Archive for January, 2010

Not hiding under the duvet

Well hello there. Gracious, it’s been a long time. Sorry about that. I have mostly been hiding under my duvet waiting for the world to vanish.

But you didn’t, and neither did I.

I’m told this is a good thing.

I’m also told that the fact I can’t see this is, is because it’s the depression talking.

(And that sentence doesn’t look right but I can’t be bothered to reword it.)

Um, I have lots of news, including a move and my experiences of mental health provision (good and bad), but I think I’ll leave it there since, if I’m honest, I’m starting to feel wobbly again. “Wobbly” is, if you are interested, an Official Description and is joined by others such as Bats and Basket Case, not forgetting the Headshrinkers and Floral Jumpsuits.

Til next time x

Which books?!

I recently ticked off another year and was absolutely thrilled to be given a £25 Amazon voucher by the lovely Jennie, though my pleasure rapidly vanished when I visited the books section of the Amazon website.

I’d forgotten how horrendous it is to browse there! Browsing in a bookshop is a wonderful experience, where you get to touch the books, pick them up, open them to random pages, get a feel for your potential purchase.

Amazon’s great if you know what you want to buy … but to go in open minded is always a bad plan.

So I’ve decided to cheat!

Have any of you got any recommendations?

I like historical fiction (Rome, Greece, early British/European history, colonial America being the usual suspects), fantasy, light-hearted travel anecdotes, and biographies / autobiographies of people who have something interesting or funny to say.

It’s already been suggested that I try the following:

Any other thoughts?!

She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain

And now for something completely different.

Growing up on an isolated Welsh hillside as an only child, I spent hours and hours and hours with my head buried deep in a book, devouring the words, savouring the freedom and escapism that the magical combination of paper and printed words provided. My favourite authors fired my imagination and my physical world readily adapted itself to my demands. Grass became sea, trees became crow’s nests as I sailed the Seven Seas (my reputation was fearsome and bloody. I took no prisoners). I joined the ranks of Robin Hood’s Merry Men and Women in the woods on a neighbour’s land (Marion and I kicked butt). And, of course, the wonderful, scruffy ponies who were my other companions were more than willing to take on new identities (small wonder, since it usually involved galloping at top speed).

I’ve had several conversations over the past few weeks about childhood books, which have stirred up a lot of wonderful memories. I dare say that any attempts to read most of those books now would result in disappointment, but that matters not. At the time, they were wonderful.

Naturally, I became the honorary member of the Famous Five, the Secret Seven, the Adventurous Four and The Five Find-Outers (not forgetting the Adventure Series and the Barney mysteries), and joined in the midnight feasts at both St Clare’s and Malory Towers.

Josephine, Christine and Diana Pullein-Thompson took up a considerable amount of room on my bookshelves, as did Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion series, Patricia Leitch’s Jinny and Shantih books, Pat Smythe (The Three Jays), Ruby Ferguson (Jill) and Judith Berrisford (Jackie), to name but a few. Not forgetting the likes of Monica Dickens and Mary O’Hara, plus a whole host of short stories and annuals, as well as wonderful one-offs such as Coco the Gift Horse, Jerry: the story of an Exmoor pony, Topper, Rosina Copper and Black Beauty.

James Herriot was a firm favourite of mine, though I only read the last books in his series a couple of years ago, and he was joined by a whole host of books and stories about animals in general, though only one author I can currently remember is Dick King-Smith.

As a teen, I discovered my mother’s collection of novels, fact and faction, about the Second World War (my favourites being the POW escape stories) but it only occurs to me now that this was preceded my some of my favourite books in younger years: When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, The Silver Sword, I am David, Fireweed, and Carrie’s War.

Other authors, titles and series that randomly spring to mind as the ones I read and reread the most often are The Hobbit, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Robin Hood, William Tell, the Green Gables books, Rosemary Sutcliff, Roald Dahl, Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island, The Children of the New Forest, Louisa May Alcott (all four, not just Little Women), Malcolm Saville (the Lone Pine books), Kidnapped, The Call of the Wild, The Wind in the Willows, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, The Three Investigators, Goodnight Mister Tom

Hmm, my memory is clearly failing me as that list is far too short! Well, I enjoyed them at the time, even if I can’t remember them now!

(I wasn’t a huge fan of many “classics” and still shudder at the memory of What Katy Did and The Secret Garden. I have never read the Alice books and gave up on fairy tales at a very early age because the girls were all wimps.)

Yup, it’s safe to say that books were my friends as I was growing up – and still are today, though I’ve only read a handful of books in recent months.

I aim to change that and for me, 2010 will be the Year of the Book.

No, honestly, it will. I’m going to join a library and everything. 😀

Picking up the pieces…

Well … I was going to write something witty today but my wits have been buried under several inches of snow, along with a large portion of my sanity, not to mention my anti-chocolate armour (a bar of chocolate is a bar of chocolate, right, no matter how big it is? Right? …)

Where was I?

Oh yes.

The snow.

I no longer like the snow.

Today, I was meant to have an assessment for counselling. Believe me when I say this was a Big Deal. It took a long time to come round to the idea that some sort of professional support was required. Then a bit longer to ring up and make the appointment. Thankfully, it was only a week but a week is a long time when something is looming.

But the appointment gave me something to aim for, a structure. 2pm Wednesday, Wednesday at two o’clock, a mantra, a rhythm, a heart beat.

And then it snowed and all appointments were cancelled.

I have to ring tomorrow to book a new appointment – that is, if they are open.

That’s the problem with pinning your hopes on something, you never know when the goal posts will be moved.

So it’s been a bit of a miserable afternoon for me. All that adrenalin had to go somewhere and it came out as a lot of rather negative bullshit, though, of course, at the time what’s real is what feels real.

A blip, a dip, a bloody great crater.

Use what metaphor you will, I fell good and proper.

But I’m back on my feet now, after several cups of tea and a couple of rounds of toast and honey.

This will not become a moan and groan blog, I will not allow it.

So here’s something to make you all giggle.

I’m currently staying with my friend H and her two kids, L and A.

H and A built a snowman this afternoon (L being far too aloof to engage in such activities with his mum and little sister!).

Spot the difference…

6 January 2010

6 January 2010

2 February 2009

2 February 2009


Edit: on re-reading, it occurs to me that I failed to mention the real reason I got back on my feet (well, on my arse on the sofa) – support from friends. Never underestimate the power of a phone call or a hug. Invaluable.

The private vs the public

It’s the early hours of the morning and after two nights of sleep, my insomnia is back. I would take the dogs for a walk in the snow but I’m now in a built up area, rather than the rural peace and tranquillity of Somerset, so staying in doors seems like the wisest course of action.

And so, some bad TV and the internet.

And over the past hour or so, re-reading the lovely comments some of you have left regarding my last post, not to mention the texts and Facebook messages, I have found myself wondering why I felt the need to blog about the anti-depressants.

And after dismissing several theories, I have decided that my motivation is actually quite simple.

As a child and a teenager, I wanted to keep a diary or a journal, but was never able to keep up the habit. I eventually stopped trying and never really thought about it again until I discovered blogging in my mid-twenties. Here, suddenly, was a medium that appealed to me, and as the days and months passed, I found that I was able to write for other people in a way that I couldn’t write for myself. Even in my early days of blogging, back in the mid-noughties, when days would go by with only a handful of hits, I kept writing. Politics, humour, memes self-analysis, personal anecdotes… it was all there. And I found it a release. Expressing myself became easy, even though I stuck to general issues, rarely posted anything too personal.

That blog has long since died a death. The only record now exists in some back up files on my old laptop, which I can’t get to work.

This blog, by contrast, has been a lot more personal, largely because of the security that comes from its anonymity. Ok, so it’s not completely anonymous, but my real name doesn’t feature!

And what I’m doing is a lot more personal as well, even if everything is up in the air. Growing your own veg, producing your own eggs and pork necessarily forces you to be more in touch with who you are. When you kill a chicken, pluck it, draw out its guts and then cook it and eat it, you get to know who you are.

But writing about it?

I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s something that I’m drawn to. I view my blog as a journal, a record of my life, and to skirt around or ignore the issues and events that most affect me, whether it’s the birth of a new litter of piglets or facing up to the need to take anti-depressants, would cause problems for me. To not be able to blog about certain subjects would render the blog useless as I simply wouldn’t write it at all. (It occurs to me that this explains my absence for most of November and December…)

Now is a time when I need to write, to express myself, to gather my thoughts and put them in some sort of order. And a lifetime of trying demonstrates that I need to do it for other people, whether they read it or not. I don’t know what that says about me, but at this point in time, I really don’t care.

What I don’t know is how open I will be about the specifics. Some of the bloggers whose writings I follow are extremely open about their lives, the good, the bad and the tragic.

I don’t know if I would ever feel comfortable being that open, so bear with me if you don’t understand what I’m talking about, if I refer to things without ever explaining them. I’ve got a bumpy road ahead but in the spirit of keeping faith with those who tell me that I can do this, I am currently determined to weather all storms, to stand firm in the face of adversity … and so on and so forth, til I run out of metaphors and readers!

Remind me, will you? Remind me that optimism and hope, even in the darkest hours of the darkest night, can cast the strongest light into the shadows, that the world is filled with wonder and delight. Remind me what it’s like to hug a friend, to feel the love radiating from my dogs, what it’s like to stand in the snow, to see the sunrise, to sit outside on a hot summer’s day, to sit indoors on a cold winter’s night in front of an open fire, to … well, you get the picture 🙂

Why be ashamed?

For various reasons that I’m not going into here, I have just started taking citalopram, which is an anti-depressant drug, specifically a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. No, I don’t know what that means either, other than the fact that my brain chemistry has gone a bit wonky and cit-a-thingy will poke around, do some jiggling, and will eventually make things right. A happy pill.

This is Day 2 of my cit-a-thingy regime and it takes 2-4 weeks for the drug to start working, though the side effects have already begun. I currently feel nauseous, have a pounding headache, a dry mouth, and even though it’s freezing outside, I’m far too warm, though I don’t have a temperature and am not sick. I was extremely drowsy earlier, which I refused to give in to on the grounds that getting some sleep tonight would be a good plan.

There’s actually quite a long list of potential side effects.

Knowing my luck, I’ll end up experiencing the lot!!

I probably should have gone to the doctor much earlier, but didn’t, and practically had to be dragged kicking and screaming, but even though I physically feel much worse, I know that this will help. At least that’s what everyone is telling me and that’s what I’m choosing to believe.

I’ve got enough for 28 days, and have promised Ally that I’ll try them for at least a fortnight. If I still feel like this, then I’ll use the rest to come off them since I still want to hide under a table and never come out, only it’s now for different reasons!

Erm … hiding under tables?


That wasn’t me.

No really.

Ok, it might have been someone who looked like me…

And it was only the once.

And it wasn’t even a table, but a worktop…

As you know from my previous posts, I’ve been down in Somerset for a week or two. Sadly, it wasn’t really a holiday for anyone, least of all Ally and B who had to contend with a gibbering wreck in their living room over the festive season. Their kids seemed to enjoy it, though!

I finally came back to Wales last night though I haven’t made it as far as the flat, choosing to hide out at another friend’s for the time being.

The guys who own the field I rent have been looking after the pigs for me, which is a situation I’m hoping to resolve ASAP. If you want a Kune Kune for the freezer, do say…

I wasn’t going to mention this whole at all, but the more I thought about it, the more ridiculous that seems. Admittedly, there’s some stuff I’m keeping to myself, but in general, I don’t have a problem with anyone else knowing the basic story. And maybe if more people spoke about feeling this low and the steps they’re taking to address that, maybe more people would be more sympathetic.

Besides, if I’m keeping it all a big secret, how else am I going to moan and groan about the physical side effects of cit-a-thingy?!

That’s all for now, folks. Next time, on Sunshine’s Secret Secrets…

Updating the blogroll

Well, it’s taken me long enough but I have finally got round to amending the blogroll. I’ve ditched the old categories: too many of the blogs I read seem to spill over into every category so one long list will just have to do. You never know, maybe one day, will come up with a more interesting way of letting its users list their links…

The new additions are…