Tuesday, 31 December 2013

I get to Live

My last post was in July. It's now the tippy-tail end of December... When did that happen!?

I suppose, in the smudge of my life that has been the past 5 months, I have been a little too busy to have given my blog a thought... I've moved house (again, I know), adopted a beautiful pain-in-the-ass puppy who I love death, taken on & tried a whole new range of things & had a smaller but still hugely intense breakdown.

Almost this time last year, I wrote a blog. It was inspired by the fact that I simply made it through 2012 & in doing so, I had hope that 2013 would be different for me.
It was & it wasn't - I was sometimes swimming in Lemonade & other times puckering on the sour, seemingly endless taste of pure Lemon...

With all that I have learnt in the past 12 months (that seems more like an entire decade) I can simply say this - 2014 is mine.

There are a whole lot of things that happen every day, every month, every year that will get me down, and sometimes crush every desire I have to simply keep going.
I'm certainly not immune to them - just this past Christmas Day I had a wonderful little anxiety attack, no trigger that I could recall, I just couldn't stop moving my hands & felt constantly uncomfortable.
I went to take a relaxant and found I had none in my bag - then the REAL panic started. What if it didn't stop?
Big sister to the rescue with some natural herbal drops that done all that I needed them to do - took the edge off so I could focus.

So I'm sure you're thinking it: This late in the game & I'm having panic attacks over seemingly nothing, yet I'm optimistic about the New Year that is now only hours upon us?

Hell Yes.

So what's different?

It has taken me almost 5 years to come to full terms with my depression & anxiety... but now that I know it's there & know how to control it (mostly), I have more strength & determination than I could ever have hoped for.

I'm going to slip back. A new number on a year won't change that, but the me that has gotten through the 2012 from the depths of hell, to a not much better 2013, has a new coat of armor, ready to take whatever 2014 has to throw at me.

At the moment it is already shaping up to be a better year & a start to something really new & fresh. Something I haven't had for the start of a New Year before.

Hence this post - I am happy. Plus... I have a few very special things to look forward to:

  • Unless my sister has an extremely quick & easy labour in the next 4 hours - I will become an Aunt to my 6th beautiful little niece within the next week.
  • I will see my first overseas plane trip, finally see snow & get to spend that special experience with my Mum.
  • I will see my longest friend, of 18 + years now, walk down the aisle & marry the man of her dreams. I will be privileged enough to watch from the perspective of a bridesmaid.
Among these 3 very special, very big life events, I will do much much more. I will drive with the windows down. Sing at the top of my lungs. Get sandy feet at the beach. Lose myself in a new book. I'll smell the fresh cut of the grass when I mow the lawn. I will go out with my friends, confide in & listen to everything they have to say. I'll watch Nelson, my favourite furchild, wag his tail madly when I get home from work. I will watch my other 5 nieces, 6 nephews & 1 step-nephew grow & change. I will get to see my sisters & brothers, talk to them, laugh with them, cry with them. I will get to enjoy & spoil my Mum as much as I can. I will get to live every day of my life as best as I can. I am truly blessed.

To all of my family & friends. I love you more than I can put into words. I hope the new year brings you all everything you wish for. I hope that you can make it yours & live every single day just as you want.

Happy New Year
xo

Monday, 8 July 2013

Sometimes it's as simple as Milo Cookies...

I was depressed today. I'm not gonna sugar coat it. I've been in & out of depression going on 4 years now. Extreme highs & dangerous lows with constant anxiety nipping at my heels.

This is okay. I don't blog to relieve my problems, I blog when I am inspired. So please, read on.

I just spent a lovely weekend in Pottsville, seeing my nieces, nephews, pregnant sister & newest brother-in-law. Their amazing beach house was filled with big belly laughs, constant chatter & a feeling of life.
On the way there it was freeing to be driving with the windows down, singing at the top of my lungs (partly to drown out the horrific crackle of my very worn-out speakers).
Walking along the beach, greeting passers by & feeling pure happiness just watching the other beach-goers enjoy some simple pleasures - horse-riding, fishing, playing fetch with their dogs. I could have spent eternity on that beach.

It wasn't until I got home, exhausted & sunburt, I crashed out on my couch. Waking up from a dreamless sleep I found my self in the dark, alone with anxiety creeping through the cracks. It's not the first time & I'm sure it won't be the last. I made myself hot drinks, chatted to my friends & got through until I found sleep again.

Suddenly, it was time to get ready for work. But this time my sleep hadn't been without dreams & they were not pleasant.
My dreams have always been pretty intense, keeping me awake through the night for months at a time. They increase my anxiety on a regular basis but since getting my new dream-catcher I haven't been having any issues at all. Whether our old friends the Indians were onto something or simply by the power of my mind, it had worked for a while. Not today. The dreams had me overcome with panic.
Waking up & remembering a dream is one thing, waking up amid one already lost in tears & fear is another.

My panicked crying is a pretty shoddy sight to be had, I'm sure. I can barely breathe, there is no control or level of dignity. I tried to shake it off, get up & move on. No dice. Shamefully I didn't have the willpower or the care. I gave up. I stayed that way until 11:30 in the morning. It took me all those hours to find a way out of bed. I numbly went about doing housework, trying to make some use of myself, hoping I'd feel better.
A load of washing. A load of dishes. Couch. More tears, more fear, complete helplessness. I talked to a friend. I felt no better. Into a hot shower with a bottle of wine I went.

It's hard to admit that I gave in. I never want to feel the low. It's unimaginably horrible. But after all these years I know I am the only one who can fight back. No matter how much support, no matter how many times I fall, I am the only one who can truly help myself. All of you out there who know it will understand. Depression is not something we choose. It's certainly not something we want to feel. It's suffocating, all consuming & sometimes although we fight, it wins us over for a time.

Today it won.
Tonight it will not.

With nothing but a chuppa-chup & half a cup of warm Milo in my belly all day, I knew the depression was starting to slip away when I suddenly felt hungry. Problem: I have just about nothing to eat in my house at the moment. No milk, bread or eggs... no, you know, food. The nearest food was at the servo. Sorry, I refuse to pay triple the price for grocery items nor go out in to the cold for them.

Digging time. Butter. Flour. Sugar... Milo:  Inspiration.

I don't measure when I cook anymore. I'm a 'roundabout that much' kinda lass. Consistency & taste tests are the best. So sorry guys, no recipe for this.

And here you have them... Milo Cookies. My most yummy spur-of-the-moment creation yet.
One of the smallest things to happen in my day yet the biggest combatant of my disabling depression.

So hold on all of you out there who feel it too. You're not alone & you're certainly not doing anything wrong. When it gets too much, the answer can be something as simple as Milo Cookies...

Monday, 1 April 2013

Unconditional Love

Around February last year, my best friend bought herself a puppy. A Bull Arab x Bull Mastiff x Bandog.
 She named him Thor.


Thor became my little mate...

He spent the next 3 months or so with me hanging around pretty much every day. It was one of those times in my life where I was barely holding things together, so his company was somewhat of a therapy for me. Plus, I'm a sucker for animals. 

 



Hence, he grew up sleeping here...












here...






here...















and here.


We liked to play fight a lot too...


Then, as if overnight, he became a horse...


Now, he just doesn't seem to understand that he isn't a tiny little pup anymore... and the habits I ingrained over those first few months are now hard for this big guy to kick.
 






 So when it's time to catch up on this weeks shows with my bestie, I get comfy here...















 Yep, that me sticking out from under there...















And even when I'm not laying down...









 It's a different feeling to love a dog. I can barely stand to be mad at Thor. How to be mad at the only one in the world who loves me unconditionally.


I can always be sure that Thor will give me his big boofy cuddles.  Especially when I'm sad. He seems to know when I am & pays extra attention.




 






I also know that if I have a toilet break at any point, I will have a guard at the door until I emerge...













And when times get tough & I am living off my best friends spare room floor... I will NEVER be lonely.













What was your most favourite pet? Was it yours? What did you love most?

Friday, 1 February 2013

Bob the Gnome



Instagram has become a staple in my every day. I check it addictively... I absolutely LOVE it. Seeing the world through other peoples eyes, having a little slice of their life become part of mine gives my spirits a lift. There are a few people I have chosen to follow, having come across their photos & found them interesting or just nice to look at.

One such Instagrammer I follow is Bob the Travelling Gnome (@BOB_THE_GNOME).

I've been following Bob for about 6 weeks now & every time he has popped up in my feed I have been overcome with giggles. This little guy is an ornament. I know this, but no longer can I feel like the photographer behind the photos is experiencing these life events - Bob is. It's a little quirky, a little different & not only are the photos lovely but it allows a spark of imagination, a hint of humour & a lift of the heart.



This is my favourite photo of Bob, making a snow angel on New Years in 'The Heavenly Village', near a Ski Resort on the border of California & Nevada, USA. I am pretty jealous of Bob. At 22 years old I have been raised in QueenslandAustralia & I have still never seen one flake of snow. I've been inspired to see it more than ever now - and yes, I will be making a snow angel.

For now, I look forward to seeing much more of Bob on my Instagram feed. I hope he has fun on his travels & maybe one day hits the tarmac down under - I'd love to see Bob on the steps of the Opera House...


Are you a fellow instagrammer? Got anyone you love to see on your feed?

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Ranidaphobia


This is my Mum. My sweet old Mum. Innocent, caring, tough as nails. She has always been a protector & someone I would never dream of crossing for any reason.


And then, there are Green Tree Frogs.
These sweet, slimy, green hopping creatures somehow transform my Mum into a raging lunatic.

I remember as a young child, when my brother's used to work the late shift at our local KFC, my Mum would have to go pick them up at something like 11pm. I would be roused from my sleep to get the frogs/toads off the back porch so that Mum could get safely to the car. I never minded & at the time it never occurred to me that no-one else practiced this for the sake of being a few more meters away from a frog.
As time has gone on & the practical jokes have been laid... (by older brothers, of course) I have come to realise that Mum isn't just grossed out or icky around these guys - she has a full-blown phobia. I asked her one day when this had started & if anything had triggered it. She re-counted for me her first frog-related experience:

 Back in the day, when Mum was a kid living in Casino, she was shutting the bedroom window - no security screens or fly screens back then - just a pull down panel. So as dear old Mumsy stretched her arms up high to shut her window, a lovely big green-tree frog jumped right inside onto Mum's chest.
I still can't help it - the mental imagery is priceless. But there was more.
It seems that Mum's phobia was a well known fact in the Casino community. This next story is one of my favourites from my Mum's childhood. I love watching her giggle into her hand & her eyes go wide as the memory plays behind her eyes

My Mum lived not far from her school & went home for lunch on this particular day with a friend, Robyn. Upon returning to class, Mum was a little suspect about the behavior of her fellow classmates & she felt something was awry - every time she tells the story these few words are always the same, "Someone was looking out for me that day" - for, as Mum sat pondering what trap had been laid for her, a classmate at her desk asked for a pencil - Mum handed over her pencil case eagerly. The poor girl unzipped the pencil case & proceeded to dive both hands into the contents of the case, disturbing the secretly planted Green Tree Frog within. Now Mum swears they are bigger in Casino, I'm not sure whether that is false over-imagination of a frog-phobic person or the truth.

For some reason, although these stories are scary & gross as I know how full-on Mum's phobia is... I love them. They are a part of my Mum's life that I feel like I was present for & something I will forever remember.


What's a phobia of yours or someone you know - any funny/memorable stories?