This Is What My Brain Looks Like

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The Question Is…

“To be or not to be?” is not the question.

“How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll centre of a Tootsie Pop?” is not the question.

Not even “How many singer/songwriters does it take to screw in a lightbulb?” is the question.

The question is…

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“How many cups of coffee will be required in order for me to function at all today?”

That, my friends, is the question!

How The Thought Does Indeed Count

I was born on a Wednesday, 39 years ago. Wednesday’s child, so the poem goes, is full of woe. I am sure that not every single person who was born on Wednesday suffers with clinical depression and social anxiety, but the “full of woe” thing certainly has been true for me due, in part, to those very things. Image

This past week was my birthday (10 July, to be precise). I took this picture the night before. Miserable, eh? Definitely the picture of woe. I’m not keen on aging, and I really didn’t have high hopes for a “happy” birthday.

However…

Enter my Beautiful Man, Jamie. Allow me to sing the praises of a thoughtful and listening husband. On my birthday (which, as it so happened, fell again on a Wednesday this year) totally surprised me with the gift he got for me.

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This is a djembe. It’s an African drum. My birthday present. My precious.

As I say, Jamie getting me this came as a total surprise; I had not requested it.  The first time I had ever played one was a few weeks ago when rehearsing for a gig I was doing with a friend of mine (it was her djembe that I played). I enjoyed it immensely and mentioned to my husband how surprising therapeutic it had felt to me. Even though I obviously have rhythm to be able to do what I normally do (sing, play piano, write songs), I am not a percussionist (or, at least, I wasn’t one), and I had given up on the idea of playing drums years ago (too much multi-tasking for me). But, the djembe is different: if you have rhythm, you can play it. And, as I say, it is marvellously therapeutic.  It’s a beautiful instrument.

What a thoughtful gift, and it’s the thought here that certainly does count.

Jamie said he didn’t know what to get me this year until I had mentioned how much I liked playing Beck’s djembe. He picks up on little things like that…sees them for what they are.

Am I bragging about my man? Well, yes, I guess so. But everyone of us has the ability to listen and to give attention to the hurting and “woeful” in our lives.

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What Jamie has done is to alleviate some woe, in the gift itself (of course) but more so by showing me how much he cares for me – showing me he listens to what I say, and (sometimes, even more importantly) what I don’t say. No, I didn’t ask for it, but he instinctively knew this is exactly what I need at this time in my life.

I can lose myself in the rhythm as I play. I can literally beat some of the toxic thoughts from my head.  It’s a powerful thing. It’s as much medicinal as the tablets I am taking for this condition. But, it took my Love Doctor to prescribe it for me (forgive me, I know, that’s a bit on the cheesy side…but, true nonetheless).

While I play, the roaring lion of despair sleeps. I’d recommend one for anyone with depression, as a form of music therapy.

My happy place.

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Blending In (A Fairy Poem)

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Ivy growing,
Tangled, knowing,
Whispers blowing
In the wind.

Seasons turning,
Fires burning,
Lessons, learning,
Breathing in.

She’s emerging,
Passion surging,
Love is purging
Doubts within.

Steps she’s taking,
Hope awak’ning,
Trembling, shaking,
Out and in.

Rustling, stirring,
Gently whirring –
Coaxing, luring:
“Now, begin!”

Dancing, singing,
Flying, winging,
Caution flinging
To the wind.

No more waiting
Contemplating;
Time for sating
Thirsts within.

Off she’s going,
Known and knowing,
Shown and showing
Herself again.

Seen and seeing,
Been and being.
Staying, fleeing –
Both her sin.

Ivy creeping,
Hiding, keeping
Secrets weeping;
Blending in.

© Autumn Dawn Leader 2013

It’s poetry, folks. Don’t read too much into it. Or, alternatively, read reams into it. The main thing? Just enjoy it.

Oh, and, yes. The fairy (pixie, ivy nymph) is ME (in the picture, that is…not, necessarily, in the poem..the poem not being autobiographical, that is. Any resemblance to myself or my own experience is completely coincidental, and I refer you to the previous paragraph). 😉

Embracing The Mess

It’s been a while (again) since I’ve blogged, posted, whatever. And, “whatever” about sums it up. Still in the grips of “cannae be bothered”, I have not experienced the return of my blogging mojo.

In the ongoing “Depression Chronicles”, the doctor has increased the dosage of my medication. I’m delighted to report that this hasn’t rendered my ability to (oh, I’m just going to be blunt, and people who don’t like it can go elsewhere!) reach orgasm to the realms of the lost and forgotten. One of these days someone will realise that if a depressed person enjoys something – anything – that’s a GOOD thing. If the meds take away that good thing, then the meds need to be rethought. Thankfully the stuff I’ve been put on this time have not presented me with the situation I mainly feared about being put on said medication.

Moving on (I’m sure some of you will be so glad…but, really, in the quest to bringing the issues of mental illness and wellness out into the open, the main (irksome) side effect of most of the meds should be talked about…whether it makes some people uncomfortable or not. This is what we are having to live with and those who seek to understand…well, you need to understand)!

As for the benefit side of the meds… I will be honest: I suppose I’m coping better-ish. Not great.  Not happy clappy slappy woo hoo ain’t it great to be alive (oh, please), but better-ish.

I’ve joined a few depression support groups on Facebook. It’s helpful just knowing I’m not alone in the struggle; there are others out there who “get it”.

I’m embracing the mess that is me. Today anyway. And that’s the thing, taking it day at a time, moment by moment if needs be.

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I’m celebrating every small victory, giving thanks for the decent days, and trying not to be so hard on myself on the bad days. Embracing the mess.