Thursday, March 31, 2011

Who wants to be a millionaire? I do!

I know money isn't everything and money can't buy love or happiness.  But far out I wouldn't mind being rich and depressed.  I think it beats being poor and depressed.

For me money isn't about social status or materialism.  Money is about security, stability and ensuring my kids have the best education possible.

I have this running day dream.  I win $30million smakeroos. I love this day dream.  I know exactly what I would do.

1. Pay off the mortgages on my parents, in-laws, Sisters and Brother-in-laws.  Buy them all a brand new car.
2. Donate a big chunk of money to Autism Qld for specific purposes.  Firstly, to update their IT and make sure the admin, therapists, school and students had all the bells and whistles they needed to be completely up to date and leading edge with IT.  Secondly, to offer an annual scholarship for a child to attend Early Intervention.  A child should not miss opportunities because of financial hardship.  I would also of course continue to support all their annual events.
3. Pay for the education of several children through the The Smith Family
4. Buy a holiday house on Hamilton Island for family and friend's use only.
5. Buy a house for us.  A house on about half an acre.  There would be a four bay shed for the Wazmeister to do  his car stuff and have his man cave.  And I would also make sure there would be the coolest skate park for the kids to enjoy as well.  The house wouldn't have to be fancy, just roomy enough to allow for kids, friends and us to relax.
6. Invest $10million in a very safe conservative fund that would just be left to sit there.
7. Whatever was left would be used to start up a property portfolio.  A company owed by me would own the properties and all our immediate family members would be shareholders and receive an income from this.
8. I would have a shopping spree too but that goes without saying lol.
9. Shout a couple of friends to New York for a fabulous shopping and sightseeing holiday.  That would be you SGB, SB (don't know your middle name), SE, AB, SW and my Mum & sister too.
It is terrible, that money has such an importance in our lives. We are ruled by it.  Measured by it. Judged by it.  Having a lot or lack of doesn't matter people still will feel the need to judge.  We have a lack of it.  A significant lack of it.  Not because we have been stupid, or gambled, or lived an excessive life.  But because life is unfair.  To go into the reasons are too personal and not really the point of this post.

Living with no money, knowing your children are missing out on opportunities, seeing your friends enjoy a wonderful lifestyle (which they deserve) tends to get you down.  It has got me down so down that I was not able to see the forest for the trees.

I forgot I still had a family who I love and loves me back.  I forgot laughter with friends is free.  I forgot that sitting in the sun for the pure pleasure of it is free.  I was so so so blinded by our poverty that I forgot it doesn't matter; that there is more to life and it was reachable, achievable and easy.

Yes I would like to have a lot of money.  It would not really change the way I live my life apart from freeing me from financial burden.  I would give a lot of the money away and then tie up the rest of it to provide an income for the people in my life that matter.  It would give me more choices for educating my kids and helping others.  It would ease my worries.

For now, I am going to concentrate on simple free pleasures.  Leave the money worries to my husband (who is fabulous, handsome, sexy and so clever) and just get on with getting well.

Hope you all are enjoying a lovely day, take a moment to enjoy a simple pleasure and smile.
Laura
xx

30 Day Photo Challenge Day 3

A picture of the cast from your favourite show.

Tangle.  Only airs on Foxtel.  Why it has not been picked up by commercial tv is beyond me.  It is a class act Australian drama with excellent Australian talent.  It is available on dvd and I highly recommend you hire this and watch it.  It is one of the best ever Australian drama series I have seen.  I know some of you may scoff and say well that wouldn't be hard.  But with the likes of Love My Way, The Secret Life of Us, Packed to the Rafters, Bed of Roses just to name a few; Australia is quietly and surprisingly emerging with some amazing series that really depict Aussie life.  And not an ocker Aussie life, but a much more sophisticated, multi-culturally colouful life.


Tangle is described as 'the tangled lives of parents, their teenagers, and the shifting moral compass of modern life.'

Quite an impressive cast too.
* Justine Clarke (Love My Way 3, Bastard Boys, Look Both Ways)
* Ben Mendelsohn (Love My Way 2 and 3, Australia, Beautiful Kate)
* Catherine McClements (Water Rats, The Secret Life of Us, Rush)
* Matt Day (Spooks, Hell Has Harbour Views)
* Kat Stewart (Underbelly, Newstopia, Kick, City Homicide) 
* Joel Tobeck (Lord of the Rings, Little Fish, The Water Horse, Accidents Happen)



There have so far been two seasons.  And I eagerly am awaiting season three.



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Art for Arts Sake

If you had told me last year, I would be drawing and creating what I proudly call pieces of art; I would have scoffed, laughed and cynically derided but I can't even draw stick figures you are crazy.  lol.  I read an article recently about attention span and focus.  To put it in plain english, people with ADD/ADHD have much more creative flair then people with great ability to focus and concentrate.

I think this is the reason for my sudden artistic emergence.  Now, please, when I speak about my art.  It is because I appreciate it.  And as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  So to me my creations are beautiful.  That does not mean you will appreciate them.  And that is ok.  It keeps the world interesting.  Life would be pretty boring if we all loved landscapes. ho hum yawn. Since I have become extremely mentally unwell I have also become very scatty, forgetful and have zero attention span.  Maybe this has been the reason I have suddenly become creative.  I wonder?

I going to add some of my pictures.  Not all of them but the ones that are my particular favourites.


Fireworks over the Seine

Always the sun

Central Park


Balloons

Autumn leaves me happy



I fell

Fallout over Cherry Blossoms

Girl with a pearl earring

Tree of life

There are many more, and I have a couple of works in progress.  I am finding my art both therapeutic and confronting.  It is giving me back my emotions and teaching me how to feel again.  I find myself at times amazingly uplifted and crying from joy and then also feeling sadness.  Not the dark rancid sadness of depression but just plain old sadness.  Mostly it is sadness that I am still unwell and desperately trying and wanting to be better.  I miss my children.  I miss sleeping beside my husband.  I miss our simple happy little life.  I want to go home but I want to go home well.  I am now not asking to have a lighter load, I am now asking for a stronger back.

Like anything, nothing good happens fast.

I am not in hospital twiddling my thumbs, or sleeping the day away, I am working and writing and drawing and becoming stronger.

Take care,
Laura
xx

30 Day Photo Challenge Day 2

A picture of yourself and the person you have been closest with the longest.

I have thought long and hard about what picture to choose for this challenge.  My obvious choice is my Mum as she carried me for nine months and then of course has been there from day one.  She is a friend too.  I could also choose my sister.  Although younger then me (damn I hate admitting that) we are also close.  Instead I have gone with the person who has been my bestie since we met in Grade 1 at school.


Here we are probably about 8 or 9.  She is the brunette and I am the blonde.  Our hair colour was always so convenient when we wanted to perform Abba concerts.  Funny my Mum is also in this photo the hot chic in the pink shoestring top.  The other hot chic on the other side is my friend's Aunt.  We thought she was so cool.  We were at a Christmas Carols night.  Look how young and innocent we were.  We are lucky that we both grew up in a loving, stable family environment.   When we were 10 we were wrenched apart.  Yes it was that painful.  Her family moved interstate.  But full credit to us, we maintained our friendship through letters, begged for and closely times long distance phone calls (back then they were very expensive) and the odd interstate flight to visit each other.  By the time we were about 13 my family began to also holiday at the same place as her family.  So we have awesome memories of long hot summer days spent on the beach or in the pool or just watching the cricket during lovely snoozy heat filled afternoons.

We celebrated our 18ths with each other, we travelled overseas together, we did a Thelma and Louise road trip along Great Ocean Road, we have been there for each other through some incredible lows and awesome highs.  She is as much a part of my life as my Mum or my sister.  And because we are not family but friends by choice is the reason I have picked her for today's challenge.  Our history, our memories, our regard for each other is something that can never be measured.  Can never be replaced. And will always be a source of continuing comfort for me.

To L thanks for the cool times, thanks for the red letter couch days, the awesomely achieved hang overs (which were fun to get but so awful to recover from) and the comfortable companionship of hanging out knowing you can veg out on the couch on not speak for hours and feel like we are having fun.

She has just become a Mummy for the first time.  Her baby is beautiful and gorgeous and will be so well loved.  I know she will rock as a Mum.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 1 30 Day Photo Challenge

Day 01 - A picture of yourself with ten facts

Day 02 - A picture of you and the person you have been closest with the longest

Day 03 - A picture of the cast from your favorite show

Day 04 - A picture of your night

Day 05 - A picture of your favorite memory

Day 06 - A picture of a person you'd love to trade places with for a day

Day 07 - A picture of your most treasured item

Day 08 - A picture that makes you laugh

Day 09 - A picture of the person who has gotten you through the most

Day 10 - A picture of the person you do the most ****** up things with

Day 11 - A picture of something you hate

Day 12 - A picture of something you love

Day 13 - A picture of your favorite band or artist

Day 14 - A picture of someone you could never imagine your life without

Day 15 - A picture of something you want to do before you die

Day 16 - A picture of someone who inspires you

Day 17 - A picture of something that has made a huge impact on your life recently

Day 18 - A picture of your biggest insecurity

Day 19 - A picture and a letter

Day 20 - A picture of somewhere you'd love to travel

Day 21 - A picture of something you wish you could forget

Day 22 - A picture of something you wish you were better at

Day 23 - A picture of your favorite book

Day 24 - A picture of something you wish you could change

Day 25 - A picture of your day

Day 26 - A picture of something that means a lot to you

Day 27 - A picture of yourself and a family member

Day 28 - A picture of something you're afraid of

Day 29 - A picture that can always make you smile

Day 30 - A picture of someone you miss




My niece is doing this on facebook.  I thought it would be fun to do on my blog.




For fun I picked one that was taken about half my life time ago.  Far out.  It was a weekend I had in Sydney with my bestie.  One of those magic weekends where nothing is planned but everything you do is pants wettingly hilarious.


Now for ten facts.


1. I have a tattoo and want another
2. I am madly in love with my husband and our 10 year anniversary is soon
3. I would love to open a respite centre in my local area for special needs children, their siblings and their families.
4. I am a closet bogan
5. I love the band Hole. Courtney Love is a bit tragic but I love their music.
6. I am still very close with my Mother-in-law from my first marriage.
7. I suffer vertigo.  I can't even wear roller blades as they are too high for me.
8. I am secretly in love with Bernard Fanning.
9. I think I had a perfect simple carefree childhood
10. I cannot stand on bugs, cockroaches or spiders etc.  Freaks me out.


Are you up for the challenge.


Laura
xx

I am Laura, hear me roar

Fall seven times, stand up eight ~ Japanese Proverb


So another session with my medicine man last night.  My psychiatrist has earned my trust.  I have shared with him almost everything now.  A bit to go but he has heard the worst.  What is the worst.  Well it is something that I have done off and on since my early 20's.  It is something that I am deeply ashamed of, but in my quest to get well I revealed it to him.   And in my quest, to be brave and help others I am sharing with you too.  You can make up your own mind.  I pick at myself.  I pick at little bumps or pimples and they become scabs.  Then I pick at the scabs and they get worse.  They get bigger, the bleed, they hurt me, they mark me and it scars.  It looks terrible.   But nobody knows about this apart from my husband, my Mum and now my Psychiatrist. Oh and now you too.


I told him I don't know why I do it, I can't stop myself from doing it and it does come and go dependant on my anxiety and mental health.  I do it because I want my skin to be smooth.  I know this is irrational as picking at the imperfections doesn't make my skin smooth; it makes my skin worse.  I was afraid also that it was a form of self harming.  Although, I have never had any urge to cut myself, I was very worried this would be something that could happen down the track.  Just to add a little something here, when I get false french nails I can't do it.  For some reason the thicker nails prevents me from picking.  Wish I could get french nails covered by my health fund what a rort.  If I could afford to, I would permanently have french nails but this is also just avoiding not dealing with the problem.


With this extra information and my current diagnosis, my psychiatrist has informed me that it is OCD.  Obessional compulsive disorder.  I do this to right a wrong.  I do it without thinking.  It is not a form of punishment.  I don't do it as form of release.  It is just another way of me trying to fix what is wrong with me.  Can I just say here and now a big fat phewwwwwwwwww.   A. because it is out in the open.  B. because it gives my doctor more information to help fix me and C. I am not self-harming.   If you as a reader are a self-harmer please do not take this personally.  I am just writing about my own journey and my own relief at finally getting somewhere.  If you are a self-harmer, know that I do not judge you, I do not pity you, I just want to accept that you do it and ask that you try and seek help if it is possible.


My psychiatrist wants to think on this new information.  He thinks perhaps a change in medication.  I don't know if it is an 'as well as what I am currently taking' or if it is a 'lets change to a new medication altogether'.  I am glad he is thinking about it rather then just opening his script pad and jumping the gun with the first thing that comes to mind.


So that is my deep dark dirty little secret.  I wish I could stop.  You won't notice it usually as it I only do it on my back, thighs and buttocks.  But when I am really really bad it also will occur on my arms and face.  Hopefully, a new drug, continued therapy and my own determination will see me overcome this awful OCD behaviour.  I won't, though just allow the OCD to excuse the behaviour.  I do it.  I can't seem to stop it. BUT, I will own it and hopefully I will be able to eventually stop it.


I have chosen the title I am Woman, Hear me Roar because it is a song that really fires me up.  I do think it should be I am Human, Hear me Roar.   I won't go into the reasons.  Some men seem to have real issues with this song.  They can relax.  It really has nothing to do with them at all, to me it is all about humanity.  I have taken the liberty to modify the lyrics so take a squiz.


I am human, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an' pretend
'Cause I've heard it all before
And I've been down there on the floor
No one's ever gonna keep me down again

Oh yes, I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to
I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am human

You can bend but never break me
'Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
'Cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul

Oh, yes, I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to
I can face anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am human

I am human watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin' arms across the land
But I'm still an embryo
With a long, long way to go
Until I make my brother understand

Oh, yes, I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to
I can face anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am human

Oh, I am human
I am invincible
I am strong

I am human
I am invincible
I am strong
I am human



I am peeling back my layers, shedding my skin and in a way re-birthing myself.  It is an amazing journey.  It has been painful.  It still is.  It most definitely is worthwhile.  It has also been rewarding.  I have started writing again. I have unearthed an artistic flair.  I am falling in love with myself again.  Most importantly, it has revealed my true friends and given me a new start with my family.


In hospital, there are many people like me.  They are all in a battle and meeting these people has enrichened my life.  They are all heroes.  They are clawing there way back inch by inch to meet the world on their terms.


Thanks for your continued support in reading and hopefully understanding.  Means a lot to me.


Take care,
Laura
xx 

Monday, March 28, 2011

I invited Buddha to dinner and Jesus turned up

I love the QWeekend.  It is an insert in Saturday's Courier Mail.  I buy it just for QWeekend and also the book/music/movie reviews.  Oh and my morbid fascination with death notices.

One of my favourite parts of QWeekend is the section where they do a short q&a with a visiting artist/comedian/actor etc.  And of course my favourite question is - Living or dead which five people would you invite to your dinner party.

I have one constant that never changes.  My maternal Grandfather.  Denis Alfred Fearn 21/9/20 - 10/10/62.  He died when my Mum was eleven.  She remembers little about him.  From stories, I have learned he was generous to a fault, a typical aussie larrikan and a loving Father and Husband.  He went AWOL to marry my Nana.  I love that I think it is hilarious.  He also was promoted and demoted several times whilst serving Australia during WWII.  My Mum and my Nana tell me he would have loved his Grandchildren.  I feel his loss.  I mourn his loss.  So he is my number 1 guest. His invite is a sure thing.  The next four are harder and tend to change each Saturday when I take the time to think about this question.

99% of the time guests 2, 3 and 4 would be Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed.  But I always think only one person will turn up.  Why?  I think they are one and the same.  I have faith.  I don't ridicule other people's faith.  I don't shove mine down your throat.  In fact most people reading this might be surprised I have faith.  I was christened Lutheran, confirmed Anglican and attended a Catholic high school. I have very strong eastern spirituality also.  Mostly, I believe like the Dalai Lama that my religion is kindness.  I abhor the hypocracy of many so called Christians.

So if say for instance, I am correct and guests 2, 3 and 4 are one and the same.  I now have two attendants to my dinner party.  Guest 3 would be the person who shot John F Kennedy.  Just because I have to know.  Same with Guest 4.  It would have to be Harold Holt - because I just have to know.  And guest 5.  Probably, Luka Bloom.  My most favourite Irish folk singer. Not that I know many.  He is amazing and talented, easy to listen to and oozes charisma.  Typically Irish.

So there you have it.  I have covered religion, conspiracy theory, some of my family background and chucked in a bit of entertainment to boot.  Go on please.  Go to youtube.com and check out Luka Bloom.  You won't be sorry.

Today, I have been to a group session.  So feel proud of myself for that.  Later I plan to do some painting outside.

So, my dear friends, who would you invite to dinner?

Take care
Laura

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I read the news today, oh boy

Is it just me or are newspapers becoming more boring, more brainwashing, more sensationalist, and just filled with more crap that the owners have made their journalists force feed us.  Can we please not just get a nice old fashion broadsheet full of impartial, unbiased news.

In fact, while we are at it lets make it news worth reading.  Lets only have news about people overcoming impossible odds, about people who altruistically make a difference in peoples lives.  Lets read more about births and marriages.  Obituaries will be allowed but only if they celebrate the deceased's life.

Can we have only advertisements of realistic people who live realistic lives.  No stick figure girls selling cars and tools.  Lets see size 16 girls selling the lifestyle people really have.  Not the one in utopia, you know that foreign land no visa allows entry to.  The one where the model material Mum is a CEO, P&C President, bakes from organic or home grown ingredients and is married to a hunky man who understands women and plays with his kids tirelessly everyday while running a home based IT business with international clients.  The kids dance, play music, excel at sport, sing, are already members of Mensa and are heartbreakingly gorgeous.  They are all standing outside their amazingly gorgeous home with landscaping and design that has never before been seen but can certainly be appreciated.  In their driveway are several gas guzzling 4WD that have never been off road nor are likely to be.  Their dog sits at their feet gazing adoringly at his loving family.  WHAT A LOAD OF BOLLOCKS.

I am sorry, but I do not know anyone like this.  No individual and certainly no family like this.  Why?  They don't exist.  But out in advertising land we are brainwashed to believe this is the norm.  Sorry but another swear word coming up so close your eyes or be warned. Fuck me.  Advertising agencies should be outlawed.  Instead there should be Reality Agencies.  Buy this brand of deodorant and you won't stink.  Use this laundry detergent and your clothes will be clean.  I am sick to death of advertisements who condescend, patronise and dumb down.  Sorry for that little rant.

Back to this newspaper of mine.  It would be filled with these wonderful realistic advertisements but not too many just enough to cover overheads and wages.  You see this newspaper is a paper that is run by a not for profit organisation.  An organisation that has no agendas.  Will not benefit from running certain stories, or supporting certain politicians.  It would be corrupt free and it would be a joy to read.

It would help individuals advocate awareness of issues that are worth advocating.  I see this newspaper taking a similar role as ABC's Australian Story.  Ordinary lives made extraordinary and worth reading about.  It would have an extensive gardening and home made section.  There would be lots and lots of puzzles and all cartoons would be in colour.

Aaaaahhhhhh, I know another ridiculously idealistic idea from me.  But it was fun to write and fun to think about and imagine.

Am off to visit my Nana this afternoon to help her celebrate her birthday.  She is awesome my Nana.  She is responsible for so much richness in my life.  I have learned a love of card playing from her.  She is the smartest most graceful lady I have ever met.  Love her so much.
Take care
Laura
xx

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Don't tell my Husband but I am having an affair.

Yes that is right.  You don't have to rub your eyes in disbelief.  It is true.  It may come as a surprise to you.  It has been going for some time now.  Off and on for the past year but consistently daily for the past two months.  I am having an affair with words.   lol had you all going hey?  No seriously though I have always loved words.

Words are so powerful. They can cut you and wound you and leave scars more permanent then any physical marks.  They can uplift you, move you to tears, bring joy to your heart and inspire you.  Words have so much power.  It is a power I love to harness.  As well as the written word, I also love the spoken word.

Many years ago, gosh, it really is many, I was a member of an awesome Toastmasters club. For about four years I rubbed shoulders with some amazing people and also learned invaluable skills.  I love public speaking now more then I loved it back then.  Surprisingly, even through my illness (my depression) I feel as if I would still be capable of public speaking.  I tend to stick to one topic these days though - autism awareness.  When you are passionate about something you can move mountains.

When I leave hospital (no date yet), I plan to spread my wings and join our local Toastmasters club. Sacre bleu I hear all you Young Achievers out there whispering.  I just don't think I have the energy to re-join my old club which I am proud to see is still running.  I am now a wife, mother and a stay at home one at that.  I think a nice suburban club will do me fine.

It will be hard to find other things for me to talk about...........lol no not really. I am sure I could just use some of my blog for reference material and if the meetings are like any of our Young Achiever ones there are sometimes theme nights etc.  I look forward to attending the meetings and becoming a member.  Funny, I am more comfortable with public speaking then one on one and more intimate conversations these days.  I guess because I have really been fighting for my life I find small talk, gossip etc such a waste of energy.

If I was asked what my dream was at this moment?


I would tell you this.  My dream is to turn this blog into a book.  A book about a family.  A family who has an undiagnosed Aspergers' Dad, a Mum who fights chronic depression, a son who is autistic and a daughter who has an anxiety disorder.  I would write about Clay's journey, how poorly Australia treats their carers and how many carers end up with depression.  The day I read in the paper that Julia Gillard spent thousands in fact I think it was hundreds of thousands on flying refugee families to Sydney for the funerals of their drowned family members was a day I became very angry about the irresponsible spending of our tax payers money.  I am not saying that the families should not have been there.  But, seriously why not hold the funerals on Christmas Island where the families are biding their time awaiting an outcome on their future.  Please don't see this as a rant about refugees and Australian migration policy.  It most certainly isn't.  That one is far too meaty a topic for me to chew and spit out.

Did you know, I wrote to our local member, our Federal treasurer and a few other Pollies.  I asked them could they consider tweaking the legislation that provides funding to new home buyers and the first home buyers grant.  I asked them to allow families like ours who have sold their home to be eligible for the grant.  Families who have sold their home to fund therapies for their disabled child or to fund the treatment for a terminally ill family member.  Afterall, we have saved the taxpayers of the future potentially millions of dollars.

The reply, which was both condescending and patronising was a waste of paper and another waste of tax payers money to post the damn thing.

Now back to my dream.  In this dream, my book would become a battle cry for carers.  It would be held up in rallies.  It would help change the way Australia treats its' carers and its' disabled.  I would have to go on a tour of the world speaking about how this powerful book has brought such revolutionary change.  I would sit on Oprah's couch (I think she has a new one since Tom Cruise jumped on it) and answer her questions.  And when she asked me what was my inspiration I would tell her this.  My anger was my inspiration.  My anger fuelled this writing.  It helped me find the right words.  It helped me bring about change.  And it helped me help myself.   She would of course, wipe tears from her eyes and hold my hand and thank me for being so outspoken and angry.  I would then of course gracefully bow out and continue on my way.

Now back to reality.  I seriously don't think I could be eloquent sitting on a couch with Oprah but who knows.  As for the book, it is a possibility.  Will it help bring about change.  Who knows.  When John Howard was Prime Minister I wished with all my heart he would become a Grandfather to an autistic child.  Not to hurt him or his family but to help ours and the thousands like us.

Now about this affair.  I don't see it ending any time soon.  I think my husband will be quite understanding actually.  In fact, he probably already knows about it.

Nearly time, for earth hour.  I can't make the hospital switch off the lights but I can turn mine off.

Take care,
Laura

Friday, March 25, 2011

Blessed are the Meek

What I wanted most for my daughter was that she be able to soar confidently in her own sky, whatever that may be.
-- Helen Claes


In my writing over the past few months, I know I have painfully and proudly spoken of my son but briefly, if at all, written about my daughter.


My daughter, is all my hopes and dreams come true, as is my son.  But my hopes and dreams for him are more complicated, more raw.  Ally, baptised Alexandra, deserves a post all of her own.


She was born into a family who yearned her and immediately was lost in love with her.  However, when she was just days old her two year old brother was diagnosed with autism.  Parents and siblings with disabled family members will understand the burden she carries.


As a new born, her lusty cries were answered by her brother with screams of pain and confusion.  Her crying hurt his ears.  She came into a world where routine and rituals were very important. And she most certainly was no part of any routine or ritual my son knew.  Ally did not walk or talk until she was two and a half.  We of course were very worried.  Was this autism, was it modelling.  I believed it was something entirely different.  I believed it was fear.


Up to about twelve months of age, Ally achieved all her milestones.  But the moment she started the cruising around furniture stage, tentatively trying to walk while holding on for dear life, her world turned upside down.  Her brother, became territorial, he would growl and scream at her each time she pulled herself up onto our lounge.  It terrified her, it stilted her, she stopped trying.  It was awful, I felt helpless for both him and her.  Suddenly his moderately inactive baby sister, was standing up to his level, touching the lounge and spreading her wings.  It was too much change too quickly.


For my darling baby girl, she became terrified and stressed.  I still feel to this day her high anxiety is due to post traumatic stress from this time.  She has had to overcome as much if not sometimes more then her autistic brother.  For instance, we will not punish Clay for his autistic behaviour.  But how does a small child understand that her brother is not getting punished when our expectations of her are different.


He's not heavy, he's my brother is something she is learning and will also be something she will resent.  She does love him.  She adores him.  Clay is totally obsessed with traffic lights and Ally seems to think that she needs to find the fun in that.  She will cry out in excited delight when she sees an LED traffic light.  Thinking this is what is expected because we have praised our son when he has noticed the difference in the old and the new style traffic lights.  I might mention she is usually wrong but no matter to us.


He is still very very hard on her.  He still yells and growls in her face.  I can't be her shadow 24/7 so it is hard to protect her.  I try to, but I also try to teach her ways to avoid or help herself.   She is still though a little girl.  She needs to be nurtured, loved and protected and I am not able to do this all the time.  It kills me.  I worry about her anxiety.  I worry about the future for both my children as all Mothers do.  But, my worry includes worries no Mother should feel.  Will my daughter secretly resent or despise her brother.  Does she get hurt when we expect so much more from her.  Are we wrong to expect so much more from her.  It is a double edged sword.  I want to give her the childhood a 7 year old should have but it is bruised by an awful pervasive disorder called autism.


We are considering a different high school for our daughter.  My husband and I want her to be known as Ally not as that girl with an autistic brother.  She already is in some ways his protector and will not suffer gladly bad treatment from others.


So, while I consider Clay to be my hero; my daughter, Alexandra Diana Rae is my heroine and my rock.  She has a beautiful kind sweet soul.  She is inquisitive, cheeky and can dance like Beyonce.  She is a loyal friend and a loving little girl.  She is also shy, timid and scared to try new things.  She has very high anxiety and is terrified of dogs and cats.  Some of this is because she is seven and some of this is because she is the sibling of an autistic brother.


While life will be harder for her, she will be a better person for it.  A bitter sweet pain for a Mother to endure.




So, my darling girl, know this; I am in awe of you.  You take my breath away and you are not alone.  You have my heart forever.
Love
Mummy

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Life is what we make of it

Do you find my chosen title both frustrating but uncomfortably true.  Sadly, people suffering from mental health issues are incapable of 'the making of it'.  We do the first part 'life' but that is about it.

While showering this morning I was thinking about why I have got to this point.  What has led me to such depths of depression that I have spent the majority of this year in hospital.  I know I have written on some topics about letting go and I am still working on this.  Poor Poland and East Germany are proof of that.  But, what I am still grieving and unable to accept is that I feel a loss of independence.


Noun

independence (plural independences)
  1. The state or quality of being independent; freedom from dependence; exemption from reliance on, or control by others; self-subsistence or maintenance; direction of one's own affairs without interference.
  2. The state of having sufficient means for a comfortable livelihood.

Some loss of independence has been of my choice.  Choosing a life partner, having children with him and taking on the traditional role of being a stay at home Mum.  I can do all these things and still be mostly independent.  What I lost as a wife and Mother have been replaced a trillion fold with joy, respect, companionship and other amazing things that there are just no words for.

The independence I am talking about is I guess what I feel is also similar to what every human being expects.  To be dealt with fairly, impartially, openly, honestly and judicially.  My psychiatrist would stop me hear and say "that is only your opinion"  or "you are still banging your head against the wall".

And yes, he is right as well.  It is my opinion.  But I know that what grieves me most when adding up all the wrongs and losses in my life is the loss of independence.  Not just financially, but morally. 

It is hard to share what I mean without going into things that are just far too personal.  But there are certain Government Agencies out there that are not fair, impartial, open, honest and judicial.  To have to deal with them and open your life to them is so invasive it makes you feel violated and dirty.

When you know that as a person you can be proud of who you are and what you stand for and that you are a vital member of your community you 'should' (this is a word psychiatrists very much dislike) expect the sum of your life to also be valued when you are standing up for your family and fighting for a reasonable outcome.

Life is unfair.  That is the first thing my psychiatrist tells me.  And yes I know this.  Will it change?  No.  So what do I have to do.  I have to change the way I think about it.  But, I have lost my independence and I need to regain that to change the way I think about anything.

Some of you reading this will think that I can regain my independence very easily and yes you are correct.  But I need mental wellness for that.  So, there you have it.  I need to change the way I think, I need a feeling of independence for this, I need to be mentally well to feel independent.  A bit of a dog chasing it's tail affair.

Independence is something I have always valued.  Ask Mum, when even before I could talk I would fight with her over my day's clothing choice.  I am stubborn. If you are into astrology you will have correctly guessed my star sign as Taurus.  Loyal, devoted, appreciates the fine things in life but is pig headedly stubborn.  Yep yep yep and yep.  That is me. 

So, to ask me to suddenly start changing the way I think of things is like asking a blind man to see.  It is verging on impossible.  Not 100% impossible and unlike the blind man I will be able to change and adapt.  But (gosh I use a lot of buts) it is going to be very hard.  

I have to say yep life is unfair and there is nothing I can do about it.  Nothing.  Nothing I can do about it.  Nothing.  Remember that, nothing.  Faaaaarrrrrrrrkkkkkkk really?  Nothing.  I have to learn to accept that, then change how I think about it and go to 'the making of it',  life that is.

~ The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence. ~


Take care,
Laura
xx

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Take a pinch of white man

Sometimes I really really love facebook.

For instance, I read yesterday that a school friend of mine, who happens to live in Shanghai is running a half marathon along the Chinese Wall.  That is freaking awesome.

Sometimes, I really really loathe facebook.

It is not good for the self-esteem "will you be my friend", oh so and so has de-friended me and also private events made public that perhaps you were not invited to whether by oversight or whatever.  facebook is not good for this.

You need to take everything on facebook with a grain of salt.  Use it for the positives, and if you can't cope with the will you be my friend etc then perhaps facebook is not for you.

I have de-friended a few people.  Some because I really could not think how I knew them, others because I thought I would not have them in my home why do I need them here and then a few who have been hurtful and unsupportive.

But I do love facebook for connectivity.  We live in a busy, frenetic world.  It is hard enough to catch up with your family let alone your friends.  facebook lets you have a quick insight into their world, kind of like periscope up - yep all is right in their little world - down periscope.  You can quickly leave messages on their wall or send more private messages too.  I find it is fast becoming a clever way to get the message out, run a business, you can set up a shopping cart and sell online through facebook.  You have to work like buggery, to get your name out there; but for the determined and persevering you can have a healthy little home business.  Many people now only use facebook for inviting friends to events.  Pretty tough for the non-facebookers but perhaps some people remember them too.

I love that it is a melting pot of global ideas, a world wide meeting of minds.  I quite often am talking on pages run by admins from many different countries.  But we are connecting.  We are saying the same thing.  These are people who think and feel the same but they may culturally be vastly different.  It doesn't matter.

When it comes to depression, the funny thing is, there is no bias, no preference for age, sex, colour, religion.  It affects all stereotypes.  Depression, has brought me in contact with a melting pot of so many different people and I am the richer for it.

So, today I heart facebook.  It helps me, it connects me and perhaps it helps to heal me.

Am I ever gonna see your face again....

Been a hard couple of days for the ole Lausie.  I have not changed from my pyjamas and am in desperate need of a shower.  Amazing what you can get away with when you are in hospital with depression.  Not that I am getting away with it really.  The nurses don't slap their hands together and say alright smelly you need a shower.  But they also don't just let you wallow.  They monitor you, check on you, ask about your mood, they write it down to record it on your chart.

So, if I was being honest with myself I am not getting away with anything except neglecting myself.   In the past 48 hours I have slept for the majority of it.  I know I should be more active, maybe go for a walk or at least have that shower.  But it is just too much effort.  I am so tired and so lacking in energy and lacking in care factor too.

Wanted to share some background on me today.  I am married to a wonderful man.  In June it will be our 10th wedding anniversary.  I am lucky.  He tells me he is lucky.  We will agree we are both lucky.  He is an awesome dude. But I had to kiss a lot of frogs to find my prince.  And, some of them were toads too.  But we are the sum of all our experiences, all the people we have interacted with, everything both good and bad has led us to where we are today.

Way back yonder, when I was a spring chicken I met a man.  I loved him and for a short time I know he loved me.  We got married, we thought it would be forever. Sadly it was not.  There is, as we know two sides to a coin and also two sides to a story.  But my blog so my story.

We were together for about four years.  Prior to me, he had been with someone else for about four years.  About twelve months prior to our marital disintegration he began to treat me with indifference.  To use his cynicism (which I had always thought was clever and funny) to twist my words and feelings.  It was cruel and looking back very heartless and cowardly.  He did not have the balls to leave me. Through the advice of a dear friend, despite still being in love with this man, I found the courage to leave him. I always thought he had fallen out of love with me.  That it was my failing, something I had done to lead to his rejection.

While in therapy with my psychiatrist, this subject was discussed.  Another one of those, but everyone in the end rejects me (which is so ridiculous and exaggerated).  After I had painted the picture, my psychiatrist ever so succinctly said perhaps you were not rejected but rather he was not capable of maintaining relationships.  Perhaps, it was him that had the problem.  Perhaps he went from one four year relationship to the next and was never able to settle or commit.  This was such a revealing moment.  It was not about blaming him but releasing me.  Maybe my doctor was right and there was nothing I did or didn't do that led to our marriage breakdown.

This was such a freeing moment.  I have been a bit needy with my number one man.  Constantly seeking his assurance that he still loved me and would never leave me.  He knew why.  He was patient and consistent.  He was kind and he has never in his life used words as weapons.  Now, I can relax and realise that I can be loved for who I am and that who I am does not mean I will be rejected either.

I try to choose titles of each post that is very representative of the content.  I do love the Angels and I do love that song.  But I have never been malicious or bitter about the end of my first marriage.  I was more sad, confused and lastly feeling failure.  I still don't blame, but I also really don't care whether I see him again or not.  Now onto another Angels song.  This one is beautiful and honest and a real working class love song.



I dedicate this song to my Wazza.  A great husband, a great father, a dedicated employee, a loving son, an awesome baseballer (he hit a grandslam home run off Graeme Lloyd who pitched for the Yankees including several winning world series)he is my best friend and an amazing dude to know.

Tomorrow, I plan on waking and after breakfast showering and getting on with my day. It helps that I have a date with my Mum across the road at a very big shopping centre.  I will only last for an hour or two before becoming anxious but it will be fun for a bit.

As always, I wish you all kindness and hope that you too can perhaps find something freeing in this post too.

Take care,
Laura
xx

Monday, March 21, 2011

Chucked a big Wobbly

Last night one of the nurses informed me that my psychiatrist would be away for three weeks.  I was gutted.  It was like a thousand emotions roared through my body like an internal tsunami.  I felt betrayed.  I was so upset.  Firstly because he didn't tell me and secondly I was expected to comfortably see another psychiatrist in his absence. I am sorry but I don't work that way.

I agree that my doctor of course is entitled to holidays like any other person, it was just that he did not tell me.  And, I also thought I would go insane (pardon the pun) sitting around for three weeks refusing to see his replacement.  It has taken 10 weeks for my doctor and I to get somewhere.  Ten weeks of approach, avoid, circumvent you name it.  I thought I was going somewhere but it was only circles.  Finally, in the past two sessions, there has been a click.  We have moved forward.

I had decided in my next session to talk to my Doctor about something that only my husband and Mother are really aware of.  It is something I am very uncomfortable revealing and it fills me with shame.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I have found out he is away for just a week.  I can deal with that.  I will wait a week and then again press on.

But last night, that tsunami turned my own world inside out and it was just an emotional one.

While on the topics of tsunamis, please continue to keep Japan in your thoughts and/or prayers they really need it.  And, closer to home, 99% of my state is still considered a disaster area so fellow Queenslanders help out where you can.

A big nod, to Foo Fighters, who are holding a flood relief concert here in Brisbane this Sunday.  We all know you guys rock but seriously, you guys really rock.

Take care,
Laura

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Putting on the Ritz

If you're blue and you don't know where to go,
Why don't you go where fashion sits,
Putting on the Ritz


Most people walk around wearing a mask.  It may be to simply cover their vulnerability, their sadness, in certain situations their happiness and then commonly to cover their depression.  I did it.  And I would challenge, any one person who can honestly say they have never ever done this.  Let's face it, we all have.

Why do we do this?  I think partly it may stem from that British stiff upper lip, you know that stoic I am ok, I can cope, I am not suffering, that peeping out the window worrying what the neighbours will think.   And you know what.  Excuse the language; but fuck that.  I am never going to again wear a mask for the comfort of others.

This will, of course at times, be difficult.  "You simply cannot unring the bell".  Borrowed that from another blog, thank you Alizah.  I am proud to say, that I have not quietly hid in hospital whilst receiving treatment for my depression.  Short of shouting it to the world, it has not been a secret.  In the future, my healthy future, perhaps some will use any mood or action of mine as evidence of my "craziness".  And I am not going to care.  Let them whisper behind their hands; at least they are talking about me, which must mean I am interesting lol.  In my future I am going to do loads of crazy stuff.  And this crazy stuff will be me just living.  I might dye my hair bright pink, I might pierce my eyebrow, I am definitely getting another tattoo or two.  I am going to dance when I feel like it, sing out loud, but cry out loud also.

You could call this my rebellion.  Why, you may ask?  Because for too long I have not been living at all; just simply existing.  Some days I would go through the motions, but most I would not even bother with motions. I was both present yet invisible.

If you and I should cross paths on a day when perhaps my depression (and hopefully this will never happen) is wearing me down.  Please don't tell me to cheer up, ok.  You can say hi.  You can say gee you look like crap.  Or lie and say you look great.  You can say you look like you are having a bad day.  That is fine but please do not tell me to cheer up.



I am going to from now on be relaxed and unmasked.  I will also be more aware of what the signs of my depression are.  And instead of waiting for the breakdown I will be proactive and take action while it is still a molehill.

Although, it is fun putting on the ritz, I will not do it for the sake of others. I will try not to be Eeyore, but I will also draw the line at being happy when I am not.



Another day of my journey has almost come to an end.  But my journey is still at the beginning.  It is going to be a journey like no other.   As I, too am like no other.

Take care, and as always be kind.
Laura
xx