Thursday, November 13, 2014

aliens in my head or just another day?

Today Jane and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Finally, after about a year, the Kaitaia TimeBank banner to be used outside the EcoCentre, at working bees, market stalls etc., has been finished. It didn't take that long to make relatively speaking, but there was about a 9 month gap between cutting out all the lettering and starting on the main panels.

The main reason things stalled was because my brain just wasn't up to figuring out the logistics of the banner which goes on one of those freestanding pole things. Should the pole go up one side or the middle? Should the lettering be from top to bottom (so you tilt your head to read it) or go across-ways? How do I make it so it will cope with the high winds of the Far North and not get ripped to shreds in a few weeks? If I put a pole pocket down the middle which seams can I sew before I turn the thing from inside out to the right way out and which have to wait until after?

Gradually I've plodded through the list. Jane, bless her, did the applique work which at least saved me that headache. Today saw the final piecing together of the two panels to make a single banner. It is a sign of how much I have improved over the last few months that I even tried. How often I used my quick-unpick is a sign of how much further I still have to go... I nearly had the whole thing sewn together complete with pole pockets etc before the penny dropped that the three lines I'd just sewn meant I now couldn't turn it the right way out - d'oh. I shouldn't have been surprised though. Earlier in the day, whilst working on another rather time-delayed project, I'd ironed several metres of binding in half the wrong way out before I realised what I was doing.

Common sense is something I've usually had a reasonable supply of. In various circles I gained a bit of a reputation for pointing out 'the bleeding obvious' to those who had somehow completely overlooked it. Until this year I could never fathom how people could miss such things. I really do feel handicapped without my usual capacity to see what's staring me in the face. Similarly towards the end of my time teaching I was finding my usually long patience had shrunk and I was snapping at kids in a way that shocked me when it happened. It felt like someone else controlling my tongue. I'd be horrified at myself at times and apologized straight away to whichever poor child I'd just bitten the head off. It was an eye opener to me to realise that this is what life is usually like for some people; that frustrated verbal response before thinking. Thankfully I didn't have to deal with an instinctive physical response on top, the flash of uncontrolled emotional response was bad enough.

For whatever reason I haven't had that flashpan response to children happen again since I stopped teaching week in week out at the end of 2012 and I am extremely grateful for that. I know one of my colleagues got the sharp edge of my tongue a few times when relieving last year. Our methods of teaching were completely at odds with each other and I wasn't in a space to be able to just let stuff go that in a better state I would've had the wisdom to just leave be.

The more my physical health improves the more obvious the anomalous state of my brain and emotions becomes, and reflecting back, the more I realise how long ago the changes started to become apparent. A lot of it is quite simply hormonal and due to going through peri-menopause of which several doctors, nurses and specialists have all agreed I've been having a lousy time of. The fact that most of the more obvious symptoms seem to fluctuate in sync with how tired, run down, and otherwise not well I am does give me some hope that 'this too shall pass' and normal service shall be resumed at some point. Hopefully some point sooner rather than later.

Spending a lot of time with those a generation or more older than me has meant I have been around regular discussions about those in the community slipping into states of advanced Altzheimer's, or senile dementia. I do wonder at times about the similarities between the way my brain feels mussed up and those conditions, although those I know with them aren't really in a state to compare notes. But in a week when 'today, tomorrow and yesterday' have got completely mixed up (what do you mean that if I re-read an email on Tuesday that I got on Monday that refers to 'tomorrow' that means today and not Wednesday??? In my defense I was expecting it to refer to Wednesday due to an earlier conversation); where I've given someone an answer only to ask them the same question back 10 minutes later; where I can't even get to the compost heap and back without forgetting what I was doing before I set off bucket in hand, I do have to wonder just how well I'd do in those assessment tests right now! But whilst I might be struggling to know what day of the week it is or how the heck it came to be Tuesday again already (but not today though!) I did figure out that Granny would've been 110 yesterday without even having to think about it. Admittedly remembering it was Tuesday before it got to 1.30pm would've been far more useful given Granny has long since gone beyond birthdays, whereas the pay office needed my timesheet posted yesterday and I was supposed to be somewhere else at 12...

I have to take heart though from the fact that I have more than one thing going on to keep track of, and that I do have a life again that doesn't simply consist of endless medical appointments and not much else. I don't mind unpicking seams half as much now as I used to as at least it means I had a go at sewing them in the first place, and I spotted the mistake before it was too late to change something. I still haven't quite plucked up the courage to attempt to unpick a counted cross-stitch I started some months ago and somehow managed to get the centre line in the wrong place, despite carefully (I thought...) counting the holes twice to make sure! Some mistakes are easier to fix than others.

Given what feels like personality transplants and my brain short-circuiting at times over the last few years I can understand why there have been people convinced they've been abducted by aliens in their sleep etc. It wouldn't need much mental instability, paranoia, certain drugs, or living amidst a culture of fear, scaremongering and some really dubious red tops 'journalism' on top of my own kind of experiences to really freak folk out. It's freaky enough at times as it is when I have a perfectly rational medical explanation for it all! Mind you when I had the third pregnancy test done on me this year irrespective of me pointing out that whilst I dropped biology at school as soon as possible, I did know enough to know without a doubt that I couldn't possibly be, there was that back of the mind thought 'But what about the Midwich Cuckoos?' I'm still debating whether aliens would be preferable to angels proclaiming or not... Thankfully the tests all agreed with me that I wasn't, so that all remains hypothetical!

So life trundles on. The 'guilt pile' is slowly being tackled and whilst new things inevitably get added to it at least I've not been looking at them all year. Another sewing project is close to completion, and only 6mths late this time so there is actually a chance of folk getting handmade Christmas presents after all. I'm not going to say when they'll get them mind, that feels far too much like tempting fate!

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