Saturday, January 29, 2011

Delving into the look for my future

Today was another day hard at work tidying the clutter in my external life.  It actually marked the end of a very drawn out process that began last week, hitting a high point yesterday when I finally completed my 2009-2010 tax return, and finished today with a cull of the filing cabinet.  My shredder has never worked so hard in it's life!  I came across a stash of very old letters - including some interesting (and embarrassing) ones from past loves - which led me to reflect on where I am today.

Interestingly, I discovered in one of letters that I was doubting my long term desire to be a nurse, even before I had finished uni!  But, even today, when people ask me what I would like to do as an alternative, I cannot put my finger on a satisfactory answer.  I was adamant after completing my disastrous work experience in Year 10 (will not name the facility other than it was a private hospital in the eastern suburbs of Melb) - where I spent the entire two weeks filing and brushing false teeth (but not at the same time haha) - that there was no way I was going to be a nurse, nor be involved in health care in way whatsoever.

I entertained ideas about journalism - I still love current affairs and the like - but I wasn't particularly gifted when it came to putting down my thoughts into the written word.  Unlike now you all may say.  Loved reading - and still do - but writing reviews and essays didn't exactly 'rock my boat' so an average B - C student in English I became.  Not good enough for a career in the field.

But, after reading a "course" of letters from a long-term boyfriend at the time, I can track the progress of my decision to enter nursing.  I won't go into the details other than to say my resolve not to nurse slowly dissipated over time and was replaced by a strong desire to do so - supported very strongly by my beau who was considering a similar career path for himself (he ended up becoming an upholsterer instead - don't ask me how or why?).

Of course, when I started uni it was easy to get into the swing of things and I found I actually enjoyed it far more than I thought 2 years previously.  The career suited my personality type - a people pleaser and a carer.  And here I am 20 years later (far out that makes me feel old!), my nursing registration still current but finally looking outside the "square" of traditional nursing / nursing management.  I am facing my future (again)...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why oh why oh why?

Have spent the most of today trying to get my head around all the accounts that I racked up (and continue to do so) following my stay in BBH.  Sure, I have private health insurance, top cover - with a large excess I may add -  but the bills still roll in.  What the?  Phone calls to Medicare, GMHBA, Healthscope Pathology, the Healthscope facility I was admitted to and keep visiting as part of my treatment...well, they are all going to add up too and who is going to have to pay that?  Yes, me.  My whinge for the day and I apologise.

But it did get me private insurance worth the huge financial outlay that we all seem to have?  Sure, I did get admitted pretty quickly once there was a bed available at BBH (less than a week after I said "please take me:") and for 35 of the 38 days I was there I had a lovely single room with a view (of the car park...but the Melbourne skyline was there and I could watch "The Edge @ Eureka Tower pop out every now and then!) but what about all the extras that aren't covered - blood tests, non-illness related medications, chocolate, soft drink, etc etc.

The big problem I am facing now, besides having to fork out my annual excess again (and so soon after the last one!) is trying to fit all my ongoing 'treatments' - I like that word rather than 'programs' - into my allowance.  And trying to work out the terminology!!!  What is the difference between a day program and a session, and why am I allowed double the number of day programs than sessions?  Doesn't make any sense AARRGGHH!!!  All I want to do is get better and not pay an arm and a leg for the privilege of being well.

If I went public, I would probably still be waiting for a bed, would probably have to share with 3 others -including the bathroom - and would probably be still unwell.  On the flip side, everything would have been covered my Medicare - including my continuing recovery.  But I would probably still be waiting on a public list, like I am currently doing for the pain management program at St Vincent's hospital.  My name went down in early December and was pretty much told not to hold my breath.

Anyway, today is day 72 (pure and serene) and 34 days since discharge.  Well on my way to a full recovery, as long as I remain vigilant, determined and supported.  It would just be nice to concentrate on getting better rather than all the associated "trimmings" of health care.  But that's life...

(posted 3.18pm Thurs 27/01/2011)

Monday, January 24, 2011

My BIG mouth - thou shalt get me into BIG trouble!

Ooopss...that was a very close call - could have lost an extremely good friend and it would have all been because of my big mouth.  Well, not necessarily big but a truthful mouth.  You see, now that I am experiencing the full gamut of emotions - up, down, up, down - combined with my resolution to "be Tanya", I am no longer afraid to hold back what I really think.  Very dangerous to us all!  And an enormous risk that I may alienate people by saying so.

I am very lucky that this individual has come to know me quite well over the last 3 months or so and can possibly understand where I am coming from with this new and 'insightful' me.  So, for my friends and relatives out there reading this, BE WARNED.  I am not intentionally going out of my way to cause trouble but I need to be true to myself  and if that means that I ruffle a few feathers in the process then I am very, very sorry.   I will try my hardest not to upset anyone, or hurt their feelings, but in return I would really appreciate that you let me know if I have said or done the wrong thing and understand that it is" just a phase" I am going through.  A bit like puberty, I suppose.

My friend Kat, when I told her about "the situation", was quite blunt when she texted "You really should be more careful who you send msg's to!".  What I did was akin to drunk sms'ing, so not only was I telling someone how I really felt, but there was the risk of the message being 'lost in translation'. Lucky lucky there was no reading between the lines, which is something I always do with electronic communication - read something that isn't there, just because you get the "gist" of the message wrong.

Anyway, my friend (who shall remain nameless but he knows who he is) is still my friend and thank the heavens as he has been a really great friend - and still is.......

(NB: message posted 3.52pm Tuesday 25th January 2011)

I s'pose I have it easy...

I am one of those people who fall into a "fug" every now and then (lately more often than not) but this evening at "school" I was jabbed with an enormous dose of reality - my life really isn't as bad as I have convinced myself it is.  Sure, I have my "personal issues", lack of employment, no money, ill fitting wardrobe (thanks to the 10+ kilos I lost whilst in the BBH), a computer that is from last century, etc, etc, but when I compare myself to others.....well, I don't have much to complain about at all.

Sometimes I have to take a deep breath (BREATHE) and be thankful as it (my life) and I could have been so much worse.......

Saturday, January 22, 2011

One-word theme for 2011

As I was trawling Facebook this morning (when I was supposed to be writing application letters for jobs - yes, I know, procrastinating again.  I must remember to put that down on my list) I found a post from Gretchen Rubin as part of her Happiness Project 2011.  She suggested that we have a one-word theme for the year.  I didn't take me long to work out mine as it has been an ongoing personal theme for some time....BREATHE.  Whilst I was in BBH I wrote this down on my wrist everyday as a reminder to do so and when  I started to panic or get upset, it would be a reminder to slow down and deep breathe through the moment.  Crazy but it works. 

So that is my word for 2011.  But, I am planning on making it my word for LIFE.  Yes, I am getting a tattoo in the exact same place.  You may think that's really classy (not) but it will be in small print and located where it can be covered up by a watch (which I never wear) or some bracelets and wrist bands (which I always wear).  Problem averted.

However, I am not liking the idea of having the English word - how boring.  I have found heaps of online translators and dictionaries and have tried the word out in so many languages - French, Russian, Thai, Arabic, Hebrew, you name it.  The more I have looked, the more confused I became.  So, to narrow the choices down, I decided to stick to languages directly related to me, and my history.  For example, I love New Zealand, and would move there in a heartbeat if it wasn't for my nieces and nephews, so Maori would be an option.  The problem there is that there a number of different 'dialects' - I have asked my friend Claire to sort out this issue for me.  Is it 'ha' or 'whakaha'?  And how is it pronounced?  My luck the 'wh' sound will be an 'f' sound (try whakaha out aloud commencing with an 'f" - great huh?).  Another option is Russian - to go hand in hand with my Russian name, but the single word 'breathe' translated into at least an entire sentence.  Not only would this translation wrap around my entire wrist, it would damn well hurt!  I have also tried Thai - had an amazing holiday in Bangkok and Koh Samui in 2006 - but it looks so, well, common.  Every second person these days seems to have something Asian drawn on them.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.  I must be 100% sure of what I want -obviously- so I am not hurrying into this, even though I was certain I would have had the ink in place by now.

Friday, January 21, 2011

"The Saturday Trap"

I think I hate Saturdays.  Can't put my finger on why.  Could it be that everyone is out enjoying themselves - playing sport, shopping, visiting friends and relatives - and I can't be bothered doing so?  Maybe.

Or it could be that I am so tired from the hectic week before that I fall into a heap of "I can't be bothered"?  Lately I have been SO busy.  Up and down to Melbourne at least twice a week (which will turn into three times a week in early Feb) and in and out of Geelong almost every day.  It is hard being so popular and wanted hahaha (as if?).

I suppose I should get used to being busy now that I am looking for work.  It has been nice (maybe not the right word, but many of you will get my drift) having this extended period of R & R but I like structure in my world and pottering around to my own devices does not cut it!  Having too much time means I tend to ruminate, then stress, about all sorts of things.  And then that leads to a good dose of self doubt.  And so on.  Definitely not ideal.  But that is where learning mindfulness will assist.  That and a good laugh.  I learnt the other day that there was some research undertaken where half a group were asked to frown for 10 minutes whilst the other half were made to forcibly smile (using pencils to pull their mouths into a smile) for the same period.  Those who smiled reported being less stressed and anxious and more happy.  And that is when they are forcing themselves!  Imagine the benefits of smiling naturally, or better still, laughing?

As part of my recovery, and my "happiness project" I am endeavouring to list my Twelve Commandments.  So far they are:
1.  Be Tanya.
I must aspire to be authentic and true to myself and to stop worrying about how others think of me (when I usually think the worst - part of my people pleaser complex!)
2.  Laugh every day
Thank goodness for social networking as my Facebook and Twitter friends are always a source of amusement.  In the BBH I was nicknamed "giggling Tanya" by one of the 'stayees', Edith.  We caught up again the other day and when I started laughing she said "I so missed your laugh, it always brightened everything up".  How sweet.  I have never really thought about what my laugh may do for others.  Anyway, like my previous post about Black Books, a good comedy always makes me feel better also.

NB:  Obviously the host of is in the U.S as they are a day behind - that is why it says this was posted on a Friday when really it is Saturday here in "Osstrayliaah" (as Oprah says!).

My affair with Black Books

I did have some good intentions to listen to my mindfulness CDs tonight but instead I got sidetracked into watching some more episodes of my fave Channel 4 UK comedy 'Black Books'.  I was introduced to this series by Chris J, a fellow member of the BBH, who has been told by his friends that he looks like the lead star, Dylan Moran (I did laugh at this cynically when he first told me but when I thought about it, the more I watched the show and the more time I spent with Chris, I have to agree!).  Most nights we would take control of the TV, laugh hysterically and send all the other "inmates" scuttling to their beds.  Great fun.  Anyway, the show is about a reluctant book shop owner - Bernard Black- who drinks and smokes incessantly, hates customers and only has two friends in the world - his assistant Manny and Fran, the lady who runs the 'Nifty Gifty' next door.  Do yourself a favour and watch it if you can (I think it is shown every now and then on ABC2).

Katie Howell and I have started a tug-of-war over Dylan Moran but have come to a compromise - I will have him 4 days a week and she will have him for the other 3.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My plans for tonight

Once I finish my 'summer cleaning' of the office, I will settle down to listen to some CD's that came in the mail yesterday "Mindfulness for beginners" by Jon Kabat-Zinn (who was recommended by Reuben - for all those from the Big Brother House (BBH) who may be reading my blog).  Five guided meditations - I wonder if they include my personal favourite, the leaf in the river? hahahaha.  I hope it doesn't have the movement meditation.  Try meditating/thinking mindfully whilst trying to walk putting one foot in front of the other, kind of like doing a drink driving test - VERY hard!

I will let you know how the CDs go and whether they are worth investing your hard earned $$$.  But Reuben knows best.....

Day 66/28 - time to start I think!

I was told during my stay at the "Big Brother House" that I should start writing in a journal about my recovery.  I had to have a bit of a laugh - no one keeps journals anymore, they use the world wide web to share their ups and downs.  I have never considered keeping a blog before, that is, until my cousin Natalie recently started one and I thought "why not?".  So here I am, 28 days after discharge (and 66 days into my recovery), blabbing away my inner most thoughts and feelings for the whole world to read (as if they would be interested anyway?)

I have called this blog what I have because a enormous part of my stay involved the topic of "mindfulness" or as I wrote in my old fashioned, hard copy journal of the time "being aware of where we are, as a person in the world.  Looking at our surroundings with a new set of eyes".  I think it assists in developing an acceptance and understanding of our feelings, sensations and thoughts and helps in developing responses to unpleasant feelings, sensations, thoughts and situations as they occur.

So, something I must learn and conquer.  Practice, practice, practice they say.  And so commences my journey.....towards mindfulness?

 A tidy and calm environment is what I need first, before I even start to think about working on myself.  So my first task is to clean my office.  Well, not exactly clean but tidy up - papers everywhere, folders on the floor, paid (and unpaid) bills lying around, you name it, this room has it.  I am reading a book called "The Happiness Project  (or why I spent a year trying to sing in the morning, clean my closets, fight right, read Aristotle and generally have more fun)" by an American writer Gretchen Rubin - a fantastic read by the way, very funny and makes lots of sense - and in her January projects, one of the things she focussed on was 'Toss, Restore, Organize'.

"Household disorder was a constant drain on my energy...I wasn't alone in my fight against clutter.  In a sign that people are finding their posessions truly unmanageable, the number of storage units nationwide practically doubled in one decade.  I was also weighed down by the invisible, but even more enervating, psychic clutter of loose ends.  I had a long list of neglected tasks that made me feel weary and guilty whenever I thought of them.  I needed to clear away the detritus in my mind."
Well, well, well.  There is me in a few lines.  I need to sort out my "space" before I sort out my "head space".  But how boring and uninspiring that all sounds.  So, being a multi-tasker from way back, and a way of keeping me in the office and away from the beautiful sunny day outside, I have started this blog....(stay tuned)