Friday 27th May 2022

“Being Me” Was Hard in March! #WOTY Review. 20/2022.

“Being Me” Was Hard in March! #WOTY Review. 20/2022.

So, as regular readers know I chose “be me” as my guiding words in 2022.

From end of February celebrating B’s Birthday and using money from NSW Govt…for dining in at a favourite morning tea place.

I guess that IS the ultimate challenge for me, to “be myself” especially in my life where I knew how to be:

  • a daughter
  • a wife
  • a mother
  • a teacher
  • a grandmother
  • a carer
  • a volunteer
  • a patient
  • a blogger
  • a friend

But, left to be on my own I realised late last year when I became unwell, that perhaps I needed to be “me” just “me” ….being, rather than doing…..

Doing was what I knew well.

Being is actually much harder.

Having an inner conversation with me is like this:

so, what’s happening today? I don’t know, I find it hard to just ‘be’ when I want to ‘do’.

And the answer often lies somewhere in the middle of both doing and being…of course…but I still have to tame my old (very) tendencies to:

  • rescue others
  • take care of something for someone
  • go out and find items at the shops
  • do something useful ….with a product such as a meal/cake/gift for someone

As they say, and I have too, I remain a “work-in-progress”.

So far I know I am getting closer to “being me” when I feel less stressed about having to be somewhere I chose not to be anymore.

In fact, even though my people pleasing is still pretty prominent at least I recognise it and can actual say to myself “no, I don’t do that anymore”

I’ve really had to be far more truthful in how some of my past overdoing behaviours have affected me.

It might sound trite but I am now doing far less of any potential organising for anyone or anything.

I know I could. I always did. But now, I am leaving it up to others. If asked, then I may indeed be part of what is happening or:

drum roll, please:





thank you,

without any further explanation.

I did some of my self-care things but we were also in a very rain affected part of N.S.W. so staying home was safe. I ventured out a couple of times:

But wait there is more. 

Over the past month my resilience has faltered.

I have been over-tired (but over-wired) and not sleeping well on some nights

I sensed a familiar feeling inside and I remembered it from LONG ago and it felt like:

Burn out…work overload…as it affected me twenty years ago. Chapter here from Telling My Story.

I have been teary.


Unsure about things I am normally confident about.

Quick to respond angrily.

I went to the Psychologist I have seen before and off-loaded but she didn’t mention burn out (that came later from me speaking with B) but she did mention overwhelm and uncertainty and …tah dah….the last 2 years….Wrote about them too. Here and here..

  • But, the ONE aspect I could admit to during my visit was the scare I got (viscerally) when my brother let me know 98 yo Dad had been taken to hospital. It was “only” a two night stay in the end but to a man like my Dad, it gave him quite a scare, as it did us…and his homecoming, via my brother, was on the most awful day of the rains flooding streets in the Northern Beaches right where they had to drive to get Dad back to Dee Why and my brother back to Narrabeen up the road. It was OK. In the end. But, it gave me added anxiety about the “next steps” with Dad and how I might manage emotionally. I am fortunate too, to have skills these days and to have my counsellor-trained husband.


  • After that experience and talking it through I could see I really needed to keep up my self-care and my time out in nature (once she settled down) and try to retain some of my more balanced life choices.


  • That kind of worked but I was still feeling the short fuse, and it happened after a couple of health visits where I knew I was over thinking and trying to over control what was happening at these visits …..and I couldn’t overcome how I was.

So, I let time pass. That hard thing to do.

But I did, and then over time, because that’s how it works for me, I could distance myself from how I had behaved and see that what I was trying to do was come to terms with more health issues and how HARD it is to do that after the past 5+ years of dealing with cancer.

Sometimes I forget my health past….

It is hard being me at times….

So, I backed off my inner pressure person (the teacher, the one in charge, the perfectionist if you will) and let myself grieve.

I grieved for what had happened to me in so many different health procedures and more…and how I had to hold myself strong to manage to get through it all….and I cried.

I could see that I was now tired.

And I am also in my early 70s. Ageing brings its own and different challenges.

I am using self-compassion to BE me more than ever.

In fact, I wrote about it here, and am keeping myself honest and planning to share an aspect of my self compassion over 30 days of April. More here.

I made a little set of reminder boards here and they sit right within my eye-line at the computer.

Word Of the Year Link Up Party.

Joining in with these kind bloggers:

hosted by friends Deb, Sue,  Donna and  Jo too.

You too can join in, clicking on one the above links:

Look for this image, and add your post.

Thanks for reading and commenting. I certainly send my good wishes to you all.





  1. Hi, Denyse – What a powerful post. I recognize the drive to “DO” and the difficult to suddenly switch to “just be”. I am also a work in progress in this area.
    Thank you for sharing this with us.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks so much Donna…for your lovely words AND “getting it”. I am certainly a W-I-P too. And actually I am “doing” less in some ways even better since I put the post together. Needed a bit of a boost and the post helped me see things better. Denyse

  2. So much here Denyse, thinking, worrying, illness, overwhelm, uncertainty…it all adds up and no wonder you have been feeling like this. It is good to write these thoughts down and it obviously helps you to cope with things too (I do similar). I agree with Donna the drive to DO, sometimes outdoes the need to just BE, I think it could be because of our backgrounds maybe?? I do hope you are feeling better these days and thanks for joining us for the #WOTY linkup.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      I know…and it does addd up, alright. Fortunately I recognise it even if I don’t like it, and my body sure tells me too. And with that, even putting the words together for the post was one way I could see that I truly had all sorts of reasons to be feeling as I did….and may that “I” could do (ha!) something about that. Comes with the teacher/mother/grandmother territory though so I am, as you point out, very similar to you. Denyse.

  3. Overtired and overtired…I hear you. Just being can be so tough at times, but it’s okay to drop back and drop out every so often and then re-emerge with an acceptance of the work in progress. Thanks for linking up with us and remember to be kind to you. x

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      It’s tough and what seemed ‘easy’ initially gets fitted into more, and then…boom, I am feeling overwhelm. So much, like the weather (and the C word ending in d) out of our control, we have had to manage disappointments and stress even more. Glad to have shared the post though as it helps to write! Who knew…oh yes, we do. Denyse

  4. Denyse, I feel off sequence as this past 2 weeks we were traveling and I missed posting and reading. Your post makes me feel like I’ve missed a few…so much going on!

    I totally empathize with the Do versus Be! I’m still unsure how to “be” – I wonder if my journaling, doing crossword puzzles, reading for pleasure can be considered “be”. It’s not necessarily productive, I enjoy the time, and in many ways those things bring me a sense of calm. I know I need to get out more – be in nature.

    This past 10 days, I hardly did anything outdoors, didn’t journal, didn’t do crosswords, didn’t do yoga…and while I had some lovely visits with friends, also had some major stresses with family members. I think some being-time is really needed in my life!

    • Yes to being ‘out of routine’ and realising it.

      I think “we” get used to our at home structures and going out ones, but travelling would add a whole other aspect.

      We have both come to the realisation that for practical reasons of both eating and comfort, we cannot have a break or holiday. But we are also good with that notion because we have made a relatively comfortable lifestyle here.

      I think the ‘doing’ when its for relaxation and enjoyment is a ‘being’ because it’s more about mindfulness and staying present. Calm is good, so it time passing when we don’t even realise.

      Take care, and I love your thoughts. My link up is back EVERY fortnight from this coming Mon 28.March as I “MISSED” it!!


  5. Denyse, For many people who have been on the go all the time or have type A personality, to slow down and switch to ‘be’ is a big adjustment. I’m glad that you keep self-compassion front and centre. Thank you for linking up with #weekendcoffeeshare. Have fun with your new Life’s Stories linkup.

    • Thanks so much Natalie for your astute comment. It’s so true of ‘us’ who are do-ers, achievers and more. I am, however, more mindful than ever now of the gift of time to “be” and using my self compassion focus it will be easier to note well.

      Thanks for your good wishes, I feel now I have that elusive balance right!


  6. Hi Denyse our choice of WOTY isn’t as easy as it sounds is it? Like you most times I want to be ‘doing’ rather than ‘being’ in the moment although I’ve found ways of expressing my WOTY ‘Be’ in the diffierent activities I do. Thanks for sharing your thoughts (and at times struggles) with your WOTY and linking up with us. I’m so pleased you have also decided to increase your This Is Life link up to fortnightly. Enjoy the rest of March and here is to ‘be’ing ME. xx

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks so much Sue, yes we did make it hard on ourselves but then again, it’s been GOOD for us both to review and keep ourselves accountable.

      I too am very glad to have found a middle ground with the blogging link up.

      And yes, to being back tomorrow!!

      Thank you for your support always.


  7. Your statement about being able to say NO really resonates with me. It’s something I need to learn too!
    I think switching from DO to BE is a process, much like my own struggles with learning strategies to stay CALM – it’s difficult but now when it’s your focus of the year, you’ll get there.
    Some months are harder than others because of circumstances. I’m glad your father is back home safely and I can totally relate to what you say about the future regarding your father and how you’ll manage.
    I can also see how you’ve come back to BE ME and self-care, and your self-compassion challenge is a great thing to do. I bought the app by the way, and found no monthly subscription plan so I now have it for a year – it will be interesting to see how it’ll affect me.

    • Thanks so much Susanne, your words are really helpful too, in my understanding of what we are all going through I guess, working what we want and need!
      I found I used the app for the 28 days consecutively & it was a good thing to do. I had a bit of a break and now I am back because it’s helping me review things as well. I find it a good reminder I guess,
      The thing about Dad is that yes we could find out he needs to back in hospital or worse, that he has died. However, I have reduced my initial feelings of ‘how that might be’ worries because I have allowed some time to pass. Always a good one!
      Take care,

  8. Denyse, reading your post has put my own March into better perspective. Thank you for your honest reflection. When my husband read my post he commented, ‘you left out some stuff.’ I admire your courage to write about the things that aren’t so rosy and cheerful. I found it impossible to put into words that I attended my brother’s funeral. Maybe one day I will be able to sort those feelings enough to share.

    Just BE is a mantra we all need to embrace. Blessings

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks so much Suzanne. I was (and still can be) a bit reticent to post about some aspects of how life has been. There were, before my cancer was diagnosed in May 2017, that I could not share nor post about family matters that were breaking my heart…, those words went into a private diary. Now deleted.

      As time went on, the cancer diagnosis which was a pretty shocking one, and one where I had to be more courageous than I had ever been, finally gave me the chance to write about how things were/are.

      I am now, prepared to write about the tricky life times because no-one ever shared with me that over 70s has its challenges…so maybe I open up conversations.

      I am so sorry to read about your brother’s funeral. One day, you will be ready, even if it’s a private post. Those words are likely rising to the surface now and they don’t like being pushed down.

      Take care and sending you love as I know these times are hugely challenging…


  9. Denyse, I so appreciate your honesty in this post. I’ve been struggling but unable to publicly acknowledge why on my own blog (our daughter had a severe mental health crisis and was hospitalized twice and ended up living here with her 5 and 3 year old for 7 weeks) but as she is a very private person I can not be forthcoming with info when local friends and family read my blog. So besides being tired from full time grandparenting and stressing about here I can not turn to my support system here in the blog world. I am so glad you felt you could share your struggles. They are familiar to many of us I am sure. Aging parents, the do more mentality and the overwhelming anxiety that this world seems to produce. Good on you for your signs to remind you about what is important and your steps in acknowledging the self care necessary. Take care of yourself.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks so much Bernie. It’s been a HUGE time for you hasn’t it? Your concern and care for your daughter, and then the full time presence and care of two youngster. That’s such an emotional load.

      When you cannot fully explain (and I was like that for about a year thanks to family breakdowns) it just festers doesn’t it? No good…..

      I know we helped out of adult kids and their children a great deal over the years, and when we moved away, my resilience was shattered by the transition of life…and I had my own health to manage, so we could no longer offer ‘staying at our place’ sleepovers etc. It was hard but we both are now over 70, needing our privacy and lifestyle in retirement after my 5 years of struggling with cancer recoveries etc.

      I KNOW if we could, at a pinch we would drop everything for family but for now. it’s OK. We help financially and that is a load of its own with our limited income.

      My Dad, at 98, would actually prefer to go to sleep and not waken. Life has become a mental struggle and I see in him that he hates having to bother others about things. …..sigh.

      Thanks for sharing, and I am thinking of you.



  10. Thank you, Denyse, for this honest and vulnerable post. It is good to hear that you are in tune with yourself and recognize the patterns and the need for self-care and getting help with that self-care. I’m sending hugs for your and your dad. My mother-in-law will be 95 this June, and I can relate to the worry and the need to prepare for what is inevitably to come. Continue taking care of yourself and practicing being you!

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Oh thank you so much Christie. It’s a bit of tough road for these ‘oldies’ too as in my Dad’s case he is mentally 100% with it, yet his body is giving up his sight and mobility. Nevertheless I remain grateful he is reasonably well and that we (bro and I) can be working on how things might go for Dad when necessary.

      I send my best across the ocean to you and yours walking a similar path.

      I am doing even better since I wrote the post, because in writing it, I was also helped…so yes, remembering self care as a priority!

      Take care