Joy lies in the fight, in the attempt, in the suffering involved, not in the victory itself


Sunday, September 27, 2009

i turned my face away and i dreamed about you

I have this weird theory that when I dream about certain people, it means they are dreaming about me (or thinking about me, if that person resides in a different time zone lol). Clearly this doesn't relate to the strange dream I had once about being in Starbucks with George Clooney... sadly. But I had a dream recently about a bloke I call The One That Got Away. We've all got one, well most of us, someone who was always at the back of our minds, and in our lives, as a potential mate but the timing was wrong, the the situation was impossible, and thus the person remains just a friend. In my case, even the friendship was lost due to Steve (TOTGA) moving across the country and us losing touch. But I think about him often, and he is one of the few people that I can imagine being in a relationship with without wanting to run away screaming, or start gagging. I think it's partly because the trust is there, you know, it's not like starting fresh with some guy who may or may not turn out to be an axe murderer or a mouth breather.

I met Steve through a cult I used to hang with. It was one of those quasi-interpersonal cults, focused on self-reflection rather than a residential David Koresh/Jim Jones deal with a fatal end result. Both of us moved away from the cult, actually I think the Puerto Rican leader went to jail for embezzlement or something, but our friendship was solid. One of the things the cult believed in was the soul astral travelling to another plane while we slept, so maybe that's one of the reasons I imagine Steve is dreaming about me when I dream of him. It was one of those realistic dreams when I asked a number of times in the dream "I'm not dreaming, am I?" but of course, the fantasy ends and I wake up still having not seen or spoken to TOTGA since 1994. Steve is the main reason I am on the Evil Empire of Facebook, just in case he ever wants to find me...

Things in therapy have been getting to a flashpoint, if that's the right word. It's hard work sometimes, a lot of the time really, but recently I feel like it's starting to pay off. I'm achieving clarity in the way I view my relationships, esp with my family and their patterns of behaviour. I need to get a one-way ticket out of Martyrville. Dr A talked to me about how the "nice girl" persona I have, where I seem accommodating and easy-going, mimics my mother's passive-aggressive relationship with my nanna. She resents the hell out of nanna, bitches and moans about her and her lack of parenting and yet runs around after her and constantly puts her own needs second to my nanna's. I think I grew up thinking that was the way to win friends and influence people, but now I see that it's a massive cop out and it's SO dishonest. She (I) just doesn't want to address her (my) own desires and requirements, and then make the changes to get them. I REFUSE to be like this anymore! I'm becoming "selfish" in that I put myself and my journey first - as long as it doesn't hurt or harm others I think that's how it should be. I can love and support other people without being their "bitch" haha!!

Regardless of how difficult it is, I am aiming to live an authentic, real life someday. I'm not there yet, but I'm working on it. I decided today that regardless of the financial cost, I'm filing for divorce this week. Screw the money, I need the closure. If Mr Ex will pay for half, that's fine, but if need be I will cancel my summer vacation and spend the money getting my name back. I keep saying to myself "You go girl", and I know I can hear all your wonderful supportive voices saying the same thing. I don't say it enough, readers/friends, but thank you.

(title from the pogues/kirsty macoll (RIP) fairytale of new york)

Monday, September 21, 2009

it's only life after all*

You'll laugh.

Dr A went over the report from my MRI and while I have no tumours or lesions (thank you Google Images) apparently I DO have inferior cerebellum tonsils, which consitutes a congenital brain abnormality called Chiari Malformation. Except, the degree of abnormality is such that it's know as a BORDERLINE Chiari. I kid you not. Even my brain is f'n borderline!!!!! I had to laugh. It may or may not be the cause of my headaches, so now I have to see a specialist neurologist for more testing. It's not fatal, just debilitating, and sadly it cannot take the blame for my general mental wackiness.

I can't believe I have some other blasted "Borderline" condition. Maybe I should look around for some more Borderline diagnoses, I can start a collection. It takes up less room than snow globes.

(*Closer to Fine, again!)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

heaven in my hurricane

This is a photograph of my brain. No cabbages, no obvious lesions, but as I have just the scans and no report, we'll have to wait and see. I have an appointment with Dr A on Monday, and the radiology clinic have faxed the report to him. During the MRI there were no audible screams of horror, or ironic chuckling, but due to my muffler-headphones and the extreme noise of the blasted machine I would probably not have heard them anyway. Nobody told me that the MRI machine would sound like putting your head in a washer/dryer. If I hadn't had a headache for the previous 3 months I would definitely have come out with one lol. It was also the most claustrophobic, anxiety-inducing experience I've had in some time... I think it's similar to my opinion of childbirth -- no-one tells you quite how horrifying it is because then no-one would ever go through it!

One of the reasons I found it so difficult was the choice of location. Seven years ago Mr Ex and I endured 6 months of stressful, painful, embarrassing, intrusive and ultimately unsuccessful fertility treatment in that very same hospital. Before yesterday's scan I had coffee in the same coffee shop where Mr Ex and I sometimes sat after various tests, phrases like "hostile mucus" and "deceased sperm" running through our heads. After my scan I used the same bathroom I sat and cried in after one or another sad meeting in which our treatment nurse Janet, or an offsider, shared the inevitable bad news of another failure. It brought back so many memories I thought I'd forgotten, or driven away with my determination to be sexily un-child-ed. But the soul doesn't forget, and the cellular memory pushed me hard in the back towards the edge yesterday...

Glad it's over. I'm not surprised my brain showed a lack of obviously-fatal tumour-shaped objects. I should be so lucky. I told my friend Michelle that I was possibly one of the few patients they had in the clinic who would have been disappointed to be NOT dying. Having a terminal illness would just put an end to all this irritating and exhausting business of living and trying and working on being well. I know, I know, I know. It's not funny. We've all lost people we love, good and special people, to tumours, cancers, lesions...But I'd be lying if I denied that a sick and twisted part of me has always hoped that there would be a denouement to my life that would render me worthwhile and purposeful.

Sadly, unless the report tells me something I couldn't find by comparing my MRI scans to Google Images of "brain lesions", it seems I must continue to find purpose in living rather than dignity in dying.

I spent some time with my oldest friend Samantha today, and her baby daughter Sierra (whom I call my niece). Here she is in all her cuddlesome glory:

Even jaded old me had to admit that life seemed to have more oomph to it when she was nearby, even though I'm sadly not the slightest bit clucky or maternal. I really have made peace with being child-free (I refuse to say child-less as if I am less of a person, less of a woman because my body won't work in certain ways). I'm thrilled and blessed to consider Sam's three kids as my nephews and niece, and perhaps one day my perennial bachelor brother will settle down and make me a genuine blood aunty! Sometimes I wonder if being a mother would have made a difference, would have somehow filled part of the gaping hole in my heart. Being back in that hospital this week certainly made me wonder at the paths we take in life, and those that we're forced down through circumstance. In the end, though, I guess where we end up is where we're supposed to be. How would Jon Kabat-Zinn describe it - "Wherever you go, there you are?" Yep, ain't that the kicker.

(NB: Today's title from P!nk "The One That Got Away")

Thursday, September 17, 2009

you're an angry blade and you're brave

A small update post-conference. It's been, it's done, seemed moderately successful apart from the usual technical glitches and no-shows. Sir J has moved on to his next "gig", and I am enjoying a well-earned day off.

Tomorrow I have to go and have the MRI I've been avoiding most of the year. Dr A has often said it would be useful to see what effects, if any, my lupus has had on brain function (and, ergo, depression, headaches, mania, moods, etc). I guess it will be interesting to know if any lesions are present, not that there's much they can do about them. Maybe it will turn out that I have a cabbage in my head instead of a brain haha.

Increasing my dose of fluoxetine has not helped my OCD or binge eating at all, and Dr A is suggesting a mega-low-dose anti-psychotic be added to the mix. I would then reduce to my previous low dose of fluoxetine, as the Abilify (or whatever) will be activating enough. The meds merry-go-round is so annoying, and confusing. But it would be good to not be a slave to the trich and binge rituals... Any feedback or advice from y'all would be welcome, as I know Abilify is something lots of folks have tried. Apparently the risk of weight gain is less than with other a-p drugs?

So much going on, no wonder I find it hard to sleep through the night. I am determined to not start medicating for sleep, though, as I know it's a hard road to come back from. This may sound like a negative post, but I'm feeling well. Relieved the work situation will now wind down slowly until December, when the Foundation closes for a month.

(Angry Blade - Iron & Wine)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

fate has been against me from the start

Not much to list these days, on the positive or the negative side of the tally. Work is completely off the chart lately. I was hired in May to co-ordinate the Foundation's biggest event of the year, which comes up next Monday and Tuesday. I've booked the venue (5 star hotel), accommodation for two speakers, managed to organise catering, invitations, name tags, checklists, and also a display of our literacy products for sale. I've even managed to sleep occasionally in between OCD flashes of inspiration/stress lol. Bottom line, I am looking forward to Wednesday when it will be all over and our visiting speaker (a Lord of the realm, gulp) will be winging his way back to the UK. Remember my last post when I lamented my lack of fashion-nouse, well let me tell you the concerns over what to wear to Dr A have paled in comparison to what to wear meeting Sir J. We also have Members of Parliament attending, high ranking public servants. Please, let Borderline Lil behave herself!

The good thing about being busy with something real, ie: work, is that it distracts me from the gigantic empty chasm that is my heart-felt life. Most of the time I cope well with being alone, spending time with friends is always a benefit and I am slowly exchanging my avoidant habits for social hobby-type things. I was talking to someone recently and realised that I have closed off my heart from even the idea of romantic/sexual relationships. Which is sad, cause once upon a time I was good at them and actually enjoyed them. Enjoyed the lead-up, the anticipation, the possibility and the consummation (ha ha). The person I was talking to is a true romantic, and it struck me that I used to be one too. These days I find it hard to remember how that felt, and why it changed. I just feel relieved that now I'm not dating I don't feel the need to study my body and catalogue its flaws, don't need to make sure my sheets are clean and my legs are stubble-free. No more second-guessing my conversation, studying the signs. For everything I miss or fondly remember about dating there are as many things that I'm relieved to leave behind.

Part of me hopes (damn hope that persistent little bitch) that I might find a place in my heart for love again. That my body and mind might be strong enough to enter the world of the relationship. I guess time will tell! In the meantime, I send out props to those of you who are still fighting the romantic fight, and putting your heart out there. In particular John, the Shane MacGowan-esque songwriter who supplied the title of today's post. You can listen to it here. If I was ten years younger and half a world from where I am, I might even develop a girly crush... Love your work, man x

Thursday, September 3, 2009

when one's heart is in the way

I had a phone call from Dr A this morning, wondering why I hadn't shown up for my 8:30am appointment. Because I thought it was at 3pm, I replied, truthful and embarrassed, with a part of me thrilled to have (for the first time) demonstrated behaviour outside the "acceptable". I've read so many comments about psychologists and psychiatrists not wanting to take on Borderline patients, for a lot of reasons, one of which is that they can be unreliable and cancel appointments, reschedule appointments, leave early, arrive late, in an attempt to manipulate their doctors. Or maybe they just wrote down the wrong time in their diary. It can happen! It was weird, to hear Dr A's slightly stern and questioning tone, almost apprehensive about what state he would find me in. As if I must be bed-ridden and avoiding, or molten with melancholy, unable to face him. I'm not sure if I'm disappointed or relieved to actually be just forgetful and inaccurate with my diary.

I was happy to not have to go to therapy today, not because I was any of the thing listed above, but simply because I usually don't make appointments for Thursdays. Thursday is my one day off during the working week, and I love it with a passionate intensity usually reserved for...well...I don't know what, but I used to be passionate and intense about things other than time off from work lol. These days, I just like to have my own timetable, and not have to be anywhere or see anyone. Even now I am non-avoiding, and trying to be interactive with the world, I leave Thursdays alone. The potential of them stretches out in front of me like the most inspiring and wonderful blank canvas - even though I usually just watch TV or go have coffee with my stepdad and nanna at the local shopping centre.

One of the reasons I was happy to avoid Dr A is the eternal question of WHAT TO WEAR. I have three distinct wardrobes, the Manic (push-up bras, heels, lowcut tops, dangly earrings), the Barely Functioning (track pants, sweats, anything shapeless and stretchy, preferably dark colours, greasy hair in a scrunchy) and my current wardrobe of somewhere inbetween. Inbetween is a work in progress, and I usually have to decide if I should wear a hat (which I like to do, fashion-wise), in case Dr A thinks it's because I am depressed and haven't washed my hair. I have to decide whether to wear makeup (haggard and washed out versus trying too hard and/or over-activated), whether to wear sneakers and jeans (casual or giving up?), or a flattering top and skirt (trying to transfer/crack on?). I know for a fact that how I present myself as a psychiatric patient is something that is noticed, and probably recorded and analysed. I know, I know, paranoid much? But, it's common sense to think that a shrink would take stock of my physical state as well as my mental one.

As always, as with every damn thing in my life, I over think and over stress. I can't say I lose sleep over the question (WHAT TO WEAR), but I definitely spend time on it. So after hearing from Dr A, and getting the reprieve, I happily put on my favourite baggy jeans, a cute pink shirt, and my fur-lined pink Crocs. This afternoon, we're heading to the shops for a coffee. And for just a moment or two, I imagine that this is what happiness feels like.

(Thanks to Tori for today's blog title, from Moment in Time)