July 6th, 2009

freaking out

Just found out (well, probably better to say realised) that the outdoor event I've booked on Saturday I've paid for a PITCH not a STALL. This means I have a 3m square to fill with my own tables etc and cover it as there is rain, albeit light, forecast.

I've found the gazebo in the shed, which will probably be ok, and I went ahead and bought a new folding table as the pasting table is a bit lightweight to hold my paintings without falling over. I'm also going to buy a cheap easel, which I've been thinking of buying anyway (think The Works have one for a tenner). It opens at 8am for setting up, even though the event starts at 12. I'll be there at 8, cause I won't be able to rest until it's done, so I'll probably be entertaining myself for 4 flipping hours waiting, and then it lasts until 5pm. Ian was going to come but he can't really cause he can't sit up that long. Claudia will be around somewhere doing the cake stall with the cubs (note to self - make cake for her) so I'm sure from 12-5 I'll be chatting to people. 3000 people usually go to this fair, so if I don't make at least one sale, I'll be surprised.

We had an awesome weekend though. Saturday we went to this presentation thing. Someone phoned me a week ago and asked me if I wanted to go along to an event about buying property overseas. Usually I say no, but he offered me £50 of Tesco vouchers if we went, and it was saturday morning. Was concerned I wouldn't be able to lie, but in the end it lasted 10 minutes, Ian did all the talking, and it did sound like a good idea. If we'd had a spare £60K we both said we would have done it - it's new builds in Turkey on the beachfront, so we could have made it accessible and rented it out.

Then we went to the craft fair at Leeds town hall. Darren was there with my paintings, and sold one of them. Also met a woman who's putting together one of those craft shops where you put your stuff (like the one you mentioned, Selina!) so I've given her my details to get involved.

We were home by 2pm, which is weird when I go anywhere with Ian - we're usually back a lot later. In the evening we watched the penultimate Dexter. It's such a good programme, I can't believe more people don't watch it. I'm literally shaking with excitement for next week's finale.

Sunday we were meeting friends for lunch. Ian and I were discussing how perfectly the weekend had gone so far, with managing to fit in the property thing, the craft fair, and the rugby, when we hadn't thought we'd manage all 3, and even though we were running late yesterday, we were there on time, and there was a parking space (it's a small car park, and small things please me!) I took some cards, as Tanya asked me to, and sold £12 worth before we ordered, so things carried on well.

But then, I can't remember how, the men started talking about swine flu, and how they fancied getting it so they could get some time off work. I said 'you're joking aren't you?' and they started boasting about how little time they've had off, how they deserve some extra holiday, and how some people take the piss at their workplace (3 people work together, and stu works at the inland revenue). Stu said people take off 3 months at a time with stress and depression, and it's easy to do that, "cause how can anyone prove otherwise? You tell the doctor you're stressed and he signs you off, and then you get full pay and time off!" At the revenue you see, you get FULL PAY for 6 months if you're signed off, and then half pay for another six months. Everywhere else it's usually a week, and then statutory sick pay for 6 months before having to rely on the state.

The others started joining in about their work place, and how there was a weirdo who was signed off, and he was always strange, so they weren't surprised. There was some discussion about how he was signed off for a month, and then another month, and then another, and they just thought he was never coming back because he kept extending his leave.

Obviously, I found this upsetting. I say obviously, because this is what's happened to me. I sat there stirring my coffee and trying not to cry. I was thinking that if they think that about someone, they obviously think that about me. I'd say it would be hard for anyone not to think that automatically. I didn't want to say anything, cause I knew I'd just get upset.

In the end I said 'it's not as easy as that to get signed off though - I worked for 6 weeks before getting signed off. Also, people who do this kind of thing make it harder for people who are genuinely ill to get taken seriously' and left it at that. I didn't say I was referring to me, but hopefully they took the hint.

When we got back in the van, Ian said how nice lunch had been, and I must have been happy about selling the cards. I said it was a lovely afternoon apart from one bit, and he said 'yeah, i know. That was really insensitive. I wanted to say something, but I didn't want to embarass you'. I said that I wish he had, because I wanted to but I was close to tears. Then I started to feel angry at Ian, but stopped myself as I was just doing that thing where I was getting angry at the wrong person just because he'll take it.

We talked on the way home about what he would have said, and he'd taken a different view - he'd wanted to say "It's only people who've never experienced real stress and depression who think it's not a real thing." I was so pleased with this, and we had a discussion about how he now understood why it had upset me that Jan had told his brothers I was signed off. I think most of his friends and family feel this way, as I've heard them talking like this in the past, and been upset because I felt that was how they saw my friend Nicola (who has suffered with depression as long as I've know her) or even my Mum.

Later on, I'd relaxed a bit about it because Ian was so supportive, and was making cards when Kaiser bounded in. Claudia had been walking him, and he'd decided that as the doors were open he'd come and say hello. Claudia followed him in, and asked how I was, so of course I just started blurting the whole thing out! She said it was definitely insensitive, but that they obviously don't think that about me, or they wouldn't have been talking like that - they obviously know I'm really ill, so I'm off their 'skiver radar'. 

It's always nice getting different viewpoints. I don't believe this as much as my own brain, obviously, because I'm fighting the voices in my head telling me the other possibilities - either that they think I am a skiver as well and this is their way of letting me know what they think, or that they don't even realise how ill I am because they don't care about me enough.

We ended the evening by watching 'Dirty Filthy Love' with Michael Sheen, after someone on my friends list (Rose?) mentioned it. I think it was an ITV drama, it definitely didn't seem to be a 'proper' film if you know what I mean. It was about a man who is having trouble with his wife and job due to depression, but how he suspects it's something more involved as he's doing odd things. He eventually finds out it's OCD and goes to a support group. It was brilliant, he's an amazing actor, and it had Moaning Myrtle in it from Harry potter, who's always good, and has the most amazing voice (If you haven't seen 'Once Upon a Time in the West Midlands' I'd recommend it for her alone). 

It was nice seeing him in the doctor's surgery, being told it's clinical depression, and nothing more, and arguing with the doctor about what else he thinks it is, and then just getting his meds increased and told to go back in a month - that bit made me cry, because it was so true to my experiences. The OCD characters in it all had wide ranging obsessions, which was nice to see as usually in these things they're all just clean freaks. I hate saying stuff like this, because it makes me sound like someone who just watches stuff and thinks they have it, but watching it made me realise it's probably 70% likely I do have OCD. I don't need to really do anything about it, as I'm already controlled by meds and am having CBT, but unlike when I thought i was bipolar (where the more I learned, the more I twisted my symptoms to fit) the more I learn about OCD, the more things really do fall into place. I'm not mentioning it to the doctor again though, because last time he disagreed, and I felt very small.

So today I'm going to find a cheap easel - that's my mission. Oh I have 4 phone calls to make. That's a lot for me, so I'd better get on with it I suppose.