time out

Time Out With Purpose, Peace and Pets

time outWe don’t have money for expensive holidays, but I was thinking today how lucky we are to have family and friends who live in beautiful places that we can stay with for time out. I love driving so am not phased by distance. I grew up with long road trips and I find it an enjoyable part of the whole venture. I’m really grateful for the opportunities we have and to those who welcome us.

We arrived home a few days ago from a week house sitting my uncle and aunt’s place near Mudgee. I’d jumped at the opportunity, and made the most of this much needed break.

Time out means different things to us all. And it means various things to me depending on how well this ol’ engine’s running. She keeps getting bogged in the mud lately – not at all where she wants to be. But as my therapist tells me – the beautiful lotus flower grows out of mud – and we humans are the theoretical lotus, striving to grow and prosper throughout the many facets of life (the mud). At this time, I really needed to get away to somewhere I could focus on anything other than current situations.

I’d completely lost my cool on a couple of occasions – a clear sign I was losing my perspective and stability. I had been incredibly affected by the nasty comments of someone who can’t help themselves, and coupled with a really confronting situation where I was volunteering, I was struggling to keep my thoughts in a good place.

The universe can be pretty amazing in it’s timing. Luckily for me, my uncle and aunt’s usual house sitter had cancelled and the ‘job’ was offered to moi. With Jessie being schooled via distance ed, we’re able to travel out of time outschool holidays which is one huge plus. And our neighbour likes our cats and is happy to look after them whenever we’re away, which is lucky. Everything fell into place – as it always does, one way or another.

So we left our two moggies in good hands, to look after two other beautiful moggie sisters, two lovely natured boxers, three friendly chickens, and three Indian Runner ducks – all of which have left an impression on us. Jessie, being a cat girl, immediately formed a bond with Billie, the extrovert of the two sisters. Ella was quite shy for the first few days, only coming in for dinner. After a few nights of pats at dinner time, she figured we were okay and started hanging out with us. The warmth of the fire had to be a drawcard too! Our two sleep on my bed at home, so Jessie loved being Billie’s human to snuggle.

time outI had the company of the boxers on the bed in the mornings, so I wasn’t left feeling lonely. I didn’t mind being Ginger’s pillow, while Chili slept at the end of the bed keeping my feet warm. Chili is 9 and a beautiful boy. Ginger is 18 months old if I remember correctly, and full of playful energy and youthful curiosity! I was told she liked to chase the ducks, which would’ve been hilarious to watch.  They were amusing enough to watch waddling around with their long necks, honking away to each other. However we did get a good routine worked out. Everyone had run of the yard for some part of the day, without anyone being harrassed by anyone else!

I learnt quickly to allow the ducks time to get to time outtheir bush before letting the chickens out. There’s obviously been some unfriendly banter between them while safely separated in their coups – I’ve never seen chickens attack before! The mild mannered, innocent hens snapped, becoming psycho thugs and the kerfuffle would’ve been a viral hit! My uncle did say he likes duck eggs, so that may just have pushed them over the edge. That was an interesting fight to break up – something I reckon should be added to my resume.

Jessie was initially intimidated by the dogs, but she didn’t stay that way for long. We took them for a long walk on our first day, and she got to see how obedient and well behaved they were, even in their excitement. Ginger was on the lead as she likes to chase things and go awol for a short while, and insisting she hold her own lead had us in stitches. She thought that game was so much fun. Chili’s simply a gentleman. From then on Jessie had no time outhesitation in taking them for walks, and did so on her own numerous times.

We enjoyed our afternoon walks, mainly because we delighted in seeing the kangaroos and wallabies, many with joeys in their pouches. They’d stand and stare at us before taking off, one big fella in particular, thumping loudly as he bound along the fenceline at high speed. The power in those hind legs is incredible and we stood quietly until we couldn’t hear him any longer.

Our time out was relaxed and peaceful. Being a prosperous wine region, we visited Huntington Estate Winery where I bought some wine before having the best wood-fired pizza ever at di Lusso Estate Winery. Definitely going back there. We also enjoyed the pop-up cafe at Burrundulla Winery and Vineyeard – awesome play area for little kids. The rest of the time we chilled out with the animals at home.

Nothing was rushed, there was no pressure or stress. There were no sirens, no traffic, no 3am deliveries to the school. And no skateboard guy! He flies down the hill anytime between 12 and 2am. There was no construction noise, no reversing trucks with their alarms. No drunks, no car accidents, no noisy neighbours. Just peace and quiet, and space not consumed by humans but by nature.

 

I’m looking forward to going back next week, I have another couple of days time out. I’m just hoping it’s still cold enough at night for the fire! I could very easily live where I need to light the fire during winter. I found it strangely satifying lighting and maintaining a fire to keep us warm. Watching the flames flickering and dancing over the timber was my meditation before bed – calming for the mind and body…

 

“Hello holidays. I’m so happy to see you.”

 

fears

Facing Fears and Moving Forward

fearFacing my fears can seem really daunting sometimes. That cautious inner voice, the sweaty palms and the flood of adrenaline once had a role in keeping me safe. However these reactions have now become a hindrance to a smooth transition forward. The inner voice is the most annoying culprit these days. I’m hoping if I keep burning its soapbox and cutting off its audience, it’ll go back to where ever it came from.

Fears are the creation of our thoughts. So surely if we are strong of mind, we can live without fear? Logically that sounds more than reasonable, does it not? I think so, and I consider myself a pretty logical kinda person. Thoughts can be pretty powerful though. They seem to permeate the body, setting adrenaline flowing and the heart to beat faster. Shaking hands, nausea, cold sweats, and a dry mouth quickly follow. Now the body’s freaking out, the fearful thoughts amp up, in absolute drama heaven! At this point one of two things will happen:

• my Virgo side will come out and I’ll retreat, crying, or

• my Leo side will come out and I’ll get this shit sorted.

Naturally the second course of action feels so much more proactive, but they both have purpose.

Raising Jessie over the last seven years has spiked my interest in psychology and what makes us tick. I’ve found I have a much greater capacity for acceptance and tolerance of myself when I understand why I work the way I do. It doesn’t ever justify anything, but I can only change what I comprehend. I was first diagnosed with depression and PTSD in 1995. I didn’t take prescribed medication until I was diagnosed again in early 2003, and then again in fear2015. I’d written the words on forms and things, said the words many times no doubt, and seen various counsellors over the years, but didn’t ever actually look into depression or PTSD in regards to myself.

I don’t recover well from hurtful or unjust words or situations. Buddha’s story about the angry man is in my mind now, but its theory isn’t always easy to practise! That saying “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, hasn’t applied to me as yet. I interpret that line to mean that we gain resilience after going through tough or traumatic situations. Am I wrong in my interpretation? Instead fear can set in, disguised by various emotions and reactions. When the stressors feel to be dominating or numerous, my resilience drops dramatically. If the situation involves broken trust, my brain becomes the most frantic as secure boundaries are demolished in an instant.

Some days I’m better off keeping to myself, but the time always comes when we all must make a choice – succumb to fear which gives it more and more power, or push through and empower ourselves. I think moving forward requires permission to self to forgive our shortcomings and be kind to our multi-faceted selves. I need to work on these things! Labelling ourselves as one thing is so short sighted, especially when that label isn’t flattering.

As a beautiful friend said to me yesterday, “even while depressed or negative we are 100 other things – most of them fucking wonderful.”

fear

anger

Buddha’s Teaching on Anger and Insults

angerThis Buddhist story was read to me last week by my psychologist as we were talking about anger and insults, and how best to understand it so we don’t take on other people’s blackness.  And to help me understand my own anger.  It’s funny how life often brings us our lessons when we really need them.

The Story of the Angry Young Man

One day, the Buddha and a large following of monks and nuns were passing through a village. The Buddha chose a large shade tree to sit beneath so the group could rest awhile out of the heat. He often chose times like these to teach, and so he began to speak. Soon, villagers heard about the visiting teacher and many gathered around to hear him.

One surly young man stood to the side, watching, as the crowd grew larger and larger. To him, it seemed that there were too many people traveling from the city to his village, and each had something to sell or teach. Impatient with the bulging crowd of monks and villagers, he shouted at the Buddha, “Go away! You just want to take advantage of us! You teachers come here to say a few pretty words and then ask for food and money!”

But the Buddha was unruffled by these insults. He remained calm, exuding a feeling of loving-kindness. He politely requested that the man come forward. Then he asked, “Young sir, if you purchased a lovely gift for someone, but that person did not accept the gift, to whom does the gift then belong?”

The odd question took the young man by surprise. “I guess the gift would still be mine because I was the one who bought it.”

“Exactly so,” replied the Buddha. “Now, you have just cursed me and been angry with me. But if I do not accept your curses, if I do not get insulted and angry in return, these curses will fall back upon you—the same as the gift returning to its owner.”

The young man clasped his hands together and slowly bowed to the Buddha. It was an acknowledgement that a valuable lesson had been learned. And so the Buddha concluded for all to hear, “As a mirror reflects an object, as a still lake reflects the sky: take care that what you speak or act is for good. For goodness will always cast back goodness and harm will always cast back harm.”

– From Kindness: A Treasury of Buddhist Wisdom for Children and Parents (Condra Enterprises, 2005).

You can have your insults and accusations back, I don’t accept them.  You tell me you used to blame yourself for what happened to Jessie, but you don’t anymore because she was with me – it’s my fault and I’m an unfit mother.  It’s so easy to lay blame and judge when you’ve chosen not to be around.  The one time I did call you needing help years ago, you got your girlfriend to call back saying I had the wrong number.  Two days later legal aid called saying you wanted contact – it turned out all you wanted was paternity testing done, but I’m still waitng for the test!  You can have your hurtful, spiteful, nasty insults back.

Your audacity to continue contacting me, and feeling of entitlement angers me.  But that is something I need to work on.  The philosophy of this story helps me understand that all your hatred belongs to you, as mine does me.

anger

 

farewell

My Final Farewell

farewellThis will be my final farewell to you. In your voicemail you told me you wanted to reconnect again, but told me call back or not, either was okay. Jessie doesn’t want any contact, and I chose not to respond after the way you behaved last time. I then see a comment and a sad face on my facebook page. I blocked that account, so you use another account to leave yet another comment and another sad face – clearly for yourself. By disrespecting my silence once then leaving, what were they, desperate or demanding? messages with all those exclamation marks and question marks, shows this is all about you. In three messages you didn’t mention Jessie once! But you think I should give you the time of day??

I will reiterate what you were told in 2015. If Jessie does ever want to try getting to know you again, she will contact you. She won’t need me like she did last time, so there is no reason for us ever to be in contact again. I’m asking that you stay out of my life and my business. I want to be very clear here as to why I will not accept you in my life anymore. You don’t have to agree with it, because it’s not about you. It’s about me and written from my perspective and requires no response. Many of the facts however, are recorded and indisputable.

farewellTo start: If you’d read the blog you commented on, I stated one of the things really adding to my frustrations was the fact that you owed over $27,000 in child support. I can’t believe you actually had the nerve to contact me. It’s Jessie who’s missed out by you not paying, and ensuring your weekly amount due is as little as possible, but you don’t care. After you completely killed any chance of a relationship with Jessie you then resigned from your job. The only decent paying job you couldn’t hide from the ATO and CSA, so were forced to pay. 5 months out of 15 years. Pathetic. Child Support tells me you’re not even paying the paltry amount you are meant to pay each fortnight now – they’ve been collecting that from a third party.

I was so afraid of Jessie meeting you because I didn’t want her being hurt. She had enough going on. But I knew I had to let Jessie make a choice at her age, as you are her biological father. You took a week off, only booked accomodation for one night for some reason, so I opened my home to you for a night. You then decided you wanted to go home, so did. I lied to Jessie so she wouldn’t be hurt, told her you had to go back for work.

I took you to see her psychologist so you could hear from her Jessie’s likely reactions, and the best way for you to handle it. Jessie reacted as predicted. You didn’t even last a week before deciding it was all my fault and started with your charming abuse again. It just went on and on and on. Hateful, derogatory insults and blaming me for your life.

You hurt me, disrespected me and blamed me for your choices in your own life that I’ve had nothing to do with in 15 years. You’re a grown man for god’s sake. Take responsibility for yourself and the decisions you’ve made. How dare you blame me, and then Jessie because she doesn’t treat you like a dad who’s been around all her life.

farewellShe’s a smart cookie, and picks up on things. She asked to do something on my phone, but I caught her reading all your messages. How do you think that made her feel, seeing the things you said to me? And you put me down to her, what? try to turn her against me? I’m the one who has raised her, loved her, supported her, taken care of her, and been there for her every single day of her life. But you want to hurt her like that. You don’t even consider her, your priority is to abuse me as usual. She told you not to talk to me like that or she didn’t want to see you again. You told her goodbye, then became nasty with her.

You just cannot put her first. You’d rather sacrifice trying to build a relationship with her than sort your attitude out. You blew a perfect opportunity. She is so worthy of being made a priority, and you have never been able to put her first. Never.

We go away for a few days break, and I’ve Jessie’s psychologist calling me, letting me know you’d rung. Later that afternoon I have the police call me. Despite being given an update that day, you chose to call the police, saying you couldn’t get hold of me, didn’t know how Jessie was and you were worried about her safety with me because I’m such a bad mother.

As you knew, Jessie hates talking on the phone. They wouldn’t take my word that she was okay. I had to end up telling her that they need to speak her so they know she’s alive, they can’t just take my word for it, before she finally spoke to the officer. You rang them, knowing you were lying, and had her talk to the police, who you knew she’d had traumatic experiences with. But you were so wrapped up in yourself you didn’t care about that. What sort of person does that? What sort of father does that? It’s not okay. But you think I should give you the time of day??!

farewellWe had broken up way before Jessie was born. I regret so much asking you more than once to come down before she was due. I blame it on hormones and a false hope that you’d changed. It was insane of me. You spat on me and poured a bottle of cordial over me when I was pregnant. You used to put your arms around me and squeeze as hard as you could to squeeze the breath out of me. You’ve called me every low life name there is. You burned my first beautiful pregnancy journal. A journal I’d had for years, saving it for something special. Which my pregnancy was, and you couldn’t handle it. Jealous of your own unborn child who I loved more than anything.

Then when I asked you to leave you stole my Kaz Cooke pregnancy book that I’d written all the way through during my pregnancy. I used it as my diary and it was hidden away until you moved out of Stockton. I was going to give it to Jessie one day, but you stole it. To steal something purely because you know it’s so special to someone, is a trait of someone very unhinged. What makes it worse is knowing that if I hadn’t asked you to come down, you would’nt have. There would’ve been no contact anyway! You weren’t interested at all. And your actions over the last 15 years prove it.

The night Jessie was born you left me to walk her myself, an hour after giving birth, to the Maternity Ward, because you wanted to go home and play PlayStation. But as you told me, you were bored after I had the epidural. I should have kicked you out of my existence then and there. You had me stressed out during the happiest moments of my life because of your temper outbursts. So much so I came home less than 24 hours after giving birth, having to install the baby capsule in the back seat of my 2 door Cordia at the hospital first. Fucking ridiculous!! She was 3 days old the first time I needed to call the police.

Even when she was a little baby you still chose to call me a slut and to accuse me of sleeping with other men. On two occasions you squeezed me while I had Jessie in my arms. You squeezed until she was screaming her poor head off. One one occasion you punched me in the face while I was holding her. The police took out an AVO against you after you left two very graphic, gruesome voice messages telling me how you were going to kill me. And telling me about the 10-15 ‘uvver’ women you’d ‘fucked’, mistakenly thinking I’d give a shit after I’d calmly told you I didn’t love you. My focus was my newborn baby – you just never got it! But you think I should give you the time of day??

And I’ll never forget the afternoon you refused to get Jessie out of the car in 30+ degree heat. You had her locked in the hot car and she was bright red, screaming and dripping wet. We had to call police. I wanted her out but you just wanted to abuse me and call me names. Never again did I trust you with her, even to drop her home, and visit changeovers were moved to Ashfield Police Station, and you stopped coming to get her altogether. 10 out of 40 recorded visits you attended. Not a single one without incident.

As you said when you were here, no-one in your family was going to have contact with Jessie if you weren’t. I despise you for all you have robbed her of, and for hurting her the way you have. And I despise you for treating me the way you have, and for believing you have the right to do so. Again, I’m upholding my right to not accept your treatment.

 

I will NEVER again give you the time of day.

 

Please remember this is my final farewell.

farewell

I won’t ever get caught up in your cycle of abuse again.

 

mindfulness

Achieving Mindfulness, Relieving Mind Fullness

What is Mindfulness?

I think of mindfulness as way of living that gives us some time out and peace from life’s pressures and worries. It gives us clarity and focus in each moment. It’s free and can be done in the privacy of your own mind.

mindfulness

Google’s definition of mindfulness is:-

“1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.

 2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness of the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.”

It’s the latter explanation I’ve been attempting to achieve, for its intended benefits. I really suck at it. I’m told it takes practice though, so I won’t be too hard on myself. Nothing worthwhile comes without effort.

What is Mind Fullness?

mindfulnessMind fullness is a colloquial term for when our head is constantly full of thoughts about the past, present and future and everything in between. They swirl around, getting all mixed up together. The thoughts pile gets so big it can feel claustrophobic. The important ones become misplaced and the unhelpful ones find their voice. Our fuse gets shorter and shorter. Tolerance levels drop. We can be forgetful and very easily distracted. Ask me anything! I’ve got mind fullness down pat!

I can get up to get a drink and be distracted by the washing machine turning off. So I’ll hang out the washing and go back to what I was doing. I’ll then remember I was getting a drink, so get up and pour one and put the bottle back in the fridge. Then I’ll remember I need to make a phone call, so I’ll do that and go back to what I was doing. Now I think of my drink again and need a wee. So I go to the bathroom and as I’m sitting there I’ll notice the bathroom mirror needs cleaning. So I’ll clean that and then go back to what I was doing. As I sit down I’ll see my drink sitting on the kitchen bench. True story!! Granted, it’s kinda productive. But fuck it’s frustrating!!

Why Choose Mindfulness?

Thoughts are just that, but they have a way of coming to life, taking over, evoking emotions and causing us stress. That’s when we shout at the kids because our patience is gone. We’ve given it to that jumbled mess in our minds. Being mindful allows us to separate from the current situation and calm our farm. By taking a deep breath and focusing our attention we can become aware of our thoughts, emotions and sensations in the body at that moment. We stop being taken hostage by them, becoming an observer instead. Then we can make a conscious choice as to what we say or do next. We can claim control of our reactions and words, and in the process learn so much about ourselves.

Who wouldn’t want to choose a less chaotic way of living?? I like knowing I can feel what I feel, but I am not what I feel. I don’t like that conflict between wondering if I’m a cranky cow, or if I’m actually a happy, good person. How can I be both? It’s been a battle of good and bad for so long. I accept I will never be perfect and I wouldn’t want to be anyway. I’d have no funny stories to tell.  But I hope as time goes on I get to the point where mindfulness is second nature. I need to keep remembering that I don’t need to react. I have a choice. What I want is to find peace of mind to make the right choices.

mindfulness

 

self worth

Being True to Your Self Worth

self worthAfter 46 years I am so glad to finally be aware of my self worth. I seem to be magnet for the takers, manipulators, and users in this world. I’d always blamed myself. I believed that others opinions or treatment of me determined my value. Now I determine my own self worth.

I’m aware of my faults and my shortcomings. There are still aspects of me I’ll continue to improve on. However this no longer diminishes me as a worthy or worthwhile person. If anything, being self aware and able to own my faults with the willingness to change those which I believe will make me a better person, are qualities I respect and admire in others. And so I appreciate them in myself as well.

self worthAlthough acceptance by others is nice, I no longer require it. Having others turn nasty when they can no longer take advantage of me is something I still struggle with though. It’s a personality type, as I’ve mentioned before, that I attract. Thankfully I now understand that they can only use or hurt me if I give them the opportunity. I am becoming quite adept at recognising the red flags, but I still need to work on my timeframe for getting away. To prevent the anger caused by the actions of such self serving humans, the first red flag needs to be my exit point at this stage.

To be able to simply cut off from these situations is my goal. Whether my personality type is capable of that in all cases, only time will tell I guess. I’m not a wallflower by any means, so maybe it will be a case of finding that balance between speaking up and moving on. People’s arrogance and expectation that I value them more than myself, astounds and angers me.

My self worth came slapping me ’round the head recently. I stopped volunteering for a passive aggressive woman who seemed to think her little venture should now be my top priority. Moderating a brand new group and accepting any new members 5 days a week, and make some edits, was what I agreed to do. Easy. But every day, messages or group chats with her other volunteer, which took way more time out of every day. A drama was made out of everything, it was pointless and draining! I was meant to have undisturbed days away at Mollymook, but had a long message my first morning there. That was the last straw for me.

self worthUnfortunately she had no respect for anything else her volunteers had going on in their lives. Before I went away she wanted me to call her. I said I would if I had time but I was quite busy. That was unacceptable so she got her other volunteer to ask could I contact her instead. When I first started she got me to do the same when someone who hadn’t even begun volunteering with her yet, wasn’t responding to her messages. I’m happy to help those who are helping themselves. I find it arrogant and egotistical to want things and then expect others to volunteer their time do the all the work because you refuse to learn the things you don’t know, or claim not to ‘have time’. But people like this are unable to look at themselves, and always place blame elsewhere!

I used to believe I was cursed, and these people were put in my life as punishment. This surely had to mean I wasn’t a worthy person. Now I’m kinda looking forward to the next one to try out the lesson I just learned. And that is to trust in that first alarm bell and act on it.

Each of us has our own story to tell. They’re all different, even the same ones. People’s perceptions vary. So when deciding on our own self worth, our perception is the only one that truly matters.

self worth

recharging

Recharging the Batteries in Mollymook


rechargingMollymook is so beautiful. The sheltered beach was quiet, with just the sounds of the water around me. Perfect for recharging the batteries. Particularly when staying at Bannisters Pavillion with a free upgrade to the penthouse! Checking in, that was a welcomed yet unexpected surprise. Tired, and stewing over unnecessary drama created by a woman I was volunteering for, my drive down wasn’t what I’d hoped it to be. Needless to say, my welcoming arrival saw me immediately uplifted. Having made nothing of my life academically or professionally, staying in a penthouse anywhere, was not an expectation I’ve ever had.

recharging

recharging

 

 

 

 

 

I may be 46, but prove I did, that the 5 year old in me is still going strong. I did manage to act my age initially, although squealing on the inside. As an adult does, I calmly walked around, yes, yes, all very noice, very noice. A squeal escaped as it hit that I wasn’t here to clean – OR DO ANY KIND OF HOUSEKEEPING AT ALL!!! And out she came.

I had to let Jessie know I’d arrived safely anyway, so snapped a gallery of photos to send as well. Everything was sussed out, poked and/or touched, amid intermittent squealing. Every cupboard and drawer was opened. The mini bars were both opened and contents registered. Typically, party pooper adult said no ($38 for a 500ml Vodka). I sat in all the chairs, bags’ed my favourite lounge, checked out the huge balcony, smelled all the products in the bathroom (they all smelled the same by the way), then poured a glass of my complimentary champagne (the adult said definitely), then set up my photo shoot – ‘Poured Champagne with Biscuit and Cheese – Featuring Fireplace’ I call it.

recharging
‘Poured Champagne with Biscuit and Cheese – Featuring Fireplace’

After the obligatory post on Facebook, I was kindly reminded to do the jump and flop back on the bed, which naturally, was done immediately. I was to leave with no regrets! Being a luxurious king sized bed, I was looking forward to sprawling out without cats restricting my movement and stealing my snuggle pillow!

My priority was recharging the batteries and indulging my senses while I was away. This was an opportunity that doesn’t come along often – a generous birthday present from my parents last year. Consequently I wanted to allow my mind to be free from the usual day to day worries and routines of life, and stay relaxed in each moment. Contrary to my usual city self, I found this quite easy in Mollymook.

rechargingI spent time at the beach, searching for tiny shells along the high tide line. The beach was all but deserted, and all I could hear were the seagulls and the calming sounds of the waves. The northern end of Mollymook beach is quite rocky and I sat for ages watching the water rise and fall around the rocks. I want to bring my surf shoes next time and take on those rocks and go exploring.

After spending a couple of hours there, completely in my own world, I had two and a half hours at the Day Spa being pampered. Floating after that, I enjoyed a cocktail upstairs in the bar lounge, relaxed in a bubble bath before heading back upstairs for dinner. It was all about me, me, me, and although I missed Jessie, I knew time away would be good for us both. (I probably got the better end of the deal!)

rechargingI guess everyone’s idea of respite differs, but the need for it is the same. Every parent raising child or teen with mental health issues, needs timeout for themselves. It’s an incredibly draining and exhausting occupation! It’s constant and heartbreaking, frustrating and generally fucked because I can’t fix it. It hurts because a) Jessie’s not happy, b) she can be so nasty to me at times, and c) I know her outbursts at me mirror her own pain and struggle. I find I’m always on high alert, and with Jessie being schooled from home it’s a 24/7 feeling.

Requiring a break, has nothing to do with diminishing levels of love. Without the opportunity to recharge, the mind and body will burnout, leaving me no good to anybody. I’ve let that happen before, and I now recognise the benefits of taking guilt free time out for me.

The relationship you have with yourself, sets the tone for every other relationship you have. 

 

dating

Why Dating a Narcissist Is Not For Me


datingUn. Frickin. Believable. I can certainly attract the worst types dating. After the psychopath created havoc with our lives in 2010, I lost trust in myself and in humanity. Not wanting another man in my heart or home I stayed single for 6 years. As I was now dealing with a broken Jessie, as well as my own mind, dating was last on my list of interests.

Then I met the loveliest person. He was smart and had interesting philosophies that I liked, hence I loved talking with Him. He was gentle and warm, seemingly a beautiful, caring soul and a good communicator. I thought finally I had met a genuinely decent guy who I could actually connect with, and who liked me for me. I felt special for a little while…

The other night I was told ‘I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire to put it out’, that I ‘need a punch in the face’, and that he hopes ‘you choke on your words and die’! He wishes me to die for words he spoke. To wish physical violence and death upon someone shows an unhinged mind that I do not want around myself or Jessie.

Not only that, I am ‘just a society shit kicker’. This is coming from someone who still lives with and is supported by his parents! I’m the society shit kicker, but still He needed to bludge off me because He doesn’t work and has nothing! All after a privileged private school education mind you. He has different projects constantly – none of which have ever been followed through with and completed. But this is the mind fuck of a narcissist. Tall poppy syndrome!

Narcissists cannot cope with strong people who question them or do not buy into their crap. Abuse, degradation, blame, intimidation are their go to instincts. Fake crying, manipulation and sob stories of victimisation are then moved on to the next supply source. Taking responsibility for their own actions doesn’t ever come into the equation. Ask a narcissist – they’re perfect, they’re awesome, they see themselves as gods. They’ll tell you it’s everyone else that’s the problem.

dating
…but they need your unquestioning adoration

Communicating with a narcissist is in reality, impossible – unless they choose to play the game. I did learn that He likes to disparage those supposedly closest to him, or share their secrets. Once you are in the devaluation stage communication style follows suit. With me it consisted of disagreeing with everything I said without consideration, constant talk of His ex girlfriends and fan girl dramas, gaslighting, and egotism. The only thing He hasn’t dissed is this website, despite having no regard for its content – but then again, it was His idea. I quickly became sick of trying when He wasn’t, and sick of being in a teenage years ‘love’ pentagon – real or imaginary to him. Certainly the love triangle proved to be real. This checklist describes Him perfectly. Perfectly!!

Being our second time around, His strange need to tell me changing stories about His girls was the start of the end for me. I tried to communicate but was slammed. Then that conversation was shared and belittled which was the final nail in the coffin. Triangulation was used in a very calculated way – a tell-tale trait of a narcissist.

Upon my departure the switch was flicked, killing emotional intelligence. I reverted to the childish behaviour he described of these girls and messaged two of them he whinged about the most, relaying his charming words. Immature I know, and the actions of someone who is a new soul and has a fuck of a long way to go before reaching their goal of a peaceful mind. An old soul would simply have walked away, peaceful and unencumbered. In saying that, if my trust was being exploited, I’d want to know.

datingBut wait! There’s more! The love triangle reared its ugly head again, with the Third Wheel concluding it was her business to contact me to give me a piece of her mind. After questioning my intentions with Him, she then proceeded to tell me about my relationship with Him and tell me who I was, what I was and why He and I broke up. All this, after informing me I owed Him an apology! It was HILARIOUS!

Naturally everything is, was, and always will be my fault, including his words and actions! And of course the two sides to this saga are His and His. Accordingly, he’s made up his story to take crying to Third Wheel who’s cravings have been met by it. And the cycle of depravity will continue – just without me! I’ve been a participant in this too long already.

datingBut I’m free now. Completely free of regret, remorse, confusion and best of all, care. I’ve had enough. I could say I’m not going to make the same ‘mistake’ again. However the term ‘mistake’ infers to me that my choices provide no opportunities for learning and growth. I choose to let go, but I also choose to learn from dating this facet of human psychology and nature. And the lessons are plentiful.

“No matter how shallow the person, they can still drown you if you let them.”

my brain

My Brain Review

my brain
What Depression Looks Like in the Brain

I received my brain over 46 years ago. I think I was given a prototype that hadn’t yet had the glitches ironed out. A gift nonetheless. Repairing the glitches and disarming the many self destruct buttons has been my job.

Incorrectly placed, faulty circuit breakers between my brain’s communication ports have seen some erratic and extreme behaviours and thought patterns over my lifetime to date.

My brain first showed signs of irregularity when I was little. Miss Minnie became my alter ego when I got into trouble. She had a purple elephant and drove a mini (if I remember the story correctly) and was quite eccentric, but perfect. This brain of mine holds some strange memories and visions from under the age of 8. I am so certain of them, they are still so clear, yet I have always questioned their reality.

From my teenage years my brain has struggled with addiction, with the effects of multiple traumas, depression, anxiety, self confidence, my weaknesses, my strengths, and the inconsistencies and seeming polarities of who I am.

I have a brain that is intelligent, stupid, knowledgeable, naive, empathetic, judgemental. It is childlike, old, inquisitive, bored. It can be so happy but then so dark. It’s assured yet insecure. It trusts, but has no trust. It can love so deeply yet be so bitter. This brain can be my best friend and my own worst enemy.

But, it has given me the life that I have. And a rich life it’s been. Without this faulty brain of mine I wouldn’t be who I am today. I have a long way to go. But because my brain has my back way more often than not these days, I’m rating it a 3 out 5. There are many glitches I’m still working on. I’ll review in another 5 years and see how the repairs are going.

my brain

What would your brain review look like?

Submissions being welcomed  at https://mindfump.com/2017/02/11/submissions-wanted/

cares

Who Cares for the Carer?

caresWho cares for the carer? It’s a good question. Raising children with mental health issues, it’s not often something we think about. All our efforts go into parenting and dealing with the daily issues or stresses associated with mental health conditions. We are usually the last person we think about, if we consider ourselves at all.

Why is that? Do you tell yourself you don’t have the time or the money? Does it make you feel guilty doing something positive for yourself while your child is struggling? Whatever the reason, it’s a faulty way of thinking that we can change.

We are the rock for our kids, we need to be the strongest we can be. At some carespoint that rock is going to crack without regular self care. When I first began learning to take time for myself amidst the chaos of daily life, it was suggested I make a Safety Plan. It’s simply a list of things to do when life is not going so well and I’m feeling really stressed with Jessie.

When the brain is acutely stressed we can’t think clearly. The idea of the safety plan is to give some written direction and respite in those occasions of extreme crisis. It takes you away from the potentially unsafe situation and allows you time out to calm down. In turn it is hoped that the risk of harm to yourself or others (physically, emotionally or mentally) is greatly reduced.

My daughter read my articles last week  about her early onset bipolar. She told me how she was glad that she went through that really violent time when she was younger. Her reasoning was that she is only getting bigger and could have really hurt someone if she was an older teen or an adult.  Even at 12 her strength in her rages was overpowering. De-escalation before it gets to that point is a skill Jessie now has and uses. As we use our Safety Plans and learn to de-escalate, it eventually starts to have a flow on effect.

caresThe simplicity of the Plan is what makes it so effective. If you are no calmer after the doing the first thing on your list, you go to the next, etc, etc. If you get to the end of your list and you’re still feeling wound up, start from the top and work your way down your list again. Do this as many times as you need.

Make your Plan personal for you. Remember it is NOT for goal setting, Don’t add going for a jog if it’s something you think you should do, but never do. Don’t leave out having a cigarette if you’re a smoker. This is about indulgence! Anything that could cause us to feel like we’ve failed at something is categorically forbidden!!

Include activities that are practical and doable in any moment. Add between 10-15 activities. Choose things to do that you enjoy and that will have a calming effect. Keep it on the fridge or somewhere where you can’t miss it as a chaotic mind is likely to forget you even have it. This I know from experience!

As time moves forward you can alter your plan to add new hobbies or delete old caresones. My Safety Plan is still in use, although I now call it my Self-Care Plan as I feel safer now with less volatile and distressing times. I have so much more confidence in myself as a parent than I’ve had in preceding years. I must admit it could do with an update. You will find that the more you use your plan, it will become second nature and will not require as much consultation. Still, it’s a handy tool to always have.

To give an idea of what a Safety Plan can look like, this is my original list;

  • sit on my balcony and have a cigarette
  • make a cup of tea, sit outside and be grateful for my garden
  • do some work in my garden
  • smile and think of things I’m grateful for
  • sit on my bed and do a quick meditation
  • read over my Tuning Into Teens course books
  • call Mum
  • play HayDay
  • write in my journal
  • contact a friend
  • call Parenting Line  1300 1300 52
  • call Lifeline 13 11 14

Smiling and feeling grateful has an amazing effect on mood. It really does make you feel more positive. Try it, and if your mood doesn’t lift, smile for longer, be grateful for something smaller (could be as simple as being grateful the sun is shining).

So, who cares for the carer? The answer is you.

 

cares

%d bloggers like this: