Monthly Archives: June 2014

Art and cats. Cats and art

When there’s nothing else to talk about, there’s always cats.

I’ve given up worrying about being seen as a crazy cat lady. I am a crazy cat lady. And if you were lucky enough to be a part of my beautiful cats’ lives, then you’d be a crazy cat lady (or gentleman) too.

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Here are three of my beauties: Truby, Tolly and Thursday. Tate likes to do her own thing, but I’m sure she’ll appear somewhere in this post. They keep me going. They allow me to be part of their world and, to my honour, treat me as one of them. They groom me (that’s code for lick my face), they keep me in line with the odd bat of the paw when I’m not reacting to their meows fast enough and they expect me to understand their language, their ways, what makes them happy and their fears. I am an honorary cat.

Throughout everything they are there. When it’s just me in the house, they keep me company. When I wake from a nightmare in the small hours, they lift sleepy heads and stretch out a paw. When I come home from therapy with my head turned inside out they sit next to me. After weighing they wind round my legs and lounge on my lap. When I can’t even find the words for Twitter, they’re there. They help me not to feel alone.

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Here’s Tate. Sleeping like a human. In fact she gets quite huffy if you don’t leave the bed open and ready for her.

Usually when I write a post I start with some idea of what I want to say. It’s a hang-over from work, I guess; I always have a plan for everything I write for business. But this time? I don’t.

I want to try and explain what’s been going on in art therapy, but I don’t have a clear picture of where my thinking is: picture a deep, muddy hole filled with murky water – that’s my mind right now. In fact I’ve had some almost unbearably honest conversations in therapy so there hasn’t been any art because I haven’t needed any prompting. But here are a few pictures that I haven’t shared before:

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[Tate has just, very kindly, brought me a live little vole to play with. I used my (luckily empty) gin glass to catch it, slid an envelope underneath to act as a base, and gently let it out into the hedge outside. If cats can shrug, then Tate shrugged and sat in a box.]

I’ve been thinking as I’ve been writing, (and vole catching), looking for the thing I’m trying to say.

I think it centres around making a decision about whether I accept I am relapsing or not. But that’s a whole ‘nother post.

In the meantime, how could you resist this invitation to play?

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Thank you for listening.

 

 

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Happy anniversary?

It’s coming up for a year since I went inpatient and it feels… weird.

It was such a big decision and it was supposed to make a difference. To go into hospital I had to put my whole life on hold: take time off work; tell people I had hoped to never have to tell; break it to the girls that they would live with daddy for a while; and make elaborate cat sitting arrangements for Thursday and Tate. It was massive. I had a choice as to whether to do it, although the time when the choice would be taken away from me was edging closer. Going into hospital involved accepting all the labels, ALL THE LABELS IN THE WORLD. But I did it. Because it was going to make a difference.

Well, hey. It didn’t.

I learnt to eat food again, but away from the supportive environment it all fell apart.

I put on weight, but couldn’t hold on to it back in the world.

I managed to swallow the pills, but the energy waned as ingrained habits fought back.

I changed everything for nothing.

 

Well that’s how it feels most of the time. When I look at things really closely I have made some shifts. I can still eat real food; a strange collection, but it’s more than a solid diet of fortisips. I’m heavier than I was when I went on to the ward and I’m managing to hold that weight fairly steadily. I’ve changed medication and take it without fail – apart from the iron that I just can’t get on with – and it’s giving me a cushion as well as holding the hallucinations at bay. I’m now considered able to function well enough cognitively to go back into therapy.

But it’s not the difference I thought it might be. And I’m sad about that.