Tag Archives: anxiety

Daddy, your peaches blossomed again

peach tree blossoms
peach tree blossoms

Many things happened since I could last come actively here. I did try to blog from the phone, but that proved very challenging due to troubles with touch screen displacing and erasing things I wrote. It somehow didn’t seem meant to be, me and the WordPress. My mom was severely bitten by probably some spiders and developed a horrific reaction, we had a totally crazy tour of the clinics which would make a great story by itself. Now, almost 4 weeks later her leg seems a bit better, but it will obviously take a very long time to heal completely. My dog got bitten by two very mean dogs, the second time this year. My mom overdid with Easter preparations, but she wanted to do it as if dad were still here. It was somehow solemnly good, yummy and special, yet extremely sad. And on the top of it, tired like hell, I managed to cover half of the road to my dad’s garden by bus. Yep, I actually ENTERED the out of the city bus somehow. I don’t think I would have dared if my uncle who was spending Easter in the area didn’t mention that he would go half the way towards the city to by some fertilizers and that we could get of the bus and cut the road much shorter by his car. Having that as a chance to “escape” in case I panicked, I agreed – under sedation, there is no question about it. Every time I get there, my mind badly needs to pull my dad out of somewhere – out of his little wooden house, garden, from behind the trees… I watch and watch, but he’s nowhere to be found. Getting on the bus was hard also because my heart sinks when I see those little half broken buses, because in the last years my dad gave his best to use exclusively them to get to the garden and not the car in order to save. It was hard and strenuous, it is even for a much younger person, and I was nowhere to be found to help. And he had cancer, who knows for how long in these last years previous to the diagnose. Now I’m punished, he’s nowhere to be found. I constantly live in pain and have nightmares. I wouldn’t ask for any sort of help from him, just for his mere presence, to see him glad that I’m in the garden. That won’t happen, ever again, I’m punished for life. It’s been 7 months, and now I know – it will never stop hurting, as long as I live. It will just take many faces, that bundle of grief, some days will be a bit better, some much worse, but I will never be the person I was even just last July. We all change I know, even when nothing so extremely bad happens and we can never be who we used to be before, but my change is drastic. It affected so many areas of my life that I feel that I literally became somebody else, that I don’t belong to any of the places or among the people I once knew. I keep going in circles in the dark, searching for an answer who I am today and where and how to go from here. I so desperately want to understand, as if I could do something nobody alive ever managed to do – understand death.

There are many hurdles along this road and one of them is that nobody in my immediate surroundings want to talk about the dad or even just mention him. They feel that it is a wrong thing to do and that “distracting” me and my mom completely will help. Well, it doesn’t. It takes just one look in the mirror to remember, I am the infallible living proof that he existed. I want to talk, talking about him helps, it is all the part of the grieving process. Maybe some people feel better if they pretend nothing happened, keep it all inside and just go on minding their business when someone dies, but that’s not me. I need to verbalize emotions, to bring back old times, to remember things he said and did. People resist, I still say what is on my mind. Maybe they mean well after all, but they just don’t know how to talk about this kind of things. I know that they want an affirmative answer when they ask how I’m doing, but I’m not ok. Not even close. It’s all problems and pain. Saying that I’m ok won’t change that, but that’s all people accept to hear.

My aunt and uncle preferred to focus on the digital disaster part of the disastrous story, and as I explained that everything failed on me – computer, printer, scanner, phone charger etc. they remembered that they have an old laptop nobody uses which should still be in working state.

So we got this old, long asleep device going again, which caused many mixed emotions. I got used to not having a computer any more, so it both made me happy and sad somehow. It’s very old and half broken, but still it’s one of the nicest gestures towards me in months. I should have been happy when I got it going because that meant that I could blog again among other things and I accumulated ideas to talk about over time, but I was just blocked. Almost didn’t feel like coming back. Didn’t know what to say. If anybody would be interested. Also so much happens that I never have time for myself to properly concentrate on verbalizing thoughts. Then I came here and let the words flow, that was the best I could do. Also, I’m still getting used to this laptop, I can’t explain it, but things don’t seem the same from here, everything feels awkward, typing included. It has quite a bad screen, colors are very unreal which is not photo-friendly thing at all, but I still hung up a picture. Feels like having some form of color and contrast blindness, but who knows, maybe somebody out there will like it. It’s one of my dad’s peaches, I cried when I saw the bloom. He would love it. I wish I could know if he can see it.

Dad, they blossomed again, see how beautiful they are. It’s spring again, nature goes on as usual. Everything’s as it used to be, everything’s there where you left it, we just can’t find you… and we miss you so much, we would have so much to tell you. I hope you’re well, I wish I could just know you are. Love, Tanja

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The importance of books

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photo source: Ljiljana Habjanovic Djurovic by Hello! magazine

“It’s important to read also because you see you’re not the one who is worst off in the world and also because you can become a better person.”
– Ljiljana Habjanovic Djurovic, famous Serbian novelist – Official website – English version

I read this a couple of days ago and couldn’t help but ponder over the multitude of thoughts these words stirred in my mind. I don’t think I ever really thought that I’m the one worst off in this whole great world either in my current or in certain past situations, nor do I think that something like that could be true, but in spite of all realistic realizations I feel pretty desperate most of the time. Sentences like these do come as a helpful reminder to put things back into perspective. This extraordinary and very special woman who sold and sells thousands of copies of her best selling titles used to have very limited means to purchase what she has always loved the most – books. When her maid of honor asked her what she wanted as a gift for her wedding, she didn’t ask for any home or kitchen appliances or other valuable items – her request was to get the novel “A Time of Death” by Dobrica Cosic, a novelist whose fame she managed to reach in the years that were to come. Quite a strange choice of title for the occasion, maybe quite a strange choice of a wedding gift for many people out there, but that’s Ljiljana, spiritual woman, devoted to her beloved literary world.

Back to that quote from the beginning of this post – her words reminded me as well of the importance of reading and took me back to my childhood – at the age of 3 I could already read and write, both Cyrillic and Latin alphabet (Serbian is written in both ways). There are still precious little papers from that distant 1979 with my a bit unsteady all capital letters handwriting, but that was handwriting all right. I have some flashback memories of how I used to amuse and even scare our guests when I would approach them with newspapers in my tiny hands and start reading something out loud. At first they would stare in disbelief and then they would decide that I must have learned the text by heart in some way, yet even such an achievment was considered challenging for a child of my age. Then I would go around and just plainly read whatever was written everywhere around me, up until the bewildered guest would usually advise my dad that he as a doctor should do something about it, because it couldn’t be normal. He would laugh and reply – What do you want me to do, erase her memory?” 🙂 After that, when my granny took care of me in preschool years, we would always go for a walk and enter a store where I was allowed to pick out one little book for children – she was worried that I would grow out of the quantity of material fast and she needed to make sure that I really made some good use of what was purchased, so she allowed one book at a time. The strategy failed very soon because she couldn’t believe that I would finish such a book in less than half an hour and then ask for more, perfectly capable of retelling what I read in details. When I was 6, almost 7, I was already reading novels, 500-600 pages in two days and I utterly enjoyed it. I remember going places to visit relatives and family friends and a distinct feeling of delusion and boredom if I found no books in their houses. On the contrary, if houses had any sort of small personal library “the strange kid” would pick out a book and amuse herself leaving the adults speak undisturbed. 🙂 I always loved libraries, bookstores, book fairs… my mom says that if anything is true about me, then it’s true that I was always bringing books home from all the places I visited. Other people brought souvenirs from their travels abroad, I always brought at least a couple of books and all sorts of printed materials in different languages.

I’ll never forget the “incident” when I went to Italy to spend a summer in Rome prior to my last exam in Italian literature – that exam was so difficult because teachers could literally ask you anything from the beginning of the literature in Italian language to the works of present days, it takes many months to get ready for such an interrogation. I packed all the books I needed in a bag that weighed exactly 20 kilos 😀 I had to study a lot and I was to spend more than two months away from home. My other piece of luggage weighed 20 kilos as well, and in economy class you’re not allowed to embark more than at most 25 kilos of weight without paying quite dearly for every kilo of excess weight. The book bag wasn’t that big, so I embarked only my suitcase and dragged with my both hands the book bag into the cabin. I got the place near the emergency exit so the flight attendant warned me that the bag had to go up into the luggage compartment. Okkk… now it’s one thing to drag 20 kilos over the flat ground, something entirely different to lift that same weight way above your head and place it safely into any of those plastic compartments. Another female attendant approached me and said she would help. I gave her a look, she was so thin, practically skinny, on high heels and with no muscles, but she didn’t want to leave me alone. 🙂 She made a couple of tries to just barely lift the bag and said – “God in heavens, what the hell is inside this bag???” :)) Books, I said. Yeah right, sure. Now tell me the truth. Books, I repeated, look inside if you think I’m not telling the truth. She looked and said – “Jesus, who would carry so many books around?? One can’t read that many books in one’s lifetime.” Oh yes, one can do that and much more, no worries. 🙂 Three attendants took care of the bag together and managed to place it in one of the compartments. Some 45 minutes later we entered some heavy turbulence and sometimes in such conditions it can happen that those plastic lids flip open no matter how well they’re closed. Mine flipped open all right. At that moment I thought – what if (we panic disorder people LOVE what if statements) the bag slips out and falls down… on somebody? That would be – horrific. 😀 Nothing happened, thanks God, and as soon as I could unbuckle myself and get on my feet again I closed the compartment. On the way out of the plane, there was no other way, when people weren’t around any more I just pulled the bag with my both arms and it tumbled down full force on the floor of the plain. That was one of the loudest goodbyes in the history of flying I’m sure.

I passed my exam some 3-4 months later with flying colors and got my diploma. Needless to say, I continued hanging out with books, especially because I was now teaching others from the books similar to those I studied from.

Have we lived happily ever after, me and the books? Well, no – this is unfortunately real world. Ljiljana never betrayed her potentials and she fulfilled all her childhood dreams, while unfortunately I never did. Panic disorder ruined even what used to be one my main interests and passions. When anxious and that is pretty much all the time, I can’t have that calm focus any more I used to boast of. “Fight or flight” instinct accelerated everything in my life, as my body desperately tries to save itself from the indefinite disasters. I spot things in a split second, my reflexes are very accelerated, I jump even at not so very loud noises, and I constantly think of bad outcomes and how to evade them. My attention is very scattered all over the place, I can focus on 10 pages at most, my eyes just keep running over texts unable to settle down on what’s important. My world has become a series of flash images, rather than a steady flow of verbalized thoughts. I take up books and put them down again. I don’t read anymore. It’s as if I spent all my quality life so early on and that now I’m just running on quite senseless extra time. As if I were 150 years old, waiting to pass away, because all good has already happened and none is left for me.

That’s where Ljiljana helped reminding me that there are stories out there much worse than mine. I believe her when she says that books make us better in many different ways. Maybe I should just pick one and persevere, no matter how much attention deficit disorder limits me. Her last book which is now in stores is called “Our father”. Just a coincidence or symbolism, I don’t know, but I’m sure that my dad would be happy if I could mend at least some of the broken ties of my mind. If only he were still alive, to see me try and maybe, just maybe succeed one day.

Thank you for reading. And pick out a book. Read. There is a very special world out there waiting for you, something that can’t be replaced by internet texts, newspapers, magazines, television. If nothing else, vocabulary, expressions and descriptions differ significantly.

Honesty is not (always) the best policy

You-should

I learned quite some time ago that two (or even more) conflicting emotions cannot coexist at the same time; I didn’t just read it somewhere, I felt it on my own skin. This proved to be true once again in my last ordeal with the upper part of my GI tract – I was horrified of what I was feeling, horrified of the exam necessary to detect any possible problems, and eventually horrified of the worst possible outcome. Essentially, it was even worse than that – I was totally petrified. When you experience such an intense degree of fear, you can’t be either sad or happy or angry at the same time, all else vanishes from your focus. Once the fear subsidies, other emotions can resurface again and take that fear’s front row place. That’s a very powerful tactic for dealing with panic disorder – whenever any other emotion overpowers you, fear retreats and panic is kept at much safer distance.

In my present reality, as soon as I got my biopsy results and figured out that there are some tissue changes, but nothing that much alarming, I felt a tremendous relief. It seemed such a positive thing at that moment, it felt wonderful, even though I still can’t get rid of my stomach issues. It wasn’t long before the relief was replaced by the sensations of grief that come and go, alternate constantly like ebb and flow. Suddenly, it’s something I do or something I say, an item that I hold… memories of my dad keep coming back and sorrow and tears overcome me. Then it gets better, I get distracted, but not for long.

As if it weren’t enough, I have lots of financial issues as well in this truly post-traumatic life, as there is no longer any of the dad’s income. I do receive a very small amount of money for some occasional jobs I do from home, but that’s hardly enough to make things better. This month I worked a lot, as a matter of fact I worked for hours even on the day when I received anesthesia, in spite of the recommendations to relax for the rest of that day. Today I merely asked if there would be any payments in my favor because February came and almost completely went without any income for me at all.

I was just wondering you know, I have bills to pay, it’s quite hard, I said. The reply was – Well, if it’s hard, then go and politely ask the boss to find you some other PROPER (for this woman that means office, not home based) job, because you’re not doing much for the company, you know. No payments this month for you. That’s not fair, I said, I did work a lot this month in spite of having health issues. Health issues? Your health issues are nobody’s concern, we all have issues – so what?

WOW.

My thoughts wandered back to that bed in the GI department and to the moment when the anesthetic was injected. I could have died right there, many things could have gone wrong, I signed the consent. Yet I woke up seemingly undamaged and rushed home to do some important things that could have created serious problems in case I hadn’t waken up. Nobody else has the access to that information, nobody else knows the e-mails and passwords. Nobody there speaks English at this level, which is necessary for dealing with their important papers. Oh yes my dear, you would have had tons of serious concerns if I hadn’t waken up. On the other hand, thinking of how easily the movie of my life was interrupted by that anesthetic and how peaceful and calm that darkness I slipped into was, maybe it would have been much better if I hadn’t waken up at all. This way, I got right back to that same sea of fears, panic, uncertainties, sorrow, pain, not eating, not sleeping, not truly living, having no idea how I will go on from here.

PD is an expensive illness among other things, as I once said. That anesthesia cost what is for me lots of money, but without it I would have never completed the exam and the GI team would have had to deal with stopping a panic attack instead of inspecting my intestines. I worked precisely to earn so that I could prevent the attack, so that I could “bribe” my illness to spare me from its ugliest pits. How wrong I was.

I am used to people being rude and I do know there’s a harsh world out there, but in these circumstances I’m more vulnerable than usual. Also, these poisonous words came from a person who knows me for many years and knows all about my loss. I didn’t ask for pity, sympathy or empathy and I never would, I just wanted some retribution for my work that I duly deserved in my opinion.

It was also recommended to me by her to take some “calming” pills as it’s not normal to be sad that long (5 months is so abnormally long?), and she added that I SHOULD pull myself together and not go around visiting doctors whenever I feel an ache or two.

Calming pills for depression? She has obviously never hard that such medication depress your nervous system even more. Secondly, it’s a very bad choice of words to say to someone who has anxiety to pull oneself together – we so desperately want to, but how do you do that? Shake your head to left and right, button up your shirt and go out to the big bright world magically cured? What are those pieces of me that are scattered away and that have to be reassembled again, pulled together? Has anyone invented a glue for sealing back together the pieces of a “broken” mind? But people still love to pass on psychiatric advice, even without any firsthand or circumstantial knowledge about such issues.

What she doesn’t know is that those as she calls them calming pills have been my companions and life saviors for two long decades even at the best of times, let alone when I held with my both arms a person who was terribly choking and fainting and eventually dying right there in front of me in my arms, and there was nothing I could do to prevent it. An ache or two? I hardly eat for more than three months, I lost even more weight, I live with constant arrhythmias because my swollen stomach irritates my heart, and I have 4 different gastric diagnoses after the endoscopy. It took me one hell of a courage to go back to the GI department, I postponed it as much as I could, because my dad was counting his last pre-palliative days surrounded precisely by such doctors. I went there 3 times, endoscopy included, so much for constant visits… who on Earth would want to go visit their worst nightmare every other day or so?

Conclusion: I shouldn’t have asked for the payment because it wasn’t coming anyway, the only thing I managed was to ruin my day and end up sadly pondering about the future.

I made one resolution – not to discuss ever again how I feel physically or emotionally with any person in my real life (apart from my mother). They will inevitably ask questions, but “fine, thanks” even in the worst of times will do just fine. I’m well aware that such a decision can isolate me even further from my immediate surroundings, but at least it will spare me from any newly inflicted pains or judgements.

What people in situations like mine dislike the most are surely statements beginning with YOU SHOULD…

You should overcome your loss.
You should get better, it’s high time.
You should take pills to calm yourself down and move on… i.e. pop up a benzo and chill out, somebody died, so what? (it’s important that they’re still alive and kicking, why should they care about others?)
You should do something about your life, you know. (Really? I’d never guess…)
You should earn more money immediately.
You should marry, a husband would take care of you.
You should take your father’s place in all the chores he was involved in… etc. etc.

i.e. :

Tanja, you should do something entirely different from what you’re doing right now. You’re wrong about everything you do. YOU SHOULD CHANGE. COMPLETELY.

My message to all of them – Guys, I “appreciate” your constant reminders of my “faults” and I know those shoulds very well myself – but I have my own pace at which I can or cannot do something. I should probably do many things, but sorry guys, I’m unable to at the moment. RESPECT IT. I can’t change to be someone else. I don’t want to be someone else. Maybe I don’t even want to change everything in my life. Maybe I’m just trying to survive and doing my best, that didn’t cross your minds?

If someone thinks that he or she can live my life better than I do, I’m very willing to exchange places. To put that someone temporarily in position to suffer from panic disorder the way I do (happens only to 2% of world population at most), lose one of two closest persons in life to cancer after taking full personal palliative care of that person at home with no real medical means at all, eat just a bite or two here and there, sleep just a couple of hours at night being constantly awaken by burping and arrhythmias, suffer from hypothyroidism with almost inevitable surgery of the thyroid, have very limited means for basic needs in life, work without sense and have no friends in real life, mainly due to PD.

If someone can live such life better than I do (and I think I fight very much every day), I’d truly congratulate them.

No problem anyhow, I’m very used to being alone in what I do and how I feel, it’s nothing new to an only child like me. If that’s a price to pay to be calm, to avoid being honest about what happens to me and how that feels, then for me in this case honesty is definitely not the best policy.

Lonely, yet not alone

There are always people around me. This is a pretty big town, it’s been that way for as long as I remember it – busy traffic, busy streets, everybody running somewhere and pushing you aside if you fail to keep up their pace. I was part of that pace once, running every day to fulfill that self-destructive personal mission of overachieving in every possible way. I surely pushed aside somebody myself being completely oblivious of that, with my mind obscured by the image of goals I was constantly setting up in front of me. Then I stopped running and started hiding, taken by that false primordial belief that my home is my shelter and that as long as I don’t leave it, nothing bad can happen. Conscious realization is one thing, instincts are something completely different. Unfortunately enough in my case, instincts always won because that’s how nature works. Fighting those instincts is one of the toughest tasks life can impose on you, but it’s not something you can give up on, because giving up on it would mean giving up on yourself. If you choose to live in these conditions, you have to be ready for a rough fight. So I started running once again, this time from all those anxiety provoking situations which is just about everything real life out there away from home consists of. I probably pushed some more people aside in those mad rushes to save myself from the invisible enemy, but those are moments that I surely don’t remember. Runs turned into fast walking and that’s pretty much where the progress stopped, until I had to live the tragic loss of my father. Maybe you thought that all that happened with him made me run again, but that’s not the case. Grief, just like any somewhat more serious body illness slows you down, tames you pace, makes you drag yourself, stop or even sit down and ponder, watching powerlessly the world around you. I guess it’s body’s way of protecting you from losing even those last tiny resources of energy left in your stores. Tears wash out tons of anger and anxiety related chemicals and give you that much needed natural sedation for a moment or two. When you walk slowly like that in the middle of the previously mentioned mad crowd, it’s only then that you really see how much those around don’t even notice your presence, let alone your problems. They push you, hurry you, walk past you, sometimes even address you a couple of bad words if you’re standing in their important way. They are around you, you’re not alone, but somehow you feel lonelier than ever.

It’s not much more different with acquaintances or those considered real life friends. I remember reading somewhere some time ago that the more time passes from the loss you experienced, the less and less frequently people will contact you. At first, your phone usually rings all the time, this person wants to know how it happened, than that person calls who heard from this person, then you inform somebody who cries and informs dozens of others and so on. You repeat the story over and over again, slowly ending up totally exhausted. In the coming days phone still rings, people check up on you. They usually offer help in general, but you usually never ask for anything. By the time you reach approximately two months from the tragic event, you realize that something is not right, that life is dominated by even more silence than usual. You look at the phone and that’s when you get it, it has virtually stopped ringing. Other people had just about enough of all that already old story and turned to other different life battles. They don’t call you, but you end up finding out about what’s going on in their lives – standing on a no man’s land of your own life, you observe other people’s weddings, birthdays, promotions, smiles, gestures of love, expressions of happiness. You can’t participate in all this, nor they need you around if you’re numbed by grief. Sometimes it seems to me that grief is considered a dangerous contagious disease, the further you go away from it or the less you talk about it, the stronger is the illusion that you’ll never catch it. I was walking the other day down the street and the woman who knows me was approaching me, holding her little son by the hand. The moment our eyes met, she gave me some strange look which was a mixture of pity and dislike and moved to the other side of the street, pushing her son to her right, away from me. I overheard her mother asking her why she did it, and she replied that it was because she didn’t know what to say to me. Hello would be just fine, there is no need for anything extra special. A bit more than a week ago there was a wedding we all should have attended as a family. When the word about my dad’s passing away was spread, we didn’t even receive the invitation any more, attending weddings is improper in my circumstances. My mom and me still mustered the strength to prepare and deliver the present all the same because we consider that person important, only to discover today that the present is still lying where we placed it, untouched and unopened. There were around 400 shiny happy people on that wedding, so indeed why should a present from two grief stricken women be taken into consideration on such a crowded event. The same happened with a birthday present I traditionally give every year to a friend – this person didn’t have time even for a small talk with me and didn’t even look at what I brought. I waited all evening with my cell phone in my hand for at least a short text message to know if the gift was liked, but there was none. I’ve always loved giving out presents to people especially when I nail what they truly like, but I guess that right now it’s all about my inability to spread happiness around me. There is this one line from our quite good TV show where a woman begs for love and the man replies: “How can you Sophia make me or anybody else happy, when you are so unhappy yourself?” Whatever the case is, the fact is that I feel lonelier and lonelier every day, sitting alone in my black clothes and with that black sorrow in my heart. Maybe it’s still too soon, the day after tomorrow it will be two months without dad. Or maybe I’ll never truly get used to it. Just like when Dr. Brennan talks with agent Booth at the end of one episode of Bones and asks him – How do you overcome a loss? He replies – You never really overcome it, you just survive.

Technically speaking, I survived. For now. But it feels like standing in the middle of the field, after the war ended. You’re free to do whatever you want, but you have no idea how to live that new life. And you’re very much alone in all that, no matter how many people move around you in that reality.

One very special photo

mom-and-dad

I don’t think I’ll be taking any new photos any time soon. I don’t feel up to it, I’m very sad and disappointed in my abilities and life in general I suppose. Maybe it’s just that I need this period in which my head does nothing but ruminates with all sorts of memories connected with the person that has been by my side for as long as I remember and is now gone, or maybe I’ve just had enough of useless battles that I can’t possibly win. Sometimes it took me all the energy in the day to produce several photos that I considered good, which in turn ended up being more than average in comparison to what I could see in numerous blogs here and places elsewhere which discourages me in no time. Sometimes in turn I think that the only things I know how to do somewhat well or I actually want to do is write about something, take photos, draw, grow flowers… but I’m not great at any of these things nor they can secure me some living. Yet without them I don’t know who I am at all, now more than ever I feel extremely lost in this life.

On the day my father died, I ran out of paper to copy some documentation Mr. very efficient undertaker required for the funeral. I was totally lost and confused as where to look for paper in such a situation, and my mom opened the right drawer and said “Here you are”. No, not that paper, those are some old photos wrapped up in an old office paper cover, I replied. Oh I am sorry, she said and brought me the right pack I needed. When the undertaker left, I wanted to put the photos back into the drawer but instead I sat on my bed and took them out to see what was inside that cover. Those were the photos I took while still attending an unsuccessful life episode at an art college where I had among other things one semester of black and white photography. I used my dad’s old camera and another one of that old generation that we bought together at a photo fair, I loaded them with films for black and white photos and later personally developed those films and produced photos in a dark chamber at the college. For the end of year’s exhibition I had two collection of photos – Belgrade – buildings vs. nature and Belgrade cemeteries’ tombstones. They had some success, but in the end it all ended up covered with dust together with everything else in my life. I knew more or less what I was to find in that cover and it disturbed me, yet I put my hand inside and pulled out the first photo. Strangely enough, it was a photo of Jesus from one of the tombstones. It made me shiver and cry all right. The second photo after Jesus was this one – mom and dad sitting together in one of Belgrade’s beautiful memorial parks, dad smiling and passing a bottle of water to mom. There is some very positive special atmosphere trapped in that photo taken 9-10 years ago, yet it seems that decades have passed since those very special times in which we were a much happier family. This photo is special also because it was taken after my quite impressive recovery from the second violent PD outburst, while my dad still had both nerves and strength to drive me out everywhere to conquer agoraphobia. At first it was quite hard to go to these lessons, but he would drive me and even wait for me, I think that he was glad that I grew more and more interested in photography. It was one hell of a job for me to prepare those films for developing, because that is something that must be done in a room without even a single shadow of light. You have to open the camera in total, absolute darkness, take the film out relying only on your touch to guide you and insert it into a developing vessel so that you don’t miss its guides that separate layers and layers of film from one another without seeing a thing. When the film is properly inserted into the vessel and properly guided in concentric circles, the vessel has to be tightly fastened with a lid and only then you can come out into the light again. Should I mention that this procedure is among the worst anxiety sufferers’ nightmares? You’re trapped until the end of the procedure in total darkness. You don’t see a thing, no matter how hard you try to open your eyes. Trapped plus temporarily blind plus scared of destroying a precious film, equals panicccc… usually, in other situations you can run away and retreat even if it means to embarrass yourself. Running away from such a situation would mean opening the door and exposing the film to the light, which in turn means… bang! and all your work vanishes into thin air. I remember tons of panic and I remember how it subsided, slowly but definitely with each new film I took out of those cameras. The joy of seeing good shots that I captured would eventually overcome the pains that were needed to get me to that place.

So, all in all… this photo is in memory of my dad, but it’s not only that I took that shot, I carried out the full process to it’s end – developed the film, bought the paper, worked in the dark chamber to expose the paper to the necessary light to get this picture, put it into developing and fixing solutions and left it in the dryer till it was ready for others to be seen. Now it was scanned and turned into pixels, I’m just sorry that I don’t have a better scanner. I shouldn’t complain, because how things are right now it is highly improbable that I’ll see another one in a very long time.

I hope dad is happy somewhere there where he is now, smiling like this. And I hope he’s less lonely than mom and me. His favorite gardening magazine arrived today, it was very late this month. Too late as it turned out. We were at the cemetery today and we carried it with us. Unfortunately, there is nobody to read it any more. It was the 4th time that I went to that grave in 10 days, but it still doesn’t seem real. I still think with some corner of my mind that he’ll appear from somewhere and wake me up from this nightmare, even though he died on my very hands. Then another morning comes and my stomach that turns into a painful knot reminds me that there is no waking up from this reality. It’s too damn hard… dear God, help me find some way out please.

slika Isusa - spomenik na groblju

Battle for life

I wanted to write something, but I have no idea how a post like this is supposed to be written. There are no right words, there is no comfort, there are no answers. Just tons of tears and a profound sense of sorrow, deep like some hell pit and the smell of hospital disinfectants that haunt my days and nights wherever I move. I am afraid to type these words, but I have to – my father is most probably dying.

What appeared to be just a battle to get him out of diabetes induced state that went widely out of control and progressed to ketoacidosis, eventually turned into an ominous discovery of cancerous lesions in his abdomen. We still haven’t found the big one, THE ONE responsible for these lesions as he is still too weak for further aggressive testing, but doctors think that considering the general state of his health that this might not even be important, that it would be just a name to put on the type of cancer he has. For these doctors my dad is not the person I know everything about, he’s just a cancer case. They left me, mentally not very stable person, standing on my two feet while they were telling me these words that sounded so unreal and out of place and put on me the pressure of choice to decide how much of what they think so far I will tell him. If anybody out there knows the way how to lie to a retired medical doctor about his state of health, please tell me how to do it. He knows too much about medicine and suspects quite enough to be fooled around, yet I still have to give him a grain of hope so that he continues to battle for his life. In order to do it, I’d need some hope myself. I need to be strong. Have you ever seen a strong PD sufferer? Till several days ago, I hardly and rarely went further than around my building. All of a sudden, I’m needed – to figure things out, make appointments, find ways how to put him into a hospital in a tragically poor country with one of the worst medical mafias in the world, be the one to whom doctors speak, run around to buy medication and other things he needs, and that’s precisely what I’m totally unfit for in the first place. I’m somehow doing all this and falling apart, but it seems to me that such situations simply numb you to the point that you can process them without going crazy for good. I was managing my PD battles precisely because I developed mechanisms of convincing myself hard that all that dreadful anxiety was not real, that it was bogus, that it can’t harm me. Anxiety and dread I’m feeling now is not much different from what I’m used to, but this time it’s not bogus. Now it’s very real and I can’t do anything about it, which in turn scares me to death. This realization alternates with derealization all the time. What is going to happen? How will he handle it? How much time do we have left? What has happened and how? How are such things processed and survived? How will i survive all this? And of all diseases out there, why cancer?

My dad has been a support in my life in different ways and now life is going to get abnormally tough, change drastically for worse, especially because PD makes me disabled in many ways and I don’t have help. Everything loses meaning and importance. When I think of my recent digital battles, I fell like screaming – how could I’ve been so stupid to get worked up for something that seems like a complete nonsense now? All those things that miss in my life due to PD now seem way much bigger and worse. Who’s gonna give me a hand when my time comes? I don’t have anybody apart from my mom and dad… I would give my stupid PD limited life this very instant to extend his much more meaningful one if things could work that way. What’s life’s purpose anyway and why for some people it has to end in terrible suffering?

I’ve said many times that whenever I start something meaningful for myself in these last years, the moment I try to do something at least a bit beautiful, I somehow get drastically punished for some reason. I took the camera out all right, but what am I supposed to do with it now? I started blogging and found some very precious joys in this special community – I didn’t get many followers but I did make here a couple of very special friendships, big hugs and so many special thanks especially to Judy, Jim and Tammy – I love you guys, your amazing blogs inspired me to start doing something artistic again and your wonderful comments gave me strength not to abandon my newly developed blogging path. I don’t know how to blog now and if I can still do it, if I’m not here it’s because I’m doing really bad, not because I forgot you or this tiny blogging space of mine.

Life’s been very cruel on me, I need those closed fists of mine now more than ever. What’s more, I’ll hate my birthday now for as long as I live, it was on August 16th that my dad took the results of his first analyses and completely forgot about me and my birthday. My only wish while I blew my two tiny cake candles was for him to get better again, but it seems that such wishes never come true. I tried to stay positive in the following days till we got him into the hospital, I wanted to show you my first zinnias’ photos because I knew that later I wouldn’t have strength for it. Or better said, I still hoped that he just needed to be switched to insulin and that things would get better. I’m desperately searching for some grain of hope now, against all odds. It seems that these are the only battles I was born for, those against all odds.

Dear God, please help me, I beg you. Now it’s all in your hands.

How to sort out 7 years in 7 days

cleaning

photo: http://www.chamserve.com

This is pretty much what I was trying to do this past week or so – looking for some magic wand which could instantly erase all the evidences of hard and painful years behind me, evidences that silently scream into my face every time I wake up and face my apartment consciously looking around me. Things piled up one on the top of the other, useful but not used, covered with layers of dust… corners of rooms that it has always been too strenuous to reach, clothes and objects that don’t belong to this decade, pieces of started projects that never lived up to their potential…

Why now? Why did all this get piled up like that in the first place? Why was it so hard (and still is) to tackle it all this time? And… was it any good?

Why now?
Well… it’s been ages that I’m planning to do it, observing the situation, starting, giving up, lacking belief in my abilities to succeed in doing it… so basically the instant I felt even semi-relief from my cramps and pains (which are still not completely gone!!) I jumped at whatever got into my way as if my dear life depended on it. Why so ferociously – it’s just the stupid cleaning! – you’ll ask yourself. Simply because when you live for too long with PD you master some “fascinating” skills which are not all necessarily positive or productive. You can even get close to winning an Oscar for becoming the Master Procrastinator. It has nothing to do with laziness, it’s simply survival instinct at work – at first you avoid anything that triggers attacks, first places, then people, then physical effort, even to the point that you feel “safe” only if you don’t move at all. Living only in your own head becomes a very powerful “save yourself” tactic, and as life goes on you end up seeing nothing wrong about, it becomes your second nature.

So I simply knew that if I just dared to think twice about this seriously MASSIVE endeavor, I might have easily run away before I even started. Also, what I noticed is that lately I give my attention to efforts for as long as they last in one day, while when something needs to be broken down into smaller increments and requires sticking to it during longer periods of time, I can massively mess things up. Therefore I just jumped at whatever needed my attention in the living room as this was where I was sitting when I got this wonderful cleaning urge.

As for the motivation, I tried and I’m still trying to use the 15 minute tactic – whenever you say you don’t have time to do something, or that it’s too hard, or that you’re not good enough to do it, convince yourself to stick to it for at least 15 minutes per day. From my experience, you usually feel ashamed with yourself if you can’t dedicate such a small amount of time as 15 minutes to something productive, so you’ll probably end up sticking to it. What happens then is that you honestly feel amazed when you see how much you can actually do in this seemingly very short time span and also more importantly, if you stay involved in something for at least 15 minutes, you’ll very probably decide to continue doing it for at least a bit longer. Inertia is a true wonder, we just need to make it work in our favor.

Why did all this get piled up like that in the first place?
Panic disorder is just a diagnose, but it’s a miracle how many serious consequences two stupid words can bring along. It arrives uninvited into your life and turns much of your world into dust, like a hurricane. It freezes you, halts you, ties you with an invisible leash to some tiny place or some small point in time and you can’t move. You don’t have strength, you don’t have willpower, you don’t even notice that something needs to be done. Life around you goes into blur and vanishes, leaving only you and your panic behind. When you get better (why there are these periods when you get better I still don’t know – does that happen on its own or was it me that I did something well?), it feels like waking up from a very long coma. You’re suddenly in the present moment, but everything around you is still sleeping back in the moment and the state you abandoned it in. It’s already a huge pile on its own, but the story doesn’t end there. Now you feel stronger to finally do something, but you have no idea where to start. You feel awkward because the life and people went ahead without you, you don’t even know how to behave in a changed environment, let alone how to make up for all the time you lost. You pick up one thing, look at it, it needs to be put into some place, given a meaning, but it’s as if you lost all ability to do it. So you put it back down again. In the meantime, you live, which means that you buy new things, consume, use whatever you need, and all those new things end up on the top of those unresolved issues from the past. Piles get bigger and you get more desperate. So you hide – in TV shows, books, on the internet, even outside to the extent that you’re able to do it. You try to live some different life, have an illusion that your life isn’t as problematic as it really is so that it could be easier to just endure it. And what happens? The same thing that happens with all unresolved issues – they pile up to the point when one day everything tumbles down onto your head and you end up paying for all those peaceful moments you enjoyed while trying to forget that you have problems in the first place. You approach a pile of something because you need some insignificant item in the middle of it. You pull it out, trying to maintain the balance of the “structure”, but you fail. And everything falls down and spreads in all directions, forcing you to watch memories you’d rather forget, reminding you of the “failure” you are because you turned into what you are today. If someone sees you desperately crying beside some silly objects that just need to be gathered back, you know what they will think. And they have no idea how much struggle and pain are hiding in the middle of that destroyed pile.

Why was it so hard (and still is) to tackle it all this time?
Damn good question, but a very difficult one as well. For a long time I couldn’t really verbalize it, then the answer just materialized itself as I was watching a documentary on hoarding. What’s behind hoarding? In many cases, there are layers and layers of pain, covered hundreds of times all over again. Covering it unfortunately never makes it go away, just like a dirty wound will never heal if you put a band-aid on it and try to forget it. People don’t like pain and they do their best to avoid it. It’s not socially acceptable to show all your pain and its intensity to the whole world, so you suffer inside. Unfortunately your suffering soon enough can be read like an open book in the environment around you. You start reading neglect and personal failures in almost everything you set you eyes onto. It hurts badly to face this not living up to your and everybody else’s expectations, so you prefer to avoid that, too. With time suffering and bad memories accumulate, and you don’t know what to do anymore. At best, you feel strong enough to move several items, but even if you manage you risk to have all your world coming back to you with full force, tumbling down on you, threatening to bury you underneath. Or even if this doesn’t happen, moving just several items seems like taking out several branches from some very dense wood, who on Earth can see any difference? Constant digging through this wood is seriously like turning a knife inside a bad wound and you have to be very brave to accept this. Accept that it has to hurt like hell, but that it’s a road to hell and back again, eventually you’ll feel a lot better.

So I started. There was a lot of dust in some areas and I felt ashamed, guilty, sad, unfit… I found a card from a dear elderly friend saying that she was very much looking forward to seeing me again. Needless to say, I never went to see her again, and unfortunately she passed away. More shame and guilt. Somewhere further down the path in a totally unexpected place, a couple of photos and a printed e-mail from my only true love, guy who left me and made me suffer very much. I used to blame him for inflicting such an unjust pain on me, but with time I realized how much I was actually to be blamed for what happened. More shame, more guilt, facing the painful facts… And a dilemma – whether or not should I preserve things related to him, even though it’s been a little bit more than 10 years that we split up. In normal circumstances I don’t think I would think twice about keeping it. But when you live the way I do, the perspectives of being with somebody ever again are somewhere around zero, so keeping something that is the only tangible memory of what love is doesn’t seem that much crazy any more. I would have usually stopped with cleaning by now, unable to manage that much negativity related to who I am, but surprisingly this time I went on. I faced childhood memories, things that I foolishly bought with “good reason” and never even unpacked, photos in frames from the students’ exhibition, presents I have no idea what to do with, books I never read… I ended up stressed like hell, still knowing that all this anxiety was more than necessary. I’ve been feeling lately that I won’t be able to truly dedicate myself to things I love – photography, writing, reading, drawing… unless I clear up my space and create some sort of inspirational and creative friendly environment. There is so much more to do to get there. I just pray for the strength.

And… was it any good?
I can’t deny that I did something – a nice portion of the living room now looks cleaner and nicer, but it still feels like a drop in the sea. It took me 7 years to get here, the road was long and needs to be taken in full in reverse. No one alone can truly change what’s been lying still for 7 years in 7 days, unless you decide to fully dispose of everything you have. On the other hand, I think that 7 days in a row are the longest time in these last 7 years that I managed to stick to cleaning, so I guess that there is something positive about it after all. My muscles ache, my body rebels against this suddenly imposed massive efforts to move heavy objects in awkward positions and I literally feel as if I was run over by a truck… but I had to start somehow. There is no easy way to do hard things, I just hope I won’t fall apart and stop. Consistency is the key… but I’m worried that I’ll have to turn into an eternal Cinderella for how much work I have. 🙂 It also leaves me very little time for everything else, blogging included. And I miss it a lot, I grew really fond of it. 🙂 And I have some nice photos to share… I’ll give my best to find time!

Hypochondriac’s ramblings… or perhaps not?

It’s been a while since my last post here, and in case someone has been wondering… yes, I’ve been sick. Again. I think I just felt this disaster coming for different reasons:

1) Due to the floods, my anxiety went too far up which always brings out all sorts of legitimate and “illegitimate” body symptoms and weakens the immune response;
2) Dogs were having their yearly vaccination and apart from preparing the environment, them and myself for the vet’s visit, I was very worried because of their reaction to the vaccine which was strong and quite obvious for 2-3 days after the shots;
3) I had a check up visit at my dentist’s office and the dentist who wasn’t wearing a mask turned out to be sick with some sort of “all over abdominal cramping”;
4) On my way back home I bought a pack of famous Italian Amaretti biscuits, surprised by their discount price – I distantly remembered that they should be made of almonds among other things, but after I already swallowed more then a handful of them, being somewhat suspicious of their a bit too sharp odor and bitter taste, I read the label which said that the product instead of almonds contained somewhere around 20% of… apricot seeds! 20%!!? What about that slight cyanide content in the seeds and all those warnings that the ingestion of too many such seeds can be harmful…
5) I’ve been literally exhausted because it’s been months since I last had some regular, peaceful night sleep… it got that bad that I reached the point where I almost forgot what a good sleep actually meant. Floods added even more strain to my bad sleeping patterns in the sense that even if I managed to doze off for just a while, I had nightmares all the time. In one of them I met my mother far away from our home and she was constantly repeating that I couldn’t go back home EVER AGAIN, because there was no home (i.e. safe place) any more, and what’s even worse, that there wouldn’t be any such place ever again for as long as I live! Can you imagine a worse case scenario in a life of an agoraphobic, to be alive but left without a home for the rest of your days? Honestly I can’t. In another one, I was walking through all that muddy water up to my neck and desperately trying to pull out from that ocean of dirt some horribly large pig that was drowning… I think you got the picture. So to sum up, I hardly had any proper rest at all.
6) I got a huge blister on my finger while I was taking care of one of the dogs’ fur, and even though I wore gloves and disinfected well that big wound that developed when the blistered skin came off, the fact remains that I still planted some flowers on the terrace on that day and the following days and that my wound got into some contact with the potting soil in spite of my efforts to protect it with a band aid. I cleaned the wound diligently every day and it healed well… but still!?

So what actually happened and why am I making this tragically long introduction? I ended up getting sick in a really unusual way. Some ten days ago I started having really strong muscle cramping and knot ball like nerve pains in my legs, alternating with periods of numbness and “I have some sort of a leg, but it doesn’t feel like my leg at all” feelings, subsequently replaced with horrible stabbing pains in my calves and thighs. I’ve NEVER experienced anything similar in my entire life. I deal with IBS on almost regular basis, but accompanying abdominal cramping was among the worst I’ve ever endured. This is where the fact number 6 from above suddenly dawned upon me – Am I dealing with… TETANUS??! The last booster I received was the 5th one administered as a part of the regular vaccination schedule at the age of 15, i.e. some 23 years ago. Are those 5 shots that I received from my birth to the age of 15 enough, or do I absolutely need additional boosters every ten years, which means that I already missed two of them?? Doctors opinions seem to disagree… so as I was waiting for my jaw to lock and to die in cramps, I found some relief in the fact that a tetanus infection can end in FULL recovery, but I was already out of my mind by the time I found this information. I also performed some weird “spatula” test :)) – they say that if you tackle the end of your throat and don’t get the usual gag reflex, but end up biting the spatula instead, you’d better get ready for the dooms day. I got the gag reflex all right, but it wasn’t that much comforting after all.
As the time passed, I experienced some burning feelings, as if my entire body went on fire and I developed slight fever, which I still have. Later, while I was lying down and staring at the TV which was pretty much all I was able to do in these last ten days or so, all that cramping migrated from the legs upwards and wrapped up my entire body in electric shock like knots that came and went pretty much without a pause. At this point I got a bit more prone to attribute everything to “some weird dentist’s virus” number 3 explanation, but I must say that even that number 4 “slight cyanide poisoning” from the Amaretti biscuits wasn’t so much out of question either, especially because I was growing more and more dreadfully tired and prone to… oversleeping??!
I think I haven’t slept all right for more than 6 months continuously, and now all of a sudden, total crash. Maybe I was just tired to the end of my limits?? Or perhaps the tiredness and my weakened immune response triggered some kind of dormant neurological disorder?? Is it perhaps my thyroid with its large nodule finally dying for good… or could it be simply that I have some… parasitic infection?? Dogs get their anti-parasitic meds regularly and they are definitely healthy and a bit fatter than they should be, but hey still, what if…
At this point I started going really crazy, because objectively there could be more than a few dozen explanations for how I felt, and my anxious over-analytical hypochondriac mind couldn’t stop searching for an answer. I needed something definite, THE ANSWER. But sadly, there was none. All I could do was pray for this to be some sort of a virus so that it could eventually go away and leave me alone, but I dreaded much worse scenarios all the same.
Pains migrated back to arms and legs and I developed some very weird almost constant numbness in my right arm and right leg. So here we went again… Dear Lord, now what… paralysis?? MS??? Or perhaps even… cancer…???? When I started feeling cramps even in my facial muscles and when the left corner of my mouth went numb as well making it harder for me to speak and swallow, even a possibility of a stroke came into picture… When on the contrary all that numbness got replaced by horrible leg pains once again, the mysterios illness started sounding more like… fibromyalgia?? Or was it actually some autoimmune disorder other than MS… sarcoidosis?? Lupus?? Or hey, I’m quite sure that I didn’t get any ticks hooked onto my skin in ages, but maybe I missed something… so Lyme disease?? Or, speaking of insects, maybe it was the consequence of all those mosquitoes stinging me in the days after the floods… hmmmm… West Nile virus?? Or even leptospirosis??
Then by some accident I got onto a hepatitis C web page and to my horror, I realized that my symptoms could fit fairly well even there… which reminded me of how I feared that I could have contaged the HIV virus because I received a blood transfusion in 1983 when blood still wasn’t tested for hepatitis C or HIV… contaging HIV of course didn’t happen, but I was obviously a hypochondriac long before my very first panic attack. :))
The minute I got hooked of the hepatitis C idea, stabbing pains started closing in on my joints, knees and foot ankles and all of a sudden, RA felt like a totally plausible explanation…

I’m very sure that by now you’re convinced that I’m a complete nutcase, but believe me that this mental self-diagnostic horror is not so much far away from what is experienced by many people who can’t be easily diagnosed and who spend months, if not years visiting all kinds of specialists in a desperate search for an answer to their problems. Being also very much aware that if I went to see any kind of doctor and said that I occasionally don’t feel my arm and leg quite all right, I would end up paying dearly for a MRI and spinal tap to verify the possibility of a MS diagnosis, I decided to wait a bit longer. In the meantime, pains got somewhat lighter and the overall weakness is almost gone, but I still can’t walk normally or use my arms as usual… handwriting and typing is quite a problem (it’s been something like 3 days that I’m typing this), and I’m really not sure what to do. Some basic blood work would be absolutely necessary, so I’ll see where that can take me. I just can’t believe that something so weird and obscure could be happening to me immediately after those catastrophic events that hit my country, but one disgrace never seems to be enough. I really did my best to help in some way during the floods, I truly felt the pain of people and the consequences of the rain in the whole region, I was quite active within the limits of my confined world and to my surprise, I somehow seemed to be “fine” health wise in a situation where nothing and nobody was fine… but it just didn’t last. I was separated from the blog and my consciousness was directed from outwards to inwards once again. I really don’t know how to get back on the track, I just know I’m scared and I want this to go away. I want to be “ok” (my usual chronically problematic ok state), so that I can make some much better use of myself.
Wish me luck.

Life must go on…

It’s needless to say, I’m not doing good these days. And it’s not a rant, it’s a simple fact. I’m somebody who’s battling with high anxiety day in day out, even at the best of times, so it’s really hard to keep going when the worst of times bring out the worst of what anxiety has to offer. It was already hard for me to take out the camera again after I can freely say years of “silence” and start shooting some pictures again, and when I finally got there somehow, once again it lost sense after the tragic events in my country. Taking camera out is hard because it is literally painful. It reminds me of where I used to be in life, why and how all the good things stopped, it makes me think of what I endured and where I could have been now if it weren’t for what happened… also, the camera’s shabby, neglected look infallibly reflects the amount of time that passed since I took it in my hands for the first time. It is run over by time, and in a way so am I, because I don’t really belong right here and right now. So many things changed while I kept sitting in my house and I feel as though I entered the state of coma back in 2007 and continued sleeping, while life naturally moved on without me. Now I’m probably sort of semi-awake, by there is this gap in time that is very hard to fill, sometimes I feel like an alien in the world that surrounds me. I started shooting things that my dad grows in his garden trying to reconnect with a place that for me lives only in my memory and with nature itself, it was my need to reach out to something beautiful and colorful that represents the better side of life, something that can represent me in a better way. And what happened? The floods came. Not only that beautiful and colorful pictures became insignificant, pointless and out of place in a tragic and very depressing situation, it also turned out that what could have been memorized with my camera literally vanished to a great extent. My dad’s garden suffered significant losses because of all that rain and the orchard will hardly give anything this year if it doesn’t recover. He replanted some of the things although it’s quite late for doing it, but the bottom line is that he’s been there twice in the last 3 days and hasn’t brought anything home. It’s God knows what time that my patience is at test because of having to stop something that I started or going back to square one, but I decided not to give up this time. There are so many people who lost their lives or everything they had in life, so I have no right to complain. I just wish I could suffer a bit less because of everything that happened here and be instead a bit more useful, but I can’t change myself. I can only try to be the best version of myself of today, do some good, help somehow, and look for a grain of hope for the future of everybody out there, as well as for myself.

Today I’d like to share a small photo story of the previous days from an agoraphobic’s point of view. This person couldn’t grab the camera and shoot in the critical places, I had only my immediate surroundings at my disposal.

1. THIS IS HOW IT STARTED…

kisobran

This photo was taken on the first day of the rain from my window… it was so dark and gloomy in the middle of the day, but ISO 1600 helped me to get something more than a blur of what was going on outside. There was quite a lot of wind at some point as well, and it brought along a small, smiling umbrella into our muddy pond. It did seem interesting and cute at the time, but thinking back from here, there was some very bitter irony in that smile as we couldn’t even dream of what was going to happen.

2. THE SECOND DAY OF RAIN, TERRACE

Lepi-Jova

We have a semi-covered terrace and rain hardly ever touches the flowers planted in boxes, but this time it just unleashed all the anger on smaller plants, ISO 1600 was a must even here and the camera got pretty wet in the process. I liked these little flowers, I picked them and planted myself… now they are gone, drowned in the rain. There is only this photo left.

3. HOPE

bozur

Instead of collecting vegetables from the garden, my father picked up this flower that was floating in water. He has shrubs of these flowers in 3 or 4 different color shades, but there was only this one left, looking bad and half dead. He brought it home anyway, and after more than a whole day of “recovering”, it incredibly regained both beauty and vitality, standing bold and upright. Life must go on, in one way or the other, it’s always been that way and always will be. We have to have faith that strength will rebuild beauty.

Radish

rotkvice 2

These radishes arrived today from my father’s little organic garden, to add some color to my hard and rainy spring days. Spring is the time of numerous awakenings, the time of change, the passage from ice to summer’s burning sun. Change is not always a bad thing, but I dislike change. I like things to stay the way they are, I like them to be palpably familiar. I need them to have some eternal, rock-solid shape and identity, so that I can cling to them in order not to be washed away by those mighty waves of anxiety. Sometimes I’m in desperate search of constants around me as there is nothing constant and unchanging about turmoils of my soul. But life isn’t based on universal things, it doesn’t stop to take the fixed shape we think it should have. It goes on, with us or without us, regardless whether we are ready or not.

Yes, I’m scared of spring. And this is my today’s way to challenge that fear.