November 7, 2014

When doing the right thing isn't working

I won't lie to you, I have not been well lately.  It's usual for me to live with a certain base-level of anxiety that's not normal, but recently my anxiety has been off the hook.

I won't go in to it much here except to say that it's something everyone in my family experiences and please don't feel sorry for me, because we each have our challenges.  I am fortunate to have an otherwise healthy body and a joyful life.  It's just that instead of diabetes, or a bad knee, or dyslexia, or poverty, I have anxiety.  That's my thing.

Usually I'm pretty good at managing it and I've gotten much better over the years at knowing what I don't have to feel like and dealing with it.  But in recent months, despite self-caring like a motherfucker (yoga, running, dancing, seeing my friends) I just couldn't feel better and that's not usual for me.  Ordinarily it's pretty straightforward; eat well, see my friends, be in nature, move my body = less anxiety.  Not this time.

So I went to my doctor and she told me I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from my work.

Wow.  Was my first thought.

The jury is still out for me on the usefulness of diagnosing mental health stuff, but I suppose the important point here is that I am really not ok and that my health is suffering because of my work.  I won't go in to the specifics of how you get to be this unwell in my work, because there are a lot of different theories about that.  What I know I have to deal with is the reality that my job was causing me harm.

The dilemma for me is that I am passionate about the work I do, but on the other hand I don't want to be so depleted by my work that I can't enjoy the most important part of my life; time spent with my beautiful husband.

So I've made a tough call to protect my health and longevity in this work and decided to work fewer days each week.  Financially it's a bit of a disaster, but for my health and happiness it's pure joy.  And I'm hopeful that the space opened up in my life, for my life, will mean that I nurture my creativity more and who knows where that will lead?

I certainly have ideas.

So that's where I'm at lovely people.  My body is a wreck from prolonged bad bad stress, but I'm asking for what I need.  And what more can you do?

Despite the bad bad stress, my life continues to be a joy otherwise (even if I actually can't feel joy right now) and here are some pictures of said joy:

My favourite road testing his new kicks.

We moved in to this house during winter and had no idea how many beautiful blooms would unfold in our garden through the spring.  I love our grungy old cottage.

This was taken on a day where we took ourselves to the botanical gardens to lie on the grass.  I liked the colour of the water.

I love this little kitten more every day.

Beautiful light on the side of our house.

There have been more walks up the mountain.  I'm supposed to be competing in a mud run at the end of November and I'm supposed to be training regularly.  Argh!

I've been painting my nails and wearing gaudy jumpers to delight myself.

This is my tiny yoga companion who likes to attack my pony tail during forward folds.

One weekend recently we went away with some lovely friends.  We slept in the single swag that A's had since he was titchy, when he didn't have a wife.  Sleeping in a swag is literally one of the most delightful things you can do for yourself I think.  Waking up with dew on your face and bugs that you would normally freak out about walking around in your hair feels like being alive.  Like you did something brave and not controlling.  So when we got home we rushed out to buy ourselves a double swag for grown-ups, and this weekend we're driving out west to throw it down under some eucalyptus trees for a couple of nights.

(If you're not from Australia and don't know what I'm talking about, a swag is a rolled up bed for sleeping outside that Swagmen used to use, and that country kids have sitting in the back of their utes just in case.)

In the last month my Nan moved out of the home that she has lived in for more than 50 years and relocated closer to us.  Her garden, complete with glass house, Hills Hoist and enormous orange tree has been a huge part of my life.  This is where I snuck outside one night to empty a can of Pot Pourri toilet spray because I hated it so passionately, only to discover a wide arc of dead grass around the back door the next morning.  Naturally I lied and said I didn't know what happened.

This is also where I would potter around trying to nurture cuttings like my Nan did, giving them names and talking to them until they inevitably died and I decided to rent The Boy Who Could Fly from the video store again.

This was my Grandad's room.  He died this year and that is why my Nan has moved on.  I'm happy for her that she's seeking new adventures at the age of 86.

The Strzelecki Ranges.

There's been a lot of sitting on our verandah lately.

I finished another semester of my studies.  No thanks to this attention seeker.

My sister is getting married next weekend and so myself and the other bridesmaids organised a hens party for her (bachelorette if you prefer).  It was a total hit, complete with white stretch limo and dancing on cage podiums at a seedy nightclub.  I have not been in a nightclub for a very long time.  It was hilarious.

I read this book and felt inspired.  I bloody love it when women younger than me are clever and brave.  The world is in safe hands.

And finally, roses are blooming in our garden.  I didn't realise how much I love roses until this happened.  They really are intoxicating aren't they?