It’s Friday, another write day. I’ve just come back from a walk to our community garden. I’m not as fit as I thought. Though as the name suggests, the garden is in the community and close by, I found it not that near. I am fairly taxed by the trek. I am relaxing with a cuppa after doing some stretches for my heels. Since Sheba’s left us for doggy heaven, I haven’t done much walking at all. I must schedule some regular times for it. It is good to keep all my muscle groups in good working condition. I do lose what I don’t use.
I have to admit that I am still distracted by the rich and famous and have a fascination with why people commit suicide. It’s not as much fascination as wanting to understand. And so I found myself scrolling through this article about famous people who took their lives and left notes. It hasn’t helped my understanding one bit. I don’t think that it’s stigma that prevents people from talking about depression or seeking help. There has been plenty talk about it. Don’t you think? I think it is the nature of the disease.
I had suffered from it. What I mean is I had suffered enough that I sought help and had received counselling and medication for it. I no longer do. I’ve come to a place where I feel fairly peaceful and restful with life. I recognize that life is not perfect. Humans are not perfect. We are all flawed in different ways and degrees. I have sorted out my priorities, what is important and what makes me happy. I know what is what in this moment. It is now I see it and now I don’t. Sometimes understanding and knowing yourself is fleeting. I guess that’s why it is important to be in the moment, to be flexible and willing to change.
I am happy for my walk today. The scent of lilacs was in the air. So many trees in bloom. It was a pretty sight with colourful blooms and the green grass all around. I have missed my daily walks with Sheba through our neighbourhood. You would be surprised at how many people noticed us. I was. One time a teenager came upon us and said he has been watching our walks for years. I had to smile at that. It’s a good memory to keep me smiling and feeling mellow.
It’s Friday, Chinese AirForce Day, as someone once called it. I took the bait and asked why. He said, It’s F-l-y-day. Would you call that a racial slur? Anyways, I chuckled like a good agreeable Chinese woman. I wasn’t offended, honest. I’m a little sleep deprived. I couldn’t sleep past 3 this morning. I hate it when that happens. And it does occasionally, especially when the weather shifts. I whine about the weather alot. Not only it disrupts my sleep but also my moods.
There’s alot I could whine about but I’m too tired. My edginess have worn off and I’m pretty mellow. My AM Energizer class certainly helped. My serotonin level was further elevated by lunch with the “YWCA” girls, our first in 2 years at the Parktown. We had a good time but we do miss the buffet which is no more. So many changes in 2 years. The diningroom was mostly empty except for us. It was a good and bad thing at the same time.
I am just poking along here, keeping up with my routines. I have just finished reading Naomi Judd’s book, River of Time and watched Ashley Judd speaking to Diane Sawyer about her mother’s suicide by a firearm. So sad! I have to be careful that I don’t dwell on all this too much. I am not emotionally fragile but vulnerable. Having experienced depression myself, I admire and have great respect for Naomi and her two daughters. Life is hard and messy and their lives certainly were. Wyona described it perfectly when she said they literally went from the shit house to the White House. What a journey and what an adjustment. Now they have more to adjust to. River of Time is a worthwhile read.
I am happy to say that I have a handle on my moods. Knock on wood. I have worked very hard every day to maintain good mental health. I have read countless books on the subject. I’ve put what I’ve learned to practice. One of those was getting Sheba. She took me out of the house and out of my bad moods. I got a heavy dose of nature and exercise. We went out rain, snow or sunshine. We were more regular than the mailman. Now she’s gone but she’s prepared me well. She certainly had earned her keep. I love her forever – then and now.
So it it February 25, the 25th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I did not bother with Day 24, deciding to immerse myself in Netflix instead. I suppose I was feeling the ‘what’s the point’, ‘who am I kidding’ and ‘I don’t give a shit’, etc. etc. as the Anna’s King would say. I’m not going into the analysis of my feelings or anything. Trying to dig into the mud of things is the worse thing I could do. I could dig myself into a hole no rabbit could hop out of.
Now is the perhap time for me or anyone just to feel our ‘depression’ whatever we are feeling. We need no excuse or shame. There are enough reasons and whys right in our faces. There’s no need to dig or go into analysis. There are no couches safe for us to lay on anymore. How satisfying is a virtual couch? Let’s give ourselves permission to feel what we feel. If I don’t, those feelings might come back and bite in the ass – again. However the world is, however I am, life does go on. To help me I’ve adopted Regina Brett’s “No matter how I feel, I will get up, dress up and show up”. Regardless of what I’ve said above, words matter.
When I’m feeling lost and iffy I’m grateful to come to the ouija/key board. It helps me find the words/way. It gives me a sense of direction, a true sounding board. I don’t feel quite so adrift, so purposeless afterwards. It is my spacecraft to explore those inner spaces of no easy access. Somehow the rhythm of my taps can loosen unseen barriers and gain me if only just glimpses. Sometimes it can untie a very tight knot and I can unravel myself like a sweater. It is like Aladdin’s lamp, magical.
I’ve learned now not to despair, no matter what. Get up, dress up and show up as best as I can for that day. That is all that is asked of me. And so I sit hear, sipping my tea and tap out a letter, a word. An idea comes. Then a sentence. It’s magic. I see it. Aladdin’s lamp is showing me the way. I do not have to do big. I just have to take that first step, tap out a word, sew one quilt block, splash some paint on the canvas, transplant one tomato, sew one seed….
These last days of 2020 seem the hardest. It’s a good reason to return to the keyboard – to put words onto the page instead of getting lost in my emotions. Be here. Be now. I try not to give myself a hard time. It is cloudy and oppressive. I stand up, pick up and straighten a few things. I look out and see the children playing outside at the daycare, one house over. It is good to see and feel their energy. I put the kettle on. I damp mop the livingroom and kitchen in the meantime. I make a cup of black instant decaf. I welcome the change of taste.
There, I’ve gotten a hold of myself! I didn’t let myself drift off into the wave of what should I call it – lassitude, boredom, listlessness, anxiety, hopelessness, depression? A medley, a stirfry of negative energy/emotions. I think I’m just being human. Who can honestly say that they haven’t been feeling any of these? Perhaps it is an overworked phrase but we are in hard times. We’re in the muck of Covid-19. It is not the first in the history of the planet. It’s only one of many but it could be the beginning of the end of us. So let us learn from it, shall we?
There’s no use crying over spilt milk or locking the barn door after the horse is gone. We must work together to make our world healthier and safer. How will you contribute? The first step forward is not to deny we have a problem. I have done that. The next step for me is not to feel hopeless and defeated by my and our world’s problems. There are good days, not so good ones and then there will be bad days. No two days are equal. But I can choose to do my best for the day I’m in. I can trade up with one paperclip at a time.
It is afternoon. The day is still cloudy as can be. I have managed to stirfry something for lunch, do the dishes and make a list for my errands. I could not find my car or house keys. My head is as heavy as lead. No point in a desperate search. I used the guy’s keys. At Freshco I picked up my prescription and a few things for my mother and myself. It was a long wait at the cashier line. Someone was having a coupon issue. I waited with patient forbearance. I was silent behind my mask, breathing in and out. I was through in due time. I did a little meandering through the mall in search of something. Strange to see a coffeeshop with tables removed and bottles of sanitizer on an empty table. Strange to see people having coffee in such surroundings.
It is now late afternoon. My mother was happy with my delivery – super fresh daikon, pasta, bananas, grapes, pasta and 2 Hawaiian pizzas. I took her some of my baked pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and cookies, too. She was delighted with the steamed Chinese buns I gave her over Christmas. She said that if I added a bit of sugar to the dough, it would be just perfect. There was a time when it was my mother who gave me home cooked stuff. And I couldn’t say no. Now the shoe is on the other foot.
I am so porous to the prevailing moods around me. It is not an advantage. I am one of those people who can feel your pain. It is not a good thing. I’m feeling a little under the weather, mood wise. It is, of course, a very cloudy day. If not for the snow, my world would be very dark. Therefore, I do love the white stuff. It lights up my life.
The Covid-19 numbers in Saskatchewan today are 4 deaths and 235 new cases. I am still tracking the numbers. I should stop but it is better to be informed. It is depressing and difficult to understand why we aren’t all compliant with what we need to do. Why are some so defiant about wearing masks and having large gatherings? Why do some still believe it’s not real? I guess the answers are blown in the wind. I best get on with what I can do and not sink deeper into the rabbit hole.
Talking about rabbits, I met up with one on my walk. It was all white except for the tips of his ears. I’m sure if Sheba was still here, she’ll be lunging and straining on her leash. I have her to thank for my daily walks. It’s hard to give them up after 14 years. My body knows when it is time to get up and get walking. Sheba is with me in spirit. We go down the streets and alleys as before. And it is all good – for my body and spirit. Being out in nature, even if it’s in the city, is something good I can do for myself.
Gardening is another good thing I can do. I know it is almost December but spring in the greenhouse won’t be that far away. I’m excited to get seeds ordered,organized and started. We had the greenhouse built in record time. It’s hard waiting. Here’s the guy’s video of its construction to take me out of here. The greenhouse is a very good thing.
Gosh, it is already 5 o’clock in the afternoon. I did not go for my afternoon walk. No sun today. It’s been foggy and dreary – like a cup of weak tepid tea. I did get my exercise this morning at the YWCA. My enthusiasm was a little dampened by the rising numbers of Covid positives in our province. It’s difficult not to be affected by bad news. But I’m still doing well considering. I once thought I reigned supreme among the depressives. I was always reading books and taking workships on beating the damn thing. My shelves are full of self-help books. Maybe that is the reason I’m still standing. They have helped after all.
I’ve just gave myself a Christmas present – a year’s subscription to Permaculture Magazine U.K. I’ve been watching alot of gardening videos on YouTube by Huw Richards. I was a little put off by his accent at first but then I got charmed by his good manners and looks. He’s very informative and a good presenter. I can’t wait to get my first copy in the mail. On top of that, I have digital access to their past 28 issues. This is Christmas in November.
We finally got a remote temperature/humidity sensor for the greenhouse. Now I don’t have to trot out to check every time. We can see what the temperature is over the 24 hours of the day. I can see that it is 0 degrees now (5:30) in the greenhouse. I have given up on growing anything there till end of February. But who knows? It’s our first year and the weather now is unpredictable. Meanwhile, I can observe the temperature and weather patterns. I can study what other gardeners are doing elsewhere. There’ll be seeds to order soon.
I do still have a little viable garden inside my sunroom. My herbs are doing very well. The lettuce has germinated in just a few days. I might have to transplant them into other pots as they are a little leggy. I wish the sun would come out but it looks like we’re having more snow tomorrow. That’s November for you. It’s a dreary month. But I have a room full of colourful blooms to cheer me.
I’ve never given much thought to the meaning of the dog days of summer. Given to the context of how I hear it used and how it sounded, they meant summer time when you can see the heat sizzling from the pavement. The phrase always summon up images and memories of that summer in New York City. I can still see the steaming sidewalks, hear the rat-tat-tat of jackhammers, sirens, the crowded streets of Canal and Mott Streets. I can still feel the loneliness of summer in the city.
I still struggle with the dog days of summer. I still struggle with life. There’s no easy way about it. Everything takes effort. I like to think that effort makes it worthwhile. But I’m simply justifying, explaining and maybe apologizing for my lack of skills and successess. I do feel like such a failure sometimes. What do I really have to show for these years of hard effort? Ok, I have:
A nursing career. Nothing spectular but 30 years of rotating shift work. No nurse of the year award but have caused no harm.
No husband. No children. A companion of 10 years.
No wealth. A good pension. Nice house with garage and yard. No debts.
Not the most popular gal in town. Have a few good friends. I can count them all on one hand. One bad neighbour.
Experienced unconditional love for almost 14 years. I’m talking about my fur baby, Sheba. She’s in heaven now.
Ignited a couple of old passions – my paints and sewing machine.
Perhaps I am not doing as bad as I thought. I have a few good things. When those dog days come, all I can see and feel are my dark side and failures. It helps to make a list of : successes and failures, pros and cons, places I’ve been, things done, etc. Then tally up the score to see the results. I had meant to show up every day for the Ultimate Blog Challenge but the dog days got the better of me. Total counting today, I’ve shown up for 17 days. It’s a little more than 50%. But I did complete the Daisy Yellow Index Card a Day Challenge. I painted 62 index cards for June and July – one extra.
Did I reach the goal I set for this challenge? I think I have. Right in the moment I’m not exactly jumping up and down with glee and excitement. I feel somewhat sedate and at ease. I’m satisfied in the now. I have no wants. I am at peace – even with my badassed neighbour. Perhaps she is getting help with her mental health. Perhaps there is hope. I’m not all about struggles. I’m not all about depression. I have those treasured moments of seeing dust motes in sunbeams. I have the ability to see beauty and feel joy.
So ends another Ultimate Blog Challenge. Hope to show up more next time around.
I’m consoling myself this morning with a cup of rooibos tea. I’m staring at another blank morning, another blank page. I despise this feeling of blandness and emptiness. But how to make a mark, to scratch the surface? Will it bleed? I resort to mopping up Sheba’s hair to get a start. She has never failed to give me a supply. At least the ice is broken now. We have a start of a conversation.
Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that I have interstial cystitis. It’s not deadly but at the same time, there’s no cure. Oh joy! However, let me look at the bright side. It can be treated by dietary changes. I’ve decided to take up the challenge. I’m tired of continuous treks to the bathroom, not to mention getting up 3 times during the night and the water bill. At the same time giving up my favourite drinks and food is enough to spiral my mood downward. I feel a huge depression coming on.
On the list of foods to avoid are: tea and coffee, regular or decaf, carbonated drinks, chocolates, spicy and acidic food, wine….Just when I’ve discovered the wonders of ferments, kimchi and kombucha might be on the no list. Booo! Surprisingly, sourdough bread is ok. I will just have to experiment. I know for so wine is a trigger. It is not a hardship to give it up. On the other hand my Orange Pekoe is. I’ve already caved in and had a diluted cuppa after my walk with Sheba. I am so weak but I haven’t thrown in the towel yet.
I’m still showing up, tapping out each letter, word, sentence, urging myself onward. I felt so low after lunch, it was hard to keep my eyes open, to clean up and get the dishes done. It was one dish, one utensil at a time. Then there was the frying pan. Man, that was tough to get that beast washed. But I did it. I took Sheba for a long walk after. I felt the sun and exercise would be good for stimulating the production of serotonin.
My self talk/tap, urging myself onward worked. I mobilized myself enough to get six tomatoes planted in the raised bed. after our walk. They’re caged and under cover. Let the cold nights come. As for my bladder, I think I’m on the right track. I’m able to increase my holding time to 2 hours and sometimes 3 hours. It is on my mind alot. You know what happens with that! I feel the urge almost instantly the moment it pops into mind. I can talk myself out of it by relaxing a little. I put it off for 10 minutes at a time. Then another. And so on. I’m having some success. I got up only twice for the last couple of nights. Small victories.
Difficult times can bring out the best in people but in cases like myself, it brings out the worse. I’m full of anger and resentment. I would like to be in a demolition derby. I would like to crash and destroy anything and everything that comes into my path. I thought it would be best it I release that energy here. My vehicle is the keyboard, my weapons only words.
According to my muse, Caroline Myss, words are powerful. I shall pay heed and not search and destroy. I shall try not to burn all the bridges behind me. This is my crossing the Rubicon moment. I breathe, raise my sword and tap, tap, tap on the keyboard. “Alea iacta est”! The die is cast. What is said cannot be unsaid. What is done cannot be undone. What has lived cannot be unlived. But regrets and disappointments I have many. My soul cries in agony over them.
But what is suffering without a voice? Whoever made that rule that we must do it in silence? And how do we know we will be rewarded in heaven for doing so? Who will know and give us comfort if we don’t show and tell? The world is amuck, wouldn’t you agree. We are all in lockdown. We did it to ourselves. We are behaving like the animals that we are – panicing and hoarding toilet paper over the coronavirus pandemic. Then we need politicians to warn us not to take advantage of vulnerable and senior citizens in these times. Then there’s the opposite side where people are not taking the coronavirus thing seriously. They are still gathering in large groups. I guess they haven’t heard of what happened in Wuhan, Italy or Spain. How do we really know it’s for real? Maybe it’s just a movie on TV. Maybe we’re all on Netflix in the movie Contagion.
I think I’m suffering what is called depression. I’m sounding like Alex Trebek on Jeopardy. No,I’m not depressed. I’m really just stressed and mad as hell. I’m venting my anger in a place where it will cause the least damage. And I’m as sad as can be. The tears are dammed behind my throat. I’m letting things hang out now. I’m not trying to be positive. I’m not sugar coating myself. I am not myself. I cannot pretend to be Wonder Woman anymore with her golden lasso. I cannot fix anything.
Do not worry over the state of my mental health. I am venting, releasing steam. I do not want to blow a gasket. This is my safety valve. I know we are now all in this space together. This is just the beginning and not the end. I am not in fear or distress over the COVID -19 pandemic at this moment. Rather I am in my own private fear and anxiety over my mother’s ordeal with shingles – her pain, vision and enduring the side effects of her medications. It is as if we are still connected by the umbilical cord. I feel all her sufferings.
Things started innocent enough on Feb. 8th. You get the diagnosis. You get the treatment. But it is not that simple. One thing leads to another. Pain persists through out relieved somewhat by meds. Now it is March 26th and eye complication. Another week of her antivirals 3times/day to endure before she can cut down to smaller dose once/day for another month. The good news is she has recovered most of her vision in her eye.
I’m calling out for prayers to help her endure and tolerate another week of her medications. I’m asking for prayers for myself to be strong and endure to help her through this. Maybe after this, I can afford to panic over the pandemic. Praying for all of us. May we be safe. May we be strong. May we have compassion and love for each other.
December mornings can be cruel, especially if one lingers in bed too long upon wakening. Grey, cold thoughts creep into my thoughts in the cool darkness. They seep into my body and I wear them like a shroud. Best to swing my legs up and out. Let my feet hit the cold of the floor and jolt myself out of my reverie.
It is almost 2020. And what have/will I done/do? The urge to sink into the same old, same old is strong. I hate to use the same old lines but I am tired. But when am I not? I can’t/won’t use that as an excuse. So here I am, showing up at my keyboard, flexing my fingers, limbering up, putting my thoughts and feelings onto the page. It helps to see them in black and white and not just whirling around endlessly in the chambers of my mind. Here on the page, I can see the beginning, middle and the ending. I can see the rhyme and reason, errors in thinking, grammar, spelling. I can see them all. There’s no place to hide.
It’s will power and determination that got me here this morning. I swallowed my fatigue, cynicism and all my other bad attitudes. I can tap my way to heaven one day at a time. Maybe I can get all the way there by next New Year’s Eve. How many steps are there? Has anyone counted? Surprise, surprise! I’ve found a few Stairways to Heaven on the world wide web. The Haiku stairs on Oahu has 3,922 steps. Then there’s the Cuilcagh Mountain in Ireland. I’m not sure how many steps to it. We had plans to climb the 999 steps in Hunan province, China. But the political climate pulled the rung from beneath our feet.
It was a huge disappointment to be sure. That’s life. You make other plans and other goals. Sometimes you get more disappointments and hardships. Then I want to tear my hair out and then sink into bluedom. But I’m not good at staying down. It doesn’t feel good and I have to reach up towards the light and another stairway to heaven. So here I am, on the first step, starting again at the bottom. I’m warming up, stretching and practicing my reach for the top.