Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Inspirational quotes don't work on me

I've been trying to start this post for weeks! Or maybe days. Inspired, motivated, lazy, forgetful, apathetic - there's lots of doing or not doing words there. After my long and painful breakdown last year I have put all my effort into not doing - to take life as slowly as possible in fear that if I take on too much of life I'll get knocked in the teeth and fall face first back into the abyss of depression.

But where does that find me now, twelve months from when things started to really go downhill last year? It finds me in a big fat rut, that's where.

We are nearly exactly half way through the year. The Winter Solstice has passed and I'm still just flat lining through life, managing my mood on a day to day basis.

One of my current favourite pastimes, and boy does it allow time to stand still yet pass with incredible speed, is Pinterest. Pinterest gives me the sense that I'm getting inspired. Inspired for what? Anything really: fitness, healthy eating, cooking, crafting, parenting, blogging, shopping, inspiration. I've been using Pinterest to inspire me to get inspired but it's not working.

The social web is chock block full of inspirational quotes and life lesson slogans in pretty little infographics typed out in fancy fonts onto pictures of whimsical landscapes of fields of flowers, cloud porn or the clich├ęd country road that disappears into the horizon (none of which feature in my samples below). And yes, I know I reshare that shit on Facebook and Pinterest too sometimes, trying to grab hold of a little of that inspiration the well meaning poster has wanted to spread.

Call me cynical, but all those inspirational quotes just don't seem to work on me. Takes these for instance:


Seeing a fit and slender woman running along the beach with the slogan "Just Move" emblazoned across the bottom doesn't inspire me. It makes me feel exhausted and has been worried about UV rays and skin cancer. It makes me think of sand in my shoes and how I haven't worn a pair of shorts since 1988.


"Only you can help you. Get off your ass and do something about it." Yeah, yeah, I know! But somehow this knowledge doesn't translate into action for me. This poster is a call for change. Take action. Take risks. It's trying to tell me to break out of the comfortable rut I live in. I can list for you the reasons why this just isn't possible right now, but I won't bore you with my laundry list of mental and physical concerns right now.


Suck it up! I think this inspo quote is telling me to suffer in silence and exercise and starve myself until I don't have to suck in my unsightly gut any more. The problem with this so called inspirational slogan is that I don't bother sucking my gut in any way. Why would I put myself through that discomfort just so other people who might be looking at me feel more comfortable about looking at me and my body. Why do I need strive to not have a gut that needs sucking in? To be better liked? Or to just be accepted by a society that thinks that thin is worth suffering for? Nope, this inspo quote ain't doing it for me either.


OK, so the quote above is actually a really sensible one and something I could and should aspire to. But... and there's always a but, I have a chronic anxiety disorder, long term depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As much as I want to focus on the positive my mind automatically flicks to the negative "what if" scenarios in life. I've been learning to challenge my negative autopilot way of thinking but it still needs a lot of work. Must get stuck back into to mindfulness meditation... if only I had the motivation!

Now here's an inspirational quote that I can live by! Or at least keep me in my rut that half of me wants to stay safely cocooned in. There's no guilt attached to it because it probably isn't inspirational at all.

Just fucking do it, or whatever.


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Friday, May 30, 2014

Laying blame

My laptop and I are going through some serious relationship issues. He's too slow, too noisy, too demanding. Rather than try and fix him, I'm doing what I do best in these situations, I've been avoiding him.

I'm what psychologists might call a "black or white thinker". An "all or nothing" kinda gal. When I was right into my blog about a year or so ago, it was all I could think about. Now, not so much.

Recently I blamed my blog apathy on my want to avoid my own self analysis (which I usually do a lot of here) as well as my fear of judgement from others. I've even cast the blame on zombies for my blog absences. Today, though, I'm blaming my laptop. He's getting on in age. His third birthday is rapidly approaching. While three years might not sound like a ripe old age, in technology terms this piece of machinery is gaining on geriatric status and has been flagged for the old folks' home, aka my junk drawer.

As I sit here attempting to write a readable post, the fan in his posterior is whiring loudly and the software attempting to update in the background keeps flashing with threats of "not responding". Every fibre of my being wants to slam the screen down, walk away and go back to what I've set up as my new point of obsession: good ol' fashioned domestic arts and crafts.

You heard me. I've been crafting. Oh, and cooking!

My attempt at Colin Fassnidge's Roast Chicken with Famous Chicken Bread

If you're a friend on Facebook or you follow me on Instagram you'd know I've been spending time sitting on my arse knitting my little fingers to the bone! Except not really to the bone because this skeleton of mine remains amply covered because of all that luscious cooking I've been doing between knit ones and purl ones.

Click here for the free Cleckheaton pattern I'm using

I've been parenting too. Ha! You might say. Vanessa, you've been parenting since the day your bubba was born nearly five and a half years ago. I see where you're coming from, Dear Reader, but I've been sticking to a routine. Getting that kid of mine to do his homework and reading, feeding him proper food, bathing him, reading to him and getting him asleep between 8.30 and 9pm. Every. Single. Night.

And I've discovered I can do this parenting business by myself while still being a "Cool Mum".

Speaking of being a cool mum, a PR recently sent me some product to flog on my blog. I've been ignoring most PR correspondence but this lovely lady said she'd like to send me something for my kid. I was skint at the time and thought, what the hell, let's see what this freebie is all about.

We got a delivery of some Thermos Foogo products. In the bag was a Foogo Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Food Jar which keeps food inside nice and warm for up to five hours or cold for seven hours. And, which was was Noo's favourite, a Foogo Vacuum Insulated Drink Bottle with Silicone Straw. These products are probably aimed at the younger end of the market, but my five year old loves a sippy cup, especially one that keeps his water cool throughout the day while he is at school. What I love about this sippy cup is that it doesn't leak. If you look closely at the picture below on the right, you can see Noo's nanna in the background, watching carefully to make sure that nothing drops on the freshly laid sisal beneath where he is sitting.

Noo loves his new Thermos Foogoo products

Kicking goals all over the joint, I am. (We've been watching a lot of Star Wars. Yoda I am not.)

Yeah, I still have my woes. My mate Anxiety is still in residence. I need major surgery on my left knee and I need another iron infusion but, you know what? Today is a good day. Yesterday I could barely keep my eyes open for the anaemia related exhaustion, but today I'm feeling good about life.

Swings and roundabout, y'all. That's what life is all about.

See ya in a couple of weeks.... Maybe.


Disclaimer: If it wasn't obvious already, I was given the above mentioned Thermos products. I was not paid any cash or under any obligation to mention them on my blog. But Noo liked them so I decided to give them a shout out. 

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Zombies ate my blojo

Hey Blogger.com! Hey Reader!

I'm here. Sort of. If you follow me on Instagram you'll know I'm still alive and kicking. I've written heaps of posts. Heaps I tell you! But not down on paper or on the screen. In my head. Late at night. Then by morning light those posts have all been deleted. Cruelty, I know. For me and for you. Because they were brilliant bits of writing I tells ya!

From the brilliant theoatmeal.com

Noo (Mr five going on thirty!) and I have been pretty busy. School holidays were a blast. And we survived six whole weeks with my parents overseas. Sole parenting without extended family is hard but not impossible I've discovered. I cried a lot the first week. Worked myself into a bit of an anxiety induced fervour over how I was going to get through almost two months alone. There was a lot of catastrophising and gnashing of teeth and black and white thinking. Oh, the drama!

And then something happened. I can't talk about that event here. I was basically left with the option to fall apart or get my shit together for both me and Noo. I chose the latter and you know what? We not only survived - we thrived!

OK, I'll admit that doesn't mean all my problems disappeared and there weren't any issues while I fended for myself. No, no. Of course there were ups and downs - I'm a single mum with an anxiety disorder! I spent way too much money for starters. Noo and I went out every second or third day and we probably over indulged by going to the movies four times and to the Royal Easter Show and we did eat out a bit.

My sleep could be better, I'll be honest. I can fake it 'til I make it when I'm awake but at night the subconscious takes over and anxiety permeates my dreamscape. That is unless two little orange pills take the reigns and help ease me into a dreamless slumber that I only wish I could have every night.

I'm still avoiding social situations unless its with people I really know well and who know me well. We had visitors from Brisbane and London come and stay in the city with us and we took friends to my folk's place in the Blue Mountains. I don't know why I always seem to forget how lovely real human contact is. Not that my online connections aren't lovely, but you know what I mean.

Holed up safely in my beautiful home with all it's comforts really cannot replace being with other people one on one. There was one period during the holidays that I realised I'd gone ten days without talking to an adult who wasn't either a waiter or sales assistant. That kind of made me sad and also tremendously grateful for the visitors we did have.

I haven't been spending too much time at my desk over the last few months. I've been knitting. It's my new obsession! Knitting and catching up on some of the most entertaining, bingeable TV series. They say mastering a new skill is great for mindfulness, positive psychology, anxiety, etc. I think they are right! Focusing on learning a new skill and completing a project has really given me confidence and helped quieten my chatty remunating brain. I highly recommend it.

That's all I've got for now. Back to knitting and watching the season two finale of The Walking Dead.

If you didn't already know, "blojo" is short for blogging mojo.
And zombies ate mine. Rick Grimes, you can come save me anytime!


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