Trans Cranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy – ongoing story

It’s been 8 days since my last treatment. I was supposed to have my once-a-week session yesterday, but the clinician phoned in sick, so I’m now having treatment on Friday(today’s Wednesday). Honestly, today, I’m tired. I’ve been awake since 3.30am. Combination of having to get up to wee, feeling that biorhythmic body low at that time of the morning and thus, internally chilly, and 2 of my 4 cats thinking it was time to yell for breakfast. I kept putting on the audio book of the moment (THE SCENT KEEPER by Erika Bauermeister is 5/5 for me), hoping I’d drift back to sleep, but no, I was super-interested in the story.

And what with Angel sitting on my pillow, yelling that it was time for breakfast, and Chloe walking on me, purring, bunting, and hopping over to chew on the prayer plant beside my bed, I finally gave up on sleep and just listened to the audio book and tried to feel warm.

I tense up when I feel cold. Thus, I have aches all over. A hot bath has only gone partway to alleviating matters.

Was it an anxious awake? No. No fretting. Just….awake.

To be honest, by the time I had breakfast and a cup of tea, I felt wrung out, cold, and tired. A little sad, perhaps. I think lockdown is getting to me, as is the super cold and wet weather. I write that just as the sun peeks out for half a second. Oh Helios, you messing with me?

Chloe is now curled up on one of the dog beds beside my little writing table, purring away. A tabby fur doughnut totally content with her world. Sure, purr it up, kid. You’re not the one dragging through the day.

The depression stays gone, but with this little sad here…well, time will tell if it’s a sad, or tiredness, or just season-related. I suspect the latter two. I don’t especially have that dragged down feeling of the abyss that accompanies depression.

I mean, I’m here, aren’t I? I’m blogging, as per my weekly date with myself to update about TMS.

I’m craving going out for breakfast or lunch with my husband. I’d really like to do that, but not for another couple of weeks at least. Lockdown Number 5.

Even if it is cold and wet outside, I must get out for a walk today. It improves everything.

Trans Cranial Magnetic Stimulation update – the last of 2 treatments per week

The other day, I noted that I hadn’t received a new calendar of dates, so yesterday, after brain zapping, I said: “I’ve only got one appointment booked in after this one.” Clinician and I busied ourselves making more appointments, two per week.

Then….hey, maybe I’m supposed to have only one. So, she looked at the in-house psychiatrist’s notes, and lo, one appointment per week as of next week. To be honest, with my anxiety ramped up again(still not at the level it used to be, I’d put it at maybe 5-6/10), I’m a little nervous to be dropping back to one treatment per week.

The depression I’m not worried about. I had a sharp rise to my current level of ‘good’ early on, back in April-May, and really haven’t looked back.

But that anxiety…..hmmmm.

Last weekend, I had two big things scheduled for the Saturday – catch up with a friend I haven’t seen in 46 years, and the first Key Word Sign workshop in the afternoon. Too much, too many people, far too rushed in terms of driving. I had severe jitters and shakes for a couple of days.

The thing is, Fear of Missing Out, and endless curiosity about the world means that I WANT to do so much more than I currently do. I have a big case of the ‘I used to be to’s. I used to be able to do all sorts of thing in a single day. Possibly that’s why I have anxiety now. Possibly, I ran rough-shod over my own nature and intuition for too many years, and that’s why I’m where I am now.

It’s an ingrained habit – say yes to All The Things. This dates back to….oh, possibly my early childhood, when I became aware for the first time that I wasn’t having the ‘normal family experience of siblings. My two brothers were/are twenty years older than me, so by the time I was three years old, both were married and gone from the family home. I grew up an only. And because Dad worked and devoted his spare time to the baseball club, and Mum was at the sewing machine day and night, trying to keep the family afloat as a dressmaker, I spent most of my time alone. When I started school, I realised I was missing ‘family life’.

I think I got it into my head, or someone must have told me, that I was boring. Which, to my mind, was the worst thing in the world. Can I blame my Venus in Aquarius for loving the eccentric, the weird, the unusual, the unique? Anyway, it started with odd reading habits, following my nose through Moorabbin library.

Then, I remember in my late teens and early twenties, choosing to ‘do stuff’ because it would, and I quote “feed my writing”. Thanks, writing books, for informing me that, in the scheme of things, I lead a pretty enclosed life.

It wasn’t until my 40’s that I faced the fact that most of the stuff I went and did….well, it wasn’t to feed my writing, because I rarely wrote about the stuff I did – hot air ballooning, zip lining etc. I did these things just for the experience, and the constant worry that I’d be in a nursing home, crying for all the things I never dared.

Hence the habit of yes to this, yes to that, yes to something else. Which leads to stuffing 5 things into a day, which leads to discombobulated and rushed Satya, which leads to anxiety. Which is now an ingrained brain habit that’s proving fucking hard to kick.

My anxiety is the most over-protected, Victorian, vapour-riddled maiden aunt ever.

“Oh my, get the smelling salts. I’m all of a dither!” At the slightest request. The slightest request!!

I had one blissful month in May where my anxiety shut up, and my brain was quiet. No suicidal ideation, no depression, and NO ANXIETY. Just quiet. I also wasn’t asking anything of myself besides: get up, shower, get dressed, go to TMS, come home.

As soon as I asked anything of myself, bam, thin edge of the wedge.

Yes, I’m fucking cross. I expected better than this.

So, back to curating my calendar. I went to the gym yesterday. Thus, nothing else beyond a couple of house chores, and a poem on my blog could be asked.

Today, free day, and I’m tempted to say: “I’m gonna do the things. Have an Experience, because I’m essentially boring, and it’s a wide world out there, and I must have dinner table conversation.”

CRAZY. I AM DRIVING MYSELF CRAZY.

Why can’t I just lie on the couch all day, reading rubbish?

I am a work in progress.

A tarot spread for honouring creative time and space.

This spread saved, with gratitude, from an interview conducted by TypeWriter Tarot.

Honouring Your Creative Time and Space.

  1. How can I detach from other life activities when it’s time to create?
  2. How can I invoke the creative spirit when I set out to create?
  3. How can I honour my work before I enter the world again?

The interview was a really nice one, and I recommend TypeWriter Tarot. I subscribe to the newsletter, thus I get notifications of new interviews.

This was from Cosmic Rescue Episode 3, an interview by Cecily Sailer(founder of TypeWriter Tarot) with Claire Campbell.

*****

To apply this spread to myself, I’m using my Slow Tarot, created by Lacey Bryant. It’s not a deck I use often, but as a reminder to myself to slow down (I love to pile up the Monday tasks), I dug it out today, and all over again, I’m astonished by the beautiful, detailed artwork.

I took Claire Campbell’s example and opened my writing session today with a tarot pull. 5 of Cups. I am slowly going through all my old unpublished stories, the unfinished ones, the ones that have little more than a few notes, and seeing what I can apply my mind, sewing scissors, and patches to. In the card, a small boy crouches on the floor, crying over several broken teacups. Two whole teacups sit on the table behind him. A mirror reflects a closed door. The scene beyond the window is hazy, almost as if it’s raining, but there appears to be a figure in a cloak and top hat outside. A black cat washes its paw in the corner. Was it the one who knocked the cups over, and the boy believes he will get the blame? The cat is looking pretty smug: “Yeah, I did that, so what?”

I’ve been pretty sad over the years at the amount of first drafts, unfinished stories, bare bones ideas, and stuff I never followed through on that are in my writing files. I only had to look into Writing: Fiction: Short Stories, and get to the A’s before I found the first old, old story that I’d never rewritten or done anything with.

No use crying over what’s past, the broken cups. There’s still 2 full cups. It’s up to me how I sell the situation to myself. I can continue to bend over the broken stuff, or I can say: “The fucking cat did it”, point to the whole cups, and say: “But look at these whole ones. There’s still good stuff here.”

I’m not at the stage of allowing this fiction out into the public yet. It’s still pretty smelly stuff, that needs cleaning up. But that possibility, of the public seeing what I’ve written, is out there beyond the window. Hazy, but there.

So that was my solace to myself as I opened today’s writing session.

Now to the 3 card spread.

  1. How can I detach from other life activities when it’s time to create? 8 of Cups. Walk away and shut the door. A figure walking away from stacked tea cups. 8 geese flying overhead against the full moon. A long road ahead, but the decision is made. Walk away. I did this just today for the first time – announced to my daughter and husband that I was starting work at 1.30pm, and wouldn’t be available again until after 3.30pm.
  2. How can I invoke the creative spirit when I set out to create? Queen of Cups. Go with my emotions and intuition. I feel like this one says ‘make a water offering to the female creative Goddess of your choice’. Well, that’s what sense I can make of this. The shell is very Aphrodite, but She is not a Goddess to whom I would make devotions when it comes to creativity. Love and lust, yes. Brigid is a Goddess of poetry, but she is a Fire Goddess. And this is definitely a Queen, not a King or Knight, so I’m not feeling Apollo here. My instinct, looking at the face of the Queen of Cups, is Saraswati. She is someone I have worked with in the past.
  3. How can I honour my work before I enter the world again? 6 of Swords. Safe haven. The journey across the sea to the lighthouse. The sea isn’t calm, but it’s not threatening yet. The cloudy sky indicates challenging times ahead. Well, I don’t switch well from creative world to mundane world, so yes, it’s always a challenge to pull my head out of the well of creativity, in whatever form I’m playing with, and turn back to the ‘real’ world. How can I honour my work? A moment to recognise that I went deep, and moving to quiet, pleasurable, safe activity to ease my way back in. The last thing my anxiety needs is me wildly swinging my consciousness about, as I am wont to do. Gentle retreat, and a slow journey back to ‘reality’.

Claire Campbell also finishes her creative sessions with another card pull to close the session off, using a question like ‘what have I learned”?

So, what have I learned from today’s creative session (which was doing a quick and dirty rewrite of an old 1000 word story, and then blogging here).

Balance: “Equity, harmony, executive decision, liminal times, impartial perspective, ritual.” “The world is only in balance because everything is always in flux. What this card demands is for the Seeker to acknowledge the external forces arrayed against them and to react in a dispassionate, measured and deliberate way.” Today, I planned my working session. I didn’t drift into it, without telling family and friends that I was going to be working. Thus, I wasn’t disturbed. I asked my creative buddies to co-work via zoom with me, so I showed up, and was accountable. Thankyou UnicornGirl, and….dammit, I’ve forgotten what I’ve dubbed my other friend. AmericanScatter will do today. I set up my doors, shut them, and invoked the space in which I would create. I knew I’d be doing this today, because it was on the calendar, so my mind was ready to work. I drew a tarot card to invoke the session, and in I went. I thought I’d be spending the whole time on one story, but the rewrite was quick, so I could bring in some of that ‘flux’ by shifting to blogging instead, which is still writing, or writing-adjacent. The girl stands in what looks like a wheat or corn field. She is holding a chalice and a candle. there are glowing sigils on the haystacks. Above her flies the raven, messenger from the beyond. The card is painted in yellows – the colour of Air, the element of the mind.

Science Fiction Conventions: the weird

Because I couldn’t think of what to write today, I asked my Facebook crew to come up with topics. HypnoCat wanted to know my weirdest science fiction convention experience. We know each other through Star Trek fandom, dating back to the 1980’s.

I attended sf cons, mostly media cons, back in the 80’s, and a little into the 90’s, when Aussie conventions were small affairs – a committee of locals throwing a three-day convention with maybe 200 attendees coming in from all over Australia. The Guest of Honour was usually an overseas tv star or writer. However, there were times when monies were not to be had to import a GOH, so we made do with local talent, or simply a Fan Guest of Honour, some local Big Name Fan who was shoved up on stage to talk about their role in fandom, and whenever their Good Old Days were/are.

However, my weirdest experience….. hmmm, some would say the very fact that I attended sf cons is weird. So be it. I got my start as a writer in Star Trek fanzines, got nominated for several fan writing awards, won one, and was a…well, not a BNF, but a Medium Name Fan.

I have two incidents for you, both from Denvention, the 2008 World Science Fiction Convention, and the first con I’d attended in many years, and my first time ever outside Australia.

Picture the first day of the convention. I’ve registered, and am now at a loose end. I know exactly 3 people at the con, and they’ve all fucked off to do their own things. GodzillaMan and MothraBabe are at the art show. My room-mate, RatMother, is doing whatever she’s got planned. I’m at a loose end, so I decide the best thing to do is volunteer. I get on the escalator, heading upstairs to where Volunteering is. I idly look up. There is a large, and I mean very wide, short, hefty in a Stonehenge sort of way about 12 steps ahead of me. He has long white hair and a long white beard. He is wearing a kilt. He is not wearing anything under his kilt. It takes me about 20 seconds to register what it is I’m seeing. A very broad, white arse, with hair on both butt cheeks, and his dangly bits featured in shadow. His legs are wide. I know it’s hot in Denver in summer (I experienced it as a nice late Spring), but wow, put your legs together, man. Thirteen years later, it’s still emblazoned on my memory.

And from the same convention:

How about my first Denvention room party, where I’m talking to an American man who, seriously, has a sort of lurex shirt on, open to the waist, and a fucking gold chain with medallion on it nestling amongst his chest hair. He’s not even wearing it ironically. I can scarcely contain my excitement that this sort of cliche actually exists.

He’s telling me all about himself, and everything is hugely hilarious to me, but I don’t show it. I sit there, looking interested, which, to my delight, only encourages him. He tells me that he wants to get out of America, and Australia sounds all right to him. His plan now is to marry an Australian woman and, as he seems to only work part time, be mostly supported by her. What a catch! I tell him that it could be challenging for him, because all Australian women are mated from birth. The government chooses our mates for us by lottery. And he actually believes this. I sigh and say that because my first marriage ended in divorce, I am now awaiting the divorcee lottery, and be assigned my new husband in October 2008. Thus, I was having a last few months as a single woman before being remarried. I didn’t tell him that at this point, I’d been divorced since 1995, and that I hadn’t remarried in that time. He didn’t need to know that.

He was disappointed, and asked if I had any girlfriends who might be interested. I said I had my doubts. He gave me his contact details, and said he’d be grateful if I asked around.

I suggested that he come to Australia for the Sydney Mardi Gras (a huge gay pride event). That it was a chance for those few who were single to perhaps find a mate whose name they could suggest to the government. I said: “Someone will see you right.”

I’m sure some nice man would.

*****

There you go, HypnoCat, are they weird enough? I’m afraid cPTSD has rendered quite a few of my early convention memories in a very mixed light, not accessible, or very ordinary compared to later experiences.

Next topic, please.

Neil Diamond, why didn’t you marry me?

Dear Neil:

I’ve had a crush on you since I was ten years old. You’re now 80, and I’m 57. Which would have made the lyrics to ‘Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon’ all too uncomfortably real. Perhaps I could have stopped you writing those lyrics.

“Girl, you’ll be a woman soon
Please, come take my hand
Girl, you’ll be a woman soon
Soon, you’ll need a man.”

Babe, Neil, darling. There’s a 23 year age gap between us, and you wrote this song in 1967. I probably could not have stopped you writing it, because I was three years old. Even so… Recently, I was playing Rather A Lot of your songs in the car. I’ve had cause to do a fair bit of driving these past few months. And on came That Song. Okay, a Romeo and Juliet song, a West Side Story song.

But it’s the chorus, Neil. The chorus. Why are you singing to a girl. Now, in 60’s parlance, you could be singing to any girl over the age of menarche up to….what would we call womanhood? Age 25? That’s when the teenage brain finally matures. Which is why our teenage loves rarely last past our mid-twenties. We aren’t the same person.

But here you are, a grown man, singing to a girl. A girl, Neil. Admittedly, not three year old me. But a girl is anywhere between about 12 and 25. And you’re how old in 1967. You were born in 1941, so about 26. Even a 26 year old telling a girl she’ll need a man soon is pretty yuck, Neil. If she’s under 18, it’s fucking illegal Neil.

I needed to stop you writing this. You know how, during 2020, you came out with rewritten lyrics to ‘Sweet Caroline’ so that no one’s touching hands or anything else? Please rewrite This Song. Don’t be that guy who is creeping on girls, Neil. Don’t be.

I know, I know different times. Still, that song’s still out there, and is on The Essential Neil Diamond double album. A girl who will be a woman soon doesn’t need a man. She needs career guidance, her own drill kit, tax advice, and a superannuation fund. A man? No. Maybe she’s gay, maybe she’s ace, maybe she’s bi. “Girl, you’ll be a woman soon, come take my tax advice. Girl, you’ll be a woman soon, there’s no problem with wanting everyone or no one.”

It’s taking time out of my life, Neil, to pull over to the side of the road and shout at the stereo in the car. “She doesn’t need a man, Neil! What were you thinking? She needs a chat with the Women’s Investment Network.”

Look, you know I still love you. And if I wasn’t married, I’d be writing you a letter saying: “Neil, come on over.” However, my husband wouldn’t take kindly to this, so I’ll just say that I believe in you, Neil. I’m a believer. I think you could rewrite the song so I don’t have to shout at the stereo. If you can change ‘Sweet Caroline’, you can change ‘Girl, You’ll Be A Woman, Soon’.

Neil, prove me right. I’m a believer. Please don’t take to the red, red wine.

The Oodie

I have succumbed to advertising, and a cold Melbourne winter, and have purchased an Oodie. For those who don’t know, the Oodie is a massively oversized windcheater or sweater, with two layers. I have a pale grey one with quokkas on it. The ad showed the colours to be greenish, but the colour palette is grey, a sort of pale browny-yellow, and blue. Some of the quokkas are wearing blue onesies.

It arrived this morning and I’ve had it on and off several times. I get cold, put it on, get warm, then get hot, then come close to having a hot flush, and strip the oodie off again. Rinse and repeat.

Yes, it’s very warm, it’s very comfy, and beautifully soft. The inner lining is a fluffy fleece, and time will tell how it stands up to washing. Will it mat, like so of these sorts of fibres do?

I’m sitting in the lounge room, looking out over my street, and am sitting cross-legged on the couch. All of me is tucked up into the oodie. If it didn’t have a one-head neck opening, I’d suggest PizzaBoy and TwentiesPerson try getting into it with me, just to see if we all fit. I’m sure there’s enough room for all of us. The height differences might mean I end up getting hung by my own oodie neck opening, though. PB is 6’2″, TP is 6′, and I’m 5’2″.

I’m tempted to take the oodie to yoga. The perfect thing to wrap up in before class, then fling it off to reveal a tshirt underneath. But, it’s Rather Large, and would take up more of the yoga studio than would be good, seeing as we all have our little pods to stay within. If I’m still home yoga-ing online, it’ll work quite well.

Why write about my oodie? Why not? Not every post has to be Important Mental Health Updates, poetry, or some political observation. I have no advice on keeping slim – so would all the people who follow me for health tips, in the hope that I’ll follow them back (you have no idea how many people started following me after my blog entry FOLLOW ME FOR MORE HEALTH TIPS – NOT) please check yourselves.

Nor is this an ad for Oodies. I have one. I don’t need another one. I am capable of washing this one, drying it, and wearing it again. I am a big girl who even sews buttons back on jackets, and uses handkerchiefs instead of tissues.

This is me saying that on a wet, cold Saturday morning, I am snug in my Oodie, watching Melbourne open up again after lockdown 4. Our bubble is extended to a 25km radius. If I was inclined I could drive to Qi gifts and bookshop, and then walk down Glenhuntly Rd to The Avenue bookshop. I’m not inclined. It will be enough to take a walk this afternoon and maybe get my eyebrows threaded, and a pedicure. That’s just how fancy I am. (I can only imagine how many beauty bloggers will now follow me in the hope that we have loads in common. Trust me, we don’t.)

Who knows, I may even finish the mixed media art piece I started the other day. The paint is on the page, and flicks of black paint over that. Now it’s sitting there, dry, awaiting whatever I wish to do with it.

Well, I’m off to enjoy my warmth. Ciao, bellas and bellos.

Before yoga 31/5/21

When I’m not in lockdown, I wake, and muck about until 9.30am, then make an effort to shower, get dressed, and drive to 10.30am yoga with YogiBore. When I am in lockdown, like this week, I’m up, showered, dressed, washing on, and fitting in a blog post by 9.50am.

I did clap my little hands at the thought of not having to drive everywhere for classes. I did clap my hands at the thought of yoga, tap dance, belly dance, and Active Seniors in my own living room. Of course, not clapping my hands at the thought of plague.

The sun is streaming through my living room windows, Puppy is sitting on the pouffe, panting slightly in the warmth, and looking outside, hoping to spot a dog and bark himself stupid. Penny the Cranky black cat has just come in for shouting, hissing, and brushing. Angel the Ginger is no doubt draped over a heating vent. Last I saw of Tilly TinyPony(long haired black and white cat) she was padding around the back yard. And Chloe Ballerina kitty(tabby cat) is out doing whatever Chloe does.

PizzaBoy is upstairs, updating TwentiesPerson’s calendar to reflect that there are no Recreation and Special Interest Groups happening this week through our service provider, Interchange Outer East. TwentiesPerson is, by the sound of things, in the kitchen, doing whatever they’re doing. If they’re in the pantry, I often call out: “Mousie mousie, I hear a mousie.” It’s still amusing to TP after all these years, and they stick their head through the doorway to the living room and grin. Then wave whatever they’ve fished out to eat. Mostly junk food.

And me? I’m on the green couch, enjoying the sun, watching incense smoke drift lazily towards one of the windows that I’ve opened a crack. I’ve had dodgy sleep patterns this past week, which may be related to lockdown, and might be Not Enough Exercise, Satya. Despite that, this morning I feel okay. A bit anxious that I’ve decided to attempt rewriting an older story of mine. But, I have all afternoon to play with that. Right now, blog and a bit of email deleting. Either answer, read, pay, or delete.

Bit of a nothing blog post, you say? Well, some of them are like that. People who show up for the poetry are stunned at the witchcraft, and mental health stuff. The people keen on mental health stuff say WTF at other things. But, as Marge Piercy once wrote: “To me, it is all one vision.” It’s all me, and if this morning’s blog post is rambling, reflective, a bit of this, and a bit of that, it will still be comforting to see, in the midst of life, I have quiet, content moments where my house is at peace.

Sciencing The Shit Out Of It

This was the morning where PizzaBoy said he was going to ‘science the shit’ out of my posting from my computer problem. As I was spelling out my password to this site, it occurred to me that I hadn’t tried accessing my blog from any browser but Microsoft Edge. That perhaps I should try it from Firefox.

And lo, PizzaBoy showed me a posting page and said: “Look.”

I looked. And there was a blank page, ready for me to begin. and lo, he used Firefox. So, I’m back, people. Did you miss me? What’s been happening?

Yesterday I went to a craft expo in Pakenham. I know, I know. One of my few days off from driving to Narre Warren for TMS, and I decide to drive an extra 22km to Pakenham to check out craft stuff, and meet up with UnicornGirl, who was art therapising down that way.

The expo was washi tape, journals, planners, stickers, Dylusions sprays, ink pads, alcohol inks, paper, ribbon, fancy shit that I knew not wot. I’m a baby crafter, sporadic in an art practice at best. Nevertheless, I bought washi tape until my bag runneth over. What do I need all that washi tape for? Well, I put bits on letters I write. I’ve done exactly one art page that started with a base of washi (which is going to be the name of my rock band when I start one). And I fondle it.

I honestly thought I’d broken the having for the sake of having habit. Nope. It’s just changed focus. Ah well, work in progress and all that. This week for sure, I will do at least one art page using washi tape, and some of the fuck tonne of stamps I’ve acquired.

An interesting predilection of mine is to go for minimalism when I create art. Yet, I desire big, luscious, multi-layered stuff. So, here’s to me being too much this week.

Hunt and Peck, for now

Well, I don’t know what’s wrong with accessing WordPress via my laptop. I’ve tried it multiple times. The screen just goes blank. So, I’m doing the one-finger hunt and peck on my iPad. Most unsatisfactory, because I’m a touch typist.

I have one 21 year ginger cat staring at me from the floor, judging me. I have a 13 year old tabby cat who’s just climbed into my lap, purring. So not having a laptop there is a Good Thing, says Chloe. Angel has just walked off in disgust. “If you can’t figure out how to troubleshoot, I can no longer look at you.”

It means the flow of my poetry will be interrupted. Maybe that’s a good thing. I’ll take more time. It’s sure going to be annoying when I want to copy and paste, though.

Ah well, maybe I’ll set techie husband onto it.