Sunday, October 14, 2012

One more half

Today Hayley and I ran in another Half Marathon. The wonderful Waitakere Half. That makes 3 half marathons in 5 weeks (I think).

I have been having a weepy time lately, brought on by wedding dress hunting with a friend. Memories of my dad, who passed a couple of years ago, resurfaced which made me sad but that then led to a bipolar dip. I found myself lethargic and sore from stress.

My legs today felt sore before I started but they didn't get any worse and Hayley has such enthusiasm and humour that you can't dwell on anything apart from hunky firemen or silly words games.

The school holidays finish today. Normal transmission will resume shortly!

Oh and in case you are wondering, I am posting every day on my 'crafty' blog an unexpected hug for Blogtober. Maybe I'll try the same in November on this blog...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

One of my heroes-Ruby Wax

Watched this in bed last night.

I have been concentrating on my other Blog-an unexpected hug for Blogtoberfest but somehow this didn't fit on there (I have noticed I mention bipolar on my craft blog and the numbers go down...ho hum)

I love Ruby Wax and her passion and her honesty. I remember watching her on Celebrity Fame Academy and going 'yep that's me' as she bounced off the ceiling!

Oh and I LOVE her jacket :-)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

2 in 8 days

Half marathons that is.

Did the Onehunga half, which is flat and lovely, if a little windy. The awesome Hayley Lowe ran with me, just like last time, but she had already run 6 km that morning as she is training for the Auckland Marathon. She spent much of the run trying to convince me to join her and for a while the endorphins convinced me it was a good idea. But then on Monday morning, normal service was resumed and my sore ankle suggested it was not a good idea!

All is well now. The swelling has gone down and the entry has gone in for the Waitakere Half next  month with the possibility of trying to find an entry into the Auckland HALF on Trademe if all goes well. It would be awesome to run over the Harbour Bridge!

We did run a little faster than last week, just-2.25:18. I felt we were closer to 2.20 but hey!

I recommend those cold baths. Sat in one for 5 minutes after the run and, apart from the ankle, all the joints and muscles are feeling great.

Been feeling good lately. Possibly this is because of the running, possibly because of spending time with Hayley, who is so cool and funny and almost as mad as I am, possibly because of the sense of achievement or possibly because I have been able to eat cake as a result of this running :-)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


OK so a photo isn't actually proof that I finished the thing, but here is a photo taken on Scenic Drive of Hayley and I grinning inanely on the Lydiard half marathon run.

And for further proof here is a screen shot of the official result!

I think the endorphins must have kicked in as just after this we talked about doing the full marathon next year AND doing the Onehunga half marathon THIS WEEKEND! Now I know I am made but still...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Today I ran a half marathon

And boy was it full of Ups and Downs. I live in the Waitakeres in West Auckland NZ, which is where the legendary athletics coach Arthur Lydiard trained the likes of Peter Snell and Murray Halberg to Olympic Gold medals using a revolutionary training technique involving long distance running in the hills.

Today was the Arthur Lydiard Legend Marathon which followed his training route. I didn't do the full marathon, not after damaging my ankle so badly in January that I seriously thought I would never run again! I had run the odd 8.4k in training with maybe one 9k and a 12k with lots of walking. My friend Hayley had been entered in the half marathon as a joke by some work mates (after she had run the Wellington Marathon, mind you) and on a little run asked if I would consider run/walking it with her. I thought long and hard. Could my body (I mean legs) stand up to it? I am nowhere near half marathon fit and this one is supposed to be hilly!

So I entered. Early this week I ran with hubby, only 6k and then I had to walk occasionally due to my calves pulling. Things were not looking good!

But never underestimate the power of a good event. There is no way I could have got round that route if it wasn't an organised event with marshalls, water stations and road markers. There is something about an official finish line that makes you want to keep going. And go we did. I am good on hills. Psychologically I am good on hills and my mate Hayley was grateful of the technique I employ. Aim for a point about five metres in front of you, get to it, choose another point etc etc. This was extended to include "Bloody hell that's a big hill. Tell you what let's get to that little crest about a third of the way up and walk from there" Of course at the crest the big bit of the hill no longer looks so bad so we run the whole thing!

Suffice it to say we a time of 2 hours 28 minutes and 11 seconds. Officially she was ahead of me but that's ok!

She ran the whole thing whilst I had to walk a couple of slopes due to calves pulling but then I lengthened my stride and she jogged beside me at my walking pace.

It was a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning, though I am glad it didn't rain :-) The course was amazing, the hills were generally ok (apart from the top of Carter Road) and the company was brilliant- thanks Hayley.

She now wants me to do the Onehunga half next weekend. It's flat but I will wait and see how the legs feel tomorrow. My aim this year has been the Waitakere Half in October so I will definitely be doing that one, now I am back on my feet so to speak.

It will be interesting to see if the cold bath I had when I got back will aid recovery. I am not convinced!

Monday, September 10, 2012

I did too much

Will I never learn?

We used to say that my dad had done too much when he had one of his not so good days. 9 times out of 10 he would have done too much the previous day, used too much energy, stayed up too late, done everything he could find to do.

Guess what I did yesterday. Got up (well that's not a great start for a Sunday), ran/jogged the Titirangi 10k route in preparation for next week's Lydiard half, did a bit of food shopping, made dinner (venison ragout in the crock pot), had lunch whilst helping child one revise for exams and child two find solutions to why he couldn't play/load World of Warcraft on his dad's old mac. I flipped out a bit then but thought that was just coz I was hungry.

Then I did laundry and laundry and laundry.

Then I decided I needed to get an embroidery swap piece out of the way so I sketched, transferred and stitched, then I blogged about it. All the time this was happening, tea was being made, son was being asked to do chores, daughter was being kept happy and calm and husband was being ignored as he was being no help what so ever. I asked him to peel the potatoes and he disappeared!!!

I ended up going to bed about midnight, having sorted more laundry and having tried to get the kids' uniforms dry for the following day.

I should have known!

I got up today and can hardly move-not from the exercise just from sheer lethargy. I had to get up as I had promised exam girl a decent 'cooked' breakfast. Unfortunately in order to do that I had to wash up the cooking pots that were left unwashed last night. I so need there to be a rule in  my house that the cook doesn't need to clean up afterwards. That actually might make the others in this house cook more!!!!

Hubby got a bit miffed when he asked if I wanted to run with him and I said no! Guilt trip!!!! Thankfully he was rung up for an extra's role so buggered off anyway so I could go and drink coffee and read the paper.

I was however so stressed about today's exam that I ended up cleaning out my daughter's swamp. I can finally see the floor and that weird smell has gone. What is it about teenagers??

So now I am tired. The exam allegedly did not go well so I am trying to support an emotional child whilst not biting hubby's head off. Sadly I can't help with her maths but...I can tidy her room and provide food :-) I am a good mom.

I am off to see my psych on Thursday so will have plenty to tell him, if I survive the next exam...
My little swap piece

Thursday, August 30, 2012


I spent yesterday in bed, partly the after effects of the flu and keeping going when all those around me were failing one by one and partly I am sure because my body and my head in unison said I needed to. I slept almost all day and feel much improved as a result.

I am however still concerned about my lack of motivation. I forced myself to go to Weight watchers today. I had been doing really well (7kgs off) until three weeks ago when I hit a significant number and my head said 'That will do! You can do it on your own!" Downhill from then, then! My daily routine has been shot. I still haven't managed to work out when to exercise on a Tuesday (sewing class) or Wednesday (work) or Thursday (WW). Yes I know there are things called evenings but before mornings were my thing and if I missed a day it didn't matter. Again I could get up earlier but it is so cold at the moment and as I have said the motivation is lacking!

Still I bit the bullet today. Only a 1.2kg gain after about four weeks of eating whatever I fancied and, whilst today has been a struggle, I did manage to do 20 minutes on the stationary bike. I know I am capable of up to an hour but even a little is better than I have done for the last month. I still can't believe it is that long.

I am concerned that this is still a symptom of my condition. That the drugs aren't working or perhaps are working and this is a side effect. And I am of course concerned that we are coming into Spring which, according to Kaye Redfield Jamieson, is the most dangerous time to those living with bipolar disorder.  Still depressed from the winter but the beginnings of Spring brings new energy, energy to do something about the blackness. feel that I am healing...I need a routine, a plan of action. This WILL include daily exercise (biking, running, Wii fit), tracking my food and sleeping properly. That one is so important. Recovery requires rest.

Luckily WW still allows me to go out for brunch with a mate on Saturday-can't beat buttermilk pancakes :-)

Hugs peeps!

Monday, August 27, 2012


The whole family is sick! First one kid got the lurgy and recovered. Then the second kid got it. Then I got it. Then we went away to Ohakune so they could ski and I could chill. I was ill and then hubby got it. I can tell you, driving 4.5 hours home was not fun, when I was suffering, but it was better than watching him driving with his eyes streaming and nose running.

He is of course in bed now with man flu! The kids are at school though child one is leaving early! Child two is laid back and will cope!

We went away with some friends including a five year old (five going on 30 so she got on well with child one!). I find it difficult to be sociable for any length of time and this was no exception. I had however already said I wasn't skiing. I'd hit my head on a ski lift the last time I went  (in Sweden) and it has scared me so much (together with my fear of heights and speed and dislike of cold) that I leave that to Ant and the kids.

Thankfully I was left alone all Saturday. I walked 10k to Ohakune and back-not feeling well enough to run, drank coffee, ate badly, watched Dr Who and did cross stitch. Probably just as well as my one friend was winding me up so much I was threatening to lose it. Everything was wrong, everyone else was being unreasonable, everything was about her. Such a palaver! Some days I think I should say something, like 'grow up' and most days I bite my lip, send texts to hubby going Argghhh and watch her partner wind her up with a smile!

How can you stay miffed with a view like this one?
Ohakune, famous for its giant...
So now I face lots of washing, a tonne of ironing left from last week, a brain that still feels cloudy and a body that doesn't want to run. Sluggish doesn't cover it! I have lost the plot slightly on my weightwatchers journey so trying to regain control this week and really proving hard. Fingers crossed. At least I didn't succumb to a date scone on top of my cereal this morning.

I 'should' be working, planning my lessons for Wednesday, writing notes on my class for the Deputy to see how much they are benefitting from my input, but frankly I can't be......, there is tomorrow not touched!!! Well apart from going to my sewing class of course.

Right now lunch :-)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Very very not good

So am I depressed because I am not running? Or am I not running because I am depressed?
What I do know is I haven't run for a week, I have eaten far too much chocolate and I have been very very tired. I feel like this week has been full on, well it has.

Everyone has had something on: Mathex (twice), school trip to the Botanic gardens (which included a gashed leg and an ambulance-though not my child), physio appointment for the broken finger, tennis lessons, netball supporting, ferrying here, there and everywhere,parents' meetings and a meeting with Caitlin's 'advisor' who has her schooling sorted out for the next three years!!!.

On top of this of course were my morning class and work , oh and I decided I needed to sort out my sewing room as I couldn't see the floor,and the Laingholm Quiz night including superhero costume.

How do people do it? How do you have a full time job and still have time to feed people, look after the house and do all the things listed up there?

Something has to give and this week it appears to have been my head. I have been low but keeping going. I did manage to cancel a run (though probably would have benefitted from it) and have a lie in this morning but after cleaning the kitchen and sorting out sick kid and worrying about school kid I had nothing left.

I spotted on the paper that there was an ice hockey match on (West Auckland Admirals and Southern Stampede) at the local rink and having not been for about 20 years I decided to take the boy. It was so good to be out, away from the stresses of running a house, especially a messy and slightly less than clean one. A fast sport and violent too!!!

So now an early night to try to recoup some energy and then start again tomorrow. Need to do some exercise and remind myself I am supposed to be on a health kick and it has been working and needs to continue. Just hoping I can have the house to myself just once this week. Hubby working from home does not help the head!!!

Thursday, August 09, 2012


Things have conspired against me today. I have been losing weight recently and Thursday is weigh in day. The problem however is that I don't eat till after weigh in and I often feel odd when I don't eat early in the morning. Today was such a day.

Hubby decided he wanted to meet me for coffee, so I said I would not stay to the meeting and text him to say I was on my way, which I did. But then he pfaffed. He was ringing the garage,they weren't answering, he tried again, then let's meet in one place then another and then, he hadn't even left. It finally got to 11am before I had coffee and something to eat. I think this had a bad effect on my head. There were tears, he picked me up on everything I didn't say quite right. I wanted to kick him...HARD!! Thankfully he has gone to bed so I can chill! But the day has gone.

I keep making excuses; I'm tired, I'm no 100% well, I have stayed up late watching the Olympics, I was up at 3am with something stuck in my throat (or so it felt)

I have reacted to things today. It annoyed me that a friend accused me of not transferring some money to her account when I had ( did she think I was the sort of person who wouldn't?); another friend is suggesting we dress up as geriatric superheroes for a quiz because we could do grey hair and walking sticks...

BUT I have grey hair and I'm not geriatric. Today I have felt very sensitive about it. I choose to have grey hair. I have been grey since I was 18 and I dyed it for years. THIS is me, it is my hair, my colour, it suits me and why should I hide it? I know hubby thinks I am being stupid but my self image today is not great and that was the last straw.

I think maybe I need to get my book and curl up on the sofa. Hubby is up early doing extras work so I may decide to sleep elsewhere.

Tomorrow is another day, I guess!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Sleep? What's that?

I went back to see my new psychologist this week. So far so good it seems. The epilim is agreeing with me, I don't appear to have any side effects ( at least none I have noticed) and my head is clearer. My blood tests tell me I am completely normal-Yeah right!!!! About the only bit of me that is normal!!!

He asked me if I was sleeping alright. Interesting question I said. I fall asleep really fast when I go to bed but since I have been seeing him we have had Wimbledon and now the Olympics. As a sports fan how does he expect me to develop great sleeping patterns???

I did stay up all night to watch Andy Murray play the Wimbledon final (remember I am in New Zealand) and frequently this week bed time has been after midnight. Last night was my worst. I had a sewing project to finish for a swap and was so close I couldn't stop. Then the women's marathon was on, then the women's boxing and of course then Andy Murray was playing Federer in the tennis final. It wasn't shown here but with Twitter and Facebook I could read about every stroke. I think I gave up at about 2am, sewing project finished, and curled up on the sofa.

How can I go to sleep early? I might miss something and I can always do other things when I am watching the sport! Only another week to go I guess and then I can try to get into better habits.

Didn't stop me running ten kilometres this morning and getting some work done. Maybe feeling guilty for being so self indulgent last night.

Worth losing sleep over!

May be I'll have a nap now :-)


Sunday, July 15, 2012


I am not sure of it is the new meds, the school holidays or general lethargy brought on by the bloody cold winter here (even though it is probably warmer than it is in the UK right now!) but the brain has been doing interesting things of late.

1. That moment when you open the fridge and can't remember what you went for and then realise it is a glass from the cupboard next to the fridge

2. That moment when you open the cupboard next to the fridge only to realise you need the dog food from the fridge

3. Forgetting to buy toilet rolls from the supermarket four times on the trot!

4. Forgetting to take either the morning meds or the evening meds and only realising 12 hours later

5. Reaching for a word and finding something close- the kids are enjoying that guessing game! Dishwasher=fridge, microwave=larder, fridge=oven etc. Oh and bathroom =laundry (They are enjoying that one "Can you put your dirty washing in the bathroom?" "Sure mom!"

6. Not caring about my weight loss routine. For about two weeks it has not been an issue. A sort of 'what does it matter? I'm ok as I am' sort of thing, even though I know I WANT to lose a bit more to give myself a a a a safety zone (had to reach for that and it's still not right) or buffer zone, that's better! I think I am back on track but only just. Still got a bit of a way to go on that one to  know that I am secure in the process.

7. Staying up ALL night to watch a Scots man lose to a Swiss dude playing a strange sport with balls and things on sticks. Oh no wait, that wasn't the meds, the whole family did that, and yes I cried when Andy cried, bless him, he tried so hard. He's my hero.

So I am hoping that all the forgetfulness will pass and I will feel more in control of my brain. I can safely say I am calmer, more relaxed and freer than I have been for a while (well at least the family say that!)

Long may that last!


Sunday, July 08, 2012

Ebb and flow

I have been, for me, in a rather dark place lately. Or rather for the last four months I have felt as though I was living life in a fog. Every day has been a struggle and yes there have been suicidal thoughts in there though only for a split second.

I have compensated. I have begun to exercise more, I have joined Weight Watchers again just for the accountability of weighing in each week and have lost 6kgs. I am back to a running weight and have already tackled the large hill not far from our house.

I have been hanging on but the final straw came one morning. I was lying in bed, quite calmly, when, quite unwarranted, thoughts started to creep into my mind. Each thought was negative, a memory of times past, of days before my diagnosis and medication. The sheer stupidity of the unquiet mind, the lack of mindfulness, the knowing I was right when I blatantly  wasn't. I watched these thoughts seeping in. When I am stronger, I can tell them to PISS OFF, but not today.

That day I rang the doctor.

I was scared. My previous GP had poopooed the whole idea of my watching negative thoughts arrive and said I would probably get over this 'condition' I thought I had!

My new GP is awesome. He listened, he advised, he sympathised and, after checking my health insurance, recommended a psychiatrist. It took me three weeks to pluck up the courage to make an appointment.

I am so glad I did (I think). In exactly an hour he listened, asked relevant questions, didn't mind me gushing and was immensely professional. He also reminded me of Anton if a little taller.

I am now trying a new medication-Epilim- which is proving interesting. It has a sedating effect-I spent one Sunday asleep and I have become very forgetful ( I took my son to see Spiderman a week before it came out! Still, Brave was good). But there are strategies for that. I am less sleepy after two weeks, I have bought a diary and I am making lots more lists. Next there will be a blood test and another appointment and we will see how it goes.

Sometimes it is just nice to have someone listen. Hubby and daughter already think I have improved ( or I am being nicer to them), I am making decisions about my future  and I feel as though I have a future. That has to be positive, right?

Monday, April 30, 2012

The most stupid things affect me!

I guess they are not stupid if they affect me though! When i am in the space I am in right now, the slightest change, comment or action can alter my thinking and that can wreck my day.

I was pleased for example that I had remembered that the Ed Sheeran tickets went on sale to day. I was online ready, had a strong signal, clicked buy tickets at dead on 9am, had seats, all I had to do was pay and, sure enough, the website took so long to load that the whole thing timed out! I was so excited and then so deflated that I am still struggling to control where my head goes! There were tears. I am disappointed for the kids as I know they would love to go. So, do I feel I have let them down? Is that why I am feeling crappy and tearful?

I DID manage to book tickets for a local production of Chess-a musical we all love. But even that took a while, and a change of internet browser-maybe I should have tried that with the Ed Sheeran tickets? So all is not black today.

I DID manage to go for a little run, just up the road and back but 15 minutes and so far no twinges. I am going to do 30 mins on the bike too but am pleased to be up on my feet again!

BUT then a friend emailed me. We do a weekly 'pub' quiz and have done pretty well in the past. I like quizzes and have the kind of brain that retains junk and then makes links to help me to access that junk. She had wanted me to join the quiz team for a while and indeed we have won a couple of times since I joined. However, I always feel the pressure is on me to do well so we can win. LAst week for example we were doing fairly badly-16th place until the final round on films, when I virtually single handed got 10/10 on our joker round which lifted us to 6th. My mate can act like a petulant child when we do badly, blaming everyone but not taking responsibility for her own contribution. Anyway, we had invited a friend of mine and hubby's to join us because he is good at quizzes and geography in particular which I am useless at. The last few weeks have been hard weeks both in terms of questions and in terms of where my head is at- I have been thinking in a fog! SO we haven't done well. Geography questions however and a couple of sports questions have been answered well!

Today's email basically said-your friend can't come anymore because he pisses me off. Do something about it!!!

Given where I am right now I am more than prepared to stop going to a quiz I love because someone is putting me under pressure, both to answer questions and to deal with something she doesn't want to address. I haven't responded yet, though I have forwarded the message to hubby for his opinion.

So here I sit, trying to do my term's planning, thinking through fog and tears. I have a few ideas, I jut need the patience to get them sorted out.

I think I will go and cycle for 30 minutes, then come back to the plan, then eat. That should help!

This I don't need!

Why oh why can't I be more resilient?

And I remembered...things I am grateful for

My amazing daughter who is excelling at school. I am so proud of her, her work ethic and her joy!

My dog, who is sitting patiently waiting for me as I have forgotten to take her lead off after we went for our little jog!

My static bike which is helping me to get fit (and therefore my husband who bought it for me :-) )

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Another 'meh' day

Forced myself to do stuff today- mostly housewifey things, shopping, making a couple of cakes, washing, ironing, picking up kids. Thankfully the Game of Thrones series one commentaries kept me company!!!

Feeling so low, dull and lacking any incentive to do just about anything interesting. I need to plan my lessons for next week ( and indeed the term) but just can't be bothered. This is not going to help the adrenalin hit I will doubtless take next week when I have to know what I am doing!

Didn't even exercise today. I claim I am too tired. Caitlin had a disturbed night stressing about teacher expectations and a physics test. She woke me at 1am and it probably took an hour to calm her down. ANd here was me thinking sleepless nights were a thing of the past (babies and toddlers maybe, not 14 year olds). Just hoping this isn't a precursor to anything more sinister!

Tonight I will finish a swap piece I am doing, honest I will. Hopefully I will stay awake during Project Runway too.

I need this mood to lift. I have tried to push through it today but I feel so lacking in energy that it feels as though it will never pass.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Touching base

Am back on the meds and thinking through a fog. The season has changed and so has my mood! Going back to bed and allowing myself to just be!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

At last some good news

I went through a very dark patch last week. Blackness abounded. The thoughts in my head were very dark and pessimistic but I confided in my husband and he was well enough to help me through it.

As a result I am back on my meds (lamotrigine and citalopram). It will take a while to settle I know but I feel I am over the worst of it.

I have been dealing with the down by not trying too hard. I have a quilt to make that mom treated me to when she visited. It is very simple, just squares and rectangles, but logically and laborious, just the thing for  a stupor like this one. It looks good and is growing slowly.

I am a little further on now but cant find the camera
But the good news...

About three months ago I was training for a marathon. One day I went for a half hour run and half way my achilles started to hurt. Stupidly I carried on. The next day I couldn't walk and the doctor said ' you must rest till it is completely healed'. He might as well have said we need to amputate! I rely on running for my sanity. It is that breath of fresh air in the fog of depression or the mountain to scale with the energy of a manic moment! I grieved for weeks! I didn't walk properly for weeks. The dog had to depend on other, less committed, people for her walks.

Well, today, I took Molly for a walk along a flat pavement near home. I was cheesed off with her so avoided the beach. Half way along I thought 'I wonder?'. 20 steps of jogging-no pain or pulling. I walked a little then tried again. No pain no pulling. Three times I tried this. I nearly burst into tears. These may be baby steps ( all of 100 yards)  but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe I will be able to run again. Maybe one day I will run another marathon. Either way my head is in a much better space than it has been.

I have been reading 'An Unquiet Mind' too, on the beach during my dog walking. It is so me, it is incredible. Maybe I should write my memories and experiences or is that one of those flights of fancy we bipols are famous for.

Last week I was going to study psychology and find a cure! Maybe not!

This tree is at the top of our street. I love it at this time of year, especially after a 'little' run

So today I am grateful for my meds, my understanding husband ( who is in hospital having tests on his heart) and for the place where I live, peaceful, green and with a flat bit of pavement!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Who's is the voice inside my head?

Hubby and I have infrequent date nights. Going out involves timing, organisation, inclination, effort and money. Therefore it happens rarely unless a friend says 'let's do this quiz', in which case it becomes a weekly event.
Now that the kids are legally allowed to stay home alone (and so far Caitlin isn't charging us for baby sitting her brother) we are hoping to make it a date night a more regular occurrence.

There is however another problem with going on a date with my husband. Whenever we sit across a table from each other, things get emotional. I generally cry, a lot! I think it has to do with having his undivided attention; no house, kid, work etc issues so we can talk honestly and openly about stuff. And I always cry!

A few nights ago we decided to be grown ups (or should that read old people). We went to see the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
When I grow up I want to be Judy Dench
It was sweet if lacking in any depth and we were the youngest people there! I was taken by the colours of India. How can such an impoverished country be so vibrant (sorry if that sounds like an ignorant westerner). Then we went for dinner, nothing special, a chain restaurant with no holiday surcharges (it was Easter Sunday).

Obviously I am not in a great place right now but we had an interesting debate about how brain chemistry works and the effect that it has on everything else. In my worst manic moments, when I was breaking down and feeling as though the ghouls from "Ghost' were coming to drag me to hell, a small part of my brain would tell me "This is just an act, you are making this up, it is just for attention". Thing is, I know it wasn't. But who was saying it? It was my brain function but not ME, so then who?

I don't pretend to understand the science behind the way a brain works, about neurons and synapses, apart from what I learn on House, but how can my brain be telling me something I know isn't true. Is this the same voice that tells me I am stupid or worthless or fat or lazy?

We used to say I had an evil twin. We thought she only came out at certain times of the month but now we realise she is actually controllable up to a point and hormones have nothing to do with her, but she is omnipresent. Always there niggling, poking, picking away at all my inadequacies. Right now she is doing a good job and I am having to fight back but with limited energy.

can you tell who is who?
"You are fat"... well, I have put on a little weight but largely that is because I can't run because of my ankle injury, so I am walking the dog more, starting to watch what I eat and I am thinking Weight Watchers after the holidays...

"Your house is a mess"... ah yes but four people live here so it is a team mess! And it's the holidays and who honestly notices anyway except me

'You are crap at sewing'... just because one friend obviously didn't like the picture you made her doesn't mean a thing. She has no taste.

'Your life has no purpose'...have you met the kids???? They are awesome and all the purpose I need (maybe I need to start believing that rather than just writing it)

SO the fight continues, though even now I am emotional just writing it down.

I wish I could just send her on holiday for a while, just while the seasons change maybe. I love autumn but it is a time of change from up to down, high to low, light to dark and Kay Redfield Jamieson has reported that these are dangerous times for us bipols.

On my walk today with the dog I decided maybe I need to look out my anti depressants again, just for a while, I need to write down the things I am grateful for  and I need to give myself a break from the evil twin. Trouble is I don't know where she lives.

Surely there isn't room in my head for both of us?

Three things to be grateful for...

Molly was much calmer yesterday. Good thing too as the animal warden had been round after neighbors complained about the barking!

I had a lovely morning painting a grudge pony ( Reuben needs company when he is painting his warhammer figures)

I have nearly finished a sewing project that has bugged me for weeks

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Adrenalin is a many splendid thing...potentially!

I have worked for Gifted Kids for about two years now. We are a national organisation but actually day to day I am autonomous in my classroom. Occasionally we get together, like at the conference at the weekend. Maybe 5 times a year there will be between 5 (Auckland area) and 15 (nationwide) of us in a room.

At the weekend a couple of people asked after my health because 'whenever we see you , you are suffering from something.' Generally it's a cold, a cough, fluey bug, occasionally a real illness. Got me thinking!

As some of you know this week has been hard. Major mood swings, total and utter lethargy, flu like symptoms, cough, streaming nose (bit like hayfever) and then Tuesday night a complete inability to sleep!!! So I must be ill, right?


a huge feeling of inadequacy, an expectation of failure, imposter syndrome, perfectionism and "I JUST CAN"T DO IT" running through my head.

You see, not only do I live with bipolar disorder but I am also a gifted kid! There is a whole book on that but the blog post will keep for another day!

Basically ever since I joined GK I have experienced a tremendous sense of inadequacy. All my colleagues are more qualified, experienced, better teachers etc than me. They nearly all presented at conference and I wasn't asked ( actually I am quite good at presenting but keep my light hidden), I may disagree with some of what they say but can never stand up and say so coz "I might be wrong" "They might have a go at me for being stupid" etc.

I am sure I am going to be found out for the failure I am. How can anyone trust me to teach their kids et etc etc. I could go on but honestly what's the point!

These things I know...
I am a good teacher, in fact my kids say I am awesome, and so do some of their parents.

I think well on my feet, I am a natural problem solver.

I GET gifted kids coz I am one, so I can empathise in a way that some of my colleagues can't.

I'm an introvert so chances are I will feel nervous at these gatherings but it has nothing to do with my ability!

History shows that actually I haven't failed yet, but even if I did, that would be ok coz I learn from mistakes. (Failed is a strong word. HIstorically when people have had a go at me, it is because of some perceived weakness in themselves)

I am a good person. I support other people, more than I support myself.

I am vaguely intelligent (um high IQ, good at quizzes, know my strengths and weakness and what kind of learner i am)

Most of my FLU symptoms went away yesterday because

1) Caitlin's parents meetings happened and were great- I had expected a run in with her form teacher about him being an idiot but that didn't happen!

2)I started talking about it. Hubby was feeling better and actually listened.

3) The end of term feedback forms to parents got done, just in time and actually pretty well! It's the first time we did them and so I had no experience, nothing to go on and my lead teacher told me they were easy and not to stress-cue stress!

I had to write two sentences on each child, then print them out so the kids could hand write their reflections ...but my comments weren't going to be good enough, what if parents or kids didn't agree with them... and so the anxiety built.

That morning, after no sleep, I was going to email my principal and say 'I can't do this job. It's killing me! I'm useless". She would probably have told me to go away and get some sleep!

But the day went well. I told them I was stressed and why (the forms). The kids called me evil! That's a good thing! The forms got done, on the computers, so that the kids could read my comments, check the spelling, chat to me about them, and we could alter them as necessary so when the parents read them the  kids would know why I had said what I'd said! So everyone was happy. And we got easter eggs and Indiana Egg went on an eggscellent eggspedition and scaled the cliffs of eggspectation to seek the sacred egg of the covenant (ok so it was a tech challenge, how to get a chocolate egg across a 'cavern' ( between a chair and a table three metres apart) without touching the ground. I'll leave that hanging...

It's all about the future. What WILL people think? What WILL they say? WHEN WILL I be found out? WHAT IF I'm no good?

The adrenalin has been crippling this week and yet here I am, on Thursday, able to write, I've just spent an hour playing Star Wars Kinect  and using up the adrenalin that it left. I am still tingling and shaking slightly but I am just tired, not exhausted. I have the Easter holidays to look forward to and the sun is shining.

Just don't mention the fact that I am hosting brunch on Easter Sunday for  some friends and their kids. The husband is a real foodie and I just about cook. He usually writes the treasure hunt and this is my first time doing it. And the house is a mess ( dust bunnies everywhere) and we have to buy and hide eggs and and and and and..

I hear meditation is good for this sort of thing :-) Or maybe I'll just go and kill a few more clones with my light sabre!!!


Sunday, April 01, 2012

At the weekend I attended the GiftEDNZ Conference (Professional Association for Gifted Education) in Wellington.

 Maybe it was being surrounded by so many 'like minds', or maybe it was my own brain observing so many passionate people pursuing their personal dreams or maybe it was the realisation that I need to do something (else/more/different/special/for me-delete as applicable) but I came away with a hunger. I say hunger, maybe it was more of a craving. Being a bipol, I sometimes find myself noticing, from a distance, what I am thinking. I envied certain of the speakers for their eloquence, I envied some for their commitment to their subject, for their creativity, for their confidence. I wondered why it was that I was not pursuing my academic goals, my creative dreams, my personal desires. Of course it helps to know what these are! Being overwhelmed by choice and then not doing anything about it has sort of been the story of my life, I guess. I could be anything, do anything, but what? The conference has got me thinking- as you'd expect from a conference on gifted education. But more on a personal level than a professional one.

Since I last blogged on this site (I think) I have joined an organisation called Gifted Kids and now work as a 'one day a week' facilitator (note not teacher) of a group of wonderful year 8 gifted kids. Thing is, whilst as a teacher I can teach just about anything,  this job is teaching me sooooo much about me.

I react quite emotionally to things at the best of times. At a PD (professional development) session a while ago a colleague was talking about the social and emotional needs of gifted kids. I read the slide on her powerpoint, about introverts, and nearly burst into tears ( which would have been a great look in front of 30 teachers!) because there I was, on the screen, in black and white (well pale blue and dark blue!)

This weekend, it was about perfectionism, resilience and again the social and emotional needs of the gifted; concepts I should be covering with my kids but which I am still trying to deal with myself. I was moved by discussions on excellence, trying to be the best you can be or just better than the rest (me or Caitlin?)or just giving up because you can't be the best (or just can't do it?).

The greatest effect however was a paper delivered by Dr Deborah Fraser of the University of Waikato, on Depression and Creativity: LIberation from the Noonday Demon. The paper itself was ok, informative though I would have liked  it to have been more child focussed. She dwelt on famous depressives-Dickinson, Plath etc but then mentioned Kay Redfield Jamison who is something of a hero of mine. She is the chair of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins ( inspite of being a psychologist) and a famous bipol. So of course my brain went into over drive, bipolar disorder being mentioned in a talk at a gifted ed conference????

Then came a list of Do's and Don'ts...not all of which I agree with

Quieten the Mind (meditation etc)
Develop self acceptance
Go into Nature
Seek Social Support (BUT I'm an introvert so I don't like to be social)
Reframing (going to have to look that one up)
Be Daring (does jumping out of an aeroplane count)
Express those strong feelings (in art or something creative)
Orient yourself to the future
Take drugs (I mean meds)
Find a purpose ( but which one?)

Read about it, it will only depress you ( but what about those feelings of...thank god some one else feels like me?)
Listen to the "You MUST" voice (ok I agree with that but that voice shouts real loud)
Have analysis (controversial?)
Talk about it (very controversial)
Time Management ( I find this very helpful)
Reliving the emotions
Doing Nothing (so all of the above things are better thn doing nothing at all?)

I tend to take a lot of things on face value so rarely disagree. But here I have to, because the benefit I gained from the session had nothing to do with the talk. You see, I suddenly became an expert. Some of my colleagues know I am bipolar (the whole of West Auckland does since my number plate says so!) and I was able to share with them afterwards my thoughts, feelings and knowledge. It was the first time I had felt energised in the company of these wonderful people. Instead of envying their knowledge I could share mine and not be judged, and as often happens, it freed them up to share their concerns and issues. So we talked ( not recommended), I relived some of the emotions (again not recommended) and I have been asked to share An Unquiet MInd with a number (um shouldn't be reading about it should we?)
I advertise too :-)

I have come home desperate to DO something. Should I take a paper or two in gifted ed? Should I look into psychology? Should I write a book (or blog) about my experiences? After all the emotions and memories are so clear in my head. Should I? Could I? 'Should' is banned in our house but I felt/feel that I haven't fulfilled my potential. There is more I could do. Perhaps I need to do more? Or just different? So here is a new start, a rebirth of this blog. Maybe if I free my brain from its own restrictions and let loose, something will happen? Who knows?

It has to be better than the homecoming was. Caitlin and I talked for hours about the conference and what I had learned about her and me. She's 14 going on 43, gifted, hard working and intense. She rocks! That part of the homecoming was awesome.

The following day however was back to drudge. I have a brain the size of a planet (thanks Marvin), a degree from Oxford and so much potential yet Sunday was full of drudge. How can I reach my potential if I am expected (or expect myself) to cook, clean, garden, support others and do tasks which overwhelm my emotional brain (like gardening which is neverending, imperfect, so tiring) which leaves me exhausted and with no time to do anything else? So seeing Time management on the list of Don'ts doesn't work for me. I will garden for an hour and then I will do something for me, maybe, if it's ok with you.

Even writing that makes me emotional. Like I don't deserve to have the time to do 'my thing', if at times I knew what that thing is. I am suffering today from the physical aftermath of a meltdown yesterday. I feel as though I have a cold but I know it is connected to the events of yesterday. I essentially had a meltdown over the fact that no one else bothers. I came home to a house messier and dirtier than I had left it and which I was expected to clean. No one mentioned all the effort I had gone to to make sure the weekend ran smoothly for everyone (making dinner before I left, tidying up, leaving lists, forms and money out for kids' activities). Why did I bother?

I sought out that support Fraser mentioned yesterday and was knocked back. The kids were great in the end but my husband the psychologist just sat there and essentially told me to pull myself together and just go away! I thnk on the Don'ts list there could be "Don't marry a psychologist! They just don't understand!". Thank god for my son who joined me in the garden just as I was melting down and stayed with me til the end of the tree decimation. Hopefully he won't become a psychologist because at the moment he knows exactly what to do!

So my time management list says I need to finish now, or my brain will allow me to carry on for hours and the drudgery won't get!

Maybe this is the beginning of something? Maybe it is just something different? Who knows? We shall see!