Trials and tribulation of a hoarder

It has been another delightful Autumn day here in the Huon Valley. My dogs and I slept so well. Lights were off late, 23:30 better than I expected. I made a huge effort to get to bed last night.
I have showered today, having been working in the garden moving bark and mulched tree branches. Putting some lovely compost about some plants that flower and grow during our cool temperate winters.

I even spent a bit of time in my kitchen. I became a hoarder in the darkest period of time after my breakdown. My home has had periods of being OK since then. Though most of the time it is really bad especially the kitchen and living areas. I have written about this in another post.

Today I began to clean some of my stove top. It has been so revolting and it really has. I scrapped all the crud off it, and used hot water with some bleach in it. It was layers of stuff. I only did part of it. Yet it really made me feel good. Then ashamed. I felt the somatic symptoms rising. The knowing how revolting it was. How have I allowed it to be like this for so long. The answer is I have been ill.

Some where in my brain, and emotions overwhelmed, anxiety, fear, shame,and lots of guilt. Words from my past about how our home should look like this and everything needed to be perfect, and how cleaning should be done and how I was a filthy disgusting pig echo around my head as I fight myself. I was just not able to cope with it at all just basically caused me to disconnect with the concept of anything about the house.

I can work in the garden as freely and for as long as I want. There were no gardens when I was growing up. My garden is mine. Nothing in my head about how it should be. No somatic issues when I am in my garden. My garden is not a show garden, it is a happy and warm welcoming place. A sanctuary for wildlife, and me. Unlike the house!

The need to look neat clean and tidy always, the house so sparkling that even our bedrooms were meant to be on show at all times. The fights as a teenager ending in beatings and verbal barrages because my room was messy, and why could the door not just be shut! Why did it always have to be open! Who were we out to impress? Perfect house, perfect children. Oh I certainly did not fit that mould. The beatings and the verbal barrages that would come my way small child, teenanger, even as an adult, even when my partner died. Judgements were made on how the house looked and what would people think?

Yet I understand some of the reasons why the house has become what it has. Note it is a house…not a home.

It became a fortress, a safe place to barricade the rest of the world out. I had control of that. Whilst the rest of my life I was loosing control of everything else it seemed. Work, for a period finances, my brain, my emotions, my feelings, everything was slipping out of my control.

So today I cleaned a part of my stove. Their are jars and pots, plates, and cups piled about, There is crap all over the lovely timber floor. I hate it, I see it, and I want it gone. Today I cleaned a part of my stove. It is shiny and sparkling. It makes me smile, and it makes me more sad, and ashamed embarrassed at the rest.

Tomorrow I will wash up. In my sink that has no real spout, just a leaking copper pipe that swooshes out into the sink. (its more than many people have). I can not have a plumber in to fix it until I have cleared up and cleaned up more. Its been like this for a long time, it will get done eventually.

Yet even this idea getting a plumber, letting him/her inside my house, seeing how it is. That is bad enough.

I have really really serious trust issues. Regarding people coming into my house. Several trust issues have occurred that have made me like this. The last was a year or so ago. I had a leak into the kitchen from an exterior upstairs doorway.

The wood had rotted. I tried filling it, not fully stopped. So this man comes and says he can fix it. I let him in, the house was not as bad as it is today. I apologised, and explained my illness and hoarding. (bedroom upstairs is clean and tidy)So he was working up there. To cut the story short he did not fix it. He came back three times, and still had not fixed the leak. The leak is now worse.

I have to have a tarp over the door and deck area upstairs when it rains.

So having a plumber come into my house, into the kitchen( the worst area of the house) where two leaks are. Is a huge HUGE issue for me. I know that for some reason, my adult self is not in the management chair here. I know that my small me is. The rebellious small me, that says FU to how things should be! FU to people accepting me on how I look, live ect. FU to being in control of clean and tidy. Spotless and for the adult me often alphabetised and colour organised. Every thing labelled, and yes a bit OCD. For the small me it is all too much! Actually for the adult me it is too. Yet when I look with I guess mindfully and non judgmentally. It is messy and crappy dirty and yuck. Yet it is not as bad as or as big a mess as it seems. The small me just throws my hands up and says nah…it is too hard, and shuts down.

So today I cleaned a part of my stove. It is shiny and I can see it when I come down the stairs. I feel happy seeing it.

My aim by writing is similar to establishing my routine which has been so beneficial to me sleep, walk, eat healthier. To write about the hording and aim for one small area to be undertaken each week. (start small ) I then feel responsible to ensure that for my own benefit and concept of moving forward be committed. Be honest and say if I have achieved the small area. For the week or not.

So my aim this week until next Monday will be to keep my stove top clean and to wash up everything in my sink area and put them away in the cupboards.

My life with CPTSD is complex, yet I try to live a very simple life. I look about and gain so much pleasure now from all about me. Today listening to the birds in the birdbath near where I was working. Seeing a butterfly landing on the wall flowers. A frog hop when I disturbed his spot. The huge worm that a Kookaburra swooped down, grabbed in its beak and had for a meal.

It has taken me a long time to be where I am now. I just want to keep moving forward. No matter how small as long as it is always forward.

Blessings to you all Tazzie.

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Arrgh alarms that don’t stop! (may be triggering)

It is 04:59, off and on small bursts of sleep to be woken minutes later by the incessant noise of some sort of alarm. A rare noise in the rural river valley where I live.

I have reached the end of my ability to cope lack of sleep and I are not a good combination. ENOUGH! I ring the police,


I imagined lots of people already had rung the non urgent police number, when I finally had more than I could cope with rang to be informed no one else had called. That surprised me.

The very pleasant man I spoke with apologised and said that normally he would assure me that someone would be out to check it out. Unfortunately there was a very severe house fire a way north of a small community. The road location would put it right opposite me across the river.

My immediate response was oh I hope the people in the home are OK. Please do not apologise it puts my issue into a proper perspective.

Strange how easy now it is for me to put up with the alarm. My thoughts have turned to the people who live in the home, those attending and what they find and have to deal with. Heros everyone.

It is so easy when you have so much and to be so fortunate as I am, even for the person I have been in my past, No money , in debt up to my eyeballs, and struggling day to see anything beautiful or positive.

I am well enough on my CPTSD mental illness to be thankful and positive. It has taken me several years of therapy and work.

We are a small population here in the Huon Valley and someone I know will know the people whose home is impacted and fingers crossed not any deaths. It is a very sad day for some people here.

As it is for many dealing with the loss of a loved family member, friend or work colleague who has died or is ill with Covid-19 . Sadly it is not the only thing that is killing people in our world. We must not forget this.

For me the sleep deprived night is a very very small price to pay for the distress and anguish a family will be going through over the loss of their home, and my hope is just the loss of their home. Though I am fearful it will be more.

It may be that the alarm I have been hearing all night is to do with this home fire.

This morning I am thankful for everything especially the breath I take, the fact I live to see today sunrise, that I have been able to lie in my bed and have no fear or anguish of loss in my life tonight.

be safe Tazzie

What next (may be triggering)

As Covid -19 restrictions begin to wind down slowly across Australia, here in Tasmania, (due to our issue with hospitals in the north west of our state being hit hard and closed with many all staff and families having had to go in total isolation) we are a bit behind the mainland.

Many many people here will be really discovering how slowly things such as many businesses being able to reopen, and being able to live as we did prior to this virus is actually going to be. (unless your a football player it seems?)

A deep fear is running through many mental health workers across Australia. Community mental health support organisations and indiviudals have been complaining of how little continuing support and cutbacks that were occurring before the current situation. Rural and remote mental health services virtually non existent. The reality is already being seen by many of these workers and organisations.

The long term impact on people who have been isolated and/or lost their jobs, and/or worrying about financial concerns is and will be only coming out slowly as some things slowly return to a form of normal or new normal. Perhaps credit card bills are coming in and that may be how some individuals and families have been surviving.
Those who have lost their jobs in the last few months will possibly only now be receiving their first Jobseeker (Government benefit) payment and Covid payment. After waiting for some weeks.
Potentially the whole amount they are receiving will be paying outstanding bills.

The impact of the death of someone due to Covid-19 on those who loved them and were not able to be with them at the end, or to be with family and friends to say a final goodbye is immeasurable. Grief is always difficult but in these circumstances widows/ers grieving alone with no one able to come home with them, as they have to go into quarrantine is so hard to imagine.

The numbers who have died in Australia (98 so far as of 16/05/2020) represent grief for many hundreds. grief that has not been able to be shared with hugs, and for many an opportunity to say goodbye. Depression and Post Traumatic Shock Disorder are likely to increase. Anxiety may also impact some of these people. How will these families be supported and helped?

The numbers of people phoning all mental health help lines has blown out during the last couple of months. Most of these organisations of course are manned by volunteers. Thanks to all of them.

These same organisations are saying the situation is getting worse for so many people.

I also feel concerned for all those essential front line workers. Who have kept going. My greater fears are for the health professionals. Many who have worked long hours, in protective gear that is tiring to wear as you become so hot inside it. I can not imagine wearing it for 12+ hours a shift, it was bad enough wearing it for an 8 hour shift.

The truck drivers, the cleaners, the business proprietors who have had to install new management customer strategies.

Some people will develop mental illness now, others may not show anything for a while and something may happen that will just flaw them on their feet. (As happened to me my resilience just could not bounce back). Nurses and Doctors police and ambulance emergency workers in rural areas such as SES give so much of themselves in caring for people in their job every day they work.

I fear for so many youth, who were just beginning their working lives, when this situation stopped many of them. The financial stress, the emotional stress, anxiety, fear, distress, and loneliness.

The families of people with disabilities, where carers may not have been able to visit? Where routines have not been able to be kept, that enabled the individual with disability to live a independent life. How have these people been impacted?

I have thought often about families where domestic violence has always been a way of life. Alcohol is and has been available, the whole time. I imagine the possibility of domestic violence escalating, and the person doing it home all day every day, with no escape for their partner and children. I wonder how it may have been if bottle shops were closed and not considered essential services?

The homeless how have they been managing? It has been very wet, I do hope that with so many less people about they have been able to sleep more safely and in better locations. I think of all the volunteers who have been out supporting and caring for all the homeless across Australia.

I wonder about the addicts to gambling, drugs, alcohol…how have these people managed? Their families?

I have thought also of the impact on children and if lines of education have been drawn even more as schools have had to go online for most kids. How have the children who have no access to the internet managed? What about those whose parents have not been able to teach and support them at home schooling? Those who care but whose own education may not be up to their kids level.

The children who have had both Mum and Dad home with them for the last 10 weeks or so how good it may have been, and or how difficult.

The parents who could not care less. How will this three-four months impact the kids. I wonder about how it might impact bullying.

Some times my mind gets so overwhelmed if I do not reign it in. I am well enough to do this now and not let myself go down into places I have no ability to manage or control. I still am concerned about the possibilities.

I look at the projections of housing prices falling a lot according to some analysts in Australia. I can not imagine having purchased a home, and having a mortgage to find in a few months the house is now worth 20-30% less. Yet you have to pay the higher mortgage. Interest rates are basically as low as they can go, and most banks have put mortgage payments on hold for a few months.

The problem is once they start up again interest will go on the missed months and compound. I am not sure if you will be expected to catch up over the time of your contracted mortgage or if the mortgage might be extended,

The fear for those who have lost their jobs, and the uncertainty of if their jobs may return or not? Will people really spend all the extra money that is being paid out by the Governments to help simulate the economy or will they save it. Or pay bills clear credit cards?

How to pay their mortgage? Their rent?

I do know the next few months maybe the next few years will be hard. There will be very few tax breaks as our Government needs to make up for all the money that it has been giving out to help our country. I see quite a few businesses not being able to survive.

I envisage the potential for suicide to increase across age and gender. I hold little hope for better mental health services in rural and remote regions. With ongoing 1;1 commitment with psychologist, psychiatrist on health care cards. Instead of the reducing number of 1;1 visits as we have now.

I wonder how the new unemployed who are receiving the Covid-19 payment along with the job seeker payment (seeing the fortnightly payment go from $550 to over $1100 until September 2020), manage when the Covid-19 payment stops and they have to live on the Jobseeker payment of $550 a fortnight?

I also think of all the dogs, cats that have been adopted out of animal shelters and refuges. Where the owners have been home with these new family members 24/7 and in the next few months the human members will return to working, and school. How will these animals fare? How many will end up back in shelters?

I worry about all of you who read my posts. Even though we have not met, and only know each other through our communications, I do care that you are all coping OK. That you have people about you who love you unconditionally, and support you. That you are managing and caring for your self. You are the most important person in Your life, regardless if you are in a partnership, a parent, If you are not doing OK speak to someone, be honest about your concerns.

If you are concerned about financial issues, contact your bank, contact your lenders, offer to pay a small amount every month/fortnight/week (this will show intent, and makes it hard to be taken debt collection or to court for non payment but you have to instigate it) Same goes for bills. Or anything you are not alone, reach out speak up.

If you are in a domestic violence situation, get a plan to leave begun. tell someone you trust please.

If you are concerned about your rent, and the real estate is not helping ask to speak directly to the owner. Have them ask the owner to contact you directly. Be honest with the owner and if you are a good tenant, many owners would rather have you catch up/not raise the rent for twelve months to retain a good tenant.
I looked at the cost involved when I was a land lord, and by the time I advertised and had the checks done by the real estate agents, ( a $10 a week increase would give me $520 a year extra..the cost to find a new tenant would cost me a months rent which was at the time $1000) so if your agent or landlord is talking about increasing your rent, ask them how much it would cost them to find a new tenant who may not be so good. it is worth a try.

Mortgage? speak to your mortgage provider.

If you are thinking of buying a property. Perhaps you really do not need a four bedroom house with three bathrooms. Or a two bedroom unit for just one person. If it means you can afford the lower mortgage. Rather then risk loosing your home.

Being thankful for what we have is important. It can be so easy when it seems the worst is happening to us to feel alone, to feel it is not worth it. It is important to know I value YOU.

I am thankful for all of YOU who read my writings, look at my photos.

I am thankful for the beautiful weather we have been having the last couple of days. I am thankful for the beautiful colour of the Autumn(Fall) leaves. I am thankful for the birds, their song. I am thankful for the weed I saw popping up in the cement in my local town yesterday, showing me that nature is strong but we need to care about it. I am thankful for the wallaby I saw yesterday eating some of my grass. I am thankful to the birds that come and eat the bugs in my garden.

I am thankful to fresh vegetables. I am thankful for being able to see positives in some really dark times. I am so very thankful that I am continuing to move forward on my improving mental health. I am thankful that my maiden hair fern and chain of hearts are thriving in my home. (first time I have ever had success with either )
I am thankful for internet. I am thankful for my dogs, neighbours, and community.

I am thankful to Mother Earth and the Goddess.

blessings Tazzie

Isolation, dogs, and CPTSD

The end of day light saving always seems to throw my CPTSD into a strange place I am so out of routine. It does seem quite strange that a simple change of one hour backwards is creating something that I am not able to define it is just I feel flatter and know I must work harder to re-establish my routine.

Awareness of the potential to decline when I do not follow my routine is beneficial. Even when I am staying up late at night or into the very small hours of the morning, and then sleep for only 3-4 hours becomes a part of it. This morning Tuesday, I realised that I have been doing so I have to really REALLY work at going to bed at a time I know that makes me feel so much better. I do find for me the moment I begin to stay up later even an hour is the beginning and I now am aware of my pattern and intend to work at this by going to bed between 21:00 and 21:30 reading for a while and then switching my light off no later than 22:30. I do enjoy rising early and seeing the sun come up in Autumn and Winter.

Living on my own with no input from anyone else in regard to my routine sees many signs of how I may be moving back towards the hole I have been climbing out of over the last 18months. My routine is that I must shower every second day. I have noted this week I am up to day 3 and head for the shower. Why does it always feel so incredibly amazing when I step into the hot shower and wash my hair and body. I need to hold onto the feeling that lovely feeling almost as if along with the dirt my darkness goes swirling down the plug hole.

This morning I woke early before 7am but as I had not gone to bed until after 03.00 I had a headache. I also woke in the middle of one of the very realistic dreams I have as a result of the medication I am. These often leave me feeling bewildered and out of touch with myself for a while. At least until I have my first cup of coffee.

I came down stairs and do what I have done every day for the last 3 months put the TV on and sat listening to all the ‘News” about the Pandemic. This seems to be the routine that has become normal. As I made something to eat, the sun was shining in through my kitchen windows, the sky was blue for the first time in a week almost. I thought to myself why am I going to sit and watch the news inside when I could go out side in the sunshine and watch the birds bathe, and the sunlight hitting the trees and water of the river.

I went and sat outside. Sigh a very simple change. As I sat I realised that I still have some seedlings I need to find space for along with garlic and sweet peas to sow in the garden. I finished my coffee and my dogs who were outside with me came with me as I filled the bird bath. I put the new hose gun on my hose(the old one did not let me turn the water off as I moved about the garden anymore). I did both of these things. I then gathered the seedlings and the garlic with no idea where I was going to put them. I just began putting them in spaces that receive most of the sun in the vegetable garden for the garlic and then popping the seedlings about other beds.
I am also filling another metal bed I have had sitting about for a few years in its box. It is so deep that it will take a lot to fill it. I have manure, leaves, non productive mushroom compost. I do hope it will be enough.

I will also be moving a second similar bed into the veggie garden area that is near my water tanks as the things I have planted in it have not been successful as it is not in the sun enough. That will wait for another day. It is on my list along with so much this Autumn and Winter.

The sun began to be clouded out, and I popped the sweet peas seeds in pots about my deck. I also planted a few more lettuce mignonette variety in a couple of places. Along with several more cauliflower and cabbage seedlings. I have so many I am just basically putting them everywhere and hoping some will be productive.

I had sat my new mushroom compost outside over the last few days to get moist and hopefully produce more mushrooms for free. I did pick some oyster mushrooms off one of the packs on Sunday. Today (Tuesday) I have put them back in the set up that is part fence and part mushroom house.

I noted that my Mock Orange plant which I had put in a large black plastic pot had gone berserk at the front of the house. Blocking my light and visibility of my driveway. So I have no pruned that and will move the pot. I did not realise it was such a fast grower. I did not get many blossoms and there bye the perfume from them this year as it was not in enough sunlight.

I just am not sure where I will move it too.

All this was done and I had been pottering about the garden for about 2 hours. So much better than sitting watching news. I am self isolating, only going out for essentials. We have been told we are not to travel or go away to shacks. Many people in Tasmania have a holiday cottage or house in beach side communities where they will go for their holidays, they are known as shacks. We are to stay in our primary residence over Easter and the police will be out patrolling and checking. This is primarily that along with the holiday shacks many elderly retirees live permanently in these areas. We are also no longer allowed to visit any one in hosptials . As we have at least two known cases of community transmission to employees in one of our Northern hospitals. The Government has not been able to ascertain how these employees have contracted the virus. We also wait to see if any more people who have been in contact with two people holidaying in Tasmania on an organised bus tour in March come down with the virus.

Back to routine. the sun came out and the dogs and I actually went for a walk up the hill and back. Not me driving and they running. This is day four. I was sitting here, writing about my routine. I know that for people with CPSTD normally exercise is very important. In the current situation we are all living in here in Tasmania it is even more important for me. So I got up from my chair and we walked. My neighbours who have been in Quarantine, as they had been on the mainland, were allowed out today. I thought it was tomorrow. My mistake. This meant our dogs could play. Busby and Toby(yes another Toby) were so excited and delighted.

Returning home the sun was out again so I laid in it to get some vitamin D. Another very important need especially with helping our immune systems. I take regular vitamin D especially during Autumn and Winter.

blessings to you all Tazzie

Hoarding

There are many reasons that people become hoarders. For me it resulted after my mental breakdown, I always had more wool than I could use and material. After my breakdown things changed. I would buy cheap synthetic yarns and material I did not even really like. Of course it and all that I gathered was not used, and it just grew and grew. As I recover I have donated most of this to community groups who do amazing creative things with it.

For some reason and I am fairly certain if was something to do with my family realationships. I am sorry but I can not remember what happened or when. This is part of my Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have large periods of time, some times years that my memories are very uncertain.
Even today I can be confused and totally out of sorts as I may have lost a day, or several hours.

My home had a few issues that weighed heavily on me. A leak that was my whole focus for over two years, yet I was incapable of organising to have it repaired. It caused me a lot of anxiety and distress. I also damaged the copper pipe in my kitchen where the spout for the sink is attached behind the wall. So another leak. The leaks exacerbated my hoarding.

This also makes washing up really difficult. So my kitchen slowly has become and I am embarrassed to say this, a bio hazard in some ways. Another reason why I don’t let anyone in my home. As I write this I see that this also is a reason that I have provided to not deal with the pipe issue. It is another protective device to stop people entering my place. Now my somatic symptoms are appearing anxiety is increasing dry mouth I can hear my heart in my ears, and I feel nauseous. I also feel overwhelming tiredness. That is the strength of feeling that comes when I am triggered.

Anyone who has not had personal experience of a hoarder in real life, and not via say hoarder TV shows would not be prepared for the reality of extreme hoarding.
This house was not filled with rats feces or lots of dead animals there were obvious signs their had been mice and maybe rats. It was dirty and smelly from food and not being aired and heated. It was for a hoarders house surprisingly cleanish. Lots of dust and rubbish and news paper. It is a series on You Tube called The Potters House on Curiosity Incorporated You Tube Channel.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb4SpyeH5IQ&list=PLHs6JH9ueCokcP2hje8PVPPqjucNJFUvO&index=2&t=0s

The house belonged to a renowned Canadian Potter Mary Borgastrom known as a primative and traditional potter using raku style firing methods. It includes an interview with Mary and the Alex,who was looking for Antiques. She only died on 3 April 2019. Alex managed to have an interview which is recorded as part 9 with Mary and the uploaded date is January 2019. So a couple of months before Mary died. Mary was 103 at the time of her death.

To me as a hoarder and yes it is much easier to clean a Hoarders home out when they are not living in the home and can not come and be involved. Most people would do very little searching I imagine in this situation, they would just get in there and be tossing most stuff out. Yet in the same sentiment many people in Alex’s situation would do the searching for antiques or treasures in a very different manner.

This is a 28 part series, and it is really beautifully respectfully and totally non judgmentally undertaken. I myself am only up to part 11 but for me it is an intriguing look at a issue that is far more prevalent than anyone knows. The true hoarder, and the fascinating life that is unfolded as this home is explored.
It for me as a hoarder is a very caring compassionate and generous loving way the whole process was undertaken. I am addicted and will follow to the end.

To have heard Mary Borgastrom speak to Alex, was really special. I noticed at one point a brief look of shame cross Mary’s face, this would most likely have been missed by many people.

For me it just reiterates that you really never know the full story of why anyone becomes a hoarder and can live the way we do.

TV shows are written to entertain, as well as shine alight on the growing issue of hoarding have been important but they are TV and it is an entertainment and educational tool.
Of course there will be issues and possible scripted drama.
My own personal experience when a support worker believed it would be helpful for me to have someone come and help me clean my home was horrendous.

I was not mentally well enough to respond or say no. I did not have a psychologist at the time, and in the end it went belly up and I ended up basically getting worse again and not seeing anyone. The person who came to help was lovely, and really wanted to clean my house. She had no experience with a hoarder. I just went along cleaning, and chatting. Trying to keep my head together. In the end after two visits I had to say it was not working out for me. I was so sorry she was genuinely well meaning, she was placed in a difficult situation with no experience or apparent awareness or understanding of my illness.

I see what the person whose home is being ‘dehoarded’ on TV go through. Their responses are very genuine, and it may that situations are created by the Producer to create drama. If that is so that is really disgraceful but I have felt at time there has been pressure due to time restraints on those helping and recording the show, wanting the before and after pictures being placed on the person they are helping.

My personal journey is taking me a long time. Each day I may do something small, really small like pick up and decide if I am keeping something or not. than thinking will anyone else really want it, generally the answer is no, and it gets moved closer to the front door. In the morning or later in the afternoon, I will take it to the bin. That process can be arduous, and exhausting. I know that seems so strange to people who have never been in this situation, and even for those who live with a hoarder, they often do not really understand what has occurred and why this has happened.

I understand for many who do not understand how any one could live as I and many other people do across the world, across race, religious, gender and socioeconomic classes, it is not ageist hoarding.

It also demonstrates that their is always a person with a full life and history within the hoarded stuff. That what is seen by you as rubbish can hide incredible things. Or not.

I went through a time when I had a thing for cardboard boxes and had so many empty cardboard boxes in my home it was difficult to move. No logic no reason that I can recall. I am using them now to lay down to kill the grass off in areas of my garden. This may have been why I began to hoard them I do not remember.

For me I am so much more aware of my hoarding behaviour and the triggers. Back in December 2019 I purchased three large packets of milk powder and six 2 litre boxes of UHT milk. I realised a couple of days later that this was not OK. I looked about and noted one or two other things that I had seemed to have accumulated more than I needed for a while. 6 packets of Lindt 85& chocolate.

Four months have passed since I bought these things and I have used none. This may change in today’s circumstances.

So today when I went out shopping for my normal weekly shop I had to really be aware of what I was buying. I needed not a lot, I was a bit mortified when I got to the checkout and was told I could not have my two tins of black beans, my two tins of tomatoes, and my two tins of mushrooms. I had not read any of the information sheets about limits. Somehow thinking that the volume of 6 tins is basically a fortnight of some foods for me. ( I was hoping to make a sort of bolognese s sauce with mince to have for dinner and freeze. Makes a great base for spaghetti, tacos, toast, all sorts of things. I would have made quite a few meals for the freezer for me as things I could heat up easily if I was unwell for any reason.

I was told by the lovely woman at the checkout that I could only have two tins. I said I only have two. She said no just two tins out of the six? They were limiting tinned vegetables now. I really felt for the staff as they are telling nearly every person going through the checkouts that they can not have things. It is hard when the list is not at the area where the food I bought was, to me it would have been easier to just print only two veggie tins per customer regardless of what vegetables. Just add to someone else’s work I guess. Plenty of staff at our Woolworths lately, all checkouts open. Funny how the companies have found the money to be advertising for more staff. I also noted many items had increase in price in both Woolworths and my local IGA.

I am so appreciative that I can get fresh greens out of my garden, and I will hopefully have more broccoli, coming along, I have some seedlings of beetroots carrots, cabbages, and lettuces.
It is more about my dogs that I was thinking of food for them as they are on a raw diet that I mix veggies with a little rice or oats. I have enough rice for a while, and I have about 1kg of oats, along with a couple of frozen bags of veggies, that they get. I have their meat in the freezer. You can feed your dog spinach and silver beet, brassicas and I am making an assumption that would include leaves but I have to look it up.
Well I have broad tastes so I can live without many things and chocolate has many healthy things, such as milk, nuts, fruit. in it.

ooops off on a tangent again. sorry.

So the Covid-19 has introduced us to a new type of hoarder, the food hoarder and toilet paper hoarder. Is this person the same sort of hoarder as me and Mary? I can not answer that but it may trigger something more. Anxiety and fear are what triggers my hoarding so I am finding. It would seem to me that is exactly the same thing that is triggering this panic shopping/hoarding food and other things.

I really do believe that there will be a serious world wide spike in mental health illnesses in relation to the supply situation, the fear of financial and employment problems, and I really hope that the Federal Governments and State Governments are taking that into the forecasting of the aftermath of this. Added to the already distressed areas where people were impacted by the bushfires, and those who were fighting helping supporting and actually fleeing. Humans are resilient but we all can break. Mental health I for one hope is being seen as a huge impact in the current situation and outcomes.

Today whilst doing my shopping I noted that I was not at all anxious, I was very appreciative for all the staff were and are doing and dealing with. I did find it exhausting, but then lights, muzak, so much noise, and over stimulation make me tired. I can not go anywhere near the washing powder aisles or the room de-odorisers either.

Mary’s incredible story has been found and shared, because of Alex a caring respectful man who found a National Treasure, and was lucky enough to meet here and interview her before she died.

Lessons should be learned on just respecting the person who is ill and their home, and the label hoarder is not the reality of who that person really is.

I hoard but I am me, a person and that is what is important. I have carried great shame and mortification about this expression of my illness. Not everyone with CPTSD hoards. I understand it is for me a way to keep people out, when you have major issues of trusting anyone hoarding sort of makes sense. Its a barrier to the outside wall. I can hide behind it and be safe and no one can get me.

I am thankful that I was able to get food today, I am thankful to all the staff at all the supermarkets and shops selling food and things that people are panic buying, for the staff who are doing their best to keep shelves stocked, and help people out, I am thankful to Alex from Curiosity Inc, for his compassion and care, respect and non judgment and his generosity in rediscovering an amazing woman potter and interviewing her before she died. I am thankful that I can provide for my dogs, who are my family and who saved my life, I am thankful to all the health workers around the world working and trying to help in this Pandemic, I am thankful to nurses who have come out of retirement to help,. I am thankful for the internet, for the ability to blog and share with each other our experiences and feelings. Many of us who have CPTSD and PTSD , anxiety and depression often self isolate with no Pandemic about. I am really appreciative of those who find my blog and read it. I am thankful for my community neighbours, and wider. I am thankful I am so fortunate. I think of people who are poor who can not be 1.5meters or 2.2 meters away from someone else as their homes are in the slums and packed in tightly. My thoughts to all of these people and may they be being treated as equals to everyone else in care. I am thankful to Rupali who widened my eyes and mind to this situation.

Blessings to You all Tazzie




Psychiatrist, the good …sure beat the not good. (might trigger)

One of the hardest things for me is to leave my dogs at home when I have to go somewhere. It happens rarely if it is going to be a hot day and it is not safe to leave them in the car, it is raining heavily and I can’t leave the windows down or it is stormy with wind. Today was going to be warm, humid, stormy and windy. All things that Busby would not deal with in the car. I made the choice to leave them at home.

I almost cance

I have been diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD). I have had anxiety since I was in my teens that I am aware of, it may have been earlier but I do not have any recollection. I developed depression in my early twenties. I first tried to kill myself when I was 22.

Most people will be aware of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD) but many people will not have heard of CPTSD.

It differs from PTSD in that instead of one traumatic event that impacts a person. The person, with CPTSD has had this occur in early childhood, and had repeated and long term trauma/s.

I explain this because I have certainly found myself having to explain and justify, why I am not able to work, enough times to make me annoyed.

When I can go out and basically all I do manage these days is shopping, once a week usually, appointments and my dogs exercise. (not sounding so healthy that Tazzie).

I have insight and know I am perhaps borderline Agrophobic. Why am I writing about this today? Whilst I really enjoy being at home and I am content at home, I do have anxiety sometimes and panic attacks , not as bad as some people. Mine tend to have me itching, hot and sweating ,heart racing and red in the face and neck. Perhaps not what most people would see as a panic attack.

I went to see a new Psychiatrist today; as the one I was seeing decided he did not want to see me any longer. I do not think he liked some of my comments to him about his not hearing me, or understanding the reality of my rural life, and my concerns over going on Ritalin. Having been a nurse I always check out any Doctor (no not just google but on reserch and journal articles, if they are affiliated with a university what the professional descriptions states.
I am not intimidated by any Doctor. I was a Registered Nurse and Had specialist Post Grad degree in Mental Health Nursing so will speak my mind. A doctor who hears ME and sees ME as an individual rather than seeming to have his or her own agenda, is upfront direct and honest. I will respect him or her.

I needed to see a psychiatrist as my Psychologist (who is not a Clinical Psychologist) and my GP both feel that the chances of me working or volunteering (which I have attempted unsecessfuly ) successfully in the foreseeable future is Nil. They agree I need to be applying for the Disability Pension.

For that I need to have an assessment and a letter from Clinical Psychologist or a Psychiatrist. Which is why I have been and am seeing a Psychiatrist.

So I saw the previous mentioned psychiatrist for 5 months the medication (other than the Ritalin) he prescribed me has helped my cognitive function so much that I almost feel my brain is back. The side effects are not wonderful sleeping to much for periods and than not enough, weird bizarre dreams so real that I wake up and have to remember it was a dream. These I am prepared to live with.

I was so anxious this morning as I was due to see the new psychiatrist. I was not going to allow him to change my medication as I feel the best I have apart from the a fore mentioned things. I nearly canceled, because I was going alone and I was running a few minutes late on the hour drive, which was good as it did take my mind of everything except paying attention to the road and not speeding or driving stupidly. I got there. I did not have time to think about my dogs for the next hour .

He was brilliant. He really listened to me, (even though the connection was breaking up at times). It is done by Skype in my GPs office. I have to see her afterward otherwise I could have my appointment at home. This psychiatrist suggested Melatonin for helping me to sleep. It will depend how much this costs as it is not on the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme. PBS (government subsidy for low income earners, people with disabilities, chronic illness, pensioners pay $6.60Aus for any script on the list).

He was also supportive of my application for the Disability Pension Scheme which means that when I receive his letter I will finally be able to apply for this. If I am successful it will mean I no longer have to deal with Centrelink and Newstart! I will not have to go to the Job Provider Network for a review, and potentially be made to again do volunteering. Or look for work. That will be a relief . It would also mean a big increase in my fortnightly payment.

We chatted about quite a bit in this hour, and he was concerned about my not leaving my home and whilst he said because I was doing a positive thing in making myself go shopping and have coffee and talking to people. I was possibly borderline for Agrophobia. I have thought about that since arriving home and he is onto something. I need to be really aware of this. I need to keep doing what I am and also consider adding another small thing. To keep me from closing off totally.

Sometimes it takes other eyes to see something that you have been aware of but to actually voice it back to you as potentially detrimental.

The problem now lies in dealing with the process of applying and ticking all the boxes crossing every t and dotting every i and hoping sincerely hoping that I will be accepted. There are so many horror stories out there about people who have severe physical illnesses and combination of both physical and mental illness that break my heart when I read them and wonder how these people can be knocked back. I do have the help of a Community Health Social Worker who has been helping me with all my paperwork that I find too confusing. (I know I said I had my brain back lol nothing to do with paperwork).

So even though I am happy that this is a forward movement I understand and realise it is not a sure bet. So many people are knocked back. All I can do is follow the directions, have all the letters from Psychiatrist, Psychologist, and GP together with it and submit it all together and hope.

So I am thankful today that I went to my appointment, I met a good Psychiatrist, which made me feel a lot better. I am thankful that this Psychiatrist actually said I needed to be on the DSP. which made me feel less like a con which I have been as I seem so ‘normal’ when I am talking one on one or small groups over a coffee or just running into people. I am thankful that I have asked for help and that I am accepting it. I am thankful that I continue to move forward. I am thankful for the incredible welcome I got on my return home.

Blessings to You all Tazzie.

Do it for yourself

Why would I shy away from my meeting with my psychologist? Our last meeting was good, as it ended she made a small comment along the lines how good it was that I had three people helping me with supporting and helping me.

Its true, I have three professional people helping me just to manage the things in my life that I am no longer able to manage. This is a serious part of my CPTSD. It is a part that is not visible and something I struggle with in myself. I get frustrated and flustered with the fact I have had to ask for a social worker to help me with paperwork.

I have always been very independent and strong. I have always found it impossible to ask for help. I have had too. It sucks. It was so hard for me to respond when my GP referred me to the Social Worker. I do have to say she has been pretty great in dealing with Centrelink for me. It is good.

So for me hearing the words I had three people supporting and helping me, the words have sunk down into my dark place, quietly and my reaction is self preservation and do not talk to anyone!
The positive is that I am aware of what is going on. Which says how far I have come. Insight is always a good place to start.

My psychologist has sent an email. I of course have not read it yet. I will as I will also compile an honest email to share what has/is happening within me at the moment. Perhaps this will happen over the weekend.

The the three people who are supporting and helping are my psychologist, GP, and a Community Health social worker.

I need them all at this point in my life and I am very Very appreciative, and happy to have them to help me and support me as I keep moving in a forward direction.

If I could share one thing with anyone asking for support and help may be really hard. If you need some, ask for it. Having a social worker who is able to speak to Centrelink for example on my behalf, we had to have an authority signed by both of us to say she could. Just having this has been a huge help as I know I can contact my social worker and she will deal with the issue on my behalf. Dealing with Centrelink has triggered me a lot over the past years.

Pushing through my own emotions and anxiety to ask for help has been a positive thing for me. It can be for you too. If you need support and help. You like I did have to breathe and do it for yourself. Asking for help if and when you need it is a good thing.

I am thankful for the three people who are supporting and helping me on a professional level. I am thankful that I did ask for help.

blessings to you all Tazzie


Coronavirus (Covid-19) and fear

Fear is an interesting thing isn’t it. The Coronavirus is a really interesting demonstration of this. Add to this, what is happening in the supermarkets where ‘panic or preparation’ is happening.
The following post is my personal opinion and thoughts.

As a person who has CPTSD and who can fixate on things often to my own detriment mental health wise I have not allowed myself to be concerned about the Coronavirus. I am aware of it.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Cases: 101,954

Deaths: 3,466

Recovered: 56,123
World population 7.8 billion

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Now in Australia alone in 2019 1,146 people were killed in road related deaths, that is 3 people a day.

Domestic violence related deaths in Australia 74 women and 24 children were killed in 2019.

Winter flu deaths of 2019, 192 people died (winter in Australia is June -01/06/19).

In USA report for 2018-2019 flu season.The flu had already killed as many as 2,400 people as at 01/12/2019.

Deaths in USA from car accidents estimated 38,800 people lost their lives to car crashes

Deaths from domestic violence in the USA in 2019 no actual national figures available however a nurse ,Dawn Wilcox, an activist documenting femicide in the United States, at her home in Plano, Texas. Dawn’s project, Women Count, focuses on women killed in 2018 and has so documented 1,635 cases so far. Photograph: Laura Buckman/The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/apr/11/the-nurse-tracking-americas-epidemic-of-murdered-women

I do understand that Corona Virus spreads, and impacts more and more people. We also potentially do not have the real figures of people ill and who might have died world wide.
I also understand that it is a dynamic and still new virus, with Scientists and Doctors working and learning on their feet. It is going to get worse I also understand that. The figures will increase potentially in all statistics.

I understand as a person whose career was as a RN/RPN the concerns the everyday person has in regard to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) as it spreads. The main concerns I believe held by governments are not just the spread, but the fact that certainly here in Australia our hosptials were/are already full of ill people and injured those requiring surgery.
It is also the huge economic impact that certainly western countries are going to be felt as borders and export/imports are stopped.

The potential if the spread creates isolation where so many staff are not able to work. Government business may also be impacted. Which than creates more fear, more distress.

My feelings are and always have been it is always advisable if you can afford it to put some food, for me and my dogs. It seems like for some reason bottled water is important to a lot of people, I do not know why you can not just drink from your taps, I have my tanks as I do not get town water. Don’t forget personal supplies feminine hygiene, medications, and first aid in your pantry. To me this is just common sense, as I live out of town and have had situations where illness or having no transport has meant I have totally had to rely on what I have in my home.
I am not a prepper, but if that is your thing your totally covered.

I guess for me if you look at how I view the possible impact of being hit with the Corona virus, it is more about just making sure I am OK for the things I my dogs might need for the period of isolation. I also am very fortunate that I do not live in a city or large town in regard to increase risk of catching any type of flu or virus that is spread from person to person.

In saying that I was not often ill with flu or viruses when I worked in hospitals and emergency areas. The washing of hands, every time I went in to anyone’s room, or a patient, and when I left. Not touching my mouth or face, and using gloves as appropriate. I only ever wore a mask when I was caring for immune suppressed patients or those who were in isolation and or infected virally. The antibacterial solutions hand sanitiser were available but dried my skin and created cracking, so I as a nurse was totally reliant on hand washing.

I am very aware that medical and nursing staff have caught the virus and there have been deaths within these numbers. I can not comment on why or how this has occurred.

Of course I have had flu real flu knock you out aches, pains, chills, fevers, bed ridden. I am not playing the illness down please realise that. You need to be conscientious, responsible aware and really informed rely on real information not social media. It is not foolish to have supplies. It is make sense to me.

So think about when you get into your car to go and buy all the supplies you feel you need, or should have if you are required to be in isolation that you really have far more risk of being killed in your car heading to the supermarket to get the supplies. Than you do if you are a reasonably fit healthy person who follows the guidelines to minimise your risk of contracting the Corona Virus. Especially with the way the spread is currently.

Of course if you are in higher risk be aware of all you need to minimise your risk.

If you are showing any symptoms of flu like illness don’t go out, phone your GP and inform them. Listen to what they advise which is generally isolation. Until you know that you are clear of the virus.

This is all my personal opinion and thoughts. I am happy for your thoughts and comments.

blessings to you all Tazzie.

When someone inspires us.

I was very flat when I woke up this morning. I had a appointment with my psychologist via internet and I was supposed to have asked my GP to attend to some paper work for her. I had not. I was so anxious about this yesterday, I ate a full packet of Tim Tams yesterday, and I did not sleep well. I even almost messaged her to say I was not well.

It was good that I did not, and during the sharing of what was happening and why, it became clear, that I was reverting to my childhood and I the adult had given the reins to me the child. It was so good to realise this, and of course my psychologist was fine with the fact I had not seen my GP.

It was so strange to feel I could breathe again. Here was my CPTSD in action trigger, and response. I had totally dissociated. I do not really recall buying the biscuits and eating them.

It was really great to see my progress in being able to identify what had occurred.

I was still feeling somewhat flat after our appointment, and I had shared with my psychologist that I was trying to get back to painting. That there is a wonderful chap called Charlie O’Shields, on his site https://doodlewash.com and he is an artist, and his work and correspondence we have been having has been inspiring me, and motivating me to begin to think about picking up a brush. I had said to my psychologist that i had been sketching a puppy to paint for today’s theme before our appointment and I was involved with it and a tad annoyed that I had to stop.

I was uncertain about continuing and my anxiety began to build, it won’t be any good, you can’t drawer or paint, you are hopeless, you won’t finish it, you won’t put it on the site.
My body began to work against me I began to feel nauseous, and my heart was racing, as I did want to give it a try TODAY! My mind and body seemed to have other ideas.

So instead of letting my anxiety keep mounting and just overwhelming me I went and watered the vegetable garden. I played with the dogs. I laughed at their antics. I fed them, I cooked myself a good healthy meal for dinner. I ate it.

I then sat down and was determined to paint and to post it on Doodlewash community.

The theme for today was a puppy. I used an image as my subject matter. I am overly critical as I did not finish it YET I am actually really chuffed that I did it, you can sort of make out things, and perhaps if I had used a liner to go around the paw and mouth area more so and filled the back of the mouth in black instead of leaving it white, it would be clearer. I didn’t. If I had kept going I would have over thought it. My anxiety was growing again, and I just wanted to get something up. I feel quite ill at ease, sharing this as it is such a personal thing for me. Unlike my photography.

I am proud that I have picked up a paint brush and achieved a sketch of a puppy in watercolours. I keep wanting to add more explanations etc but I am stopping here.

Thank You Charlie O’Shield. https://doodlewash.com/on-the-edge-of-a-dream/ Here is the post Charlie did for the prompt puppy.

Blessings to you all

Tazzie

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