Wednesday 14 March 2018

I made rice for tea last night and it was accidently delicious. Obviously I am always trying to make something that is tasty, but given the children’s varying levels of pickiness it generally doesn’t feel like I achieve that – the rice last night was truly a surprise. Soren ate two bowls, Nicholai added some chilli sauce and said it was good, and Emma “I-don’t-like-rice” ate a whole one and conceded (with a rather shocked look on her face) that she liked it. Admittedly Jericho’s comment was “it would be better without vegetables”, but hey, I’ll take it.

Soren didn’t feel great tonight. He spent a long time this afternoon jumping on the trampoline with Jericho and maybe that was too much for him? Either way he cried about feeling “light headed and kind of sickish” before (and after) he went to bed. So I’ve made another doctor appointment for him, although it isn’t for twelve days since that was the earliest I could get him in, and maybe we’ll figure something out.

I went and did my blood test for my thyroid levels this morning, so I actually made two consecutive appointments so that I can deal with Soren and that at the same time. I’m such a model of efficiency.



Tuesday 13th March 2018

It’s just the kids and I tonight. At the moment we’re listening to a daily mix of instrumental music that Spotify has offered me while Jericho and Soren are tucked under blankets and reading on the couch. It’s so peaceful that me typing is actually the most irritating noise in the room.

Reading has actually been a point of discussion in our house lately. Jericho was tasked with doing a book report this term- he had to choose a book he’d never read, read it and then design a t-shirt that relates to the book, as well as write a report. And despite the fact that I would have said all my kids were readers, he found it difficult. The idea of choosing a book that he hadn’t read was absolutely anxiety inducing for the child- we seriously had tears and shouting and drama over the idea of it. In the end I went into the library and found three books that met the criteria of being something he hadn’t read and that he could write a book report on, and were books that I thought he would like.

(For the record, I gave him Contest by Matthew Reilly, Space Demons by Gillian Rubinstein, and Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden. He chose Contest.)

But even with only three choices in front of him Jericho was nearly distraught. Will I like it? Do you think I’ll like it? Are you sure I’ll like it? What if I don’t like it? What if I don’t read it in time? Do you REALLY think I’ll like it? He had to be told that he COULD read it in time, that he HAD to pick one of the three, that if he really didn’t like it he could stop…in the end I half yelled at him that there was no sinister plots on my end to make him read a book he wouldn’t like – I was as close to 100% sure as I could be that we’d picked books he would like! You’re a smart kid and a good reader, just pick one and sit down and READ!

Now I do realise that this whole debacle was more a result of Jericho’s anxiety than any problem he has with reading (and to be honest, his anxiety is a beast that we are so far from having conquered I sometimes wonder where it’s going to end) but it really made me think about how and what the kids are reading.

If you asked me, I would say that I am absolutely behind the idea that it doesn’t matter what kids read as long as they read. I really, genuinely believe that. BUT…does there come a point at which you should expect more?

My kids are all excellent readers. They always have been – in any reading or comprehension or English-related testing they’ve always scored above grade level to varying degrees. They’ve always enjoyed reading too- when they were little we always went to the library regularly and read picture books multiple times a day, and as they’ve become independent readers they all read voluntarily; it’s never been a big effort to get them to do their reading. So I am certainly not coming at this whole thing from a place of being unhappy with them, or thinking there’s a huge problem or anything.

My questions really are around Jericho and Soren. Nicholai’s sixteen, reads mostly non-fiction, has started reading fiction again since we moved here and have been going to library regularly again, he’s fine. Emmanuella’s fourteen, reads a variety of fiction and graphic novels, borrows from both the school and town library, also reads stuff from our shelves, not so keen on non-fiction, she’s fine.

Really, now that I’m writing it out, the fact that the older two have turned out fine is probably my answer…Jericho and Soren should just read whatever they want and it should come together in the end.

My concern is only that what they read is so limited that Jericho found the idea of having to read something new to be this monumental task. Basically the two of them mostly reread things. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the Treehouse books, David Walliams books. Jericho reads Naruto graphic novels, which he came to through tv. They both read the Pokemon encyclopaedia a lot. I have no problem with what they read, I just wonder if I should be pushing them harder to branch out? I have always assumed that the kids would move on to reading new things once they were ready, but Jericho isn’t doing that. Is it something that will happen in time, or does he need a push?

I really don’t know. I mean, I realise that none of this is a real problem or anything. I might have a lot of parenting fails, but creating an environment to foster reading in my children is not one of them! The kids see their parents reading daily, we talk about books and reading all the time, there is dedicated time devoted to reading between tea and bed, they have access to school libraries, the town libraries and our home library (which between paper and e-books numbers over 4000 books) so they’re really living in an ideal situation as far as that goes. I’m sure it will work out in the end.

Really, I think this is probably more about managing both my anxiety (since as I typed this is became extremely clear that I am obsessing about something that’s really not even an issue) and managing Jericho’s anxiety, since his fear of anything new or slightly different is actually becoming really problematic. So that’s something to think about I suppose.

Monday 12 March 2018

It was the Labour Day holiday today, so I had Troy and all the kids at home. Benita also came over in the morning with her little entourage, so it actually felt like quite a crowded house for a while there.

The afternoon was super lazy. I think I was tired just from associating with so many small children – I don’t know how Benita does it. Although when I think about it, I DID do that when my children were small, so I don’t know what my excuse is.

I’ve tidied up the last two trees in the backyard, chopping off all the lowest, crooked branches and snipping off all the crazy off shoots. It’s so weird because the trees still look quite normal, but I’ve chopped off enough to fill up the green waste and add several branches to the fire pit. Now we’re down to digging out blackberries, moving stones, planting a couple of ground cover plants, and then mulching everything. By the time we’ve done that it’ll probably be time to start all over again trimming things off and poisoning weeds – I am really trying to embrace the idea that gardening is never ‘done’, but is just a permanent process.

I am feeling a lot better now, after a whole week off the medication. I am still something of an emotional wreck –dealing with a lot of sudden weepiness and unexpected rage – but I kind of expect that it’s going to take a while for me to regulate that without the influence of the meds. I still have periodic dizziness and brain zaps, but it’s manageable.

The one thing that I hadn’t expected and which has been hard to deal with is the increase in my anxiety level. I guess I kind of overlooked that part of my diagnosis and the way the meds were also designed to deal with that as well as the depression. So I’m kind of just trying to work through that at the moment, and I’ll have to see how it goes.


Saturday 10 March 2018

It’s the Begonia Festival today and, just like my parents once took my siblings and me, Troy and I took our children. And just like my siblings and me ruined my parents’ day with our incessant whining, so my children too ruined my day with their incessant whining.

As Benita said…it’s the circle of life.

Really though, it all started off well and we all had fun. The kids did an obstacle course with blind glasses on and those assistive canes, and petted the guide dogs. We looked at market stalls and ate twirly potatoes on sticks and listened to music and admired the flowers. I really just need to pretend we ended it there and didn’t go through the vale of moaning as the children felt they were getting tired and hungry and that we weren’t taking the appropriate steps to remedy the situation. (Even though we were making our way back to the entrance by that point!)

In the end, Troy and I made the kids walk back to the car by themselves while we walked leisurely back by ourselves – it was one of the nicest parts of my day.

The rest of the day was pretty shitty to be honest. It’s hot, and I am completely emotionally unhinged. My inner Rebecca is either sobbing in a heap or running in circles screaming, so on the outside I’m pretty much a mess too. Why am I like this? How can I expect the world to put up with me when I can’t even stand myself?

The Begonia Festival was a beautiful place to take photos though, and although the vast majority of them were rubbish there were some good ones. I really should try and learn to take pictures properly to lessen my sense of disappointment when I check my actual results.

















Friday 9th March 2018

I ended up sleeping on the couch for most of last night, since Troy was snoring like it was on purpose or something. So today I was SO tired, and still dizzy and zappy and horrible- I felt really, really low, it was horrible…lots of tears that didn’t really make me feel any better, lots of paranoia and agitation…blah blah blah, some Ativan helped and hopefully I’ll get a good nights’ sleep tonight. It’s the only thing about such utter exhaustion and misery- it might put me to sleep despite the snoring.

Anyway, while I hope that the sleep study will offer up some insights into Troy’s snoring that might help us stop it, I’ve decided that we have to get a proper mattress to go on the daybed in the study so that if I absolutely can’t sleep in our room I can at least get a proper, comfortable sleep somewhere else. At the moment it has a foam mattress on it that is okay but not brilliant, (and Troy’s parents were actually sleeping on it last night anyway), and sleeping on the couch is just ridiculous in terms of getting enough rest.

Steve and Jean stayed over last night so that they could go to the Garden Show at the primary school this morning. The kids all invited their grandparents to come and see their classrooms and to attend the garden show, which had categories for things like plants/ terrariums/ scarecrows/ birdhouses/ cakes and scones…it was like the Glenthompson Fleece and Floral show but without fleece.

Jericho wanted to enter The Most Horrible Weed category, since we had a fairly massive scotch thistle in our yard that no one had got around to digging it up yet. Troy crow-barred it out of the ground yesterday and Jericho put on his gloves and made some newspaper handles and carried it off to school. It was worth all the trouble, because he won first place, so he was quite pleased with himself.

Soren is fortunately less competitive, and decided he would just take a flower- he picked one of the flowers growing from the bulbs (one of the few that have managed to survive us trampling over them and dragging rocks around) and carried it off to school looking rather angelic, especially in comparison to Jericho’s monstrosity.


Soren and his beautiful flower


Jericho and Weedy Behemoth, which is the name he gave to his weed as he carried it around and threatened siblings with it this morning. 


The juxtaposition really cracks me up.

Thursday 8 March 2018

Still feeling kind of crap, but still getting better. The dizziness and brain zaps are really the only things that are problematic now, but they’re still pretty bad- I don’t want to drive when I’m feeling like this, and sometimes I have to stop what I’m doing and just wait for the vertigo to pass, but it’s workable.

I feel like I did a bit more today though- while I feel like I’m sick I know I’m actually not sick, and so doing things isn’t going to make me feel any worse at this point. So I did a bunch of jobs inside, and went with Troy to Bunnings to buy enough mulch to mulch around the rock pile, and then spread it out.

If I ever wanted to make a rock pile like this again, I think I’d do it slightly differently. I’d arrange the big rocks and the medium rocks the way I wanted them and then use some sugar cane mulch to fill in the big hollows between rocks. I’d add the soil and the plants after that, then mulch all around the base of the rocks and only add the smaller rocks at the end. The way we’ve done it has worked out, but it could have been easier/ more efficient/ more effective.

Troy’s sleep study went okay, or at least they got the information they need. In the info it said they’d wake you up and send you on your way at 6am but Troy was out of there by around 5. So he came home and got back in to bed here, but I don’t think it was the most restful night he’s ever had.

Wednesday 7 March 2018

I feel a little bit like I’m starting to come out the other side of this drug thing now. Today was still hard, but it was better than yesterday. I am still SO dizzy and overly emotional (I cried at Instagram like four times today and it wasn’t even sad!) but at least today I didn’t desperately wish I could run to the medicine cabinet and eat as many of the leftover Effexor pills as it would take to make it all stop. I also felt like I could think a bit more clearly than yesterday, thank goodness. I still feel like I’m sick, like I have a virus or something, but it’s less than it was.

The dizziness and brain zaps are the worst though- I’ll move my eyes and the whole world feels like it’s reeling around me for a second until suddenly I feel like I’m being electrocuted and then it stops.

I know this is all pretty boring – I’m boring myself. But I’m feeling the effects of this pretty much every minute of every day, and it’s hard to look past it.

I also want to write it down so that I remember it, because even though I’m going through all this effort to get med free, there is a realistic possibility that I will have to do it again one day. At least if I write it down I will have a better idea of what to expect next time.

I mean, I hope I don’t have to take it again and I’ve been stable for quite a long time, but given the diagnosis of bipolar the chances that I’m going to live the rest of my life without another episode of severe depression are pretty much non-existent. And while at the moment I want to set fire to Effexor with a blow torch and never allow it to cross my lips again, I can’t deny that it worked for me when nothing else did. The huge benefits of taking it when I was suicidal MORE than outweigh all this misery, and if I get like that again I’ll be straight back down to the chemist.

I sorted through our picture book collection this afternoon, and basically culled it down to two shelves. I have so much trouble getting rid of books. But we don’t have enough shelves for all the books we have, and considering how many shelves we actually have that indicates that there are too many books! So picture books that my kids have pretty much grown out of seemed like a good place to start. I kept everything that was extra-loved or special for some reason (gifts, mine from when I was little), put a few trashed ones in the recycling, and put everything else in boxes. Benita can have a look at it (and there are some good junior non-fiction with lots of pictures that Sullivan would be close to reading now and the other kids will probably get a lot of use of over the next couple of years) and then I’ll take the rest to the op shop.

Troy has his sleep study tonight. He left Yarra Glen early so that he got home in time to take a shower and have a quick dinner, and then left so he could be there by seven. I think he has to fill out paperwork and they get him attached to all electrodes and he just hangs out and goes to bed around 10.30. They’ll wake him up and kick him out around 6am I think- he’s going to be really tired tomorrow after all this.

Emma and I watching Married at First Sight- it’s the most scandalous dinner party ever and we keep shouting at the tv and throwing our hands up in the air over the stupidity and asshole behaviour on show. It’s actually so fun to have Emma to watch with and be outraged with!