Musings from down under down under

It is really interesting, I kind of thought with my budget being so tight and me being more content at home not finding it easy to be around people even to just pop in on people who tell me too.
I have not been anywhere out of my home area, well the dogs walks and I have chatted briefly with neighbours, for a week. I imagine to many this must be such a strange thing and way to live. I do not believe I am depressed, as I am achieving some small things inside my home. On top of having been getting my veggie garden up and functional again this summer. My dogs make me laugh and I laugh at things I watch appropriately

I have achieved finding a new psychiatrist, but I had to do all the work and that really annoyed me and exhausted me. We have a company/organisation called Phscy 2 U. Which is supposed to provide people who live in rural and isolated areas the access to psychologists and psychiatrists. I have been seeing a psychiatrist for 7 months (need to have an assessment conducted to get a letter from he/she to apply for disability pension). I use the term 7months very loosely here. I saw this particular psychiatrist for five months and then I have been trying to find out why he told my GP I no longer wished to see him. (I never said that). So to catch to the chase. I had rung the organisation to find out what was going on and if he would see me but I needed a new referral from my GP which was sent on the 12 December 2019. They never got back to me. I rang again, to be told that they would look for another psychiatrist.
Never heard anything, and as it was Christmas time now there was no point trying again until the new year. So ring again I did. No he was not seeing me anymore, no reason. They would look for a new psychiatrist.

One week later I ring again having heard nothing, oh the Psychiatrist had been away on leave and they would imagine I would hear from him soon. Another week passes, I hear nothing.

I ring again to be told I have to wait for this person to contact me as I am on ADHD medication and he is the only psychiatrist who can prescribe in Tasmania. I say I am not on ADHD medication where did you get that information from it is incorrect. Oh. I say since I am not on that medication you could find me a psychiatrist who could see me. She says she will send some emails.

I ring back again 10 days later. No record of me not being on ADHD medication no record of the conversation I had 10 days ago and no emails sent to any other Psychiatrists. Me not so happy. Person I spoke to lovely and says she will send something of right now. Me great I have been waiting since the 12th December it is now 26 January, and I have rung several times to follow up and no one has ever contacted me. This is making me unwell having to chase all this up my anxiety CPTSD is not great.

I ask if I can speak to a supervisor, she says no one is available at the moment but someone will ring back. I ask today? Yes today. OK

I wait and wait, the office closes at 4pm I have heard nothing and it is 3.30pm so I ring. The woman I spoke with was no help I said I had been waiting for a call from the supervisor, she says did you want the office manager or the Head person, me I just want someone who can help resolve this. She then went on to tell me emails had been sent before, I said are you meaning the emails that were sent this morning? No before that. Really how come you are the first person to tell me this, as the woman I spoke to this morning said nothing had been sent and she would email them. So would you give me the dates these emails were sent please. She was reluctant to do this. I again asked for the dates, and said to her I felt that I was getting a bumsteer from this company.

I also found out that the actual second referral from my GP which was faxed on the 12.12.19 (I rang my GP to confirm) was not put into this companies system until the 06/01/2020. No explanation available as they did not close the office until 24/12/19

In the course of this conversation I discovered there was no record of one of my phone calls and the conversation from that date. I as an RN/RPN (no longer working) stated that legally that was a huge error. I had called and there was no record of it! I said in a legal situation the courts would say if its not documented it did not happen, and that is wrong in so many ways in a medical setting to not have a record of a clients call documented. I said I would be contacting the Ombudsman in regard to that. I also said I had a right to know when the emails were sent I did not want to know who too. Just the date they were sent. She then admitted they were sent that morning! UGGh! I was feeling so angry.

I was so fed up and I could feel I was being triggered and my anger was beginning. I hung up not expecting to hear from anyone today.

A few minutes later I got a call from the person in charge. I had managed to calm myself a bit in the interim time, but I just waited for her to begin the conversation as she had rung me. She begins with there is no issue about the phone call not being recorded. I disputed this. I also requested that I wished to make a formal complaint about the process and what had occurred with the documentation she refused saying that me speaking to her was dealing with it. I said NO I wanted it to be documented as a formal complaint so it would go to the governing body. or whomever. As medical notes had to be kept objectively and correctly again I stated that in a legal situation the fact my phone call and the information was not documented in my notes meant it did not happen. How many other clients were having this sort of treatment? She did not like my attitude. She then said my previous psychiatrist did not want to see me. I said sorry is that documented? Where did you get this information? She did not respond. I said he sent my GP a letter saying I no longer wanted to see him, and that was not correct, as could be seen as I had rung up (and fortunately that had been documented twice) to say I did want to see him.
If she had records saying he did not want to see me, than they should be sent to my GP, as the information she had was incorrect. As a mental health client that could go against me, if the Disability people thought I did not want to see the psychiatrist. I was so upset and my anger was rising. I just wanted to get an appointment with a psychiatrist, there are no psychiatrist available in the southern area of Tasmania that bulk bill. I can not afford to pay to see one at all. I was crying by this point and had to hang up.
She rang me back about 10mins later, saying she hoped I had calmed down…I really battled to not bite her head off.. I let her talk, she said she had tried to ring 2 psychiatrists but no one was answering. She had left messages. I said is that all? yes I hung up. I was drained exhausted frustrated and just shattered.

The next morning I rang and lodged a complaint about information not being documented in my records and asking for a copy of the information that says the psychiatrist I had been seeing no longer wanted to see me. Not that I did not want to see him. I wanted my GPs records to be amended. I had to do that on the computer which at least was not a huge form.

I just can not cope. I do but it takes so much out of me. I get fixated and then begin to think if I am struggling and I am sort of better than I was, in some ways, how would anyone who was more unwell deal with any of this, and like with my Centrelink ban, I think many people would just give up and try and struggle on.

The concept of these Skype meetings is full of good intentions. But having people who have no idea and seem to not want to know anything about you but just give you drugs, (and Yes the meds I’m on are helping my brain but other areas are blah..like constantly weary. I sleep 12+hours with some weird really weird dreams, for a week or more and then I have a few nights were I am up all night, It is part of the have a brain that is functioning, or not symptoms.

Yet when I create a post such as this I see my mind is a bit all over the place, and I really struggle with paperwork. I am so fed up with what seems to me having to resolve things that I as the person with a mental illness should not have too. I am exhausted by the dealings of it all and my reaction is to begin to close myself off again. Not look at the phone, not communicate with other bloggers, not go and get the food I need. It was really only because my dogs needed their food for the fortnight that I ended up going out today. Then I am out for so long as I usually run into people who want to chat. Even today, I had rung and ordered my dogs meat, on Monday, and the person who took my order did not get it right. I had a few kilos in the freezer at home which would have got me over the long weekend(which I was oblivious too). So I was able to manage the situation in a no major issue kind of way, which was positive.

I keep reminding myself to be aware and to breathe, to acknowledge the feeling but not let it rule me. I also am getting better at saying to my little me that I the adult person am in charge and will deal with it.
I am really happy to be finding so many amazing bloggers out there I especially love wordpress.com/read/feeds/36149739/posts/2580354980, Charlies writing and his artwork make me smile and light a spark inside me wanting to be creative again. Yet for the moment I have to put that on hold for a few days.

I am really thankful that as a hoarder, (I have not shared that here before) I actually am really conscientious about what I am bringing in to my home. For quite a while I was gathering boxes, so many boxes cardboard and today the dog meat came in two cardboard boxes, and I know that they will go out in my car port(now devoid of cardboard boxes) but I will use them and put them on the grass in my veggie area that I am trying to get rid of. I threw a fair few of the other ones away as it was very big problem into recycling. I was somewhere else today and I was offered a box to carry some things (breakables) but I said thank You but I won’t and explained that I hoarded them! Wow was I so happy that not only I said no, but I reiterated out loud the reason why I did not want a box. I knew I had two already. If I had a third that I could do without, and I said NO huge step forward.

As a hoarder I also have to look at anything I am bringing home in any multiples. For example I got several large bowls at the tip shop(which is where I was offered the box) and a few pie dishes all glass or pottery. Plus I needed to replace my microwave glass plate that spins having broken my 18 months ago. I was tempted by so much stuff, and the constant thing in my head was you do not need that you are trying to de clutter, and not hoard, you are hear for large bowels for bird baths and drinking bowls for wild life. (some of my old plastic ones are deteriorating and need to be replaced). So I came home with four bowels, on microwave plate and this was a near miss in the hoarder scenario, as I there were five different sizes and not being sure of the size I almost bought the five. Self talk and I looked at them all and from somewhere inside my brain, take this one and if it is not right I am sure they would let you do a simple swap next timer! YES wonderful. I got the one I chose home and it fitted. Yippee.

So along with the part of my brain that is not functioning well and the constant tiredness, some aspects are going well.

The other thing is I am doing OK. I do think some of my reactions in dealing with the psych 2 U people were anxiety driven, I am no closer to having my assessment for DSP than I was nearly 8 months ago which is frustrating. I was about to write that I was also worrying about the new person changing medications, and I could feel myself reacting, and my auto anxiety responses physical sensations begin, and into my head came…not much point worrying about that now, you have five weeks before your appointment.

I am thankful I have an appointment, I am thankful that I am on meds that have some positives that out weigh the negatives, I am thankful for the wonderful bloggers who I enjoy reading, seeing their creativity and learning and sharing experiences with each other.

blessings Tazzie

The credit card trap

The clock strikes midnight and there is the end to Christmas 2019! Instantly every media area is full of Summer Sales, End of the Year Sales, the news is filled with that retail is concerned about the pre Christmas sales and not enough spending before so their hope is money will be spent at the sales. Credit card debt and personal debt in Australia is increasing rapidly. Yet when I go to second hand shops and tip shops I see so many incredible items with no wear some with tags still on, in great condition. I recently picked up a bed side light for $10. I needed one, but could not afford to buy any new that I had seen. This was a solid metal durable movable one. I had seen similar new for over $80.

I think I have mentioned previously I do not own a credit card. I learnt the hard way how credit cards can cause financial problems. I had one as I was looking at buying a house. I had previously had a personal loan for a car, and I assumed this would be enough to provide proof of my history for paying back the loan. I was knocked back for a mortgage as there was not a recent credit history!

I struggled to comprehend how this could be since I had no debts. Seemed the banks did not like that.


It was suggested I get a credit card, to establish a credit history. Sigh. So I did. I requested the lowest amount as my limit. $1000 AUD. Well the out come was I kind of got carried away with what I could now buy! I spent more money than I earned and before I knew it my balance was $1000. I paid it off $200 a month as I was paid monthly at that time.

Then Christmas was coming and I wanted to give friends and family great gifts. The balance on my credit card was about $500 at this point so I contacted the bank and requested an increase in the value of my line of credit. They put it up to $5000 it went to my head. Christmas coming and friends saying lets go for a holiday to Queensland. I was in spending heaven.

I listened to things my family and friends said they would like for Christmas and went and bought the dearest thing they mentioned. I want to make them so happy. I said yes to the trip and paid airfare accommodation on the credit card. I felt so excited. It was going to be a brilliant Christmas! I also had the trip to look forward to in mid January. I had no savings, and was just paying the minimum monthly payment on my card. I worked and bought take away food and coffees everyday. I also went out a lot socially dancing and eating out with friends. I was living the life.

Christmas came and my extravagant gifts were appreciated. I felt so good. I was now looking forward to our holiday.

On arriving home, I was so happy. I had had a lovely Christmas. One of my friends rang a night or two later and said lets go grab a meal. I said OK. Nice meal and we laughed and enjoyed being together. The bill came and I put my credit card on the table to pay my share and my friend put cash. The waiter took it away but a short time later came back and said I am sorry but your card has been declined. I was mortified. I walked over to use my debit card. Insufficient funds. Oh my there must be some mistake. My friend fortunately had enough cash to cover my share and I said I would pay her back as soon as possible. Which I did.

I paid a bit of the card to get it back under its limit but in not too long it was up again and I struggled to pay anything than the minimum payment off, I ended up paying a few dollars more to bring it back under the limit. I was still spending on it though.

I went to pay my electricity bill a couple of months later and my credit card was declined again. Not only that they informed me it had to be cut up! I was so embarrassed. As this was a final demand or my power would be cut off if the bill was not paid by that date.

On the way home I checked my bank balance $3.60 woah! (I would not be paid for two more weeks). That was all the money I had in the world! I was over $5000 in debt and my power was going to be cut off. I had some groceries and a bit of a pantry even back then. However if my power went off my fridge would not work nor my fully electric oven or the microwave or washing machine in my rental flat. I was very fortunate at this point in one way that my rent for the month was taken out the day my monthly pay went into my bank account.

I was going to be two weeks before I had any more money. The power went off on Friday afternoon, and I went all weekend with no power. I was so up set and shocked at my situation. I was going to a family dinner on the Saturday night, and realised I was going to have to tell them my situation.

I did and it was bad, I was so upset at myself and embarrassed, and neither parent would lend me any money as they thought is would be better that I really learn the lesson of living on what you earn! I was devastated as I really believed they would rescue me. I left early returning to my dark flat and cried angry tears at them for not helping me.

I ate some really weird food over the next two weeks. I had no social life, as I could not bring a plate, or go out to eat. Or even a coffee. It was work, home hand wash some clothes, work out what I could eat. Let me tell you cereal with water is not very nice. But it filled a empty stomach. I ate cold baked beans, and spaghetti no bread. I ate cold tinned soup mixed with water cold. I was incredibly fortunate I was renting a unit water still operated even with out my power.

When I finally got paid I had to pay a re connection fee and the bill.

The good news with this experience was I have never had a credit card again! I live quite OK with out. I only live on what I have and budgeting and shopping lists and my pantry have been the difference. I pay my bills when they come in. I don’t wait until the due date, as If I have some money in my account after my costs I pay some of it off the bill and when my next payment comes in I pay the rest. I will even pay extra on them.

Why on earth would anyone do that? It gives me some wiggle room. Now I am on a very low income I have to be very aware of when my big bills are due. My home and content insurance and my rates. I am very fortunate that my council has quarterly payments, as this year for the first time I am paying the quarterly but even then I pay more if I have it.

When my insurance is due, I usually do a few weeks of spending very little if I have not been able to budget enough fortnightly to save for it.

The most interesting thing is I don’t really recall the holiday I took, or what I purchased, the place I ate out or clothes I bought. I had fun and the friends I was so generous with are not in my life anymore. The regret I have is how much I spent and that I thought I could buy friendship. I regret extending the credit card beyond my financial income and needs. I still would have been able to go away on the holiday.

Did the credit card help me get a mortgage it must have because when I re applied for a mortgage I got it. What having a credit card did for me was to put me in a situation I never wanted to be in again.

I was really hurt and angry when no one in my family would rescue me. As it is this episode of tough love was the best thing they could have done for me in the long term. It changed my mentality.

I may live on a tight budget and am frugal. I still can afford to meet up for a coffee at a cafe (as I don’t let anyone into my home that is another post). I look at what I have. I am not against anybody going to the sales if they need something.

The things I am really thankful for are that I own my home out right, that I have no debt. If I was not in this situation when I had my breakdown and was so ill mentally I have no idea what would have happened to me. Even being in this situation I did have thoughts of suicide. I can not imagine what might have been if I in such a secure environment had these thoughts, how much harder it would be if I was paying a mortgage, or renting. I would have lost my home, not been able to afford to rent. I may be homeless living in my car not working. I know this is a situation for many people. I know I am so rich and fortunate. I have a good roof over my head. I have clean water to drink, I am content.

I don’t have children. So again this does make it easier in so many ways for me. I still believe that if you have a mortgage you need to be paying this off first and foremost. If you become ill or loose your job, how will you pay for it? Perhaps you have income insurance, great ..

I have spoken to a someone I know recently as we were talking about finances and she asked me how I could live with out a credit card. I said pretty easily really. Firstly even if you do pay you full amount off every month you still have to pay an annual fee for the privileged of having a credit card. She is also paying a mortgage. We chatted about how much a month she spends on her credit card it was a lot to me. She is on a good income. I asked her did she need what she spent on her credit card, or was it she wanted the things. She looked at me. I looked at her and said that is how I began to realise how to pay off my debts.

If you need something that is fine. If you want it, why do you want it. Look at how much you could save if you added that to your credit card debts/mortgage. (This is another post in the near future)
I said to her CUT UP YOUR CREDIT CARD! You can learn to live without it. Using cash brings you back in touch with the value of money. You take it out of your bank account…you have to hand the money to pay for the things you need or want. You begin to see where YOUR money is really going.

I am fortunate as on a benefit I have a bank account that I do not have any charges on. (Thank You Bendigo Bank, I get nothing for saying this). I pay cash for nearly everything.

Perhaps it is living in a rural town community, that makes a difference. If I don’t quite have the money to pay for the groceries on the day, and I hardly ever do this, but my local independent grocery store will let me pay it when I can, usually for me it is the next day. I also use local tyre company and they will let me pay off tyres (set of 4) I am also able to get an interest free loan up to $1000 through a government scheme. So there is a support there if I needed it. I have filled up my car and gone to pay, and not realised that my automatic payment for my internet was taken out leaving me less money(i know my dates now) and fortunately the guys at the petrol station no me, and I could pay them next week. I do not make a habit of not having enough money. I now check my balances and make sure that I have enough petrol to get me to my next payment date. though life can cause things to happen where petrol is required to be used that I have not budgeted for.

I do not have savings per say because extra money is usually earmarked for a bill in the future.

Perhaps the most important thing for me with my Complex PTSD is that I keep my stress as far as possible to a minimum. Being debt free has helped immensely with that. Learning to be content being at home has also been a saving bonus and a joyful thing. Part of my managing the many issues that my illness can cause me is minimising things that I may get anxious about. Distressed about, so knowing where my money has to go is the first step in my planning for the next 12 months. Anything that I can put in place to help me manage helps me to live in more contentment. Not having debts. Huge HUGE

Tazzie

Vegie Garden with Ollas

16th December 2019

3 weeks ago the following was written in my garden journal. It is the next planting of my summer garden. I had planted tomatoes, beans and corn and pumpkin (known as threes sisters planting) My vegies (vegatables) garden beds are basically square meter beds or about 40″ square raised beds. I do all sorts of plantings at one time I did use the square foot gardening methods and loved the quantity of vegies you could get from a small area. This year I am mixing it up a bit in how I am planting. I do plant closer together than you usually do. I also have plants in containers on my deck and have been adding seeds and seedlings into my normal beds too. (that is for another post I think).

25/11/19 The garden was calling today, blue sky and still for a while.  I was not feeling like spending time in the garden as I was just feeling quite flat.  I looked at my seedlings that remain to be planted out.  The zucchini  and some brassicas were really needing to go out, or at least into a larger pot. As to the lettuce I got at crop swap. I figured that if I was going to transplant them I should put them in the garden and not pot them up.  I gathered my supplies the seedlings with the aim to complete the planting of these and not stop until most were in.  

Not your neat tidy garden.

With the wind dropping off and the sunshine it became easier to do.   It seems to be for me at times that just beginning is often so unbelievably hard.  I have been learning to do a small thing so my aim was to plant these seedlings.  There are more to go out though they need warmer temperatures than we have been having of late.   I looked at the where I have a couple of tomatoes growing and thought that the eggplant I had put in the bed was being exposed to much to the wind so moved it. It and some capsicums seedlings are in the asparagus bed for the time being.

MA tomato with flowers a zucchini and a lettuce seedling.

I then put the zucchinis in the bed and the lettuce on the side where the zucchinis will be discouraged by me in where they wander.  I had planed to trellis them, unfortunately sunshine would have been blocked from other beds.

I decided that the brassicas needed to be put in and as they are heavy feeders, they went in to a bed with aged manure, blood and bone and two Ollas. 

Brassica bed with Ollas

I keep mentioning Ollas. What are they? they are water reservoirs that go into the soil and help with watering and water retention.

a real Olla.

My homemade Ollas are terracotta planters (I have been able to buy some with no hole for drainage in them.)and the saucer becomes the lid.  You can fill the hole with a suitable filler for a terracotta pot ensure that it is a safe product for use in something in your vegie garden.

I put the pot into the bed and just the lip is sticking above fill the pot with water and pop the saucer on for lid.  I mulch over them so to keep them cool. Though it is very easy to check water level by taking top off and adding water, not forgetting to put the top on and cover with mulch. You terracotta planters must not be sealed in any way.

My terracotta pot
Normal way to use the pot
No drainage hole in my pots
water savig pots in situ in brassica bed,
Terracotta pot in the bed with saucer as lid it is now an Olla

Some seedlings are coping better than others. I am trying the Three Sisters method this year. My understanding that Native Americans used to plant corn beans and pumpkins (squash) together. The beans use the corn to grow up on, whilst the squash leaves keep the roots of the plants cool.

The Three sisters bed. Beans corn and pumpkin (squash)

My dogs Treacle and Busby are my family.  Throughout my breakdown and my ongoing mental health illness they are my constant companions.  I would not be here I can honestly admit if it had not been for my animals.  In my worst days (not so distant)  there presence, warmth,  love, companionship and their needing me is why I did not kill myself.  For their presence I am eternally grateful. 

Busby provides shade for treacle

It breaks my heart when I hear or read about people saying how can people on Newstart (unemployment benefit I am on it, in Australia.) or living on the street afford to keep a dog or cat ?   For many the love companionship of their furred buddy is what keeps them going just like me.  Just like me I would go without and have in the past so my dogs are fed and cared for.   Yet these people are often judged. It is amazing how just having another heartbeat near you and the soft fur to pet and a warm body to hug and snuggle with is everything to me and I assume them.

I am appreciative to wake up every day now.   Not all days are great but that is normal the bad days are less but I guess if I don’t leave my home it makes it less likely I will face a trigger.    I find it so very hard to trust people. I can be out and friendly in small groups say at a cafe on an irregular time frame. Being around people for too long or too often, the noise, music, smells perfumes etc. Exhaust me. There are benefits to this I don’t go out much and therefore spend less than in my previous life. This is a very simple life. I can honestly say that as hard and all as it is life after my breakdown, I am thankful for it. I began living a simpler life not as a choice. It is my life. I am so grateful for the  life I lead now. I have realised I am actually happy in my own space on my own. This is a huge change and it is thanks to having a fantastic psychologist who has really heard and is so supportive. It is the thing I believe is the hardest thing for those with any mental illness to find. Support and help that is pertinent to you as an individual and where you are totally heard and feel safe to share what has to be shared to

The wind had knocked over my broad beans and many were broken off.  I cleared the bed and bought the beans in side.  I will think about what I will do with them tomorrow.  I also harvested some garlic even thought I knew it was too early.  It meant the bed was now fairly clear for the next crops to go into.   Silver beet and a leek  were harvested. 

What a feast  I had an omelette with carrot, onion caramalised, capsicum, silver beet, garlic, broad beans, using two eggs and a quarter cup of milk.  Started on the stove top then grated cheese finely on top(grating it finely you dont’t use as much) put into a low oven to bake gently while I had a shower,  Perfectly cooked when I came out. Delicious.  I paid $6.50 for a dozen organic free range eggs from the farm, my milk is Tasmanian, $4.50 for 2 litres not homogenised, the capsicum red was $1.30 and the onion red was 80 cents.  I used a few slices of capsicum, about 1/4 of the onion, the cheese I buy when on special usually about $9 for 1kg (this one is Bega tasty).  with my vegies which have costs involved in setting everything up( I know) these were very cheap, as all were from seeds I had saved last year.

So from being very reluctant to garden I now feel more peaceful, I enjoyed it, and always find having my hands in the soil or just weeding, does improve my mood. I do take vitamin D supplement during winter as I suffer with low to very low vitamin D levels. (common in Southern maybe all of Tasmania.) I do try to get into the sunshine and yes I do feel good for achieving what I planed and more, along with cooking a fresh healthy meal. Along with having a shower, something that embarrasses me to write but it is my truth, has been over a week since I had one. I have put a load of washing on which was very needed too. I am not a domestic goddess. I do like to cook, and bake. Yet like many things I like and enjoy I get so overwhelmed at times. Which is so strange compared to my working life when I was in charge of facilities. These are the things having a mental illness impact for me; along with my inability to fill out documents, read complex things, to organise, to commit to anything or retain some things in my head. I am so grateful for my garden and to be physically able to work in it. To be able to grow some vegetables for myself.

Tazzie.

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