Allowing/Giving

IMG_20131023_101027I few days ago I was asked to think about the difference between giving and allowing. It’s an interestingly simple question, but I thought about it for a long time. I’ve tried to ask this question in different situations: work, relationships, drinking/smoking, coffee, sex, food and came to a few early stage thoughts on some of them.

Food:

Allowing has to do with control, be it either self control, or control by some authority. When I think of it in terms of food, it mostly has to do with restrictions (or diets). Allowing can be about foods that are allowed (or ‘good’) or allowing to have something cheeky. It makes me think of living by a law and doing the things that are allowed according to the law. Sometimes this is a law made up by yourself, sometimes it is a law laid upon you. Laws that will inevitably be broken and for which you will be punished. It’s a stressful concept.

The feeling I get when thinking about giving food to myself, it has to do with nourishment. When giving food to someone it has to do with care. It doesn’t really have anything to do with rules or laws, but with wants and needs. It’s an all in all more relaxed feeling. Feelings of restrictions tends to make people (and other animals) want to rebel I think. Some things become a lot more desirable when they are restricted. And in a way it also blocks a feeling of enjoyment when you are only ‘allowed’ to eat something, in stead of being given something.

Coffee:

Back when I was in Australia I had a bit of a thing about being addicted to coffee. In a way it was a bit of a personal psychoanalysis-experiment.  I found that I made the decision to allow myself a maximum of 3 cups a day. This was because I felt like I was drinking too much of it and felt simultaneously out of control,weak and over-controlling. Very interesting. I only just noticed that I seem to have moved out of that now, being back in Edinburgh, where coffee isn’t everywhere and I kind of forgot about ‘my addiction’. Now I seek cafe’s out every now and then, sit down and treat myself (or give myself) a well made coffee while reading a book or writing. I drink a lot less coffee now, have no issues limiting my intake and feel like it is something I look forward to, without stressfully needing it.

Sex:

I think many people allow for sex to happen, instead of giving themselves to someone. I think there is a very real pressure onto boys (and men I guess) to sweep women off their feet, perform like a real man and slowly persuade a girl (or woman) to go further and further. At the same time there seems to be a sense of pressure on girls (or women) to be manly (edit: or maybe just very confident and uninhibited) about sex and just do it. There seems to be a bit of an idea that when you go beyond a certain point, there isn’t really a way back, either because it makes you look like a prude, or because it would hurt the boy’s/man’s masculinity (as widely described in Cosmo…) Something you usually don’t want to do to a person you’re considering being intimate with.

Allowing things to happen is sometimes easier than speaking up and making a fuss. Allowing for sex to happen makes it easier sometimes than asking yourself the question ‘do I really want to do this?’. Feeling that sex should happen (because you’ve already gone this far, or because you’ve been in a relationship for while and haven’t done it in a week) I believe causes a lack of intimacy and causes a certain detachment.

Making the conscious decision to give yourself to someone intimately because you WANT to is incredibly empowering and exciting, be it casually or within a long term relationship. I wish this was a bit clearer in teenage education on relationships (a.k.a. Cosmo-type glossies and tv) instead of the idea that men turn into cavemen as soon as they think of sex and you need to accommodate this(or indeed use/manipulate it). Men are not like that, maybe some act like that, but definitely not all, and women shouldn’t treat men as such either. Its disrespectful. Wouldn’t it be a horrible thought to know that someone you’ve slept with merely allowed you, and wasn’t in fact sure that that they really wanted to? I think that would be devastating for most people, men and women equally.

I wonder if allowing for something automatically blocks your ability to give something. The shift from allowing to giving I think needs to be very conscious and is not very easy. It takes confidence, trust and love for oneself. All those things you will find in self help books, the hard things that some annoying people are born with.

I think I’ll need to think on this one a bit longer as well…

Food, sex, coffee, I think that’s all for today

Jude

Advertisements

Hurray :)

521383_392397000845878_1524518477_n

I’ve been accepted to a course in TA counseling. This is mad exciting, as for the first time in a long long while I’m extremely interested in a ‘project’ and am going to have the opportunity to seriously work with this interest. It’ll take a few years of studying and placements, and I’m excited about these years to come.

The material we’ll be studying is eye opening and we’ll have the opportunity to do very valuable volunteer work during the course. Personal development is a big part of the course, which will, even if I bail out, be incredibly valuable professionally and personally.

To top all these things, I will get a student card which is going to give me discounts on coffee.

Hurray 🙂

The lady on stilts and the hobo

I took on a new old job (temporarily) in a pub and needed some shoes. As most people who have done this kind of work know: shoes attract beer. No matter how superfly your pouring skills are, at the end of the night you will ALWAYS have at least one shoe soaked in lager (oh the evil Tennents smell), Guinness,  and/or  vodka cranberry.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALong story short: I needed me some cheap black, shitty shoes, so I went to New Look. I found a pair (canvas, rubber sole, 7 GBP, basically slippers) which were perfect. Now, I combed my hair that morning, had some mascara on, put on a clean pair of trousers…  and sat down next to a princess. She smelled of musk and plastic flowers, had spider legs for eye lashes and no visible skin under the cake display of powder on her cheeks. She was trying on a pair of black glossy stilts, walked (wobbled) around in them a bit, I think decided they were perfect and grabbed her golden glittery purse for her credit card. Her hair did not move, and I believe, could not move, yet is was perfectly shaped into a fluffy bun on the top of her head. She was thin with well pushed up breasts and a teeny tiny bum, squeezed into faux (not fake) leather leggings.

And there I sat next to her, with, in all honesty, pretty uncombed hair, which I might have washed and straightened 2 days before, but in my opinion did not need to go through that 20 minute process again just yet. There I sat in my ebay gathered outfit of slightly worn burgundy jeans, slightly tatty boots and a purple tartan coat I picked up from Primark 3 years ago, with two of the buttons dangling on its last threads. There I sat with slightly runny mascara, skin looking blotchy and flushed from the cold, smelling of nothing but the soap I had washed my hands with, trying on a pair of the ugliest shoes I’ve every owned. And I felt less of a woman than her. I looked at the mirror opposite us and realised that compared to her, I looked like a hobo.

I’ve told Steve once that I don’t really get that intimidated by dolled up girls, but I do get intimidated by how they smell. They smell of chemicals, flirty intentions and confidence. They smell like they are looking down on me for not smelling ‘nice’, but instead just smelling like a human being. They smell like they have spent hours on how they look before they walk out the door and think I’m a lazy fuck for not doing so. They smell like I should try a little harder. Or a lot harder actually.

And then I come home after a long day at work and a short walk through a Scottish gale and Steve tells me I have beautiful eyes, which is so much better than ‘your make-up really makes you look pretty’. He’ll hug me and smell my neck and say ‘ah, you smell of you’, and I realise that’s heaps better than ‘your perfume smells nice  (consisting of musk (‘glandular secretions from animals such as the musk deer’-wiki) and plastic flowers)’.

The princess next to me probably didn’t even notice me. And I’m sure I am too lazy to spend so much time on myself as a beauty project, instead of as a professional/emotional project. I hope it makes her feel as confident as I perceive her to be. I hope that she doesn’t break her bloody ankles with the stilts that she bought. And I hope I smell like me again tonight, even though I look pretty shabby.

I need help

Help-Sign-Above-Water-007I need help. It’s one of the hardest things to say, even harder to admit to oneself. Having to say this means that I’ve used all my recourses to solve the problem, and have not succeeded. It means that if I don’t reach out, I will only continue falling down, do more and more damage, or make it harder and harder to keep fighting. It’s a very humble thing to say, a very trusting and a very vulnerable position to take. It’s scary as hell, incredibly hard yet I’ve convinced myself it is a sign of weakness.

Of course I want to be an adult, want to be able to do this all on my own and only CHOOSE to share something because I WANT to, not because I HAVE to. I should be a pillar of strength, one that only cries when grieving, only gives up when it’s useless, only need help when it’s a job for two. I shouldn’t be a bendy twig that cries when I’m sad or disappointed, give up when it’s just too hard, and need help to deal with things, when I just can’t do it on my own. No… That would be humiliating and childish.

At the same time though, at work I have no inhibitions to ask for help when I don’t really know how to do something. In our professional life it’s what we have to do. We have to depend on the help of others in the army, otherwise we will get killed. It’s what we have to do in school, otherwise we’ll fail/never learn. It’s what we have to do at work, otherwise we’ll muck up. These are the places where we can admit that when we don’t know what to do, we can always ask for help. When we don’t have the proper recourses or are just not strong/knowledgable enough, we can ask for someone to assist us. But to do it at home with our loved ones… god no. Even when we don’t know what to do with ourselves, or don’t have the proper recourses, suddenly asking for help is… the last resort.

It is incredibly hard to ask for help, but once I do it, without exception, it’s so much easier than the scene I had in my mind (where everything about me, my life and my relationship changes). I’ve never been disappointed in any of my friends or family who told me they needed help, from me or anyone else. Ever. Only when someone insists on not needing help and continue on damaging themselves and our relationship with each other. And actually it’s not disappointment, just a sadness for knowing how hard it is, and that feeling of ‘I cannot be weak and reach out’ is what kept them, and me from doing it.

I could see ‘the issue’ as a shackle around my ankle, something I have to drag around. And even though I’ve put it there, or allowed for it to be put there (because I was powerless or it was the safest option at the time), this doesn’t mean that I can’t ask for someone to help me take it off. The weight of the iron is what is making me weaker, so if someone would help me take it off, this would empower me. That makes sense, and everyone would understand that the help I need is not because I am weak, but because I am sensible and want to be empowered instead of trapped. Everything is simpler in analogies though…

When I say I need help, it should make me feel powerful, not weak. It should make me feel confident enough to trust people and make me look forward to being empowered. It should make me feel like a proper adult, not the adult that I though I should be when I was a kid. Also, as long as people are willing to help me, it means they have faith in me, which is pretty valuable, but often ignored. For a fear of weakness/hurt to be the reason for not seeking help, is like a fear of drowning to keep me from abandoning a sinking ship (I might get hurt vs. I will get hurt). Yet again, analogies are always so much simpler. Or maybe not.

Box full of memories

This weekend I attended a workshop/course in Transactional Analysis counselling. At some point we had to write a random story, this is what came out with me in 12 minutes of manic writing:

Box full of memories

There once was a Boy with a little box full of memories. He kept the box under his bed and had filled it with photographs, tin soldiers, a shark’s tooth and lots of other little artifacts that reminded him of all the fun things he had done. Every now and then (and especially when he felt lonely) he would take the box from underneath his bed, open it up and look at all his memories. It would usually make him feel a lot better and give him a fuzzy feeling of content inside. It was so nice to be surrounded by his memories.

One dark night he was lying in his bed, fast asleep, while his parents sat in the living room drinking tea. They were reading a bit and chatting a bit, while Dad stroked Mum’s hair when suddenly Dad noticed a smell… a smell of smoke! He ran to the door of the kitchen, felt the door knob and flinched from the heat that came from it and burned his hand. Fire! The dryer had caught fire and had lit up the laundry in front of it, which had set fire to the cleaning products. Everything was ablaze and the smoke started to flow into the living room.

Dad shouted at his wife to “get out of the house, now, there’s a fire!” after which he ran up the stairs, taking two steps at a time, yelling for the little Boy to wake up. He threw open the door to the little Boy’s bedroom, grabbed the Boy out of bed, ran down the stairs, through the smoke and out the front door to safety.

The three of them stood outside on the lawn looking at the fire that the house was now engulfed in. All around them cars and trucks with sirens skidded to a halt, while slowly the neighbourhood became alive with people. They held each other and each of them cried. Dad a few tears for the house he had worked so hard for all his life, and was now slowly going up in flames. Mum cried with big sobs, because they had lost the house and everything in it, but her family was okay.

And the little Boy cried and cried and cried. Finally Mum asked “are you okay my dear? are you hurt? Why are you crying?”. I’ve lost all my memories mum!” the boy said “ They were in the box, I couldn’t take them with me, and now they’re gone!”. “Surely that cannot be true my Boy” Dad said. “If your memories were gone, how can you remember that you had them!? You see, your memories are in your own little head, and the little things you kept in the box are not YOUR memories, they are your MEMORIES’ memories.

The little boy stopped sobbing, though the tears still streamed down his ash-covered face. “what do you mean dad?” he sniffed with a puzzled expression on his face. “What I mean is that you have memories in your head, that sometimes need memories, like a photograph or a tin soldier. But if those things aren’t there anymore, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have the memories anymore. It just means that YOU have to remind your memories of how much you enjoyed that summer holiday, or that game you played with your friend. You will have to make sure that your memories don’t forget how good those times were, because now that you don’t have the little box anymore they’ll need a little help from you!”

“oh… I don’t want that… they were very good memories” the Boy said, and continued to think on it a bit longer. “I’ll try and remind them heaps Dad!” he eventually said smiling “I don’t want them to forget!”. And as the family had all been crying before, they were now all smiling, reminding their memories of how great their life in the house had been, and how they would always carry that with them, even though the house was now gone. Their memories would always stay, as long as they continued reminding them.

Masochism

Getting stuck in masochism
of career, beauty, fashion
a masochism of indulgence
that fills the belly until it hurts
until it bursts and splatters
culture, ambition, sex, art
all over the bathroom wall

A reality where tattoos,
cover up the cutting
piercings drill holes
in physical insecurities
a sense of not belonging
camouflaged by black kohl
by a fuck-you attitude

The little voices that tell
what’s wrong, what’s good
not schizophrenia, just ads
the shit an open mind
constantly gets stuffed with
until it’s full and over-flows
like a drain full of hair

The masochism of high heels,
of starving on skimmed milk
the pain of pulled out hairs
of pushed up tits, sucked in bellies
the masochism of real women
with the fucked up confidence
of a monkey on a moped

Maybe I am an addict…

So addiction is still on my mind as I’m still drinking coffee, even though I lamely tried not to. I’m playing with this idea that addiction might not just be a human thing, but something that basically all life is susceptible to. I’m not trying to look for excuses for my addictions, or for a cure. I’m just trying to understand them better, to be able to understand my own behaviour.

I had a little bounce back in time and remembered that as a child I was able to play the same game for hours and hours on end, every day, for weeks and weeks, until a new game came along. I also remember eating myself silly on sweets at birthday parties and drinking soda until I felt green with nausea. There was also the kids channel which I would get up at 6.30 for on a Saturday, to be able to watch at least until mum and dad got up at around 9 or 10 and change the channel. I remember watching telly for hours and hours if I could. And it was fine, cause you know, we were kids, that’s what you do. Impulse control is something you learn later on in life.

It seems though that sometimes this same kind of behaviour occurs in adults as well. People playing computer games for hours on end, eating entire packets of biscuits or crisps, litres of soft drinks, or watching a certain TV show religiously, every day without exception. When this behaviour occurs in adults though, it’s suddenly regarded as one’s own choice… Somewhere between being a kid and being an adult, the ‘ she can’t help it’ turns into ‘she is choosing to do this’.

I’ve been thinking about this for the last few days and wondering if maybe addiction is just such a big part of human nature that it should not be approached as something that comes from a diseased mind, but from a natural process that needs acknowledging and controlling. I think many animals display addiction symptoms, the most obvious being dogs. Our dog could play fetch for freakin hours, and I’ve seen many dogs eat themselves to utter wobbly chubbiness. Overeating for example isn’t just a human problem I think. Goldfish tend to even eat themselves to death if there is an abundance of food.

Yet I’ve noticed many people look at overweight people as being stupid for not eating the right kind of stuff and the right amounts. It’s kind of seen as a choice someone makes to overeat or eat unhealthy food and although I do have a bit of a loud and obnoxious opinion on modern food and diet, I also think it’s important to recognise the difficulty of choosing to eat healthily. It’s difficult, it’s expensive, it’s no fun, it goes against what you really want right now and involves a lot of energy. And sometimes even with all that effort, a healthy diet doesn’t even work for people to lose weight. (more on that in a later post)

If adult ‘harmless’ habits like playing computer games, overeating or watching telly all day are choices, then maybe addiction is something like ‘being unable to choose not to’. And maybe having to choose to not please yourself with something goes against our nature. I guess everyday things like games, wheat, television, coffee etc. seem to be triggered by an abundance of stuff that makes you feel good. And of course we live in a time of abundance, where we can literally buy all the food we want, play all the games we want, watch telly all day, drink coffee til we drop, smoke heaps of tobacco and drink alcohol most nights. There’s enough of it around, making it really hard to choose to not use it. A lot harder at least than when it’s just not there.

Now I really am not advocating for having all types of triggers removed, we are adults after all and shouldn’t need a babysitter. But I do think we need to recognize our own addictions and how hard it is to get rid of them, before we judge the addictions of others. I’m not talking about the harm or harmlessness of them, but the actual process of quitting. I think it would be good to at least get rid of one of the symptoms of addiction, which is denial. And the path to getting rid of denial is proper recognition.

I’m quite addicted to coffee, although something in my mind still says ‘no I CHOOSE to drink coffee, because I like it’. But it’s when I start to think about never drinking coffee again that I panic a bit. Because I do really like coffee. I am a bit of an addict and am unable (today) to choose to not drink it. I’ve overcome other addictions before, so I know that I should be able to make that choice at some point. But maybe I need a good enough reason, something to hit home. It’s hard though, with all these amazing coffee shops around me.

And you know, in the end some of our addictions are pretty harmless. Some addictions might be slightly annoying to others but then again, sometimes it is really nice to have a reoccurring thing to fall back on and get pleased by. Sometimes they are even worth the adverse long term effects. Someone said that life is our greatest addiction, and as the long term cost is of course aging and death, that’s pretty much accurate. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it though… agh, I don’t know.

In the end, I’m no expert and this is all just a mind blurb. Again, as stated in the previous post, addiction comes in many forms and sizes. I’m talking about more everyday life addictions here I think, and feel like I shouldn’t even go near the subjects of alcohol and hard drugs for lack of education and lack of knowing what I’m talking about. It’s brain storms, mind blurbs, thought trains.

Bedtime

Jude

I’m not an addict…

I really like to drink coffee. I’m not addicted to it, I just really like drinking it. It gets me in ‘the zone’ in the morning and winds me down at the end of the day. I don’t NEED it you know, I just really LIKE it. I’m totally in control of my coffee habit, which is all it is, just a habit. I could stop whenever I want to as well. I’ve had days where I wouldn’t drink any, like that one day in February when we ran out and the two days after dental surgery, and I was totally fine. I drank coffee again as soon as I could after, but that’s just because I like the taste of it. I’m not addicted to it or anything.

Some days I think I should try to go without coffee for a while because I notice I feel more tired at the end of the day when I drink too much of it. The morning after this thought however, I get up at 7.30 and just really want to have a cup of warm bitter-sweet brew in my hands to get ready for the day. Like I’ve done for years and years. Suddenly I can’t really see the harm, I just feel like having a coffee right now. So I make one, enjoy it and accept that this is not the day to go coffee-free. Again. Oh well. See, it’s not like I’m addicted, I’m just not motivated enough to stop because I can’t really see why. Not until the end of the day when I’m dog tired again…

Some people like eating wheat. They’re not addicted to it, but just really like bread, cereal, biscuits and pasta. They don’t NEED it, but just like it, because it’s a staple food and they’ve always eaten it. They couldn’t imagine having any trouble going without it, like that one day when they were ill or when they went to Thailand and only ate rice based stuff. When they come home they instantly eat cereal, bread, biscuits and pasta again, but that’s just because they like it. It’s not like an addiction or anything. It’s just a habit.

A few years ago I realised I should try to stop eating wheat because I suspected that it was making me very tired and headachy. It took years until I successfully banished it from my diet and I can tell you, it’s hard. For days after the cold turkey day I felt like I had the flu. I started craving bread really badly, The smell of it came to haunt me. I persisted, though having small amounts every now and then and slowly came out of withdrawal. It took months, maybe even years before it became normal for me. I find now whenever I have a slice of pizza or a roll I get an instant headache and feel like I’m going to fall asleep at any moment. It seems my body had developed a tolerance for something that adversely affected me, and it had disappeared from abstinence. But I wasn’t addicted to wheat, no sir…

Addiction is understood by the American Society of Addiction Medicine as ‘the continued use of mood altering substance or behaviour, despite adverse consequences’ . it includes ‘impaired control over substances/behaviour, preoccupation with substance/behaviour, continued use despite consequences, and denial’. Addiction is also characterised by an short term gratification that leads to long term problems.

I guess my coffee addiction (yes I do actually admit it) and previous addiction to wheat fall under this understanding. But to some extent, so does eating biscuits or crisps every day, playing computer games, checking Facebook, drinking litres of diet coke, biting nails, watching television and other common habits that ‘we’re not addicted to but choose to do because we’re adults and we can do whatever we want’. Where smoking cannabis, or plain tobacco, drinking, gambling, binge eating, self harm, and over exercising are seen as the obvious addictions that everyone can have an opinion on, the addiction to things like sugar, wheat or coffee are seen more as a choice.

And then we might choose to stop eating sugar and god is it hard. Or we might decide to turn off the television and find ourselves utterly bored and with no idea what to do with our evening but watch another rerun episode of Topgear. Addictions come in many different forms and sizes and everyone is to some degree susceptible to them. Some affect us greatly, some only on a small level, but the thing about addiction is that often we don’t even notice it until we try to stop the behaviour.

The behaviour we think of when we think about addiction (smoking, drinking, gambling) are the types of behaviour that have a bigger effect on one’s personal life, as well as on the lives of their immediate surroundings. It seems not understandable why anyone would put their family and friends through a difficult time when all they need to do is ‘just stop’… I don’t think it’s that easy though. If it was, it wouldn’t  be such a problem. I think these are the obvious shapes of addiction, but we all have our addictions and they’re goddamn hard to shake.

Because sure, smoking might be regarded as worse for your health than eating wheat, but trying to quit both substances takes a massive amount of will power. And I don’t mean stopping for a day, but stopping forever. That’s right, no more pizza, Oreos, noodles, cereal and bacon rolls, ever… I try to consider this when looking at a certain behaviour that I don’t understand and think ‘why don’t they just NOT do it?’. It’s because it’s really hard to just stop. “Just one more, it’s not going to hurt, aw fuck, I’ve screwed up this day already, we’ll try again tomorrow”. And this train of thought can apply to biscuits, coffee, alcohol, cigarettes and heroin. That’s addiction.

I know my coffee drinking habit is recreational, it’s kind of like self medicating therapy, it’s a ritual, and although it makes me tired, I really really enjoy it. Unfortunately all that also makes it a bloody hard to shake addiction. But I’ll have one more because I already had a few and…. oh… shit… *sigh*

Jude

Rock Paper Scissors issue 9

Issue 9 of Rock Paper Scissors  is out! check out the site when you have a chance. We think it’s rather sexy…

Jude

Visa GP, Dr. Meg and Dr. Death

The last few months I’ve spent trying to find out what was wrong with me. I went to the local GP who, I’m told by many locals, is mainly here to get his visa by working in a rural area. This first visit to Visa GP consisted of an attempt to prescribe me steroids (I refused), an attempt to prescribe me birth control (refused again) and eventually $200 worth of blood screening. No worries.

The second visit consisted of looking at the results, finding everything is in normal ranges and an attempt to prescribe me steroids and birth control because it would make me feel better (refused again). It ended with the GP giving me a prescription for birth control ‘just to think about it’ even though I repeatedly refused due to past bad experiences and an overall aversion to putting anything synthetic in or on my body without good reason. It took him half of the visit to type out this prescription. He’s not a very fast typer.

He also referred me to a gynaecologist, with the words ‘she’ll give you some medication to make you feel better’. Little did he know that I didn’t want to feel better but wanted to BE better. I generally don’t believe in medication to make me feel better when no diagnosis has even been attempted.

Off  I went to see the gynaecologist, who spoke to me about combination pills and anti-depressants. She also mentioned that the medication that Visa GP wanted to prescribe would have probably made it worse. She eventually diagnosed me with severe PMS due to hormonal imbalance and presenting some auto-immune like symptoms. She did no tests on what kind of hormonal imbalance I had (oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone) and although she suspected something was wrong with my thyroid, the fact that my blood tests came back ‘normal’ meant it wasn’t really treatable anyway.

I left the hospital with my new found knowledge, which mostly consisted of herbal remedies for PMS. Now I’m a big fan of herbal remedies, but again I felt no diagnosis was really reached.  I’d spent about $600 at this point and still had nothing but a little more experience with hospital furniture and the advice to get primrose oil capsules to make me feel better.

Last week I went to Visa GP again because I was worried. Everything was just slowly getting worse, and my sore throat had lingered for months now. I asked him to look at it, he shone a light into my mouth and said ‘yeah, it’s a bit red, you seem to just have a sore throat’. He then pressed an area I presume he thought my lymph nodes were at and asked if it hurt. I said ‘no’. My lymph nodes hurt, but they’re about half a cm to the left…

After this we had a chat. He attempted to give me steroids again because he said I probably have some infection or inflammation, to which I raised the point that I was under the impression that steroids can mask or worsen infections. I also asked him where the inflammation was and how the steroids would cure it. He didn’t answer either question. And didn’t try again. Success.

He then turned around on his desk chair to look at me for the first time and asked ‘when was the last time you’ve had a holiday?’. Which I thought was funny, since I’m on a working holiday. He then said he thought I’m working too much, to which I replied that I hadn’t worked such a small amount of hours in over 5 years. He then called me ‘stressed’, ‘worn out’ and ‘in need of a rest, a holiday’. And eventually he said he thought I had post viral syndrome. I’ve got lots wrong with me it seems but all I need is a holiday. *sigh*

It made me think of the women of centuries ago who were advised by their physician when dealing with hysteria, to go home and please themselves or their husbands. Yeah, cause that’s exactly what’s wrong… not enough naughty time.

Yesterday I did a cheeky thing, I got a second opinion. This GP is about 80 years old (without exaggeration) and lovingly called ‘dr. Meg’ by most of my clients. She’s old school, sometimes looks stuff up in old text books, but it was either her, or the other GP in town,  lovingly referred to as dr. Death…

Dr. Meg listened to me, did a blood test and urine test on the spot, took my blood pressure and listened to my heart. Things visa GP hadn’t done. She also didn’t stare at her computer screen, writing out my prescription before even asking. She didn’t even have a computer. I don’t necessarily think this is good or bad, but for some reason this time it was kind of comforting. I asked her about something that had started to worry me more and more; the sore throat. She stood up behind me, put her fingers right on the sore spot and said ‘ah yes, your thyroid is enlarged’. Now I’m fully aware this is not a good thing but I couldn’t help but smile and think to myself ‘yay! I’m not nuts!’.

Steve and I will be flying back to the UK in a month’s time but Dr. Meg scheduled me in for an ultrasound of Mr. Thyroid next week. Where Visa GP didn’t want to touch my throat and wasn’t really interested in a diagnosis, Dr. Meg actually touched me (I know, yuck!) and in 2 seconds started diagnosing. In the end I told her ‘I know this sounds weird, but I’m really grateful that you’ve actually looked at me’. She smiled and said in her Oxford accent ‘well, I’ve been a doctor for a long long time and I still know that that is important’. She also did not say ‘we’ll give you some medication to make you feel better’ but instead said; ‘what we need to do is get you a proper diagnosis’. Now I really appreciated that. Because that’s why I go to a doctor and not to the pub.

Oh and yay, I’m not nuts 🙂

 

Jude