#CHASINGTRIUMPHS

This old dog learns new tricks

What a triumph! I actually took part in a social activity. The Animal Anti-Cruelty League charity had a 4km fun walk; the fun part being we actually walked the rescued dogs. I joined a lift club/convoy with some ladies from work for the 80km round trip. I’ve never socialized with people from work. I’ve been invited but always say no. So once we got to the venue and I got out the car, one of the ladies exclaimed – Pieces! You’re the last person I expected to see here. She was thrilled I had joined in and kept telling me how happy was to see me there.

I asked for a fat, lazy dog to walk because I didn’t want to pull or strain my back. Well, Pebbles wasn’t fat or lazy… just old and we had a steady stroll along the marked trail winding through the farmlands, with plenty of watering troughs for the dogs. Out in nature, walking a dog, life really doesn’t get any better!

Pebbles wasn’t interested in leading the pack

Pebbles and I enjoy the scenery

 

His and hers

His and hers. Hers and his. Mine is on the right – coffee with cold milk, white sugar and in true OCD form, a neatly wrapped sugar packet with a neat twist. His is on the right – coffee with hot milk, brown sugar and a laid back scrunching of the packet. Two different people,with different experiences, different perspectives and different interests, finding a common appreciation of one another. Him and her. Her and him. Together, enjoying an early autumn dinner out. If only all of life could be as simple as this observation of a moment in time. But that moment was mine and so I am happy.

Aloe, ‘aloe

I did it! I left the house and went on a mild adventure. Granted I wasn’t alone. It was with V, but I’m not going to get technical about it. The main thing is I FINALLY ventured out the house! We drove to a small beach town close to home. So take a ride with me, there’s a sea view, the splendor of aloes, a railway line, a bicycle and more. Enjoy!

 

 

Sciatica, surgery, sanity

The sciatica pain became unbearable. It was driving me to the brink of insanity. Bearing in mind I only needed a nudge to get me there anyway. Even the prescription painkillers were no longer working. So after 5 months of unrelenting pain, I had to accept I had no control over this situation. I had done everything right – physio, chiro, pain management. But it kept getting worse. The combination of bipolar meds and pain meds were wreaking havoc with my moods, and the pain meds were beginning to eat into my stomach. So I had to pack my pride and self-sufficiency away and accept surgery as the only option.

All the meds I was taking for the pain

In hospital the MRI scans revealed a rapid and massive degeneration of the herniated disc, so under the knife I went. It came with no surprise that my surgery had complications because hey, I’m a complicated gal. The sciatic nerve plus another nerve were pinched and both were so compacted into the herniated disc that the neurosurgeon could not tell the nerves apart from the disc. He had to call in his boss to assist. Apparently a renown neurosurgeon in South Africa who was due to retire in one months time. I was told I was extremely fortunate to have been under his care because there was a real risk of me being left paralyzed. One false move and all of that. But after a 9 hour surgery that usually takes 2-4 hours, I emerged from the anesthetic intact.

Rehabilitation with a physio for 6 weeks and a hefty dose of grit and determination, had me on my feet, mobile and able to sit for extended periods. What a journey. I was off work for 7 weeks. So much for my new year’s resolution to have less absenteeism. But this was one resolution I was happy to break. Coming so close to not being able to walk again has changed my outlook on life. I have a greater determination to live. To enjoy and appreciate. To be grateful for all that I have. To have fun. I feel so far removed from the desperate depression I was in last year. I feel as if I’ve been given a second chance.

A new year, a new me

I NEVER do new year resolutions.  But I thought I’d break the mould this year.  I devote this entire year to myself in the name of freedom and self-care.  To practice all I have learned in 2016.

 

 

Explore my value system and work on my self-esteem

Explore my value system and work on my self-esteem

Save money and go away for a weekend Which means.... stick to my budget.... so I can save money and go away for a weekend

Save money and go away for a weekend
Which means…. stick to my budget…. so I can save money and go away for a weekend

Work part time at home to subside my income..... so that I can earn more money.... to save more money and go away for a weekend....

Work part time at home to subside my income….. so that I can earn more money…. to save more money and go away for a weekend….

Learn to love my new home as I settle in. Despite the work it needs and however uncomfortable I feel in it right now, it belongs to me and I want to love it. I want to be content and feel at home.

Learn to love my new home as I settle in. Despite the work it needs and however uncomfortable I feel in it right now, it belongs to me and I want to love it. I want to be content and feel at home.

Develop new friendships and avoid heartbreaking entanglements

Develop new friendships and avoid heartbreaking entanglements

Take my medication as directed – no abuse of meds to escape the pain

Take my medication as directed – no abuse of meds to escape the pain

Stop people-pleasing behaviour. They must love me, not the me they want me to be

Stop people-pleasing behaviour. They must love me, not the me they want me to be

Go on day outings over the weekend

Go on day outings over the weekend

-Be a proactive participant in the newly formed bipolar support group comprised of another 4 ladies from the psych hospital
-Take care of my physical health by cooking healthy meals
-Volunteer somewhere
-Read more
-Go swimming on hot days
-Take walks on the beach
-Less absenteeism at work
-Make friends. Keep them. Don’t push them away
-Develop my interest in photography and painting
-Knit something to completion
-Learn to crochet

I’m getting carried away now, when it’s supposed to be baby steps and I’m getting ahead of myself. But hey, isn’t that what self-sabotage is for – setting ourselves up for failure? Well, we’ll see who the failure is at the end of this year.

More than expected

I want to be inspired to live. To be motivated. Find focus. To find the beauty in details, sift through the grunge and pull out a positive. To hear a song that seems to have been written just for me, for where I’m at – whether it’s happy, sad, lonely, angry. To laugh, to smile, to love and to be brave. Big or small, to touch joy and the satisfaction of achievement. Even for only a moment. I want to take stock of my efforts and achievements and revel in the victories. I’m paving my way in an attempt to be joyful and at peace with my life. And here is where I document my travels – every Thursday. Come along for the ride.

When I sat down to write this post, I didn’t really think I had any achievements for this week. But as I downloaded my photo’s I realised, despite the fog of pain and depression, there have been some special moments.

A great storm was brewing

A great storm was brewing

Washing was blown horizontal to the ground by the force of the wind, even blown right off and strewn around the garden.  The disordered mix of of colour and movement was thrilling.  And I was so grateful I have no outside washline.  My laundry was safely hung indoors, safe from the downpour.

Washing was blown horizontal to the ground by the force of the wind, even blown right off and strewn around the garden. The disordered mix of of colour and movement was thrilling. And I was so grateful I have no outside washline. My laundry was safely hung indoors, safe from the downpour.

And down came the rain to wash away the pain (if only).  Again, in a drought, a wonderful gift of nature

And down came the rain to wash away the pain (if only). Again, in a drought, a wonderful gift of nature

As I've mentioned, I splurged and got a small package of 'cable' TV (DSTV).  I get to watch strange shows about extraordinary people

As I’ve mentioned, I splurged and got a small package of ‘cable’ TV (DSTV). I get to watch strange shows about extraordinary people

Glorious!! Halfway through the month and only a smidge of petrol used.  Maybe I can take a drive somewhere nice after payday and take my camera along

Glorious!! Halfway through the month and only a smidge of petrol used. Maybe I can take a drive somewhere nice after payday and take my camera along

This was a real victory – I followed through on a scheduled post.  Just as I'm doing this one!

This was a real victory – I followed through on a scheduled post. Just as I’m doing this one!

 

A simple brown bag and the comforts of home

I want to be inspired to live. To be motivated. Find focus. To find the beauty in details, sift through the grunge and pull out a positive. To hear a song that seems to have been written just for me, for where I’m at – whether it’s happy, sad, lonely, angry. To laugh, to smile, to love and to be brave. Big or small, to touch joy and the satisfaction of achievement. Even for only a moment. I want to take stock of my efforts and achievements and revel in the victories. I’m paving my way in an attempt to be joyful and at peace with my life. And here is where I document my travels – every Thursday. Come along for the ride.

New medication for my sciatica. An exorbitant cost packaged it in a medium sized, pristine brown paper bag. What a treat! I’ve been using a teeny tiny bag as my anxiety/panic attack tool. It’s been huffed and puffed in so much, it almost has holes blown out the bottom. So despite the horrible cost, I did receive a treasured new paper bag to add to my arsenal of coping skills

Brand new panic attack rescue bag

Brand new panic attack rescue bag

I got DSTV (cable). Its a cheap package to suit my pocket and has all I need. Its added a dimension of familiarity and I’m slowly starting to feel like I’m at home, less alone and, more importantly, less depressed.

Finally I have something to watch at night, over weekends and just the familiarity of background noise as I bounce around from project to project.  It's company.

Finally I have something to watch at night, over weekends and just the familiarity of background noise as I bounce around from project to project. It’s company.

Nothing ends the day to day grind quite like a beautiful sunset

sunset

And let’s not forget I’VE GOT INTERNEEEEEEEET!!!

 

New set of wheels

I want to be inspired to live. To be motivated. Find focus. To find the beauty in details, sift through the grunge and pull out a positive. To hear a song that seems to have been written just for me, for where I’m at – whether it’s happy, sad, lonely, angry. To laugh, to smile, to love and to be brave. Big or small, to touch joy and the satisfaction of achievement. Even for only a moment. I want to take stock of my efforts and achievements and revel in the victories. I’m paving my way in an attempt to be joyful and at peace with my life. And here is where I document my travels – every Thursday. Come along for the ride.

I may be paid a poor wage, but the company I work for really looks after their staff in a time of personal crisis. I was touched by my boss’s thoughtfulness in approaching management to motivate the purchase of a kneeling chair for me to help minimise the pain of my sciatica while sitting and working. What a difference its made – supportive in more ways than one!

kneeling-chair

I’m stylin’with my new set of wheels