Daily Archives: January 10, 2016

Karachi

Here are a few my pictures from Karachi. I had such a lovely time there! Miss everyone, of course. The good thing, one of many actually, that came out of this trip is the reconnection with all my cousins and our resolution to stay much more closely in touch.

The caption for each picture is below it.

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My cousin’s daughter’s kitten, so adorable, he played all day long. Didn’t quite know what this strange, slow moving thing was :-)

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Frangipani, growing in my cousin’s back garden.

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Guavas, yummm, one of my favorite fruits.

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So cute, they wanted me to take their picture, then were very happy when I showed them the pic on my camera. I gave each of them some gum and blew them a kiss as I was leaving and they were all shy and happy, I guess women don’t blow even little boys kisses in Pakistan… Love the decorated buses!

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The bus in itself is a work of art.

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Bougainvillea

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Muhatta Palace, built in the 1800’s by a Hindu Raja, it is now an Art museum. Gorgeous exhibitions, one of clothing and textiles, but they don’t let you take any pictures inside.

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Outside Muhatta Palace, an obelisk with life imitating art!

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A restaurant where we had one of the most delicious meals this trip!

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Frere Hall, an art gallery.

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Frere Hall, the masterpiece is the ceiling painted by Sadequain, Pakistan’s greatest surreal, modern, and calligraphic artist (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadequain)

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Dolemen Mall, loved it there!

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A very artistic vegetable vendor!

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Zainab Market (above and 7 below) A riot of color, beautifully hand crafted items. As soon as the salesman tells you the price of an item, you immediately, without skipping a beat and with a lot of indignation, say “Oh no, no, no, that is much too much!” and counter with an offer of half his price. This goes on for a bit, until you settle on somewhere near 60 -70 % of his first price. Really funny, I’m not too good at bargaining, but my cousin and her oldest daughter were masters! They got us some amazing deals!

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Dolmen Mall

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Dolmen Mall, oh the gorgeousness of their clothes!

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Our New Year’s Eve celebration

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At my cousin Lubna Apa’s. The best rice pudding ever!

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New Year’s Eve in Karachi

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At the beach, snake charmers, kept asking to take out the Cobra, I actually paid them not to take it out and go away!

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Camel rides

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Camels and horse back rides

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My sweetheart, Fatto Khala.


Leftism Absent Morality in Israel | commentary

https://www.commentarymagazine.com/foreign-policy/middle-east/israel/leftism-absent-morality-israel/

Background:  Israeli settlers in disputed territories want to become legitimate owners of their land.  There are Palestinians who are willing and wanting to sell or even trade, say, an olive grove for a vineyard.  But Mahmoud Abbas has forbidden that Arabs sell to Jews or Christians, on pain of death.  Still, it happens in secret, because not all Arabs and Jews are enemies, as Western media and extremist Muslim groups like ISIS and the Taliban would have you believe.  We are mostly neighbors, colleagues, and co-workers.  But there is a dictator, and this capsizes the true desire of the common people to live and let live.

This article gives us a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes, ferreted out by a settler who infiltrates an Israeli “peace activist” group to see what they really do.  What he discovered is something terrifying.

Please click on the link and read the article for yourselves.

It’s a short read, yet brings to light a hole in the bucket of yet one more hope for peace.


Am I Ready to Stop Therapy?

I got my first hint that I might be ready to stop therapy when I realized how little I was going. Over the years I have scaled down from weekly sessions to biweekly.

Then I noticed that, effectively, I’ve been going only once a month. I’ve been forgetting appointments, showing up on the wrong day, oversleeping, feeling poorly physically, or having too much freelance work to do.

Of course, those could be signs that I’m in denial, that I’m resisting therapy, that we’ve hit a bad patch of difficult issues and I just don’t want to deal with them.

But I don’t think that’s what’s happening. Here’s why.

I’m stabilized on my medications and they’re effective. When my psychiatrist moved away a few months ago, he left me with enough refills to last until this month and a list of other psychiatrists. My PCP agreed to prescribe my psychotropics if I lined up another psychiatrist for emergencies. I’ve done that, though I couldn’t get an appointment before March.

And that doesn’t alarm me. I don’t have the oh-my-god-what-if-my-brain-breaks-again panics. I don’t have the feeling that my brain is about to break again. I’ve thought about it, and I’m comfortable with letting my involvement with the psychiatric profession fade into the background of my life.

As long as I keep getting my meds.

I have more good days and I’m beginning to trust them. Oh, I still question whether I’m genuinely feeling good, happy, and productive or whether I’m merely riding the slight high of hypomania. But really? It doesn’t seem to matter very much. A few days ago I reflected on a string of particularly good days – when I accomplished things, enjoyed my hobbies, and generally felt content. And I simply allowed myself to bask in those feelings.

That’s not to say I don’t still have bad days. After a few days of hypomania, I hit the wall, look around for spoons and don’t find any, and require mega-naps to restore me. (I’m intensely grateful that I work at home and can do that. Most offices don’t appreciate finding an employee snoring underneath her desk. And my cat-filled bed is much more comfy-cozy.)

I still get low days too, but they are noticeably dysthymic rather than full-out, sobbing-for-no-reason, Pit-of-Despair-type lows that last seemingly forever. I know – really know, deep within me – that they will last a day or two at the most. And just that knowledge makes me feel a little bit better.

My creativity, concentration, and output are improving. I can work longer, read longer, write longer, take on new projects, think past today or even next week. I can trust my muse and my energy, if not immediately when I call on them, at least within a reasonable time.

I have trouble remembering how bad it used to be. Recently I’ve made connections with several on-line support groups for bipolar and mental health. I find I’m astonished at the crises, the outpourings of misery, the questioning of every feeling and circumstance, the desperate drama of even the most mundane interactions. They are overwhelming. But I realized that it’s been a long time since they’ve overwhelmed me. I recognize that I could some day be in that place again – that’s the nature of this disease. But I have a good support system that I trust to help me not fall too far without a net.

I don’t have much to talk about when I go to therapy. There are issues I need to work on – getting older, getting out of the house more, reclaiming my sexuality. But most of those I feel competent to work out on my own.  My sessions are mostly an update on what’s going on in my life at the moment, plus a recap of my recurring problems. But those problems are ones I’ve faced before and know how to cope with. I already have the tools I need and use them without needing a reminder.

So I’ve talked it over with my psychotherapist and I’m not completely quitting therapy, but I am cutting back officially to the once a month I seem to be going anyway. I know that if and when the bipolar starts giving me major trouble again, I can always call for an appointment or a telephone therapy session.

I’m not going to stop writing these posts. I still have a lot to say about where I’ve been, how I’ve got to where I am now, how things will go in the future, and all the many ways that mental illness affects society and vice versa.

You’re not getting rid of me that easily. I’m sticking around.


Filed under: Mental Health Tagged: being overwhelmed, blogging, concentration, coping mechanisms, depression, freelance work, hypomania, mental health, my experiences, psychotherapy, psychotropic drugs, support systems, working at home

Jonah Got Right Pigged Off, When the Plant Died: a Poetic Blog

Bridlington seafront: Sept 2015

Bridlington seafront: Sept 2015

I love titles: the book, poem, etc, kind. Faced with a selection of poems where one is named “Love”, and another is titled “The REM 125 to Cleethorpes” (1), there’s no question: I’d be on that poetic train.

Strangely enough for a Pagan, (2) I’ve written a number of Biblically based poems over the years. Nice to know all that time spent making dioramas in Baptist Sunday school when I was knee high to a locust wasn’t a complete waste of time.

This poem had the honour of not quite making it into a Northern poetry magazine. According to my handwritten note, it dates back to 1995.

Jonah Got Right Pigged Off, When the Plant Died

How it happened was this:
God sent
a whalish big fish, which
swallowed the prophet, whole.

This was God’s way
of asking for volunteers.

Jonah was sent
that the people of Nineveh
might repent
of various and sundry
of their wicked ways.

Which they did, leaving Jonah
in a bit of a tizz.

He felt let down.
He wanted the people
of Nineveh to drown,
be plagued by locusts,
consumed by fire, or hound.

Chatsworth dog: September 2015

Chatsworth dog: September 2015

God kept
his side of the bargain:
the people of Nineveh
were spared.

But the plant,
which he made to shelter
Jonah from the sun,
died.

And Jonah cried.

Chatsworth gardens: September 2015

Chatsworth gardens: September 2015

(1) Yes, there is such a poem.
(2) Or not so strangely, given the title “Musings of a British Eccentric”.