Thank You!

So this happened today.

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That, my friends, is one box of many that marched through my front door today (not on their own obviously, they were carried in by electricians). From those boxes came my new Ventilation unit!! My Givealittle page has raised $1195. The total cost of the system is over $4000 but I never expected to raise the entire sum. I never expected to raise $400! I’m absolutely over-the-moon with gratitude from all of you who donated or bought jewellery tutorials, thank you so much.

My parents are incredibly generously contributing the major portion of this bill. They’ve helped me out far more that they should since my separation. I know money is tight for them too, and they’re both dealing with serious injuries, so I’m going to leave the donation page up in hopes that it might reduce their costs as much as possible. Please continue to share and if you’re so inclined donations are hugely appreciated.

Boy-child was very excited to see the men clambering up in the ceiling today, and elated when I told him that it means he won’t get sick so much anymore. I’m sure we’ll all feel an improvement now that we’re going to be breathing cleaner air while we sleep.

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Desperate Measures

As we head in to our third Winter in this house, I remember how excited I was to finally have a home to call my own. Somewhere that I could have just the way I like it, and if I want to leave dirty dishes on the bench over night, I can without judgement. I loved this place as soon as I saw it, and I still love it now that I know all the quirks and issues it has.

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Except for one, that I just can not accept.

This house is a damp breeding ground for mould. The spores have worked their roots deep into everything. Walls, ceilings, wardrobes carpets and our own furniture. The smell hits you upon entering the bedrooms. The sunbeams do not linger long enough make a difference, and my efforts to remove the mould have been in vain.

My son has suffered from a constant cough since moving in over two years ago. He has had a lot of time off school because of illness and more recently has started to develop breathing difficulties, which can be very frightening. Something drastic has to change to prevent long term damage to his, and our, health. Our home is well insulated, but it’s not enough, we need ventilation. Because of the stud height, sunless-ness and layout of our house, the cheap off the shelf kit would be a waste of money. Money that I don’t have, and believe me, I’ve stretched every cent.

I’ve bitten the bullet and started a Givealittle page. This makes me cringe, it’s not a nice feeling asking for money, but I need to put my squeamishness aside for the sake of my boy’s health. Please, if you’re so inclined, take a look at our fund raising page. Any donations or page shares will be immensely appreciated.

If you prefer to have something to show for your donation, please check out my Etsy store and pursue the jewellery and tutorials. All proceeds will be used to get this system installed as soon as possible.

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Cheapskate

My daughter wails, “Muuuuum, I don’t like silverbeet,” as she stares in horror at her dinner plate.

“Nobody does, sweetheart,” I tell her, as I avoid her icy glare, “but we eat it anyway.”

She pouts at me, “Is this going to last forever?”

“Yep.”

“This” is our new frugal menu. I’ve decided that we spend far too much money on convenience foods, fruit and vegetable that go to waste and junk. So now, we use everything in the veggie bin, make our own cookies, cakes and muesli bars, and the only breakfast cereal I’ll buy is weetbix and rolled oats. Beans, lentils and pearl barley have become staples like they should be. Cheap cuts and offal are on the shopping list. Milk is bought in powdered form and made at home for a fraction of the cost. Fast food has been eradicated and replaced with freezer meals that I made ahead specially for the nights when I just can’t get my shit together.

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It was actually pretty damn tasty – leftovers for my lunch tomorrow.

For the most part, the kids have embraced it. The truth is, they whined about the food I gave them no matter how fried and cheesy it was. I could have offered them a slab of chocolate for dinner and they would have found something to bitch about. But now, the whining has lessened, because there are no other options available and they know it.

They were reluctant about trying the sheep hearts that I found for a dollar each, but quickly decided that it was quite tasty (and fun to pretend that they were zombies eating human heart). The next evening, they both chose to add chopped up heart to their homemade pizzas. Girl-child rediscovered her love for liver, while boy-child finally decided that beans were indeed the musical fruit that I had promised them to be.

That’s how you win children over, it’s not through persistence like they tell you in parenting guides, it’s with zombies and farts.

 

 

2016… I Guess It Was OK.

Ahhh, Christmas, it’s so good that it’s finally fucked off for another year. This summer I’ve been blessed with solitude. Three weeks with an empty house. Tasty-but-intense Flatmate, has moved on and taken Jealous McCuntbeak with him, and the kids have been staying with the Ex. And I’ve been… I don’t really know what I’ve been. Not lonely, just… in a state of limbo. It’s like being suddenly pulled from a busy, noisy train station and sucked into a noiseless vacuum. I miss Jealous McCuntbeak. Not her incessant squawking, but I miss her affectionate play-fighting, and the way she went ape-shit if you gave her a ball or a box to play with.

My immune system has taken a dive again, so I’ve been bombarded with colds and viruses, and a nasty kidney infection. Instead of enjoying my me-time I’ve been run down and my sleep schedule is all over the place. I miss the kids, but I know that their return is going to hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m looking forward to it anyway.

Last year was, frankly, horrific for so many people. For me it was a deep personal struggle, but for others it was more than that. Families torn apart, loved ones lost, and lets not forget Bowie.

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But then, tragedy strikes every year, and there is no such thing as a “bad” year, it’s just a matter of perspective. While 2016 was difficult, there are many things that I’m grateful for.

♥ From hardship comes personal development. I’ve got a long way to go, but I’ve grown.

♥Help from my community. Huge thanks to Rocky Steer, Gail Golding and Nicky Hughes (and co.) from the Kai Kitchen/Donation Station for saving my arse when I was falling apart. These incredible women and their friends provided me and my family with ready cooked meals, and home baking when I lost the ability to function. The food was a huge help, but what really got me through was the unreserved kindness and caring. I’ve never felt so loved, you kick-started my recovery. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

♥My daughter was awarded an exemption from school so that I can home-school her. It’s not easy, but it’s the best option for her and to see the change it’s made in her makes it all worth it.

♥My parents helped me financially more than they should have, as well as helping out around the property.

♥Love from unexpected places. Someone I would never have expected showed up on my doorstep and gave me a firm “you’re not okay and you need to get your shit together”.  She believed in me enough to give me the strength do make the changes I needed to make to get well. Sometimes we need someone with brass balls to call us on our bullshit.

♥Everyone who bought a tutorial or a piece of jewellery. Thank you all. It’s you who make ends meet.

As Desperate As An Ice-Cube In Hell

I thought about turning on the TV tonight, but I can’t get my head around watching it alone. Since my separation, I’ve hardly really watched TV at all. Which is weird, because it’s not like me and Ex really watched anything together toward the end anyway, mostly because we couldn’t be in the same room as each other. I vaguely recall spending most evenings either beading with my headphones on or laying in the bath for hours with a bottle or two of wine, while he either slept on the couch in front of the TV or skulked off into his shed to pretend he was busy.

Before it got like that, back when we did watch shows together, it was always what he wanted to watch. Typical male king-of-the-remote-control stuff. He would fall asleep and I would gently pry the remote out from between him and the cushion. I would slowly turn the volume down before changing the channel, hoping that the sudden shift from one show to another wouldn’t startle him awake. There’s an art to it, but I never mastered the skill. I invariably failed and would receive a glare and a, “I was watching that.” He would reclaim his precious prize, switch the channel back and nod off again.

Now days, if I’m faced with the challenge of deciding what to watch, I’m like a crippled little lamb. So mostly, I don’t watch anything except for The Walking Dead. If I’m with someone, I can watch, but I can’t make the choice. Even if there’s something that I want to watch, I’ll concede to someone else’s preference. It’s part lack of confidence in speaking up, and part being so desperate for company that I don’t want to risk them deciding not to join me on the couch.

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You see, I’m stunningly needy. I’ve only just come to realise this. I’m fairly certain that everyone who has ever dealt with me has been long aware it, while I’ve been existing as a shapeless mass of oblivious desperation. I’m horribly lonely, even when I’m not alone. I require constant reassurance that I’m a good person, a good mother, that I exist, that I’m not losing my mind, not a burden, not a hellish mash-up between The Blob and Freddy Kruger.

When someone doesn’t want to spend time with me, I “know” that it’s because of who I am as a person, or how I look. If someone rejects me, I feel like hideous monster who should be shunned from society. Conversely, if someone chooses to spent time with me, I feel like maybe I matter. If I’m lucky enough to spend the night with someone or be shown affection of any sort, I start to think maybe I’m not so bad. So I crave touch; a hug, a hand resting on mine, any kind of gesture. It’s not romance or love that I want, it’s just the feeling of being worth…. something. Hell, some days, I would be happy to be punched me in the face just for the sake of human contact, some kind of acknowledgement that I’m here and I matter. And that’s not a healthy way to be.

I’m learning a lot about myself as I work through this process, and most of it isn’t great and it hurts like Hell. But all the same, I’m glad that I’m figuring myself out, so that I can work on fixing it. Three steps forward and two steps back is still progress. Eventually, I’ll have found all the little pieces of me, I’ll cut back the rot and I’ll be content to be me. I’m not going to get any younger or prettier, so best I start learning to accept myself now before I’m a lonely old hag preying on handsome young Jehovah’s Witnesses who knock on my door, insisting that they have one more cup of tea.

Catharsis

My head isn’t in the best of places today, but it’s probably just necessary to work out the kinks (although, some kinks I’m happy to keep ). It’s 1.30pm, and I’ve only just gotten out of bed, but today isn’t for pressure, today is for catharsis and for planning. My house is a mess, but fuck it. I don’t need to impress anyone today.

Today my plans include, sitting and crying; laying on the couch playing games on my phone; writing a list of small goals and a plan on how to achieve them; drinking lots of water; cat and rat cuddles (not at the same time); mindless drawing; walk on the beach.

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I need to stop trying to be what other people want me to be. I was me for a little while there, and I’m going to get that back. I need to stop feeling guilty for not being good enough, strong enough, generous enough, pretty enough. Changes are coming.

A Public Service Announcement For My Fellow Mentals

I have changed anti-depressant medications, and it was an awful experience. I have since found out that the standard New Zealand practice for changing SSRI (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor) medications is different from that of the rest of the world.  Australia advises a withdrawing period of 4-7 days, waiting 3 days before starting the new medication. America is on the most cautious side of the scale, reducing Zoloft over a period of 4+ weeks, waiting 7 days then introducing Escitalopram.

In New Zealand we just switch straight to the new one immediately. Going cold-turkey from Zoloft is risky and difficult, particularly if the dose is high and has been taken long term. Withdrawal can take several painful weeks. I thought it was unusual, so I made a point of asking the doctor if that was correct. She told me that because they’re both “short-acting” drugs an immediate change is suitable. This is so unique to New Zealand, that it is even mentioned as a side-note in the official UK GP Guidebook.   I have my suspicions that it is likely to be about money. In New Zealand we have a heavily subsidised healthcare system. In my area, I can see a GP for $17 and get prescriptions for $10, and three months worth of meds for $5, the government foots the rest of the bill. It’s pretty sweet. But it’s not perfect.

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I believe the reason that the method for switching SSRI’s is an over night change, is because weaning means more doctors visits, more prescriptions as each week is a different dosage, and therefore more cost to the Ministry of Heath. So people are suffering unnecessarily, because it’s cheaper. And I mean really suffering.

I was unable to function. It felt like I was moving through treacle, my head was spinning. I couldn’t make sense of anything. The simplest things were baffling. I was profoundly sad, and tired. At first, I couldn’t do much more than lay down and cry. There were times when I was detached from reality that I felt like I was an observer, watching the world from the outside. My responsibilities as a mother became monumental hurdles.

It’s been six days now, and I’m still feeling pretty run-down, but it’s getting better every day. I have learned a valuable lesson and I will never, EVER make a cold switch again. Always insist on tapering off SSRI’s