Monday 18th December 2017

Archives for September 2017

Courage, Exposure Challenges & Me. Part One. 2017.110.

Courage, Exposure Challenges & Me. Part One. 2017.110.

Background.

I have mentioned a while back here on the blog that for quite some time, IBS, fear of having to find a loo quickly, anxiety about travelling on the M1 to Sydney were all contributing to a heightened sense of anxiety and worry. So much so, that I found it stressful to have family here to visit and resisted entertaining people. This was further exacerbated very early in 2017 when some very hot days in NSW, seeing a HUGE line of cars which could not move on the M1 because of a major accident and my mind immediately imaging what it be like for me to even contemplate such a happening that I literally and figuratively FROZE with fear. My planned visit to my father’s in Sydney for his birthday in early January was cancelled. By me. Crying, sad and fearful me. I felt so guilty but I also felt incredibly relieved. Interesting!

What is exposure therapy, or as I like to call it ‘personal challenges’?

Here is some information:

Exposure therapy is often essential if you are to overcome your anxiety disorder. The cognitive behavioural treatment of  conditions such as: panic with agoraphobia, simple phobias, social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and post traumatic stress usually entails an exposure component.That is, you must subject yourself to the situations you are worried about in order to beat anxiety.
Although this sounds frightening, your therapist will give you the tools to cope with confronting your fears (e.g. rational thinking, slow breathing and isometric relaxation).

The guidelines for exposure therapy are that the sessions must be
* graded
* repeated and regular
* prolonged

Graded:
 Your therapist will work with you to determine what would be an appropriate first step; it should be difficult enough to provoke some fear but easy enough for you to be fairly confident you can do it. Once you can cope with Step 1 confidently, then you can move onto a more difficult situation and gradually work up your most feared scenarios.

Source: http://www.anxietyaustralia.com.au/exposure-therapy/

Shortly after my decision not to drive to see Dad, I summoned up enough courage to keep my next Psychologist appointment after I had been to my lovely GP to tell her what had happened. Rationally I knew what I was doing and feeling was not helping me but I could not escape from the rope fear and anxiety had wound around me. I also was NOT diagnosed with an anxiety disorder nor was I depressed but my behaviours and resistance to trying the challenge myself were making me (and I guess those who loved me) a bit frustrated but kindly not showing it much! I resisted even though I would tell my professionals I would give the exposure ideas a go in a graded sense it never seemed to me anyway, to be enough.

Some of the ways I was ‘convincing myself’ that things were going well. Deep down, I knew they needed to be better and only I could change that.

My Personal Challenges Getting Me Started. 

Recently I have been listening to Brene Brown on her Rising Strong – A Spiritual Practice CD and she talks of the stories we tell ourselves because our brain wants us to be rewarded with a shot of dopamine when we work out the story to fit the situation. It does not, however, mean that having that story makes you better or right. It IS just a story. I know I was telling myself many stories back in January to March. I know that they were wrong too but I could not even see myself being able to move further along the exposure challenge way. Until I HAD to.

Early April 2017. The BIG challenge after a few smaller but important ones.

It is no secret to readers here and Facebook followers and friends and family that my teeth, notably my upper jaw and gums had been giving me hell for about 8 months to this point. After some nervous but successfully personal challenges – driving on M1 to the Dentist, discussing what treatment I would need and back and forth, I faced 6th April. The day my hub would drive me to the dentist for a 1.5 hour extraction of both the bridge holding my 5 front teeth and the teeth themselves. I cannot lie that I was not scared. Not about the procedure actually but about whether my stress levels about IBS and worry of IBS would escalate. On the advice of our new then GP, I had valium and meds to counter any fears of IBS and with my hub taking me and staying in the same room with me, and listening to a CD of relaxation, I came through the biggest challenge I had to date.

How That One Event Helped Me Go to Sydney.

I drove home, alongside my caring husband, congratulating myself for having the courage to go beyond my fears and as it is said, do it anyway. I recuperated with relative ease and drove back by myself to the dentist after a week in a more relaxed and calm manner. It felt so good!  Then the so-called bigger challenge (exposure therapy-wise) was for me to drive to Sydney to see Dad. I do have to explain that it was because of ME I had to do this, not because of any pressure from him. He just wanted me to feel well and be less anxious. I did that drive, caught up with him, took him some meals and felt very pleased to have met the challenge!

So, there I went. Going well…but there was more, waiting around the corner…as regular readers know but I will continue next week!

Part Two Comes Next Week. 

Have you had anxiety or fears about doing some things in your life?

Have you overcome them?

Tell us about this.

Thank you for sharing!

I believe it IS important to share.

Denyse.

 

Joining with two blogging friends’ link-ups: Kylie here who hosts I Blog On Tuesdays and Leanne here who hosts Lovin’ Life each Thursday.

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Beach or Bush. #LifeThisWeek 37/52. 2017.109.

Beach or Bush. #LifeThisWeek 37/52. 2017.109.

People talk of, and actually do in some cases, making ‘sea-changes’ and ‘tree-changes’ in life.

In our case we moved away from the hustle, bustle and mortgage-laden house in Sydney’s north-western suburbs to retire closer to the east coast. We both came from coastal upbringings as kids and teens and then our careers took us to the NSW countryside…the Bush as it is affectionately known. When we moved TO Sydney in 1978 it was to be closer to medical services, buy a house, settle into new roles at schools in the area and to be somewhat closer to family and, as it turned out, to have a second child.

The reasons to STAY there after almost 30 years dissipated so it was time for us. In renting on the NSW Central Coast – it’s a large regional area about 1.5 hours from the heart of Sydney – we have found the northern end where we are now, preferable for us in terms of cost of living and access to what we need. Nevertheless, we really have NO IDEA of where will eventually BUY again as we do not yet have the final funds. So, the idea of doing some investigating, via here for our choice of Beach or Bush was born.

Enjoy the pics and the words and see if you can work out what is my preference by the end!

 

If you had to make a choice of Beach or Bush what would yours be?

Denyse.

I link up here too on Mondays: Alicia’s Open Slather and Kell’s Mummy Mondays.

Life This Week kicks off for the remaining 3 months of the year with this: Beach or Bush. 37/52.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today! Next Week: Movies.


 

 

 

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Cancer and Me Four Months On. 2017.108.

Cancer and Me Four Months On. 2017.108.

Really? It’s been four months since I found out that cancer was in my mouth….and by this Thursday coming, 11 weeks since it was removed. Oh. Then that has  gone both fast and slow!

I did say I wasn’t going to have cancer at the centre of my blogging but I cannot deny that it’s there/here/everywhere around us. My community nurse who visits each week to change and check on my leg wounds’ dressings has cancer. Hers is breast cancer. I know of on-line friends recently diagnosed too and one, very sadly, who has passed away. And the country was saddened to see the recent death to cancer of Connie Johnson from LoveYourSister.

CANCER.

I don’t use the ‘f’ word in front of it though. Many do with the #f…cancer. It’s just not me.

Today though  I am actually wanting to share the lessons having cancer has taught me. I am not going too ‘woo woo’ or having had a new experience from beyond. But it’s true.

Having cancer has taught me these 10 lessons:

  • I am not alone in getting a rare cancer and a most unusual one like mine …even if I did  know that someone else has had it might make a difference. The point I am making is I am not special”.
  • The surgeons know more about how to fix me than I do so I am better leaving things in their capable hands rather than trying to control where my cancer is taking me.
  • About kindness. Of strangers. Of friends. Of people I may only see a few times. So. Many. Kind. Words & Deeds. I am forever grateful.
  • When I need to be, I can be patient and wait. This is a huge life lesson for the previously still  impatient moi!
  • I have more inner strength and resilience than I have previously given myself credit for. It has made a psychological shift in me that has been noticed by those closest to me and the professionals I see more frequently such as my GP and psychologist. I am going well in so many ways, I can see & feel that now. 
  • To appreciate the little things in life. Sunshine on a day where I can go outside and soak up some vitamin D. A warm bed after an early shower (my husband still needs to help by sealing my right leg in a plastic bag. Time to talk. To my husband and to friends who call.
  • My creativity and independence give me great strength each day as I endeavour to feed myself for healing, wellness and enjoyment. It IS a challenge but now I am on my own two feet and fit to cook, I enjoy making meals for someone (moi!)  who has 8 teeth on the bottom jaw and a strong tongue. The rest…is attitude and being aware of how I can eat safely.
  • I can be calm about what is ahead because I am fortunate enough to be able to know (within a small likelihood) that my cancer is unlikely to metastasise.
  • What I face in the next 6-12 months is to get my mouth ‘fixed’ from the inside. I do trust my surgical and dental team 100% that their goal is for me to be cancer free (check!) and back to eating as I might have in the past (on the way) and to have my full smile back (it is half at the moment).
  • Every day is a gift and I need to be more in the present than I have ever been in my whole life. I am a work-in-progress in this as I often spent times in the past (regrets, sadness) and projecting into the future. I know that the only moment we have is NOW. 

What About You?

None of us have to have cancer to consider making life changes. Some of the last 2 years I had been on my way using daily meditation, creative arts and reading & doing on-line courses to better understand the various life transitions that were mine. Retirement. Ageing. Leaving Family. Selling Our House.

What do you do to help yourself?

Thank you to my readers here who have continued to be wonderful supporters and friends of mine as I continue to journey. I am buoyed by your care and words on-line whenever we connect!

Denyse.

Joining with Kylie Purtell (who is cruising along right now!) for I Blog on Tuesdays here and with Leanne here for Lovin’ Life Linky on Thursdays.

 

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Taking Stock. #LifeThisWeek. 36/52. 2017.107.

Taking Stock. #LifeThisWeek. 36/52. 2017.107.

It is always interesting to me to ‘take stock’ and again, some of my answers are similar to other times but THIS one mentions my health a lot more. I wonder why!! Thanks to Pip Lincoln here for the ‘taking stock’ words.

I hope you enjoy my run down for this week. Also, in case you missed it, the prompts for the remainder of 2017 are here and here! And one prompt (so far..) for 2018. I am a plan-ahead kind of gal.

Making : a mess in the laundry as I defrost the non frost-free freezer.

Cooking : not much today but will be making red meat-based dishes for me soon.

Drinking : more coffee than I have in ages and trying to have more water each day.

Reading: books! Finally I am back into books. Finished The Mummy Bloggers – a novel set in Australia in 2017.

Trawling: the internet for houses that we might buy ONE day …I think it is an obsession but I always want to be prepared.

Wanting: not much at all. No, that is a lie. I want to be planning something like a great holiday in my  our future.

Looking: quite self-conscious because of my mouth – post surgery – but….

Deciding: that is a small price to pay for being as cancer-free as any doctor can predict. 

Wishing: for continued good health for me and for all my family and friends.

Enjoying: the peaceful ambience of living here.

Waiting: for my doctor’s appointment today to have a B12 injection as that and iron are very low since surgery and the fact I have not been able to eat meat since January. 

Liking: our ‘newish to us’ GP who has been the BEST support to me since April 2017. 

Wondering: if the summer will bring the dreadful conditions of heat waves it has in the past 12 months. 

Loving: how art is my go-to for time out, creativity and mindfulness.

Pondering: tending not to ponder much these days.

Listening: to old-fashioned musicals on my CD player. My Fair Lady, Annie Get Your Gun and Oklahoma.

Considering: the cost of a frost-free upright freezer and then NOT…

Buying: one as they are around $800.

Watching: my sweet peas climb up to the top of the trellis I put on the back fence and…

Hoping: that by Sunday, 17 September, there will be at least one flower because it is 6 months since they were planted…to celebrate a granddaughter’s birthday even though we won’t see her, planting them and tending them reminds me of the years we cared for her.

Marvelling: at  nature in the garden EVERY single day.

Cringing: at this Federal Government and its complete lack of backbone on the same sex marriage issue so….

Needing: we all need to send back our opinion papers (not votes!) with YES ticked. 

Questioning: my cancer & why. But there are no answers as I do not cross any boxes for why. So in those famous words: it is what it is

Smelling: the delightful perfume from parts of the front garden.

Wearing: clothes that actually fit me now.

Noticing: that I feel better in myself for taking the time to select clothing which fits and suits me.

Knowing: that it is important to feel and look well and that it is linked to self-acceptance and self-worth.

Trouble-shooting: nothing much these days but I still need to be aware of not rescuing people. 

Thinking: that I am doing well for someone who was diagnosed with cancer just over 4 months ago.

Admiring: families of kids and babies who are found to have cancer. Nothing makes sense in my head for little people to get cancer.

Getting: my blog organised for next year’s Life This Week prompts.

Bookmarking: every book I have on the go right now. Using bookmarks made by me when I can too!

Opening: the conversations about dying with dignity where we can with family members as it is important to know loved ones’ wishes.

Closing: the door each evening as we settle in for a quiet and cosy night.

Feeling: incredibly grateful and blessed to be this well following my cancer surgery.

Dreaming: of our family coming together once more. It has not happened since early 2016. 

Hearing: the bird song…every.single.day. 

Celebrating: every day and every night of feeling well.


Pretending: it’s not something I do at all really. I am so not  poker player.

Embracing: life. Because it is GOOD!

And just in case you were wondering: here’s the way we voted on same sex marriage plebiscite in our house:

 

Thanks for reading thus far…and for joining in Life This Week!

Denyse.

I always link up here too. With Alicia for Open Slather and Kell for Mummy Mondays.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today! Next Week: Beach or Bush.


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P is for Pansies. 2017.106.

P is for Pansies. 2017.106.

I love taking photos of flowers and even though this past Autumn and Winter we were very distracted in our household by my cancer diagnosis in May, we still managed to put in some pansies in pots.

Oh how I love their colours.

I adore their patterns.

They look like cute little faces in some ways.

They also remind me of Mum. I think we must have grown them when I was a kid. And Mum always said ‘put yellow flowers near purple as it brings out the purple’ and I do that! Thanks Mum.

Here is the selection from photos I took recently, just using the iPhone..of the pansies in our little backdeck garden. I am hoping that soon I can also take photos of the sweetpeas as they are almost ready to flower.

Do you grow any flowers?

What are your thoughts on pansies?

Denyse.

Joining in with Kylie here for I Blog On Tuesdays and with Leanne here on Thursdays for Lovin’ Life linky.

For those who LINK -UP with this blog for #LifeThisWeek…the prompts taking us from 25th September until 1st January 2018 are on the Home Page..and here

Mon 25 Sept 37/52. Beach or Bush.

Mon 2 Oct 38/52. Movies.

Mon 9 Oct 39/52. Any Regrets?

Mon 16 Oct 40/52. Letter to 20 year old Me.

Mon 23 Oct 41/52. With $1000 I Would…

Mon 30 Oct 42/52. Travel Tales.

Mon 6 Nov 43/52. Meditation. Yay or Nay.

Mon 13 Nov 44/52. My Last Year Of High School.

Mon 20 Nov 45/52. TAKING STOCK.

Mon 27 Nov 46/52 Best Birthday Ever.

Mon 4 Dec 47/52 My View From Here.

Mon 11 Dec 48/52 Today I will…

Mon 18 Dec 49/52 “Christmas Plans”

There will be no #LTW on 25 Dec. It will return on Mon 1/1/2018 “Bye to 2017”

So, there were not 52 #LTW as I may have planned! 2 weeks with me away in hospital and none on Christmas Day.

 

 

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LTW is ONE. #LifeThisWeek. 35/52. 2017.105.

LTW is ONE. #LifeThisWeek. 35/52. 2017.105.

A Little Bit of History.

Kirsty from My Home Truths had a wonderful and friendly link-up called “I Must Confess”. It was fun and popular with readers and bloggers. But somewhere along the road in 2016 Kirsty decided to finish her link up because she was getting fully into her research, writing and presentations  for her passion, Kids with Autism. Sad as it was to see Kirsty “retire the link-up”, I, along with many added their fond farewells to her. I wondered though, in an email to her, what she thought about me doing a Monday link-up after she finished.

Generous soul she is, she said “go for it, and I will tell people about your link-up as mine finishes”. That was exactly what happened 12 months ago. Kirsty and I have known each other for over 5 years and friends from blogging care for and about each other. I decided to name my link up Life This Week as I already wrote in that category each Monday and it was a general enough name for anyone to join in. And just in case anyone wanted some ideas for posting, like Kirsty had done, I added optional prompts. We were good to go on Monday 12 September 2016.

The First Link Up.

I was hoping there would be some bloggers link up for the first week where the prompt was Beginnings. In fact, to my delight 24 bloggers linked up. That is almost a record number. What a thrill it was to see the blogs added and have the people commenting. Great start.

I made it my practice to reply to everyone’s comments on my post first during the day Monday if possible and then, either that evening or the next day, go to the linkers’ posts to comment. Commenting is my currency in blogging and why I blog. I love my blogging connections and value each and every one.

We were off!

How It Has Proceeded.

The numbers of linkers has remained between high teens, into the low twenties with a few low teen numbers. It is the consistency and those who have made it a regular event for them to blog and link that I love. It’s like I get to wake up each Monday and think “oh I wonder who will be there today to have a chat with?”

Each 9 weeks I posted the next 9 optional prompts. The 9th week one is always “Taking Stock”. I have also endeavoured to make the prompts date or time of year specific …more for my brain actually..and bloggers have liked some of these ideas. I guess as bloggers, anything which kick starts a post on some days is a win.

The highest number of blogs which linked up was this year on the week of Valentine’s Day with the prompt “Love.” Some of the lower number to link up appeared closer to holiday times which is understandable.

Where Will The Link Up Go Now?

Right now, I am finding it stimulating to determine what the prompts will be and have already got as many done as there are weeks left in this year! I leave them in draft form for a while and review them before announcing them. They are already on the Home Page and are listed in my post for IBOT tomorrow. I know some bloggers link up without the prompts and this is fine. The only real rules (despite my list!) is one link and it be family friendly. I added this because, ahem, someone added a link one time which was not!

The Link Up will go on into 2018 and I look forward to more connections on-line. I truly love the community of bloggers and those who link up here are extra special because we are getting to know each other. During my recent cancer diagnosis and subsequent surgery it was overwhelmingly apparent to me that I have people who care for and about me and I am truly humbled. Thank you all.

Without any more words…really! Here’s to the First Year of #LifeThisWeek.

 

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Denyse. 

I link up on Mondays here with Alicia for Open Slather and here with Kell for Mummy Monday. Join in there too!


 

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15 Years Ago & Now. 2017.104.

15 Years Ago & Now. 2017.104.

Fifteen Years Ago.

As I have written before, and is part of my bio, I was a K-6 School Principal in a N.S.W. Public School from 1999-2003. Before then I had been a relieving principal in two schools from 1994-1998. In 1999 I was appointed, by merit selection, to this school. The brief, once I was appointed, from my boss, the District Superintendent was “Denyse, I want you to bring this school into the 21st Century.” He was correct in that. It certainly was stuck back in probably an era two decades earlier. When I began in January 1999, replacing the former principal who died in the September school holidays earlier, I literally had to start the school’s organisation and planning from scratch. Why? Because the person I replaced trusted no-one and kept all leadership matters to himself,  and died with all the school passwords and information for getting things up and running. I took over a mess.

But I love a challenge and there were some good people who wanted to come along on this journey into the century we were on the cusp of entering. The school executive team was keen and wanted to learn more and  I could definitely help them with this and we formed a good group. Until the end of that first year. It really was a change that I could not stop and is part of what happens in school systems anyway but it made my job more challenging for sure. The school was unique in the area at that time with: mainstream classes, a special education unit of 3 classes, 2 O.C. (gifted and talented) classes and an Autism Satellite Class. Two of the people who were part of the executive team sought and got promotions elsewhere. Yes. I would encourage that of course. However, it left a hole for a bit which I was able to carry myself until I could get some new staff appointed.

Over the next 2 years however, this plan started to waiver. I had appointed a person to an executive role who was not up to the role. I take responsibility for that but it was a most unpleasant time as his continued absence from school due to ‘illness’ meant I had parents (and some teachers) calling for action. In the end, my district superintendent moved this person on and I could fill the role internally. I was relieved for a little while but then my best and most competent person in my team had to leave to have her first child. This was lovely for her and her husband and I wished her well. The remaining executive member who was my age decided to take Long Service Leave for the remainder of the year.

This meant I had NO fully qualified person holding an executive role in my very busy and varied school community.  But what did I do? I appointed people who were staff members who said they would like to learn more about the role and support the school  by taking on relieving roles for the remainder of 2002. This worked in some ways but I needed to take on more of their responsibilities myself or guide them step by step. It was as if I was doing multiple roles. I could sense how much I had taken on in June that year when I ended up writing a casual teacher’s class reports!

 

I did not know what this was doing to my mental health although I probably should have read the signs. I sought time out from the school to attend meetings and to meet with colleagues but at NO TIME did I actually tell my boss what it was like for me. In fact, I had said farewell to the District Superintendent who’d appointed me at his retirement and he was replaced by someone in an acting position. And, it still is the same now, a principal is meant to handle anything and everything that comes up. Well. Maybe in 2017 there might be greater awareness of principals’ mental health but not when I was becoming unwell. Even though I did not know it. I can look back now and see I was quick to anger and showed my displeasure when people did not comply because of their own incompetencies or my ‘view’ of how they should behave in the role. This led to….the following:

On a September evening in 2002 I received a telephone call at home from one of my relieving executive staff. She told me that there would be a delegation of staff coming to me the next day to make a complaint about my manner and behaviour. She said they had contacted our union and that person would be at the school. She also said that there was a rumour it was because of me that the school population was declining and that as that would mean at least one staff member would have to be transferred then I needed to step up. I could and did dispute this as the reason as schools’ populations change for a variety of reasons but instead I reacted personally.

This sure was a bolt out of the blue. But then again, I actually could see how my behaviour had changed and recognised that I was fast losing my grip on being a leader. Within moments of the conversation ending, and letting my husband know what had occurred I broke down. In tears and physical distress I knew I had to protect my health/self and I could NOT face such a meeting. I could not reach my boss and had to wait till the next day. I did not sleep and went to my G.P. as soon as I could that morning. It was very unlike me not to continue to be at work.

That day, 4th September 2002, she declared that I was suffering from anxiety and depression  due to work overload and that she would start the process of a work cover application.

I never went back to that school, that role or saw anyone other than my boss and the local district HR staff again. It was final and I NEVER  could have seen me, a competent and dedicated teacher, finishing my career JUST.LIKE.THAT.

Now.

So much time has passed and yet this time of 15 years ago remains very clear. It is imprinted upon my mind as ‘the time when I failed to do the job I was appointed for‘. Then again  as was  the culture of the time it meant I could not share how I was managing with anyone. Mental health management  in the workplace is hopefully becoming more recognised but there is still a huge stigma attached and shame as well. My shame is decreasing each time I tell my story. It did take courage for me to start to tell my story a few years ago because I did not want to admit my so-called ‘failings‘ as a school principal. I am the one who labelled these, no-0ne else.

The upshot of what happened to me impacts me still in some ways. I did have the claim for workcover met and was paid accordingly. However, as in all workcover matters many steps need to be followed as the recipient and these include ‘return to work’ plans. I simply could not do that. My GP was adamant that I NEVER return to that school nor to the role of principal. Interestingly when I was first on leave I could not even attend my grandchild’s school without a great deal of fear and anxiety.

I was treated by more than my GP. I had to attend meetings with my employer and work cover and to see a psychiatrist and psychologist but what they all wanted me to do I could not. I could not even drive on the road that would lead me to my old school. I was scared!

If I knew what I know now about myself I think I may have been prepared to expose myself to the experience of coming to work at the local district office instead of refusing (avoiding) because I felt such fear and shame. I also think with the knowledge I have now about my mental toughness and resilience that I could have stayed employed.

But no, as I found in early 2003, I HAD to resign my role and give up any rights so that I could, hopefully gain my superannuation lump sum. I was in a scheme which did not medically retire (sadly I had taken myself out of that scheme when we were first married) so the action was to leave under circumstances that were never envisaged by me. Then came an even tougher time when the Superannuation people interrogated me and tested me and declared I was fit and able to return to work. This was disputed by my medical team and it took the lawyers from my union (free for me) to gain my benefit.

For all of 2003 I took time out to explore my creative side, I volunteered at the Smith Family and I met with friends for coffee. I had many appointments to continue my self-styled rehabilitation after I declined to take part in any more of the WorkCover requirements. In early 2004 I needed more. I needed to be with people again and to teach!

There was much more that was good to happen to me from May 2004 onwards which I did for myself by returning to a teaching role in friend’s school and having no executive responsibilities. I was happily engaged in that work from 2004-2009 and had to be careful to not take on too much as I was only to work part-time. But I got my sense of being a teacher again.

So why tell this story?

The stories relating to stress, work overload and anxiety in the workplace need to be shared widely. I now know my personality  type and management style is that I need to be sure of things and want things to be done well and correctly. This was not happening in 2002 but I also held onto the notion that a principal deals with everything without telling the boss how it actually is. I have wondered how it may have worked if I had had the courage to tell someone. I did not even tell my husband.  I became unwell mentally and emotionally because I did not reach out to others and when I was finally diagnosed I was not to return to the workplace. I wonder now, if maybe things could have worked out better for me if I had the resilience I have today.

But we shall never know. I hope that by telling this story I could encourage others to speak up and share if the workload is too much. Tell someone. I know I should have.

Does anything here ring true for you or someone you know?

Denyse.

Joining in with Kylie Purtell here for I Blog On Tuesdays and with Leanne here for her Lovin’ Life Linky on Thursdays.

 

 

 

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My First Car/Bike. #LifeThisWeek 34/52. 2017.103.

My First Car/Bike. #LifeThisWeek 34/52. 2017.103.

I made this prompt My First Bike/Car with an initial thought to write about my first car. Here’s the backstory.

However, I seriously could not find a photo of my first car probably because I did not have it for long. Towards the end of my first year of teaching, newly in love with the man who is my husband, I turned 21. My parents, back in Sydney, were not “quite up to speed” with how quickly our relationship had progressed and when I flew back to Sydney for a family 21st lunch and party with Sydney friends (no B with me!) I was surprised by a 21st gift of a second hand Blue Datsun 1000. OKayyyyyy. It was a part gift and part, ‘you can pay this off back to us’ present and I was delighted to have four wheels to call my own and to drive back to the country. But life, for us, took quite a different turn with our marriage early the next year and living in the bush (real bush!) meant my little car was not exactly road-worthy there nor was my now husband’s so we did a very practical thing and got a bigger car, a Ford Falcon. Not enough space to tell you the stories of us and cars. And I waited for another 10 years, when we were finally city-based for me to get a new car to call my own.

So much for not mentioning the car.

Not even a first bike story…it’s a tricycle.

When I was a little kid, around the age of 6 I was given a BLUE tricycle (not even a bike!) because…well just because I was six and it was cool. My brother could even sit on the back part of the bike and I could give him a ride. I am sure he loved that. Not. At the time this photo of me was taken there was an school fete on and a decorated bike competition. I remember Mum putting fresh flowers in the basket and I can see there are streamers in the spokes. I also notice I only have ONE black patent shoe on. That, my friends, is because earlier in that week barefoot me had trodden on a kid’s garden rake that had been left outside (shall I say, probably by my brother, because I was a perfect child) and I landed on it and the prongs when into my heel. Cue blood and crying but in the end OK but very sore.

I do not know if I won a prize with my bike but I sure do recall being very proud of it. I got my first BIcycle aged 11 once we had moved to Sydney. It was brand new and brown (who picks a brown bike? My parents I guess) and it was cool for 2 years and I rode it up and down the many hills in our Sydney harbourside suburb and then I sold it to my brother for 10 shillings. I was off to High School and a bike was not part of my needs. I also have no idea how long my brother kept the girl’s bike for as I cannot imagine HE pedalled to school on it.

And an ending as a little tribute to Dad. Father’s Day was yesterday. I did send a card and talk to him. Due to my cancer I have not been down to see him in  Sydney for over 4 months but I am feeling well enough to do this next Monday. Looking forward to it.

Here we are: about 66 years difference in the shots. Thanks for being my dad…even if you and I have clashed over the years I am very grateful for your love and care and support.

I look forward to reading your stories about bikes and cars too if you have gone along with the prompt.

Denyse.

Joining with Alicia here for Open Slather and with Kell here for Mummy Mondays.

 

NEXT WEEK: This link up is ONE.  I have made that the prompt for the week and I will be posting about the community that we have grown here and how it’s been a constant in my life and has helped me very much. If you link up and like the idea of this special prompt use your post to tell us how it’s been for you in this 12 month period to link up. And, of course, THANK you for doing so!


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