Thursday, 30 November 2017

Pregnant with Expectation - Musings on waiting for new tech.....

From the moment you order your brand new top of the range piece of tech, the whole "Expecting" analogy kicks in good and proper...

This time, for me, its a new phone - well actually a Phablet - which is a cross between a phone and a tablet.  The much hailed Samsung Galaxy Note 8 was ordered / conceived shortly after I got home from my holidays, on 21st of November.   Since then, I have been well and truly pregnant with expectation.  

I've been preparing for the newcomer, trying to pass the time, reading all I can about looking after my newby. Learning how to tame the wee beast once it arrives, and bring it up right!!

Also buying all the accompanying equipment needed - I have my new case already, a couple of screen protectors sitting here waiting, and a new memory card.  They are all here already, sat on the table, taunting me with the fact that the damned Phone isn't.  Yet.

And each day, waking to the thought that this might be the day.   The day of the delivery.  Because, you just don't know exactly when....  So you check the order form and the website delivery guidelines.  You refresh the tracking.  Several times a day.   Just in case there has been a change....

AND Finally - I'm glad to say I now have a more concrete due date, in fact, I'd say my waters just broke and the contractions have well and truly kicked in.   I'm expecting the tardy wee fucker to arrive sometime tomorrow according to my tracking information, and as with all new babies, I'm sure I'll announce it all over facebook once it arrives!!

When I was expecting with my daughter, she kept me waiting 10 agonising extra days beyond the expected due date.   I'm glad to say this newcomer is only a few days overdue...  Better get the nest ready and prepare all around me for the sleepless nights until I get over the newness...

Kids, eh!!  

Friday, 15 April 2016

Enough with the sighing already... *sigh*

Recently, I've noticed this wee word being used increasingly often at the end of posts, or as a comment on stuff people have shared.  Seems to be a thing.  And it scares me a little.

The sigh. A soft breath outwards. Signifying tiredness, relief, despair.  

It seems to be used to show a giving up, an admission of defeat.

To say You see what I have to put up with? or ask What else can I do?

Or to say Not this again, This is getting old, I'm so weary of all this crap.

You see?  See why that little word might be a bit fucking scary?

Are we really wanting to use that pathetic little word so bloody often?  Or is it just a lazy habit being overused without thinking?

I've seen this word used as comments on posts where a godamned motherfucking SIGH is perhaps the least needed response imaginable.  Like Sighs at the bullshit spouted by folk like Donald Trump or Katie Hopkins.  Sighs at some fools sexist or racist or homophobic (or if its Trump, all three) comments.  Sighs at Politicians denying their misdemeanors or decrying others misdemeanors. Sighs at people being judgemental, or ignorant or nasty or generally rude. Sighs as a comment on the growing trend for celebrating violence or terror or oppression. Sighs about the growth of inequalities or social injustice. Sighs because the world is changing in a way that people are unhappy with.

Sighs.  That weary soft breath outwards.   How in holy fuck is that the right response to anything other than the small stuff like stepping in dogshit or mislaying your keys?

But the things I'm seeing that are being "sighed" at - those things like the crap I just listed above?  So often they aren't the small stuff. They are a sign of a growing weariness at how much big stuff is being thrown at us.   But those big things, no matter how often or same old they might feel, they don't want Sighing at. They want screaming, slapping, protesting, shouting or swearing at.  They want riots in the streets, petitions, all out revolution in some cases -  but a sigh???

We need to sop with the Sighing. Its so bloody defeatist.
So very hipster.
So passive aggressive.

So lets not.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Failing With Style - More bloody noise about meself.

Before reading this, know that this stuff was quite diffilcult to write about - but also difficult to decide to write about it and share it.  In this age of the overshare, I have become a little more reluctant to slap up my life deets at every opportunity.  Its not at all that I don't think people should, or that I don't want others to know - it's more about not (as I see it myself) making so much bloody noise about meself, if you get me.

I've had a bit of a turbulent month or so.  Hey, December is always hard for me - I flip flop between wanting to see people and wanting my routine back.  My normal (these days) low stress, isolated existence is going to be disrupted whether I like it or not.  Some of that I look forward to, but at the same time I worry that I will be too tired, get ill, panic, and just generally let people down by not being the person they were used to anymore.

As with most anxious types, one of the ways I try to cope better is by being prepared, more organised.  This can help massively or it can lead to unnecessary worry and being overly controlling.  Trying to be prepared for all eventualities is exhausting, and damned near impossible but it doesn't stop my daft head from bloody trying to do exactly that.  

And the festive season has lots to prepare for - going visiting, gift buying and this year a little break for my daughters birthday just before chrimbo.  None of which is a major deal, but the fact they all happen close together, and that it has a date and time to be done - thats where the stressor buttons get pressed.  Its all well and good getting by day to day with the freedom of doing however much I can when I can, and having the luxury to shut down a bit when I need to. Set days like Christmas day bother me - it niggles that I might HAVE to be social because its christmas, I guess.

For people who have known me forever - well, ages anyway - the idea of me NOT being social seems bonkers.  The old me was Tigger.  The new me is distinctly more Eeyore.  So I worry that I'll be weird to people.  I resort to a sort of impersentation of the old me, a bit cartoonised, but seems to be more accepted by others.  It avoids questions or comments - You don't seem yourself, why so moody,  you're quiet etc...  It kinda makes me even FEEL a bit like old me for a short burst.  It always has a kickback one way or another, either emotional wobbles, fatigue or illness.  So then I let people down.  I was a mess christmas day night, tummy issues, crying jaggs, and a massive plummet into the gloom and fatigue cave.  I didn't make it to the Boxing Day family bowling.   Not for the first time.

Letting people down - its the thing I know is going to happen, and try hard to avoid by being prepared, and invariably its what I get terribly upset about.  I get that most of this emotional upset is driven by me - my attempts to be acceptably Me-like, and then feeling out of my depth, followed by imagining what everyone thinks of me and getting upset about my imaginings.  On the right side of my head, I know its all me really and so I should just dial it back or something.  On the wrong side of my head is the unlimited propensity to beat on myself and wallow in my own stress juices.

Now earlier this year I scaled back, then stopped my anti depressants completely - I felt like they weren't doing much anyway and if I could do without it would be better for all the other stupidity I have going on healthwise.  I was pleased and felt fine about not taking the meds.  It felt like a good achievement.  I think because despite knowing its an illness, I still feel the stigma of being on medication to feel normal.  I totally recognise that stigma, the skewed view we all have of mental illness and medication to control it.  I recognise it, but I still want to be able to do without like everyone else.

So I was very reluctant to admit to myself that I probably did need the meds.  But I did.   I do need them still, and after a few quite black episodes recently, I'm feeling much better having restarted on a low dose.

I wasn't sure about writing all this down - because a voice is telling me its a fail.  Big Fat Hairy Fail.
Oddly though its not getting too much attention, I think because I know it isn't really failing.  Failing would be to continue to decline, knowing that meds might help.  Failing would be to let myself buy into the whole idea that you can decide you don't need the meds and that alone will mean you really don't because its all in your head anyway.  Failing would be to lie to myself for the sake of saving face.

So no, I'm not failing just yet.  I'm simply staying in control of my life, my health and my medication. I thought about not sharing all this, because, well, it doesn't really impact anyone else I guess.  I thought about what would happen if I didn't share, and just got on with my life - you know, making less bloody noise and all that. Nothing.  Nothing would happen.  Then I thought of all the times I've read stuff from others that has really reassured me that I'm not on my own in all this, that others struggle with the same issues.  So really all this noise is just in case someone out there is in the same boat, or might take comfort in the fact that we all get things wrong sometimes, and its better to get back on a good track than continue on a not so good one to save face.

One of my aims for the coming year is to say "sorry"  a lot less, and "Thanks for understanding" a bit more.  With that in mind, I want to say a big thank you to my family for understanding my limitations and not making me feel bad about missing stuff at chrimbo.

Finally, to all my family and friends, close or distant, I love you ALL the same. (but I love each one of you a little bit more if you are reading this, and if you continue to put up with my noise! )

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

A Brave New Life - A tired look at losing some stuff and gaining new stuff...

The New Life...

It wasn't that long ago that all these things were part of my life :
Stand Up Comedy
Improv Comedy
Writing novels
Working a full time Job

Any one on its own could fill a persons time easily, let alone all of them.  And at the time I juggled them all without feeling too many stretches and strains at my life force.

Then I started to notice changes - and had a couple of severe crashes which the docs wrote off as depression and anxiety (as is their way) and started long term meds.

I lost focus - it was most noticeable in my writing, which more or less stopped.  I didn't enjoy it.  Especially not the editing - it was like the text wouldn't quite gel in my head when I read it. I put it down to the anti depressants.

Memory loss - well jokingly I put it down to age or genetic (Mum was famously scatty, Dad has Altzheimers) but this was also scary for me.  There is a huge difference between forgetting something which as soon as you realise you forgot it comes back to you clear as day, and searching sometimes quite desperately to remember something you just did and finding absolutely nothing - not a vague recollection - nada.  I recall quite clearly doing an improv game called alphabet I think.  Each person in the scene needs to start their bit of dialogue with the next letter - it was going great until suddenly I froze - had to actually just not say anything - not because I couldn't think of anything for the letter, I didn't KNOW the next letter.  It was ever such a small incident to others.  To me I knew it was wrong.  Very odd feeling.  I started pulling back from improv a little and the fear began to creep in a bit further.

Word tripping (or word salad) - I would be in full flow conversation and a completely different word would come out of my mouth - mid sentence, making me do a double take as if I was hearing someone else.  Sometimes they still made sense sometimes not, but always they were NOT the word in my head and just came out of the blue to me.  It was funny sometimes.  Sometimes not.  In my teaching kids would notice, and I'd pretend it was on purpose to see if they were listening.

Co Ordination and Balance - In my youth I used to dance - Ballroom, latin, Disco - I was really good at it and I loved it.  I've always had quite good co ordination and balance, but I began to notice more trips, wobbles, dizzy spells, losing my balance.  I'd regularly walk into walls.  Not head on, no, more like those trolleys at tesco that go to one side...

Gradually I dropped off the things I'd been juggling - the writing, the stand up, the improv, and finally and most drastically, the teaching.

June 2013 I had a massive crash and that was the last day I worked.  Haven't worked since.  A variety of things now came to the fore - some pretty massive vitamin deficiencies, the Coeliacs disease, and the fatigue.  Having tackled the Coeliacs with a change of diet, removing gluten, I felt some changes.
I still have nowhere near conquered the deficiencies and fatigue.  That massive, all consuming drained feeling is something I experience every single day.

Now to the new life - Lots of things have gone (see above) - and along with them a lot of the energy draining things and stressors.  Also along with them went social things like seeing others on a daily basis.  I don't see anyone except Derek, Rob and Edna.  Sometimes for weeks or more.  I have social contact on facebook.  I chat sometimes for a minute or two to people walking their dogs when I'm out with Edna.  And I shop.  Love to scour the charity shops for bargains.

There are some other new things - sewing, decorating, gardening, cooking.  Probably I'd have done these things more before were it not for the other pesky creative stuff taking all my time :D

I sleep a lot.  Probably about 12 hrs on average each day.  Don't use a lot of energy during the other waking 12 hrs either because if I do, I suffer the next day.  My joints ache most of the time and I limp.  I feel healthier though, I eat better and I look better.  My doctor says that my bloodtests show nothing in particular and I'm sure he thinks I'm a nut, so I've stopped bothering.  He wants to let my diet improve and rule out the other stuff before he looks at anything else. This is what its like with Chronic Fatigue and M.E. - Doctors don't know nearly enough about it to pin it down.  If they can see another reason for the fatigue and symptoms, that's what they will pick - its the coeliacs, its depression, its a deficiency.  Some doctors will identify ME or CFS, others won't.   And if they have no idea, then I'm bloody sure I don't know.  So, we need more info, people.  I read what I can (yep, I blames the tireds!!) and I know enough to know that we don't know nearly enough.


If you are doing nowt on Sunday 17th May at 8pm - Come to the Frog N Bucket and add some coffers to the pot to try and discover more about M.E. and  CFS - aside from helping the cause, its a great line up and well worth the money :)

Tickets on sale NOW from

I ask myself sometimes if I miss those things - its odd - I recognise that I used to do them, but now I don't. I loved doing them, now I likely wouldn't.  I'm scared of the word trips and forgetting what to say, I don't have the drive to get off my butt and do them.  I certainly don't have the energy or presence of mind needed for most of them.  I love remembering.

I'm oddly content though.  Stress in my life is way down - good for my health.  I'm managing financially, just.  My head is clearer and my heart is full of love for myself and those dear to me.

I still wonder - should there be more in my life?

But I'm a bit tired, so I'll maybe do more another day.

Daisy xxxx

Thursday, 5 June 2014

One Year On....

My own D-Day - One year on.

On June 5th, 2013, I awoke with an odd feeling.  It was like I wasn't totally there, not completely with it. It had been a restless night, drifting in and out of sleep, vivid dreams that didn't quite end, but really - same old, same old.  Up.  Dressed. Off to work filled with pervasive questions of when.  When would be too much?  When would it all just stop? Could it keep going like this? Will I just die?  - Now I know those thoughts, especially the last one, are big alarms, but at the time they seemed as normal as the constant grind of work. 

At work, it occurred to me that today would likely be the day I died.  I hadn't questioned this thought, it just seemed to embed itself as a total truth in my head.  I started finishing off some assessment marking, thinking it would be untidy to leave the last four not done.  Seems bizarre and laughable now, but at no stage did the thought "Don't be ridiculous..." occur.  As the kids rolled in and I saw them sitting, reading, readying for the day I just seemed to crash.  They call them severe panic attacks, but it didn't seem panicky.  I just didn't want the kids to see me die.  I wanted to be with Degs.  A lot of what followed seems unreal, and just trying to recall it makes me weep quietly.  I was escorted home, and it was indeed the beginning of the end of my teaching life anyway.

Over the following months, it felt like an amplified version of what happens to all teachers and school staff once a holiday arrives.  Your body seemed to be holding off on illness and repair and you suddenly get the worst cold, or a bad bug of some sort.  My health in general plummeted - my long suffering tummy was dreadful, I had migraines every couple of days, my limbs ached, I couldn't walk due to pain in my feet, weakness and dizziness when I stood up.  I coudn't even think straight, it was like wading through mud. People spoke to me but not a lot of it went in...

Blood tests galore and lots of doctor time came up with hyperthyroidism, pernicious anaemia, anxiety, plantar faciitus, and finally after 7 months, in November, they diagnosed Coeliacs Disease. This last one was likely the root of all the others, and had been building up the other problems for 10 years or so.  10 years of my gut not doing its job.  Not absorbing medications, or essential vitamins like iron, B12, follic acid and vit D. 

Now I think people are aware of Heart Issues (Watch your Cholesterol) and Lung Issues (Don't Smoke) and even liver (watch your alcohol intake) and possibly Diabetes (watch your sugars!!) but I'm not so sure people are as aware of the gut and its impact on your whole body health. That's likely because it has a much lower profile in healthcare.  In my case I was able to be sent for a gut biopsy in 2003, have them find some early indications and recommend blood tests, and that be totally glossed over by my GP because it was low priority.  But ten years of living with it means my chances of developing bowel cancer or lymphoma have at least doubled, along with increased chance of osteoporosis, and other food intolerances, and a generally compromised immune system. I'm due gut biopsies every two years now to keep on top of it, which is good.

For me now, looking back, the pieces all fit.  The history I have of depression, anxiety and fatigue wasn't linked to anything else by GPs , but it seems highly likely that it was at least exaserbated by the low vitamins and poor thyroid performance.  However, antidepressants and counselling were the order of the day, and the docs had done their prescribed duty.

I hadn't intended to dwell so much on the past when I started to write, so I'm gonna leap forward to today.  Things are healing, slowly.  I'm so much happier these days.  And its real happiness, a contentedness that things will be alright after all.  My mind on the whole has been reset - I'm less likely to see doom and feel fear on a daily basis.  I go out more thanks to my lovely Edna - who is six months old today by the way!  Still get waves of anxiety all the time, but they are easily handled for the most part.  

Oddly, it sometimes feels like my physical health hasn't improved hugely.  Balance issues - yep.  Fatigue - yep, sometimes crippling.  Brain fog - Yep, though not all the time these days.  Stomach issues - yep, sometimes far more severe than before I changed my diet, as I'm more sensitive since giving up gluten. Also ever so slightly menopausal (very) to add to the mix.  I definitely can't physically do as much as I used to.  And yet I am healthier.  I've definitely put the brakes on, and am rolling down hill at a far more acceptable rate, as opposed to hurtling down towards an early grave like I was before.

And why? Well, what I can do these days is live.  Live my life, breath, relax, love my family, enjoy my days, feel content.   Got a ways to go I think, but I have space for the improvements to happen.  

So to sum up - feeling better, living better, loving better. - Thanks to all for the support, especially Degs, Rob, Sally and Edna - my personal emergency services.  :)  Onwards and upwards, eh!

June 5th, 2014 xx

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Saving Mrs Connolly

God I'm an overdramatic cow at times.  I blame it on the fact that I just finished watching Saving Mr Banks on the day that I paid off my mortgage, and just three weeks after being dismissed from my job on medical grounds.

I feel slightly melancholy about having become Mortgage Free in the circumstances.  At what cost, I ask.   I mean, I know to the penny the monetary cost, and I worked for every bloody bit, yet more and more I drift towards thinking about the real cost, and whether its already too late and cost me way too much.

OK, that is utter maudlin crap, but it's the kind of crap that I should explore and exorcise before getting on with life.

No one likes working for a living - or do they?  I know loads who do, actually.  Studies show that to work, ie to occupy yourself in an effort other than just eating, drinking and living our lives, regardless of payment for such, is our natural state.  Its often shown that losing employment or retiring can be devastating, and is always life changing.  In most though the need to leave work at work and live a little is becoming an issue. Ironically, working is a big issue.

The nature of our working lives is ever changing, but I'd say that en masse, and in most jobs, it's certainly under more scrutiny and as a result, more stressful than it used to be.  Ask anyone about whether the monitoring and evaluation of their job has changed over the last decade, and their reply will be an affirmative and weary one.  It's a fact that everywhere we turn people are working in smaller and smaller micro managed bubbles.  Bubbles with smaller and smaller spaces for any freedom of thought or deviation from the needs of the employer.  Now, I get that ultimately we as employees serve the needs of the employer, but I'm wondering if anyone is keeping any track of the cost to the employees - on a truly massive scale - of this very single minded approach.

The world of work has obviously heeded the growing cries from employees about this trend towards the micro managed workplace and its detrimental effects.  Hence the bollocks about Work/Life Balance often spouted by the uppers when the lowers moan.  The scariest thing about WLB initiatives is the fact that they are spreading their micro management virus into our lives.  They talk about agreeing that life balance is important, and as employers they then try to dictate how that life might be more effectively managed so that it doesn't (heaven forfend) impinge on your work.  And since they now want to be a part of  ensuring a good Work Life Balance, they think that includes lording it over stuff that is in the Life section in the same way they lord it over the Work Section.  Stuff like what you write on social networks in your free time is under scrutiny.  How you deal with illness is totally governed by work regulations.  Time out of work is meted out at precise levels for the likes of funerals, childcare, moving house, giving birth...   Where there once may have been give and take on a fluid level between employer and employee, its become more entangled and bitter than a bad divorce, with each side snatching at every petty point, and trust totally destroyed on both sides.

The toll that this micro managed working life has on people is going to come home to roost at some point.  It has to.  It surely cannot continue the way it is, robbing people of a meaningful existence outside of their work, and leaving them with physical and mental work wounds that continue to cripple long after the work is done.

I'm lucky.  Really bloody lucky.  My work wounds hit me early enough to make me realise I was in danger.  I'm still unsure whether I got out in time, a bit like not really knowing how much radiation you were exposed to, or how much of the damage will be serious, life threatening, long term, whatever (Told you I was dramatic...)

What has this got to do with Saving Mr Banks, or the price of bread, I hear you thinking - well the film isn't so much about the struggle to bring Mary Poppins to the screen, as it is about how heart-breakingly often the world of work takes its pound of flesh, regardless of the consequences.  Maybe we all need some sort of saintly Mary Poppins to float down and save us - from letting work take too big a cut, from neglecting important things like our kids and family, from letting that bubble we work in suffocate everything else in our lives.

As I said, I am incredibly lucky to have popped the bubble and escaped, I feel, just in time.  I fear that others won't be so lucky though, and I truly hope this nasty micro managed trend plateaus and starts to fall away soon.  Cos its a major shitter.

Daiz xx

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Oooh hark at me, I've taken down a bloody giraffe!!

So, at the weekend I was walking about amongst the ordinary folk like you do.  It was pretty chilly and wet,  so folk were wearing an array of coats and macs as would be appropriate.  I spotted one woman wearing an amazing item to protect her from the weathers.  A lovely faux fur animal print coat.  I'm pretty certain on the Faux bit, since it was shades of purple and pink.

Minds wander though, and my thoughts turned to the whole furs thing.  Some furs had a lot of kudos attached I'm sure, in the days pre Gok Wan but peri Ugg the Caveman.  Those were the days, eh.  When you walked proudly down the street, or worn established pathways, showing off your coat.  Not your Up Yer Own Arse labels from some trendy boutique, but a cloak of critters to show the world your prowess.  It might be a big ass bear, or some tiger you did away with.  I can see how furs continue to be status symbols, with echoes of those warriors who truly conquered what they wore.

So picture that same coat I saw being shown off all those years ago, round Ugg's fire...

"Took that down yerself did you, mate?"   (smirks)
"Yup.  You like?  Bloody warm..."
"Errr OKay... Great.  Really shows your ahhh your hunting skills..." (hiding sniggers)
"Mhmmm. Ok What are you getting at?  Come on, I can see you sniggering..."
"Nothing.  Nothing, its a fabulous er... Giraffe coat."
" Yeah, damn straight..."
" Did it put up much of a fight?"( laughter rippled around the fire)
"Ohhh I get it, Yep I see, because you have your scary Tiger coat and Barry has his Polar Bear coat and you think you are better than me because I took out a giraffe."
"Well...  its just... its not a very savage beast really is it, you know...  How did you get it?  (Pause) Did you just trip the bugger up?"

Anyway, my reaction to the ladies Giraffe print coat was much the same as it might have been long ago - who the cock wears a giraffe print coat where people can see it?  And to add insult to injury, a purple and pink bloody giraffe print coat.  So not only did you take out a giraffe, it was a cartoon motherfucker in shades of mauve!!!  The primal caveman in me wanted to smack her over the head with a club and drag her to a dustbin...

I didn't.  I just smirked to meself.   And did the voice in my head...  "Oooh hark at me, I've taken down a bloody  giraffe!"

Daiz XX