Marlene Dietrich

Never wanted to, what am I to do, I can’t help it. (Please insert faux German accent).

But I did, I fell in love again with my Husband, sick bags at the ready…

I didn’t even know I’d fallen out of love. Clearly over the last few years I had.  As the years go by you get lazy, emotionally lazy. “I Love you” becomes a slogan like “Have a nice day” or “Do you want fries with that”. (We’ve just booked a late honeymoon to the states, so forgive my rather crude Americanism).

You can forget, take love for granted and absorb it into the landscape of your life.

However just lately my husband’s actions reminded me, in rather a spectacular fashion, why we fell in love in the first place.

We’ve been under attack. I don’t mean that lightly or in a glib fashion. We really have been the victims of extreme prejudice, racism, homophobia and general shittery that has sent me on a downward spiral.

The perpetrator likes to write letters. Lots of letters. Nasty, offensive and threatening.

We know this person. A lot of people know this person and not in a good way. It’s safe to say he must be in a lot of pain and suffering to share it around so generously.

It got to the point on a Saturday morning were I would wake up in fear and dread as to what was going to land through the letterbox. I would visibly shake with anger and fear in anticipation of the next poisonous piece of post. He timed the communication just to ruin our week(end).

This is not good for my health, mentally or physically. I’m due my second brain op in a few months and my blood pressure has been soaring. My Migraines have tripled. That’s three a month and they tend to last two to three days at a time. My life has been painfully interrupted.

Now, under normal circumstances I am a calm and rational person. (Who am I kidding?).  It takes a lot to rile me up and get me to a state where it’s affecting my health.  I don’t know if it was the delivery of the nastiness that tipped me over the edge.  In letter form it enters  your home, your safe place, without your permission. The anger and unpleasantness is pushed into your abode and lies there like a shit packed grenade waiting for you to detonate.

Cue Husband. Enough was enough.

The first thing he does is ban me from reading the letters. He takes away the source of the worry and anxiety.  Then he calls the perpetrator and taking a cue from the assailant, tells him in the most assertive way possible within the boundaries of the law, to fuck off.

Next he calls the police. They are surprised we haven’t contacted them sooner.

Then he calls our lawyer. They are surprised we haven’t contacted them sooner.

He won’t inform me of any of the details. He keeps every single shred of nonsense out of my earshot.

Iv’e had to learn to let go. He’s had to teach me how to let go.

I think I was screaming inside for weeks, but he say’s it was the moment he saw me one Saturday morning, weeping whilst brushing my teeth, that spurred him into action. Go figure.

So he stepped up to the plate. He’s invented a new plate, a giant don’t fuck with me plate that has shielded me from everything.

We don’t court trouble. We love a simple and streamlined life. We’re good people or at least we try. We’ve worked hard to have the life that we have. (Cue Violins). Neither of us are from privileged backgrounds so it’s always been an uphill battle. One we thought we were winning.

And that’s just life isn’t it?

‘Sod’s law’ as they say. Just when you think you are winning  the universe sends you more lessons to learn – those curveball surprises that throw you out of synch and challenge you. I think it always will.

Well I was surprised or rather reminded that I am not alone. That I am incredibly lucky that I have someone who loves me enough to step in when I’m falling down.

I sleep easier, my migraines have settled down. I no longer have tears in my toothpaste (That really should the title of an Adele song).  I’m practising ‘mindfulness’ to the best of my ability and soldiering on.

So I have fallen back in  love with my husband and I will never, ever take that for granted.

Mind you, if he keeps eating my Pringles, it will be all over ..again.

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The absolute joy of not giving a crap.

It’s marvellous isn’t it. Getting older. That’s right, today, right at this minute I’m on the right side of my mid life crisis. I can see the benefits, not one moan, not one gripe shall litter this entry. Negativity is but a distant dream today.

So what’s put such a spring in my step?  15mg of  Mirtazapine.

Now if you had told me I’d be on chemical enhancements a couple of years ago I would have looked down my nose and fluttered my eyelids, the way Madonna does when she’s pissed off in an interview.

But shit got real a few weeks ago. Full on mini meltdown.

I was sitting in a meeting with some clients, they were discussing a new project. I start getting tired and angry for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Eventually all I can hear is “Blah-Blah-Blah”. Then suddenly I hear a voice, remarkably like my own, shout out “WHO GIVES A FLYING FUCK!!”.

Just Awful.

These are good people. I’ve worked with them for so long I can categorise them as friends. Thank goodness. They all burst out laughing but I was horrified. Swearing is one of my favourite hobbies, but never have I ever swore in front of a client.

Afterwards I was having a coffee with the M.D. She was studying me, head cocked, her lips pursed as I struggled to make my lips reach my mug. I was shaking, couldn’t stop. She reached down into her Prada handbag (the one I helped pay for) and produced a bottle of pills. She unscrewed the lid and gently tipped a small white pill into the palm of her hand.

“What’s that?”, I asked.

“Valium”, she said.

She didn’t need to tell me twice. It didn’t even touch the sides.

“You sir”, she said, ‘Are Depressed”.

Was I? I didn’t feel sad.

Except when I thought about life. Or my work or my family, my marriage, the news, the state of the world, cooking dinner or how absolutely fucking tired I was due to the fact I couldn’t sleep for more than three hours at a time.

But apart from that I was absolutely fine.

O.K, so she had read me like the cheap blog I am. She ordered me to go see my Doctor.

I did, but not before consulting my husband. He’s old school, brought up in a tough Jamaican household. They never suffered with depression because they were always high. His words – not mine.

“How many years have I been telling you to chill out and calm the fuck down”.

Because that’s exactly what you need when your’e super stressed, to be told to calm down. I ran to the doctors before I ended up in handcuffs and a spit hood.

My Doctor is awful. That’s not a negative entry, it’s just fact. She doesn’t like the Gays.

My husband came with me to my last appointment and she kept referring to him as my “Friend”.  So I try to explain how Ive been feeling and she’s doing her best attempt at concern, patent Dr frown – check, glazed look of sympathy – check, the odd nod and chin stroke – check. She’s got that shit down to an art form. Then she gave me a form.

“Please fill this in and bring it back”.

Are you feeling suicidal? Do you feel worthless? Do you feel disconnected? etc, etc. Please answer on a scale of one to ten, ten being very likely, one being not at all. I put ten for every answer. I mean you have to do that sometimes, right? Ramp it up just to get heard.

Next thing I know Iv’e got these pills. One to be taken every night.

I’m sorry but there is no other way to say this – Fucking Marvellous.

First night, nothing. Second night, still nothing. This went on for a week. Then on the seventh night I slept like I have never slept before, 14 blissful hours.

I awoke, not unlike Snow White to the sound of chirping birds. I smiled in the morning, I actually fucking smiled. I said good morning to my husband, he looked like he’d just been shot.

I bounded in the shower and I bounded out again, not once did I glance in the mirror. Not once did I analyse my middle aged body for more signs of decay.

The veil of shadow that had suffocated my brain was ripped away and underneath was a shiny, new, happy me.

But was I? Wasn’t I just masking issues? I wasn’t sure, I didn’t have any issues anymore. Something felt phoney, artificial and of course, chemical.

I suggested stopping the medication.  My husband threatened to leave me if I did. He was joking, at least I think he was…anyway, I cut the dose down by half.

Slowly my darker thoughts began creeping back to the party. They snuck in the back door and mingled in the kitchen by the stale humous and half empty Rose bottles.

That’s when I discovered mindfulness.

Two Audio books, Eckhart Tolle – The power of now and Ruby Wax – A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled.  God bless the both of them.

Eckhart freaked me out a bit, he’s a wonderful human being but does sound a bit like a Bond Villain/ Peter Lorre. Ruby on the other hand was an absolute delight, firing off quips like bullets from a well oiled gun. Making me laugh and teaching at the same time.

I got it. Instantly. I understood the concept of neuro-plasticity, of training my brain to be better, happier and decluttered.  I cannot recommend these books highly enough, I think it should be taught in schools. It probably is in more progressive cultures, Sweden, they’re always one step ahead socially, I bet it’s standard practice there. (Although their suicide rates are a worry).

It’s an ongoing process, something I have to practice everyday but the results have been amazing.

Today I reached a milestone, a full week on just a quarter tablet. I’m hoping to be completely chemical free by the end of the month.

Absolutely life changing.

So in truth I do give a crap except now it’s just about the stuff that matters. Love, Life , Art and Staying sane.