Archive | May 2014

Donations

My husband just requested I go online and donate something for him and what he wants to donate may surprise you.

We donate many things throughout our lives. We donate money, time, goods for the poor, toys for toy runs and when we’re decluttering we have many used items to donate to secondhand  shops, op shops and the like.

In life we’re also exposed to the possibility of donating our organs. Darren and I are both organ donors. My hope is that all our bits will be way too worn out and old to use, but should we die young enough to help others then so be it. Made round to go round I say.

Like money, your body is no good to you when you’re gone. The family may have issues at the thought of your body being interfered with after your death, but I would hope our family would not interfere with our decision to help someone else or to help in the progress of science and learning. Whether that be that coroners in training or young doctors get to practice on a cadaver, or your body is used in some other way. Because after death all that’s left is skin, bone etc 90% of which is water. It’s no longer where you are. You, after death are in the heart and souls of your family. You are part of their memories. You body was just the vessel that carried you around. I’m not going to go into religion here, many religions have differing ideas on what happens after death, what I’m saying is if you can still be useful to the world after you’ve taken your last breath then why not help others. Heck some people may be more helpful after death than they ever were in life…lol

Darren has Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that affects neurological functions. It’s a disease that affects many people and if you spoke to them all they would all have differing symptoms. At the last CT scan Darren had 5 lesions on his brain and a number of them on his spine. These lesions are scars of sorts, MS is an autoimmune disease where the body is attacking itself.  There are many different types of MS and luckily for Darren he probably has the better, Relapsing/Remitting. This is not to say that next week this couldn’t progress into the next stage, but for now, to look at him you wouldn’t realise there’s too much wrong with him.

One of the lesions is on his optic nerve, so this affects his eyesight. His cognitive functions have also been compromised, in that his short term memory is poor. Things like remembering his home phone number are beyond him. He gets confused very easily and when put under pressure the confusion worsens. Physically he fatigues very easily. Most afternoons are spent in a chair either reading or napping. If he wants to do anything physical like go for a walk it has to be done early in the morning. He manages to walk twice a week most weeks, under the theory of ‘use it or lose it’, but these walks leave him extremely tired, so he has to managed his time well. If we have a market to attend on a Saturday he would only walk on a Tuesday to give himself enough time to recover so he has enough energy to get through.

Darren is a member of the SA Multiple Sclerosis Society and receives their newsletter/report. In there this month they were talking about donating your brain to further the education into this insidious disease. Darren asked me what I felt about him donating his brain. I said I had absolutely no problem with it at all. I guess when the time comes, if he should go before me, it wont be a nice ‘thought’, but that’s all it is, it’s a thought about what is happening to your loved one. But in actual fact, as I previously said, this is only the body where your loved one once was. They’re not there now.

I personally think that everyone born into the world should be a donor and if you wish to ‘opt out’ then you be given that option no questions asked. It is quite a personal thing, but it’s a huge thing to those who need it. I bet if you had a child who was dying of heart failure or kidney/liver disease you would be feeling the same. I’m hoping that our donations will bring about some change, that maybe after death our lives will still be valuable.

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Pleasure and Pain

I thought I would share something of a personal nature in the hope it will help other sufferers or help someone understand what someone with anxiety and depression goes through on a day to day basis. This is my story this week, but I have many weeks like this.

Looking at me from the outside you wouldn’t think there was a thing wrong with me. I appear confident and capable, I run my own business and I care for my husband who has Multiple Sclerosis. I appear to be a strong woman. But appearances can be deceiving. Outwardly there are many people who look ‘normal’ but have inner turmoil going on or a whole world or hurt and pain that is unseen, whether that be mental or physical.

My husband has a physical disability that you can see, he walks slowly, he trips a lot, his cognitive functions have been affected, his eyesight is affected. For him, making a decision is difficult; put him under pressure or try to rush him throws him really off guard. Simple decisions like whether you’d like a tea or a coffee can take a minute to decide, where for most people it’s a simple question. I find I get so frustrated at the situations we find ourselves in, but I have to take a breath and remember it’s not him, it’s the MS. But he’s not the same man I married 25 years ago and that makes me angry at times.

For me depression set in after postnatal depression. It’s come and gone in that time but over the past 20 years the black dog of depression has stayed close to my side. Along with that, anxiety stepped up and as at time taken over. So I find I spend much of my time isolated within our home as this is where I feel safe and comfortable. Having people to come the house throws me into a spin, me having to go anywhere usually ends up with me not sleeping for days with the worry of going out, even down to answering the phone get set me into panic.

So many negative thoughts run through my mind. Why are the negative thougths so easy and the positive so difficult to find?

This weekend I’m looking forward to going to a stitching weekend. I’ve never been to anything like this before. So as usual I haven’t slept for the past week, which only adds to the anxiety. When I saw I haven’t slept, I mean I’ve slept for 2 hours here an hour there, but not enough for a person to really function well with. There have been thoughts of not going to this weekend, but I know I must. I know once I get there I’ll enjoy it. I’ll put on my ‘happy’ face and no one will ever know the turmoil within and the difficulty that I have gone through to get there. It should be a breeze, right? It should be just pack your bags, check you have everything you need for two days, fill the car with fuel and make your way there…..Not for this chick.

For me it has meant as I said not sleeping, chest pains through panic attacks, calling the accommodation place 4 times to make sure I’m booked in. Checking the map a number of times so I know exactly where I have to go. Checking how long the drive will take, then checking how long the drive will take from my motel to the venue. Going on Google to ‘see’ what the places look like so I can recognise them when I get there. Packing and re packing. Worrying what will happen if the car breaks down on the way there, will my phone work if something goes wrong. I don’t know anyone there, what if no one wants to talk to me. Am I even someone that anyone would want to talk to.  Will I be wearing clothes that will be suitable. Will others be dressed up more than me. Will I look a slob. Then we get into the thoughts of ‘you’re useless’, you’re worthless….. you’re pathetic….. All this inner turmoil and pain and no one but me knows what’s happening.

So anyone else looking at that disastrous list will notice that most of what I’ve worried about are totally out of my control. Why would any normal person worry about things that haven’t happened or are very unlikely to happen. If the car breaks down I have roadside assist. If the accommodation is booked out, there’s other places I could go to or I could sleep in my car… people at the event don’t know me from Adam, so they actually have not formed an opinion of me and wont be wasting any of their stitching time thinking about me at all. Who cares how long it takes me to drive to the destination, as long as I get there….

It’s called a ‘loop’, your thoughts create feelings, these feelings create behaviours. I need to turn those negative thoughts into positive thoughts, these in turn will change how I’m feeling and then create better behaviours. Simple really. But it takes oh so long to learn. It’s so easy to fall back into the negative way of thinking.

So my bag is packed. I’m still worried and I can’t concentrate on work, or stitching (I find writing a wonderful tool to help calm me down, I don’t have room for other thoughts when I’m writing) so I will spend the rest of the day either writing or I also want to learn more about website development, so I may spend some time resourcing that, which in turn will take my mind off of the worry about what tomorrow will bring.

Depression and anxiety can’t always be seen, but if you know someone who is suffering, just let them know you care how they feel, let them know that no matter what they are still valued and loved and if they need a hand to hold please hold their hand. Help them step outside, encourage them in their efforts to get their lives back in order, but don’t push them or try to force an issue, it’s definitely a gently, gently approach that’s required.

Having written this down has helped me ‘see’ things more clearly. I know I can do this. I know I will have a wonderful, fun filled weekend with beautiful like minded people and who knows there may be someone there struggling just like me. I guess right at this moment I feel lonely, but tomorrow I will meet and make new friends so I am truly looking forward to that.

I’ll let you know how I go.

 

Have a great weekend people..

 

Sue

This entry was posted on May 23, 2014. 4 Comments

Something a little different

Hi all, Long time no talk. I guess like many I get caught up in life and forget to sit down. I find writing very relaxing, I’ve been told many times I should write a book….. But what would I write about and who the heck would read it?

Today I’m going to talk about self love. I was talking to a friend a few days ago and we were talking about self esteem or lack of it and got around to the question ‘what do you love/like about yourself’? I was totally stumped. I honestly couldn’t come up with one thing that I liked about myself. I felt terrible. Then when I thought about it some more, I couldn’t see why anyone would actually like me, when I don’t like me.

Then i considered it might be something that we would all struggle to answer, so I thought I’d write about it and ask you the same question.

The question was in relation to self esteem and where self esteem comes from. To have a good self esteem one really has to like ones self. It’s a simple enough question, but one that took me literally two days to come up with an answer, but at the time my thinking was limited to  physical attributes, not what is within.

Now I know this is a fairly deep and personal post, but I think it’s terribly important to talk about I don’t think any of us value ourselves as much as we should. I think we all live with a level of guilt and question ourselves far too often as to whether we are doing the right thing. I know when I had two kids in school, I was forever questioning whether I should be at home or out working. You were damned if you did and damned if you didn’t. Nowadays I don’t think it’s possible for young families to purchase a home and not have two parents working. So mums out there everywhere will be constantly questioning whether they are doing right or wrong by their children and family, which will in turn possibly lead to low self esteem.

So, what do you like about yourself?

Now if you’re having trouble answering that question don’t panic, just sit and ponder for a while about what is good about you. What characteristics are there within you that help you manage your world and help you work with those around you.

After the conversation with my friend I just couldn’t let go of the thought, I actually went home feeling quite miserable. There had to be at least one thing I liked about myself. So, what do you do in this situation? You ask someone else. In this case I spoke to a very dear friend, who came back saying very nice things about me, which was lovely but not helpful. I needed to find something that I liked about myself . Not learning the first time around I then turned to my eldest daughter and asked her the same question, she laughed at first asking was she helping me with homework of some sort…. She said a few things that got me thinking, then a light came on.

As I said I had been thinking about physical characteristics like my hair, my personality, my laugh…. what I ended up finding that I liked about my self astounded me. I didn’t think I possessed as many attributes that I actually liked about myself and once I had identified  these things I felt fantastic.

I found that I liked my sense of humour, I like my common sense approach to life, my ability to keep a cool head in tough situations, my problem solving skills, the fact that I have good instincts and always follow my ‘gut’ feelings, I like that I’m no one’s fool, I call a spade a shovel, I never hold grudges, I’m not argumentative, I’m honest to a fault, faithful, loyal and I’m easy to get along with, I am a strong woman and have coped with many of life’s ups and downs and survived. I survived a stage 4 cancer against the odds and somehow I’ve managed (with Darren’s help) to raise two beautiful, independent women to boot.

As I said, originally I had thought I needed to find something i loved or like that was physical but that’s not the case, mind you after losing my hair through chemotherapy a million years ago, when my hair grew back it grew back with a nice wave in it instead of the unruly frizz that it used to be, so now it always sits nicely, and also now I’ve decided to stop colouring my hair the greys that are coming through look like I’ve had them put there. So I guess if I had to pick a physical aspect I would say my hair. Prior to chemo I had longer hair that had totally uncontrollable curls. In fact people used to have perms to make their hair curly like mine. I used to go and get it straightened. Now, I’m happy with it just the way it is.

Anyway I’ve digressed. What do you like about yourself? Think about this for a while, it took me two whole days….lol but I think it is a very positive exercise, I personally felt a lot stronger and felt more valuable once I had pointed out my good qualities to myself and I hope it does the same for you.

Thanks for reading my blog, I’ll be back later to talk about something else that’s caught my attention.

 

Bye for now

 

Sue