Swings and roller coasters …

Yesterday was my birthday. I’m now (mumbletysomething) years old. And I’m grateful. There were times when I didn’t think I’d reach anywhere near half the age I am now, or thirty, or forty, let alone pass fifty. There have been bad moments. Bad days. Bad years, even. There have been weeks where I haven’t seen the sun, haven’t wanted to get out of bed, haven’t looked after myself.

And those times could come again.

I live with brittle bipolar disorder. Which means I get the usual highs and lows of bipolar disorder – but I get them hard, and fast. Imagine being on one of those deranged, loop-the-loop, high adrenaline roller coasters at a theme park, when you’d rather be on the kid’s level roller coaster, gently trundling up and down. I’d love that, just… that’s not how it works for me.

It’s managed. Mostly. I get a lot of help. I was very late in getting a diagnosis. And my life probably would have looked different if I’d known sooner, but hey – here we are. Another year older. I tend to stay quiet on my birthdays because I miss people who haven’t made it this far. So, apart from a little photographic silliness, I had a quiet day – read a little, binge watched some stuff, listened to some podcasts.

Today I managed a little more – while Ms Emmalumpdogg was out for her walk with her Daddy, I dragged out the vacuum and got the worst of the front room done, went back through the lounge room and kitchen, at least at floor level. (It’s best to vacuum while Emm is out, because she’s still convinced the vacuum is The Enemy. She has become reconciled to the necessity of brooms and dustpans, but I don’t think we’re ever going to win the vacuum war).

Then later I got some more exercise (it all counts) using the pear corer so I could make pear crumble for pudding. We were lucky enough to get a big bag of Packham pears on sale so we’ve been eating them up, but they’re much better cooked. My arms are very weak (actually, all of me is very weak, I have wasted muscles as a result of anorexia and that’s one of those things I need to work on – it’s not just psychological recovery, it’s long term physical recovery as well) and I get tired and injured so easily.

I was looking back at some photos earlier tonight, comparing how I used to look to how I look now. And I really prefer the way I used to look. Not just the longer, natural hair (I miss that, too) but the face shape, the healthier look. I feel like my new face belongs to someone else, not me. I want my proper face back. Hair that doesn’t break. Muscles that don’t scream when I try to do something simple like close a window. I want to want to eat. Some days… are easier than others in that.

Sometime after April 2018
April 2020

There’s probably… 15+ kg difference between those photos? Could be more. I wasn’t in the habit of weighing myself before (and I’m only allowed to weigh myself once a week now) so I couldn’t say for sure. I’m working towards an initial goal weight but so far I can’t get back up there. I’ve been stable for a few weeks now, so at least that’s one roller coaster I’ve stepped off, even if it’s just for a while.

I’m tired. Enough of the roller coasters for now.

Enjoy the ride. Walk in the sun (a socially safe distance apart). And wash your hands!

Love,

Caity

Something must be done.

hey, this is something, let’s do it!

So this afternoon, the first text message arrived. This is what it said:

Coronavirus Aus Gov msg: To stop the spread, stay 1.5 m from others, follow rules on social gatherings, wash hands, stay home if sick.

aus.gov.au

There ya go. We have been told.

Who writes this stuff?

Is this going to make a difference to those who are still going out and clearing the shelves and hoarding? Probably not.

Is it going to leave some people unnecessarily worried? Possibly.

I am not dismissing the advice. After all a man from our town has died from Covid-19 now. HOWEVER, he contracted it while on a cruise ship, and his family and contacts are now in isolation. This was not a direct transmission case.

1.5 metres, girls! 1.5 metres!

The smoke is bad here again, but now we know why: more than 20 hazard reduction burns around us, and a large hazard reduction burn off throughout the week in the Lockyer Valley State Park. So I’m back on my red preventer inhaler medicine for asthma, which I usually only use when we either have bushfire smoke or the woodsmoke season starts. (I have cleared using it this way with my doctor, and have regular lung function tests.)

Making sure I eat….

The other thing I make sure I do is EAT. The thing that’s maybe hardest for other people to understand about anorexia is that it’s not about eating, as much as it is about how I think about food – or rather, I don’t. I’ve lost my natural hunger signals so I have to set alarms to remind myself to eat. It’s a battle in my head about wanting to eat. I don’t fear getting fat (it’s not that sort of anorexia) nor do I throw up food (that’s a different kind again.) I have an anorexia that’s technically called “Eating Disorder (Not Otherwise Specified)”, and some people tell me it’s about control, some people tell me it’s about past trauma, some people tell me just eat when my alarms go off. It’s not an easy fix, and it’s not going to be a quick one. Like other brain behaviours, even when it’s “cured”, it can come back.

When you have no egg cups… you innovate!

Soft boiled eggs are something I’ve been able to manage. My dietitian says they’re great, (even better with buttered toast soldiers but I didn’t do that today because I am just about out of my special bread.)

But back to the egg cups: I know I own at least one, somewhere. But since I can’t find it, I’m using this trick instead: small bowls, filled with about half a cup of rice each. Once the eggs are ready, use the rice-in-bowls as egg cups. So long as the rice stays clean (no eggy drips), I pour it back into a separate little jar, ready to use again.

Maybe when we’re next allowed out, we’ll look for egg cups (if such a shop is still open). Or maybe I’ll just keep using my little rice bowls.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll make biscuits. I think gingernuts sound good.

I’m tired, so that’s it for today. Remember, be kind to yourselves and others, wash those hands, and eat when your alarms tell you to,

Love

Caity

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter B…

Teddy Bear Bee
Teddy Bear Bee, photo by Mr Beloved

This wonder was spotted by Mr Beloved while he was pottering amongst the plants the other day. “Nearly as loud as a hawkmoth!” he said. After some searching, he found out that’s it’s an Australian native bee, a solitary bee with a stingless barb, known as the Teddy Bear Bee .

Teddy Bear Bee in the Rosemary bush, photo by Mr Beloved

Apparently the Covid-19 panic buying (just STOP, people!) this weekend extended to stripping Bunning’s shelves bare of plant seedlings. Here’s my prediction about that: in two weeks time, most of those seedlings will be dead, because people have short attention spans and will go back to Netflix or Disney+ or whatever. And plants take too long for most kids, if they’re not already used to seeing the cycle of planting and waiting. Even a tomato plant takes time.

I did let the stress of everything get to me last night and today, just a bit. I probably didn’t eat enough (which is very easy for me to do, I ignored my phone alarms, and at the moment I don’t generate my own hunger signals. It’s easy to slip down into a vicious cycle of not eating, not noticing, not eating…) So tomorrow I’m back on the alarms, back on the supplementary meals. I had Vanilla Hospital Strength Sustagen with some frozen raspberries blended in for a meal this evening, and just had lactose free cheese and gluten free rice crackers as a snack.

And I read the news too often. I’ve been limiting myself to twice a day, but today I kept going back. Not helpful. Learning that South Australia would be closing its borders from 4pm on Tuesday made me surprisingly anxious. The rest of my family are there, and my first instinct was to try and get a plane ticket, at any price – but realistically, I’d be more of a hindrance than a help. And Mr Beloved and Emmalumpdogg need me here.

So, what to do?

Read more. Eat more. (Cook more). I’m grabbing a few new art materials to replace things that have dried up or run out, and doing things with those. Write more. Maybe if I’m strong enough if I can even help walk Emmalumpdogg more.