Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Blogoversary!

A year ago today I started this blog. I actually can't believe it is just been a year- it feels like ages ago when I nervously sat in my bedroom with my laptop on my lap and opened my heart up to cyberspace. Man, I had no idea where to start. It was just a few months after I had been diagnosed with BIH and I was at my sickest. I can't say how far down the road to recovery I have come since starting this blog since. My life has been characterized by constant ups and downs. But I can definitely say since I started blogging I am a lot more informed about mental illness, treatment and recovery. And I have discovered a lot more about myself.

I called this blog "Hope for the flowers" after a book by the same name written by Trina Paulus. It was read to me when I was little and I have read it countless times since becoming an adult. It's message has always remained true to me- to become the person you were meant to be takes time, courage, refinement, patience, pain and love. I live in hope for my "flowers" and believe that everything I have gone through and everything I am going through now with bring out the best in me and help me discover who I really am and what I am meant to be doing with my life.

Since it's my first blogoversary I thought would repost my very first post. Reading this post again a year later...I have to wonder what the heck was going through my mind when I wrote this, was I tripping or what?!. I am also posting a song called "Hope for the flowers" by Jason Mraz.

Thank- you to everyone who has supported and encouraged me this past year. You have all been a blessing!

April 21st 2010

Meet Stripe and Yellow.....

Some of you may know them some of you may not. For those of you that do know them you'll know they were two of the bravest caterpillars ever to crawl on earth.

This blog will not be about the great Stripe and Yellow, but I thought they would be great introduction. Why? because not matter how small and insignificant a person is, they have a story to tell and some stories are REALLY worth telling.

My story is rather unusual and rather heartbreaking, but also funny and at times uplifting. I'm writing for many reasons: My family, to find someone in the same boat and I really do hope that some of the things I have to say will help and least one person. But, (and I really hope I don't sound self- absorbed- that is NOT my intention)I am mostly writing for myself. I want something tangible that I can hold onto to remind that I am on a journey, that I am taking baby steps and that I am one step ahead then I was yesterday- there is tomorrow. On that glorious day when I reach the top of this mountain I can look back down into the valley- read everything I wrote and say " Wow! what a ride".

A few warnings first: I used to be good at writing but long years of neglect have put me severely out of practice. Also trying to express myself will be difficult at first. Please be patient with me!

Secondly, I have inherited my dad's stubborn mind and have STRONG opinions about certain things. I am hoping my sweet mothers influence on me will have given me some tact. But in the end they are just opinions agreeing and disagreeing with them is your right.

Until next time.....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

When the pressure cooker explodes

Breakfast at Tiffany's
 Firstly I would really like everyone to take a look at my last post and maybe pass on the message. I would like to see that lovely kitty get a home. If there was a way I could have her shipped to South Africa, I would take her but I know that is impossible.

My half- sister (from my Dad's previous marriage) is in the country and has decided to grace my parents with her presence for two days starting on Easter Sunday. I'm not going to give the gory details other than to say that both my younger sister and I decided several years ago that it would be best if we had no relationship with her. I'm pretty sure she feels the same. We would have left it at that if my mother was not on a eternal quest to bring us together again citing the "forgive and forget" slogan with some pretty disastrous consequences. This woman has treated my mother atrociously in the past and I have to admit finding my Mom's easy forgiveness of her and forgetting all that happened rather disturbing. It's like my Mom is intimidated by her and feels responsible for the rift between her and my Dad which couldn't be farther from the truth.

Anyway enough about that, this week as been stressful enough mostly because of finances, my up coming exams and my grandmother (again a whole other post). And ( Sorry guys! ) it's been that time of the month. I'm on the pill and for the past few months I have been using the pill to stop my monthly "pal" from dropping by. For about eight days around and during my period my antidepressants stop working my anxiety levels shoot through the roof and I become a shouting, screaming, kick- boxing wench and during the rare periods of calm I experience an overwhelming- unable-to-breath sadness. So I have really been using the pill to stop the awful pms-ing.

Well this month I couldn't do that because I didn't have money to get my pill on time. Yesterday I had a counselling session in which we talked a lot about the past, the abuse and how ****ed up my family is, so I was feeling a little emotionally sore. I then had to spend two hours in a hospital waiting room for my grandmother to see the doctor. And of course my grandmother was yelling and talking utter rubbish as she usually does, irritating everyone there. Eventually we were asked to take her outside. During this time I read the story I posted above about the kitty, Precious and it really upset me. So the stage was set for a rather big explosion. And the one who set it off?. My mother.

I have made it clear that I don't want to see my half- sister and have made plans to go and stay with my younger sister when she is here. After seeing the doctor we bundled my grandmother in the car during which my mom told me my half sister would be coming on Sunday. I replied that I would be going to my younger sister. My Mom said then that she had a "simple request". That was the match that lit the dynamite and knowing what she was asking I exploded.

I just started screaming my lungs out!. We were parked in a disabled parking quite close to the hospital entrance and people actually stopped and stared. A group of nurses walking towards us gave the car a wide berth. I was so furious that I kept on shouting all the way to my Aunt's house.

My Mom knows how bad the relationship is between my half- sister and I. What's worse is that I have told her everything that happened but she always forgets and keeps on asking me over and over again. I have given my reasons for not wanting to see  her but she doesn't respect my decision and keeps on nagging and demanding that we become freaking best friends because we are "sisters". Her coming to stay has really been stressing me out this time and my Mom has been more demanding than usual. This all coupled with everything else that was going on yesterday pushed me over the edge.

Today I'm a little worried because that explosion yesterday definitely caused me to take a mental step backwards. I can't describe it, I feel like a switch has flipped and something is different. I was meant to volunteer at the welfare today but this morning I couldn't get out of bed- I had a nightmare about my half- sister  last night. We were all at some big party and I spent the entire time trying to avoid her until eventually she confronted me and was crying and throwing a tantrum. I remember she had awful teeth. Ugh!. I woke up this morning feeling really disturbed and paranoid. I decided I didn't have it in me today to face those awful welfare ladies once again and stayed home. I failed today.

So I have spent most of today in a anxious state of paranoia and feeling angry and hurt at my mother for putting me there. I told my Mom how I was feeling this morning and her response was to pray for me. She's now acting like everything is hunky- dory. She knows that something is terribly wrong unfortunately before she takes action she goes into a state of denial first.

This might make you laugh. The final slap in the face?. My half sister will having a roast lamb dinner with my Mom and Dad. My grandmother's side of the family owns a sheep farm up in the Northern Cape. Every once and a while the send us lamb, very popular in South Africa and Europe and my favorite. They used to send lamb down a lot but after my beloved great uncle died they now only send it down about twice a year. It's way to expensive to buy in the store. We have had this leg of lamb in the freezer and I have literally been waiting with bated breath until we can have a roast lamb dinner. Well guess who is now getting the damn dinner?. Guess who will be sitting in a flat with her sister eating sandwiches?. Uh- huh.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

To all my readers in the U.S...

Is anyone willing to give a home to a heartbroken kitty named Precious

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What's your happy pill???

When I left the hospital last week they gave me a nice little gift bag. This is what was inside:
Mmmmmn! This is about R1200 ( $177/ £109 ) worth of meds. I am very blessed in that in South Africa if you are unemployed, specifically in the Western Cape you get your meds free. I can't say the same for the US...I virtually went bankrupt trying to pay medical bills when I lived there.

Only two of these boxes contain my "happy pills"...antidepressants, the rest is for my BIH and one is to stabilize my shaky blood sugar. I take eleven and a half pills a day, most of them in the morning. When I am taking supplements ( these are VERY expensive in SA ) I can take up 10 pills in the morning alone- little B was always in awe of how I would be able swallow them all at once. Actually this would amaze everyone. I only take painkillers as a last say, when I'm blind. So those really don't factor into the equation.

The antidepressants I take are 50mg of Citalopram (brand name Celexa or Cipramil) and 25mg Amitriptyline - I take those for the headaches so I am not on a antidepressant dose. When I first started taking antidepressants in America I started on 20mg of Lexapro. The side effects of going on to antidepressants were really weird: a strong burning sensation on my face, neck, arms and chest, manic talking (just about ANYTHING would tumble out of my mouth), serious disassociation and really weird fevers!. Those are just the unusual side effects...I had all the usual side effects as well.

The long term side effects have been a little more unnerving. Both my long term and short term memory have taken a knock. In some cases with my long term memory it has been for the best, making some awful childhood memories seem more misty lessening their conscious impact on me. But for my short term memory it's another thing. I can't remember appointments, instructions or where I put things. I forget dates for assignments or what I even need to look at to remind me of assignment dates. Studying is a nightmare as I forget something as soon as I read it and I have trouble recalling something I have read a hundred times. This is not good as my exams start end of next month. The physical side effects, or those that are visible are weight gain ( I had to give away most of the fabulous clothes I bought in London), fatigue, thirst and sweating like a freakin' pig.

Then there is the emotional side of things. I still struggle with physical side of depression but I have no way of expressing any emotion because antidepressants have turned me into an emotionless, cold icicle. The only emotion I feel now days is anger and that's mostly when I am around my Dad. I can't cry, during the blue moon that I do cry it's only a couple of tears but I feel nothing. I don't feel happiness, sadness, contentedness, motivation just nothing, I just don't care. This has really perplexed and in many cases, hurt the people who knew me before my breakdown. They don't understand what has happened they can't accept that I have changed so a lot of those relationships have now grown apart and some have fallen by the wayside.

I am interested to know what meds some of you are on and what the positives and the negatives's different for everyone so should be really interesting to compare.

Tomorrow I have the dreaded task of going into animal welfare and volunteering. I am looking forward to caring for the animals, also nervous as it can be really heartbreaking. But I am not looking forward to interacting with the "delightful social club" that are the other volunteers. They are really a miserable bunch of people and I don't want to spend even two minutes in their company but since they did save Milo's life I'm going to grin and bear it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Look who's back!

Favorite cuddle toy and blanky

Sleeps with one eye open

Just wants a cuddle

Poor baby's leg- it's been shaved and you can still see the incisions

I brought Milo home last Thursday, he spent nearly three weeks at the animal welfare recovering after surgery to back his leg. We went to fetch him a week ago as planned, but he had "complications" and his leg needed to be re- bandaged. He's is very skinny now and his leg really looks scrawny and pathetic. Apparently the break was so bad they had considered amputating his leg. It looks good but he still has swelling to his joint. Naturally he's still limping and whenever he sits he sit with his leg out straight. If you dare touch his leg or even look like you are thinking about touching it he will go for you.

Don't get me wrong I am extremely grateful to the welfare for taking care of him especially to the woman that paid for his operation (I have to pay her back) but I am also a little suspicious and downright annoyed. Suspicious because Milo had to spend an extra week at the welfare because his hip was apparently dislocated. Both by Dad and I examined Milo closely before we took him to the welfare and nothing appeared to be dislocated. He was also examined by two different vets, had x - rays and the person who operated on him was an orthopedic vet. You would think someone would have noticed a dislocated hip. We believe that Milo was probably injured when they were trying to take his cast off. Apparently he went berserk when they were doing this so it wouldn't surprise me if this happened. The welfare has been really sketchy about everything.

I am annoyed because- despite the welfare being very sketchy about everything- they have treated my Mom and I like dirt. I have come to the conclusion that there really is such a thing as a person that will get on better with animals than with humans. This particular welfare is full of these people. Seriously, they don't even know how to greet people, everyone that has visited that place comes out looking pissed off. I have a feeling the lady that helped us suffered a lot of flak for what she did and it really did feel like they were hell bent on getting their revenge.

I guess though, the only thing that matters is that they do they're jobs and I will say they are very loving and kind to their animals. Yes I am still going to volunteer, I have given my word but I am absolutely dreading it. I haven't been in a  volatile "outside" situation for a while and I feel really vulnerable. I know that I should be used to it from dealing with my Dad on an everyday basis but it's different with strangers.

I am so happy to have Milo home. Right now he's curled up asleep in front of my keyboard. I had gotten so used to having him sleep with me, I was surprised how lonely it was when he was gone. He is exactly the same as he was before except more affectionate, mostly with my Mom. And he's walking and running and back to climbing up trees. Pets can be a real pain in the butt but when they are gone they leave a massive hole.

Monday, April 4, 2011


I am sitting in the hospital right now, getting ready to be poked and
prodded. Today I have a check up with neurology to see that my brain
is behaving itself. Honestly this place has to be the most uninspiring
place on planet earth.

I have to admit the last post did not sit right with me. Firstly when
I wrote it I had my grandmother screaming and calling incessantly in
the background. This is common for someone with advanced Altzheimers
and let me tell you it is hell on earth. So you could say I was
extremely pissed while writing.

Secondly despite my obvious lack of faith in God and all things
related, I do consider myself a Christian, albeit a wayward one. I
haven't shared much of my faith and beliefs on this blog because of 1.
Said lack of faith 2. Religion, God and spirituality generally make
people feel uncomfortable and can start violent and uncomfortable
debates, especially on blogs 3. For me spirituality is very private
right now.

Quite frankly I feel exposed, like I have shared to much. I don't how
many people will be reading that post but I'm leaving it up because I
worked damn hard on it WITH a noisy octogenarian in the background-
not many people can do that.

I guess it's funny that I feel awkward about this. Spirituality is all
over the blogs I read. Most of it is of either the agnostic or atheist
category. Most of what I read I don't agree with but I would like to
point out I have always been respectful and sensitive in my comments
and remained objective. I hope that I'll be granted the same grace.

Well my appointment is over, they've shone little lights in my eyes,
taken blood, argued with my mother (this is mandatory) and now comes
the 3 - 4 hour wait in pharmacy for an asthma pump. You gotta love
state healthcare. I have also brought along my assignment...the one I
was supposed to have done yesterday?... that's due electronically by
midnight. I will attempt to be doing this on my BlackBerry.

Wish me luck...

Sent from my mobile device

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hereafter- my thoughts and opinions

I am meant to be doing my university assignment...which is due tomorrow, but every time I look at that thing I get a headache out of pure boredom. Who cares about the four methods of managing integrated communication and the dimensions of integrated communication evaluation. They sound like the same thing!. My professor on this course also happens to be one the authors of the textbook that is used and she actually penalized me 5 marks in my last assignment for not putting her name first in my references!. A professor with an ego problem...that's all I need.

So this is actually part 2 to a post I wrote about a month ago. Basically in the last post I asked for every one's thoughts and opinions on life after death. I really appreciated all of your comments. I planned on writing a follow up post about my own thoughts and opinions and this is it. Please take note: like I said these are my opinions and interpretations, this is not a sermon or a statement- you are free to agree or disagree. No one has to read this, these are just my own narcissistic thoughts:)

*Contains biblical material so if it that makes you feel uncomfortable better not read this.

Life after death: Death can be an unnerving topic to talk about but I think it is a shame for someone to live their lives being so afraid of death since it forms a big part of life. It's not something you should focus on but it is something you should prepare for. No one is guaranteed to live to old age and death can come like thief in the night.

My belief at it's very basic- with everything else stripped away-is that it is possible for a person's consciousness to exist separate their body and to possibly go on after the body has died.

Even when I was an atheist, after I had let every thing else go, the one thing I struggled with was believing that when we died that was it. And believe me, at that time it was not because I secretly wanted to go on for ever- I actually liked the idea of ceasing to exist after death.

My thoughts on heaven: If there is life after death we have to go somewhere. Everyone has their own interpretation of heaven. I just can't get an idea of heaven in my head and I am not sure I like the popular Christian idea of heaven. I don't know if it's because my Mom once told me I'd probably land up sitting by the gate for all eternity. For some reason I have more of a problem believing in heaven then I do in life after death. I could happily settle for our souls just becoming loose energy after we die if I didn't have the a strong feeling that there is a bigger picture- something that is so big we do not have the ability to compute it.

My interpretation of the Bible's "eternity":  I don't know if this will surprise you but I do read the bible rather a lot. As a historical document it is fascinating. I had been hearing about God my whole life from other people and had them telling me what I should believe in. I decided that I wanted to get to know God by myself and decide what I believe, I figured the best way to do that was read the bible. I actually love it.

In Revelations...(my least favorite part of the bible) 21 Paul talks about a " New Earth". My interpretation of the Bible's heaven/ eternity therefore is the earth made new and whole again. It will be just like the earth is today except absolutely perfect without any evil or pain. I have to say I like this idea better then the pearly gates stuff and there will be lots of places to hide from those...ahem...irritating fanatical Christians I spoke about in my previous post.

There seems to be a growing idea amongst Christians that when you die you go to a place of waiting... in other words not the real heaven. I think that this could be possible since in Revelations it says that God's kingdom will only be revealed on Christ's return. This belief mostly comes from Luke 23:43: When Jesus was on the cross the thief that was next to him asked His forgiveness and that Jesus would remember him. Jesus said to him, "Today you shall be with me in Paradise". People argue that because he didn't say "heaven" or "house of my Father" people go elsewhere when they die and we all go to heaven together.

A large part of my family is Seventh- Day Adventist, they believe that your soul "goes to sleep" and only awakens once Christ returns. I don't believe this.

But then....if you believe in heaven there's got to be the darker know what I am talking about...The Eternal Barbecue, The Lake of Fire, HELL. I haven't thought much about hell in my life, for obvious reasons. I have been condemned to it more times than I can count, mostly by some very well meaning Christians. Because I haven't thought much about hell I don't have any definite thoughts. My Mom has an interesting belief, she does believe there is a hell now but she believes God will destroy it and that there will be a spiritual death of everyone that isn't saved (my mother is a born again Christian). She believes this because the she God she loves and has a personal relationship with is not capable of letting people suffer in agony for all eternity. I would love to believe this but I just know.

My hope is that one day I can resolve all my confusion and jumbled up ideas and have a belief and a faith that is strong an unwavering. I don't like the spiritual state I am in at the moment. I feel I either need to be for or against something...being in between is no good.

What I want heaven/ eternity to be: This is very simple and personal thing but bear with idea of heaven is South Africa, the house we live in now. I would have my Mom young, carefree and playful again. My Dad before life did things to him, a dashing young man with great charm and the ability to make every one
roll around with laughter. My sister would never have had her heart broken and her and I would have a second chance at becoming best friends before our childhood tore us apart.

All our beloved pets that have passed on would be with us: Muffin, our Maltese "lady", "Cat" our first cat, Jock- not sure what he was!, the sheepdogs, Tosca and Sheba and of course my precious bunnies, Basil and Buttercup and my baby kitty, Milo.

Our house would be in the most peaceful, green valley. All our loved ones that had passed on would be with us, my best friend Karen would live down the road, not across the globe. And there would be perfect more death, no more sickness, no more fear, anger, war. And of course the would be loads of chocolate :)

Helix Nebula
Sometimes when I am really confused and I just can't seem to figure all this stuff out, I have to remember that the human brain, as incredible and advanced as it may seem,  has a limit to it's understanding. We cannot compute the infinite or how enormous something can really be because we just don't have that ability. Apparently the universe with it's stars, galaxies, nebulae, supernova's etc is never goes on forever. This is hard for even the best minds to imagine because we are sitting on a little planet that wouldn't even feature as a grain of sand if the universe was a beach.  What I have decided is to accept that there is a lot I can't know because I do not possess the ability to understand it. Somehow I just know- some would say against my better judgement that things do not end when we die.

Friday, April 1, 2011

I'm pregnant....

The father is either Luke Skywalker or Donald Duck...

Lady Gaga is my half cousin

I think George Bush is a hottie

And my cat can speak...three languages

If you haven't figured out that it is April Fools day by now you are square...

I have been able to pull off some good ones in my time. Probably the most dangerous one was when I called my mother from London and told her I got married to my boss. All it took was her saying, "I don't want to hear this" in a tone of voice that made me realise if I didn't end the joke right then and there it didn't matter that there was an entire continent between us the explosion would be huge.

I have been off my usual blogging topics lately. I apologise...honestly with all the new personal issues that I am having to face (and am not willing to discuss on this blog yet) I just haven't been up to it. But I am interested to see the response, if any, to this post!.

So if you have been majorly fooled today don't feel bad- just have a laugh, that's what it is all about!. I shall end with a link to my friend's blog where she tells the story of how she was duped by possibly one of the best April Fools I have managed to pull off. She took it really well and we are still friends to this day. If you are a soccer fan and support a particular team you will understand why this nearly broke her heart....
April Fools: San Siro burns down

P.S If you STILL thought I was serious by the time I got to George Bush not only are you square, you are also disturbed! :)