All posts tagged Being Optimistic

Coming off meds

Coming off meds was easy until it wasn’t. Exciting until it was hard work. Satisfying until it felt like another solo situation making everyone else’s life difficult.

(Under supervision of my doctor, mais bien sur!)

The truth is the withdrawals are transient. A few hours here and there. I try to hang on to the reason that I’m doing it – the baby. I want to at least try being pregnant without antidepressants. I try to hang on to how excited I am about being pregnant again – that makes the dizziness, nausea and brain vacations worth it.

The truth is the withdrawals suck. I kind of enjoyed how I felt on Zoloft (insulated) and I miss it – keeping my mood up was a lot less hard work. I don’t think I deserve a medal for coming off meds much more than a diabetic deserves a medal for coming off insulin. It’s no big deal – it helps my brain function more normally and I don’t feel a stigma attached to that. If I wasn’t trying to get pregnant I would still be taking meds. No biggie.

The truth is I feel a bit miserable, but tomorrow is another day and maybe I’ll feel a bit better.

Happy Box

Image via Flickr user ex.libris

Would you like to hear about my Happy Box? It helps me feel better on the days I feel blue. Are you smirking and sniggering? Don’t be filthy!

I think everyone should have a Happy Box, depressed or not. It sits on a shelf in the kitchen where I can see it every day, and even without opening it I am reminded of the good things in my life.

How to make a box of happiness.

  1. Find a medium sized box. It doesn’t have to be special. You can decorate it if you want to.
  2. Find 5 or 6 things that make you feel good just from looking at them. They remind you of something you did that was wonderful, an award that you received, a card from someone telling you are awesome.
  3. Add to your Happy Box over time.

I open my Happy Box on the days that I need a deeper reminder of the goodness in myself and in my life. When the black voice inside me is drowning out the rational one.

I created my Happy Box because I didn’t want to rely on the people around me to cheer me up when I felt down, but I can’t always remember the good things when I feel shit. I can remind myself when I need to. I can find it within myself.

All the things that have happened

All the things.

A few months ago I realised I’ve been living my life like I’m a victim of it, rather than grabbing it by the balls. I become quite good at seeing the challenges I face now as opportunities for growth rather than problems or dramas, but somehow hadn’t been able to embrace that attitude towards the things that were in my distant past.

I’ve been challenged to list the things I used to see as horrible, life altering problems and find the silver linings. This isn’t an exhaustive list – they are the moments I thought defined me, turns out they don’t.

Here goes.

 

The thing On the surface Silver lining
Born prem, very sick. See how well I’ve performed despite this shaky start? Couldn’t wait to bust out and get stuck into the world. Head start, yo.
My father tells 5 year old me that I’m a dunce, stupid, sit in the corner facing the wall and think about what a dunce you are. This moment completely fucked me up. It is your fault I am the way I am. This moment has shown me how to be a loving, compassionate and caring parent. This moment ensures my child will never hear words like this from his parents.
My parents are divorced. This is so unfair, why did this happen? This has destroyed my family. My poor Dad would never had been able to cope with a teenaged Ms Optimism. She was way too much woman for him.
By the time I left highschool (early), I’d changed schools 14 times. This robbed me of the opportunity to meet and have lifelong friends. I have had the opportunity to meet so many people. Everywhere I go I (no really, everywhere), I see people I knew in another life. I make new friends easily.
My family moved right at the moment my social life and band were experiencing success This prevented me from having success with my band. My life is as wonderful as it is because of this choice. I would not have been able to resist the temptation of drugs. I don’t know where I would have ended up. This was the best path for me, even if I didn’t know it at the time.
At the age of 18 I felt so overwhelmed by my financial and self esteem problems I saw entering prostitution as my only way out. See how bad things were? Please feel sorry for me. I’ve lived a full and interesting life with many experiences most people only read about. This has provided me with a great sense of perspective about things that happen now.
Relentlessly bullied through early high school. So unfair, everyone hates me. I’m horrible. I have a great capacity for empathy, and understand that those that bully have a lower self esteem than they would have you believe.
GP warns 19 year old Ms Optimism not to marry CF sufferer Mr Optimism due to life expectancy concerns. How dare you he this? Maybe he is right, he is a doctor. He knows what he is talking about. I can listen to my intuition and make my own decisions. Listening to learned authority is not always right.
My husband has a chronic illness. This is so unfair. Why can’t he be normal? Why can’t our family be normal? I am grateful that we always have a reminder to treat each other with love and respect. This challenge helps us maintain perspective.
Depression Why must I experience this, why can’t I be normal? Through my illness and recovery I have learned so much. Through my illness and recovery I am whole. Through my illness and recovery I contribute to the lives of others.

PS This is an opportunity for you to X all the Y or check out Hyperbole and a Half.

OSSF: Vintage cutlery wind chime

I don’t know why I sign up for these activities. On a recent op shopping trip I decided it would be a great idea to make a wind chime from vintage cutlery and other bits and pieces. The rationale being that Moopy could get his angries out bashing the cutlery, and I could get my crafty on threading the beads. I’m sure you can imagine how it went – the activity kept his attention for about 5 minutes, and I spent the rest of the hour finishing it off on my own, like so many “together” activities. I really thought he’d be up for the bashing! Lesson learnt.

In any case, here is my proven method for a together crafty moment with your little one, making a wind chime.

Materials and tools

  1. Assorted cutlery from the opshop – test the different materials for clangability
  2. A tray or serving platter with holes in it – for hanging cutlery from
  3. A hammer
  4. Rags
  5. Fishing twine
  6. Beads
  7. Disinterested toddler (optional)

Method

Step 1 With some trepidation, hand toddler hammer and cutlery wrapped in rags. The rags are to protect the cutlery from getting too banged up when they you are flattening it. You’ll need at least 8 pieces of cutlery, depending on the size of the tray you are using.

Step 2 Wind fishing wire around the thin end of the handle and tie into a knot. Thread fancy beads, buttons, anything onto the fishing wire – the more random the better! They get tangled up very easily, just sayin. I splashed out and bought a few crystal beads to pick up the sunlight – very gorgeous.

Step 3 Turn the serving platter upside down and tie the cutlery strands to it. Make sure they are tied closely enough that they can bang into each other, or it’s going to be a pretty quiet wind chime. You may need to also hang a large spoon or knife in the centre to make sure there’s a lot of clanging going on.

Step 4 Attach a few strands of heavy fishing wire to the top of the platter. Find somewhere to string up your gorgeous creation. Stand back and admire the glory of the creation you have made together on your own.

This really was a lot of fun to make, very simple, and I was very happy I actually followed through and did it! My usual MO is to buy the bits and pieces for the craft project, and then procrastinate the actual making until I’ve forgotten what I bought the bits and pieces for in the first place – shhhh don’t tell Mr Optimism!

The good crockery

Image via InAweofGod'sCreation

So, I’m home! I am finding that hospital is a bit like London, or labour, in that now I am home I am blanking out all of the shit that I hated and just remembering the good stuff. Like not having to prepare meals, or take care of anyone else except myself. And having a space that I can hide in. The ever thoughtful Mr Optimism has suggested that I blog about all of the things I hated, so I can remember them, but also so I may use it as motivation to do the things that will keep me well when my motivation is waning.

Now that I am home, I am desperately trying to maintain the motivation without being hard on myself. This is a tough ask for me. I have had small wins: bed early, got my art stuff out (didn’t actually use it…), checked email without having a panic attack, meditated this  morning. Still no exercise.

At the risk of sounding all cliched, this moment right now, this very moment will never happen again. It is unique in all time and it is up to me, up to all of us to live it in a way that is true. Each moment is a moment to be treasured and lived in a way that I can be proud of. With this in mind I am declaring henceforth I will use the good crockery.

I never use the good crockery. I save it for later. I’m not sure when later will come, what defines the moment that it is finally ok to use and indulge in the nice things that I have available to me. Why must I use the horrible stoneware now. What will happen if I use the good crockery now? I might feel good?

True, I might break the good crockery. But it is also true that the good crockery might break later on when I use it too. Or it might get broken while moving house, or be discovered by a certain 3 year old and smashed. Then I would have to face that my good crockery had existed and been destroyed without me ever having experienced the joy of using it.

I am of course using my good crockery as a metaphor, for here is a list of other things I do not regularly make use of because this moment is not a special enough occasion…

  • Nice bath smellies. In fact I am more likely to throw out a smelly unused 12 months down the track after it has gone rancid. This totally makes no sense.
  • My Chanel make up. That I splurged on years ago, and is probably giving me cancer now because it’s so old.
  • My antique glasses. In case I break them.
  • My nice clothes. Surely I should enjoy and wear them out now, while they still fit. Shit will go south soon enough.
  • Nice paper. This I acknowledge is truly neurotic, however I personally know another creative who does the same thing. I have reams of lovely paper that I will never draw on in case I ruin it. I just keep on buying it, and drawing on the crappy paper because that’s all I’m worthy of. If my psychologist sees this she’s going to go to town on me, I know.
  • My fucking expensive Trek Madone. This is a bicycle that is worth more than my car, which I refuse to ride in inclement weather because I don’t want it to get dirty. I don’t even know where to start with that one.
  • Quiet moments with people I love. Because I’m so fucking busy. Am I really? Or is it just that I can’t bare to sit still. The tasks will never be finished, I need to learn to relax in spite of the tasks.

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the good crockery, now. In this moment. Because I’m learning that enjoying the good crockery energises us, and reinforces the feeling that we are worthy of the good crockery. Worthy of positive moments.

Do you agree? Or am I expecting too much from the Wedgewood?

 

Nourishing the soul

Love, life and laughter nourish the soul. So does art. Working in the creative industry, over the years art has become more work than nurture. It’s been nice to get in touch with art as fun again. Shopping for art supplies is fun, using new art supplies is fun and increasingly putting the colour on the paper, making the mark is fun too. Silencing the inner sarcastic bitch has been challenging (that’s shit), but not impossible, as I strive to enjoy the process rather than the outcome. And then apply this mindset to life.

Tall Poppy

Space and Forgiveness

Celebrate

Image via Homies in Heaven

How often do you celebrate the wonderful things that you have done? The big and little achievements in your life. It’s a weird feeling, right? Do you feel a teeny bit jealous of people who seem to have no problem doing it? I do.

My previous psychologist once asked me to write down 5 good things each day, and it was tough to think of that many some days. My fabulous business mentor wanted me to tell her my strengths in business and I was reduced to tears. We are not taught to celebrate our successes in this country are we?

I think we all need to become fabulous trumpet players. We should take lessons and practice blowing our own trumpet. It feels bloody weird to start with, but I think it’s an invaluable skill. And while we’re practicing blowing our trumpets our inner critic (or Itty Bitty Shitty Committee) is silenced, even if it’s only temporary reprieve.

So I dare you: Blow your trumpet! Comment here about something great you have done, big or small. Or ring a friend, or tell your partner. Then ask them to tell you something great they have done. Have a toot every day and see how good it can feel. Check out the guy in the picture, he’s practically orgasmic with joy! Or drunk.

I double dare and physical challenge you, blow your own trumpet.

Today I ran for 30 minutes, when every fibre of my being wanted to make a cup of tea and sit on the couch. If you’ve ever experienced depression you’ll know what a major feat that was. I felt proud of myself for doing it – go team O.

Mother of the Year

Image via Jaydubyasee

Motherhood lesson #423: Pick your battles.

Yesterday Moopy hit the skateboard park (yes the skateboard park, yes he is 3) wearing the following…

  • Jeans that are 2 sizes too small (I want to wear those ones Mum)
  • No underpants (But I don’t waaaaaaaant undies Mum, nooooo!)
  • The pyjama top that he’d slept in the previous night (I won’t be cold Mum, I want to wear this one)
  • Shoes, but no socks (The socks are too fluffy and soft Mum, I don’t want them)

I’ll be in line for a mother of the year award this year, for sure!

It is worth noting that it was 12 degrees and raining outside today. Even with this in mind, this was a battle I chose not to fight. Some days I fight all of the battles and we both lose, feeling frustrated and angry with each other, apologising to each other for fighting like some kind of bickering married couple. Those are the days I beat myself up over. Is it really important that he wear matching socks, or am I just fighting to win the argument. It’s so hard to not sweat the small stuff when you are a mum. Sometimes you forget that they are 3 and you are supposed to be the grown up. When you are lost in the moment you don’t realise how ridiculous it is to yell at a child “Don’t yell at me!”

So today I chose not to fight partly for him and partly for me. Mostly for me if I’m honest, because at the time I couldn’t really see how stupid it would be to argue over those things, I really just couldn’t be bothered with ANOTHER fight and I didn’t want to be banshee mum again. And in the end it was nice to have a day where I was more relaxed, and we could just kinda hang out. It’s a feeling I’m going to try to hang on to.

Doing all of the things

Image via Hyperbole and a Half

While I did make a somewhat miraculous recovery at the retreat recently, some rather heavy family issues have taken their toll and I find myself back in the unhappy place.

My usual reaction is to deal with the problem. Do all of the things to get better, and do them a lot so I may get better quickly. For goodness sakes just stop being so depressed already.

Consequently I’m suffering from a bout of recovery fatigue. It takes me so much work to get better because of the type of depression that I have, and what’s the point, I’ll just be back here in six months anyway. I am really trying to be bothered to get better, if not for my sake then for the sake of those who rely on me.

Some people suggest I harden up and do all of the things. My psychologist has suggested that I go easy on the all of the things approach, but I’m not sure what that looks like. Maybe just getting to bed on time and eating something for lunch each day is enough of a challenge for me right now (Inner Sarcastic Bitch: how pathetic). I’ll see how that goes.

Because even I am sick of listening to myself whinge about being depressed.

Where’s My Glow?

Whine? Why yes, both kinds!

Hi ho, hi ho

It’s off home I go. The week has flown by in some ways, and in others it has been a long and slow journey. I’m excited to go home, but dreading it too. It’s amazing how quickly a girl can get used to daily massages – perhaps a new duty for Mr Optimism? Wishful thinking indeed! ;)

I have learned many things about myself, not all of them positive. But with learning comes change, and change for the better.

I have one more night before I see my boys again, which means one night in my own bed (sans snoring and poking feet) to rest and grow even bigger into my own skin again before I am mother, wife and boss once more. But always me in my own skin.