I’m still busy turning my house upside down with paint and stuff, but I’ve added a ‘contact me’ link on the left, in case anyone has any burning comments to make.
I saw M again today. I biked there – on my own, and felt much better about myself. I told M how I’d felt last time, like I’d somehow failed.
M, as usual, put things into perspective. And it goes like this. All my life, I’ve set my own standards. I’ve had no-one else’s standards to look to for guidance, therefore I push myself too hard, and am more likely to think I’ve failed. It happens a lot with only-children, apparently.
She suggested that I write about the things I have achieved – even from a year ago – and look at the dramatic changes in my life, and the way I have coped. Okay, I will give this a go.
This time last year, I could not go anywhere without my husband. Now, I can go on my own to my therapy sessions. Even though I feel sick, and my anxiety almost chokes me, I still get there, and that is a big ‘something’. I was very depressed last year, and could not see how my life could improve. Now, I have managed to work through my depression, and deal with my demons. Even coming out of a depressive phase, I was able to keep going when Ginger was made redundant. M said to me that she thought that was a ‘make or break’ point for my illness, in that I could have easily slipped back. However, I have coped, and helped Ginger cope too. Now, we are pulling ourselves out of a pretty traumatic time, and I think we are closer for it.
I need to get out of the habit of thinking I could have done things better, or faster, or feeling like a failure all the time. From now on, every time I start thinking like that, I need to remind myself how far down I have been in the past. If my legs had been smashed in an accident, I wouldn’t expect to walk as soon as the bones were mended, so how can I expect to get my life back to normal after three years of agoraphobia?
Okay, so I don’t have the most interesting life in the world, worthy of people clamouring to read my weblog, but I do have a life. Vaguely.
For the past two weeks (on and off) I have been decorating. This really started several months ago, when I decided that I wanted a laminate floor in my dining room and kitchen. The idea fizzled when our neighbours promptly read our minds, and laminated their dining room and kitchen. Sly buggers. Later, I saw a beautiful compromise. Laminated flooring, which looked like slate tiles. Totally gorgeous, and different.
Cutting a long and boring story short, we have now laminated the floor, and are now faced with the domino effect of decorating. It goes like this:
We laminate the floor, and use white edging along the skirting boards.
This makes the skirts look filthy, so we paint them.
This in turn makes the walls look dirty, so we paint the walls.
This makes the curtains look old, so I make new curtains.
This all makes the tiles in the kitchen look dated, so I get cool paint to paint some of the tiles.
It goes on, but you have to draw the line somewhere. We do not need new kitchen cupboards yet. (Well, we do, but our budget doesn’t)
The tile paint stuff is cool (I think I already said that). When the house was built, we chose white tiles, but were persuaded by the builders that white would look clinical, and “go on, have a harvest basket tile randomly placed”. I’ve never liked them, but they’ve always known, and have hidden behind the coffee maker and strategically placed kitchen stuff. There is one brave tile who sits leering at me from under the extractor, but his time is short in this world. Inspired by Changing Rooms (Trading Spaces to you ‘Mericans) I have got some tile primer, and some lovely silver and pale gold paints. The silver is to tone with the silvery blue of the floor, and the gold, which I intend to use about half as much as the silver, is a very pale version which will tone beautifully with the counters and cupboard doors.
I did it. Not that I feel any better for this achievement.
Getting there was not too bad. I talked to myself a lot, discovered a cycle lane that I never knew existed, and breathed deeply. I locked my bike up outside the building, and raced up the stairs to the familiar reception area. It was only after I had announced myself to the receptionist and sat down, that I realised I was shaking.
Suddenly, there seemed to be some confusion over my being there. I wasn’t in the appointment book. M came and saw me – my appointment was in her diary for Wednesday – not Tuesday.
At this point, I crumbled. Tearfully, (and in hindsight, somewhat pathetically) I said, “but, I’ve come on my own!” M asked me to hang on a moment – she would see me for a few minutes before her next appointment. I sat there, dazed with that feeling that Christmas has been cancelled. All that build up – all that preparation. All that anxiety. I felt sick.
Whoever throws the dice in life decided that I needed a break at that point. M’s next person didn’t turn up, so she allowed me the full hour. I spent this hour rabbling on (as I tend to when I’m anxious) and listening to M telling me how well I was doing. Giving me the praise no-one else could.
Leaving the building later, I felt very alone. The whole skirt-tucked-in-my-knickers (from here on acronym-ed to STIMK) thing feeling all too real. Cycling back was uphill, but I did it, thanks to the extra surge of adrenalin kindly provided to facilitate panic.
Once home, I felt sick, lost and fatigued. I slept most of the afternoon.
I know this is going to be a hard process, but I am tired. So very tired. I hope it all gets easier.
I have an appointment with M this morning at 10:30.
The thing is, I have to get there on my own, seeing as though Ginger is at work. I have two options.
One – I can go by taxi.
Two – I can bike there.
Both options scare the shit out of me. If I go by taxi, it means getting into a car with a stranger. Not that I’m worried about anything that they’ll do, but I hate interacting with people. Plus, I know I’ll be judged because I’m going to the pscyhology department, and it’ll be obvious that I have an appointment, because I’ll need picking up an hour later. Anyway, what if I’m upset afterwards? Taxi drivers round here like to converse as if they’ve known you forever…
d e e p b r e a t h . . .
Okay, so what about going by bike? Well, it’ll be the furthest I’ve been, and it’ll mean I have to go onto some of the busier roads. I’ll have the adrenaline, thanks to the anxiety that I’ve been whipping up this morning, so powering my pedals isn’t going to be a problem – until I come back, that is. See, it’s mostly uphill coming back. If I have to get off and push, I’ll feel too exposed- it’s hard to explain. I call it the skirt-tucked-in-your-knickers syndrome. It’s that feeling you get when you go out and you know you’ve forgotten something, or something’s not quite right.
I know what will be going through my mind on the way there, regardless of how I go.
“Did I lock the door? Did I switch off the coffee maker? I’m sure I forgot to lock the door… Have I got my phone? Have I got any money? What if there’s no-one there when I get there… Did I lock the door?…”
In fact, I have already started planning this, making sure my phone is charged, and I have put some money in my purse. I’m leaning towards going by bike, so I’ve made sure my lock is wrapped around the handlebars, and on Sunday when Ginger and I drove past the hospital, I looked and made sure there was somewhere to lock my bike up. I’ve programmed the Psych department’s number into my phone just in case. I’ll go early, mostly so I can catch my breath and calm down again. I have my little backpack organised, and I’ve put my battered copy of “The Fellowship of the Ring” in it, so I don’t have to glare at the walls, and the posters advertising helplines and groups for people with every possible mental problem there is.
I hope I can do this. I have this horrible image of me calling them and saying I can’t make it. That would be worse than anything, because it would be failure.
During this journey of self education, I have discovered that most people who have webspace also have a weblog. I like reading them, primarily beacuse I am a nosey person, but also because I’m able to glean ideas and see what is possible to achieve.
Many of the blogs are plain, you can tell that the writer has not deviated from the path that is Moveable Type’s default template, but being pretty is only half the story.
Then there are the helpful blogs – those specifically set up to swear at you in HTML, PHP and CSS. They talk about plugins, and don’t mean a euphamism for tampons. These are the people that helped me achieve what you see here today, and I am damn grateful. When I get going, I will have a nice list of buttons and links and gratitude.