Tag Archives: humour

Doin’ the Dance: The “I’m OK!” Act

A friend shared this video with the online support group I’m part of, and it made me smile ūüôā but towards the end (spoiler alert!) – the part where poor Hashtag is exhausted, but keeps on getting up and dancing when the music plays¬†– it reminded me of part of my experience, living with mental illness: the need to keep going, to keep “performing”, even when I feel I have nothing left to give.

I’ve read others’ stories here along¬†a similar theme.¬†We plaster over our anxiety, depression or different¬†‘quirks’ with the “I’m OK!” act. As with most things, the “I’m OK!” act can serve us well at times, but is not always our friend.

I’m at the point where I don’t think I present as OK a lot of the time. I can manage it for short spurts, but anything longer than around two hours and I draw up short. For instance, a couple of weeks ago I was at a social function with the dearly beloved. A few people asked how I was in that tone of voice (you know what I mean!) and I knee-jerked out a repressive “I’m fine, thanks.” Later I regretted it, because they were kind people, and perhaps I could have been more open with them. I was also the designated driver that day, responsible for getting three men home. Despite giving myself breaks by slipping away for a while, volunteering for¬†babysitting functions and taking some “important” calls, I was completely spent after a few hours and my poor passengers were dragged away well before they, in their merry states, wanted to leave. I just had to get out of there so I could be my anxious, twitchy, newly-introverted depressed self. I didn’t want to be a dancing panda anymore.

I know the pressure to say “I’m OK!” can be universal*, and isn’t limited to those with mental health issues. How do you cope with what I’ve decided I’m going to call Dancing Panda Syndrome? Is it a big issue in your life, or a sidebar?

 

* ¬†I’ve had contact with some cultures where saying “I’m OK!” doesn’t work. Don’t bother trying it in South Sudan: those Africans look at the whole person when you speak with them, and if your body language isn’t saying “I’m OK!” they just won’t buy it, and will call you out on it! I think perhaps we in the west focus more on the words people speak and can sometimes gloss over the other communication cues which come our way. Well, that’s my theory, anyway.

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The surprising side benefits of being an evil genius

I don’t often allow myself to relish unfettered acts of pure bitchy vengeance, but I made an exception today – and reaped a surprising fringe benefit.

I probably need to back up a little. Last Friday, there was The Incident involving our garden waste bin:

Full Bin

which I’ll freely admit I had a strong emotional reaction to. (My neighbours hired a gardener who filled their garden waste bin, and then ours, without asking.) Then on Sunday evening I removed two bags of their trash which had been placed in our garbage bin, which is just not cool. It’s one thing to add waste to a not-quite-full bin once it’s out on the curb waiting for collection (though the more I think about it, the more problems I can see with that, but that’s a story for another time) but quite another to do it two days before collection day.

This morning, I decided not to attend my day-long group therapy programme. I was still emotionally drained from yesterday’s appointment with my infamous medications bloke, and just generally run down; I didn’t feel up to the emotional rigours of almost four hours of group therapy, followed by a 1-1 consultation. Too much! So I steeled myself – I didn’t want to be bullied or badgered into going, as has happened before – and simply called up and said I wouldn’t be attending today, due to fatigue from yesterday’s appointment. Done.

Then I had that glorious feeling of a day without plans! How exciting! Still feeling a bit cheesed off with my neighbours, I¬†decided on a teensy tiny bit of righteous vengeance. I decided to fill our garbage bin to the rim, so they couldn’t do their usual trick of adding more trash to it. Yes, yes, I know it was petty, BUT in order to gather enough actual, non-recyclable rubbish to fill the bin, I … [wait for it!] … I cleared out the spare room.

That’s right, I did it! Our garbage bin is on the kerb, filled with all sorts of rubbish, and you can now swing a cat – not just a kitten, but a full-grown cat – in the middle of my own little patch of this planet.

So, the moral of this story is: if you’re going to give yourself a mental health day (from a mental health programme, but hey, it still counts!) then turn into an evil genius and do something constructive with all that angry energy.

Who knows what you might achieve?

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Cliches? Yes, please!

Here are some cliches I thought were appropriate this Monday morning, as I look down the barrel of another week affected by mental illness:

  • Always look on the bright side
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away
  • An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
  • Another nail in the coffin
  • Any port in a storm
  • Back against the wall
  • Bats in the belfry
  • Better light a candle than curse the darkness
  • The big picture
  • Bite me
  • Blue Monday
  • Boxed in
  • And, to end on a hopeful note: One door closes, another door opens

Church Door

 

May many doors open for you this week!

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Pretending to be a Normal Person …

Pretending Normal

This is an image from Suzy Toronto’s fun calendar, “A Year in the Life of a Wild Wacky Wonderful Woman” and I thought some of my wild, wacky, wonderful WordPress friends would enjoy it!

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Monday’s List is Fair of Face

OK, it’s usually “Monday’s child is fair of face”, but I’m just exhausted – so I’m going to write a Monday SuperList. What’s a SuperList, you ask? Well, it’s a gratitude list plus random facts. Because I’m just too braindead to put them into any sort of order. So there.

Here goes:

  • I’m glad the traffic had cleared by the time I had to drive home from the GP’s this morning – approximately 18kms of linear parking lot would not have been fun to navigate through¬†
  • I’m grateful for my pharmacist who helped me out with a prescription, even though the paperwork wasn’t quite right¬†
  • It’s a shame I couldn’t get stuff done today, but my brain seemed to hurt every time I tried to do something constructive. I wonder if this is part of having a “dysthymia” diagnosis? Might be worth looking into
  • The neighbour’s puppy absolutely adores me, and apparently I’m one of the very few people outside his family whom he likes, so I feel very special. He sits for me, too!
  • Some bastard bumped my car and knocked the headlight out of its socket. Thankfully it isn’t broken, and the dearly beloved and I were able to go Bush Mechanic on it and fix it in place with a zip tie and packing tape (yeah, we’re all about the high tech) but it wouldn’t have been parked on the street except that the neighbours asked to use the driveway to display their car, which they wanted to sell today. So they sold their car, and I had to fix mine. Getting onto an expressway and accelerating to 100km/h is not a fun time to realize your headlight is dangling
  • I still feel optimistic about this week. Goodness only knows why, but I’ll continue to embrace it!
  • My therapist rocks. Seriously, he is da bomb. Or whatever the kids say when someone is amazingly, astoundingly, astonishingly and consistently wise, insightful, generous, compassionate, challenging, and all-round fantastic. ‚̧
  • A new episode of Modern Family¬†is about to start. So I’ll leave you, my virtual family, and get set to enjoy my current fave sitcom!

Here’s an extra dollop of optimism for anyone who needs it: ¬†*

Enjoy!

xx DB

thanks heart

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