Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Back in the beginning of December 2010 The Wandering Clayman challenged The Loris to text him with three things that she is thankful for each morning, and the things had to be different every day. Just before Christmas the number of things to be thankful for each day increased to four. And now that we are well into the New Year, it's 6 things a day... (I know it's well beyond the Twelfth Day of Christmas, but The Loris has been busy.)

Well, we all know the song about what amazing gifts the Lady's True Love gave to her (all amounting to a total of 12 partridges in 12 pear trees; 22 turtle doves, 30 french hens; 36 calling birds; 40 golden rings; 42 geese-a-laying; 42 swans-a-swimming; 40 maids-a-milking; 36 ladies dancing; 30 lords-a-leaping; 22 pipers piping and 12 drummers drumming) and it struck The Loris that it might be an interesting challenge to set herself the task of counting her blessings for the 12 days of Christmas, starting with one thing on St Steven's Day (26th December) and ending with 12 things on Epiphany (6th January). And each of these things is different again from anything that she has already sent through to The Clayman, so you'll not see Jesus, Grace (God's) or Tea on this list (just in case you were wondering where they, or your name, got to...).

After the event, The Loris thought it might have been a good idea to take pictures and add them in. However, there are some pictures dotted throughout this post (some gleaned from the Magical World of T'Interweb, some from The Loris's phone or new camera) since no Barney James, Dave and The Loris blog post would be complete without pictures (as Dave can't actually read properly yet).

The First Day: Woodland Burial Grounds;

Berries covered in snow
© The Loris 2010-2011
The Second Day: Berries on trees; the knowing look of a hungry, but cheeky, robin;

The Third DayFrost; creative kids; otters in the wild
Beautiful ice crystals on Dad's tree following hoar frost
© The Loris 2010-2011

DrGoth sneaksin' aaaall the cakes
© The Loris, 2009-2011
The Fourth Day: Sneaksy Friends; the wizardry inside a digital camera; Jesus' laughter; Bovines;

A beautiful, but itchy, Heilun Coo on Iona, July 2010
© The Loris 2010-2011

The Fifth Day: Grandpa getting out of hospital; David Crowder's genius; ragamuffinsThe star in the Eastsoft toys;

David Crowder (w/accordion) & a bunch o' ragamuffins
Picture lifted from the David Crowder*Band's Facebook Page
© DC*B

image taken from emedicine on WebMD;
 © attributed to Louisiana Sate Uni

The Sixth Day: Magnetic Resonance imaging; The Bromptonsparkly lights; cross stitch (new creative outlet for the Loris); fluffy socksthe crazy but big hearted Bossy and Dazza;

Bossy & Dazza...
© The Loris 2011
Cross stitchery...
© The Loris 2011

A 200-300 strong Murder...
picture © Ginger McClemons, 2008
lifted from OPEdNews
The Seventh Day: craft supplies; the warmth of the sun on the back in the freezing cold; crisp air; pizza; chillies; thermals; crows;

Craftiness, © The Loris, 2011

Real Tennis,
 New Year's Day, 2011
Photo © The Loris 2011
The Eighth Day: real tennis; the kindness of a stranger; fish & chips; hotels; flying machines; limes; sense of taste; St Trog;
© RM/St Trog 2009/10
colour enhancing by The Loris 2011

A marvellous hot water bottle!
© countryantiquefurniture.co.uk 
The Ninth DayPeter Postlethwaite's life & career; Spotify; Church; getting home for less than £10 on a bank holiday; hot water bottles; fleece blankets; The Inked Eskimo; naps; squash (the vegetable);

Glorious, wonderful squash
pic pilfered from Google images

Gerry Rafferty's 'Night Owl'
album art © John Byrne, 1979
The Tenth Day: Gerry Rafferty's life, music & lyrics; "Charlie"'s life; time spent with great friends; Temple of the Dog; Head's transformation from glory to glory; sensible banking staff; Fester; Jesus' blood; worshipfulness; dark nights of the soul;

Jesus' blood
Picture lifted from worldquest.org
via Google images

David Littleplaying didgeridoo
©BBC day in pictures
The Eleventh Day: poetry; planning surprise visitations; didgeridoos; one's own space; revelation; Lokshen soup; deliverance; deep peace; glimpses of heaven; lights at the end of tunnels; English Humour;

Glimpses of heaven (11th Day) and Stars & Lack of Light Pollution... (12th Day)
picture of Orion/The Great Bear taken @ Harwich, Jan 2011
photo © The Loris, 2011

The Twelfth Day: Epiphany; the prophetic gifts for Christ from the Magi; blogs; stars; the Tyrers; canines; lack of light pollution at sea; birthdays; photography; duck down; dreams; Perfect Love

All images ©The Loris 2010-2011

It is often said that we should start as we mean to go on. Well, I intend to go on saying "Thank YOU" for all the things in my life, whether a trial or a triumph. I might be broken, beat and scarred, but I die hard...*


* slight borrination of Hetfield lyrics there, so, that last sentence is appropriated to Jaymz Hetfield.



Monday, 7 February 2011

Tomorrow is another day...

Most days I just don't have a clue. A clue about what? you might well ask. A clue about how to make a cup of tea. A clue about boiling an egg or making toast, or what to wear, or where the bus stop is. Or even a clue how to spell or write anything coherent (as demonstrated by these blog posts).

It might sound amusing, but this new reality is not amusing in the slightest. This new reality is making The Loris very sad and isolated (despite living with her awesome Flatties and being surrounded by a huge cloud of witnesses in her friends and family) and most days she really does wonder if her life is worth continuing.

Let's not assume The Loris is casting a literary worm to get you hooked and subsequently reeled-in to some weakly-plotted third-rate melodrama revolving around a neurotic female; rather, let us understand that she is speaking plainly and boldly.

An angry looking Black Dog
(pic: pilfered from Google Images)
The Black Dog is a revolting, slavering creature. It yanks on its lead and drags you down paths you never wanted to see, through hedges (backwards, mostly), through the mud, through vomit, blood and crap, through hallucinations, through clouds of shouting demons, through dark halls, tunnels and valleys. It then pulls you upwards to a pinnacle, a glorious ascent towards the clear air and sky, yet within inches of the summit it then toboggans down the frozen north face into oblivion, smacking you into boulders, crags, outcrops (the rockiest ones of course) and ledges until you see two landing places. One is hard and likely to cause yet more damage, the other is soft and cushioned by people to help; they are holding cloths to mop up the mud and blood and tears and an air mattress or two to bear the brunt of the fall. You find a piece of strength from somewhere, twist your body to change direction and pray that you will get to the air mattress...

Some days you hit the ground. Hard. You lie there stunned. After a while you crawl away to lick your wounds and vow to put a stop to all this pain and suffering. Then you realize that someone has hidden the knives and sharp things. Arse.

Some days you land on the air mattress and people promise to help you. They hug you and make you tea. You think you are finally getting help. You think you are finally understood. Then you wake up. On the ground. The pain has made you hallucinate this reality.Owwwwwww! and Double Arse.

Actually, some days you do land on the air mattress and found that many people do care, but they still do not really understand. Not unless they have been there. But like everything, all of our personal experiences are relative to our own sphere of experience. We have no right to judge how depressed or not a person is, try to decide who's depression is more severe. If the Depression Monkeys of Doom (DMoDs) are taking over and debilitating a person and ruining their quality of life they are a serious threat to that person's well-being. They must be stopped!

Depression for the Christian is even more fraught and frightful. Well-meaning 'brothers' and 'sisters' tell you that 'Jesus will wipe your tears away', that 'prayer will make it all better for you in the morning', that 'you are loved so much by Jesus' and sometimes, even, 'it's a test of faith', or an 'attack of the devil'... Oh please. It's a part of life. Praying one's depression away is not going to work. Want to know why? Well, it's not because prayer doesn't work... it's because it's more about the fact that if one has no energy to talk to their flatmates how are they to talk to God? I mean, I can barely form a sentence some days. I can therefore have little or no active part in my prayers. I simply trust and know that God knows me and my needs well enough to meet them in His own time. That's not facetiousness or faithlessness, it is reality. I know that my eyes are fixed on him, and I am rooted in his truth. Nothing can separate me from his love. Not even these tricksy, persistent DMoDs. \o/

Then there is the questioning of a person's faith, or salvific state, or holiness, by the condescending looks or tones in voices as people tell you that 'we must bear trials joyfully'. How do you know that I am not joyful? I am, actually. But that does not mean that I am all sunny inside. No, I will not apologize either if that makes you feel uncomfortable. Empty platitudes are for the benefit of the speaker of such words, not the hearer of them. They slide like lead into my ears.

Depression is as physically debilitating as it is emotionally, cognitively and intellectually. It does not, however, follow that the depressed person has lost all hope and all faith. I might have lost all hope of getting proper treatment or referrals, I might have lost faith in the people treating me, or the benefits system, but, as a Christian it just might not mean I have renounced my belief and my faith in God.

We are made with three chords: mind, body, spirit. All three are affected by the depression, but since my Spirit is willing and my flesh is weak, my mind is split by the DMoDs and battles against itself. The chemical imbalances in the brain are corporeal, they are in the physical realm, but they manifest in both the physical and the temporal/emotional realms.

A tree clinging to the rocks in Aros Park, Mull
Photo © The Loris, 2010
So yes, most days I cannot carry out simple tasks, I fear the telephone, I don't want to be with people, I don't have the energy to have a shower or a bath, I miss medication doses, I don't care if I get sick, I sleep all day, I miss appointments, I can't find the words I need to express what help I need, I am angry, I cry, I am consumed by pain, I feel sick, I feel dizzy, I am terrified to leave the house, I have panic attacks and am fearful and anxious, I can only sit and stare but see nothing, I listen to the sounds of the world going by but hear nothing, I want to hurt myself or others, I want to die... But most days I also count my blessings, I say "Thank You" for all the small victories, I smile, I laugh, I cry, I touch base with at least one person via text or t'interwebz, I still see the good in this world, I fix my eyes on Jesus, I know whose I am, I stare the beast in the eyes, I tell myself that I am loved, I see a light in the distance, I praise, I worship, I hope and I cling to my Rock.

Yesterday (6th Feb MMXI) was very hard work. The Loris spent the day with her friends in Winchester. It was lovely to see people and to catch up, but the level of stress, panic and anxiety in the mind and chest of TL was quite weighty. Don't get me wrong, TL was not really hoping for the world to end, but she was most definitely tense in all areas of her being. It's a very curious thing this anxiety malarkey. By the time The Loris got to bed she was utterly spent.

Today has been another challenge, but The Loris is very grateful for the fact that she has managed to cling to a ledge despite The Black Dog careering over the edge and landing on a rocky outcrop below her. Today she has managed to get a grip.

Tomorrow she might find the strength to haul herself up onto the ledge for a day of respite and staring The Black Dog in the face whilst it yaps and growls at her. On the other hand, she might discover that she has slipped over the edge and, during the night, made her bed on a rock... Tomorrow is another day.