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Posts Tagged ‘Mental Health’

Sometimes, when I’m overwhelmed, I get in the shower, turn the water as hot as I can stand and sit at the bottom with my hands over my ears.  It feels like I’m in another world, totally removed.

Lately it’s been a daily occurrence, sitting, counting to ten, letting tears escape, rinse and repeat.

I’m starting to get used to the idea that I might not reach this ‘acceptance point’ and feel stable from then on, that it’s going to be up and down, good and not so good days mixed in with cancer counts and banana pancakes, reading eggs and nosebleeds, horses and long drives and friendship and bullshit.

This hurts, you know? It sounds so juvenile but at a base level, cancer has hurt my feelings. It’s not fair. I’m not the type of person who gets sick young. I sleep with men I shouldn’t, get addicted to television series, love avocado and can catch the trickiest horses.  Bailey’s not the type of kid who has a sick single Mum. He’s homeschooled, wants to be a ninja, loses his brain on sugar and likes Adventure Time. I have no idea what these ‘types’ are, I just know we’re not it.

It’s ok. I’m as ok as I can be. There’s no point being otherwise. Last year when I realised I’d been misdiagnosed, mistreated, could have been cured I fell into a hole over it. When I had to write an ‘impact statement’ I felt like I would explode before I got it down on paper. How do you add up hours driving to specialists, whole weekends away from my infant son after radiation, relationship breakdowns, seeing my father cry, the loss of a lifestyle I worked hard for? How could I even halfway articulate how it affects me to know that Bailey didn’t have to know anything about this? That if I’d been diagnosed correctly I could have been in full remission before his first birthday?

These things happen, and no-one is to blame, and that’s the truth. I’ll admit to feeling some closure after seeing my first Doctor, who has no bedside manner, didn’t listen to my concerns, and downplayed independent testing I had done, avoid eye contact until I actually said ‘Fuck You’.

He apologised and it sounded sincere. And I know he would have been asked not to.

*****

So now, I just get to be brave. I’m choosing less treatment in favour of a life where I can play ponies and have my son at home directing his own learning, where we can grow things and take day trips. Where there’s room for coffee, hugs, sex, novels, stargazing. Where I have to be brave enough to deal with the possibility that this won’t pay off, that I may look back and wish I’d done more mainstream treatment. Sometimes, when you have a gut feeling, you have to be brave enough to go with it.

Ash x

 

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My brain has been so weird lately.

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what I’d like to do next, and nothing is fitting. I kind of have to go ‘home’, up the hill, because Craig is willing to sign it over to me and I can only get a loan as a single parent with health issues for that particular property, as a way to have a solid home base for Bailey. And we have to be living there.

Trying to make a life plan that includes allowances for illness, but enough money for us to have a decent lifestyle, with me not able to work all the time…this is challenging stuff.

I fantasize about arts degrees or fostering children or writing or being a drug dealer or being well enough to do something physical outside. I get accepted into the perfect (fun, creative writing and journalism) degree without the relevant pre-requisites on the strength of a personal essay but then realise I don’t have the brain space to follow it through.

I think about what I’d do if I knew for sure I had 5 years, 10 years, 40 years.

And then I think, fuck it, it will sort itself out.

So I start thinking about other things. I walked through the supermarket the other day, on autopilot, and all of a sudden it felt like the most alien experience. I actually looked at people and wished I could connect with them. and a part of me wanted to interrupt their conversations about weather, money, their partners annoying habits. I want to ask them if they believe in God, when was the last time they cried, do they believe in love or think that it’s a chemical reaction, are they doing what they want with life.

I don’t know.

Like I said, weird brain. I don’t give a shit about what you’re having for dinner, how you wish these cold nights would ease up, which political party you support. I want to know something real.

*****

And, an update.

Everything is still ok here, I’ve been sick – not dramatic sick but just mediocre, feeling generally shitty and exhausted kind of sick. I’ve been wanting to sleep 16 hours a day – anyone who knows me would know my usual stance on sleep, I’ve always struggled to get six hours. I feel like my mind and body have finally said ‘enough’. And that’s not a bad thing.

I haven’t been here, I’ve had this headache just on one side for like…weeks…and screen time seems to make it worse. I should be dropping some medications this weekend so I’m hoping that eases it, because I really would like to get more into blogging, and aim for something like 3 posts a week :). While I’m having a good day I’m going to go and check out all of your blogs – I always miss you guys when I have a break.

The weather has warmed up, so we’ve been getting in some beach time 🙂

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Crappy iPhone photos, but you get the idea.

Ash x

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Alternate title: Life is crazy, when you are.

Sometimes, I just don’t know where to start. When Bailey was 4 months old and we brought our first house just before I was diagnosed with cancer? The first memory I have of my Dad being in hospital, his Doctor sneaking me into the ICU and being so frightened of the screens, the beeping, finally seeing what his eyes look like behind glasses after hydraulic acid pouring onto his face? The first time I was assaulted as a child? As an adult? My Mum ringing to say she’d found a house overseas, and would see us on holidays? When I witnessed a suicide? When my husband left us? When I left our house? When I (finally but inevitably) developed delayed C-PTSD?

My mind is so fucked up, that if nothing horrible and life altering and traumatic happens for awhile, I get so anxious, and feel sick and heavier in my chest every day, until something does spazz me out.

And then I deal, and recover. And feel normal – whatever that is, for a little while.

I’d really like the normal patches to last longer.

I’d like to not feel as if I need crisis, instability.

I don’t think I come across ‘crazy’ to most people, I’m lucky to make friends very easily. I probably come across happy, or ‘a bit of a hippy, really centred’ (from my newest friend) even while I’m counting down the hours until I can get out of my head with a drink, or write here, or crawl out my soul and into someone else’s.

‘I like the frantic. I like you’ said another friend ‘but you have to like it too.’

I don’t really, but I’m bored without it.

I remember when I was first really sick, some distant family member gave me a copy of ‘You Can Heal Your Life’. I was really offended, because (unless I’m missing something, I didn’t read it cover to cover) it pretty much insinuates that you kind of choose your own illnesses – I think cancer was hanging onto resentment or some such thing. I was actually at a really well, happy point in my life leading up to being diagnosed.

So I don’t buy that, to that extreme anyway, but I do believe that stress can manifest itself in physical illness. Of course it can.

So I end up in this thought loop, is my life crazy/intense/dramatic/whatever because I am, or is the other way around?

Things have been quiet lately, my neighbour has stopped calling me a whore over the fence, treatment is ok with no major ups and downs, things are still static with Craig, I’m not dating, I’m making a conscious effort to not bring drama into my life…

I’m. so. bored.

And I feel boring socially, because I don’t have a funny story about the latest date I went on, I haven’t been in any life threatening situations, no-ones seriously upset me, I’m not getting drunk…

I think I got so used to being extreme, I don’t know how to not be.

How does everyone else do this ‘normal’ thing?

x

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Do we all have somewhere like this?

A place that makes us feel like this?

I went for a drive last week. I chucked the dogs in my old white wagon, wound the windows down (sprayed for spiders), and went for an explore.

I drove past old friends houses, and where everyone used to congregate around the mulberry tree. On shiny paved roads through what used to be bush, with names like Gumtree, Cockatiel, Bottlebrush.  Past the house my Dad built, where they sell fresh eggs for $4 a dozen. Where the haunted house with the tennis courts was, units now.

Surfing beaches, swimming beaches, fishing beaches. The local names, Cosies, Dumpers, Fenceline. I wondered if people still use them.

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I stopped at the old local instead of the new chain supermarket for grapes and chocolate.

My first best friend’s mum looked me straight in the eye and asked if she could help me with anything.

I just smiled, because I don’t recognise me either.

This year hasn’t been a waste of time. It’s felt like it at times but I’m. Beating. Cancer.

Everyday I wake up and get out of bed, and make coffee, and joke with Bailey, and go to the beach and drive too fast and drag myself to treatment I’m beating cancer, and that’s what I have to focus on right now.

I’ve got that burning enthusiasm again, that I lost somewhere between marriage and separation and cancer and mediocrity. It’s mental, my body doesn’t follow through, but maybe it will.

I’ve got plans, and backups, and itchy feet, and sun streaming through the windows, after what felt like the longest winter ever.

x

ps – I haven’t been around much. The last lot of treatment kicked my ass BADLY. But. IT’S WORKING. So now I’m gonna go catch up on what everyone else has been doing xx

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I had an awesome post written in my head last night, and when I woke up, -poof- , gone.  I’ve been struggling cognitively a little this week, losing shoes, keys, what I was about to say. Something distressing happened and I’m still ok. That’s the first thing I just plucked out of the space above my head. The kind of event that would usually make me cut and run, because it’s what I do, but I’m not and I won’t.

I haven’t been around much lately, I’m two days into the week long treatment I’ve been waiting for, that silver bullet, and it’s working. I can feel it. I know it the same way I know the sun will set tonight, what cool sand feels like between my toes.

Even though cancer cells are being zapped into oblivion as I write this, I would appreciate anyone keeping their fingers crossed for me 🙂

I have just enough hair to pull into a ponytail, and of course that’s when it starts coming out, my hands coated with dark strands in the shower, and instead of drinking half a bottle of vodka, losing my shit and shaving it completely I just go with it, trust the process, maybe I’ll lose it all maybe I won’t, but it’s actually not the most important problem I have, even if I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach. I wish someone had told me that you can let yourself feel pain and loss, and that’s all you have to do, just feel it. Not drink through it, run from it, fight it.

Just feel it.

And it’s ok.

I got to thinking about why I decided to come here this year, and even though I had some vague ideals about homeschool and some mental space and recovery, it was pretty much an instinctive pull. The thing is, this year has obviously been absolutely nothing like I expected but thank God I’m here. If all this had happened at home, it would have been 200% harder to cope with. I still want to go back – no, I’ll be honest, I need to go back, to sort shit out one way or another. Either way, I was meant to be here this year, and I’m betting that next year I’ll either settle in up the hill or decide on another long term prospect. Bottom line, I usually end up where I’m supposed to be.

I wish someone had told me I could trust myself.

I’m learning.

Another thing I was thinking about (yeah, I tend to think really intensely while poisons are seeping into my bloodstream, and my iphone is taken away) was that ‘Bucket List’ I wrote, and how I’ve done exactly one thing from it.

It was the fun item, and it was excellent and I did do it more than once <grin>.

Anyway, I started a mental re-write, and if I needed anymore proof that I’ve changed, that was it.  I want to write letters to people, just in case. I want to explore a healthy, simple lifestyle. I want to nurture myself and Bailey.

I want to detox my life, cull my possessions, focus on relationships and experiences more.

I’d still like to fall in love with someone else, it hasn’t happened yet – but I have fallen out of love, and I think that’s step one.

Sad as it may be, it’s necessary.

So, that’s where I’m at.

How are you guys?

x

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This afternoon, I was blindsided by this horrible surge of grief. Oddly enough, I’d been feeling stable, quietly productive. It was gorgeous today and I had all the windows open, sea breeze coming in, and I was curled in a patch of sun on the bed.

I have these moments, staying here, where I feel young, and some of what’s happened just falls away. I think it’s the same beaches, the same house, the same smells and sounds. The in-between could just be a dream, right? I could just wander down to the paddock, chuck a bridle on my patchy pony to gallop bareback through the surf. I could walk for miles without being needed, feeling tired, could get lost and found again.

So I was feeling peaceful and young, and I guess my mind just drifted a bit far until I was immersed in a happy time, and when I crashed back, it felt a little…soul destroying? It’s been (OMG) over 2 years since Craig and I lived together full-time, and I don’t know how long since we last had a big ‘lets (maybe, possibly, oh wait actually, I’m not sure) try again’  talk. A couple months? Six? If I thought about it in treatment cycles, I could probably narrow it down.

About 10 years ago now, we spent a lot of time together here. We’d wander along the beaches with my then-puppy, hang out with my best mates, I’d scare him with my interesting shortcuts through gravel tracks.

Sometimes these days, I don’t think about him in an us kinda way for days on end, and then it hits me how real this is. We’re not getting back together. This isn’t just a glitch. Even if the first part of a miracle occurred and he got his shit together, I actually couldn’t forgive him now anyway. Not because he cheated on me, hit me, any of the things when you think ‘unforgivable’. Because he let me go through cancer alone, because I just wasn’t enough. The probability  possibility of me dying doesn’t provoke enough in him, and I know how I’d be if our situations were reversed.

That. Absolutely. Kills.

I’m just staying away from him. As much as I can. It feels like I’m being torn apart but I’ve done everything else.

Whateverrrrr.

I don’t think I’m cut out for marriage anyway, and maybe I shouldn’t just be realising (or admitting to) that now, but I think at heart I’m a bit of a commitment-phobe. I mean, in a relationship, I am committed and I do love very deeply but I also have itchy feet a lot, I genuinely enjoy change, and I need a decent amount of stimulation I guess. Aside from my relationship with Craig and my closest long term friends, I tend to have shorter but quickly intense relationships and friendships.

Or maybe I’m just hurting too much now, and ‘realising I’m not cut out for marriage’ is a bit of a cop-out. I honestly wouldn’t know at this point. I’m one of those blessed people where I don’t seem to find it hard to meet nice guys, genuine people who are funny and smart and kind but god forbid one of them should try to get close to me. I’m even like that with friends now, and I’m getting so. lonely.

The flip-side of all this is at least I’m really actually starting to deal with things (and I am definitely in touch with why I actively avoided this) and I can feel myself changing, and not necessarily in the negative ways people would expect. I think I’m either getting stronger or realising my strength, I’m more inclined to speak up, I’m noticing people don’t put nearly as much emphasis on my physical appearance as I do, and I just feel..free-er. People have been criticizing me left right and centre lately, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care, but I also haven’t compromised myself to please others who don’t even know all the factors behind my decisions :).

So? Win. I think. Who the hell knows, really, and it doesn’t matter.

Anyway guys, I’m sorry for the word-vomit, just wanted to get some thoughts out :). Bman is at Craig’s this week and I also have the week off treatment so I guess that’s why I’m thinking about all this stuff I generally try to keep out.

Love to you all 🙂

xx

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Arrrghhhh.

I am not a fan of birthdays. Most years I have a predictable emotional shit storm in the weeks leading up to it, and then suddenly go ‘Oh ok. Not so bad’ when the actual day rocks around.

This year was better, and it was worse.

It was better because I kept forgetting it was coming up, and because I was so bogged down in the big stuff, it barely mattered.

It was worse, because you know how when things go wrong on your birthday, it seems harder to take than any other day?

What my birthday did not look like

In addition to the phone thing (which I may have a resolution for fairly soon) there was a mistake with a parking ticket, so I found out I’d been driving without a license for god knows how long :(. I was home alone – my mum had Bailey because it was my treatment day, and all I ended up doing was frantically trying to the suspension on my license lifted.

Didn’t happen, so I missed treatment. I wasn’t devastated. My bestie came around ‘for drinks’..we had one and went to bed at 830. I was just exhausted. That week 2 members of my extended family had passed, there was the phone drama, license, treatment, my dog was out of control (Bailey’s dog I should say, my dog is perfect 🙂 ). Masses of bills, medical and otherwise piling up… We decided to get me out of the house the next day…I was sinking, badly. Of course we ran into one person I really hoped I wouldn’t when I decided to move back here. The kinda person you maybe don’t want seeing you at an incredibly vulnerable point.

AND THEN THEY GOT MY MEAL WRONG!!

That was last week. This week has been less awful, just with a couple of random extra things to cope with. Although my finances are being cut – again. I have to report every 2 weeks – still have cancer. Still have cancer. Still have cancer. God. Talk about demoralising. I’d love to be working. Unless I work something out (or start selling stuff) before too long, horses will start going, and my house next year and my previous life will really just be a memory, not something I’m on hiatus from and can go back to.

I don’t even know if I want to go back, but without rental income I’m fucked. Without a base, I’m also fucked because it is incredibly hard to find a rental here, and a single mum with cancer and two dogs isn’t going to make the top of any list.

These things happen, and I can survive ok for roughly 6 months (barring anything else absolutely unfair happening) before I have to make hard choices. Thank God I own my cars, float etc outright and I don’t have any store debt etc. I know that’s unusual for my age and situation – and a massive blessing, and it’s what’s saved my ass so far. If I just could have stayed in remission, I could have gotten through, recovered, without too much long term damage to mine and Bailey’s living situation. But it wasn’t meant to be, so now I just have to be in damage control, bucketing out water and trying to plug leaks so we sink a bit slower, hoping something comes up in the meantime.

I know we’ll be ok. If everything else goes and we have food on the table that’s ok. I’ll grieve, but we’ll be together, and sometimes that’s what left and you can focus on what’s lost, or you can focus on what you have and make it work.

First thing tomorrow morning I’m pulling my head out of the sand, finding out where I really really am, what I can and can’t afford to lose and regaining some control.

Love you guys

x

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