20 May 2016

Let's Talk About... Health and Employment (8) - 3 Month Check-in...




Hi there again, welcome back :-)

This month marked another one of those annual happenings that we all have... I had another birthday.  So what better time for a spot of reflection, I thought to myself.  Why not, indeed!

The day itself was relatively quiet.  WookieeMan knows that anything Harry Potter or WWE (within reason) makes for a happy Goofy, and my birthday was no exception.  I can now count a Gryffindor scarf (even though I'm Hufflepuff - who cares, it's HP) and Shawn Michaels' autobiography among my possessions.  Yuss!

It also marked three months since my return visit to the State of Unemployment, and there has been a marked improvement in that time.  If I can see it, then there's gotta be summat there.

That doesn't mean that it's all good now.  Last week has been a bit tough.  The "suit" came on again when I went out with DP one day, but fortunately didn't stay on all day, though.  We went to a lifestyle expo, and had a good walk around but didn't spend much (which was fortunate, as I didn't have the funds needed for all the glorious gadgets, gizmos and goo that I would have brought home otherwise).

To be honest, earlier in the week I came very close to not going.  Some anxiety and downness reared their ugly heads again, but this time I was a bit more prepared; once or twice I gave in to the urge to hibernate a bit and nap, which was not necessarily a bad thing.  The rest of the time, I pulled up the big-girl britches and carried on through it.

A couple of realisations came out of it, though:

Image result for clean house1 - A chat with WM helped me realise that I need to pick up the pace around home a bit more, and be more productive.  I sure started off with a hiss and a raw 3 months ago, but that didn't last - DARN it.

2 - I'm feeling a bit of social isolation.  I especially am missing our church family, as we haven't been for a few weeks.  I feel it when I'm out and about, and suddenly start trying to think of someone I could go and visit.  I read this week that even if you don't really feel up to it, that can be one of the great times to hang out with someone else; it gives you something else to focus on.  It especially works well if it's someone who "gets" it - someone who won't look at you sideways if there are periods of silence, because they know you value each other's company, especially in the struggles.

On the job front, I have applied for a few in the last few months.  I got one interview, but was unsuccessful; sent out a few expression of interest emails and CVs to some organisations that I wouldn't mind working with - some got back to me, some didn't (typical, but then you get that with the big - and small - jobs).

When I was at the expo, there was a company promoting their business, which happens to be community support work - which coincidentally is the field I am looking to get into.  So, me being me, I bowled on up and mentioned that I'm looking for work as a support worker.  I was given the coordinator's card and invited to call in and see her for a chat.  I took the chance to email my CV to her over the weekend, and the upshot is I go and see her for an interview this week. Bonus!

So... at the end of the day, what have I learnt/discovered so far on this journey?

- The Black Dog sucks!  But he doesn't rule the roost around here.
- Even if you think it's going to take so long to get through this and come out the other end - if you ever do -, that's not necessarily a bad thing.  Because your mind and brain, just like other parts of your body, need time to heel.  Depression and anxiety are not a small thing.  Together or apart, they are illnesses.  And you can't just ignore an illness and carry on as though everything is just peachy keen, jelly bean. GIVE YOURSELF TIME!

Image result for black dog depression

Till next time...

                                                       Take care, y'all

14 April 2016

Let's Talk About... Health and Employment (7) - Break Time

Update - Week 9

Whoa!  What - already?  What happened to the other ones??

Yes, I know it's been a couple of weeks since the last one, but I didn't think there was that much to say, really.  Or maybe I wasn't quite correct with that.  

Hmmm... Let's see...

I hope you all had a great Easter, and while enjoying the choccy that generally comes with it, spared a thought or more for the real reason we celebrate it.

Every Easter, our church combines with our sister churches in Hamilton to hold a convention over two days, that everyone is welcome to attend.  It generally consists of a guest speaker from an overseas church, a shared dinner, lunch, morning and afternoon teas, a book stall with books and resources provided by one of the local Christian book stores, and  generally a great time of fellowship and teaching.

Interesting place to be, for someone battling depression and anxiety, I hear you point out...?  This is true and correct.  And I found a great place to be during the fellowship times:- helping out on the bookstall.  That way I didn't have to deal with too many people at once, I still had great company to hang with, and I could put on my dealing-with-the-people persona to get through it all.  Fantastic!  Maybe...

I made it through the first session, dinner and the time before the next session after that, and didn't go back the next day.  


But we did get to our own church for Sunday morning service, and that was cool; had a great chat with a couple of people at the cup-of-tea afterwards.  After that, the weekend was ours to hibernate at will (for me) if the urge so took me.

A week or so before that, I was invited to join a lovely couple of ladies/girls from church at a Woman's One-Day Christian Retreat in a town about an hour or so from Hamilton.  I consider that to be my first big outing for this healing time, and it was really good.  

For those of you who totally get where I'm coming from, it really helps if there are people around who know what the deal is, and places that you can just step out for a bit of a break or time-out and space and peace.

If you've checked out my earlier posts in this series, you may remember that DP and I took a day trip back home a few weeks ago, to see someone for what may have been the last time.  It was.  On Easter Monday, we received the news that he lost his battle with cancer.  It was an emotional time; the person involved was DP's father and my ex-husband.  The memorial service was on the following Saturday, and WookieeMan and I travelled down for it - about a 2 1/2 hour drive one way.  We picked up a young friend along the way, which reminded me of days gone by and added to the overall enjoyment of the day.  The service was very moving, with memories that I had forgotten. It was also great catching up with a few people I haven't seen for quite some time. 

About two weeks, I started volunteering for a few hours a week at the local IHC day programme, that our buddies go to - partly to spend some more time with them, and partly to get some experience under my belt.   I'm a bit excited about one aspect of this:  one of the services users can talk, but more often than not, chooses not to.  So as one of the activities staff there are supposed to be doing with her involves other methods of communication, I have started working one-on-one with her doing sign language.  Another client there is not able to communicate, and he is meant to be learning PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System).  I'm not familiar with that, but I'd like to learn more about it.  Do you know anything about that?  Please comment below if you do. Thanks!!

One thing that's come out of that is the realisation that I'm quite interested in other forms of communication.  A path I could possibly look at exploring - knows what could come out of it?!

Last week I had a JOB INTERVIEW.  It was for a support worker's position in a day programme for elderly people.  We should hear back about it this week.  I'm not overly confident that I got it, but my support person from Workwise said it went really well, although she had never heard so many "can you give us an example of..." questions in an interview before.  Even if I don't get it, I'm happyish with how it went, and I'll keep trying for other roles in my chosen field.  

You would think, wouldn't you, with all of that stuff, I would be a bit of a basket case at times, yes?  Surprisingly, I wasn't as bad as I thought I would be.  I was expecting to crash a bit after the memorial service, but it wasn't that bad either, all things considered.  

My psychologist has suggested mindfulness and meditation. The mindfulness isn't so bad, but I can't quite get my head around the meditation... my thoughts are jumbled together so tightly it's very difficult to separate them, so I think I'll let them come apart on their own a bit, then tackle them. We did discuss a new tactic, though - that of the spotlight.

Spotlight? Huh??  Yeah... not as weird as it may seem.   It works like this...
You find yourself in a dark/down/panicky, etc moment; you may not be able to pinpoint exactly what it is, but it's there, alright, the diva on centre-stage.  The thing to remember is, that it's not the ONLY occupant on stage.  So rather than kick the diva out, we need to pull the spotlight back, and widen the circle of light.  What does this do?  it illuminates everyone else also who's on stage.  Now in English, this means that rather than focus on the dark/down/panicky, etc thoughts, we become more aware of our environment and surroundings; the smells, the sights, the sounds, the tastes, and the things we can touch.  Pretty soon, the diva is no longer centre-stage, but becomes a smaller part of the whole picture/surroundings, and becomes easier to deal with as required.

(Now if the theatre is not your thing, dahling, the scenario is adaptable to whatever floats your boat.)

Financially, we were  very blessed a couple of weeks ago - for which we are very grateful, and have managed to pay off a couple of the smaller bills, which has freed up a few dollars.  WM has agreed to take over control of the finances for a little while, which is great - I don't have to worry so much about the home accounting for a bit. Yuss!!

I have noticed one thing, tho:  when I eventually retire, there is NO WAY I will be spending all my free time at home, if I can help it, 'cos I will go NUTS!  Housework has lost its allure - again - but cooking and trying out new stuff is still up there as a fun activity. My sleep patterns are starting to unravel a bit, so that needs addressing ASAP (here comes that technology thing again). I mean, nana-naps -they rock!!  Except if it's later in the day... and it stuffs up your sleepytime that night... which means that you wake up in the morning for the morning caffeine fix, and go back to sleep for a couple of hours... which can stuff up your sleepytime that night... grr...  

Still, onwards and upwards, ay what old bean...?  
-  Enthusiasism for things is returning; 
Dark days are getting lighter, although there is still a dark shadow around the peripheral;
-  My hubby is still fantastical and yummy;
-  Our cats are still numpties;
-  My friends and supporters are still awesome;  
-  Our God is Still AWESOME!! 

So I'd best go and get organised for my day... even though it's half-past noon already!  Stay safe, stay cool and from me to you, 
See you next time

Turrah, luv

13 April 2016

Let's Talk About... Health and Employment (6) - Big-Fat-Hairy-Deal-MEH!!


As I mentioned at the start of this section, I have transferred my updates from Facebook to this blog.  This is the last of those ones.
From #7 on in this series, they will be 
updates-from-the-battlezone, so to speak.
Thanks for your patience :-) 

UPDATE – Week 5:

Halfway through week six already!! I have NO IDEA what happened to my post from last week, but only about half of what I wrote actually showed up Better luck this time.

Well. I think last week came specially delivery from Sucksville. I forgot to take my meds on the Sunday, and by the time I remembered it was too late to take them. 


Possible financial assistance has been delayed because the companies involved want more information, even though they’ve got just about everything except our bathroom schedules. so now I need to get together updates of some stuff they already have and send it in again by lunchtime-yesterday-kinda-timeframe.

I didn’t communicate with many people at all last week, I have noticed that my resolve to cut back on the technology – i.e. FB – did not go quite according to plan.

Apparently I got my times mixed up for 2 appointments again; I say apparently, because I don’t believe that one of them was my fault, because I was in the applicable office when the professional made the appointment in her calendar, but when I got there it was on another
day with a totally different person. And the other one was changed by the professional due to a schedule overload – which was fortunate because I had the wrong time and location.

So, even after a great couple of hours out with WookieeMan on Friday afternoon involving drinkies, pool games and a juke box at the local RSA, it didn’t take long before my mood dropped again when I got home.

And along came Saturday. The first time ever that I didn’t want to get out of bed due to depression. Fortunately I have a wonderful husband who is very easy to talk with, and he reminded me that what I was feeling was ok; he’d been there, done that; no pressure to do anything; he wouldn’t think any less of me if I gave in to the urge to stay there. That
acceptance, coupled with the proverbial assertive encouragement from a certain Mr P across the ditch and the fact that the bathroom wasn’t about to come to me, helped me get up around 1ish and face what was left of the day. And you know what? I’m glad I did, because I felt better for it.

So in spite of what the black dog threw at me last week, I still found some things to be thankful and grateful for:
- My sense of humour is still hanging in there

- I refuse to submit to SUFFERING from depression, I am still BATTLING this beast
- Sure, I have no income to speak of at the moment, but WM does, and we get a bit from WINZ, and we still have food, clothing and shelter;
- I’ve developed a strategy that WM is in full agreement with to enable to help build up one aspect of our spiritual lives again, and that is the realisation that as there are fewer people attending our church in the evening as what there are in the morning, we will go to the night services for a while. It means we don’t get to see many of our friends there, but this is a temporary solution;
- I’ve really gotten back into my crochet again, and am hoping to sell a few scarves soon;
- It’s so easy to see only the winds and rain in the middle of the storm, but to quote (M*A*S*H) Colonel Potter in a conversation with his camp priest who had dysentery – this too shall pass;
- I have a scrumptious husband, wonderful family and fantastic friends – not many, but you don’t need too many;
- No matter how bad things are for me, there is always someone who is worse off;
- I got a call back from the HR department of an organisation I sent my CV to, and they have a position that I might be interested in; so I have applied for it;
- We have an AWESOME GOD who will meet our needs; who will never give us anything that we can’t handle, and if it does get too tough He always provides a way for us to stand up under the pressure; He knows the plans He has for us – plans to prosper and not to harm, plans to give us hope and a future; and He is in the process of repairing the damage of the locusts of the past – all because I accepted His gift of salvation through Jesus.

Thanks to those of you who have given me positive feedback on my wee posts of this nature; I’m pleased and humbled to hear that they are actually helping some of you that are going through your own times of trial. Despite my own struggles, I will always make myself available to anyone who is genuinely struggling, in any way that I can. And don’t worry, I have learnt that I still need to put my own recovery first and that sometimes I may need to take a step or two back.

So that’s it for this week, folks. Take care, God bless you all and stay safe.
See y'all later!

Let's Talk About... Health and Employment (5) - 1 Month Down!

Pauline Anderson's photo.

UPDATE: 4 weeks gone - 1 month since I became unemployed!

Pauline Anderson's photo.Things seem to be settling down in some ways. But I'm not feeling quite as chipper as I was. Part of that is because I'm more tired, and when you get tired it so much easier to get cranky and down on yourself. Yup. Uh-huh. My motivation to do things has definitely left town without me.

So... What can be done about this?

I can LIMIT THE TECHNOLOGY!! I've noticed (and you may have seen this too) that I've been on FB a lot more in the last month. Quite a marked increase, in fact. At any time, almost. Curse you, smartphone!!

Pauline Anderson's photo.
Pauline Anderson's photo. 

Let's Talk About... Health and Employment (4)... Back Home Again

UPDATE: Bye-bye Week 3, greetings Week 4!

T'was a bit of an interesting time last week.

Some very close friends are going through a bit of a horrendous time right now, and WookieeMan and I are doing what we can to support them from afar. What surprised me was that anxiety did not raise its nasty head during all of the interactions we had. We are praying that their situation will be resolved in the best way possible, and that stress levels will drop all around.

I had a bitter-sweet trip back down to my old hometown on Friday with our DP. The reason for the trip was not a nice one at all, it was time for me to say farewell to someone who at one time was a very major part of my life, and who will be entering hospice care probably some time this week. It was a good time of healing, in some ways, and things were said in peace that needed to be said. Still sad, though.

It was also a chance for me to see one of my old stomping grounds, Whakatane Hospital - or rather, what was left of it.  The main hospital block is being demolished, presumably due to earthquake safety.  It was a shock to see the old girl coming down.  It was the first permanent job I ever had, way back in the mid-80's; it's where my offspring came into the world; and it's also where my mum passed away, 7 1/2 years ago.

And, of course, no trip back home is complete without a trip over the hill to THE gem of NZ beaches, Ohope.  Best beach in the country!!

Progress-wise, I did experience the odd downer, and had a couple of days where I wanted to hibernate. But rather than focus on the negative stuff, I've decided to think about some of the things I'm thankful for:
- We have food, clothes and shelter, 2 nutty pusscats, and wonderful family
- Basic finances are sorted, and a couple of other options are in the pipeline
- I have started on another crochet project, and am thinking about starting my blog back up
- I've started putting out feelers for casual/part-time support work roles, and updated my on-line job-site profiles
- There are still some wonderful people that I used to work with that I count among my friends
- And, of course, there are all of you - my cyberspace
friends - some of who I know so well, some a little less well, some I have never met. But I thank you all for your support and communication.

Till next time...
... stay strong, stay safe, God bless you.