Friday funny

And of course we have the Big Bang Theory again for all you kind folks reading my blog, both the ups and the downs of it.

Thanks for sticking by it!

For anyone wanting some context, please read below but it kind of stands on it’s own. For everyone else, go right ahead and click the link 🙂

Please enjoy this Friday Funny video from YouTube.

Context: Leonard is trying to make friends with a famous physicist who is macho and manly. He promises to go to the gym with this guy and to ride this man’s motorbike, even though these are things he has never done before. Unfortunately before he could ride the motorbike it fell over on him, spraining his ankle! He is left at the door by the physicist who goes off for a motorbike ride with Penny, Leonard’s love interest!

And go!!

Windy wind wind

It’s a windy day. I don’t like wind! WelI, actually what I mean is I don’t like to be in the wind.

Watching it out of my bedroom window while tucked up in bed, on the other hand, it rather nice; I like watching the gum leaves toss and the white branches wave.

But going outside on a day like this isn’t my favourite thing. I avoid it if I can!

It catches my breath out of my mouth and makes me feel like I’m suffocating!

It blows my hair here and there and everywhere and ruins however much effort I have put into my hairstyle that day. There really is no amount of hairspray that can truly hold down hair on a day like today.

Even the birds get their feathers all ruffled on a day like this. And today I saw a rainbow lorikeet get blown off a palm frond into the air! It quickly flapped it’s wings and landed back on the frond again, but how’s that?

palm tree, rainbow lorikeet

Pair of rainbow lorikeets in the nesting tree just after the top bird got thrown off by a gust of wind!

On another topic, I always wonder where birds go on days like this; there don’t seem to be as many birds around. The ones you see are huddled down as low as they can be, or hiding out of the wind.

Another thing that I don’t like about wind is that it catches my skirt and whisks it around at the most inconvenient time! I tend to walk around with at least one hand holding as much of the width of the skirt as possible, just in case. But that’s not a foolproof plan; it can still catch and expose your legs and knickers at the most embarrassing moment!

The one thing I do like about wind is it’s usually cooler than the day that it’s blowing around in. Since I’ve been on antidepressants and an antipsychotic my body temperature runs higher than usual; well I don’t know if that’s a fact but my experience is that I feel warmer all the time. I also sweat at the slightest temperature increase so I do enjoy going out and feeling the cool against my skin.

Plus I love my coat. It’s navy with turquoise fleece lining and thumb holes and two front hand pockets. I love thumb holes! And I love front pockets. And I love that despite gaining 20kg since I bought it, it still zips up at the front 🙂 So it is nice to have an opportunity to wear it.

It’s satisfying when you’re outside on a really cold day to feel cozy inside a warm coat where the wind can’t stab you with it’s icy knife. But although the coat stops the wind getting to your body, it doesn’t stop grit and leaves and debris flying around in the air and getting in your eyes, nose, mouth and even getting down your neck into your coat!! Shame about that! Time for a scarf wrapped around my head with only eye slits left uncovered. But that old wind is a crafty one; it will find that one gap you’ve left and dive straight in!

Windy days often make me feel irritable. I’m not sure why. I mean there’s the hair blowing thing, the skirt puffing up thing and the stealing my breath thing but it’s not that.

It’s more like a feeling of restlessness, of having the jitters, of being unsettled and being out of sorts.

It’s a feeling of having the heeby geebies, of being frazzled, of feeling like my nerves are on edge, of sarcasm and grumpiness being kept under a very thin veil ready to burst out with any adverse event.

Strange how an invisible force can create so much disturbance, such a strong feeling against it and be so disruptive!

In my case it’s not just the wind. It’s also air conditioners, fans, open windows…anything that generates wind or a breeze.

Since I had an eye injury I’ve had drier eyes and any wind or breeze just irritates them like crazy! I find it very annoying to be in a room with any kind of air disturbance; ducted heating or cooling, wind coming in the windows and anything of the kind.

Oddly, I love driving around with the windows down! I think that has more to do with cooling me down than the air thing though. Priorities! They can be changed if need be, turns out.

So I’ll just snuggle in here and watch the wind from afar where I can’t feel it!

Open letter

Dear Catherine,

Time has passed.

Has it made you wiser, given you insight, inspired you to take a good hard long and most importantly honest look at yourself?

Are you able to discern the enormous damage that you allowed to come to pass both to people and to the the departments that you are responsible for?

I wonder if you see it yet, or if you are still blindly adhering to a terrible principle which is as misguided as it is illogical.

I believe you are a nice enough person. Except you work for an evil corporation; how can that sit well with your conscience?

You seem to have some intelligence and yet you prefer to be given instruction than to use your insight to evaluate ideas as they are presented to you.

Are you just doing whatever it takes to hold on to the job that gives you the giant diamond rock, the expensive watch and the Lexus? Is that all this is about?

If that is the case then you have been very facetious in telling us you wanted the best for us etc etc and blah blah blah.

We can’t believe a word you say in any case. Once a person has been proven false, it is very unwise for anyone to place their trust in them again unquestioning.

You said you felt you were ambushed. Of course you were!! You allowed and possibly even facilitated the worst happenings that have ever been seen! Things we couldn’t have imagined!! You damaged people, health, trust and the organisation, not just in the here and now but you have caused such severe damage to come to pass that people will still be casting this up to you for years to come!!

Do you realise this? Do you actually understand the enormity of what you have allowed and contributed to? Do you realise the damage, the disruption, the failure that will be attributed to you for years and years?

You wouldn’t listen. You know nothing, you came at this with no knowledge or experience, and yet you were the one talking, and not ever listening. I watched you at the point of crisis when you wanted to be seen to be listening: 90 minutes of us talking and you wrote a paragraph at the most. Of course you weren’t listening!! Once again it was a PR stunt, like all your meetings and gatherings and here’s to the future toasts!!

You are despised. The only way you can ever change that is to turn back time and not allow what you allowed! Without that, you may think that we are moving on but we will never forget what you did, what you allowed, how you behaved, who’s interests you really had a heart. Not ours, that’s for sure.

I can quote you my own personal experience with you. In difficult times you said to me in the corridor that you will always be there to support me. What a load of rot!! I told you how you could support me, and you ignored it.

Well let me tell you this. I have suffered through the pain and inconvenience of irritable bowel syndrome, the stress of an immune cell disorder, the fear of generalised anxiety disorder, the utter despair of depression and now the swings and roundabouts of bipolar disorder.

I lay them all at your feet.

You had opportunity to intervene in a timely manner and you neglected your responsibility. It’s that simple.

You failed me.

And not just me.

I could name names but what good would it do? You won’t help. You’re useless. You like to sound interesting and supportive but its all words. You will never do anything that contends with your management structure. You will always put your own interests first. You will always sounds nice and do absolutely nothing to help!

So good riddance to you as a manager!

I’m much better off now, job-wise. If I could work that is. Which I can’t. At your feet.

It might be easy for me to move on but the destruction left behind will stand for years as testament to the truth we told you, which you ignored and are living the consequence of, whether you see it or not. You probably don’t see it. You were never very good at opening your eyes. Deliberately blind in fact.

Useless, destructive, self-centred. That’s you.

Don’t ever think that we won’t all remember. We’ll remember. We went through hell because of you. Personally, professionally, mentally, physically.

We will remember.

If our paths ever cross again it will not be in your favour. You are a hurtful, willful person and our sympathy was long ago distinguished.

If I could have one wish concerning you, it would be that you would finally see; truly really wholly see what has happened and what you allowed. That you would see the damage you have done, the careers you have affected, the pain you have caused, the difficulty, the stress, the fear, the uncertainty, the heartache. I would have you see all that you have done to the people you were responsible for and how you have failed to be an effective useful manager.

I don’t wish you harm, only that you would see and feel the harm that you have caused and allowed to come about; that you would finally learn!

Lost and found

I started thinking one day about the things that I’ve lost since I got sick.

Motivation, drive, energy, work (not literally, I am still employed but not able to work), my figure, identity, etc etc. Easy to get wrapped up in that list!!

I took a walk yesterday and had some fun taking different photos and it hit me like this.

Looking at the things I’ve lost is like focusing down on the nitty gritty details and forgetting the bigger view.

red berries, green leaves, hawthorn

Tiny red berries made larger by zoomed focus

yellow daisies

Imperfections made obvious by close focus, whereas a larger view shows only the pretty colours

flowering succulent

Right up close view of a flowering succulent shows every tiny detail

purple lavendar

Trying to focus on lavendar blowing in the wind, a tricky job

pink and white berries

Pink and white berries brought into near focus

red rose bud

Red red rose bud about to burst, making the rest of the garden fade out of focus

holly, berries, prickly leaves

Zoning in on the prickles of the holly leaves rather than the pretty red berries

yellow, green, red leaves

Zooming in shows the new leaves, the green leaves and the dying leaves

red rose

Sometimes ignoring the bigger picture does give a better view…

pretty white blossom

Beauty in the close-up of this pretty white blossom

It can be enticing sometimes, getting wrapped up in the details, reminiscing, thinking, remembering; the view can be quite nice

But instead of focusing on the negatives and blowing the small things up into bigger things, looking at the bigger picture and seeing what I have gained is a lot more useful.

Time, opportunity, creativeness, hobbies. The bigger picture.

sunset, telephone wires, electric wires, gum tree

Suburban sunset: it may have lines and wires criss-crossing but overall it’s a beautiful picture

It’s something I have to learn, re-learn, remember, re-remember so that I can get the benefit out of it. So I’m writing it down and hopefully when I need it, I’ll remember that I’ve written it and remember where to find it and I’ll read it again!!

Last night I had a dream…

Anxiety, depression, antidepressants.

Condition, condition, treatment.

Cause of dreams, cause of nightmares, cause of crazy, surreal, nonsensical, weird-as concoctions of ideas and sequence.

Either way, not a great night’s sleep!! And a poor night’s sleep leads to waking up tired and already sick of the day, and that’s no way to feel better about life!

In December last year I got started on a second and more sedating antidepressant to help with my anxiety, and depression. I was initially scared of being on two antidepressants simultaneously. The pharmacist in me was screaming “serotonin sydrome, serotonin syndrome!” [see author’s note]. But then I took it, as directed, at 9pm at night. Within in half an hour a warm fuzzy feeling was spreading all over me and I was feeling sleepy. So I went to bed. I fell asleep straight away, no tossing and turning and trying to force myself to sleep. No fretting, anxiety, stress, fears for tomorrow. Just pure sleep. Bliss!

I fell asleep, and stayed asleep. All night! In fact I couldn’t get up the next day! The doctor had warned me about this so I had started the medication on Christmas Day. I dragged myself out of bed about 9.30am, tried to keep my eyes open over breakfast and finally gave up after a shower and went back to bed about 11am. I slept solidly for two hours and woke up feeling a bit better, but still sleepy – luckily it was a small family lunch for Christmas so it didn’t matter too much. The next day was better, the next even better and within four or five days I could wake up bright and early as soon as my alarm went off and head off to work. And I was getting a full night’s sleep every night!! I was no longer waking up feeling like someone had “punched me in the face” as my doctor describes it, pretty accurately!

Oh mirtazepine! I still have a soft place in my heart for this wonder drug that put me to sleep, kept me asleep and then allowed me to wake up and get on with my life.

I’ve changed medications a lot since then. I had to get rid of mirtazepine because the doctors wanted to start quetiapine instead, an antipsychotic/mood stabiliser to stop me swinging from one end of  the spectrum to the other. It is also sedating. It does a pretty good job with my sleep: it certainly puts to sleep, and keeps me asleep, but I’m having this annoying phenomenon of waking up every morning at 4am or 5am bright as a button!

And to all the helpful people who say “just get up” – thank you for your advice but I respectfully decline!! What kind of time to get up is 4am?? What am I meant to do at that hour of the day? How am I meant to occupy myself all day? It’s hard enough as it is! So I go to the toilet and get back in bed and start the fight with myself to get back to sleep. Unfortunately by the time I succeed it is time for my hubby to get up and a much more reasonable hour of the day to be awake, and I’m conked out! Completely out to it! So my actual getting up time is more like 8am, 8.30am, 9am, 9.30am. Which doesn’t work well with a plan to go back to work eventually on a 8am to 5pm shift…but hey, I really shouldn’t be getting ahead of myself!

I asked my psychiatrist about this early waking thing. At first I thought it was just going to be a temporary thing, but it’s going on and on. He doesn’t want to increase the quetiapine dose anymore; I’m already fat and have cholesterol problems which are in part due to this medication and neither of us want to worsen that! Besides I’ve been started on lithium since which he hopes will be my main medication and the idea is to eventually reduce and possibly cut out altogether my antidepressant and mood stabiliser. His opinion on the matter is that depression is the cause. Early waking can be a typical sign of depression in his view. Bummer!! I was hoping it was something medication-induced that was more easily fixed than depression! Ah well, at least I got most of a good night’s sleep. Mostly.

There’s still the odd crazy antidepressant dream. I’ve heard about other people on antidepressants having strange out of context or deranged dreams, so I guess it’s something that can be part and parcel of treatment. I’ve had a lot more in the past but since being on a mood stabiliser they’ve been a lot rarer.

However I had one last night that got me thinking about this again.

Here’s the reality as background. My sister is a chemistry and nutrition teacher and mostly we get on well. We had a phone conversation last week that was really nice, we had a good chat about different things and only stopped because we had to go out for a date.

Now here’s the dream. I get invited to go to a private girls school to give a lesson on nutrition but I can choose exactly what I want to give the talk on. I choose to talk about waist circumference and it’s link to heart disease. I go to give the talk but I get lost and I’m running late so I have to call ahead and tell them I’m going to be late; not impressive for a guest lecturer! I finally get to the classroom and there are 5 girls; a bit surprising for a guest lecture but okay. Somewhere in the dream the classroom becomes a car and the number of girls drops to two!! Anyway when we get to the car part my sister (the nutrition teacher) turns up and begins heckling me about my facts, saying that they are not evidence-based, the greatest insult in modern medicine! I respond but suddenly I can’t find the evidence that I had before and can’t fight back against the allegations. It turns into a bit of a shame fest for me as a lecturer and then I start getting criticised for my lecturing style, my notes and my slides and it descends into a big higgle-di-piggle-di and I wake up!! Ridiculous!!

Questions: I have no idea on what authority I’m giving this talk, why me? I don’t really have to guess why waist circumference; it’s clearly because mine is well over the line and I need to do something about it other than eating chocolate! Why am I running late – I don’t actually do that much anymore; I’ve really turned over a new leaf. How did we get into the car and why? Why a private school; I went to public schools and have no idea what private schools are like. Why is my sister even there, she lives in a different state? Why are my facts being questioned, especially by my sister who would absolutely support them in real life?

There is no reasoning why with these dreams, they just have to be brushed off as we go on with life. Sometimes they are harder to brush off but I’m sure that looking for meaning in them isn’t very productive. If you beg to differ, and can find a meaning, I’m listening.

So sleep, dreams, life. All wrapped up together and getting the perfect balance is an art. It’s not perfect now, but it’s a long way better than it used to be so I’d like not to fight it but to be glad for what I’ve got and make the most of it!

[Author’s note on serotonin syndrome: when prescribed a high dose of a medicine that increases serotonin like SSRI and SNRI antidepressants, or when prescribed a combination of two medications that increase serotonin there is potential for a patient to develop serotonin toxicity or serotonin syndrome. I have been prescribed both at different times and have never experienced any problems; that is not to say it doesn’t happen, but it is not common. If you believe you have been prescribed one of these you should discuss serotonin syndrome with your doctor/psychiatrist. I am not an authority on the matter and won’t be giving a list of symptoms to look out for. ]

Blackburn Lake Santuary

A great day out today with my hubby at the Blackburn Lake Sanctuary. A good friend recommended this park for bird watching and wow, it was amazing! We saw more birds than I can show here, so many little flitting miniature birds all over the place. A lovely older lady was there bird watching and pointed out a few for us, most notably the grey fantail which was awesome to watch, dancing and fanning its tail feathers.

What a beautiful place, and I feel so glad that it has been preserved down through the many years of development of Melbourne to be a sanctuary not only for birds and animals but for people to enjoy the unspoiled bush and to see these creatures in their native environment.

We will absolutely be going back! Thanks for the recommendation, Jeanette! We spent a happy day spotting birds all over the place and thoroughly enjoying the clear weather, sunshine and crisp autumn day. Couldn’t have been better!!

Despite my tiredness and slowness and dragging of feet there is always something magical about catching a glimpse of each bird for the first time, hearing the call and tracking it down, or suddenly coming across it in the path, or spotting it high up in the tree! It really gets me going and speeds me on for a few minutes, gives me a burst of energy for a little while and distracts my brain completely from anything else going on in it. I smile, I laugh, I exclaim and all of that is positive feedback to my brain that things are going well! I’m sure it must do something for my serotonin levels.

Photo credit is split about half and half with me and my hubby; can’t take full credit!

For the bird watchers among my readers, please take a look at the little bird third from the bottom below the duck – I need some help identifying this one, can’t quite decide based on my guide book. Thanks in advance!!

flowering blossoms, gum tree, eucalyptus, eastern spinebill

Fabulous flitting Male Eastern Spinebill amonst the flowering gum blossoms

eastern spinebill, eucalyptus, gum blossoms, male

Male Eastern Spinebill in the blossoms with throat on show

rainbow lorikeet, taking flight

Gorgeous Rainbow Lorikeet taking flight

grey fantail, tail feather

Grey fantail showing off its tail feathers – hard to catch so blurry picture!

spotted turtle-dove

Beautiful Spotted Turtle-Dove

purple swamphen

Blueish Purple Swamphen stalking the log

dusky moorhen, rushes

Dusky Moorhen in the rushes

laughing kookaburra, eating, branch

Laughing kookaburra sitting on a branch eating something gross!

black raven, little raven, australian raven

Glossy black Raven – either Little Raven or Australian Raven

rainbow lorikeet, yellow chest

An unusual Rainbow Lorikeet with a bright yellow chest

Australian Magpie

Pair of Australian Magpies fighting to be fed bread by hand

beautiful caramel and silver grey duck

Beautiful duck with caramel colouring and silver grey top feathers

unknown bird

Help wanted – not quite sure what this bird is??

[Addition: a very kind reader has given us the answer to our question!! The bird above is the White-browed Scrubwren, most likely the south-eastern form. Thank you very much!!]

red wattlebird

Red Wattlebird as seen from underneath

pacific black ducks

Pacific Black Ducks through the morning mist

eucalypt tree, new growth

Fallen eucalyptus tree shooting new trees

pink flowering gum blossoms

Pink flowering gum blossoms

Alone

Today I want to make a shout out to anyone and everyone who is battling mental illness alone.

Kudos to you! You are amazing! You are so much stronger than you realise! I don’t know how you do it but keep it up; you are an inspiration to me!

I don’t believe that I would still be here if I had gone through this alone. So many times in so many ways I have relied on all of the amazing people around me.

My husband of course being number one. He has been dealing with me for eleven years! Ten of those years I was undiagnosed with mental illness, and I’m not sure how much of my illness I had over that time but he has dealt with all of me and stuck by me and been my best friend, my biggest supporter, the most amazing listener, and just through and through amazing. I shudder to think of some of the things I put him through: hysterics, tantrums, intense nagging, doom and gloom, worry about everything and everyone, panic attacks, tears over anything and everything, and some pretty crazy manic episodes!!

My friends have probably been subject to some not so nice days with me too. Sorry about that! But their support has always helped me in every scenario and I wouldn’t be without any of them!

My team. My GP who is available all day any time Monday to Friday at short notice and without an appointment. My sweet psychologist who will fit me in any time Monday to Saturday and who calls every now and then just to see how I’m going. My relatively new psychiatrist who has given me his mobile number to call any time! That’s pretty amazing! The local CATT team who are only a phone call away. The workplace counselling number that I can call 24 hours a day. Lifeline, Helpline, Suicide Callback line and all the other fantastic services that can be called from anywhere anytime and are truly fabulous!

My colleagues. I don’t see them much but when I do they are so friendly and concerned and encouraging that it really touches my heart and I want to get better so that I can get back to work and pay them back for all their kindness.

Family too, everyone in their own way doing what they can to help me keep going.

I’m so glad for each and every person who has helped me keep on going and made me keep trying and made me want to keep living and fighting!

I might not have thanked you face to face, I might not have let you know how awesome you are but I know it and one day I hope I can show you how important you are!