A bit about this blog

Over 4 years ago my family and I left the sleepy apple isle to live in the big smoke of Melbourne This blog is my take on our continuing attempt to Love with His great love those who we come into contact with on a daily basis, especially those who are less fortunate than ourselves. It is also about my struggle with mental illness and how I am trying to live in recovery

Friday, January 30, 2015

I am that mother

You know when you read inspirational stories of successful people who have overcome adversity there is inevitably a story about the children who's mother had mental illness but despite that they are a success.   They had a mother that was disconnected, sad, irrational, angry etc ect. That they had to cook dinner, mange their mothers emotions, look after them selves. I am afraid I am that mother.

Right now I want to shut the door on the world and throw away the key. I want everyone, including my kids to piss off and leave me the hell alone.

I don't want to deal with school or dancing or netball.

I don't want to have to help with homework or do the washing or sweep the floors.

I want life to stop and I want to get off.

I have tried God knows to right whatever is wrong with my brain. I have done yoga every day for 28 days. I try and eat well and not drink much alcohol or caffeine. I see a psychologist fortnightly and I talk and I talk. But none of it works. None of it makes me feel any better.

I am angry, anxious and sad.  My kids see it. The hug me and say don't cry mum it will be ok. But isn't that my job? Its not fair! they didn't choose to have a nutcase for a mum.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Forgiveness, forcefields and the Incredibles

I have n't posted for over a year. I haven't really had the head space. Depression ad anxiety reared its ugly head and threatened to undo the work I have done to keep it it at bay. You see I made a mistake. A mistake that cost me my job, relationships I heald dear and has my loud critical voice screaming "I told you so your no good and finally every one can see"

This blog post  is not about the details of the mistake. I would further hurt people by sharing it. Needless to say I did not break the law. I am  so very sorry and I wish I go go back in time and do it all differently. It is instead, about about my journey towards forgiveness of self.

"So I am a person of faith,tick ... I believe that christ died  to forgive us, yep... I am forgivable, oh hang on NO! thats for other people. Me, I am bad, horrid and I have done a thing that cant be forgiven. I shouldn't be forgiven, it really was just a matter of time till everyone found that out and now they have."

This is the daily tape that plays in my head. The critical voice that has log been a part of my life. It is triggered to be louder in certain places, on the bus as I go to work, in my place of worship, when I see certain people. It is always there. It is tiring constant and I am over suffering.

It kind of all came to a head Friday. I returned to the community development work I am doing for the church and I nearly couldn't go. You see the building triggers the voice to become so loud it is like a tidal wave. It rushes in and engulfs me. I can n't hear, see or think about anything else.  So I am on the tram and panic arises. I feel shaky and sick.  I cant take a full breath in. Thank God for Yoga. I close my eyes and breathe. Big lions breath. I probably look a little strange but its better than freaking out right?  I get to work and make my self focus on the tasks ahead but I am done. I am done with the control this thing has on me. The voice of course tells me that I deserve to suffer , that this is my penance.

Saturday rolled around and I went to see my psych. She is the most amazing women and I am so grateful that I have the space to see her. We talk about the 30 days of yoga challenge that I am doing and how it is making me feel physically strong, and like I can breathe better, about the mindfulness book I got  for christmas and how I intend to use it  and the processes we are putting in place to manage our finances. All good lots of smiles.  And then she asks about forgiveness of self and how am I going and the dam breaks  and I cry, shuddering and painful sobs,  as I tell her I just can't that the wave of shame and self loathing is too great..

We chose the tidal wave as imagery to explain how it feels. You know that movie where the asteroid has hit the earth and a tidal wave engulfs the father and daughter as they hug on a beach? Just like that.
 We play with imagery to help deal with the tidal wave. Being in one of those giant plastic balls and riding out the wave, having Moses like powers to part the wave leaving a clear path for me to walk. But the one a resonated with the best was this

This is Violet from the Incredibles. She reminds me of the inner me, scared and insecure. But she has this awesome super power, when she gets emotional she can access a forcefield. It protects her and her family from all sorts of danger,:bullets, bombs, lazers, falling from a plane it kinda cool. 
So the idea is when the wave comes instead of freaking out I imagine I am like Violet. I can put a forcefield around me that allows the wave to come but protects me from it. I came out of the session feeling empowered. I had a tool, great.

Today is Sunday, Sunday we go to church. Church, though no fault of anyone there, is a wave causing experience.  I think, todays the day that the wave is beaten I have my force field. But it wasn't that simple. Like Violet at the beginning of the movie.  I've never used the forcefield before. I cant yet make it big enough to protect we from all of the wave. But it was a little better. I still cried in the middle of the service, I still couldn't socialise and felt like and outsider. My critical voice tried to shout. But the forcefield was big enough to deflect  it a little. I think overtime I will be able to use it to sit inside, safe and warm as the wave rushes over. 

Have I forgiven myself, No way. The shame even now as I am typing makes me want to weep. The loss of relationships has left an open gapping wound that will take a long time to heal. But I feel like I have made a start. And I am grateful.: for family and friends who continue to stick around and love me and for yoga and therapy and imagery like Violet that are setting me on a path to forgiveness of self.

So if you see me and my eyes are closed and I am in some strange battle ready stance its just me practicing my forcefield :).

Do you have imagery that helps you in time of overwhelm? What are they and how do you use them.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Shades of Gray (slightly more than 50)

For the past month or so my FB news feed has been full of conflicting views as the Tasmanian Parliament debates the laws around termination of pregnancy. It is certainly one of those topics in which people have strong views and has lead me to be thinking about my own thoughts on the issue. From it has come a few questions and many many shades of gray.

The first of these questions relates to me personally. Would I have an abortion? The answer is no. I did consider it with one of my children. I wasn't in a place where I  wanted a child, I even went as far as booking an appointment with an OB in the hospital I was working at. But I just couldn't do it. Fundamentally I belief that life is life and therefore to end it would have been wrong thing for me to do, but that is my personal world view.

This lead me to the second question am I pro life or pro choice and actually I think I am both. At work I recently had client who was considering having an abortion. As I restled with the emotions that personally came up around this I also realised that the young woman standing in front of me didn't need my judgement, moralising or speel about the rights of the unborn she just needed me to love and support her. Enter shades of gray and more qusetions...

Even in writing this post I am struggling with the language because the words such as termination hold such emotional power.

Am I sad that this world is and always will be a place where pregnancies are terminated? Yes if I look deep into my soul I am. I wish that this world was a place where pregnancy was always welcomed, always happy and always resulted in a  bouncy healthy child but this is not and never has been the world we live in.

Given the above therefore I must be prolife yes? Actually maybe not cos I also believe that each woman deserves the right to access medically safe options if her world view is different to mine. More shades of gray.

It comes down to the fact that I believe I can not nor should I enforce my beliefs on someone else. And that I see this not as a massive political issue but about the rights of individual woman with individual stories

In my job I have had the unfortunate experience of watching the pain of mothers and children as they are torn apart by the cycle of addiction and poverty. But is it my right to say these mothers should have their ability to bear children removed? absolutely not but I do wonder at times as I watch these children grow up with trauma that effects the rest of their lives is it the quality of life not the quality of life that truly matters? And there it is the last gray area and one I neither have the brain power or the moral fortitude to think about.. what does "quality of life" even mean.

I think that the issue must be broader than the rights of the "unborn" Because the unborn become babies and those babies become children and those children become adults.
Here is something my friend posted on FB that began the idea which has turned into this post. I like sister Joan I think she is a woman after my own heart.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The New Kindness (from incurable chronic disease to .....?)

It would seem that I have not posted since September and looking back it was then that I started to feel really crappy. Exhausted, sad, anxious, sick, all vague symptoms but ones which persisted and made my life really yuck

I have been diagnosed with 1 perhaps 2 auto immune disorders neither of which have a cure in modern medicine only a life of management. As I sat in the Dr surgery and heard him talk about the need to change my diet, my lifestyle, my job... the room began to close in. What change everything. Then who will I be.....in fact who am I?

Louisa the wife and Mother who puts her kids before herself because of some stupid sense of motherly duty?

Louisa the support worker serving the poor and needy? (isn't that why we moved here)

Louisa the chocolate and coffee lover?- I think it even says that in my profile.

Louisa the friend that listens, not the one who asks for help or for that matter ever needs help?

Louisa the one who always has an opinion and loves to stand on her soap box?

Strip away these things to live the quiet and gentle life my body demands and what is left? What will I have to offer the world and does that even matter?

Will any of it really help or am I giving up ALL the food I enjoy for no reason?

Questions, questions all I have is frigging questions and not many answers. Sure I have read all the info people have sent me and my dear friend Gemma is a constant source of bossing but what I want is the Bupa add. You know the one where you get a glimpse of the healthier you.

I was meditating today ( a new skill suggested by Gemma) and the man said, now I want you to thank your body for what it does for you. I wanted to jump up and yell- what hurt and be tired and stop me from eating and drinking the things I like great thanks not!! Then the quiet man said "thankyou for making me rest when I won't" and I remember I did this to me. I have ignored my poor tired body for so long and it is saying Stop it now!

So I am still tired and sore and anxious and all of those things afore mentioned on this page and other blog posts but I now take responsibility for it. As my dad would have said "I have no-one to blame but myself.

I dont have a Bupa add but what I do have is a faint glimmer of hope and a belief that if I am kind and gentle to myself, I will find a way back from the abyss.

So if I have any readers left I am going to from time to time ,when the fog clears write about that journey. More for me as a kind of retrospective so I can see that what I am doing is working  and help me  I answer Who am I? and where to from here?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Round and Round on the Merry Go Round

Living with an Anxiety disorder sucks there is simply no other word for it.

For the past month I have been struggling with constant panic attacks, awake and asleep, and this feeling of impending doom that makes my whole body tense and prickly.

My memory is shot causing me to tripple book myself for stuff

It all came to a head yesterday where I was left in a state of uncontrollable sadness. I cried in public, and I just wanted to run away and hie myself in a cave.

Today I am missing two of my friends 50th birthday because I just cant bare the happiness of others- Isn't that awful?

But that stuff isn't really what makes is sucky its that try as I may I dont seem to be able to do a dam thing about it. About once every 6 mths I fall in this massive whole that takes 4-5 weeks to claw my way out of.

My eldest asked me yesterday why I was sad and I really dont know....... And just the mere fact she has to ask makes me sadder.

I have had a consult with a fabulous natropath  who has recommended all types of things that will likely help me but the truth is each one of them is at least $40- its just not economical.

So what am I left with?  Taking a bensodiazapene which my body will continue to get used to and therefore need higher and higher doses.

I can burden my lovely husband anymore he has had nearly 10 years of it and I feel guilty ringing my mum as she worries so.

I am left with this feeling of hopelessness....... I wish for the day where I wake up and it isnt there anymore but that wish is never to be fulfilled so around and around I go again.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Dear Johnpa

Dear Johnpa,

On this fathers day there are many things I would like to share with you alas you have gone to be with the big man in the sky.

I would like to tell you that Elly is 13 now and beautiful with long legs (that I never had), that she dances like a beautiful butterfly and that she is going to be on TV next year (ABC even)

I would like to tell you that "the plain one" is no longer plain. She has a delightful smile and infectious laugh and a zest for life that many of us wish we had.

I would also like to tell you that Jay is growing up to be a compassionate young man. He is a vegetarian, because he just cant bare to eat animals and he wants to be a vet.

We are are happy in Melbourne, in Port Melbourne close to the city.

We have a dog and a bird.

I often find myself wanting to ask or tell you something then realising I can't

Most of all I want to tell you that I miss you. Its been so long now I have to remember really hard to hear your voice.  I wish you were here to see the kids grow up.

Thanks for being my dad, for driving me at 5am to swimming, for pushing me to be the best I could be and for loving me.

xxxx Goondalou

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Broken, alone, scared and laughed at .

Yesterday a young lady came into our centre right on closing time. We have been worried about her for some time as her mental health has been declining.

She was very distressed, crying and screaming and people who weren't even there. She grabbed a drink and left.

As myself and another worker were locking up she appeared again still just as agitated, still crying and screaming. This was distressing to see, to leave was impossible, so  we followed her for a while hoping that she would listen to our calls and we could get her back inside and give her some food and maybe some help. We couldn't do either. But that is not really what this post is about.

Whilst this was going on people where coming out of their flats or onto their balconies. Not to help but to point, stare and laugh. One guy was videoing the whole thing on his phone.

I just simply dont understand. Why is it that society has much compassion for people with physical illness but those who suffer life limiting mental illness are ignored at best, ridiculed and laughed at the norm.

This young ladies mind is broken, from years of abuse from others and from using drugs to try and take away that pain and memories of that abuse. It is not funny or worthy of finger pointing, but heart breaking.

I have suffered from an anxiety disorder for years. I get what its like to want to pull up the covers and not get out again. My friends and family are fabulous and support me through the bad times. But I am lucky. Many with severe mental illness far far worse than mine have no one. Just like this lass they become disconnected from society, homeless and desperate.

The mental health system talks of "recovery" but my experience with clients is short acute stays, fill them up with psyc drugs and get them out asap. No follow up, no "recover plan." The system, to be fair, is under funded, under staffed and all they can do is react to crisis.

No one chooses mental illness, just the same as no one chooses cancer or MS.

To the people in the flats, where is your empathy, your love for those less fortunate than yourself? They are human beings not spectacles to be put on youtube or sent around as "look at this, it hilarious" to your friends.