Unplug and Recharge

Unplug and Recharge.

Day 1 of my farm stay at DUCKMALOI farm:

At 2:20pm I left home and it was smooth sailing to DUCKMALOI farm. Well, apart from the twisty turvy roads, the stunning view and cows but don’t get distracted because there is a monster truck behind me waiting to ram. After road works and school zones and 20km the truck over took me – going over 100km/h in a 60 zone. One part of me hoped he would crash, the other thought part thought better because if he crashes I would be delayed.
I arrived at 3:40. The rolling green hills are turning golden for autumn but still stunning.
And it is raining which is better than heat but I need my wellies before meeting the goats.
It feels so weird that the first thing I didn’t do was light up a cigarette. Seeing the beautiful balcony, that would have been my spot back in my smoking days, didn’t make me miss it. Made me want a beer though haha.

I unpack in the gorgeous cabin and soak in the views and the beauty then gear up for the goats. Wellies and raincoat and side bag for carrots.
I hear them before I see them “baaaaaaa”. I run to their area and they are the cutest but they don’t want carrots. So I get some pellets and grains and they gobble away. They then begin to eat my coat, shoes and pants but I don’t care. The owner, Susie says hello and lets me hold the bunny, who eats the zipper on my jacket but again I don’t care. Susie asks If I want to bottle feed the goats, does a pig something… whatever give me the milk. It was such a happy moment having two tiny goats drinking from bottles in my hands.
I took many photos today but not then, I wanted to enjoy the moment pure, not through a lens, plus had my hands full.

Had a wonderful long nap in the most comfortable bed. Normally I need pitch black and everything here is so sunny and bright but the bed swallowed me whole and rocked me to sleep.
The smells here are incredible. The air is amazing and fresh.

So now for one of the meals I prepared earlier and some mini TV (luckily I only want to watch channel 7 today as they don’t seem to get many channels) then back to this incredible bed.

After watching my shows and picturing myself living on the amazing farm in this beautiful cottage I decided to have a little look outside. I have never seen so many stars in my life. Magic by day, magic by night.

Day 2:
Normally on holiday I awaken at dawn but as I didn’t go to sleep til after 2am and as the bed is uber comfy I slept in til 10am. But then I jumped out of bed, made myself a sandwich, downed an OJ and grabbed the key and my bag. No phone today. I power walked down the path saying good morning to the animals but knowing where I wanted to start. Can you guess? Yep the goats. They don’t have names yet so the grey and white one I call Billy and I strongly feel the black one is Jack Black. They hoovered the seeds and pellets I brought and jumped all over me. Heaven. Then it was getting too hot and sunscreen I had forgot. So I said goodbye and as I left the enclosure they bleeted and cried and it nearly broke my heart. Then I walked past the old stables and saw some Thistle – a place after my own heart. And just stared at the cows and the scenery for what felt like hours. Then I turned around and a little white dog was at my feet looking at me saying: “come on I’ll take you back”. It was time to visit Misty the deer and her alpaca companions with some carrots.
So deer are this delicate mysterious quiet animal right? Well not when there is carrots and competition. Misty pushed the alpacas aside and gobbled the carrots as fast as she could. While distracted Amber, the caramel alpaca came in for a look, very shy she took tiny nibbles of the carrot until Misty moved her along and took the rest. Ebony the black alpaca is still hesitant of me and needs a carrot thrown his way and Misty distracted while he slowly nibbles.
Then the carrots are gone and the sun is getting hotter. Time to retreat. Walk back up the hill and across to my amazing little cabin.
It is so quiet here, deafening sometimes but also amazing.

So now back in my peaceful cabin avoiding the sun and getting ready to read a book. Thank you Elizabeth. Finally going to read ‘Catcher in the Rye’, on my beautiful deck.

Well that lasted one page. The bugs got too friendly so I moved back to my super comfy bed, read one chapter and fell asleep. I’m pathetic.
I do blame the sun though, sitting with the goats I caught some rays that made me sleepy. Or I’m just exhausted from life and this break isn’t just about farm animals it’s about undisturbed rest.

Oh and farm animals. I jumped out of bed just after 3pm and got into my farmy clothes and wondered back down the path to the goats. Got two mini buckets of feed and sat in the shade feeding “Billy” and “Jack” until they get names. Little guinea pigs had just been born and were running around the enclosure. The owner asked if I wanted to bottle feed them again, I said “always” and I did. They didn’t drink all the milk though as they had been fed many times by other visitors today. But I know from their bleets I was their favourite haha.
Apparently a calf has just been born – mental note tomorrow find that calf. And I noticed Donkeys in a far off paddock. I asked the owner how to get to them and where all the sheep had gone. The donkeys would take a bit of a walk to get to and the sheep had mostly been sold as they had grazed everything and there was nothing left for them to eat.
I left my beautiful new friends, the goats and gathered the needed carrots to feed Misty and the Alpacas. Misty was always hungry but the alpacas nibbled a bit and then turned away so I kept some carrots in my bag for tomorrow. Walking up the ever steepening hill I saw them, the beautiful donkeys. Lucky I had 2 carrots. They were so sweet but got bulldozed by a mini pony half their size for half a carrot. Obviously a mob boss.
I walked quickly back to get my phone and camera to snap shot these sweet donkeys but as soon as I got in: autopilot set in; shoes, socks, pants, top off, nightie on. And I’m back in bed. This is awesome.
A bit more Salinger and a bit more napping. Then TV o’clock, dinner, another beautiful sunset and a dvd.

But then this familiar sinking feeling… I want to go home tomorrow. I only wanted 2 nights but when they offered me another night free, I couldn’t say no. But now I wish I had. 2 nights away from the world is enough.
Tomorrow I’m gonna visit the animals again and then what? Nap? Read? Watch TV? All things I can do at home. Plus at home I have a giant TV, air con, a pool, my cats and my awesome parents.
I will see how I go tomorrow but I know that once this feeling sets in I’m done. It always happens; the first night is amazing, the second day is super fun til the second night of quiet makes you feel more alone than ever. Another night here might be a bad idea and take away all the joy this place has brought me.

After a nice chat with dad he pointed out I am here to relax and I am doing that very well. Tomorrow I will walk more and find new animals, after I visit my goats. Then tomorrow night dvds and reading.
Then Friday I will go home.
I will push myself to not take the easy way out and run home. I enjoy my own company so let’s roll with that.
Goodnight Farm.

Day 3:
The owner, Steve knocked on my door at 10am. Not that early but it felt like 6am. He brought a dozen eggs, sadly I no longer eat eggs and had to decline. He offered me to stay longer if I wanted.
He said there were bottles and goats waiting for me and if I was up to it we would take a bale of hay to the cows to find the newborn calf. Yes I’m up for it.

It is 2:20 pm and I have just had the best day ever.
After Steve picked me up he took me to the goats and after I fed them offered me a lemonade – 2 days no sugar, mmm yes please.
Then got chatting to Susie. They have great banter between them.
The 4 of us (Finch the dog came too) drove to the cow paddocks and Steve asked if I could open the gates (aahhh a real farm job) we fed a herd of cattle and met the new little bull. Then drove and saw thistle everywhere but it is a weed so I was the only excited one.
I helped (a little) build a swing for the goats and they have named it Tash’s swing. These awesome farmers gave me fresh eggs for my folks and veggies and plenty of soft drinks.
Then it was time to leave, I sensed it and needed it.
They both offered me to stay longer but I’m good, I doubt today could be topped.
My back is quite sore but worth it. Nap time I believe and if I’m not too shattered I need to get a pic with the Donkeys later, but maybe tomorrow?
Best day ever.

I napped and then went to the Donkeys. I can’t leave without some pictures of them for mum. Then I came back watched dvds, ate spag bol and packed.
I just took one last look at the incredible sky and said goodbye to the stars, I doubt they can hear me but they meant a lot to me on this trip. With the animals, the beautiful scenery and the kindness of the owners this trip has been perfect.
Ignoring the moment of anxiety or loneliness last night, which I am glad I pushed through. Today really was amazing. It’s gonna be hard to top this.
Last night in paradise.

Day 4: home – recharged and plugged in.

Dreams cost

Dreams cost!

My dream was to have a pool. I always wanted to be able to swim everyday, without sharing and calm down in water big enough to hold me. Floating slows the racing thoughts. Laps work out aggression. Exercises help my aching back and knees and the whole thing helps my anxiety.
So finally after over 20 years I got my dream come true. But it came at a price, two in fact.
My grandfather passing and leaving an inheritance to build my dream and my hair.
The pool never had the right chemicals and the chlorine was always too high, we didn’t know. We took a sample to Penrith to be tested every few weeks and they sold us many chemicals, the last visit even telling us to up the chlorine.
My long curly red hair turned yellow and green and started to fall out in batches. Then it got shorter and shorter and eventually I decided to shave it all off and start fresh.
We got a different company to sort the chemicals, draining the pool a few times but now I swim daily in peace with my short short hair.

Shaved!

 

Suicide Levels

Suicide Levels

There are levels to suicidal thoughts, in my opinion.
I can get quite dark and think about life being pointless and horrible and have a fleeting thought of opting out so I will stop myself and do something: paint, draw, write, anything to distract the thoughts.

The next level for me is darker thoughts; heavier, all I can think about is how, when and where and then guilt of those I’d leave behind. This is when I have to get into water: a pool, a bath, a shower or even hold an ice cube. This works for me may not for you.

The next level is hysterical tears, no sleep, my heart hurts, my brain is black and I am staring at my “tools” and so close: this is red alert. Call parents/best friend/000

I have been hospitalised at both private and public hospitals and each have good and bad qualities, but at the end of the day they saved my life.
“;” that symbol means so much more to us who suffer with these horrid thoughts. “My story isn’t over yet”
Draw the semicolon on your wrist and look at it every time you want to die and remember: you are not alone, things will get better and your story isnt over yet.

Both and Neither

Both and neither

I feel like I’m manic and depressed at the same time. On one hand I’m crying and feeling worthless and that life is pointless or too hard or too painful or just not worth living. Then on the other hand, 5 seconds later I’m on eBay shopping for stuff I don’t need, having racing thoughts and vivid dreams when I eventually sleep. I can’t sleep and it’s now 6 AM and not the first time this week I’ve been up this late/early. Thoughts racing, anxious, worried about money which is something I never cared about, worried about the future and what will happen next once I finish my diploma, and will I find what I’m really looking for? Does anybody ever really find what they’re looking for?
So now I don’t know what to do: if I was just manic I would lower my antidepressants if I was just depressed I would opt out of the presence of lettuce (this is what AutoCorrect did and I think that it’s perfect, you get the point anyway.)
Do I need to talk to my psychiatrist about changing meds? do I need to talk to my doctor about my moods? do I need to talk to a psychologist just to get my head around all the changes coming my way? or do I just need to wait until this evil heatwave is over and I can breathe again? Maybe it’s the pain: my knees are causing crippling pain and hopefully my new physio will help but until then pain, no sleep and racing thoughts and uber tears. January 2018 is gonna be a blast.

“It can’t rain all the time”

‘The Crow’ said it right: “It can’t rain all the time”

Suicidal thoughts are often fleeting and unfortunately reoccurring.

I think about it almost everyday. Even happy days. Late at night when the house sleeps, I think of how and when and where but I can’t. I love my folks more than myself and couldn’t hurt them so much.

My brain and body have been trying to kill me for years but I fight and now I help others fight. I feel like a hypocrite and a fraud. I talk people off the ledge and yet look over the edge with longing eyes.

How can I help people if I can’t help myself? I know the tricks and the right things to say but who am I to tell someone not to “opt out” if they want that more than anything?

Those few moments of pure happiness or hysterical laughter and the thought of them happening again keep me strong.

When I’m in the darkness I run those words through my head “It can’t rain all the time” to remind myself “this too shall pass” and all the other cliches.

They are right, as dark as it gets there are happy moments in life that we have to hang on to and enjoy when they come, before the darkness comes back.

Questions for bullies

Questions for Bullies

1. How do you feel when you are picking on people?
2. Why do you bully others?
3. Have you ever been bullied?
4. How does it feel to be bullied/ how do you think it might feel to be bullied?
5. How do your friends react to your bullying?
6. Would it make a difference if your friends thought it was wrong?
7. How do you think ‘x’ feels when you bully them?
8. How would you feel if ‘x’ ended their life because you bullied them?
9. Would you be able to call yourself a good person if someone killed themselves because of you?
10. Do you think you would make a good role model to your future kids?
11. Are there any good excuses for bullying?

Bullying is never ok. Making someone feel like shit just because, is not ok. There is no excuse for being a bully!

I was bullied all through my school years until one bully pushed me so far that I wanted to end my life. Luckily my parents got wind of it and pulled me out of school. The teachers didn’t care, the school counsellor didn’t care, my friends didn’t care, no one
cared. Maybe they cared but they didn’t stop it.
I asked my bully “why?” and she said “Because I can”.
Because I can is not an excuse to torture someone on a daily basis.
Because I can is not an excuse for the years of psychological damage and ptsd I’ve had from the cruelty of one bitchy girl.
Because I can is not an excuse for making me feel so ugly, dumb, worthless and pathetic (her daily words; the words that still replay in my head 20 years later)
My bully almost won. I cut myself to ease the pain of her words. Her bullying almost killed me.

How many lives have been lost because of a bully? If the answer is more than 1, it is already too many.

We need to talk to the victims. But we need to talk more to the bullies and stop them before they cause permanent damage.

Name and Shame your bullies. Technology has changed since I was a teen so record the torment on your phone and post it online.
Tell a teacher, a counsellor, a parent, a friend.

No one deserves to be bullied!
No one should be made to feel suicidal because of a bully.

Worrier or Warrior?

Worrier or Warrior?

I’m 34 and still worry too much about what people will think. I worry that I can’t please everyone, I worry that I’ll never have a real connection with anyone, I worry that I’m not good enough, I worry I am a failure, I worry that people will see through my fake smile and laughter, I worry noone could ever love someone so broken.

But I have had battles with depression, BiPolar, bullies, chronic pain, evil physical health problems and I have fought. I fight everyday to keep going even when I don’t want to, even when I see no point and even when the pain is so bad that I want to roll over and die.
I fight. I am resilient. I am a warrior.

Most of my battles are with myself. So am I a worrier or a warrior?

I think both. What about you?

Time Away

Time Away

Monday
Having BiPolar and being a carer has brought me to burnout land. I needed a time out from life and wanted to be around farm animals while I relax and recharge.
The “farm” I booked in Hartley has a beautiful setting. Cute little room. The most comfortable firm bed ever! Great little kitchen. Quiet and lovely room.
When I asked the young lady at main house if there was a schedule for seeing the animals she looked at me like I was bonkers and informed me there were chickens and mini ponies around the back and I could go whenever.
So no cows, no goats, no sheep, no emu like the website had said. 🙁
Ponies cute and friendly. And one shlomo, chickens and I aren’t friends. What was the point? How is this a farm stay?

I guess sleep will be the main activity here. But I can sleep at home. I need to be with animals. Ahhhh.

Tuesday

Last night I did some research and found another farm near Oberon that has animals you can interact with but has a 2 night minimum stay.
I emailed the place asking if I could come for the day and pay a bit. The lovely guy on the end of the email said he would ask the owners and get back to me.
At 8am I got an email saying yes I could visit today and the owner was expecting me. Woooo. How exciting.
This trip was about relaxing alone but it was also about having some time with farm animals. So now I get both.
Perhaps next time I will stay directly on the other farm but let’s see how today goes.

4 hours later
There is magic in animals, nature and the kindness of strangers.
100 acres of green lush mountains. The lovely owner greeted me warmly, refused payment and pointed me in the direction of the animals and the feed and let me be. Perfect.
I strolled from one section to another: feeding and chatting to goats and sheep. Attempting to pat a cow and searching for the alpacas.
I walked along the path and saw the cabins that I will stay in when I DEFINITELY come back. I looked at the trees and the green and the 360° views of the mountains. I listened to the different types of birds chattering. I smelled the clean fresh air, I felt the sweat drip down my face and I tasted the water from my bottle.
It was hot out but worth the walk to see this amazing place.
The night before I had written a plan for my own perfect farm and it was like someone had taken that and put it in Duckmaloi.
I went back to the goats, they had been following my every move. I even got fought over and the female went under my legs and tore my pants and I laughed. Now I am on a real farm! Lucky I didn’t wear good clothes. On the way back to the car I saw the deer. She was the most magical thing I have ever seen. She let me pat her and thank her.
I spent a bit more time with the owner and was on my way.

The owners on Duckmaloi Farm let a total stranger come into their property and pat their animals. They have no idea how much they helped me just by being kind. I will always be grateful.

So here it comes, my highest recommendation for anyone who needs to escape their world and enter the most beautiful, magical place in the mountains.
http://www.duckmaloifarm.com.au
Ask for Steve.
Tell him Tash sent you 🙂

Back’s not Back

Back’s not back

Spending the last few months taking care of everyone else and not myself has backfired. Along with burnout my back has now gone out. I can barely walk/stand/sit. The pain is horrid. This has happened many times since my late 20’s and has bed ridden me for months in the past until finally a specialist sent me for a cortisone injection. This time limited solution worked a treat but needs top ups.

I thought I was done with my chronic back pain but I guess it never really goes away.
Now I have to choose if I want to top up the cortisone or become a slave to codeine. Neither option is good for me but this pain is unbearable and I can’t spend 6 months in bed again.