life · social issues

Resilience

I have just finished reading Resilience by Anne Deveson, an exploration into this indescribable characterisitc – ‘we all know what resilience is until we try to define it’ (Dr George Vaillant). Anne writes that it has come to mean an ability to confront adversity and still find hope and meaning in life.

This week my adversity has been searing pain each time I use my bowels, following a colonoscopy to supposedly get rid of hemorrhoids. I’ve had the joy of enduring these for seven years since my first pregnancy. I spent the last week of my last pregnancy living off painkillers to enable me to be. When I asked the doctor if it would effect the delivery process (as far as I was concerned this pain was already torturous!) he just laughed – fortunately (?!) he was right labour pain is of course an entire league of its own!!

This morning I was also awoken with an overwhelming negative attitude. My dreams all night were forebodingly dark and my children awoke before the break of dawn. I’ve given thanks for a family I love (even while I hate!) and a roof for shelter, all whilst apologizing for the lack of strength to shake this mood off. Two hours passed since I was rudely awoken, I yelled at each family member and returned to bed the moment my husband seemed more awake than dead. This week I’ve finally had freedom, study done for the year, hooray! But my resilience felt mighty low.

Tim Costello’s review on the front cover suggests the book demonstrates ‘resilience as a celebration of life’ and as it follows the last days of the author’s dear friend, indeed it does. The Victorian government is currently discussing a euthanasia ‘assisted dying’ bill where I wish it would spend money on palliative care and sharing story’s like Anne’s of all the trauma of death but also the honour and dignity (perhaps not bodily) of the journey.

If you love, you grieve (Thomas Lynch). You fall in love in a thousand ways, and you grieve in a thousand ways (Allan Kellehear). ‘For some…pain filters through more slowly, a little at a time as the body can bear’. I do not believe I am very in touch with my emotions. The months of November and December seem to be harder for me, the end of year rushes and conclusions, so much anticipated but then here and leaving me with the question of what now? And of course the anniversary of my Harry’s birth(death)day.

But perhaps I am learning the art of resilience, I took a walk, I folded the washing, I even played a bit of monopoly and while not on my list of top ten saturdays, today was ok.

How has your Saturday been?

Do you have a definition for resilience?

Have you experienced hemorroids, Dr Google I believe is shocking on this topic so please feel free to discuss here 🙂

 

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family · life · relationships

An Open Letter on my Brother-in-laws second wedding day

To the open universe,

Today was an emotional day.

Today my amazing brother-in-law, my hubby’s wonderful younger brother, married my beautiful new sister-in-law. I love them both just so much. They are my family and I am so blessed to have them in my life.

I wasn’t at his first wedding. To the wife who passed away within a week of their first child being born. I missed that special day. And the truth is I have many regrets. And fears. We married into this family. One family, two different sons and two very different women. And yet right from the start she enveloped me wholeheartedly and boy was she excited about her first niece. Despite being far away at that time, she was so very involved in showering both her and myself in love. We drifted apart, making decisions we each didn’t agree with and I remember clearly telling myself that just because we were sisters didn’t mean we had to be the best of friends. And then she was gone. And even though things at that time weren’t great with us, they were getting better and with time I know our wounds would have healed. But we didn’t get that chance and although I forgive myself over and over, and even (I think) truly believe deep down that we were good, obviously its still there and no words, absolutely none, can describe how much I miss her, the way I miss her and how much I wish we had more time.

And so today, as I welcome a new sister into the family, who deserves so, so much more than to be compared to the sister I’ve lost, I can’t help but think of what could have been. And I’m so sorry but I can’t think of one without the other. While I miss and mourn for one at the same time I welcome and respect and admire the other. And yes, fear too that we too, may create wounds. We are different, we have different opinions, and we don’t need to be the best of friends but you are my sister. You are the mother and step-mother of my nephew and niece, you are the wife and chosen life partner of my husband’s brother. I know I don’t always say the right thing but when you look at me and shake your head, it breaks my heart. I don’t want to live (I can’t live) in fear of losing you. So please whatever I may do, please, please know I love you.

It doesn’t help, I’m sure that it’s that time of month, that I forgot my anti-depressants…

Today was an emotional, wonderful day, for two people, perfect for each other to be wed.

sincerely

Gee Jen

 

life · relationships · Uncategorized

So Much More than Just a Sport

I’ve wanted to write for quite a while about a topic very close to my heart. despite the fact I can easily imagine others looking at it as a complete non-issue. I’d like to start therefore by proclaiming that I am a strong believer in the concept that it takes a village to raise a child. Indeed I am very fortunate to be among wonderful supportive ‘villages’ that both make my parenting life easier and also enrich the lives of my children. A predominant one of these villages is my sporting community. My husband is an avid aussie rules and cricket player, so year long our saturdays are taken up by sport, our sundays by recuperation and the week for preparation. I also play and love netball but this year made the BIG decision not to play for the same club as my husband but another local club which plays in a different league.

It was an incredibly hard decision to make, especially when at the start of the season I was basing the decision most pressingly on a memory I had that I wanted to change clubs next year. At the start of the season I couldn’t precisely remember why I’d been feeling that way but I decided to trust that memory and try out for another club.

Things that made the decision difficult:

  • I love the club I was leaving behind – the people and the sense of community
  • They were struggling for netball numbers – actually I thought they would only have one team instead of the usual two which meant I’d be ok
  • Friends not understanding why I was making the decision

One thing that would have changed my mind:

  • My husband was very against the idea. He’d said so and yet (and yet) he didn’t (wouldn’t) discuss it with me. He wouldn’t give me his reasons and he didn’t (wouldn’t) ask for mine.

My husband won his grand final yesterday, I am so happy for him and proud BUT I am also now sitting here in bed reflecting (crying involved) on why I want to make the same decision again next year. I’ve decided to put finger to keyboard and communicate some of these reflections.

Reasons I made the decision:

  • The lifestyle/culture – the only way to celebrate a grand final is to drink all night and all day, or at least that’s how it feels to me. I’m not good at this. I get tired and grumpy and unsociable. I’m more a stay home, read a book, cuddle up kinda girl.
    • I don’t think my husband minds this about me but I feel like I miss out. I want to be apart of his victory, I want to celebrate with him but it just doesn’t work that way.
    • There are other wives/girlfriends who seem to be able to do this and I’m jealous.
  • As I’ve said I LOVE so many people part of this sporting club. My children have so much fun with friends there. I decided though that there’s a difference between loving people and wanting to spend majority of your time with them. They are my family but they are not the people I would sit down and chat with for 4+ hours on a weekly basis. We are different and that’s ok.*
  • I started to hate particularly after training nights walking in and waiting to find someone to sit with. It was a weekly decision/agony and why should I put myself through that?
  • Training nights were the same for both me and my husband making child care difficult. Also due to tea and socializing they were late.
  • Relationship/family stuff – I would always feel like as soon as we arrived at the footy oval my husband would clock off. Now was his time to prepare for the game while I was responsible for the childcare even though involved in my own sporting game. He would often be last out of the change rooms and sometimes I would feel that even after he did arrive out he would not look to acknowledge or come see me. This was his domain.

It was the right decision to make, for me. Not so much our family, we missed out on travelling together for games and the kids missed out on seeing as much of their friends. I would still often head out to club rooms after my games, which would be nice but not great. I enjoyed playing netball with a different group of girls. I enjoyed that the focus was solely on netball and not working on maintaining a whole community. I also appreciated the flexibility of training on a different night.

But now we are at the end of the season (actually I still get to play in a grand final next weekend!) and I still feel the same way about many of these issues. I believe it’s important to my husband for me to be there as a sign of support but I want to be wanted for my company.

There is no conclusion to this story, it’s a work in progress. In good news for me though my husband and I are starting to see a counselor so maybe just maybe by the start of next season we will be making a decision together.

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*I’d like to note that some of these people I would happily spend endless hours with and that some of my feelings are likely overly swayed by my moods. I also want to say how supportive many of these people have been – a number will be there to watch me at my grand final next week and an even larger number asked me yesterday how my team went.

Books · life · social issues · Uncategorized

Bookish (AND not so bookish) Thoughts Thursday

I missed WWW Wednesday yesterday so had a look around for a Thursday Meme, this one hosted by Bookishly Boisterous  looks perfect!

  1. Attended yet another awesome bookclub last night. We were all fans (except one prude :p) of An Almond for a Parrot by Wray Delaney (pen name of Sarah Gardner) a great, easy, fun (sexy) read
  2. Signed a petition today for Amnesty International regarding child labour on palm oil plantations in Indonesia (specifically Wilmar) – I’m not 100% sure about it and did a little research which initially was mostly about the environmental impacts of palm oil plantations. To this end it does seem that some companies have been improving their practices – WWF Scorecard  and Australia Scorecard . This website had a good explanation. However my friend asked a good question regarindg the child labor – if the companies stop buying these products what happens to the children? Do they get pushed into other areas of slavery/sex objects/ etc so that they can survive?
  3. Read a bit about family law and royal commissions – absolutely love Rosie Batty and all the work she does
  4. Also read about the new Australian Conservative Party and although I liked this tag line ‘policies, not personalities. Principle, not politics.’ I don’t think I’m onboard with them.
  5. Have had two home days, yesterday super relaxing as both kids at school/kindy, today was harder to get motivated and harder to indulge for second day.
  6. Tried to get my head around Four Corners expose on the Murray Darling Basin, quite relevant for my local area but not sure of anything. Good list of ABC articles here  but my question is which response is best out of a federal judicial inquiry (Labor option), independent inquiry (Australian Conservatives) and senate inquiry (Greens option)? Disappointingly I havn’t seen anything from Liberals.
  7. Just had a lovely 30 minute phone call with my Mum, love that woman!
  8. Other parentals on my mind are my father and father-in-law spending the week together volunteering in the Bush – not sure how I feel about that!
  9. Oooh and last but not least I havn’t started any other books so have made progress on Silence

 

 

Hope you are all having a good week. Would love to hear your random thoughts on all and everything too 🙂

life · relationships · Uncategorized

Three Thoughts

My first personal memory of a community in mourning was when a woman was murdered from a previous workplace of mine. Even when you may not be closely associated with a person, the magnitude of the loss of their life can still floor you. I guess that is how it is for some people with celebrity deaths.

In recent times my local community has been struck by tragedy after tragedy after tragedy. As I watched footage tonight of six young pall bearers I reflected on the honour that no person wants but that I was so blessed to have for My Friend. Thought One.

Secondly I’ve finally had the ‘holiday’ experience I’ve been dreaming of this week – ending the day with episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. But (spoiler alert) I’m watching the episodes about Keppner and Avery’s baby and reflecting on the choice I was once given to terminate my pregnancy. Mostly I consider the blessing I had to continue to carry him in my womb, for which I will forever be grateful. Thought Two.

Today was about tax, work notes, Telstra and chores. Thought Three – I hate end of year time as part of my in-laws family business. I hate what I feel to be judgement and a complete misunderstanding of who I am and my values. But on the bright side hubby and I have been communicating well and that is something I wish I could hang onto for all time.

Any thoughts you care to get off you chest?

God bless

life · study · Uncategorized

Home day curse?

I’ve done my back. Well actually the issue is more in my hips and it is very much improved from Wednesday but….

First time this year I had some free time our puppy broke his leg

Second time I got majorly stressed out

Third time I couldn’t walk for 2 days

I’m sensing a pattern I am in no way impressed with. But then again these things are meant to come in threes so I should be ok now, right? Right?!?

Life however is good

I’ve been really enjoying A Place to Call Home although it has also challenged my beliefs around homosexuality – the treatment of a man in this series because of his sexual desires is horrific

I’ve caught up on my wordpress feed, so much good stuff – I think my next challenge is to read a non-fiction book perhaps one by Neil Postman

I’ve handed in all due assignments so far – this week will be the big challenge though with my first lengthy essay.

All three of my teams won their games today – be warned netball related post on my mind

I love my kids and family – what more can i say 🙂

Hope you’re weekend is going well, preferably less the aches and pains I’m experiencing but also full of love.

 

It’s nice to touch base, God bless

 

ps Feel free to share a tidbit from your life – I need all the distraction from study I can get!!

life · mental health · Uncategorized

The Failed Experiment

The other night I started a reading for my ‘Working with Mental Health’ course about anxiety and I must say I was feeling pretty impressed with myself. Alas the pride before the fall (or however the saying goes). I was feeling good about how I hadn’t really been experiencing anxiety that I could think of, hooray my self-confidence seemed to be travelling well.

I had a great Saturday but work Friday and Sunday were stressful, not unexpectedly leading up to work-shadowing on Monday! An anxious response to such an event is perfectly normally (as my reading told me). But now I must confess to my attempted experiment. I’ve had a few weekends away recently when I’ve left my medications at home and survived! Following that I thought to myself, well perhaps I’m ready to reduce my anti-depressants, and without consultation I stopped one of my daily tablets reducing my intake by 75mg.

Today I declared this experiment a failure and returned to taking my prescribed dosage. And I’m annoyed. I’ve been feeling more stressed and emotionally worn out but there is no evidence to be able to assuredly say that this is because of my reduced medication. It could just as likely be due simply to more stressful life circumstances in recent weeks. But why put myself through extra stress if the tablets do help? And so my brain has been on over-drive, overthinking, over analyzing over …  I was going to wait until after today to decide if it was medication or life affecting me, as today is my free day. No kids, no travel, just home with a chance to get on top of things. I’ve been waiting for this day and now that it’s here there is pressure to make sure it’s not wasted. Pressure on my free day?!? Good work brain. So I took the tablet this morning and I’m annoyed at myself at being disappointed. I have no qualms about taking medication for my mental health and yet it still seems an ideal to reduce that medication. I like to think it’s a cost thing because less medications equals less money spent but I’m financially blessed so really what does it matter…..?

Now faithful readers I’m going to give you an insight into the justifications that have been going round and round my head – reasons why I’ve been feeling more stressed out:

  • Reading about anxiety is bound to bring up feelings of anxiety
  • Assignments are looming and I don’t feel like I’ve had a chance to sit down and really focus on study (that was what today was for)
  • The box of papers that I’ve been constantly adding to, to sort through, but not finding time to deal with
  • Waking up to a messy kitchen/house
  • Relationship stuff
  • Parenting stuff
  • Just a general sense of not feeling on top of all that is coming up
  • Decisions to be made around playing netball and after school activities
  • Feeling so worn out and taking time to nap rather than putting those drawers I bought weeks ago into my bedroom and continuing the process of decluttering
  • Preparing for upcoming birthdays
  • Buying a new car
  • Preparing for work
  • Doing those exercises my therapist gave me not to mention trying to eat better…
  • Making time for blogging 😊
  • Actually clearing the table not just reorganising into different piles!
  • Oooh not to mention my period starting

Oh my what a release to actually write some of those things out. I am a list lover but I’ve tended in recent times to avoid them as they so often get made and then simply added to that box of papers. I think I can work with this list above. I think I may be able to acknowledge some of those stressors and move on.

I feel like this week my brain has gone back to that cycle of overthinking whereas when I’m truly well, I don’t think I just do. I don’t rehash and work on justifying I just feel. But I’m not really sure maybe it’s all just the reverse-placebo effect, maybe I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, maybe I’m mis-remembering.

And maybe today was a good day. Maybe today was just what I needed to get back on track of all those thoughts going round and round. Another good day. I got what I needed to done, not all that would have been ideal but some extra stuff too aka a normal good day. I don’t really care about the medication, even though I’m feeling much better now I’m not goin to re-attempt the experiment (just yet :p ) but I will keep working on and addressing my mental health after all it’s what keep me sane!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friendship….