Welcome to my Parlour ...

Parlour -
A reception room in a private residence.

In this case, the private residence would be the recesses of my mind ...
which can be, at once, a wondrous and a terrifying place to be.
A place of confusion and fear, doubt and despair as I daily tackle the mental health challenges which are my birthright and curse.
But also a place of glorious imagination and profound Faith borne from the wellspring of my lifelong spiritual quest for understanding and self-mastery and the power, subtle and real, this Path has granted me.

This Parlour, then, would be that little space where the outside world may meet MY reality.

Truly, there's no telling what one may find posted here.
Ultimately this space is for myself, although others are welcome to stay a while provided they don't mind the spider.

~ Go dtugtar breith orainn dá réir ár ngníomhartha. ~
(Let us, by our actions, be judged)

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Brought to you by the letters A and D, and the number <0

On the whole, today isn't a good day ... The things that lurk at the back of my mind aren't so much skulking about as they have donned a large pair of parade drill boots and are indiscriminately stomping my grey matter into goo taking me along with it.

It's not the pain so much, I mean it's THERE but then it's always there isn't it? That's why it's called chronic pain, ya? 
Today isn't a bad pain day. I have just enough spoons to get through today's shift and then fall into bed when I get home ... well, physically at least.

When fear and misery are your natural default setting, well ... it's not all that tough to run psyche first into mental walls. Agoraphobia with severe social anxiety and Depression (chronic depression it used to be the clinical diagnosis) are the one - two punch of Mental Illness. 

Depression is often described as being mired in the past. It's not inaccurate as the brain scours the memory for each and every instance where one has either screwed up or where perception can be twisted to the negative and then replayed in the mind's eye in such a way as to guarantee that one's self-worth is systematically stripped away. Chiseling away one's sense of Self as inexorably and painfully as water dripping upon stone. For me, it goes one step further ... draining away colour, scent, and emotion itself until even pain cannot reach me and all is a dull grey fog from which "feeling sad" would be a welcome improvement. That's when the thoughts come out to play like little gremlins smashing the gears of my though processes and whispering evil suggestions into the echo chamber my mind has become. Whispering that make themselves heard multiple times per day, sometimes multiple times per minute. Thoughts that I dare not heed -- that I will not heed -- so long as there is one person yet in my life to whom my absence would cause harm. Currently, I have several ... spouse, children, grandchildren and even a few good friends who find it within themselves to care for me even when I cannot. For them (armed with grim determination, a better understanding of my disability than the average lay person, the correct prescriptions and an understanding that the ways in which I am broken cannot be fixed or cured only managed) I continue even on those days like today when the best I can manage is to just keep breathing and make it to bedtime. 

Anxiety is described as being stuck in in a future of worst case outcomes ... when fueled by pathological, unreasoning phobia its debilitating effect increases exponentially. My every action, word, gesture or interaction is forever under the electron microscope of my own distorted perceptions as are those of everyone around me. I am a prisoner of my own head ... locked in a solitary confinement born of chemical imbalances, CPTSD, a natural proclivity to introversion and a childhood of enforced solitude. I am afraid all of the time, a nervous system so locked in near constant fight or flight that adrenal fallout is a frequent event. Even when I might like to reach out, go out, be social with someone I actually deem as safe no sooner have I made plans than my mind begins applying the thumb screws in an effort to force me to cancel. The closer time comes to the agreed upon outing, the worse the mental and physical discomfort becomes until I either force myself to see it through or I break and run. Giving into the terror and canceling on the person I was to meet up with. If I grin and bear it, as I often can manage so well that my own spouse forgets I am disabled, I spend the time/event medicated (one of which has short term memory problems as a side effect) and grimly quashing the urge to just go home. I often decide whether I enjoyed myself a day or two later after reviewing what I can recall of the experience. Should I break and run, the fear wins and I am rewarded by a rush of endorphins that flood my brain, telling me how good a job I did of avoiding that worst case danger and ensuring that the next time I face that fear, it is stronger and more deeply entrenched.

The one thing that is the most difficult thing for someone like me to experience is the present ... this moment ... right now. There is such a barrage of thought from both conditions simultaneously that the NOW slips by almost unnoticed. I've been working on teaching myself to tune into the moment for around 5 years now and I can sometimes manage almost a minute of Mental silence. It's a blessed feeling, to not think, when the inside of my head is so often congested with useless noise who's only purpose is to prevent me from being able to function. Some days are easier than most, today is not one of them.

But hey, my shift is almost over ... only an hour to go ... and then it's home to bed and I'll have made it through another day.
Tomorrow might be better ... 

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Susurration

Early morning at work and I'm listening to the sound of the rain as it falls on my van ... I, not being a fan of getting wet, stay cozy and dry if not exactly warm in the driver's seat while I wait for my shift to be over. 

A sudden shift to hail makes me grateful that I am so ensconced. 

Welp, I survived another FeBlueAry and made it almost all the way through March without too many mental hiccoughs on my part. Jys' mother passed away a few days before Llethander's birthday. A blessing for her but rough on J who has never lost anyone near to her before. Jys is doing ok ... as well as can be expected considering and is making decent progress assimilating and really processing the fact that her mom is really gone. 

We have the cremation tomorrow morning and the memorial on Friday at 4pm at the same funeral home that handled the kids' father. So at least I don't have to worry about their professionalism and respect for the remains.

Medication is my friend. It pays to recognize and understand that I'm broken and not care about the supposed stigma of pharmaceutical neurotransmitter replacement. I saw a cross-stitch picture the other day that read: 

If you can't make your own neurotransmitters and endorphins, store bought work just fine. 

I love that saying so much for its simple truth.

My crafting mojo is MIA, has been for well over a month now. Just can't seem to bring myself to pick up hooks, needless, spindle or wheel. I want to, have a couple of WIP that is really like to see moved to the finished stack but they sit in their project bag or on the seat beside me while they wait for ??? 
No clue what I need to get past this but I really need to get making again.

Have an idea for a marionette that I'm trying to get designed, but it's just not coming easy. Hope to have something to show sooner than later. 

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

FeBlueAry

Sigh ...

I _really_ HATE February.

28 (+1 every 4) of the darkest, greyest, numbest days in my year. 

At this time I'm at my lowest ebb ... the thoughts that batter me are loudest and most insistent, shredding me, and I feel _nothing_. 

It's a time to simply endure ... to cling tightly to the knowledge that this is the 50th February I have witnessed and, as with all 49 previous, this soul sucking grey will pass and the inside of my skull will become easier to manage (relatively speaking). 

I don't think it's so much that this month is in any way worse than the 11 others in the calendar, although the lack of sunlight and SAD could account for some of it. It's more like, during this month, I just can't maintain the facade of functionality that I seem to the rest of the year. This is when I isolate the most, drawing away from as much of the world and the people in it as I can ... the agoraphobia demands that I maintain a tight control upon my responses so that I do not lose control and draw attention to me and this is when I'm least able to do it.

A current catch-phrase going around is "invisible disabilities are real" and, while true, mine aren't nearly as invisible as I'd like to pretend they are right now.