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Before I post this week’s missive I just want to say a huge thank you to each and every one of you who stopped by my little blog last week and read my disturbed thoughts. I was very much of two minds whether to post anything so personal and dark, but you all were so faithful in reading what I wrote, and those who contacted me were so kind that you restored my faith in writing the whole ugly truth. I love you all, and watching the stats rise was such an enormous encouragement to me! THANK YOU!

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Written late April 2016 after my latest work contract ended; updated 20th June 2016.

“I worked my a*& off to get back, really back; harder than I’ve worked at anything my whole life. ” – Detective Marcus Bell, Elementary

…”because there’s nothing like getting back for getting better” – current WorkSafe Victoria Return To Work campaign

Getting back; it’s what everyone recommends for getting better. I resisted it for a long while in my original sick leave but in the end I found that it was true! Occupation, purpose, time consuming work; it all helps to develop an inner feeling of being better, getting  back to normal.

But, as my deepest darkest suspicions have been humming a tune all along, it’s not enough. I’m not enough. My efforts are not enough. It was a dark moment! Or two…

There have been tears, and more tears; it was so disappointing!

More doubt, more undermining of my confidence that was fickle at best, more breaking through my denial of recovery to let the truth of ongoing illness in. Then there are moments of resolution, mostly led by my husband’s sensible, problem solving , kind voice where I decide actually I will be okay; I’ll be okay, I’ll figure it out.

It’s not what I want; I think that’s obvious. If I could do anything to change it I would. I tried to see if there wasn’t any way around this decision to relieve me of my job by not renewing my contract. I spoke with the powers that be reminding them of my loyalty, commitment, long term intentions and proximity, for goodness sake, if nothing else! But I can’t fight my way out of this. Maybe I have to let it be.

Oh that so does not sit well with me. But a good friend reminds me that maybe that’s the point; maybe this is a long term play for my strength of character not a short term game for my own convenience! Ahhhh…it’s hard to swallow but maybe I need that.

So here’s the situation: the workplace I was working in when I got sick doesn’t have any obligation to me, to rehabilitate me. I was working there on a one year contract when I got sick at the half way point, and wasn’t able to return to work for any more than two mornings a week in the last 6 weeks of the contract. And that was just a desperate scramble to try to be okay enough to stay on there. I was utterly unable physically, and not even slightly ready mentally to apply for a new full time contract, the only way that I could’ve stayed on. So the contract, and with it, the obligation, ended and I went back to bed. Not what I wanted, but I couldn’t do anything about it; I just wasn’t in a state to change things. It was what it was.

So then, after another 9 months at home, I started back at work with a short term contract at the next place that would take me. They also have no obligation to me, other than to offer the same support that they would offer any other employee. They took me on when I was returning to work; they knew that, and made some allowance. But it’s not their fault, not their duty. No special exemption or workplace mentors; no keeping a place for  while me while I convalesce and struggle to get back into the swing of things. You have to compete with every other well person and that’s just how it is. And when it’s over, it’s over!

Done                     3rd May 2016

I’m overwhelmed, I’m in dismay,

The job I had, the work, the pay

It did me good, it helped me stay

Above the blue line, come what may.

 

Now it’s over, my sad reply,

Tears of hurt and loss I cry,

Feeling useless, have to sigh

For fear of dark days once again nigh.

 

It did me good, it kept me busy,

Filled my days and weeks, and nearly

Convinced me that I was now surely

“Better”, “fixed”; was I silly?

 

Silly to be believe in “health” so easily,

Of usefulness, I thought sincerely

That all was good, I did feel truly

That this was it, “I’m better, really”.

 

The routine and the structure, see,

Work and occupation the key,

Helped me build life, ABC,

From sickness to health; 1, 2, 3!.

 

I got me carried away, and planned

To stay and work, but now that’s canned!

“I have no hours for you ma’am”,

It’s over; nothing to be gained.

 

You’re done here! Well it hit me hard,

I did not see it coming, barred

From that which made my life less marred,

It feels unfair, am I so tarred?

 

By that which has my brain entangled,

Bipolar, why have you now mangled

This, above all else was dangled

Hope, that by work I’d disentangle.

 

Please let me stay, I love it here,

The colleagues; the task; the jolly cheer,

And to my home it is so near,

Please let me stay, just anywhere.

 

I’ll type the scripts, talk on the phone,

Check the work that others have done,

I’ll smile, be nice, work with anyone,

Please, please, please don’t say I’m done!

 

 

 

Understood

All along the way from when I first got sick with anxiety, through the dark days of depression and during the ups and downs and unknowns of bipolar disorder, I’ve always been comforted by music lyrics.

Probably I would have been similarly consoled by poetry, literature, plays and movies but of them all songs are the most accessible form of written word, and come with the added benefit of mood modulating sound.

Having been an avid reader all my life who could read write through the night, read in the almost dark, read with a failing torch under the covers, read in the toilet, at the beach, in the car until I got car sick, it is disappointing that I am now a very light reader. Books are out, magazines are okay if they’re mostly pictures with captions, letters are manageable, journals can be tackled in short passages, and reading my Bible is an ongoing battle.

Which makes songs perfect! I can turn on the radio and the music is fed to me song after song and takes no effort on my part. It just lilts into my ears, is filtered by my brain channels and either goes upward into storage or outwards never to be listened to again. Kind of like all the apps out there; Pandora, Spotify etc. No effort, just listening and enjoying and trimming all the gross ones while storing all the good ones.

I’ve written about some of the songs that have resonated with me: Sia’s Chandelier, Eminem and Rihanna’s Monsters, and maybe a couple of others when I was talking about the Songs That Made Me tour of Katie Noonan.

Here’s a new one: Pitbull and Neo’s Time of Our Lives. Now Pitbull in real life seems to be a very scary and possible violent person…actually I think there are court cases to show the possible is a certainty. But I can’t help it, I just love the timber of his voice. I love it!

So I was listening to it today and I want to share the lyrics that grabbed my heart and my gut and my thoughts all at once and made me say, yes!

Yes, that’s just what it’s like! I had a thought about the idea in my head but now you, creative artist, have put my muddled thoughts into clear words that are just so right to me. Yes, that’s just what it’s all about. Someone gets me, someone understands my thoughts and here they are in a cool song! It’s almost like these are the words that I need someone to say, and here you’ve gone and said it and filled that hole in my spirit.

Everybody going through something (repeated 8 times)

This is for anybody going through tough times

Believe me, been there, done that

But everyday above ground is a great day, remember that

-Time of Our Lives – Pitbull feat Ne-Yo

Isn’t that nice? I think it’s nice. And for the same reason Eminem always connects so strongly with me. There is something very soothing about a big, tough, strong, violent, criminal man saying to me through song, I get what you’re going through, and I’m settled enough in my own personality to admit that I’ve been there too, I understand it, and you will be okay. How sweet, big, tough man!

I’ll mention in a brief passing note that listening to the whole song might not exactly be the lovely calming thing I’ve made it to be. I’ve taken these words way out of context. The main point of the song is a guy in a tight financial jam who can’t pay his rent or bills or keep up with his life but he has just enough money to go and get smashed and perv on the hot bartender and maybe get lucky! Soooo….yeah. I took this nice bit out, but maybe you should just read these words and trust me that hearing them straight from Pitbull was a sweet moment for me. My recommendation in difficult times is never to drink yourself into a stupor before you get evicted/repossessed/arrested!

But I think it is always refreshing and relieving to hear anyone say that they realise others are having a rough time, that they realise you are having a tough time or that they have had a tough time. It makes me personally feel closer to a person who says this because I feel they are someone I can trust with myself because of their empathy, experience and/or care for others. A person like that seems to be one that won’t let you down, or give you a hard time over your difficulties, or expect miraculous recoveries. A person like that knows just how to be what you need most, cares about you and understands you. Isn’t that a wonderful thing?

Even if it’s just for a moment, and comes from a celebrity, and is sung in a song.

Even if you know you’ll never know the artist, and the moment of hearing the song will pass, but the world is a better place for them getting your struggle and singing about it!

For a few brief moments you and they are as one, and your loneliness and feeling of being misunderstood and people not ‘getting’ you and finding it hard to express your pain are resolved and made better and you are soothed.

That is truly wonderful.