The Failed Experiment

The other night I started a reading for my ‘Working with Mental Health’ course about anxiety and I must say I was feeling pretty impressed with myself. Alas the pride before the fall (or however the saying goes). I was feeling good about how I hadn’t really been experiencing anxiety that I could think of, hooray my self-confidence seemed to be travelling well.

I had a great Saturday but work Friday and Sunday were stressful, not unexpectedly leading up to work-shadowing on Monday! An anxious response to such an event is perfectly normally (as my reading told me). But now I must confess to my attempted experiment. I’ve had a few weekends away recently when I’ve left my medications at home and survived! Following that I thought to myself, well perhaps I’m ready to reduce my anti-depressants, and without consultation I stopped one of my daily tablets reducing my intake by 75mg.

Today I declared this experiment a failure and returned to taking my prescribed dosage. And I’m annoyed. I’ve been feeling more stressed and emotionally worn out but there is no evidence to be able to assuredly say that this is because of my reduced medication. It could just as likely be due simply to more stressful life circumstances in recent weeks. But why put myself through extra stress if the tablets do help? And so my brain has been on over-drive, overthinking, over analyzing over …  I was going to wait until after today to decide if it was medication or life affecting me, as today is my free day. No kids, no travel, just home with a chance to get on top of things. I’ve been waiting for this day and now that it’s here there is pressure to make sure it’s not wasted. Pressure on my free day?!? Good work brain. So I took the tablet this morning and I’m annoyed at myself at being disappointed. I have no qualms about taking medication for my mental health and yet it still seems an ideal to reduce that medication. I like to think it’s a cost thing because less medications equals less money spent but I’m financially blessed so really what does it matter…..?

Now faithful readers I’m going to give you an insight into the justifications that have been going round and round my head – reasons why I’ve been feeling more stressed out:

  • Reading about anxiety is bound to bring up feelings of anxiety
  • Assignments are looming and I don’t feel like I’ve had a chance to sit down and really focus on study (that was what today was for)
  • The box of papers that I’ve been constantly adding to, to sort through, but not finding time to deal with
  • Waking up to a messy kitchen/house
  • Relationship stuff
  • Parenting stuff
  • Just a general sense of not feeling on top of all that is coming up
  • Decisions to be made around playing netball and after school activities
  • Feeling so worn out and taking time to nap rather than putting those drawers I bought weeks ago into my bedroom and continuing the process of decluttering
  • Preparing for upcoming birthdays
  • Buying a new car
  • Preparing for work
  • Doing those exercises my therapist gave me not to mention trying to eat better…
  • Making time for blogging 😊
  • Actually clearing the table not just reorganising into different piles!
  • Oooh not to mention my period starting

Oh my what a release to actually write some of those things out. I am a list lover but I’ve tended in recent times to avoid them as they so often get made and then simply added to that box of papers. I think I can work with this list above. I think I may be able to acknowledge some of those stressors and move on.

I feel like this week my brain has gone back to that cycle of overthinking whereas when I’m truly well, I don’t think I just do. I don’t rehash and work on justifying I just feel. But I’m not really sure maybe it’s all just the reverse-placebo effect, maybe I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, maybe I’m mis-remembering.

And maybe today was a good day. Maybe today was just what I needed to get back on track of all those thoughts going round and round. Another good day. I got what I needed to done, not all that would have been ideal but some extra stuff too aka a normal good day. I don’t really care about the medication, even though I’m feeling much better now I’m not goin to re-attempt the experiment (just yet :p ) but I will keep working on and addressing my mental health after all it’s what keep me sane!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friendship….

almost 900 kms

In the past two days I haven driven almost 900kms. Two hundred is pretty normal for me over two days, if I’m doing anything other than staying at home but 900 is super tiring. I had a 500km round trip yesterday with our puppy to have a check up with his surgeon. He broke his leg about six weeks ago and then two weeks ago had to have a second surgery due to damage to his tissues and knee cap, fortunately it seems we are on track now and fingers crossed I only have to do that trip one more time (realistically probably 2…)

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Back in our home town I then had the school pick up, swimming and dance run to complete with an added netball team trial for me. When I finally got home 13.5 hours after leaving I had some uni readings to finish before today’s (only 3 hour return) drive. My study course involves practice counselling sessions with a fellow student and this was our midpoint. Needless to say I am incredibly delighted to now be at home, chilling on the couch, kids already asleep!

I am also delighted to announce that I have finally been able to close the monster truck party tabs on my internet explorer. It’s been on my to-do list since the start of the Christmas holidays but non-surprisingly only got attended to in the last few weeks (days :p). Nonetheless it a huge success and spent the next two days recovering.

Tonight would normally be my WWW Wednesday post but I’m feeling a bit sad that that’s all I’ve been managing lately, then again it keeps me ticking so ‘watev’s‘… hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words, it’s fun and simple, all you have to answer the three W’s: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next? You can also join by answering and linking your blog post back on Sam’s post.

Currently reading:

Yep Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert is still there.

Enjoying Snow and Shadow by Dorothy Tse even if it is a bit weird.

Finding Fraser by K.C Dyer although I can’t take much of it at a time!

Finished reading:

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Simply amazing. 5 stars

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them—in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul—they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. Goodreads.

I borrowed this book without reading the back cover, which I sometimes think is a good way to go, no expectations. I appreciated the narrator on the audio book pronouncing names and words I’m sure I would have completely stuffed up and really taking me into the world of Afghanistan. And how astounding it was to enter that world through the eyes of these two women. Can’t recommend enough.

Reading next:

Without a doubt Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini has moved up the list. Plus all those uni readings…

 

 

WWW Wednesday 8th March

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s fun and simple, you just have to answer the three W’s: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next? You can also join by answering and linking your blog post back on Sam’s post.

Currently reading:

I’m actually taking a leaf out of Sam’s book this week with a growing collection of books in this category! Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert is still there. I’ve been carrying it and Snow and Shadow by Dorothy Tse around everywhere lately and have finally started the second – our next bookclub book.

This week I also discovered the joy of audiobooks!! I had previously been a bit of an ageist thinking they were mostly for people with eyesight issues but with all the drives I’ve had recently I checked out Overdrive borrowing A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, the author of Kite Runner (on my to-read list) and set in Afghanistan. It is fantastic. Sadly for today’s road trip my preferred car was out of action with the book on usb so I put Finding Fraser by K.C Dyer on my phone instead – sadly nowhere near as good and not sure I’ll get through, even if it is Outlander inspired

Finished reading:

Silly car I’m sure I would have finished Splendid Suns today if not for you!! Taking it in for a service tomorrow but with kids in tow unlikely to get much listening done.

Reading next:

Read a movie review recently of Silence based on the book by Shūsaku Endō, it’s currently in my Book Depository basket waiting for pay day.  I’m planning to use it for my When Are You Reading Challenge which you are more than welcome to join 🙂

Uni readings start in full force this week and following my son’s 4th birthday yesterday we have a party on Saturday to organise and recover from. Monday however is a public holiday so there is reading and blogging hope for this week…well a glimpse of hope at least!

 

Life Update & WWW Wednesday

Surprise, surprise, life has been busy!! I didn’t get to do this post last week because I was hosting an English/Russian/German themed Exposure inspired book club. As usual it was a fantabulous night of laughs and food!

I cooked (!) (my once a year effort) Yorkshire pudding with Apple sausage in Onion Gravy, mashed potato, peas and carrots. Dessert was this very simple (but tasty!) fruit cobbler with farm grown plums and Foster Clarks custard (no, I don’t have a share in the company girls!). I also had cheese and dips (bookclub staple) along with german sausages, pretzels and cavier (apparently Russian?). I found my questions here and the night was a wonderful success. Two of us had a great discussion on why we loved it, two others couldn’t get through it and the other finisher was a bit ‘meh’ 🙂

Since then life has been all a-go. A friend come out the following day, after I’d already done a load of dishes sadly, but I did get her to supervise while I worked on clearing out one room and moving a bookshelf in from another room.

Friday I somehow crammed in three clients before the three hour drive to our city to start a weekend intensive on Emotion Focused Therapy. It was a full on few days, spent fortunately with lovely people. I would love to give you a blurb on EFT, but that would require more brain power than I have available to me at the moment, if anyone already knows about it, would love your thoughts!! Seems to involve some confronting but powerful techniques.

I then made a quick trip up into the Hills to make an appearance at my cousin’s post wedding party. Just lovely to spend an hour catching up with family before the drive home this time with my family (and experimenting the back roads!).

Would have been lovely to relax then on monday but Hubby and I took our puppy back to the surgeon for a 4 week check up and left him there for another surgery 😦 He will be on even stricter bed rest this time – eeek. Thereafter I’ve had chauffering, household chores, meetings, appointments and work. Tomorrow I’ve got the 5 hour round trip to pick up puppy again…..

And then we have reading 🙂 Following Sam’s meme hosted at Taking on a World of Words. Anyone can participate. All you’ve got to do is answer the three Ws below and post a link to your answers here.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Finished reading: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, I absolutely loved this book – funny, poignant and just good reading. From Goodreads ‘Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.’

Currently reading: Still trying to read Committed, little by little. Havn’t made time for anything else though.

Reading next: I need to get started on Snow and Shadow by Dorothy Tse, next months book club book. I also saw the below clip on Facebook this morning and along with Sam’s books in the car (and everywhere) it’s made me think about seeing if I could find Constance Hall’s book in audio format to listen to in the car…

Happy reading to you all

ps I really really need to be spending time planning my son’s 4th birthday next week….

Pimples on my tongue

Does anyone else get pimples on their tongues?

I think it could be a stress thing…I also swear my teeth get sharper at certain times of the year causing pimples, I’ve had two recently and its annoying.

Please give me advice so I don’t have to resort to Doctor Google!

 

In other news….

I started this draft post a month ago Is it over yet? Part 2

 

communicating with hubby…

wanting him to tell me he cares….

in-laws separation…..

 

It has been a tough month relationship wise, I was near breaking point really when I wrote my man a letter and the next morning without explicit prompting he said, ‘I’m sorry.’ Wow can’t tell you how much that meant to me. I read so much into those simple words, that he understood why I was upset and that he could see that his actions had hurt me. So once again there’s hope.

One thing I have been struggling with is I think he is actually the one suffering at the moment and so for me to be having thoughts of needing more from him feels selfish. I do however believe he needs to let me in. I can’t ignore my own needs if he doesn’t share with me. Communication is slow and progress slower still (so it feels) but at least it’s moving again.

 

Short post but I think that’s enough. Wishing you all a blessed weekend and in particular that your relationships may flourish.

 

Actually I do have something else to add, this step forward has been a real answer to prayer. I found this blog approximately 3 years ago, printed it out and stuck it in my Bible. Such a good way to approach conflict in marriage – to pray for your partner. Definitely not always easy but in those times I take comfort that the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Rom 8:26 (Thanks Vanessa)

 

From Becky Thompson 10 Prayers for my Husbands Heart

Lord, I ask that you would touch my husband’s heart. I pray that his heart would be…

1.)    CONFIDENT of Your love for Him.

2.)    SENSITIVE to the promptings of Your Holy Spirit.

3.)    BRAVE as he follows you in all areas of his life.

4.)    SOFT so that he may show Your love to others always.

5.)    WISE in always discerning truth.

6.)    GENTLE with my heart and the hearts of our children.

7.)    RECEPTIVE of my love for him.

8.)    STRONG in doing what you have called him to do.

9.)    PROTECTED from the lusts that would try to ensnare it.

10.)  REFLECTIVE of the love of his Heavenly Father.

Father, I thank You for the wonderful man that You have given me. Help me to always see Him as you do. Help me to remember to pray for His heart daily. Grow our relationship emotionally and spiritually as together we pursue You in all things.

WWW Wednesday 15th Feb

I’m back! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in her comments for others to look at. Got back into some reading this week and here is my update:

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Finished reading: Exposure by Helen Dunmore and about time too. Chose this as my book club pick and the girls are all due at my place next Wednesday! I enjoyed this book set during the cold war in England. The author explored so much in what was a somewhat slow paced book packed however with increasing tension, it really was fantastically written. One quote I particularly like was ‘The children a phalanx around their mother’.

To prove its worth here is a snapshot of a much better review than above paragraph from FictionFans Book Reviews:

It’s almost impossible to write a short blurb for this one that doesn’t make it sound as if it’s a spy thriller, and in many ways it is. But mostly what it is is a set of brilliant character studies showing the impact of this event on the lives of all those involved…. it’s an entirely credible portrayal of a fictionalised version of the Cambridge spy ring and its association with homosexuality, at that period of the 1950s and early ’60s still a crime, and enough to destroy a man’s career and even life, if exposed….The writing is excellent, quickly building up a tense atmosphere of secrecy and suspicion. The book is written in third person, allowing the reader to get inside the head of each of the major characters in turn. …But what really makes this book stand out from the crowd is the inclusion of Simon’s wife and family.

I would definitely like to read another Helen Dunmore book in the future.

Currently reading: I started Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert but found her ‘voice’ annoying me so not sure if I’ll stick with it. I enjoyed Eat, Love, Pray but did find it flawed – pretentiousness of the author is already grating on me. Not to mention I’m feeling pretty dismal about my marriage at the moment….

Reading next: If I’m feeling like working on the marriage thing I might try Wild at Heart and Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge but I think I’m more likely to get into Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, a Christmas gift. I was also reminded I still have Constance Hall’s book, might just return that one. In addition I believe I’ve found the next title for my When Are You Reading Challenge from the movie review in my church magazine, stay tuned!

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Progress Tracker

Pre 1500 – The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

1500-1599 

1600-1699 – coming….

1700-1799 – Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

1800-1899  

1900-1919

1920-1939 – The Small Woman by Alan Burgess

1940-1959

1960-1979 – Exposure by Helen Dunmore

1980-1999 

2000-Present 

The Future 

 

 

My Political Pants

Last Sunday the Australian Federal Minister for Education announced that an
expert group had been formed to work on the implementation of a nation-wide phonics assessment and numeracy check for year 1’s. He asserted this action was part of a plan of getting back to basics in Australian schools. I spent the afternoon reading comments and looking into it more – I was excited to finally have some something from my Facebook feed spark my attention. Even more igniting was a blog I read that night by Cate Speaks –Imperfect activism. She wrote  about the shared despair resulting from the politics of the wider world and the mental exhaustion resulting in a lack of time or energy to devote to activism.  Most importantly she proclaimed that while it may be impossible to do ‘enough,’  even if you only do one thing, ever, that’s still one thing that wouldn’t have been done if you hadn’t done it.

She particularly inspired me with the goal ‘to do your one thing, and then encourage two or three more people to do their one thing too’, in order to make a difference. She plans to do 2 things a week , one that is political or big picture and the other small and local – ‘something that aims to maintain and build the communities I am a part of’.  I’m pretty keen to follow her lead so am adding yet another 2017 blogging goal to me list – the political post.

To recap this year I’ve said I’m going to do – a reading post (WWW Wednesday and When are you reading challenge), an issue post, my regular whatever posts and now a political post. Let’s just not set too many timelines on these! I had a bit of a crazy busy week – daughter back to school, now a big Year 1, son started kindy, I attempted to work clients around various schedules, hubby had shearing and our puppy broke his leg! I was extremely happy to make it to the weekend. I’m now trying to work my way through several tabs open in my internet browser and this is where my first purposeful political post shall begin….

Firstly I am still trying to get my head around Simon Birmingham’s education announcement (mentioned above). My first thought was WHY more assessment? H’s reception teacher last year did reading at least once a week with each student, I’m sure all teachers already know where their kids are at reading-wise. More important than assessment in my opinion is resources to respond to what teacher’s already know. Resources to help the students who are identified as struggling. Anyhow I still need to look into this one further – maybe next weeks post.

Secondly Trump. I don’t know who I would’ve voted for if I was American but I am not 100% against this guy. Then I read this summary of his first week in office…

Thirdly Trump. again. well no actually Russia. A lovely friend joined me on the five hour round trip to pick my puppy up after surgery and we discussed all and everything. She mentioned fears of Trumps relationship with Russia, especially since Russia was seeking to decriminalise domestic violence, what the what?! She wasn’t making it up:

According to CNN ‘The pending legislation would consider an assault — if it’s a first offense that does not seriously injure the person — an administrative, rather than criminal offense. The legislation would also apply to children…Women’s rights groups say domestic violence has an insidious hold on many Russian families and fear that decriminalizing assaults will only encourage more violence… An old Russian expression “If he beats you it means he loves you.”…Official data on domestic violence in Russia is not centrally collected so it’s hard to verify. But the state-run news agency RIA Novosti reports that 40% of serious crimes in Russia are committed in the family, 36,000 women are beaten by their husbands daily, and 12,000 women die yearly as a result of domestic violence — one woman every 44 minutes.’

‘Yelena Mizulina, the politician who introduced the legislation believes it will bring domestic violence offences into line with other assault and battery charges, which were decriminalised last year.The change would mean that ‘battery within the family’ as an administrative offence would be punished with a fine, community service or brief prison term.’ (http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/01/13/despite-outcry-russia-set-de-criminalise-domestic-violence). It also returns the crime to the realm of “private prosecution”, where the victim is responsible for collecting evidence and bringing a case. Repeat offences would be criminal infractions, but only within a year of the first, giving abusers a pass to beat relatives once a year.’

The Economist reported that Russia is one of three countries in Europe and Central Asia that do not have laws specifically targeting domestic violence. Instead it is treated like other forms of assault, ignoring the fact that spouses and children are more vulnerable than other victims.

Alena Popova, an advocate for laws against domestic violence, is reported to support the new law, believing that more women will come forward if they do not think their partners will be sent to Russia’s harsh prisons. Similarly comments on the Economist article shared

For those still confused [with the] difference between “criminal” and “non-criminal” violations in Russian law
1. While both types of violations are prosecuted by the state, only courts (1 court per 1 mln people, roughly) can do criminal cases. Many smaller offices can process administrative cases. Speed of processing will be much higher after de-criminalizing.
2. Standard of proof is easier for “non-criminal” violations, more domestic abusers will be sentenced after de-criminalizing.
3. Range of punishment is lighter for “non-criminal” cases, but still includes forced community service and short detention ( weeks / months ). Certain types of theft and battery are routinely treated as non criminal.

Another commentator suggested that while the first punishment is administrative there is then an INEVITABLE criminal case for the second offence led by a government prosecutor that cannot be closed by the “consent of the parties”, with maximum punishment of 10 years in prison. Thus giving family members more protection – previously calling the police was useless; police could do nothing; now they can fine the offender, and lock him up for 15 days to think about his behavior, and get into him that the next time he will be on direct way to state prosecutor and 10 years imprisonment with very high chances of case going through.

I think in the end I will have to leave this issue to the Russians (although I did sign an online petition). The most important takeaway message for me is, one woman dying every 44 minutes from domestic violence, ANY woman/child/person dying as a result of domestic violence is unacceptable.

‘Enough’ for one day I think.

 

 

Although FYI

More ideas from Cate’s Blog https://catespeaks.wordpress.com/ (I also like Leaning to Speak Politics https://learningtospeakpolitics.wordpress.com/)

Here is a highly incomplete list of really small, easy things you can do for yourselves and for each other.

  • Donate to a charity on behalf of someone else.  Oxfam Unwrapped will send a friend a card on your behalf, telling them what you donated in their name.  The bag of pig’s manure seems like an appropriate choice right now.  So does the Women’s Rights gift, that trains women in Bangladesh for leadership roles.
  • Bake something delicious and give it to someone.  I feed my colleagues a lot (but not tomorrow, because I’ve spent all evening writing this.  Sorry, my scientists!), but dropping something in to a local homeless shelter, or for the doctors and nurses at your local hospital is a nice touch.  Or you could do this.
  • Write a letter to a politician thanking them for their work on something you appreciate.  Or write a letter or a card to a teacher or friend who has helped you, telling them how much you value them.
  • If hand crafts are your thing, make a quilt or a cape or knit a teddy bear for a sick or traumatised child, or check out one of these campaigns.
  • If you are in a choir or orchestra or other musical group, get a group together and see if there is a local retirement home, or hospital, or detention centre, that might like a short concert.
  • Recommend a book to someone.  Buy it for them, if you can afford it.  Make it something fun and clever and escapist and quietly feminist.  (My recommendations this week are Sherry Thomas’s book A Study in Scarlet Women, which is a really clever gender-swapped Sherlock Holmes; The Invisible Library, by Genevieve Cogman, a fantasy adventure with secret agents, alternate worlds, and stolen books; and anything by Lois McMaster Bujold, but especially Paladin of Souls.)
  • Ring someone who you know is having a rough time right now for a chat.
  • Volunteer for a tree planting day, or at a wildlife shelter.
  • Download Mapswipe, and help Medecins Sans Frontières find people in disaster zones (note that you will need good eyes for this activity)
  • Take a bath, turn off your phone, and have an early night.  Books, music, favourite TV programs, partners and pets might all be part of this arrangement.  It doesn’t have to be tonight.  But give yourself permission to take a night off from the fear.  You can afford one night.  We all can.