I Can do this

So I took this day

To spend in my way

The goal of reset

To prevent the fret

That was burying me

Not breaking free

Too much change

Unable to arrange

Simply more burden

Unablè to get a word in

Everybody please stop

I have to let this drop

Burden me no more

Leave crises at the door

Walk through free & clear

Managing without fear

I can do this, I can!

If I stick to my plan

Not yours or his or theirs

That leave my soul in tears

I know what I am doing

Don’t demand, try gentle wooing

I CAN DO THIS!

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“Knee”ded: mobility

Up until last night my right knee was the healthier one.  It had less deterioration than the left.  Last night changed everything.  I am not sure what happened but I suddenly got severe pain in my right knee. The kind of pain which hurts so much you are unsure if you want to vomit or faint. The knee is extremely painful on movement.  It is not bending safely and when I annoy it I get strong jolts of horrific pain.  Needless to say I am now basically bedridden until it sorts itself out.  I will see the doctor on Friday in the hopes of hurrying the recovery.  If the knee doesn’t heal I am somewhat in trouble mobility wise. 

Hurry up and wait

I am still waiting on the results of my blood tests.  It is a time of wild imaginings of what could be wrong.  Which in some ways could simply be a distraction from hypertension, which I most definitely have.  On the positive I have managed to maintain my eating plan as per Weight Watchers and no matter my mental state I do make it to weekly meetings and “suffer” the weigh in.

For years I have been so out of touch with my own body that I have to be told what is wrong.  For example, an xray told me I had fractured my ankle recently.  It was just one more ache until the xray then I imagined how it should feel and finally connected with that.  It is not a particularly healthy way to live but it has been a way to survive.

I knew my blood pressure was elevated.  Every time I got it taken at any health consultations it was high.  Until the arthritis appointment it was verbally observed.  Now it is monitored and I am on blood pressure pills.  On Monday 01 I have a two week assessment to see if the medication has worked or if I need a stronger dose to lower my blood pressure.  I suck at consistent health care.  I just don’t like doctors and it stresses me out to be the focus of anything so you can imagine how grumpy I am at the moment with having to attend regular appointments.

The Fitbit Charge HR is keeping track of my resting pulse rate and it tells a sad story of a pulse rarely below 90.  Which is a problem as a fast pulse equals a high blood pressure.  So I am working harder on my mindfulness meditation to mitigate the stress induced part of the number.  I am also slowly eliminating one of my depression medications that can cause high blood pressure.  It is slow but sure to regain my health.

I am diligent in my diet plan, tracking every morsel that passes my lips and this should be helping me lose weight and get back into a healthy weight range.  It is all hurry up, before more damage is done, and wait, as in the results that will tell me just how much health trouble I am really in.  I haven’t really had any challenges to this as my brain does well on set plans.  In this I am a trained follower.

I am also working hard around my injuries to up my physical activity.  It is a painful and yet to be rewarding experience.  Sadly, one that I am familiar with.  Which would make you think that it would be easier to navigate, like a well trodden path, however it is not.  I think that I manage to make potholes and piles of rubble to traverse.  If self sabotage had an Olympic medal I could well be a shoe in!!!

It feels like my creativity is circling the drain that is my health.  As in my imagination is happily engaged in worse case scenario’s.  I am used to this facet of my mind but it is damn annoying.  So I just wait, which is not one of my strong suits.  Tomorrow on the pretense of cancelling part of an appointment I am hoping they will say, come in we have news!  Which is better than not knowing.  If I know I can work with it, not knowing is driving me batty.

I think that hubby is trying to distract me with home renovations (or kill me).  I am pulling up carpet, emptying a room and now hes added painting the downstairs walls to my lists.  I work till my breathing is too compromised, rest and start again.  Hubby says rest, let the medications help but that is how I got in this mess in the first place.  So I push my limits like I always do but hopefully more mindfully this time…

The faces of stress

Day 21: Many people say stress triggers symptoms, do you agree or disagree?

I neither agree that stress triggers symptoms.  The more stressed I am the more pain I am in from fibromyalgia.   I am also having trouble with high blood pressure, increased when I am stressing.

I do think that the process of stress is individual.  It can be a trigger to other symptoms and not just mental health ones.  It can be a symptom in of itself.  Stress can alleviate other symptoms.

My experience of stress is that it is a symptom of my anxiety.  It is also an indication that I am not managing my mental or physical illness.  However, when I am stressed I can not be depressed or suicidal.

I want to return to this prompt when I am less tired because I have more that I could comment here.

Filtered reality

Day 15: How has your life been effected by your illness(es)? (Some ideas are: relationships, career, school)

My life has, is and will probably continue to be effected by my mental illnesses.  It isn’t fatalism, it is simply fact.  However, that is not to say that the effect will remain a negative one.

Relationships are impacted on through my learned inability to trust, to express emotion in acceptable ways and to be open with people.  I struggle to do that with existing relationships, including familial ones and it is even more difficult with new ones.  Some times I am so numb I can not even feel emotion, not love or hate of anything.  I put a huge distance between me and other people.  It is just natural for me and something I have to concentrate on to not do.

School was positively and negatively effected.  I had developed a drive to perfectionism. That meant I studied religiously to get a result that might be acceptable to me, no matter the grade, they never were.  I used to have to get the lady giving the papers back read my grade to me, I was just to stressed to do it.  Negatively, was the struggle to complete an exam whilst having a panic attack or standing in front of a class to present and you can no longer read your notes so you have to wing it.  Not really breathing till it was over.

My career was both made and ruined by my mental health.  I went into mental health nursing because of the empathy I felt for people that lived with and in spite of mental health challenges.  It was also a protest against a lecturer who told me that I was wasting my nursing in going into mental health nursing.  I always went the opposite to what I was told and I did not like stereotypes of mental health nursing or the bias against it within my studies.  Near the end of my career, I had the choice to remain in nursing but to share my mental health story with people that I had come to despise or to walk away.  I walked away and I never turned back.

Mental health affects every part of your life so of course mental illness will too.  It can impact directly or it can influence the way other things impact you.  Your responses to anything, go through the mental illness filter first and the outpouring is unable to be estimated before or prepared for.

 

The consequences of stress

Day 9: What are some of the important events in your life, that may have effected your mental illness(es) for the worse or better? (You can make a timeline)

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I believe that on review, my illnesses have impacted most of the important events in my life, if not in some instances created them.  I am only going to write about two of them because I can get overwhelmed in all the negative emotions these memories can bring.

 

My wedding day:

I was so stressed out that I did not get to really enjoy the moments that make this day special for most people.  I remember finding a cat paw on the second tier of my wedding cake and trying to hide it – believing that dad would freak out if he saw it.  Since I was already freaked out it was an easy conclusion.   It was not that I didn’t want to marry hubby it was having to stand in front of everyone.  It didn’t matter that I knew them all and in fact, had invited them, I just hated being looked at.  I remember that when the JP said hubby could kiss the bride, he got no chance to do so because I grabbed him in a tight hug until I could breathe normally again.  I am always stronger beside hubby.

The one regret I have from my wedding day is that I did not have the composure to make a speech.  I kept trying to stand and say something but the anxiety was too strong.  If I had been able to defeat my anxiety in that moment I would have thanked my parents for their support and financial assistance to put the wedding together.  I would also have thanked my cousin for being my bridesmaid, her brother had been seriously injured in a fire and it was unclear if she could even attend.

 

My thesis:  

Stress nearly destroyed my third attempt to pass my Masters thesis.  The first attempt crashed and burned near the end when my niece was fighting her brain tumour.  I just found studying pointless when my family were in such pain and worried so much about whether my niece could survive.  The second attempt, also for a Masters in Nursing, didn’t even get started with the death of my colleague.  I couldn’t save her and that loss resulted in my walking away from Nursing and anything related to it.

It can seem like death stalked my academic attempts to complete my Masters.  The third attempt carried the stress of the previous two.  Scott, my favourite lecturer died, being unable to be my supervisor, and while I was trying to complete the thesis.  I got it completed and I hold the qualification but my grade was negatively impacted on by the stress during the work of completing it.

 

Studying:

I feel the need to defend my stress.  Prior to 2013 I would use my stress to perform above expectations.   It meant I worked harder to try and reduce the chance of failure.  I really do not take failure well.  I would push and push and push, eventually needing to just stop to regain energy and get some rest.  I am great in emergencies but afterward I kind of fall apart.  Getting it back together can be a rather hit and miss operation.

The proudest I am of my stress is from two of the hardest days of my life.  On the first day, I tried to help my colleague when she was dying.  It was unsuccessful but, unlike my colleagues, I stayed with her and did my best.  The second day, was at the site of a car crash on the day they turned my friends life machines off.  I was still able to manage the man’s care until the ambulance came, despite the colleagues with me wanting to simply drive by.  I had some “shitty” colleagues that did not undertake the duty of care with the same respect that I felt it required.  However, when my colleagues let me down my stress did not.

 

 

Pain is relentless like a ruthless stalker

It is a long hard road to travel upon

When every step feels like a weapon

Turned against this stubborn walker

Pain is relentless like a ruthless stalker

My knees creak like an old rusted door

Walking in agony but how much more

Can they really be expected to take?

Before their replacement with fake

My shoulders bear the weight of my stress

Do not touch them or even lightly press

Or once I complete my pained scream

I have a very specific retaliatory dream

Once long ago, in the past, I roamed free

Running for hours was nothing to me

I could jump, climb, and swim fast

But all of that and more is in the past

What am I now, battered and broke?

My physical health is quite bespoke

Created in pain and degradation

My self care a state of dehydration

I do my best and more goes wrong

Sometimes life is just a way to prolong

The suffering already written on my slate

Maybe that is all, this is my full fate

I really hope my fate is not sealed

That there is a lot more revealed

Until that time I keep the fight

Past wrongs I am trying to right

Actually caring for my body and mind

Trying to be self compassionate and kind

I seek advice and actually follow it

Trying to make mind and body gently fit

This is not the story end

I will continue to tend

To try and strive for better

Following orders to the letter

Well I will try at the very least

Patience is not my friendly beast

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Image:

My current travelling companion – crutches and a pillow for my left foot

Really???!!!

I can write and publish on my blog without too much stress.  The odd editing messy spot and concern that what I write might offend.  But the moment, no the second, I am, in any way, writing for someone else,  I freeze.  It isn’t writers block, I can still write on my blog.  I am calling this my writing quirk, with the source attributed to the stress I struggled with when writing my Masters thesis.  I am not sure if I will ever regain my former ease when writing in any setting but I do keep chiseling away at it I am grateful for opportunities to share my writing and for the readers that honour me by stopping, taking a moment and read my blog.

Stress, thee abide in me

Stress, thee abide in me

Stress has a heartbeat, it is slow and thudding

Stress has a smell. burnt blood in the mouth

Stress has a sound, the gushing in your ears

Stress has a life, it is stealing mine

I live in stress every day, or rather it lives in me

It breeds on the insecurity, the fears and the past

It prevents movement forward, by barriers that impede

Those barriers live within me and they too build the stress

It isn’t a physical object, something that can be touched

It is, instead, a living shadow, stalking vulnerable prey

Vulnerable because of history that becomes current

It exists in the past, the now and waits for the future

It is the despoiler of lives, dreams and hope

Instead you get shadows, grave markers and despair

It is the respecter of pain, the more, the greater the clarion call it answers

When I die it will be the shroud that embraces me in the grave

Even in death I fear I will feel, smell and taste its presence

I will never shake it free, as a dog does the moisture on its fur

I try the therapeutic programmes, the medications that numb

But underneath it all, stress, the enduring enemy at any gate

Once you let it in it never leaves, it sets up a base

In your mind, heart and soul, never to be free of that chain

Like an anchor grounding you to the bottom of the ocean

So you drown in the sensations it creates within you

Stress runs my life, I can not run from it

I can not stop the thoughts that travel with it

I am vulnerable to any disruption that increases it

Stress will never let me go I am just too good a catch

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