Monthly Archives: August 2012

25th August 2012 men and stuff

I’m 41 and when I was doing my undergraduate degree, especially in the last year, the boys on the course made a game of trying to chat me up.  They were terrible at it, and here’s an example.  I woke up to text from one of them that he’d sent in the early hours.  Let’s call him R.  He’s been after me for ages (when he’s drunk)…

“Had my arse pinched by old women in a pub all night and am annoyed none are you.  So disappointing!”

Great.  Thanks R.  I’m not an ‘old woman’ thank you very much.  He’s lucky he’s several hundred miles away or he’d have been very sorry.  I’m bored with his random texts now anyway.

Guys.  When I was in my teens I thought they were something wonderful, something magical: that to be loved and wanted by a guy was the absolute zenith of potential human existence.  Now I’m sick to the back teeth of them.  My brothers and my dad are wonderful, I can’t knock them.  But I’ve never otherwise encountered any male who hasn’t been in some way a complete dickhead.  This includes not only the entire line of guys I’ve dated but also all the guys my friends have dated too.  I’ve turned into a bitter old spinster but that’s kind of good.  Will any man ever gain my trust, dissolve my defenses and heal my old heart.  Not likely. One day in the future geneticists will identify the dickhead gene and confirm its presence on the y chromosome, dating back to a chromosomal Adam, first man, father to all males today 250,000 years ago.  They might even be able to confirm a y-chromosome dick-head mutation that occurred 270,000 years ago when all males were actually really really lovely.

But surely 50% of the population are not really that awful.  Maybe I just had unlucky experiences.  Whatever it is I am not ever throwing myself into that particular fire again.

Today I got paid!  £35 for my proof-reading(and I’m quite proud of the work).  I’ll declare it to ESA on Tuesday.










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24th August 2012: Discrimination

Something happened today that hasn’t happened for a while… prejudice against mental health.  Luckily I’ve encountered this in the past so could keep my cool.  It was the GP receptionists.

Yesterday I had a good psych appointment, my meds are reduced!  but this means a new prescription is required.  this is what happened….

I turned up at 1.30 to pick up the prescription for my new dosage, and they didn’t have it. My psychiatrist hadn’t faxed it over yet. I was fine about that, but they said I wouldn’t get the new prescription until Tuesday at the earliest. I left and rang my CPN to tell her I won’t be able to start my new dose until tuesday and if that’ll be ok. CPN was shocked, said they had to do me the prescription today, and told me to go back to the surgery while she rings them and faxes them the new dosage. So off I went back and from that moment I was ‘problem patient of the day’. I was there for an hour and a half. Basically they were refusing to ask a GP to do the script (even though I saw one having a cup of tea with them), pointedly ignoring me and being bloody minded. This can happen with mental health…. people assuming you’ll become a problem when they don’t even know you, and I’d been nothing but nice and not on their backs at all. In the end I went up to them, and after ten minutes of them deliberately avoiding eye contact with me, I spoke up and said I was so sorry they were being inconvenienced and that I was in a really tricky position, and that consultants don’t think of the inconvenience to admin when they change people’s treatments. They looked up and I added, ‘its ok, I understand, and I can explain to my cpn next week. You can’t do it and I need to go, and its fine about the dose because I can cut up my tablets and measure out my new dose instead’. Goodness, they went white as a sheet at that and flew into a panic of script organising (fear of getting sued if I overdose) but they were too late, I couldn’t stay another minute and they’ve had to fax my script to Tescos.

Discrimination is not a frequent problem nowadays, but I could tell it was happening today.  My meds are an antipsychotic and I could tell that they were avoiding me and avoiding eye contact with me because they were labelling me in their minds as someone who could ‘kick off’.  All their defensive barriers went up.

I’m fine, it was more interesting than upsetting.  Though it was frustrating too.

I had a nice time afterwards though.  I went to see a movie with a friend which was fun, and I’m now home and relaxing.


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workaholic anonymous! 21st August 2012

I can’t believe its August all ready, I’m still getting used to it being 2012.  When you are 41, time is like this.  The months speed by, but its not bad thing because it makes you realise how precious each day is and how important opportunities and chances are, and that you need to grab each day and make it the day you want it to be.

Today, as some people know, because I complained throughout, I was proof-reading and worked non-stop for 7 hours, pausing only to quickly sip cola between corrections.  When I work, I have no middle ground.  I throw myself into it, and stretch myself to the limit and then beyond the limit.  The last 2 hours of corrections were done with a migraine!  When I’m not proof-reading, I’m gardening and am currently digging out my entire enormous garden, leaving nothing but soil, on my hands and knees, with a handtrowel.  I can be at this for 9 hours, forgetting to eat and drink and usually one of my sons (they are 19 and 20) comes out eventually to tell its time to stop and eat, but I can’t stop and eat.  I’d continue until it got dark if they’d let me.

This apparently is not unusual in people with ptsd.  Its a mechanism that is used to stay occupied, to keep busy, to empty the head of any thoughts but the work in hand.

It means you get stuff done, and it means you get high marks at uni etc, and make a good impression when you’re doing work for people, but obviously it has its downside.

It can cause you to disconnect from everything around you, to get dehydrated and dizzy, to get burnt out so that you fall into a depression.

There is also my obsession with creating something outstanding.  I’m not interested in ;good enough’, or a simple ‘pass’, or ‘getting something out the way’.  I always go for that 110%.  That’s bad too, because its so much pressure on yourself.  When things go wrong, when you make a mistake, it throws everything into disarray.  I’m very quick to think of myself as crap and useless, and I suppose ‘doing a good job’ on something bolsters my self-esteem.

So that’s a heady cocktail: ptsd plus high self-expectations.  I gave myself a migraine today.  Not only did I want the proof-reading to be of outstanding quality, but I also wanted to hand it in 2 days early.  For the £35 I’m being paid its doesn’t have to be either, but I can’t not do things that way.

Its odd the things we do to sound out our mental health problems.






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decorum and dilemmas. 20th July 2012

I spent 7 hours today proof-reading the Chinese dissertation and I’m worrying about it in case I completely change her meaning and arguments.  Its written in English but some of it seems to be via google translate, hence me having to reword off phrases like’ frantic pairings’  and ‘daily telegraphy’  (that one was The Daily Telegraph).  I could have been out in the sun, and I got pretty frustrated but paid work is supposed to be toil and trouble.

Aside from this, I have been cornered twice by my own good manners and inability to be rude today.

A friend of mine dated a depressive and existential guy for about a year, who stole her confidence with his complaining, his coldness and his insults.  With my help and support she managed to get away from him and has now been with a new guy for a year who’s love.  Her confidence is all back and she looks like the happiest girl in the world.

But…. her miserable, intense and needy ex is doing the same Masters course as me, and today I got an email from him informing me that he is my knight in shining armour and that my every wish is now his command…


Thing is, I like him in some ways, ie in a friendly way.  We are on a similar level with our research tangents so studying with him will be very stimulating.  But I don’t want any more than that, and he’s only 30, so why he’d be looking at me I do not know.  Anyway…  I had to choose between ignoring the email or replying, and in the end I replied in a platonic fashion about nothing he had said.

Then I realised that facebook was informing me of a birthday.  This was of an older guy who is very odd and creepy, fancies me, and persued me with such intensity and focus that I became stressed and uni then banned him from contacting me.  2 weeks ago he sent me a long email saying he missed me and offering art equipment for my daughter.  I ignored than one, but ignoring a birthday seemed too rude.

So at 11.30 pm, much against my better judgement but worried I was being excessively cruel, I posted ‘happy birthday’ to him.  I actually secretly hoped he’d slip in a field and fall in a cowpat but you can’t put that on facebook.

In my life, I’m not very good at saying ‘bugger off!’ and therefore I start to gather unwanted attention.

The reason though is that social things can be so massively painful for myself.  I remember 3 years ago, I was so secretly in love with my best mate, a guy, and I was so lonely and had no other real friends.  My birthday arrived and as expected, I didn’t get any birthday phonecalls or texts, and my kids were at their dads, so I was sat alone in the house.  But I was fine because I knew my beloved best friend would wish me happy birthday.  Finally it reached 10pm and I’d not heard from him, and this made me incredibly ill.  The pain was absolute, all I could manage was to curl in a ball on the sofa, arms wrapped tightly around my head, suffering beyond words, trembling, unable to move.  It truly was agony.

So I wasn’t able to ignore this guy’s birthday because I didn’t want anyone to be in the level of pain I was in on my birthday 3 years ago.  I find I do tread on eggshells around people, protecting them, out of empathy, because I know just how much social pain I experience when it hits me.  Social pain is a searing pain that utterly floors you, and its far far worse than physical pain.

Sorry for rambling.  I bet the guy hadn’t even noticed anyway.


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19th August 2012

At the moment, it is my annual ‘week-off’ when my kids all go on holiday with their dad and his mum.  I miss them, but at the same time I know they are at the seaside in Cornwall (something I can’t afford to do for them myself) and that Katie will have her favourite cousin to play with all week.

So now, 7 years after we split, I relax and enjoy my week off.  Its a week off:

* endless washing up

*endless housework

*endless baking

*endless laundry

*endless spending!

and time for instead for:

*endless romcoms

*endless bubble baths

*endless sofa time

*endless peace and quiet

so I’ve had a very nice sunday today, did 8 hours of gardening! (and my garden needed it) and now am going to relax with a very bad romcom called ‘the back-up plan’ in which Jennifer Lopez, being terminally single and hitting her late 30s, gets artifically inseminated, and then meets the love of her life on the way home from the clinic.  And oops, she’s successfully pregnant.  The love of her life has a hobby.  He’s obsessed with making cheese, and so is the director I suspect.

One thing that helps depression, I have learned, is ‘getting on top of something’.  These things in life that build up, run late, get messy, remain unpaid compound depression and that whole feeling of being inadequate.  You can feel like you will never get on top of things, and wonder why you are so inept.  That is self bullying of course, but if you take just one small thing, one step at a time, and get on top of it, then it gives you such a boost and sets the balls rolling for getting on top of other worries, just one thing a day.  It makes you feel, for once, like you are winning, and its worth just starting that first task that has kept you awake at night.





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Busy day: 18th August 2012

I woke up today with a job on.  That’s really exciting stuff when I haven’t earned money since 2001.  How can such a thing occur?  Its a long story and not one to write right now.  I’ve been a full-time mother, and since fleeing their dad 7 years ago I have problems with my health: namely the deepest of depression and ptsd.

I’ve spent those years first falling apart and then slowly climbing back onto my feet, got myself into college and then university, from which i have just graduated as an archaeologist.  Finally being placed on the right meds a year ago has enabled me to make a recovery and start to cope with life.  I’m now enrolled on a Masters in human evolution.

But there’s so much  more to me than that.  For the last month I’ve been in the process of being put onto ESA, now my student finance has come to an end, because of being on DLA.  Filling in the forms is not pleasant.  I could easily just go to bed and feel hopeless and inadequate after filling a form in about my problems and how they impact on all my living skills.  But that’s not me, I’m more than my ill health.

Instead, I’ve organised a homeless heritage event, designed an children’s activity for a project that teaches about the Mesolithic (middle stone age, straight after the ice-age ended), done an activity day and now I’m

1.  writing a novel

2.  planning a book that tears apart the ‘ancient aliens’ show on the History channel with a fellow archaeologist

3.  hopefully launching a tour-guide co-operative


4. proof reading Masters dissertations

and no.4 was my job today, proof-reading a foreign national students thesis of 15,000 words for £50.  I don’t get paid until its finished and sent back to her, and I haven’t protected myself well.  No down-payment and no written agreement.

This was really satisfying though.

A problem with my depression is that I disconnect from my surroundings when ill, and have trouble coping with everything.  My personal resources are limited.  No.1 priority is the kids: are they happy and loved, are they properly fed, are their clothes clean?  This comes first.  After this comes my rescue animals: 4 rats, 2 chinchillas and 2 cats.  Then career.  This leaves the house and garden right at the bottom of the list and most days I have nothing left in me to tackle domestic chores.  Therefore I live in a pig sty, which makes me yet more depressed.  My garden, this year, was a waist high jungle, 5 metres by 20 metres.  Its huge.

So with degree completed, I’ve also devoted some time to the garden, especially since the neighbour told me off.  Phase 1 was creation of patio, which is now finished, and its entailed getting down on my hands and knees with a hand trowel, digging out absolutely everything and their roots, at about 1m squared an hour, and using reclaimed wood for defining the areas.

Tonight I continued with phase 2, which is nearly done, which is creation of a small lawn and flower beds.  Again the same thing, meticulously digging out everything, and then defining the border and sowing grass seed.  This is very therapeutic.  I feel like I’m digging out all the sadness and helplessness I felt over the last 7 years and giving myself a new start.  Phase 2 should be finished tomorrow, and then I’m onto phase 3.  That probably sounds so boring, but it means a lot to me.  I’m also finding little bits of archaeology as I go along.  Weirdly digging up a lot of teaspoons.

Bedtime.  Though I’ve been getting insomnia lately









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