Tag Archives: Mental Health

Distractions and hindrances to blogging

I have been neglectful of my blog in recent times. There are a number of reasons for this.

Firstly, I am doing Sociology at Uni right now. It is a very difficult subject for me. It is only an introductory course, therefore we have to cover a lot of material and the study of different theorists and there ideas leave me a bit bewildered. My essays have not been creative pieces but merely factual, so at most times not of interest to the general blog reader. I am working on one right now titled “The Changing Role of Education from a Sociological Perspective” that I will share soon.

Secondly, depression hit hard in the last two weeks, so I have been unable to see the beauty I normally do in nature. I am back in therapy, after 9 months of none. I am trying a new antidepressant, which is not too successful right now. The depression has lifted but the side effects are not worth it really. It makes me aggressive and quite frankly not a nice person. Luckily I am generally an introvert so not many people see the aggressive side.Other motorists are being shouted at from behind my windscreen… They cant hear me. Insomnia is another side effect, however when I do get tired, I get so tired that I have to go to bed, no question. So the timing of the tablet and the dose are important factors when taking this particular tablet.

Thirdly, I have my car back. What beauty in creation we miss when we just drive to and from a destination. Its time for me to just drive without purpose, arrive at a destination not previously planned and take photos just for the heck of it.

Also, I have been distracted by thoughts of where my studies go once I finish this particular course this week. I have decided to enroll to do a BA with a double major of Literature and Visual Arts. I am doing it on a part time basis so as not to over stretch my brain and allow time and money to do things I love. It has been a difficult decision to make as I wanted to complete it quickly to go on to do further study. But one necessary if I want sanity to rein in my life.

The last distraction is a welcome one. I have found someone who loves me for me. He is a wonderful man who is kind and considerate, gentle and loving and very attentive.He doesn’t monopolise my time, but he is always in my thoughts. He has the ability to make me smile even when we are not together.

So please dear reader, be patient, while i juggle my schedule around these new happenings in my life. You shall not be neglected long.

Dave

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Flash Fiction

On Tuesday afternoons, I can be found in a creative writing class. We have a small class of writers with varying degrees of experience. Most in the class are marginalized people, so while some of us have brilliant minds, they have been affected by issues in our past which include mental unwellness, addictions, abuse and homelessness.

Out teacher is a very gifted patient mature lady, who has ways of extracting the brilliance from our fractured brains.

Yesterday, being Spring in Sydney at present, we were each given a flower currently in bloom to examine, describe and to write about.My flower was the Nasturtium. While I wont share what I wrote about the description of the flower, I will share the two flash fictions I wrote incorporating the flower into the story.

nasturtium_flowers

Row C, Aisle 8, Plot 6.

The new address of my dearly departed wife. Last week was the celebration of her life. Roses adorned the coffin. The kids came, shedding adequate tears. Grandchildren, sad, but bored to be there. They have no idea what a special woman their Nana was.

The grass is already starting to creep over the red, recently turned soil of her resting place. I tidy. I pick up some litter. How can people be so disrespectful to throw rubbish on a grave. I wipe a tear.

I pluck free some of the wilted flowers from the bouquet I placed here only yesterday. Tomorrow I will do the same.

Today, I pull from my pocket some seeds from the plants in our garden. Some Allysums, Impatiens and of course the bright orange Nasturtiums.

I scatter the Allysum, daisies and forget – me – nots and plant the nasturtium seeds 2 cm apart as Nora instructed me in out garden.

In a few weeks her grave will be as colourful as the quilt that she made for the bed we shared for over 43 years.

Until then, daily, I will come and change the water in the vases of flowers I bring; using the old water to moisten the new garden.

Nora will NOT be forgotten.

————————————————————————————————————————–

I could hear her crying before I could see her. It wasn’t a big sob but she was truly sad. Seeing the depression in the long grass of the vacant lot next to her school, I found my little girl face down in the grass.

“Come on princess,” I say “Why so sad, especially on THIS day?”

“Daddy, nobody remembered  my birthday at school today!”

“Your birthday? Is it your birthday?” I tease

“Oh daddy, you didn’t forget too did you?” Now she is wailing making me regret my jest.

“Come on Princess, how could I ever forget the day that Sunshine first entered my life. I made you something special today”.

I pulled from behind my back a chain of nasturtiums that I had made into a crown.

I picked my little girl up from the ground, placing her on here feet. I straightened her ponytails and fringe so she didn’t look so disheveled. I took my handkerchief and used my bottled water to moisten it to wipe her face free of tears.

I took her schoolbag in one hand and offered the other to her to hold on our journey home. Home to her surprise fairy 7th birthday party.

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Life pressures and swimming

What happens when an agoraphobic becomes claustrophobic? I open the door of my room. I also open the computer and begin to write blogs and emails to people trying to explain how I am feeling. to reach out to others; testing the water with my little toe. Opening myself to pressure, ridicule and shame.

What little pressures I have in this life may seem small to others but added up become overwhelming at times.Pressure from not having enough income from my very casual job. Pressures from my health, as I am unable to cope with more work. Extra pressures from my health now that I have been diagnosed with Diabetes and as yet I don’t know how to control it.

How is the water… my toe sends signals… is it too cold?… are people too standoffish, too distant. Do they want to welcome me in. “Come on in, the water is just fine”.

Is is too warm? … do the pressures of life leave me hot and bothered… wanting to loosen my tie?

Is it clean or polluted? If the water is too pure, will my entering it somehow cause it to be less so? If the water is too polluted, do I risk myself to become polluted by the bad thoughts and ideas of the world in which I choose to live?

Others are in the water, they seem fine. If I stand here on the shore, people will point and laugh anyway, I don’t look good in a bathing suit. Standing here on the shore, alone, makes me conspicuous anyway.

Everyone looks the same when the water is up to their neck. Like ducks, some of us are paddling furiously under the surface to keep afloat, while others glide with ease.

With others encouragement, I take a deep breath, ready myself and dive into life headfirst. I will surface, I will survive, and if I tire or feel that the water is too deep, I have many around me to hold me up… and lifesavers on the shore waiting to jump in at a moments notice.

Thank God for friends, and lifesavers.

Dave

clovelly 011

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News from within

My news is I suffer greatly with depression. Only getting out of bed when absolutely necessary. I continue to put on a smiley face mask and sometimes attend art or writing classes and groups. I work one or two shifts per week.
Safe in my room I paint, draw, write, eat and continue to increase in size.

I am waiting patiently for uni to recommence. My hunger is not only for food but also for knowledge, information and social interaction with those who also seek it.

Like chooks we gather at the coop’s gate awaiting the farmer to reach into his bucket, to throw, scatter words and thoughts for us to hurriedly eat.

I have 3 paintings in an exhibition at an art gallery. Tonight is the gallery birthday party which I must attend.
I am working tomorrow from 6am so it won’t be a late night.

I leave my safe haven, dressed in the colours of my melancholy. Blue representing sadness and black, bleakness. Or could I also be mourning the demise of the great soccer team with whom I once belonged. The Broadway Bruisers whose colours were… exactly, need I say more.

I attended the birthday party of the gallery, which can not blow out candles and eat the cake that we shared. But it stands proudly displaying the finest art that ever adorned its walls (I have to say that, I am exhibiting there). The place was packed, and as a somewhat recluse, or even a person who sometimes suffers agoraphobia, it was a battle to be there. But I smiled. “Oh how nice to see you again”, while all the time I was screaming inside “GET ME OUT OF HERE!”. I endured an hour on the arm of a dear friend who accompanied me. Then I escaped and returned to the prison cell of my mind.

The world is safe

and I am too

secure inside

are the black

and the blue.

Here endeth the ravings of a mad man.

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Non Fiction; Living inside my head

For those of you who like lighthearted stories and quips from me, either close your eyes and skip over this bit, or prepared to be shocked as I candidly reveal what its like to be me.

I suffer from mental illness. It may not be evident to you, or it may seem like I do not suffer so much, that I have my life together. But don’t be fooled. The thoughts I have are not so normal. When everything seems to be going well for me, it seems like I am dying inside.

 During those times, I tend to overwork, to the point of exhaustion and pain. I do this to want to please my bosses. Last week I spent way too long in a job, and was in pain. I was able to recognise what was happening, and approach my bosses so I could go home. I felt bad about it for a few days because I felt I had let the team down. But for the next 3 days I couldn’t move out of my bed. I had worked myself too hard and suffered for those days after.

 I tend to think I do not deserve to feel good or have good things happen to me. I organise places to be and things to do and am excited by them, then do not follow through and cancel, sometimes at the last moment, disappointing others and myself.

. With the food issue, I know what I have to do to feel healthier, to be able to do things that others take for granted. But when I try to do those things, and the weight doesn’t seem to fall off, then I get discouraged and go back to old habits and eating patterns.

 I thought I was doing fine recently, and approached my doctor and psychologist about reducing my medication. They seemed to agree with me that I was coping well, and  a reduction should be trialed. I know now that it was a mistake and that I need to go back to the original dose, to stabilise again.

 I have become non-productive, not having written anything of note for weeks,and only sketched sporadically. I have however recently bought a camera and am taking some good photographs with it. I am at a point where I wont leave my room if I am not working. I don’t take advantage of the sunshine to paint or draw in, or take advantage of the winter tides to catch some fish, even though I recently upgraded my fishing gear. I’m not being productive and can spend hours in bed when not even asleep.

Granted I do have pain to contend with each morning when I wake. I spend about an hour  meditating and doing a bodyscan to see how each part of my body is going to move in the morning before putting any weight on my feet.

Spirituality and me

I know that I am a sinner saved by the grace of Jesus. I have been forgiven for my sins. I have been washed in the blood of Jesus. I am grateful that God forgives. Men don’t.

Very few Christians have been able to forgive my past sins. . There are a few though who are gracious beyond measure and still accept and love me after what I have done.

At times I feel I don’t blame people for not forgiving me; heck, my own family don’t. Perhaps I have unrealistic expectations of Christians. I expect them to be able to forgive me when God has seen fit to do so.

What I do seek from a church or group of Christians is a nurturing environment where I would be encouraged to grow in faith, and encouraged to continue in it. I expect leaders to have faith that what is past is past, and they support me to keep moving on with my life and not let the past hinder me so much. Unfortunately I have not found a church that is supportive in that way.

I have tried to reconcile my faith with my sexuality. I am a Christian, but I am also a gay man. The two are not mutually exclusive. As a gay Christian I do believe I am committing adultery every time I am active with my sexuality. This distresses me. I cannot stop being homosexual, in fact, I don’t want to stop. And I cannot help but to love God, whom I know is the creator of the universe but also cares for me.

It is a difficult conundrum; to try and balance the two. But as I said previously, I can be gay, and be a Christian too. I can be Christian and be gay too. People may say it is not possible, but it is… I am living proof of it.

So that’s what it’s like living inside my head. Wanna run away? That’s fine, so do I sometimes.

Thanks for reading

Dave

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Thoughts of a Paranoid Person

Here is a story I wrote in October 2012

Note to M.G. I have now got a tattoo on my right shoulder that says P.L.

THOUGHTS OF A PARANOID PERSON

© Dave McGettigan 19 October 2012

I tried to get a seat facing the front, but there were none available. So now I have to face the back of the bus and I can’t see where we are of if my stop os coming up. It’s ok. Don’t panic. You are getting off at the last stop. The bus won’t go any further than the shopping centre. I relax a little.

Why is that woman looking at me?

She can’t know… can she?

No. Dr Stewart told me that nobody would know if I didn’t tell them.

Then why is she looking at me?

She is reaching for her phone. Is she calling the police? Perhaps she is calling Dr Stewart to tell him I am catching the bus by myself. No escort for me this morning.

She is talking in hushed tones on the phone.

Oh god, now she is laughing! What is she laughing at? I combed my hair. I made sure I washed my face after breakfast. I look down and make sure I had buttoned my shirt correctly and that my tie is straight. My fly is up, so it isn’t that. I don’t know why she is laughing.

She has finished her phone call, put her phone away and now she is looking at me again.

She smiled.

Perhaps she likes me. I sit straighter in the seat at the thought. Perhaps she wants to go out with me. No! She wouldn’t have been laughing at me if she likes me.

Maybe she knew me before…before I got sick; before I did those things to that man. I didn’t mean to do it! She must know… I have to tell her. I didn’t mean to do it lady. I was sick. But I’m better now. I can’t tell her that. She won’t understand. Nobody does. They all think I would do something like that again. But I won’t. I couldn’t do something like that if I take my pills. I am good when I take them. But one day of missing them and BAM! I could change so quickly. I touch my shirt pocket to assure myself that the pack is still in my pocket. I breathe a bit easier.

I have changed a lot physically since then anyway. It’s been ten years after all. I have gotten taller, grown whiskers on my face and filled out; so Nurse Stevens tells me. I don’t think she knows me. Besides, that all happened in Adelaide. This is Sydney.

Perhaps I remind her of someone. I hope that is a good thing. Perhaps the person I remind her of brings back some bad memories. But I think the opposite is true. I think I bring back happy memories. That’s why she laughed on the phone. That’s why she smiled at me.

My god, why won’t she stop looking at me! She looks at her watch, which in turn causes me to look at mine. Are we running late? Nope… right on time. But she looked worried.

Maybe she is worried that the police won’t arrive quick enough to grab me when the bus arrives at the shopping centre. No! You have been through all that. She did not call the police or Dr Stewart. She doesn’t know me, nor do I remind her of somebody. She is looking at me because I am facing the back.

Damn. I wish I could have gotten a seat facing the front. Then at least if people were looking at me I wouldn’t even know about it.

She is standing up. She is walking towards me! What is she going to say? Am I going to be ridiculed in front of all these people? I clench my fists in anticipation of the confrontation.

“I like your tie,” she says “My husband has one just like it.”

“Oh…he he,” I give a nervous laugh “Thanks.” I say as she walks past me to exit the bus.

I realise that we have reached the shopping centre and now I can lose myself in the crowd. I alight from the bus and walk the short distance to the entrance .

Why is that man looking at me…?

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