New Years Resolutions 2015 (AKA Things I’d Like To Accomplish, Keeping In Mind 2014 Included A Nervous Breakdown And A Major Meltdown In My Life)

So here we are, at the end of another year.  2014 will go down in the annals of my personal history as not being so great, but I got to the end of it, (which on some days, didn’t seem to be a likely outcome, and that’s the God’s honest truth).

So now I’m facing the beginning of a New Year, and what I hope will be a less emotionally traumatic period than the past twelve months ended up being.  Each day is still an unknown journey, I wake up most mornings to discover what the day might be going to hold, from the minute I open my eyes.

Some mornings, I’m bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  Other mornings, not so much. Some days, the black dog has me in his jaws and won’t let go.  It takes little to tip the emotional scales in one direction or another, my emotional psyche remains battered and beaten and heightened in sensitivity to what it used to be.  Little things are distressing, events quickly spin out of control (in my mind) and so many things frighten me, I find it hard to look forward and see the light at the end of the tunnel.  But I’m assured it is there, and consequently, I’ve put some thought into 2015 and what I would like to resolve within my life.  In keeping with the theme which has taken over my life in the past five months, I am considering things in ‘baby steps’ – so don’t expect to see ‘travel the world’ or ‘take up line dancing’ or ‘Attend five Concerts’ appearing anywhere on the list.  Deb’s New Year’s Resolutions take on a much more mundane level of accomplishment.  But one woman’s molehill, is this woman’s Mt. Everest, so here goes:

2015

 

  • Keep Seeing the Evisceration Expert (er, Psychologist)

Okay, this might not seem like much to some, but in my case, after decades of living in denial about the state of my mental health, and building up coping mechanisms which I’ve now discovered were actually a lousy way of coping, I’m determined to keep visiting the woman who assures me we can find the ‘Real’ Deb and get me to the point where I can live my life without constant fear and anxiety. (Personally, I think that’s a massive undertaking, and funnily enough – so does she – but I digress.)

Some of you may have already noticed from past blog posts – I loathe these sessions.  After twenty minutes of talking, I’m keeping one eye on the clock, waiting for the hour to be up.  I hate investigating my internal thoughts, don’t like answering the questions about how things make me feel and most certainly don’t like examining the internal workings of my mind.  It’s not a fun place to visit, and I certainly wouldn’t want to live there… oh… wait, I do.)

But I’ve come to the conclusion, after 49 years of living on this planet… that I can’t deal with this on my own any longer.  I can’t rely on Strong Deb anymore, because she got obliterated, completely and totally, during the breakdown crisis of 2014.  The frightened anxious shell which is left, needs help to find her way back into the land of the living.  So my biggest resolution for 2015 is to keep going to see the woman who wants to put my brain under a microscope, and see if I can’t come out of the year feeling stronger and more in control of my life.  And who knows, I might even manage a session with her without taking Steve along to hold my hand…

  • Accept All Offers of Friendship at Face Value and Believe in the Fact that some People Truly Do Like Me (Even Though I Don’t Understand Why)

I’m discussed my issues with friendship before.  I have a three friend limit, I don’t assume anything when it comes to meeting other people and can’t understand why they would wish to be friends with me, when most of the time, I don’t even like myself.  I constantly doubt myself as being valued as a friend and certainly don’t think I’m interesting enough to warrant being called a friend.  And I never actually realize I’m a friend, until its pointed out to me, because I would never assume.

A couple of things happened this year, (besides the breakdown) which caused me to think very seriously about this situation.  One, was the outpouring of love, support and sympathy I’ve received over the past few months through Facebook (my main point of contact) and email (my other preferred point of contact).

Second, was the contact I had with two very old friends on FB, just before Christmas, when I posted a photo of my much younger self, the year we left Melbourne and moved to Western Australia.  Both friends professed to feelings of loss and loneliness after I left Melbourne.  This, was an epiphany to me, something I’d never suspected anyone ever felt about their relationship with me.  And that’s the honest truth.  (The evisceration expert er, psychologist tells me I have issues with self-worth.  Go figure.)

Consequently, in 2015, I’m going to try and approach friendships with far less suspicion and try to believe in the fact that some people actually seem to find me likeable.  When I’m invited to things, I’m going to try and quell the first question which comes to mind (Why did they invite me?  Surely they don’t really want to spend time with me, ‘cos I’m not that interesting, they’re probably just inviting me because they think they should,) and take the invitation for what it is – someone who genuinely likes me and would like to spend time with me.  Which leads directly onto Resolution Three…

  • Find the Courage to Leave the House and Make It Past The Letterbox

Okay, this one is made up of numerous, tiny, weeny little resolutions, (pathetically minor to everyone else, but major achievements for me) listed as follows:

1.  Walk across to the park on my own.

2.  Get into the car and drive somewhere without a keeper.  (I figure I’ll start with around the block, and build up from there.)

3.  Go to the shops without a keeper.

4.  Visit a friend without needing to be dropped off and collected.

And that, is my list of resolutions for 2015.  While for most people, they could probably polish off this entire list on January first, I suspect in my case, it may take a little while longer.  But I think they’re doable, and with a little help, I hope to achieve them.

Best Wishes to Everyone for a Safe, Happy and Prosperous 2015.

Deb xxxx

 

 

New Year’s Resolutions… and where I went wrong this year…

As we approach the end of 2014, I decided to consider what I’d set for resolutions in this year, and see if I managed to accomplish any of them.  Surprisingly, given that I suffered a breakdown just past the halfway mark of the year… I did okay.

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  • Procrastinate Less:  This is a biggie for me, as I could probably take out Gold, Silver and Bronze in the Procrastination Olympics.  I’m a professional procrastinator and it’s not a good thing.  Procrastination leads to doubt, doubt leads to not writing and not writing leads to a feeling of failure and ‘I’m not good enough’.  So my first and biggest resolution is to procrastinate less and write much more.  I read somewhere that it doesn’t matter if what you write is crap – just keep writing.  Every word you write leads to improvement and that’s my goal for the year.

End of year note:  I didn’t procrastinate quite as much, but it still proved to be a biggie for me.  Of course, doesn’t help that I had a breakdown, which I’ve discovered is a great procrastinating tool.  So many new things to fret over… I’ve wasted hours!  But on a bright side, I did manage to write more and spent less time worrying over the quality, as I worked towards quantity.  Now I’ve learning to trust myself to put the words on paper, and go back and clean ’em up later…

  • Give Up Smoking:  I use smoking as a crutch, it’s true.  Stressed?  Have a cuppa and a smoke.  Bored?  Have a cuppa and a smoke.  Writers Block?  Have a cuppa and a smoke.  Angry?  …. Well, you get the drift. (In actual fact, maybe I should try and give up the addiction to tea, too!) I have given up smoking before, in fact, I’ve given up for as long as a couple of years.  But I always manage to take it back up again.  But this year, I’m quietly confident (and being nagged perpetually by my friend who also happens to be my G.P.) that I’ll get there.

End of year note: I did this!  I stopped smoking around mid-year and despite every single thing that went wrong, I managed to refrain from taking up the habit again.  But I must admit, there have been some days, when I desperately wanted the stress relief a cigarette would bring.  But my husband and family have been so proud of my efforts, to give in now would disappoint them, so I’ve stayed on the straight and narrow.  And besides… people who smoke stink!

  • Believe in Myself:  I’m a disbeliever, it’s true.  Three published books and I still think I suck.  But THIS YEAR, I’m going to take a more positive outlook towards this business of being an Author.  People seem to like what I write, so I’m going to try a little harder to believe that I can do this, and spend less time considering what I’m doing wrong.

End of year note: This has been a work in progress.  To a certain extent, I’ve improved, and I have published another book this year, and have one ready for release in late January.  But I still struggle with believing in myself.  Visits to the Evisceration Expert, er, psychologist may help this situation as I move into 2015.  But I think, like all authors, I will never truly overcome the need to doubt myself.  I have improved in believing that I can write first person… third person (my own personal bogeyman) is still proving harder.  

  • Spend More Time Blogging: One area which I’m an abject failure in doing, as can be seen by the huge blocks of time in which there are no blog posts.  I’ve mentioned before that I don’t always have any idea of what to write, but I promise, 2014 will include a bit more effort in finding something to write.  And I’ll try not to be boring!

End of Year Note: Success!  I’ve found that as the year progressed, and my mental health declined, blogging was actually an outlet which proved therapeutic.  I’ve always loved the written word over the spoken, and in the circumstances I’ve found myself in for the latter part of 2014, being able to ‘voice’ my thoughts, fears and progress through the written word has probably kept me from creeping any further into the depressive and dark world I found myself in.  So blogging, and keeping family and friends up to date on Facebook have been a lifesaver for me.  Long live social networking!

  • Go Out More:  I’m a self-confessed introvert.  Nothing I like better than being at home, in my nice safe little house, with my family close by.  The thought of going out, socializing and dealing with the world is not something which is close to my heart.  But new experiences make a better writer, so this year, I’m going to give it a shot.  I will force myself to go out and visit the world, see what it’s like.  But I definitely won’t be adding the beach to my list of places to visit – the phobia about sharks is still alive and well!

End of year note: Alright, this one has not worked out so well.  Although admittedly, I did force myself into far more social contact situations in the earlier part of the year, the situation now is such that I’ve taken a gigantic leap backwards.  A fear of social situations has seen me become more introverted than ever before since August, along with developing a debilitating anxiety over anything which involves leaving the house.  But with support from family and friends, I’m making baby steps.  So perhaps, for 2015, I’ll aim to get back to where I was, at the beginning of 2014.  Anything beyond that, will be considered a bonus.

6-year-old girl asks for holiday cards for her last Christmas – Health – TODAY.com

There’s always someone, somewhere, who’s worse off than you are.  Addie Lynn is six years old, and suffers from an illness which is causing her brain to atrophy.  Her doctors have forecast that this will be her last Christmas.

If you have the opportunity.  If you’d like to be involved, please consider sending her a card.  It isn’t a lot to ask for and it sounds as though Addie and her family will appreciate the gesture.

 

6-year-old girl asks for holiday cards for her last Christmas – Health – TODAY.com.

Addie Fausett, 6, of Fountain Green, Utah, is likely celebrating her last Christmas this year due to an atrophy of her brain that has left doctors puzzled.

Back to School

The summer holidays are in full swing here in Australia, which means visits to the movies, lazy mornings with sleep-ins (yes!) and a generally relaxed lifestyle for weeks on end.

With a little under three weeks of holidays left, it also means it’s time to start thinking about the kids going back to school and making preparations for this momentous event.  Yes, I love the holidays, but by this stage of the long, long, llooooonnngggg summer holidays, I’m just about ready for those days where admittedly, the routine drives me nuts, but I do get the house to myself for a few hours each weekday.  As an added plus, the kitchen remains in a pristine state and I’m not interrupted with a question every ten minutes.

So we’ve started preparing for school, which means checking out the uniforms and replacing worn-out items, running through the school book checklist, buying new pencil cases and lunchboxes.

And the highlight of it all?  Stationery.  The back to school part of the year is stationery nirvana for me.  The department stores and supermarkets are absolutely full of pens and paper, notebooks and textas, a multitude of wonderful items that I can spend hours drooling over.  And don’t even get me started on gel pens – which are tantamount to my own personal crack addiction.

I have two main addictions in life – chocolate and stationery.  Stationery ranks in the number one spot.  I’ve never met a notebook I didn’t love.  Pens hold a fascination for me.  So much so that I once asked the man who delivered our groceries for the details of his pen, because it wrote so nicely when I signed my name.  There was an advertisement on TV a couple of days ago for a newly-designed pen, which I will absolutely have to buy, because I can’t miss an opportunity to discover some wondrously new and exciting writing device.
 
Yeah, yeah.  Pathetic, I know.
 
Consequently, at this time of the year, whilst I have a specific job in mind (the kids school needs – focus!!), the reality is that I’m checking out every shop I visit, looking for that perfect notebook, the most beautiful writing pen, the cutest set of highlighters to be added to my collection.
 
And do you want to know the craziest thing?  Some of this stuff never gets used.  If I find a beautiful notebook, I can’t bear to write in it.  When I find the perfect writing pen, I won’t use it, in case it runs out and I can’t buy another one.  How sad is that?  
 
Fortunately for me, the Darling Husband is very understanding of my obsession.  Sometimes, he even humors me by buying some stationery for my birthday, or Christmas.  Given that he knows it probably won’t get used, I think that shows how much he truly loves me.  Or perhaps how supportive he is of my many, many weird and wonderful idiosyncrasies!
 
 

 

A Time for Resolutions

It’s the 31st December 2013 and I thought I might talk about resolutions. More importantly, my own resolutions for the new year.  
We all talk about them, some of us make them, some of us even follow through on them.  For the most part, I am a resolution breaker, but this year, I have a few I’d like to manage.  Just don’t hold your breath.

  • Procrastinate Less:  This is a biggie for me, as I could probably take out Gold, Silver and Bronze in the Procrastination Olympics.  I’m a professional procrastinator and it’s not a good thing.  Procrastination leads to doubt, doubt leads to not writing and not writing leads to a feeling of failure and ‘I’m not good enough’.  So my first and biggest resolution is to procrastinate less and write much more.  I read somewhere that it doesn’t matter if what you write is crap – just keep writing.  Every word you write leads to improvement and that’s my goal for the year.
  • Give Up Smoking:  I use smoking as a crutch, it’s true.  Stressed?  Have a cuppa and a smoke.  Bored?  Have a cuppa and a smoke.  Writers Block?  Have a cuppa and a smoke.  Angry?  …. Well, you get the drift. (In actual fact, maybe I should try and give up the addiction to tea, too!) I have given up smoking before, in fact, I’ve given up for as long as a couple of years.  But I always manage to take it back up again.  But this year, I’m quietly confident (and being nagged perpetually by my friend who also happens to be my G.P.) that I’ll get there.
  • Believe in Myself:  I’m a disbeliever, it’s true.  Three published books and I still think I suck.  But THIS YEAR, I’m going to take a more positive outlook towards this business of being an Author.  People seem to like what I write, so I’m going to try a little harder to believe that I can do this, and spend less time considering what I’m doing wrong.
  • Spend More Time Blogging: One area which I’m an abject failure in doing, as can be seen by the huge blocks of time in which there are no blog posts.  I’ve mentioned before that I don’t always have any idea of what to write, but I promise, 2014 will include a bit more effort in finding something to write.  And I’ll try not to be boring!
  • Go Out More:  I’m a self-confessed introvert.  Nothing I like better than being at home, in my nice safe little house, with my family close by.  The thought of going out, socializing and dealing with the world is not something which is close to my heart.  But new experiences make a better writer, so this year, I’m going to give it a shot.  I will force myself to go out and visit the world, see what it’s like.  But I definitely won’t be adding the beach to my list of places to visit – the phobia about sharks is still alive and well!
So those are my resolutions for the year 2014.  Some I might manage, others (and I’m not suggesting which ones) will be tougher.  But I will take the opportunity to wish everyone a safe, happy and prosperous New Year in 2014 and hope all your lives are fulfilling and wonderful and filled with love and good times.

 

 


Christmas is Coming!

It’s rapidly heading towards that time of the year, when we drag out the decorations, trim the tree, buy the presents for the Gang of Four and make and buy more food than would be needed for a small third world country.  Yep, you guessed it.  Christmas.
I’m of two minds regarding the whole Christmas thing. On the one hand, I’m a sentimental fool about all things Christmas.  I love the decorating, choosing a special gift for my loved ones, sitting down to a wonderful meal with my family and enjoying lots of laughter and fun.  I cry at the ads on television – particularly the Myers ad, which manages to get me every time.
On the other hand, the commercialization of Christmas is something I don’t like.  The stress of getting organized and the worry of making sure I’ve covered everything that needs to be covered.  Trying to figure out the right gift for my beloved husband, and the Gang of Four who are both very diverse in their tastes and very unique in their desires.  And not allowing the excitement and commercialization to overwhelm the basis of what Christmas should stand for.  When the shops start putting trees out in October and have Fruit Mince Pies available in July – there is something seriously wrong.


What I do love about Christmas are the simple things.  Watching the Gang of Four opening their gifts.  Enjoying a piece of Christmas Cake with a cuppa. Nicking slices of fresh ham, faster than my husband can slice it – there’s nothing better.  He grumbles about me doing it every year, but it’s another one of our Christmas traditions – he slices, I eat 🙂
We’re not a religious family.  I believe in a higher power and have been known to have conversations with that power, but we are not church-going people. Christmas for me is used to remember the important people in my life, to be thankful for what we have and to relish the opportunity to spend time in love and happiness with my family.
Funnily enough, when I think of Christmas, it’s in scenes like the one above.
Why, I don’t know, given that I was born and raised in Australia and we have never, ever had a white Christmas.  Somehow though, snow and snowmen seems to go hand-in-hand with thinking about Christmas.  Never mind that we’ll no doubt be eating our (cold) Christmas dinner in the air-conditioning, while the temperature outside (generally) soars up around 30+ degrees.  And that’s celsius, not fahrenheit.  Despite the heat, when I think of Christmas I think of snow, and sitting around a blazing fire and sled rides.  

Speaking of Christmas, my friend Rebecca Raisin has created a wonderful Christmas story, “Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe” – which is available now at Amazon – click on the cover to go to the page.  It might be just enough to get you in the mood for Christmas.



Ready for Mother’s Day…

After the couple of weeks I’ve had, I’m ready for Mother’s Day tomorrow, although it will be busy (again) as we’re now living in the same state with both Mum’s.   First off will be morning tea with my Mum, sister and nieces – we originally planned a breakfast picnic but seeing as winter has finally arrived in Perth (hallelujah!) it was decided by one and all that an outdoors picnic would not be as pleasant as we had initially hoped 🙂
In the afternoon, the Gang of Four (or maybe three, as Son #1 has an overnight shift at McDonalds, or maybe two, as Son #2 has an 18th Birthday party to go to) will be trundling off to see their other Nanna for afternoon tea.  
As for myself – I’m hoping for a sleep-in, however small – and chocolate.  It’s become the standard Mother’s Day present for me, as the husband and the Gang of Four both know of my addiction.  To add to my delight, the Bonza Babe has spent this morning making chocolate peppermint slice and this afternoon intends on making a chocolate cheesecake.  If I get chockies in the morning as my gift, it will be the perfect day!
And now back to editing on Book Three – which admittedly, has been somewhat slow and haphazard in the past few weeks.  Had a great message from a reader last night – saying she had read both ‘Knowledge Revealed’ and ‘Knowledge Quickening’  and ‘loved, loved, loved them’  It’s so fantastic when someone takes the time to write and express their feelings for something I’ve created.  It’s enough to spur me out of my editing doldrums and to get back to creating the final touches so that Book Three will be out… almost on time!