Archive for January, 2008

Monet Images number 1.

It is still very early in the morning and I have been up for hours, but it doesn’t matter, because right now my schedule can be however it wants to be and I take advantage of the hours that I feel reasonably well. I know that in a short time, I will take all my medicines and go back to bed and sleep some more and that I will do this before things become uncomfortable.

I take a lot of comfort in the fact that I can nourish my soul to some point with activities like reading and blogging. It isn’t always possible, but when I feel well enough, I take advantage of it and do it to my heart’s delight. Within my depression, I also have mood swings, so sometimes, for an hour or so, I feel slightly better and I can do things that are pleasant. The mood swings go up and down, so sometimes they are quite bad, but I have found a solution for them also.

Since talking to my SPN, I feel less guilty about being sick and I am not blaming myself for being so. Even with everything I know about manic depression, I still have a tendency to blame myself for my situation and to feel guilty about my inability to cope. That is the worst thing you can do, of course, and it isn’t very helpful at all.

Now I see it as a bout of illness that I have to nurse myself through to the best of my ability. There is no need to kick myself when I am already down. So, I do the things I need to do and give myself permission to do them without feeling that I have to apologize for it. That takes some of the weight off my shoulders.

Depression is an illness that hijacks your own mind. It fills it with negative and scary thoughts and manipulates it into dark corners where there is only fear and worry. It steals your joy and whispers harmful thoughts into your head. You have to stand your ground and not be intimidated and remember what it is and that nothing of what it pretends to be is true.

Having written all of that, I need to stop now and pamper myself with some pills and some food and go back to bed with a good thriller and to sleep some more. Sometimes things become a little intense and then it is better to take a time out.

Have a good day all of you. Ciao…


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Van Gogh Images number 1

Yesterday I rushed through my post to keep any evil thoughts at bay, today I will go slowly and quietly as I have just taken an extra Oxazepam and I think it will work shortly and keep me quite calm. I have decided that, however long it will take me to write this post, I will take that time, as long as I am able to keep my thoughts organized and not let that big old bear sit on my chest.

I have just woken up from a nap and when I do, I usually feel much better as opposed to when I have been up for a while. Still, it is hard not to get bogged down in negative thinking and I have to stay one step ahead of myself and not give my mind a chance to get muddled up in useless thoughts. It is therefor imperative that I keep up some amount of rhythm in my typing and not take too many pauses.

I saw my SPN this morning and explained my survival strategies to her and she thought they were fine. Basically what I do is break up my day into little bits of activities and times out, when I either read or sleep and the activities are very low key and uncomplicated guaranteeing me the least amount of stress and frustration.

Whenever things become very overwhelming and dire, I take an extra Oxazepam and sleep for a few hours and then, when I wake up, I feel better and I can handle things again for a little while.

It’s not as if I have never been depressed before, but every depression feels like a new one and you have to learn things all over again. I am coping well with it now, after not coping well with it at all at the beginning. I now have my routine and my own schedule that works and my own coping mechanisms. Eduard is being a great big help in all of this and has a big shoulder to cry on when I need to do that.

The bad news is, that my oldest sister’s husband has passed away after quite a struggle for his life and that was very sad news and I took it hard. Probably in my state of mind, any news like that is extra bad. My sister is doing well, considering the circumstances, and sounds good when I talk to her over the telephone. I have to call her tonight, but I am afraid that in my present state of mind, I can not be much of a cheerer upper.

This is not going to be much of a post, as my spirits are low and I am running out of steam and I don’t actually have that much news. I am visiting all of your blogs, but it does take me 24 hours to do it and leave comments too. Still, I would miss doing that and reading all of your stories. They really keep me going.

So I wish you all a very good day and I say ciao to you, my dear friends…

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Le Repos, Picasso.

I’ve just woken up from my morning nap and I have to grab the bull by the horns and write while I am still filled with good feelings and tender hope, as I always am when I just wake up. I can’t write this fast enough and also take sips of my huge mug of coffee and drags of my cigarette, but I must not become neurotic and think I am not going to make it at all and go down with the ship.

Early this morning I visited all of those blogs that I do and tried to leave many witty comments until I ran out of steam and had to go back to bed. It was a lot of fun while it lasted. I read so many blogs now that it takes me hours to get through them and leave comments too, so sometimes I have to do it in shifts, as it is becoming a regular part time job. I would like to get paid by the hour or by the blog, but I don’t see anything that fortunate happening in my future, so I just read them for my enjoyment and for the humor and wisdom that I get out of them. Soon I shall share more of these with you that I have found recently, but today I must rush on and not make any long stops.

I have been raiding my sister’s book case and reading thrillers from her large selection thereof. I never realized that she was such a reader of thrillers, but now she has me completely hooked also. Eduard went over there last night to return some books that I had finished and came back with three very hefty ones by a Swedish author, one of which I have started to read last night. I have decided that I like thrillers very much, while it is usually not a genre that I read, but now they really hold my attention and I find myself turning the pages eagerly, anticipating the final ending and the solution of the case. Such entertainment and suspense if it is well written.

Eduard is also going to the library today to pick up some books by Joyce Carol Oates, as they have several of hers and I can only hope that they are as good as the one that I recently read and enjoyed so much. Writers can be funny and fickle and write something completely different than what you had anticipated and not at all what you wanted. So we will see and hope it is all as wonderful and worthy as the one I read. I feel especially hungry for books right now and I am devouring them while I make myself comfortable many times a day in the bedroom with my coffee and my cigarettes, as I have decided that this is the place I like to be best.

Lest you think that that is all I do, you are almost right, but I do do some small household chores, at least the ones that cause me minimal amounts of stress and are pleasant to do and do not make me feel like a little heap of frustrated human being. I like washing the dishes and I like doing the laundry and I also like taking care of the animals and making sure their dishes are clean and filled. Those are the kind of jobs I can handle easily and that do not cause me to have heart palpitations and break out in a cold sweat. I leave the more complicated stuff for Eduard to do, or it doesn’t happen at all for now and I just don’t care, as there is always a tomorrow and an end to the present situation and we will see where this all ends up.

Rushing on from one subject to the next, while not neglecting my coffee and my cigarettes, I can tell you that visiting blogs in the wee hours of the morning is a very nice thing to do. Some people update their blog every day and those are the most interesting, of course, requiring you to leave comments and having a good think about what you are going to comment about. Depending on the blog, you have to be humorous or serious or caring or compassionate. There are so many kinds of feelings out there and so many kinds of stories and I read them all. I find that I can do this in the middle of the night and not become all befuddled and confused, unless it starts to be breakfast time and I get the sense that the real day is starting, bringing its real issues with it and its real essentials.

Sometimes, when I have the courage, I turn the computer on during the day and check the blogs that I had not got around to during the wee hours of the morning. I find that my attitude is a lot different then and I am not as astute and sharp minded as I am during the night. Daytime befuddles me, no doubt, and makes me a different observer and a different commenter. I am much more careful and guarded and I don’t think I am nearly as funny, which is true, because I don’t feel funny at all during the day. It is only during a few hours in the night that I am anxiety free and I feel that there is no big brown bear sitting on my chest causing me to have difficulties breathing freely.

Woe is me, now my coffee has run out and so have my cigarettes and I feel that I am running out of steam also and my hands are starting to move over the keyboard a bit more slowly, so it is time to stop. I wrote and wrote and then I reached my destination which is wishing you all a good day and many pleasant blogging hours and all the good feelings that come with it. So, ciao…

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Karel Appel Images number1.

It has been an up and down day already and what do you write about when you want to avoid the one subject that is most on your mind? You take a big sip of your big mug of coffee and light a cigarette and have a good ponder over. Something will surely come to mind as you think back on the day so far and on the part of it that it still ahead of you.

I have had two naps already. One was intentional and one was quite by accident. The accidental one came about as I was reading a thriller in bed, fully clothed, but sort of laying there with my coffee and my cigarettes, because it was the best place I could think off to read a book. The bedroom is such a nice and quiet place and the cats pile themselves on the bed with me and it is all very cozy.

Eduard is home now and has made arrangements not to have to go to work tonight for which I am very grateful and I know he is doing it for me. Luckily he is always able to find a kind and qualified soul to take his place. It makes me feel easier to know that he will be home tonight and not be gone till past midnight and that we will have a chance to spend the evening together. Every once in a while I need the company.

My state of mind, which I vowed not to discuss, is uneasy and I am constantly on the verge of breaking down. I can’t help discussing it, as it keeps setting the tone for everything I do. I feel that I ought to write this with a certain amount of flair, but it seems to come out so dull and flat.

When I was visiting all the other blogs very early this morning, Blogger wouldn’t let me comment on some of them, so if you didn’t get a comment from me, it wasn’t for lack of trying.

I played with Paintshop Pro yesterday and altered art by well known artists and came up with some pretty neat stuff. I don’t know if I am going to get in trouble for doing this, but I am taking my chances. It’s fun to work with really great images that have lots of beautiful color in them.

That’s pretty much all I have to share now, it isn’t much, but it will have to do for today. As you can tell, my cup is not running over with enthusiasm. It’s a dull little cup.

Have yourself a great day, ciao…

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Trash Images number 1.

I hate rapid cycling! I absolutely and totally hate it! It happened to me again yesterday afternoon and I will never get used to it and I will never accept that this is part of my life, though I know that I must. Out of the blue, I fell into the pit of deep dark despair and all I could do was wait for my medication to start working and for me to climb out of the pit again. There was nothing I could do, nothing to take my mind off of it, nothing to lessen the impact. I just had to go though it and wait for it to be over.

I can imagine that someone who doesn’t know what is happening to him, will think he is going absolutely crazy and be filled with horror at this sudden switch of mood. I know what is happening to me and yet I suffer. It gets so bad that I have visions of myself committing suicide, even though I know I will not do that, because I know that my state of mind is temporary and that I will feel differently after a certain amount of time has passed. Imagine being stuck in that state of mind and not climbing out of it again. And then, suddenly, it is over and I am “normal” again and I can function and not sit curled up on the sofa waiting for the world to collapse around me.

I am sure that the Oxazepam is helping me a lot, because I am taking quite a hefty dose of it. I don’t feel drugged, though, and I function fine on it, where a month ago that same dose had me asleep on the sofa. That shows you the state of my nerves.

Well, I don’t know what went wrong yesterday. I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary and kept myself strictly to my schedule. I didn’t sleep in the afternoon and maybe that is what went wrong, maybe I needed that sleep, but I was reading a very exciting thriller and couldn’t wait to finish it. I was in bed, but sort of half sitting up with a bunch of pillows behind me and my decaf coffee and cigarettes handy. So it wasn’t really down time.

Every day I am reinventing the wheel. Every day I have to have a talk with myself and set myself straight on a couple of things. Every day day I need to make sure that my head is screwed on right. Every day I have to find the same answers to the same questions, only there are tiny variations in them all the time. Every day I learn each lesson anew. Every day I am brave and some days I am sick and tired of it.

If I must live like a hermit, I will live like a hermit. If I must shelter myself, than I will. I will do whatever it takes not to have rapid mood changes. I don’t want to be hypo manic and I don’t want to be depressed. I just want to be. That’s all.

Well, now that I got that off my chest I suppose you all want something light hearted and amusing, but I don’t know if I have it in me.

All the animals have been by to greet me, but Eduard is still sound asleep. Eduard changed the sheets on the bed last night without letting me know that he was doing that. I was watching TV and not paying attention in the least. I realized he was not in the living room, but I didn’t wonder where he was instead. Then he walked in with a big grin on his face and said that he had changed the bed and he knows how much I like to go to sleep in a clean bed. Isn’t he a peach? I will never give him up, of course. Hoards of women may try and abduct him, but I will fight them tooth and nail until my last breath.

Well, I am keeping it kind of short today. I need to take my medicines now and eat breakfast and go back to bed for some more sleep. I was up very early and I don’t want to upset the schedule too much.

Have yourself a lovely Sunday. Be true to yourself in all that you do. Ciao…

P.S. I can’t find the original photograph, but it was one of trash laying about in the street after open air market day.

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Tree Fungus Images number 2

Hi there, people, it’s a bright brand new morning again and I am drinking my second big mug of Senseo. Well, I am telling you it’s bright, but actually it is still dark outside and I have no idea what the weather is going to be like today, because I forgot to pay attention to the weather report last night. It is bright where I am sitting, because I’ve got my Bright Light Energy Lamp turned on, not that I have that much faith in the thing anymore, but I suppose that every little bit helps.

Seeing as though today is Saturday, I should not sit here with tensed up shoulders, so I am doing my utmost to relax and take deep breaths and remember that today is going to be a very relaxed day and that nothing unpleasant is going to happen and that we will all be sound and safe and happy. It shouldn’t be that hard to remember, should it?

I seem to come with a certain amount of built in stress that I feel no matter how fortunate the circumstances are and I constantly have to remind myself to not feel that way and to unwind and to not tense up and expect the worst to happen. I have soothing talks with myself inside my own head and remind myself of how things really are and not of how I subconsciously expect them to be.

So, yesterday everything went very well. I did not have one downward shift in my mood and I was steady all day long, so whatever I am doing, it is working and I intend to stick with the program and not change anything about it. All that rest and recuperation and stress free living is doing me a lot of good. The medicine helps too, of course, but it is always a interaction between the two.

I am ever so grateful to Eduard that he lets me develop my survival strategies the way I do and that he is so flexible in fitting them into his life and schedule. Together, we manage quite well. I try not to be too much of a bother and Eduard is a great supporter.

I read so many weblogs and read so many stories about other people’s lives, that it is a wonder how we all survive and do so well regardless of the curve balls that life throws at us. People must be awfully resilient. Your respect for people grows when you read all those blogs. They are just ordinary people, living ordinary lives, but what is ordinary? I do know that there is a lot of compassion out there and I think that that is what makes people pull through. The knowledge that we, as ordinary human beings, are there rooting for each other.

Speaking of humor, or wasn’t I speaking of that? Anyway, speaking of humor, it is always important to see the humor of any situation, although that is hard when you are in the middle of it. Some people have a natural gift for it. They refuse to go down without having the last humorous word. I have a lot of admiration for them, because I have a tendency to be a bit on the serious side myself. I love it when I find a weblog that is filled with dry wit and irony and I always stand in admiration and wonder how those people do it and I wonder if they are like that in real life also.

I do do comedy. I do have a sense of humor. I do have a sense for the absurd. It does come out unexpectedly at odd moments. I usually only exhibit this behavior at home in front of Eduard, who can appreciate it and doesn’t think I ought to be locked up and have the key thrown away. In public I am too shy and if I do make a joke, it is usually so odd, that people look at me funny as if I am not quite right in the head, which is true, I am not, but they don’t actually know that.

Anyway, I must remind myself on occasion not to be too serious and to be a little bit light hearted and relaxed. That is why it is so important to read other blogs. They pull you out of your own head and into another state of mind.

Now I must go and make cigarettes and eat some breakfast and take my medicines, not necessarily in that order. It is important to remember to relax while doing these things, because none of them are difficult and all of them are positive experiences. Even when the darn cigarette machine doesn’t work properly and chews up the paper tubes and makes a mess of it. Gggrrr…

Okay, all you people have a wonderful day with lots of humor and relaxation in it. Which reminds me. There is such a thing called “The Good News Bible”, isn’t there? Is it filled with humor and funny parables? Is there slapstick in it? I just want to know, because I think there ought to be such a thing in the form of The Written Word that can be preached on the Sabbath. Ciao…

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Frozen Pizza.

For some strange reason I was wide awake at 2 am last night and I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I stayed up all night reading blogs and commenting.

I never know what the protocol is with commenting. People comment on my posts and I in return comment on their posts, but I also see that people comment on the comments that they receive on their posts and I don’t know what the correct procedure is. It seems a bit complicated to comment on each individual comment, unless it is something very specifically important. When I leave a comment on a post, I always check the little box that sends you an email of all the subsequent comments that that post receives, so I can read them all in my Outlook in box. It’s a handy way to keep track of what happens with the reactions to that particular post.

Anyway, whatever the protocol is, I do try and leave a comment on every blog I visit, unless I am stumped and at a complete loss for words and that does happen sometimes. Sometimes you want to react when it is better not to at all and keep your opinion to yourself. Sometimes you just need to mull it over in your mind for a while and return later and leave a comment then.

But there I was at 2 am at night, wide awake and not one sleepy bone in my body, which was not supposed to happen, because I did take all of my sleep medication. I was as alert as if it was nine o’clock in the morning and in an extremely good mood. I am very suspicious of myself when I am wide awake and in a very good mood in the middle of the night and try to stay as calm as possible and not get overly excited and carried away with myself.

So, when it was seven o’clock in the morning, I took all of my medicines and very quietly went back to bed with a very good book in the hopes that I would fall asleep. At first it didn’t look like I would, but finally I did and slept for two hours. I am very much afraid of becoming manic and I am doing everything I can to prevent that from happening. So, I am keeping everything very low key and I am avoiding any stimulation and I am only doing very serene things such as sitting up in bed, reading my book in a dimly lit bedroom and not getting overly excited about anything.

I said to Eduard, “Being manic depressive is like walking on a tight rope and you constantly have to find your balance and prevent yourself from falling off one side or the other.” Yesterday was an extremely bad day, with all sorts of lows and crying spells and mood swings. I am glad that today is Friday and that the weekend is in sight and Eduard will be home for the next two days. Somehow that makes me feel safer and more comfortable.

I am discovering new web logs and some of them are pretty neat. I won’t reveal them to you yet and try them on for size for a while first, but I have discovered two that are written by people with a keen sense of humor and they happen to be both British living abroad. All of us Europeans know that the English are by nature funnier than any of us. Why this is so, we don’t know, but it must be something about living on an island that makes it so and having that funny way of pronouncing the English language in all its varieties, especially the posh way…

…I was interrupted in writing this post by a phone call from my sister who wanted to know if I wanted to take the dogs for a walk around the pond. Since it was such beautiful weather with blue skies and sunshine all around, I felt obligated to say yes and got dressed in a hurry. Jesker knew what was up right away and darted around me all excited.

We had a nice leisurely walk during which we discussed world affairs and the problems immigrants face when they try to integrate into Dutch society. My sister has a cleaning lady from Iraq and her children are having a hard time in school because of their bad language skills and are not performing up to the standards that they could, causing them to have to go to secondary schools that are way below their intellectual levels. It is a real problem, as the parents are not adjusted well into Dutch society and very much feel like strangers here still and don’t speak the language well and are like misplaced persons here, even though they live in the middle of a plain Dutch neighborhood. It will take a couple of generations to get that sorted out.

We talked about global warning and all the things we could do personally and how to instill upon our children that we will run out of sources for energy and that it is not okay to leave all the lights burning in the house while you pull the front door closed behind you. We are a spoiled society and our children take a lot for granted and need to be educated firmly and realistically.

We also discussed world leaders and what their capacities were as human beings and what made one seem more trustworthy than the other and how could you put your faith in them when there is so much at stake. We choose them to make sensible decisions for us and to represent us in huge world wide concerns, but are they capable and up to the task and trustworthy and honest? You don’t just pick a leader for your own country, but also someone who will interact well internationally and be a person of integrity in all his dealings with all the other world leaders.

A walk to the pond gets you thinking about a lot of important things. The same happens when you sit in front of a fire and are mesmerized by the flames and suddenly start to think of all sorts of things that concern humanity. You ponder the big issues and think you come up with the answers, but you realize that you are only one little voice in a large choir of many diverse voices.

So, now I am home again and so is Eduard and the weekend has properly started. In a little while I will go to the bedroom for my quiet time and read a good book and maybe sleep a little. I finished Missing Mom by Joyce Carol Oates and I highly recommend it, as she is a splendid writer. It was a gripping story and I was sorry when it ended. I must read more of her books.

I have not had a dip today and I actually feel very good. Still, I am going to stick to my schedule of having my time outs in the bedroom and keeping out of the way of stress. I think the Oxazepam is helping me a lot in making me feel calmer and more serene. Every once in a while my stomach knots up and I get a rush of anxiety, but then I look around me and see that there is no danger and that all is safe and that I need not worry.

It is good to be kind to myself and
I am very fortunate that Eduard allows me to do it. He is what anchors me down to reality.

Have a great day, you all. I will read you all again in the morning and hopefully not in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping. Ciao…

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