On that note: Suicide

I started writing this two days ago. Breathe in and close your eyes. Smile, genuinely smile. On a scale from extremely happy to excruciating was that? For some of us, every now and then it’s not even possible to do.

I was happy over the last week. Extremely happy. I smiled and giggled at things, I was ecstatic. Some days it is a pretty obvious indicator that I’m going to be in a pretty foul mood soon. A tweet sparked off a million ideas that’s just sitting in the back of my mind, not daily but weekly mostly. Suicide.

I tried googling statistics but they’re not conclusive at all. More men commit suicide than women, it’s more likely for people between the ages of 15-35 to commit suicide than any other age group. But approximately a million people go through with the act while millions have suicidal thoughts. This is life.

Have you ever thought of that person that you work with may be part of those millions who have suicidal thoughts? How would you feel if there’s someone you know who attempted?

I still squirms when self harm gets mentioned. I hate it when suicide is laughed at or told it is a coward’s way out. What do you know? I’m sure there are cases where people do it just to spite someone – now that is lame in the end. They never get to see what they’ve done afterwards. But who am I to judge? I have always had a plan to end my life. I know exactly what to do, logical plan for an illogical moment.

How do you treat the people around you if you know they tried to commit suicide? Have you ever wondered why people never ever mention it, even when you’ve been best friends for years. That’s because people get shamed for how they feel. People cannot mention things like: “I am sad” without being frowned upon.

To take your own life you are usually at wits end. Nothing makes sense and from the outside it seems irrational. But to the person it is all rational, it makes sense. This is just like impulse control. I sometimes have the urge to walk into traffic just to see what happens but I know it’s mental, I know exactly what will happens when I do that. People who are in such a depression won’t always have that control and actually do something.

If someone actually goes on about killing themselves – listen. That’s sometimes all they need. The whole:”snap out of it” just makes the person more angry and pushes them closer. Don’t challenge the person. Talk to them like you would as normal. That usually helps me. Just make time.

Suicide is not for cowards. It’s not funny, joking that someone has a choice between x and suicide is horrible. Never wish someone to kill themselves. Make time for people you know are lonely. Take people serious when they talk about it. One last thing, mind your words, if you don’t want the words aimed at you – don’t aim them at someone else. Suicide is real.

I am not for sale

You might be confused with the title. Sure you may not know what is going on and no, I have not been put up for sale on some black web market. But I’ve been looking around and there are approximately 50 000 people sold into marriage. That is around the world, not that I’m going to point fingers to the East, because it does happen in the West. For the last three years a male relative keeps on telling me that he wants to sell me. Today, I say: Enough is enough.

There are young girls who are being sold to a man up to three times her age or older. These girls have no say or they get shamed by their family, they have no way to escape from this. These are not girls who can fight off a grown man. These girls are not even mature enough to express their feeling or what is going on inside their heads. The men are their be all and end all. Yes, we should focus on these girls and even young women who get forced into marriage, or in these cases they get treated as sex object. But we should start shaming their families who do absolutely nothing to stop it. For them it is a tradition, for them it is just the normal way of life. The families should not get out of this scot-free. Why should we just blame the disgusting men, when we do nothing to the families. Maybe like that we can stop this disgusting practice.

To the male family member: Just because I am female does not mean I cannot get someone for myself. Just because I am single, does not mean that I am always on the lookout for a significant other. It is as if people forgot that I do own my body, it does not belong to anyone else. I am not there to fill your pockets with money and listen to your every command. Just like I am responsible for my own actions, I am responsible for the rest of my life as well. You cannot impose your viewpoint of people onto everyone around you. It is a sick mentality thinking that you have the right to own anyone. While everyone else laughs at this ‘joke’ you make, I know you’re serious. I will never be for sale. In a way I am glad that you do not have children, because your viewpoint would not change. You won’t sell your daughter, you say -  but what gives you the right to sell someone else then?

There’s no race for us to populate the earth. There’s no need for anyone to be forced into pleasing anyone’s desires. Everyone has the right to have a choice, no one else owns anyone. We are not slaves, we are our own selves. Treat us like that not just once, but always.

Are we information obsessed?

I checked my twitter about 10 minutes ago. I was just on Facebook. I updated the news site about 20 minutes ago. I love the random button on Wikipedia. This is just the internet.

I tumblr, wordpress, stumbleupon and Pinterest too. I read blogs, click links, check Instagram when I don’t know what to do. I watch the news, QI and anything in that category, listen to podcasts on absolutely anything. I read factual books or biographies. I talk to people only about things I want to know sometimes. I cram my head full of things.

I don’t switch off.

It’s 2am in the morning and I’ve had enough of not sleeping so I grab my phone. I read news that scares me. Am I just too obsessed with information?

We all have a need to know things. This is why we question everything, if we want to. Are we afraid to not know things?
I was in a car the other day with a friend, I was doing my normal thing of yapping about something only I knew about. I stopped talking immediately and a few seconds later asked: “am I boring you?” I waited for an eye roll and a typical sarcastic “no”. That wasn’t the answer, “I like it. I learn a lot.” Was the answer back. I wasn’t expecting that. I thought people would be to bored to hear that. Are we that disparate for information?

Should we as information addicts ween ourselves for a bit? I honestly think we need to. We rely too much on it. Maybe we’ll stop freaking out every time we see a bad news headline. It might just give us that reboot that upgrades our software. Information overload poisoning is real, we do it every day without noticing. It’s a slow process but one day it will be worth it.

I can honestly say, we are addicted to information. It drives our days and sometimes our lives. Some of us thrive on it an sometimes it depresses us. Too much on anything is bad. Maybe one day we’ll read one sentence too much and crash our hardware.

Life between home and hospital

Can you remember the last 5 weeks? In detail that is. I can, it’s been a hard 5 weeks.

My mornings start at 7:30. I wake up, this usually does not mean I get up. Some mornings I do get up at 8 and go exercise. I read, listen to podcasts this time of the morning. This has been a normal routine for me for quite a while now. I love it, I usually can survive the day like this.

But 5 weeks ago my gran landed up in hospital. Some of you may not know this, but even though I moved out of my parent’s place – I moved in with family. For two different reasons, I hate driving (I daydream a lot in a car) and I am a sissy when it comes to living alone. My gran lives with us and it’s quite a big deal for me.

When my gran landed up in hospital my life changed again. This happened last year, but last year I was fully employed. I didn’t spend time with her 24/7. I went from work directly to the hospital, the doctor gave her a 5% survival rate. She pulled through. This time around things are a bit different.

I am trying two new things in my life. I am a newbie writer, which is difficult and I am stubborn, so I will make sure I will get published one day. I am also trying out a new business venture which will hopefully take off, when I finally sit down and do it. I need to make money somehow for now. But neither has been possible so far.

My gran went into hospital for a week. I sat next to her bedside with my aunt for hours. I had headphones and writing pads that kept me busy, but every now and then I had to talk to my gran through all the nonsense she was talking. This is difficult, it drains you emotionally. Every day I try writing but it is too much. Every day I try working out business things but I’m lost.

My last five weeks were: wake up, do something for two hours, go to the hospital, go home, go to the hospital again, and go home for the evening. You’d think that I could work in the evenings. I tried but all you can think of is Mr Barnes (not real name) who passed away in ICU, the young lady who was a few years older than myself, who never woke up. A young bright spark who broke his neck. The sounds of beeping and ventilators. That’s all you think of only when you go home. I can zone out at the hospital, I sit there writing for hours or plan on my writing. But in the end I still go around in circles.

Week 6 has dawned, maybe this time it will be different.

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‘No, I’m going to be 16… wait, I mean 45′

My grandmother has dementia.

This is not a state secret, but I wish it was. This morning when I said: “I love you.” She just kept on talking about how everyone’s surnames were going to change. This kind of broke my heart. This afternoon however, right before she fell asleep she whispered “I love you” back to me.

This all began last year. My grandmother, who then was 78, was a vibrant old woman. She was the life of anything that happened at home. You could have asked her anything and she would have given back a very intelligent answer, because she was an intelligent woman. A year before that we started a blog, which she wrote diligently, all about her past and how things were in the 30s and 40s. Things that I never knew. She got sick and this stopped. One day she started writing again, which was fantastic to us. We read her stories and spoke about it until it all changed. She started writing funnier, she couldn’t answer the crossword puzzles as well as she used to.

One February evening, after I came home from a dinner. My gran was sitting in front of the tv, waiting for my cousin and I to go out. She wanted me to meet a guy, which is kind of heart warming but not really. At 11 o’clock that night – she did not budge from her couch, she was still waiting for us to go out. This meant that I had to dress as if I was going out, get my cousin to play along and ‘out we went’ to bed that is. That was a horrible week, time meant nothing to her and we finally persuaded her that we were going out but first we needed to go to the hospital. Now that week, she spent money like it was water, she told everyone these long elaborate stories that made sense. Of course they meant nothing, but we did not know that she was sick.

She was sick, too old to have her hernia fixed, old that her ‘fever dreams’ were reality. Turns out, she had an infection but scans confirmed that her frontal lobe shrunk. They (the doctors) said it was because of the calcification of the main brain vein and a few other veins that lead to this. She was in hospital for months and when she finally got out, which was a miracle in itself as she had septicemia and a survival rate of 5%, she was put in a home. She could not walk, made absolutely no sense and made us teary quite often. I was sure that she was not going to survive this.

From September to December she was in a home. Complaining that there was absolutely NOTHING wrong with her and that she needed to go home. She couldn’t even walk for the first few months. Her 79 birthday in October was quite something, we bought her home for the day. This was something special. December we bought her home to stay. She was better, she talked a lot and did things she wasn’t even interested in. The crossword puzzles were filled in, she was crocheting blankets again, talking normally.

Then May of this year arrived.

May was a difficult month, she was not well. We honestly thought it was another infection, not dementia. How could it be dementia if she was behaving so well over the last few months? In less than a week she was someone who could laugh and talk, to someone who was mumbling nonsense at anyone who would listen to her. She totally forgot how to walk – which was a blow to us. She would call out to anyone who was willing to be with her. Now, everyone is far away from each other except two bedrooms. Thus whatever my gran says, I can sometimes hear – especially if it is extremely loud or if it in the dead quiet of the night. This lasted for a few days, which all-in-all tired me out.

This is emotionally tiring, we finally took her to hospital. They thankfully said it was asymptomatic pneumonia. We thought that this time when she got home, she would finally be speaking coherently. This is not the case. You can see that this is dementia. She has totally lost reality with the now. It saddens me to see a strong woman, who has helped each and everyone in my household + my friends, to fall to pieces. She doesn’t realise this. Sometimes she says something that gives the indication that she knows that something is wrong. This like: “You know I can’t remember anything.” or “There’s something not right.” But these lapses are few and far between.

Now all we have is patience. This is all we have left, the waiting game. She might get better or she might get worse. She might have moments of clarity or she could go further down the rabbit hole. All I can do is quietly laugh, because that’s the only way I can cope.

Oh, kids, yeah…

I am afraid to have kids. No, just hear me out. I’m still young, so there’s time to change my mind. But I am afraid to have them. I think it is just my age that I don’t want any children. I look at my peers and they are still too young in my mind to get engaged or have kids. If they do have kids or get engaged, that’s thankfully their decision and not mine.

I am one of those people that cannot imagine even living with someone, now imagine me having kids. Not something that I am striving for. I am still a kid in some ways. I still need to be able to stand on my own two feet, be able to provide them with enough love and food. So that is out of the question.

Last year I worked with kids, not permanently just four times a week. Not even for hours on end, maybe just a few hours. Before I did that I thought I’d become a teacher, but that truly opened my eyes. I was cut out to look after kids on a short term period only. I don’t mind people with kids and I still don’t hate kids, but teaching and au pairing is out of the question.

Why don’t I want kids? The short of it – I’m not emotionally ready nor do I have the income for it. I also doubt that I want to do the single parent thing. Not that there is anything wrong with it, it’s just out of experience. My mother raised us for a few years and for a few years my dad raised us. I just didn’t like it.

Delving deeper into this, there are other things going on as well. Stuff like, you need time to raise them. You need money to support them, kids aren’t cheap! I bought a christmas gift last year for one my friend’s daughter (I love her to bits), she is extremely crafty and I thought I’d buy her some craft things. It cost a lot of money – I have to say, she’s still using the pencils. Your whole life changes, I think I am too selfish for kids right now, I mean, I am trying to be a writer – that is quite selfish of me. Your whole life changes, I am in between introvert and extrovert, how on earth will I be able to raise a kid if I want more me time? Another thing is, you need to be emotionally invested into them.

I have friends who are quite older than I am, some of them have kids, young kids. I have seen how they struggle and how they go through periods of depression. You guys are phenomenal, I mean, you are raising this baby that will become a someone. Go you!

There are way better people out there than me. I don’t mind kids, I don’t hate them. I just don’t want a kid right now. Give me time please. To those out there who think I am crazy or to those who think that’s all that women are good for. Please leave. To those who have kids – I commend you! You are a superstar, even if you don’t feel like one right now.

ps. One day, if I do have kids, please refer me back to this post.

How Oblivious Are We

My phone is always near me. If it is not in my hand, my pocket or my handbag it will be lying on the table next to me. My laptop will always be found in the same three locations: my bedroom, my study or the dining room table. I am no more than a 100m from technology at all times. I am always online, be it phone or laptop.

This has lead me to make friends online, which is a normal thing for most young people to do. Our main sources to stay connected is facebook, whatsapp, skype and twitter (which this blog is even linked to). We type rather than talk, we send pictures rather than showing this view to someone else in person. We have crossed the line, we now live in a virtual reality rather than in the real world. Think back a few years ago, virtual reality meant a place that you could move around in with an avatar, never leaving the comfort of your home. We have created that.

A few days ago I went out shopping, while standing at the elevator I noticed other shoppers. Now, usually by now I would have pulled out my phone to check if there is something happening, if I have a missed call or something. I stood there and looked at my fellow shoppers, I don’t know their names. I don’t even know why they are here or what their back story is. I have lived in a complex where we knew the people, I played with the kids in the complex. Now I don’t even know my next door neighbour. I may have seen him or her once or twice, but I don’t even know their names. I must be known to them as the lady that can’t sing when she cooks food.

In reality we have stopped knowing the people around us. We rather move around on our own, not with a group of friends. I can’t place my finger on a day when I spent the whole day with friends without taking my phone out for something. I am more intrigued with what’s going on on there than what is around me. Technology has come to spoil my time with people, with nature and with communicating. We are oblivious to what is going on around us. We have stopped living.

Ask yourself – when last did I just live life without (insert social media here) about it? It may have been a week, a month or as a favourite writer of mine did it – 4 months. I propose a revolution, let us start living. Go out and meet with people, get introduced, without using technology to distract you. Only use the internet when needed. Don’t become its slave.

I was sent this over the weekend and it hit a nerve: