Category Archives: depression

Mental health, impossible tasks and other musings


Why is it that when we are ill either physically or mentally and it comes to support for the person it is hard to find. In fact a very common reaction is for people by and large is to withdraw. Leaving an already vulnerable person more vulnerable and more likely to become sicker. Why do we do this as a society?

It seems we are quite cruel.

Much like being a type 1 diabetic. Once diagnosed your life depends on testing sugars and injecting insulin. People are wary, they hide, they run they disappear from your life entirely. Schools refuse to admit children with it. Kids don’t want to have them at their party. And why ?

Yes it’s different. Yes it’s a disease that requires things that some humans are uncomfortable with. But, can you not dig a little deep and conquer that fear, reach out and be a friendly face, hand , eye?

We are actually all connected and our reactions have repercussions. We have choices to make daily.

I challenge you today to not run and hide. To be present, even when it is uncomfortable. To be present. Really there. In the flesh and the mind. Present. That’s all. To be there.

Pushing past impossible is something that is actually possible.

And you know that we all – collectively benefit from that.

And the world at large can be a better place.

 

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Death Oh who art thou?


To lose a loved one is one of the hardest things for me. I am so unsettled by it, especially if it is someone my age or younger. Because I am young. And Death is so definite.

At someone’s memorial or funeral one expects to gain closure and to get some kind of “feeling” that the world is upright again. But alas it is not always so.

My “friendus” Mark Reynolds was a larger than life person who was always going to defeat death until he didn’t. I met Mark on the “kleuterskool” play ground in a small town called Tzaneen where english speakers were in the minority. There were 3 of us : Mark, Vivienne and myself.

We played on the “baantjie” and said ” get away, get away” a lot. We forged a friendship right there and then that lasted an eternity (I hope). Death confuses me and many of the things I hope for (faith) elude my desire for confirmation thereof.

Throughout junior and high school we played, we learned, we experimented. Mark was the first to offer me a cigarette -menthol nogal. I tried it, hated it and it convinced me lifelong that I would not smoke. We hiked in the gorgeous agatha forest, slid down the rocks. We laughed so much mostly our sides split.

We rode horses in Sabie – galloping into eternity together.

More recently Mark attended my sister and my wedding. I will never forget Mark giving my bemused husband-to-be a flower as was his custom.

Mark’s laugh was one of those that triggered others to laugh and not stop. His smile captivated. His heart was one the most beautiful I have ever seen. He sacrificed so much for others – his important others.

In love I believe he was let down so badly it still hurts me. He painted out of that and gave up on romantic love – which is so so desperately sad but I believe he was trying to self preserve. For me this is so tragic as he was a gorgeous soul and the love between 2 people – true romantic love as it were is something that can take one to heights that nothing else can- and it did – only it dropped him too (as it does many).

He had so much to give – in life and love.

Taken way way too soon, I just don’t understand and I guess never will.

What I know is that we must live here now, and make each minute count. We must cherish each other in the moment. Be present in the moment and live each as if the last.

 

To Mark – my “friendus” ignite heaven as I know you will with your soul. Devastate them with the joy that radiates out of it. The deeper the sorrow carves into your being the more joy it can contain. I love you and I always will.

Coxsackie,yuppie flu, post viral fatigue


Anybody who has not witnessed firsthand or experienced this evil is willy-nilly able to say that this vile vulgar viral disease is “all in your head”. I can tell you that there is no-one on this green earth who voluntarily goes through the ordeal that comes with this virus. It literally flattens you in more ways than one.

I have seen countless patients afflicted with it and whilst “science” on many levels questions this disease (instead of getting on with more accurate diagnosis) it is a disease that no-one wants and is more than happy to get rid of the day it leaves their bodies.

I have to ask though why the medical profession at large is sceptical and ridiculously pathetic when it comes to diagnosis as well as treatment (of which there is little). And once again in my mind it goes back to something similar to semelweiss. The washing of hands idea disdained by so many pompous egotistical physicians turned out to be one of the most important discoveries of science and prevention of transmission of disease. Why are we so arrogant? Who gave us this “god” complex?

When we don’t fully understand something or don’t know we simply say it must not/can not exist and therefore the patient themselves must be “mad” ????????????

Surely surely we have gone past this aged way of thinking ?

No, alas it seems we have not. We will not admit we don’t know. Rather make it the patients added problem.

I think it is sad and poor.

I only hope that none of these arrogant physicians ever actually come down with it as they may lose their egos in the process.viruss

Google the semelweiss history – it’s interesting and very very sad. Sad because why can we not drop ego and rather try to understand what the very truth of the matter indeed may be.

The power of the double x ;)


Do not under-estimate the power of a woman. Once activated she can be radio-active. A ball of fire. A genuine force of nature. WE are not half x and half y – we are double x or double X!

Made from Adam’s rib, created to be a help-meet. Created to bare both boys and girls. Created to create.

Women across the world have a kindred spirit – gentle, kind, strong ,powerful. We tend to “attack” problems or hiccups in a very different way to our XY counterparts. Empathy is like breathing for us. Life and it’s ebb and flow very much part of each day’s struggle to nurture our children and loved ones. A privilege we cherish yet sometimes hard to keep on keeping on.

Take Ingrid Jonker – a women whose heart literally bled for south africa. She struggled so intricately ¬†with herself and her father’s rejection that it forced her to walk into the sea, yet the poetry she wrote was pure gold that flowed out of that tortured and tormented soul -deep so deep, squeezed and percolated through her fragile life. She leaves us with a legacy of touching tales that shake your core and leave you in awe.

Thuli Madonsela – a tribute to justice and dogged yet gentle pursuit of the truth without being rude, disdaining or plain. A strong tall tree yet softly spoken authority. A real rare gem leader. Astounding ability to hold her own self back and gently speak to a situation. She radiates, emanates peace and truth, it seeps through her pores and is heard.

There are so many examples of women through the ages. Steel women, whose hearts are so fragile and gentle they are broken by the weight of a feather, yet stand despite the brokenness. Beat despite the lack of a song to accompany the beat. Sometimes beat to the sole beat of a single drum. But pick up that pace they do.

XX a gift to us. We got double the staying power, double the gentle breeze.

 

 

 

A lovely discovery – Ingrid Jonker


What a lovely discovery of poetry last night. I watched the movie Black Butterflies about Ingrid Jonker’s life. Oh my shattered nerves ! She writes beautifully.

A very sad life indeed but the pressure of life sure squeezed out pure gold in poetry. I was in awe that this ladies poems have alluded me thus far in life. I am older than she was when she tragically committed suicide and having grown up in south africa I would have thought that I should have bumped into “her” already.

However great is my joy to find such a soul and such scintillating words on paper.

This land of ours, despite all our troubles and imperfection – and there is a lot of that particularly our apartheid past and it’s sordidness, produces phenomenal talent.

I highly recommend this movie – cast to perfection and well acted.

I also highly recommend a read of Ingrid Jonker – it will touch your heart deeply.black-butterflies

 

How the heck?


Oh my shattered nerves how on earth has 2016 happened and unfolded this way? Is democracy the way forward ?

I am pretty sure that New Yorkers did not vote for Trump, as Londoners did not vote for brexit. Is it just me or are there way too many stupid people out there. Well if Donald Trump can say the things he has and get voted as the president, I think we should take a leaf out of his book and be less pc going forward.

Perhaps honesty may get us somewhere.

And why the heck did the media lull us into a sense of all is ok with the world by saying Hilary would win?

What does this mean? For the world at large??

Where do we stand and is the world at large a safe place ?

Donald strikes me as quite selfish, is he simply going to forget about the rest of the world?

Today, for once I am glad to live in south africa with our version of stupid as president.donald-trumpzumazump

Anxiety and fruit flies


There are many lovely TED talks about anxiety and mental disorders but I recently watched one about some research using fruit flies to determine brain function. So interesting to realise that the brain is superbly complicated and yet we can actually get to understand things at molecular as well as genetic level.

Can you untangle the mind of a fly and genetically modify the circuit? Well yes!

Who would have thought. And this has taught us – the human race quite a lot about the finesse of operations of the brain.

The brain is not a bag of chemical soup and we can not change the flavour of the soup to treat psychiatric disorders. This specific researcher likens using “broad spectrum” anti-depressants to treat disorders to pouring oil over the whole engine rather than into the oil holder. WE need to be more specific in order to get better results and have fewer side-effects.

On another note, the brain is also intuitive and there are many many ways in terms of anxiety that one can tone down or up. Deep “proper” breathing is one of them. Also our bodies are designed to move a whole lot more than we do these days and you will be surprised at how much you can unwind your mind by winding and unwinding your body.

Food for thought – fruit flies brains can actually teach us a whole lot about our wonderfully complex brains and yet some of the answers we so desperately seek are actually in front of our very own eyes.

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