Saturday, 31 January 2009

How Blogging And Psychotherapy Have Given Me A New Opportunity

As you know I don't look forward to Friday's very much. Friday is psychotherapy day and psychotherapy is hard. I can only speak about the type of psychotherapy that I receive, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and I can assure you that it can be very traumatic at times when looking into your long gone past.

However, I am aware that I am very lucky to be able to receive this sort of psychotherapy, and not on a short-term basis, because it is not that common on the NHS. Even though there have been times when I have needed a whole box of tissues to cope with the tears that have been shed in some of the sessions, I have learnt an incredible amount about myself and why I am the way that I am. I think the the worst of the digging into my past has been done, therefore psychotherapy sessions are a lot less emotional now, although there are still things that are discussed that are likely to lead to tears.

Yesterday's session required just one tissue; the tears were few, but I believe that a lot was achieved. I always have great difficulty in talking at the start of a session. I could probably count on one finger the number of times that I have actually been the first to talk at a session, but I usually manage quite well once I get started. Yesterday was no different to normal and my psychotherapist eventually got things going by commenting that I looked quite sad when he came to collect me from the reception area and wondered why this might be.

I wasn't aware that I looked sad, and I didn't feel particularly sad, for on Thursday I had an email that may well change my life. Well, it may give me the opportunity of doing something that will enable me to change my life. As a result of writing this blog, I have been approached to give a lecture and take part in a seminar entitled "The User's Experience of Therapy" as part of a postgraduate degree in Mental Health and Wellbeing at one of the London universities.

This blog really has changed my life. I have found a means of expressing my thoughts which avoids me having to have a conversation with myself; I have through a casual mention of the blog to my GP become involved in promoting patients' access to their medical records; and now the blog has been responsible for this new opportunity.

I am very nervous about doing this, and I have plenty of time to work myself into a real state of anxiety before it happens at the end of February, but I am also rather looking forward to it, because I believe it is very important that people understand what it is like to receive therapy and how it can do much to help, but how it can also, in the hands of an unsympathetic therapist, cause much damage.

Plenty of food for thought over the next couple of weeks.

Friday, 30 January 2009

A Typical Friday Morning

Yes, it is a typical Friday morning. I woke at about 4.30am and found it impossible to get back to sleep so I have been doing a little bit of knitting and watching a DVD. My stomach was rumbling so I made myself a bacon sandwich. What is it about a bacon sandwich that is so satisfying and makes you feel so much better?

I still need to take my morning medication, but once that is done, all I have to do is finish getting dressed and I will be ready to set off for my psychotherapy session. And when I get back? Well, I'm afraid I am going to have to unpick a couple of rows of my knitting because I have found a mistake. Hopefully, that won't take me too long (no more than an hour or so anyway) and then I can get back to knitting again. I want to get as much of it done this weekend as possible so that I can get it finished.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Almost Back To Where Things Went Wrong

I have persevered with my knitting, although I admit there have been days where I haven't done any when perhaps I should have, and I am now almost back to where things went disastrously wrong. This time I have knitted the Shetland lace shawl on a slightly smaller needle and it seems to look a lot better and because its gauge is a little tighter the pattern seems to be neater and I have had fewer problems with stitches being dropped.

Getting it completed is becoming a bit of a race against time because the baby for whom it is being knitted is due in the next week or so. Even when I have finished the knitting I will still have to block the shawl to enhance its shape and to fix the pattern. Fortunately I invested in a blocking kit last year, which comprises a series of metal rods that allow the shawl to be stretched while it is barely damp so that it takes a nice shape which should remain with it forever.

Once the shawl has been blocked, it will need to be carefully wrapped and packaged ready for dispatch to the USA. Although the baby's parents are both Canadian, they are working at Duke University in North Carolina at present. The shawl won't arrive in time for the birth, but it should be there in plenty of time for the Christening.

Can You Believe The Stupidity Of This?

Sometimes things happen that are almost impossible to believe. This is one of those things.

To have it happen once is stupid, but for it to be repeated illustrates beautifully the old saying "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men". I guess that in this case the rule is definitely being obeyed by a fool!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Has The Muse Vanished?

When I first started writing this blog I was writing at the rate of more than one post a day. I never seemed to have any difficulty finding something to write about, and the words seemed to flow from my fingers without any real effort. Over the last couple of months the post rate has fallen, albeit not much below a rate of one post a day, but it is a reduction nonetheless.

Sometimes I really feel the need to write something, but I have no idea what to write about. Am I suffering some sort of writer's block?

I really hope that this is a temporary phase for writing this blog has been one of the best things that has happened to me for quite a few years. I get a great sense of achievement when I write a really good piece of prose, and while I really write for myself, I also enjoy it enormously when one of my posts strikes a chord with other bloggers and they take the time to write a comment to say how they have enjoyed what I have written or how it has reinforced something that they thought.

At the moment I am not sure where I stand with this particular depressive phase. I know that I am past the worst of it, that occurred a couple of weeks ago and resulted in a trip to my GP, but while I started to feel better mentally as the symptoms from the various infections that I managed to pick up seemed to disappear, suddenly I am feeling worse again, and the effects are quite physical.

I've had a few bad nights for sleep, so last night took some of the medication that I have for occasional use when this gets too bad. It took a while for me to get to sleep, but I managed it eventually and slept pretty well through the night. Unfortunately, I have also slept most of the day too. I did manage to have something to eat in one of my wakeful periods, but that was some considerable time ago, and though I know that I ought to have another meal, I can't be bothered to prepare anything. On top of all this I have a feeling of light-headedness which is most peculiar. And I'm not sure what is causing it.

This is a somewhat disjointed post, and is probably so because of the way that I am feeling. I may not be on top form, but I can recognize coincidences when they occur. I am lucky enough to be able to touch-type, having taken RSA exams in typing, shorthand and various other secretarial-type qualifications when I was at school, although I have never worked in such a job apart from a temporary job for six weeks when I was waiting to join the RAF. I can no longer remember any of the shorthand except "Dear Sir, Thank you for your letter dated" but I worked with computers both while I was in the RAF and afterwards, so the typing skills were pretty well honed over the years. However, I still prefer to draft my essays, and even some of my more insightful posts by hand and then transfer them to the computer later.

Now you may wonder where this is all leading; this is where the coincidences come in. There and Back (who has stopped blogging for a while, but with whom I correspond on a daily basis) and Loopy Kate (in a post today) also write things longhand and then have to type them up, and I have suggested the same thing to both of them: voice-recognition software. So why am I suggesting voice-recognition software to others, yet although I have it myself, do I so often forget to use it and end up hitting the keys literally rather than just figuratively?

I guess that it is just one of life's little mysteries!

Monday, 26 January 2009

Why Does The Postman ...

... always try to deliver parcels when I am not in?  Friday is pretty much the only day of the week that I can guarantee to not be at home when the postman comes, because I am out all morning travelling to and from, and attending my psychotherapy session. So last Friday he tried to deliver two parcels and took them back to the sorting office necessitating me taking a long walk there this morning.

As the crow flies the distance to the sorting office is not too far, but unfortunately to get to it I have to walk three sides of a square because it is the other side of the railway line.  The only good part about the journey is that there is a pedestrian underpass beneath the railway line otherwise I would have to walk a further mile to get to it.

I could have collected the parcels on Saturday morning, but I ended up sleeping most of Saturday morning and by the time that I woke up there was not enough time for me to get dressed and walk to the sorting office before it closed, so this morning I set off armed with the card that the postman left telling me he had taken the parcels back to the sorting office, and a shopping bag, because if I was going that far I might as well get a bit of shopping at Sainsbury's too.

I'm now back home, with my feet up, and about to inspect my parcels.  They contain some craft materials that I ordered last week and one of them contains some materials to try out a new technique for my card making.  I'm quite looking forward to having a go at it to see what I can achieve.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Don't Panic

At some time late yesterday afternoon I lost my Internet connection.  I didn't realize that was what had happened at the time, I thought that there was a problem with the site that I was on at that particular time.  It was when I realized that my email was offline that I knew that the problem was at my end, so to speak. But by that time it was too late in the day for me to start worrying about it; it was something for tomorrow.

I overslept this morning, so ended up rushing around to get out of the house in time to catch the bus to go off to my psychotherapy session and then on the way home I did a little bit of shopping so that I would have some bread to make a sandwich for my lunch. So it wasn't until this afternoon that I could try to determine what the problem was.  I fired up the computer and found that I still didn't have a connection.  The problem with this is that the Internet is my lifeline and without it I lose much of my contact with the outside world.  But I wasn't going to panic.  I just had to hope that it wasn't going to be anything as serious as the problem that I had in the summer when I ended up without an Internet connection for nearly three weeks.

I went to the router and looked at the lights.  Yes, they were on, and then on a closer inspection I realised that the most important one wasn't illuminated.  Okay, I thought; I remembered that when I had a similar problem once before I was told to switch the modem off for a couple of hours and then to switch it back on again and see what happened.  This is what I did.  Then it was time to switch it back on again and wait for the lights to sort themselves out and see what happened.  Disaster!  That most important light wasn't illuminated again.  It looked as though I was going to have to make a phone call to my ISP and ask for help.

But I decided to try one thing before I did that.  I checked all the cables that enter the router to make sure that they were all secure. And the one that connects the phone socket to the router seems to have been just a little bit out of position and when this was jiggled into position, the all important light was illuminated.  Then it was a quick check of the computer and access to the Internet was possible again.  What a relief.  I was connected. Communication was again possible.  But what has puzzled me is how the connection could have been there one minute and not the next and that this seemingly be caused by a slightly misaligned cable input to the router.  How did this misalignment occur and why did I lose the connection at the precise moment that I did?  I suppose this will never be answered, and as I am now able to surf again, I'm not going to worry about it too much.

Having got up to date with the blogs on my blogroll, I had a quick look to see who had been visiting my blog in my absence, and I see that I have had another visitor from India googling "Procrastination is the thief of time".  I really would love to read the essays that are being produced on this subject, just so that I can see whether anybody admits to having visited my blog.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Musings And Strange Searches

I'm still suffering some of the after effects of the myriad infections of last week.  The chest infection is still causing me some problems; every now and again, for no apparent reason, I start coughing and find it difficult to stop.  It's a real chesty cough and occasionally it catches me so much that I end up gasping for air and with stars spinning in front of my eyes.  I'm sure it will eventually get better but it is still draining me of what little energy that I have.  I also seem to have a lot of catarrh and I will be glad to be rid of that too.

I have also been having to sleep quite a bit over the last few days. I expect that is as a result of the infections too.  Most of Tuesday was spent in the arms of Orpheus and I managed to sleep at night too, yesterday was a little better with me only sleeping for most of the morning, and today I slept until about 9am.  I shall have to set my alarm tonight because tomorrow morning I have to get up early for my psychotherapy appointment.

On Monday I went to make the video that was postponed a couple of weeks ago because of the maker's illness.  It was decided that to protect my anonymity in view of the subject matter of the video that my part of the video should be done as a voiceover of my presentation.  It all went fairly smoothly and I am now waiting to receive a copy of it to give my approval for its use.  It should be interesting because with my voice being very husky because of the chest infection it will be almost impossible for anyone who doesn't know me exceptionally well to recognize my voice on the video.

Today is the first time that I have actually felt inclined to update my blog, and prior to writing this post I have spent a little time looking at who has been viewing my blog over the last few days.  It can be very interesting to see what leads people to your blog in the first place.  Depression and psychotherapy are often the search terms entered into Google, but over the last few days there have been a number of searches from one country which have used a completely different search parameter.  For some strange reason there have been a number of searches from India for the search term "Procrastination is the thief of time", something that I wrote a post about a few days ago.  I'm not sure whether it is a school essay or one for university students, but there have been multiple searches.  Unfortunately I don't think that my blog will have helped any of them to write their essays, but it has amused me to have my blog come up in these circumstances.  And I'm not easily amused at the moment.

Monday, 19 January 2009

What A Difference A Week Makes

This time last week I was in the depths of despair.  I was asking myself why I was carrying on living and how would I get through another day, or two.  While I am not actually full of the joys of spring, I have managed to survive the week and feel that life is worth carrying on with.

Depression is a terrible illness.  It robs you of rational thought, it makes you question every little thing that is going on around you, and it makes seeing your way through the next hour an ordeal that you really don't know how you will survive.  I still don't feel happy (it makes me wonder whether happiness is actually a normal state or one that is fleeting and should be savoured for every minute that it endures), but neither am I so sad that just being alive is agonising.

When you are severely depressed, as I was last week, doctor's always ask if there is a reason why you feel the way that you do. Sometimes it is easy to pick out something that has caused you to fall into the abyss. Often it is the anniversary of a loved one's passing, or another birthday spent alone, but sometimes there is no specific thing that can be identified as the cause of the fall into the despairing state.  

Last week I could not give a reason for feeling the way that I did. Looking back, I still have no idea why I suddenly found life so unbearable.  Perhaps it was just a continuation of the loneliness of Christmas that finally came to a head; I'm not sure and I am not willing to concentrate on finding a reason because today I feel so much better.  

Perhaps the more important question is not what caused me to feel so low, but what is it that is making me feel better.  Strange as it may seem, I think the reason that I am now feeling more positive than I did last Monday is because I have been ill.  Not mentally ill, but physically ill.  The throat, ear, and chest infections took so much out of me and made me feel so poorly, that I found that it took all my strength and mind to concentrate on taking the tablets at the right time, ensuring that I had plenty to drink, and that I had food at the right time to fit in with the constraints of the medication (to be taken one hour before a meal or on an empty stomach).  

Perhaps it was having to cope with the physical illness that meant that I did not think about how I felt mentally.  And not thinking about my mental state meant that my depression had nothing to feed on. Whatever the answer is, I do not intend to ponder on it. One thing that I have learnt over the last 10 years is that you have to make the most of the better times, because you do not know what is just around the corner.  Life is still full of bad days and worse days, but sometimes the bad days are not as bad as you think.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Starting From Scratch

A couple of months ago I started to knit a beautiful Shetland lace shawl and I wrote several posts about the trouble that I was having with the pattern.  I kept making mistakes and then not being able to correct them so each time I was having to unpick the knitting and start again.  I put it aside for a while and started knitting other things in the hope that when I went back to it I would have more luck.  

Fortunately, when I went back to it again I was more successful and I managed to complete the centre section of the shawl with its traditional rosebud pattern.   After this was completed I had to pick up stitches along the four sides of the centre panel and then start knitting the delicate lace borders.  All of this was before Christmas and I carried on knitting with the rounds gradually increasing in the number of stitches that they contained as I progressed.  Some time between Christmas and New Year I made a mistake which led to a stitch being dropped and it travelling down several rows.  Normally, this would not cause me a problem to pick up and work back to make the pattern correct, but because this is such a lacy pattern and no two rows are the same, I wasn't able to correct the mistake without unpicking the knitting stitch by stitch back to where I had managed to catch the dropped stitch.  I started the laborious task of the unpicking and then I had the terrible drop in my mood which hit rock bottom last weekend and knitting (although in this case perhaps unknitting would be a better description of what was happening) was not something that I could contemplate.

This afternoon I decided that I would go back to the shawl and try to sort out the mistake.  It didn't work.  As I was unpicking the shawl one stitch at a time, although with the combination of stitches knitted together and extra stitches created as part of the pattern, unpicking stitch by stitch is a bit of a misnomer.  I was progressing well until I dropped more stitches, and this time there was nothing that I could do but pull the needle out of the knitting and unpick the lot.

So this afternoon I have started to knit the shawl all over again.  I guess that it shows how much I care for the person who I am knitting this for that I have not given up and decided not to bother.  This time I am going to be careful; this time I hope that there are no irrecoverable errors.  And when it is finished, I will post a picture of it here so that you know that I have not been beaten by some needles and some wool. 

Following The Doctor's Orders

I've been very good and followed my doctor's instructions.  I spent much of Friday and most of Saturday in bed, I've taken the medication as prescribed, I've spent a lot of the time asleep, and today I am feeling a lot better.

It no longer feels as though I have golf balls in my throat and the cotton wool seems to have been taken out of my ears although there is some slight fuzziness in my hearing.  The worst aspects of the cold seem to have disappeared for I no longer need to blow my nose every few minutes, but I have a cough which seems to explode from me every now and again and which has the ability to cause me to see stars and to become giddy and at risk of falling over if I am standing up.

This morning I have been out for a short walk to the local newsagent.  Fortunately the wind has died down a little from that of last night and early this morning, and while it is not overly cold I did make sure that I was well wrapped up.  I wasn't out for long, but this little bit of exercise has tired me out indicating how weak I have become over the last few days.  I am sure that I will soon start to feel more normal again and that there will be no lasting ill-effects from these infections, but they have made me realise just how difficult it is being ill when you live on your own and have no family near by.

So the rest of today is going to be spent taking care of myself and trying to ensure that I am as fit as possible for tomorrow because I have an appointment with a video camera tomorrow afternoon and it won't look too good on the video if I am coughing and spluttering my way through my presentation.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Bed Rest And Penicillin

I really appreciate the kindness and thoughts of Alison, The Dotteral, and cb who have all commented on my post of yesterday about how I hate having a cold. I can usually cope reasonably well with such things but I seem to have been knocked for six this time, so much so that I just had to go to see my GP this morning. And it seems that it was just as well that I did, for what I thought was just a simple cold is not so simple after all.

I knew by yesterday evening that I was getting worse, so I went to my surgery's website and booked an appointment with my GP. When I went in to see him, I think he thought it was because I was still feeling very low with depression as he had told me on Monday that if I was still feeling bad on Friday I was to come back to see him. But when I told him about the golf balls in my throat and the cotton wool in my ears he realised that I was there about quite a different matter.

He looked at my throat, peered into my ears, then listened to my chest, and the diagnosis is a host of infections. The throat and ear infections are almost certainly linked and are viral, however, the chest infection and bronchitis seem to be something separate and almost certainly bacterial so it is a course of penicillin for that. There were also instructions to go home, not to go out for at least 48 hours, to take paracetamol every 4 hours for the fever, and that it would be better if I went to bed so that I could keep warm and sleep whenever I felt like it.

So, when I left the surgery I went to the chemist to get the prescription dealt with, to the corner shop to get some more tissues and some sweets to suck to help with the soreness in my throat (I don't think that you can beat a boiled sweet for helping in these circumstances) and then home to get back into bed. I am armed with my laptop so that I can keep in touch with the world, the box of tissues, plenty of drinks and a couple of books, and I will rest as I have been told to and only get up for calls of nature and to get myself the occasional sustenance.

That is the biggest problem with being on my own. There is no-one to look after me and to take care of my needs when I am ill. So I will just have to hope that the antibiotics take care of what will probably be the worst of the infections and that bed rest, a warm environment, and time will take care of the rest. I'm feeling so ill that I don't even have the energy to be depressed about it all.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

I Hate Having A Cold

I have a real humdinger of a cold at the moment.  My throat feels as though it has two golf balls stuck down it, my nose is sore and so blocked that I am now having problems breathing, my ears feel full of cotton wool, and my sinuses are causing me so much pain that I could cry.  And on top of all that I keep going hot and cold.

I have been a bit unfortunate over the last few months and seem to have one cold after another, but without any doubt this is the worst one yet.  I seem to need to cough every few minutes, but there isn't anything to cough over.  The result is that I feel as though I am trying to squeeze my lungs up through the tiny space left between the golf balls in my throat.

Somewhat unsurprisingly I am feeling pretty low and rather sorry for myself. 

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

A Cold And A Presentation

I woke this morning and thought that I had escaped the worst ravages of a cold, but late this afternoon I found out that I hadn't. I now have one clear nostril and one that's blocked, so I can at least breathe, my ears feel like they are completely bunged up and I have severe pain in my sinuses.  I think that I am going to have a really good cold with lots of nasty additional features by tomorrow.

But I'm a woman, and notwithstanding how I was feeling this afternoon, I have been out and given another presentation of the computer system that allows patients to see their medical records. It was to a small audience but they were a fairly influential group of people and it is probable that we will be asked to give a presentation to an even more important group of people in the not too distant future.  I was really nervous again before the presentation, but once I got going it was easy.

I'm still feeling very low, but having the presentation to focus on has helped me get through today without too much of a problem. With the presentation out of the way, and a late dinner eaten, I am going to get myself ready for bed and watch a little television before I try to find a comfortable position that allows me to be able to breathe and to get to sleep.  I don't think that will turn out to be very easy.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Sore Throat, Runny Nose - It Must Be A Cold

As if I didn't have enough to contend with at the moment, yesterday afternoon I started to develop a sore throat and a tingling feeling in my nose, and this morning it has developed into a full-blown, feels-like-sandpaper throat, and the tingling feeling in my nose is developing into a running-for-England cold.

I ought to go to the library to avoid distractions while I am working on my TMAs, but feeling as I do, I think it is probably better to work at home.  I need to get as much done today as I can, because tomorrow I am off to give a presentation to an important committee.  My recently-retired GP 'B' and I have 15 minutes to make our presentation and then its time for a debate.  I'm not sure whether this is really going to be a debate, or whether it is a question and answer session.  Whichever it is the committee that we are going to see has a lot of quite important medical people as members.  I hope that it isn't too scary.

Monday, 12 January 2009

A Visit To The Doctor

After the horrendous weekend I decided that the best thing that I could do would be to see my GP if I could get an appointment.  I managed to, so this morning I have had a long chat with him about how I am feeling and what has been going on in my mind.

He was pleased that I had made an appointment and not just tried to get through this on my own.  Having spoken with him, I am now feeling a little better, although I am still very fragile and the smallest thing can start me crying again.

I have come back from the surgery, made myself some lunch, and I am now going to lie down with a book.  If I fall asleep for a little while, that will be fine, but if I don't, it won't matter.  

Sunday, 11 January 2009

A Dark Place

I have just spent the last couple of days in a very dark place.  It has not been a comfortable experience and it is not over yet. Much of the last 36 hours has been spent sleeping, yet even here I am not safe.  I needed the sleep, having slept very badly for the last couple of weeks, but I did not need the nightmares, and the strange noises that woke me at regular intervals.

I don't want to hear the doorbell ringing at 3 in the morning, or a dog barking beside me when I don't have a dog.  Nor do I want to hear the sound of my husband dying and not be able to do anything about it.  All of these things have happened in the last 24 hours, and none of them were real.  They were all in my mind.

Being in such a dark place is not where I want to be, but getting out of it is not easy.  Today I will try to focus my mind on writing an essay.  It will not be easy, I know, but only by focusing on one thing at a time can I hope to avoid the dark thoughts invading my mind all the time.  

Friday, 9 January 2009

Paying For It

I'm paying for having had a good day yesterday.

I've had no sleep, I feel very low, really depressed, and I've spent much of the night crying. Perhaps it's as well that I have psychotherapy today because maybe that will help.  I certainly hope so because I really do not like feeling like this.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

I've Had A Pretty Good Day

Today has been the best day I've had for quite a long time. I got up this morning, knowing that I probably wasn't going to be doing any work on my TMAs, but I didn't care. I was going out to have lunch with Mr Smiley and I would be having my first real conversation of the year. I have been avoiding going out over the last week because it was so cold, so I have been on my own and I haven't quite got to the stage of having a conversation with myself, although sometimes I am tempted. I think that blogging helps, because writing posts, and commenting on other blogs is like having conversations. At least that is what I tell myself.

Anyway, I left the house and walked up the road to catch a bus. Unfortunately just before I got to the top of the road, a bus stopped and then set off again before I could get to the bus stop. Still, it wasn't too much of a problem because buses on the particular route that I wanted run about every 10 minutes, and it was nowhere near as cold today as it has been this week. So after sitting at the bus stop for about 10 minutes a bus arrived and I was on my way to Trafalgar Square. I arrived in plenty of time for my lunch date, but I had intended to because I wanted to have a look in Waterstone's. I had a Waterstone's gift card for Christmas and I was going to see if there was something that I really wanted. I gave up in the end because I couldn't make up my mind.

So, I took a walk to the pub where Mr Smiley and I were going to meet and found a table where I could wait for him. We had an excellent lunch and a good chat. Even though we communicate almost daily by email, it is so much better to be able to talk face to face. We had an excellent pasta dish served with garlic bread, and we were both naughty because we decided to have a pudding. Chocolate cake with ice cream for me, and sticky toffee pudding with ice cream for Mr Smiley. We finished off with a coffee, and more conversation. Then it was time for us to go our separate ways.

I didn't have to wait too long for my bus home, and after the usual slow journey to travel what is actually a relatively short distance in miles, I arrived home. I switched on the computer to check for emails and to see who had been blogging and found an email from Lily at The Student Doctor Diaries. After I had written the post about possibly doing some posts on 'How to Knit' she had got in touch with me and we had been corresponding about what would be the best thing for her to knit. Well, she has found a pattern, and she was going to buy some wool today after doing her exam, so I was going to give her some hints and tips, and see if there was anything in the pattern that she would find too difficult. So I dealt with that, and now I am having a restful evening before going to bed to read for a while before trying to get to sleep.

Tomorrow is psychotherapy day so I probably won't sleep too well tonight. It's not a conscious thing, I try not to think about it, but I seem to start getting anxious on a Thursday afternoon, and this means that I don't sleep properly on a Thursday night. Let's hope I don't have a problem tonight.

The Thief Got More Than He Should Have Done

I have to admit that I wasn't entirely successful yesterday, and that old thief Procrastination did rather well as a result.  However, all was not lost, because I did manage to download a lot of my course resources onto my new netbook (my Christmas present to myself) and this means that when I go to the library to do some serious studying, or when I go away anywhere, I have all the materials that I need to continue studying and they are all on a computer that will fit into my handbag.  Admittedly, it will have to be one of my larger handbags, but a handbag nonetheless.

Some work on the TMAs did get completed so I am nearer completing one of them, and I have an extension for another, which is good because although I have done much of the work for that TMA, I do still have a long essay to write and as it is a Science Course it is more complex to write than an essay for a Humanities Course.  So it is going to be a busy weekend as I try to get everything back on track again.

Today, I am having a trip out.  I'm meeting my friend Mr Smiley for lunch; we haven't seen each other for ages as our last three arranged meetings have had to be cancelled owing to illness or changed working priorities.  It will be nice to see him again and catch up on the news about his lovely grand-daughters.  And lunch will probably be quite nice too.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Procrastination - The Thief Of Time

It's a well known saying, and if you read any blog by someone who is studying, procrastination is a word that occurs frequently.  I have had a bad night where I haven't managed to get much sleep. That's a bit strange as the thing that I expected to cause me sleep problems was cancelled and I should have slept quite well.  

As the making of the video has been cancelled it means that I can now spend the day working on my TMAs, something that I should have been doing for the last couple of weeks but I have managed to find reasons for not doing as much work as I should have, although to be honest depression has made concentrating on anything more complicated than a Ladybird book somewhat difficult.

So this morning I must get down to it and try to finish off a 600-word essay about the Dalai Lama.  Then it's on to another essay, this time relating to two poems.  If I knuckle down to it, it should be well within my capabilities, but that thief Procrastination comes sneaking up and distracts me.  I have decided that today I am not going to let it influence me too much, so I shall close down my browser so that I don't get lured into reading blogs, shall get my books and notes, sit down with a drink (diet Coke) and pull these essays into shape.

I am determined that Procrastination will not win today.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Cancelled - Due To Illness

After having spent yesterday preparing the PowerPoint slides I have had an email from the person who is organizing the video to say that it has to be cancelled due to him being ill.  So I don't have to worry about not sleeping tonight because of anxiety, and no huge butterflies tomorrow.  The only problem is that I will have to go through it all again at a future date, but at least the PowerPoint is already prepared.

So thanks to Lily for the good wishes, it was kind of you, and I hope all goes well for your exam on Thursday.

Twelfth Night

Today is the twelfth day of Christmas; so my true love would have given me the last of the strange presents in that song.  I don't have a true love and my presents were a little more sparse, but being Twelfth Night, it does mean that the Christmas decorations should be put away for another year, otherwise you will have bad luck.  I didn't put up any decorations this year, but then I didn't put them up last year, or the year before that.  They were put away on New Year's Eve 2005 and haven't seen the light of day since.

For those in the Orthodox Church, today is the day that they celebrate Christ's birth.  It is Epiphany, the time when the Wise Men were supposed to have found the Christ child and given Him their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

So for some today marks the end of the Christmas season, while for others it marks the highpoint of their celebration.

I'm feeling a little better today, better than I have for several weeks.  In part, this is because I managed to have a fairly good night's sleep, and that always seems to make a difference.  And partly it is because I managed to finish putting my presentation together for the video that I will be part of tomorrow.  I had lots of problems gathering the screen shots that I required, but I managed to overcome my frustrations and get on with making the PowerPoint slides in between problems.  By 5pm yesterday I had finished preparing the slides and had put together quite a reasonable slide show.

While it is not the best presentation that I have ever put together, it is the first one that I have done for a number of years, and I did it all myself.  Now all I have to do is stand up and give the presentation.  I'm not sure what my anxiety level will be like tomorrow morning, but I am pretty sure the butterflies will be huge by lunchtime.  I'll be glad when tomorrow is over.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Something New

This week I am going to be doing something that I have never done before; I am going to be taking part in a video to show the benefits of the computer system that I demonstrated to some GPs a couple of months ago.  It is going to be a bit of a trial for me as I am not sure how I will stand up to something like this.

So today is going to be spent getting my presentation ready, and planning what it is that I am going to say.  This is not how I had planned to spend the day because I still need to get my TMAs written.  But I think that this is important so I am willing to spend some time on it.  I shall email my tutors today and explain that I am running a bit behind and ask for an extension on submitting the TMAs.

I am still feeling low with depression, but I have made the decision that I will do the best that I can over the next week to get as much done as possible.  I will get the essays written and the assignments typed up and sent off.  It may not be the best work that I have ever done, but it will be the best that I can do in the circumstances. Hopefully, by this time next week, I will have completed all three TMAs and made the video.  I think that can be classed as a week's work; we'll just have to see how it all turns out.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

The One With Glasses And The One With Short, Fat, Hairy Legs

Trying to find things to improve my mood has meant that I have spent much of today looking at favourite DVDs or things that I have recorded over the last week or so.  One of the things that I recorded was the programme on BBC1 last night hosted by Paul Merton.  In this programme Merton looked at what made Morecambe and Wise such comedic geniuses, and it included input from present-day comedians, as well as those who appeared with Eric and Ernie in their highly regarded Christmas shows, and Eddie Braben, the man who wrote the scripts for their finest shows.

I was feeling very sorry for myself this morning when I woke.  I didn't have much energy or enthusiasm, and getting out of bed was going to require a great deal of willpower.  I made some breakfast and sat down to watch the aforementioned programme.  While much of the one hour of the programme's duration was wasted in idle chatter, the excerpts of Eric and Ernie that were shown were some of their finest.  And best of all as far as I was concerned, they showed some of the session with Andre Previn, which I consider to have been their finest perfomance ever, starting with the wordplay on the name Privett/Preview/Previn and then on to Grieg's Piano Concerto being played as only Eric Morecambe could.

For a short period of time this morning, I was laughing out loud. The sheer joy of watching these two men perform together as only they could meant that for a period this morning, depression seemed far away.  I'm still not feeling on top of the world, but just sitting here thinking about Eric and Ernie has helped to keep me going today.

We are so lucky that many of their finest performances are still in the archives and that these archives can be raided every now and again to allow us another laugh or two. 

Friday, 2 January 2009

Lacking In Energy And Enthusiasm

I haven't enjoyed today very much.  I'm not sure why I am feeling the way that I do, but today has been one of those days where it has been difficult to get out of bed, and difficult to summon up the enthusiasm to do anything that could be considered as either useful or meaningful.

The most energetic thing that I have done is to have a look at blogs on my blogroll and moderate the one comment that I have received to my post of yesterday.  And as I was reading the comment I was struck by the fact that The Witch Doctor was the first person to comment on my blog, and has been the first to comment on it in 2009.  Thank you Witch Doctor for taking the time to comment, both when the blog began, and on such a poor post from yesterday, and thank you for the hope that the tide will turn for me in 2009.  I really do appreciate it.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Best Wishes For 2009

Okay, so it's 2009.  Why do we make such a big fuss about a new year?  After all, today was just tomorrow yesterday.

I don't feel any different to how I did in 2008; I'm still alone, I'm still depressed, and I'm still wondering why I bother to carry on.  

But it doesn't stop me wishing everyone a Happy New Year and hoping that 2009 turns out to be a good one for you.