My subconscious has gone AWOL

Brain

An arsehole. Image

Brain:    Good morning!

Me:        Ugh.

Brain:    What?

Me:        Why did you have to give me those dreams last night?

Brain:    Which ones? The one about the wedding, or the one about the unicorn?

Me:        You gave me dreams about weddings and unicorns?!

Brain:    Errrrm… No?

Me:        *side eye*

Brain:    That’s physically impossible.

Me:        I know; that’s why I’m telling you I’m doing it. Because I can’t actually look at you.

Brain:    Right.

Me:        You gave me this stupid dream where I was trying to convince a man to get back in contact with his young daughter. Every time I almost got them back together, something happened to ruin it.

Brain:    Yup.

Me:        So what was your point?

Brain:    I don’t understand dreams, I just give them to you.

Me:        Isn’t a dream supposed to be my subconscious trying to tell me things?

Brain:    Sure. But the subconscious isn’t here right now to answer your questions.

Me:        Where is it?

Brain:    I don’t know. I’m not your subconscious’ keeper, you know.

Me:        …

Brain:    …

Me:        Actually you quite literally are.

Brain:    …

Me:        Can you please take a message then?

Brain:    Sure, why not!?

Me:        Gee thanks.

Brain:    You’re welcome!

Me:        So there I was dreaming a confusing dream about a dude and his daughter, when you gave me a nightmare.

Brain:    I would never do that!

Me:        Liar. You did give me a nightmare. You made me dream about SHOPPING FOR CLOTHES. You bastard.

Brain:    That doesn’t sound like me. That was definitely your subconscious.

Me:        You made me dream about shopping for clothes AND IT WAS HORRIBLE.

Brain:    I wondered why you woke up sweating.

Me:        Why do you hate me?

Brain:    I don’t hate you. Maybe your subconscious hates you.

Me:        Well then please pass that message on to my subconscious when it comes back from wherever the hell it’s gone.

Brain:    You’re asking me to tell your subconscious that you hate it? That doesn’t sound healthy to me.

Me:        You started it.

Brain:    Your subconscious started it.

Me:        Bastard.

Brain:    That’s not very nice.

Me:        Arsehole.

Brain:    You seem to be a bit confused about anatomy.

Me:        Ugh.

Does your brain hate you too?

I’m linking up with Laugh Link again this week. Click on the button below to read some hilarious bits of bloggery. I dare you.

Laugh_Link_button

Tired

Tired head image

Appearance of actual frog may vary

Those of you who have been reading me for a long time know that from time-to-time I have relapses of anxiety and/or depression. This has been going on all my adult life so it’s really not a big deal. I manage myself as best I can, take a low dose of meds constantly, and look out for triggers and warning signs. Signs that I’m heading down that slippery slope again.

Last year was a huge work year for me and at the end of last year I was very, very tired. I was so tired that each night before a work commitment, I prayed that it would be cancelled.

I still had so many urgent things on my to-do list by the day before Christmas, that I wanted to cry. Most of those are still there – in fact the list is growing daily.

The sense of despair I felt just before Christmas was my first warning. Overwhelming, bone-crushing fatigue was another.

My finger nails have started to split and peel in layers. My mouth is filled with ulcers.

The idea of having to start work again in January made me teary and filled me with anger and resentment.

My system was trying to tell me something.

It was something absurdly mundane that finally made me pay attention. It’s three-quarters through January, and my Christmas tree is still up. I’m not someone who rushes to get the tree down the moment January 6 arrives, but having it still up at this point is unusual, even for me. I keep looking at it, registering that it needs to come down. Anxiety and exhaustion grip my chest and so I walk past it. Tomorrow. Or the next day. I’ve stopped turning the tree lights on. Isn’t that enough?

I had a much-needed holiday in early January, so I know how ungrateful I sound. That holiday was not enough. Having another break is not an option (did I mention my to-do-list?)

Here I am, at the start of the year, already struggling; already barely dragging myself from week to week. Fatigue is the biggest trigger for anxiety for me and I’m well-and-truly heading for a crash.

What to do?

Right now I’m doing as little work as possible, given my workload, and spacing it out. I’m trying to get more sleep. I’m setting myself one small thing to do each day. I’m taking iron and Vitamin C.

There’s another part of me, though, that is screaming. Not only is it looking at my to-do list and having an aneurysm, it’s telling me countless other things as well. It’s telling me I have to stop doing superannuation work, because that’s not why I set up my own company. It’s telling me I have to write my own training material and market that. It’s telling me to get that stand-up routine organised. It’s telling me I have three books to write, a blog to run, a comedy blog link-up to organise. A speaking career to investigate. It’s telling me I don’t spend enough time with my son. It’s telling me I’ve neglected my creative side. It’s telling me it’s time for a new career (again).

My brain is yelling at me to take action while my body is telling me to slow down.

I suspect I’ve seen the signs that I was on that slippery slope a bit too late, and I’ve already got my toes in that craptacular depression/anxiety pool. Time will tell.

I’m off now to try – again – to take down the Christmas tree. It won’t matter if it’s still up in February, right?

How have you started 2014?

 

Suddenly, there are deer in my bra

Oh deer

Oh deer

Hi Frog-Lovers. In case this is your first visit to the Lily Pad, between now and Christmas I’m hosting some wonderful and funny writers while I get some amphibious rest. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I do. Who knew so many of you were so hilarious!?

Today’s guest is my memoir mentor and writerly friend, the inimitable Helen Patrice. Here she shares a story of exotic locations, wild animals, and underwear.

So, FiveFrogs starts asking around her writing bloggy cronies for those of us who are known as Humour Writers. I’m apparently one of them. I gaily say that, sure, I can submit a blog post for promotion on her ‘Check out this funny writer person’ blog thing. I’m a funny person. I make people laugh. (Let’s not go into my dismal capital F fail in Hawaii to do stand-up. The non-appreciation from the back of the van could be heard for miles, echoing off Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa as we travelled the Saddle Road between them. Both Poliahu and Pele thought I sucked.)

I spend the afternoon lying in the sunshine, reading ‘Perfume’ by Patrick Suskind. Not exactly a rip-roaring laughter book. More a grim but witty novel set amongst the scents and odours of France. Pee-hew! I’m up to page 90 and there’s already been one scent-related murder, with more to come, I can tell.

My laptop has lazed at my side. Twice during the afternoon, PizzaBoy has hunkered down behind it, and in a mousy voice, said: “Use me for blogging”.

To which my response has been: “Fuck off, Canada! Don’t pressure me! I’m a delicate writer.”

I lay there, and wondered what to be funny about. I could riff on my trip to Japan and China. I could, but…. Ho hum, I am such the weary traveller that it’s all very ho-hum, and what can I say that someone like Bill Bryson hasn’t said better. Not that he’s ever had the problem of too many deer in his bra at Nara.

I suppose I should explain. The shrine at Nara has a park with many charming deer roaming about. The deer mob visitors to the shrine. Many of the pathside vendors sell deer biscuits. No, not biscuits made of deer. Wafery type biscuits that are good for the deer to eat.

I wanted a not-your-usual tourist pic. Never mind me feeding the deer. I wanted the deer to mob me and eat off my body.

I lay down on a path where deer were seated nearby in the shade. I covered my clothed(must emphasise this, CLOTHED) body with pieces of deer bickie. Nothing. The deer looked away. Fool woman lying on the cold ground, desecrating the Nara shrine with her foul white ways.

Two Asian tourists took my photo and sniggered. Walked away.

I had to gather up my deer biscuits as best I could, which wasn’t very, because they fall to bits as soon as touched, and skulk away. Meanwhile, the Asian tourists are being flocked upon by deer, and they don’t even have any biscuits.

Bollocks.

A bit later, I try again. I sit down on a bench. I coax deer over with biscuits in hand. Then biscuits in lap. Then I lie down and put biscuits upon my person. The deer back away. Fine then, no prone deer mobbing. I sit up, and inspired, shove biscuits into my cleavage. Crumbs make a break for it, due south. They bypass my bra and somehow my singlet and top and end up in the knees of my leggings, where they itch like mo-fo’s. (I am up with hipster language like mo-fo, LOL, and er…other things)

Deer approach. One reaches into my cleavage, turns its head a bit sideways, and delicately selects a wafer of biscuit, leaving behind wet, sticky deer drool and a warm nose-imprint. Suddenly, there are deer in my bra. Many of them, and they all want the same biscuit. Easy guys, easy! There’s enough cleavage for all! Truly. I’m a 14DD, wearing a totally unsupportive Aah-Bra.
I get my photos. The Asian tourists get photos. Possibly the deer do, too.

I am content. I have my photo. Enough now, deer. But the deer are relentless. They can smell the crumbs festooning me. One tries to get up under my skirt to get at the crumbs around my knees. I am the Tippi Hedren of deer.

“Nature! It’s all over me! Get it off!” I say to PizzaBoy, quoting ‘Madagascar’.

I stand up. The deer butt me gently under the boobs. I have to retire to a toilet cubicle to de-smear, de-deer, and de-crumb myself. I never do get those leggings completely biscuit-free. They get washed twice more during the trip. I am sure I can still feel crumbs in them.

I sit back and look at this blog entry. Is it funny? I can’t tell. I feel morose. There is nothing amusing any more. Nothing. The pup loathes me – he is sleeping with his back to me. Looking at that sunshine. Nothing funny about that. I think about yoga this morning. I know we laughed at something. It’s gone now.

I think this is the blight of every comedian – the strain of finding the funny means that often, nothing seems to be when examined closely.

Then I start fretting that this is part of me coming off my full dosage of anti-depressant and seeing how I fare at 10mg. Am I tipping headlong into The Bad Place? It doesn’t feel like it.

Oh, I drive myself mad with this kind of thinking. If only I could think it was funny.

Tell me, readers. How many deer are too many to have in your bra?

Helen smaller

Helen Patrice is a Melbourne poet, memoirist, and blogger. She lives with her husband, son, and a small crowd of animals. You can find her blog here, her Facebook page here, and her book of Poetry, “A Woman of Mars” from here or from the author herself.

 

Conversations with my brain – ain’t nobody got time for that

sweetbrown2

My brain is a mental arsehole, and I ain’t got time for that.

Brain:      SHIT!
Me:         What?!
Brain:      I can’t remember whether I left the oven on.
Me:         I’m sure I turned it off.
Brain:      How can you be sure?!
Me:         I always turn it off.
Brain:      BUT WHAT IF YOU DIDN’T? THIS COULD HAPPEN:

Me:         Wow she’s great. I wish I was her. As I was saying, I’m sure I did turn it off… I think.

Me:         Shit.
Brain:      See? You’re not sure. YOU LEFT THE OVEN ON AND NOW THE HOUSE WILL BURN DOWN AND WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE! Or maybe get bronchitis.
Me:         It’s 2am and I don’t want to get out of bed.
Brain:      What part of ALL GOING TO DIE don’t you understand?
Me:         Damnit. It’s cold. And it’s dark.
Brain:      ALL. GOING. TO. DIE.
Me:         I won’t be able to go back to sleep.
Brain:      ALL… GOING…
Me:         OK, OK, I’m getting up. Fascist.

Me:         I was right. It’s 2am, cold and dark and I didn’t leave the oven on.
Brain:      Really?
Me:         Yes.
Brain:      Are you sure?
Me:         Yes. I think so. I just checked.
Brain:      Were you paying attention when you did it, or were you thinking about how cold and dark it was instead?
Me:         I’m pretty sure I checked it.
Brain:      ALL… GOING… TO…
Me:         I hate you.
Brain:      …DIE.

I wish I was more like Sweet Brown. Her brain wouldn’t dare be an arsehole.

Is your brain an arsehole?

Circumnavigating the whelm via a Slow Loris

I’m feeling very overwhelmed today.

I’m FEELING ALL THE WHELM.

I’m working too much, writing too little, but not feeling like writing at all.

I can’t afford the time for whelm. There’s work to prep for and do, a family to care for, a cat to cuddle, fish to feed (shit did I feed the fish?), a house to clean (yeah RIGHT).

I’m feeling very pressured and out of control. I’m also knackered, headachey and full of whining self-pity.

I need to rest, but I can’t. I should shed some stuff, but I can’t. I have a short holiday booked next month but that’s a looong way away.

So for now, I’m just going to have to work out a way to move around the whelm, because I can’t go under or over it right now.

I’m going to be circumwhelmed.

So in support of my efforts to go AROUND the whelm, here is a very sweet video of a Slow Loris eating a rice ball.

So tell me everyone,
how do you circumnavigate the whelm?

While you weren’t looking… I was talking about child safety, mental health and vaginas (AGAIN)

Hi everyone!

Well, not everyone, because not everyone reads my blog.

Hi lots of people!

Hi some people!

Hi a small number of people approximating 0.001% of the Australian population!

I’ve been busy lately, tarting around elsewhere.

For example, I had a bit of a rant about the lengths we may – or may not – want to go to in order to raise awareness of racism over at The Shake.

Also over at the Shake I talked about Eurovision and weird bearded contratenors in sparkly black dresses.  As you do.

Oh and Margaret Thatcher’s vagina.

For a change of pace I was NOT talking about vaginas, and instead talked about Seasonal Affective Disorder at the Modern Woman’s Survival Guide.

So please go wander, read, comment and generally enjoy more discussion of politics, female genitalia and mental health.

Not necessarily in that order.

As I typed this post it occurred to me that Blogger was highlighting “vaginas” as incorrectly spelled. I called bullshit on this on Twitter:

The answer is “vulvas” or “vulvae”.

You’re welcome.

Depression is a lying little bastard – Part 1 (guest post)

© Alptraum | Dreamstime.com

Today I have the honour of hosting a guest post by Gaynor Alder.
This is the first part of a series on how she beat depression.
This post can also be seen at MWSG.


“If you haven’t cried, your eyes can’t be beautiful” – Sophia Loren

Me: Get up off the floor Gaynor.
Depression: But, why?
Me: C’mon Gaynor. You can do it. Just get up and go lay on the couch.
Depression: What’s the point? I’m not going to feel any better on the couch.
Me: But you can’t lie here all day.
Depression: Why not?
Me: I should have a shower. Maybe blow dry my hair and put on some lipstick?
Depression: Why would you waste your time doing that? Why don’t you crack that bottle of wine in the fridge? Go on, that will make you feel better.
Me: But it’s only 11am.
Depression: So?
Depression had invaded every part of me, its weight heavy on my heart. A sorrow so great it should have instantly identified itself, instead of hiding in the shadows and dishing out its pain by slowly seeping through the cracks of my confusion. A sorrow that once its tears formed puddles at my feet, dropped me to my knees with its piercing and persistent pain.
This was no garden-variety depression, none of your general malaise and misery on offer here. This was the deep debilitating kind that straps you to your bed and meddles with your mind, making a complete mockery of who you are. Sadness was surging through my veins with ferocious velocity. I was as flat as a day old pancake and I wanted to know where the fuck the maple syrup was?
I held onto hope like a child clutching at a bag of lollies that were in fear of being stolen by a sibling, but depression is a lying little bastard and kept telling me I was never going to get better. Attacking my self esteem with all those nasty things it was saying about me, isolating me from everyone and holding my confidence captive, so it could pin me down with its force and strip me back to nothing.
There were plenty of people telling me to pull up my socks, but every time I tried, I discovered the elastic was long gone and they’d just end up around my ankles. They could have tried to walk a mile in my Pradas, but they’d long been gathering dust in my wardrobe and had not seen the light of a dance floor since depression had decided to barge in one day uninvited like a bunch of teenagers with a six pack of Bacardi Breezers.
Sure, I tried all that positive thinking bizzo and even though I’m naturally an optimistic person, it did jack. Because let’s get one thing straight, this is not a self-indulgent negative mindset, this is an illness.
Know that I’ve been to that place, when you think you’re never going to get better. Know I’ve been to that place when you don’t know how you’re going to get through the night. Know that I’ve felt that endless struggle just to get through every day, hour and second. Know that I have been to that place and I have returned.
Follow this series each month as I share how I overcame a decade long battle with depression. From a rocky love hate relationship with medication, psychics wearing purple crushed velvet skirts cleaning my aura with feathers whilst telling me the problem was in my past lives, coping with the people kicking me whilst I was down, to finally finding a kick ass crack team.

Have you fought depression? 

Gaynor Alder is a Melbourne based writer with a penchant for vintage glamour and all things Parisian. She is the Editor-in-Chief of The Modern Woman’s Survival Guide magazine and editor-at-large Teenage Girl’s Survival Guide, gallivants around the world as a Travel Writer testing the thread count of sheets and the fluffiness of hotel pillows and freelances in public relations.

She started writing The Modern Woman’s Survival Guide, after the umpteenth person told her, you know you should really write a book. Her fingers struggled daily to keep up with the thoughts that desperately wanted to become words on pages, to take centre stage in a book that she knew was going to become the new voice of womankind. Her calling, her destiny, her whatever you want to call it, Gaynor writes because she can’t not write.

You can catch her being awesome here: