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“I did the only thing I knew how to do: I built my own walls of silence to disguise my desperation and what later came to be recognized and diagnosed as depression.”
Sharon E. Rainey, Making a Pearl from the Grit of Life

A strange thing happens when I sit or recline to write. Either I’m eager as a beaver because I feel I have a stunner of an idea, I sit and look at a blank screen and finally something surfaces like a safety line thrown to a drowning person, or I languish forlornly staring at the accusing emptiness and suddenly words will flow and something is on the page. Ideas like bubbles blowing in the breeze wash over me in a magical haze and words appear in front of me.

Amazingly, the latter are the best of all, so I need to tap into my well spring of creativity or, do more prep work because I love writing and love seeing the finished item as I hit that publish button. I was told many months ago that writing for the acclaim of others was a waste of time. If I didn’t like writing for myself it was a lost cause and I should simply stop right then. Incredible as it sounds, that advice was true then and is still true now.

Having said that, it certainly is wonderful having people enjoy what I write and comments are always appreciated because they give me a chance to learn more, about myself and this craft of writing. Yet this is not what I wanted to talk about.

I am a terrible ‘patient’. Terrible doesn’t cover it. Abysmal is closer to it really. I hate the whole illness, can’t do things, must take pills by schedule, do this, do that, everything ordered by someone other than myself. This is not independence. I am, or rather was a fiercely independent person. No – I still am. I haven’t changed, I simply have had to accommodate some changes that irritate but I have to accept as a necessary evil! Temporarily!

For three days I’ve been incredibly emotional after a unpleasant , horrific dream. Even though it turns out the dream is not as bad as it felt, it left me emotional. I hate emotional. It is a loss of control, it is an undermining of the little independence I have left and it leaves me tired, in pain, unimaginably so, and with a burning desire to do something, anything to make me feel, even for a short time that I am ‘normal’ once more.

#Desperate Measures

Ocean Shores 4.30am

Normal, what a stupid word to use. What is normal? Well, for me it is being able to do what I want, when I want without needing any assistance, even that given freely and with love. Independence. It is a heady draught and having it taken away is dis-empowering. Yes, everything revolves around empowering ourselves. Illness removes that empowerment in the cruelest way.

So, after another sleepless night and emotional day before it, I lashed out. I secreted my clothes and sand shoes in the laundry before ‘officially’ going to bed. At 4am I decided my husband was deeply enough asleep I could afford to get up. He is used to me getting up and down during the night now anyway. Quick trip to the bathroom and a little makeup, just in case someone should see me and I crept out to the laundry where a light wouldn’t disturb anyone.

Yes, I sneaked out of the house like a teenager breaking curfew! I even had the forethought to grab a water bottle and my phone. I haven’t walked to the beach where I live and I’ve been here a year. I haven’t sat on the beach and seen the sunrise (at the beach) for a year either. I used to do both regularly when I was alone, independent, before I was engaged or married. I was like a drunken sailor, or a drugged up lunatic, weaving and staggering down this hill. I thought the beach was at the bottom of the road. A kilometre later I reached the sandy access to the beach.

All I could hear was the pounding of the waves. I wished I’d brought my camera but I don’t think I would have made it to the beach if I had. My whole body trembled from the exertion and I staggered down onto the hard sand to sit down. Thankfully seeing someone staggering in the soft sand doesn’t raise eyebrows. I was there and I wasn’t going to be able to move. But I was THERE!

#Desperate Measures

Sunrise at Ocean Shores Beach 5am

I watched the sun rise above the horizon and the clouds.

It was beautiful. It wasn’t hot – I can’t take the heat and the meds had made me burn easily. I could feel the calm wash over me with every wave breaking along the shore line and the rays of the sun peeking over the horizon.  I hadn’t known it was a dog beach. A dog. OMG – how much I want a puppy, a miniature fox terrier and all my own. It’s like an ache, never ending. The dogs began appearing with their owners and I was truly happy when they came over to say hello. To pat them, scratch behind their ears and look into those kindly brown eyes, was blissful. Strange how little it can take.

My photos are grainy – even the lauded iPhone can only do so much. But I will be returning with my camera,and soon. By 7am I was beginning to feel more than a little uncomfortable. Couldn’t move my legs properly and turning around brought a sharp twinge.  A few more canine cuddles and I knew I couldn’t wait, it was time to start the trek UP the hill to get home.  The sun was now a blazing ball in the sky but it was still cool.

#Desperate Measures

Sunrise Ocean Shores 6am

I hit my first hurdle. I couldn’t stand up, couldn’t twist around and couldn’t bend my legs enough to kneel up.  Just a little problem. Soft sand….. I finally managed to flop around like a beached whale until I I got one knee pulled under me enough to lever myself onto hands and knees. Humpf!  This is what emotional independence gets you. Somehow I made it upright only to fall flat on my face – almost, hands and knees again. After my third staggering attempt and fall someone noticed it wasn’t quite normal and offered to help.

Help! I had to acknowledge I needed help to get up that soft sandy dune and she was a nice and concerned lady. So we managed to get to the seat at the edge of the dune so she could stretch after her walk and I could regroup after hiking up the sand dune! I was determined to walk up that darned hill. I stood up and walked to the footpath with my new found friend. My body, not one part of it, wanted any part of moving in a co-ordinated fashion. I staggered like a drunken sailor with palsy until I finally reneged on my independence and accepted a lift to the top of the hill.   So much for being independent.  After showering and changing I’ve been sequestered in bed, complaining body reminding me of my foolhardy outing at every turn. Yet desperate circumstances require desperate measures to be taken.

#Desperate Measures

A mini foxie friend at Ocean Shores

I may have paid for my intemperate haste to be independent, but I have my doggie pics and a few hours of remembering what it felt like to be able to go where I wanted, when I wanted to with impunity. For a while I forgot I was this person with an illness. I was Susan all over again and it felt wonderful. One day, one day soon, I will be that person again… come hell or high water I will be.

Blessings, Susan x

© Susan Jamieson 2014

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This is a true story, only the names have been changed to protect…. the innocent!

Many years ago, our heroine had been, for a relatively brief time, an officer in the Queensland Police Force, back in the days when it was called a “Force” to represent that it was a force against the undesirable element in out society. In the heady rearrangement of brain cells created by the ‘love bug’ she had been persuaded to leave her dream job to marry and eventually start a family.

It was at this juncture that the family relocated to a relatively sleepy country town called Toowoomba, in the Downs area of Queensland. Her husband remained in the police department and she wrestled with motherhood and the boredom of a country town, being known as a policeman’s wife.  In desperation she became a member of the local YMCA gym, eventually becoming something of a gym junkie, there being little else to do in town.

image from whatshotwhatstrendingnow.com –

This was in the days of Jane Fonda’s highly publicized  exercise videos and gym wear. I can attest to the fact that those slinky, shiny g string lycra leotards and form-fitting leggings were extremely comfortable to exercise in! They didn’t look too bad then either.

So here we have the bored housewife at the gym on a cold winter’s morning, music blaring and fully engrossed in the class.  Suddenly there is a cacophony of sound coming from across the spare paddock, near the shopping centre. The alarm from the local bank was blaring away.

As they all gathered at the windows three men, dressed in ‘great coats’, balaclava and carrying what appeared to be heavy bags cam running across the paddock towards the road running past the gym.

Excitement! Bank robbers – fleeing the scene – escaping! Without another thought she ran out of the gym and up the street towards where the robbers had crossed the road. There was a vague, not quite fully formed idea in mind that she would check where they had disappeared into a driveway and let the police know where they had gone. Perhaps she might see the getaway car and let them know that too,

Imagine the scene. A young, relatively scantily clad woman is running up a street, dressed in gym gear, in the middle of a cold Toowoomba winter’s day, after three armed bank robbers. (She didn’t know they were armed at that point). Heading into the driveway they had disappeared along she carefully trotted down the concrete drive to see if she could catch a glimpse of them.

There at the edge of the driveway was a black object. Getting closer she realise it was a sawn off shotgun. Interesting! Very interesting! No sign of the offenders but a car had its engine roaring in the next street and disappearing at a great rate out-of-town. (She peeked, and saw a dark blue Ford heading away – FAST).

Heading back to the gym, after all she wasn’t carrying a phone,

she met a taxi slowly coming up the street so headed towards him.

After telling him what she had seen and where the gun was she asked him to let the police know. She could hear the police channel on the radio so she knew that he could relay the message. Instead she was met with a pair of eyes as round as teacups and a mouth hanging open wide enough to catch blow flies!

She had to repeat the message three times before she saw a glimmer of understanding and by that time the police had arrived and she went through her story with them.  To be fair, apart from grinning at the sight she presented they got the information out to the other  cars.

Getting back to they gym, as odd as it may sound, the gym class resumed as if nothing had happened. Nothing got in the way of the aerobics class!

However, not everyone was able to approach the incident with the insouciance  of our accidental heroine. The gym owner had called the local newspaper to relate the story and they had a reporter waiting in reception to interview ‘their star’! This was disastrous.

Being a police officers wife, it is against all policy to be interviewed by the press, without getting clearance from Headquarters. This of course, failed to even consider how her husband would react when he found out, or the rest of his fellow officers.

Fortunately, the reporter was a ‘good scout’ and hearing the problem, reported the story without identifying the heroine. Except – everyone at the police station had already been given a detailed description of the lady in the ‘sexy leotard’ by the officers she had spoken to. He couldn’t get away from it, neither could she.

The bank robbers were caught a few hours later, thanks to her information. The staff at the police station twitted our erstwhile detective for weeks. It was a boring town, very little exciting happened there! Promises of “Never Again” were extracted and life returned to its previous humdrum pattern.

image from lillieleonardi.com

“Sometimes standing against evil is more important than defeating it. The greatest heroes stand because it is right to do so, not because they believe they will walk away with their lives. Such selfless courage is a victory in itself.”   N.D. Wilson, Dandelion Fire

.

(But I still have the article which appeared in the newspaper to remind me of a little excitement on cold winters morning in Toowoomba!)

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