Christmas Love – From Me to You!

With just a few  hours until the magic of Christmas Eve arrives here in New Zealand, I am taking a moment to thank you all for supporting my writing and me this year.

The Mandy Diaries began as a therapeutic way of connection for me. It was a way of sharing and processing my thoughts and feelings; a way to look for and concentrate on the joy in my life. The Mandy Diaries, however, has become a healing passion for me. It is a place to tell my stories – as they are or were. To break down some of the stigma and myths associated with mental health issues. And to share my thoughts on current world events. I hope that you will continue to read, think, laugh, cry, grow and maybe even heal a little with me in 2016.

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The beautiful Pohutukawa tree known as the New Zealand Christmas tree.

As I will be spending the next few days at my Mum’s place and will not have internet – my prayer for each of you – my family, my old friends and my new online friends and readers, is that you would

  • Share a blessed and peaceful Christmas celebration with those you feel closest to
  • That you would hug those around you … not forgetting yourself because you deserve it
  • That you would give all you can to those less fortunate than yourself … be it by way of thoughts, words, prayers, or the giving of service or money

For those of us that cannot be with some of our loved ones because of distance, financial constraints, brokenness or death – I ask for a peaceful heart and sensitive, caring people around us, to understand those moments where we become lost in the crowd and choose silence or to shed a tear.  

So … remembering that Babe in the manger long ago, whose birth we celebrate.

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A very happy Christmas to you all!

Weekend Alone!

BerlinBoy is back from Germany for 7 weeks holiday.  It’s been a mad few days of jetlag, heat & humidity, family  of 4 fun and everybody getting used to each other again!  Well, it has been almost 4 years!  Boys, boys, boys!  When did they all turn into men?  My constant thought, when they are together is – Something is going to get broken!!  They are all so big and my little unit is so small!  So far so good.

This weekend, they have taken themselves off to the Jungle Love  Festival, where BabyBoy and his band, In Void, will be playing.  The other 2 have gone as Roadies… They are camping – not something they are overly used to doing and storms are predicted – BUT they are not here and I have a glorious few days alone.

I am looking forward to a weekend of writing and thinking and planning.  This little blog will be going through some serious changes over the next few weeks.  A bit of a makeover for The Mandy Diaries, with the addition of its own Facebook page and email, as well as changes to the format of this page.  There will be regular posting days and maybe a weekly newsletter.

No need to worry … I will still be Me, writing about my perspective on my daily life.  I would hope that the changes will generate more conversations with you, my Readers, but if not – I will continue to write and publish my words because I think that is what I am – a Writer!

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Sneaky photo taken by my friend Marg, late one night and yes, we were at Macca’s! I had no idea these words were on the wall behind me – but so appropriate.  Thanks Marg xx

Can you detect a change in me?  Well, over the last few weeks I have been on a journey with my mental health practitioners.  And for the first time in a long time, I feel like I am winning.  More on that in another post after the relaunch in January.  I’m still travelling on that journey and I don’t want to jump the gun and go to early.  Needless to say, I feel excited and happy leading into Christmas.

This weekend, will also, see me doing some other of my favourite things.  Watching the Cricket Test between New Zealand and Australia; eating fresh Summer platters of food that I have prepared for myself, even though it is still Spring; decorating the house for Christmas – although this will be modified as I will not be home for Christmas but will travel to New Zealand to spend it with my extended family and friends; and wrapping gifts, as my Australian Christmas celebrations begin next week before I fly out in 2 weeks time.

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I hope your weekend will be a great one?

What will you be doing?

Easy Option? I Don’t Think So!

Go to bed early.  Set the alarm for 12:30am.   Wake up and watch the All Blacks win their Rugby World Cup semi final, then stay up and watch Arsenal beat Everton in the English Premier League!  Too easy … I have a plan.  I need a plan because my sleep has been all up the creek for days and I really need the shut-eye before the games begin – if I want to see them through.

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It had been a week and a bit since I had slept any longer than 4 hours straight.  Yeah, I know – Mum’s & Dad’s with new babies would kill for 4 hours sleep in a row!  But I am not a Mum with a new bub.  I am a 56-year-old woman who feels like she has been living in the Twilight Zone.  I am going through a medication review and the new dosage has been playing havoc with my system.  I promised my doctor that I would hang in there for another week to see if I improve, or at least settle down.

So Everybody, I’m taking the easy option!  Take anti anxiety & depression meds – that’s the easy option …. the cop-out option.  Not so my friends …. well at least not for me.  So, what does an increase in medication dosage do to me?  Yes, you read correctly – this is just an increase in dosage.  Not even a change of medication!  I’ve got that to look forward to next, if this increase doesn’t work.

It begins with a never-ending dry mouth.  And I mean parched or as we say in Australia as dry as a dead dingo’s donger!  This is immediately accompanied by  the inability to sleep …. at least at night-time!  Sit me down anytime during the day  and I may fall asleep in the middle of using the toilet; typing on the laptop or stopped at traffic lights!  Therefore, for me, driving is not the safest past time.

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The next fun thing to arrive, is a drastic increase in my anxiety levels.   That means things that I may be well on the way to conquering and controlling, all of a sudden become HUGE  again.  Everyday stuff like personal hygiene, collecting the mail and hanging the washing on the line are no longer doable.  Socializing, whether for work or otherwise, is just not going to happen.  High anxiety causes my stomach to be unhappy, which leads to …. well, we all know what that leads to!

anxiety-cartoon-drawingCome on down manic thought processing!  Yes, next my mind is racing with ideas and song lyrics and to do lists and recipes and words plenty of words.  I am unable to write anything.  I can’t organise my thoughts enough to make any sense.  Unfortunately, my body is only wanting to move at Sloth pace …. that would be a Sloth with the shakes!!  Not at all helpful when your mind is going 100 miles an hour.

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The last couple of goodies that I get to enjoy, are forgetfulness and avoidance leading to almost complete withdrawal.  I, also, seem to crave dairy products but this may just be my thoughtful heart, once again, trying to support the Dairy industry!

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So there you have it.  Me, a week and bit into a medication review and all I want to do is get some sleep before the Rugby match.  Not going to happen!  I actually get into bed and turn off the light but for the first time in over a week, I feel like writing something.  I’ve had quite a good day.  I took the rubbish down to the bins.  I showered.  I drove to the Garden Centre and bought some plants.  I planted the plants in my garden.  I prepared and ate three healthy meals today as well!

So up I get.  Out of bed and here I sit typing away.  Sharing by word, what that easy option of meds looks like for me.  Each person will be different.  Some breeze through, many are much worse.

For me – I had a good day!  Maybe I will continue to feel good tomorrow as well.  Either way, nothing about anxiety and depression is easy.  Not the suffering or the road back to good health.  I would never choose it for myself and I will use what ever means the doctors think will help me rediscover the old me again, even if that includes medication.  The alternative is simply unbearable.

Go the All Blacks and the Gunners!  Make my day a fabulous one!

Thank you ….

How do you thank somebody who constantly goes beyond the bonds of friendship for you?  This is a question that I ask myself every day.

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When I ask these pillars of my life what I can do to show my appreciation – the answer is always the same.

I am happy to do it for you.  I don’t need anything.  Glad I can be there for you.  If you want to do something, help someone else …. pay it forward. 

Opportunities to pay it forward are not always available to me.  Often I don’t have the financial means to say thank you in the way I would like.  If finances are tight, which they usually are, you can be sure that I will want to send flowers!!!! I’m sure it’s because I love to receive flowers as a gift, that I harbour this want.   Maybe if I grow some flowers in my garden, I may be able to fulfill this desire.  My garden needs a lot of work so don’t hold your breath, Pillars!

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A simple Thank you, verbally, just doesn’t seem enough.  I mean, these people go into battle for me!  And not just once, but over and over and over.

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Being there for them in their time of need is also a good idea.  But most of them have families and spouses to support them.  They choose not to let me know when they are in need because they don’t wish to burden me.Thank you gift wrapSo what to do?

The longer I need to rely on others, the more I ponder this question.  Maybe, my job is to just do all I can do to improve my mental and physical health & well-being?

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Maybe, this is the best way to show my appreciation to my Mandy Pillars!