Old Familiar

The old familiar darkness in my head is definitely making its presence felt at the moment.
I recognise the increased startle reflex and the inability to deal with crowded spaces as the precursors to uncontolled panic. My desire to avoid people and to find quiet, dark spaces is very strong. I have noticed the oddly distorted sleep and dreams as a sign my brain is running on over-time. I feel tired both physically and mentally and I keep slipping into tears. The urge to pick up the blades is stronger than it has been for a long time. The whole set of feelings, the patterns of behaviour and ‘coping’ are annoyingly familiar – a reminder that this beast is only ever dormant and never gone.
Mother’s day doesn’t always hit me this hard but when I am already low it feels overwhelming.
I know this too shall pass.

In other news though…
I am progressing ok with the corrections – I have done a first run through of the external’s comments and am about a third of the way through the internal’s. I’m looking forward to sending it in again.
I also have a new project at the museum.
These are good things.

Resolutions old and new

It has got to the time of year where one traditionally assesses the progress of the last 12 months and sets out ones plans for the next 12 months.
Its a somewhat depressing tradition for those of us not inclined to make the newspapers with our epic adventures and financial gains; but it does help put some perspective and motivation to the whole time-passing malarky Continue reading

On We Go

Pretty nearly time to start a New Year so it must be time to get on with the process of setting goals for myself.
I am aiming for a combination of physical, mental, emotional and domestic goals and a mix of fixed points and regular targets…Although I know that I am potentially setting myself up for failure and self-criticism, without something to move towards there is no way of knowing if I am making progress.
In no particular order then..


  • Lose 1-2 Stone
  • Create (and stick-to @ least 4 days a week) a daily exercise routine that incorporates both shoulder physio and some muscle toning (pilates/yoga & weights?)
  • Walk at least either 1 Munro or 1 Alpine 4000;


  • Submit! 
  • Write, deliver & publish my conference paper


  • Commit to another round of counselling (as booked through Talking Therapies) and/or psychiatrist
  • Take 1 week off each with W & B and ideally 1 week with both together
  • Get my F***ing sleep pattern under control.
  • Make sure my weekly time routine is balanced for all involved


  • Puppy!
  • Actually successfully grow some vegetables…
  • Finish the painting
  • Celebrate mine & W’s 10th Anniversary

Thats all I can think of for now and I think it will do.
Wish me luck


I atent dead

Will be glad when the crazy rounds of extra shifts and still not enough money are done. It will be good to relax come Jan. when the mrs comes back from seeing her parents and dealing with her grandfather’s decline and the boy has finished his Xmas work.
Meanwhile I am trying not to put weight on over the festive period and to get some sort of sleep pattern established; oh and work out how to make the numbers add up after buying presents… I think I might need some luck.


Been seeing people and doing things.. Visiting the kids, seeing my grandmother and talking to the ‘talking therapies’ people as well as shopping and thesising. Must get around to telling you about it when sleep is less of a necessity.

Its the time of the year where family and friends demand attention. B has lots of work to do, W has to go and see her parents and I get to worry about them. Presents and time -just not enough of either- and all I want to do I make it better for those I love.

Daily Anxiety check

I often think that Anxiety suffers from being less high-profile than depression. Its often found with depression and it can be slipped into a ‘stress’ diagnosis or dismissed as shyness or something that can be treated with encouragement and self-confidence classes; but in reality its complex and various.
A quick internet survey shows a series of different diagnoses related to anxiety but more importantly that it affects people in a lot of different ways – from complete withdrawal to panic attacks, sleep problems, appetite disruption..

Anxiety and I have an odd relationship. I don’t remember quite how the fear of failure made leaving the house so hard..The panic attacks creep up, some days I can predict that because I’m on edge I might lose it but some days it hits me out of the blue. For the most part I have it under control at the moment, its just a vague nagging fear in every part of my life.
However, the real daily struggle I have is with the wife’s anxiety. In the early hours of the morning she wakes in fear; going out, shopping, working – all often enough to make her physically ill; when she is stressed she has more seizures, her stomach plays up, she has more headaches, forgets more, loses more things and assumes I am angry with her more often. My problem? I can’t stop blaming myself. Its ok that she is having a rough time, its ok if there are things she can’t manage (as long as we keep trying to improve things) – but why can’t I help? why can’t I soothe it away or make each day easier or offer sensible advice? I know that this is ridiculous.. I do.. but at 4 in the morning its hard to be rational.

So plans? Well I want her to talk more seriously to her Dr about dealing with the anxiety – right now I’d settle for tranquillisers if it weren’t for her principles – but more seriously how do you make breathing exercises or a diary regular practice when you are tired, stressed and dyspraxically bad at organising?
Meanwhile I guess I should head back to the Dr.

It happens to mice too


Some, um 3 ish years ago, a very good friend passed away unexpectedly and round about the same time the first of mine and the wife’s mice also shuffled off this mortal coil; I am sure that at least another of the subsequent four-leggeds also passed away at an inconvenient time. Regardless, today, with a sense of irony, one of the pair of fancy mice in our home headed on to the next world.
I’d like to say that I could be rational, expectant and unmoved by a pet’s demise and yet every time (even after 15 or so pet deaths  in my lifetime) I am kicked in the gut.
My poor beloved wife finds the death of our small things especially hard. Partially she feels responsible for their care and therefore their life span but partially because she finds relating to the inarticulate, hopeful, antisocial and yet forgiving and loving beings who expect so little from her so moving and so comforting.

Although it seems daft, some days it is easier to grieve for something that expects nothing and asks nothing.

Rest all.

Organising my Life

I’m not great at sticking to routines – I plan to get up at a regular time or eat regular meals or go swimming on a regular basis but I seem to find that doing stuff gets in the way  – it is still a surprise to me that I can manage to take my meds everyday.

I’m not sure whether this is a consequence of growing up in a household where 4 & 10 hours were perfectly ordinary sleeping patterns, more than 1 meal a day was considered a feat of organisation and the most important thing was getting the jobs done or a reaction to the other part of my childhood in a strictly ordered boarding school where my whole day was ruled by bells and timetables.

Regardless, my concession to the fact that I will fill my time with any manner of pointless activities if I give myself the chance is deadlines and a diary. Fixed appointments for me and for the beloveds are written down and planned for, hours to be shared are agreed in advance and if there is something I need to do I set myself a deadline with consequences (usually someone else’s annoyance/disappointment) for failure.

So today I have been filling in the diary for the next few weeks and trying to pin my supervisors down for a meeting date so I have a fixed deadline for this wretched chapter.