Author: Dwayne

Hat in Hand

Hat in Hand

Once again I come with hat in hand, writing with no idea what words will pour forth, I have an idea of what I want to say but not how to say it. I come begging that the thoughts will somehow magically appear on the page.

The last little while I’ve felt decidedly cranky, my skin don’t fit as it were. I’m often ‘crusty’ and I don’t really know why.

I’m concerned it may be some type of relapse or just a general deterioration in the meds ability to adjust my moods. I’m more than a little uneasy that perhaps my depression is rearing it’s ugly head again.

Prior to this I have felt good for quite some time and the latest decline in my mood is troubling. It’s not that I have thoughts of suicide or anything quite so dramatic, I just have a general malaise, my mood is depressed and I feel a titch unhappy and even a little sad at times.

Case in point, about a week ago or so I had to strongly discipline our 3 year old granddaughter Ivy. She was in ‘a mood’, perhaps like me, and was having some challenges listening. She was overtly disobedient and challenging our authority, she was at times very disrespectful and spitting at me and saying unkind things toward me. In the end I carried her into the other room and had to restrain her, her kicking and hitting out of her control.

She reacted very guardedly toward me after that. For days she would not come near me and looked at me with fear and distrust on her face. It saddened me immensely. I felt as if I’d lost her.

Happy ending to the story however is that on our last visit she has come around. She comes easily to me and treats me loving once again. I feel somewhat whole.

My point, I think, is that under normal circumstances this wouldn’t have bothered me so. This reaction, my sadness and dismay at her apparent withdrawal of love, is more typical of BM (before meds). I was much more sensitive to any emotional triggers and less able to cope in what I thought was a normal fashion. Perhaps even my reaction to her disobedience was not in tune with ‘normal’.

Bottom line is I don’t feel as well as I’d like to. I’m considering self medicating and upping the dose of my medication. I’m on a very small amount as is, only 5 mg, and I could easily double that. Is that the issue though?

Perhaps exercise (or lack of) is the key. The weather may be a factor as well because here in the Okanagan we are seeing many days with significant smoke in the skies. There are fires all around the province and temperatures are at all time highs. Certainly environmental factors must be considered.

In the end I will hold the course I think, I will monitor my feelings and endeavour to continue with self awareness. It might be nothing…..it might be something, but it is a ‘thing’.

Colour Inside the Lines

Colour Inside the Lines

Once again what was intended to be a simple post turned into a chore of larger proportions. Lately it seems to be my lot in life, certainly as far as blogging goes. Either something goes amiss with my attempt to post, like hotspot problems, software, computer updates, etc., or I see something shiny and get distracted. Today it was a little of each. All in an attempt to write about colouring inside the lines.

I was colouring in my Mandala Colouring book this morning, enjoying a cool breeze out on the front ‘lanai’. This is something I’ve taken to doing lately and I find the peace and solitude out there calming. Once I begin to focus on the page and select the area and my chosen colour I’ll generally buckle down and lose sight of much of what’s happening around me. Today however my conversations with Elly once again came to mind.

Elly is the one whom I recall discussing this whole inside/outside the lines concept first. She was my most recent counselor. The chat came up as a result of the art therapy she was using with me. I mention it here in “Some Thoughts….”. I think of that conversation every time I colour, when I laboriously try to remain inside the identified areas of the page, any divergence a cause of some stress and dismay. Where I’d dearly love to just scribble on the page I haven’t found the gumption (as of yet). Maybe soon.

Escape Adulthood – Rule 2 Thou shall color inside the lines

One of the things this morning that took me off my task of enhancing my Mandala was the curiousity of what that meant out in the real world, to colour inside/outside the lines. One of the first links in a Google search brought up a link to this sketch and the owning blog EscapeAdulthood.

There are a number of quotes out there too, the quote below from Jay Woodman being one.

“Colour outside the lines, live outside the box. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do, or not. Don’t be afraid, listen to your heart.
Heaven is a state of being – of one-ness, and Hell is a state of being – lost. We simply need to live as we best define ourselves, find our own ways of being who we are in our world.
There is no requirement – only freedom of choice. We should not be judged if we are doing what we think best according to our perceptions at any given time.
Guilt should be discarded, moved beyond – what matters is who we choose to be in the next moment, given what we might have learned. We continually create ourselves anew.
Forgiving someone is a great way to show love, and forgive yourself too for the hurt you held onto far too long.
Take back the energy you have wasted on these things and reclaim your power to be your next best self.
Honour the past but refresh, expand, renew, fulfill. Heaven is within us, always reachable.”

― Jay Woodman

So, that preamble was much longer than anticipated. I have half a mind to delete much of it but the other half says neh! Leave ‘er alone.

I think the whole point was I noticed how inflexible I was becoming with regard to the colouring. It is Priority 1 to stay within the lines, to be consistent with colours and symmetrical, and that credo seems to be much of what my life is back to being. I feel as if I’ve relapsed back to my ‘old’ self. It’s not where I want to be. I want, I NEED, to be colouring outside the lines again. At least a little.

My Mind Wanders…and wanders, still

My Mind Wanders…and wanders, still

Once again I’m plagued with my mind wandering, flitting from place to place with thoughts that jump like a small bird hopping from branch to branch. And yes, my mind wonders too however for whatever reason todays stroll though nothingness is prevalent.

It was the normal beginning to the day, slowly waking and not wanting to rise. At least I don’t wake angry as so often used to be the case BM (before meds). I do thank the antidepressant medication for that.

I wake but don’t want to be awake, I want to drift back into nothingness, to dreamland where life is simple with no expectations of me nor responsibilities to carry. At times it feels like the ‘awakeness’ is a cross I’d prefer not to bear. Life is so much simpler and enjoyable when I’m asleep.

Regardless of my desires I realize the need to get up so I slowly crawl out of bed, being careful not to disturb my wife who has likely just gotten under the covers a short time before. She has her own sleep issues, dissimilar to mine, perhaps more serious. I pull on some clothes and quietly leave the room, off to take care of whatever morning business requires taking care of.

A glass of water, my vitamins and pills, perhaps a banana, are next. I’ll sit and mindlessly attempt to watch the morning news, likely cruising around the ‘net on my iPad or phone at the same time. After a short while I’ll get off the couch and brew some coffee and prepare more food. This time a muffin, cereal, or toast. I’m too lazy and unmotivated to make a real, healthy breakfast. This is my life, at least the morning portion of it.

The last few days however I’ve shut off the tv earlier and moved outside. My front porch is the preferred location these days with the back porch being equally as nice but in closer proximity to the passing road. We are separated from the street by green and and a nice enough concrete fence but the noise from passing vehicles knows no boundaries and it pushes me away to a quieter locale. The front is cooler as well this time of morning, in fact today I wanted my hoodie.

I grabbed my 2nd cup of coffee and my colouring book and felts and proceeded outdoors. My wife got me an adult colouring book filled with mandelas and today that was my art project of choice. I have others but the last few days it’s been this. Any of the art related projects, photography included, were all supported by Elly. As a counselor Art Therapy was a big part of her toolkit and she introduced me to it. The colouring is therapeutic and also somewhat mindless however my thoughts continued to run rampant in my head. Perhaps writing will help, hence my visit here.

While the wondering continued I did wander about ADD or some other, similar, mental illness. Let’s throw that into the mix too while we’re at it. Perhaps it’s not (only) depression that is my illness, it may well be there are other factors at play. I’ve never been diagnosed with such, other than my own armchair diagnosis, but it does make me think (more).

We had a young friend come for a visit last night, the daughter of friends, and she has suffered with ADD or ADHD much of her life. She explained some of her symptoms and those of her friends who also suffer. Symptoms such as unfocussed thoughts, inability to selectively work on tasks, procrastination, etc.. These are of course not necessarily definitive symptoms, certainly not saying they have some mental illness, but they are most certainly some traits I feel I have. I’ve often wondering if ADD (or similar) is part of my repertoire.

Regardless I work with what I got, I ‘dance with the guy that brung me’. I have good days and days not as good. I try to find things that help my mind settle, to slow a mind that wanders, and wanders still.

Out of Ideas….

Out of Ideas….

…for a topic to write about for this post.

Well, not really, I have ideas, just not sure which direction to go. Once again I’m direction-less. I’ll sip my beer and decide. Let’s hope the beer helps. I hope it does but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t. One of downsides of coming to Brandt’s I’m afraid.

Over the last number of days I’ve been migrating my posts from Skidaddy on WordPress.com to my own domain, skidaddy.ca. I’ve used this site (skidaddy.ca) to post most of my last mundane writing. I think I’ve finally settled on using it instead of the WordPress site. Nothing against WordPress.com, certainly not, I just want to have my sh** on my own site. And that site is skidaddy.ca.

This is/was not a new idea, I began doing it quite a while ago and in fact I copied (what I thought) was all the posts from the WordPress site to this one more than a year ago. It was only just recently I realized that for whatever reason not all of them took, there were a number of months missing. Heaven forbid, my blog is not complete??? Gads!!! So I’ve been copying the offending posts over here a little at a time.

To that end I also just realized/remembered that there is actually a WordPress “feature” that can help with this. It must’ve been what I did the first time. Being over 60 now I’ve obviously forgotten…. haha.

One of the benefits of copying one at a time was that I could re-visit each post as I handled it. That was actually quite interesting and a bit enlightening. Some of the topics I had forgotten (go figure) but most I recall writing. Some I put together shortly after I began blogging. It was, and is, the reason I started and continue write here and elsewhere, to see where I was to where I am now, thus “Then….Til Now”. I also feel after reading those older posts that my writing was better then. I’m frequently disappointed with my posts now.

I still journal on paper as well, and in fact now have a journal for each of my grandkids. I wrote about that on Pay Attention, To the Attention, so you can check that out if you so wish. On the whole the additional writing does complicate things but I believe in the end it will pay dividends. At some point I will be gone, heaven forbid it’s soon, and they can read whatever I’ve put down. There may be no interest but once I’ve left this earth it won’t matter to me.

Madden and Ivy came over last night. I knew they were coming and in some ways wished it were another day. Don’t get me wrong, I love them dearly but they can at times be draining, as their parents can attest. This was a good day however.

Life is a Journey

Madden came strolling around the corner into the backyard, a first, and found me colouring on some sun-ravaged plaques that had been sitting outside our old house for quite some time.

I had brought the plaques with us when we moved to Kelowna, a connection to our prior life. They were nothing fancy, just ties to memories. The colouring idea was a hold-over from the art therapy I started with Elly.

So Madden’s first question was “can I colour too”. At first I balked, but then as I often attempt to do I re-thought the program and relented. “Of course you can colour, just try to do a good job”.  He took to the concept and ran with it.

It was funny really, as he was very calm and controlled. He sat in the chair and began colouring the plaque in earnest. My only stipulation was that I got to choose the colours for certain areas of the plaque. I had started the process and wanted to ensure the theme continued.

He was good with that and because he was doing such a good job when he took over I let him choose the colours of different parts. He was certain the colours of the lettering should be rainbow so I gave him the green light and let him run with it. I kept saying “do a good job, not a fast one” in hopes he’s slow down and pay more attention. He’s generally detail oriented though and did a pretty good job, for a 5 year old.

Not too bad I’d say, all things considered. Might not be how I’d finish it but still looks pretty cool.

And so, for someone with not too much to say it seems I’ve said a lot. I’ll likely read it shortly after I publish and wonder what the hell I was thinking. For any drabble I’m sorry. ‘Tis what tis’, I’m out of Ideas.

World Traveller…..ie All over the Map

World Traveller…..ie All over the Map

Now there’s a figure of speech that works for me, “All over the Map”. It’s what best describes my writing style of late, so much so I’m thinking of changing my tagline to “World Traveller”.

My mind wanders. It frequently wonders too but mostly it just wanders, jumping from thought to thought without settling on any one thing. Perhaps it’s like being a kid in a candy store, so many choices that deciding on just one is onerous.

I think of blogging. I think of things in my yard or in my house, tasks, responsibilities. I think of friends, both current and past, and right now I think of my last counselor Elly. She was my favourite.

Not that Gloria was not good, or anything remotely like that, Elly was just more ‘into me’ if that makes any sense. Elly was like the friend I never had. I felt more open with her, more real. And that’s not to say I could tell her my most inner thoughts, my darkest quirks, those things best left unsaid. Those things or thoughts that should never be let out. Things like…….I once ate a mustard, ketchup, and mayo sandwich (and didn’t hate it). Those things one cannot talk about. There may be others too but I keep them all locked up in my mind. Most of those I could talk to Elly about.

Times that make me think of Elly are when I sit on one of my ‘lanais’ (yes, I have 2) and I see some of the quirky yard ornaments, the chachki (tchotchke), another word for useless stuff. We have a number of them surreptitiously placed in the yard. Having these ‘items’ in the yard was something Elly and I talked about a few times.

I was concerned that when we moved to our new place, a gated Strata complex, that the rules would be hard to accept, that we would be too restricted to what we can and cannot do in our yard. Both my wife and I liked the personalization allowed us in having our own house and we thought that might have to change. I suggested to Elly that maybe I’d have to hide a pink flamingo in the shrubbery, just out of sight where we could see it but the strata cops could not. At this point we have a few.

I was/am trying to loosen up a bit and I posted about it in “Some Thoughts….”, I desire to be more adventuresome, outgoing. Ask me how that’s going….. I do have my moments but there is work to do.

Well, enough travelling through time and thought. Perhaps it’s now time to do some real work. I plan to return so keep your seat belts on.

Blog Withdrawal

Blog Withdrawal

I’ve been going through withdrawal lately (always thought it was spelled “withdrawl” until spell check corrected me). I’m not talking the chemical kind of withdraw’a’l, I’m referring to the emotional and intellectual kind. The blog withdrawal kind. I need a fix.

I try to write but my words seem perfunctory. I blather on, spitting words on the screen like a wet-mouthed close-talker. See, here I go again. I feel like I’ve lost my edge. I want it back, if I ever really had it.

I began this blog to talk about my experiences with depression, hence the sub-title “Then, til Now”. While I suspect one never beats depression, nor is ‘cured’ of it, I do think we adapt and it becomes part of who we are. Anyway I digress.

I was out for a walk today and passed through a tunnel on the way. I took a photo and it’s posted as the feature image above. It made me think my life is sort of like that, in a dramatic sort of way. Part of my life was in a tunnel. Over time I came to the exit and saw a future ahead. The meds help that. They assisted in my exit from the tunnel and perhaps they help me still. I guess I won’t know until, or when, I stop taking them.

I will admit one of the reasons I began writing here was to help vent out some the the thoughts I had, to ‘spill my guts’ as it were. A journal was suggested by my then counselor Gloria but given my geekiness I thought an online blog may be appropriate too. I wrote a bit about that in a previous post Ennui, Now there’s a word.

One of my followers on this blog was a lady named Mary. She had created a number of blogs herself, and had lived an amazing life, one filled with blessing and much pain. I miss Mary. I never knew her in the sense one might be acquainted but we chatted via email a few times and she expressed some of the challenges she had experienced in her life. I won’t cover it here but needless to say she lost her husband, the love of her life, and 2 of her sons, both boys to suicide. I think of Mary and wonder what became of her. I’ve found a number of her blogs but few of them have anything current. She frequently used the name “oldsunbird’ in her blogs, My PoetryMy Journey Through Old AgeOldSunBird are a few I’ve found. I’d dearly like to know what’s become of Mary.

Well I think it’s time for me to go. I’ve rambled enough and responsibilities command. In reality it’s taken me 2 days to write this post and even now I’m not sure it’s completely satisfactory (to me). Mind you I don’t know that they ever have. That my be another symptom of my withdrawal.

St’ehcaytion (Staycation…..)

St’ehcaytion (Staycation…..)

No opportunity for a vacation in the near future, perhaps a one day ‘stay’cation is in order. Seeing as it’s the Canada Day holiday here in Canuck land, and 150th no less, perhaps it would best be called a ‘St’eh’cation. This is obviously my inept attempt at some Canadian humour.

Madden, Mason, and Ivy - hooked on electronicsAs our childcare responsibilities have been frequent it seems that the ‘me’ time or ‘our’ time has been somewhat restricted. We have had the g-kids almost every day and in fact we filled in for the closed daycare on both Thur. and Friday. On Friday we even hung out with our g-nephew Mason, he likes to chum with Madden and Ivy.

Saturday was also a day off, sans children,  so I did take the time to catch up on a couple nagging home tasks. Don’t kid yourself I did relax a titch too. So today (Sun) when the opportunity came to leave town I took the opportunity. Unfortunately my wife is sick again so I had to go solo. It was only a quick trip to Salmon Arm to sit in on a private showing of Despicable Me 3 but I thought the road trip might be nice and it may provide me with the time to take a few photos. I did get a couple, maybe if they meet my high standards I’ll post them.

I’m winding up the afternoon with a beer and some lunch at one of my favourite haunts, Brandt’s Pub. It’s a short walk from my house and I like to come here to write. And if I have a bit too much libation I can stagger home. When I think about it I don’t think any of it really improves my writing but it’s a nice excuse to get away, and have a couple beer, and I can kid myself about my blogging.

My New ‘Holy Place’

My New ‘Holy Place’

My mind is blank, or blanker, than normal. My desire to post something appears to be stronger than the actual ability to say something of note. I will push forward though, I want to be in my Holy Place.

As I sit on my backyard patio where the desire to post first struck me I can smell freshly cut hay. Across the street from our house, from our backyard, are fields. Some are planted with hay and many are full of orchards. Some are in the midst of construction, of what I’m not sure.

Occasionally I hear our chimes ring out. One set is of a low and church bell-like gong and the other a tinkle and soft sounding note. Both I like, but perhaps they’d best be represented singly, alone in their sounds of breeze. Unfortunately in the complex in which we live they are not allowed in the front yards. Don’t want to upset the neighbours I guess. Chimes are not the only thing banned from the front. Any kind of gew-gaw (always thought it was ‘geegaw’), lawn ornament, name plate, any signs of personality or individuality are frowned upon.

Not that I’m bitter, cuz I’m not. I understand rules but I know there’s always someone willing to break them or at minimum push boundaries. In this case that’s us, but we do it discretely. All our gnomes, pots, trinkets and misc. stuff are placed in such a manner as to minimize negative attention, mostly. You may have noticed our pink flamingo in the image above the post.

It’s starting to sprinkle now. It has been drizzling on and off for the last few hours, a much needed reprieve from the heat. I had originally thought of walking to the local pub (Brandt’s) to write but the liquid sun and a desire to make use of my yard kept me back.  After-all my yard should be my castle, my new “Holy Place“, and I do like it. Brandt’s just seems to provide me with the ability to free-think a little more. Maybe (probably) the Black and Tan they build for me. Instead I’ll grab an Old Milwaukee from my fridge and pretend.

I do like it here, in the backyard, on our ‘lanai’. It may not sound like it but I do. I wish it were quieter with fewer street sounds. I wish I didn’t see power lines, I wish I had a laptop table so I didn’t have to perch my laptop across my legs LOL. I wish, but mostly I wish this to be my new Holy Place.

Oh, My lil’Buddy

Oh, My lil’Buddy

Oh my lil’Buddy, how my heart aches, for you! You are struggling and we are struggling with you.

Our pain is for my grandson, Madden. He was recently diagnosed with ADHD and was prescribed medication for it. I know nothing about the various drug therapies but of course we all hoped this would be put him well on the way to having a somewhat ‘normal’ life, without the angst and stresses associated with the disease. He showed signs of calmness almost immediately and steadily improved to the point where he was ready for the next step, an increase in his meds. That’s where the train came off the tracks.

While he took his meds easily and without question when it was 1 pill it quickly became a problem when there was 2. The issue wasn’t the swallowing it seemed but more that he just decided he wasn’t going to do it anymore. So, it stopped.

Now most people ask “well, how does he get to decide?”, and they are correct, In a way. When you have a child with a strong will though, as he certainly does, you don’t just easily tell him what to do. If he decides he doesn’t want to take the pill(s) there is little you can do. You can’t really force it down his throat, you can’t hold him and put it in his mouth. You can try to mix with food or drink etc. but due to the slow release nature of this medication you can’t crush or otherwise change the form of the pill. In essence you are stuck. And striking or spanking is not a solution.

This has of course caused, or contributed to, a significant deterioration of his behaviour. Where he was much calmer before and relating to other kids he has now become somewhat aggressive and is frequently bouncing off the walls. His relationship to his parents, to me, and even to his Gram is strained, and his Gram has always been someone who has always been in his court unwaveringly. She now struggles against (what seems to her) to be the giving up of all those around Madden. While we haven’t given up we all have our limits, and mine in particular has been breached.

It has gotten to the point where even at daycare he is becoming unwelcome. Sally, the daycare provider, has also been one of his staunch supporters and even she is reaching her limits. The other day he was given a time-out due to his actions, so he sat there alone while other kids were being taken home. If I had to guess I’d say it was not only embarrassing but perhaps even humiliating, but then I know nothing of a 5 year old’s psyche.

Oh, my lil’buddy! My heart aches.

Little Miss Kim

Little Miss Kim

I’ve moved my butt to the front lanai, yes lanai. It’s mine and I can call it what I want. If it helps me feel like I’m in Hawaii then so be it. Out here I can feel some of the sun. It’s about 3 pm but the sky is rife with filtering clouds so the sunlight is diffuse and the temperature cool, again helping me think of Hawaii (temperature, not sunlight).

I can see my neighbour washing her car. She seems to be the only one out and about at this point, but then I only have a narrow view of nearby homes. It’s very quiet otherwise with only the faint sounds of distant traffic and the odd bird chirping. I’ve yet to plug in my water features so the burbling sounds of fountains are not yet evident. I can see our ‘Miss Kim’ as well, wondering how I could have gone so awry on my last pruning.

I’ll take some self-forgiveness though, I’ve never had one before and up until recently had no idea what it even was (a small lilac) so the specifics of pruning would never have been known. I know now and will endeavour to improve.

There’s lots of plants and shrubs like that here. Many I know or have seen before but most I’ve not yet owned so I can be excused for butchering them. I’ll just chalk it up to learning. The Miss Kim is such an example. Shortly after moving here I could see the shrub had been pruned and was now growing oddly. Using my limited experience I pruned as best I could and now it grows tall, proud, and gangly, with few blossoms. Time to Google my options and try to bring it back into the fold.

Beauties

Another beauty is this, the name escapes me, with wonderful flowers on a climbing vine. It looked dead and I just about yarded it out or cut it back to the ground but fear and common sense made me relent. I guess it wasn’t dead after-all.