Friday, June 15, 2018

Multiple sclerosis

Hello.  It's been a very long time since I wrote in this blog, a good thing really.  However life circumstances have changed somewhat and a feel the need to return only this time it's not to talk about depression.

In December 2017 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis so the theme of this blog will now be about my experiences living with MS and adjusting to the new me, whatever that is.  Funnily enough, the name of my blog "Standing up When Falling Down" is still very appropriate for me as I do literally fall down at times with balance issues.

How does one begin to wrap one's head around a life changing diagnosis such as MS?  Firstly it was a relief to get a diagnosis, to know what was causing what were at times, debilitating symptoms.  It was a long process to get a diagnosis, a period of six months where I was tested for almost everything I could possibly imagine.  Thanks goes to my GP who left no stone unturned in an effort to find out the cause of my symptoms.  An MRI finally gave the definitive answer.

While discovering I had MS was a shock, my first thought was "I'm so glad I don't have cancer."  MS seemed to be in the realms of something I could manage although my knowledge of what MS is was at that time limited.  So I've been trying to educate myself on the ins and outs of this disease ever since.

Being unpredictable symptom wise is probably one of the hardest things I'm adjusting to having MS as there is little indication as to how I will feel day to day.  I do know that I can't do as much physically as I use to, that in itself is a huge source of frustration.  A keen gardener, a country girl who likes to get her hands in the soil and grow things, has given me much joy for 25 years.  That has almost come to a stand still and to be blunt, it sucks big time.  I love walking, getting out in the fresh air with my dog on a daily basis, that too has virtually come to a stop with only very short walks perhaps a couple of times a week as my energy levels permit.  The one thing I'm grateful for is I enjoy craft, crochet, knitting, sketching, these are the things that have kept me sane in some small way while energy levels have left me either in bed or sitting on the couch.   Being able to create is a very good thing when one is sitting for many hours a day.

So what do I want out of this blog now?  A place for me to ponder, wonder, think, vent, muse, learn and maybe in time, encourage.  Thank you for taking time to read if you have.  More to come soon.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Visiting my tree

It's been a long, long time since I've written a post in this space.  I think that's a good thing as it tells me I'm doing O.K.

There is a lot going on in my life right now, at home and further afield with the my Dad being so ill and all that goes on with the impending loss of a parent.

While I'm visiting my Mum on the farm in Western Australia, I'm going to take the time to visit my tree, the one in my header photo.  I'll take the time to remember how it was this tree that first inspired me to start this blog and the title of it.  I'll sit under this tree and lean against it, absorb some of the strength from a strong living part of nature.  Yes, I'm a tree hugger from way back.

It will be lovely just to sit and think, to be still.  If I stay still and quiet for long enough, the birds will get use to me being there and will hopefully come just a little closer to me so I can get a better look at them.

In times of stress, when thoughts are swirling and whirling, it's good just to slow down, to put a hold on the frantic activity that is going on inside your head.  It's almost like taking your head off, setting it aside next to you so you can rest mentally and emotionally.

So my mantra for the next few weeks will be stillness, to look for those moments even when I'm not sitting under my tree.


Friday, April 20, 2012


It's been quite some time since I've felt the need to write in this space.  Life has continued on as it does with the usual daily happenings, some good, some not so good.  Overall though life has been manageable with the transition of daughter number two starting university being fairly smooth.

So the next stage of life begins with children becoming more independent and not needing the same amount of parental input or do they?  Somehow in my misguided brain I thought perhaps my role as mother involving the aspects of carer, counsellor, mentor, encourager, fixer of problems, negotiator would be minimised but that is not the case.  In fact it seems I am needed more than ever but in a very different way.  However I have the knowledge that there needs to be a separation from them (the girls) so they can grow into themselves.

So how does this affect me.  Well I must admit I am somewhat apprehensive as hubby and I are about to embark on a two month holiday to Europe and perhaps underestimated that my children are really still quite  dependent on us.  Being separated will be good for both the girls and for us, but there is that side of me that is concerned (I won't say worried) that they will cope.  I suppose I must have faith that we have given them skills so they can and will rise to the occasion, to be responsible, to be resilient and to put into practice those things I've tried to help them with when it comes to managing their emotions and feelings.  I've had just a little bit of experience with that haven't I!

I have a history of not coping well with major life changes as is seen by my major depressive episodes.  So I wonder how these next changes will manifest themselves in my life.  The distractions of an overseas holiday, visiting places I have always wanted to visit, seeing things I have always wanted to see will most likely enable me to both mentally and physically begin to loosen the ties I have to my girls.  I/we have to get to a place where they are able to be who they are, be responsible for who they are with hubby and me as backups, being in the background when needed and not the driving force in their lives.  This is going to be as much a challenge for us as it is them.

While we are away we have friends and family who can give physical and emotional support if needed and for that I am grateful.   While hubby and I will be having adventures in Europe, the girls will be having adventures of another sort at home.  Some they probably won't like too much such as cooking, cleaning and running the house  :)  I hope they will embrace the freedom of not having Dad and Mum around, run with it and have a ball.

I've been thinking about post holiday life too, the goals I want to achieve.   Having things to look forward to so as not to fall in a heap after a fun time away.  There is my oil painting and the possibility of getting some work together to sell if anyone likes my work.  I have some crochet projects in mind too, another vest and a ripple blanket.  And then there is my garden which needs much work done on it, soil improvement being the first thing needing attention.

I don't do winter very well and on our return we will be in the height of winter, cold weather, rain and little sunlight.  So there will be plans for buying some flowering indoor plants, perhaps recipes to try from a cookbook or two bought from overseas.  I might even find some yarn from Europe to send back home for a special winter project, perhaps a crochet cushion cover using some new stitches I could learn.  I have also promised myself to use and learn more about my slow cooker, there has to be lots of recipes out there they don't use a tin of condensed soup in them.

This has turned into an essay of sorts, unintentional but very cathartic.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thinking so hard it hurts

I have had a lot to think about in the last few weeks.  Thinking about how to manage stress, how to be encouraging to others when the well is dry, how to cope with disappointment and the opinions of others which don't quite hit the mark.  I'm thinking about how things change, and you don't know why, and wonder what on earth you can do to understand.  I'm thinking about how I've tried to improve situations and make changes, yet it seems to make no difference.  

I'm thinking about how to cope with hurt that was/is caused by things not intentional.  I like to hope I'm an understanding person, and I do try very hard to always see two sides of every story and  I do.  But  that doesn't stop the deep seated, lead feeling in my stomach.

I've never been one to cry easily, and it takes a lot to really upset me.  Oh yes, I get annoyed, sling off a bit about things that are stupid, but this, I'm struggling.  Sadness, it's so very different to anger.  Anger is fiery, hot, combustible.  Sadness, just sits with you, weighing you down.

Really, I am o.k.  Life has some strange stages in it, and I suppose this is just one of them to ponder and try to make sense of.  So I'll think a bit more and perhaps it will all become clearer than mud.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Handling stress and running on empty

Life is a continual juggling act I've decided.  After recently having a husband collapse at work while I was interstate visiting my parents, resolving complicated issues with one daughter and supporting the other daughter who is stressed out to the max with her last year of school, I'm feel I'm rather running on empty at the moment.

Today I thought I would visit the nearest big shopping centre as it's the only place I can buy bags for my vacuum cleaner.  While there I could have a bit of a wander, have a coffee and basically have a little me time.  WELL....that was being just a bit too hopeful, wasn't it.  I get a text message from daughter No. 1 saying "I need you mum."  My heart starts pounding, my stomach is churning, oh my, what's going on.  She came down with a migraine not long after I left home and managed a couple of hours without me.  She goes numb on one side, gets strange vision and feels rather woozy in the head.  I'm sure it must be quite horrible for her. She had done all the right things, she was in bed, had taken pain killers, had been drinking water, but she was scared because I wasn't home.  Goodness, how are these girls going to manage when hubby and I go overseas next year?!!!

I'm feeling altogether bogged down with domestic issues at the moment and am longing to have a bit of space where I can just be me without thinking about what time someone needs picking up, what's for dinner, the washing needs doing, I need to put the bread on, the biscuit tin is empty, the chooks are running out of food, does hubby need some shirts ironed for work, the floor needs vacuuming, the bathroom is mouldy, my house is messy and dusty....and all I want to do is either sleep or paint.  Blah, blah, blah!!!!!  :)  There, I've said it.  I'll be alright now, just needed to get that off my chest.  Thanks for listening to my grumbles.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Surprising myself

This post has been mulling around in my mind for a few weeks after a situation which knocked me over with a feather.  Before I go any further, the situation has since been resolved but I am left wondering who I am.  Oh I know who I am, but I'm asking the question of myself, who is the person who reacted so emotionally.  I can never, ever remember being so full of despair, so gob smacked by something before.   I am the type of person who is a problem solver, I'm stubborn and never give up and I have never before felt that there was nothing I could do.

Where did that feeling leave me?  Sobbing uncontrollably for an age.  Nobody in my family knew how to help me, what to say to me, what to do.  I didn't know either.  Remembering that night is not pleasant.....realising that I could be so affected by something and have no control over my emotions was very confronting.

In relection, I've realised a number of things -

1.  I still don't know myself 100%.
2.  Some situations need time to be resolved.
3.  There are some things that are beyond my control and that's o.k.
4.  I need to develop more patience and understanding, not only with myself but with others.
5.  Communication is the single most important thing in any situation.
6.  Always try to see the big picture and be prepared to look at something from someone else's perspective.
7.  When your head is telling you to butt out of something but your intuition is telling you to butt in, follow your intuition, it's always right.
8.  Life is about expecting the unexpected.
9.  Remember that life's experiences are opportunities to learn things about other people and yourself.
10.  Emotions are a part of life even if they can sometimes be overwhelming, it's what makes us human.

May life not throw anymore surprises at me just yet, I need to take a big breath.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Catch up

It's certainly a while since I posted on this blog, so perhaps I should catch up with myself so to speak.

All is generally well with metal health issues although I know the danger time for me is looming up ahead in the cold and darker months.  I'm hoping by being aware of my vulnerabilities at this time of the year, I can put in place a few things to help maintain an even keel.

There are some things coming up on the calender to look forward to and keep me busy.  I have Miss C.'s 21st and Miss G.'s 18th birthdays which are on the 4th and 14th of June respectively.  So some planning will have to be done for the 18th b'day which will be celebrated at home.  It's time to think about decorations, food and guest lists.

I always visit my parents on the farm in July, so that is something I'm looking forward too.  It's always so nice to see them, my farming brother and his family too.  Thinking about home makes me somewhat sad as they are in the most appalling drought.  I keep reminding myself that worrying will not change a thing.

Winter is the time of year I look forward to watching some of the Tour de France.  I love the aerial shots from the helicopter and all the views of the countryside and villages the cyclist ride through.  It's almost like having a little holiday in France.

Despite the fairly happy demeanour that is portrayed on my other blog, there really are moments when I have to take stock and remember to not put any pressure on myself to be anything other than what I am.  I wish I  wasn't so needy of the good opinion of others.  I tell myself I don't need it, but if I'm honest I look for it.  Perhaps more of my focus should be on what others have to say and responding to them rather than my own posts and whether others like what I say.  This blogging business certainly is a powerful tool for encouraging and supporting others.

The issue here is (I think), is I have so much admiration and respect for the people on the blogs I follow and would like to think that a little of that was reciprocated.  However, it's not necessary to my survival :),  and I should concentrate on the things that make me happy not what I think others want to see or hear.  I really should take a big dose of my own medicine as I'm always telling others to be themselves.  It's always the way though isn't it?  It's very hard to take our own advice.  :)

So just a little catch up today.  Nothing nasty or horrible and isn't that nice!