Back to round the bend.

We are all here to learn, some days I think I inadvertently picked the advanced course.  Of course, if you pick the easy course, the one with a perfect partner, two point five perfect children, a mortgage-free cottage with roses round the door and a fulfilling, well-paid, extremely pleasant job, surrendered in the fullness of time for the happy hobbies that can be enjoyed by the strong and healthy elderly, well, you’re not going to learn anything.  Sure you’ll be happy but who wants to be happy when you can instead learn about life the hard way?

There’s been a lot of pain in my life, which reached a crescendo mid week when I realised I couldn’t actually do anything.  Paralysed with pain with my mind going in circles, I just called a halt to everything to assess exactly what was going on.

Several things at once.  Simultaneously two things that would have been wonderful had the plug pulled at the last minute.  I should have been on holiday in Florence, right now I should have been coming back.  The DIL had arranged it for us, her mother, them and the children some months ago.  However when we met in late March, her mother, who had been in and out of hospital could not get travel insurance.  She is very poorly, waiting for a kidney transplant from her daughter who was very light-blue-touchpaper-and-retire about it.  To get the money back on the accommodation the decision had to be made.  I was very conscious that the S&H had thought of the holiday for his mother who has not had a holiday since 2008 and will not go away with her husband who is inclined to drink problems away.  Twenty five years ago on the silver wedding holiday he left me in the middle of the road with the suitcases because he suddenly needed a strong coffee.  Matters have not improved, he has twice been on holiday alone with a singles group, each has featured embarrassment or just avoided litigation, in a way that made me glad I was not there.

It’s just as well we weren’t away, the OH has started having diarrhoea very regularly.  It is my personal opinion that his liver has finally started breaking down.

But the real problems were when I realised that worry about all of this was making me ill. Another setback or two to plans added to it until I couldn’t sleep, work or do anything but watch my mind run in circles and my intestines seize up.

Even an hour on the exercise bike or a day in the garden was not helping.  Even the flipping horoscopes were eager to tell me that Jupiter the great benefic had left my sign and moved on to bestow blessings elsewhere.

So I stopped running and went to get help.

It’s a hard thing to do for the generation that thinks the snowflake generation ought to get over themselves and all the talk about looking after your mental health is just enough hot air to dry the dirty washing.

I went back to Al-Anon family groups.  This organisation is a help centre for anyone with a family member affected by mind-altering substances, whether alcohol or anything else.  There will be a meeting near you that you can find with a search engine.  The ethos in a nutshell is to detach from the alcoholic with love and look after yourself.

I realised that through the years of caring for my demented mother, who was so difficult probably because she was the daughter of an alcoholic, my mind was so completely taken over by her disease that I had been able to shelve problems generated by the other people in my life.  Then I was so ill myself that I had to focus on myself.

In one way the fact that I am able to take a long look at sick people in my life who are not me, might be proof that I am getting physically better.

There is always someone worse off than you, if you are a miniaturist you probably know several of them.  Wheel chair users are always given a head start at the opening of the show, miniaturists with windmills in their mind just have to hobble in when it’s their turn.

You can, of course, always miniaturise when reality, otherwise known as one-scale, gets a bit much.

But sometimes even a bit much gets to be so much you can’t remember what to do about it.

One of the good things about the Internet, is that there will be an online group for whatever ails you.  A trouble shared is a trouble halved and all that.

If you actually find a group to attend in person, you will find people much better off with less to complain about than you and people very much worse off not complaining very much at all.

And some will, additionally, have worse fashion sense than you and, if you are lucky, awful hairstyles too.  These will get you through the door into the room no matter how low your self-esteem. Some may have a face like the back of a bus, or even really bad shoes.  On the evening in question the one with the bad shoes was me, still wearing sandals and socks.  I’m a sculptor, I can do that if I want.

At the very least you can remind yourself that you have classmates.  You are not alone in having picked the life with three A star difficulty. The real and most important trick is to do the course work without losing yourself.  The aim is to go through the course, learning as you go and emerge at the other end not twisted and embittered but wiser.

Which is better: thick as two short planks with roses round the door, or the wiser, advanced version of yourself?

You 2.0 with upgrades, more plug-ins, faster operating speed, extra added value.  In a word Improved.

We are here to learn.


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