Sudden Moment

This prompt of ‘Sudden moments’ from Poets and Storytellers United.

I felt lousy for days. One of the endless head colds I copped back then, in my thirties, when every period meant my immune system crashed, and the bugs my kids so generously shared from school crept into my body. This one came with a cough-cough-cough.

My partner was fed up with my coughing. I coughed when he came to bed at 2am, fresh from a night’s computer programming, and ready for sex, sleep, and a home-cooked breakfast(every morning, thanks, because he’s the bread winner, so no store bought bread). So it was a perfunctory goodbye as he went to work.

I made the bed. Coughed. Swooned on it a while, covered in sweat. Coughed. Dusted a shelf. Coughed. Must carry on, be tough, prove to him that I’m worth his time. Cough.

Something sharp jabbed me in the side, and tingling pain spread through my back, my ribs, up into the nestle spot of my shoulder, my neck. Breath held, pain dying away to a dull ache. Breathing – pain, and more pain. Stabbing, an odd rustling in my chest, strange gurgle from somewhere around my liver.

I couldn’t lie down because getting up off the couch or bed was pain. Couldn’t sit. Couldn’t stand for long. I leaned against the wall. Coughed. Pain. I climbed onto the kitchen table, lay there, because at least I could slide off that to standing.

He telephoned mid-morning.

“I didn’t like the way you looked this morning. You looked sick for real.”

As though all those other times, I’d faked it.

“I coughed, and something’s wrong,” I said, croaking, coughing, groaning in pain.

He took me to the hospital. Nothing wrong. Ribs fine, lungs fine, everything good, good, good, we’re not keeping you in, go home, rest.

Two days later, I see my chiropractor.

“I almost didn’t recognise you,” he said. “You look that bad.”

My coughing had thrown something out in my spine, and my ribs. Painful clicks, and I could breathe and think again. More crunches, and the coughing stopped. I wept in gratitude, threw my spine out again. Another click.

That spot, years later, still goes out but obstructs rather than stabs. I don’t get quite the range and ease of movement I want when it’s being foolish. A few chiropractic clicks, and I’m fine, but no adjustment in the world gets rid of the scar tissue my ex-partner left behind – heart, mind, back teeth, scalp, ego.

Five years ago, he tried to make contact, saying we were friends. I disconnected in a short sharp stab of time.

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.

Guidance For Magical Folx

Sorry that this week’s Guidance for magical practitioners and the magic-curious went missing in action until today, folx. We are starting to learn Key Word Sign to assist TwentiesPerson on their journey to move out of the family home, and a lot of time was taken up with practice this past Sunday.

Anyhow, onwards.

The Sun is in Leo, and the Moon is in Virgo, and the moon is waxing towards full again, after the weekend’s emotional new moon in Cancer. A Virgo moon means we’ll be feeling that we want to get things right at the moment, everything in its box, everything tidy, honing our practices, no mess lying around.

Let’s see what the Songs For The Journey Home tarot has to say. This is a very different set of symbolism, and a fairly unfamiliar deck to me. I have owned a copy for a year, but haven’t really played with it. Here goes.

Dear Tarot deck, what guidance do you have for magical folx for this coming week: Tuesday to Sunday?

9 of Earth Songs, which is also the 9 of Pentacles. As you can see in the photo below, there’s a pentacles in the picture, and also a circle or coin. A person holds a baby. They are joyous, enjoying each other. The baby, or rather toddler, looks happy and confident that they are safe, well-held. The carer is smiling, their hands big. A wonderful safe time of play. Around them are pansies in glorious profusion. In the sky is a small salute to the Moon and Star cards of the major arcana. A sense of tremendous, wholesome joy and satisfaction comes from this card, which ties in well with the Smith-Waite interpretation of the 9 of Pentacles. In many decks, a woman is shown enjoying her solitude in her garden, or a gardener is shown well-pleased with the blooming garden around them. All that hard work is paying off in blooming profusion.

Magical folx, coupled with the waxing moon, it looks to be a fine time to be doing abundance magic across the world, for yourself, your community. Whether you want to go practical, with enough food to eat and money to pay the rent, or you want to go world-wide health with people’s immune systems being strong, and if you’re vaccine-minded, enough vaccines for everyone, or you want political leaders to start leading from a mindset of abundance, enough to share, and community spirit, this is your time.

This week, get out your green candles, feed your houseplants, write in your gratitude journal, give thanks to deities or universal energy. However you want to do it, feel confident that you’re tapping into the growing energy of the moon.

In the Southern Hemisphere, the winter solstice is past, and my grevilleas have flowered. One rose bush remains untrimmed because it’s still producing blooms like winter isn’t happening at all. It’s time to feed the rose bushes and the citrus trees.

Blessed be to all. Go forth and be abundant.

Trans Cranial Magnetic Stimulation – in the midst of maintenance

I don’t know what maintenance session I’m up to. Certainly, I’m in the first month of it, going from 4 acute sessions a week to 2-in-a-row sessions. It frees up my week, and so far, my brain is holding on to the changes wrought.

Depression has not been an issue since about week 5 of acute phase. I simply don’t go there any more. There’s certainly stuff to be sad about. Just as I booked a 5 day trip up to Queensland to see my grandkids, Queensland went into lockdown, and so, my plane tickets are back in the system, on hold. I have a year to rebook and use them.

I’m still muffled as to emotions. I’m still on 20mg of Citalopram, which has been my maintenance dosage for many years. I just don’t feel emotions right on the dot of having them. I have a delayed reaction, and if I remember rightly, I always have. I thought it was a big old repression thing. You know, just not taught how to have the big emotions bc white middle class repressed family. Then I thought it was birthing trauma – premature baby left in hospital for 6 weeks at a time when big city hospitals would have fed, and changed babies, but not had the time to give them much attention, and my querelous, repressed mum not being told she could come in a visit me. So, me getting the message of ‘what’s the point in screaming?’

Now, I realise it’s probably an autism thing.

Whichever way, my emotions are muffled, so while I’m resigned to not visiting my grandkids just yet, I was kinda half expecting I wouldn’t go, and the missing them hasn’t quite hit me. It’s always a background thing anyway, but when my plans are stymied like this, I tend to feel it more.

My anxiety requires some managing, but still isn’t debilitating. I went into the city with two girlfriends last week. I didn’t try to cancel my plans. I didn’t get so exhausted as to cry afterwards. I didn’t sugar-load as a way to cope.

I can now look forward to more outings like this, where I’m not freaked out by the idea of being out, in company, all day. So much so that I’m having to rein myself in somewhat. I may not have as much anxiety and be able to do more things, but I still have thyroid issues and/or residual fibromyalgia issues that limit my energy levels.

I’m much better than I was, but I still want more, more, more.

Trans Cranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy – maintenance session 2

I completed my 30 acute treatments of TMS last Tuesday, and went on to maintenance sessions immediately on Wednesday and Thursday. Then had a break Fri-Tuesday(today).

Now, in the meantime, I saw the psychiatrist at the clinic where TMS Glen Waverley is housed. My first in-person consult, as we were all in lockdown the previous week, so my first consult with him was on zoom. He was very quick, after a 45 minute chat, to hand out an ‘obsessional’ label, which, to be honest, I didn’t agree with. So, I called that into question last week.

“Look, I’m on the spectrum, and my husband didn’t give me any clues on how to say this in a polite way, so I’m just going to say it. I don’t agree with your diagnosis of obsession, and am troubled by you swapping me to a medication that addresses depression and obsession. What I want to do is have TMS keep me in a place where I can look at maybe coming off, or at least lowering my meds.”

So, with that clear and discussed, I tried halving my Oxazepam sleeping pill dosage to 7.5mg. It wasn’t good. I knew I’d be in for some sleep issues until my brain adjusted. I really did try to be good as regards exercise, no screen time after 8pm, no sugar at night, doing my meditation. Nevertheless, I wasn’t getting off to sleep much before 12.30am, and was awake, after a light, disturbed, restless sleep, at 6am.

I also forgot how sleeping pills can act as an all-over nerve calmer, and thus, help with inflammation by releasing muscles. They’re not NSAIDs, but oxazepam helps my muscles let go. That, and plenty of magnesium, and a nightly craving for chamomile or rose tea. So, onwards with increased pain.

It got bad last night. I was in a fair amount of shoulder and arm pain following yoga, and thrashing around in bed. Add in light sleep that never drops me into delta, so no healing or true rest occurs, and there’s the perfect fibromyalgia storm. At 12.30am, I took the other half of the sleeping pill, and I guess I passed out around 1am, awake at 7am. But at least I’d been unconscious for 6 hours.

I had also managed to leave my audio book on, without the timer, so I woke at 7am, after some close-to-waking dreams about searching for someone called Alice. I can only presume there’s someone in later chapters of THE TRAUMA CLEANER called Alice. (Not sure this is an ideal bed time book btw)

So, reluctantly back to 15mg of oxazepam until such time as I give it another go, with hopefully more sleep hygiene, and calming techniques under my belt. I’m still searching for the right psychiatrist fit, the right therapist fit, etc. I hate therapist shopping almost as much as I hate bra shopping. If only psychiatrists and psychologists gave appointment times like She Science, the expert bra fitters, give. 2 hours, and here, try this one, and this one, and sure, no lace, and two for sports. Got it.

Two more TMS sessions this week, before I drop back to twice a week starting next week. I consulted with the TMS Australia in-house psych today, via phone, and we’re both on the same ‘twice a week’ page. About 6 weeks down the track, I think, I’ll be on once a week, and will see how that goes.

Belly dance – second Datura online class

I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not a dedicated belly dancer. Once upon a time, I was. I went to classes, I taught beginners, I accepted dance gigs for parties, and generally lived the belly dance – elite athlete life. All whilst single parenting, studying, working 2 other jobs, and attempting to keep afloat a drowning-not-waving relationship. Yeah, fun times. Thing is, at the time, I thought it was fun. I wanted to load more and more onto myself to prove I deserved to be alive.

A lot of years and therapy and self-reflection, and retirement from belly dance later, and I sometimes miss dance. Thirteen years later, thirteen kilos later, and post-menopause, I certainly long for enough collagen, energy, and true grit to reclaim dance.

I sign up for dance classes. I go a few times, and then it’s all too hard to keep enthusiasm up in the evenings, when most classes are held. So, I keep re-activating my datura-online membership and say: “This time for sure, I’ll do a class a week.”

Since the last time I joined and now, datura have added ‘dance daily’, a once-a-day half hour practice. Well, I gotta say, at this stage I can’t even do a whole half an hour. So I do 15 minutes, and then have a bop around my front room. I suspect that today, between my own warm up, 15 minutes of an Ashley Lopez drill session, a bop, and then a stretch, I managed about 35 minutes all up. Which is still better than me slothing on the couch all day, then sleeping poorly.

I look at the teachers on datura, and look at myself, and hang my head. Well, let’s face it, these are all teachers younger than me, dedicated to their craft, and at the top of their respective games, be it datura style, FCBD style, cabaret, fusion, Turkish, what have you. For all I know, someone is evolving Antarctic style as I write. I don’t see why not. Hazel Edwards has done several writer in residencies, and once took belly dance classes. I’ve visited Antarctica on a small ship. I can belly dance. If astronauts can quilt in space, I can evolve ABD format. First step: sew tiny toy penguins onto a hip scarf. There’s going to be a lot of shimmies/shivering, and absolutely no scanty clothing. Polar boots a must.

(Gods, if Rachel Brice sees this, she’s gonna bloody dare me to do it.)

Anyway, I flitted around my loungeroom for half an hour, astonished passersby, and have moved my body enough to call it a dance session. This afternoon, I’ll take a walk.

I know it’s a case of willpower. If I want this, I’ll make time for it. With witchcraft being a matter of willpower, writing being willpower, art being willpower, and everything else willpower to keep myself functional in the world, sometimes I run short. Or power down. I am guilty of ‘isn’t there a way to be productive while I’m resting?’

Maybe, if PizzaBoy and I happen upon a bookstore this afternoon, there will be music playing, and I can have a quiet little bop. I have no shame. I can dance in stores, shopping centres, malls, and libraries, and I do.

Trans Cranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy – before treatment 29

I’m sad to say that the anxiety has returned. Not as bad as it was, and if I exercise, move, eat well, and tick a couple of things off my list, then I’m in a better space than if I did what I did yesterday – lie around all day, eat chocolate, and crazy-re-read HOW TO MAKE AN AMERICAN QUILT(which is not one I’ll likely re-read again, as it’s less palatable for me than the movie, and that’s saying something). I didn’t sleep well, and the old bothers bothered me.

The depression…isn’t. I feel sad, but it’s not like sliding down a slope any more. It’s nearly mid-winter, days are short, nights long and cold, not enough sunlight, but I’m hanging in there, and doing stuff to keep myself interested, alive, awake.

Today is treatment 29 out of 30 acute treatments. I finish my acute treatments next Tuesday, and yesterday, the Tall Clinician and I had a chat about where to next? I want to continue with maintenance, and see how long I can stretch treatments out and still feel okay. It’s a worry that the anxiety is back, and it’s no longer quiet in my head. No, no, no!

I did do some visualisation yesterday whilst in the chair. I’d also forgotten to do my basic meditation practices from the Feri tradition of witchcraft, so I combined it all in the chair. I guess I do have a strong mind, because even with the magnetic coil doing its bang bang bang thing on my head, I could conjure up the abiding images that have emerged from this treatment.

The right side of my brain is the steady tick-tick-tick Chinese water torture side. Depression and anxiety are treated here. I have come to visualise the magnetic pulse as thick, soft water flowing over mussels that are clumped onto a rock surface. All are ‘standing up’, sharp, slightly open. That’s how I see my anxiety, always standing at attention. I saw the water flow in and over the mussels, allowing them to lie down, be nourished, rest.

The left side of my body is the woodpecker bambambambambambambam pause bambambambambambam side. Depression is treated here. I see my depression either as a black hole that needs light shining into all corners of it, or as wilted dandelions that need sunlight and rain.

Either way, a lot of water (element of water is associated with emotion, feelings, intuition) is involved. I came out of the meditation feeling much better.

Didn’t sleep well last night, but that’s what I get for not exercising or even walking yesterday, and not doing much of anything else.

I’m about to have lunch, then go for a walk. I’ve already done the walk up exercises from Swift Fitness, my active movement studio. I know them off by heart.

I am fretting about things writerly, which you can see if you go to my previous post WHAT IF I AM CICADA? However, I can’t let those thoughts become obsessional, the way my playing and replaying of SORRY NOT SORRY from the musical SIX. Every darned day for weeks. Well, at least I now know the song. What did I want with it? I don’t know. I’m a bit scared to listen to it again, in case the obsessional thing kicks off again.

Well, I guess I’ll update again after treatment 30, and see where I’m at then.

Trans Cranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy – before session 21

Yesterday and today, I’ve questioned whether the anxiety treatment is working. Let’s face it, I’ve had several weeks of virtual mind-blank. Not thought about much, not felt much, just enjoyed NOT being depressed and anxious all the time. Sleeping better, doofing around. Certainly not getting a lot done.

The past couple of days, I’ve felt restless(let’s not discount that today is the Full Eclipse Moon in boundary-leaping, restless Sagittarius). Is this all there is? I’ve asked myself. What do I do with my brain if not the old trackways of depression, suicidal ideation, smothering sadness, and debilitating anxiety that prevented me from doing things I enjoy doing, like catching up with friends?

I’ve been prodding at an old story idea for a while now, just gently in the background, seeing if my mind can come at doing anything with it. I wrote it 2-3 years ago. It’s a Sleeping Beauty take, and if anyone’s waking up out of a long sleep, it’s sure enough me. However, the mind is still learning to relax, and doesn’t want to work. I can get no further along with the story idea. My go-to fix has always been ‘well, make it a poem then and tell 1/10 of what it could be, and be done with it’. And I’ve done that many times, truncating stories down to poems. But this is definitely a story, but I still don’t feel up to writing it.

I don’t feel up to writing much of anything. I feel disappointed. Will it always be this way now? Not sad, and not anxious, but not creative, either? And that gives me anxiety. Fucking hell. Stop that shit.

This is why I want a psychiatrist, or someone I can talk over this stuff with. How do I resurrect my mind and find myself again with new brain trackways?

I realise this is a more specific TMS post that others have been, but I have to be true to who I am. My dreams are full of ‘leave all that shit behind’ images and feelings, as well as a whole schwack of ‘outsider’, ‘lonely’, and ‘not fitting in’ stuff. It’s taken me two days to pull myself out of dream funks. This is my third day of strong ‘on the outside, never fitting in’ dreams, and definite aftertastes. This is my second day of trying to art journal some of it.

And even while I’m telling myself ‘yes, that’s been your experience UP TILL RIGHT NOW, it doesn’t have to be THE FUTURE’, there’s another part of me resigned to ‘this is how it is in this lifetime, for me’, a part that says ‘welcome to autism’, and another part saying ‘if we can just read the right book, find the right therapist, write the right book/poem/story, journal the right way, it can be different’.

How exactly do I find these new ways of thinking and being without my old crutches of depression and massive anxiety giving me ways to avoid risk?

When I have to change “mental ill health” to “I don’t know how”, and then even “I’m not doing X apparently because I don’t want to”, how do I live with that? How do I learn to risk all over again, the way I used to in my 20’s. Write those stories, send them out. Send them out again. Keep going. Be bloody minded about it.

I have more energy than I did a month ago. I don’t want to be mean to myself, but come on, Satya, there’s only so many jigsaw puzzles, and books. And none of them are filling the hole. Surely there’s a way to find the new pathways, and journey down them.

Help!

Trans Cranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy – before session 11

Do I continue to notice changes? Well, I don’t have the surge I had right at the beginning (It’s hard to believe that by the end of this week, I’ll be halfway through my acute treatment plan of 30 sessions!). Things seem to have settled down, and I’m not on the edge of mania like I was. Last week was pretty tiring, with treatments Tues-Fri afternoons, and a headache that lasted through till Saturday afternoon. I sprayed magnesium through my hair onto my scalp in a vain attempt to get the muscles in my scalp to relax. Seeing my chiropractor Saturday morning relieved a lot of the skull, neck, and jaw tension. Also, making a gum rub from coconut oil and tea tree oil(very diluted) to treat some mild gingivitis helped. I’m not clenching my teeth against the infection in my mouth.

Anyway, I’ve enjoyed a Sunday and Monday without headaches, and it’s back to it this afternoon with my 11th treatment.

Subtle differences? Let me tell you – my ex husband’s presence gives me a lot of anxiety, or has done, up until Friday. It was our offspring’s 29th birthday on the 8th, so my ex husband (my grandkids refer to their three grandpa’s as Grandpa{my husband PizzaBoy}, The Fat One{my ex husband}, and The Bald One{my daughter’s father-in-law}. Do I dare refer to him as The Fat One? No. I can bring better energy than that to the table. ModelTrainMan will do.) visited on the 7th. Normally, I’d be in a state by Friday morning. This time, either I had less anxiety, which is probable, or I was simply too headachey to care much. I not only spoke to him, but encouraged him to stop talking to me and go spend time with TwentiesPerson. I also told him I was undergoing TMS, and that as TwentiesPerson’s father, he should know if medical treatments are being pursued within the family.

It also gives him a heads-up that I’ll be dealing with my depression and anxiety a lot better, may come off my muffling meds, and be even sharper at our next Victorian Civil Admin Tribunal review of TwentiesPerson’s financial guardianship.

I only realised during treatment on Friday afternoon that ‘hey, I didn’t get all fretty and withdrawn around ModelTrain Man!’

A small realisation, but an important one.

This afternoon, I get to go through the quizzes that I did at the start of the programme – those ‘in the past seven days, how often have you experienced…’ quizzes that help assess where you’re at. So, at session 11, it’s review time.