Monday, July 30, 2012

Blue Mountains getaway

My sister Yolanda and I have come away to our parent's house in the Blue Mountains for a break from the hustle of the city. I've given Noo the week off preschool and Yo's husband is away in London at the Olympics (jealous much!) so it is just us and the kids and the best winter weather I've ever experienced in the Mountains.

Heading up the Bells Line of Road to the Blue Mountains

Noo loves it up here: the space, the garden, the fleet of vehicles he loves to ride around on the deck. Mala has taken a little longer to adjust, having had a few unsettled nights (she usually sleeps through!) but she's in the flow of it now.

Riding around in his jammies

Chillin on the couch

Mum and dad have taken themselves off to Canberra for a couple of days to check out the museums so we have the place to ourselves. With a lovely combustion fire to warm the house, a fridge full of food and the nearest neighbour being too far away to hear, it is the perfect set up.

There are only so many 'home days' Noo can handle before he goes stir crazy so we had a day trip to Lithgow and Leura yesterday. I know, Lithgow and Leura are totally not even near each other, but when we couldn't get a table at Secret Creek after our play at Queen Elizabeth Park in Lithgow we decided to head the other way over the Mountain in search of good coffee and cake. 

Playing in Queen Elizabeth Park, Lithgow

We ended up at a cafe called Fresh Espresso on the main strip of Leura. My first coffee, a skim cappuccino, was a bit disappointing but the chocolate cake was divine. It was Nigella's Nutella chocolate cake and it was served warm with vanilla ice cream. Absolutely scrumptious! Yo enjoyed her house made scones with cream and jam and Noo loved his kid's chocolate milkshake. The shake came in a plastic cup with a lid - perfect for a little kid. Yo and I finished with a second coffee. This time the piccolos were delicious. Perfect coffee taste; fresh, not too bitter with hot steamed milk. 

Chocolate cake at Fresh Espresso, Leura

After our caffeine addiction was sated we hung out in a little playground in Leura for a while, until it was time for Mala's next nap and it started to get really cold. We were back home again in time for a bit of TV, dinner, bath and kids' bedtime.

While I love being up here, especially to have this time with Yo and Mala, the only downfall is that it is hard to get on the computer to write. There are so many distractions. At home Noo is really good at entertaining himself for hours while I type away at my laptop. Here he seems to want a constant companion in his play. We have two train sets, Megablocks, a collection of toy tools and countless other toys to play with. But nothing beats having someone to play with.

Luckily we have some friends further down the Mountain to visit on Thursday and another set of friends coming up from Sydney Thursday night for a sleepover. Good times ahead!

I can hear my little man calling me from the next room so I must get off the computer to play. Actually I'm thinking it is clean up time... time to wind down for the night methinks. Let's get the kids to sleep so the adults can relax.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Part 2: The dad question

This is the follow on story about when I met my son's father and how my beautiful boy came to be. For part 1 read here

[From the end of part 1] We weren't talking long before I asked him if he knew anywhere I could score. My benzo supply was running low and I knew if I didn't get something soon, I would start to feel the pain again. The flashbacks would come back with a vengeance...

A new addiction

So I moved from the table where I was sitting alone, across to where he was finishing his beer, and offered to shout him another one while he thought about my proposition.

How do you size up a fellow drug taker? A person that you know would be ok to ask such a question. I mean the kind of drugs I was looking for are illegal and although Australians are apparently the biggest illicit drug takers in the world, not everyone is getting on it. This guy could have been a cop for all I knew! I've asked dozens of people over my time if they know how I can hook up. It is a risky business but I've never got in trouble. Maybe I've just been lucky, or not, depending on which way you look at it I suppose. Maybe there is a look to a person that screams drug user, fellow lover of the high life. I don't know. Either way, I picked it because he said he did know a few people and he'd see what he could do to help me out.

As I sat opposite this stranger at a cheap stainless steel table out the front of the pub, I peered over my beer and took him in: He was rough looking, in that tradie hard worker sort of way. About 6 feet tall with an athletic build. Arms covered in old tatts and scars were wiry and muscular. His long beak-like nose had obviously been broken a few times and I noticed his hands were rough as old sandstone. His knuckles were bulbous and had clearly come to blows over the years - through work or violence - I couldn't tell. His thick hair was short and a sort of browny blonde. I bet it would curl if he allowed it to grow.

It was his eyes that took me in. Piercing blue eyes that looked directly into mine, past the broken soul, and saw me for what I was. Just a woman. No story. No baggage. No hurt. Just me. We drank and we talked. I don't remember exactly what about. I don't remember having any reservations about him, or any concern for myself for sitting there talking to a complete stranger. But I'd lost all concern for myself a long time ago.

Writing this now, I remember he said I had a nice smile. He was charming like that. Always so charming. So confident and cocky. He knew how to make me feel good, when I felt so bad, so alone. My weight had ballooned out to 95kg while I was in hospital and my hair was still short. I thought I was ugly but he made me feel beautiful.

I found this drawing in one of my notebooks I used in rehab early that February.
I think that is suppose to be me. My eyes look so anxious and frightened and my mouth so flat.
But at least there's so much colour. I don't remember feeling that much brightness.

It wasn't long before we were hunting down dealers at other pubs in the area. And this is when things get a little confusing in my memory. I think we may have scored some ecstasy and some acid. I remember drinking all night. And smoking. Ugh! I was smoking well on nearly two packs of menthols a day at the time.

By then I was living in a newly developed boarding house in the inner west. It was full of students mainly but some older singles and even some families in one room. It was massive, over two floors, I think, with maybe 20 rooms to a floor but only had one kitchen, one laundry and separate shower rooms for men and women. There were a couple of extra unisex toilet rooms on each floor which were always dirty. You had to bring your own dunny paper. It was disgusting.

In my room I had a double bed, a mini bar fridge full of Goon (aka cheap cask wine), some space for clothes and a TV. It was late February when I moved in, I think. And it was hot. Air couldn't move through the rooms through the tiny windows so they were stiflingly overheated. The rent was ridiculous for what it was but when I took it it was because I didn't want to go interviewing for share house accommodation. I didn't think I wanted anyone in my life let alone have anyone see too closely how I was living.

Nothing happened the first night were together. Nothing sexual anyway. We were too wasted. It was maybe on the second or third night that we became intimate. He just kept hanging around. I remember thinking I wanted him to go. Go back to his life, but he latched on. Except for the occasional trip home for clean clothes or to go use a public telephone. That is when I found out he had kids, a family.

Just like with alcohol when you're on lots of stimulants like Es or speed or trips they make you talk. We must have talked and talked. It would have been the first three weeks of March 2008 that we hung out - mostly at my place but sometimes at his share house in the next suburb. We just talked and shagged and got high. It was so fun, so intimate, so completely and utterly separate from my life and my problems. From my family and friends. From reality.

But even then, as out of it as I was, I knew I would have to get sober and go back to my job that was waiting for me.

After ringing around for weeks I finally got into another psychiatric facility. One which was a proper rehab (unlike the one I went to and scored a benzo addiction at) that made you go to AA meetings and lectured you hard on what your choices as a drug or alcohol abuser were: End up on the street, in jail or in a coffin.

I said goodbye to the man who was to become my son's father and told him I'd see him when I got out.

I knew from the few weeks we'd spent together that he was an alcoholic and a chronic pot smoker. Had been all his life and was unlikely to change any time soon, despite promises of joining me on the wagon. I knew he had a family that had left him because he had done something bad but I didn't know what. I knew he was bad news for me. Deep down I knew that if I was to take my getting sober seriously I should walk away from this person and never see him again. I had the perfect opportunity to do that: I had the safe haven of rehab. If you've got good health insurance and you're fucked up enough they let you stay for ages as long as you abide by the rules.

Plus I had a job, a so called life, I was supposed to be going back to. A corporate job. In an office in the city. With banker wankers and girls in tight skirts. Friday drinks and long lunches. Expectations and key performance indicators and responsibilities and 8.30am starts. My old life. The life I was so afraid of returning to. Still am afraid of returning to.

But he made feel good. When I felt so bad. He made me feel desirable, loveable, needed, wanted, powerful. In my fucked up, topsy turvy world he became the one.

On that sunny morning at the pub when I first met this man and enquired about drugs I had no idea that he would become the drug that I would acquire an addiction for to keep the painful memories and flashbacks at bay.

That is enough for now. I'm exhausted.

More to follow.


Part 1: The dad question
Part 3: The dad question

Monday, July 23, 2012

Looking backwards to go forwards

Looking back on my recent posts I realise I've been writing so much about the past lately. While painful at times, I've found the process of writing it all down to be so cathartic. It is almost like, with each story I blog, I am able to let go of the grip each memory has had on me and I'm able to move further forward.

I started the story of Noo's father in my last post. You can catch up here if you missed it. That scene that I wrote had literally just happened and was rolling around in my head so I felt compelled to come straight to my laptop and type.

But I think there has been so much talk in my blog recently of alcohol and drugs, depression and anxiety and of rock bottom, that I need to write about something a little lighter today. Thinking about my blog this morning I thought I really should remind my readers that I have been sober for four years now. And although these last four years have not been easy due to depression and anxiety that ebbs and wanes like the tides, my sobriety has been rock solid.

Anyway, I've got in my reflective voice again. I really want to be able to write in my happy everyday voice as well. Because now, today, I am happy.

My favourite photo of the day
I'm taking the photo in the reflection of the mirror in our loungeroom
Me, Yolanda (my sister), Mala and my mum

Right now I am going through a period of stability. Oh, stability! How I love thee! Last week I was a little messed up from the new meds I'm taking but even those have settled down over the last 48 hours. Noo is happy and content. He is sleeping in his bed next to me right now. I can hear him breathe and sigh quietly and occasionally grind his teeth. I have changed him back to three days of daycare a week now that I'm feeling better than I was earlier in the year. I want to be with him when I can.

I will also start looking after my niece two days a week to help out my sister pretty soon. This will be the closest thing I have had to a real job for a while and I am really looking forward to the challenge and the commitment. I will be able to spend the next six months building up my confidence by seeing something through, as well as have time to continue to build my online presence. I am so lucky to be able to do that.

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you will know that I spend a lot of time with the beautiful Miss Mala. I cannot describe to you how much I love being with that little girl. She is a delight! There is something so lovely about being an aunty.

Well it is Tuesday tomorrow and on Tuesdays Noo and I catch up with some friends of mine from school and their little kids. It is always an energetic day so I best get me some sleep to recharge the batteries.

I hope everything is well in your little corner of the world.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Part 1: The dad question

The day we met

“I want a farber” said Noo with a clear strong voice as I lay holding him, trying to coax him into sleep.

“What did you say?” was my surprised response, even though I knew exactly what he meant.

“I want a farber” he repeated. “A farber!” This time it came with a shout.

“You mean a father? Why would you want one of those? Aren't I enough?” I couldn’t believe it. He’d finally spoken the words I’d been dreading for so long. Those words, and actually asking me who his father was, were the words I had long been in denial would ever come.

I couldn't believe my response either. Aren't I enough? My three and half year old son was quiet after that. He didn’t know how to respond. I lay there holding him, heart beating fast, wishing that what I heard was just a figment of my imagination or that I’d misunderstood him. That he really meant to say something else. And then he fell to sleep in my arms. My beautiful boy.

I wish I made him all by myself

This is the hardest part of my life. How to deal with this situation. I think about his father every day. Wonder where is. If he’s still alive. I hope with all my heart that he is not. I feel really anxious about writing about this person, who provided the other half of Noo's DNA. What if Noo was to come by my blog when he is older? Or his teachers or school friends or their parents find what I write? What if his dad finds what I write? But that is not such a problem. He couldn't read it anyway.

This person was not a good catch. Not the greatest of citizens. But although I could write reams on him, of what I learnt about him in the four months we knew each other, I don't want Noo to know all the bad stuff. I don't want him to ever think he may have inherited this person's bad stuff. He will have to know one day but I want to save him from it for as long as possible. A lot of what I know could be lies anyway. He was a compulsive liar. I know that much is true. And I don't want to just tell Noo the good stuff because he could then take what few pieces of information he knows and build on it to create some fantasy dad that doesn't exist. Some fantasy that he might go looking for.

The people closest to me know of his father. Only two friends met him very briefly and my sister nodded at him once. It was like that. I was an outcast at the time, if you remember from my early post. I met him at a pub in Newtown. I was whacked out on benzos after having just been kicked out of the psychiatric hospital I had spent two months in for treatment for a whole host of issues. I was very unwell. Broken. Out of it. Skating along the thin ice of rock bottom that was threatening to crack and send me further into the abyss. Completely lost.

It was the same day that I got my initials tattooed on my hand as a reminder of who I was. Well, at least what my name was. The one thing I knew was true. After the ink had been permanently etched into my skin, I went next door for a schooner of beer. It was about 11 o'clock in the morning. Grabbing a table out the front of the pub so I could smoke, I turned to my right as the person sitting at the next table said to me, "lovely morning for a beer".

He was right. It was a beautiful morning. Still summer and very hot. "It is", I replied holding my glass up in a mock cheers.

We weren't talking long before I asked him if he knew anywhere I could score. My benzo supply was running low and I knew if I didn't get something soon, I would start to feel the pain again. The flashbacks would come back with a vengeance...

Ok, I'm going to leave it there for now. This is a really hard part of my story to tell. I'm buggered and still kind of anxious because of these new meds I'm taking which I'm actually thinking about stopping. I will write more over the next couple of days.

Good night.


UPDATE: For part 2 in "The dad question" click here.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Blogging about blogging and ADHD


I've got an ever growing list of blog post ideas, but I'm struggling to find my words tonight. I'm sure I read somewhere, sometime ago, that if you just type the first thing that comes to your mind the words will come. Maybe I have bloggers block. Maybe I've just spilled my guts too much this week already. Maybe I'm just dying to sit down and catch up on True Blood. Maybe.

The response to my post on Monday was overwhelming. The beautiful comments both here on the blog and through Twitter were humbling in their show of support. The number of page hits I received was encouraging. Encouraging me to (over)share, encouraging me that I have a voice worth publishing online here, in my little corner of the interwebs.

I feel I am spending an ever growing amount of time online (if it was possible to spend any more time than I already was!). As I click from page to page, link to link, I get an enormous sense of community here amongst the blogosphere. This is a place I want to be. There are so many amazing voices out there! It makes me think how lucky we are to live in this time where people can connect, at times at such a deep level, with people we have never met. May never meet.

In the past couple of weeks I have also read a lot of blog bashing in the traditional media and on other websites. I don't understand why blogging bothers some people. I am not trying to be a journo here. This is just little old me typing a few words on the 'puter as an outlet for my crazy brain. And anyway, you have the power blog-hating people! Choose not to click that link, choose to close that browser window, choose to move onto something else. Don't troll, bitch and moan, and carry on. It is unbecoming. It looks desperate and ridiculous because why do it? Nobody is hurting you. Oh, and setting up a pseudo blog that's sole purpose is to take the piss and ridicule is just downright sad.

Anyway, 'nuff said about that. Back to me! This is a blog about ME after all.

Last week I wrote how Shrink had diagnosed me with ADHD. I spent the week on Ritalin, working up from half a tab, to three days on one whole 10mg tab three times a day, then 3 days on 1.5 tabs three times a day. It was pretty weird shit.

The stuff made me feel focused, energised, less forgetful, more motivated, more confident, more creative, more happy, more positive about the future. Fucken bonus! Dream drug, you'd reckon. But that was only from when I first swallowed the little white pill til about 5ish. Then things changed.

By the time 6 o'clock came around anxiety had fully set it. I felt cold and slightly paranoid. I found it harder to speak in my usual volume, my breathing became laboured and I started searching my brain for something to feel bad about. I did not like it. Not. At. All. The first few days were ok. The anxiety only lasted about half an hour but as the days wore on it got harder to see the benefit of taking the medication at all. The positives must outweigh the side effects is my golden rule to drug taking these days.

On Wednesday night I had an anxious episode that lasted three and a half hours! Awful. That was the night I cooked the chicken pie (see Wordless Wednesday for pics). My parents were down from the Mountains and I asked them to look after Noo's evening time stuff (feed/bathe) while I cooked dinner. I just focused on the recipe and the job at hand. Several times I wanted to lay down and do my usual mantras (I will not die, I will not die, I will not die. This too shall pass, this too shall pass, this too shall pass.) until I felt ok again. I pushed on and by 7.30pm, like magic I was through to the other side. Weird. Beyond weird.

Had my weekly appointment with Shrink on Thursday and told him everything I felt. I told him I thought the best days were the ones I was only taking a single 10mg pill three times a day. He told me that this was only a trial week to find out what the right dose for me was. Then he moved me to a slow release form of methylphenidate called Concerta: one 36mg tab a day, taken in the morning. The first day of that pill was today.

How did I feel? Better than Wednesday, that is for sure. I liked only having to take one pill in the morning. The clock watching for the Ritalin was annoying and too reminiscent of my cocaine days. Feeling the up and the down and then gagging for the next up to avoid any down. Bloody hell! I do not want to be on that rollercoaster! I just want to be normal, damn it!

Noo was home with me today. I felt slightly agitated in the morning, not long after taking my first Concerta, but this could just have been because getting Noo dressed and out the door always agitates me. We went to the Entertainment Quarter to see the new Thomas and Friends movie. It was awesome! We had an entire massive cinema to ourselves! We got lollies and popcorn and sat right in the middle of the cinema. Noo could talk and scream and run around all he liked and I could relax! It almost made it worth the enormous amount of cash I haemorrhaged at the candy bar, just to have this huge massive room to ourselves.

Noo, looking so worried that Thomas might fall over the cliff.

Later we met my sister and a friend for coffee and everything was ok but I started to feel a little edgy as the day wore on. My thought processes continued to be more linear and my memory was amazing really. (Although I did forget to pack clean undies and trousers for Noo and he had an accident that required a major clean up but I won't go into that lest an anti parenting blog person reads this and declares all we blog about is our kid's poo!)

The anxiety at the end of the day was still present with Concerta but less so than on the Ritalin. The drug tappered off at around 5ish again but much more gradually. At that time I initially felt quite tired but that passed. I've actually felt kind of energised from about 7ish but I'm now (at past 11pm) feeling like it is time to go to bed. Except for one night I haven't had any trouble sleeping on the Ritalin. Tonight will be the test for Concerta.

I'm now buggered. I'm off to brush my teeth and climb the ladder to my loft bed and snuggle in for a lovely eight hours sleep (fingers crossed).

Good night lovely blogosphere. And thank you.


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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ode to London

London I love you
I miss you with all my heart
You took me in but spat me out
I knew it from the start

Despite the gloomy winters
When the sun would barely shine
The summer days were oh so long
I quaffed a lot of wine

I lived upon the River Thames
And heard its history whisper:
"We love a pint, you'll drink all night
  No matter how hard you resist it!"

English pubs with open fires
The bell would chime at 10
Then back to mine we'd go
And party til who knew when

The morning Tube would come
My body cold and shivering
Into work I'd struggle
My brain still soaked and blithering

The working day would end
Sitting at my desk
The tinkling of the drinks trolley
Would reignite my zest

I could go on and on you see
But this story won't end well
I don't blame you London
It was me who jumped and fell

I love you London
Still miss you with all my heart
I will come back to you one day
We'll make a brand new start

English Festival Season 2006
Wearing my motto emblazoned across my chest


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Thank goodness for Wordless Wednesdays

Oh. My. Goodness. I am so tired. I have so many blog ideas but not the energy to get stuck in. My post on Monday took it out of me. Plus there's some weird shit going on with my brain and these new meds I'm on. I'm back seeing Shrink tomorrow so hopefully will get some relief soon.

Here's my day in photos.

Noo running ahead as we walk to down preschool.

The home of a serious Canterbury Bulldogs supporter.

Give the gorgeous Mala a few computer lessons.

Baby, please don't go. I need you Darrell Lea!

Noo's new doona cover made from fabric my parents bought
in New York City when we were living there in the 70s.

Chicken pie recipe from here served with salad.

Thank goodness for Wordless Wednesday.

Linking up with Trish at My Little Drummer Boys.


Monday, July 16, 2012

The Xanax (and other benzos) dilemma: My story

There was a really good article in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Weekend magazine liftout this Saturday just gone. Unfortunately I can't find a link for the article but it talked about the soaring use of Xanax in Australia as a go to drug to help people deal with the stress of modern life. I know the benefits of Xanax and other benzos. But I also know the downfalls. This is my story:

Anybody who has read my blog for a while (or even just a couple of weeks) would know that I am a sufferer of anxiety. That dreaded condition that makes the human reflex to fight, flight or freeze come on even though there is nothing to battle, nothing to run from and no real reason to be paralysed with fear. That feeling of dread that something bad is going to happen but you're not quite sure what. But it's there. It might even kill you. But it won't.

Anxiety has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I was a severely shy kid. It was horrible. I found most social interactions to be painful and I didn't make friends easily. I spent an enormous part of my preschool and primary school days alone in the playground. And I was at school from 8.30am to 6pm everyday because both my parents worked so they were very long days being isolated.

If they had the Kids Health Check system that the Federal Government is planning to use to test three year olds for mental health issues back in the late 70s/early 80s, I probably would have hit all the markers for childhood anxiety.

There was a child psychologist enlisted in my preschool years to help with my terrible sleep habits and another one when I was in year two to try and find out why I was behind in school. I remember another one in the early high school years, numerous meetings with school counsellors and then a careers counsellor/psychologist just after I finished year 12. None of them helped me but to reinforce the belief that I was defective.

I have always believed, and still do believe, that there is something intrinsically wrong with me, with who I am. It is at the base of my core beliefs. It is the foundation on which I have spent my whole life building layer upon layer of self hate. Paradoxically, I have spent my whole life fighting that belief. Trying to suppress it. Avoid it. Deny it. Kill it. Medicate it. (I know terribly sad, blah dee dah, but I deal with it. Kinda. And some days are better than others.)

This is why, when I got drunk for the first time at 15, I was sold. I found a cure, albeit a temporary one, for feeling like shit. Alcohol and drugs took away that horrible feeling of constant self doubt that lived within me. I created this new Vanessa who was cool and untouchable and did not give a fuck. You can't hurt me, big bad world, because I just don't fucking give a shit.

But I did give a shit. Because after every time I got drunk or high, or both, what I felt when I was hung over and coming down, was 100 times more disgusting than I would have felt without it. The anxiety and self loathing were back with a vengeance. And there began the vicious circle. Feel like crap, drink/do drugs to numb the pain/feel invincible/cool/able to speak to people, then feel like crap all over again. I went on this roundabout for 12 years, until I fell off with a massive thud and none of my old survival techniques worked any more. That is until I found benzodiazepines. 

The thing with benzos is that you don't need to meet up with some questionable character in a back ally to score them. You make an appointment with your GP, get a script, toddle off to the pharmacy and hand over about $15-20 for a bottle of Valium, Halcion, Normason, Mogadon, or...  for Xanax. 

Think before you pop. And always use as directed.

I am not sure about ordering drugs without a prescription on the internet and getting them delivered to Australia, but in the UK it was easy. I paid a shitload once for Valium and Mogadon from some dodgy American site claiming to issue prescriptions from the Czech Republic. And a miracle occurred. These little wonder pills made me feel better. Until they didn't. 

After I was r**** (you know the word I'm censoring here, I just hate seeing it, and I wrote it in my last post and now probably need about three months before I can get the guts to write it again) I was a mess. As you can imagine. (I plan to write about the whole event one day soon. It is important to me that I do. One day. Today I am just talking benzos!) I was living in London at the time and the day after I'd spent 13 hours being grilled and photographed and prodded and humiliated all over again by the Metropolitan Police, I had an appointment to see a GP. I was injured, both physically and psychologically. I still am. Those wounds will never heal. But I digress, like I always do!

So the GP gives me a script for Valium. I went to Boots The Chemist, picked up my little bottle and then dropped by the off license for half a dozen bottles of beer. Half litre bottles, that is. I was numb and floating through my worst nightmare. But the thing with benzos is that they are really addictive. You need more and more of them to get that same zoned out feeling the first one gave you. 

From my experience, prescriptions for benzos are actually pretty hard to come by in the UK. When you pick up your pills from Boots they hand you a leaflet with a very stern face and point out the risks of addiction and the dangers of combining the drug with alcohol. Not that it stopped me using both to stop my mind from going over and over that horrible scene. The story is very different here in Australia. Shall I write about it here, on my blog? Ah, fuck it, I've come this far.

When I came back from England I was here two days before my parents admitted me to a rehabilitation centre for drug and alcohol addiction and chronic major depression and anxiety as well as post traumatic stress disorder. See I'd been very unwell for a lot longer before the assault. It was what sent me over the edge. I was put on suicide watch and stripped of everything I knew: my home, my friends, my job, my drugs, my booze, my mobile phone, my sanity (what was left of it). Thrown into this world of the ever revolving door of rehab. With serious addicts. Serious psychiatric patients. One on one appointments with shrinks, group therapy, urine tests and a strict daily routine of when to get up, when to eat, when to talk and when to get your meds.

Morning and night we all lined up to the little nurses' window to collect our little cocktail of antidepressants, anti psychotics, mood stabilisers, sleeping tablets and anti anxiety medication - whatever your individual file said you were taking. And then there was the PRN (Prescribed by Registered Nurse) Valium for between times when you felt the withdrawal process was too hard to deal with and the anxiety got too much. That first time in hospital, every time actually, I felt like a dirty little drug seeker begging the nurse for another tablet. Anything to take away the reality of where I was and how I got there, and who I was suppose to be.

Once I'd done my three weeks, I was out the door clutching a script for antidepressants and mood stabilisers but the Valium was stopped. They don't send drug addicts out into the real world with benzos. I was raw. Just a shell of a person. My soul was broken. I had no idea who I was any more. I had nothing to use to mask the feelings of loss and despair and fear. Nothing was left but anxiety and the deepest, blackest hole of depression. And that little girl of 15 who hated herself.

I lasted five months before I was back again, at another psychiatric facility, and unfortunately one that wasn't really equipped for addicts. All the other rehabs in Sydney were full. This place didn't have the same security as the other place. They didn't check your bags and other personal items and they didn't routinely drug test you after every trip outside the hospital. I knew one elderly alcoholic who was in there to dry out but had a bagload of methadone tabs in her cupboard. Um, hello?! Methadone? I swapped her one for an oxycodone.

I was sharing a room with an alcoholic/benzo addict/self harmer. Not fun. But she introduced me to doctor shopping and we were using all our 'spare time' to go to doctor's appointments around Sydney asking for all of the above mentioned benzos. Xanax was actually the hardest to come by, but it was possible. With the right story. My story.

So I spent two months in a psych ward on approximately the same cocktail of drugs that killed the awesome Aussie actor Heath Ledger, while chugging back energy drinks to stay awake through the fugue. Not once do I remember there being any talk about the dangers of benzos or of other prescription drugs while I was there. No one told us about withdrawing off them. And to be honest, I didn't really think about it.

My room mate and I eventually got found out and kicked out of the hospital. My parents had had it with me and kicked me out of home. The cheapest accommodation I could find was a room above a pub in a seedier area of Sydney. I had my stash of pharmies from the doctors that I knew around the hospital but that was it. The seedier area doctors knew about drug seeking benzo addicts and did not prescribe them willy nilly. I waited for up to three hours once, in an unknown doctor's surgery, only to be told they couldn't give me anything. And then I began to come down.

I had no idea what was happening to me. I had diarrhea and vomiting, cold sweats, headaches, cramps. I felt dreadful. For days. I had no idea why. I didn't put two and two together. I found out much later that withdrawing off the huge amount of drugs in my system is what did it.

I could have died.

But I didn't and my tail of woe doesn't end there but my abuse of Xanax and the like did.

Obviously I wasn't a normal everyday case of Xanax dependence like the article in the weekend's SMH talks about. It was a little bit more extreme than that. And I take full responsibility for what happened to me because of my doctor shopping. But I truly think that there needs to be better controls on how these drugs are prescribed and managed. Because while on one hand benzos can take away that feeling like you're going to die from anxiety, on the other it can kill you with kindness.

Please, if you suffer from anxiety and have an addictive nature, avoid benzodiazepines. There are other medications now that can help that are not addictive. And of course there is therapy which has since helped me so much more than that little purple pill ever did.


If you do need assistance these sites maybe helpful:
Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia
Beyond Blue
Black Dog Institute

Friday, July 13, 2012

A thing I know...

What a great concept! A regular post about what you know. I think it is important to acknowledge what we know is true. It builds self esteem and self trust.

I know my kid rocks

I know everyone thinks their kid is the best kid EVAH, but my kid to me, is AWESOME! 

We went through a shocking phase recently when I was all over the place with my Restless Leg Syndrome and anxiety about why I was anaemic and feeling so shit. I was so consumed with my own physical problems that I was avoiding Noo and we were clashing all the time. He disobeyed me constantly and acted out in a way that was dangerous (like running across a busy road!) and frustrating. He was obstinate and oppositional. I found it hard at the time to admit it, but I dreaded having to pick him up from daycare in the evening. I even changed him from three days a week to four! I'm now wanting to change it back to three because I just love being with him.

Walking in the rain, lollipop in hand, on the bike path in the city

Walking through Wynyard Park wearing his tie,
which he insisted on wearing

Up at the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains

When I started feeling better after my iron infusion, I made a conscious effort to spend more time with Noo and everything changed. We are like best mates again. We understand what the other is saying. He is more respectful and behaves a hell of a lot better (as well as any three and a half year old, anyway) than he did when I was unwell. Kids just sense things! He is so intuitive.

Noo is confident in a way I could never be, especially when I was a child. He says hello to everyone and introduces himself and asks the other person's name. Even as a baby, when he was pre-verbal, he would stare at a stranger until they looked at him, and then smile. He has charm. He almost never cries and when he does, they are not serious tears. You can reason with him. I know this is odd for a preschooler but he can be reasoned with if his feelings are acknowledged and validated. Not all the time, he is three after all, but he is genuinely wanting to be a good boy. And he is a lovely, sweet natured boy. He is gentle with his six month old cousin.

In the playground on Tuesday, when a couple of boys started picking on Noo because he introduced himself to them, he just looked at them bewildered. "Why are they being like that mum? I only said my name was Noo". He doesn't understand teasing.

Noo is funny and he loves jokes. He can play independently for hours, creating amazing games with his toys. He is imaginative and creative. I love listening in on the conversations he makes his toys have and the world he creates for them.

Noo is my saviour.

I was so lost before I found out I was pregnant. I was slowly dying - killing myself with self hate, fear and loathing. I was living on the fringes of society, sleeping on a bare foam mattress on the floor of a junkie household. I was high all the time. Estranged from my family and friends. I didn't even know who I was really. Except for my name, I knew nothing of who I was or who I wanted to be, if I wanted to be at all.

When I found out I was pregnant it had been almost a year to the day since that horrible event that changed my life. Since the night a stranger took away what shred of innocence or dignity I had left. And it had been a year of punishing myself brutally for allowing myself to be a victim. A rape victim. Yuck! The R word. There, I've typed it.

From out of that darkness I created light. With a man, who will be unnamed for as long as I can manage before Noo gets old enough to ask questions that I can no longer distract him from. As soon as I saw those two purple lines on the testing stick I knew it was the light at the end of the tunnel. I felt a purpose for the first time in years, if not my whole life. A desperate need to give this new life, that had somehow managed to survive the battering I had been giving my mind and body, a chance. In turn I was giving myself a chance.

Those tiny little cells that divided and multiplied inside me never let me forget they were there. I sobered up immediately but had no other choice than to stay where I was living. I bought a new bed to get off the floor and proceeded to stay in it for 13 weeks. I vomited from 3am to 5pm every day. Retching violently I barely managed to keep my antidepressant medication down. I was dehydrated all the time and needed IV hydration at one point. Four bags from a drip in the waiting room of a of an inner city hospital. At several points I thought can I do this alone? I knew the father would not stick around despite proclamations of love and devotion.

Maybe selfishly I held on to him. To the thought of him. Even though as news trickled back to my real world that I was pregnant, both friends and family, and even my family GP thought I was crazy to have a baby when I was so fucked up. How could I look after another being if I couldn't look after myself?

But I loved him with all my heart and soul from that moment at around week 12 when I got the results of the CVS (Chorionic Villus Sampling) test I had to rule out Downs Syndrome. They told me he was a boy and immediately I knew he was Noo.

My son.

This is what I know.


Linking up with Dorothy at Singular Insanity.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Move it, bite it, sit with it, medicate it

Daft Punk - Techologic
Sing the title of my post to this song

I saw Shrink today. We talked more about my mental head shit and basically the message is this:

1. Move out of home. Living with my parents is bad for my mental health.

There are a few reasons why this isn't happening any time soon.

I am not moving out of home while my income is as low as it is right now. And I depend on my parent's company on the few nights a week that they are actually here. The thought of living alone with Noo seven days a week just seems too unbearable. Not because of Noo, of course, but because of being lonely for adult company.

It is so safe here. I live in a secured building with 24 hour door staff. There's a screen for me to look at who is buzzing down stairs and CCTV everywhere. We are high enough up so it is impossible to get in our windows or balcony. I need this feeling of security. When you've lived with that constant hum of fear that someone is going to get you in your bed, like I have in the past, and then you find a way to make it stop, the feeling of relief is palpable. You never want to feel that fear again.

2. Try to catch myself putting myself down. Bite my tongue.

I have a terrible habit of putting myself down to people in some sort of pre emptive move to beat them to it. But who is going to say mean things to me? Why do I have such a low opinion of myself that I think most all other people I come into contact with must think the same. Except for Noo. I know he thinks I rock.

3. Notice anxiety, sit with it, accept that it is ok. It will not kill me.

Anxiety sucks. I've noticed a lot of bloggers have been talking about it lately. It is so common! Especially among women, I think. What has happened that we are all nervous wrecks just trying to get about our daily lives? I have been pretty good in recent weeks, especially since I had my iron infusion. And I've created this little comfortable world where I don't get challenged too much by people I don't know that well. By their expectations or needs. Like a boss or a boyfriend. Too many expectations!

4. I have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Take Ritalin.

So adult ADHD, hey. Comes as both a surprise and "ah, that makes sense". I did this test and I scored 77 the first time and then I went through it with my sister and scored 66 which is still considered high. 

It would explain why my school teachers always said on my reports that I distracted easily, that I 'lived in a vacuum', daydreamed a lot, vagued out. I have trouble focusing my attention on anything for too long. I get overwhelmed when I have too many things on but I always sign myself up for everything and end up doing nothing. I constantly walk into rooms and totally forget why I'm there. I forget what I'm saying mid conversation. It is so annoying!

Controlled drug! Sounds full on, which I suppose it is.
Photo from here.

So I'm on Ritalin. Or kiddie coke, as I found out it is also called when I Googled it today. It is kind of weird being on such a stimulant drug considering I used to take speed and coke recreationally all the time. This doesn't feel the same as the illegal ones though. I don't feel that wired excited arrogance that I loved so much with cocaine. Or that intense clarity that can come with speed. I feel kind of normal. So far anyway. I've only taken two very low doses to get started. I have to monitor how it makes me feel as I up the dose slowly over the next week and then I'm back with Shrink again next Thursday.

So there you (or I) have it. Analysis of analysis.

I'm overwhelmingly tired this evening so I'm off to bed.

Good night.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

A camel in Wynyard Park this morning. It was there to promote the Northern Territory.
The little girl was just passing by with her mum. The camel guy put that hat on her head.
Just out of the picture are two press photographers snapping wildly as the little girl poses.
She loved the attention. I only wished Noo was there to see it.

Me and my gorgeous niece Mala as we wait for her mother to get her nails and a wax done.

There are hardly any photos taken of me by other people. I am the main photographer in our family
so I end up taking self portraits. My sister picked up my phone that was sitting next me and took this.
I like it.

My manicure this week. Mother Earth green with a dash of red.

Linking up with My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Playground politics

Every Tuesday morning Noo and I catch up with a couple of my girlfriends and their kids for a play in a park. Noo has friends to play with and I get to catch up with my mates. Perfect. It is the social highlight of my week.

We usually go somewhere in the inner west or inner eastern suburbs of Sydney. Somewhere within 10-15 minutes drive from home suits everyone. There is really only one specification now the kids are big enough not to need an enclosed play area and that is good coffee.

Just because it is funny:
Noo and I love this song. Check out his banana butt!

We each pack our kids snacks and lunch, a drink bottle and a change of clothes. We get a little perch somewhere to dump the bags and scooters and generally we each have one eye on the kids and one on the conversation. If a kid goes out of our field of vision, we take it in turns to go hunt the little bugger down.

Conversations are started but never finished as we juggle the requests for a push on a swing, a drink, or nagging for an ice cream. And then there's the tears. The "he did this to me", or "she won't get off my scooter", or "so and so just pushed me". This is the part I hate the most.

If I'm honest, I don't really like the whole playground experience. So much anxiety! But I especially hate dealing with little kids hurting each other. With toddlers I think most of the time they are doing it out of frustration with not being able to express themselves. Noo went through a terrible time in his twos of biting other kids. It was just horrible watching him bare his teeth at any kid who got in his way. I had to shadow him everywhere. Not to protect him but to protect the other kids around him. I felt this was my duty.

To my constant amazement, not all parents are like this. They let their little monsters wonder around the playground menacing any kid that gets in their way. It's mostly boys I've noticed, but girls can do it too.

If a kid has a go at my kid when it is undeserved, I will step up and defend my child. I cannot help myself. If I witness some child deliberately hurt mine, I'm there. I'm asking him where his mother (or father) is and then I'm asking her why she wasn't watching her kid more carefully. But I know there has to be a point where I let Noo fight his own battles. It is knowing when to jump in or stay on the sidelines that has me in a state of despair.

There was one incident where I watched this kid stalk Noo around an enclosed play area trying to get Noo's toy truck off him. Noo was about two at the time. I had been keeping an eye on him from a healthy distance as he walked around with his truck in his hand. This bigger boy who was about six or seven had shown an interest in the truck when they had both been in the sandpit earlier. Noo had clearly shown that he didn't want to share.

So this kid, who has no idea I'm wondering around in the background, gets on his scooter, rolls past Noo, deliberately knocking him to the ground and the truck out of his hand. It was a completely premeditated attack! Noo gets up grabs his toy back and before I can get there this older thug has punched Noo square in the guts!

Poor little Noo doubles over, winded and in shock, starts struggling to get his breath back while gasping little screams. I, needless to say, went fucking ballistic! "You horrible little boy" I yell. "Where is your mother?" I ask this rotten little ratbag while trying to hold and comfort Noo. His mother is nowhere to be seen until I'm really having it at him. "Where is this kid's mother?" I'm bellowing across the playground. I completely lost it.

This woman finally shows some interest in the fact that her kid is in a bit of trouble but completely ignores me. No sorry, no asking her evil spawn to apologise to Noo, nothing! I'm telling her that if her kid was older I'd have the cops there charging him with assault. I was so fucking angry! Who lets their kid get away with that? I mean, really?! She then lets the kid continue to play and torment every other child that got in his way. And Noo was not the only one to end up in tears at the hands of this boy.

Later the friend I was with overheard the group of mothers who knew the woman and her kid all bitching about how her son was always picking on other children and about how she never disciplined him. They were saying she should take him home to teach the ratbag that that is not the way you behave at the park! He had serious aggressive behaviour issues and needed some guidance from his parents.

This is an extreme example of the playground politics that I'm talking about. I know I could have been a little bit more controlled in how I handled the situation, but he's my baby, you know?

What about you? Do you speak out for your kids at the park? Or have I overcrossed the line where I should have allowed Noo to sort out his own battles? When is it right to ask for an apology or demand the other parent involved to take responsibility for their child's behaviour?

Ugh. Playground politics. I do not like it.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Sex, drugs n rock and roll anyone?

It is Monday night and I've sort of got the time now to blog. I say sort of because Noo is still awake despite the fact that it is 9pm. He is sitting on his bed, which is just behind me, playing with a noisy toy which is kind of distracting, but what can I do? Our room is divided into four areas - his 'room' (which is actually the area beneath my loft bed), my sleeping area, my desk, my built-in wardrobe - all cleverly furnished with a lot of Ikea furniture for maximum storage space.

We've both had great days: Noo at daycare, after a week off; and me hanging out with my sister and niece, as I do every Monday.

There's so much I could tell you about. (FYI, Noo has just fallen asleep. Yay.) Thinking about blogging content has become a constant source of internal commentary since the lead up to Blogopolis. It's similar to when I first got into Facebook in late 2006/early 07. My brain was constantly thinking in terms of 'Vanessa is...'. Such as 'Vanessa is having a cup of tea', 'Vanessa is washing her face', 'Vanessa is having a crap day'. Annoying!

I've found my mind has been casting back over the last five years for content. There's so much sex, drugs and rock n roll I could write about but I want to make sure I get it out right. So much that has happened to me just doesn't seem real. I think by putting it in my blog and getting it out there might help me come to terms with it and allow me to move on. Some of it is really trashy and some of it is just plain horrible.

Until recently The Babbling Bandit was all about my experience with my lap-band. On occasion I wrote about my past, but I haven't elaborated too much. The fear I have with giving away too much of my private life is how it might impact on my ability to get a job in the future. I know it is par for the course these days for employers to Google potential employees. Would an employer read this and think "no way, I am not employing this crazy lunatic"? Or would they not even find it at all? I am constantly asking myself this question.

What goes on behind those eyes?

My last post also got me thinking about dating again. Whenever I let myself think too much about being lonely, I think for godsakes woman, do something about it.

What would a potential partner think if they read this blog? Run a mile I would expect. And how do I meet people anyway? I don't work and I don't go out, except with Noo or other members of my family, or occasionally to catch up with friends. Teetotal single mums do not get invited out often. 

Plus dating sucks. I've just been reminded by how much too, by reading back on my blog. Check out here and here. Sounds like a fucking nightmare! I really do not want to get back into internet dating, no matter how lonely I am. I don't want to have to justify my life to anyone. I don't know how to sell this package: overweight, unemployed, single mum with excess baggage on offer to the highest bidder... sounds great... not!

Anyway, I'm not going to post this tonight. I'm over thinking my words. I think I write better when I just let the words fall on the keys. I keep writing about writing. It is annoying. It is like a stream of consciousness brain fart. I've lost my voice again. I'm just typing to get a flow on but it is not happening.

Oh, bugger it, I will post. Get something out there. I'll just chuck a little picture in and out it goes.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Finding my voice

I am all alone today. The apartment is so quiet I can only hear the sounds of my fingers against the keyboard and the hum of my computer.

Mum and dad have taken Noo to their home in the Blue Mountains so I can have some 'me time'. I've spent most of that time so far in front of screens - my laptop and the telly - or sleeping.

I guess in an ideal world I would be going on a date with someone new or seeing a boyfriend or even going out with girlfriends. But I am at home, alone and I'm ok with that.

That's what worries me.

When I was a little girl I always knew I wanted to get married and have kids. Having my own family is really the only ambition I've ever had. I remember sitting on the steps of the terrace house I grew up in and saying to my mother "My husband is out there, mum. He's alive, I just haven't met him yet". I was about eight years old at the time.

Here I am, nearly 30 years later, and I'm nowhere near finding this mystery man who is suppose to be my husband. And I don't know if I ever will meet him. I actually cannot fathom ever being in a proper stable relationship with a man who loves me for who I am, whom I can trust with all my heart and who I could possibly create a family with.

I have been on my own (with the exception of a few very brief relationships) for most of my adult life. I used to be so desperate for a boyfriend, so desperate to be loved and to have someone to share my life with but now, I don't know, I feel like I've given up.

I'm 37 and I've given up on any hope of love.

Kinda makes me want to cry when I see that on the screen.

I have my son. My beautiful little boy, Noo. He is the love of my life. But he will grow up and will go on and find his own love, be it boy or girl, and I will be happy for him, and I will let him go.

I have my parents, of whom I am so close, but they will die.

And I will truly be alone.

What will I do then?

I will be old and dried up and more unlovable than I am now.

Time is moving so fast! Tick tock goes my biological clock.

But I am damaged. I have baggage. A whole shipping container load full. Nobody wants baggage. But this baggage is what makes me... or does it break me?

I am crying now as I type this. Alone in my room I share with my son who is not here.

I am crying because by typing these words, I am allowing myself to feel them, I am finding my voice and it scares me.

Shrink says I don't feel my pain enough. I laugh it off all the time. I am self deprecating.

From next week I am going back into weekly therapy because I am so scared I will be alone forever.

Shrink says I need to feel things.

Why feel anything when all there is is pain?


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Google is smarter than my doctor

The last post I wrote before this recent burst of blogging activity about Blogopolis was back in February this year. I talked in detail about how I was suffering from terrible Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) which was having an affect on nearly every aspect of my life. I couldn't sleep properly so I was exhausted, anxious, irritable, unmotivated and feeling downright terrible most of the time. This was having a serious follow-on effect on my closest relationships, particularly with Noo. So much so, that for the first time since he was a tiny baby, I was hating being a parent. I love Noo, don't get my wrong, I just stopped liking being a parent because I wasn't coping.

I am happy now to report that I have been cured of my RLS. Yes. Cured. After three years of suffering. And the only reason why I am cured is because I, once again, used Google to self diagnose and to find out what course of action was required to sort out my problem.

This is not the first time the internet has saved me:

After Noo was born I suffered from extreme anxiety, profusive sweating, insomnia, insatiable appetite and these horrible brain buzzes that would make me feel extremely dizzy. I saw my GP and psychiatrist several times a week trying to get back on track with my recovery which had been going well in the lead up to Noo’s birth. Both of them said I was just feeling the new mother blues more than other new mums because of my history. After three months of suffering I’d had enough and told my psych I wanted to change my antidepressant. Because she had been increasing my dose since Noo was born, to come off the drug I had to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital to be kept under surveillance while 'washing out' before I could start the new antidepressant. As is routine, the hospital’s GP did a stack of blood tests when I was admitted. By the next day I was told that my thyroid was extremely overactive to the point where the GP thought I could have Graves Disease, which I later discovered would explain a lot of my symptoms. 

I had my laptop with me so went straight back to my room and Googled it which frightened the living daylights out of me – not great when you’re coming off a massive dose of Effexor!

After further research online I came to the conclusion I had post-partum thyroiditis which is a temporary condition and is actually quite common and very often goes undiagnosed because the symptoms very much sound like what a normal new mother would go through, although my symptoms were very severe. 

When I took the printed information I'd gathered from the internet to my GP and psych they dismissed it and told me to wait until I saw a specialist. It wasn’t until I was able to see an endocrinologist many weeks later that my research was confirmed as correct. I just wish I’d Googled my symptoms much earlier because I think it would have helped me to know that I wasn’t going mad, that I actually had a physical condition.

So back to 2012, I was getting desperate again, so scared I was back on a downward spiral into depression. You can hear it in my posts around that time. I felt dreadful. I am a regular at my doctor. I go all the time. I have to have regular check ups for various reasons or another. I guess because I have been so unwell in the past I am hyper vigilant about my mental health. I over analyse my over analysis. I'm a nutcase basically, but let's get on with the story...

So I had my list of symptoms that I kept asking the doctor about: exhaustion, feeling down, anxiety, hairloss, constipation, headaches and of course RLS. Many of these symptoms could be put down to another bout of depression. But just like when I had post partum thyroiditis which wasn't diagnosed for four months because of my history of mental health issues, I wasn't going to back down until I got some answers.

I get that, because my anxiety does manifest itself in my body, for example headaches and chest pain,  neck and shoulder pain, etc, it could be easy to just shrug it off and think, come on, get over it. But when the symptoms are persistent I don't want to keep being told to do some relaxation or whatever. And this is why I am telling this story. Because if you don't feel right in yourself, don't just take your doctor's word for it. Because we know our own bodies best. No one else can feel what you feel.

So back in early February I mentioned that I was asking my doctor to order some thyroid function tests to see if my thyroid hadn't gone hypo again which could explain the tiredness, hairloss and constipation, but those tests came back negative. I got a referral to a new psychiatrist to discuss coming off my medication even though it was agreed by all that after nearly three years on Cipramil it was pretty safe to say that wasn't what was making my legs twitch through the night.

So I went to Google again and found that RLS was one of the symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia. Back to the GP I went, did tests and found out my iron stores were so low and had been for so long I was now anaemic. Hello!! Exhaustion anyone? My haemoglobin levels were well below normal. No wonder I was feeling so shit and tired and wanting to sleep all day and biting everyone's heads off and wanting to trade Noo into the highest bidder!

Next stop was the gastroenterologist to find out where I was losing blood. One top n tail (colonoscopy/gasoscopy) and one adventure swallowing a camera to look at my small intestine later and still we were nowhere near finding out the source of my 'leak'. 

I asked the specialist about my symptoms. What could I do about this bloody fucken Restless Leg Syndrome this iron deficiency was causing in the meantime? He looked at me blankly and said he didn't know there was a correlation between RLS and iron deficiency anaemia. Oh, I thought. But Google told me there was! The doctor looked at me like, you going to trust the internet over me?

But I wanted something done about it anyway. And so the next week I was booked in for an iron infusion. This sounds really painful and icky but it was just a matter of laying around while I got all this synthetic iron pumped into me via a drip.

The synthetic iron in a drip bag

All hooked up - thank goodness I had a fresh manicure!

Morning tea

4 hours later... nearly finished

Within two weeks of that infusion I was cured of my Restless Leg Syndrome.

I shit you not!

Always trust yourself when it comes to your own body! Don't suffer unnecessarily because your doctor tells you it is in your head. 

I can now go to bed without fear of twitching and aching, or of pacing or going mad. I don't need to take benzos to get to sleep and I wake up feeling refreshed (most days, at least on the days that I'm not suffering from some daycare sourced cold or flu!). Even my dreams are more calm because I am not going to bed in fear every night.

I am back to loving being a mum! Noo and I have that thing going on where we enjoy each other's company again. Since the iron infusion my energy levels have slowly risen and I am back on the road to recovery. 

What a diversion from that road it has been! But at least I'm back.

Has anyone else used Google to help with a medical concern?


Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, these are just my experiences. Please do not use Google as your only source of medical assistance. ALWAYS see a doctor. Not all people who suffer RLS can be cured by sorting out any iron issues they may or may not have. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

I survived Nuffnang Blogopolis 2012!

Wow! What a great day Saturday was. My first blogging conference was everything I hoped it would be. Here are some photo highlights:

Noo and me on the morning of the conference
(had to get a Noo shot in somewhere!)

Very informative SEO talk

I love a goodie bag!

Morning tea

Delicious Twinings tea served in beautiful teacups

I attended Blogopolis for mainly two reasons:

  1. To learn more about the Aussie blogging scene; and
  2. To get out of my comfort zone and talk to new people.

And I achieved both.

Highlights for me were:

  1. Walking through the door of the Wentworth Sofitel and not bursting into tears.
  2. Meeting Lisa at Mum Of Adult Kids and having a buddy for the day.
  3. Jeff Tan's informative presentation on SEO and web analytics. This subject has alluded me for a long time so I was stoked to be able to hear such a clear and concise talk on it. The information I learnt will be handy for both my blog and my studies.
  4. Sitting on a table with some of the finest bloggers out there: Mrs Woog from WOOGSWORLD, Eden of Edenland, Kim from Allconsuming, Sarah from A Beach Cottage, Nikki from Styling You and Trevor Young from PR Warrior
  5. The 'finding your voice' panel; I particularly liked what both Eden and Zoey from Goodgoogs had to say. That my blog can be a place for me to find myself, that it is a 'psychological experience', a place to exhibit my 'weird' if I want to. And I want to!
  6. Mrs Woog's parting comments: That blogging is not a race or a competition; that Aussie bloggers need to unite and be nice to one another; and to have fun or it doesn't count.

So that is my Blogopolis 2012 wrap up. It is about all I can manage. I'm seeing double here! Got a filthy flu and can't think straight.

Looking forward to the next blogging function!