are few and far between, we live in a wide area of neutrality for most of our time. Sub-consiously we know this, so our brain tries to narrow the neutral area down by taking quite neutral things as being positive at times when we need a boost. But our brains like balance in its ‘normal’ state so it makes quite neutral things negative as well, thus making the positive seem more ‘rewarding’ because there is a lot of negative that ‘could’ happen.

Eventually the lie we are telling ourselves is broken and the line for the positive actions is returned to its rightful place. The line for the negative does not however move so easily back, and may even move up with the top line to keep the same area of the neutrality range intact and thereby increasing the amount of things to worry about even more. Plus the worrying then overshadows the positive due to the fact positivity is never fully enjoyed in the worrying moment. The whole thing sounds like a joke but for millions of people this is an area of our minds that we cannot see the way out of.

So focusing on the positive of our daily lives is supposed to take away from the focussing of the worry. Taking control of the focus is supposed to be the key lesson I think here.

One still has a ways to go yet.

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/the-blogs

Reflections…Week Fifty One

canstockphoto8630797This is the last blog of 2017, and for my part I have completed my goal of blogging on a weekly basis for the entirety of it. One has even surpassed what I thought was a challenge by doing multiple blogs in a week and in doing so surprised myself with the gusto one has approached it. But not so much with this one.

Yesterday I went sea fishing with my brother, it went less than planned. The tackle and bait shop we go to is no longer there, it is being replaced with flats, this caused a diversion to an alternative. Time seemed to be slipping away as the journey progressed, to the point that we changed destination for the fishing to suit the tide time.

This is a place I like going to and although the pier was in no fit state to be walked upon it somehow had sentimental value for which one cannot explain. However when we got there the pier was no longer in the sea, rather it was on the coast line piled up behind railings. After talking to a local fisherman we discovered it was pulled down for safety reasons about three weeks ago, thus making it a sombre visit, and at the moment un-fishable.  One hopes that the spider crabs that the locals catch won’t be negatively affected.

The weather was also making a turn for the worst, with an ice cold nip to the increasing wind. This was not the warm sunny day forecast.

We headed back the way we came. Checked out a new spot, ruled it out, went to an old spot that has been good for bass before ruled that out due to the exposure for the wind and decided to cross back over the peninsula to get some wind defence.

We looked and looked for a new spot and eventually ended up, at the place we originally went for bait, at Rhos-on-sea, sheltered from the wind. Halfway back home. Eight hours of driving to get an hour and a half away from home, you could tell my brother was not pleased.

Spot got to run on the beach for a bit, and we ate with a cuppa before even thinking about setting up, as high tide was another hour away, and by then we could not be bothered to be tide chased with our equipment. So we just waited.

This spot has been a poor show for fish before and we had almost given up on the location. It was chosen for the shelter above all else, just so we could fish.

It has been ages since last having a day out to try and catch dinner for the next day and as Spot and I played on the beach I asked the sea to be kind to my brother and let him catch some fish. It was less of a thing for me as being at the coast was allowing me to chill for just a little while, as the coast always does, and Spot loves the beach.

So as the tide came in we got ready, spot for a nice change, was able to stay in the car as it was parked right next to us, curled up in the footwell, where the heater had warmed her towel and the carpeting.

First cast had been in the water less than five minutes when my brothers rod stated to nod up and down violently, not one on the line, but two. Next cast he did was pulling a fish up within a minute, and the same again with the next.

As he took the fish down the steps to the water to release the fourth fish, they were undersize, I thanked the sea for visibly cheering him up. Then my rod started…

For the next Five and a half hours we had fish after fish, the best session ever, even beating some boat trips. True we returned over forty, but we came home with five whiting each, enough fish for a couple of meals.

My arms and shoulders at the end were aching, my nerves on fire and lacking strength to real in two small fish on the line that should have been done with ease. I had to stop with them as my arms went numb and the fireworks started in my legs. My brother called it time when he reeled in the next fish. We packed up and headed home, straight into the wind, and now heavy rain, we had earlier left behind. Somehow it had missed our little spot.

The concentration on the rod tip light now over, my body could release the headache for the trip home. Today I have been in pain and struggling to stay awake. I hate what is happening to my body right now and the way it seems to be punishing me for doing things I like to do. But it’s got another thing coming if it thinks it is going to make me stop. All the doctors want to do is increase what was my anxiety meds, as it is also a pain medication. It’s funny how I am going to be over the maximum dosage for the anxiety it’s not working for, because it is now for the pain. The pain it may very well be causing. And the medication I wanted to stop, because it’s not working.

The merry-go round of the doctors continues…

Oh, an update on my story that was entered into the Brighter Futures writing competition that was scheduled for America’s Thanksgiving day, that was then altered to the Christmas Party, that was then, I would say delayed again due to there still being only two entries, I would say delayed as the winner was not declared, Is a winner!

Not quite, so is the other one as well.

I wonder if my request to withdraw my story if it had been cancelled again, so it could be entered into another competition, had anything to do with the decision?

At least the disappointment of the whole affair is over now, and the story will be published in the next couple of days. I hope all who read it find some enjoyment in it.

If you don’t, tuff, I am still proud of my first writing competition entry.

The fireworks of the new year have been going off as this long winded entry has been written, so it is with love and peace that I sign off the Reflections of 2017.

Happy New Year!

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

Reflections…Week Forty Eight

canstockphoto8630797Have I watched that many ‘girly’ flicks and programs that I am, by doing this, copying the very format that the writers have used?

From Carrie (Sex in the City) to Erica (Being Erica) and Marin (Men in Trees) I too seem to be ending an episode (my week) with a monologue. True my very existence may not be the most interesting at this moment of time, but I do feel that the very people that I am meeting on my recovery are.

Sometimes I do not even know if the very people I meet are actually here (supermarket-meeting-poetry/poem), or my mind has created a person to teach me something. But for that moment in time IT IS important and interesting.

As an artist one spends time observing, even here my mind now sees things a little differently now, and then in whatever style chosen, places either a ‘true representation of the scene, OR the heart of it, the emotion, the feeling, the movement, the sound or the serenity. All with the flow of the paint and the movement of the brush, to no longer see what is being created but to just let it flow out onto the canvas.

As a wordsmith in training, one spends time observing, reflecting and creating an artwork of language. To simply place a series of words down for a poem is not simple at all, each word is lovingly placed, replaced or simply repositioned. All I write is done this way. A beat or rhythm of a journey taken with the words lays beyond the shape and form of the very words themselves. A wrongly placed pause can disrupt or even alter the flow, sometimes to the detriment of the wording used, dulling its edge.

A reflective diary is used in some therapies, a way to explore our existence, look for the ‘faults’ and find a better way in dealing with the situation, how then did this therapy get entwined into our TV? Was it intentional to pass on the lesson of reflection to improve our life, or was it just placed there by accident? A concept that outgrew the original pitch once the ratings came in? Or was it just a writer being honest about not having the perfect life and trying to work things out?

And thus the question leads back to me. Am I just doing what I am told, or am I part of a solution by doing the reflective monologue of my life?

And will you someday, in some form, be the ‘interest’, the focus, of my artwork?

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017

Reflections…Week Forty seven

Sometimes life is like a river, you can dip your toe in and get wet, or even enjoy the sensation of the water as it passes your legs as you paddle. It seems pleasant enough and the temptation is to go further in, to have a splash about, all great fun. And for many this is the experience of the river. A joyous experience of happy memories and tales to tell around a warm campfire.

But for some the river shows it’s darker side and the slow moving water on the surface hides the strong current of the water below. Each step becomes a fight not to get swept away, the once cool water is now cold and sapping our strength along with our resolve, all it takes is one small slip to be carried away. Each draining, cold step on the slippery rocks below, can be one step too far. Away we are carried – downstream.

Go with the flow, save your strength until the water once more calms down so you can swim to the safety of the shore. That is the thought we are told in one form or another – better the devil you know – but this can and does lead some to the rapids. A place so unforgiving that even the strongest of us will be broken against the rocks, too slippy and smooth to cling to, the very rocks themselves changed by the waters touch.

Though the water still flows fast, the end of the rapids, if we have survived, seems to offer a bitter relief. But the rapids are rarely just one set; just around the corner hides another trial.

Luck plays it’s part, or fate, or destiny, call it what you will, I have even heard it be called a ‘life lesson’, when after giving up,  we are washed to the shore, battered, bruised, defeated. But alive.

We dry ourselves in the sunlight, maybe even manage to light a small fire to push the cold embrace of the river from our body. In time we make a shelter that protects us from the elements, catch fish, and forage from the land around us. We survive.

For some inexplicable reason we stay, by the river, where we washed up.

Our surroundings don’t always reflect the weather that effects the river. It can be lovely and sunny where we are, but upstream there has been a storm, an outside force, the effects of which may not be felt for some time. One day we will swing our legs over the side of the bed in the morning only to be ankle deep in water, but to fearful of moving.

It is beginning to feel like that moment where I need wellies.

And it doesn’t help with it being the time of the year it is.

‘Tis the season to be jolly, tra la la la laaa – la la  –  F*$@ off! Go passive aggressively bother someone else.

 

www.awanderthroughthemind.co.uk/reflections-2017