Friday, 30 September 2011

A day in the life of Candycan

Not a typical day, but one I want to tell you about anyway....

This week in clinical psychology T asked me what I wanted to talk about. She seems to be asking me this most weeks lately which is odd because she usually has her own agenda. I am guessing she is 'playing it by ear' because of my current phase of detachedness (is that a word?). I was unsure what to say. I wanted to talk about the discussion with my GP about what to call DID on my medical notes in the hope that she will offer to contact my GP again to explain, but I was apprehensive about bringing this up with her for some reason. I also wanted to tell her about my dad coming to visit because it is a huge thing for me and I feel like she should know huge things when they're happening... but I didn't want to actually talk about it. I knew if I brought it up it would be the focus of the session and maybe in a way, I feel like because my sessions are precious time to me, did I really want to allow the subject of it to be someone like my father?

It's like aggressive, ignorant drivers who get annoyed with you for no reason and blast their horns and try to intimidate you by driving right up close behind (you get them in all countries don't you?). I always feel upset and shaken up by it but I tell myself that I shouldn't let someone so ignorant affect me and I try not to let them affect my life by making me upset. I get annoyed with myself for feeling anything. It's the same with my dad. I didn't want to have my life affected by using up one good session on him. Yet, isn't he probably the main reason I need to go to these things? I think that's why I feel so adamant not to spend time thinking about him, because he has already affected my life so much.

So I sat in silence for several minutes internally debating what I wanted to talk about and becoming more and more anxious that I wasn't actually going to say anything before the session ended and eventually blurted out: "My dad's coming to visit". Fifty minutes of talking about my dad later and I left feeling frustrated and newly aware of wounds that I had fooled myself in to thinking had healed up.

Needless to say, I felt really ill all day afterwards. In fact, I ended up taking the day off work all together. My appointment was in the morning, first thing and because it's close to my house, I drove home afterwards to get changed for work. Except I took of my jeans and instead of putting on some decent trousers (pants), I climbed into bed and snuggled up with my two teddies. I wasn't feeling ill by that stage, just weary and drained, but the thought of going to work was not appealing and I eventually decided to call in and use a day's annual leave. The decision was helped by the weather, which was like summer all over again (well, more like the summer we didn't have). I think this decision caused me temporary relief from the weariness and I suddenly felt energised and on top of the world. I remember someone saying to Adam: "Let's go for a picnic and climb a mountain and stay in bed all day and order Chinese and do gardening and spring clean the house and go shopping and have a duvet day and watch movies all day have a pamper day and go on an adventure!" He laughed at me and pointed out that we couldn't do all of those things. Eventually he settled on the idea of having an Ulster Fry (a cooked breakfast, Northern Ireland style) to start us off and we drove down to Tescos to get the ingredients. By the time we were back and Adam had the pan on, I was lying in a heap on a blanket in the garden with a cracking headache and feeling not too spritely at all. The session had caught up with me again.

It didn't improve much although I took some pain killers and several cups of tea and managed to do a little bit of gardening, after almost having a panic attack about the prospect of planting bulbs and using the compost Adam bought for me: the reasoning being if they don't grow I will feel bad and this seemed overwhelming (it's a similar thing to the fear of decorating: what if I do it wrong?) and that if I used the compost up I'd have none left and this would be awful too.  I never learnt how to do gardening as a child (one of many things I never learnt) and it's completely new to me. Some people say it's so easy, but I think of it in terms of how I might say cooking is easy. It's easy for me to cook because I do know the basics, but if you've never chopped an onion, the prospect of making a bolognese can seem overwhelming. Well me and gardening is the same.

In the spring I bought a bag of meadow seeds and compost and a few pots and planted the seeds, not knowing really what I was doing or how it would turn out. I now have a variety of pots with all sorts of strange combinations of plants growing out of them. One with orange marigolds, one with blue flowers, one with marigolds, blue flowers, pink flowers and white flowers... one with not much at all in it. I looked at the pots of flowers growing in my garden and said out loud to myself that "none of this life would be here if I hadn't planted it". I realised that my apprehension about planting bulbs and seeds is that if they grow and then die, I will feel like I have killed them and I can't bear to be responsible for death. I also struggle with endings and completing things and this is why the prospect of using up all the compost was so overwhelming.

So I reminded myself, that as it stands, the bulbs and seeds have no life lying in packets in the shed anyway if I don't plant them. I don't know why things like this can send my heart racing. I felt really scared, but with Adam's encouragement (and reassurance that if I used all the compost he would buy me more), I was able to spend some time digging out weeds in the front garden and I planted about twenty bulbs. It took me hours to do because my head was pounding every time I bent over and my strength was completely gone. My body was like lead, but I did do it. I feel a little bit proud of myself now! I feel like, if they grow up in the spring it will be great. I feel like I have given us a gift. I do feel proud.

These things may seem so simple to you, the idea of planting a few bulbs in your garden. I can't express how difficult I find doing things like this. I can't explain how much of my life is reflected in my feelings about making changes like this. For me it is huge.


ellen said...

I can rarely function after therapy, and wouldn't consider doing anything 'optional' like gardening after wards. I feel too upset I guess to focus on things at that point.

Seems like talking about your father was probably a good use of the time. Our parents don't magically disappear from our psyche after we no longer live with them, unfortunately. I'm sorry he is coming over and you'll have to deal with him.

And congrats on getting those bulbs in despite your fears - you will be rewarded in the spring!

Candycan said...

Yes i understand how you feel. normally I'm fit for nothing but because i wanted to enjoy my day off i forced myself to do the gardening. i don't know if it's helpful or not. Sometimes you just need to lie still and let things process.