Losing your mind and finding yourself

I did lose my mind. I didn’t realise I was losing it. I thought it was right there guiding me. Trouble was it was guiding me in a different direction every five minutes until I couldn’t keep up!

It was like one of those superballs. You’d send it off one direction and with a few giant leaps it was somewhere totally different…..often taking a few casualties along the way!

Eventually ….as with all good things…..and thankfully most bad…..this period of my life came to an end….a fairly abrupt end at that.

The next four years were spent trying to put the shattered pieces back together again. Therapy…..drugs…..drugs…..therapy.

For me mindfulness was the key that finally reached deep inside me and found the tiny shred of my mind that was still well. The little bit that could regenerate and strengthen if given a lot of care.

I don’t sit crossed legged and hum…..but if that works for you then go for it. I try to keep bringing myself back to the here and now if only for a few brief moments at a time. Listening to the birds, smelling the flowers, tasting the ice cream, really feeling the fur of my dogs as I stroke them.

Photography has really helped me. It makes me really stop and think about what I’m seeing, the colour, the texture, the detail.

I love playing around with editing too- using different filters and techniques to distort the reality of what I saw before me. That’s what mental illness does. It distorts reality and my “work” reminds me of this.

So now I’ve decided to try my hand at painting. I’ve never painted- other than walls, fences, cupboards, chairs, tables…..ok I have painted…..but not pictures.

I’ll never be a professional photographer, nor will I be an artist ( all that cutting off ears and starving in attics isn’t really me anyway). But I’ve discovered a peace and a joy that has helped heal my tattered mind. It is finding the beauty in the here and now. Playing with it, distorting it, capturing it either exactly as it is or in how it makes me feel.

So losing my mind wasn’t such a bad thing. In trying yo find it again I found a me I never even knew existed 😊

Trapped

6 years ago today my son was struggling trying to get back to northern Ireland from university in Leeds.His agoraphobia was getting worse again after his first recovery from being totally housebound by it. He could no longer get on a plane and to get him home by boat mum and I went over to get him and booked a private room for him so he didn’t have to be in public.

Agoraphobia….Not simply the fear of open space I always thought it was but “an anxiety disorder characterized by symptoms of anxiety in situations where the person perceives the environment to be unsafe with no easy way to get away” At its worst ….as we found out….that “environment” can become the whole world.

It’s a terrifying illness. Can you imagine waking up every day in a world that seems so totally unsafe. When you are a highly intelligent person and your logic tells you this isn’t true but your heart is pounding so heart you think it might explode, your chest is do tight that it feels impossible to breathe and rivers of sweat are running down your body.

Even worse is the fact that when my son got to the stage that he only left his bedroom to use the bathroom (and even that caused him to nearly pass out in fear) we were told that “once he’s able to make it to the hospital we can begin treatment”!

Look out for the early warning signs. Avoiding going into places that don’t have an “easy escape route” cinemas,theatres,shoppkng malls. Fear of using public transport. Growing avoidance of social situations. Get help early. Fight for it if you have to. We didn’t recognise it early or get treatment in time. For us it has been and continues to be a very long, slow journey with setbacks along the way……but we’re still travelling together 👫

You know those conversations you start with your husband that go

“I heard Bertie and Maisie barking in the garden and I knew Nala and Minnie must be there so I left Finn in the sitting room and climbed out of the window….”

So my husband replied “I’m so glad that I remembered to add that to the end of my list of what I wanted in a wife….. Must climb out windows”

I didn’t climb out because I’m crazy. I climbed out because it was the shortest route to where I wanted to go…..which is the story of my life….. look for a shortcut! Shortcuts aren’t always the best idea. Looking for short cuts andmaking impulsive decisions are the things I’d like to change about myself…….But I can’t find a shortcut!

Take the time the rubber seal along the driver’s window of my wee Ford fiesta kept popping out of place. I could have taken it to the mechanic, I could have taken the door panel off and put it back into place……But I went for the shortcut. I wound the window down (no electric windows) and hit the seal with a rubber mallet………There was a loud tinkling of glass. Vigorous winding of the handle and no window appeared. I now decided to take the door panel off……..And discovered thousands of tiny pieces of shattered glass where my window should have been 😭

Or the day I decided I didn’t want our ancient piano any more……So I opened the front door and pushed it down the steps…….Then I had to phone my husband and tell him to be very careful driving into our drive as there was a piano lying smashed all over the stones and it was too heavy for me to move. It was too heavy for him to move too so he had to avoid crashing into it until we got some strong men with a van to move it for us 💪

Or the day I decided finished school for the year and decided I wanted a semi-circular table instead of a circular table. It is so much easier to saw a table in two than to put it back together again . Oh yes and by “finished school” I was a teacher at the time not a pupil 😳

No starting today I’m going to try to be less impulsive and stop looking for shortcuts…….But not until after I finished painting around the wardrobe 🖌

Just a normal day

7CF1FBE9-4A69-4432-9145-C8C15ACC5F6A“Normal isn’t normal, it’s just what you’re used to.”
― Marty Rubin

Well I spent the first hour of today wearing a hoody back to front. To be fair I noticed after half an hour but my husband didn’t so I thought why bother to change it! Obviously the hood wasn’t up at the time although there is no guarantee that even then he would have noticed. He’s no morning person and after 32 years of marriage I need to do something pretty spectacular for him to notice. Also I suppose as he’s used to seeing me in the morning in a unicorn/mad cow/Eeyore onesie he may not have thought this morning’s outfit was anything particularly strange.

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I then changed to go out for the day. This time I wore a T-shirt with a cardigan and jacket over the top. ( I did have other items of clothing on but as this isn’t a fashion blog I’m not going into a full description).

I came back at lunchtime noticing that it seemed colder than when I left home. I took my jacket off to have lunch and realised my cardigan was missing. Now how do you lose one item of clothing while still wearing the item over it? Although I suppose if it’s a skirt and knickers……….actually I don’t think I want to go down that route 🙈

Different cardigan on and off I go to an appointment, then  to a coffee shop with my son. Home again and this time I realise I still have my cardigan but I’ve been wearing it inside-out.

 

Now I am the queen of wearing odd shoes or boots, I’ve also worn a dress inside-out while out with my husband one evening. He noticed halfway through the evening but decided it best not to tell me and spoil the evening, instead choking all night trying to subdue his laughter until we got back to the car. So I do have form…….But today seems to have been one thing after another! Is it my age? Facebook keeps throwing things at me suggesting that it is . Tonight I even clicked on one link but only because I thought it said “100 great ideas for mayonnaise” when it turned out to be menopause ……..I’ll not be having that for dinner then.

I can’t say anything though my own Facebook posts aren’t always what I intended them to be  – earlier autocorrect decided to change my FB post so that I knowledgeably advised someone that it was ok to give their nipping puppy a quick “shag “ then redirect their behaviour and praise. The word is “AHAH” 😳

And there are still several hours to go!!!

 

Losing the plot

Those times when you think I’ve lost the plot I am simply re-writing it to make it more interesting

“So what age are your wee boys who were home alone and cooking” asked the nice firemen who came to put the fire in the kitchen out!!

(Actually they were 19 and 22 so we weren’t reported to social services)

Psychology appointment this morning.

“And what are your plans for the rest of the day?”

Sorting out the garden.

“That’ll be nice and relaxing!”

Yup”

Just two of my Facebook memories from today.

I love Facebook memories. I’m the sort of person who twice went to see a movie I’d thought looked amazing in the trailers…… And instead went to see a totally different movie. Worst thing was the second time I went to see it it took me 20 minutes to realise it was the same “wrong” movie I’d been to see the week before and the “right” movie hadn’t actually been released yet!

So memory and concentration aren’t my strong points …..unlike Facebook which remembers everything (so be careful what you post)……this may be partly because of the breakdown I had a few years back and my risk-taking behavior. I do wonder had the psychiatrist followed me on Facebook would have have had a different view 🤔

Obviously I’m much better now…Even cutting branches of trees with an electric saw, a 50m extension and no safety equipment is nothing compared to my previous behaviour 😊

This also came up in my memories today A bit busier than my average weekend but not totally out of the ordinary for me. At 20 I was a student, at 30 a wife and mum of 3 small children, at 40 I was the mum of three teenagers and at 50 I was trying to find out who I “really am”.

Five years later I’m still trying but with the help of a combination of prescription meds and mindfulness I mostly don’t need to risk life and limb while trying……I even recently sold my unused electric chainsaw which I impulse-bought from lidl!

I’m practically completely sane now! Just need the weather to improve so I can get my new scaffolding put together and try out my also new electric reciprocating saw! Both impulse buys 🤔

Watch this space 😜