Drawing up the map of my health and plotting where to go.

Right. Time to get an overview of my health and identify the various aspects and their symptoms. In order to have a clear understanding which daily medicines and measures are targeted at which aspect. In order to get a clear view of topics that are not covered and need more research.

My personal collection of issues, in no particular order:

  1. Progesteron deficiency. Not clear whether it’s ovary-caused or an enzyme issue. Clear is that I lack the hormone and, over time, my adrenals have not been able to keep substitute production up. Substitute; HRT. 10 mg per day blood level. Perimenopause is acting up lately, moodswings. Up to 20 mg.
  2. Nervous System not well instructed, tendency to do Fight or Flight as default. Three decades of this caused some damage and infavourable habits. Habits countered with therapy, Amygdala retraining, hypnose, EMDR. Daily conscious attention needed.
  3. some food and other sensitivities. Some are caused by gene make up. Gluten, dairy, green leaves, whole grains. Vanille flavouring, garlic, glutamate, caffeine. Blood sugar (and insuline) react intense to sweet tastes.
  4. immune system. Very robust, I don’t get colds or the flu. Needs more research though because I have a sore throat every night and react badly to dust. Gets influenced by cortisol-intake. Skin doesn’t heal well.
  5. adrenal insufficiency, acquired. They need fortification. Taking hydrocortison, 20 mg per day.
  6. explainable other things: cold extremities when I don’t take enough Iodium; crankyness when PMS; crankyness when not enough sleep; light headiness when not enough salt/BP; shoulder impingement
  7. unexplained symptoms since birth: sleep pattern. Pillow = zonk! 5 hours later I wake up in a state, takes 1,5 hours to calm down and get normal body temperature. Then I can sleep another 1,5 hours. Wake up unrefreshed. Sore thoat every morning. Slow heart rate (42 bpm), it sped up since 2010, at 60 bpm now.
  8. unexplained symptoms since 2008: fatigue; difficulty maintaining homeostasis; not able to function long in upright position (standing or sitting); brain fog; duodenum uptake only works when lying down; “heavy” limbs and body; not able to handle sounds, stress, surprises or temperature changes. Liver and bile problems (not working). Some awful thoughts due to faulty brain chemistry. Something with vit D. I need to seriously pace myself, it’s a necessity. No pain, grateful for that.

There we are. An interwoven complex of symptoms. I can assign most of the things I notice on a day to day basis to one of these (and act accordingly). Apart from the things at points 7 and 8.

The other things require a constant managing. From my stress levels to my food, from my house chores to the choices of social interactions. Which pill to take when and how much. Monitoring thoughts and feelings and allowing some and blocking others.
It’s a drag and a full time job!

But I need to step up my game because new things need my attention:

Lately the Progesteron thing is getting more difficult, where the feelings of despair are more intense and the HRT doesn’t resolve it.
This needs some more research since it’s probably time to look at oestrogen replacement and the connection with vit D, considering my age (menopause is looming). Before, any oestrogen would give me endometriosis and phyto-estrogen (soya yoghurt) would cause spotting. This may have changed.

The immune-system: I have only a basic understanding of. Cortisol dampens it and this is desirable but not too much. Stress dampens it (via cortisol) and this is not desirable at all.
I’d like to get down to the details. Learn about the various cells (T-cells) and what they need to function. I bet the lymph system is involved and it’s fond of fat so that’s interesting. What proteins and enzymes do the immune system cells prefer? Do I have those in abundance? Are some gene mutations hindering functionality? Why does anti-histamine work so well to relieve sleep problems in people with ME?

Do I have chronic infections that could explain the rest symptoms? My onset of this chronic fatigue and other problems was typical for an infection: a short bout of “flu” in Spring 2008 and I never got up from the bed. Crippling fatigue, brain fog, not the strength to keep my head up and eat something.
Adrenal issues played a role in that, back then. Some symptoms, especially the not (mental) responsiveness until some (salty) food touched my tongue is illustrative of adrenal crash. My husband had to physically put something in my mouth, while I lay drooling in my bed, before I could open my eyes, think and talk.
But weeding out those symptoms and the ones caused by Progesteron deficiency leaves me with some that indicate chronic infection. My overall body system is hindered by something. Something clogging the system in the core. Clogging cell functionality. I just don’t seem to produce the ATP I did before.
There are some parasites who interfere with ATP production. Some bacteria such as Chlamydia Pneumonia and Rickettsia.

I’ve encountered the following parasites for sure, because my husband and my cats are proven carriers: EBV; Herpes; Chlamydia Pneumonia; Rickettsia. Coxiella burnetii.
I’ve also been bitten by ticks when I was 23 years old. No signs of infection have emerged back then. I got sick when I was 37 yo.
I got sick 3 weeks after visiting a sheep’s farm with fresh lambing that later on turned out to have Q-fever (Coxiella burnetii.)

Ah and there is one thing I do not wish to research at this moment. My heart. I’ve been experiencing weird rhythms and tight feelings. But I know the heart does this in many people. And I know people with ME are prone to develop collapsed matrial valve. And I have long term high cholesterol, due to my medicines.
These heart things are recent, the last 5 weeks. They occur daily now. I’ll let my GP listen to my heart when I see him in 3 weeks. But I will not research this topic.

Lastly I came up with three theories of what has happened to me in 2008 and after that. Trying to explain for the weird bout of healing I experienced last year:

  1. I got infected in 2008 and now have a chronic infection that wrecks my body. This is what ME seems to be, a chronic infection with a bug that hinders normal cell functionality. Akin to malaria, Lyme, HIV, EBV, Hepatitis and the lot. It comes and goes. But it never leaves.
  2. I got infected in 2008 and conquered the infection. But somehow a switch got turned and now my body operates in a different way, not allowing for maximum health. These switches could be genes that were turned on. Or habits/modus operandi the body settled into. Perhaps I flipped the switch on May 1st 2014 but the stress of Spring 2015 flipped it back.
  3. Whatever happened in 2008 for certain is that on May 1st 2014 I healed overnight (the night I started 100 mg of daily Progesteron and Gupta Amygdala Retraining). I was slowly but certainly healing from that day on until Februari 2015. Then the cat got sick, I experienced some major stress and subsequently fell ill again (bile gave out, liver pain). Have not recovered. Did I get infected by her eye conjunctivitis bacteria back then? Is this nothing but a second stint of intracellulair parasites?

Just three things to keep in mind. To keep my mind open about what’s happening. To consider alternatives and not get stuck on one particular idea about what my illness is and where I am in the process.

My research topics for the coming months, in no particular order:

  1. HRT for peri-menopause: oestrogen, vit D
  2. immune system: T-cells and their sisters, fat digestion and distribution through body (skin, collagen), lymphe system, reaction to chronic infections, tools for intracellular parasites
  3. intracellular parasites. How do they live, what environment and nutrition do they want. What are the likely culprits in my case?
  4. are there alternatives to long term anti-biotics to battle intra cellulair parasites. Can cellulair environments be altered to annoy the little buggers for example? (acidity; flush out certain amino acids; ketogenic energy modus; aid T-cells)
  5. the liver problems. This is a specific thing in me. Bile production stops with stress. I want to help my liver. Research the amino acids Glycine, Taurine and Niacin.

Three and five are subjects I am genuinely interested in. Intellectual curiosity. I want to learn about these topics, regardless of my personal situation.
This is good. I need some topics of thought to direct my attention to when I start moping or thinking about the grand scheme of things (which leads to depressive fatalistic thoughts). Part of the mental hygiene routine that’s required when you’re dealing with chronical illness, moodswings and/or life in general when you’re a sensitive and alert human being.

Well this is it. The map. The routes. Better get started.
I estimate to ponder these things for about three months.
In between there will be that GP visit (main goal is getting psychiatric help for the brain chemistry thing).
And the manure factory plans are coming to an all high in the coming months too, it’s at the highest court of my country at the moment and the engineers’ rapport I wrote (in February 2014, right in the middle of the stress!) is one of the key features. I expect to write some more documents and meet with experts on a moments’ notice. This will put me to bed without a doubt.

I heartily hope no other stress factors emerge in my life because I do not have the reserves to cope. Please no family crises or friends in danger or cat-astrophies. In the mean time I shield myself from world news and noise and bad foods
I’m addressing the known health factors in the numbered list at the top like nobody’s business, doing all the right things. I can’t go out, I’ve already cancelled all wooly meetings I had planned, I’m resigned to being housebound again. Only with careful pacing will I meet the two challenges described (GP and court case) and preserve the current level of health.

Hopefully my research will unearth some new things to try and give me a leg up to get to better health again. I’ve also mourned the fact that I’ll never work again. And that I may never get to another level of health. This is behind me now, I’m now sailing through a blissful bout of denial about the latter thought. The realisation of a dwindling life comes and goes. But never leaves. The Nile is a lovely place to visit every once and a while.
pic by Sarah Corr

Found my train of thought: intracellular parasites

I lost the plot in this post about theories of ME  but I found it again.
First I want to say: I’m dropping the “CFS” term. It’s too close related to adrenal problems and besides that people tend to think that fatigue is the main issue to be overcome. It’s a small step to then start talking about remedies that work somewhat for that other “fatigue illness”: depression. And before you know it laymen and experts alike are talking about having to increase exercise or do psychotherapy to heal from ME/CFS.

Neither depression nor ME is fixed by these two options. Especially exercise will make ME worse.

Well, let’s move on to the train of thought:

  1. body is an ecosystem
  2. we have numerous cohabitants on board (bacteria, virusses, worms and bugs).
  3. with some we co-exist to mutual benefit (mitochondria, gut bacteria). Some are parasites (rickettsia, legionella, EBV, HIV, tape worms).
  4. Parasites dwell in numerous places in the body (eyes, throat, intestines, lungs, blood, cells).
  5. let’s focus on intracellular parasites. These buggers live in human cells. Destroying them to get ahead. (malaria, HIV, Chlamydia, Lyme)
  6. These destructions have eerily familiar aspects of ME: incapacitating the vit D receptor; dismantling the mitochondria for spare parts; low T-cell count; immune system out of whack.
  7. some ME experts have success by giving patients long term anti-biotics. They now think ME is a disease of intracellular parasites (dr. De Meirleir, Marshall protocol, dr. Jadin)

I’m going to take a new fresh look at my health. Unravel the various aspects that coincide and then focus on the ME part.

I then might find it beneficial to have some tests to find out what bug is present in me. I’m sure there’s some. I’ve been bitten by ticks and fleas in my life and my ME onset was sudden and flu-like (a few weeks after visiting a lambing herd that turned out to have Q-fever).

Besides, nearly everybody has EBV.
My cat has had conjunctivitis for 6 months now and it’s the type that reacts to the anti-biotic for Rickettsia and Chlamydia Pneumonia. I’m sure I’ve been in touch with them.

I may go to dr. De Meirleir. He’s in Belgium. Only it’ll cost well over 3000 euro for the fist visit + lab tests. I’m not ready to pay that :(
After that he’ll propose long term anti-biotic courses. I’m not ready for that either.

I wonder if there are other ways to fight intracellular parasites. Perhaps change the environment they live in (the cells). Perhaps aid the immune system. I have no idea. For this I first need to learn more about intracellular parasites and how they live.

It’s a nice topic of research, to keep me occupied. I need such a topic because moodwise I’m not well and diverting troublesome energy to such a topic is a good habit.

 

the reason to live.

I did find the one reason to keep on living, a few weeks back. I’ve been test driving it and it works for me.

It’s because you provide a unique colour to the palette of humankind. A colour only you can provide. A colour your friends and your acquaintances would sorely be robbed of, if you took it away.

pic by Neil Gould

I got the idea from this Dutch post by Jacob Jan Voerman, written to a friend of his whom decided to retreat his internet presence.

“I’m taking myself off line because I’ve said all I want to. Anything else will just be a repeat”.
Jacob Jan writes to him that the crux of his internet presence is not the content he provides, it’s his mere presence. The unique colour he adds to the palet of the world. Of human kind. Of his friends.

I was very much comforted by this thought. I do provide something unique and it doesn’t require any effort on my part. Just being me is enough. Just showing myself a bit, on the internet, towards friends.

It has comforted me in times when I want to end this life because the pain has become unbearable. It did a couple of weeks back. I was driving home after having exerted myself beyond my abilities and running low on vit D and Progesteron to boot.
The pain, this life, it became unbearable.
Luckily I knew it was chem-induced and that it probably would pass if enough time flowed by. But the pain and this life, in which I have to manage this all while being crippled by the illness in a world that works in logical ways where decline is inevitable and love and beauty is only found in short vulnerable bursts, became unbearable. No longer worth it.

pic by Asif Akbar

I’m living in limbo now. Still shell-shocked from that episode.
I’m not about to commit suicide on an impulse but I’m clearly finished with the life I’ve lead up until now. It’s no longer acceptable. Something’s gotta give. And something will.

When friends and loved ones try to convince someone that life is worth living because they love him/her it always struck me as a selfish argument. Why should the tired-of-life-person be asked to keep on enduring the pain? Because you’d miss him/her? Because you’d get a hole ripped in your heart? What about the tremendous pain that person endures, day after day, minute after minute?
“Because we love you” is not the right thing to put on the scale.

“Because you are unique and you add something unique to our world” works better. At least for me.

What it also gives me is a sense of self worth.
Me becoming more ill every week it seems has send my dreams out of the window of a career. Artist; illustrator; engineer; writer; landscape designer. Anything I’ve talked about on this blog is not going to happen.
I cannot sit up straight long enough. I cannot hold my thoughts together long enough.

I’ve cried about this loss and I’m just about accepting it now. It gives me some peace of mind, that I can now finally let go of all ambitions that took hold in me.
I can let them go because I’ve found something else to connect my self worth to. Something that does not require any sitting up right or keeping my wits about to be for-filled. By just being myself and just sharing my unique colour with my friends and (internet) acquaintances I am worthy. Living a worthy life. Something to be proud of. Someone to be proud of. Even when I’m “doing nothing”.

pic by Neil Gould

(btw, I’m discovering a whole new array of beautiful and touching moments in “the limbo live”, where I no longer strive and strain for results.)

New theories on ME/CFS

The body is an eco-system. I visualize it as the Great Barrier Reef, with all kinds of species crawling about and living in nooks and crannies.

 pic by Vincenzo Piazza

There’s all kinds of bacteria and virusses living about our bodies. The imune system picks out the obvious offenders but it’s still pretty much a Wild West scenario where bad boys run and hide and the killer T cells hunt them down. Remember that awesome little movie of that white bloodcell gunning for a lone bacterium?
That’s how they get them, one at the time.

Unless there’s a full invasion getting on, then the whole body response is needed and the place is set afire (fever) to exphixiate the culprits. With considerable damage to the furnishings but hey, the goal justifies the means.

Here now are 3 theories of ME/CFS building upon this image:

  1. infection makes it literally impossible for the ecosystem to function normally. This is every infectious illness you can think of. It hinders bodily processes. Solution = eradicate the infection.
  2. infection induces the body wide Sickness Behaviour Response not because it’s a body wide infection but because it bugs the very wiring that tells the brain to engage in the body wide response. This would probably be the Nervus Vagus, its cells infected by a particular invader and thus thinking the whole body is under attack. Solution = get rid of bugs OR block this signalling to the brain
  3. this constant battling against invaders tires and strains the system so much that the very stress of the situation hinders its function overall. Since the ecosystem cannot be rid of its occupants a solution could be to teach the system to learn to live with it without assigning stress to it. Probably on a less intense level of life then that’s advertised. Solution: stress management aimed at the CNS and its brain components in particular.

It’s also possible that infection occurs in a particular part of the body that induces the very symptoms of ME/CFS. One such part are the endothelial cells that line every blood vessel in the body.

….

I’ve lost my train of thought. grrr

here’s the research paper on infection of the Nervus Vagus in relation to ME/CFS: http://www.pdf-archive.com/2013/06/23/vanelzakker-vnih-cfs-in-press/vanelzakker-vnih-cfs-in-press.pdf

here’s the post on infection of the endothelial cells: http://forums.phoenixrising.me/index.php?threads/what-is-the-mechanism-of-fatigue.38556/#post-616737

 

 pic by Mark Morcom

 

Don’t eat much.

  1. I preserve so much energy when I eat sensible (small portions of dense nutrient foods such as just 2 egg yokes for breakfast).
  2. Survivor Man Les Strous doesn’t find a whole lot to eat when he’s out in the wild.
  3. it’s berry time around my cabin, nature is giving! From this natural environment I get maybe 5 ripe berries a day… That’s not much.

1 + 2 + 3 = people were not made to eat all day every day. Certainly not in the portions we have at our disposal.

pic by Shannah Pace

Which is why:

4. sugar makes you fat and gives you diabetes. “Sugar” includes modern fruits, honey, wheat products, fruit juice and milk. Any amount over what you can balance on one finger will spike your blood sugar.

5. when you eat more than the size of your fist (or even half that) you’ll keep wanting more. You’ve activated your insuline system. This is a biological system that’s very hard to counter with sheer willpower.

The solution is to eat small portions of dense foods. Never raise blood sugar. Never go hungry.

I imagine a hunter gatherer’s daily collection: 5 berries and a small rodent.
pic by KateKrav

What will he do all day once he’s fed?
Sit around. Enjoying the view. Relaxing. Sleeping. Socializing. Thinking things.
Pretty much what the cat does, except for the thinking.

Can it be that we’re meant to do just that? That our bodies were made for searching food and, once found, to relax? To enjoy our brain a bit but not to the extent we pummel it today, with news and coffee and career schemes and games.

It certainly feels like my body was designed for having a little food and having a little lie in.
The problem is: what to occupy the mind with?

(I suspect we have drifted away from the original use in this also. We are addicted to the mental pummeling just like we are addicted to sugar and lots of food.)

hmmm.

“Someday”

I found a pinterest board titled “Someday”.
It had pictures of tropical beaches; of rocking chairs on lazy porches; of a luxury bath with a mountain view. Ahh, places to dream of. A life to long for.

pic by Loretta Humble

Someday, when you’ve got enough money. When you’ve got enough free time. Someday…

No sooner find I myself thinking: “Oh, yes, so beautiful, I wish I was there!” or I’m reminded of the gushing comments people make when I show pictures of life in my cabin in the woods:


“So romantic! So much tranquil nature! I wish I was there!”

But I know the truth. I know these pictures are lies.
(hint: there’s no such thing as tranquil nature.)

The facts of these pictures are that my lovely cabin has clammy air and noisy mice. It’s always dark and cold inside because it sits under trees. The trees attract mosquitos and where there are no trees there are horse flies. Sitting outside there’s always traffic noise and the smell of some decaying animal. The neighbour is a farmer who spreads manure on his fields every other week. My other neighbour needs to mow his lawn every weekend and has a wood sawing obsession.

The pictures in the pinterest board “Someday” lie just as much.
pic Bert van ‘t Hul

Palm beaches are riddled with noise and people hassling you and uncomfortable endless winds. There are bugs in the sea and bugs in the sand and bugs in your hair and bugs in the air. There’s no such thing as paradise. It’s always everyday life with everyday nuisances.

But I completely understand why beautiful pictures of places make us (me) long for a different life, somewhere else, somehow tranquil.
It’s because we are eye-creatures and it’s because we like to live in the future.

EYE-CREATURES
It’s amazing how fond we are of our sight. I keep marvelling at this fact of life.
Colours, patterns, movement. We humans adore them and we’ll change our surroundings to have more of them.
It’s why we love random patterns and designer cats.


So pleasing to the eye.

LIVING IN THE FUTURE

Pictures of a dream life often thrum up a list of conditions that First have to be met before you can start living the dream.
first you’ve got to get enough money. Then you’ve got to find the right place. Then you’ve got to build or decorate the place just right. Then you need the right clothes and the right partner. Oh, and you’ve got to get the right weight and body because the one you’re using now to haul around your eyes, it’s pathetic and you know it.

But once you meet al the conditions then… then! Then you can sit back in the designer chair with beach bleached surroundings. Then you can finally take a deep breath and enjoy your understanding and appreciation of life.

“Ahh…. one with nature… one with life.”

Yeah….. No.

LIVING NOW

We do not need to wait until “someday” to enjoy leisure time on the porch. Or to enjoy the feel and smell of wind dried linens.
We do not need a new interior to appreciate a harmonious arrangement of furniture and furnishings. And we can forget about that body. (Oh how we’ve been conditioned to hate our bodies, no matter what shape or condition it has!)

All we have to do is lay back on the couch and take a deep breath. It’s all right here. All the appreciation and divinity of life we ever wanted.

No need to meet requisitive conditions first. It’s all right here already. In a different shape than your brain was conditioned to believe you needed, that’s true. But it’s already here.

Anything will make a pleasing composition:
pic by Julia Freeman-Woolpert

Any cat is a cuddly companion that delights the eyes:
pic by Wrhoana R.

The fresh air of the beach is just a train ride away. Go take a walk there. Walk somewhere else and smell something else.
Any trow can make your chair into a designer experience. Use your bed blanket. Or a woolen coat. Just be inventive and present yourself with a new experience.

pic by Sanya Obsivac

It’s amazing how valuable a minute is. This minute right now?
How long it lasts! For me to just sit back and do nothing but stare a bit around me for a minute is pure luxury. I might even get bored.

As I lay back resting, forced to take all the minutes I need for my condition, I like to wander my eyes over my regular Joe surroundings and feast them on patterns, colours and compositions that are already here. In my cluttered, non-designer-approved home.

Feeling guilty for not cleaning the house? Nope, it’s just another composition to please my eyes:

 pic by Thomas Bedenk

… I’m an artist in my own mind….

And that’s the thing. I, and neither you, cannot afford to post phone life until we win that lottery, get to that dream place and start living that dream. The chances of getting it are pretty slim.

It’s the now and here that we’ve got. And it’s all we can handle, probably.

The only thing you have to spend is time. Time to sit back. Live through a minute of “nothingness”. No to-do list. No chores. No ambitions. No guilt.
It’s pretty hard to do, actually. Our minds are alway buzzing. Our eyes always catch the thing that is not right yet, that needs a better job.

But there is not enough time. There’s not enough time to do all the chores. To do better jobs.
Frankly, you don’t have the luxury of post phoning however you were going to spend your minute once you’d have that beach house or that dreamy porch.
You’ve got to spend your minutes right now, as if you’re living the dream. Waste them now!

Relax and enjoy your life, amidst the clutter and the rubble and the things not right. The minute right now, that’s all the luxury you get. And my, it is a treasure.

pic by David Butler

I love how in this picture some small things have elevated this living space to a dream space: blue railing; tulips; lucky moss on the bucket. And a cat. Now go sit near it for just a minute and enjoy what you’ve already got.

a still life of lemons and art

Soon I will have to sit down and mark my limitations and sketch what forfilling life I can lead within their parameters. It’s now sinking in that I will not recover from ME more than I have. And that I’ve already lost some of that improvement. It hurts.

pic by Keith Syvinski

I can’t sit down now because I’m still in the turbulence of a hormonal week. My feelings are not my own. My thoughts cannot be trusted. I question life and everything. I hurt very deeply.
It’s a tiresome affair to manage. Because no matter how unjust these feelings are, they are still felt deeply. These emotions and thoughts are caused by chocolate bars I ate last week, one every day for six days. It may have been the sugar, it may have been the soy lecithin. Something caused too much estrogens in my brain and I’m totally of my rocker.

pic by Jeremy Hanke

I have to wait until this clears my system before I can sit down and deal with life.

One thing that confuses me is how true and profound the thoughts are that too much estrogens provoke in me. Thoughts about life, the essence of life, the existence of man, the meaning of mine. Paired with the strong feelings I cannot help but wonder if there’s not some truth to them. If they should not be addressed, thoroughly. But I know I shouldn’t while I’m still weird in the head. Time will once again prove that this is not me, these thoughts are not me, these feelings are not me.

I hope soon to sit down and converse with myself about the real things. The parameters and living within the limitation thing. In the mean time life goes on, every day.

Today I’m rewatching an excellent British documentary about painting stil lifes.
It resonates with some things essential in me. Some essence of me as an artist. Of me as a human. Of me as a Dutchman. And of me as a chronic ill person.
I cannot sort these into separate labels. They overlap. And have something to do with the meaning of life.
It’s confusing and exhilarating at the same time.

To name just a few subjects they touch upon, in no particular order and in now way conclusive:

DAILY OBJECTS
There’s talk about the importance of everyday objects in our life. Things you touch every day. Their colour. Shape. Texture. Handling. Weight. How they look in the different light throughout the day, throughout the year.

pic by Ruth Harris

You touch them every day. Your body communicates with them.
You see them. People are eye-animals, they revel in seeing things. When an object forfills its visual promise with an appropriate tactile experience perhaps even a smell, that’s simply heaven on just a common day. It’s what life, as a human, is about. In part.

DUTCH GOLDEN AGE
The explanation of how Dutch society got to get a Golden century in the 17th century when money was flooding into the country and everybody was buying paintings to decorate their houses with and also selling houses just to buy one single tulip bulb or at least own paintings of tulips. While there’s still a Calvinistic streak running through us chastizing us that we should not be vain or enjoy possession.

Ambrosius Bosschaert, the Elder “Tulips in a Wan-Li Vase”, 1619

This importance to enhance your living quarters. This persists right up to today where IKEA caters to this need and we all long for something that’s displayed in adverts of Nordic and Japanese interiors.
(It makes me think of one of my dear books about Mexican houses. With warm colours and bold materials and much art of local history)

Somehow your house, your room, your things tie you to your place in life. Your identity. Your time of living. To your country. Its history too. You take your place in your era and in your location as you decorate your living surroundings.

Pictures in your house do something. But only as long as you keep seeing them, as long as they don’t become invisible.

IKEA art by Mike Toy, prone to invisibility.

I think there’s a chance for a new kind of “pictures”. No longer the posters that you frame and hang. No longer the mass catering IKEA does. Something else…
Something that ties you, your soul, to a wall, to a room. And reflects you back to yourself.

THE ART OF PAINTING
Ahh, the talk of shapes and composition. How mainly in Western paintings the light comes from the left. The documentary proposes that this is because we read from left to right. But they do not offer non-western still life paintings that have light from the right.
I think it’s as probably we prefer light form the left because we like to face south in daily life. And then the sun rises on the left.
Light from the left reminds us of this promising event, when the day is still young and full of opportunities.

This talk of the mechanics of art make that I see its components all around me, right where I sit, here at this cluttered table with a funny lamp beside my laptop and a cup full of colour pencils.
I see shapes and textures. Compositions and directions. I love it. Having an artist eye makes that you are never bored. Even if you cannot sketch anything because you are too weak to hold a pencil.

art by Milton Avery

Well, there are many things in this documentary that make me happy. That provide me with beauty in thought and sight.

Isn’t that the weirdest thing, that one can hurt so at the core and have questioning thoughts about the essentials and be happy at the same time?

Here’s another picture of shapes and colours and composition but also a story. I think it’s beautiful! All the round shapes…

affordable art by CorellaDesign on Etsy

I’d like to do this very much. So much it aches. So much that I have not thought about this for years, because the hurt was too great.
Now I’m thinking about it again. Want to do this. But I am crippled. Crippled with ME but more so with something else. With life, I guess.
I hope to sit down soon and flesh it out. Find a way.

Here’s the description the BBC website had of the documentary:
Apples, Pears and Paint: How to Make a Still Life Painting
“A richly detailed journey through the epic history of still life painting, featuring a range of delights from the earliest existing Xenia mural paintings discovered at Pompeii to the cubist masterpieces of Picasso.

Awash with rich imagery of fruit, flowers and humble domestic objects, this lively take on the story of still life encompasses the work of some of the genre’s greatest artists from Caravaggio to Chardin and Cezanne. But it also captures the surprising contributions of the less well known, including asparagus enthusiast Adriaen Coorte and female flower painter in the court of Louis XVI, Anne Vallayer-Coster.

With contributions from historians Bettany Hughes and Janina Ramirez, art historians Andrew Graham Dixon and Norman Bryson, and philosopher Alain de Botton amongst others, it opens up the huge social histories that lie behind the paintings and the fascinating lives of the people who made them.”

The need to reinvent myself. Again.

Here I am. It’s not going splendid. But it’s going.
I feel I need to come to terms with my current level of health. This is it. It’s not going to get better.

I’m worse than I was 3 months ago. But I’m better than I was a year ago. I can be thankful for that. Health wise, I think this is it. This will be my base level.

That means I can now, once again, take stock and identify my probable daily energy supply. And adjust my expectations and my plans to this level. And then start living them, instead of spending all my energy managing my life, my day, my body.
I’d love to live life again, even if it is within these limitations.

 pic by bugdog

I’m still a bit blue over the health I gained and lost again in the last 6 months. I have no illusions about making up for that loss. It truly feels like I’ve hit a ceiling. It’s in my bones, my gut. Not something I just thought up.

I’m also blue because I feel age creeping up on me. In a few decades I’ll be old and things will probably deteriorate fast. It’s not like I’ve got a lot of buffer, I have maximized my potential already. The thing I dread most is the extra time and energy I will have to spend when my body deteriorates further.

These past two weeks there’s also a lot of toxins floating in my brain which is a big nuisance to live with. And GOdamnit, I forgot to take vit D today!
that’s not helping the brain moods at all, that’s for sure.
I’ve been feeling awful, thinking awful things, wanting to snap at everybody (on the internet because I keep away from people in real life). All the while knowing this isn’t me. But knowing something doesn’t make the feeling go away.

 pic by Andrzej Pobiedziński

Also, I ate a lot of carbs over the past few weeks. Even made some custard pudding flavoured with commercial cookies and pine apple juice. I think my body sacrifices a lot of minerals when it has to cope with carbs and empty foods. I may have depleted the mineral supplies I’ve build up over months.

Well, back to chicken broth and mineral supplements (which might turn out just to be expensive pee) then. Sigh.
And I’ve got to kick my body into gear, get it moving, because nothing clears out toxins and levels hormone levels like moving does. Just a little walk around the block will do.

I’ll start by dragging myself of the couch now and get some broth and vit D in me. I hate how everything is a mental struggle, while I KNOW I’m an enthousiastic, cheerfull person by nature. I think I could handle the low energy and battered body better if I didn’t have that brain toxicity to deal with too. It just robs you of your identity, it makes you just drag an empty shell through the day, wasting precious time.
(But I guess it could be worse. I could mistake my false feelings for my true soul. At least I’m not confused about who I am, even though I do not get the chance to shine trough.)

pic by Sue Byford