AFL SchmayFL

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Monday, 24 September 2012

How insulting, upon not getting a ticket in the AFL Grand Final ticket ballot, to get a promotional email this afternoon from the AFL informing me that if I want I can come along to their Premiership Party, an after-game event being held at the conclusion of this year's AFL Grand Final.

It's all part of new and improved service the AFL offers people on Grand Final day.

Here's a new idea on improving your service, AFL ~ give more tickets to the fans.  I have gone to almost every Melbourne game this year.  Paid for a membership at the start of the year.  Have done so for the past 17 years in a row.  But I couldn't get a ticket to the game because there were only 15,000 made available to my club.  And 15,000 to Sydney.  So 30,000 tickets all up made available to the people who go to see the game, in a ground which at its capacity holds 100,000.

Don't insult me.

And go you Hawkers.

The price of wellbeing

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Sunday, 23 September 2012




True dat, Oscar. And by the way, has anyone told you you look like Stephen Fry?

And another thing, while we're talking about it, in the same vein I also find too that all the best stuff you learn that is the most priceless ~ like, for example, that wellbeing is really beyond any amount of money you could get for yourself ~ always sounds trite and cliched and flat like a Hallmark card until you experience it for yourself :)

And then it's just beautiful.

I feel good today.  Good.  And it is priceless. 


And that's not just simply because my team is playing in the Grand Final next week.  And it's also not just simply because it is spring and the days are growing longer.  It's not even just simply because my first published piece - for money! - is in the latest edition of The Big Issue.  

But all of those things are pretty nice, though :)

The Magazine I Want to Read

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Saturday, 22 September 2012

I just went to the newsagent to buy Anthony a copy of The Smith Journal.  This is sort of kind of the male version of Frankie, the magazine superstar that bucked the trend by establishing its very own niche in the current uber-difficult publishing landscape by simply being what none of the others are - itself.  Indeed, in its writer's guidelines Frankie says that if you can imagine your piece somewhere else, it's maybe not for Frankie.

I like Frankie, but I'm most certainly at the old hag end of its demographic.  In fact, I'm about six years over it.  But what it does is inspire me because it's sweet and quirky and itself, and its founders went for it and succeeded.  And it inspires me because it's Frankieness is such an individual feel compared to other mags, and so when I flick through the magazine stand at the newsagents every once in a blue moon and never find the magazine that I want to read, seeing Frankie sitting there gets me to thinking that maybe there's other people not finding the magazine they want to read either and that maybe there's a market for a wide diversity of reading instead of the tonnage of same ole dreary women's mags.

The kind of magazine I want to read has a bit of whimsy mixed in with a bit of intellectual stuff.  I guess it's sort of kind of geared towards women, or if not, it readily encourages the feminine - as long as it's not boring trite bullshit about beautifying your exterior.  I envisage a regular spot devoted to exploring a particular philosophical idea.  I envisage a short story each edition, along with some badass creative nonfiction and investigative journalism.  I envisage a regular section devoted to big historical events of the past that may or may not have trickled down to affect us in the present. I envisage the occasional whimsical rambling, a la McSweeney's, which are sadly lacking in magazines.  I envisage lots of creativity and lots of art.

It's a little broad, granted.  But it could possibly work.  For the people out there like me who can't find the magazine on the shelves that they want to buy.

I can't see that magazine on the shelves anywhere.  Maybe I need to invent it :)

~ ~

Anyways, this is not getting my essay written.  What is it about procrastination that makes everything that is not your essay urgent and delightful to involve yourself in right this minute?  :)

Projected Desires

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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

I thought I would check in here while I'm feeling good, because poor ole Discombobula has been rather a mopey place to be, lately, eh?  The niacin I was talking about the other day seems to be helping to stabilise my mood so I'm not all paranoid and uber-almost-schizophrenic/catatonic ~ that and the fact that I haven't eaten any wheat for several days.  I find it so difficult to believe that such an innocuous thing as a loaf of wheat bread could cause such havoc.  It's hard to believe too because though my body obviously doesn't want to eat it, I'm also craving it.  Which is the way of these sorts of things.  It's why so many food allergies and intolerances are so hard to pinpoint.  And I think that's why I keep going back to it, in disbelief that it could be this ole thing I've been eating all my life that hurls me down a particularly bad mood road.  But then, all of the poisons we encounter these days are invisible ones, so it stands to reason.

I have begun routinely scrutinising myself to find out what it is that I'm really desiring to do but am feeling held back from doing in some way.  The way I discover what I'm desiring is via how jealous and admiring I feel of others who are doing what it is that in actual fact I want to do.  And that, consistently, is growing food, and making art.

And so last week I broke out the paints and started just painting whatever, a vague image I had in my head.  And I kept playing around with it until I was happy with it, and lo, a few hours did pass so that when I looked at the clock I was surprised at the time.  And I realised that that getting lost in something hasn't happened much lately.  Being creative and making stuff, even if it's things you put on your wall but don't post on the internet, let alone give or sell to anyone else, is as empowering and inspiring for me as eating food.  It's just that it feels disconnected from me.  Sometimes, if I have been away from being creative for a little stretch, the only way I can discern how much I actually really want to come back in is to find my projection.  And from there I can see just how much I want to do it.  My desire has been extrapolated out onto other people who are able to do this thing that I feel for some reason I'm not able to do.  It's a curious way of gauging your desire, that's for sure.  But it works.

Sitting down and messing about with colour and shape, I feel that that disassociated part flipping back into my own body.  It feels heavenly.  It makes me feel happy.  I think every single one of us on the planet has our own personal desires, things that take us to this space.  But so often we're too busy and we're too tired.  Both valid arguments, both of which keep me from doing what I really want to do, which is be creative for big stretches of every single day instead of typing like a drone.  But what can you do?

But then there's a grace, that the small start and the tiny step often balloon out into something bigger.  The deciding that even though I can't quite see how I'm going to be able to do this every day with time and energy limitations, that I will just do it for half an hour today then.  And often that half an hour is what stretches out into losing track of time, and then I'm back on track again.


I have begun gessoing a sheet from my canvas pad and drawn a rough outline on it, and am feeling excited about what it might turn into once I start.  The layering and layering, and building on what has gone before, and taking shortcuts because you've fucked up with this blotch over here and so you need to incorporate it when you had no plans of having something like that ... and sometimes those things end up taking it in a direction you never would have gone but which ends up feeling like it was always meant to be, in hindsight.  Kind of the way lives are.  They look planned at the end, but in the middle, they often feel like chaos.


Niacin and Paranoia and Other Mental Illness Terrain

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Monday, 17 September 2012

So I've been continuing on trying to treat the pyroluria that I received a diagnosis for about six weeks ago.  Six weeks ago?  Is that all?  Seriously, my conceptions of time are all swirly and weird at the moment.  Days feel like weeks, hours feel like minutes.

As some of you know, pyroluria is related to schizophrenia.  Some estimates are that up to 30% of schizophrenics, 40% of people presenting with psych issues, 25% of disturbed children, 40% of alcoholics and 10% of the general population have pyroluria.  The link between pyroluria and schizophrenia is that in both cases the body is unable to excrete copper, and so it builds up.

Well, I've been excreting copper for months now.  Far infrared saunas, chlorella, and the B6 and zinc that naturally displace copper levels mean that I can't seem to stop now, even if I want to.  It's been particularly unpleasant.  The mood swings that come and go with me lately feel totally extreme - and they're much better than what they were.  But when they come upon me, I just turn into someone else.  I don't feel like I'm going to do anything crazy simply because my desire to be dead is overrridden by my apathetic inability to actually go ahead with it ... and by a thin, reedy voice somewhere 17 feet above me which says, "Remember ... remember, this is not really you.  This is what is coming from you, and it will pass."

The Witness is my lifesaver. 

It's a particularly scary situation to be in when you are become overwhelmed by ... how do you explain that feeling?  You're definitely paranoid.  You're shutting down.  You don't feel able to speak.  You need to curl up in a corner and sleep.  Every phobia you've ever had (and you've had plenty of them, none of which you have shared with anyone else because they're, well, stupid and ... well, phobic) is out and floating in the air.  Everything feels sinister and nasty.  You feel wrong.  Like you're a contagion that you don't wish to spread to anybody else.  Like everyone else must hate you because you are an ugly piece of shit on the outside and you're an ugly piece of shit on the inside. 

That's a little of how it feels.

And then there's the times when you're not and squeeeeeeeaaaach, and you're back in the body you're familiar with, and you feel good, and you're noticing improvements even.  And there it is, The Beautiful again, and you're a part of it, and there's beauty without and beauty within and you get to be all mystical again about how it just so feels like we are all part of the same thing, and that that thing is beautiful and that everything is fine, totally fine.  And then you go and write things and play with paint and read and work and do uni stuff and everything is all normal again.

It's particularly lonely when you speak to people about your pyroluria experiences and you know that not only don't they understand anything about what you are suffering through, but you can see them diminishing it before your eyes because it makes them too uncomfortable not to.  There's a whole lot of people who are just patently gutless when it comes to an ability to sympathise with people who are suffering, because their own comfort levels trump anything else.  Sad but true.

Well, fuck them, excuse my French.

Because I've been having these paranoid moods from time to time, and they are very scary because I get scared that I am going to develop schizophrenia if this goes on for much longer, I am cutting my losses and going to visit a GP who understands pyroluria and problems in people's methylation cycles.  It's not gonna be pretty.  Estimates are at the top end that it's going to cost me 700 bucks.  I've prevaricated on that up until now because (a) I haven't had 700 bucks and (b) I've hoped that I would be able to get things sorted on my own without the necessity of traipsing across town to yet another doctor.  And maybe I still would be able to, as it's only been six weeks.  But I'm tired.  I'm so tired, even while my energy levels are rising overall.  It's time to hit my dear mother for a loan, and get this sorted.  (HT to Harry for the doctor recommendation).

I've been taking niacin regularly as part of my treatment, but have dropped off a bit recently.  My memory is so bad and I am taking so many supplements, that sometimes I forget what it is I'm taking that particular thing for, again.  But this morning, after yesterday's uber gooberly paranoia explosion, I remembered, via that fount of all medical knowledge, the interwebs, that high doses of good ole niacin (vitamin B3) have been shown to help schizophrenics and other paranoidly-minded individuals to manage their paranoid symptoms.  As I feel on occasions like I've been flirting in the land of pre-schizophrenia recently, I'm happy to take anything that may help me avoid becoming a full-blown dweller of that particular land at the top of the Faraway Tree, thanks very much.

It's important if you are taking higher levels of niacin that you take the nicotinic acid version, as the other type, nicotinamide, has been found to cause liver problems at high dosages.

The nicotinic acid causes this really bizarre "flush" when you first take it.  It's the blood rushing to your extremities.  For me it happens very quickly - 15 minutes or so after I've taken it.  I took 200mg earlier and 15 minutes later it began, with my scalp getting all tingly and hot as the blood rushed to it.  And then it spreads itself down your body, blotching up bits and peices here and there.  I looked at myself in the mirror, and there were big red blotches on my shoulders, on parts of my arms, down my legs.  I felt really hot, even though it wasn't very warm.  After half an hour or so of looking like a sunburnt freak, it began to start settling down, and I felt a little tranquil.  Must be the blood now being able to reach more of me to do more its thing.

As for dealing with paranoid symptoms, I don't know if it's coincidence, placebo suggestion, or whether my paranoia was perhaps caused by something else (like the wheat I seem to be becoming increasingly intolerant to and seems to be the culprit causing highly enjoyable bouts of suicidal feelings a day after eating it), but I can definitely vouch that on at least this occasion, I find that it most certainly has helped with lifting that paranoid mood to a certain extent.  Which is nice.  You wouldn't want to wish anyone there, no matter how little you like them.  I never imagined I would ever arrive there either.  It's a terrifying and humiliating space to be in.  All I can hope for is that it's not going to be an extended stay. 

I plan on continuing on with the niacin and will report back on whether it's helped to keep the paranoia at bay.  Anyone who's had any experience with niacin in this regard, feel free to leave a comment.

Like everything else seemingly with pyroluria, the amounts of certain supplements are w-a-a-a-a-a-a-y higher than the recommended daily amounts listed by the FDA and other such bodies.  But certain situations require jumpstarting.  As Dr Hoffer, the writer of Niacin: The Real Story says: ""As there is a certain, large amount of fuel needed to launch an aircraft or a spacecraft, there is a certain, large amount of a nutrient needed to cure a sick body. With vitamin therapy speed of recovery is proportional to dosage used."

Here's to takeoff.

Making Magic

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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Someone posted a quote on Facebook the other day which said:

What did YOU do as a child that made the hours pass like minutes?  Herein lies the key to your earthly pursuits - Carl Jung

My response was that I read Enid Blyton books.  Which made me wonder whether that meant I should pursue reading, writing, or alcoholism.

Alcoholism ~ This has simply not been accomplishable with the state of my liver in recent years.  I did have a bourbon and coke the other night, though, I must say.  It was nice.  That was while I was at the rebadged Oakleigh-Carnegie RSL, morphed into the Caravan Music Club, where Rebecca Barnard and Billy Miller led a group of mostly middle-aged women in a singalong.  And yeah, it was a bit daggy, and yeah I had that uncomfortable feeling of not knowing where to look while I was singing, and yeah some of the stuff was excruciatingly awful, but it was fun!

So no, even with my less-toxic liver, I don't think I'm ever going to be an alcoholic, somehow.  I grew up with one of those, and it's not a particularly palatable way to spend your time or to own your shit.  However, the occasional drink or three would be really nice;  the thought of being able to hoe into a bottle of the red that the old man has stored under the house this summer is a nice one.  We'll see.

Reading ~ I snuck A.S. Byatt's Possession out of the bookcase the other day.  It's been sitting there for months, ever since I spotted it in the Carnegie Salvos store that Mum and I were floffing around in after eating dumplings a few doors down just for the hell of it one day.

(That's two mentions of Carnegie in one post, which is really strange, because I never go to Carnegie.  But I digresseth.)

I was sneaking Possession out of the bookcase and away from the prying eyes of the part of myself that gets really shitted off when I procrastinate reading the piled-up anthropology stuff that I have sitting there, and instead climb into bed and read fiction.  But she saw, unfortunately, because I have not managed to develop any real dissociative personality disorder traits so far (but you never know what may happen in the future).  And anyway, she loves reading fiction as well, and it didn't take long for her to come around and ignore for a while longer the piled-up Anthropology readings I have to do over the next month.

I really am enjoying my Anthropology subjects.  It's fascinating stuff, a lot of it, and right up my alley.  But sheesh, I'm sick of uni and can't wait till it's finished for the year and I can read the stuff I want to read.  And write the stuff I want to write.

Writing ~ I really feel like I am missing a limb when I don't get to write non-academic stuff.  I have been procrastinating working this afternoon, and instead writing this post, and turning my mind toward what I would like to have a stab at for the Australia Nature Writing Prize.  I really have no idea.  And of course, every time I turn my mind to writing something new, I always feel like I will never be able to come up with anything at all.  Indeed, in the past, that feeling has been enough in and of itself to flabbergast me into going and watching something stupid on the telly.  But these days, I'm much more okay with that empty space that opens up whenever I begin to ponder a new writing subject.  It doesn't feel like a void that I could fall into, the way it used to.  It feels an expectant pulse of possibility instead.  Even though I have not a clue about whether I'm going to be able to come up with anything.

But still, there's been enough times now where I have experienced for myself nature's abhorrence of a vacuum to realise that making space might feel a little uncomfortable, but it's making magic, and that out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing is a field.  It's a quantum field.  And Rumi is there, along with everything else.  Including a million and one possibilities, several of which will begin suggesting themselves to me over the next days and weeks, if I remember to keep an eye out for the times when they pop up, seemingly out of nowhere.
Sometimes, outside validation is a lovely thing.  It helps you articulate things that have bothered you for decades but you haven't wanted to put words to it in case you get locked up.  In the case of pyroluria, having the symptom of "severe inner tension" listed right there on the page is a real validation.

Sometimes I feel like two people.  I've grown so used to having this "severe inner tension" that I can go about my day doing stuff and all the while it's simmering away there.  But it's not easily expressed.  For someone who is happy to talk to you about the state of her poo*, when it comes to talking about this I get strangely reticent.

Except, of course, when I'm talking about it on my blog.  Which is sorta weird, right?  I mean, so many people think blogging is a pointless waste of time.  Indeed, out of all of the people I know, at most only two of them reads my blog regularly.  I don't bring that up because I'm feeling snarky that people aren't reading my blog;  I bring it up because (a) if I have something published, a whole lot of people who don't read my blog will go and read that, because it's proper writing; and (b) I am way more able to articulate myself these days in written form.  It may seem strange to some who presume that speaking is more real than writing.  I am less able nowadays to form what I want to say into coherent sentences.  I am so much more myself on the page than I am in real life.  Paradox.

I'm tired today, and fed up.  I'm fed up with the fact that I can't seem to sort out my B6 levels.  I've tried small doses, large doses, varying degrees of standard B6 and P5P, and I just can't work out what to do.  I can't work out whether I am not absorbing it properly, or if I am absorbing it and I'm maybe taking too much, and that is contributing to feeling severely innerly tense, or whether I would be feeling like that anyway.  The problem with jumping off too quickly when taking new things is that sometimes, just because you are feeling worse doesn't mean you're not on the right track.  Sometimes there is what's called the Herxheimer effect, where you feel worse before you feel better because that's what needs to happen in your body as it stabilises itself.  But sheesh, I don't fucking know.

I'm fed up with the whole box and dice.  I'm fed up with how, when I am feeling bad in my body (which always passes after a time), I manage to make the whole thing totally worse by the "suffering" thoughts that flood in.  The victimised thoughts.  Thoughts like, "It shouldn't be like this," or like "I just want to be normal".

(Which isn't, by the way, true.  Normal people seem awfully boring and rather resemble sheep in their inclination to follow along after everybody else and watch the news on Channel 9 without feeling unbearable).

But normal people get things done.  And I really would like to get things done.

Like the bathroom, for instance.  That baby hasn't been cleaned for weeks.  That's not asking too much, is it?

Okay.  Whine over now.  Because comparison is the thief of joy, right?  And comparing myself to other people does make me feel worse.  Even when that comparison is with a different self than the one I currently inhabit.

~ ~ ~

* Some people are much more tidy on their blogs, and they only publish posts that are about something, rather than complaining about their health issues.  Some people resist the urge to write these sorts of posts because they are seen as self-indulgent.  They would, for example, skip writing this post and instead choose to write about the singalong me, Andrea and my mum went to last night where we sat with a whole lot of middle-aged  women singing songs with Rebecca Barnard and Billy Miller and which was really FUN! 

But then I'm also mindful of the amount of people that have begun surfing into my blog with pyroluria tags.  I want to write about my experience if it helps someone else who is struggling with this maybe feel not so alone.  And anyway, I don't know why I feel like I have to apologise for writing things that might be seen as self-indulgent.  After all, if these posts bore you, I'm sure you wouldn't have got this far down before skipping to the next post in your feed reader.  Why do I feel like I have to apologise for writing about feeling crap?  Because I tell you what, I feel like crap.  It's interspersed far more these days with feeling much more normal again, but I just feel crap.  And I'm fucking well sick of it.

I guess I feel apologetic about writing about my health stuff because it's been going on for soooooooooo loooooooong.  And people's eyes glaze over when you talk about your health issues.  Because it's really boring.

But anyway, speaking of poo, I do intend to write about the colonic session I had last Friday.  Because I know you want to hear about it.  And I feel it's my duty to keep you informed :)

The Unchill

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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Out of the unchill, what was a chasm becomes, once again,
a step.
What was something someone else did becomes, once again,
something I can do
(I thirst).

Somewhere, beyond the range of my ears, there is
an audible click as I snap back in to Myself.

The clay has been in the corner for so long I can't count the months.
I couldn't reach it, though it's been right there. Suddenly there is
a path ~ again ~ where there wasn't one before.  It is wise to
keep an eye out for disappeared paths.
They appear and disappear in accordance with how close I am to the
vat of congealed fear and how easily I forget that I can look in without falling.

In the dark I have faith and forget that the paths are there at all, and that I will return.

Knowing how little I see is beautiful, smells like chocolate, feels like fucking, like
rolling around in the dark dank of the forest floor, and I am free
~ free
free ~
~ free ~
and once again I am released from the prison nobody else has
sentenced me to but myself and the body I must stuff myself down into,
as if it was ever big enough for the likes of Me.

I measure the roadblocks that sometimes pop up in front of my desires by how
jealous I feel of other people who are doing the thing that I want to do myself but can't get to.
Though one part of me is numb to what I want to do most, another part of me
unhampered is thirsty, delirious, at the return to play,
at the coming of the spring.