looking back, looking in

A couple of weekends ago, on the way home from a family outing, we made a strange side journey into my childhood territory and went to see if the house I grew up in was still there. It is. Even though there is no access from Maroondah highway any more. A free way at the top of our street was always on the cards even back in the seventies. What can I say? It was strange; recognisable but different. The light was going and I rushed to find familiar landmarks.The bottom of the court looked much like I remember and I explained to Grace how far up the creek flooded. We walked along the creek a little each way. The path towards Eastlands was quite changed. The other way, although there has obviously been re-vegetation work, the path still looked very familiar. I found the cliff we used to climb, where according to dad, the old antimony mine used to be. The creek looks like it might have been edged with bluestone. We used to dig caves in the soft walls so perhaps that is a good thing. The paddock at the top of the street, the one where we used to build cubby houses that looked like haystacks and hide ourselves inside to light matches, that is gone.

the house I grew up in

The house itself was recognisable. I struggled working out what was the same and what had changed when we were there, but from the photo it's easy to see. There used to be a carport out the front, the room that was our den used to have a glass door and the garden was more leafy. However the gum tree near where the letterbox was is still there, even if the side path is gone. The oak tree we loved to climb is still there but the lower limbs have been removed. And I can make out a line of conifers along the back neighbours fence. Visiting was funny. I think in hindsight, I was possibly on my way to the strange interior place I am in now. Seeing places I once had an intimate physical connection with but are now part of the land of memory and childhood nostalgia is definitely weird. Comforting and unsettling all at once. It's funny too that I see similar scenes in the bushy creeks near here. Maybe that's part of why I am happy that we now live where we do.

the creek where we used to play

Over the last week or so whenever I'm not sure of what to do with myself, I've been going through my old posts and loading photos into blogger. Revisiting my life as the mother of a one year old, recently recovered from a life altering post natal psychosis. I've also been reading past accounts of my various crazy episodes and it seems as though I have been here before. More or less. Which I find quite comforting because although it feels like shit right now, there is evidence that the shittiness won't last. As it is, I am still off work. Last Friday I went to see my psychiatrist and there were tears, she handed me the tissues, wrote copious notes and a certificate for a week. She said the signs point to panic attacks and anxiety and sent me to my GP to rule out other possibilities. Which increased my anxiety somewhat. I finally had an appointment today and my bloodpressure is OK, the ECG was good and the evidence is that the pain is in my chest muscle rather than my heart which apparently is also good. Inasmuch as it means that is the muscles around my chest that hurt. Not my heart. But as I said to the doctor, I never thought that I was having heart problems because if that was the case, surely deep breathing wouldn't help the pain to go away. And that I wouldn't continue being functional. He agreed but said it was better to do the tests and rule it out. I still have to wait for one more blood test result but the signs are good. It just means I have to deal with the cause of the stress/anxiety. Which is kind of everything. Or at least, not one simple thing. Sigh.

I am seeing my psychiatrist tomorrow and it will be interesting to see what she says. I personally think that I am having a minor episode of mania and that the anxiety could be a symptom of that. The episodes seem to change a little each time, which stands to reason because my circumstances are a bit different, the stresses and triggers a bit different, I am a bit different. But anxiety, inability to sleep without help, racing thoughts, lack of concentration, the feeling of being a bit skinless, a degree of obsession and a tendency towards intense irritability all seem to present as symptoms of my mania. This one has, on the whole, been a fairly quiet inward nuttiness, hard to discern from the outside I think. There have been some sessions with my psychiatrist in the last couple of months where I have said that I don't feel quite right, but she has expressed the view that my feelings have been a reasonable response to events around me. Which is what the doctor said in the months leading up to the episode in Christmas 2007/08. Another pattern. Anyway I think this one has come to a head without being as extreme or as disabling as 07/08. Which I think could be the purple pills. And the sleeping pill which is becoming more and more effective as I calm down. Kind of a sedated mania. So yeah, I have yet to clean the house. But I have been sewing. More on that when I get around to taking some photos.

I am hopeful of going back to work next week and getting my life back in its groove.


Michelle said...

I hope you get your groove back soon. xo

Frogdancer said...

I was in Thornbury all day today, hanging around while son #2 did a seminar for his year 12 subject. That's kind of near your neck of the woods.... I think...? I could be wrong... I have no idea about that side of town.

I thought about texting you to see if you were home. However, the big pile of correction I brought with me kept me busy. I'll see you in a week or so.

Mary said...

Somehow I have lost some of my blog feeds and I don't realise I have until someone comments and then I find the link again.

I will go back and read some of your older posts but you know I know what you are talking about and yes your symptoms sound very familiar to me. Funnily enough his are similar right now but I know that every autumn and spring we have to be extra vigilant.

My own nervous tummy etc has subsided quite dramatically since I started walking every day. For what that is worth.


Suse said...

I hope this week of pottering and being gentle with yourself has been the tonic you've needed.

I've been thinking of you all week.


Jane said...

Hey Janet I just stumbled across your blog & immediately responded to your gutsy honesty and intelligence...Also, strangely enough I grew up very near to where you did. So long ago & far away - but the very words 'Maroondah Highway', and 'Eastland' ( I remember when they built it - Oh the excitment !)still trigger a kind of time-travel feeling. Even the half-remembered 'antimony mine'..My best friend and I did some school project on it or something...