Wednesday, 28 December 2016

This year didn’t suck

A lot of people have said that this year has sucked. Well for me, this year for the most part didn’t suck. The first 10 days were very tough, as were the next few months, but the good definitely outweighed the tough this year. I am so grateful for that.

I found myself in an ambulance heading to hospital on the morning of January 10. However, as a direct result of that happening, I have great medical professionals around me who legitimately care about me as a human, not just a medical experiment to pay their bills. My doctor is good enough where he knows what to do with my health, but he isn’t arrogant enough to say he has a total cure. Yet he (as well as my OT, Laurie) has given me enough peace and courage to do what I can to help myself in my own health journey and I am so grateful for that.

This year I have re-connected with a lot of family from my dad’s side, with thanks to social media. It’s great to know most of them still have a place in their life for me, as I do for them. It certainly makes up for the number of people, due to a whole bunch of different reasons, who have drifted from my life in one way or another. Not much at all of that is a personal thing, just life happening at a very fast pace (something I still struggle with, to be fair). I am finally starting to learn that people do come and go in life and that it is very rarely a personal thing against me.

I have learned the power in consistently keeping up with medical appointments and tests. Before this year, I would see them as an inconvenience to me living my life and ignore it until something dramatic happened with my health. However, earlier this year my doctor told me that if I’m not keeping up with said appointments and tests, then I’ll be less healthy and productive when attempting to live my life. I have found this to be very true this year as I’ve attended all appointments for everything and I am now the healthiest I have been since 2006.

Some absolutely amazing and accidental things have happened, such as early May this year. I received an email inviting me to a Brisbane Broncos dinner in Perth. I bought my ticket, even though at the time it would wreck my budget, because these things in life only happen once in a lifetime and sometimes you just need to do fun things. I bought my ticket and had a great night. At the end of that night, I was talking with Broncos CEO Paul White and he would tell me it was a business owners dinner and he said I must have accidentally got the email invite. However, he said if I love the Broncos then I am welcome to stay.

I have achieved a dream of attending a footy game at the MCG and going to Melbourne. Aside from the freezing cold, it was so great. From buying coffee as big as my face and getting change from $5 for it, to accessible paths, beautiful scenery and sport and music everywhere, it’s a great place. I can see why some friends live there now. I will be back some day, but not in the middle of winter next time.

Then in August of this year, I was looking at Twitter one day when I saw a tweet from Perth Wildcats. It was asking for game night volunteers for the current season 2016/17. I updated my resume and applied. My first interview as far as I’m concerned was terrible. However, that following Friday afternoon I would receive an email asking me if I would like an interview with the Wildcats CEO Nick Marvin, on the following Monday afternoon. It went really well and he offered me a voluntary position in the administration staff at Perth Lynx. I now work there once a week and at every Lynx home game. I also attend all Perth Wildcats games. It was a lot more than I originally thought it would be. It has become a reason to fist-pump at life, to get out of bed with enthusiasm again. I am literally at a place now where ball is life. As I said to someone recently, if I’m not in an office for basketball, I’m working at a game, attending a game as a fan or watching a game of NBA or NBL on my laptop. Ball is literally life and I love it.

These are just a few highlights to try and encourage you all that this year did not totally suck. Not for me or for anyone, really. Sometimes we do need to try and look a bit harder to find the goodness. To sum it all up, I have finally got help with my overall health, both physically and mentally and I have learned the truth in the Switchfoot line that says “love alone is worth the fight”. Yes, it’s tough, but it is so worth it, friends. May 2017 be full of joy, peace and love and whatever comes your way, may you be able to say that “hope is the anthem of my soul”, as the Switchfoot song says.

Giving up is not an option,


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Fear is a powerful motivator

Today, September 14 2016 is a date that all of you should mark on your calendar. I know I will never forget this date anymore. Earlier today, I was told by my doctor that I have exceeded expectations for a blood test I had last week. He went on to mention that I do not require any more needles or medical appointments for six months. For someone who has needles in their top five fears in life, that is a huge thing to hear. I couldn't help but hug my doctor in that moment. Thankfully he didn't see it as inappropriate and he understood why I did that.

Over this last eight months, I have had a diabetes and anaemia diagnosis (anaemia is no longer an issue), as well as mental issues such as depression, anxiety and PTSD. Just to try and give you an idea, in January and February, I was in medical appointments three times per week. These last eight months have been dedicated to doing whatever I have needed to do in order to get my health back to a place where I'm smiling at life again and physically strong enough to do what I need to do. I am happy to say I am now at that point. Yes, there were definitely a few points along the road where I have thought the process of healing was not worth it because let me tell you, recovery is a hard road, whether it's from physical or mental health issues. When you're dealing with both, it's like standing in the middle of a freeway at peak hour.

I am so grateful beyond words to my GP. For the first time in my life, I have a GP who understands all of my health issues and doesn't belittle them or feel overwhelmed by them, yet knows how to help me deal with them. He showed me where to find hope when I didn't know where to look. He gave me tools to get myself out of the hole I was in at the beginning of the year and through those things and God's grace, I got out. At no point have I gone on medication for my mental health. The only medication I am on is a tablet for diabetes control which is pretty good right now.

As for the diabetes, it's simple really. As I mentioned above, needles are a huge fear for me personally. Therefore I have come to the conclusion this year that fear is a powerful motivator. The day I was diagnosed with diabetes, I literally gave away all chocolate, lollies and soft drinks to other people, who were only too happy to take them away. Now, whenever I go near a confectionery section in a shop, I see needles and back right away. That's what I mean by fear being a powerful motivator. Far too often, people focus on the negative side of fear. However, I have found that fear can definitely have a positive effect on our lives.

While the mental health isn't perfect, it is definitely a lot better than it was. Each day now I'm going outside for fresh air and sun (weather permitting), journalling, reading good jokes or watching something funny on TV or Netflix, taking care of my physical health as much as I can and eating and sleeping properly. Also, each day I write a list of places to be or house jobs that need to be finished that day. That forces me to get up and take on the day, however I may feel physically or mentally.

Anyway, I believe murder-ball in the paralympics is on soon, so I better leave it there. Apologies also for the gap between posts. Life gets crazy busy sometimes.

Giving up is not an option,


Sunday, 24 April 2016

Patience in the process


I have mentioned a fair bit that in January something rather dramatic happened as my mental health hit rock bottom. Well, after that day, I had appointments, either at home, by phone or out in other people's offices such as GP, OT etc. The exhaustion, physically and mentally, was starting to become more harmful than helpful and I was on the brink of quitting on the whole process of starting to heal.

Then one day, it was about mid February, just as things were getting exhausting. I was on my daily "run" and if you've been to my place, you'll know I have a heap of gum trees right outside. I stopped and felt reminded of Matthew 6 where God tells us that if he can take care of the trees and the birds of the air, then he can certainly take care of us. Then he told me to simply have patience in the process. Those four words have kept me going ever since. Whenever I'm thinking of losing hope or getting too tired, I am reminded to have patience in the process. In the beginning of this, my GP told me that recovery from this will take a long time, but I can and will make 100% recovery.

One thing I want to make sure people get out of this blog is that I no longer believe that nobody cares for me. I know there are some people who do care. It's just that sometimes in life, the voices of those who don't care can become so loud that it drowns out the voices of the people who do care. What I am saying right here is that people who care need to speak louder. Speak louder than the negative, nasty people.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been to a couple of AFL games. Sure, my anxiety was triggered a couple of times and I must admit I nearly went home early (nothing to do with the score). But I stayed, faced my fear of big crowds and getting bumped in the head and got through it okay, both times. It was scary at first, but I enjoyed seeing familiar faces again, such as bumping into an old basketball team mate and a high school teacher.

I turn 30 next week and I don't want to be a 30 year old who is too scared to deal with his fears. Another big fear came up for me this week as I realised something that has been holding me back for about 20 years. I won't go into it here, but to say now I recognize it for what it is and am dealing with it. I have got to that place where the pain of having something bother me is more painful than the pain and fear of doing what it takes to receive healing from the pain, if that makes sense.

So in closing, going back to the title, patience in the process. Recovery is a long process and I'm starting to think more clearly, realize that going outside isn't so scary and that dealing with emotions is hard, but very necessary if we want to be able to achieve my dreams. I still have dreams. Big ones. I will achieve them - whatever it takes. One day, one hour, one minute, at a time.

Giving up is not an option,


Thursday, 24 March 2016

Catch up on life...


I have been meaning to write something for weeks. However, every time I go to write something, I end up getting busy with trying to adult in this life. Or that voice in my head tells me that nobody cares and nobody will want to read this. Then this morning, I read a great blog from a friend and it was the push I needed to do this. You know who you are (if you're reading this).

Being my first blog for 2016, I feel I need to cover a few things and inform people of a few happenings in my life. First of all, on January 10, I was taken to hospital via ambulance for mental illness. I was discharged the same day, thank God. There is no way I am sleeping or eating in a hospital, unless I absolutely have to do it. Even just the knowledge that I could go home eased the stress in my mind a little bit.

My brain had got so low to a point where I truly believed that nobody out there cared about whether I was breathing or not. To be very fair, I am still not convinced anyone does, other than medical people who are paid to care. I also feel the need to highlight here that it is an illness. That you can't just "be positive" or "just cheer up" or "just pray it away" and it will magically go away. Illness doesn't work like that.

I've always known since I was a kid that I've had depression. I was made to see a psychologist from 8 years old. I was admitted to a children's mental health ward and made to take an anger management class at 10 years old. I was told I'd be in jail, dead or living in an adult mental health hospital if I didn't clean my life up. That stopped me from seeing anyone in psychology for 20 years... until recently. I have had to get over my fear of psychologists to see someone.

There are still a lot of things in my head that need to get sorted out. The biggest thing that I've got over the last two and a half months since that day in hospital is that I have a little bit of hope. A realistic hope that says that while tomorrow will not be all kinds of amazing, it will be okay and I have the strength and resources to deal with whatever it may bring.

I am trying to remember to take life one day, even one hour, at a time. That is all my brain and body can really handle and to be fair, I have never really been one that's good at planning ahead anyway. I am back studying my youth work degree at university, which is becoming a good mental distraction for everything. As well as university, I have help with cleaning and cooking at home and I am seeing my GP and psych both once a fortnight. All that keeps me very busy. Busy to the point where I said to my doctor that for the first time in my life, I may need to buy a thing called a diary.

My doctor has also done an overall physical health check and it's been discovered that I have diabetes and severe anaemia (pretty sure I spelled that wrong). The anaemia is so bad that I am waiting on admission into hospital to go on a drip. The diabetes is okay, just about figuring out a new diet that works for my body. That's not that simple, but I'm over the sugar withdrawal symptoms and I already do feel better just for cutting out sugar from my diet, even if it was forced upon me. I'm just not sleeping very well because some days, I feel so awake that I can "run" a marathon and other days I feel like I can't get out of bed. Some balance in my energy levels would be great! One more thing about my health and doctors is that finally, for the first time in my adult life (since 2003), I am finally in a place where I have medical people around me who not only know what they are doing in their area of expertise, but they genuinely care about me as a person, not just a job. If it took an ambulance taking me to hospital on January 10 to get to a place where I have good medical people, so be it.

Anyway, I think that is more than enough for the first blog back for the year. I hope to get back to consistently writing soon.

Giving up is not an option,