Round and Round the Carousel of Hell.

I’ve been a lot more anxious recently. So much so that my psych has temporarily increased my meds dosage to help me get by and sleep at night. At least this time I know and understand what my trigger is – my 8 year old son. I mentioned a few posts ago that he’s recently been diagnosed with an overlap of ASD & ADHD, and that at least I know what I am working with now.

However recently his behaviour has been going backwards at home and most noticeably at school. He’s been devolving into very toddler like temper tantrums of crying and shouting and banging his head. He’d not done these things to this extent since the first half of the year. It coincides with his finishing up at a program held at another school last term. He spent 2 days a week for 2 school terms at the other school where they focussed on behaviour and social and emotional skills. It was a small group of six kids. There were 2 teachers plus a handful of helpers, so he had lots of one on one attention on those days.

During that time he’d really matured, and stopped having these ‘meltdowns’. But since the program ended he’s started to slip. I think it’s because at his school he doesn’t have someone dedicated to bringing back his focus when he loses it. It’s not possible for the teacher to give her undivided attention to him. So his excessive energy gets him out of control, he can’t come back down and it’s hell for him, his teacher and the rest of the class. And it’s showing at home too.

We go back to the paediatrician in 3 weeks time, and hopefully she will have a strategy in place to help him deal with the ADHD (and as an extension hopefully also the ASD). But until then, having a diagnosis isn’t helping as much as I imagined it would.

I haven’t been sleeping. I’ve been anxious, and stressed, losing my temper quickly. Unable to think straight. I’m exhausted. I’m snappy. I’ve been digging my fingernails into my palms, leaving them bruised and sore. The rubber band on my wrist hasn’t been helping me much. My wrist has dark shadows of bruising mixed with angry red welts where I’ve snapped the band so hard. But it’s not bringing the relief that it should. I’m one or two steps away from playing with knives … and I don’t want to go down that blackhole.

Hopefully the med increase will help me out. It had better because I’m getting closer and closer to the edge. I’ve told my ex that if he doesn’t help me more with the kids and what’s going on it will come to a point where I dump them on him and take off and never come back … or I end up in hospital, or dead. I love my kids with all my heart, but I can’t sustain the stress of raising them all on my own, of coping with the problems they have in addition to my own illness.

I hate that my threshold for coping under duress is so much lower than other people. But it’s just the way that I’m wired. I can’t change it, no matter how guilty I may feel about it. And I judge myself more harshly than anyone could ever judge me. And I’d never ever presume to judge anyone to the same degree of harshness I apply to myself.

And the stress of what’s going on with my kids, coupled with my inability to cope – triggers my guilt over my inability to cope. And round and round the carousel of hell goes. A never ending cycle of anxiety and self blame, triggering more anxiety and self blame.

et cetera. ad nauseam.

Happy Halloween!!!!

Photo on 25-10-2014 at 11.16 am - Version 2

-★-
Spirits of the Dead

by Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849)
____________

Thy soul shall find itself alone
‘Mid dark thoughts of the grey tomb-stone;
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.

Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness — for then
The spirits of the dead, who stood
In life before thee, are again
In death around thee, and their will
Shall overshadow thee; be still.

The night, though clear, shall frown,
And the stars shall not look down
From their high thrones in the Heaven
With light like hope to mortals given,
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.

Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish,
Now are visions ne’er to vanish;
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more, like dew-drop from the grass.

The breeze, the breath of God, is still,
And the mist upon the hill
Shadowy, shadowy, yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token.
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!

-★-

I Went Out Last Night.

I haven’t been feeling so great lately. I’ve been in a bit of a depression, and haven’t wanted to do a whole lot. It’s been hard enough to get up and go to work the past two days. I’ve just wanted to be a hermit and sleep my life away.

But last night, I did something different. I went out to dinner. It was a sort of work function – one of the companies that my work partners with (they are underwriters for the general insurance we sell) wanted to thank us for meeting our sales targets over the past financial year. So they treated the insurance team (including a few people who are now in different departments) to a celebratory dinner. Normally, I would make up an excuse and avoid this kind of outing like the plague. Especially when feeling the way I’ve been feeling. However, I didn’t make up an excuse, not even at the last minute, not even when it meant sticking around town by myself for an hour & 1/2 after I’ve finished work, waiting for the rest of the team to finish so we could have this dinner.

I went. And I talked. I made conversation and I listened to conversation. I stayed until the end. And I even enjoyed myself! It was a very pleasant evening, and I am glad I went. I am very proud of myself for not avoiding this evening when it would have been so easy to just find an excuse not to go.

Sitting around a table with eleven other people in a social context isn’t usually a situation I am comfortable with. At work, even though we do chit chat a little between calls, it’s a very different experience to sitting around a table socialising. It’s difficult to explain, but when it’s work related I can deal because there are parameters for the conversations I have. There is a work context – I am conversing about work matters so it’s clear and straightforward. I have a purpose for speaking, I don’t have to try to maintain or participate in idle chatter. In work related conversation you know what the boundaries are – I don’t have to wonder if they’ll be bored with what I am saying, or whether they will laugh at my joke or think it stupid.

When it’s a social situation there aren’t those parameters – communication relies on organic flow of conversation. It is unscripted, and purposeless, and requires instantaneous reactions to words being spoken. Because I always have to think (or maybe overthink) things through – I can end up either making the conversation stilted and uncomfortable while I think of a response, or in a group situation I remain silent and possibly seem aloof or disinterested.

But last night, I muddled through. Mostly listening to everyone else but I did talk too! Of course me being me, today I need the entire day of solitude to unwind, gather my thoughts, reenergise, etc. So I am lucky I have today off work. But even though I am feeling wrung out, I have to say it was still worth it. I managed to relax a little bit and simply be, just for a moment.

Pay it Forward – The Liebster Award.

I want to say thank you to Hev over at alittleplaceofmyown for nominating my blog for the Liebster Award.

Liebster Award Badge

It would be rude of me not to pass it forward, so I’ll answer the questions like so:

11 Facts About Me 

  1. I have 7 piercings in my ears.
  2. I used to play World of Warcraft a lot.
  3. I am right handed.
  4. I’m terribly indecisive – which is the reason why I don’t have any tattoos I’m terrified I’d hate the design in the future.
  5. I like drinking Long Island Iced Tea.
  6. I have a crush on David Beckham.
  7. I can twist a jelly snake into a knot using only my tongue.
  8. I often wake myself up by talking, or simulating actions (e.g: drinking an imaginary cup of tea, or eating an imaginary bowl of noodles) in my sleep.
  9. I am terrified of heights – I can’t even stand on a chair without getting vertigo.
  10. I am a chronic nail biter, which freaks me out because I am also a massive germaphobe.
  11. I love the sound of crunching ice (the frozen water type of ice)

Nominate 11 bloggers who you feel deserve this award and who have less than 200 followers

bipolarinpursuitofhappiness.wordpress.com/

discoveringmydiamond.wordpress.com

distractedbrainstorm.wordpress.com

imptiness.wordpress.com

livingnotjustexisting2014.wordpress.com

maniccalm.wordpress.com

mylittlepieceofquiet.wordpress.com

ourdarkthoughts.wordpress.com

raisingjordan.wordpress.com

silvermoon4444.wordpress.com

themamawithbipolardisorder.wordpress.com

Answer 11 questions posted by the presenter 

  1. Tea or coffee? Tea (but I also like Coffee)
  2. Dark, milk or white chocolate? Dark
  3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why? London for the energy and the fact that it is far busier and more populated than Melbourne. I am very drawn to the idea of being lost in a crowd where nobody knows or cares who I am. And oh boy do I want a guy who speaks just like Rupert Penry-Jones.
  4. What is your favourite film? My Fair Lady – Rex Harrison character Professor Henry Higgins captured my heart when he lamented over the misuse of the English language. I particularly detest how much English has been corrupted here in Australia (ugh you will never ever catch me pronouncing it Os-Tray-Ya)
  5. Who is your favourite superhero? Gambit (Marvel Comics)
  6. What advice would you give to other bloggers? Spelling, punctuation, and grammar are very important.
  7. Why did you start your blog? To share my experiences with Bipolar Disorder.
  8. And what have you learned about blogging since then? I am not alone – there are people out there who think and feel the same things that I do.
  9. What’s your favourite song? 
  10. What is your dream job? Film producer
  11. Who’s your favourite author? Oh my gosh,this one is too hard I love reading! I honestly can’t pick when I’ve got so many to choose from: Phillip K Dick, TS Eliot, George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, Anthony Burgess, Lewis Carroll, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allen Poe, Roald Dahl, Neil Gaiman, J.D. Salinger, H.G. Wells, Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, Truman Capote the list is endless!!

Ask your nominees 11 questions

  1. Early Bird or Night Owl?
  2. What is the one possession you can’t live without?
  3. Do you call a summer squash a Zucchini or Courgette?
  4. Do you sleep with socks on or off?
  5. What was last photo you took with your phone?
  6. Do you prefer sweet or salty?
  7. Which fictional character are you most like?
  8. Chewing gum or breath mints?
  9. Do you prefer to buy groceries at a big chain supermarket or an independent market?
  10. What new skill, or piece of knowledge, would you most like to learn/acquire?
  11. Who do you admire the most, and why?

No Meds Make Karlee a very Agitated Girl.

Oh [insert expletives here] it’s 3:28am and I’m not asleep yet. It’s all my fault of course, I was distracted and forgot to take my medication. Through trial and error I have found the optimum time to take my medication is at 8:30pm. 1/2 an hour earlier than that and I wake up far too early (like 4am early). 1/2 an hour later than that and I’m too drowsy to wake up in the morning. And if I don’t take it at all – I don’t sleep.

I always assumed that the sleeplessness wouldn’t really occur unless there had been a prolonged period of withdrawal. But it seems that even missing one dose keeps me awake all night long. Which is painful when you have two darling children who always seem to require your full attention by 7am at the latest.

I’m so exhausted, I can’t stop yawning, I’m feeling nauseous, and my eyes are watering. But I lie in the dark and sleep just won’t come. My mind is racing, my body is agitated, I can feel my heart pounding in my chest. Like an addict I need the hit. But I can’t take my meds now – if I do it will mess me right up. I can’t afford to be drowsy all day, I have children that I cannot neglect.

So I have to hope that I can make it through the day, I just have to hold on long enough. If I can reach 8:30pm in one piece I can sleep through the night. Theoretically anyway.

Flattery Gets You Everywhere.

Sometimes I treat myself during my lunch break and pick one of the cafes near my work to eat at. The one I picked last Monday happens to have a really delicious BBQ beef ribs with Hickory Sauce that I really enjoy. The ribs are so tender they slide off the bone, and the sauce is smokey and spicy in exactly the perfect amounts.

My lunch break was later in the day (around 2pm) and by that time the restaurant was virtually empty except for me and one or two other patrons also dining alone. As I usually do in my lunch break, I sat there reading while I eat. Anyway at the end of my meal the manager came up to clear my plate away and asked me how lunch was. Of course my response was a very appreciative smile and confirmation that “It was really amazing!” … and he replies with “You’re amazing!” and a huge charming grin.

This is something that is really lovely about this restaurant – the staff all go out of their way to welcome you and make you feel like a special guest. One time one of the older guys who worked there asked me how I could be eating alone because I’m such a beautiful girl who should never eat alone. I think it must be a pre-requisite at the restaurant to be charming and make the customers feel special.

Mind you they don’t have to flatter me to get my business! The food there is great and I’d eat there every day if I could afford to!

Some of my work mates think I’m weird for wanting to dine alone, but I actually enjoy it. Being on the phones and in a busy office is exceptionally draining for me [see: My Empathy is Exhausting] and so I like to spend my lunch breaks with my nose stuck in a book drowning out the real world. I find that an hour, of losing myself in a fantasy world, recharges me enough to finish the last few hours at work without having an anxiety attack. I still need alone time after work, but at least I don’t fall down exhausted before the end of the day!

Smoke and Mirrors

I am a superficial extrovert. Once I am comfortable with people, I appear to be a chatty, friendly, and fun loving person who is just a little on the crazy side. Most people would tell you that I am also a very open and honest person – what you see is what you get.

Yet, if any of them looked very closely, they would see that I barely reveal a thing about my true self. I tend to move around people like the moon orbits the earth – here on earth we never ever see what’s on the other side of the moon. People only ever see one side of me – the carefully constructed, and controlled persona that I want them to see. The other, truer self is hidden very deep and out of reach.

Why do I make myself so untouchable? Why do I so carefully guard my soul with walls so high? Why do I keep people at arms length? I choose this for myself because I am safe from harm.

I feel like if I keep myself at a safe distance from the rest of the world then I protect my vulnerability. I am not exposing my fragile self to the chance of being torn apart by “the wolves”. Being untouchable also means that if I don’t let anyone near me then I can’t disappoint anyone with what’s really inside.

I’m incredibly lonely, more than anyone would ever know. But I choose this place for myself because I am not ready to open the doors and let my soul run free. I’m not ready to let people inside the crystal palace of my mind. I’m not ready to let them learn of the private, fragile me. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready. But someday I hope to be.

If that day comes, I will take away the smoke and mirrors I’ve so carefully placed to fool people into thinking they know who I am. On that day I will shine like the sun and everyone around will see who I really am. But until then I am & will remain that superficial extrovert.

Everybody Know’s It But Me.

I’ve spoken about my thoughts that I’m an empath – in that I absorb the feelings and moods of other people. I am also naturally compassionate and understanding towards others – to the point where I have always been the one to whom people come for advice (especially on relationships which is funny considering what I’m going to write next!).

And yet I have a certain amount of obliviousness when it comes to a guy being attracted to me. It’s happened ever since I was young – and I’ve got many hilariously sad stories about it. Hopefully this story (about one of my many cock-ups in love) is something that you’ll get a laugh out of.

When I was in grade five or six, I was hanging out with a guy friend at a baseball park – my little brother had baseball practice and my friends dad was the coach. Some little 4 year old kid was following us about and copying things we said and did. And for some fun we decided to run away and hide from the little tyke. We ended up hiding down a small embankment.

We’re waiting there to see if the little tyke can find us, making jokes and giggling away like the silly kids we were. Then my friend turns to me, looking me dead in the eyes and says in all seriousness “I’ve always wanted to kiss you.” There is a pause as I process the words that just came from his mouth. Apparently I didn’t really know what I was supposed to do with that information because all I said was “oh really?” and shrugged in a really nonchalant way. Honestly, I probably would have conjured up a more emotive response if he’d revealed that he always wanted to learn Spanish.

So we’re sitting there in silence and, bless his heart, the poor boy tries to make another subtle move. He asks “Have you ever thought about kissing me?” Here is me still embarrassingly unaware that he is actually trying to find a way to kiss me right here, right now. What is my stupid answer? “Uh not really…” with another shrug. All he could muster was a tiny “oh…” and if I’d looked closely enough I probably would have seen the exact moment his heart shattered.

So, what was going through my head at this time? I’m not kidding when I say I was thinking “This is a really strange conversation to be having when we are supposed to be hiding from that little kid.” (Yeah cause that was his intention when he led me to that private and hidden area). I seriously, honestly thought that he was just making conversation while we waited for that little kid to find us (or get bored with looking – whichever came first).

I wish I had a time machine so I could go back in time, slap myself upside the head, and apologise to that poor boy for unintentionally rejecting what I didn’t know were his romantic advances. It wasn’t that I didn’t like him, I actually had a more than just friends interest in him. It was that I was so (and still am) so bloody dense when it comes to romance. If he’d just kissed me instead of hinting – I probably would have kissed him back. But unless he’d said “I want to kiss you right now. Can I kiss you right now?” I wouldn’t have understood that was what he meant all along.

So Glenn K. I’m really really sorry that I didn’t understand what you were trying to tell me. You should have just kissed me – that would have got the message through to my brilliantly dense mind!

The Ups and Downs of being UP

I’m not going to lie – there have been numerous times when I want to go off my medication because I want to bring on manic episodes. I know that’s a very dangerous thing to do – I learned some time ago just how critical it is for me to keep taking my medication regularly. So I wouldn’t intentionally stop taking them no matter how much I might think I want to.

But when I am feeling this way it is because I want the clarity, the feeling that I know the answer to everything, the certainty that I can save the world and bring peace. I long for the high of being connected to the universe, of feeling the energy of every living thing, the self assurance that I can change the world and make a difference. I know that these are delusions, that I don’t really have all the answers, that I can’t literally bring about world peace. But I crave the way the manic periods bring me a sense of purpose, of feeling good about myself, of feeling worthwhile.

Of course in reality it’s never as good as memory recalls. My high periods frequently included impulsive, reckless and downright dangerous behaviour, of an attitude of “fuck the consequences”, of a fools bravery that I was invincible. It also made me not a very nice person, as I lost the mind to mouth filter and said things without thinking or caring that they might hurt people. I would be irritable and annoying and pick fights – all for no reason other than to amuse myself at how easily I could push buttons and how angry I could make someone.

But of course time and distance always makes us gloss over the negative aspects of a memory. When I am longing for the manic periods it’s because my mind is choosing to only hold onto the more palatable aspects of those times. It remembers the allure of the self confidence but conveniently chooses to ignore the unpleasantness of the arrogance. It remembers the feeling of seeking thrills, but blatantly forgets the troubles recklessness brings.

If I knew I could control myself, if I could know how far to go and when to stop – I would embrace the mania. It makes me feel so good. But I know I don’t have control, and that’s the whole dangerous problem. So even though I wish I had the exhilaration of self assurance, I take comfort from the fact that lacking it means I don’t take stupid and unnecessary risks for the hell of it.

Still sometimes I miss that brave (and stupid) manic me – because I see my “normal” self as being too much Clark Kent and not enough Superman. Except in reality when without the meds I’m more like Jekyll and Hyde and I know that’s definitely not something to aspire to.

My Boy is an Anti-Bullying Champion.

I really admire my eight year old son’s sense of social justice. He has a very strong understanding of when things are fair or not fair, and he is passionate about sticking up for the downtrodden. When he was four years old he told me that for Christmas he didn’t want Santa to bring him any toys – instead he wanted Santa to give them to children who were poor and had nothing.

Sometimes though, I have to remind him that his execution of justice requires a little forethought and consideration.

I recall an incident that occurred last year when he was in grade one. Some bigger boys in grade six were harassing a little boy in grade prep and my beautiful boy was a witness to this bullying. So he stood up against these bigger boys to stop them. However his method of stopping them was to spit at them. *chuckles*

He knew that what these bigger boys were doing was wrong and unfair, and he stuck up for the little guy. And for his troubles he earned a reflection time.  A reflection time is basically a primary school (i.e. soft) version of a detention where they spend 10-15 minutes writing (or drawing pictures) of what they did wrong, how they felt, how the other person felt, and what they could have done that was different.

When I received the reflection time notice to sign and return to the school, I couldn’t help but feel proud that my dear little boy wasn’t afraid to stop bullies even though those bullies were 4 or 5 years older than him. At the same time I was a smidge grossed out that he actually spat at them (it’s the germaphobe in me – I detest spitting, it’s such a vile practice).

He was devastated that he got into trouble for what he saw as sticking up for a friend against bullies. Clearly I couldn’t punish him because his intentions were in the right place. Instead I had to sit him down and do my best to explain to him that it was his reaction of spitting that he was in trouble for, not the fact that he was trying to stop bullying in the school yard. We talked about healthy and unhealthy ways of dealing with bullies. Hopefully he understands that: yes bullying is unacceptable and has to be stopped, but there are better ways to stop the bullying.

All in all though, I am exceptionally proud that my dear little boy has a heart of gold, and looks out for others. He’s my little Anti-Bullying Champion!