Monthly Archives: May 2014

My Two Black Dogs

I have two black dogs, and I love one of them very much.  She has been an integral part of my life for sixteen years.  Black Dog Numero Uno is my girl Nina Simone:Image

Isn’t she pretty?  My relationship with Nina is deep and visceral, something that people who do not “love dogs” will not understand.  She has been my sounding board and “Go-to-Gal” for all manner of situations in my life.  Since I was 25, she has been my constant companion and her easy manner and wise ways have been a mainstay of my world for so long that as she comes to the end of her life, there is an ever-tightening knot in my throat around how I will fill her void when she is gone.  I am so familiar with her presence that it just seems unbelievable that she soon will not be here.

As for my other black dog, for the avoidance of stereotyping let us call her Depression.  If I am totally honest (which is something I have struggled in my shame to do), Depression has been part of my life for at least thirty years.  Long lived indeed.  I don’t love her but I know her very well.

She/he/it, depending on the form it takes, is a bit of a shape changer and hence very hard to tame, and this mutt is not a very nice dog at all.  To be fair, I have let her stay around, so I am not sure I can fully blame her.  She (let’s call her she for this post, as currently “she” is taking the form of a sort of “Maleficent” type character in my life, although perhaps not as beautiful as Angelina’s portrayal) is what you might call a familiar frenemy.

For those of you who read my semi-regular blog postings, you may recall me mentioning “the coat of melancholy”.  Well, literally speaking – the coat of melancholy was woven from the hair of my second black dog.  No wonder it chafes.

For these past few weeks, as I have struggled with my feelings of shame and humiliation over a forthcoming event, my second black dog has been an all too familiar companion.  She keeps me from focussing, sleeping, and seeing past the date of my doom to beyond.  She scares me, my second black dog, as she does not like me to have hope in my life let alone redemption.  I have not slept at night for almost a week now because my second black dog seems to want to sleep on my chest, which makes me struggle to breathe – which thankfully (or not) wakes me up.  For anyone who suffers from insomnia, I am sure that you will agree that it is after the first week that it gets a really hard to take.  After all, there are only 24 hours in the day and the eight that are “business hours” seem to fall smack bang in the middle of the time that you are the most tired.

The  well-known quote from Stephen Fry is an appropriate one to finish this post – as I make a coffee to try to keep awake today so I can make contact with those beautiful friends of mine who have reached out to me.  You know who you are. 

I love you and I am grateful.

E is for Excited!

Whilst I am not going to go all Sue Grafton (if anyone doesn’t know her work, she wrote the incredibly entertaining Kinsey Millhone series – one for each letter of the alphabet –, but after my last post that featured that damn D word (as in Depression “feat” Anxiety, an album that has been stuck on replay all too often in my life, and of late.  The whole damn D word is more angsty and self-absorbed than Kanye on a bad day (a little bit of a rap lyric there for the taking 🙂 nd even less palatable than his Kim K inspired / infused Magnum Opus “Bound 2″, which I have kindly provided here for your listening and viewing pleasure here (for the masochists among you):

Thank the lord for the James Franco / Seth Rogen version.  As a writer, I can only hope to develop my writing skills to write lyrics like:

I wanna f*ck you hard on the sink
After that, give you something to drink
Step back, can’t get spunk on the mink

(please somebody time capsule this so future generations can admire us)

Anyway, I really only popped in to say I am feeling better and a little bit excited about life again. In this past week, I have had some good laughs with good friends, I have also reached out for some support in order to face up to some health challenges (must do those thigh measurements (said no chubby woman ever – But I will Bec, I will x) and today I begin my feature writing course … which looks like a ton of fun but has actual assignments (note to self – USE the big wall planner that Gael made you get.  There are months after February!), which I had better get started on.  So yeah, E is for excited.

Disorganised, depressed and discombobulated and other dastardly D words!

My on again / off again relationship with my closely related nemeses depression and anxiety has been more on that off of late.  A bit like Prince Harry and Cressida… Oh hold on they are well and truly off it seems, which is great news for my daughter who has always fancied herself as a royal wife (not to self – must move to England STAT)…

Anyway, lame attempt at humour aside, I am starting to worry about it and of course this is unhelpful and extremely non productive. One of the unfortunate side-effects of my depression is that I become terribly disorganised to the point of complete discombobulation (according to the WordPress spell checker this is not a word), but there I go digressing again… even this post is disorganised.

My disorganisation is probably one of the things I hate most about being in this state.  It means I forget appointments, miss deadlines (so not great for self-employed struggling writer), get lost when driving (I am normally a cracker with directions), buy everything but the salt and pepper that I went to Coles for in the first place, which then makes me sadder still because what I was really craving was boiled eggs on toast with salt and pepper … you know the dippy egg kind that you have with little toast soldiers:

The happy making power of the dippy egg should never be underestimated as a cure for all manner of things.  Another thing in my life that makes me happy is going to writing events, where I get to meet and mingle and most of all learn from published authors in my bid to achieve my dream (I think goal sounds better – more achievable) of being a published and successful writer.  I was really counting on one such event scheduled (in my mind only) for this coming weekend, and I had sort of put it out to my universe that this event would be the much needed charm to pull me out of my funk!

Said event was


I had told myself that it would be my Mother’s Day present to me (and from the girls) and I was so SO looking forward to it.  Being with other writers in a learning environment was to be just the ticket out of Sadtown.  So imagine my distress (lots of D words going down here today!) when the very lovely Valerie Khoo, (you can follow her on Twitter here: who is the National Director and Founder of Australian Writers’ Centre and just happened to pick up the phone (yes, I had a slightly fan-girl reaction when she told me her name – Valerie as in “Valerie Khoo I squeaked) and returned a message I left, so gently and kindly, after I went into my babble and spiel about really wanting to do the course THIS weekend but could I pay on Thursday (I didn’t let her know I was broke until then because I am depressed and disorganised and forgot to submit some invoices) but could I PLEASE PLEASE secure a spot … Valerie informed me that this course, that I was pinning my hopes of happiness on was in fact as you can see dear reader (all two of you) …. LAST WEEKEND!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! This is not me, but as close a likeness as I want to show right now, as I have hair that is short-in-between-rock-chick-tuckshop-mum, seriously unkempt brows (read monobrow with serious bristles that show under my glasses on the bridge of my nose – Hot!)) and a blind pimple the size of Everest on my chin (oh depression how you do wonders for my looks with your inability to even make it to the beauty salon.

Actually, this is a much closer likeness to me right now:

I digress again… after I heard this news, I babbled on a further forever minutes, and Valerie still kindly and patiently listened (probably thinking God, how on Earth do I get rid of this nutter?) In the course of the conversation, Valerie divulged that the next online course Image

is beginning next Monday 12 May, and as such I could pay for this on Thursday!  Now don’t get me wrong, the online course is being delivered by the awesome Allison Tait who kindly awarded me a copy of her book as a prize for something I wrote (my first and only prize so far, and whilst it is not the Man Booker prize but a Facebook comp prize, I felt like it was … ) “Get Paid to Write: The Secrets of Freelancing Success” which got me started with this crazy notion that I could actually make money out of being a freelance writer.  You can get your copy here: …

The next Perth course is not until August and the next writing event that I am going to is Natasha Lester’s Scrivener course:


Of course this is not until the end of June and if I stay depressed and discombobulated until the then my head will probably fall off. I just noticed that this course is not at the venue where Natasha has held her previous awesome courses, which is a good thing as I would have disorganisedly driven there and then got lost trying to find the correct venue, and turn up late which is never cool.  You can find out more about Natasha, an awesome Perth based writer here:

My success rate with online learning is not great – and has at times been a costly waste of time (3 x attempts at completing my legal practice course and a HECS debt to rival the GDP of China are evidence of this).  However, it is writing and I know I love writing, I loved writing when I was lawyering.  I never loved lawyering the way I love writing.  So can this disorganised, depressed, discombobulated wannabe be writer get her dishevelled shit together and succeed in some on-line learning … well I bloody well hope so, as I just put the cost of the course on my Mastercard … and at least this way I will be able to spend some quality time dragging my daughters around Bunnings for an alternative Mother’s Day present, as this one doesn’t really count does it?

I might even buy some worms for that worm farm I bought my daughter as a much loved gift a Bunnings Trip or ten ago!

Blame it on the Bunnies…

So the “fast stuck I am” post of last week feeling is starting to dissipate.  Thanks to some lovely friends who took the time to read it, look past the self deprecating and maudlin tone to make contact with me, I have started to shake myself out of the gloom.  I have been reassured by a couple of my friends that is OK to be in that space, and it does not necessarily mean that I am going to keep going backwards, and I don’t need to catastrophise it, it is just that I am just having an off couple of days.  Anyway, one of my girlfriends and I reckon if all else fails, we can blame it on the bunnies (an inside joke that doesn’t translate too well into blogspeak).

Today I can see all of the positives about my “current situation”.  Sure the work I do to produce an income may not be that exciting, but then again, I was never actually excited when I was living my corporate life (corporate lie?).  Being stressed and working from 7:00am to 7:30pm and the last to leave an office does not equal excitement, no matter how much of a spin I used to put on it.

Whilst I find all of the clichés, “everything happens for a reason”, “every cloud has a silver lining” etc. really hard to stomach when I am feeling low, on days like today when things are looking better, I can swallow them and keep them down (provided I have had at least 3 coffees and a muesli bar).  There really are a lot of positives about my life right now, and my eternal challenge is to rise above my ego and see them. I mean, I always used to complain about not seeing enough of my kids (well the two that are still in the nest) now I am home for them more and I think they really like that, although they may not admit it openly.  I really like being home when they come in the door from school or being able to pick them up, even if they go straight to their rooms to Facebook/Snapchat/Tumblr stepping straight over the pile of dirty washing that I have pointedly left in the corridor…

I used to complain about not having enough money.  Well, when is there ever “enough” money?  I have to admit working for myself has meant that there have been some lean weeks but hey when weren’t there?  There is more to life than money, and I know that if I do a certain amount of bread and butter work, there will be enough to provide what is needed.  The biggest challenge for me in the money stakes is discipline and organisation, but hell, I am sure I am not alone there.

I have complained of feeling very lonely, and because I have lost a few loved ones, I have been single since Noah built the ark and have only lived in Perth for a relatively short time it has become a little but easy to stay there – in lonely land.  My challenge here is to not feel ashamed of being lonely and therefore isolate myself even more, but to make the effort to connect with the many friends I do have.  Even though sometimes when I am low, I find it easier to hide away at home I always feel better after a few hours spent with friends (especially when our discussions centre around the Q7700, the master of all bidets … you know who you are!) …

So, in short I am a little less fast stuck this week, I am 🙂