Here We Go Again…


2016 was a horrible year. There I said it.

It took so many talented and wonderful people from us.

We had the appalling atrocities in Syria, the refugee crisis and the depressing lack of compassion displayed by people around the world. We had the rise of the far right across Europe. We saw devastating acts of terrorism against ordinary people just living their lives. We had Brexit and its horrendous aftermath which saw some parts of society seeming to think the decision made racism and bigotry a perfectly acceptable thing.

And then we had Trump… I cannot even go there. It still feels unreal.

I noticed so many of my friends struggle with their own physical and mental health and found it very hard to witness. It seemed this year got to everyone in one way or another.

Personally, I had a very rough year. My depression and anxiety peaked and I have yet to come out the other side. My self destructive behaviours hit an all time high; my health has suffered and I feel truly dreadful.

I can sum it up thus:img_7065

But today is the final day of this annus horribilis and we can only hope that 2017 is brighter.

I know I have a very steep mountain to climb in terms of self care and recovery and I am not looking forward to the challenges ahead. To be perfectly honest, it feels pretty impossible right now.

It will not be easy. But, unless I want to, literally, kill myself, I simply have to do it.

I truly hope next year brings you all, my readers and friends, only good things.

I wish you all good health, happiness, good fortune and good times. I know I can be a miserable old cow but underneath it all I really do care about y’all.

Here’s to better days ahead…

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Ciao

đź’‹

Copyright, 2016, k1kat.com

All rights reserved

Still Here!


You may have, (or, more likely may not have), noticed my absence of late. Today is the first day I have felt able to open my beloved Mac Book Pro and type again.

I have been facing some tough challenges, health and personal, the details of which I will not bore you with right now, but suffice to say they have been enough to have seen me retreat into myself in order to get through the past couple of months.

The lovely OH bought me this last month as part of my birthday stash and it makes me smile to think of how very well he knows me.

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This morning is the first time I have plucked up the courage to make a few notes in it about what is on my batshit-crazed-hamster-in-a-wheel-mind, and it surprised me by actually helping.

I will be getting some news on Thursday that will hopefully be good, but even if it is not, I think I will be ok. I have *Himself, who has been a tower of strength, and some very lovely friends who have reached out and offered support over the past while.

I feel the urge and need to write again, to be part of the blogging community and to rebuild much-valued links and relationships here. I do not have anything of great insight or creativity to share just yet, but I am hopeful that this first wee toe-dipping today is the start of KittyKat coming back to the blogosphere that I have missed so much.

Love y’all!

Ciao!

* no, not god! I am not a believer in magic; I refer to the OH here.

đź’‹

Copyright, 2016, k1kat.com

All rights reserved

Turning Point


With my hand on my heart, I promise that everything I am about to tell you is 100% true. I have not embellished or exaggerated anything. I like to think I can spin a good story, but even I could not make this shit up.

Last Thursday I went to see a psychiatrist for the very first time in my life. I had told my GP how incredibly low I had been feeling; all the self-hatred I felt and the comfort I got from imagining ending it all. He listened, reassured me I was not in fact crazy and referred me to a private psychiatrist.

I sat outside the psychiatrist’s office waiting to be seen. My appointment was for 3pm. Another man arrived and sat next to me. This made me wonder, as I had been told the appointment would last an hour, so I thought this man must have arrived incredibly early for his. After waiting about 10 minutes, the doctor came out and just looked at us both, nodded to the man next to me, who got up and went into his office. I was confused. I called the number of his secretary to confirm I had the appointment time correct and she came out to confirm I was right and said he was running behind. I asked if the appointment would last an hour and she said yes. Ok. I was rattled – having been referred to him for depression and anxiety I thought this was a careless way to treat a new patient.

At about 3.40pm he came out of his office again and just nodded to me, which I took to be my invitation inside. As I sat down, he asked me what had brought me there and I began to talk, giving him a history of how I had been feeling. Midway through this he suddenly leapt from his chair and bounded across the room to invade my personal space and stare into my face, stopping me cold. I was so taken aback. He returned to his chair and asked me if I wore contact lenses because my eyes were “incredibly green”. Stunned at this bizarre turn of events, I replied that no they were just my eyes. Then, as if nothing had happened, he told me to carry on.

After listening to me and taking notes, he looked at me and said, in a sing-song voice, “But you’re lovely.” Yes, he said that. He then went on to tell me that Estee Lauder couldn’t exist without women like me, that looks don’t matter, that I shouldn’t care what people think of me. Basically, he hadn’t listened to a word I had said. I told him he seemed to have formed an impression that I was a superficial and shallow person who judges people solely on their appearance, which was not at all the truth. My feelings of self loathing and disgust were nothing to do with how I felt any one else perceived me, they were entirely coming from inside me. He looked at me again and said, “But look at you, you’re svelte!” and carried on to tell me about his love for the Kardashians. Really!

Readers, I am far from svelte! A recent weigh in at a hospital appointment revealed my BMI to have nudged just into the overweight range, and I was sitting across from this doctor wearing a G cup bra… not svelte at all!

I usually never stand up for myself, certainly not in the company of someone in what I perceive to be an authority position, but I simply couldn’t stop myself this time. I told him that by calling me svelte he had made not only question his understanding of the word, but also his judgment in general. (Incidentally, when I told my GP about this later he was delighted with my response!)

I told him that when I was underweight, wearing age 11 clothes and teeny-tiny that I still saw a fat person in the mirror and wasn’t happy then either. His reply was, “Have you ever seen anyone in Somalia look happy?” I was pretty speechless by now.

He enquired what hobbies I had and I told him I blog. He didn’t know what a blog was so I had to explain it to him. He asked what type of fiction I wrote and I knew I didn’t want to tell him about my erotica – I wasn’t going to hand him that nugget to play with. I told him I write dark stories about the darker side of humanity. He quickly told me I shouldn’t be writing “that stuff” and instead I should write “happy stories”. He then went on to tell me the TV shows I watch and the books I read were wrong and that I should be watching Modern Family… he repeated this several times. The man really loves Modern Family.

I could tell you more of the ways he blithely dismissed my thoughts, feelings, opinions and beliefs but to be honest it is exhausting to repeat it all. Suffice to say he brushed off everything I talked about, including my love of dogs, as in his opinion cats were better.

The final nail in the coffin of this delightful encounter was this:

I was so very ready to turn my life around, so desperate to feel better, that I disclosed something to him that only the OH knows, I have never told another soul about this. It is a secret that carries with it a burden of shame for me and it was not easy to divulge it. In my opinion, I showed tremendous courage in sharing this information and I am sad and disgusted to tell you how it was received. His jaw dropped, he leaned forward in his seat, a look of complete shock on his face and gasped, “Really!!” I felt judged, shamed and embarrassed. I was not expecting such a reaction from a mental health professional, who surely must have seen and heard things far more shocking than what I had told him.

I had tears in my eyes as I left his office and was visibly shaking. He shook my hand and told me it was a pleasure to have met me and that he wanted to see me again in two weeks. I was numb.

The OH was angry as hell when I told him about the whole thing, but he was delighted that I had stood up for myself and affirmed that I had shown courage and strength.

I spent the rest of the day mulling over what had happened and trying to decide how to proceed. As it happened, I had an appointment with my GP the morning after this so I went and told him everything that had happened. He was astonished and could not apologise enough. He said he felt he had let me down by referring me to that psychiatrist and was concerned and angry about my treatment. In particular, he felt the comment at the start about my eyes was incredibly inappropriate and he agreed about the comment about me being svelte was also wrong. He looked genuinely remorseful and saddened by what I had told him and asked me how I wanted to proceed. I told him I was not going back to this psychiatrist and that I would rather look at new meds and be monitored by my GP. He agreed that this would work and we discussed treatments.

I have sent a letter to the illustrious Dr. Byrne cancelling my next appointment and enclosed a cheque for the €100 payment as I just want an end to it and do not have the energy to dispute his charge. My GP told me my story will certainly change his referral practice and I suspect Dr. Byrne will not be getting any more business from my GP!

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So, today I will take my first dose of my new meds.

 

I am hopeful. I am positive. I feel stronger than I have in a while. I think in a strange way that psychicatrist provoked something in me that made me think, “I deserve better than this”, and revealed to me how determined I am to feel better.

Here’s to what I sincerely hope is my turn around.

Ciao!

đź’‹

Copyright, 2016, k1kat.com

All rights reserved.

Word For Wednesday (W4W) #67


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Play along here!

This week’s word is:

Pain.

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http://nlm.nih.gov

I live with pain on a daily basis. In fact, according to the definition above I live with chronic pain and have done for almost as long as I can remember.

I am not talking about physical pain, (although at the moment I am experiencing a lot of that also). I am referring to psychological pain – depression, anxiety, self hatred, self destruction, self loathing.

I read Cherry’s W4W and related to her situation so strongly.

It has been suggested to me by several friends, as well as the OH, that I may have Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I struggle with this idea. If I were to say yes I have that, in my mind I am also saying, yes I am not hideous and ugly, in fact I might even be attractive but simply cannot see it for myself.

I cannot accept that and I feel that if I said that it is borderline arrogant/big-headed. Yeah, I can see how you might read this and shake your head at my contrariness. After all, I am the one who regularly lifts others up and encourages them to love themselves, yet when it comes to me I do a 180 on my own advice.

Cherry told me this:

“One of the reasons people don’t think or talk about it is because they might think they’ll be seen as being vain. It’s part of the condition and it’s the lies that are warped, not your mind.”

It has given me a lot to think about today.

What would it be like to actually LIKE myself? To accept myself? To not constantly only see my flaws? To see what other people claim to see when they look at me?

Would I even still be ME?

I have always been a person who disliked or even hated herself. The concept of not being that way is foreign and perhaps even a bit scary.

These questions are overwhelming and are bringing tears to my eyes as I write them. How different would my life have been if I wasn’t always hating myself? Have I wasted all these years? Am I incapable of being happy?

Who AM I????

I think I have much more soul searching to do before I even begin to address these questions.

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This week is World Mental Health Awareness Week so this post felt appropriate today.

Copyright, 2016, k1kat.com

All rights reserved.

The Old Black Dog


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My friend Busty, (we haven’t known each other very long at all, but, given the support and kindness she has offered me, I think I can safely call her a friend), pinned this link on Pinterest and I found it this morning. It really does explain depression very well; how it impacts our lives on all levels – the psychological, mental, social and physical.

I have been struggling on and off for a while now, finding I am having more bad days than good, although on the good days I do feel genuinely happy and okay. But the bad days… when that bastard Black Dog comes and sits with me… I hate those days.

I have noticed several of my online friends are also having a difficult time. I know some of the reasons behind this, but I wonder if the season we are in is a factor too. I know I really did feel a dip in my mood as the light changed and the evenings seemed to arrive earlier and earlier.

Without my realising it, it was that time of year where everyone was talking about Xmas and I hadn’t even noticed it creep up on me. I do not have children, (discounting the OH and dogs of course), and I do not have any religious faith, so for me December 25th really is just another day. I resent feeling that I must “join in” in what, to me, is a man-made, socially constructed consumerist farce.

I am off to visit my family on Saturday and that brings with it its very own tailored-made gift of stress and anxiety. If it wasn’t for my nieces and nephews whom I adore, I can honestly say I would fake illness to avoid it. (Funny how I don’t feel able to use my depression/anxiety, which is a genuine illness, as a valid excuse!)

I won’t go into the reasons I find this visit stressful. God forbid they find this blog and read them! (Ha! Another gloriously Irish family trait… the horror of actually having a frank conversation about how our families make us feel!)

After spending yesterday in a heap on the sofa, watching hours of crappy TV, finally dragging myself into the shower at 4.30pm, this morning I forced myself to eat and shower and I sit writing now at 10am, make up on, hair done. I have a hair appointment this afternoon to cover the dreaded roots, (again, must keep up appearances right?). In all honesty, it’d be so easy to cancel it and lie on the sofa again but I MUST do this.

It’s the little things, the small acts of self-care that count and add up. The idea of sitting in front of a mirror for an hour and a half leaves me feeling nauseous, having to look at my chubby face, eye circles and lines. But I tell myself that the result, shiny, glossy fresh hair, will lift me. I don’t know if it will… but I hope it does. At least I won’t have to face them all with grey roots as well as a frame wider than the last time they saw me.

So, today I am going to try. I really, really do not feel like it, but it is necessary.

If you are struggling, I hope you can make yourself do one small nice thing for yourself today. One act of self-care.

If you know someone who is struggling, please don’t pressure them, just be there.

That is all you need to do, just be there.

With love,

đź’‹

 Copyright, 2015, k1kat.com

All rights reserved.