Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Thursday, 29 December 2011


Ooops I'm a day late with this! Sorry! LOL!

52/4, week 3

Lost for Words
by John Humphreys

"The possibility that Alastair regards the media as disinterested - meaning dispassionate, without any axe to grind- is about as great as Tony Blair being the secret love child of John Prescott and Margaret Thatcher."


As before, if you'd like to join in here's how-

  • Pick any book,
  • go to page 52
  • give us the sentence that contains line 4.

Leave your results in the comments. Or, if you want to put it as a post on your own blog, just leave us a link to find it there!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

A Christmas Dream

This is the dream Luvbug had the other night...

 Scooter and Fluffy, Summer 2010

He dreamed that I was giving Scooter his medicine. I had it in my hand and he was just licking it up, no trouble. Then, Fluffy walked towards us to have a look and I said,

"It's OK, Fluffy. You don't need these any more!"

And she faded away.

*** *** ***

It was her anniversary on the 13th. She has a little candle by her box of ashes, an angel, and a little box, decorated with cat pictures, containing her last collar and a clipping of her hair. This is all on the side near my chair, with Christmas cards around. She loved Christmas, the sparkle and twinkles fascinated her. She would lie belly-up under the tree looking up through it at all the glittering lights. I miss her, but I'm glad she isn't hurting any more. It wouldn't be Christmas if my friend were hurting.

Scooter now has 4 cardboard boxes scattered around the floor. Various deliveries have provided him with this choice. If I try to clear one up he wants that one :)

*** *** ***

Have a purrfectly happy Christmas, everyone!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Christmas preparations

Decided the oven needed cleaning. It keeps smoking, you see. Not meant to do that.

So I excavated the can of 'Mr Muscle' from the back of the cupboard, where I'd left it when I had first had the idea to clean it, oh, 4 months ago-?? and sprayed the stuff liberally all over the inside of the oven. Despite covering my nose and mouth, this sent me into an instant asthmary wheeze. Yuck! Some coughing and a few puffs on my inhaler later, I wondered, "Should I clean the roof of the oven , too?" I had a look and discovered that the whole of the roof slides out for cleaning. Oh. Never knew that. Gosh, that's a surprise after 7 years isn't it. So sprayed that too.

Then you have to leave the foam to eat all the bleagh gunk for up to 2 hours so I went and had a sit down and fell asleep.

Some time later......

I went to the kitchen for some tea and almost shrieked- in front of my oven, a large gloopy dark puddle was spreading into the room like a scene from CSI. Ohhhhhhh buggggggggggger.

Old cloths, newspaper, water and kitchen roll..... but hey this is worth it for a spotless oven for the Christmas roast, yes? Once the gloop and bubbles were removed I expected to see pristine metal but instead I've had to apply the rest of the can and have a second go. Not sure how I get to rinse all this off. We could be having salad for lunch on Sunday at this rate!

Regarding the Christmas food shopping, we thought we'd leave it till late, as a late night trip would avoid the crowds. SO we went to Tesco at 10.25 last night.

Going late was such a great idea that it had occurred to HALF OF COLCHESTER. We were back at midnight.

Just me, Luvbug, Mum and Scooter this year. But I hope to make it special with the trimmings and special touches..... how are your preparations going?

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


Scroll down to the previous post for full details on how to play this, but BASICALLY you go to page 52 of any book and then line 4. Give us the title, author, and the line that included line 4.

Here's mine!

52/4, week 2

The Cat Who Came In From The Cold
by Deric Longden

"I examined his undercarriage very closely as he padded over my face and then the leaves shook as he landed on the soft earth."

To tell us yours-
I WAS going to put in a 'Mr Linky' chart but couldn't get it to work!!!
INSTEAD, if you want to join in, just leave your entry in the comments. If you do put it on your blog instead or as well, you're of course welcome to leave your link!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Time for some fun around here!

Time for something lighter around here! -So I am proposing a new weekly 'meme'.

I am going to call it 52/4

What you do (and I hope some of you will have time to join in) is this-

Take a book, any book. It can be fiction or factual. One you are currently reading, or off your shelf, doesn't matter. (Kids books are definitely allowed, too. I wonder if Bob would like to join in with one of his Paddington Bear books....)

  • Turn to page 52.
  • Go to line 4.
  • Tell us the sentence that includes line 4. In other words, if it is incomplete you are allowed to go back to the beginning of the sentence or go on a few lines to end it. But give us THE SENTENCE THAT INCLUDES LINE 4.
  • Always include full name of book and author. (Do we also need an edition number? A publication year? What do you think??)
  • You don't have to scan in a pic of the cover, it's up to you. My scanner is out of action so I have taken the photo from Amazon. Not sure if that's allowed, but as it's basically advertising for them, I'm not sure they would mind!

I must stress this is not my original idea entirely- there was a blog or a website doing this a few years ago, though I can't remember what page or line number. If you know of that site, do let me know, so I can give credit, & if necessary ask permission, too! Meanwhile, I always thought it was a great idea so let's go.

Here is my first entry. I shall put one up on Wednesdays from now on. I'll do a 'Mr Linky' so you can join in and leave a link easily, if you want.

*** *** ***

52/4, week 1

(Currently reading)
A Small Weeping
by Alex Gray

"Then he was gone, the pretty table and the candlelight forgotten as he closed the front door behind him."

Let me know what you think!!!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Time does help, doesn't it?

It wasn't till late Monday that I started to feel a bit more relaxed, but I still haven't had a night's sleep. This is mainly because of guilt, and things going over and over, conversations going through my head. Then my head runs away with itself in imaginary conversations, doing the whole day how I'd have liked it to have been done. Before I know it two hours of these scenes have played across my mind.

Thank you for lovely support. It does make a huge difference.

*** *** ***

Years ago, 1999, I was bullied so much at my last paid job that I took two weeks' off work with depression. I never went back because facing going back just made it worse, and I had had 9 months of it. I knew going back would be harder. So I was signed off sick.

I made an official complaint about the bullying and they investigated it and said that it hadn't happened. I was given a copy of the report and was stunned by the 'witness statements'. Ihad not expected colleagues to stick up for me, but neither had I expected them to INVENT stories, things that hadn't happened, utter lies. I was so shocked. Naive, I suppose.

The only person who had planned to stick up for me had been retired early and so wasn't questioned.

I appealed and lost.

Why am I writing about this? Well, last weekend brought it all back.

What came back in vivid technicolour is the sense of loss of self- in other words I no longer knew if I was ok as a person- I asked myself, "Is this me, in these descriptions? Am I this terrible person? Am I one of those people who just can't see how awful they are?" It's a dizzying experience.

Well I have been back there.

Today less so. Time is smoothing down the edges of guilt's claws, and tempering my ancient, post-Catholic duty of 'self examination'.

*** *** ***

No answer to the email I sent after the events. But they went on holiday Tuesday, so I don't think they had time to read it, and even if they had checked their email before leaving, it was a very long one.

Luvbug and I sent them flowers, delivered Monday. We spent time to carefully word the card so that I was not grovelling and wallowing in saying sorry as I feel strongly that I was provoked. There was right and wrong on both sides I guess. But we said something like, please know I would not have wanted the evening to end that way. Then we wished them a happy new year and a safe and happy holiday (they went to Mexico).

A text came from my brother Monday afternoon saying thank you for the beautiful flowers; we'll straughten things out in the new year. A huge weight went off me then, I think because the ball is left in their court. There is no need for it to hang over us at Christmas.

I can't help but feel relieved though, that they are away for a fortnight and so will be 1000's of miles away at Christmas so I don't have to worry about that other, big, sometimes fraught day!

*** *** ***

My old school friend, Jo, came up on Monday and we toured the shops. Luvbug gave me generous funds for a girlie lunch. She cheered me up no end.

*** *** ***

Monday night and Tuesday I have had to take my level-outer pills as I have felt myself going *UP* too far and too rapidly.

In bi-polar there can be the misperception that when you have an up it is all great and enjoyable! But really it means talking too fast, thinking too fast, doing 10 things at once, can't sit still, and then eventually headaches and eye pain and if you're not careful, hallucinations.

So much as I would like to coast along on the wave (as I do sometimes just because the extra energy means I can so much more done!) I have taken my trifluoperazine like a good girl. Mind you, it is now 1 a.m. and I am not in bed. Oops!

*** *** ***

Up early tomorrow; to mum's by 8 as she has a washing machine delivery. Can they give a better ETA? No, just some time between 6 and 10. (6????????? Does anyone really THINK of washing machines at 6???)

Can't believe Christmas is so close. Hadn't realised that school, and therefore Luvbug's work days, comes to an end this Friday. Stroof!!! Where has the last 1/4 of this year gone???? Strange how the passing of time is sometimes helpful, and other times so fast it is scary.

*** *** ***

Hope you're not all under winter colds and bugs out there. The weather has definitely gone wintry at last.... Bob The Bear has received an amazing sleigh in the post, which he'll blog about later. Now he looks out the window for snow every day :)

Sunday, 11 December 2011


So I went to the wedding. I'd had about 3 hours sleep but I washed, dressed in my new clothes, fixed my hair and put on the make-up that I'd bought the day before. A big part of me had wanted to go and for it to all be wonderful, meaning that I'd spent a lot on clothes and shoes and new bag, haircut and make-up and even had had my eyebrows threaded- which had been excrutiating! So I had tried to get myself in the right mindset, you see. I HAD 'made an effort'. I stress this because it is the cause of the blazing row that started at the reception-

I went over to talk to my brother. We had all eaten the dinner and were waiting for dessert. A general hubbub and interlude. I went over to talk to my brother but the bride started talking to me right away instead.

Earlier at the church, I hadn't been able to face the service- as I had predicted. I did text my brother the night before and warn him that an hour long service might be too much for me. I wanted to forewarn him in case he turned round in the service, saw I wasn't there and wondered why.

Well according to the bride this text hugely upset my brother as did my not staying for the service. -I did NOT walk out of the service. I left before it began. I did this because it was an old church with old, boxed in pews, so the only exit was down the main aisle. Not good for quick, or subtle exits. SO I explained to mum and Luvbug, and sneaked out. Unfortunately it was just as the bride's party were hanging around at the door. My brother later told me that she had accused me of giving her a filthy look as I left, but I certainly did not!

I really don't think that they would have noticed me not being there if she hadn't seen me leave. THere were so many of their friends there.

But what the bride said to me during reception was that it didn't matter whether I was ill, or couldn't stand church services because of things in my past, or that I felt I was havign a panic attack, or that my depression had been particularly bad that week - all explanations I tried to give her whilst she was ticking me off for not supporting my brother- no, it didn't matter how bad I felt or why, "It's your brother's day, not yours, you see? You understand? It's his day." this is what she kept telling me. And it didn't matter how bad I felt or what reasons I had. Because HER sisters would have overcome it and put him first, she said.

NExt to my clothes. I explained that I had had to wear black trousers in the end- I made a joke of it- as it was hard to find anything this time of year as the shops only sold Chrismassy things. "That's ok, to wear something Christmassy, it's meant to be a celebration, Helen, not a funeral." was the reply. Poor mum, in black and navy. No one took the troubel tell her how nice she looked.

Well after all I'd been through- the fact that I HAD gone to the wedding to do precisely what I was being accused of not doing- to support my brother- something in me snapped. I went back to my table, pick up my things, told Luvbug, I can't stay, not after that, and went to the car....

That would have been enough, but although Luvbug came with me, Mum didn't, so I went back in to explain and to get her... Luvbug begged me not to go back in, but I was so fuming and maybe 2 1/2 glasses of wine hadn't helped (oh dear).

Well mum had gone over to say goodbye to the bride. God alone knows what she said to mum. Mum said she didn't hear half of it.

David was chatting to his friends and working his way to the door where Luvbug and I were waiting. Once he got there, we thought he was going to say something like, "oh dear, that didn't go well did it? Are you going early then?" but no, he started to say that this was HIS day and that I should put him first and I hadn't behaved properly and blah blah blah. SOmething in me was so mad! I told him how low and depressed I'd been, how we'd really tried to get to the wedding, how we had had to come to get mum there- even though she was mostly ignored by them when there!

-Here is how mum was treated-
we seated her in the second pew, behind where the bride and groom, and her beloved grandchildren, were to sit. They moved her back to another pew, further away, and put their witnesses, friends, in that place. SO in the wait for the bride's party it was to these friends that my brother chatted, not mum.

-no buttonhole! I asked if there was a buttonhole for mum, as a few people were wearing a red rose. No, he said. He told mum that as they cost £12 each he didn't get many. So just him, his boys and... the ushers! The ushers got a flower but not the mother of the groom!

-next mum fell went getting out of the box pew. I was in the Ladies' loo at the time, when I came back there was just her and luvbug at the top of the church. They explained what had happened. Had my brother known? Yes, he did. Was he there? No. Luvbug took care of her, though.

-Mum, Luvbug and I waited at the top of the church a bit late while they had official photo's taken. Mum was waiting to be called. But they never called her. All packed up and finished, they let. Mum was so upset. I went after them and asked my brother, what about a photo with mum? -She is upset, she wanted to be in a photo! His reply was something like, "Oh I suppose so, yeah maybe we should, I'll get the photographers...."

We were the only people from this side of the family there, we knew no one else. SO it was particularly difficult. We'd hope my Aunt Pat and 2 cousins would be there, we would all have enjoyed meeting up again. But my brother had invited my aunt and not my cousins, so the invitation was turned down- my cousins felt hurt and besides, my aunt and uncle unable to drive a long way, the cousins were needed to get them there!

Oh well.... back to the door of the hotel- my brother and I got into a shouting match only some of which I remember, but I do remember him shouting in my face that I have always treated him like shit.
WHAT the?? HOW???
Back to how this was HIS day....

There is more, a lot more, but the bottom line is that I felt that the bride had no business pulling me up at that moment anyway, and certainly could not judge me, as she didn't know how hard things were. All she would say to my explanations is that it didn't matter and that I should put my brother first. She went on to say I had not said congratulations to them and blah blah.... not that they had come over to the three of us, leaving us on our own, and not even thinking to include us in the photo's until I chased after them! We had brought cards and gifts.....not congratulations enough....

'Are you glad we're married, because you haven't said so!' she said. This put me as piggy in the middle as I knew that my brother had told me, when Steph had booked the date, that he would rather spend the money on getting a decent car that didn't keep breaking down. As far as we knew, this was her big idea, not his. So hard to congratulate him really, when we felt more sympathy for him...

Well the shouting went on right up to the front door of the hotel and till I got into the car, telling him that my family had treated ME like shit since I was 2 and not any more because they were all dead.


Today I woke up and thought it had all been a nightmare.
I wish it had been.
I am shocked how it all escalated from the bride's words to a blazing row.
But telling me that I had to think of others touched a very, very raw nerve.

Next time when facing things I know I can't do, I shall listen to my gut, to my mental health, to my friends out there, and say no, I'm putting myself first this time and I'm not going....

I sent a long email to them this morning giving my side of what happened and how things escalalted etc. Luvbug went over it with me to make sure I wasn't emotive or angry in it.... I doubt it will be read but hey ho. I wish the whole day had not happened in a week when I have been worse than ever. At a better time who knows, I may have been able to pull it off. I feel a total failure that I didn't, a fool, embarrassed as guests must have heard us, I feel bad that mum had to leave early because of it all, I feel wretched about not being able to be normal, and confused as to whether to hate all of me or just my bloody head... suicide was breathly a suitable solution today, but a sleep and a hug from Luvbug, I am now bruised and battered, but ok to go out to the Xmas fair with mum in town..... I feel I have been hit by a truck....

I would love to hear your opinion good or bad, I need other perspectives maybe, I need to know I'm not the biggest shit around- or am I? the worst sister? I am utterly amazed that Luvbug still loves me today.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

The Worst Week

I've no idea why this last week has been my worst in a long long time.

I feel at best crabby, snappy, impatient and tearful, and at worst I feel like I'm having a breakdown: spinning thoughts, uncontrollable thoughts going places I don't want them to go, little sleep and what there is is filled with surreal dreams. It feels like my head is full of barbed wire. Cutting myself again the other day, a way to stop the traffic in my head.

Upped my back up pills from 2mg a day to 3 or 4, only to discover too late that the pharmacist gave me two weeks' worth instead of a month, so now I am down to 2 pills left... and my brother's wedding tomorrow.

I hate being in rooms full of people I don't know. I can't handle it. And the idea of being in a church again makes me feel physically sick. Tonight he told me the service will be about an hour-??? I asked if there were emergency exits down each side!

I don't want to go. My head is hellish. I am an inch away from a panic attack. And I STILL have to take care of mum. Today I was in town with her early again trying to get her something to wear for tomorrow. Finally she bought a black skirt, then fretted about the price for hours. Then I finished taking up the sleeves of her jacket...

Tried to approach the subject of me not going. Luvbug told me that if I can't face it, if it will push my head too far, to not worry as he will take mum and look after her there.

Well she is having none of it. I have to go to support my brother, you see. Like I always must. I must support my elder siblings, my younger brother... I am left asking myself, what about ME? When does what I need count? Stuff how bad I feel, I have to support my brother whose promise of inviting my mum up for a weekend each month to give us a break has amounted to three weekends in 21 months

Now I'm just rambling, I know. But there is no one to talk to. Even the emergency line at the therapy place I go to is engaged!

Bottom line- I am here to support my eldest brother, despite the abuse he put me through when I was little- I am also here to support my second eldest as he goes through his second wedding, even though I feel like I'm falling apart- I am to support my little brother, the one in Mexico, and glean info from him from his tiny emails for mum because she worries and he can't be arsed to call her or write to her- and according to mum, I am also here to cook Kevin's meals (the shock horror on her face when I give her a meal and there is nothing for Kevin because we will eat later. Where's Kevin's? or the time she was halfway to the kitchen and said -'Oh! I was going to make Kevin a cup of tea, but that's your job really isn't it?')

That's it, my role. Support everyone else around me and just accept that they either don't give a flying monkey's that I'm ill or-more likely- they simply don't believe that I am. Luvbug the exception to the rule of course, but to the others it is 'oh' get on with it'.

Will I go to the wedding? More than likely. After all, at 44 who am I to have a choice. This is why my head is full of barbed wire. It is being crushed, shrunk. I am screaming out for a break and no one can hear me.

Thank goodness for Scooter. My fur confidante. I feel I have no one in the world. I have lived here 8 years and made no friends. I am shrinking inside.

Can't believe how much i have cried this week. Or how fragile I've been.

Tried to explain to mum gentle why I might not go tomorrow. She said, I need to go to support my brother, and she is looking forward to standing next to me there.

Do you know, we didn't even get an invite? They gave one to mum and added 'plus Helena and Kevin'. Or  'plus carer and driver'.

It wouldn't be fair for Luvbug to take her on his own and face all those strangers. I know he means it when he offers, but it is too much to ask.

If I don't go no one will accept why. Since my first major depression at 13, and my first suicide attempt-induced coma at 14, well, it's all just for attention isn't it, is what they think. Mum even said it to me when I got out of hospital that time. How ironic that I'm the one left with her care now.

I have junk on tv, chocolate and my cat. I'll doze off eventually I guess....

Saturday, 3 December 2011


My elder brother gets married next Saturday. It's his second marriage. They've been together about 15 years and have two kids. Now, after suddenly becoming a Christian, his former atheist 'you're an idiot to believe in anything' partner wants a wedding. And so it's booked for 10th December.

I avoid get togethers like the plague. The last party I went to was a schoolfriend's 14th. The last wedding I went to was my brother's first one, 20 years ago. I left after the photo's. You can keep speeches, small talk with strangers, lukewarm food and loud music that no one would normally stay in the same room with.

But this time there is no getting out of it. Or as Mum so succinctly put it- "Well, they're expecting you up there, and I'm going, so you've got to take me." Well that's told me, then, hasn't it? Nothing like being 44 and under your mother's orders.

And it started about 6 weeks ago- the trial of trying to get mum something to wear. She wants to go shopping for clothes at least three times a week. No matter how slowly I walk for her, she slopes along three steps behind me. I try to keep my chin up and smile. Like today; "OK, what sort of top would you like?"
"Don't know."
She already has a nice navy blue jacket. The sleeves are too long and so I'm half way through putting these up for her, not fast enough apparently as she asks if I have done it yet at least twice a day.

So now we need trousers or skirt. I will need to put these up, too, as even 'petite' ranges don't cater for people UNDER 5'2".

Ever tried to find a short, straight navy skirt in the run up to Christmas? There aren't any. Anything with just the main colour being navy? You know, a pattern, whatever, doesn't matter? No. Everything not snazzy enough for a Christmas party has gone into storage and store assistants look up begrudgingly from conversation, mobile phone texts and magazines to tell me "Oh, well, if we did have that it would be out on the rail."

Occasionally over the last month and a half I have found items of clothing that would work. Usually mum just screw her nose up at them and walks off, or makes a sarcastic comment, or laugh derisively as though to say, "you like THAT? Oh my God! What's WRONG with you?"

It would be easier if she actually looked. But I look, she just wanders behind me. Then stands there, like a reluctant child in the summer holidays, being forced to shop for school uniform. But it is HER idea to come into town and look. Then once there it's all onto me.

Well today I had ENOUGH. 

Let's concentrate on a top today, shall we?
So what kind of top do you want?
Don't know (shrugs, screws up nose)
I think white, cream or blue would go with your jacket.
Yes but what else? Do I get trousers or do I get a skirt?
(we have already had this conversation 50 million times but never mind)
Well let's concentrate on a top first. This shop has both, though, so we can keep an eye out.
(Then I find a white shirt, long sleeve- previous short sleeved selections have not past the wrinkled nose test. This shirt has a slim pin stripe in it, and in the stripes are flowers. Nice. Smart. Warm. Feminine.)
Ooo how about this?- I say, bringing her the shirt.
-She pulls a face.
Well, it's smart enough. Nice material. Will go. And you could wear it other places afterwards...?
-Screws up face, derisive laugh.
-Then she picks up a long sleeve T shirt. Big blue swirly flower pattern. Yeah, why not?
Yes, that's nice.
-I like that.
Yes, ok. Why not try that one on?
Want to bring the shirt as well?
-Screws up face.
OK, we'll leave that.
Go to try on top.
Look at other selections on the way, no short skirts.
Get to changing rooms. Mum has a go at the assistant, saying that there are no skirts. Assistant reels off a list of other shops we should try, which we have already tried. I tell her this, and she doesn't believe me. She particularly doesn't believe that M&S have nothing suitable. The last thing I need is shop staff telling me to look harder.

Mum tries on the top and calls me.
-"It's too low at the front."
(It isn't.) Erm, no, no it isn't. But you could always wear your silky blue scarf around your neck if you fel cold."
--"No it's too low. You can see my vest."
Well leave it off for one day."
-Screws up nose.Then agrees, as she likes the pattern and the material.
On the way out of the changing area the assistant asks, "OK?"
"Yes," I beam. "We have success!"
Then mum appears, and thrusts the top into the assistant who stares at her, confused.
-"It's too low. You can see me vest."
"Uhm, what if you wore a light scarf with it, ma'am?"
-"No. I need it higher. And buttons. A few buttons up the top ."
"Shall I go and get that shirt, then?"
-"No, not today. Let's go home. We can come back tomorrow."

One of 3 left before Xmas weekend.
And we both hate crowds.
Oh what fun.

I text my brother, telling him of yet another fruitless afternoon shopping for Mum to get something for his bloody wedding. I am already cross with him because his promise to "take mum off your hands for one weekend a month" didn't come through for November, and won't for December either. Next chance I get of a day to myself is mid January. I tell him she might come to the wedding in jeans. He texts back that jeans are ok, so long as she has a matching hat.