Dry Spell


Readers, I am frustrated…

I have neglected my blogs for too long, for different reasons.

I have had a very challenging year or two, and it has most definitely impacted on my ability to get my thoughts straight in my mind, never mind getting them down in any coherent form that comes close to anything I would subject my followers to. (FYI: there is absolutely no guarantee that todays post will be any better, but my frustration and need to connect once again has overridden my internal quality control monitor.)

Health issues, both physical and mental, have plagued me and at several times have beaten me down to a point where some days getting dressed or showered has been a triumph. I am trying some new approaches which I hope will help me feel better and, fighting my realistic/fatalistic streak every day, I remind myself of the rewards to be gained from the changes, rather than dwell on how difficult they are to carry out. I have even, my lovely readers, made a chart that is stuck on my fridge! How very “self helpy” can you get?!

There have been days of wonderful positivity where I have wanted nothing more than to open my MacBook and write about all the good things I have in my life – a husband who is also my best friend, who knows all my darkest, ugliest secrets and loves me anyway, who makes me laugh til I cry, two beautiful dogs that bring me so much joy, a secure home to live in, enough money to always go to the ATM and not feel anxious, a garden built by myself and the OH which is peaceful and soul enriching to sit in… but I have not done so for fear of almost cursing my good fortune.

As for my fiction blog and my amateur photography, well, I have simply been feeling about as inspired as a used teabag. Walking used to be my therapy; ideas would come to me as I wandered through town, watching people and places, but I haven’t been out of the house much at all for quite a while, again for several reasons. Part of my new approach is to change this but it is proving more challenging than I thought it would be.

I read writing memes such as #Wicked Wednesday and #Kink of the Week but am left empty and frustrated at my complete writers block. I have entered the wonderful #Sinful Sunday, but only for the prompt weeks as I find right now I really need a push to produce anything.

Given my physical and mental health, I must admit that feeling sexy or sexual has been totally at the bottom of my list for a while now, which given that I am supposedly, (or at least, I once was), a sex blogger, is unhelpful to say the least.

I know it is a long process – lord, I have lived through 40-odd years of the fucking process. It is such a challenge to not get exhausted by it, by the fact that it never seems to have an end date in sight. They, whoever they are, say it’s not the destination that matters but the journey… easy to say when there is a sense that there is any realistic sense of ever reaching the destination, or when the journey is not constantly interrupted by obstacles and diversions. The OH, who I love more than anything, also has more than his fair share of stress and worry and believe me the only thing worse than one depressive is putting two together! He too had a run of bad luck healthwise this past year which has added to the stress and sense of fatigue.

I am hoping that by getting these, not so coherent, thoughts down today it will spur me on to return to writing.

I have found that blogging can be a two faced beast: recording how I feel can result in me reinforcing those feelings, and this is where the risk lies, depending on whether the feelings are positive or self-destructive.

Today I am feeling… ok. I have taken to playing positive music very loudly and it does help, although I am not sure the neighbours would agree.

Today is Friday and the weekend lies ahead and we plan on some serious rest time but I am hoping we will also get out walking, maybe even with my camera, maybe even lunch out.

As for writing… well, I will continue to look at prompts and memes and just hope that my voice comes back to me, (and as a certain quite dreadful writer puts it, “my inner goddess” finds her “salsa moves” again).

I feel a bit of a half person without her.

💋

Copyright, 2017, k1kat.com

All rights reserved.

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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

💋

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!

💋

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.

Word For Wednesday (W4W) #66


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Play along here!

This week’s word is:

Denial.

Ireland has a truly woeful approach to mental health. Our Health Minister admitted that €12million, originally earmarked for mental health services, was going to be reallocated. I think that in itself speaks volumes about how our government values its society’s mental health.

In Ireland, 500 people are estimated to die by suicide each year, meaning we can reasonably suspect the number is even higher. We are getting better as a society when it comes to talking about suicide and depression. But not enough, in my opinion.

Here is my denial story…

I was 17 when I sat on my bed one night, wrote goodbye letters to all my family members and took an overdose of paracetamol. I remember lying there crying, feeling only utter despair. After a while I heard my big sister come in from her work. She worked shifts and it was very late. I felt a sudden need to reverse my decision and went downstairs in my nightie and told her what I had done. She took me to the A&E where I was given a dreadful emetic and a revolting charcoal cocktail to drink.  I remember The Beautiful South were playing on the radio. Then I remember being left in a ward of adults, my lips stained black from the charcoal, dreading the next day.

I remained in hospital for a number of days while they did tests to see if the paracetamol had damaged my liver. A stern doctor and a group of medical students stood around my bed, discussing me as if I was invisible to them, handing around my suicide letters. I felt completely violated, vulnerable and pretty furious but I was a good girl, I said nothing.

My parents came and wanted to know why I had done this terrible thing. I had no words to explain it to them. I remember fleeing to the bathroom to escape their questions. They followed me and, feeling helpless and cornered I remember crying and actually stamping my feet in frustration. My father said I was acting like a child. My mother told him I was frightened.

My father was the one who came to bring me home. He was faux cheerful and insisted on taking me to a large supermarket on the way home. He told me to choose whatever fancy foods I wanted. I could not have cared less and he grew frustrated with me. He actually seemed to think a treat would fix me.

My suicide attempt was never discussed.

My father seemed to think I was “on drugs” and would occasionally ask me to promise not to “take drugs again”.

I was never offered therapy. Life went on.

I never told them the real reason I took the overdose.

(Sidenote: My mother died when I was 20 and the morning after her death my father found me downstairs very early because I could not sleep. He sighed with more frustration, I felt as if my grief was an inconvenience to him, my neediness was the last thing he needed. I had a packet of herbal remedy for sleeplessness, Valerian, next to me and he said, “You’re not taking drugs again are you?”)

Denial. My family excelled at it.

If someone you know is feeling suicidal, or you suspect they are, please do not ignore it.

Be brave. Talk to them. Ask them how they are feeling. Ask them if they feel a desire to hurt themselves or to not be here anymore.

Give them the gift of allowing them to say it. Give them space to talk about how they feel, what they need.

Understand they are in more pain than they can express. They need support.

Don’t judge them. Don’t admonish them. Don’t blame them. Don’t shame them.

Don’t bury your head.

Don’t be my father.

Denial – it ain’t just a river in Egypt.

Copyright, 2016, k1kat.com

All rights reserved.