Life, with my dogs, living on one acre in Tasmania. Living on a low income, and with Complex PTSD. I write about all sorts of things. I called my Blog Echidna Home because I have echidnas that live here
Its been a wee while since I wrote. Here I am again. What has been happening in the mean while? Apart from trips to vet for Busby’s injection and to do my shopping not much. I washed clothes and rewashed them, finally getting them out and hanging them over my stair rails to dry in the heat from wood fire. Yeah!
I have made plans to visit two friends and did not turn up. I have so far it seems won the battle of the mice yeah.
I have made an appointment with my GP, Yeah; to discuss my medication and an appointment with the psychiatrist I had seen once before. This item creates great anxiety in me. So much so I am fluctuating between cancelling the appointment. As I write I feel my throat tighten and my mouth go dry. I attempt to focus on the benefit if an ADHD medication may actually reconnect my brain somehow.
I found myself feeling at home at times in tears as I began to recognise aspects of my own processing and behaviours shared and explained in this channel. After watching and connecting the fear of being diagnosed with ADHD is reduced somewhat. Then I go into what if I am NOT diagnosed with ADHD and I am just lazy and disorganised hopeless and all the words I have heard so often over the course of my life?
So rather than go down the rabbit hole of YouTube and my search engine I decided to get out of the house, yes avoiding the garden, the house and the computer. I loaded up the dogs and we headed off for some lunch.
I had to pick up some chook grains for my hens and roosters (yes roosters oh dear that is also on the I have to deal with soon list), in Huonville.
I decided I would venture to Summer Kitchen in Raneleagh which used to be a small village a little over two KMs from Huonville but now is really a suburb of it.
The photos below see some of my flock saying Where the heck are You going? We are starving! A house on the way, where the newest owners have had enough obviously of past work on the house they purchased. Spring is certainly arriving in my beautiful valley. Last photo is of Hawthorne flowering along the road.
Even though we have not had any outbreaks of Covid here in Tasmania for over a year cafes, shops and businesses remain on COVID Responsiblities requiring signing in or using the Covid App, social distancing etc. A beautiful brunch at Summer Kitchen,https://www.facebook.com/Summer-Kitchen-Bakery-389693084374495/ delicious vegetarian wrap (I am not a vegetarian) with wonderful garlic hummus and fresh vegies…large cappuccino sitting in sunshine with my dogs about me. Near-bye were a group of bicyclists (MAMILS Middle aged men in Lycra a few ladies too) enjoying the sunshine too. My dogs were petted and discussion about them. Several proud doggy dads showed me their furbabies photos a gorgeous Samoy, a labrador, a whippet and poodle. The valley is a cyclists delight. My dogs were the only ones present but as we arrived we passed a couple leaving with their owners. I love that my valley has so many dog friendly places to eat.
After leaving Summer Kitchen Raneleagh we headed basically to the hill behind the Raneleagh showground. On the way we passed the Home Hill Winery, https://www.homehillwines.com.au/ . The first photograph below shows the face area of Mount Beauty. A different view than from my home. This mountain range certainly delineates one end of the Huon Valley. So green yet as I drove up the hill the grasses altered and whilst they look dry the ground under my feet and the dogs paws was very wet. We have had so much rain and wind over the last few weeks. (normal for the time of year).
The last photograph above is from the hill looking back down to the valley over Raneleagh.
The following photographs are the drive back down from the hill top to Raneleagh. When I see the rock along the road I am awed at how trees, shrubs and grasses grow, such tall trees. Hobart is the second driest Captial city in Australia. mM beautiful valley is often on water restrictions in summertime.
In the valley timber homes abound. As Tasmania is known for its State Forests and wood was easy to access for many over brick and other materials.
The photographs below see me driving alongside the Huon River towards Judbury another small village well it is really not a village as it has no shops, post office, pub, being only approximately 13kms/8miles to Huonville. Rain falling ahead, the river valley is green and lush. The third photograph is of the Tassal Nursery for their salmon. They hatch the salmon eggs and grow them until they reach smolt (hatchling fish reach the length/weight/size for the smolt can now move from the fresh water into the sea cages/nets. As I drive further we begin to see the homes of Judbury so many new homes being built in the hillside, and along the river flats. Hard to remember that smoke and fires were all around here only Summer 2018 in the hills.
I have enjoyed the journey so far, it seems that the dogs have too. I really enjoy my own time, and doing my own thing generally, so find this such an enjoyable thing. Thankful for my car, my dogs who make my life and keep me doing things. I am thankful to live in such a beautiful area. blessings to You. Tazzie
Well hello so much has been happening down here on my little acre in the Huon Valley of Tasmania. Finally more sunshine, and heat. So my tomatoes are ripening and developing Yeah. Pumpkins and zucchinis are doing well for me. However the most exciting news is Frida Kahol’s chicks have arrived!
I just happened to hear Frida making the sweetest noises as I was walking to release the other hens. So I went in to see her and found the first chick. It was so wonderful. One other egg was pippin.
So next morning there were 5 chicks! Yeah. 3 yellow chicks and two darkish.
The weather forecast was for high temperatures the following day. 36dC/96.8dF. I went out in the morning and it was so hot. I checked the chicks and Frida Kahol. The chicks were standing outside and Frida Kahol was panting. I made the decision to move them all inside. As it was only 9am and it was already 26dC/79dF. The following three days were to be hotter. It ended up at 38dC/100dF and did not drop down below 23dC/73dF overnight which is very rare here.
So nine chicks. Bringing my flock numbers up to 15.. argh. I wait to discover the genders of them. I imagine if I have quiet a few females I will potentially sell them when they are point of lay which will cover the cost of raising them. My hope is there are very few roosters. Only time will tell. I am so glad that I did cull them as she would have hatched 18 chicks out of 20 eggs.
Above the chicks and Frida have been in side for four days now. I have to admit that I have to still fix the small coop for them all. I only need some nails. As I also need to fix the run as one of my neighbours said she almost ran over one of them. Not that it was an issue for them to have them over there. I just personally would prefer to have them confined a bit more and only let out for shorter periods during the cooler months. They are so delightful to listen to. I love listening to Frida just talking to them gently and teaching them. In the last photo above note where the food container is. Inside the nesting box. I set it outside in away from the entrance into the nesting box. Why would Frida be moving it into the nesting box.
Busby was so unsettled mid morning he kept heading up to the front door and back to me. I opened the door so he could go out, but he did not. I returned to the seat where I was working and he again came pacing back and forwards. I became annoyed as I was trying to concentrate and he was just distracting me The door was open and he could go out. A bit later I went to the loo, and as I approached (Busby was right by me) the door to the bathroom I heard distressed chirps and calls coming from inside. On opening the door I noticed one of the chicks had got through the pen rails so Frida was distressed the chick was distressed. I popped the chick back in and all was quiet. When I came out and sat down. Busby laid down and settled. Turns out he was trying to get me to go and see what was happening.
I took three of the chicks to visit a couple of my neighbours with young girls. The girls loved cuddling the chicks. The chicks were so sweet and settled with them. Frida is an amazing Mamma. She understandably does not want her babies taken or her removed from them. I decided before returning the chicks to Mamma I would introduce them to Busby. Miss Treacle was not interested.
Busby was so incredible in trying to get my attention earlier, I decided that he should meet the chicks. He did push his nose in a bit hard at first, so I gently lifted each chick up to his nose so he could sniff their bottoms. This worked well and he was so very gentle with them. The chicks did not seem perturbed by his big nose sniffing them. He is so good around the babies. He is improving around the big hens and Roopert too.
It is a lovely summer day here in the Huon Valley Southern Tasmania. In the 20+ years I have lived in my home, I have only seen a snake 3 times in my surrounds. The first was a black snake, just slithering across the road as my dogs and I were going up the road for a walk. The second was last year I was watering the garden and one slithered rapidly away.
Today I went out onto my deck which is 1metre(3foot) off the ground. I was moving something, and out of the corner of my eye I saw movement, black and yellow stripes..slithering really fast, away it was not super close, about 1 meter from me it was a suprised by me, as I was by it.
It was a tiger snake. I had forgotten Tiger snakes can climb up human structures. There is so much bush around my home.
Tiger snakes in the wild have a broad diet that includes fish, frogs and tadpoles, lizards, birds and mammals, as well as carrion. As the size of the snake increases, so to does the average prey size, however this increase is achieved not by larger snakes giving up on small prey but by them taking more large prey. Tiger snakes are largely diurnal and hunt for prey during the daylight hours; however they will forage on warm evenings. They will readily search underwater and can stay under for at least 9 minutes. A bat was found in the stomach of one museum specimen, demonstrating the tiger snake’s ability to climb. Invertebrates have also been found in tiger snake stomachs however these could have been taken as part of carrion; other taxa such as grasshoppers and moths however may have been ingested as prey. Cannibalism amongst wild tiger snakes has also been reported. Prey items are grasped and subdued quickly by the powerful venom, with sometimes constriction being employed as well.
Available prey size is thought to play an important role in dictating the adult size of tiger snakes in some island populations. For example, on Chappell Island the snakes are typically very large and take advantage of the seasonal abundance of fat muttonbird chicks, whereas on Roxby Island where there are no nesting seabirds the dwarf population of snakes survive on mostly small skinks. https://australian.museum/learn/animals/reptiles/tiger-snake/
There are three snakes found in Tasmania and all are venomous. Though one the white lipped snake has never had any recorded deaths from its bite. Whilst my snake was easily to identify by its colours not all tiger snakes in Tasmania have such clear markings.
Fact, not fiction
The forked tongue is not venomous but is actually a chemical brush used to transfer molecules to the Jacobson’s organ in the roof of the mouth, where the snakes sense of taste and smell is located. A widely forked tongue increases the ability of a snake to track its prey.
Snakes do not have ears and cannot hear sound. Instead they detect sound by sensing vibrations passing through the ground.
Snakes’ skin is not slimy and normally it is dry.
Snakes are not attracted to milk beyond the fact that it is wet and easy to find by smell.
The venom toxicity of a juvenile snake is the same as that of an adult although they usually produce less venom.
Less than 10% of newborn snakes survive to adulthood. Most are eaten by predators, such as birds or feral cats, or are killed by humans.
In reality the danger presented by snakes is not nearly as great as perceived. Sporting accidents, dog attacks, lightning strikes and even peanuts cause more human deaths in Australia than snakebite.
In Tasmania the presence of the Blue-tongued skink (lizard) is no indication that snakes are absent.
Tasmanian snakes are unlikely to attack people unless they feel trapped or threatened. It is easy to mistake a snakes bluff or an attempt to reach shelter for an attack.
I realise that on my deck are little frogs. So it may also have been after those. I also realised I was up really late this morning and normally I fill the large plant pot saucer of water I leave out for the echidna, the blue tongues and snakes. So this lovely guy/gal may have been looking for water too. All available on my deck.
So many people are terrified of snakes. Yet hop into their car every day with out thinking. The last recorded death from snake bite in Tasmania up until January 2020 was in 1977. As sad and hard for the family of Mr Fish who died in 2020 Two deaths in 50 years makes snakes bite risk pretty good for humans.
Of course dogs and and other animals get bitten and some die. If your know your dog has been near a snake rather than wait to see if it has been bitten, take it to the vets. Waiting can cost the dog its life.
If your dog is barking at a snake get the hose, and direct it at the dog to force it away.. giving the snake time to flee.
As I live in a rural area I am fine having snakes about my home. They do not want to harm me as I do not want to harm them. During summer I usually do not let them out by themselves. But I do thump the ground when I walk and slam my front door. Since snakes react to vibration rather than noise.
My Grandfather my pop was a rabbiter , he raised his family in a tent in the Australian bush and he told me in regard to snakes that they do not want to use their venom on humans as it is how they kill their food. They are scared of humans so just walk away.
He also told us to respect them and look at their beauty. He also said not to remove one from our area if we have one as another will move in. The one you had knows your patterns and will try to stay out of your way. The new one wont.
I will be making more thumps when out on the deck and about the garden.
I do not fear snakes, I respect them keep my distance. I provide water for them so they do not have to come looking for it. I will not be leaving any of my doors open for the foreseeable future..
Off we went for our walk this morning. It was wet but warm and the rain had stopped. Busby and Miss Treacle took off, up the drive to our small country road. Miss Treacle just races out my breath catches every time. Busby is incredible every single time we leave he looks to the right (direction in Australia cars would be heading towards him closest side).
It was muggy and I hate humidity I did not imagine Tasmania would have such humidity as it has in recent times. Busby had gone and said hi to Chubbs and Toby at their gate across from us. They looked forlornly on as he raced up the road without even looking back.
We had not gone to far further up when we met Ruby and her owner. Do not mistake Ruby for a brown sheep. She is a sweet labradoodle. (her big brother is Basil he is a tenacious elderly pug who can no longer handle big walks). We left Ruby and her owner and continued up the hill on our walk. Busby saw Toby (yes 2 Tobys, and when my third dog was alive there were 3 tobys on our small rural road). It did not look like Toby would be coming out to play as he sat by the fence. Then the gate was open, and WOWEee , it was playtime.
Miss Treacle was incredibly disappointed when she realised it was not her man but his wife who was with Toby today. She ignored her with disdain. The bros had a ball and stirred up the ducks by running straight towards them, not even really seeing them as they were playing. The ducks took flight.
The warmth and humidity rising and the evaporating water was forming clouds across the river and the clouds thinned. As we walked past Chubbs and Toby were still hopefully waiting by their gate wanting to play. It was not to be so the three of us headed for home.
I had to wheel my bin down to the road where the truck picks it up in the morning. As I was bringing it to the top of my driveway, I was almost flattened by three big dogs coming straight at me, the black ones tail wagging so much it nearly was ahead of his head. The boys had been released. They were thrilled.
Busby, Chubbs and Toby ended up playing ball in the paddock as I talked with their mum, and two teenager neighbours (all social distancing actually much more than the suggested space. The kids were earning their some money by bringing other neighbours bins down. Love their ingenuity. They ride their bikes down hill towing the bins. No fear these guys.
It has been another wonderful day spent in isolation? My routine continues in bed by 22:30 lights out, eating more healthily, walking every day, and showering every second day.
I do have to say, I feel so much better following this routine, I see how I really knew what was best for my own needs and am now working to ensure I follow this as best as I can. If I don’t make it to bed or eat healthy for a day, it is not a a failure in my eyes, it is just normal. I will just pick it up the next day. That is my plan.
I am thankful for the rain. I am so thankful for my dogs. I am thankful for having such great dogs living about us. I am thankful for my neighbours and the greater sense of community we have now. I am thankful for my garden. I am thankful for my warm comfortable bed. My doona, and electric blanket. I am thankful to have a roof over my head. I am thankful to have food and fresh water. I am so thankful for all that I have.
How beautiful it is sitting listening to the rain falling on my tin roof, the wind blowing the trees and a fire burning in my wood heater. There is snow on Kunanyi (Mt Wellington),
It feels like a winters day here today, 13dC/55.4dF. My CPSTD has been a bit all over the place as I had someone I do not want to have contact with be in touch. I have not responded to the message left. As this is how it is best for me to be well. Since breaking all ties with my family I have found a contentment I have not had since my partner died. He always loved me unconditionally and believed in me. He saw how my family treated me. He supported me and was there unquestioning and lovingly when I interacted with them, trying to have a relationship with them. He was there to hug and reassure me when it all went to hell, eventually.
This out of the blue message not responded too, still has dropped my mood and seen me comfort eat uncontrollably. Naming that here helps me to acknowledge what I have been doing and lets me name and describe the emotions. I am angry that my needs have been disregarded as was discussed back in January. I am resentful that this intrusion still impacts me, and takes me to a place of disassociation. This is something I realised today, as I shoveled biscuits into my mouth. I have literally switched off and gone into a void. Aware of what I should be doing but not able to face it. This is part of the reason I like blogging, it helps me see in black and white and somehow my brain connects the OH moments and I usually can move forward again.
This happened five days ago, and now I can see how I really have just gone to my ‘reactive management of disassociation’ . Clarity is good to have now. I am engaging my brain and moving forward again, and not backwards. It would be simple to remain in the vague realm of lost time just slowly sinking down. I am not doing that, I will not do that. I am moving forward.
It is hard to stop the reactions that have been a lifetime response to stressors. Though I am delighted that I have insight (eventually ) into what has occurred. My child has been protecting me in the only way she knows and that it to comfort herself with food, and switch off. I am thankful she is there and takes over when I retreat. I love her for that, I need to work on letting her go and me to take over at these times. I am still very much a work in progress.
Insight is a such a valuable thing. It is also frustrating when you have it but you are unwell. I can not control as much as I would like my family/inlaw family messaging. I know they have concern at this strange time in the world. I realise too that my reaction is yet again a demonstration of how little regard is held for my needs even when explained in writting and the reasons why. So again my ability to control aspects of my needs have been hindered.
I have options I realise, I could get a new phone number that they do not have. I would not get any messages that way. Yet I know I can not do that. Because I do care about this particular part of my family. Weird as that might sound.
It is weird how somatic issues come into it too, my sleep changed,I feel nauseous when I think or recall the message. I have been working really diligently to establish a routine, I either go up to bed at 21:30 and read for a while, turning the light out at 22:30. Or I go up at 22:30 and straight to bed light off if I am on line or watching something. I am waking earlier, and have more motivation.
I have also been walking the dogs everyday instead of me driving and them walking. We even did a walk along the foreshore of the river over the Easter period. I have not walked them today it has been way too wet and windy. Busby is frightened by the wind and rain together. Since we got caught in a heavy hail wind storm at Triabunna last year.
Coming out of the vagueness of how I disassociate is like cataracts falling off my eyes, and my brains neurons firing back up and the lights coming back on. It is a good feeling. I am very thankful that I kept walking the dogs through this period.
My GP and Psychologist have both been encouraging me and working with me and my CPTSD, Depression and or Anxiety knows that routine, good sleep, exercise, along with a healthy diet all aid in improving our abilities to deal with triggers/stressors. For me I know it is the only way along with mindfulness work, meditation, and being thankful for all I do have are also huge things that enable me to be in a much less reactive manner.
The other thing I note is I give up on the house and even the garden when I am disassociating. New insights. As I said I am still very much a work in progress and when I realise I have been triggered and reacted I am so very thankful that I am well enough now with insight to hopefully be able to begin to work through the reactivity of this situation. For me it looks so much like loss of control in my own life is one of the big things that keep coming up as triggers.
So that is why I have been lost in isolation. I am physically fine, if afraid to cough when I do go out. I live in the south of Tasmania, so fortunately am not in the area of Tasmania which has had two of its hospitals closed recently due to a fairly large pocket of Covid -19 positive workers which has meant that all the staff in these hospitals have been put into mandatory total lock down for two weeks. The patients from these hospitals have been moved to another hospital. The hospitals are being cleaned by a specialty team of defence personnel and will be operated by defence nurses and doctors cleaners and admin people I imagine for the time required.
We have been told we will be in stay home stay safe mode for another four weeks at least with the exception of essential workers, essential shopping, and GP appointments.
I am still flawed by the number of vehicles I see drive by my home full of families out for a drive. Looking at the scenery. Do they stop for food? To put petrol in their car. A toilet stop? A drink? Do they realise that they potentially could be carriers. Or have this illness and not know it yet? What is so hard to follow the instructions Stay Home and Stay Safe. The other issue I have is what if they have an accident, more pressure on first attendants, and ambulance workers. I really do not get these parents at all!
I am not going to get into that anymore, enough I can hear my fire crackling and I am looking out the window at the trees moving in the wind. It looks to have stopped raining for a bit.
My dogs are both asleep. Miss Treacle is snoring softly and Busby is curled up on his bean bag quiet. Both with full tummies. We are all well warm, dry and once again content with being at home, safe.
I am thankful for the rain, for my dogs, for a roof over my head, a warm fire and a cup of hot tea and food. I am thankful to have warm shoes and clothes. I am thankful to never need to say I am bored. I am thankful that for me being in self isolation is OK. I am thankful to all essential workers, I am thankful to all those people around the world who are doing the right thing as hard as it may be for many of you to self isolate. To keep others safe, as well as your self and your families. I am thankful to be out of my disassociation.
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.
It is windy and wet, snow is forecast down to 600metres /1967feet in Tasmania tonight minimum 1dC/33.8dF and a maximum of 12dC/53.6dF. Lighting my fire seemed like a wonderful idea. It is lovely to have, knowing that it should be easy to get going in the morning. Daylight saving also ends for us in Several states tomorrow. It will confuse the the dogs perhaps. It usually is not so bad returning to normal.
There has been a lot of rain, and more forecast. Walking about my veggie garden between showers I pondered picking my pumpkins. The Waltheim butternut one and I can not recall the other variety. The corn also perhaps should have been picked today. A bit late now to be thinking about it. Though I notice my mind is rolling it about in its repertoire.
Sipping rose hip syrup in hot water is a truely beautiful herbal drink. There is no traffic on the highway across the river. All I can hear it the fire crackling and the metal creaking as it heats. It is so still. The dogs are both asleep soundly no noise from them either. My fingers on the keyboard typing, it feels as if I might be the only person alive. Snug in my home curtains drawn, I sit near the wood heater sending out my thoughts across the world.
A struggle this afternoon to keep myself from wallowing in my darker spaces. Deciding to keep out of an online support group for a wee while, as it is hard to sometimes be able to walk in someone else’s shoes without being pulled down a bit with them as you support them. Instead of allowing myself to get deeper in I removed myself, took my dogs for an actual walk up the hill, and chatted with a neighbour. (we were 15 meters or more apart)
My Government has been asking for Nurses who have let their Registrations lapse to consider coming back into help with the Covid-19 situation. The part of me that made me become a Nurse is wanting to go in and help.
After all that is what being a Nurse it is about. I miss being a RN so greatly. Feelings of being able to help and care for people. I know I can not do this.
Reality hit of course my mental illness has just been signed off on by a Psychiatrist as making me no longer able to work at all. On Thursday (yesterday) in the mail the letter from the Psychiatrist I saw two weeks ago, stating that my mental illness was incapacitating making me unable to work. Even though relief flooded through me to have it confirmed; my mental illness was incapacitating to this level. It makes it final. Feelings of understanding that this is the battle that has been going on inside of me. Knowledge that it is final, I am unwell. The angst and battle that has been fought for almost a year to reach this point, knowing that in all reality this is just the first step completed in the application for disability pension.
My sleep has been long and deep the last two nights with the very real bizzare dreams that can be side effects of medication I take. Upon wakening it takes time to realise that you are not in the place the dream had you. Something only someone else who has experienced these types of dreams would truly understand.
Blogging is so helpful to me at times. As I write my thoughts, feelings, ideas, sometimes in the construction of one blog post as with this particular one, something clicks. A light goes on. Seeing everything written down in black and white, re-reading what has been written. I take note, that I received the letter on Thursday and have been sleeping deeply, and long since then. I had not realised that my brain and body had been anxiously waiting for this letter. That now it was real, it was OK for me to switch off.
Which also goes hand in hand with the darker feelings. Right now a wee flame has lit inside my chest. As my sensations are all aligned to my anxiety. A sense of loss over no longer being able to nurse, a real and valid feeling for what has occurred. Enough going on in my own life without me being able to uplift and support anyone else right now. I am not responsible for them or their actions. The dreams well come and go. They do not scare me. It is perfectly normal to feel sad that my working life as a RN has truly finished.
I feel lighter. I am thankful that I wrote this post tonight. (I had actually compiled a different one). I am thankful to all the retired Doctors and Nurses who are able to help. I am thankful to all essential service workers, I am thankful for being warm. I am thankful to be in isolation with my dogs, who make me laugh, and give me such joy. I am thankful to all the people around the world who are doing the best thing for our essential workers our vulnerable community members, and ourselves by staying at home.
I ran into someone today in Huonville who asked me how I was, as they had not seen me for a while and I was very rarely on Facebook. I responded no I did not go on much. That I was actually not bad, and quite content being at home, attending to things. He asked me if I was unwell withdrawn or OK being at home. I reassured him that I am perhaps feeling the best I have been in a long time. That I was OK at home. I was very aware I need to have social input. At the same time I know for me that I need to limit that.
I surprised myself when I said this. I also realised the truth I had spoken.
I enjoy my lifestyle and always have tended to be happy enough on my own (apart form when I lived with someone and especially when I lived with my partner for a lengthy number of years before he died).
I have a lifted spirit, and have be doing some small things in my home.
Now I do not think I have mentioned, that part of my CPTSD saw me become a hoarder. It was the way for me to keep people out of my home. It was cheaper than building a wall, and along with never asking anyone to visit, created a total impregnable barrier.
Several of years ago, while seeing another psychologist (whom I never really connected with Though he thought differently. Weird that, I read some notes he wrote to my GP at the time, whose office closed and I was able to get my complete notes from it ). He decided to work with the hoarding as my major issue.
This psychologist also encouraged/pushed me to be referred to a social worker. Who was a nice enough fellow, but not at all it seemed to me at the time, or in hindsight knowledgeable about hoarding and how to help.
I was extremely unwell at the time, and really was not able to say no to things. I also was fighting to stay out of hospital. As I did not want to have to be admitted to the mental health ward/s I had worked.
After a few visits at coffee shops with the social worker, and me sharing the issues of hoarding and my home with him. He somehow ended up coming into my house with my invitation. Within three days I had a skip and someone coming to help me get sorted. Perhaps anyone with anxiety, CPTSD and huge trust issues might understand the distress and angst I was feeling. I was extremely worried that the person coming would know me. Maybe in a professional capacity.
I also felt mortified because unbeknown to me the social worker had hired a large skip to my place.
The day came and the woman turned up. She was a lovely person, and I saw the disgust and sadness in her eyes. She was a doer. She was a cleaner not someone with knowledge or experience of assisting hoarders to work through the hoard and issues that go with that.
This was not her fault, and as she was in my home and I was so unwell mentally, that we both just began cleaning and throwing things out. All the while me feeling panicking, and sick in my stomach. I had a headache, my jaw was clenched and I did not want to chat. I dreaded each day she was due.
I did attempt to explain my situation. She bless her did her best. I on the other hand felt pressured and guilt, I was very ashamed and distressed. I continued with this set up for four weeks. In the end I had to say to the social worker that it was causing me great angst and I was feeling worse especially on the mornings she was due. I was triggered and I just wanted to not answer the door in fact I did not want to get out of bed.
It is quite strange even writing about this situation is causing the symptoms again. In the end I explained to this lovely woman it was just not working for me. That I had appreciated her help very much. When she left I went to bed and did not get up for two days, except for the dogs and my needs, and food for the dogs. I ignored for the next fortnight the Social workers calls, and messages.
Eventually I came out of my room and contacted him. He was helping to find a Mens Shed Organisation to come and take my partners wood turning and wood working set up as a donation.
This was going to be so hard for me. I had taken ages to decide what I wanted to do with it all. I thought about selling it but I was to unwell at the time and I just wanted it all gone.
I had been in his workshop and sorted through everything that I wanted to keep, I had taken some items into the house, and stacked everything else separately away in a corner. I showed the social worker what was to remain.
I knew it was going to be a traumatic and emotive time when the lathe and his own tools were removed. I could not be at home while it was happening. I explained this to the Social worker, and he reasured me he would be there.
I was numb when I left in the morning. I took my dogs for a walk along the river and then we went and met up with a friend at a local cafe. I was not thinking about any of it.
A few hours later I returned home with great trepidation. I was really uncertain how I was going to be impacted with my partners passion his wood turning lathe, his carving tools, his woodworking books, the band saw and the bench all gone.
I parked the car, let the dogs out and noted that the large skip was fairly full. I wandered over and to my dismay there were all the things I had put aside that I wanted. Things that I needed for the garden, some paint to finish some things. Bits and bob, netting for my fruit trees. All covered in oil and sawdust. I panicked and attempted to pull everything out, but items were broken, and as I said covered in oil. Some of the tins of paint had spilt. I was so upset. I recall I just threw my arms up in the air and sobbed loudly.
I then charged up the steps into the workshop. I stopped and was flummoxed. There was just an empty room. A totally EMPTY ROOM. All the shelving had been removed. All the containers of screws, nails, bolts, bits and pieces that my partner had saved, collected to repair things in your home. Especially when you are the person who built the home and know every nook and cranny every gap and thing that will get finished one day. The chain saw and drill, the axe. Paint rollers, brushes. My things that were now in the bin. Destroyed. All The very things I had said to the social worker were to stay!
How could this have happened.
I was floored. I was angry, wounded, I was bewildered, lost. I had made sure the social worker knew what was too go. What was to stay. How could this of happened? Of course it was to late to contact the social worker by this time. A really bad nights sleep, and my mind just going over and over what did I do or say wrong that caused this to happen. Grief overwhelmed me, I had lost everything EVERYTHING and given away treasured items, I felt so let down. I rang the social worker in the morning. It was quite weird and I have to honestly say I do not have a huge recollection of what happened, with the exception that he did say he was not there at my house when the men came to remove everything. I had never met any of these men, I did not know any of their names I did not even know where everything ended up. I know at that point I really just shut down. I could take no more.
I never spoke to this person again. I never reported or lodged a complaint. I just sat in my home, cuddling my dogs. I stayed home for a few days and began to hoard even more bizarre things. I did not go out, I did not shower, I did not clean, wash up. All I could manage was to ensure my lifelines, my dogs were exercised fed and loved.
The trust I had begun to rekindle in people was gone. TOTALLY and UTTERLY gone.
I did eventually realise how I was deteriorating and went to see my fantastic GP (who left a year later to go and become a psychiatrist) . It was through her I was put on the council program and met the psychologist I have now.
Now if I feel that my trust has been taken advantage off, or I have been manipulated I do not even bother to say anything. I just never go back to the place, or deal with the person, or continue the friendship of the person where I feel this has happened.
It took me so long to be able to ask for help. Then to let someone inside my home and see how bad it was. To let someone in to help me ‘clean’
Even now as I write I feel violated and that is such a weird word to write when I am talking about this.
I am OK and it always help to share and write things down I find.
I feel from my own perspective and experience. The ‘kind meaningful help’ that can be offered to anyone with a mental illness or chronic illness, a disabilty, are so very subjective and if respect and understanding, and most importantly keeping the promises you make as a paid support worker are not met. I ponder how the duty of care is maintained.
Perhaps if I had lodged complaints about what occurred it might have helped. I was to unwell and mentally not competent to undertake this. Not even in a phone call. I could not even say what I really felt to the social worker.
What I do know is that it put me backwards in my treatment and I quit the psychologist at the same time, never explaining or seeing him again. He never followed up to see if I was OK.
I struggle now to let workman into my home. I need a couple of things fixed. I let one in to fix a leak under my verandah door upstairs in my bedroom, that leaks into my kitchen. He assured me he could do it. He was a lovely man. I had to call him back three times as each time (when it rained the leak was actually worse than it had been origianlly). In the end he just said he could not do anything else? I wanted to scream, again I could not. I had paid him in full. (you only find out the job doesn’t work when it rains. I did not think to put the hose over it. So now I can not afford to pay someone else to fix it. I dont have any trust in anyone else to fix it. I keep thinking I can probably fix it. (maybe I can). lol. Living rurally can be hard to get anyone to come out here.
Even with sharing all of this, I still feel better than I have in a long time. I am sleeping in weird patterns, I sleep for two weeks 12-14 hours then for 4 night 4-6 than the for some nights 8 hours. It seems to be a cyclic thing, so perhaps the medication. I also have really bizzare dreams and sleep very heavily. I do find taking paracetamol and ibuprofen seem to stop the dreams. That seem so real.
wow did this post go a way I did not see coming..
I am falling in love with my home, I am seeing it again, and wanting to slowly remove things. One of the things I was hoarding were cardboard boxes. To use to kill of the grass about the veggie area and pathways. Now I bring a box home, empty it, and then flatten it and go place it out side where I want it to go. There are no boxes inside my home. Where a few months ago I had 30. One situation is being managed. I am proud of that.
Moving and improving your life with CPTSD is about so many things. I found forgiveness was a huge milestone for me. I may have posted this on another post. Forgiving the people who abused me. Not to their faces, or in writing. I just voice my forgiveness. I did it purely for me. I just basically with a sincere heart said. I forgive……,……, and……,……. ect for what they did to/at/against me. I will let it go. I felt something give, something change. Like a hole opened and a light shone inside me. I felt brighter. I felt less anger.
It has been over a month closer to two since I did this. I now am able to work on changing my mood and not fixate so much. I am more positive. This ties in to the very first paragraph.
I have forgiven the Social Worker and the Person who came to fix my leak. Again not in person, or a letter but for me. I feel a sense of another piece has fallen off my wall.
I am thankful that all this happened as it was through this whole shebang that I ended up on a Huon Valley Council mental health package where I met my current psychologist. I am so SO very thankful for Her.
I feel at peace in my home. I no longer want to flee, because I can not deal with the hoard and mess. I don’t like the way it is however I know that it is a very slow, time consuming and emotive at times, work in progress. That in all honesty I must do on my own.
Umm Have I mentioned I have a bit of a tendency for OCD. Now my psychologist explained it well to me. When my home is clean and comfortable. I tend to like my CDs in alphabetical order, my books in genre and alphbetised by Author. My pantry in food types and alphabetised, My wardrobe and drawers in type ie pants, shirts and within that colour groupings. So her feelings are that it part of what is inhibiting me.
Perhaps I will share more of my work in dealing with my hoarding here.
I also note that having connected with so many other peoples blogs some with CPTSD some with depression anxiety, physical, chronic, illnesses and disabilities, others with none. Connecting and reading stories written by wonderful writers, from all over the world. Connecting with an supportive art group from beginners through. I am meeting people I would never have had the opportunity to have connected with in my life here in Tassie.
I feel so thankful to have all of these experiences, I feel thankful to have had my breakdown and I know that sounds really weird. I just see my life in such a very different way now, and I accept it. I also do not really care if others do not.
I am so happy to have connected (even if I have not done any painting this week ) with the art group, I am thankful for them and Charlie for his blog Doodlewash. https://doodlewash.com/
Thankful to my neighbours, who I know keep an eye on me. Especially thankful to these two.
Today it is all about my dogs and dogs we meet along with their families. I have said before that my dogs are the reason I am still here.
In my darker periods of depression and anxiety they give me a reason to get up in the morning and to smile. They love me its that simple, and they need me. I need them. I love them and they love me.
They go with me everywhere, as long as it is not too hot for them to be in the car, or walking on the hot cement or tarmac. We have done so much together, and they bring me happiness and are there for me. Miss Treacle is sort of a service dog, not officially but some dogs and owners just have a connection. She seems to know when I am being triggered, and will come and sit on me if she can or as close to me as possible and try to make eye contact with me. Pressing her little body into mine. Really really trying. It helps me now, I realise what she is doing and when she is there it can help so much to stop things escalating.
This was taken at Lauderdale a north eastern suburb of Hobart a year ago and at a bakery up there. We sat outside with a coffee, and watched birds and the weather. Miss Treacle Busby and I and our older dog had gone on a drive. If you look to the right of the back of the photograph you will see dark cloud forming. That is the Mount Kunanyi (Mount Wellington) the large mountain that forms part of the divide between Huon Valley, to Kingston and Hobart. My home is basically directly south behind Miss Treacle.
I tell people all the time how sweet and gentle Busby is. He is younger here and we fostered kittens and puppies along with looking after friends dogs if they needed it.
Oh my what teeth you have Miss Treacle. Scary too. I’m just yawning know need to be concerned.
Busby is trying to tell me it is time to leave. He has no one paying him any attention. Coffee at a local bakery.
Miss Treacle just hopped up here on the seat next to the gentleman(who I know fortunately) when I went inside to order my coffee. She does prefer to be off the ground.
This is Busby and one of the kittens we fostered. He was so gentle with all of them, and loved them and they him.
Here you can see how good he is with them. The other dog in the background is my gorgeous Smithfield, who died age 12 two years ago.
Miss Treacle was also great with the kittens, though her patience did wear a bit thing a times and she would put them in their place. I guess that is the roll of older members of a family who are helping to raise the youngsters.
You find the most amazing beaches in Tasmania. This beach is a dog friendly one. This is Lauderdale Beach in Austum a few years ago you can see a storm coming.
Above, Taken near Cygnet. Two dogs very well behaved as they head to town.
The dog walking group I am a member of helped with the RSPCA Million Paws walk and this was one of the dogs who he and his owner participated.
Busby above getting a drink and checking the creek near the Cygnet Dog park out. Cooling his paws on a hot day.
We met these two lovely ladies at an off lead dog walking track at Corneilian Bay in Hobart. It is a favourite place when we go to Hobart. It is a great walking track up a hill and next to the cementry. It also has a spot for the dogs to play and chase as well as have a swim in the bay.
More dogs we met that morning and their humans.
My dogs and I were heading up a mountain near where we live as snow had fallen this was later in the day. It was the first time that Busby had been near snow. It was not deep. As it had fallen overnight and this was about 2pm. You can see how interested Miss Treacle and my older dog are.
Above they had a ball. I was worried for a short while that Busby might be feeling the cold. That is until he went for a swim in the lake that was to the left in the photo above. I decided if he was swimming in the freezing water he was OK.
This is our neighbours lovely springer spaniel saying hi to Busby. He has just turned 2 and he and Busby adore each other it is a bromance of the highest order. They miss each other and oh my when its been a few days without seeing each other it is sheer joy and love.
They love to play with each other and sometimes Miss Treacle will join in. Though at 12 1/2 the young boys can get a bit rough for her.
Fortunately there are safe and comforting arms to save her. Below.