Calling me

This is probably a long overdue explanation. Actually I can’t believe we haven’t talked about this before. But to save hurt feelings and offense, here’s the deal.

Since I’ve been sick, starting with generalized anxiety disorder and progressing to bipolar 2 disorder, I’ve hated the phone!

Well I hate the phone function of my phone. I actually quite like the rest of my phone, and we spend a lot of time hanging out, my phone’s operating system and I.

What I hate is answering the phone, dialing numbers on my phone, calls coming up on my screen, making calls from my phone, talking on the phone.

There are some known reasons why, and some unknown reasons why. I rationalize it as best I can, but at the bottom of everything there is this primal aversion that I can’t remedy; an involuntary reaction that overcomes some of my attempts to change it.

I guess part of the response is about uncertainty. If there is one thing that anxiety fears it is the unknown. It has such a field day when a thing is not known or not fully known. An unknown phone number coming up on my touch screen sends my heart rate, my pulse, my blood pressure, everything fight or flight about me into a tizzy and I put the phone as far away as I can be by arm’s reach and stare at it as it rings, until finally it stops. Then a missed call message comes up on my screen, then maybe a voice mail. It’s a lot to deal with! Suddenly my day’s calendar has exploded! By end of day I have to get up the nerve to open and read the missed call message, and, shoot me now, listen to the voice mail and hopefully not, but possibly, have to respond to it. Having a known contact’s number pop up on my screen isn’t much less exhausting. Answering the phone, opening my ears up opens a direct pathway to my heart by emotions foreign, unknown. Here’s hoping that responding to the message only takes an inner acknowledgement, please not a text and please please please not a phone call!!

So, the uncertainty. What is so uncertain? Everything, to anyone inclined towards anxiety. Who is it going to be, what are they going to want, how long is it going to take, where are you going to be when they catch you off guard? When are they going to call? What are they going to say, what will I have to say? Nothing can be known in advance, and therefore nothing can be controlled which is how I prefer to operate; controlled. I constantly worry about what emotional toll happenings around me will have on me. How much emotional money do I have today, and how am I going to spend it? Because once it’s spent that’s it for me, off to bed to recharge for as long as it takes. It’s inconvenient, but it works. So I feel that I have to carefully monitor the cost of happenings around me, and what capacity I have to pay for them. That’s just how it is.

That’s if I’m having an anxious day. On a depressed day, it’s much less complicated. The sheer act of reaching my arm out to my phone, having to lift the phone up, transport it to my ear, roll over so that I can put the phone to my ear…just far too many moving parts for me! I’m going back to sleep, they can call later. Or never. Let them leave a text message, a voice mail. Let them leave 10, I’ll deal with it at some undetermined later date which may never come, although that brings it’s own anxiety around having something outstanding awaiting my attention and the same what ifs as before, except I can control the when with a beating heart and shaking hands. So, same result, different motivator and vastly different range of emotions assailing me.

Please don’t take me wrong! I love that you care enough to call. The thought behind it is precious to me, always. Consider your good intentions registered and appreciated even if you never get through to me; even if I’m not thoughtful enough to call you back and tell you so. It’s not you that I have a problem with; I like you. It’s my insides that are roiling and writhing regardless of who it is coming across the telephone network. So many lovely friends, and I let you go to voicemail. It hurts me in the heart to do it, but my jiggling stomach and nerves win out most of the time. I just can’t do it, I just can’t pick up that phone! I do mean to get back to you, somehow. I think about it, about how I’ll let you know that I did get your message, I did note your call. I think, maybe I’ll text you later, or maybe this time I’ll manage to talk myself into calling you, you know, later. But maybe I won’t, and I’ll feel bad, very bad about it. Not bad enough to call, necessarily, but bad. I’m sorry. You don’t deserve this kind of treatment, but I so often just can’t find it in myself to do better. Lately I’m improving, but it’s early days, we’ll see how those nerves go.

So, I text. I love texting! I can read and reread your message to get the absolute fullest meaning out of it, then I can draft and redraft my response, leaving some waiting time in between if I need to ponder new information or digest new events. When I’M ready, and composed, and emotionally calm, and in control, I can text you a reply. No sudden information overload, or rush of emotions. No misspoken words, or “I didn’t mean it like that” moment. It’s just better!

I tend to mostly not pick up the phone, except to my husband who is always safe. Some closer friends also are on the okay list, but that list doesn’t apply at all times on all days so if I let you ring out, please don’t be upset or offended or think that you aren’t a great friend. I just don’t have the emotion to spend today, sorry. Not to suggest that you suck the energy out of me; all interaction does, it’s not personal. As a matter of fact, I tend to put my phone on silent. I also tend to leave it around the house, or in my handbag, or upstairs, or in my work locker; I don’t tend to carry it around with me. So it may be the case that I just didn’t hear your call, or see that you were calling, or maybe I did see it and just couldn’t make myself answer. Either way, I still love you! I’m just dealing with my demons!

If I answer a call, it’s like metaphorically throwing myself off a bridge. It’s a mentally drastic action that I can’t take back once I’ve hit that button, risky to my emotional state, putting myself out there exposed and open to injury inflicted by unknowing people. Will I be hurt, will I get through unscathed? Am I okay today and able to get through what this potentially might be? Or will I regret trying to be better by answering? I would like not to assume that everyone and everything is out to get me, and I don’t really. I just don’t have the emotional capacity that I used to have, that “normal” people have. So I tend to be overly wary, overly self protective. Maybe it’s over the top, maybe it’s insulting. But it is what it is.

I know it’s etiquette to return your call. About that. Deliberately dialing a number with the intention of talking to someone brings every bit of fight or flight flooding in, again! How many times can I take this experience without permanently depleting my adrenaline stores? Add to that an enormous lump in my throat so that I can hardly speak normally, and an overwhelming urge to hang up at every ring! If I actually get to say hello, it’s possibly been an ordeal! Mostly. I have good days. Better days. When it’s not so hard. But mostly I’ve had to take myself firmly to task, and work myself up to dialing back.

Here is a not uncommon scenario: I let the phone ring out cos I just can’t answer, then when I feel ready I text you back. You assume I’m free now and wasn’t before so you call me again. I let it ring out again cos you know, then I text you again. Until you get tired of calling me, I guess!

I suppose I’m trying to condition anyone who rings me to leave me a message. Then I can call back if and when I’m ever ready, or I can text you safely from the comfort of my own home, at the time of my choosing, controlled by me, no risk to my emotional self. Texting is good. It’s safe, I can compose what I want to say, I can respond at my leisure, no one rushing me or hassling me, it’s all in my hands, in my control.

But I guess sometimes I need to be challenged to do it the “normal” way, so don’t stop calling. I want you to stop in that I want to stop having to answer, but really it’s your choice and I’m trying to be better, to deal with it somehow. After all it’s the thing, it’s not you. You are my friend, and I like you, so I’m trying. Make me try.

Advertisements

Wild flower

[Edit, 14th August 2015: in order to keep this blog going and to keep showing you my photos, I’ve had to make room otherwise I’ll be all full up and writing you essays every time! Thanks for your understanding, as I delete all of these flower photos!]

Okay so you know how I’m just like a teensy tiny eeny weeny little bit obsessed with birds? With hearing them, finding them, seeing them, photographing etc?

Well nothing about that has changed but I’m adding a bit of variety into the mix.

For nearly four years, since hubby and I took a trip to Perth and southern Western Australia over the New Year break in 2010/1, I have wanted to go back there during the wild flower season which is famous world wide. I even booked it into my hard copy calendar on the wall for the following year, but before the dates came around we moved house and the calendar was abandoned to a box in the shed and the idea was forgotten.

Until this year. We received a Save The Date card in August for a family wedding just outside of Perth in Swan Valley for the end of October! Eeek! Right at the tail end of the wildflower season!! YAY!!!

So I jumped right into research mode: what species of flowers would be flowering, in what areas, at what time in the season, where would be best to see them, who operated tours in the right areas. Typical over-organisation, but it’s fun so where’s the harm, right?

As well as my own research, I took the topic to my last photography class and quizzed my teacher (Wendy Clark – Empathy Photographics, Master Your Camera) on photographing miniature flowers, seeing as she is an expert in photographing wild native orchids: lighting, sun and shade, getting up close, use of zoom, getting the colour right, time of day etc.

So excitingly, the right place for sighting and photographing wildflowers at the end of October is right in Perth and southern Western Australia, exactly where we’ll be! As well as hanging out with my husband’s family in Perth I have a lot of family to visit down south as far as Bunbury so I feel like the stars have aligned for wildflower hunting and photography! Awesome!

I’ve looked up all the tours, but Kings Park in the centre of Perth has an amazing display of wildflowers apparently, and some of my family have paddocks of wildflowers next to their properties so I’m going to get my fill there and if I still need some more flowers then I’ll book once I’m there.

So why am I writing all this blah blah? Because I’m about to throw a bazillion practice photos at you *evil smile* I’ve been practicing in the gardens of my neighbours, in the park, at the awesome holiday house my mum and dad (and me and hubby some of the time) just stayed in for a week courtesy of the Otis Foundation at Wattle Point, on Raymond Island, in the Blond Bay game reserve, on the silt jetties outside of Paynesville, Bluff lookout…essentially anytime I find a flower that might be native, or any flower really, and have my camera nearby.

I’m trying to focus on native flowers, but as it happens, I don’t really know which flowers are native and which have been imported. I mean some are obvious, like I know gum flowers and heath and wild orchids are Australian, and willow trees and camelias and holly are from England, but that’s about the whole of my knowledge! So I’m in the market for a field guide, some more experience and maybe a tiny version of a tripod for getting those awkward shots.

In the meantime, here are the flowers from my holiday out East to tantalise us for the West!

Apparently this beautiful flower is called

Apparently this beautiful flower is called “Pig Face”! It’s also pink not magenta, but I couldn’t make my camera agree!

Beautiful purple flowering vine on the lemon version of

Beautiful purple flowering vine on the lemon version of “Pig Face”

Pink flowering gum blossoming out of gumnuts

Pink flowering gum blossoming out of gumnuts

We all fell in LOVE with these gorgeous blue flowers that creep as a vine into other bushes and trees

We all fell in LOVE with these gorgeous blue flowers that creep as a vine into other bushes and trees

Our pretty state emblem, the Heath bell flowers

Our pretty state emblem, the Heath bell flowers

Lovely small little yellow flowers

Lovely small little yellow flowers

Another in the trillions of white star flowers - its amazing how different each one is!

Another in the trillions of white star flowers – its amazing how different each one is!

I love how these white star flowers have little divets cut in between

I love how these white star flowers have little divets cut in between

Very Christmasy native with all the delicate scrolls and bobbles

Very Christmasy native with all the delicate scrolls and bobbles

A fabulous Christmas coloured Kangaroo Paw, definitely Australian!

A fabulous Christmas coloured Kangaroo Paw, definitely Australian!

A weird knobbly kind of flower on a green bush

A weird knobbly kind of flower on a green bush

A fascinating kind of Grevillea flower, all spikes and yellow nobbles

A fascinating kind of Grevillea flower, all spikes and yellow nobbles

A pink variation on the cotton candy bush where the flower bursts out of the nut

A pink variation on the cotton candy bush where the flower bursts out of the nut

Lovely pink Melaleuca flowers, a childhood favourite of mine - love how they cover the whole bush

Lovely pink Melaleuca flowers, a childhood favourite of mine – love how they cover the whole bush

Delightful masses of tiny pink flowers growing off spikes

Delightful masses of tiny pink flowers growing off spikes

Gorgeous pea flower growing prolifically! Fabulous colour!

Gorgeous pea flower growing prolifically! Fabulous colour!

This pretty pea flower is apparently called the egg and bacon bush! What?!

This pretty pea flower is apparently called the egg and bacon bush! What?!

More star flowers than I can count! This time they are mauve

More star flowers than I can count! This time they are mauve

Another pretty purple hibiscus flower

Another pretty purple hibiscus flower

Lovely spike of tiny pink flowers

Lovely spike of tiny pink flowers

Christmas bells! Hope they last til the festive season

Christmas bells! Hope they last til the festive season

Yellow button flowers clustering together

Yellow button flowers clustering together

Pretty pretty white star flowers with cute baubles

Pretty pretty white star flowers with cute baubles

How much do these gorgeous flowers look like butterflies?

How much do these gorgeous flowers look like butterflies?

A cute littlepurple paper mache type pom pom flower

A cute little purple paper mache type pom pom flower

fabulously intricate white flower with yellow stamens

fabulously intricate white flower with yellow stamens

If you look closely you see that there is a long thin red and yellow stem coming out of the centre of this tiny star flower

If you look closely you see that there is a long thin red and yellow stem coming out of the centre of this tiny star flower

White ringed yellow centred pink daisy - so pretty!

White ringed yellow centred pink daisy – so pretty!

A cotton wool type flowering popping out of a nut

A cotton wool type flowering popping out of a nut

Another Christmas like delight unfurling from a tight little bud

Another Christmas like delight unfurling from a tight little bud

Another spiky bobbly Christmassy flower

Another spiky bobbly Christmassy flower

All I can think of looking at these flowers is false eyelashes

All I can think of when looking at these flowers is false eyelashes

A funny bobbly seed pod: not sure if it was a flower or always a pod

A funny bobbly seed pod: not sure if it was a flower or always a pod

Chewed on yellow centred yellow daisy with creepy crawlies

Chewed on yellow centred yellow daisy with creepy crawlies

Don't know what these yellow centred star fllowers are but they're cute

Don’t know what these yellow centred star fllowers are but they’re cute

Orange dotted purple centred washed out orange daisy

Orange dotted purple centred washed out orange daisy

White sprigs of blossom, perfect for a vase

White sprigs of blossom, perfect for a vase

A gorgeous yellow sprig of star flowers on a ridiculously long and fragile stem - hard to capture blowing in the wind!

A gorgeous yellow sprig of star flowers on a ridiculously long and fragile stem – hard to capture blowing in the wind!

I call these cotton ball flowers - no idea what they actually are

I call these cotton ball flowers – no idea what they actually are

Cutesy little rose like flower bursting out of little nuts

Cutesy little rose like flower bursting out of little nuts

Yellow centred purple daisy standing out by itself, bank, green plant

Yellow centred purple daisy standing out by itself

Purple centred peachy coloured daisy

Purple centred peachy coloured daisy

Delightful little purple flowers giving colour to a grey bush

Delightful little purple flowers giving colour to a grey bush

fabulously tiny and petite purple flowers growing on a bush

Fabulously tiny and petite purple flowers growing on a bush

Cape weed - an introduced pest but it does look spectacular in the springtime

Cape weed – an introduced pest but it does look spectacular in the springtime

Lovely yellow centred white ringed pink daisy...just a tad chomped on by rogue bunny rabbits

Lovely yellow centred white ringed pink daisy…just a tad chomped on by rogue bunny rabbits

Lovely trumpet type flower, pale pink on the outside, maroon on the inside

Lovely trumpet type flower, pale pink on the outside, maroon on the inside

Pretty white 4 sided star flower in a bunch

Pretty white 4 sided star flower in a bunch

Delightful white daisy with pink dots - the bush is amazing!

Delightful white daisy with pink dots – the bush is amazing!

Lovely double sided crinkle edged yellow flower

Lovely double sided crinkle edged yellow flower

Teensy tiny itty bitty purple flowers on a grass bush

Teensy tiny itty bitty purple flowers on a grass bush

Fabulous yellow centred yellow daisies - such a prolific flowering plant

Fabulous yellow centred yellow daisies – such a prolific flowering plant

Pretty pretty pretty - a lovely yellow centred white daisy

Pretty pretty pretty – a lovely yellow centred white daisy

Not sure what it is but love the green-red contrast and delicate flower

Not sure what it is but love the green-red contrast and delicate flower

Blue and yellow centred white daisy

Blue and yellow centred white daisy

Looks like the other pink pea flower but this is a bush, not a tree

Looks like the other pink pea flower but this is a bush, not a tree

Beautiful bunch of white star flowers

Beautiful bunch of white star flowers

Lovely purple hibiscus flower, paper thin but surprisingly lasting

Lovely purple hibiscus flower, paper thin but surprisingly lasting

Pretty little blue star growing out of a grass bush

Pretty little blue star growing out of a grass bush