Wednesday 18th October 2017

Raindrops On…Flowers! 2017.116.

Raindrops On…Flowers! 2017.116.

Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge and celebrate why each 17th October (today!) is a special date for me and my husband. We met that on that day in 1970 and always think of it as “our special anniversary”. I wrote about it in depth here about how we met. Yesterday I wrote a letter to me at 20. The same age I am in the top pic. Happy 47 years to me and B. 1970 photos of us both.

Back to the present!

In the area where we live in New South Wales, the Central Coast,  about 1 hours drive from Sydney’s northern suburbs, it has been virtually rain-free for the past 4 months. The gardens are noticing it as we have had to take care to only use the hose to sprinkle water every second day. The grass out the front has lost most of its green. Luckily we are on town water so no problems with water in the house and so on. Many people who live on beautiful acreage up here though have empty tanks and the water carriers can barely keep up with the business of water supply.

So, yesterday and last night looked promising for some wet stuff from the sky and it delivered. Only 4 mm but enough to make the flowers (and us!) happy.

I shot some pics of this via my iphone and had great fun looking at all those droplets.

 

How is the water situation where you are?

Do you have any special anniversaries like ours?

Denyse.

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

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Letter to 20 year old Me. #LifeThisWeek. 40/52. 2017.115.

Letter to 20 year old Me. #LifeThisWeek. 40/52. 2017.115.

Prefacing my letter with this photograph. My eldest granddaughter is the age I am writing about. In fact she will be 21 before year’s end as I was too around this time of year. Thanks J for the inspiration and the LOVE you share with me and many. In fact, by co-incidence, J has posted her Sunday night vid on You Tube about her at 20! Neither of us knew what the other was up to. Love this.

 

Dear Denyse,

I remember you being 20 so well. It was the last year of teachers’ college. You were acing the pracs at the schools you were sent to and in fact those schools were great but you had something else on your mind. You were ready to flee Sydney weren’t you as your boyfriend of almost 3 years was going to a regional area for his first job after graduating Uni?  No longer a Northern Beaches girl like your friends from school, you were about to go BUSH…in fact to Barraba NSW that January 1970 but wait. There is a little more to remember before you became loaded with class teaching responsibilities and being ‘dropped’ by the long-term boyfriend….and not being sure of what was ahead after that.

Graduation as a teacher aged 20. End of 1969.

Social life aged 20. Uni balls were the best!

Teacher’s College mates and yes, pigtails on me.

So, in 1970 you had some highs and lows. However, you also had one of the best times socially as in the country back then teachers tended to group together and have dinners and parties and it was good. On October 17 1970 something VERY important to you then and now happened. You met the man who would become your life’s partner. He was a young 21 year old in his 3rd year of teaching in a small school beyond the mountains where you were teaching. But once the love grew and GREW, you no longer wanted to be apart. In fact, after becoming engaged just before your 21st birthday something else grew. A wee baby was on her way – we did not know that yet – and even though that was a surprise, we both knew…we are together for life!!

Wedding Day 1971. Dad, Mum, Bro, Gran, B & Me, Poppy, Papa

It was not an ideal beginning to our marriage but you know what, Miss 20, you chose well as did your B. Despite some criticism from your parents, in particular your mother, you shone. Marriage is a hard road and you learned that early. B was and is always a great life partner and you know what? In all the ups and downs, health scares, financial matters, relationship changes with our kids, welcoming grandkids into our lives, having to retire early, and more, we have shown that OUR decision to be together for the rest of our lives was the BEST. Coming up to 47 years since we met this very week!!

So, a little bit of what was ahead for you in some snapshots. Gosh look at you. You have always been self-conscious of your weight. Do you remember in teachers’ college PE class you rated yourself fat? I know, a bit of something wrong there. I think though, that you also thought you were NOT a fashion plate like your Mum and that you actually enjoyed learning and education whereas your mum was the true home-maker mum who never worked once she had kids. Your dad supported you there but both parents often made you feel a little less than OK by veiled and actual comments about your weight. Yep. Always there and even now, as you have been diagnosed with cancer and lost a lot of weight I can tell that you ‘worry’ about putting it back on. Many women, in case you did not know, have similar battles in their hearts and minds, so take comfort and be kind. As your B would say “treat yourself like a friend”. I didn’t know how to do that properly until I was 67 so sorry, Miss 20 and beyond, you have had a rather torrid time with self-talk.

Let’s go with the show!

I would love to add some photos of our children, Miss 20,  but for privacy reasons I cannot.  We had two children in the end. Ironically after falling pregnant with our daughter it took another 7.5 years for our son to come along. I had a lot of medical and then surgical intervention for that to occur. I would add too, that as a young mother about to turn 30 you had another significant challenge in life occur when the severe and chronic illness of your B meant he was medically retired from teaching. The next 4 years, until he steered himself towards better health and recovery, were exhausting and busy to say the least. In fact, your parents stepped in to help out in  ways which supported  you so you are grateful for those times even though it is still hard to let the ‘judgy’ times heal and let go. But this time saw you embark upon more self-education and career path moves and you completed two degrees, B.Ed and M.Ed, along with raising two kids (by now B was at home helping majorly both in a physical sense as he managed the house and started a tutoring business) and going for a 3 work promotions where you eventually became a school principal.

Then came retirement for you. I know. In this day and age retirement is nothing like you saw for your dad. In fact, you retired a few times. Once in 2003 after having a health breakdown at work and not being allowed by your doctor to return, second when you had gone to a teaching role in 2004 and then by age 60 in 2010 had decided enough was enough…and thirdly in 2015 when you surrendered your part-time roles at University teaching pre-service students, closed your business as an education consultant and ceased working for NSW  BOSTES.

I know that at 20 I would have had no idea of what a blog might be or of course social media. But what I did know, into my late 50s is that I am an early adopter. I like technologies that work for me and do not need too much technical prowess from me. I also know that at 20 I loved photography but not nearly as much as I do now.

So, this next and current life stage Miss 20, is getting a little bit easier but also a little bit scarier as I approach 70. OK, not for 2 more years but hey, it happens. Life. And of course, death. You’ve experienced the deaths of 4 of the people who loved you from the photo at your wedding. Dad remains well and in fact praises you now. Yes. He has written you some healing letters and often shows his appreciation for you as his daughter and is proud of you. He tells you that! So, remember it. And in terms of new life…Miss 20 GD above might have been first, but since then you have become Grandma (Miss 20, I love that name!) to 8 children. 6 girls and 2 boys.

Of course, no-one ever wants to get sick, Miss 20 do they? You have always been fearful of that. The past few years saw your anxiety levels skyrocket as you made 3 major life transitions and your well-known IBS decided to return. It all helped you lose weight but that was not the point. Then, knowing your teeth were always trouble some you had gum problems. These were found to be cancer and you had major surgery. I am delighted to say it is highly likely the cancer has gone. But you will continue to need check ups just as you need more surgeries soon.

It is hard to decide where to end this letter so for now, it will be open-ended. I am hopeful that my recollections can soothe my 67 year old self as I recount some of the stand-outs told to my 20 year old self…and that you remember you are LOVED by many so it’s time to add you to that list too.

All my love,

Denyse xx

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

Thank you for joining this week’s link up here:


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NEWS: Share Your Snaps! Part of 2018 Link-Up. #LifeThisWeek 2018. 2017.114.

NEWS: Share Your Snaps! Part of 2018 Link-Up. #LifeThisWeek 2018. 2017.114.

In the past few years I have really enjoyed linking up to Photo link ups.

This year, however, saw most of those I linked up with regularly no longer continue for various reasons. Blogging is like that as we all know. I too have changed the frequency of my blog posts in 2017 from almost every day to twice a week. For the chance to see more blogs and to visit them too, I link up to a number of people’s regular link-ups.

Mondays: mine! Alicia’s here on One Mother Hen called Open Slather and here with Kell on her blog All Mum Said for Mummy Mondays.

Tuesdays: Kylie’s at Kylie Purtell here called I Blog on Tuesdays

Thursdays: Leanne’s at Deep Fried Fruit here for Lovin’ Life.

That is it! I no longer link to US-based or predominantly US blogs as there is not a lot of connection back to the this blog.

But, here’s the thing. I miss my chance to link up photos. I know some link-ups are called Wordless for the fact that they are all photo-based and that’s cool. However, I could rarely add mine without some sort of explanation.

So….I am not introducing a new link-up as that is both a cost to me in terms of money and time so I am doing this:

Each 5th Week on my Monday Life This Week Link-Up will be titled Share Your Snaps.

Snaps of course being an old-fashioned word for photos!

If you have some photographs to share, then that’s your chance OR continue posting that week what ever you planned . As you know Life This Week is prompt-optional!

I chose each week ending in a 5 or a 0 so I could remember….

So, I hope that if you are a blogger who also likes to share your snaps, then the place to do that in link-up form will be every 5th week in the Life This Week Link Up held here in 2018.

The first week for Share Your Snaps will be Monday 29 January 2018.

I would love to know what you all think of this idea. Happy to hear your suggestions too!

Denyse.

On Tuesdays I link here with Kylie for I Blog on Tuesdays.

On Thursdays I link here with Leanne for Lovin’ Life.

 

 

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Any Regrets? #LifeThisWeek 39/52. 2017.113.

Any Regrets? #LifeThisWeek 39/52. 2017.113.

I first thought of this prompt as a list where I would write my regrets.

Oh.

So then I had a review of why I thought they were regrets and that opened a conversation between me and my husband about the futility of the list. However, before I sign off on no regrets, these were on that list*:

  1. Leaving the state super scheme aged 22 because I could and my husband was already a member.
  2. Selling our Kellyville house and putting much more of our borrowed dollars into a new build of our own at Bella Vista only to have to sell it to keep ourselves from bankruptcy only 4 years later.
  3. Deciding to resign from my role as principal rather than continue in the way in which Work Cover wanted me to in steps and stages starting with working from the local district office.
  4. Generously giving our adult kids hefty (for then and now!) deposits as early inheritances so they had security for their future and that of our grandchildren or future grandchildren.
  5. Saddling ourselves with a much larger mortgage than we could sustain once I had reached 60 and found working most days a physical and mental challenge.

*I note that each of these is money-based and yes, I am that person who likes financial security (we have it) but I am still someone who would like to have had more. That’s who I am. Not proud of it. It’s me. 

This has been hard in some ways to re-visit these landmarks in my mind….but that IS the whole point. They are in the past. I cannot change a thing about any of them. I need to leave them where they are but also to recall, from time to time, the learning they have afforded me.

That is: I cannot control the ways in which others may respond to my or another’s gifts, choices, decision and the like. The only way I can move on is to say to myself “I forgive myself for some of those decisions and will use my memories of them to guide me for the future me and centre the present me on where I am in this moment”.

Some findings on-line about regrets here:

http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/no-regrets.jpg

http://inspirationboost.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/88-Never-Regret-Good-is-Wonderful-Bad-is-Experience.png

I did have some songs come to mind too with lyrics about regrets but rather than give you ear worm (which you just might regret!!) I offer the titles only.

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien – Edith Piaf

My Way – Frank Sinatra

I am interested to know how you view regrets and if you have been successful at letting any regrets ‘go’…..

Thanks for reading!

May I ask you to come over and read TOMORROW’S post here or on I Blog on Tuesdays link with Kylie or

on Thursday’s link with Leanne because I have an ANNOUNCEMENT about 2018 Life This Week!!

Denyse.

On Mondays I link with Alicia here for Open Slather and with Kell here 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: Letter to My 20 year old self.


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Courage, Exposure Challenges & Me. Part Two. 2017.112.

Courage, Exposure Challenges & Me. Part Two. 2017.112.

Last week I wrote Part One here. Thank you to those who responded both with understanding and familiarity. I loved reading your comments.

April turns into May 2017.

This was a good time in my life as I relished the fact that I had achieved something pretty major for me. I had come through the dental extractions and subsequent follow up, been to see my Dad in Sydney and told myself that I was doing well. Confidence grew somewhat. It was good. BUT. There has to be a but as things were not going right in terms of what the dentist and I had hoped once the front teeth were removed. The gums were worsening. In the 5 weeks of recovering I did all I was told to do, I mouth-washed and took care as I knew I should after a major extraction. But I knew things were not good. Yet no-one could actually work out what it was even with this visit to my GP and then scans and X-rays and a return visit to the dentist then the oral surgeon. The full story is here. I will continue the topic for this post which is about how I used courage and challenges to get me through. 

These photos are some I took as I reflected on the news that I had cancer in my gums Whilst I was not surprised to know there was something sinister wrong, I still had many times of ‘shock’. Anyway, it seems that I did know best how to care for me and going out and about into nature helped.

Diagnosis and Consultations.

Diagnosis on 17th May in the morning, appointment with the Head and Neck surgeons the next day and ….O.M.G. from me. How will I do this? I need to have some help. On the afternoon of 17th May our lovely (and somewhat shocked by my news GP) reassured me that I should ‘take the valium, the immodium, put the headphones on…you can do it’. The travel to Sydney with my husband driving had, interestingly enough, escalated my fears about IBS and travel MORE than having been told I had cancer. I know. I think about this a lot.

BUT. I did it. How? Exactly as the doctor said and using my knowledge that this HAD to be done and my husband assured me of his driving and preparation to stop at any time I needed to. He was brilliant. I used my hypnotherapy on my iPhone via my ear buds and closed my eyes and we stopped at 4 loo stops on the afternoon of travel. I was OK. NO I.B.S. either.

The story of what happened following that day and visiting the dental clinic in Westmead  is also here.

Blogging Really Helped Me Voice My Fears Too. June to July 2017.

To continue to prepare myself for what was ahead once surgery was confirmed I did a lot of ‘what if’ scenarios which might be silly for some people but for me they gave me information and prediction. Rather than me doing guess work I had more formed and experienced views. My confidence that I was in the best place and with the best people once I had the surgery was confirmed when the Associate Professor wrote responses to my many questions about what was ahead. It then gave me knowledge and my GP was also someone I could chat to. The courage grew. But there were days (and nights of course!) when I was fragile. I include the excerpts here from a blog post I did in the week before surgery and I am now responding in purple italics about how things went that I had been concerned about!

When I wrote this post I thought I was managing myself quite well. Since then, I have had some pretty horrid days (and nights) where I have become fearful, panicked, and so vulnerable I wanted to go into a corner and hide and never come out.

I may have felt like hiding but I did not. I certainly honour those feelings though as they are actually pretty normal and not exclusive to me.

I am shit-scared right now.

Again, I know this is normal. ‘Normalising’ the cancer diagnosis and what it would mean for me helped to change my thoughts. 

I am worried about losing what I valued: my mouth where I speak, eat, share my emotions and smile. It has been days of crying uncontrollably, being held until I calm down (thank you dear B) and taking some valium (which I don’t really want to) and letting out the fears in words between the sobs. 

This was helpful and much better for me to have the fears spoken about, and written too so that I could see them and read them knowing that I was admitting to them and not running away from them or denying them. In fact my GP gave me praise for acting this way as he said it was much healthier in the long-term than holding it in and acting as if nothing unusual was occurring.

I fear: the loss of ability to use my mouth for at least 7-10 days, have a naso-gastric feeding tube down my throat for those days, having the skin/flesh/bone from my right leg inside my mouth after 3/4 of my upper jaw/palate as been removed. Dealing with the not being in control.

Interesting for me that these things about that I feared did happen but I was in a less fearful place once the surgery was done. I did not like the feeling of the feeding tube when the liquid would start its hourly thing but I ended up telling myself it would be over in a minute or so and that the nourishment was helping me heal before I could eat again. It worked! 

I am, as I write, unable to really express what it means to be facing this loss of control of my body. I will be in ICU to start and may even have a tracheostomy to start if the mouth is too swollen. This is very scary to me, and I am admitting it now.

Better ‘in than out’ and this is why writing this post and the one containing these quotes has helped me. I have talked about the loss of control before and we humans are all like that. So, in a way, I shared a very human response rather than a ‘unique to Denyse’ one and so in one way, I was giving loving-kindness in thoughts to more than me but to anyone else fearing loss of control. 

For me to admit how vulnerable I feel right now is to say “I cannot do this without help”. My husband reassures me he will be there as much as possible, and given how I will look and be, he will be my only visitor until I give any indication I can see others. I am facing the unknown and that as we know is the scariest place to be. I will be losing my smile….for more than a while. Possible 3-4 months until my upper jaw recovers.

Yes, the loss of my smile seemed very important then and to an extent remains so but, as I have found as my mouth swelling reduced that my smile (sans top lip) is still there and in fact, smiling with my eyes has never disappeared. I will be more secure once I have teeth again of course and a lip too but for now, I am appreciative of the smiling coming from the inside too! 

August, September and onwards into October 2017.

Now I am feeling more courageous and in control of my reactions and responses I can consider what lies ahead with great equanimity and no longer feel the need to have everything right before I do things. In one week from now we will be on our way back to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse to see Professor Clarke for my 3 month check. It is interesting that I can be a little bit apprehensive about what is ahead but also curious about it too. I shall report back!!

I hope that reading my story about what I have had to do to change some of the hard-wired thoughts and feelings of mine to get better and to do well has been helpful. Avoidance is a short-term fix and the more we avoid, the worse it becomes as I found out. See Part One. By doing something fearful it helped re-train my behaviours and therefore added feelings and memories of success in overcoming many of the fears – real and imagined. Of course support from my professionals and my husband was another key to progress.

Tell me your thoughts!

Denyse.

Linking on Tuesdays with Kylie for I Blog On Tuesdays and with Leanne on Thursdays for Lovin’ Life.

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Movies. #LifeThisWeek 38/52. 2017.111.

Movies. #LifeThisWeek 38/52. 2017.111.

Movies for me are the ones I remember most and would want to see again. And again. However, in my latter (erm, older) years I do not have the interest nor attention span to sit through movies. I blame my needing to check my phone, read something, find something to eat and all that. So, without further ado, time for some memories and then movies I have loved.

In the Olden Days.

As the above suggests, I am from the olden days of the 1950s and 1960s when movies were shown 2 at a time. Double features always. Often a newsreel and a documentary might also be thrown in. In fact, I digress, there were small movie theatres in Sydney that showed up to date news via a newsreel service. Television eventually saw the demise of this but it was one way to catch up on world news especially. In war times (not that I am that old!) this was how the public was shown the progress of WW2.

Where was I? I told you my attention drifts. So, there was a first movie (called the B feature sometimes) and then the main movie. In between there was interval and a person carrying a tray of ice creams, lollies and chips would attend the level of the theatre where you sat or you could go to the lobby for them. Cheaper seats were downstairs (the stalls) and dearer seat were upstairs (the lounge).

So, you would be at the movies for around 3 or more hours. There may have been a matinees session (afternoon) and then the main one in the evening. No pre-ordering of tickets. You queued to buy the tickets.

At the end of BOTH movies, the audience would stand as on the screen there would appear a photo of Queen Elizabeth and we would sing God Save The Queen. I am not joking. That was how it ended. Ask your parents.

The other ‘thing’ about the movies and them going for quite a long time was….if you has a boyfriend then you might both go up the back for a bit of a kiss and a cuddle. I do NOT know about this. I heard it from a friend. Honest.

My Movie Memories and Why.

I first saw High Society in a movie theatre in Manly with my parents and I was around 12. I was struck by the romance and the music. I still am. Bing singing “True Love” to the almost Princess of Monaco (the last movie for Grace Kelly) sticks with me now. I still love the soundtrack in particular.

This one doesn’t need a title…of course it IS from The Sound of Music. I first saw it in the city I think at around age 16 and my friends gave me the soundtrack on vinyl for my birthday. I have lost count of how many times I have watched it and shared it with our kids and grandkids. The scene where the family has to escape from the Nazis still scares me a bit and I loved the romance of the Captain dancing with Maria. Yes I still have the soundtrack but the vinyl is no longer here as we disposed of so many of the NOW popular vinyls when they became to heavy to cart around.

Not normally one for shoot ’em ups, this movie is the first one I saw with the man who is my husband. We both loved the music from it, particularly Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head and the conversations between Paul and Robert. A clever movie and such great memories of teaching kids that song at school. 1970. Nice one!!

We lived in the NSW bush as teachers from 1970- 1977 and when we had school holidays we would stay with my parents in Sydney (on-site babysitters too) and take advantage of going to the movies. In this case, to the Frenchs Forest Drive In to see Blazing Saddles. Oh. My. Goodness. The script and the visuals were pretty risky for the times and still are in some places. But I can tell you for me it was a hoot listening to the clever lines crafted by my favourite Mel Brooks because his movies feature twice in my list!!

I recall that we saw this one, the original,  in a movie theatre. It might have been the one close to Mum and Dad’s at Balgowlah or it might have been at Collaroy where the theatre is still in operation. Again, Mr Brooks’ clever and irreverant take on making a Broadway show was the appeal for me and in recent years I saw the updated Producers in the movie form and also as  performed in Sydney by Australian performers. I totally LOVE the music and the words and the clever plot lines. I am still playing the soundtrack today!

This one is for the kids in my life. The grandkids who I took to movies. This one, I actually paid attention in as it was fun and the music was ME! I took a then 3 year old Grandson to a theatre  who also loved it. I know I love a movie when I buy the soundtrack and this one I did. So, for the next 2-3 years in Grandma’s car, this was the most requested by the Granddaughter (his younger sister) who loved it too once she saw it on DVD. Rio has such a special place in my heart and memories.

 

So, there are my movies. What about you?

I can imagine you might have many different memories to me.

This was such a fun prompt to think about once I did. Initially I thought I didn’t like many movies until I visited my memory bank!

Denyse.

Linking this holiday Monday in NSW with Alicia here for Open Slather and Kell here 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: Any Regrets?



Photo Credits:

High Society http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_iqde5Op1Cy8/TOxXfsPJQUI/AAAAAAAAAJA/fu0YAncYe0g/s1600/High+Society+%25281956%2529+8.jpg

The Sound of Music https://analogkidblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/sound-of-music_1_.jpg

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-BeAd3R4flyA/TtBuiDfhSsI/AAAAAAAAAus/dCgPP0oLufA/s1600/BCATSK02.jpg

Blazing Saddles http://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=EtDLWaRI&id=BC1439D8921E66C72C6AF5671A4615806A00484A&thid=OIP.EtDLWaRIAGr5fq_manIOVgDFEs&q=images+blazing+saddles&simid=608004093419259413&selectedIndex=48&ajaxhist=0

The Producers https://didyouseethatone.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/producers-4.jpg

Rio http://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=2gOiR5Og&id=EE394DCCF338E998AC5E3620ED5F2726DE892733&thid=OIP.2gOiR5OgrwUJCx-_GLXiOADMEy&q=Rio+Movie&simid=608034085169727648&selectedIndex=17&ajaxhist=0

 

 

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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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