Peace Roses, aging and a mind that is like a Zoo

A Peace rose, lavender and thyme in our garden  (C) Sharman Jeffries 2013

A Peace rose, lavender and thyme in our garden (C) Sharman Jeffries 2013

Everything in our home says ‘calm, rest here, be at peace’ – it was designed that way as we renovated our old property.  Even the roses in the garden are ‘Peace’ roses and there is a Quiet Room (summerhouse) at the bottom of the garden.

People come here, walk in the door and say “It’s so peaceful here.  Wonderful.”  Guests come to retreat with us and remark of the restfulness of the entire property.

I am so blessed to live here and offer the serenity of our home to others.  Do I feel that way though?

Not always!  It can be busy running a home and family, several businesses and the retreat.   But the busiest place has been in my mind …

I have attention deficit hyperactive asset (according to Dave Gilpin – see his Twitter page and Hope City Church UK) and have some amazing gifts and abilities but these need some good support to keep them positive.

The actress Betty Davis said: “Getting old isn’t for wimps” and how true that is!  I am now able in the UK to get free prescriptions (very useful – read on…) but have to wait another year and a month to be eligible for free bus pass and state pension (ouch – now you know how old I am!).   Things don’t work as well as they used to.  My slightly off beat brain needs a bit of support, my body needs regular exercise and it likes pretty sensible food and levels of alcohol.

Anywhere, where was I?  Oh yes, that happens too… the old cognitive processing systems seem to need a bit of oiling. I have always had ‘dyslexic moments’ where I could tell you the first letter of the word but not recall the word itself until after four or five shots of trying different ones out.  Now that has increased to a word or a name itself.

I don’t think I am at the stage yet portrayed so honestly in the film about literary and philosophy genius Iris Murdoch.  That was quite upsetting to watch yet so beautiful at the same time. I don’t think my loving spouse need worry about having to run down the road after me quite yet!  

However, back to main topic.  A busy mind, neurodiversity for the aged, and revelations…

I am planning to write up some academic papers long outstanding to submit for publication.  Am I up to the job given my present state of mental health?  Here is where the free prescriptions being so helpful comes in…  I take medication to calm my brain down and medication to calm myself down.  I am not however in a state of lethargy or vagueness… I feel more… LIKE ME!

Unlike Kay Redfield Jamison the fine author of a fine book, “Touched By Fire” (her autobiography “An Unquiet Mind” should also be read -or listened to as it comes on audio book also), I do not have to take and balance levels of Lithium for manic depressive illness (also called Bi polar disorder).

Stephen Fry has done excellent programmes on this illness, which he himself has, interviewing celebrities like Robbie Williams and Carrie Fisher (others are listed on Google: Vivien Leigh, Catherine Zeta Jones, Jean Claude van Damme,  Van Gogh to name a few ) .

I am not having the level of struggles of those creative wonderful people. I am hopeful that my support strategies and my medication can offset my busy mind, my post menopausal weird hormones and my tendency to collect gadgets and any form of information and knowledge indiscriminately – and thus I get all my filing systems, book cases, computer filing, email accounts clogged up.

Stephen Fry also collects gadgets … and sports cars apparently… out of my league!

I am very hopeful and quite excited to enter a new phase in my life and would offer you a poem written about my life without my strategies and supports:

My chattering mind.
It does seems to me that strange animals live inside my brain:
Some are woolly, jittery and ‘tiggerish’, others are still and wise.
 
It’s a funny thing to hear them chattering away to me, some contradicting the other.
There are times they all manage to be still when I’m without distraction or urgency
 
But this doesn’t happen often and extremes of noise or quiet may cause some of them to take fright, some become tired and confused, others begin to rant and rave.
 
Those tell me horrid, depressing things about myself that I don’t think are true. But they do make me doubt and I begin wonder if I am as awful as they say.
 
If I could choose, I would have just one animal in my head, perhaps an owl crossed with a worker ant: one useful, helpful creature instead of the cacophony of my zoo.
 
Imagine how wonderful a person I would be if I just had one crossbreed of practical and wise in my conscious mind, and not this contentious menagerie?
 
Ah well, I suppose I should just accept the diversity of my personal zoo and make sure I don’t pay attention to the wrong animal at the wrong time in the wrong situation. 
 
(c) Sharman Jeffries  19.6.02
 
 

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