This question has been going around and around my head for a few weeks now. I’ve been in a constant state of trying to decide is life really is magic, or if it’s simply tragic. If I had to choose one of these two words to describe life, which would I choose? It’s a hard question for me, as by default I would go for tragic, but then there are little moments that are without a doubt more on the side of magic. These past couple of weeks have been a perfect example of my conundrum.
As you know, I was so looking forward to spending a couple of nights in the city to take in a few shows at Brisbane Comedy Festival with some friends. It was almost over before it began! After checking in I was given my room keys and told my room: 4026. Then, I spent awhile in the lift getting increasingly panicked, because I would swipe the key, the light would go green, but it wouldn’t let me pick my level (four). After trying over and over again, I rang mum and dad who had just dropped me off, and said “that’s it, I can’t do it, it wasn’t meant to be, I can’t do anything right… etc etc etc”. Instead of coming to get me (although they didn’t leave the city straight away) Mum convinced me that this sort of thing happens regularly and I just needed to present to the front desk again and just let them know what was happening. So (after another 20 or so tries on my part to get it to work!) I did, as I walked around the corner the man took in my distress and asked what was wrong, so I explained it to him, he came with me to try to “show me how it works” (this was not my first rodeo, but I went along with it) and get this, he couldn’t get it to work, queried what floor I was on again, and it was a mistake he made when he was programming the key. I wasn’t stupid, it wasn’t a sign, it was a simple mistake and all he had to do was reprogram the key, and I was straight up to my cute little room ringing mum back to let her know what had occurred. But seriously, I was ready to give up on my couple of nights away, the time with my friends, the comedy I’d booked, and get back to the car and into my bed as soon as I possibly could!
I’m so glad I didn’t and everything worked out. It was a hard, exhausting three days but spending time with Mike & Andy on the Friday and Bel and Michael on the Saturday was absolutely wonderful. I, of course, had chosen the best comedy festival shows (Joe Shaffer with “Here’s Looking At You, Squid” ; Mel Buttle with “Dog Bitch” and Damien Power with “Violent Chaos Anyone?”) of course and my friends on both nights enjoyed my choices! Thank goodness. To be honest, at the moment I’m going through a rough patch again, a really rough patch, and it was hard to concentrate on something other than the voice and my own horrible thoughts and ideas for a full show, but I did it. I was able to sit through the uncomfortableness.
Friday night Mike, Andy and I tried about 4 places after we finished at the Powerhouse and heading back into the city before settling on Sixteen Antlers rooftop bar for a drink – their cocktails were absolutely beautiful, and they were even cool with making cocktails off menu. And the whole area just had good vibes. I really recommend it there.
Saturday I decided to go for a drive with Mum and Dad to deliver some gifts to family at Redcliffe – I had the day to fill in by myself otherwise, and I just wasn’t ready for that. On the way, considering our family would be mentioning it, Mum took a moment to stop the car and let me know my Grandpa had passed away early that morning. It was not unexpected, and he slipped away peacefully in his sleep but it still hit me hard. I just choose to remember last week when we went up to visit him, and how lovely the visit was, and sitting there watching the birds feed with him, my Grandma, my uncle, my aunt and my mum. And him being all settled when we left, the last time I saw him. You’ve got to think that the circumstances were all tranquil and untroubled, and try to find peace with what has happened yourself. I’m worried, though, about my grandma. She has Parkinson’s and dementia and I’m not sure how she will take the situation.
Saturday evening I met my friend Bel and her partner Michael at Bitter Suite near the Powerhouse for a catch up before the shows, because it’s been quite a few years since I’d seen her and it was my first time meeting Michael. It was like I had seen her yesterday, we had so much to chat about. And Michael and I got along great, because he’s an awesome guy. Bel would leave us and I felt more than comfortable, chatting and laughing, no awkward silences, like we used to be best friends too! Bitter Suite was amazing, at one point we moved tables, and a waitress came up to us and I’d left my pill container with my PRN and nocte meds at our first table, and I actually got it back! (thank goodness.) We had one show after another that night, and there were many, many laughs from all of us. You’d think these comedians were funny for a living! Seriously I’m just so so glad my choices were okay with everyone. Bel and Michael dropped me off at my hotel afterwards, and I said I was going for a walk before I turned in to get a drink for my meds and some Panadol, which Bel was a bit wary about, but she still dropped me off after I assured her I’d be okay and let her know when I was in my room. I rang mum to let her know I was back for the night but going for a quick walk – and she straight out didn’t want me to. But I was loving my independence and decided I was going to walk around the corner to the shop and get what I needed and I was back in my room by 12AM, for the second night in a row!
Up early on the Sunday after another troubled night, I was ready and waiting to leave early – Mum and Dad were picking me up at 9AM but the minutes seemed to pass like hours. I was so anxious to get home, I was absolutely, physically and emotionally exhausted. But I did it! All by myself. Well, with constant support, but still I did it. And although one of the main reasons I wanted to do it so bad was to show my parents and my treatment team I was fine and could manage things all by myself, it ended up proving to me that I am really unwell and if I get any worse, things might have terrible consequences.
I knew I had an appointment with my psychiatrist and case manager today, which is Tuesday, and I know once I get into those offices I am super nervous and can’t talk, and keep trying to leave instead of talking to them – so I decided to do something that has helped me “talk” to doctors in the past, and wrote what was going on down. This turned out to have helped immensely, and we decided that I really need to get over this hump and out of this major depression. We talked antidepressants for a little while, then my doctor bought up ECT and I had to admit that when I had been brainstorming on how to get better, it had passed through my mind – because it has helped me immensely in the past. I was hoping it would be outpatient, but there actually are a lot of problems with that, so after Grandpa’s funeral next Monday, a planned inpatient admission will have been sorted (so I don’t have to go in through emergency) and it will be ECT Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a little while. I am actually regretting my decision to agree to this -but then again, the state I’m in at the moment, yeah, it’s not good. And ECT has helped in the past. I have to keep reminding myself of that fact.
Last week the pump for O/N feeds arrived, but when the rest of the Nutricia order arrived the feed came in small bottles, not larger bags. And none of the feeding sets are compatible, so I’m on boluses again until that gets sorted. I just feel so very, very guilty for wasting Mum’s time. But hopefully it won’t be for long. I just, I feel so guilty. Guilt about everything at the moment. It’s quite out of control.
Quick recap on the most important thing in this blog post:
I survived it! I survived two nights in the city, going out, spending time with friends, seeing some five star comedy, and finally using uber enough to get a rating (I’ve been waiting for so long for this, which sounds pathetic, but it sort of proves to me I’m like other people my age, a sort of functioning human!)
So, despite the negatives, this time away was a big hit and I’m so proud. I want to thank my family, and my friends, who helped me achieve this huge step and create memories that I will cherish.
And a quick step back to the title of this post: I think ultimately life is tragic. It is. You can’t argue that. The worst things continually happen to the nicest, best people. But if you look hard enough through all your trials and tribulations, I also believe there is glimpses of magic. Little moments in time that warm your heart… and you store away for those times when all you can see is the tragic in life.