Day 914

Ding-dong – the laundryman with the ironing.
Ding-dong – the ever-smiling, podgy little cleaning lady.
Ding-dong – the air-con repair man with a helmet.
Ding-dong – the Fed-ex man with a delivery for the neighbours.
Ding-dong – one of the workmen upstairs requesting a bottle of cold drinking water and so on …

The lull of rotating fan blades. The hazy, lazy sun. The hopeful hint of an on-coming shower. The microscopic layer of fine urban dust on glass table tops. The colourful screw-tops of refrigerated water bottles. Old familiar Hindi film songs playing in the background like long lost friends. Dodgy links with the world-wide-web. The cool marble floors easing the bare soles. Honey like water melons. Heavenly early mangos, semi-yellow, a wee bit raw around the stones. Heads taking respite under thin cotton scarves in multitudes of colours. Loose, airy, light, flowing, feminine garments. Childhood aromas emanating from Mum’s kitchen. Her annoyance with the disobedient modern gadgetry. Dad’s concern. Their everyday household problems of retirement. Saagar’s pictures lining the walls adorned with flowers and silk. Being called by childhood names.

Specks of earth lifted off by droplets hitting parched ground. The magical heady confluence of moisture and earth teleporting my brain to a nearly buried, exotic moment from a long time ago. The awesome dance of the wind with the chime. The pure joy of the breath. The ecstacy of being.

The best things in life are not things.

Day 913

Till date I wonder what it must have been like for Saagar, to be diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and to be on Psychiatric medications. I have read books, watched documentaries and films to gain an understanding of it and I think I have an idea but maybe I have absolutely no clue.

Watching a clip of Paul Dalio, a young man living with Bipolar disorder and a film director brought clarity in 2 and a half minutes.

“When you get diagnosed, you go from experiencing what you’re certain is divine illumination. After sometime in it, you’re thrown into a hospital, you’re pumped full of drugs, you come down 60 pounds overweight, completely disoriented and they tell you, ”No, there was nothing divine. Nothing illuminating. You have just triggered a lifelong genetic illness which will swing you from psychotic highs to suicidal lows and you’ll probably fall into the 1 in 4 statistic unless you take the medication which makes you feel no emotion. If you imagine missing feeling sad, it’s the only thing worse than pain.”
So, it’s very hard for people to comprehend.

After a lifetime of building your identity, your place within humanity, you’re suddenly told that you are a defect of humanity. And to know that you’re not going to be the person you used to be and that you’ll at best be able to get by is … is life shattering. And the only labels you have to choose from are some kind of a disorder, Manic-depressive or Bipolar. So you scrape through every clinical book  trying to look for answers. That’s exactly what I did. Peeling through these books which were these diagnostic, medical texts where I felt like I was under a microscope and someone in a lab coat was judging me.”

Paul Dalio came across a book by Kay Redfield Jamison who is a world authority on Bipolar Disorder by way of having the illness and being a Professor in Psychiatry. The book is called “Touched with Fire”. He went on to write and direct a film by the same name.

Ref:
Paul Dalio:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUnkt7M-GCM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jr7vi4wLJI8
Film Trailer:

Day 912

Everything was fun.

As soon as he could walk with support, leaving home in the buggy for a walk in the evening meant, him pushing the buggy, taking it for a walk. Looking into the mirror, playing hide and seek with himself was fun. Kicking a cotton sheet off him with his frantically moving arms and legs was fun. Wearing big sunglasses and shoes was fun. Playing with toys and words was fun. Crawling, walking, running was fun. Dabbling in different kinds of music was fun. The ‘bandana’ phase was fun. Playing and listening to any kind of percussion was fun.

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Going round and round while sitting in one of my mother’s big cooking pots with a convex bottom was fun. On his second birthday, we found him in the balcony with a pot of yogurt, officiously feeding himself and our dog, Caesar, with alternate spoonfuls of the honeyed white stuff. As he grew older, pulling faces was fun. Smurfs and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was fun. The little toy in the occasional Happy Meal at McDonalds was fun. Z-Ball was fun.

Being back here in my parent’s house brings back heart-warming memories of his childhood. He was such good fun!

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Day 911

“It was 20 years of not thinking about it and two years of chaos.”

He was only 12 when his mother died a traumatic death. He shut down all his emotions for almost 2 decades. He often felt on the verge of punching  someone. He suffered severe anxiety during social engagements. Living in the public eye left him feeling he could be very close to a complete breakdown on numerous occasions.

His response to the tragedy was to stick his head in the sand and refuse to think about it as that was not going to bring her back. It was only going to make him sad.

During those years he took up boxing as he was told that it is a good way of letting out aggression. That certainly helped him a lot as punching someone who had pads on was easier.

He finally sought help after persistent encouragement from his older brother. Since learning to talk about it honestly, he now feels able to put his ‘blood, sweat and tears’ into making a difference for others.

“The experience I have had is that once you start talking about it, you realise that actually you’re part of quite a big club” he said.

He’s now in a good place and will commemorate his mother, Diana, on her 20th anniversary later this year. He is Prince Harry.

Day 910

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Bluebells are the undisputed spring highlight. At their peak, around this time of year, they form an unearthly blue haze through the woodlands. A winding path in the wood passes through swathes of dainty blue flowers. Here, the air is laden with a delicate perfume and birds sing happily in the background. Tall trunks of ancient trees emerge randomly and the light filtering through the canopy gives a different hue to the blue carpet every few minutes.

The perfect way to spend an afternoon with friends, chatting and taking pictures, desperately trying to capture the image of what it feels like to be there, frustratingly aware that it’s impossible.

Half of the world’s population of bluebells are here in the UK.

Bees, hoverflies, butterflies and other insects feed on the nectar of bluebell. Their flowers provide an important early source of nectar. Field of bluebells are intricately woven with fairy enchantments.
The blueness of the bluebells is nearly purple. It reminds me of this poem by Jenny Joseph and my big purple coat.

Warning

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Day 909

Most life assurance providers exclude suicide within first year of the policy.

A benefit scheme run by Utility Warehouse is called Bill Protector. It’s for Utility Warehouse customers, and basically between £2-9 per month added onto your premium. This gives cover for your bills should you lose your income due to illness, injury or redundancy. There is also an accidental death cover.

The illness cover excludes mental health. The basis of this is because it’s ‘hard to prove’. The attitude of the underwriters seems to be that people could go to their GP and simply say ‘I’m depressed’ when they’re not and be signed off work. This is in part due to an industry-wide attempt to combat insurance ‘fraud’.

It is interesting that mental health was covered until July 2016 and then they decided to write it out.

What annoys me most is that this is sold to customers as cover for bills in the event of illness, and then when they call to make a claim, they’re essentially told that their mental health difficulties don’t qualify as an illness – it’s the same old issue of perceptions and attitudes towards mental health. I think if there are going to be any restrictions like this, it should be made abundantly clear.

We as a society treat mental and physical health just the same. Don’t we?

Ref:

Utility Warehouse: www.utilitywarehouse.co.uk
Bill Protector:  https://www.utilitywarehouse.co.uk/services/billprotector
Key Facts: https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/pdf.utilitywarehouse.co.uk/Bill%20Protector_KeyFacts_1July2016.pdf

 

Day 908

This is like really hard to like think of like what to write. Some days like I suppose are like that. It’s like totally crazy. Sometimes I wish I was like doing a juice cleanse or doing like some other hippie stuff, like eating kale chips or listening to like Hare Krishna music on a vinyl.

I could like go to Starbucks to get like some inspiration but like I am so upset because like the supermarket ran out of avocados and like my nail lady didn’t have turquoise polish. The coffee at Starbucks is like fake and they like don’t pay tax. So, that’s like totally bad for the whales. I, like don’t want to be like a part of this whole corporate thing.

My therapist has been like super-useful in helping me like think about important things like this. I have decided to become like a pesce-pescetarian. I will only eat fish like that eat other fish. That’s like Buddhism or something. I think that’ll be like good for the planet.

Maybe I could like travel to like help poor people in Papua New Guinea. I don’t think like, they know much about coffee like or Mocha Frappuccino. I could maybe like be useful?