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


Monday, November 23, 2009

and i'll be willin' to be movin'

Surreal though it is, I am all moved in. I feel kind of like a teenager leaving for college, without the frat parties and pillow fights, and with three nervous breakdowns and a mess of medications on my resume. In short, it's scary. No money, no family support, no hitching a lift wherever I want to go. I'm ashamed to admit that in my former daily routine my mom doled out everyone's various medications and vitamin supplements, including mine, and this morning when I had to lay out my own meds I thought I was going to cry. Pathetic!! The thing is, I KNOW I have to suck it up and cope, and I know that once I get used to flying solo it will be fun and exhilirating and inspiring (the way it used to be, back before the Mr Ex days). But this adjustment period is tough, you know? Being with Michelle is awesome, so that's one benefit, and this morning I got to work in less than half the time it usually takes. This is me, Lil, focusing on the positives...

Anyway, I am happy with how things are in the new place, everything fits (kind of) and everything looks good (mostly). Basically I have FAR TOO MUCH CRAP, and am planning to cull some of it over the next couple of months. One of the problems with living in large houses, as I've done for ten years, is that I never threw anything out -- consequently, I found a lot of things while unpacking that I thought "What??" Stupidly, one of the things I found was my quarter-written book about I. Oliver, and even more stupidly I re-read the thing and no doubt that contributed to my slightly dark mood. Decent writing, but such a sad time in my life.

We don't have internet connection at home yet, so I am having to check emails, blog, etc from work, so forgive me if I'm not around as much. I also am having issues commenting on Blogger blogs, for some strange reason - it comes up saying error on page. Hannah and Ruby Tuesday, I particularly wanted to send big loves to you both but have been unable ): I also can't seem to comment on my own posts, hence the clumsy edit situation on my previous post. Is this why people have been abandoning Blogger for Wordpress?? Can't say I blame them, as it's driving me to distraction.

(Linda Rondstadt - "Willin'")

Monday, November 16, 2009

meditating in the mosh pit

The title of today's post comes from a book rather than a song lyric. I don't "do" book reviews, have always been better at reading books than describing them to others, however I wanted to express how much I loved reading Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe. It helped me see that it's okay to want to avoid chit chat at work, and to wish some folks would just shut the heck up already! I'm not "anti-social" because I prefer my own company to that of most other people, and it explained why and how I gain such joy from my rich Virtual World. Introvert Power claims that more than half the population are Introverts trying to get by, and fit into, a world that it geared towards Extroverts, and that a lot of Introverts put themselves down or criticise themselves for not being more outgoing or extroverted. Definitely applies to me!

Here's the product description from Amazon:

"If you have introvert inclinations and are doubting yourself, this is a must read. Or if you know someone who exhibits introvert symptoms, read this book before calling the shrink."
- Bhante Yogavacara Rahula, author of One Night's Shelter: An Autobiography of an American Buddhist Monk

Are you an introvert? Psychologist and introvert Laurie Helgoe reveals that more than half of all Americans are. Introverts gain energy and power through reflection and solitude. Our culture, however, is geared toward the extrovert. The pressure to enjoy parties, chatter, and interactions can lead people to think that an inward orientation is a problem instead of an opportunity.

Helgoe shows that the exact opposite is true: Introverts can capitalize on this inner source of power. INTROVERT POWER is a groundbreaking call for an introvert renaissance, a blueprint for how introverts can take full advantage of this hidden strength in daily life. Supplemented by the voices of several introverts, Helgoe presents a startling look at introvert numbers, influence, and economic might.

Revolutionary and invaluable, INTROVERT POWER includes ideas for how introverts can learn to:

  • Claim private space
  • Carve out time to think
  • Bring a slower tempo into daily life
  • Create breaks in conversation and relationships
  • Deal effectively with parties, interruptions, and crowds


And a quote from inside the book:

Introverts generally prefer a rich inner life to an expansive social life, we would rather talk intimately with a close friend than share stories with a group and we prefer to develop our ideas internally rather than interactively.

Hooray, I actually feel like someone out there, maybe lots of "someones" understand me. I know from my friends here in the "madosphere" that there are a lot of people struggling with the pressure to be constantly "up" and "on" in our lives. Laurie Helgoe's book is written in a light-hearted yet forthright way, and was an easy read as well as an interesting one.

I'm currently reading "The Dance of Anger" so maybe that'll be my next "non-review" lol...

For some reason Blogger won't allow me to comment on my own posts today, so here's what I would have said in response to the comments below!

Firstly, how thrilled am I that Laurie Helgoe visited my blog and made a comment! Thank you so much Laurie. One of the things I loved most about Introvert Power is the personal tone she uses, with many anecdotes from her own life and relationships as well as quotes from other introverts. Brilliant book, I have already ordered two more copies for friends.
Coyote - I thought of you often while I was reading, there are a lot of correlations between things Laurie mentions in the book and situations you and I have experienced and discussed. Definitely look out for it.
Dreamwriter - thank you for dropping by, I always enjoy your reviews!
Lady Amanda - I know what you mean, I am more talkative than some Introverts (Laurie Helgoe calls us Socially Accessible Introverts) but definitely prefer the company of other Introverts who tend to understand my need for quiet time. I think you'd get a lot out of the book! Hugs back x

Sunday, November 15, 2009

between fight and flight is the blind man's sight

Herewith a brief update on the Life of Lil.

My grandmother is home from hospital, and much better. The infection has cleared up, and with its passing has come the welcome passing of the dementia (apart from her normal 91- year-old befuddledness). The Aged Care Assessment Team have recommended, though, that she be placed in permanent care now her health is deteriorating, unless one of us can be home with her at all times. That's just not financially possible as we aren't entitled to any carer's allowances from the government, and both my parents are still working. Usually Nanna is only home one or two days a week on her own, but that's too much now. So we've started the process of finding a decent nursing home for her. She's quite happy about the idea, as she gets lonely here on her own and while she was in hospital she told us she enjoyed having other people around all the time. There are a few places locally, and we'll try to get her in to somewhere nicer and newer with a good reputation. Aged care seems to be one of those areas that there is a major difference between the top and bottom "levels" even though it's supposed to be regulated and checked by the government.

In the midst of all this, Michelle and I finally heard on Friday that we got our house! We're signing the lease on Monday, and I have started the daunting task of packing. So far, there are 11 boxes OF BOOKS ALONE! We have a study nook/office area at the new place which Michelle has suggested I set up as a reading room - which is a great idea and such a relief as I wouldn't know where to put all the darn books otherwise. I can't part with them, though, they have been my best friends through the years. What is weird, given my bizarre childhood and tenuous relations with family, is that it seems strange and scary to be moving away from my mom. We've only become close in the last few years, partly through living together and sharing the care of nanna. Especially in the last 12 months, during my breakdown, we've actually connected on an adult and non-angry level. I hope that doesn't change once I'm gone from here. She's been supportive and positive about the move, which is awesome. For the first time in 12 years I'm going to be living solo, albeit with a roomie!

Mostly, I am thrilled about the opportunity to form my own independent life again and to live with Michelle will be a lot of fun. We have a lot in common and are more like sisters (she's 13 years younger than me). I can't wait to be closer to the city, and to my workplace, and to be released from the watching nanna, cooking, cleaning regime. Obviously my own place will need cleaning, and my own meals need cooking, but not in the same institutional way! I bought a new washing machine and a vacuum cleaner as well as some of the boring domestic supplies. The big moving day is Saturday 21st November. Wish me luck!!

Health-wise, I am still thriving on the current med combination and am managing to sleep well. I have my neurologist appointment tomorrow to find out more about the Borderline Chiari Malformation that showed up on my MRI. The headaches are still there, but I'm dealing with them, so if nothing comes from the specialist then it's no big deal. I'd rather avoid the "removing part of my skull" operation if at all possible LOL.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

turn and face the change

This is a partial reprint of the online ad for my potential new home. We still haven't heard from the agent, but it can take up to two weeks for them to decide on the successful tenant. Meanwhile, the agent gets to keep my $260 "option fee" until the decision is made.

Speaking of decisions, three days ago my mum and I took my nanna to the Emergency Department as her pulmonary infection was not improving, even with antibiotics and (even more alarmingly) she was showing signs of delirium. She is usually quite lucid and aware, even though she is almost 91, but Thursday she began to act strangely (like sitting in bed in the dark trying to read and telling us about apparations she had seen, flowers on the ceiling etc). Her GP Doc thought it might be delirium caused by the chest infection so we took her straight to the ER on Friday when she was no better. Six hours later she was admitted to a ward and it seems now that she has sudden onset dementia which may or may not improve once the infection is cleared up. My brother works in aged care and he seems to think that sometimes, often, that kind of mental deterioration is permanent. In a way, it's okay because she actually seems very happy and relaxed in her "new world" whereas usually she would be angry and stressed about being sick. She recognises us but doesn't really have any "context" for things, and is content to sit beside her hospital bed gazing out the window. We were really concerned that she would be frustrated at having to stay in hospital, but that hasn't happened at all.

It's disturbing, having had a mostly coherent grandmother for almost 40 years and now, practically overnight, seeing her change into a muddled childlike person. I'm surprised by how upsetting it is. I can't stop thinking about all the things I shared with nanna that she will (probably) now forget, leaving me as the only "keeper of the memory". We were very close when I was growing up, she was a substitute for my own mother whom I was not close to, we would cook and play cards and watch TV. I especially loved the TV as my own house didn't have one until I was 14 (stupid intellectual parents LOL).

Mr Ex usually comes over to see the dog and cats on Sundays and this morning he texted me to say he couldn't make it. I called him back to tell him about nanna, as he was close to her when we were together (having never had his own grandparents around). I was irritated with myself as I teared up and then cried while telling him, and allowed myself to be comforted by him, and then I was angry because I let myself be vulnerable. He was understanding and kind, basically he is a decent person, and I suppose it's hard to break the habit after ten years of being supported by him. Such a lot of mixed emotions today and it's not even 10am haha!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

six months on, the winter's gone*

My friend Michelle and I submitted an application for a rental house this morning. Very VERY exciting, and also completely terrifying (in the way of all great things lol). Am I sane enough to leave the comfort and safety of sharing a house with my parents? Can I keep working and therefore support myself financially? How will it feel to have to leave my dog and one cat behind, as logistically there is no way my new arrangement can include them? These are all things I believe I can overcome, mostly because there is NO OTHER CHOICE. I simply cannot remain in this state of flux that I've inhabited since I split up with Mr Ex and began the long process of becoming mental. I refuse to get left behind as the rest of the world, and the potential of my life, moves on without me. I feel compelled to get out there kicking and screaming, which may just be a side effect of the atypical anti-psychotic but what the hey...

It's a small-ish, grotty-ish duplex, with two bedrooms, fairly big living area and a small study nook type thing. Crapola backyard. Has my main requirement - a bath tub. One addiction I don't need to get rid of - phew. It's a mauve-lilac purple bath, actually, tres posh. The place also has ceiling fans (bonus, as jeez it's getting hot in here), a new stove, built-in robes and is 30 mins from my workplace. Currently I spent 1.5 - 2 hrs travelling each way, and oh man am I OVER that. There's a lot to be positive about, even though Michelle and I jokingly call it the "Juliette Lewis skanky duplex". It's also extremely cheap - $260 a week (for my O/S friends that's approx 138 GBP, $230USD) which is $40 a week less than most of the places we've looked at. 80% of places in Perth are over $400 a week these days, which still freaks me out. Rents have doubled in the last ten years, and I can guarantee that my wages certainly haven't increased by that much.

Anyway, apart from that there's not much news. My nanna is fairly ill with a pulmonary condition and has pretty much been bedridden all week. Am fighting the guilt about the chance of me moving out and leaving her... I have a bastard head cold, which is annoying me, and it's hot again - yuck. I've been doing well on my current medication (40mg fluoxetine a day, 10mg amisulpride, plus supplements) and Dr A told me last week he was proud of the way I had managed my work issues and was moving ahead. I know he gets paid to "validate the Borderline" but it was still nice to hear. My family are also being extremely supportive, even though me moving out will leave them financially and logistically in a hard place. My mom especially will miss me, as I share cooking, shopping, supporting roles with her. But we are looking to the future, and I need to step out from under this codependency umbrella, ella, ella....

* Belle & Sebastian - 'My Wandering Days Are Over'